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G.R. No. 162759 August 4, 2006


LOIDA NICOLAS-LEWIS, GREGORIO B. MACABENTA, ALEJANDRO A.
ESCLAMADO, ARMANDO B. HEREDIA, REUBEN S. SEGURITAN, ERIC
LACHICA FURBEYRE, TERESITA A. CRUZ, JOSEFINA OPENA
DISTERHOFT, MERCEDES V. OPENA, CORNELIO R. NATIVIDAD,
EVELYN
D.
NATIVIDAD, Petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
DECISION

Prodded for clarification by petitioner Loida Nicolas-Lewis in the light of the


ruling in Macalintal vs. COMELEC 3 on the residency requirement, the
COMELEC wrote in response:
Although R.A. 9225 enjoys the presumption of constitutionality , it is the
Commission's position that those who have availed of the law cannot
exercise the right of suffrage given under the OAVL for the reason that the
OAVL was not enacted for them. Hence, as Filipinos who have merely reacquired their citizenship on 18 September 2003 at the earliest, and as law
and jurisprudence now stand, they are considered regular voters who have
to meet the requirements of residency, among others under Section 1,
Article 5 of the Constitution. 4

GARCIA, J.:
In this petition for certiorari and mandamus, petitioners, referring to
themselves as "duals" or dual citizens, pray that they and others who
retained or reacquired Philippine citizenship under Republic Act (R.A.) No.
9225, the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003, be allowed
to avail themselves of the mechanism provided under the Overseas Absentee
Voting Act of 2003 1 (R.A. 9189) and that the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) accordingly be ordered to allow them to vote and register as
absentee voters under the aegis of R.A. 9189.
The facts:
Petitioners are successful applicants for recognition of Philippine citizenship
under R.A. 9225 which accords to such applicants the right of suffrage,
among others. Long before the May 2004 national and local elections,
petitioners sought registration and certification as "overseas absentee voter"
only to be advised by the Philippine Embassy in the United States that, per a
COMELEC letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs dated September 23,
2003 2, they have yet no right to vote in such elections owing to their lack of
the one-year residence requirement prescribed by the Constitution. The
same letter, however, urged the different Philippine posts abroad not to
discontinue their campaign for voters registration, as the residence
restriction adverted to would contextually affect merely certain individuals
who would likely be eligible to vote in future elections.

Faced with the prospect of not being able to vote in the May 2004 elections
owing to the COMELEC's refusal to include them in the National Registry of
Absentee Voters, petitioner Nicolas-Lewis et al., 5 filed on April 1, 2004 this
petition for certiorari and mandamus.
A little over a week before the May 10, 2004 elections, or on April 30, 2004,
the COMELEC filed a Comment, 6therein praying for the denial of the
petition. As may be expected, petitioners were not able to register let alone
vote in said elections.
On May 20, 2004, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a
Manifestation (in Lieu of Comment), therein stating that "all qualified
overseas Filipinos, including dual citizens who care to exercise the right of
suffrage, may do so" , observing, however, that the conclusion of the 2004
elections had rendered the petition moot and academic. 7
The holding of the 2004 elections had, as the OSG pointed out, indeed
rendered the petition moot and academic, but insofar only as petitioners
participation in such political exercise is concerned. The broader and
transcendental issue tendered or subsumed in the petition, i.e., the propriety
of allowing "duals" to participate and vote as absentee voter in future
elections, however, remains unresolved.
Observing the petitioners and the COMELECs respective formulations of the
issues, the same may be reduced into the question of whether or not
petitioners and others who might have meanwhile retained and/or

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reacquired Philippine citizenship pursuant to R.A. 9225 may vote as


absentee voter under R.A. 9189.

(a) Those who have lost their Filipino citizenship in accordance with
Philippine laws;

The Court resolves the poser in the affirmative, and thereby accords merit to
the petition.

(b) Those who have expressly renounced their Philippine citizenship and who
have pledged allegiance to a foreign country;

In esse, this case is all about suffrage. A quick look at the governing
provisions on the right of suffrage is, therefore, indicated.

(c) Those who have [been] convicted in a final judgment by a court or


tribunal of an offense punishable by imprisonment of not less than one (1)
year, including those who have been found guilty of Disloyalty as defined
under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code, .;

We start off with Sections 1 and 2 of Article V of the Constitution,


respectively reading as follows:
SECTION 1. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not
otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and
who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the
place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately
preceding the election. xxx.
SEC 2. The Congress shall provide a system for absentee voting by
qualified Filipinos abroad.
In a nutshell, the aforequoted Section 1 prescribes residency requirement as
a general eligibility factor for the right to vote. On the other hand, Section 2
authorizes Congress to devise a system wherein an absentee may vote,
implying that a non-resident may, as an exception to the residency
prescription in the preceding section, be allowed to vote.
In response to its above mandate, Congress enacted R.A. 9189 - the
OAVL 8 - identifying in its Section 4 who can vote under it and in the
following section who cannot, as follows:
Section 4. Coverage. All citizens of the Philippines abroad, who are not
otherwise disqualified by law, at least eighteen (18) years of age on the day
of elections, may vote for president, vice-president, senators and party-list
representatives.
Section 5. Disqualifications. The following shall be disqualified from voting
under this Act:

(d) An immigrant or a permanent resident who is recognized as such in the


host country, unless he/she executes, upon registration, an affidavit
prepared for the purpose by the Commission declaring that he/she shall
resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later than
three (3) years from approval of his/her registration under this Act. Such
affidavit shall also state that he/she has not applied for citizenship in another
country. Failure to return shall be the cause for the removal of the name of
the immigrant or permanent resident from the National Registry of Absentee
Voters and his/her permanent disqualification to vote in absentia.
(e) Any citizen of the Philippines abroad previously declared insane or
incompetent by competent authority . (Words in bracket added.)
Notably, Section 5 lists those who cannot avail themselves of the absentee
voting mechanism. However, Section 5(d) of the enumeration respecting
Filipino immigrants and permanent residents in another country opens an
exception and qualifies the disqualification rule. Section 5(d) would,
however, face a constitutional challenge on the ground that, as narrated in
Macalintal, it violates Section 1, Article V of the 1987 Constitution which requires that
the voter must be a resident in the Philippines for at least one year and in
the place where he proposes to vote for at least six months immediately
preceding an election. [The challenger] cites Caasi vs. Court of
Appeals 9 to support his claim [where] the Court held that a "green card"
holder immigrant to the [US] is deemed to have abandoned his domicile and
residence in the Philippines.

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[The challenger] further argues that Section 1, Article V of the Constitution


does not allow provisional registration or a promise by a voter to perform a
condition to be qualified to vote in a political exercise; that the legislature
should not be allowed to circumvent the requirement of the Constitution on
the right of suffrage by providing a condition thereon which in effect amends
or alters the aforesaid residence requirement to qualify a Filipino abroad to
vote. He claims that the right of suffrage should not be granted to anyone
who, on the date of the election, does not possess the qualifications provided
for by Section 1, Article V of the Constitution. 10 (Words in bracket added.)
As may be recalled, the Court upheld the constitutionality of Section 5(d) of
R.A. 9189 mainly on the strength of the following premises:

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared the policy of the State


that all Philippine citizens who become citizens of another country shall be
deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of
this Act.
SEC. 3. Retention of Philippine Citizenship. Any provision of law to the
contrary notwithstanding, natural-born citizens of the Philippines who have
lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of
a foreign country are hereby deemed to have re-acquired Philippine
citizenship upon taking the following oath of allegiance to the Republic:
xxx xxx xxx

As finally approved into law, Section 5(d) of R.A. No. 9189 specifically
disqualifies an immigrant or permanent resident who is "recognized as such
in the host country" because immigration or permanent residence in another
country implies renunciation of one's residence in his country of origin.
However, same Section allows an immigrant and permanent resident abroad
to register as voter for as long as he/she executes an affidavit to show that
he/she has not abandoned his domicile in pursuance of the constitutional
intent expressed in Sections 1 and 2 of Article V that "all citizens of the
Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law" must be entitled to exercise the
right of suffrage and, that Congress must establish a system for absentee
voting; for otherwise, if actual, physical residence in the Philippines is
required, there is no sense for the framers of the Constitution to mandate
Congress to establish a system for absentee voting.

Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of this Act,
become citizens of a foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship
upon taking the aforesaid oath.

Contrary to the claim of [the challenger], the execution of the affidavit itself
is not the enabling or enfranchising act. The affidavit required in Section
5(d) is not only proof of the intention of the immigrant or permanent
resident to go back and resume residency in the Philippines, but more
significantly, it serves as an explicit expression that he had not in fact
abandoned his domicile of origin. Thus, it is not correct to say that the
execution of the affidavit under Section 5(d) violates the Constitution that
proscribes "provisional registration or a promise by a voter to perform a
condition to be qualified to vote in a political exercise." 11

(1) Those intending to exercise their right of suffrage must meet the
requirements under Section 1, Article V of the Constitution, Republic Act No.
9189, otherwise known as "The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003" and
other existing laws;

Soon after Section 5(d) of R.A. 9189 passed the test of constitutionality,
Congress enacted R.A. 9225 the relevant portion of which reads:

SEC. 4. Derivative Citizenship. The unmarried child, whether legitimate,


illegitimate or adopted, below eighteen (18) years of age, of those who reacquire Philippine citizenship upon effectivity of this Act shall be deemed
citizens of the Philippines.
SEC. 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities. Those who retain or reacquire Philippine citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and political
rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under
existing laws of the Philippines and the following conditions:

(2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the
qualifications for holding such public office as required by the Constitution
and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy,
make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship ;
3) xxx xxx xxx.
(4) xxx xxx xxx;

