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MONSOD 201 SCRA 210, 1991 FACTS Monsod was nominated by President Aquino to the position of Chairman of the COMELEC on April 25, 1991. Cayetano opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does not possess the required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of Monsods nomination, petitioner filed a petition for Certiorari and Prohibition praying that said confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared null and void because Monsod did not meet the requirement of having practiced law for the last ten years. ISSUE: Whether or not Monsod satisfies the requirement of the position of Chairman of the COMELEC. HELD: The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. A person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he: . . . for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or corporations as to their rights under the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law. Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86.55%. He has been a dues paying member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in 1972-73. He has also been paying his professional license fees as lawyer for more than ten years. Atty. Monsods past work experiences as a lawyer economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and the poor verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement that he has been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

BRILLANTES vs. YORAC 192 SCRA 358, 1990 Facts: The President designated Associate Commissioner Yorac as Acting Chairman of the Commission on Elections, in place of Chairman Hilario B. Davide, who had been named chairman of the fact-finding commission to investigate the December 1989 coup d etat attempt. Brillantes challenged the act of the President as contrary to the constitutional provision that ensures the independence the Commission on Elections as an independent constitutional body and the specific provision that (I)n no case shall any Member (of the Commission on Elections) be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity. Brillantes contends that the choice of the Acting Chairman of the Commission on Elections is an internal matter that should be resolved by the members themselves and that the intrusion of the President of the Philippines violates their independence. The Solicitor General the designation made by the President of the Philippines should therefore be sustained for reasons of administrative expediency, to prevent disruption of the functions of the COMELEC. Issue: Whether or not the President may designate the Acting Chairman of the COMELEC in the absence of the regular Chairman. Held: NO. The Constitution expressly describes all the Constitutional Commissions as independent. They are not under the control of the President of the Philippines in the discharge of their respective functions. Each of these Commissions conducts its own proceedings under the applicable laws and its own rules and in the exercise of its own

discretion. Its decisions, orders and rulings are subject only to review on certiorari by this Court as provided by the Constitution. The choice of a temporary chairman in the absence of the regular chairman comes under that discretion. That discretion cannot be exercised for it, even with its consent, by the President of the Philippines. The lack of a statutory rule covering the situation at bar is no justification for the President of the Philippines to fill the void by extending the temporary designation in favor of the respondent. The situation could have been handled by the members of the Commission on Elections themselves without the participation of the President, however well-meaning. In the choice of the Acting Chairman, the members of the Commission on Elections would most likely have been guided by the seniority rule as they themselves would have appreciated it. In any event, that choice and the basis thereof were for them and not the President to make.

UNIDO VS. COMELEC In 1981, the BP proposed amendments to the 1973 Constitution. The amendments were to be placed to a plebiscite for the peoples approval. The YES vote was being advanced by KBL Marcos Party. While the NO vote was being advanced by UNIDO. To ensure parity and equality, COMELEC issued Resolutions 1467-1469 w/c basically provided that there be equal opportunity, equal time and equal space on media use for campaigns for both sides. On 12 Mar 1981, Marcos campaigned for the YES vote via TV and radio from 9:30pm to 11:30pm. The same was broadcasted live by 26 TV stations and 248 radio stations nationwide. UNIDO petitioned before the COMELEC that they be granted the same opportunity as Marcos has pursuant to Resns 1467-69. COMELEC denied the demand. UNIDO assailed the denial as a denial of equal protection before the laws. ISSUE: Whether or not UNIDO was denied equal protection by virtue of COMELECs denial of their request. HELD: The SC ruled that UNIDO was not denied due process nor were they not afforded equal protection. It is the considered view of the SC that when Marcos conducted his pulong-pulong or consultation with the people on March 12, 1981, he did so in his capacity as President/Prime Minister of the Philippines and not as the head of any political party. Under the Constitution, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet shall be responsible . . . for the program of government and shall determine the guidelines of national policy. In instances where the head of state is at the same time the president of the political party that is in power, it does not necessarily follow that he speaks with two voices when he dialogues with the governed. The president is accorded certain privileges that the opposition may not have. Further, the SC cannot compel TV stations and radio stations to give UNIDO free air time as they are not party to this case. UNIDO must sought contract with these TV stations and radio stations at their own expense.

SANIDAD vs. COMELEC 181 SCRA 529 Facts: On 23 October 1989, RA 6766 (Act providing for an organic act for the Cordillera Autonomous Region) was enacted into law. The plebiscite was scheduled 30 January 1990. The Comelec, by virtue of the power vested by the 1987 Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code (BP 881), RA 6766 and other pertinent election laws, promulgated Resolution 2167, to govern the conduct of the plebiscite on the said Organic Act for

theCordillera Autonomous Region. Pablito V. Sanidad, a newspaper columnist of Overview for the Baguio Midland Courier assailed the constitutionality of Section 19 (Prohibition on columnists, commentators or announcers) of the said resolution, which provides During the plebiscite campaign period, on the day before and on plebiscite day, no mass media columnist, commentator, announcer or personality shall use his column or radio or television time to campaign for or against the plebiscite issues. Issue: Whether columnists are prohibited from expressing their opinions, or should be under Comelec regulation, during plebiscite periods.

Held: Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution that what was granted to the Comelec was the power to supervise and regulate the use and enjoyment of franchises, permits or other grants issued for the operation of transportation or other public utilities, media of communication or information to the end that equal opportunity, time and space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for public information campaigns and forums among candidates are ensured. Neither Article IX-C of the Constitution nor Section 11-b, 2nd paragraph of RA 6646 (a columnist, commentator, announcer or personality, who is a candidate for any elective office is required to take a leave of absence from his work during the campaign period) can be construed to mean that the Comelec has also been granted the right to supervise and regulate the exercise by media practitioners themselves of their right to expression during plebiscite periods. Media practitioners exercising their free SANIDAD vs. COMELEC

LAZATIN VS COMELEC 157 SCRA 337 Lazatin filed the instant petition assailing the jurisdiction of the COMELEC to annul his proclamation after he had taken his oath of office, assumed office, and discharged the duties of Congressman of the 1st District of Pampanga. Lazatin claims that the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and not the COMELEC is the sole judge of all election contests. Buan, Jr., and Timbol (Lazatins opposition), alleged that the instant petition has become moot and academic because the assailed COMELEC Resolution had already become final and executory when the SC issued a TRO on October 6, 1987. In the COMMENT of the Sol-Gen, he alleges that the instant petition should be given due course because the proclamation was valid. The Telex Order issued by the COMELEC directing the canvassing board to proclaim the winner if warranted under Section 245 of the Omnibus Election Code, was in effect a grant of authority by the COMELEC to the canvassing board, to proclaim the winner. A Separate Comment was filed by the COMELEC, alleging that the proclamation of Lazatin was illegal and void because the board simply corrected the returns contested by Lazatin without waiting for the final resolutions of the petitions of candidates Timbol, Buan, Jr., and Lazatin himself, against certain election returns. ISSUE: Whether or not the issue should be placed under the HRETs jurisdiction. HELD: The SC in a Resolution dated November 17, 1987 resolved to give due course to the petition. The petition is impressed with merit because petitioner has been proclaimed winner of the Congressional elections in the first district of Pampanga, has taken his oath of office as such, and assumed his duties as Congressman. For this Court to take cognizance of the electoral protest against him would be to usurp the functions of the House Electoral Tribunal. The alleged invalidity of the proclamation (which had been previously ordered by the COMELEC itself) despite alleged irregularities in connection therewith, and despite the pendency of the protests of the rival candidates, is a matter that is also addressed, considering the premises, to the sound judgment of the Electoral Tribunal.

