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G.R. No.

L-51201 May 29, 1980

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME OF MARIA ESTRELLA VERONICA
PRIMITIVA DUTERTE, ESTRELLA S. ALFON, petitioner,
vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

ABAD SANTOS, J.: +.wph! 1

This is a petition filed pursuant to Republic Act No. 5440 to review an Order of the Court of First Instance of
Rizal, Branch XXIII, dated December 29, 1978, which partially denied petitioner's prayer for a change of name.
Only a question of law is involved and there is no controversy over the facts which are well-stated in the
questioned Order as follows: t.hqw

This is verified petition filed on April 28, 1978 by petitioner Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva
Duterte through her counsel, Atty. Rosauro Alvarez, praying that her name be changed from
Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte to Estrella S. Alfon.

The notice setting the petition for hearing on December 14, 1978 at 8:30 o'clock in the
morning was published in the Times Journal in its issues of July 28, August 5 and 11, 1978
and a copy thereof together with a copy of the petition was furnished the Office of the Solicitor
General (Exhibits C, C-1, C-2 and C-3).

At the hearing of the petition on December 14, 1978, Atty. Rosauro Alvarez appeared for the
petitioner and Fiscal Donato Sor. Suyat, Jr. represented the office of the Solicitor General,
Upon motion of counsel for the petitioner, without objection on the part of Fiscal Suyat, the
Deputy Clerk of Court was appointed commissioner to receive the evidence and to submit the
same for resolution of the Court.

From the testimonial and document evidence presented, it appears that petitioner Maria
Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte was born on May 15, 1952 at the U.S.T. Hospital (Exhibit
A). She was registered at the local Civil Registrar's Office as Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva
Duterte On June 15, 1952, she was baptized as Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte at
the St. Anthony de Padua Church Singalong, Manila (Exhibit B). Her parents are Filomeno
Duterte and Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte has been taken cared of by Mr. and Mrs.
Hector Alfon. Petitioner and her uncle, Hector Alfon, have been residing at 728 J.R. Yulo
Street corner Ideal Street, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila for twenty-three (23) years. When
petitioner started schooling, she used the name Estrella S. Alfon. She attended her first grade
up to fourth year high school at Stella Maris College using the name Estrella S. Alfon (Exhibits
E, E-1, E-2 and E-3). After graduating from high school she enrolled at the Arellano University
and finished Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Exhibit E-4). Her scholastic records from
elementary to college show that she was registered by the name of Estrella S. Alfon.
Petitioner has exercised her right of suffrage under the same name (Exhibit D). She has not
committed any felony or misdemeanor (Exhibits G, G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4).

Petitioner has advanced the following reasons for filing the petition:

1. She has been using the name Estrella Alfon since her childhood;

2. She has been enrolled in the grade school and in college using the same name;

3. She has continuously used the name Estrella S. Alfon since her infancy and all her friends
and acquaintances know her by this name;
4. She has exercised her right of suffrage under the same name.

Section 5, Rule 103 of the Rules of Court provides:

Upon satisfactory proof in open court on the date fixed in the order that such order has been
published as directed and that the allegations of the petition are true, the court shall if proper
and reasonable cause appears for changing the name of the petitioner adjudge that such
name be changed in accordance with the prayer of the petition.

The evidence submitted shows that the change of name from Maria Estrella Veronica
Primitiva Duterte to Estrella Alfon is not proper and reasonable with respect to the surname.
The fact that petitioner has been using a different surname and has become known with such
surname does not constitute proper and reasonable cause to legally authorize and change
her surname to Alfon. The birth certificate clearly shows that the father of petitioner is
Filomeno Duterte. Petitioner likewise admitted this fact in her testimony. To allow petitioner to
change her surname from Duterte to Alfon is equivalent to allowing her to use her mother's
surname. Article 364 of the Civil Code provides:

Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father.

If another purpose of the petitioner is to carry the surname of Alfon because her uncle who
reared her since childhood has the surname "Alfon" then the remedy is not a petition for
change of name.

WHEREFORE, the petition insofar as the first name is granted but denied with respect to the
surname. Petitioner is authorized to change her name from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva
Duterte to Estrella Alfon Duterte.

Let copy of this order be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Pasig, Metro Manila pursuant to
Section 3, Rule 103 of the Rules of Court.

The lower court should have fully granted the petition.

The only reason why the lower court denied the petitioner's prayer to change her surname is that as legitimate
child of Filomeno Duterte and Estrella Alfon she should principally use the surname of her father invoking Art.
364 of the Civil Code. But the word "principally" as used in the codal provision is not equivalent to "exclusively"
so that there is no legal obstacle if a legitimate or legitimated child should choose to use the surname of its
mother to which it is equally entitled. Moreover, this Court in Haw Liong vs. Republic, G.R. No. L-21194. April
29, 1966, 16 SCRA 677, 679, said: t.hqw

The following may be considered, among others, as proper or reasonable causes that may
warrant the grant of a petitioner for change of name; (1) when the name is ridiculous, tainted
with dishonor, or is extremely difficult to write or pronounce; (2) when the request for change
is a consequence of a change of' status, such as when a natural child is acknowledged or
legitimated; and (3) when the change is necessary to avoid confusion Tolentino, Civil Code of
the Philippines, 1953 ed., Vol. 1, p. 660).

In the case at bar, it has been shown that petitioner has, since childhood, borne the name Estrella S. Alfon
although her birth records and baptismal certificate show otherwise; she was enrolled in the schools from the
grades up to college under the name Estrella S. Alfon; all her friends call her by this name; she finished her
course in Nursing in college and was graduated and given a diploma under this name; and she exercised the
right of suffrage likewise under this name. There is therefore ample justification to grant fully her petition which
is not whimsical but on the contrary is based on a solid and reasonable ground, i.e. to avoid confusion.
WHEREFORE, the Order appealed from is hereby modified in that, the petitioner is allowed to change not only
her first name but also her surname so as to be known as ESTRELLA S. ALFON. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

CASE DIGEST:

G.R. Nos. L-69810-14 June 19, 1985

TEODULO RURA, petitioner,


vs.
THE HON. GERVACIO A. LEOPENA, Presiding Judge of the 2nd Municipal Circuit Trial Court of
Tubigon-Clarin, Tubigon, Bohol and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

ABAD SANTOS, J.:

This case involves the application of the Probation Law (P.D. No. 968, as amended), more specifically Section
9 thereof which disqualifies from probation those persons:

(c) who have previously been convicted by final judgment of an offense punished by
imprisonment of not less than one month and one day and or a fine of not less than Two
Hundred Pesos.

Petitioner Teodulo Rura was accused, tried and convicted of five (5) counts of estafa committed on different
dates in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tubigon-Clarin, Tubigon, Bohol, denominated as Criminal Case
Nos. 523, 524, 525, 526 and 527.