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(5) That right to vote or be elected or appointed to any public office in the
Philippines cannot be exercised by, or extended to, those who:
(a) are candidates for or are occupying any public office in the country of
which they are naturalized citizens; and/or
(b) are in active service as commissioned or non-commissioned officers in
the armed forces of the country which they are naturalized citizens.
After what appears to be a successful application for recognition of Philippine
citizenship under R.A. 9189, petitioners now invoke their right to enjoy
political rights, specifically the right of suffrage, pursuant to Section 5
thereof.
Opposing the petitioners bid, however, respondent COMELEC invites
attention to the same Section 5 (1) providing that "duals" can enjoy their
right to vote, as an adjunct to political rights, only if they meet the
requirements of Section 1, Article V of the Constitution, R.A. 9189 and other
existing laws. Capitalizing on what at first blush is the clashing provisions of
the aforecited provision of the Constitution, which, to repeat, requires
residency in the Philippines for a certain period, and R.A. 9189 which grants
a Filipino non-resident absentee voting rights, 12 COMELEC argues:
4. DUALS MUST FIRST ESTABLISH THEIR DOMICILE/ RESIDENCE IN THE
PHILIPPINES
4.01. The inclusion of such additional and specific requirements in RA 9225
is logical. The duals, upon renouncement of their Filipino citizenship and
acquisition of foreign citizenship, have practically and legally abandoned
their domicile and severed their legal ties to the homeland as a
consequence. Having subsequently acquired a second citizenship (i.e.,
Filipino) then, duals must, for purposes of voting, first of all, decisively and
definitely establish their domicile through positive acts; 13

non-residents, grants under its Section 5(1) the same right of suffrage as
that granted an absentee voter under R.A. 9189. It cannot be
overemphasized that R.A. 9189 aims, in essence, to enfranchise as much as
possible all overseas Filipinos who, save for the residency requirements
exacted of an ordinary voter under ordinary conditions, are qualified to vote.
Thus, wrote the Court in Macalintal:
It is clear from these discussions of the Constitutional Commission that [it]
intended to enfranchise as much as possible all Filipino citizens abroad who
have not abandoned their domicile of origin. The Commission even intended
to extend to young Filipinos who reach voting age abroad whose parents
domicile of origin is in the Philippines, and consider them qualified as voters
for the first time.
It is in pursuance of that intention that the Commission provided for Section
2 [Article V] immediately after the residency requirement of Section 1. By
the doctrine of necessary implication in statutory construction, , the
strategic location of Section 2 indicates that the Constitutional Commission
provided for an exception to the actual residency requirement of Section 1
with respect to qualified Filipinos abroad. The same Commission has in effect
declared that qualified Filipinos who are not in the Philippines may be
allowed to vote even though they do not satisfy the residency requirement in
Section 1, Article V of the Constitution.
That Section 2 of Article V of the Constitution is an exception to the
residency requirement found in Section 1 of the same Article was in fact the
subject of debate when Senate Bill No. 2104, which became R.A. No. 9189,
was deliberated upon on the Senate floor, thus:
Senator Arroyo. Mr. President, this bill should be looked into in relation to
the constitutional provisions. I think the sponsor and I would agree that the
Constitution is supreme in any statute that we may enact.
Let me read Section 1, Article V, of the Constitution .

The Court disagrees.


xxx xxx xxx
As may be noted, there is no provision in the dual citizenship law - R.A.
9225 - requiring "duals" to actually establish residence and physically stay in
the Philippines first before they can exercise their right to vote. On the
contrary, R.A. 9225, in implicit acknowledgment that "duals" are most likely

Now, Mr. President, the Constitution says, "who shall have resided in the
Philippines." They are permanent immigrants. They have changed residence
so they are barred under the Constitution. This is why I asked whether this

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committee amendment which in fact does not alter the original text of the
bill will have any effect on this?

As I have said, if a voter in Makati would want to vote in Pateros, yes, he


may do so. But he must do so, make the transfer six months before the
election, otherwise, he is not qualified to vote.

Senator Angara. Good question, Mr. President. And this has been asked in
various fora. This is in compliance with the Constitution. One, the
interpretation here of "residence" is synonymous with "domicile."

xxx xxx xxx

As the gentleman and I know, Mr. President, "domicile" is the intent to return
to one's home. And the fact that a Filipino may have been physically absent
from the Philippines and may be physically a resident of the United States,
for example, but has a clear intent to return to the Philippines, will make him
qualified as a resident of the Philippines under this law.

Senator Angara. It is a good point to raise, Mr. President. But it is a point


already well-debated even in the constitutional commission of 1986. And the
reason Section 2 of Article V was placed immediately after the sixmonth/one-year residency requirement is to demonstrate unmistakably that
Section 2 which authorizes absentee voting is an exception to the sixmonth/one-year residency requirement. That is the first principle, Mr.
President, that one must remember.

This is consistent, Mr. President, with the constitutional mandate that we


that Congress must provide a franchise to overseas Filipinos.
If we read the Constitution and the suffrage principle literally as demanding
physical presence, then there is no way we can provide for offshore voting to
our offshore kababayan, Mr. President.
Senator Arroyo. Mr. President, when the Constitution says, in Section 2 of
Article V, it reads: "The Congress shall provide a system for securing the
secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by
qualified Filipinos abroad."
The key to this whole exercise, Mr. President, is "qualified." In other words,
anything that we may do or say in granting our compatriots abroad must be
anchored on the proposition that they are qualified. Absent the qualification,
they cannot vote. And "residents" (sic) is a qualification.
xxx xxx xxx
Look at what the Constitution says "In the place wherein they propose to
vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election."
Mr. President, all of us here have run (sic) for office.
I live in Makati. My neighbor is Pateros . We are separated only by a creek.
But one who votes in Makati cannot vote in Pateros unless he resides in
Pateros for six months. That is how restrictive our Constitution is. .

The second reason, Mr. President, is that under our jurisprudence


"residency" has been interpreted as synonymous with "domicile."
But the third more practical reason, is, if we follow the interpretation of
the gentleman, then it is legally and constitutionally impossible to give a
franchise to vote to overseas Filipinos who do not physically live in the
country, which is quite ridiculous because that is exactly the whole point of
this exercise to enfranchise them and empower them to vote. 14 (Emphasis
and words in bracket added; citations omitted)
Lest it be overlooked, no less than the COMELEC itself admits that the
Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act expanded the coverage of
overseas absentee voting. According to the poll body:
1.05 With the passage of RA 9225 the scope of overseas absentee voting
has been consequently expanded so as to include Filipinos who are also
citizens of other countries, subject, however, to the strict prerequisites
indicated in the pertinent provisions of RA 9225; 15
Considering the unison intent of the Constitution and R.A. 9189 and the
expansion of the scope of that law with the passage of R.A. 9225, the
irresistible conclusion is that "duals" may now exercise the right of suffrage
thru the absentee voting scheme and as overseas absentee voters. R.A.
9189 defines the terms adverted to in the following wise:

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"Absentee Voting" refers to the process by which qualified citizens of the


Philippines abroad exercise their right to vote;
"Overseas Absentee Voter" refers to a citizen of the Philippines who is
qualified to register and vote under this Act, not otherwise disqualified by
law, who is abroad on the day of elections;
While perhaps not determinative of the issue tendered herein, we note that
the expanded thrust of R.A. 9189 extends also to what might be tag as the
next generation of "duals". This may be deduced from the inclusion of the
provision on derivative citizenship in R.A. 9225 which reads:
SEC. 4. Derivative Citizenship. The unmarried child, whether legitimate,
illegitimate or adopted, below eighteen (18) years of age, of those who reacquire Philippine citizenship upon effectivity of this Act shall be deemed
citizens of the Philippines.
It is very likely that a considerable number of those unmarried children
below eighteen (18) years of age had never set foot in the Philippines. Now
then, if the next generation of "duals" may nonetheless avail themselves the
right to enjoy full civil and political rights under Section 5 of the Act, then
there is neither no rhyme nor reason why the petitioners and other present
day "duals," provided they meet the requirements under Section 1, Article V
of the Constitution in relation to R.A. 9189, be denied the right of suffrage as
an overseas absentee voter. Congress could not have plausibly intended such
absurd situation.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the Court rules
and so holds that those who retain or re-acquire Philippine citizenship under
Republic Act No. 9225, the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of
2003, may exercise the right to vote under the system of absentee voting in
Republic Act No. 9189, the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-25444

January 31, 1966

WENCESLAO
RANCAP
LAGUMBAY, petitioner,
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and CESAR CLIMACO, respondents.
Wenceslao
R.
Lagumbay
Ambrosio Padilla for the respondents.

for

the

petitioner.

BENGZON, C.J.:
This petition prays for revision of an order of the Commission on Elections
declining to reject the returns of certain precincts of some municipalities in
Mindanao. The Constitution provides for review by this Court of the rulings of
the said Commission.
The matter being urgent, and having reached the conclusion that the returns
of certain questioned precincts were "obviously manufactured" within the
meaning of pertinent jurisprudence, particularly Mitchell v. Stevens, 1 we
issued on December 24, 1965, a short resolution upholding the
Commission's power and duty to reject the returns of about fifty precincts.
It appearing therein that contrary to all statistical probabilities
in the first set, in each precinct the number of registered voters
equalled 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 candidates of the Nacionalista Party
got exactly zero; and in the second set, again contrary to all
statistical probabilities all the reported votes were for candidates
of the Liberal Party, all of whom were credited with exactly the

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same number of votes in each precinct, ranging from 240 in one


precinct to 650 in another precinct; whereas, all the candidates of
the Nacionalista Party were given exactly zero in all said precincts.

eight candidates of one party garnered all the votes, each of them
receiving exactly the same number, whereas all the eight candidates of the
other party got precisely nothing.

We opined that the election result to said precincts as reported, was utterly
improbable and clearly incredible. For it is not likely, in the ordinary course
of things, that all the electors of one precinct would, as one man, vote for all
the eight candidates of the Liberal Party, without giving a single vote
to one of the eight candidates of the Nacionalista Party. Such extraordinary
coincidence was quite impossible to believe, knowing that the Nacionalista
Party had and has a nationwide organization, with branches in every
province, and was, in previous years, the party in power in these islands.

The main point to remember is that there is no block-voting nowadays.

We also know from our experience in examining ballots in the three Electoral
Tribunals (Presidential, Senate, and House) that a large portion of the
electors do not fill all the blanks for senators in their ballots. Indeed, this
observation is confirmed by the big differences in the votes received by the
eight winning senators in this as well as in previous national
elections;2 almost a million votes between the first place and the eight.
Furthermore, in 1965, the total number of electors who cast their votes was
6,833,369 (more or less). If every voter had written eight names on his
ballot, the total number of votes cast for all the candidates would be that
number multiplied by 8, namely 54,666,952. But the total number of the
votes tallied for the candidates for senator amounted to 49,374,942 only.
The difference between the two sums represents the number of ballots that
did not contain eight names for senators. In other words, some 5 million
ballots did not carry eight names. Of course, this is a rough estimate,
because some ballots may have omitted more names, in which case, the
number of incomplete ballots would be less. But the general idea and the
statistical premise is there.

Hence, denying prima facie recognition to such returns on the ground that
they are manifestly fabricated or falsified, would constitute a practical
approach to the Commission's mission to insure free and honest elections.