JAVIER VS COMELEC 144 SCRA 194 Due Process impartial and competent court Javier and Pacificador, a member of the KBL under Marcos, were rivals to be members of the Batasan in May 1984 in Antique. During election, Javier complained of massive terrorism, intimidation, duress, vote-buying, fraud, tampering and falsification of election returns under duress, threat and intimidation, snatching of ballot boxes perpetrated by the armed men of Pacificador. COMELEC just referred the complaints to the AFP. On the same complaint, the 2nd Division of the Commission on Elections directed the provincial board of canvassers of Antique to proceed with the canvass but to suspend the proclamation of the winning candidate until further orders. On June 7, 1984, the same 2nd Division ordered the board to immediately convene and to proclaim the winner without prejudice to the outcome of the case before the Commission. On certiorari before the SC, the proclamation made by the board of canvassers was set aside as premature, having been made before the lapse of the 5-day period of appeal, which the Javier had seasonably made. Javier pointed out that the irregularities of the election must first be resolved before proclaiming a winner. Further, Opinion, one of the Commissioners should inhibit himself as he was a former law partner of Pacificador. Also, the proclamation was made by only the 2nd Division but the Constitute requires that it be proclaimed by the COMELEC en banc. In Feb 1986, during pendency, Javier was gunned down. The Solicitor General then moved to have the petition close it being moot and academic by virtue of Javiers death. ISSUE: Whether or not there had been due process in the proclamation of Pacificador. HELD: The SC ruled in favor of Javier and has overruled the Sol-Gens tenor. The SC has repeatedly and consistently demanded the cold neutrality of an impartial judge as the indispensable imperative of due process. To bolster that requirement, we have held that the judge must not only be impartial but must also appear to be impartial as an added assurance to the parties that his decision will be just. The litigants are entitled to no less than that. They should be sure that when their rights are violated they can go to a judge who shall give them justice. They must trust the judge, otherwise they will not go to him at all. They must believe in his sense of fairness, otherwise they will not seek his judgment. Without such confidence, there would be no point in invoking his action for the justice they expect. Due process is intended to insure that confidence by requiring compliance with what Justice Frankfurter calls the rudiments of fair play. Fair play calls for equal justice. There cannot be equal justice where a suitor approaches a court already committed to the other party and with a judgment already made and waiting only to be formalized after the litigants shall have undergone the charade of a formal hearing. Judicial (and also extrajudicial) proceedings are not orchestrated plays in which the parties are supposed to make the motions and reach the denouement according to a prepared script. There is no writer to foreordain the ending. The judge will reach his conclusions only after all the evidence is in and all the arguments are filed, on the basis of the established facts and the pertinent law.

FLORES vs. COMELEC 184 SCRA 484 Facts: Petitioner Roque Flores was declared by the board of canvassers as having the highest number of votes for kagawad on the March 1989 elections, in Barangay Poblacion, Tayum, Abra, and thus proclaimed punong barangay in accordance with Section 5 of R.A. 6679. However, his election was protested by private respondent Rapisora, who placed second in the election with one vote less than the petitioner. The Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum sustained Rapisora and installed him as punong barangay in place of the petitioner after deducting two votes as stray from the latters total. Flores appealed to the RTC, which affirmed the challenged decision in toto. The judge agreed that the four votes cast for Flores only,

without any distinguishing first name or initial, should all have been considered invalid instead of being divided equally between the petitioner and Anastacio Flores, another candidate for kagawad. The total credited to the petitioner was correctly reduced by 2, demoting him to second place. The petitioner went to the COMELEC, which dismissed his appeal on the ground that it had no power to review the decision of the RTC, based on Section 9 of R.A. 6679, that decisions of the RTC in a protest appealed to it from the municipal trial court in barangay elections on questions of fact shall be final and non-appealable. In his petition for certiorari, the COMELEC is faulted for not taking cognizance of the petitioners appeal. Issue: Whether or not the decisions of Municipal or Metropolitan Courts in barangay election contests are subject to the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the COMELEC considering Section 9 of R.A. No. 6679? Held: The dismissal of the appeal is justified, but on an entirely different and more significant ground, to wit, Article IX-C, Section 2(2) of the Constitution, providing that the COMELEC shall Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction. Municipal or Metropolitan Courts being courts of limited jurisdiction, their decisions in barangay election contests are subject to the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the COMELEC under the aforequoted section. Hence, the decision rendered by the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, should have been appealed directly to the COMELEC and not to the RTC. Accordingly, Section 9 of Rep. Act No. 6679, insofar as it provides that the decision of the municipal or metropolitan court in a barangay election case should be appealed to the RTC, must be declared unconstitutional.

GALIDO vs. COMELEC 193 SCRA 78 Facts: Petitioner Galido and private respondent Galeon were candidates during the January 1988 local elections for mayor of Garcia-Hernandez, Bohol. Petitioner was proclaimed the dulyelected Mayor. Private respondent filed an election protest before the RTC. After hearing, the said court upheld the proclamation of petitioner. Private respondent appealed the RTC decision to the COMELEC. Its First Division reversed the RTC decision and declared private respondent the duly-elected mayor. After the COMELEC en banc denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration and affirmed the decision of its First Division. The COMELEC held that the fifteen (15) ballots in the same precinct containing the initial C after the name Galido were marked ballots and, therefore, invalid. Undaunted by his previous failed actions the petitioner filed the present petition for certiorari and injunction before the Supreme Court and succeeded in getting a temporary restraining order. In his comment to the petition, private respondent moved for dismissal, citing Article IX (C), Section 2(2), paragraph 2 of the 1987 Constitution, that Final decisions, orders or rulings of the COMELEC in election contests involving elective municipal offices are final and executory, and not appealable. Issue: Whether or not a COMELEC decision may, if it sets aside the trial courts decision involving marked ballots, be brought to the Supreme Court by a petition for certiorari by the aggrieved party? Held: The fact that decisions, final orders or rulings of the COMELEC in contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices are final, executory and not appealable, does not preclude a recourse to this Court by way of a special civil action of certiorari. Under Article IX (A), Section 7 of the Constitution, which petitioner cites, it is stated, Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling of each (Constitutional) Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from

receipt thereof. We resolve this issue in favor of the petitioner. We do not, however, bel ieve that the respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in rendering the questioned decision. The COMELEC has the inherent power to decide an election contest on physical evidence, equity, law and justice, and apply established jurisprudence, in support of its findings and conclusions; and that the extent to which such precedents apply rests on its discretion, the exercise of which should not be controlled unless such discretion has been abused to the prejudice of either party. ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DIMISSSED.

GUEVARA VS. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (104 SCRA 268) FACTS: The facts which gave rise to the present contemptuous incident are: The Commission on Elections, on May 4, 1957, after proper negotiations, awarded to the National Shipyards & Steel Corporation (NASSCO), the Acme Steel Mfg. Co., Inc. (ACME), and the Asiatic Steel Mfg. Co., Inc. (ASIATIC), the contracts to manufacture and supply the Commission 12,000, 11,000 and 11,000 ballot boxes at P17.64, P14.00 and P17.00 each, respectively. On May 8, 1957, both the NASSCO and the ASIATIC signed with the Commission on Elections the corresponding contracts thereon. On May 13, 1957, the Commission cancelled the award to the ACME for failure of the latter to sign the contract within the designated time and awarded to the NASSCO and the ASIATIC, one-half each, the 11,000 ballot boxes originally alloted to the ACME. The corresponding contracts thereon were signed on May 16, 1957. Then followed a series of petitions filed by the ACME for the reconsideration of the resolution of the Commission of May 13, 1957. The first of these petitions was filed on May 14, 1957 which, after hearing, was denied by the Commission in its resolution of May 16, 1957. The second petition was filed on May 16, 1957 and was denied on May 17, 1957. The third petition was filed on May 20, 1957, and because of the seriousness of the grounds alleged therein for the annulment of its previous resolutions, the Commission resolved to conduct a formal investigation on the matter ordering the NASSCO and the ASIATIC to file their respective answers. Thereafter, after these corporations had filed their answers, the Commission held a formal hearing thereon on May 24, 1957. On May 28, 1957, the ACME filed a memorandum on the points adduced during the hearing, and on June 4, 1957, the Commission issued its resolution denying the third motion for reconsideration. The article signed by petitioner was published in the June 2, 1957 issue of the Sunday Times, a newspaper of nationwide circulation. ISSUE: The question to be determined is whether the Commission on Elections has the power and jurisdiction to conduct contempt proceedings against petitioner with a view to imposing upon him the necessary disciplinary penalty in connection with the publication of an article in the Sunday Times issue of June 2, 1957 which, according to the charge, tended to interfere with and influence said Commission in the adjudication of a controversy then pending determination and to degrade and undermine the function of the Commission and its members in the administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections. HELD: It would therefore appear that the Commission on Elections not only has the duty to enforce and administer all laws relative to the conduct of elections but the power to try, hear and decide any controversy that may be submitted to it in connection with the elections. And as an incident of this power, it may also punish for contempt in those cases provided for in Rule 64 of the Rules of Court under the same procedure and with the same penalties provided therein. In this sense, the Commission, although it cannot be classified as a court of justice within the meaning of the Constitution (Section 13, Article VIII), for it is merely an independent administrative body (The Nacionalista Party vs. Vera, 85 Phil., 126; 47 Off. Gaz. 2375), may however exercise quasi-