The five cases were jointly tried and a single decision was rendered on August 18, 1983. Rura was sentenced
to a total prison term of seventeen (17) months and twenty-five (25) days. In each criminal case the sentence
was three (3) months and fifteen (15) days.

Rura appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Bohol but said court affirmed the decision of the lower court.
When the case was remanded to the court of origin for execution of judgment, Rura applied for probation. The
application was opposed by a probation officer of Bohol on the ground Chat Rura is disqualified for probation
under Sec. 9 (c) of the Probation law quoted above. The court denied the application for probation. A motion for
reconsideration was likewise denied. Hence the instant petition.

The question which is raised is whether or not the petitioner is disqualified for probation.

In denying the application for probation, the respondent judge said:

Though the five estafa cases were jointly tried and decided by the court convicting the
accused thereof, yet the dates of commission are different. Upon conviction he was guilty of
said offenses as of the dates of commission of the acts complained of. (Rollo, p, 58.)

Upon the other hand, the petitioner argues:

We beg to disagree. There is no previous conviction by final judgment to speak of. The five (5)
cases of Estafa were tried jointly and there is only one decision rendered on the same date
August 18. 1983. It could not be presumed that accused-petitioner had been convicted one
after the other for the five cases of Estafa because the conviction in these cases took place
within the same day, August 18, 1983 by means of a Joint Decision, and not in a separate
decision.

Previous conviction, we submit, presupposes that there is a prior sentence or that there was

already a decision rendered which convicted the accused. In this instant cases, however,
there is only one decision rendered on the five (5) counts of Estafa which was promulgated on
the same date. In other words the effects of conviction does not retract to the date of the
commission of the offense as the trial court held. (Id., pp, 8-9.)

We hold for the petitioner. When he applied for probation he had no previous conviction by final judgment.
When he applied for probation the only conviction against him was the judgment which was the subject of his
application. The statute relates "previous" to the date of conviction, not to the date of the commission of the
crime.

WHEREFORE, the petition is granted and the respondent judge is directed to give due course to the
petitioner's application for probation. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

CASE DIGEST:

Rura v. Lopena
Probation law - Disqualified from probation those: who have been previously convicted by final judgment of an
offense punished by imprisonment of not less than 1 month & a fine of no less than Php 200.
ISSUE: previously convicted
HELD: it refers to date of conviction, not date of commission of crime; thus a person convicted on same date of
several offenses committed in different dates is not disqualified.

G.R. No. L-64313 January 17, 1985

NATIONAL HOUSING CORPORATION, petitioner,


vs.
BENJAMIN JUCO AND THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, respondents.

Government Corporate Counsel for petitioner.

Amante A. Pimentel for respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:

Are employees of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) covered by the Labor Code or by laws and
regulations governing the civil service?

The background facts of this case are stated in the respondent-appellee's brief as follows:

The records reveal that private respondent (Benjamin C. Juco) was a project engineer of the
National Housing Corporation (NHC) from November 16, 1970 to May 14, 1975. For having
been implicated in a crime of theft and/or malversation of public funds involving 214 pieces of
scrap G.I. pipes owned by the corporation which was allegedly committed on March 5, 1975.
Juco's services were terminated by (NHC) effective as of the close of working hours on May
14, 1975. On March 25, 1977 he filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioner (NHC)
with Regional Office No. 4, Department of Labor (now Ministry of Labor and Employment)
docketed as R04-3-3309-77 (Annex A, Petition). The said complaint was certified by Regional
Branch No. IV of the NLRC for compulsory arbitration where it was docketed as Case No. RB-
IV-12038-77 and assigned to Labor Arbiter Ernilo V. Pealosa. The latter conducted the
hearing. By agreement of the parties, the case was submitted for resolution upon submission
of their respective position papers. Private respondent (Juco) submitted his position paper on
July 15, 1977. He professed innocence of the criminal acts imputed against him contending
"that he was dismissed based on purely fabricated charges purposely to harass him because
he stood as a witness in the theft case filed against certain high officials of the respondent's
establishment" (NHC) and prayed for 'his immediate reinstatement to his former position in the
(NHC) without loss of seniority rights and the consequent payment of his will back wages plus
all the benefits appertaining thereto. On July 28, 1977, the NHC also filed its position paper
alleging that the Regional Office Branch IV, Manila, NLRC, "is without authority to entertain
the case for lack of jurisdiction, considering that the NHC is a government owned and
controlled corporation; that even assuming that this case falls within the jurisdiction of this
Office, respondent firm (now petitioner) maintains that respondent (Juco), now private
respondent, was separated from the service for valid and justified reasons, i.e., for having sold
company properties consisting of 214 pieces of scrap G.I. pipes at a junk shop in Alabang,
Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, and thereafter appropriating the proceeds thereof to his own
benefit."

The pertinent portion of the decision of respondent National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) reads:

The fact that in the early case of Fernandez v. Cedro (NLRC Case No. 201165-74, May 19,
1975) the Commission, (Second Division) ruled that the respondent National Housing
Corporation is a government-owned or controlled corporation does not preclude us from later
taking a contrary stand if by doing so the ends of justice could better be served.

For although adherence to precedents (stare decisis) is a sum formula for achieving uniformity
of action and conducive to the smooth operation of an office, Idolatrous reverence for
precedents which have outlived their validity and usefulness retards progress and should
therefore be avoided. In fact, even courts do reverse themselves for reasons of justice and
equity. This Commission as an Administrative body performing quasi judicial function is no
exception.

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the decision appealed from is hereby, set aside.
In view, however, of the fact that the Labor Arbiter did not resolve the issue of illegal dismissal
we have opted to remand this case to the Labor Arbiter a quo for resolution of the
aforementioned issue.

The NHC is a one hundred percent (100%) government-owned corporation organized in accordance with
Executive Order No. 399, the Uniform Charter of Government Corporations, dated January 5, 1951. Its shares
of stock are owned by the Government Service Insurance System the Social Security System, the
Development Bank of the Philippines, the National Investment and Development Corporation, and the People's
Homesite and Housing Corporation. Pursuant to Letter of Instruction No. 118, the capital stock of NHC was
increased from P100 million to P250 million with the five government institutions above mentioned subscribing
in equal proportion to the increased capital stock. The NHC has never had any private stockholders. The
government has been the only stockholder from its creation to the present.

There should no longer be any question at this time that employees of government-owned or controlled
corporations are governed by the civil service law and civil service rules and regulations.

Section 1, Article XII-B of the Constitution specifically provides:


The Civil Service embraces every branch, agency, subdivision, and instrumentality of the
Government, including every government-owned or controlled corporation. ...

