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CIRILO ROY G. MONTEJO, petitioner, vs.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.SERGIO A.F.

APOSTOL, consequence was to reduce the Third District to five (5) municipalities with a total population of 145,067 as per the
intervenor. 1990 census.

More than political fortunes are at stake in the case at bench. Petitioner Cirilo Roy G. Montejo, representing the First To remedy the resulting inequality in the distribution of inhabitants, voters and municipalities in the province of
District of Leyte, pleads for the annulment of section 1 of Resolution No. 2736 of the COMELEC, redistricting certain Leyte, respondent COMELEC held consultation meetings with the incumbent representatives of the province and
municipalities in Leyte, on the ground that it violates the principle of equality of representation. To remedy the other interested parties. On December 29, 1994, it promulgated Resolution No. 2736 where, among others, it
alleged inequity, petitioner seeks to transfer the municipality of Tolosa from his district to the Second District of the transferred the municipality of Capoocan of the Second District and the municipality of Palompon of the Fourth
province. Intervenor Sergio A.F. Apostol, representing the Second District, vigorously opposed the inclusion of District to the Third District of Leyte. The composition of the First District which includes the municipality of Tolosa
Tolosa in his district. We gave due course to the petition considering that, at bottom, it involves the validity of the and the composition of the Fifth District were not disturbed. After the movement of municipalities, the composition of
unprecedented exercise by the COMELEC of the legislative power of redistricting and reapportionment. the five (5) legislative districts appeared as follows:

The province of Leyte with the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc is composed of five (5) legislative districts. 1 First District: Population Registered
Voters
(1990) (1994)
The first district 2 covers Tacloban City and the municipalities of Alangalang, Babatngon, Palo, San Miguel, Sta. Fe,
Tanauan and Tolosa.
1. Tacloban City, 137,190 81,679
3 2. Alangalang, 33,375 20,543
The second district is composed of the municipalities of Barugo, Barauen, Capoocan, Carigara, Dagami, Dulag,
3. Babatngon, 17,795 9,929
Jaro, Julita, La Pat, Mayorga, MacArthur, Pastrana, Tabontabon, and Tunga.
4. Palo, 38,100 20,816
5. San Miguel, 13,438 8,167
The third district 4 is composed of the municipalities of Almeria, Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Calubian, Culaba, 6. Sta. Fe, 12,119 7,497
Kawayan, Leyte, Maripipi, Naval, San Isidro, Tabango, and Villaba. 7. Tanauan and, 38,033 22,357
8. Tolosa; 13,299 7,700
———— ————
The fourth district 5 is composed of Ormoc City and the municipalities of Albuera, Isabel, Kananga, Matagob,
TOTAL 303,349 178,688
Merida, and Palompon.

Second District: Population Registered


The fifth district 6 is composed of the municipalities of Abuyog, Bate, Baybay, Hilongos, Hindang, Inopacan, Javier,
Voters
Mahaplag, and Matalom.
(1990) (1994)

Biliran, located in the third district of Leyte , was made its sub-province by virtue of Republic Act No. 2141 Section 1 1. Barugo, 23,817 13,237
of the law spelled out enacted on April 8, 1959. 7
2. Barauen, 46,029 23,307
3. Carigara 38,863 22,036
Section 1 of the law spelled out the municipalities comprising the sub-province, viz.: "Almeria, Biliran, Cabucgayan, 4. Dagami, 25,606 16,519
Caibiran, Culaba, Kawayan, Maripipi and Naval and all the territories comprised therein." 5. Dulag, 33,020 19,375
6. Jaro, 31,727 17,139
7. Julita, 9,944 6,196
On January 1, 1992, the Local Government Code took effect. Pursuant to its Section 462, the sub-province of 8. La Paz, 14,311 9,003
Biliran became a regular province. It provides: 9. Mayorga, 10,530 5,868
10. Mac Arthur, 13,159 8,628
Existing sub-provinces are hereby converted into regular provinces upon 11. Pastrana, 12,565 7,348
approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite to be held in the sub- 12. Tabontabon, and 7,183 4,419
provinces and the original provinces directly affected. The plebiscite shall 13. Tunga; 5,413 3,387
be conducted by the COMELEC simultaneously with the national elections ———— ————
following the effectivity of this code. The new legislative districts created as TOTAL 272,167 156,462
a result of such conversion shall continue to be represented in Congress
by the duly-elected representatives of the original districts out of which said Third District: Population Registered
new provinces or districts were created until their own representatives shall Voters
have been elected in the next regular congressional elections and (1990) (1994)
qualified.

1. Calubian, 25,968 16,649


The conversion of Biliran into a regular province was approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite held on 2. Leyte, 32,575 16,415
May 11, 1992. As a consequence of the conversion, eight (8) municipalities of the Third District composed the new 3. San Isidro, 24,442 14,916
province of Biliran, i.e., Almeria, Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba, Kawayan, Maripipi, and Naval. A further 4. Tabango, 29,743 15,48
5. Villaba, 32,339 21,227
6. Capoocan, and 23,687 13,595 While the petition at bench presents a significant issue, our first inquiry will relate to the constitutional power of the
7. Palompon; 45,745 27,474 respondent COMELEC 9 to transfer municipalities from one legislative district to another legislative district in the
———— ———— province of Leyte. The basic powers of respondent COMELEC, as enforcer and administrator of our election laws,
TOTAL 214,499 125,763 are spelled out in black and white in section 2(c), Article IX of the Constitution. Rightly, respondent COMELEC does
not invoke this provision but relies on the Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution as the source of its power
of redistricting which is traditionally regarded as part of the power to make laws. The Ordinance is entitled
Fourth District: Population Registered
"Apportioning the Seats of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the Philippines to the Different
Voters
Legislative Districts in Provinces and Cities and the Metropolitan Manila Area." Its substantive sections state:
(1990) (1994)

Sec. 1. For purposes of the election of Members of the House of Representatives of the First
1. Ormoc City, 129,456 75,140
Congress of the Philippines under the Constitution proposed by the 1986 Constitutional
2. Albuera, 32,395 17,493
Commission and subsequent elections, and until otherwise provided by law, the Members
3. Isabel, 33,389 21,889
thereof shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and
4. Kananga, 36,288 19,873
the Metropolitan Manila Area as follows:
5. Matagob, 15,474 9,407
6. Merida, and 22,345 12,474
———— ———— xxx xxx xxx
TOTAL 269,347 155,995
Sec. 2. The Commission on Elections is hereby empowered to make minor adjustments of the
Fifth District: Population Registered reapportionment herein made.
Voters
(1990) (1994)
Sec. 3. Any province that may hereafter be created, or any city whose population may hereafter
increase to more than two hundred fifty thousand shall be entitled in the immediately following
1. Abuyog, 47,265 28,682 election to at least one Member or such number of Members as it may be entitled to on the
2. Bato, 28,197 116,13 basis of the number of its inhabitants and according to the standards set forth in paragraph (3),
3. Baybay, 82,281 47,923 Section 5 of Article VI of the Constitution. The number of Members apportioned to the province
4. Hilongos, 48,617 26,871 out of which such new province was created or where the city, whose population has so
5. Hindang, 16,272 9,659 increased, is geographically located shall be correspondingly adjusted by the Commission on
6. Inopacan, 16,894 10,401 Elections but such adjustment shall not be made within one hundred and twenty days before
7. Javier, 18,658 11,713 the election. (Emphasis supplied)
8. Mahaplag, and 22,673 13,616
9. Matalom 28,291 16,247
The Ordinance was made necessary because Proclamation No. 3 10 of President Corazon C. Aquino, ordaining the
———— ————
Provisional Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, abolished the Batasang Pambansa. 11 She then
TOTAL 309,148 181,242
exercised legislative powers under the Provisional Constitution. 12