judicial functions in so far as controversies that by express provision of the law come under its jurisdiction. As to what questions may come within this category, neither the Constitution nor the Revised Election Code specifies. The former merely provides that it shall come under its jurisdiction, saving those involving the right to vote, all administrative questions affecting elections, including the determination of the number and location of polling places, and the appointment of election inspectors and other election officials, while the latter is silent as to what questions may be brought before it for determination. But it is clear that, to come under its jurisdiction, the questions should be controversial in nature and must refer to the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of election. The difficulty lies in drawing the demarcation line between a duty which inherently is administrative in character and a function which is justiciable and which would therefore call for judicial action by the Commission. But this much depends upon the factors that may intervene when a controversy should arise. RULING OF COURT: Wherefore, petition is granted. Respondent Commission is hereby enjoined from proceeding with the contempt case set forth in its resolution of June 20, 1957, without pronouncement as to costs. The preliminary injunction issued by this Court is made permanent.

DE JESUS vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES 120 SCRA 760, 1983 Facts: After the local elections of January 18, 1980, Ananias Hibo, defeated candidate of the Nacionalista Party for the office of mayor of the Municipality of Casiguran, Sorsogon filed with the COMELEC a complaint charging petitioner Rogelio de Jesus, then COMELEC registrar of Casiguran, with violation of the 1978 Election Code. Asst. Fiscals Manuel Genova and Delfin Tarog, in their capacity as deputized Tanodbayan prosecutors, conducted an investigation. A prima facie case against petitioner for violation of section 89 and sub-sections [x] and [mm] of Section 178 of the Election Code of 1978 was found to exist. The following information, was filed before the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner filed a motion to quash the information, contending that neither the Tanodbayan nor the Sandiganbayan has the authority to investigate, prosecute and try the offense. In its opposition, the prosecution maintained the Tanodbayans exclusive authority to investigate and prosecute offenses committed by public officers and employees in relation to their office, and consequently, the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction to try and decide the charges against petitioner. Issue: Whether or not the Tanodbayan and the Sandiganbayan have the power to investigate, prosecute, and try election offenses committed by a public officer in relation to his office. Held: The evident constitutional intendment in bestowing the power to enforce and administer all laws relative to the conduct of election and the concomittant authority to investigate and prosecute election offenses to the COMELEC is to insure the free, orderly and honest conduct of elections, failure of which would result in the frustration of the true will of the people and make a mere idle ceremony of the sacred right and duty of every qualified citizen to vote. To divest the COMELEC of the authority to investigate and prosecute offenses committed by public officials in relation to their office would thus seriously impair its effectiveness in achieving this clear constitutional mandate. From a careful scrutiny of the constitutional provisions relied upon by the Sandiganbayan, We perceive neither explicit nor implicit grant to it and its prosecuting arm, the Tanodbayan, of the authority to investigate, prosecute and hear election offenses committed by public officers in relation to their office, as contradistinguished from the clear and categorical bestowal of said authority and jurisdiction upon the COMELEC and the courts of first instance under Sections 182 and 184, respectively, of the Election Code of 1978.

CORPUZ vs. TANODBAYAN 149 SCRA 281 Facts: Petitioners were members of the Citizens Election Committee of Caba, La Union in the January 30, 1980 elections; petitioner Epifanio Castillejos was Director of the Bureau of Domestic Trade and petitioner Edgar Castillejos was then a candidate and later elected mayor in the same election. Private respondent Esteban Mangaser, an independent candidate for vice-mayor of the same municipality sent a letter to President Marcos charging the petitioners with violation of the 1978 Election Code, specifically for electioneering and / or campaigning inside the voting centers during the election. Regional Election Director of San Fernando, La Union, conducted a formal investigation and on September 29, 1981, submitted its report recommending to the Comelec the dismissal of the complaint. Private respondent Mangaser formally withdrew his charges filed with the Comelec stating his intention to refile it with the Tanodbayan. On November 26, 1981 the Comelec dismissed the complaint for insufficiency of evidence. Subsequently the assistant provincial fiscal started a preliminary investigation of a complaint filed by Mangaser with the Tanodbayan against the same parties and on the same charges previously dismissed by the Comelec. The Tanodbayan asserted exclusive authority to prosecute the case, stated in a letter to the Comelec Chairman that a lawyer of the Comelec if not properly deputized as a Tanodbayan prosecutor has not authority to conduct preliminary investigation s and prosecute offenses committed by Comelec officials in relation to their office. Issue: Whether or not the Tanodbayan has exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election offenses. Held: Comelec, not the Tanodbayan, or Sandiganbayan, has exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election offenses committed by a private individual or public officer or employee. Nature of the offense, not the personality of the offender, is important.

PEOPLE vs. INTING 187 SCRA 788 Facts: Mrs. Editha Barba filed a letter-complaint against OIC-Mayor Dominador Regalado of Tanjay, Negros Oriental with the COMELEC for allegedly transferring her, a permanent Nursing Attendant, Grade I, in the office of the Municipal Mayor to a very remote barangay and without obtaining prior permission or clearance from COMELEC as required by law. After a preliminary investigation of Barbas complaint, Atty. Lituanas found a prima facie case. Hence, on September 26, 1988, he filed with the respondent trial court a criminal case for violation of section 261, Par. (h), Omnibus Election Code against the OIC-Mayor. In an Order dated September 30, 1988, the respondent court issued a warrant of arrest against the accused OIC Mayor. However, in an order dated October 3, 1988 and before the accused could be arrested, the trial court set aside its September 30, 1988 order on the ground that Atty. Lituanas is not authorized to determine probable cause pursuant to Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. The trial court later on quashed the information. Hence, this petition. Issue: Does a preliminary investigation conducted by a Provincial Election Supervisor involving election offenses have to be coursed through the Provincial Prosecutor, before the Regional Trial Court may take cognizance of the investigation and determine whether or not probable cause exists? Held: The 1987 Constitution empowers the COMELEC to conduct preliminary investigations in cases involving election offenses for the purpose of helping the Judge determine probable cause and for filing an information in court. This power is exclusive with COMELEC. The evident constitutional intendment in bestowing this power to the COMELEC is to insure the free, orderly and honest conduct of elections, failure of which would result in the frustration of the true will of

the people and make a mere idle ceremony of the sacred right and duty of every qualified citizen to vote. To divest the COMELEC of the authority to investigate and prosecute offenses committed by public officials in relation to their office would thus seriously impair its effectiveness in achieving this clear constitutional mandate. Bearing these principles in mind, it is apparent that the respondent trial court misconstrued the constitutional provision when it quashed the information filed by the Provincial Election Supervisor

MAGUERA VS. BORRA I n t h i s p e t i t i o n , M a q u e r a s e e k t h a t t h e R A 4 4 2 1 requiring all candidates for national, provincial city and municipal offices to post a surety Bond equivalent to salary or emoluments to which he is a candidate. The Court granted the petition as it is inconsistent with the nature and essence of the Republican system ordained in our Constitution and the principle of social justice underlying the same for said political system is premised upon the tent that sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority e m a n a t e s f r o m t h e m a n d t h i s i n t u r n i m p l i e s necessarily that the right to vote and to be voted fors h a l l n o t b e d e p e n d e n t u p o n t h e w e a l t h o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l c o n c e r n e d , w h e r e a s s o c i a l j u s t i c e presupposes equal opportunity for all, rich and poor alike and that accordingly no person shall by reason o f p o v e r t y , b e d e n i e d t h e c h a n c e t o b e e l e c t e d t o public office.

MAQUERRA VS BORRA 15 SCRA 7 (1965) In this petition, Maquera seek that the RA 4421 requiring all candidates for national, provincial city and municipal offices to post a surety bond equivalent to salary or emoluments to which he is a candidate.The Court granted the petition as it is inconsistent with the nature and essence of the Republican system ordained in our Constitution and the principle of social justice underlying the same for said political system is premised upon the tent that sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them and this in turn implies necessarily that the right to voteand to be voted for shall not be dependent upon the wealth of the individual concerned,where associal justice presupposes equal opportunity for all, rich and poor alike and that accordingly no person shall by reasonof poverty, be denied the chance to be elected to public office.