The same statistical result is deducible from the 1963 election data: total
number of electors who voted, 7,712,019; if each of them named eight
senators, the total votes tallied should have been 61,696,152; and yet the
total number tallied for all the senatorial candidates was 45,812,470 only. A
greater number of incomplete ballots.
It must be noted that this is not an instance wherein one return gives to one
candidate all the votes in the precinct, even as it gives exactly zero to the
other. This is not a case where some senatorial candidates obtain
zeroexactly, while some others receive a few scattered votes. Here, all the

What happened to the vote of the Nacionalista inspector? There was one in
every precinct. Evidently, either he became a traitor to his party, or was
made to sign a false return by force or other illegal means. If he signed
voluntarily, but in breach of faith, the Nacionalista inspector betrayed his
party; and, any voting or counting of ballots therein, was a sham and a
mockery of the national suffrage.

In Mitchell vs. Stevens, supra, the returns showed a noticeable excess of


votes over the number of registered voters, and the court rejected the
returns as obviously "manufactured". Why? The excess could have been due
to the fact that, disregarding all pertinent data, the election officers wrote
the number of votes their fancy dictated; and so the return was literally a
"manufactured", "fabricated" return. Or maybe because persons other than
voters, were permitted to take part and vote; or because registered voters
cast more than one ballot each, or because those in charge of the tally sheet
falsified their counts. Hence, as the Mitchell decision concluded, the returns
were "not true returns . . . but simply manufactured evidences of an attempt
to defeat the popular will." All these possibilities and/or probabilities were
plain fraudulent practices, resulting in misrepresentation of the election
outcome. "Manufactured" was the word used. "Fabricated" or "false" could as
well have been employed.
The same ratio decidendi applies to the situation in the precincts herein
mentioned. These returns were obviously false or fabricated prima facie.
Let us take for example, precinct No. 3 of Andong, Lanao del Sur. There
were 648 registered voters. According to such return all the eight candidates
of the Liberal Party got 648 each, 3 and the eight Nacionalista candidates got
exactly zero. We hold such return to be evidently fraudulent or false because
of the inherent improbability of such a result against statistical
probabilities specially because at least one vote should have been
received by the Nacionalista candidates, i.e., the vote of the Nacionalista

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inspector. It is, of course, "possible" that such inspector did not like his
party's senatorial line-up; but it is not probable that he disliked all of such
candidates, and it is not likely that he favored all the eight candidates of the
Liberal Party. Therefore, most probably, he was made to sign an obviously
false return, or else he betrayed his party, in which case, the election therein
if any was no more than a barefaced fraud and a brazen contempt of
the popular polls.

in the localities affected. We say, possible, not probable. It is possible to win


the sweepstakes ten times; but not probable. Anyway, judges are not
disposed to believe that such "control" has proved so powerful as to convert
the electors into mere sheep or robots voting as ordered. Their reason and
conscience refuse to believe that 100% of the voters in such precincts
abjectly yet lawfully surrendered their precious freedom to choose the
senators of this Republic.

Of course we agree that frauds in the holding of the election should be


handled and finally settled by the corresponding courts or electoral
tribunals. That is the general rule, where testimonial or documentary
evidence, is necessary; but where the fraud is so palpable from the return
itself (res ipsa loquitur the thing speaks for itself), there is no reason to
accept it and give it prima facie value.

Indeed, social scientists might wonder whether courts could, consistently


with morality and public policy,5 render judgment acknowledging such
"control" or validating such "controlled votes" as candidate Climaco chose to
call them.

At any rate, fraud or no fraud, the verdict in these fifty precincts may
ultimately be ascertained before the Senate Electoral Tribunal. 4 All we hold
now, is that the returns show "prima facie" that they do not reflect true and
valid reports of regular voting. The contrary may be shown by candidate
Climaco in the corresponding election protest.
The well-known delay in the adjudication of election protests often gave the
successful contestant a mere pyrrhic victory, i.e., a vindication when the
term of office is about to expire, or has expired. And so the notion has
spread among candidates for public office that the "important thing" is the
proclamation; and to win it, they or their partisans have tolerated or abetted
the tampering or the "manufacture" of election returns just to get the
proclamation, and then let the victimized candidate to file the protest, and
spend his money to work for an empty triumph.
It is generally admitted that the practice has prevailed in all previous
elections. Never was the point pressed upon us in a more clear-cut manner.
And without, in any way, modifying our stand as outlined in the Nacionalista
Party vs. Commission decision, we feel the mores of the day require
application even extension of the principle in the Mitchell decision,
which is realistic and common sensical even as it strikes a blow at such
pernicious "grab - the - proclamation - prolong - the - protest" slogan of
some candidates or parties.
It is strongly urged that the results reported in these returns are quite
"possible", bearing in mind the religious or political control of some leaders

In view of the foregoing, and overlooking some intemperate language which


detracts from the force of the arguments, we hereby deny the motion to
reconsider our resolution of December 24, 1965, as well as the petition for a
re-hearing.

G.R. No. 191998

December 7, 2010

WALDEN F. BELLO and LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES, Petitioners,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
G.R. No. 192769
LIZA
vs.

L.

MAZA

and

SATURNINO

C.

OCAMPO, Petitioners,

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 9

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
ARROYO, Respondents.

and

JUAN

MIGUEL

"MIKEY"

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

to represent. It likewise provides that the COMELEC Law Department shall


require party-list groups and nominees to make the required documentary
submissions, if not already complied with prior to the effectivity of the
Resolution, not later than three (3) days from the last day of filing of the list
of nominees.6

G.R. No. 192832


BAYAN
MUNA
PARTY-LIST,
represented
by
TEODORO
CASIO, Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JUAN MIGUEL "MIKEY" ARROYO of
Ang Galing Pinoy Party-List,Respondents.
RESOLUTION
BRION, J.:
We resolve the three (3) consolidated 1 special civil actions for certiorari,
mandamus and prohibition that commonly aim to disqualify respondent Juan
Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo as the nominee of the Ang Galing Pinoy Party-List
(AGPP) in the May 10, 2010 elections.
The Factual Antecedents
The common factual antecedents, gathered from the pleadings, are briefly
summarized below.
On November 29, 2009, AGPP filed with the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) its Manifestation of Intent to Participate in the May 10, 2010
elections. Subsequently, on March 23, 2010, AGPP filed its Certificate of
Nomination together with the Certificates of Acceptance of its nominees. 2
On March 25, 2010, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 8807 3 which
prescribed the rules of procedure applicable to petitions to disqualify a partylist nominee for purposes of the May 10, 2010 elections. 4
Section 6 of the Resolution provides that the party-list group and the
nominees must submit documentary evidence 5 to duly prove that the
nominees truly belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sector/s,
and to the sectoral party, organization, political party or coalition they seek

Under Section 10 of the same Resolution, the COMELEC may motu proprio
effect the disqualification of party-list nominees who violate any of the
limitations mentioned in Section 7 of the Resolution. 7 Section 8 of Rule 32 of
the COMELEC Rules of Procedure also states that the COMELEC may cancel
motu proprio the registration of any party registered under the party-list
system for failure to comply with applicable laws, rules or regulations of the
Commission. Pursuant to COMELEC Resolution No. 8646, 8 in relation to
Section 6 of Resolution No. 8807, the deadline for submitting the
requirements mentioned in Section 6 of the latter Resolution was on March
29, 2010.9
On March 25, 2010, petitioners Liza L. Maza, Saturnino C. Ocampo, and
Bayan Muna Party-List, represented by Teodoro Casio, (collectively referred
to as certiorari petitioners) filed with the COMELEC a petition for
disqualification10 against Arroyo, pursuant to Resolution No. 8696, 11 in
relation with Sections 2 and 9 of Republic Act (RA) No. 7941 12 (the PartyList System Act).13
The certiorari petitioners argued that not only must the party-list
organization factually and truly represent the marginalized and the
underrepresented; the nominee must as well be a Filipino citizen belonging
to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties,
citing in this regard the case of Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v.
COMELEC.14 On this basis, the certiorari petitioners concluded that Arroyo
cannot be considered a member of the marginalized and underrepresented
sector, particularly, the sector which the AGPP represents tricycle drivers
and security guards because he is not only a member of the First Family,
but is also (a) an incumbent member of the House of Representatives; (b)
the Chairman of the Houses Energy Committee; and, (c) a member of key
committees in the House, namely: Natural Resources, Aquaculture, Fisheries
Resources, Ethics and Privileges, Justice, National Defense and Security,
Public Works and Highways, Transportation and Ways and Means. 15
In his Answer, Arroyo counter-argued that the COMELEC had no jurisdiction
over issues involving the qualifications of party-list nominees; Section 9 of

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 10

RA 7941 merely requires that the party-list nominee must be a bona fide
member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent at least
ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election. 16
When the COMELEC published on March 26, 2010 its initial "List of Political
Parties/Sectoral Organizations/Coalitions Participating in the May 10, 2010
elections with their respective Nominees," Arroyo was listed as AGPPs first
nominee.
On March 30, 2010, the petitioner Bayan Muna Party-List, represented by
Neri Colmenares, filed with the COMELEC another petition for disqualification
against Arroyo.17 It alleged that Arroyo is not qualified to be a party-list
nominee because he (a) does not represent or belong to the marginalized
and underrepresented sector; (b) has not been a bona fide member of AGPP
ninety (90) days prior to the May 10, 2010 elections; (c) is a member of the
House of Representatives; and that (d) AGPP is not a legitimate and qualified
party-list group and has no authority to nominate him. 18
In his Answer, Arroyo reiterated that the COMELEC does not have jurisdiction
over cases involving the qualifications of party-list nominees. He stated as
well that he is a bona fide member of AGPP at least ninety (90) days prior to
the elections.19
Meanwhile, on April 6, 2010, petitioners Walden F. Bello and Loretta Ann P.
Rosales (mandamus petitioners) wrote the COMELEC Law Department a
letter requesting for a copy of the documentary evidence submitted by AGPP,
in compliance with Section 6 of Resolution No. 8807. On the same day, the
COMELEC Law Department replied that as of that date, the AGPP had not yet
submitted any documentary evidence required by Resolution No. 8807. 20
Through a letter dated April 7, 2010, the mandamus petitioners requested
the COMELEC and its Law Department to act, consistently with Section 10 of
Resolution No. 8807, and declare the disqualification of the nominees of
AGPP for their failure to comply with the requirements of Section 6 of
Resolution No. 8807.21 They also wrote the COMELEC on April 20, 2010,
reiterating their letter-request dated April 7, 2010. The COMELEC failed to
respond to both letters.22
The COMELEC Second Division Ruling

In its May 7, 2010 Joint Resolution, the COMELEC Second Division dismissed
the petitions for disqualification against Arroyo. 23 It noted that Section 9 of
RA 7941 merely requires the nominee to be "a bona fide member [of the
party or organization which he seeks to represent for] at least ninety (90)
days preceding the day of the elections." 24 It found that Arroyo (a) became a
member of the party on November 20, 2009; (b) actively participated in the
undertakings of AGPP and adhered to its advocacies; and, (c) actively
supported and advanced the projects and programs of the AGPP by regularly
attending its meetings, livelihood and skills program, and farmers day
activities.25
The COMELEC en banc Ruling
The COMELEC en banc refused to reconsider the Second Divisions ruling in
its July 19, 2010 consolidated resolution. 26 It held, among others, that a
Filipino citizen, in order to qualify as a party-list nominee, only needs to be a
bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent,
for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and must
likewise be at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the
election.27 The COMELEC en banc also held that Section 6 of Resolution No.
8807 is ultra vires, since the requirement that a nominee belong to the
marginalized and underrepresented sector he seeks to represent is not found
in RA 7941.28 Thus, it concluded that Arroyo possessed all the requirements
mandated by Section 9 of RA 7941.29
On May 7, 2010, the mandamus petitioners filed with this Court their Petition
for Mandamus and Prohibition with Application for Temporary Restraining
Order and/or Preliminary Injunction, 30 docketed as G.R. No. 191998.31They
sought to compel the COMELEC to disqualify motu proprio the AGPP
nominees for their failure to comply with Section 6 of Resolution No. 8807,
and to enjoin the COMELEC from giving due course to the AGPPs
participation in the May 10, 2010 elections.
On July 23 and 29, 2010, the certiorari petitioners elevated their case to this
Court via two (2) separate petitions for certiorari, 32 docketed as G.R. Nos.
19276933 and 192832,34 to annul the COMELEC Second Divisions May 7,
2010 joint resolution and the COMELEC en bancs July 19, 2010 consolidated
resolution that dismissed their petitions for disqualification against Arroyo as
AGPPs nominee.