Petitioner Montejo filed a motion for reconsideration calling the attention of respondent COMELEC, among others,
The Ordinance was the principal handiwork of then Commissioner Hilario G. Davide, Jr., 13 now a distinguished
to the inequitable distribution of inhabitants and voters between the First and Second Districts. He alleged that the
member of this Court. The records reveal that the Constitutional Commission had to resolve several prejudicial
First District has 178,688 registered voters while the Second District has 156,462 registered voters or a difference of
issues before authorizing the first congressional elections under the 1987 Constitution. Among the vital issues were:
22,226 registered voters. To diminish the difference, he proposed that the municipality of Tolosa with 7,7000
whether the members of the House of Representatives would be elected by district or by province; who shall
registered voters be transferred from the First to the Second District. The motion was opposed by intervenor, Sergio
undertake the apportionment of the legislative districts; and, how the apportionment should be made. 14
A.F. Apostol. Respondent Commission denied the motion ruling that: (1) its adjustment of municipalities involved the
Commissioner Davide, Jr. offered three (3) options for the Commission to consider: (1) allow President Aquino to do
least disruption of the territorial composition of each district; and (2) said adjustment complied with the constitutional
the apportionment by law; (2) empower the COMELEC to make the apportionment; or (3) let the Commission
requirement that each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent
exercise the power by way of an Ordinance appended to the Constitution. 15 The different dimensions of the options
territory.
were discussed by Commissioners Davide, Felicitas S. Aquino and Blas F. Ople. We quote the debates in extenso,
viz.: 16
In this petition, petitioner insists that Section I of Resolution No. 2736 violates the principle of equality of
representation ordained in the Constitution. Citing Wesberry v. Sanders, 8 he argues that respondent COMELEC
xxx xxx xxx
violated "the constitutional precept that as much as practicable one man's vote in a congressional election is to be
worth as much as another's." The Solicitor General, in his Comment, concurred with the views of the petitioner. The
intervenor, however, opposed the petition on two (2) grounds: (1) COMELEC has no jurisdiction to promulgate MR. PADILLA. Mr. Presiding Officer.
Resolution No. 2736; and (2) assuming it has jurisdiction, said Resolution is in accord with the Constitution.
Respondent COMELEC filed its own Comment alleging that it acted within the parameters of the Constitution.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). Commissioner Padilla is recognized.

We find section 1 of Resolution No. 2736 void.


MR. PADILLA. I think I have filed a very simple motion by way of amendment by substitution
and this was, I believe, a prior or a proposed amendment. Also, the chairman of the Committee
on the Legislative said that he was proposing a vote first by the Chamber on the concept of MS. AQUINO. Mr. Presiding Officer.
whether the election is by province and cities on the one hand, or by legislative districts on the
other. So I propose this simple formulation which reads: "FOR THE FIRST ELECTION UNDER
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). Commissioner Aquino is recognized.
THIS CONSTITUTION THE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS SHALL BE APPORTIONED BY THE
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS." I hope the chairman will accept the proposed amendment.
MS. AQUINO. I have to object to the provision which will give mandate to COMELEC to do the
redistricting. Redistricting is vitally linked to the baneful practices of cutting up areas or spheres
SUSPENSION OF SESSION
of influence; in other words, gerrymandering. This Commission, being a nonpartisan, a
nonpolitical deliberative body, is in the best possible situation under the circumstances to
MR. DAVIDE. The effect is, more or less, the same insofar as the apportionment is concerned, undertake that responsibility. We are not wanting in expertise and in time because in the first
but the Bernas-Sarmiento et al. proposal would also provide for a mandate for the place, the Committee on the Legislative has prepared the report on the basis of the
apportionment later, meaning after the first election, which will in effect embody what the recommendation of the COMELEC.
Commission had approved, reading as follows: "Within three years following the return of every
census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the
MR. OPLE. Mr. Presiding Officer.
standards provided in this section."

THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). Commissioner Ople is recognized.


So, Mr. Presiding Officer, may I request for a suspension of the session, so that all the
proponents can work together.
MR. OPLE. I would like to support the position taken by Commissioner Aquino in this respect.
We know that the reapportionment of provinces and cities for the purpose of redistricting is
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). The session is suspended.
generally inherent in the constituent power or in the legislative power. And I would feel very
uncertain about delegating this to a quasi-judicial body even if it is one of the constitutional
It was 3:33 p.m. offices created under this Constitution. We have the assurance of Commissioner Davide, as
chairman of the Committee on the Legislative, that even given the very short time remaining in
the life of this Commission, there is no reason why we cannot complete the work of
RESUMPTION OF SESSION
reapportionment on the basis of the COMELEC plan which the committee has already
thoroughly studied and which remains available to the Constitutional Commission.
At 3:40 p.m., the session was resumed.
So, I support the position taken by Commissioner Aquino, Mr. Presiding Officer. I think, it is the
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). The session is resumed. safest, the most reasonable, and the most workable approach that is available to this
Commission.
Commissioner Davide is recognized.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). What does Commissioner Davide say:
MR. DAVIDE. Mr. Presiding Officer, as a compromise, I wonder if the Commission will allow
this. We will just delete the proposed subparagraph (4) and all the capitalized words in MR. DAVIDE. The issue now is whether this body will make the apportionment itself or whether
paragraph (5). So that in paragraph (5), what would be left would only be the following: "Within we will leave it to the COMELEC. So, there arises, therefore, a prejudicial question for the body
three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of to decide. I would propose that the Commission should now decide what body should make the
legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section." apportionment. Should it be the Commission or should it be the COMELEC? And the
Committee on the Legislative will act accordingly on the basis of the decision.
But we shall have an ordinance appended to the new Constitution indicating specifically the
following: "FOR PURPOSES OF THE ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF MR. BENGZON. Mr. Presiding Officer.
REPRESENTATIVES IN THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION IMMEDIATELY
FOLLOWING THE RATIFICATION OF THIS CONSTITUTION PROPOSED BY THE 1986
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). Commissioner Bengzon is recognized.
CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION AND SUBSEQUENT ELECTIONS AND UNTIL
OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW, THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES SHALL BE ELECTED FROM LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS MR. BENGZON. Apropos of that, I would like to inform the body that I believe the Committee on
APPORTIONED AMONG THE PROVINCES, CITIES AND THE METROPOLITAN MANILA the Legislative has precisely worked on this matter and they are ready with a list of
AREA AS FOLLOWS." apportionment. They have, in fact, apportioned the whole country into various districts based on
the recommendation of the COMELEC. So they are ready with the list and if this body would
wish to apportion the whole country by district itself, then I believe we have the time to do it
And what will follow will be the allocation of seats to Metropolitan Manila Area, to the provinces
because the Committee on the Legislative is ready with that particular report which need only to
and to the cities, without indicating the municipalities comprising each of the districts. Then,
be appended to the Constitution. So if this body is ready to accept the work of the Committee
under Section 2, we will mandate the COMELEC to make the actual apportionment on the
on the Legislative we would have no problem. I just would like to give that information so that
basis of the number of seats provided for and allocated to each province by us.
the people here would be guided accordingly when they vote.
MR. RODRIGO. Mr. Presiding Officer. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). The Floor Leader is recognized.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir) Commissioner Rodrigo is recognized. MR. RAMA. The parliamentary situation is that there was a motion by Commissioner Sarmiento
to mandate COMELEC to do the redistricting. This was also almost the same motion by
Commissioner Padilla and I think we have had some kind of meeting of minds. On the other
MR. RODRIGO. I just would like to ask Commissioner Davide some questions.
hand, there seems to be a prejudicial question, an amendment to the amendment as suggested
by Commissioner Aquino, that instead of the COMELEC, it should be this Commission that
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). Commissioner Davide may yield if he so desires. shall make the redistricting. So may I ask Commissioner Aquino, if she insists on that idea, to
please formulate it into a motion so we can vote on that first as an amendment to the
amendment.
MR. DAVIDE. Gladly.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir).Commissioner Aquino is recognized.