AZNAR VS. COMELEC 185 scra 703 GR # 83820, May 25, 1990 (Constitutional Law Alien, Loss of Citizenship) FACTS: In the case at bar, petitioner challenged respondents right to hold public office on the ground that the latter was an alien. Respondent maintains that he is a son of a Filipino, was a holder of a valid subsisting passport, a continuous resident of the Philippines and a registered voter since 1965. He was, however, also a holder of an alien registration certificate. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent is an alien. HELD: No, because by virtue of his being a son of a Filipino, it is presumed that he was a Filipino and remained Filipino until proof could be shown that he had renounced or lost his Philippine citizenship. In addition, possession of an alien registration certificate unaccompanied by proof of performance of acts whereby Philippine citizenship had been lost is not adequate proof of loss of citizenship.

G.R. No. 83820 May 25, 1990 JOSE B. AZNAR, petitioner,vs.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and EMILIO MARIO RENNER OSMEA, respondents.Ponente: PARAS, J.: Petitioner: Respondent: COMELEC and


On November 19, 1987, private respondent Emilio "Lito" Osmea filed his certificate of candidacy with theCOMELEC for the position of Provincial Governor of Cebu Province in the January 18, 1988 local elections.2) On January 22, 1988, petitioner Jose B. Aznar in his capacity as its incumbent Provincial Chairman filed with theCOMELEC a petition for the disqualification of private respondent on the ground that he is allegedly not a Filipinocitizen, being a citizen of the United States of America. 3) On January 27, 1988, petitioner filed a Formal Manifestation submitting a Certificate issued by the thenImmigration and Deportation Commissioner Miriam Defensor Santiago certifying that private respondent is anAmerican and is a holder of Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) No. B-21448 and Immigrant Certificate of Residence (ICR) No. 133911, issued at Manila on March 27 and 28, 1958, respectively. (Annex "B 1").4) During the hearing at the COMELEC Private respondent, maintained that he is a Filipino citizen, alleging: that heis the legitimate child of Dr. Emilio D. Osmea, a Filipino and son of the late President Sergio Osmea, Sr.; that heis a holder of a valid and subsisting Philippine Passport No. 0855103 issued on March 25, 1987; that he has beencontinuously residing in the Philippines since birth and has not gone out of the country for more than six months;and that he has been a registered voter in the Philippines since 19 65.5) Thereafter, on June 11, 1988, COMELEC (First Division) dismissed the petition for disqualification for not havingbeen timely filed and for lack of sufficient proof that private respondent is not a Filipino citizen. Hence, the petition for Certiorari.ISSUE:Whether or not respondent Osmena is no longer a Filipino citizen by acquiring dual-citizenship?HELD:SC dismissed petition for certiorari upholding privaterespondent had lost his Filipino citizenship by any of the modes provided for under C.A. No. 63. these are: (1) bynaturalization in a foreign country; (2) by express renunciation of citizenship; and (3) by subscribing to an oath of allegia nceto support the Constitution or laws of a foreign country. Fr om the evi dence, it is clear that private respondent Osmea didnot lose his Philippine citizenship by any of the three mentioned hereinabove or by any other mode of losing Philippine citizenship.In the instant case, private respondent vehemently denies hav ing taken the oath of allegiance of the United States. He is aholder of a valid and subsisting Philippine passport and has continuously participated in the electoral process in thiscountry since 1963 up to the present, both as a voter and as a candidate. T hus, private respondent remains a Filipino andthe loss of his Philippine citizenship cannot be presumed.Considering the fact that admittedly Osmea was both a Filipino and an American, the mere fact that he has a Certificatestating he is an American does n ot mean that he is not still a Filipino. In the case of Osmea, the Certification that he is anAmerican does not mean that he is not still a Filipino, possessed as he is, of both nationalities or citizenships. Indeed, th ereis no express renunciation here of Philippine citizenship; truth to tell, there is even no implied renunciation of saidcitizenship. When we consider that the renunciation needed to lose Philippine citizenship must be "express", it stands toreason that there can be no such loss of Philipp ine 'citizenship when there is no renunciation either "'express" or "implied"

SANCHEZ, vs. COMELEC 114 SCRA 454, 1987 Facts: Candidate Sanchez filed a petition praying that Comelec after due hearing, be directed to conduct a recount of the votes cast in the 1987 senatorial elections to determine the true number of votes to be credited to him and prayed further for a restraining order directing the Comelec to withhold the proclamation of the last four (4) winning senatorial candidates on the ground that votes intended for him were declared as astray votes because of the sameness of his surname with that of disqualified candidate Gil Sanchez, whose name had not been crossed out from the Comelec election returns and other election forms. On July 16, 1987, the Comelec, by a vote of four to three, promulgated its decision dismissing petitioner Sanchez petition for recount. On July 24, 1987, however, respondent Comelec, by a vote of five to two, reversed its order of dismissal and granted Sanchez petition for recount and/or re-appreciation of ballots. Issue: Whether his petition for recount and/or re-appreciation of ballots filed with the Comelec may be considered a summary pre-proclamation controversy or an election protest. Held: The Court rules that Sanchez petition for recount and/or re-appreciation of the ballots cast in the senatorial elections does not present a proper issue for a summary pre-proclamation controversy. The scope of pre-proclamation controversy is limited to the issues enumerated under sec. 243 of the Omnibus Election Code. The enumeration therein of the issues that may be raised in preproclamation controversy, is restrictive and exclusive. In the absence of any clear showing or proof that the election returns canvassed are incomplete or contain material defects (sec. 234), appear to have been tampered with, falsified or prepared under duress (sec. 235) and/or contain discrepancies in the votes credited to any candidate, the difference of which affects the result of the election (sec. 236), which are the only instances where a pre-proclamation recount maybe resorted to, granted the preservation of the integrity of the ballot box and its contents, Sanchez petition must fail. The complete election returns whose authenticity is not in question, must be prima facie considered valid for the purpose of canvassing the same and proclamation of the winning candidates. The law and public policy mandate that all pre-proclamation controversies shall be heard summarily by the Commission after due notice and hearing and just as summarily decided. . BAUTISTA vs. CASTRO 206 SCRA 305,1992 Facts: Both petitioner Bautista and respondent Miguel were candidates for the position of Barangay Captain of Brgy. Teachers Village East, Quezon City in the barangay elections held on May 17, 1982. After canvass, Bautista was proclaimed as the winner with a plurality of two votes. Miguel filed an election protest. The City Court of Quezon City ruled that both candidates received the same number of votes. Upon appeal, the CFI of Rizal declared Miguel as the winner and set aside Bautistas proclamation. The latter filed a petition to the Supreme Court alleging that respondent judge committed mistakes in his appreciation of the contested ballots. Issue: Whether or not there was error in the appreciation of ballots. Held: The presence of an arrow in the contested ballots with the words and party was meant to identify the voter, and such writings were not accidental. As a rule, a voter must write on the ballot only the names of candidates voted for the offices appearing thereon. Certain exceptions were provided for in the Revised Election Code, such as the prefixes Sr., Mr., and the like and the suffixes such as hijo, Jr., etc. will not invalidate the ballot. Initials, nicknames or appellation of affection and friendship will not invalidate the ballot, if accompanied by the name or surname of the candidate, and above all, if they were not used as a means to identify the voter.

Respondent court correctly invalidated the ballot wherein the name of the candidate was written seven times. The writing of a name more than twice on the ballot is considered to be intentional and serves no other purpose than to identify the ballot.