The 1935 Constitution had a similar provision in its Section 1, Article XI I which stated:

A Civil Service embracing all branches and subdivisions of the Government shall be provided
by law.

The inclusion of "government-owned or controlled corporations" within the embrace of the civil service shows a
deliberate effort of the framers to plug an earlier loophole which allowed government-owned or controlled
corporations to avoid the full consequences of the an encompassing coverage of the civil service system. The
same explicit intent is shown by the addition of "agency" and "instrumentality" to branches and subdivisions of
the Government. All offices and firms of the government are covered.

The amendments introduced in 1973 are not Idle exercises or a meaningless gestures. They carry the strong
message that t civil service coverage is broad and an- embracing insofar as employment in the government in
any of its governmental or corporate arms is concerned.

The constitutional provision has been implemented by statute. Presidential Decree No. 807 is unequivocal that
personnel of government-owned or controlled corporations belong to the civil service and are subject to civil
service requirements.

It provides:

SEC. 56. Government-owned or Controlled Corporations Personnel. All permanent


personnel of government-owned or controlled corporations whose positions are now
embraced in the civil service shall continue in the service until they have been given a chance
to qualify in an appropriate examination, but in the meantime, those who do not possess the
appropriate civil service eligibility shag not be promoted until they qualify in an appropriate
civil service examination. Services of temporary personnel may be terminated any time.

The very Labor Code, P. D. No. 442 as amended, which the respondent NLRC wants to apply in its entirety to
the private respondent provides:

ART. 277. Government employees. The terms and conditions of employment of all
government employees, including employees of government-owned and controlled
corporations shall be governed by the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations. Their salaries
shall be standardized by the National Assembly as provided for in the New Constitution.
However, there shall be reduction of existing wages, benefits and other terms and conditions
of employment being enjoyed by them at the time of the adoption of the Code.

Our decision in Alliance of Government Workers, et al v. Honorable Minister of Labor and Employment et
all. (124 SCRA 1) gives the background of the amendment which includes government-owned or controlled
corporations in the embrace of the civil service.

We stated:

Records of the 1971 Constitutional Convention show that in the deliberation held relative to
what is now Section 1(1), Article XII-B, supra, the issue of the inclusion of government-owned
or controlled corporations figured prominently.

The late delegate Roberto S. Oca, a recognized labor leader, vehemently objected to the
inclusion of government-owned or controlled corporations in the Civil Service. He argued that
such inclusion would put asunder the right of workers in government corporations, recognized
in jurisprudence under the 1935 Constitution, to form and join labor unions for purposes of
collective bargaining with their employers in the same manner as in the private section (see:
records of 1971 Constitutional Convention).

In contrast, other labor experts and delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention
enlightened the members of the Committee on Labor on the divergent situation of government
workers under the 1935 Constitution, and called for its rectification. Thus, in a Position Paper
dated November 22, 197 1, submitted to the Committee on Labor, 1971 Constitutional
Convention, then Acting Commissioner of Civil Service Epi Rey Pangramuyen declared:

It is the stand, therefore, of this Commission that by reason of the nature of


the public employer and the peculiar character of the public service, it must
necessary regard the right to strike given to unions in private industry as not
applying to public employees and civil service employees. It has been stated
that the Government, in contrast to the private employer, protects the
interests of all people in the public service, and that accordingly, such
conflicting interests as are present in private labor relations could not exist in
the relations between government and those whom they employ.

Moreover, determination of employment conditions as well as supervision of


the management of the public service is in the hands of legislative bodies. It
is further emphasized that government agencies in the performance of their
duties have a right to demand undivided allegiance from their workers and
must always maintain a pronounced esprit de corps or firm discipline among
their staff members. It would be highly incompatible with these requirements
of the public service, if personnel took orders from union leaders or put
solidarity with members of the working class above solidarity with the
Government. This would be inimical to the public interest.

Moreover, it is asserted that public employees by joining labor unions may


be compelled to support objectives which are political in nature and thus
jeopardize the fundamental principle that the governmental machinery must
be impartial and non-political in the sense of party politics. (See: Records of
1971 Constitutional Convention).

Similar, Delegate Leandro P. Garcia, expressing for the inclusion of government-owned or


controlled corporations in the Civil Service, argued:

It is meretricious to contend that because Government-owned or controlled


corporations yield profits, their employees are entitled to better wages and
fringe benefits than employees of Government other than Government-
owned and controlled corporations which are not making profits. There is no
gainsaying the fact that the capital they use is the people's money. (see:
Records of the 1971 Constitutional Convention).

Summarizing the deliberations of the 1971 Constitutional Convention on the inclusion of


Government-owned or controlled corporation Dean Joaquin G. Bernas, SJ., of the Ateneo de
Manila University Professional School of Law, stated that government-owned corporations
came under attack as g cows of a privileged few enjoying salaries far higher than their
counterparts in the various branches of government, while the capital of these corporations
belongs to the Government and government money is pumped into them whenever on the
brink of disaster, and they should therefore come under the strict surveillance of the Civil
Service System. (Bernas, The 1973 Philippine Constitution, Notes and Cases, 1974 ed., p.
524).

Applying the pertinent provisions of the Constitution, the Labor Code as amended, and the Civil Service Decree
as amended and the precedent in the Alliance of Government Workers decision, it is clear that the petitioner
National Housing Corporation comes under the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission, not the Ministry of
Labor and Employment.

This becomes more apparent if we consider the fact that the NHC performs governmental functions and not
proprietary ones.

The NHC was organized for the governmental objectives stated in its amended articles of incorporation as
follows:

SECOND: That the purpose for which the corporation is organized is to assist and carry out
the coordinated massive housing program of the government, principally but not limited to
low-cost housing with the integration cooperation and assistance of all governmental agencies
concerned, through the carrying on of any or all the following activities:

l) The acquisition, development or reclamation of lands for the purpose of construction and
building therein preferably low-cost housing so as to provide decent and durable dwelling for
the greatest number of inhabitants in the country;

2) The promotion and development of physical social and economic community growth
through the establishment of general physical plans for urban, suburban and metropolitan
areas to be characterized by efficient land use patterns;

3) The coordination and implementation of all projects of the government for the
establishment of nationwide and massive low cost housing;

4) The undertaking and conducting of research and technical studies of the development and
promotion of construction of houses and buildings of sound standards of design liability,
durability, safety, comfort and size for improvement of the architectural and engineering
designs and utility of houses and buildings with the utilization of new and/or native materials
economics in material and construction, distribution, assembly and construction and of
applying advanced housing and building technology.

5) Construction and installation in these projects of low-cost housing privately or cooperatively


owned water and sewerage system or waste disposal facilities, and the formulations of a
unified or officially coordinated urban transportation system as a part of a comprehensive
development plan in these areas.

