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ENBANC

G.R.No.112093
October4,1994

ANTONIOV.A.TAN,Petitioner,v.COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,RUSTICOT.ILAGAN,
RegionalElectionDirector,CommissiononElections,RegionXI,DavaoCity,and
SENFORIANOB.ALTERADO,Respondents.

LeonidoC.Delanteforpetitioner.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

EduardoC.deVeraforAtty.S.B.Alterado.

VITUG,J.:

On10May1992,petitioner,asincumbentcityProsecutorofDavaoCity,wasdesignatedbythe
CommissiononElections("COMELEC")as
ViceChairmanoftheCityBoardofCanvassersofDavaoCityforthe11thMay1992
synchronizednationalandlocalelectionsconformablywiththeprovisionsofSection20(a)of
RepublicActNo.6646andSection221(b)oftheOmnibusElectionCode(B.P.Blg.
881).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
OnthebasisofthevotescanvassedbytheBoardofCanvassers,ManuelGarciawas
proclaimedthewinningcandidateforacongressionalseattorepresenttheSecondDistrictof
DavaoCityintheHouseofRepresentatives.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtuallaw
library
PrivaterespondentAlterado,himselfacandidatefortheposition,filedanumberofcases
questioningthevalidityoftheproclamationofManuelGarciaandaccusingthemembersofthe
CityBoardofCanvassersof"unlawful,erroneous,incompleteandirregularcanvass."
Meanwhile,theelectoralprotestofprivaterespondentAlteradowasdismissedbytheHouseof
RepresentativesElectoralTribunal("HRET").Thecriminalcomplaintfor"FalsificationofPublic
DocumentsandViolationoftheAntiGraftandCorruptPracticesAct"beforetheOfficeofthe
Ombudsmanwaslikewisedismissedonthegroundoflackofcriminalintentonthepartof
thereinrespondents.Stillpendingisanadministrativecharge,thecasenowbeforeus,instituted
intheCOMELECagainsttheCityBoardofCanvassers,includinghereinpetitioner,for
"Misconduct,NeglectofDuty,GrossIncompetenceandActsInimicaltotheService."chanrobles
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Petitionermovedtodismisstheadministrativecomplaintagainsthimforallegedlackof
jurisdictionoftheCOMELECthereover,hebeingundertheExecutiveDepartmentofthe
government.TheCOMELECdeniedpetitioner'smotionto
dismiss.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Hence,theinstantpetition.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
PetitionercontendsthattheCOMELEChascommittedgraveabuseofdiscretionandacted
withoutjurisdictionincontinuingtotakeactionontheadministrativecase.Hearguesthat
1)
PetitioneristheCityProsecutorofDavaoCity.Hisofficebelongstotheexecutive
branchofthegovernment,moreparticularlytotheDepartmentofJustice.Assuch,heisunder

theadministrativejurisdictionofthesaiddepartmentandnotofrespondent
COMELEC.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

2)
TheCivilServiceLawprovidesthatdepartmentheads"shallhavejurisdictionto
investigateanddecidemattersinvolvingdisciplinaryactionagainstofficersundertheir
jurisdiction"(Section47[b],P.D.807).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

3)
Section2,ArticleIXofthe1987ConstitutionwhichauthorizesrespondentCOMELECto
deputizepublicofficersbelongingtotheexecutivedepartmentisforthepurposeofinsuring
free,orderlyandhonestelections.Itdoesnotincludeandcomprehendadministrative
disciplinaryjurisdictionoverofficialsbelongingtotheexecutivebranchofgovernment.That
jurisdictionoverdeputizedexecutiveofficerscannotbedeemedtoincludesuchpowersas
wouldallowencroachmentintothedomainoftheexecutivebranchunderguiseofadministering
lawsrelativetoelections.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

4)
Section38ofP.D.807citedbyrespondentsCOMELECandIlaganasbasisfortheir
authoritytoinvestigatepetitioner(AnnexG)offersnohelptosaidrespondents.Thesaid
provisionmerelylaysdowntheprocedureforadministrativecasesagainstnonpresidential
appointees.Petitionerhere,thecityprosecutorforDavaoCityisapresidentialappointee.
1chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Wefindourselvesbeingunabletosustainthepetition.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtuallawlibrary
TheCOMELEC'sauthorityunderSection2(68),ArticleIX,oftheConstitutionisvirtually
allencompassingwhenitcomestoelectionmatters.Inrespectparticularlytosanctionsagainst
electionoffenses,wequote:
Sec.2. TheCommissiononElectionsshallexercisethefollowingpowersandfunctions:

xxx
xxx
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(6)
File,uponaverifiedcomplaint,oronitsowninitiative,petitionsincourtforinclusionor
exclusionofvotersinvestigateand,whereappropriate,prosecutecasesofviolationsofelection
laws,includingactsoromissionconstitutingelectionfrauds,offenses,andmalpractices.

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xxx
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(8)
RecommendtothePresidenttheremovalofanyofficeroremployeeithasdeputizedor
theimpositionofanyotherdisciplinaryaction,forviolationordisregardof,ordisobediencetoits
directive,order,ordecision.