MR. RODRIGO. Will this apportionment which we are considering apply only to the first election
after the enactment of the Constitution?
MS . AQUINO. The motion is for this Commission to undertake the apportionment of the
legislative districts instead of the proposal that COMELEC be given the mandate to undertake
MR. DAVIDE. On the basis of the Padilla proposal, it will be for the first election; on the basis of the responsibility.
the Sarmiento proposal, it will only apply to the first election.

xxx xxx xxx


MR. RODRIGO. And after that, Congress will have the power to reapportion.

MR. SARMIENTO. May I be clarified, Mr. Presiding Officer. Is it the motion or the proposed
MR. DAVIDE. Yes. amendment?

MR. RODRIGO. So, if we attach this to the Constitution — the reapportionment based on the
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). The proposed amendment.
COMELEC study and between the approval of the Constitution and the first election — the
COMELEC no longer has the power to change that even a bit.
MR. SARMIENTO. May we move for the approval of this proposed amendment which we
substitute for paragraphs 4 and 5.
xxx xxx xxx

MR. DAVIDE. May I request that it should be treated merely as a motion to be followed by a
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir) Commissioner Regalado is recognized.
deletion of paragraph 4 because that should not really appear as a paragraph in Section 5;
otherwise, it will appear very ugly in the Constitution where we mandate a Commission that will
MR. REGALADO. May I address a clarificatory question to Commissioner Davide? become functus officio to have the authority. As a matter of fact, we cannot exercise that
authority until after the ratification of the new Constitution.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). Gentleman will please proceed.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). What does Commissioner Sarmiento say?
MR. REGALADO. On the basis of the Commissioner's proposed apportionment and
considering the fact that there will be a corresponding reduction to 183 seats, would there be MR. SARMIENTO. It is accepted, Mr. Presiding Officer. So, may I move for the approval of this
instances representation of under non-representation? proposed amendment.

MR. DAVIDE. None at all, Mr. Presiding Officer. I can assure the Commission that there will be MS. AQUINO. Mr. Presiding Officer.
no case of inequitable distribution. It will come out to be one for every 350 to 400,000
inhabitants. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). Commissioner Aquino is recognized.

MR. REGALADO. And that would be within the standard that we refer. MS. AQUINO. Would that require a two-thirds vote or a simple plurality to adopt that motion?

MR. DAVIDE. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). That will require a two-thirds vote.

MR. REGALADO. Thank you. MS. AQUINO. Thank you. Mr. Presiding Officer.

MR. RAMA. Mr. Presiding Officer.


MR. SARMIENTO. May I restate the motion, Mr. Presiding Officer.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir) The Gentleman may proceed. enumeration, which ought to be included in one district. That we shall consider a minor
amendment.
MR. SARMIENTO. May I move that this Commission do the reapportionment legislative
districts. MR. GUINGONA. Thank you.

MS. AQUINO. Mr. Presiding Officer. xxx xxx xxx

THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). What is the pleasure of Commissioner Aquino? THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Romulo). Commissioner de Castro is recognized.

MS. AQUINO. May I be clarified again on the motion. Is Commissioner Sarmiento, therefore, MR. DE CASTRO. Thank you.
adopting my motion? Would it not be right for him to move that the COMELEC be mandated?
I was about to ask the committee the meaning of minor adjustment. Can it be possible that one
MR. SARMIENTO. No, we accepted the amendment. It is already the Commission that will be municipality in a district be transferred to another district and call it a minor adjustment?
mandated.
MR. DAVIDE. That cannot be done, Mr. Presiding Officer. Minor, meaning, that there should be
MS. AQUINO. So, the Gentlemen has accepted the amendment the amendment. no change in the allocations per district. However, it may happen that we have forgotten a
municipality in between which is still in the territory of one assigned district, or there may be an
error in the correct name of a particular municipality because of changes made by the interim
Thank you.
Batasang Pambansa and the Regular Batasang Pambansa. There were many batas pambansa
enacted by both the interim and the Regular Batasang Pambansa changing the names of
MR. SARMIENTO. I am voting that this Commission do the reapportionment. municipalities.

VOTING MR. DE CASTRO. So, the minor adjustment may be made only if one of the municipalities is
not mentioned in the ordinance appended to, and it will be up for the COMELEC now to adjust
or to put such municipality to a certain district.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). Let us proceed to vote.

MR. DAVIDE. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. For instance, we may not have the data regarding a
As many as are in favor, please raise their hand. (Several Members raised their hand.) division of a municipality by the interim Batasang Pambansa or the Regular Batasang
Pambansa into two municipalities, meaning, a mother municipality and the new municipality,
As many as are against, please raise their hand. (No Member raised his hand.) but still actually these are within the geographical district area.