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 11

In the interim, AGPP obtained in the May 10, 2010 elections the required
percentage of votes sufficient to secure a single seat. This entitled Arroyo, as
AGPPs first nominee, to sit in the House of Representatives. 35
On July 21, 2010, the COMELEC, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers,
proclaimed Arroyo as AGPPs duly-elected party-list representative in the
House of Representatives.36 On the same day, Arroyo took his oath of office,
as AGPPs Representative,37 before Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres
B. Reyes. His name was, thereafter, entered in the Roll of Members of the
House of Representatives.38
On July 28 and 29, 2010, two (2) separate petitions for quo warranto 39 were
filed with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) questioning
Arroyos eligibility as AGPPs representative in the House of Representatives.
On September 7, 2010, the HRET took cognizance of the petitions by issuing
a Summons directing Arroyo to file his Answer to the two petitions. 40

disqualification of nominees and cancellation of registration of party-list


groups filed in the May 10, 2010 elections, as well as those which have not
been resolved, in line with the eight-point guidelines set forth in Ang Bagong
Bayani;41 and (b) order Commissioners Nicodemo T. Ferrer, Lucenito N.
Tagle, Armando C. Velasco and Elias R. Yusoph to explain why they should
not be cited in contempt for their open defiance of the Courts Decisions in
Ang Bagong Bayani42 and Barangay Association for National Advancement
and Transparency v. COMELEC.43
The Case for the Respondents
In G.R. Nos. 192769 and 192832, Arroyo counter-argues that the petitions
should be dismissed outright because upon his proclamation, oath and
assumption to office as a duly elected member of the House of
Representatives, the jurisdiction over issues relating to his qualifications now
lies with the HRET as the sole judge of all contests relating to the election,
returns, and qualifications of members of the House of Representatives.

The Petitions
The mandamus petitioners in G.R. No. 191998 argue that the COMELEC
committed grave abuse of discretion (a) in failing to order the motu proprio
disqualification of AGPP despite its failure to comply with the mandatory
requirements under Section 6 of Resolution No. 8807; and, (b) in giving due
course to the participation of AGPP and its nominees in the May 10, 2010
elections.
On the other hand, the certiorari petitioners in G.R. Nos. 192769 and
192832 contend in common that the COMELEC en banc gravely abused its
discretion in failing to disqualify Arroyo as AGPPs nominee since: (1) he
does not belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sector he claims
to represent; (2) he is not a bona fide AGPP member for at least ninety (90)
days preceding the May 10, 2010 elections; (3) in light of these preceding
reasons, he would not be able to contribute to the formulation and
enactment of appropriate legislations for the sector he seeks to represent;
and (4) his nomination and acceptance of nomination as AGPPs nominee
violate AGPPs continuing undertaking upon which its petition for registration
and accreditation was based and granted.
In G.R. No. 192832, the petitioner Bayan Muna Party-List also prays that the
Court: (a) direct the COMELEC en banc to review all its decisions in cases for

Similarly, the COMELEC, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG),
prays for the dismissal of the petitions in G.R. Nos. 192769 and 192832 for
lack of jurisdiction in view of Arroyos proclamation and assumption to office
as a Member of the House of Representatives.
Despite notice, the OSG failed to comment on the G.R. No. 191998 petition.
We deemed the case ready for resolution on the basis of the parties
submissions.
Issues
The core issues boil down to (1) whether mandamus lies to compel the
COMELEC to disqualify AGPPs nominees motu proprio or to cancel AGPPs
registration; (2) whether the COMELEC can be enjoined from giving due
course to AGPPs participation in the May 10, 2010 elections, the canvassing
of AGPPs votes, and proclaiming it a winner; and (3) whether the HRET has
jurisdiction over the question of Arroyos qualifications as AGPPs nominee
after his proclamation and assumption to office as a member of the House of
Representatives.
Our Ruling

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 12

We dismiss the petitions.


For a writ of mandamus to issue (in G.R. No. 191998), the mandamus
petitioners must comply with Section 3 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
which provides:
SEC. 3. Petition for mandamus. When any tribunal, corporation, board,
officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law
specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or
unlawfully excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office
to which such other is entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved
thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with
certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the
respondent, immediately or at some other time to be specified by the court,
to do the act required to be done to protect the rights of the petitioner, and
to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful
acts of the respondent.
In the present case, the mandamus petitioners failed to comply with the
condition that there be "no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of law."
Under Section 2, in relation with Section 4, of COMELEC Resolution No. 8807
(quoted below), any interested party may file with the COMELEC a petition
for disqualification against a party-list nominee:
Section 2. Grounds for Disqualification. Any nominee (a) who does not
possess all the qualifications of a nominee as provided for by the
Constitution, existing laws or (b) who commits any act declared by law to be
grounds for disqualification may be disqualified from continuing as a
nominee.
Section 4. When to file Petition. The petition under item (a) of Section 2
shall be filed five (5) days after the last day for filing of the list of nominees,
while under item (b) thereof shall be filed any day not later than the date of
proclamation.
Furthermore, under Section 6 of RA 7941, any interested party may file a
verified complaint for cancellation of registration of a party-list organization:

SEC. 6. Refusal and/or Cancellation of Registration. The COMELEC may


motu proprio or upon verified complaint of any interested party, remove or
cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of any national,
regional or sectoral party, organization or coalition on any of the following
grounds:
(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association
organized for religious purposes;
(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;
(3) It is a foreign party or organization;
(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign
political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through
any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for
partisan election purposes;
(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations
relating to elections;
(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;
(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or
(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or
fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under
the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the
constituency in which it has registered.
These provisions effectively provide the "plain, speedy and adequate
remedy" that the mandamus petitioners should have taken. Specifically, they
should have filed the proper petition for disqualification, pursuant to Section
2(b) of Resolution No. 8807, any day not later than the date of
proclamation.
As to the remedy of filing a
note that neither Section 6
COMELEC Rules of Procedure
for cancellation of registration

complaint for cancellation of registration, we


of RA 7941 nor Section 8, Rule 32 of the
specifies the period within which a complaint
should be filed. Whether or not the mandamus

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 13

petitioners can still file a petition for cancellation of AGPPs registration at


this point in time, however, is a question we are not prepared to rule upon;
in fact, we need not resolve this question since it is not raised here and has
not been argued by the parties.
We note that in lieu of filing the above formal petition that Resolution No.
8807 and RA 7941 provide, the mandamus petitioners opted to confine
themselves to writing letters to ask the COMELEC to act in accordance with
Section 10 of Resolution No. 8807. While these moves are technically
objections to Arroyo and to the AGPPs registration, they cannot in any way
be considered formal petitions for disqualification, unlike the present petition
which is a formal petition (whose clear intent is similarly to disqualify
Arroyo). Unfortunately for the mandamuspetitioners, a petition for
mandamus is not the correct remedy under the circumstances as the
immediately applicable remedy is a petition for disqualification or for
cancellation filed with the COMELEC, as pointed out above.
In filing the present petition, the mandamus petitioners also violated the rule
on the exhaustion of administrative remedies. The rule on exhaustion of
administrative remedies provides that a party must exhaust all
administrative remedies to give the administrative agency an opportunity to
decide and thus prevent unnecessary and premature resort to the
courts.44 While this is not an ironclad rule as it admits of exceptions, 45 the
mandamus petitioners failed to show that any of the exceptions apply. The
filing of a petition for mandamus with this Court, therefore, was premature.
It bears stressing that mandamus, as an extraordinary remedy, may be used
only in cases of extreme necessity where the ordinary forms of procedure
are powerless to afford relief.46
Thus, we find the mandamus aspect of G.R. No. 191998 improperly filed
under the standards of Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
Even the substantive merits of the mandamus petition in G.R. No. 191998,
i.e., its patent intent to disqualify Arroyo, fail to persuade for the reasons
more fully discussed below, in relation with the certiorari petitions in G.R.
Nos. 192769 and 192832.
As to the prohibition aspect of G.R. No. 191998 i.e., to prevent the
COMELEC from canvassing AGPPs votes, and from proclaiming it a winner
we find that this has been mooted by the supervening participation, election
and proclamation of AGPP after it secured the required percentage of votes

in the May 10, 2010 elections. The prohibition issue has been rendered moot
since there is nothing now to prohibit in light of the supervening events. A
moot case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of
supervening events, so that a declaration thereon (in this case, the
prevention of the specified acts) can no longer be done. Under the
circumstances, we have to recognize the futility of the petition and to
dismiss it on the ground of mootness since we cannot provide the
mandamus petitioners any substantial relief.47
We move on to the principal issue raised by the certiorari petitions in G.R.
Nos. 192769 and 192832 whether jurisdiction over Arroyos qualifications
as AGPP nominee should now properly be with the HRET since Arroyo has
been proclaimed and has assumed office as Member of the House of
Representatives.1avvphi1
This issue is far from novel and is an issue previously ruled upon by this
Court. The consistent judicial holding is that the HRET has jurisdiction to
pass upon the qualifications of party-list nominees after their proclamation
and assumption of office; they are, for all intents and purposes, "elected
members" of the House of Representatives although the entity directly voted
upon was their party. In Abayon v. House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal,48 the Court said:
But, although it is the party-list organization that is voted for in the
elections, it is not the organization that sits as and becomes a member of
the House of Representatives. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution,
identifies who the "members" of that House are:
Sec. 5. (1). The House of Representatives shall be composed of not
more than two hundred and fiftymembers, unless otherwise fixed by
law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned
among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in
accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on
the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as
provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of
registered
national,
regional,
and
sectoral
parties
or
organizations. (Underscoring supplied)
Clearly, the members of the House of Representatives are of two kinds:
"members x x x who shall be elected from legislative districts" and "those
who x x x shall be elected through a party-list system of registered

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 14

national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations." This means


that, from the Constitutions point of view, it is the party-list representatives
who are "elected" into office, not their parties or organizations. These
representatives are elected, however, through that peculiar party-list system
that the Constitution authorized and that Congress by law established where
the voters cast their votes for the organizations or parties to which such
party-list representatives belong.