The petitioner points out that it was established as an instrumentality of the government to accomplish
governmental policies and objectives and extend essential services to the people. It would be incongruous if
employees discharging essentially governmental functions are not covered by the same law and rules which
govern those performing other governmental functions. If government corporations discharging proprietary
functions now belong to the civil service with more reason should those performing governmental functions be
governed by civil service law.

The respondent NLRC cites a 1976 opinion of the Secretary of Justice which holds that the phrase
"government-owned or controlled corporations" in Section 1, Article XII-B of the Constitution contemplates only
those government-owned or controlled corporations created by special law. The opinion states that since the
Constitution provides for the organization or regulation of private corporations only by "general law", expressly
excluding government-owned or controlled corporations, it follows that whenever the Constitution mentions
government-owned or controlled corporations, it must refer to those created by special law. P.D. No. 868 which
repeals all charters, laws, decrees, rules, and provisions exempting any branch, agency, subdivision, or
instrumentality of the government, including government- owned or controlled corporations from the civil
service law and rules is also cited to show that corporations not governed by special charters or laws are not to
be brought within civil service coverage. The discussions in the Constitutional Convention are also mentioned.
It appears that at the time the Convention discussed government-owned or controlled corporations, all such
corporations were organized only under special laws or charters.
The fact that "private" corporations owned or controlled by the government may be created by special charter
does not mean that such corporations not created by special law are not covered by the civil service. Nor does
the decree repealing all charters and special laws granting exemption from the civil service law imply that
government corporations not created by special law are exempt from civil service coverage. These charters
and statutes are the only laws granting such exemption and, therefore, they are the only ones which could be
repealed. There was no similar exempting provision in the general law which called for repeal. And finally, the
fact that the Constitutional Convention discussed only corporations created by special law or charter cannot be
an argument to exclude petitioner NHC from civil service coverage. As stated in the cited speech delivered
during the convention sessions of March 9, 1972, all government corporations then in existence were
organized under special laws or charters. The convention delegates could not possibly discuss government-
owned or controlled corporations which were still non-existent or about whose existence they were unaware.

Section I of Article XII-B, Constitution uses the word "every" to modify the phrase "government-owned or
controlled corporation."

"Every" means each one of a group, without exception It means all possible and all taken one by one. Of
course, our decision in this case refers to a corporation created as a government-owned or controlled entity. It
does not cover cases involving private firms taken over by the government in foreclosure or similar
proceedings. We reserve judgment on these latter cases when the appropriate controversy is brought to this
Court.

The infirmity of the respondents' position lies in its permitting a circumvention or emasculation of Section 1,
Article XII-B of the Constitution It would be possible for a regular ministry of government to create a host of
subsidiary corporations under the Corporation Code funded by a willing legislature. A government-owned
corporation could create several subsidiary corporations. These subsidiary corporations would enjoy the best of
two worlds. Their officials and employees would be privileged individuals, free from the strict accountability
required by the Civil Service Decree and the regulations of the Commission on Audit. Their incomes would not
be subject to the competitive restraints of the open market nor to the terms and conditions of civil service
employment. Conceivably,all government-owned or controlled corporations could be created, no longer by
special charters, but through incorporation under the general law. The constitutional amendment including such
corporations in the embrace of the civil service would cease to have application. Certainly, such a situation
cannot be allowed to exist.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The questioned decision of the respondent National Labor
Relations Commission is SET ASIDE. The decision of the Labor Arbiter dismissing the case before it for lack of
jurisdiction is REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.

CASE DIGEST:

G . R . N o . 9 8 1 0 7 A u g u s t 1 8 , 1 9 9 7 BENJAMIN C. JUCO,
petitioner,vs.N A T I O N A L L A B O R R E L A T I O N S C O M M I S S I O N a n d N A T I O N A L H O U S I N
G CORPORATION, respondents.

FACTS:

Juco was hired as project engineer of NHC from Nov16, 1970 to May 14, 75. On May 14, he was separated from the
service for having been implicated in a crime of theft and/or malversation of public funds.On March25, 1977, Juco
filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against NHC with the Department of Labor. Labor Arbiter rendered a
decision dismissing complaint on the ground that NLRC had no jurisdiction over the case. Juco then elevated the
case to NLRC which rendered a decision reversing decision of Labor Arbiter.NHC appealed before this SC. On
Jan6, 1989, Juco filed with CSC a complaint for illeg al dismissal, with p r e l i m
Mandatory injunction. NHC moved for dismissal of complaint on the ground that CSC
h a s n o jurisdiction over case. So, having no jurisdiction, CSC dismissed the case. Subsequently Juco also filed with
NLRC complaint for illegal dism issal with prelim mandatory injunction. Labor Arbiter Caday rendered
a decision declaring that Jucos dismissal was illegal. NHC appealed before NLRC and later on,
NLRC reversed the decision of Labor Arbiter Caday on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
ISSUE : Whether NLRC or CSC has jurisdiction over Jucos case.

HELD: Article IX, Section 2 (1) of the 1987 Constitution provides: The civil service embraces all branches,
subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies of the Government, including government owned and controlled corporations with
original charters.
In NASECO v NLRC SC had occasion to apply the present Constitution in deciding whether or not the
employees of NASECO are covered by the Civil Service Law or the Labor Code notwithstanding that
the case arose at the time when the 1973 Constitution was still in effect. It was ruled that the NLRC has
jurisdiction over the employees of NASECO on the ground that it is the 1987 Constitution that governs because it is
the Constitution in place at the time of the decision. Furthermore, the new phrase "with original charter" means that
government-owned and controlled corporations refer to corporations chartered by special law as distinguished from
corporations organized under the Corporation Code. Thus, NASECO which had been organized under the general
incorporation statute and a subsidiary of the National Investment Development Corporation, which in turn was a
subsidiary of the Philippine National Bank, is exluded from the purview of the Civil Service Commission. The National
Housing Corporation is a government owned corporation organized in
1959i n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h E x e c u t i v e O r d e r N o . 3 9 9 , o t h e r w i s e k n o w n a s t h e U n i f o r m C h a r t e
r o f Government Corporation, dated January 1, 1959. Its shares of stock are and have been one
hundred percent (100%) owned by the Government from its incorporation under Act 1459, the former
corporation law. The government entities that own its shares of stock are the Government Service Insurance System,
the Social Security System, the Development Bank of the Philippines, the National Investment and Development
Corporation and the People's Home site and Housing Corporation. 13 Considering the fact that the NHA had
been incorporated under Act 1459, the f o r m e r
COrporation law, it is but correct to say that it is a government-
o w n e d o r c o n t r o l l e d corporation whose employees are subject to the provisions of the Labor Code. This
observation is reiterated in the recent case of Trade Union of the Philippines and Allied Services (TUPAS) v. National
Housing Corporation, 14 where we held that the NHA is now within the jurisdiction of
heD e p a r t m e n t o f L a b o r a n d E m p l o y m e n t , i t b e i n g a g o v e r n m e n t -
o w n e d a n d / o r c o n t r o l l e d corporation without an original charter. Furthermore, we also held that the workers or
employees of the NHC (now NHA) undoubtedly have the right to form unions or employee's organization and that
there is no impediment to the holding of a certification election among them as they are covered by the
Labor Code. Thus, the NLRC erred in dismissing petitioner's complaint for lack of jurisdiction because the rule now is
that the Civil Service now covers only government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters. 15 Having
been incorporated under the Corporation L a w , i t s r e l a t i o n s w i t h i t s p e r s o n n e l a r e g o v e r n e d b y t h e
L a b o r C o d e a n d c o m e u n d e r t h e jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Commission.