The results show 30 votes in favor and none against; the motion is approved. MR. DE CASTRO. So the minor adjustment which the COMELEC cannot do is that, if, for
example, my municipality is in the First District of Laguna, they cannot put that in any other
district.
Clearly then, the Constitutional Commission denied to the COMELEC the major power of legislative apportionment
as it itself exercised the power. Section 2 of the Ordinance only empowered the COMELEC "to make minor
adjustments of the reapportionment herein made." The meaning of the phrase "minor adjustments was again MR. DAVIDE. That is not even a minor correction. It is a substantive one.
clarified in the debates 17 of the Commission, viz.:
MR. DE CASTRO. Thank you.
xxx xxx xxx
Consistent with the limits of its power to make minor adjustments, Section 3 of the Ordinance did not also give the
MR. GUINGONA. This is just clarificatory, Mr. Presiding Officer. In Section 2, the Commission respondent COMELEC any authority to transfer municipalities from one legislative district to another district. The
on Elections is empowered to make minor adjustments on the apportionment made here. power granted by Section 3 to the respondent COMELEC is to adjust the number of members (not municipalities)
"apportioned to the province out of which such new province was created. . . ."
MR. DAVIDE. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.
Prescinding from these premises, we hold that respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it promulgated section 1 of its Resolution No. 2736 transferring the
MR. GUINGONA. We have not set any time limit for this. municipality of Capoocan of the Second District and the municipality of Palompon of the Fourth District to the Third
District of Leyte.
MR. DAVIDE. We should not set a time limit unless during the period of amendments a
proposal is made. The authority conferred would be on minor corrections or amendments, It may well be that the conversion of Biliran from a sub-province to a regular province brought about an imbalance in
meaning to say, for instance, that we may have forgotten an intervening municipality in the the distribution of voters and inhabitants in the five (5) legislative districts of the province of Leyte. This imbalance,
depending on its degree, could devalue a citizen's vote in violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. The incumbent elective provincial officials of the Province of Maguindanao shall continue to serve their unexpired terms in
Be that as it may, it is not proper at this time for petitioner to raise this issue using the case at bench as his legal the province that they will choose or where they are residents: Provided, that where an elective position in both provinces
vehicle. The issue involves a problem of reapportionment of legislative districts and petitioner's remedy lies with becomes vacant as a consequence of the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan, all incumbent elective provincial
Congress. Section 5(4), Article VI of the Constitution categorically gives Congress the power to reapportion, thus: officials shall have preference for appointment to a higher elective vacant position and for the time being be appointed by the
"Within three (3) years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of Regional Governor, and shall hold office until their successors shall have been elected and qualified in the next local elections;
legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section." In Macias v. COMELEC, 18 we ruled that the Provided, further, that they shall continue to receive the salaries they are receiving at the time of the approval of this Act until
validity of a legislative apportionment is a justiciable question. But while this Court can strike down an the new readjustment of salaries in accordance with law. Provided, furthermore, that there shall be no diminution in the
unconstitutional reapportionment, it cannot itself make the reapportionment as petitioner would want us to do by
number of the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the mother province.
directing respondent COMELEC to transfer the municipality of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District of
the province of Leyte.
Except as may be provided by national law, the existing legislative district, which includes Cotabato as a part thereof, shall
remain.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, section 1 of Resolution No. 2736 insofar as it transferred the municipality of Capoocan of the
Second District and the municipality of Palompon of the Fourth District to the Third District of the province of Leyte, Later, three new municipalities[6] were carved out of the original nine municipalities constituting Shariff Kabunsuan, bringing
is annulled and set aside. We also deny the Petition praying for the transfer of the municipality of Tolosa from the its total number of municipalities to 11. Thus, what was left of Maguindanao were the municipalities constituting its second
First District to the Second District of the province of Leyte. No costs. legislative district. Cotabato City, although part of Maguindanaos first legislative district, is not part of the Province of
Maguindanao.
SO ORDERED.
The voters of Maguindanao ratified Shariff Kabunsuans creation in a plebiscite held on 29 October 2006.

On 6 February 2007, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cotabato City passed Resolution No. 3999 requesting the COMELEC to
BAI SANDRA S. A. SEMA, G.R. No. 177597 - versus - COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and DIDAGEN P. DILANGALEN, clarify the status of Cotabato City in view of the conversion of the First District of Maguindanao into a regular province under
MMA Act 201.
x------------------------x
In answer to Cotabato Citys query, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 07-0407 on 6 March 2007 "maintaining the status quo
PERFECTO F. MARQUEZ, G.R. No. 178628Petitioner - versus COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, with Cotabato City as part of Shariff Kabunsuan in the First Legislative District of Maguindanao. Resolution No. 07-0407, which
adopted the recommendation of the COMELECs Law Department under a Memorandum dated 27 February 2007,[7] provides
The Case in pertinent parts:

These consolidated petitions[1] seek to annul Resolution No. 7902, dated 10 May 2007, of the Commission on Elections Considering the foregoing, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby resolves, to adopt the recommendation of the Law
(COMELEC) treating Cotabato City as part of the legislative district of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan.[2] Department that pending the enactment of the appropriate law by Congress, to maintain the status quo with Cotabato City as
part of Shariff Kabunsuan in the First Legislative District of Maguindanao. (Emphasis supplied)
The Facts
However, in preparation for the 14 May 2007 elections, the COMELEC promulgated on 29 March 2007 Resolution No. 7845
stating that Maguindanaos first legislative district is composed only of Cotabato City because of the enactment of MMA Act
The Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution apportioned two legislative districts for the Province of Maguindanao. The
201.[8]
first legislative district consists of Cotabato City and eight municipalities.[3] Maguindanao forms part of the Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), created under its Organic Act, Republic Act No. 6734 (RA 6734), as amended by
Republic Act No. 9054 (RA 9054).[4] Although under the Ordinance, Cotabato City forms part of Maguindanaos first legislative On 10 May 2007, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 7902, subject of these petitions, amending Resolution No. 07-0407 by
district, it is not part of the ARMM but of Region XII, having voted against its inclusion in the ARMM in the plebiscite held in renaming the legislative district in question as Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City (formerly First District of
November 1989. Maguindanao with Cotabato City).[9]