The Court also held in the same case that:

Once elected, both the district representatives and the party-list


representatives are treated in like manner. They have the same deliberative
rights, salaries, and emoluments. They can participate in the making of laws
that will directly benefit their legislative districts or sectors. They are also
subject to the same term limitation of three years for a maximum of three
consecutive terms.

It is for the HRET to interpret the meaning of this particular qualification of a


nominee the need for him or her to be a bona fide member or a
representative of his party-list organizationin the context of the facts that
characterize petitioners Abayon and Palparans relation to Aangat
Tayo and Bantay, respectively, and the marginalized and underrepresented
interests that they presumably embody.

It may not be amiss to point out that the Party-List System Act itself
recognizes party-list nominees as "members of the House of
Representatives," thus:

xxxx

Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. The State shall promote proportional


representation in the election of representatives to the House of
Representatives through a party-list system of registered national,
regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof,
which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and
underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack
well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the
formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will
benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of
Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and
guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the
broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group
interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances
to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the
simplest scheme possible. (Underscoring supplied)
As this Court also held in Bantay Republic Act or BA-RA 7941 v. Commission
on Elections, a party-list representative is in every sense "an elected
member of the House of Representatives." Although the vote cast in a partylist election is a vote for a party, such vote, in the end, would be a vote for
its nominees, who, in appropriate cases, would eventually sit in the House of
Representatives.

In the cases before the Court, those who challenged the qualifications of
petitioners Abayon and Palparan claim that the two do not belong to the
marginalized and underrepresented sectors that they ought to represent.
The Party-List System Act provides that a nominee must be a "bona
fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent."

What is inevitable is that Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution provides


that the HRET shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to, among other
things, the qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives.
Since, as pointed out above, party-list nominees are "elected members" of
the House of Representatives no less than the district representatives are,
the HRET has jurisdiction to hear and pass upon their qualifications. By
analogy with the cases of district representatives, once the party or
organization of the party-list nominee has been proclaimed and the nominee
has taken his oath and assumed office as member of the House of
Representatives, the COMELECs jurisdiction over election contests relating
to his qualifications ends and the HRETs own jurisdiction begins.
Similarly applicable is our ruling in Perez v. Commission on Elections 49 where
we acknowledged that the Court does not have jurisdiction to pass upon the
eligibility of the private respondent who was already a member of the House
of Representatives. We said:
As already stated, the petition for disqualification against private respondent
was decided by the First Division of the COMELEC on May 10, 1998. The
following day, May 11, 1998, the elections were held. Notwithstanding the
fact that private respondent had already been proclaimed on May 16, 1998
and had taken his oath of office on May 17, 1998, petitioner still filed a
motion for reconsideration on May 22, 1998, which the COMELEC en

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 15

bancdenied on June 11, 1998. Clearly, this could not be done. Sec. 6 of R.A.
No. 6646 authorizes the continuation of proceedings for disqualification even
after the elections if the respondent has not been proclaimed. The
COMELEC en banc had no jurisdiction to entertain the motion because the
proclamation of private respondent barred further consideration of
petitioners action. In the same vein, considering that at the time of the filing
of this petition on June 16, 1998, private respondent was already a member
of the House of Representatives, this Court has no jurisdiction over the
same. Pursuant to Art. VI, 17 of the Constitution, the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal has the exclusive original jurisdiction over
the petition for the declaration of private respondents ineligibility. As this
Court held in Lazatin v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal:
The use of the word "sole" emphasizes the exclusive character of the
jurisdiction conferred. The exercise of the power by the Electoral
Commission under the 1935 Constitution has been described as "intended to
be as complete and unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the
legislature." Earlier, this grant of power to the legislature was characterized
by Justice Malcolm "as full, clear and complete." Under the amended 1935
Constitution, the power was unqualifiedly reposed upon the Electoral Tribunal
and it remained as full, clear and complete as that previously granted the
legislature and the Electoral Commission. The same may be said with regard
to the jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunals under the 1987 Constitution. 50
In the present case, it is not disputed that Arroyo, AGPPs first nominee, has
already been proclaimed and taken his oath of office as a Member of the
House of Representatives. We take judicial notice, too, of the filing of two (2)
petitions for quo warranto against Arroyo, now pending before the HRET.
Thus, following the lead of Abayon and Perez, we hold that the Court has no
jurisdiction over the present petitions and that the HRET now has the
exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and rule upon Arroyos qualifications as
a Member of the House of Representatives.
In light of these conclusions, we see no need to further discuss the other
issues raised in the certiorari petitions.
WHEREFORE, we RESOLVE to DISMISS the petition in G.R. No. 191998 for
prematurity and mootness. The petitions in G.R. Nos. 192769 and 192832
are likewise DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction. No pronouncement as to
costs.

SO ORDERED.

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 16

G.R. No. 135083 May 26, 1999


ERNESTO
S.
vs.
EDUARDO
BARRIOS
MANZANO
ELECTIONS, respondents.

MERCADO, petitioner,
and

the

COMMISSION

ON

MENDOZA, J.:
Petitioner Ernesto S. Mercado and private respondent Eduardo B. Manzano
were candidates for vice mayor of the City of Makati in the May 11, 1998
elections. The other one was Gabriel V. Daza III. The results of the election
were as follows:
Eduardo B. Manzano 103,853
Ernesto S. Mercado 100,894
Gabriel V. Daza III 54,275 1
The proclamation of private respondent was suspended in view of a pending
petition for disqualification filed by a certain Ernesto Mamaril who alleged
that private respondent was not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United
States.
In its resolution, dated May 7, 1998, 2 the Second Division of the COMELEC
granted the petition of Mamaril and ordered the cancellation of the certificate
of candidacy of private respondent on the ground that he is a dual citizen
and, under 40(d) of the Local Government Code, persons with dual
citizenship are disqualified from running for any elective position. The
COMELEC's Second Division said:
What is presented before the Commission is a petition for
disqualification of Eduardo Barrios Manzano as candidate for
the office of Vice-Mayor of Makati City in the May 11, 1998
elections. The petition is based on the ground that the

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 17

respondent is an American citizen based on the record of the


Bureau of Immigration and misrepresented himself as a
natural-born Filipino citizen.
In his answer to the petition filed on April 27, 1998, the
respondent admitted that he is registered as a foreigner with
the Bureau of Immigration under Alien Certificate of
Registration No. B-31632 and alleged that he is a Filipino
citizen because he was born in 1955 of a Filipino father and a
Filipino mother. He was born in the United States, San
Francisco, California, September 14, 1955, and is considered
in American citizen under US Laws. But notwithstanding his
registration as an American citizen, he did not lose his
Filipino citizenship.
Judging from the foregoing facts, it would appear that
respondent Manzano is born a Filipino and a US citizen. In
other words, he holds dual citizenship.
The question presented is whether under our laws, he is
disqualified from the position for which he filed his certificate
of candidacy. Is he eligible for the office he seeks to be
elected?
Under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code, those
holding dual citizenship are disqualified from running for any
elective local position.
WHEREFORE, the Commission hereby declares the
respondent Eduardo Barrios Manzano DISQUALIFIED as
candidate for Vice-Mayor of Makati City.
On May 8, 1998, private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration. 3 The
motion remained pending even until after the election held on May 11, 1998.
Accordingly, pursuant to Omnibus Resolution No. 3044, dated May 10, 1998,
of the COMELEC, the board of canvassers tabulated the votes cast for vice
mayor of Makati City but suspended the proclamation of the winner.

On May 19, 1998, petitioner sought to intervene in the case for


disqualification. 4 Petitioner's motion was opposed by private respondent.
The motion was not resolved. Instead, on August 31, 1998, the COMELEC en
banc rendered its resolution. Voting 4 to 1, with one commissioner
abstaining, the COMELEC en banc reversed the ruling of its Second Division
and declared private respondent qualified to run for vice mayor of the City of
Makati in the May 11, 1998 elections. 5The pertinent portions of the
resolution of the COMELEC en banc read:
As aforesaid, respondent Eduardo Barrios Manzano was born
in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. He acquired US
citizenship by operation of the United States Constitution and
laws under the principle ofjus soli.
He was also a natural born Filipino citizen by operation of the
1935 Philippine Constitution, as his father and mother were
Filipinos at the time of his birth. At the age of six (6), his
parents brought him to the Philippines using an American
passport as travel document. His parents also registered him
as an alien with the Philippine Bureau of Immigration. He
was issued an alien certificate of registration. This, however,
did not result in the loss of his Philippine citizenship, as he
did not renounce Philippine citizenship and did not take an
oath of allegiance to the United States.
It is an undisputed fact that when respondent attained the
age of majority, he registered himself as a voter, and voted
in the elections of 1992, 1995 and 1998, which effectively
renounced his US citizenship under American law. Under
Philippine law, he no longer had U.S. citizenship.
At the time of the May 11, 1998 elections, the resolution of
the Second Division, adopted on May 7, 1998, was not yet
final. Respondent Manzano obtained the highest number of
votes among the candidates for vice-mayor of Makati City,
garnering one hundred three thousand eight hundred fifty
three (103,853) votes over his closest rival, Ernesto S.
Mercado, who obtained one hundred thousand eight hundred
ninety four (100,894) votes, or a margin of two thousand
nine hundred fifty nine (2,959) votes. Gabriel Daza III