G.R. No. L-30057 January 31, 1984

BRUNO O. APARRI, petitioner,


vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and LAND AUTHORITY, the latter in substitution for REMEDIOS O. FORTICH,
as Chairman, ANGELINO M. BANZON, RAFAEL B. HILAO, VALERIANO PLANTILLA and SEVERO YAP,
as members of the Board of Directors of the defunct National Resettlement and Rehabilitation
Administration (NARRA), respondents.

Enrique D. Tayag for petitioner.

Magno B. Pablo and Cipriano A. Tan for respondent Land Authority.

MAKASIAR, J.:

This petition for certiorari seeks to review the decision of the then Court of Appeals (now Intermediate Appellate
Court under BP 129) dated September 24, 1968, affirming the decision of the then Court of First Instance (now
Regional Trial Court), the dispositive portion of which is as follows:
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the lower court insofar as it decrees the dismissal of the
present petition for mandamus is hereby affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs (p. 50,
rec.).

The facts of the case are as follows:

On January 15, 1960, private respondents (as members of the Board of Directors of the defunct National
Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration created under Republic Act No. 1160, approved June 18, 1954
NARRA) approved the following resolution:

RESOLUTION NO. 13 (Series of 1960)

RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved, to appoint Mr. Bruno 0. Aparri, as General Manager of


the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) with all the rights,
prerogatives and compensation appurtenant thereto to take effect on January 16, 1960);

RESOLVED FURTHER, as it is hereby resolved, to inform the President of the Philippines of


the above appointment of Mr. Aparri (p. 2, rec.).

Pursuant thereto, private respondent Remedies O. Fortich, in her capacity as Chairman of the NARRA Board,
appointed petitioner Bruno O. Aparri as reflected in the following letter:

Manila,
January
22,
1960

Mr. Bruno O. Aparri c/o NARRA, Manila

SIR:

You are hereby appointed as GENERAL MANAGER in the National Resettlement and
Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) with compensation at the rate of TWELVE
THOUSAND (P12,000.00) PESOS per annum the appointment to take effect January 16,1960
. . . . REINSTATEMENT ... (p. 2, rec.).

The power of the Board of Directors of the NARRA to appoint the general manager is provided for in paragraph
(2),Section 8, Republic Act No. 1160 (approved June 18, 1954), to wit:

Sec. 8. Powers and Duties of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall have the
following powers and duties: ...

2) To appoint and fix the term of office of General Manager ..., subject to the recommendation
of the Office of Economic Coordination and the approval of the President of the Philippines,
.... The Board, by a majority vote of all members, may, for cause, upon recommendation of
the Office of Economic Coordination and with the approval of the President of the Philippines,
suspend and/or remove the General Manager and/or the Assistant General Manager (p. 46,
rec., emphasis supplied).

On March 15, 1962, the same Board of Directors approved the following resolution:

RESOLUTION NO. 24 (Series of 1962)


WHEREAS, the Chairman of the Board has transmitted to the Board of Directors the desire of
the Office of the President Malacanang, Manila, to fix the term of office of the incumbent
General Manager up to the close of office hours on March 31, 1962, in accordance with the
provision of Section 8, sub-section 2 of R.A. No. 1160;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved, that the Board of Directors


hereby fix, as it is hereby fixed, the term of office of the incumbent General Manager of the
National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) to March 31, 1962 (pp. 6-7,
rec., emphasis supplied).

Petitioner filed a petition for mandamus with preliminary injunction with the then Court of First Instance of
Manila on March 29, 1962. The petition prayed to annul the resolution of the NARRA Board dated March 15,
1962, to command the Board to allow petitioner to continue in office as General Manager until he vacates said
office in accordance with law and to sentence the private respondents jointly and severally to pay the petitioner
actual damages in the sum of P95,000.00, plus costs.

On August 8, 1963, when the case was still pending decision in the lower court, Republic Act No. 3844,
otherwise known as the Agricultural Land Reform Code, took effect. The said law abolished the NARRA (Sec.
73, R.A. 3844) and transferred its functions and powers to the Land Authority. On October 21, 1963, the then
Court of First Instance of Manila rendered judgment, finding "that this case has become academic by reason of
the approval of the Agricultural Land Reform Code (Republic Act No. 3844) and thereby dismissing the instant
petition without pronouncement as to costs" (p. 5, rec.).

On appeal to the then Court of Appeals, the appellate tribunal speaking through then Mr. Justice Antonio C.
Lucero, affirmed the decision of the lower court. in dismissing the petition for mandamus. Pertinent provisions
of the decision are as follows:

xxx xxx xxx

In the light of the foregoing facts, it is evident that Bruno O. Aparri accepted the position of
General Manager without fixed term and his appointment is, in essence, terminable at the
pleasure of the appointing power which, in this case, is the Board of Directors. Where, as in
the case at bar, the appointing officer, that is, the Board of Directors, had fixed the term of
office of the incumbent Manager to end on March 31, 1962, the replacement of Bruno O.
Aparri is not removal but by reason of the term of his office which is one of the recognized
modes of terminating official relations. Considering that the term of office of the General
Manager of the NARRA is not fixed by law nor has it been fixed by the Board of Directors at
the time of his appointment although it had the power to do so, it is obvious that the term of
office of herein petitioner Bruno O. Aparri expired on March 31, 1962 and his right to hold the
said office was thereby extinguished. In other words, Bruno O. Aparri cessation from office
invokes no removal but merely the expiration of the term of office which was within the power
of the Board of Directors to fix. Hence, Bruno O. Aparri continues only for so long as the term
of his office has not ended (Alba vs. Hon. Jose N. Evangelists, 100 Phil. 683) [Decision of the
Court of Appeals, pp. 48-49, rec., emphasis supplied].