On 28 August 2006, the ARMMs legislature, the ARMM Regional Assembly, exercising its power to create provinces under In G.R. No. 177597, Sema, who was a candidate in the 14 May 2007 elections for Representative of Shariff Kabunsuan with
Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054,[5] enacted Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 201 (MMA Act 201) creating the Province Cotabato City, prayed for the nullification of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 and the exclusion from canvassing of the votes
of Shariff Kabunsuan composed of the eight municipalities in the first district of Maguindanao. MMA Act 201 provides: cast in Cotabato City for that office. Sema contended that Shariff Kabunsuan is entitled to one representative in Congress
under Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution[10] and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution.[11] Thus,
Sema asserted that the COMELEC acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in issuing Resolution No. 7902 which
Section 1. The Municipalities of Barira, Buldon, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Matanog, Parang, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan
maintained the status quo in Maguindanaos first legislative district despite the COMELECs earlier directive in Resolution No.
Mastura, and Upi are hereby separated from the Province of Maguindanao and constituted into a distinct and independent
7845 designating Cotabato City as the lone component of Maguindanaos reapportioned first legislative district.[12] Sema
province, which is hereby created, to be known as the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan.
further claimed that in issuing Resolution No. 7902, the COMELEC usurped Congress power to create or reapportion
legislative districts.
xxxx
In its Comment, the COMELEC, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), chose not to reach the merits of the case and
Sec. 5. The corporate existence of this province shall commence upon the appointment by the Regional Governor or election
merely contended that (1) Sema wrongly availed of the writ of certiorari to nullify COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 because the
of the governor and majority of the regular members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
COMELEC issued the same in the exercise of its administrative, not quasi-judicial, power and (2) Semas prayer for the writ of
prohibition in G.R. No. 177597 became moot with the proclamation of respondent Didagen P. Dilangalen (respondent
Dilangalen) on 1 June 2007 as representative of the legislative district of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City.
In his Comment, respondent Dilangalen countered that Sema is estopped from questioning COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 Constitution.[18] Thus, Sema proposed that Section 19 should be construed as prohibiting the Regional Assembly from
because in her certificate of candidacy filed on 29 March 2007, Sema indicated that she was seeking election as prescribing standards x x x that do not comply with the minimum criteria under RA 7160.[19]
representative of Shariff Kabunsuan including Cotabato City. Respondent Dilangalen added that COMELEC Resolution No.
7902 is constitutional because it did not apportion a legislative district for Shariff Kabunsuan or reapportion the legislative (2) Respondent Dilangalen contended that Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional on the following grounds: (a)
districts in Maguindanao but merely renamed Maguindanaos first legislative district. Respondent Dilangalen further claimed the power to create provinces was not among those granted to the autonomous regions under Section 20, Article X of the
that the COMELEC could not reapportion Maguindanaos first legislative district to make Cotabato City its sole component unit Constitution and (b) the grant under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 to the ARMM Regional Assembly of the power to
as the power to reapportion legislative districts lies exclusively with Congress, not to mention that Cotabato City does not prescribe standards lower than those mandated in Section 461 of RA 7160 on the creation of provinces contravenes Section
meet the minimum population requirement under Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution for the creation of a legislative 10, Article X of the Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause; and
district within a city.[13]
(3) The COMELEC, through the OSG, joined causes with respondent Dilangalen (thus effectively abandoning the position the
Sema filed a Consolidated Reply controverting the matters raised in respondents Comments and reiterating her claim that COMELEC adopted in its Compliance with the Resolution of 4 September 2007) and contended that Section 19, Article VI of RA
the COMELEC acted ultra vires in issuing Resolution No. 7902. 9054 is unconstitutional because (a) it contravenes Section 10 and Section 6,[20] Article X of the Constitution and (b) the
power to create provinces was withheld from the autonomous regions under Section 20, Article X of the Constitution.
In the Resolution of 4 September 2007, the Court required the parties in G.R. No. 177597 to comment on the issue of whether
a province created by the ARMM Regional Assembly under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative On the question of whether a province created under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the
in the House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new province. The House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new province, Sema and
parties submitted their compliance as follows: respondent Dilangalen reiterated in their Memoranda the positions they adopted in their Compliance with the Resolution of 4
September 2007. The COMELEC deemed it unnecessary to submit its position on this issue considering its stance that Section
(1) Sema answered the issue in the affirmative on the following grounds: (a) the Court in Felwa v. Salas[14] stated that when a 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional.
province is created by statute, the corresponding representative district comes into existence neither by authority of that
statute which cannot provide otherwise nor by apportionment, but by operation of the Constitution, without a The pendency of the petition in G.R. No. 178628 was disclosed during the oral arguments on 27 November 2007. Thus, in the
reapportionment; (b) Section 462 of Republic Act No. 7160 (RA 7160) affirms the apportionment of a legislative district Resolution of 19 February 2008, the Court ordered G.R. No. 178628 consolidated with G.R. No. 177597. The petition in G.R.
incident to the creation of a province; and (c) Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance No. 178628 echoed Sema's contention that the COMELEC acted ultra vires in issuing Resolution No. 7902 depriving the voters
appended to the Constitution mandate the apportionment of a legislative district in newly created provinces. of Cotabato City of a representative in the House of Representatives. In its Comment to the petition in G.R. No. 178628, the
COMELEC, through the OSG, maintained the validity of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 as a temporary measure pending the
(2) The COMELEC, again represented by the OSG, apparently abandoned its earlier stance on the propriety of issuing enactment by Congress of the appropriate law.
Resolution Nos. 07-0407 and 7902 and joined causes with Sema, contending that Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution is
self-executing. Thus, every new province created by the ARMM Regional Assembly is ipso facto entitled to one representative The Issues
in the House of Representatives even in the absence of a national law; and
The petitions raise the following issues:
(3) Respondent Dilangalen answered the issue in the negative on the following grounds: (a) the province contemplated in
Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution is one that is created by an act of Congress taking into account the provisions in RA I. In G.R. No. 177597:
7160 on the creation of provinces; (b) Section 3, Article IV of RA 9054 withheld from the ARMM Regional Assembly the power
to enact measures relating to national elections, which encompasses the apportionment of legislative districts for members of (A) Preliminarily
the House of Representatives; (c) recognizing a legislative district in every province the ARMM Regional Assembly creates will
lead to the disproportionate representation of the ARMM in the House of Representatives as the Regional Assembly can (1) whether the writs of Certiorari, Prohibition, and Mandamus are proper to test the constitutionality of COMELEC
create provinces without regard to the requirements in Section 461 of RA 7160; and (d) Cotabato City, which has a population Resolution No. 7902; and
of less than 250,000, is not entitled to a representative in the House of Representatives.
(2) whether the proclamation of respondent Dilangalen as representative of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City
On 27 November 2007, the Court heard the parties in G.R. No. 177597 in oral arguments on the following issues: (1) whether mooted the petition in G.R. No. 177597.
Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, delegating to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces, is constitutional;
and (2) if in the affirmative, whether a province created under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one (B) On the merits
representative in the House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new
province.[15] (1) whether Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, delegating to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces,
cities, municipalities and barangays, is constitutional; and
In compliance with the Resolution dated 27 November 2007, the parties in G.R. No. 177597 filed their respective Memoranda
on the issues raised in the oral arguments.[16] On the question of the constitutionality of Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, the (2) if in the affirmative, whether a province created by the ARMM Regional Assembly under MMA Act 201 pursuant to
parties in G.R. No. 177597 adopted the following positions: Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives without need of a national
law creating a legislative district for such province.
(1) Sema contended that Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is constitutional (a) as a valid delegation by Congress to the ARMM
of the power to create provinces under Section 20 (9), Article X of the Constitution granting to the autonomous regions, II. In G.R No. 177597 and G.R No. 178628, whether COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 is valid for maintaining the status quo in
through their organic acts, legislative powers over other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the the first legislative district of Maguindanao (as Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City [formerly First District of
general welfare of the people of the region and (b) as an amendment to Section 6 of RA 7160.[17] However, Sema concedes Maguindanao with Cotabato City]), despite the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan out of such district (excluding
that, if taken literally, the grant in Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 to the ARMM Regional Assembly of the power to prescribe Cotabato City).
standards lower than those mandated in RA 7160 in the creation of provinces contravenes Section 10, Article X of the
The Ruling of the Court: The petitions have no merit. We rule that (1) Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional Under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, Congress delegated to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces,
insofar as it grants to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces and cities; (2) MMA Act 201 creating the cities, municipalities and barangays within the ARMM. Congress made the delegation under its plenary legislative powers
Province of Shariff Kabunsuan is void; and (3) COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 is valid. because the power to create local government units is not one of the express legislative powers granted by the Constitution
to regional legislative bodies.[27] In the present case, the question arises whether the delegation to the ARMM Regional
On the Preliminary Matters The Writ of Prohibition is Appropriate to Test the Constitutionality of Election Laws, Rules and Assembly of the power to create provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays conflicts with any provision of the
Regulations Constitution.