Chavez vs. COMELEC GR 162777, Aug 31, 2004

Petitioner seeks to enjoin the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from enforcing Section 32 of its Resolution No. 6520. He claims that said section in the nature of an ex post facto law. He urges this Court to believe that the assailed provision makes an individual criminally liable for an election offense for not removing such advertisement, even if at the time the said advertisement was exhibited, the same was clearly legal. ISSUE: Is Sec. 32 of COMELEC Res. No. 6520 in the nature of an ex post facto law? HELD: NO. Section 32, although not penal in nature, defines an offense and prescribes a penalty for said offense. Laws of this nature must operate prospectively, except when they are favorable to the accused. It should be noted, however, that the offense defined in the assailed provision is not the putting up of "propaganda materials such as posters, streamers, stickers or paintings on walls and other materials showing the picture, image or name of a person, and all advertisements on print, in radio or on television showing the image or mentioning the name of a person, who subsequent to the placement or display thereof becomes a candidate for public office." Nor does it prohibit or consider an offense the entering of contracts for such propaganda materials by an individual who subsequently becomes a candidate for public office. One definitely does not commit an offense by entering into a contract with private parties to use his name and image to endorse certain products prior to his becoming a candidate for public office. The offense, as expressly prescribed in the assailed provision, is the non-removal of the described propaganda materials three (3) days after the effectivity of COMELEC Resolution No. 6520. If the candidate for public office fails to remove such propaganda materials after the given period, he shall be liable under Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code for premature campaigning. Indeed, nowhere is it indicated in the assailed provision that it shall operate retroactively. There is, therefore, no ex post facto law in this case.

OLFATO vs. COMELEC 103 SCRA 741, 1981 Facts: During the January 30, 1980 local elections, petitioner Olfato and the other petitioners were the official Nationalista Party (NP) candidates for Mayor and Sanggunian Bayan, respectively, of Tanauan, Batangas. On the other hand, Lirio was the official candidate of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) fo Mayor of said town. Three (3) days after the elections, private respondent Lirio, together with the candidates in his ticket, filed with COMELEC a petition for suspension of the canvass and proclamation of winning candidates for the elective positions of Tanauan, alleging disenfranchisement of voters, terrorism, fake IDs of voters and flying voters. Based on the result of canvass of votes, Olfato and the rest of the petitioners were proclaimed as the duly elected Mayor and Sanggunian members. Lirio filed a supplemental petition praying for the annulment of petitioner Olfatos proclamation citing fake voters and massive disenfranchisement which affects the very integrity of the election returns. He also filed an election protest against Olfato in the CFI of Batangas citing fake voters, fake voters identification cards, flying voters, substitute voters and massive disenfranchisement. Olfato assumed the office of Mayor. The COMELEC issued a Resolution dismissing Lirios petition and reinstating the proclamation made by the MBC of respondent Olfato and the entire ticket, without prejudice to other legal remedies under the Election Code. Issue: Whether the COMELEC has jurisdiction over the pre-proclamation Controversy filed by Lirio?

Held: The Supreme Court riled in the affirmative citing previous rulings of the Court. The COMELEC has the power and authority to inquire into the allegation of fake voters, with fake IDs in a pre-proclamation controversy in order to determine the authenticity or integrity of election returns or whether such election returns faithfully record that only registered or genuine voters were allowed to vote. Under the election Code, the COMELC is the sole judge of all proclamation controversies. The COMELEC has vast powers under the Election Code in consonance with its primordial task of insuring free, orderly and honest elections. The Court dismissed the petition for review filed by Lirio and directed the COMELEC to proceed with dispatch on the pre-proclamation controversy (petition for suspension of canvass and proclamation of winning candidates). The court noted that the COMELEC Resolution considered the proclamation made in favor of Olfato and his ticket as temporary in nature as it was made subject to the final outcome of the pre-proclamation case.

LAGUMBAY V. COMELEC 16 SCRA 175 In each precinct the number of registered voters equaled the number of ballots and the number of votes reportedly cast and tallied for each and every candidate of the Liberal Party, the party in power, whereas, all the Nacionalista Party got exactly zero. All the reported votes were for the candidates of the Liberal Party, all whom were credited with exactly the same number of votes in each precinct, whereas all the candidates of the Nacionalista Party were given exactly zero in all said precincts. ISSUE: Was the election result in said precincts utterly improbable and clearly incredible? HELD: The Supreme Court answered in the affirmative stating that said returns were obviously false or fabricated - prima facie.

DIMAPORO V. HRET 426 scra 226 FACTS:This is a petition brought by Congressman Dimaporo seeking to nullify the twin Resolutions of the HRET which denied his Motion for Technical Evaluation of the Thumbmarks and Signatures Affixed in the Voters Registration Records and Motion for Reconsideration of Resolution Denying the Motion for Technical Examination of Voting Records. Pursuant to the 1998 HRET Rules Congressional candidate Mangotara Petition of Protest (Ad Cautelam) seeking the technical examination of the signatures and thumb the protested precincts of the municipality of Sultan Naga Dimaporo (SND). Mangotara alleged that the massive substitution of voters and other electoral irregularities perpetrated by Dimaporos supporters will be uncovered and proven. From this and other premises, he concluded that he is the duly-elected representative of the 2nd District of Lanao del Norte. Noting that the Tribunal cannot evaluate the questioned ballots because there are no ballots but only election documents to consider HRET granted Mangotara's motion and permitted the latter to engage an expert to assist him in prosecution of the case, NBI conducted the technical examination. ISSUE:1. W/N Dimaporo was deprived by HRET of Equal Protection when the latter denied his motion for technical examination. 2. W/N Dimaporo was deprived of procedural due process or the right to present scientific evidence to show the massive substitute voting committed in counter protested precincts.

RULING: 1. Resolution of HRET did not offend equal protection clause. Equal protection simply means that all persons and things similarly situated must be treated alike both as to the rights conferred and the liabilities imposed. It follows that the existence of a valid and substantial distinction justifies divergent treatment. According to Dimaporo since the ballot boxes subject of his petition and that of Mangotara were both unavailable for revision, his motion, like Mangotaras, should be granted. The argument fails to take into account the distinctions extant in Mangotaras protest vis--vis Dimaporos counter-protest which validate the grant of Mangotaras motion and the denial of Dimaporos. First. The election results in SND were the sole subjects of Mangotaras protest. The opposite is true with regard to Dimaporos counter-protest as he contested the election results in all municipalities but SND. Significantly, the results of the technical examination of the election records of SND are determinative of the final outcome of the election protest against Dimaporo. The same cannot be said of the precincts subject of Dimaporos motion. It should be emphasized that the grant of a motion for technical examination is subject to the sound discretion of the HRET. In this case, the Tribunal deemed it useful in the conduct of the revision proceedings to grant Mangotaras motion for technical examination. Conversely, it found Dimaporos motion unpersuasive and accordingly denied the same. In so doing, the HRET merely acted within the bounds of its Constitutionally-granted jurisdiction. After all, the Constitution confers full authority on the electoral tribunals of the House of Representatives and the Senate as the sole judges of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective members. Such jurisdiction is original and exclusive. 2. Anent Dimaporos contention that the assailed Resolutions denied him the right to procedural due process and to present evidence to substantiate his claim of massive substitute voting committed in the counter-protested precincts, suffice it to state that the HRET itself may ascertain the validity of Dimaporos allegations without resort to technical examination. To this end, the Tribunal declared that the ballots, election documents and other election paraphernalia are still subject to its scrutiny in the appreciation of evidence. It should be noted that the records are replete with evidence, documentary and testimonial, presented by Dimaporo. Dimaporos allegation of denial of due process is an indefensible pretense. The instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

DULCE ANN K. HOFER, petitioner, vs. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL and BELMA C. CABILAO, respondents. DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: Before us is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, assailing the Resolutions2 dated March 27, 2003 and May 8, 2003 rendered by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal in HRET Case No. 01-006, entitled "Dulce Ann K. Hofer vs. Belma A. Cabilao."