The motion for reconsideration by petitioner in the then Court of Appeals was denied on January 10, 1969.

On January 20, 1969, the petitioner filed a petition for certiorari to review the decision of the then Court of
Appeals dated September 24, 1968 (pp. 1-41, rec.). The same was initially denied for lack of merit in a
resolution dated January 27, 1969 (p. 55, rec.); but on motion for reconsideration filed on February 11, 1969,
the petition was given due course (p. 66, rec.).

The only legal issue sought to be reviewed is whether or not Board Resolution No. 24 (series of 1962) was a
removal or dismissal of petitioner without cause.

WE affirm. WE hold that the term of office of the petitioner expired on March 31, 1962.
A public office is the right, authority, and duty created and conferred by law, by which for a given period, either
fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the creating power, an individual is invested with some portion of the
sovereign functions of the government, to be exercise by him for the benefit of the public ([Mechem Public
Offices and Officers,] Sec. 1). The right to hold a public office under our political system is therefore not a
natural right. It exists, when it exists at all only because and by virtue of some law expressly or impliedly
creating and conferring it (Mechem Ibid., Sec. 64). There is no such thing as a vested interest or an estate in an
office, or even an absolute right to hold office. Excepting constitutional offices which provide for special
immunity as regards salary and tenure, no one can be said to have any vested right in an office or its salary (42
Am. Jur. 881).

The National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) was created under Republic Act No.
1160 (approved June 18,1954), which provides that:

Sec. 2. NATIONAL RESETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION ADMINISTRATION ... there


is hereby created a corporation to be known as National Resettlement and Rehabilitation
Administration hereafter referred to as "NARRA" to perform under the supervision and control
of the President of the Philippines, through the Office of Economic Coordinator all the duties
and functions of the Bureau of Lands as provided for in Commonwealth Act numbered Six
Hundred and Ninety-one, as amended, and such other duties as are hereinafter specified in
this Act. It shall be headed by a General Manager and an Assistant Manager who shall be
appointed as hereinafter provided (emphasis supplied).

Paragraph 2, Section 8 of Republic Act 1160 expressly gives to the Board of Directors of the NARRA the power
"to appoint and fix the term of office of the general manager ... subject to the recommendation of Economic
Coordination and the approval of the President of the Philippines" (emphasis supplied).

By "appointment" is meant the act of designation by the executive officer, board or body, to whom that power
has been delegated, of the individual who is to exercise the functions of a given office (Mechem op. cit., Sec.
102). When the power of appointment is absolute, and the appointee has been determined upon, no further
consent or approval is necessary, and the formal evidence of the appointment, the commission, may issue at
once. Where, however, the assent or confirmationof some other officer or body is required, the Commission
can issue or the appointment is complete only when such assent or condition is obtained (People vs. Bissell, 49
Cal. 407). To constitute an "appointment" to office, there must be some open, unequivocal act of appointment
on the part of the appointing authority empowered to make it, and it may be said that an appointment to office is
made and is complete when the last act required of the appointing authority has been performed (Molnar vs.
City of Aurora, 348 N.E. 2d 262, 38 III App. 3d 580). In either case, the appointment becomes complete when
the last act required of the appointing power is performed (State vs. Barbour, 53 Conn. 76, 55 Am. Rep. 65).

The petitioner was appointed as general manager pursuant to Resolution No. 13 (series of 1960 approved
on January 15, 1960) of the Board of Directors. A careful perusal of the resolution points out the fact that the
appointment is by itself incomplete because of the lack of approval of the President of the Philippines to such
appointment. Thus, We note that Resolution No. 13 states:

xxx xxx xxx

... RESOLVED FURTHER, as it is hereby resolved, to inform the President of the Philippines
of the above appointment of Mr. Aparri (p. 2, rec.).

Presumably, the Board of Directors of the NARRA expected that such appointment be given approval by the
then President. Lacking such approval by the President as required by the law (par. 2, Sec. 8 of R.A. 1160), the
appointment of petitioner was not complete. The petitioner can, at best, be classified as a de facto officer
because he assumed office "under color of a known appointment or election, void because the officer was not
eligible or because there was a want of power in the electing body, or by reasons of some defect or irregularity
in its exercise, such ineligibility, want of power, or defect being unknown to the public" (State vs. Carroll, 38
Conn. 449, 9Am. Rep. 409).
However, such appointment was made complete upon approval of Resolution No. 24 (series of 1962-approved
March 15, 1962) wherein the President submitted to the Board his "desire" to fix the term of office of the
petitioner up to the close of office hours on March 31, 1962. The questioned resolution corrected whatever
requisite lacking in the earlier Resolution No. 13 of the respondent Board. Resolution No. 24, approved by the
respondent Board and pursuant to "the desire of the President" legally fixed the term of office of petitioner as
mandated by paragraph 2, Section 8 of Republic Act 1160.

The word "term" in a legal sense means a fixed and definite period of time which the law describes that an
officer may hold an office (Sueppel vs. City Council of Iowa City, 136 N.W. 2D 523, quoting 67 CJS
OFFICERS, secs. 42, 54[1]). According to Mochem, the term of office is the period during which an office may
be held. Upon the expiration of the officer's term, unless he is authorized by law to hold over, his rights, duties
and authority as a pubic officer must ipso facto cease (Mechem, op. cit., Secs. 396-397). In the law on Public
Officers, the most natural and frequent method by which a public officer ceases to be such is by the expiration
of the term for which he was elected or appointed. The question of when this event has occurred depends upon
a number of considerations, the most prominent of which, perhaps, are whether he was originally elected or
appointed for a definite term or for a termdependent upon some act or event ... (Mechem op. cit., Sec. 384).

It is necessary in each case to interpret the word "term" with the purview of statutes so as to effectuate the
statutory scheme pertaining to the office under examination (Barber vs. Blue, 417 P.2D 401, 51 Cal. Rptr. 865,
65 C.2d N5). In the case at bar, the term of office is not fixed by law. However, the power to fix the term is
vested in the Board of Directors subject to the recommendation of the Office of Economic Coordination and the
approval of the President of the Philippines. Resolution No. 24 (series of 1962) speaks of no removal but an
expiration of the term of office of the petitioner. The statute is undeniably clear. It is the rule in statutory
construction that if the words and phrase of a statute are not obscure or ambiguous, its meaning and the
intention of the legislature must be determined from the language employed, and, where there is no ambiguity
in the words, there is no room for construction (Black on Interpretation of Laws, Sec. 51). The courts may not
speculate as to the probable intent of the legislature apart from the words (Hondoras vs. Soto, 8 Am. St., Rep.
744). The reason for the rule is that the legislature must be presumed to know the meaning of words, to have
used words advisedly and to have expressed its intent by the use of such words as are found in the statute (50
Am. Jur. p. 212).