The purpose of the writ of Certiorari is to correct grave abuse of discretion by any tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial There is no provision in the Constitution that conflicts with the delegation to regional legislative bodies of the power to create
or quasi-judicial functions.[21] On the other hand, the writ of Mandamus will issue to compel a tribunal, corporation, board, municipalities and barangays, provided Section 10, Article X of the Constitution is followed. However, the creation of
officer, or person to perform an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty.[22] True, the COMELEC did not issue provinces and cities is another matter. Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution provides, Each city with a population of at
Resolution No. 7902 in the exercise of its judicial or quasi-judicial functions.[23] Nor is there a law which specifically enjoins least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative in the House of Representatives.
the COMELEC to exclude from canvassing the votes cast in Cotabato City for representative of Shariff Kabunsuan Province Similarly, Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution provides, Any province that may hereafter be created, or
with Cotabato City. These, however, do not justify the outright dismissal of the petition in G.R. No. 177597 because Sema also any city whose population may hereafter increase to more than two hundred fifty thousand shall be entitled in the
prayed for the issuance of the writ of Prohibition and we have long recognized this writ as proper for testing the immediately following election to at least one Member x x x.
constitutionality of election laws, rules, and regulations.[24]
Clearly, a province cannot be created without a legislative district because it will violate Section 5 (3), Article VI of the
Respondent Dilangalens Proclamation Does Not Moot the Petition Constitution as well as Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. For the same reason, a city with a population
of 250,000 or more cannot also be created without a legislative district. Thus, the power to create a province, or a city with a
There is also no merit in the claim that respondent Dilangalens proclamation as winner in the 14 May 2007 elections for population of 250,000 or more, requires also the power to create a legislative district. Even the creation of a city with a
representative of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City mooted this petition. This case does not concern respondent population of less than 250,000 involves the power to create a legislative district because once the citys population reaches
Dilangalens election. Rather, it involves an inquiry into the validity of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902, as well as the 250,000, the city automatically becomes entitled to one representative under Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution and
constitutionality of MMA Act 201 and Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054. Admittedly, the outcome of this petition, one way or Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. Thus, the power to create a province or city inherently involves the
another, determines whether the votes cast in Cotabato City for representative of the district of Shariff Kabunsuan Province power to create a legislative district.
with Cotabato City will be included in the canvassing of ballots. However, this incidental consequence is no reason for us not
to proceed with the resolution of the novel issues raised here. The Courts ruling in these petitions affects not only the For Congress to delegate validly the power to create a province or city, it must also validly delegate at the same time the
recently concluded elections but also all the other succeeding elections for the office in question, as well as the power of the power to create a legislative district. The threshold issue then is, can Congress validly delegate to the ARMM Regional
ARMM Regional Assembly to create in the future additional provinces. Assembly the power to create legislative districts for the House of Representatives? The answer is in the negative.

Legislative Districts are Created or Reapportioned Only by an Act of Congress

On the Main Issues Under the present Constitution, as well as in past[28] Constitutions, the power to increase the allowable membership in the
House of Representatives, and to reapportion legislative districts, is vested exclusively in Congress. Section 5, Article VI of the
Whether the ARMM Regional Assembly Can Create the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan Constitution provides:

The creation of local government units is governed by Section 10, Article X of the Constitution, which provides: SECTION 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless
otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the
Sec. 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished or its boundary substantially Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and
altered except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national,
of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.

Thus, the creation of any of the four local government units province, city, municipality or barangay must comply with three (3) Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. Each city with a
conditions. First, the creation of a local government unit must follow the criteria fixed in the Local Government Code. Second, population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative.
such creation must not conflict with any provision of the Constitution. Third, there must be a plebiscite in the political units
affected. (4) Within three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts
based on the standards provided in this section. (Emphasis supplied)

Section 5 (1), Article VI of the Constitution vests in Congress the power to increase, through a law, the allowable membership
There is neither an express prohibition nor an express grant of authority in the Constitution for Congress to delegate to in the House of Representatives. Section 5 (4) empowers Congress to reapportion legislative districts. The power to
regional or local legislative bodies the power to create local government units. However, under its plenary legislative powers, reapportion legislative districts necessarily includes the power to create legislative districts out of existing ones. Congress
Congress can delegate to local legislative bodies the power to create local government units, subject to reasonable standards exercises these powers through a law that Congress itself enacts, and not through a law that regional or local legislative
and provided no conflict arises with any provision of the Constitution. In fact, Congress has delegated to provincial boards, bodies enact. The allowable membership of the House of Representatives can be increased, and new legislative districts of
and city and municipal councils, the power to create barangays within their jurisdiction,[25] subject to compliance with the Congress can be created, only through a national law passed by Congress. In Montejo v. COMELEC,[29] we held that the
criteria established in the Local Government Code, and the plebiscite requirement in Section 10, Article X of the Constitution. power of redistricting x x x is traditionally regarded as part of the power (of Congress) to make laws, and thus is vested
However, under the Local Government Code, only x x x an Act of Congress can create provinces, cities or municipalities.[26] exclusively in Congress.
This textual commitment to Congress of the exclusive power to create or reapportion legislative districts is logical. Congress is The ARMM Regional Assembly itself, in creating Shariff Kabunsuan, recognized the exclusive nature of Congress power to
a national legislature and any increase in its allowable membership or in its incumbent membership through the creation of create or reapportion legislative districts by abstaining from creating a legislative district for Shariff Kabunsuan. Section 5 of
legislative districts must be embodied in a national law. Only Congress can enact such a law. It would be anomalous for MMA Act 201 provides that:
regional or local legislative bodies to create or reapportion legislative districts for a national legislature like Congress. An
inferior legislative body, created by a superior legislative body, cannot change the membership of the superior legislative Except as may be provided by national law, the existing legislative district, which includes Cotabato City as a part thereof, shall
body. remain. (Emphasis supplied)

The creation of the ARMM, and the grant of legislative powers to its Regional Assembly under its organic act, did not divest However, a province cannot legally be created without a legislative district because the Constitution mandates that each
Congress of its exclusive authority to create legislative districts. This is clear from the Constitution and the ARMM Organic Act, province shall have at least one representative. Thus, the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan without a legislative
as amended. Thus, Section 20, Article X of the Constitution provides: district is unconstitutional.