The antecedents of the present petition are as follows: Dulce Ann K. Hofer, herein petitioner, and Belma A. Cabilao, herein respondent, were congressional candidates in the lone congressional district of Zamboanga Sibugay3 during the May 14, 2001 national and local elections. On May 18, 2001, respondent was proclaimed the duly elected congressional representative with a total of 55,740 votes, as against petitioners 43,566, or a margin of 12,174 votes. Claiming that massive vote buying, tampering of election returns and other irregularities were committed in 671 precincts during the voting, counting of votes and canvassing of election returns, petitioner, on May 28, 2001, filed with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) an election protest, docketed as HRET Case No. 01-006. After the issues were joined, the case was set for preliminary conference on September 13, 2001. Subsequently or on July 22, 2002, the revision proceeding of contested ballots, pursuant to Section 35 of the 1998 HRET Rules, as amended, commenced with the identification by petitioner of the total contested precincts. On August 1, 2002, the revision of the ballots for 481 pilot contested precincts was completed. The Report of the Canvass Board Service on the results of the revision shows a reduction of votes for petitioner and respondent, thus: During the preliminary conference, both parties, through their respective counsel, agreed on the following dates of hearing: October 15, 16, 29, 30, November 5, 6 and 18, 2002 at 9:30 oclock in the morning and 1:30 oclock in the afternoon. The Hearing Commissioner informed them that they could set succeeding dates later. However, the hearings set on October 15, 16, 30 and November 5 and 6, 2002 were cancelled at the instance of petitioner. Only the hearing on October 29, 2002 took place. On February 12, 2003, respondent filed a motion to dismiss the protest for petitioners failure to prosecute for an unreasonable period of time .In a Resolution dated March 27, 2003, the HRET granted the motion and dismissed petitioners election protest, ratiocinating thus: "We find the long delay in the prosecution of this election protest to be inexcusable. A perusal of the records reveal that out of the seven (7) hearing dates set by protestant for the reception of her evidence, six (6) settings were postponed through her instance. Only one hearing on the 29th of October 2002 proceeded, in which hearing the protestant presented documentary evidence consisting of election documents. It may be stressed that protestant, despite the lapse of more than six (6) months, reckoned from October 15, 2002, has not yet completed the presentation of her evidence. Having exhausted the period of twenty (20) days and having been granted an extension of ten (10) days without presenting all her evidence, protestant is deemed to have slept on her right. Her failure to take necessary steps to prosecute this case justify its dismissal. Rule 59 of the 1998 HRET Rules lays down the period allotted to each party in the presentation of his evidence, thus: RULE 59. Time Limit for Presentation of Evidence. - Each party is given a period of twenty (20) working days, preferably successive, to complete the presentation of his evidence, including the formal offer thereof. This period shall begin to run from the first date set for the presentation of the partys evidence, either before

the Tribunal or before a Hearing Commissioner. Once commenced, presentation of the evidence-in-chief shall continue every working day until completed or until the period granted for such purpose is exhausted. Upon motion based on meritorious grounds, the Tribunal may grant a ten-day extension of the period herein fixed. The hearing for any particular day or days may be postponed or cancelled upon the request of the party presenting evidence, provided, however; that the delay caused by such postponement or cancellation shall be charged to said partys period for presenting evidence. Simply stated, each party is given a limited period of twenty (20) days in the presentation of his evidence, including the formal offer thereof. This requirement in the presentation of evidence is prompted by the nature of election contest, which should be decided as soon as practicable. The period of 20 days given to each of the parties may be extended by the Tribunal upon meritorious grounds and on motion of the party concerned. This time limit prescribed by the Rules in the presentation of evidence contemplates not only actual period spent in presenting before the Tribunal, but also the period used in the taking of deposition of the witnesses under Rule 61 of the 1998 HRET Rules." Petitioner then filed with the HRET a motion for reconsideration but was denied in a Resolution dated May 8, 2003. Hence, this petition for certiorari. Issue: Petitioner contends that the HRET acted with grave abuse of discretion in dismissing her protest on mere technicalities, thus, depriving her of her right to due process. Held: The Solicitor General, in his comment, maintains that the HRET did not gravely abuse its discretion in dismissing petitioners protest considering that she failed to prosecute it within the period allowed by the rules. Petitioner invokes our ruling in Arao vs. COMELEC4 that "the choice of the people to represent them may not be bargained away by sheer negligence of a party, nor defeated by technical rules of procedure." What she is saying is that the laws governing election contests, especially appreciation of ballots and returns, must be liberally interpreted to the end that the will of the electorate in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by technical infirmities. We are not convinced. The election protest filed by petitioner is a serious charge which, if true, could unseat protestee as Representative of her district. Hence, the observance of the HRET Rules in conjunction with our own Rules of Court, must be taken seriously. Section 59 of the 1998 HRET Rules, quoted earlier, is explicit. Unfortunately, petitioner did not comply with it. In fact, despite the lapse of six (6) months (starting October 15, 2002 initial date of hearing), she failed to present her evidence. Such inaction shows her utter lack of interest to prosecute her case.

In Baltazar vs. Commission of Elections,5 we held: "By their very nature and given the public interest involved in the determination of the results of an election, the controversies arising from the canvass must be resolved speedily, otherwise the will of the electorate would be frustrated. And the delay brought about by the tactics resorted to by petitioner is precisely the very evil sought to be prevented by election statutes and controlling case law on the matter." We thus find that the HRET did not commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing petitioners election protest. If at all, she has only herself to blame for her predicament. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.

26. [G.R. No. 166229. June 29, 2005]MS. BAIRANSALAM LAUT LUCMAN, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and MOSAMA M. PANDI, respondents.


Petitioner Bairansalam Laut Lucman and private respondent Mosama M. Pandi were mayoralty candidates in Poona-Bayabao, Lanao del Sur, during the May 10, 2004 elections. During the canvassing of votes, private respondent objected to the inclusion of ten election returns, although only six of these are subjects of the present controversy, to wit: [1]The Municipal Board of Canvassers (Board) overruled private respondents objections on the disputed returns, [2] and proclaimed petitioner as the winning candidate, as shown in the Certificate of Canvass of Votes and Proclamation of the Winning Candidates for Municipal Offices, signed on May 19, 2004.[3] Petitioner won over private respondent by a margin of 16 votes.

Private respondent filed with Commission on Elections (COMELEC) an appeal from the ruling of the Board, docketed as SPC 04-184, alleging massive fraud and irregularities in the conduct of the elections, e.g., force, threat and intimidation were employed on the voters, double voting, substitution of voters, snatching of ballots, padding of ballots and existence of flying voters.[4]Private respondent also contended that the contested election returns should have been excluded from the canvass, and that the Board was precipitate in proclaiming petitioner as the winning candidate, as private respondent has manifested on record that he is intending to appeal the Boards ruling.[5] Private respondent admits that the exclusion of the contested returns is a ground for election protest, but he also argues that the COMELEC may go beyond the face of the returns to determine whether the elections in the precincts involved are a sham.

Private respondent also filed a motion to annul proclamation and/or to suspend the effects of proclamation pendente lite.[6]

Petitioner filed his Comment and/or Answer to the appeal, arguing that the grounds relied upon by private respondent are not proper in a pre-proclamation controversy but in an election protest. Petitioner also argues that her proclamation is valid; the petition is defective for failure to include indispensable parties; and that private respondent failed to inform the Board that he is appealing its ruling, as required by Section 20 of Republic Act No. 7166, or The Electoral Reforms Law of 1991.[7] On June 16, 2004, a hearing on the appeal was held, wherein counsel for petitioner and private respondent, and several Board of Election Inspectors of Poona-Bayabao appeared, and Ms. Monera P. Macadato, Poll Clerk of Precinct 3A was called to the witness stand. [8] Presiding Commissioner Resurreccion Z. Borra, for the First Division, then issued an order on the same date, requiring the parties to submit their simultaneous memoranda.[9] On September 30, 2004, the COMELECs First Division issued the assailed order, with the following dispositive portion: In order therefore to resolve the issues raised in this Appeal the Commission (FIRST DIVISION) hereby ORDERS the document examiners of the Commission on Elections to conduct an examination of the List of Voters with Voting Record of the precincts involved in this case as well as the VRRs pertaining to the contested precincts in the Municipality of Poonabayabao to determine whether or not actual voting by the duly registered voters of said precincts were conducted during the elections of May 10, 2004; Considering that we have annulled the proclamation of BAIRAMSALAM (sic) LAUT LUCMAN as duly elected mayor of Poonabayabao, Lanao del Sur, it is hereby ordered that the Vice-Mayor of said Municipality assumed (sic) the position pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government Code, until the final resolution of this petition. SO ORDERED.[10] Commissioner Virgilio O. Garcillano dissented to the majority opinion on the ground that the petition involves issues proper to an election protest and not a pre-proclamation controversy.[11] Petitioner moved to reconsider the assailed Order, and in an Order dated October 13, 2004, Commissioner Borra ordered and certified the motion for reconsideration to the Commission en banc.[12] Thereafter, the Commission en banc, in an Order dated October 14, 2004, issued a temporary restraining order and a status quo ante order, directing the parties to maintain the status prevailing before the issuance of the September 30, 2004 Resolution. On December 14, 2004, the COMELEC en banc issued the assailed Resolution denying petitioners motion for lack of merit.[13] The dispositive portion of said Resolution reads: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Commission (en banc) RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES to DENY the Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit. The Order of the Commission (First Division) dated 30 September 2004 is hereby AFFIRMED. Accordingly, in implementation of the directive therein, the document examiners of the Commission on Elections are hereby ordered to conduct an examination of the List of Voters with Voting Record of the precincts involved in this case as well as the VRRs pertaining to the contested precincts in the Municipality of Poonabayabao to determine whether or not actual voting by the duly registered voters of said precincts were conducted during the elections of May 10, 2004, and thereafter submit a report thereon.