Removal entails the ouster of an incumbent before the expiration of his term (Manalang vs. Quitoriano, 50 O.G.
2515). The petitioner in this case was not removed before the expiration of his term. Rather, his right to hold
the office ceased by the expiration on March 31, 1962 of his term to hold such office.

WHEREFORE, THE DECISION APPEALED FROM IS HEREBY AFFIRMED. WITHOUT COSTS.

SO ORDERED.

CASE DIGEST:

Facts:

On January 15, 1960, private respondent approved the following resolution # 13, hereby appointing Mr. Bruno Aparri, as
general manager of NARRA, with all the rights, prerogatives and compensations to take effect on January 116, 1960.
On March 15, 1962, the board of directors approved resolution # 24 which stating thereat that the incumbent general
manager shall perform his duty up to the close of office hour on March 31, 1962. In accordance with the provisions of
section 8, sub-section 2 of RA 1160. It hereby fixes the term of office of the incumbent general manager until march 31,
1962. Petitioner file a mandamus with preliminary injunction with the first instance court. The petition pray for the
annulment of the resolution of NARRA board.

Issue:

Whether or not board resolution No. 24 was a removal or dismissal of petitioner without cause.
Held:

It was affirmed that the term of office of petitioner expired on March 31, 1962. It is necessary in each case to interpret the
word "Term" with the purview of the statutes so as to effectuate the statutory scheme pertaining to the office under
examination. In the case at bar, the term of office is not fixed by law. However, the power to fix the term is rested in the
board of directors subject to the recommendation of the office of economic coordination and the approval of the president
of the philippines. Resolution No. 24 speaks of no removal but an expiration of the term of office of the petitioner. The
statute is undeniably clear. "It is the rule in statutory construction that if the words and phrases of a statute are not obscure
or ambiguous. Its meaning and intention of the legislative must be determined from the language employed and where
there is no ambiguity in words, there is no room for construction.

The petitioner in this case was not removed before the expiration of his term rather, his right to hold office ceased by the
expiration on March 31, 1962, of his term to hold such office.

G.R. No. L-28396 December 29, 1967

AGRIPINO DEMAFILES, petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, PROVINCIAL BOARD OF ANTIQUE, in its capacity as Board of
Canvassers for the newly created Municipality of Sebaste of the Province of Antique, and BENITO B.
GALIDO,respondents.

Salonga, Ordoez Sicat and Associates for respondent.


Ramon Barrios for respondent Comelec.
Jose W. Diokno for petitioner.

CASTRO, J.:

The new municipality of Sebaste1 in Antique province held its first election of officers in the general elections of
November 14, 1967, with the petitioner Agripino Demafiles and the respondent Benito B. Galido vying for the
mayoralty.

On November 21 the respondent Galido asked the provincial board, acting as municipal board of canvassers
pursuant to section 167 (b) of the Revised Election Code, to disregard, as "obviously manufactured", the
election return from precinct 7 on the ground that the said return shows that 195 voters were registered (of
whom 188 voted), when, according to a certificate of the municipal election registrar only 182 had registered in
that precinct as of October 30, 1997. At its session on the following day, November 22, the board, over the
objection of one member, voted to reject the return from precinct 7 and then proceeded with the canvass of the
returns from the other precints. The resulting tally gave Galido 888 votes as against 844 for Demafiles.
Accordingly, Galido was proclaimed mayor-elect of the municipality of Sebaste.

On November 24 Demafiles wired the Commission on Elections, protesting the board's action of rejection of the
return from precinct 7 and the subsequent proclamation of Galido, and challenging the right of two board
members, Julito Moscoso and Quirico Escao, to sit, considering that they were reelectionists. Acting on the
protest, the COMELEC resolved on November 28, 1967:

To annul the canvass and proclamation of the local officials of the new municipality of Sebaste,
Antique, which was made by the Provincial Board of Antique;

To constitute the Board of Canvassers by appointing the substitutes pursuant to the provisions of Sec.
167 (a) of the Revised Election Code, which shall canvass anew the results of the election for local
offices of Sebaste, Antique, in accordance with the Instructions to Boards of Canvassers contained in
the Resolution of the Commission No. RR-544, particularly No. 5-K thereof, and thereafter to proclaim
the winning candidates for local offices of said municipality.
In turn, Galido asked for a reconsideration on the ground that the two members of the provincial board who
were reelectionists were disqualified from sitting only when the board was acting as a provincial, but not as a
municipal, board of canvassers and that the COMELEC resolution annulling the canvass and proclamation of
officials was issued without giving him an opportunity to be heard. In its resolution of December 4, 1967 the
respondent Commission reconsidered its previous order and held "that the canvass and proclamation already
made of the local officials . . . stands".

Failing to secure a reconsideration of this latter resolution, Demafiles filed the present petition
for mandamus andcertiorari to set aside the aforesaid resolution of the COMELEC, to annull the proclamation
of Galido, and to secure an order directing the COMELEC to appoint substitute members of the provincial
board and to order a new canvass of the returns, including that from precinct 7.

The three principal issues tendered for resolution in this case are: (1) whether the respondent board of
canvassers was within the periphery of its power in rejecting the return from precinct 7 on the strength of an
election registrar's certificate that a less number of voters than that shown in the return had registered; (2)
whether the provincial board members, who were candidates for reelection, were disqualified from sitting in the
board in its capacity as a municipal board of canvassers; and (3) whether the Commission on Elections can
order the board of canvassers to count a return from a given precinct.

These issues, together with the arguments of the parties, will be discussed seriatim, but we must first proceed
to dispose of the preliminary question raised by the respondent Galido, namely, that this case is moot because
he had taken his oath and assumed office on November 22, pursuant to Republic Act 4870.

Obviously, the frame of reference is section 2 of the statute which reads:

The first mayor, vice-mayor and councilors of the Municipality of Sebaste shall be elected in the next
general elections for local officials and shall have qualified [sic].

In our view, the last portion of the provision "and shall have qualified" is devoid of any meaning, is
unmitigated jargon in or out of context, and does not warrant the respondent's reading that the term of office of
the first municipal officials of Sebaste begins immediately after their proclamation. It is quite probable that that
is what the legislature meant. But here is a clear case of a failure to express a meaning, and a becoming sense
of judicial modesty forbids the courts from assuming and, consequently, from supplying. "If there is no meaning
itc-alf

in it," said the King in Alice in Wonderland, "that saves a world of trouble, you know, as we needn't try to find
any." Frankfurter, who himself was fond of quoting this passage, admonishes that "a judge must not rewrite a
statute, neither to enlarge nor to contract it. Whatever temptations the statesmanship of policy-making might
wisely suggest, construction must eschew interpolation and evisceration."2 Accordingly, we have to go by the
general rule that the term of office of municipal officials shall begin on the first day of January following their
election,3 and so the assumption of office by the respondent Galido in no way affected the basic issues in this
case, which we need not reach and resolve.