SECTION 20. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and national laws, the organic Sema, petitioner in G.R. No. 177597, contends that Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution, which provides:
act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over:
Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. Each city with a
(1) Administrative organization; population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative. (Emphasis
supplied)
(2) Creation of sources of revenues;
and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution, which states:
(3) Ancestral domain and natural resources;
Any province that may hereafter be created, or any city whose population may hereafter increase to more than two hundred
(4) Personal, family, and property relations; fifty thousand shall be entitled in the immediately following election to at least one Member or such number of Members as it
may be entitled to on the basis of the number of its inhabitants and according to the standards set forth in paragraph (3),
(5) Regional urban and rural planning development; Section 5 of Article VI of the Constitution. The number of Members apportioned to the province out of which such new
province was created or where the city, whose population has so increased, is geographically located shall be correspondingly
(6) Economic, social, and tourism development; adjusted by the Commission on Elections but such adjustment shall not be made within one hundred and twenty days before
the election. (Emphasis supplied)
(7) Educational policies;
serve as bases for the conclusion that the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan, created on 29 October 2006, is automatically
(8) Preservation and development of the cultural heritage; and entitled to one member in the House of Representatives in the 14 May 2007 elections. As further support for her stance,
petitioner invokes the statement in Felwa that when a province is created by statute, the corresponding representative
(9) Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region. district comes into existence neither by authority of that statute which cannot provide otherwise nor by apportionment, but
by operation of the Constitution, without a reapportionment.
Nothing in Section 20, Article X of the Constitution authorizes autonomous regions, expressly or impliedly, to create or
reapportion legislative districts for Congress. The contention has no merit.

On the other hand, Section 3, Article IV of RA 9054 amending the ARMM Organic Act, provides, The Regional Assembly may First. The issue in Felwa, among others, was whether Republic Act No. 4695 (RA 4695), creating the provinces of Benguet,
exercise legislative power x x x except on the following matters: x x x (k) National elections. x x x. Since the ARMM Regional Mountain Province, Ifugao, and Kalinga-Apayao and providing for congressional representation in the old and new provinces,
Assembly has no legislative power to enact laws relating to national elections, it cannot create a legislative district whose was unconstitutional for creati[ng] congressional districts without the apportionment provided in the Constitution. The Court
representative is elected in national elections. Whenever Congress enacts a law creating a legislative district, the first answered in the negative, thus:
representative is always elected in the next national elections from the effectivity of the law.[30]
The Constitution ordains:
Indeed, the office of a legislative district representative to Congress is a national office, and its occupant, a Member of the
House of Representatives, is a national official.[31] It would be incongruous for a regional legislative body like the ARMM The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than one hundred and twenty Members who shall be
Regional Assembly to create a national office when its legislative powers extend only to its regional territory. The office of a apportioned among the several provinces as nearly as may be according to the number of their respective inhabitants, but
district representative is maintained by national funds and the salary of its occupant is paid out of national funds. It is a self- each province shall have at least one Member. The Congress shall by law make an apportionment within three years after the
evident inherent limitation on the legislative powers of every local or regional legislative body that it can only create local or return of every enumeration, and not otherwise. Until such apportionment shall have been made, the House of
regional offices, respectively, and it can never create a national office. Representatives shall have the same number of Members as that fixed by law for the National Assembly, who shall be elected
by the qualified electors from the present Assembly districts. Each representative district shall comprise as far as practicable,
To allow the ARMM Regional Assembly to create a national office is to allow its legislative powers to operate outside the contiguous and compact territory.
ARMMs territorial jurisdiction. This violates Section 20, Article X of the Constitution which expressly limits the coverage of the
Regional Assemblys legislative powers [w]ithin its territorial jurisdiction x x x. Pursuant to this Section, a representative district may come into existence: (a) indirectly, through the creation of a province
for each province shall have at least one member in the House of Representatives; or (b) by direct creation of several
representative districts within a province. The requirements concerning the apportionment of representative districts and the
territory thereof refer only to the second method of creation of representative districts, and do not apply to those incidental
to the creation of provinces, under the first method. This is deducible, not only from the general tenor of the provision above
quoted, but, also, from the fact that the apportionment therein alluded to refers to that which is made by an Act of Congress. Justice Carpio: So, you mean to say [a] Local Government can create legislative district[s] and pack Congress with their own
Indeed, when a province is created by statute, the corresponding representative district, comes into existence neither by representatives [?]
authority of that statute which cannot provide otherwise nor by apportionment, but by operation of the Constitution, without
a reapportionment. Atty. Vistan II:[35] Yes, Your Honor, because the Constitution allows that.

There is no constitutional limitation as to the time when, territory of, or other conditions under which a province may be Justice Carpio: So, [the] Regional Assembly of [the] ARMM can create and create x x x provinces x x x and, therefore, they can
created, except, perhaps, if the consequence thereof were to exceed the maximum of 120 representative districts prescribed have thirty-five (35) new representatives in the House of Representatives without Congress agreeing to it, is that what you are
in the Constitution, which is not the effect of the legislation under consideration. As a matter of fact, provinces have been saying? That can be done, under your theory[?]
created or subdivided into other provinces, with the consequent creation of additional representative districts, without
complying with the aforementioned requirements.[32] (Emphasis supplied) Atty. Vistan II: Yes, Your Honor, under the correct factual circumstances.

Thus, the Court sustained the constitutionality of RA 4695 because (1) it validly created legislative districts indirectly through a Justice Carpio: Under your theory, the ARMM legislature can create thirty-five (35) new provinces, there may be x x x [only]
special law enacted by Congress creating a province and (2) the creation of the legislative districts will not result in breaching one hundred thousand (100,000) [population], x x x, and they will each have one representative x x x to Congress without any
the maximum number of legislative districts provided under the 1935 Constitution. Felwa does not apply to the present case national law, is that what you are saying?
because in Felwa the new provinces were created by a national law enacted by Congress itself. Here, the new province was
created merely by a regional law enacted by the ARMM Regional Assembly. Atty. Vistan II: Without law passed by Congress, yes, Your Honor, that is what we are saying.

What Felwa teaches is that the creation of a legislative district by Congress does not emanate alone from Congress power to Justice Carpio: So, they can also create one thousand (1000) new provinces, sen[d] one thousand (1000) representatives to
reapportion legislative districts, but also from Congress power to create provinces which cannot be created without a the House of Representatives without a national law[,] that is legally possible, correct?
legislative district. Thus, when a province is created, a legislative district is created by operation of the Constitution because
the Constitution provides that each province shall have at least one representative in the House of Representatives. This does Atty. Vistan II: Yes, Your Honor.[36] (Emphasis supplied)
not detract from the constitutional principle that the power to create legislative districts belongs exclusively to Congress. It
merely prevents any other legislative body, except Congress, from creating provinces because for a legislative body to create Neither the framers of the 1987 Constitution in adopting the provisions in Article X on regional autonomy,[37] nor Congress in
a province such legislative body must have the power to create legislative districts. In short, only an act of Congress can enacting RA 9054, envisioned or intended these disastrous consequences that certainly would wreck the tri-branch system of
trigger the creation of a legislative district by operation of the Constitution. Thus, only Congress has the power to create, or government under our Constitution. Clearly, the power to create or reapportion legislative districts cannot be delegated by
trigger the creation of, a legislative district. Congress but must be exercised by Congress itself. Even the ARMM Regional Assembly recognizes this.