The Temporary Restraining Order/Status Quo Ante Order dated 14 October 2004 is hereby lifted. SO ORDERED.[14] On December 17, 2004, Commissioner Mehol Sadain issued a Constancia protesting his lack of participation in the En Banc Resolution. Commissioner Sadain stated that although he was out on official business at the time the Resolution was routed to his office, he should have been allowed to vote thereon, or at least, informed of the urgency of its promulgation so that he may cast his vote or allow its promulgation without his signature.[15] Petitioner then filed the present special civil action for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction, based on the following grounds: PUBLIC RESPONDENT ACTED WITHOUT, IN EXCESS OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ANNULLING THE PROCLAMATION OF THE PETITIONER. PUBLIC RESPONDENT ACTED IN EXCESS OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ORDERING THE DOCUMENT EXAMINERS TO EXAMINE THE LIST OF VOTERS WITH VOTING RECORDS AND THE VRRs. PUBLIC RESPONDENT ACTED WITHOUT, IN EXCESS OR WITH GRAVE OF DISCRETION (sic) IN TAKING COGNIZANCE OF THE APPEAL WITHOUT THE INDISPENSABLE PARTIES IMPLEADED AND WITHOUT THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 20, RA 7166 COMPLIED. PUBLIC RESPONDENT ACTED WITHOUT JURISDICTION IN TAKING COGNIZANCE OF THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER THE CHALLENGED INTERLOCUTORY ORDER OF SEPTEMBER 30, 2004.[16] The pivotal issue in this case is whether the appeal from the Board of Canvassers to the COMELEC (First Division) interjected by private respondent makes a case for a preproclamation controversy. Section 241 of the Omnibus Election Code defines a pre-proclamation controversy as any question pertaining to or affecting the proceedings of the board of canvassers which may be raised by any candidate or by any registered political party or coalition of political parties before the board or directly with the Commission, or any matter raised under Sections 233, 234, 235 and 236 in relation to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of the election returns. Under Section 243 of the same Code, the issues that may be raised in a pre-proclamation controversy, are as follows: SEC. 243. Issues that may be raised in pre-proclamation controversy. - The following shall be proper issues that may be raised in a pre-proclamation controversy: (a) Illegal composition or proceedings of the board of canvassers;

(b) The canvassed election returns are incomplete, contain material defects, appear to be tampered with or falsified, or contain discrepancies in the same returns or in other authentic copies thereof as mentioned in Sections 233, 234, 235, and 236 of this Code; (c) The election returns were prepared under duress, threats, coercion, or intimidation, or they are obviously manufactured or not authentic; and

(d) When substitute or fraudulent returns in controverted polling places were canvassed, the results of which materially affected the standing of the aggrieved candidate or candidates. The foregoing enumeration is restrictive and exclusive.[17] In the present case, the objections initially raised by private respondent before the Municipal Board of Canvassers were proper in a pre-proclamation controversy, i.e., the election returns is obviously manufactured and/or falsified, it is not authentic, it contains alterations. However, in his appeal to the COMELEC, he further alleged that the elections held in the precincts clustered in the Pooni Lomabao Central Elementary were tainted with massive election irregularities. According to private respondent, there were massive substitution of voters, snatching of ballots from the voters by people identified with the Lucman who filled them up against the will of the voters, force or coercion, threats, intimidation, casting of votes by double registrants in the same precincts (double entry), and flying voters [18] Private respondent also alleged that the counting of votes on May 11, 2004, were not prepared simultaneously with the appreciation of the ballots/counting of votes, in violation of Section 44 of COMELEC Resolution No. 6667 (March 16, 2004). Also, private respondents watchers were threatened by petitioners watchers, forcing them to leave the counting room, and that the Board of Election Inspectors merely copied the entries on the tally boards and records of votes made by petitioners watchers. Finally, private respondent alleged that the denial to his objections to the contested election returns were not made by the Municipal Board of Canvassers in the prescribed form, and that despite his manifestation that he will appeal the Boards ruling on the returns, it proceeded with petitioners proclamation.[19] Obviously, the foregoing allegations pertain not only to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of the election returns, but to the conduct of the elections as well. Pre-proclamation controversies are limited to challenges directed against the Board of Canvassers and proceedings before said Board relating to particular election returns to which private respondent should have made specific verbal objections subsequently reduced to writing. A pre-proclamation controversy is limited to an examination of the election returns on their face. As a rule, the COMELEC is limited to an examination of the election returns on their face.[20] It is beyond the COMELECs jurisdiction to go beyond the face of the returns or investigate election irregularities.[21] The proceedings in a pre-proclamation controversy are summary in nature.[22] Reception of evidence aliunde, such as the List of Voters with Voting Record and the VRRs, is proscribed.[23]Issues such as fraud or terrorism attendant to the election process, the resolution of which would compel or necessitate the COMELEC to pierce the veil of election returns which appear to be prima facie regular, on their face, are anathema to a preproclamation controversy. Such issues should be posed and resolved in a regular election protest, which is within the original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). [24] In a regular election protest, the parties may litigate all the legal and factual issues raised by them inasmuch detail as they may deem necessary or appropriate.[25] In Macabago vs. COMELEC,[26] the Court reiterated: That the padding of the List of Voters may constitute fraud, or that the Board of Election Inspectors may have fraudulently conspired in its preparation, would not be a valid basis for a pre-proclamation controversy either. For, whenever irregularities, such as fraud, are asserted, the proper course of action is an election protest. Such irregularities as fraud, vote-buying and terrorism are proper grounds in an election contest but may not as a rule be invoked to declare a failure of election and to disenfranchise the greater number of the electorate through the misdeeds, precisely, of only a relative few. Otherwise, elections will never be carried out with the resultant disenfranchisement of the innocent voters, for the losers will always cry fraud and terrorism (GAD vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 78302, May 26, 1987, 150 SCRA 665).

Hence, as correctly argued by petitioner, private respondents cause of action before the COMELEC is proper for an election protest and not a pre-proclamation controversy, and the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in entertaining private respondents petition/appeal. Consequently, all subsequent actions by the COMELEC in relation to private respondents appeal are null and void, and correctible by the present special civil action for certiorari. Following the disposition of the Court in Macabago vs. COMELEC,[27] the dismissal of private respondents petition/appeal before the COMELEC is without prej udice to the filing of a regular election protest before the proper RTC, the period for the filing of which is deemed suspended by the filing of private respondents petition/appeal. In light of the foregoing ruling, the Court need not delve on the other issues posed by petitioner as these necessarily have been rendered moot and academic[28] thereby. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Order dated September 30, 2004 of the First Division and Resolution En Banc dated December 14, 2004 are SET ASIDE on ground of lack of jurisdiction. Private respondents appeal to the First Division and the appeal to the COMELEC En Banc are DISMISSED, without prejudice to the filing of a regular election protest, the period for the filing of which is deemed suspended by the filing of the petition before the COMELEC until the finality of herein decision. The proclamation of petitioner by the Municipal Board of Canvassers is maintained and petitioner should be allowed to assume her office as mayor of Poona-Bayabao, Lanao del Sur. SO ORDERED

28. Ong vs. alegre

Facts: Private respondent and Petitioner were candidates who filed certificates of candidacy for mayor of San Vicente, Camarines Norte. Ong was then the incumbent mayor. Alegre filed with the COMELEC Provincial Office a Petition to Disqualify Ong. The petition was predicated on the three-consecutive term-rule, Ong having, according to Alegre, ran in the May 1995, May1998, and May 2001 mayoralty elections and have assumed office as mayor and discharged the duties thereof for 3 consecutive full terms corresponding to those elections. Ong alleged that he could not be considered as having served as mayor from 1998 to 2001 because he was not duly elected to the post; he merely assumed office as a presumptive winner.14