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 18

obtained third place with fifty four thousand two hundred


seventy five (54,275) votes. In applying election laws, it
would be far better to err in favor of the popular choice than
be embroiled in complex legal issues involving private
international law which may well be settled before the
highest court (Cf. Frivaldo vs. Commission on Elections, 257
SCRA 727).
WHEREFORE, the Commission en banc hereby REVERSES the
resolution of the Second Division, adopted on May 7, 1998,
ordering the cancellation of the respondent's certificate of
candidacy.
We declare respondent Eduardo Luis Barrios Manzano to be
QUALIFIED as a candidate for the position of vice-mayor of
Makati City in the May 11, 1998, elections.
ACCORDINGLY, the Commission directs the Makati City Board
of Canvassers, upon proper notice to the parties, to
reconvene and proclaim the respondent Eduardo Luis Barrios
Manzano as the winning candidate for vice-mayor of Makati
City.
Pursuant to the resolution of the COMELEC en banc, the board of canvassers,
on the evening of August 31, 1998, proclaimed private respondent as vice
mayor of the City of Makati.
This is a petition for certiorari seeking to set aside the aforesaid resolution of
the COMELEC en banc and to declare private respondent disqualified to hold
the office of vice mayor of Makati City. Petitioner contends that
[T]he COMELEC en banc ERRED in holding that:
A. Under Philippine law, Manzano was no longer a U.S.
citizen when he:
1. He renounced his U.S. citizenship when he
attained the age of majority when he was
already 37 years old; and,

2. He renounced his U.S. citizenship when he


(merely) registered himself as a voter and
voted in the elections of 1992, 1995 and
1998.
B. Manzano is qualified to run for and or hold the elective
office of Vice-Mayor of the City of Makati;
C. At the time of the May 11, 1998 elections, the resolution
of the Second Division adopted on 7 May 1998 was not yet
final so that, effectively, petitioner may not be declared the
winner even assuming that Manzano is disqualified to run for
and hold the elective office of Vice-Mayor of the City of
Makati.
We first consider the threshold procedural issue raised by private respondent
Manzano whether petitioner Mercado his personality to bring this suit
considering that he was not an original party in the case for disqualification
filed by Ernesto Mamaril nor was petitioner's motion for leave to intervene
granted.
I. PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO BRING THIS SUIT
Private respondent cites the following provisions of Rule 8 of the Rules of
Procedure of the COMELEC in support of his claim that petitioner has no right
to intervene and, therefore, cannot bring this suit to set aside the ruling
denying his motion for intervention:
Sec. 1. When proper and when may be permitted to
intervene. Any person allowed to initiate an action or
proceeding may, before or during the trial of an action or
proceeding, be permitted by the Commission, in its
discretion to intervene in such action or proceeding, if he has
legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of
either of the parties, or an interest against both, or when he
is so situated as to be adversely affected by such action or
proceeding.
xxx xxx xxx

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 19

Sec. 3. Discretion of Commission. In allowing or


disallowing a motion for intervention, the Commission or the
Division, in the exercise of its discretion, shall consider
whether or not the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice
the adjudication of the rights of the original parties and
whether or not the intervenor's rights may be fully protected
in a separate action or proceeding.
Private respondent argues that petitioner has neither legal interest in
the matter in litigation nor an interest to protect because he is "a
defeated candidate for the vice-mayoralty post of Makati City [who]
cannot be proclaimed as the Vice-Mayor of Makati City if the private
respondent be ultimately disqualified by final and executory
judgment."
The flaw in this argument is it assumes that, at the time petitioner sought to
intervene in the proceedings before the COMELEC, there had already been a
proclamation of the results of the election for the vice mayoralty contest for
Makati City, on the basis of which petitioner came out only second to private
respondent. The fact, however, is that there had been no proclamation at
that time. Certainly, petitioner had, and still has, an interest in ousting
private respondent from the race at the time he sought to intervene. The
rule in Labo v. COMELEC, 6 reiterated in several cases, 7 only applies to cases
in which the election of the respondent is contested, and the question is
whether one who placed second to the disqualified candidate may be
declared the winner. In the present case, at the time petitioner filed a
"Motion for Leave to File Intervention" on May 20, 1998, there had been no
proclamation of the winner, and petitioner's purpose was precisely to have
private respondent disqualified "from running for [an] elective local position"
under 40(d) of R.A. No. 7160. If Ernesto Mamaril (who originally instituted
the disqualification proceedings), a registered voter of Makati City, was
competent to bring the action, so was petitioner since the latter was a rival
candidate for vice mayor of Makati City.
Nor is petitioner's interest in the matter in litigation any less because he filed
a motion for intervention only on May 20, 1998, after private respondent
had been shown to have garnered the highest number of votes among the
candidates for vice mayor. That petitioner had a right to intervene at that
stage of the proceedings for the disqualification against private respondent is
clear from 6 of R.A. No. 6646, otherwise known as the Electoral Reform
Law of 1987, which provides:

Any candidate who his been declared by final judgment to be


disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him
shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not
declared by final judgment before an election to be
disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning
number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission
shall continue with the trial and hearing of action, inquiry, or
protest and, upon motion of the complainant or
any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the
suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever
the evidence of guilt is strong.
Under this provision, intervention may be allowed in proceedings for
disqualification even after election if there has yet been no final judgment
rendered.
The failure of the COMELEC en banc to resolve petitioner's motion for
intervention was tantamount to a denial of the motion, justifying petitioner
in filing the instant petition for certiorari. As the COMELEC en banc instead
decided the merits of the case, the present petition properly deals not only
with the denial of petitioner's motion for intervention but also with the
substantive issues respecting private respondent's alleged disqualification on
the ground of dual citizenship.
This brings us to the next question, namely, whether private respondent
Manzano possesses dual citizenship and, if so, whether he is disqualified
from being a candidate for vice mayor of Makati City.
II. DUAL CITIZENSHIP AS A GROUND FOR DISQUALIFICATION
The disqualification of private respondent Manzano is being sought under
40 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160), which declares
as "disqualified from running for any elective local position: . . . (d) Those
with dual citizenship." This provision is incorporated in the Charter of the
City of Makati. 8
Invoking the maxim dura lex sed lex, petitioner, as well as the Solicitor
General, who sides with him in this case, contends that through 40(d) of
the Local Government Code, Congress has "command[ed] in explicit terms

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 20

the ineligibility of persons possessing dual allegiance to hold local elective


office."
To begin with, dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. The former
arises when, as a result of the concurrent application of the different laws of
two or more states, a person is simultaneously considered a national by the
said states. 9 For instance, such a situation may arise when a person whose
parents are citizens of a state which adheres to the principle of jus
sanguinis is born in a state which follows the doctrine of jus soli. Such a
person,ipso facto and without any voluntary act on his part, is concurrently
considered a citizen of both states. Considering the citizenship clause (Art.
IV) of our Constitution, it is possible for the following classes of citizens of
the Philippines to possess dual citizenship:
(1) Those born of Filipino fathers and/or mothers in foreign
countries which follow the principle of jus soli;
(2) Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and
alien fathers if by the laws of their father's' country such
children are citizens of that country;
(3) Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latter's
country the former are considered citizens, unless by their
act or omission they are deemed to have renounced
Philippine citizenship.
There may be other situations in which a citizen of the Philippines may,
without performing any act, be also a citizen of another state; but the above
cases are clearly possible given the constitutional provisions on citizenship.
Dual allegiance, on the other hand, refers to the situation in which a person
simultaneously owes, by some positive act, loyalty to two or more states.
While dual citizenship is involuntary, dual allegiance is the result of an
individual's volition.
With respect to dual allegiance, Article IV, 5 of the Constitution provides:
"Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be
dealt with by law." This provision was included in the 1987 Constitution at
the instance of Commissioner Blas F. Ople who explained its necessity as
follows: 10

. . . I want to draw attention to the fact that dual allegiance


is not dual citizenship. I have circulated a memorandum to
the Bernas Committee according to which a dual allegiance
and I reiterate a dual allegiance is larger and more
threatening than that of mere double citizenship which is
seldom intentional and, perhaps, never insidious. That is
often a function of the accident of mixed marriages or of
birth on foreign soil. And so, I do not question double
citizenship at all.
What we would like the Committee to consider is to take
constitutional cognizance of the problem of dual allegiance.
For example, we all know what happens in the triennial
elections of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of
Commerce which consists of about 600 chapters all over the
country. There is a Peking ticket, as well as a Taipei ticket.
Not widely known is the fact chat the Filipino-Chinese
community is represented in the Legislative Yuan of the
Republic of China in Taiwan. And until recently, sponsor
might recall, in Mainland China in the People's Republic of
China, they have the Associated Legislative Council for
overseas Chinese wherein all of Southeast Asia including
some European and Latin countries were represented, which
was dissolved after several years because of diplomatic
friction. At that time, the Filipino-Chinese were also
represented in that Overseas Council.
When I speak of double allegiance, therefore, I speak of this
unsettled kind of allegiance of Filipinos, of citizens who are
already Filipinos but who, by their acts, may be said to be
bound by a second allegiance, either to Peking or Taiwan. I
also took close note of the concern expressed by some
Commissioners yesterday, including Commissioner Villacorta,
who were concerned about the lack of guarantees of
thorough
assimilation,
and
especially
Commissioner
Concepcion who has always been worried about minority
claims on our natural resources.
Dull allegiance can actually siphon scarce national capital to
Taiwan, Singapore, China or Malaysia, and this is already
happening. Some of the great commercial places in

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 21

downtown Taipei are Filipino-owned, owned by FilipinoChinese it is of common knowledge in Manila. It can mean
a tragic capital outflow when we have to endure a capital
famine which also means economic stagnation, worsening
unemployment and social unrest.

impact on the security of this country, arising from, let us


say, potentially great numbers of double citizens professing
double allegiance, will the Committee entertain a proposed
amendment at the proper time that will prohibit, in effect, or
regulate double citizenship?

And so, this is exactly what we ask that the Committee


kindly consider incorporating a new section, probably Section
5, in the article on Citizenship which will read as follows:
DUAL ALLEGIANCE IS INIMICAL TO CITIZENSHIP AND SHALL
BE DEALT WITH ACCORDING TO LAW.