First, a canvassing board performs a purely ministerial function that of compiling and adding the results they
appear in the returns, transmitted to it. This is the teaching in Nacionalista Party v. Commission on
Elections:4 "the canvassers are to be satisfied of the, genuineness of the returns namely, that the papers
presented to them are not forged and spurious, that they are returns, and that they are signed by the proper
officers. When so satisfied, . . . they may not reject any returns because of informalities in them or because of
illegal and fraudulent practices in the elections."5 Thus, they cannot pass upon the validity of an election return,
much less exclude it from the canvass on the ground that the votes cast in the precinct from whence it came
are illegal.6

But the exclusion of the return in this case is sought to be justified on the ground that it is "obviously
manufactured" because, contrary to the statement therein that there were 195 registered voters, of whom 188
voted, the certificate of the local election registrar states that only 182 voters had registered on October 30,
1967. Lagumbay v. Commission on Elections7 is cited in support of this view. In Lagumbay the returns were
palpably false as it was indeed statistically improbable that "all the eight candidates of one party garnered all
the votes, each of themreceiving exactly the same number, whereas all the eight candidates of the other party
got precisely nothing. " In other words, the aid of evidence aliunde was not needed, as "the fraud [being] so
itc-alf
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.

On the other hand, the return in this case shows nothing on its face from which the canvassers might conclude
that it does not speak the truth. It is only when it is compared in the certificate of the election registrar that a
discrepancy appears as to the number of registered voters. The return therefore is by no means "obviously
manufactured" so as to justify its exclusion.

This is not to belittle the respondent's claim that more people than registered voters were allowed to vote in
precinct 7. Perhaps that is true, although the petitioner claims that after October 30, 1967 eight more voters
were allowed to register (making a total of 190, voters), and on the day of the election 5 voters erroneously
assigned to precinct 6 were allowed to vote in precinct 7 because that was where they were really assigned.
The point is simply that this question should be threshed out in an election contest. Lagumbay itself explicitly
itc-alf

says

Of course we agree that fraud 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. . . .

Consequently, the canvass made and proclamation had should be annulled. 8

Second, the canvass and proclamation should be annulled because two of the four members of the board of
canvassers were disqualified from sitting in it, they being candidates for reelection. As this Court held
in Salcedo v. Commission on Elections:9

And added reason for the nullification of the actuation of the Provincial Board of Oriental Mindoro is the
fact that its members were disqualified to act it appearing that they were all candidates for reelection.
This is clear from Section 28 of the Revised Election Code which provides that any member of the
provincial board who is a candidate for an elective office shall be incompetent to act in said board in
the performance of its duties in connection with the election.

Branding the above statement as obiter dictum, the respondent Galido argues that reelectionist members of the
provincial board are disqualified under section 28 only when the board acts as a provincial board of
canvassers, to prevent them fro canvassing their own votes, and not when they sit as a municipal board of
canvassers.

With respect to the canvass and proclamation made the provincial board of Oriental Mindoro, three issues
raised inSalcedo, in resolving which this Court held (1) that a provincial board cannot act as a municipal board
of canvassers where a municipal council has been formed; (2) that provincial board members who are
candidates for reelection are disqualified to sit in the board and (3) that a board of canvassers which excludes
from canvass the return from a precinct acts "in contravention of law."

At any rate the language of section 28 is all-inclusive Thus:

Any member of a provincial board or of a municipal council who is a candidate for office in any
election, shall be incompetent to act on said body in the performance of the duties the of relative to
said election . . . .

The statute draws no distinction between the provincial board acting as a provincial board of canvassers and
the same board acting as a municipal canvassing body new municipalities, and so we make none, in line with
the maxim ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguere debemos.

Third, it is now settled doctrine that the COMELEC has the power to annul an illegal canvass and an illegal
proclamation as when they are based on incomplete returns, and order a new canvass to be made by counting
the returns wrongfully excluded.10 If it has power to direct that certain copies of election returns be used in
preference to other copies of the same returns,11 there is no reason why it cannot direct canvassing bodies to
count all turns which are otherwise regular. Indeed, it is its duty to do so, failing which it may be compelled
itc-alf

by mandamus. As earlier pointed out, it is the ministerial function a board of canvassers to count the results as
they appeal in the returns which on their face do not reveal any irregularities or falsities.

ACCORDINGLY, the resolutions dated December 4 and 8, 1967 of the Commission on Elections are set aside,
and the canvass of returns made and the subsequent proclamation of the respondent Benito B. Galido are
annulled. The respondent Commission on Elections is hereby directed. (1) to appoint new members of the
board of canvassers in substitution of Julito Moscoso and Quirico Escao, and (2) immediately thereafter to
order the board of canvassers as reconstituted to convene, canvass all votes including those appearing in the
return from precinct 7, and, in accordance with the results of such canvass, proclaim the winning candidates.
Costs against the private respondent Galido.

CASE DIGEST:

Demafiles v. Comelec
FACTS: Respondent Galido won over Petitioner due to the Provincial Board voting to reject returns. Petitioner
challenged the right of 2 board members to sit, considering that they were re-electionists. Respondent Commission
ruled in favor of Petitioner. Galido then asked for reconsideration, stating that the 2 board members in question were
disqualified only when the board was acting as a provincial but not as municipal. In light of this, Respondent
Commission reversed its previous decision.ISSUES:1. W/N this case is moot and the board had the authority to reject
the returns from Precinct 7.2. W/N the board members who were candidates for reelection were disqualified from
sitting in the board in its capacity as a municipal board of canvassers.3.W/N Respondent Commission can order the
board of canvassers to count a return.HELD:RA 4970 reads the first mayor, vice-
Mayor and councilors of the municipality of Sebaste shall be elected in the next general elections for local officials
and shall
haveq u a l i f i e d . T h e S u p r e m e C o u r t r u l e d t h a t a n d s h a l l h a v e q u a l i f i e d i s d e v o i d
o f meaning. The term of office of municipals shall begin in the 1st day of January following their election, despite
the fact that Sebaste was a newly created municipality. No, a canvassing board may not reject any returns due to
whatever cause. However, since there is a possibility of fraud, the canvass made and proclamation should be
annulled. The law states any member of a provincial board or of municipal council who is a candidate for

office in any election, shall be incompetent to act on the said body. Since Respondent

Commission has the power to annul and illegal canvass and proclamation, there is no reason as to why it
cannot order canvassing bodies to count all returns which are otherwise regular