Held: For the three-term limit for elective local government officials to apply, two conditions or requisites must concur, to wit: 1) that the official concerned has been elected for three (3)consecutive terms in the same local government post, and; 2) that he has fully served 3 consecutive terms. Such assumption of office constitutes, for Ong, service for the full term, and should be counted as a full term served in contemplation of the 3-term limit prescribed by the constitutional and statutory provisions, barring local elective officials from being elected and serving for more than 3 consecutive term for the same position. Being a presumptive winner did not make him less than a duly elected mayor. His proclamation as the duly elected mayor in

the 1998 mayoralty election coupled by his assumption of office and his continuous exercise of the functions thereof from start to finish of the term, should legally be taken as service for a full term in contemplation of the 3-term rule setting the case for hearing and allowed the parties to submit their respective memoranda before voting anew on therein petitioners motion for reconsideration. This should have been the proper way for the Comelec En Banc to act on herein petitioners motion for reconsideration when the first voting was equally divided. Its own Rules of Procedure calls for a rehearing where the parties would have the opportunity to strengthen their respective positions or arguments and convince the members of the ComelecEn Banc of the merit of their case. Thus, when the Comelec En Banc failed to give petitioner the rehearing required by the Comelec Rules of Procedure, said body acted with grave abuse of discretion. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The case is REMANDED to the COMELEC En Banc. The COMELEC En Banc is ORDERED to conduct forthwith the rehearing required under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure and render the appropriate decision thereon.


29. Rev. Ely Velez PamatongVs. Commission on Elections G.R. No. 161872, April 13, 2004

FACTS: Petitioner Pamatong filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for President. Respondent COMELEC declared petitioner and 35 others as nuisance candidates who could not wage a nationwide campaign and/or are not nominated by a political party or are not supported by a registered political party with a national constituency. Pamatong filed a Petition For Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court claiming that the COMELEC violated his right to "equal access to opportunities for public service" under Section 26, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, by limiting the number of qualified candidates only to those who can afford to wage a nationwide campaign and/or are nominated by political parties. The COMELEC supposedly erred in disqualifying him since he is the most qualified among all the presidential candidates, i.e., he possesses all the constitutional and legal qualifications for the office of the president, he is capable of waging a national campaign since he has numerous national organizations under his leadership, he also has the capacity to wage an international campaign since he has practiced law in other countries, and he has a platform of government. ISSUE: Is there a constitutional right to run for or hold public office?

RULING: No. What is recognized in Section 26, Article II of the Constitution is merely a privilege subject to limitations imposed by law. It neither bestows such a right nor elevates the privilege to the level of an enforceable right. There is nothing in the plain language of the provision which suggests such a thrust or justifies an interpretation of the sort. The "equal access" provision is a subsumed part of Article II of the Constitution, entitled "Declaration of Principles and State Policies." The provisions under the Article are generally considered not self-executing, and there is no plausible reason for according a different treatment to the "equal access" provision. Like the rest of the policies enumerated in Article II, the provision does not contain any judicially enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for legislative or executive action. The disregard of the provision does not give rise to any cause of action before the courts. Obviously, the provision is not intended to compel the State to enact positive measures that would accommodate as many people as possible into public office. Moreover, the provision as written leaves much to be desired if it is to be regarded as the source of positive rights. It is difficult to interpret the clause as operative in the absence of legislation since its effective means and reach are not properly defined. Broadly written, the myriad of claims that can be subsumed under this rubric appear to be entirely open-ended. Words and phrases such as "equal access," "opportunities," and "public service" are susceptible to countless interpretations owing to their inherent impreciseness. Certainly, it was not the intention of the framers to inflict on the people an operative but amorphous foundation from which innately unenforceable rights may be sourced. The privilege of equal access to opportunities to public office may be subjected to limitations. Some valid limitations specifically on the privilege to seek elective office are found in the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code on "Nuisance Candidates. As long as the limitations apply to everybody equally without discrimination, however, the equal access clause is not violated. Equality is not sacrificed as long as the burdens engendered by the limitations are meant to be borne by any one who is minded to file a certificate of candidacy. In the case at bar, there is no showing that any person is exempt from the limitations or the burdens which they create. The rationale behind the prohibition against nuisance candidates and the disqualification of candidates who have not evinced a bona fide intention to run for office is easy to divine. The State has a compelling interest to ensure that its electoral exercises are rational, objective, and orderly. Towards this end, the State takes into account the practical considerations in conducting elections. Inevitably, the greater the number of candidates, the greater the opportunities for logistical confusion, not to mention the increased allocation of time and resources in preparation for the election. The organization of an election with bona fide candidates standing is onerous enough. To add into the mix candidates with no serious intentions or capabilities to run a viable campaign would actually impair the electoral process. This is not to mention the candidacies which are palpably ridiculous so as to constitute a onenote joke. The poll body would be bogged by irrelevant minutiae covering every step of the

electoral process, most probably posed at the instance of these nuisance candidates. It would be a senseless sacrifice on the part of the State. The question of whether a candidate is a nuisance candidate or not is both legal and factual. The basis of the factual determination is not before this Court. Thus, the remand of this case for the reception of further evidence is in order. The SC remanded to the COMELEC for the reception of further evidence, to determine the question on whether petitioner Elly Velez Lao Pamatong is a nuisance candidate as contemplated in Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code.

Facts: - Petitioner Rev. Elly Velez Pamatong filed his Certificate of Candidacy for President on December 17, 2003. - Respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) refused to give due course to petitioners Certificate of Candidacy in its Resolution No. 6558 dated January 17, 2004. - The decision of COMELEC was not unanimous since Commissioners Luzviminda G. Tancangco and Mehol K. Sadain voted to include petitioner as they believed he had parties or movements to back up his candidacy. - On January 15, 2004, petitioner moved for reconsideration of Resolution No. 6558. - The COMELEC, acting on petitioners Motion for Reconsideration and on similar motions filed by other aspirants for national elective positions, denied the same under the aegis of Omnibus Resolution No. 6604 dated February 11, 2004. - The petitioner filed a Petition For Writ of Certiorari seeking to reverse the resolutions which were allegedly rendered in violation of his right to equal access to opportunities for public service under Section 26, Article II of the 1987. - Petitioner argues that the COMELEC indirectly amended the constitutional provisions on the electoral process and limited the power of the sovereign people to choose their leaders.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner can invoke the Constitutional Provision Article II, Section 26.


The equal access provision is a subsumed part of Article II of the Constitution, entitled Declaration of Principles and State Policies. The provisions under the Article are generally considered not self-executing, and there is no plausible reason for according a different

treatment to the equal access provision. Like the rest of the policies enumerated in Article II, the provision does not contain any judicially enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for legislative or executive action. The disregard of the provision does not give rise to any cause of action before the courts. Clearly, therefore, petitioners reliance on the equal access clause in Section 26, Article II of the Constitution is misplaced.

The Omnibus Election Code and COMELEC Resolution No. 6452 are cognizant of the compelling State interest to ensure orderly and credible elections by excising impediments thereto, such as nuisance candidacies that distract and detract from the larger purpose. The COMELEC is mandated by the Constitution with the administration of elections and endowed with considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that will ensure the promotion of free, orderly and honest elections.

The question of whether a candidate is a nuisance candidate or not is both legal and factual. The basis of the factual determination is not before this Court. Thus, the remand of this case for the reception of further evidence is in order.

A word of caution is in order. What is at stake is petitioners aspiration and offer to serve in the government. It deserves not a cursory treatment but a hearing which conforms to the requirements of due process. As to petitioners attacks on the validity of the form for the certificate of candidacy, suffice it to say that the form strictly complies with Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code. This provision specifically enumerates what a certificate of candidacy should contain, with the required information tending to show that the candidate possesses the minimum qualifications for the position aspired for as established by the Constitution and other election laws. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, COMELEC Case No. SPP (MP) No. 04-001 is hereby remanded to the COMELEC for the reception of further evidence, to determine the question on whether petitioner Elly Velez Lao Pamatong is a nuisance candidate as contemplated in Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code. The COMELEC is directed to hold and complete the reception of evidence and report its findings to this Court with deliberate dispatch. Under: Fundamental Principles on Constitutional Law and the Bill of Right