Clearly, in including 5 in Article IV on citizenship, the concern of the


Constitutional Commission was not with dual citizens per se but with
naturalized citizens who maintain their allegiance to their countries of origin
even after their naturalization. Hence, the phrase "dual citizenship" in R.A.
No. 7160, 40(d) and in R.A. No. 7854, 20 must be understood as referring
to "dual allegiance." Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do not
fall under this disqualification. Unlike those with dual allegiance, who must,
therefore, be subject to strict process with respect to the termination of their
status, for candidates with dual citizenship, it should suffice if, upon the filing
of their certificates of candidacy, they elect Philippine citizenship to
terminate their status as persons with dual citizenship considering that their
condition is the unavoidable consequence of conflicting laws of different
states. As Joaquin G. Bernas, one of the most perceptive members of the
Constitutional Commission, pointed out: "[D]ual citizenship is just a reality
imposed on us because we have no control of the laws on citizenship of
other countries. We recognize a child of a Filipino mother. But whether she is
considered a citizen of another country is something completely beyond our
control." 12

In another session of the Commission, Ople spoke on the problem of these


citizens with dual allegiance, thus: 11
. . . A significant number of Commissioners expressed their
concern about dual citizenship in the sense that it implies a
double allegiance under a double sovereignty which some of
us who spoke then in a freewheeling debate thought would
be repugnant to the sovereignty which pervades the
Constitution and to citizenship itself which implies a
uniqueness and which elsewhere in the Constitution is
defined in terms of rights and obligations exclusive to that
citizenship including, of course, the obligation to rise to the
defense of the State when it is threatened, and back of this,
Commissioner Bernas, is, of course, the concern for national
security. In the course of those debates, I think some noted
the fact that as a result of the wave of naturalizations since
the decision to establish diplomatic relations with the
People's Republic of China was made in 1975, a good
number of these naturalized Filipinos still routinely go to
Taipei every October 10; and it is asserted that some of
them do renew their oath of allegiance to a foreign
government maybe just to enter into the spirit of the
occasion when the anniversary of the Sun Yat-Sen Republic
is commemorated. And so, I have detected a genuine and
deep concern about double citizenship, with its attendant risk
of double allegiance which is repugnant to our sovereignty
and national security. I appreciate what the Committee said
that this could be left to the determination of a future
legislature. But considering the scale of the problem, the real

By electing Philippine citizenship, such candidates at the same time forswear


allegiance to the other country of which they are also citizens and thereby
terminate their status as dual citizens. It may be that, from the point of view
of the foreign state and of its laws, such an individual has not effectively
renounced his foreign citizenship. That is of no moment as the following
discussion on 40(d) between Senators Enrile and Pimentel clearly shows: 13
SENATOR ENRILE. Mr. President, I would like to ask
clarification of line 41, page 17: "Any person with dual
citizenship" is disqualified to run for any elective local
position. Under the present Constitution, Mr. President,
someone whose mother is a citizen of the Philippines but his
father is a foreigner is a natural-born citizen of the Republic.
There is no requirement that such a natural born citizen,
upon reaching the age of majority, must elect or give up
Philippine citizenship.

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 22

On the assumption that this person would carry two


passports, one belonging to the country of his or her father
and one belonging to the Republic of the Philippines, may
such a situation disqualify the person to run for a local
government position?
SENATOR PIMENTEL. To my mind, Mr. President, it only
means that at the moment when he would want to run for
public office, he has to repudiate one of his citizenships.
SENATOR ENRILE. Suppose he carries only a Philippine
passport but the country of origin or the country of the
father claims that person, nevertheless, as a citizen? No one
can renounce. There are such countries in the world.
SENATOR PIMENTEL. Well, the very fact that he is running
for public office would, in effect, be an election for him of his
desire to be considered as a Filipino citizen.
SENATOR ENRILE. But, precisely, Mr. President, the
Constitution does not require an election. Under the
Constitution, a person whose mother is a citizen of the
Philippines is, at birth, a citizen without any overt act to
claim the citizenship.
SENATOR PIMENTEL. Yes. What we are saying, Mr. President,
is: Under the Gentleman's example, if he does not renounce
his other citizenship, then he is opening himself to question.
So, if he is really interested to run, the first thing he should
do is to say in the Certificate of Candidacy that: "I am a
Filipino citizen, and I have only one citizenship."
SENATOR ENRILE. But we are talking from the viewpoint of
Philippine law, Mr. President. He will always have one
citizenship, and that is the citizenship invested upon him or
her in the Constitution of the Republic.

SENATOR PIMENTEL. That is true, Mr. President. But if he


exercises acts that will prove that he also acknowledges
other citizenships, then he will probably fall under this
disqualification.
This is similar to the requirement that an applicant for naturalization must
renounce "all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state,
or sovereignty" 14 of which at the time he is a subject or citizen before he
can be issued a certificate of naturalization as a citizen of the Philippines.
In Parado v. Republic, 15 it was held:
[W]hen a person applying for citizenship by naturalization
takes an oath that he renounce, his loyalty to any other
country or government and solemnly declares that he owes
his allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, the condition
imposed by law is satisfied and compiled with. The
determination whether such renunciation is valid or fully
complies with the provisions of our Naturalization Law lies
within the province and is an exclusive prerogative of our
courts. The latter should apply the law duly enacted by the
legislative department of the Republic. No foreign law may or
should interfere with its operation and application. If the
requirement of the Chinese Law of Nationality were to be
read into our Naturalization Law, we would be applying not
what our legislative department has deemed it wise to
require, but what a foreign government has thought or
intended to exact. That, of course, is absurd. It must be
resisted by all means and at all cost. It would be a brazen
encroachment upon the sovereign will and power of the
people of this Republic.
III. PETITIONER'S ELECTION OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP
The record shows that private respondent was born in San Francisco,
California on September 4, 1955, of Filipino parents. Since the Philippines
adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis, while the United States follows the
doctrine of jus soli, the parties agree that, at birth at least, he was a national
both of the Philippines and of the United States. However, the COMELEC en
banc held that, by participating in Philippine elections in 1992, 1995, and
1998, private respondent "effectively renounced his U.S. citizenship under
American law," so that now he is solely a Philippine national.

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 23

Petitioner challenges this ruling. He argues that merely taking part in


Philippine elections is not sufficient evidence of renunciation and that, in any
event, as the alleged renunciation was made when private respondent was
already 37 years old, it was ineffective as it should have been made when he
reached the age of majority.

PHILIPPINES; AND THAT I IMPOSE THIS OBLIGATION UPON


MYSELF VOLUNTARILY, WITHOUT MENTAL RESERVATION OR
PURPOSE OF EVASION. I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT THE FACTS
STATED HEREIN ARE TRUE AND CORRECT OF MY OWN
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE.

In holding that by voting in Philippine elections private respondent


renounced his American citizenship, the COMELEC must have in mind 349
of the Immigration and Nationality Act of the United States, which provided
that "A person who is a national of the United States, whether by birth or
naturalization, shall lose his nationality by: . . . (e) Voting in a political
election in a foreign state or participating in an election or plebiscite to
determine the sovereignty over foreign territory." To be sure this provision
was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Afroyim
v. Rusk 16 as beyond the power given to the U.S. Congress to regulate
foreign relations. However, by filing a certificate of candidacy when he ran
for his present post, private respondent elected Philippine citizenship and in
effect renounced his American citizenship. Private respondent's certificate of
candidacy, filed on March 27, 1998, contained the following statements
made under oath:

The filing of such certificate of candidacy sufficed to renounce his American


citizenship, effectively removing any disqualification he might have as a dual
citizen. Thus, in Frivaldo v. COMELEC it was held: 17

6. I AM A FILIPINO CITIZEN (STATE IF


"NATURAL-BORN"
OR
"NATURALIZED")
NATURAL-BORN
xxx xxx xxx
10. I AM A REGISTERED VOTER OF PRECINCT NO. 747-A,
BARANGAY SAN LORENZO, CITY/MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI,
PROVINCE OF NCR.
11. I AM NOT A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF, OR IMMIGRANT
TO, A FOREIGN COUNTRY.
12. I AM ELIGIBLE FOR THE OFFICE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED.
I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE
PHILIPPINES AND WILL MAINTAIN TRUE FAITH AND
ALLEGIANCE THERETO; THAT I WILL OBEY THE LAWS,
LEGAL ORDERS AND DECREES PROMULGATED BY THE DULY
CONSTITUTED AUTHORITIES OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE

It is not disputed that on January 20, 1983 Frivaldo became


an American. Would the retroactivity of his repatriation not
effectively give him dual citizenship, which under Sec. 40 of
the Local Government Code would disqualify him "from
running for any elective local position?" We answer this
question in the negative, as there is cogent reason to hold
that Frivaldo was really STATELESS at the time he took said
oath of allegiance and even before that, when he ran for
governor in 1988. In his Comment, Frivaldo wrote that he
"had long renounced and had long abandoned his American
citizenship long before May 8, 1995. At best, Frivaldo was
stateless in the interim when he abandoned and
renounced his US citizenship but before he was repatriated
to his Filipino citizenship."
On this point, we quote from the assailed Resolution dated
December 19, 1995:
By the laws of the United States, petitioner
Frivaldo lost his American citizenship when
he took his oath of allegiance to the
Philippine Government when he ran for
Governor in 1988, in 1992, and in 1995.
Every certificate of candidacy contains an
oath of allegiance to the Philippine
Government.
These factual findings that Frivaldo has lost his foreign
nationality long before the elections of 1995 have not been
effectively rebutted by Lee. Furthermore, it is basic that such
findings of the Commission are conclusive upon this Court,

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 24

absent any showing of capriciousness or arbitrariness or


abuse.
There is, therefore, no merit in petitioner's contention that the oath of
allegiance contained in private respondent's certificate of candidacy is
insufficient to constitute renunciation that, to be effective, such renunciation
should have been made upon private respondent reaching the age of
majority since no law requires the election of Philippine citizenship to be
made upon majority age.
Finally, much is made of the fact that private respondent admitted that he is
registered as an American citizen in the Bureau of Immigration and
Deportation and that he holds an American passport which he used in his
last travel to the United States on April 22, 1997. There is no merit in this.
Until the filing of his certificate of candidacy on March 21, 1998, he had dual
citizenship. The acts attributed to him can be considered simply as the
assertion of his American nationality before the termination of his American
citizenship. What this Court said in Aznar v.COMELEC 18 applies mutatis
mundatis to private respondent in the case at bar:
. . . Considering the fact that admittedly Osmea was both a
Filipino and an American, the mere fact that he has a
Certificate staring he is an American does not mean that he
is not still a Filipino. . . . [T]he Certification that he is an
American does not mean that he is not still a Filipino,
possessed as he is, of both nationalities or citizenships.
Indeed, there is no express renunciation here of Philippine
citizenship; truth to tell, there is even no implied
renunciation of said citizenship. When We consider that the
renunciation needed to lose Philippine citizenship must be
"express," it stands to reason that there can be no such loss
of Philippine citizenship when there is no renunciation, either
"express" or "implied."
To recapitulate, by declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he is a
Filipino citizen; that he is not a permanent resident or immigrant of another
country; that he will defend and support the Constitution of the Philippines
and bear true faith and allegiance thereto and that he does so without
mental reservation, private respondent has, as far as the laws of this country
are concerned, effectively repudiated his American citizenship and anything
which he may have said before as a dual citizen.