Additionally,Section52,ArticleVII,oftheOmnibusElectionCode,provides:
Sec.52.
PowersandfunctionsoftheCommissiononElections.Inadditiontothepowers
andfunctionsconferreduponitbytheConstitution,theCommissionshallhaveexclusivecharge

oftheenforcementandadministrationofalllawsrelativetotheconductofelectionsforthe
purposeofinsuringfree,orderlyandhonestelections,andshall:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

a.
Exercisedirectandimmediatesupervisionandcontrolovernationalandlocalofficialsor
employees,includingmembersofanynationalorlocallawenforcementagencyand
instrumentalityofthegovernmentrequiredbylawtoperformdutiesrelativetotheconductof
elections.Inaddition,itmayauthorizeCMPCadetseighteenyearsofageandabovetoactas
itsdeputiesforthepurposeofenforcingitsorders.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtual
lawlibrary

TheCommissionmayrelieveanyofficeroremployeereferredtointheprecedingparagraph
fromtheperformanceofhisdutiesrelatingtoelectoralprocesseswhoviolatestheelectionlaw
orfailstocomplywithitsinstructions,orders,decisionsorrulings,andappointhissubstitute.
UponrecommendationoftheCommission,thecorrespondingproperauthorityshallsuspendor
removefromofficeanyorallofsuchofficersoremployeeswhomay,afterdueprocess,be
foundguiltyofsuchviolationorfailure.

Itshouldbestressedthattheadministrativecaseagainstpetitioner,takencognizanceofby,
andstillpendingwith,theCOMELEC,isinrelationtotheperformanceofhisdutiesasan
electioncanvasserandnotasacityprosecutor.TheCOMELEC'smandateincludesitsauthority
toexercisedirectandimmediatesupervisionandcontrolovernationalandlocalofficialsor
employees,includingmembersofanynationalorlocallawenforcementagencyand
instrumentalityofthegovernment,requiredbylawtoperformdutiesrelativetotheconductof
elections.Inordertohelpensurethatsuchdulydeputizedofficialsandemployeesof
governmentcarryouttheirrespectiveassignedtasks,thelawhasalsoprovidedthanuponthe
COMELEC'srecommendation,thecorrespondingproperauthority(theSecretaryofthe
DepartmentofJusticeinthecaseatbar)shalltakeappropriateaction,eithertosuspendor
removefromofficetheofficeroremployeewhomay,afterdueprocess,befoundguiltyof
violationofelectionlawsorfailuretocomplywithinstructions,orders,decisionorrulingsofthe
COMELEC.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Unavoidably,theCOMELEC,priortomakingitsrecommendation,mustfirstsatisfyitselfthat
thereindeedhasbeenaninfractionofthelaw,orofitsdirectivesissuedconformablytherewith,
bythepersonadministrativelycharged.ItalsostandstoreasonthatitistheCOMELEC,being
inthebestpositiontoassesshowitsdeputizedofficialsandemployeesperformorhave
performedintheirduties,thatshouldconducttheadministrativeinquiry.Tosaythatthe
COMELECiswithoutjurisdictiontolookintochargesofelectionoffensescommittedbyofficials
andemployeesofgovernmentoutsidetheregularemployoftheCOMELECwouldbetounduly
denytoittheproperandsoundexerciseofsuchrecommendatorypowerand,perhapsmore
thanthat,evenapossibledenialofdueprocesstotheofficialoremployee
concerned.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Observe,nevertheless,thattheCOMELECmerelymayissuearecommendationfordisciplinary

actionbutthatitistheexecutivedepartmenttowhichthechargedofficialoremployeebelongs
whichhastheultimateauthoritytoimposethedisciplinarypenalty.Thelawthendoesnot
detractfrom,butiscongruentwith,thegeneraladministrativeauthorityofthedepartmentof
governmentconcernedoveritsownpersonnel.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtuallaw
library

Petitioner'sassertionthatprivaterespondentAlteradohasresortedtoforumshoppingis
unacceptable.TheinvestigationthenbeingconductedbytheOmbudsmanonthecriminalcase
forfalsificationandviolationoftheAntiGraftandCorruptPracticesAct,ontheonehand,and
theinquiryintotheadministrativechargesbytheCOMELEC,ontheotherhand,areentirely
independentproceedings.Neitherwouldtheresultsinoneconcludetheother.Thus,an
absolutionfromacriminalchargeisnotabartoanadministrativeprosecution(Officeofthe
CourtAdministratorvs.Enriquez,218
SCRA1),orviceversa.So,also,thedismissalbytheCOMELECofSPCCaseNo.92232on
thegroundthatthecaseconstitutedanelectoralprotestwithinthejurisdictionoftheHRETand
notoftheCOMELEC(affirmedbythisCourtinG.R.No.106452)doesnotnecessarily
foreclosurethematterofpossibleliability,ifwarranted,ofthosewhomighthaveimproperly
actedinthecanvassofvotes.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Thereareotherissues,mainlyfactual,thatareraisedandaverredtoshowpetitioner's
innocencefromtheadministrativecharges.Petitioner'sallegationsmaywellbetruebutthis
petitionatbenchmaynotpreemptthedeterminationofthosefactualmattersyettobepassed
uponinthependingadministrativeproceedings.

WHEREFORE,theinstantpetitionisDISMISSED.Nocosts.

SOORDERED.
Narvasa,C.J.,Cruz,Feliciano,Regalado,Davide,Jr.,Romero,Bellosillo,Melo,Quiason,Puno,
KapunanandMendoza,JJ.,concur.

PadillaandBidin,JJ.,areonleave.