On the other hand, private respondent's oath of allegiance to the Philippines,


when considered with the fact that he has spent his youth and adulthood,
received his education, practiced his profession as an artist, and taken part
in past elections in this country, leaves no doubt of his election of Philippine
citizenship.
His declarations will be taken upon the faith that he will fulfill his undertaking
made under oath. Should he betray that trust, there are enough sanctions
for declaring the loss of his Philippine citizenship through expatriation in
appropriate proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, 19 we sustained the
denial of entry into the country of petitioner on the ground that, after taking
his oath as a naturalized citizen, he applied for the renewal of his Portuguese
passport and declared in commercial documents executed abroad that he
was a Portuguese national. A similar sanction can be taken against any one
who, in electing Philippine citizenship, renounces his foreign nationality, but
subsequently does some act constituting renunciation of his Philippine
citizenship.
WHEREFORE, the
merit.1wphi1.nt
SO ORDERED.

petition

for certiorari is

DISMISSED

for

lack

of

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 25

RESOLUTION
TINGA, J.:
For resolution is the Petition1 for certiorari and mandamus filed by AklatAsosasyon Para Sa Kaunlaran Ng Lipunan At Adhikain Para Sa Tao, Inc.
(Aklat) assailing the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution2 dated
January 8, 2004, which dismissed its Petition3 for re-qualification as a partylist organization, and the Resolution4dated February 13, 2004, which denied
its Motion for Reconsideration.5
Briefly, the facts are as follows:
On November 20, 2003, Aklat filed a Petition for declaration of requalification as a party-list organization for purposes of the May
2004 elections. It alleged in its petition that it participated in the
2001 elections but was disqualified by the Comelec as it was found
not to have complied with the guidelines set by the Court in the case
of Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. Comelec (Bagong
Bayani case)6 for party-list organizations to qualify and participate as
such in the party-list elections. Accordingly, Aklat "re-organized itself
in order that it will comply with the 8-point guidelines enunciated by
the Supreme Court"7 in the said case.

G.R. No. 162203

April 14, 2004

AKLAT-ASOSASYON PARA SA KAUNLARAN NG LIPUNAN AT


ADHIKAIN
PARA
SA
TAO,
INC., petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC), respondent.

In its assailed Resolution dated January 8, 2004, the Comelec dismissed the
petition stating that Aklat cannot be considered as an organization
representing the marginalized and underrepresented groups as identified
under Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. 7941). According to the
Comelec, Aklats statement that it has re-organized itself does not cure this
defect as "there is nothing in the petition which will help us identify what
particular marginalized and underrepresented group AKLAT is now
representing."8 Further, the Comelec held that "AKLAT lumped all the
sectoral groups imaginable under the classification of regular members just
to convince us that it is now cured of its defect." 9
On January 15, 2004, Aklat filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated January
14, 2004, substantially averring that it has reorganized itself and taken the
necessary steps to make it an organization of, by and for the marginalized
and underrepresented groups of society, particularly the indigenous cultural
communities and the youth. To this end, it has allegedly effected a

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 26

fundamental change in its purposes as an organization, nature of its


membership and focus of its programs.10
The Comelec denied the motion in its questioned Resolution dated February
13, 2004, on three grounds, namely: the petition was filed beyond the
deadline set by the Comelec in Resolution No. 6320 for registration of partylist organizations; the petition was not one for re-qualification as Aklat was
never a registered party-list organization having failed to meet the eightpoint guidelines set by the Court in the Bagong Bayani case; and that its
decision not to extend the deadline for registration of party-list organizations
is valid, the Comelec being in the best position to make such a
determination.11
In the instant Petition, Aklat asserts that under Section 5 of R.A. 7941,
petitions for registration as a party-list organization may be filed not later
than ninety (90) days before the elections. It therefore had until February
10, 2004, the ninetieth (90th) day before the elections on May 10, 2004,
within which to file its petition. Hence, its petition, which was filed on
November 20, 2003, was filed within the allowed period. Section 5 of
Resolution No. 632012 which requires the filing of such petitions not later
than September 30, 2003, is null and void as it amends R.A. 7941.
It further maintains that it has complied with the eight-point guidelines set
in the Bagong Bayani case. Allegedly, Aklat has a total membership of over
4,000 persons who belong to the marginalized and underrepresented
groups. It has established information and coordination centers throughout
the country for the benefit and in representation of indigenous cultural
communities, farm and factory workers including fisherfolk and the youth.
Aklat also asserts that it is different from Asosasyon Para sa Kaunlaran ng
Industria ng Aklat (A.K.L.A.T.) which was previously de-registered by the
Comelec. Because of all these, Aklat contends that the Comelec gravely
abused its discretion when it denied its petition for re-qualification.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a Comment dated March 26,
2004, stating that the Comelec did not commit grave abuse of discretion in
issuing the assailed Resolutions. According to the OSG, Resolution No. 6320
is not in conflict with and is, in fact, germane to the purpose of R.A. 7941. It
was within the scope of the authority granted to the Comelec that it issued
Resolution No. 6320 setting the deadline for filing petitions for registration
under the party-list system on September 30, 2003. In line with the purpose
of R.A. 7941 to enable marginalized sectors to actively participate in

legislation, the Comelec must be given sufficient time to evaluate all


petitions for registration, at the same time allowing oppositions to be filed to
the end that only those truly qualified may be accredited under the party-list
system. Besides, Republic Act No. 8436 13 allows the Comelec to change the
periods and dates prescribed by law for certain pre-election acts to ensure
their accomplishment.
The OSG further maintains that the petition for re-qualification failed to
comply with the provisions of Resolution No. 6320. According to the OSG,
the petition was not properly verified there being no showing that Mr.
Dominador Buhain, the signatory of the verification and certification of nonforum shopping, was duly authorized by Aklat to verify or cause the
preparation and filing of the petition on its behalf. Moreover, Aklat was
registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission only on October 20,
2003, a month before it filed its petition for re-qualification. Hence, it has
not existed for a period of at least one (1) year prior to the filing of the
petition as required by Section 6 of Resolution No. 6320. The OSG also
points out that Aklat failed to support its petition with the documents
required under Section 7 of Resolution No. 6320, namely: a list of its officers
and members particularly showing that the majority of its membership
belongs to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors it seeks to
represent, and a track record or summary showing that it represents and
seeks to uplift the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of society.
Moreover, the OSG notes that the incorporators and directors of Aklat are
invariably known as pillars of the book publishing industry or authors.
Hence, even as re-organized, Aklat remains to be an association of authors,
book publishers, and publishing companies, rather than the organization of
indigenous cultural communities, farm and factory workers, fisherfolk and
youth it claims to be.
For its part, the Comelec filed a Comment dated March 29, 2004, stating
that the period of ninety (90) days prescribed in R.A. 7941 refers to the
prohibitive period beyond which petitions for registration may no longer be
filed. Furthermore, the documents submitted by Aklat do not prove that its
members belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of
society.
Aklats contention that Resolution No. 6320 is null and void as it amends and
amplifies R.A. 7941 deserves scant consideration. R.A. 7941 provides:

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 27

Sec. 5. Registration.Any organized group of persons may register


as a party, organization or coalition for purposes of the party-list
system by filing with the COMELEC not later than ninety (90) days
before the election a petition verified by its president or secretary
stating its desire to participate in the party-list system as a national,
regional or sectoral party or organization or a coalition of such
parties or organizations, attaching thereto its constitution, by-laws,
platform or program of government, list of officers, coalition
agreement and other relevant information as the COMELEC may
require: Provided, That the sectors shall include labor, peasant,
fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly,
handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and
professionals[Italics supplied.]
By its wording, R.A. 7941 itself supports the Comelecs position that the
period stated therein refers to the prohibitive period beyond which petitions
for registration should no longer be filed nor entertained. Put elsewise, it is
simply the minimum countback period which is not subject to reduction since
it is prescribed by law, but it is susceptible of protraction on account of
administrative necessities and other exigencies perceived by the poll body.
Verily, the Comelec has the power to promulgate the necessary rules and
regulations to enforce and administer election laws. This power includes the
determination, within the parameters fixed by law, of appropriate periods for
the accomplishment of certain pre-election acts like filing petitions for
registration under the party-list system. This is exactly what the Comelec did
when it issued its Resolution No. 6320 declaring September 30, 2003, as the
deadline for filing petitions for registration under the party-list system.
Considering these, as well as the multifarious pre-election activities that the
Comelec is mandated to undertake, the issuance of its Resolution No. 6320
cannot be considered tainted with grave abuse of discretion.
Neither is there grave abuse of discretion in the Comelecs denial of Aklats
petition on the ground that it failed to substantiate its claim that it
represents the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of society. It
should be noted that it was Aklat which asserted in its petition before the
poll body that it has re-organized and is now applying for re-qualification
after its de-registration for failure to comply with the guidelines set forth in
the Bagong Bayani case. Thus, the Comelec cannot be faulted for relying on
its earlier finding, absent any evidence in Aklats petition to the contrary,
that Aklat is not an organization representing the marginalized and

underrepresented sectors, but is actually a business interest or economic


lobby group which seeks the promotion and protection of the book
publishing industry.
Significantly, Aklat and A.K.L.A.T. have substantially the same incorporators.
In fact, four (4) of Aklats six (6) incorporators 14 are also incorporators of
A.K.L.A.T.15 This substantial similarity is hard to ignore and bolsters the
conclusion that the supposed re-organization undertaken by Aklat is plain
window-dressing as it has not really changed its character as a business
interest of persons in the book publishing industry.
The Court observes that Aklats articles of incorporation and document
entitled The Facts About Aklat which were attached to its petition for requalification contain general averments that it supposedly represents
marginalized groups such as the youth, indigenous communities, urban poor
and farmers/fisherfolk. These general statements do not measure up to the
first guideline set by the Bagong Bayani case for screening party-list
participants, i.e.,that "the political party, sector, organization or coalition
must represent the marginalized and underrepresented groups identified in
Section 5 of R.A. 7941. In other words, it must showthrough its
constitution, articles of incorporation, bylaws, history, platform of
government and track recordthat it represents and seeks to uplift
marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Verily, majority of its
membership should belong to the marginalized and underrepresented. And it
must demonstrate that in a conflict of interests, it has chosen or is likely to
choose the interest of such sectors." 16
In this regard, the Court notes with approval the OSGs contention that Aklat
has no track record to speak of concerning its representation of marginalized
and underrepresented constituencies considering that it has been in
existence for only a month prior to the filing of its petition for requalification.
It should finally be emphasized that the findings of fact by the Comelec, or
any other administrative agency exercising particular expertise in its field of
endeavor, are binding on the Supreme Court. 17
In view of the foregoing, the Comelec can, by no means, be held to have
committed grave abuse of discretion to justify the setting aside of the
assailed Resolutions.

ADMIN | FEB 20, 2016 28

ACCORDINGLY, the Petition is DISMISSED.


SO ORDERED