Moreover, if as Sema claims MMA Act 201 apportioned a legislative district to Shariff Kabunsuan upon its creation, this will The Constitution empowered Congress to create or reapportion legislative districts, not the regional assemblies. Section 3 of
leave Cotabato City as the lone component of the first legislative district of Maguindanao. However, Cotabato City cannot the Ordinance to the Constitution which states, [A]ny province that may hereafter be created x x x shall be entitled in the
constitute a legislative district by itself because as of the census taken in 2000, it had a population of only 163,849. To immediately following election to at least one Member, refers to a province created by Congress itself through a national law.
constitute Cotabato City alone as the surviving first legislative district of Maguindanao will violate Section 5 (3), Article VI of The reason is that the creation of a province increases the actual membership of the House of Representatives, an increase
the Constitution which requires that [E]ach city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand x x x, shall have at that only Congress can decide. Incidentally, in the present 14th Congress, there are 219[38] district representatives out of the
least one representative. maximum 250 seats in the House of Representatives. Since party-list members shall constitute 20 percent of total
membership of the House, there should at least be 50 party-list seats available in every election in case 50 party-list
Second. Semas theory also undermines the composition and independence of the House of Representatives. Under Section candidates are proclaimed winners. This leaves only 200 seats for district representatives, much less than the 219 incumbent
19,[33] Article VI of RA 9054, the ARMM Regional Assembly can create provinces and cities within the ARMM with or without district representatives. Thus, there is a need now for Congress to increase by law the allowable membership of the House,
regard to the criteria fixed in Section 461 of RA 7160, namely: minimum annual income of P20,000,000, and minimum even before Congress can create new provinces.
contiguous territory of 2,000 square kilometers or minimum population of 250,000.[34] The following scenarios thus become
distinct possibilities: It is axiomatic that organic acts of autonomous regions cannot prevail over the Constitution. Section 20, Article X of the
Constitution expressly provides that the legislative powers of regional assemblies are limited [w]ithin its territorial jurisdiction
(1) An inferior legislative body like the ARMM Regional Assembly can create 100 or more provinces and thus increase the and subject to the provisions of the Constitution and national laws, x x x. The Preamble of the ARMM Organic Act (RA 9054)
membership of a superior legislative body, the House of Representatives, beyond the maximum limit of 250 fixed in the itself states that the ARMM Government is established within the framework of the Constitution. This follows Section 15,
Constitution (unless a national law provides otherwise); Article X of the Constitution which mandates that the ARMM shall be created x x x within the framework of this Constitution
and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.
(2) The proportional representation in the House of Representatives based on one representative for at least every 250,000
residents will be negated because the ARMM Regional Assembly need not comply with the requirement in Section 461(a)(ii) The present case involves the creation of a local government unit that necessarily involves also the creation of a legislative
of RA 7160 that every province created must have a population of at least 250,000; and district. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of the creation of municipalities and barangays that does not
comply with the criteria established in Section 461 of RA 7160, as mandated in Section 10, Article X of the Constitution,
(3) Representatives from the ARMM provinces can become the majority in the House of Representatives through the ARMM because the creation of such municipalities and barangays does not involve the creation of legislative districts. We leave the
Regional Assemblys continuous creation of provinces or cities within the ARMM. resolution of this issue to an appropriate case.

The following exchange during the oral arguments of the petition in G.R. No. 177597 highlights the absurdity of Semas In summary, we rule that Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, insofar as it grants to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to
position that the ARMM Regional Assembly can create provinces: create provinces and cities, is void for being contrary to Section 5 of Article VI and Section 20 of Article X of the Constitution,
as well as Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. Only Congress can create provinces and cities because the
creation of provinces and cities necessarily includes the creation of legislative districts, a power only Congress can exercise
under Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. The ARMM of the Department of Budget and Management; the Chairman of the Commission on Audit; the Mayor and the members of
Regional Assembly cannot create a province without a legislative district because the Constitution mandates that every the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Cagayan de Oro City; and its Board of Canvassers.[8]
province shall have a legislative district. Moreover, the ARMM Regional Assembly cannot enact a law creating a national office
like the office of a district representative of Congress because the legislative powers of the ARMM Regional Assembly operate In asking for the nullification of R.A. No. 9371 and Resolution No. 7837 on constitutional grounds, the petitioner argued that
only within its territorial jurisdiction as provided in Section 20, Article X of the Constitution. Thus, we rule that MMA Act 201, the COMELEC cannot implement R.A. No. 9371 without providing for the rules, regulations and guidelines for the conduct of a
enacted by the ARMM Regional Assembly and creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan, is void. plebiscite which is indispensable for the division or conversion of a local government unit. He prayed for the issuance of an
order directing the respondents to cease and desist from implementing R.A. No. 9371 and COMELEC Resolution No. 7837, and
Resolution No. 7902 Complies with the Constitution to revert instead to COMELEC Resolution No. 7801 which provided for a single legislative district for Cagayan de Oro.

Consequently, we hold that COMELEC Resolution No. 7902, preserving the geographic and legislative district of the First Since the Court did not grant the petitioners prayer for a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction, the
District of Maguindanao with Cotabato City, is valid as it merely complies with Section 5 of Article VI and Section 20 of Article May 14 National and Local Elections proceeded according to R.A. No. 9371 and Resolution No. 7837.
X of the Constitution, as well as Section 1 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution.
The respondents Comment on the petition, filed through the Office of the Solicitor General, argued that: 1) the petitioner did
WHEREFORE, we declare Section 19, Article VI of Republic Act No. 9054 UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it grants to the not respect the hierarchy of courts, as the Regional Trial Court (RTC) is vested with concurrent jurisdiction over cases assailing
Regional Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao the power to create provinces and cities. Thus, we declare the constitutionality of a statute; 2) R.A. No. 9371 merely increased the representation of Cagayan de Oro City in the House of
VOID Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 201 creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. Consequently, we rule that Representatives and Sangguniang Panglungsod pursuant to Section 5, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution; 3) the criteria
COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 is VALID. established under Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution only apply when there is a creation, division, merger,
abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of a province, city, municipality, or barangay; in this case, no such creation,
Let a copy of this ruling be served on the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. SO division, merger, abolition or alteration of boundaries of a local government unit took place; and 4) R.A. No. 9371 did not
ORDERED. bring about any change in Cagayan de Oros territory, population and income classification; hence, no plebiscite is required.

ROGELIO Z. BAGABUYO, versus -COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, The petitioner argued in his reply that: 1) pursuant to the Courts ruling in Del Mar v. PAGCOR,[9] the Court may take
cognizance of this petition if compelling reasons, or the nature and importance of the issues raised, warrant the immediate
G.R. No. 176970 exercise of its jurisdiction; 2) Cagayan de Oro Citys reapportionment under R.A. No. 9371 falls within the meaning of creation,
division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of cities under Section 10, Article X of the Constitution; 3)
Before us is the petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus,[1] with a prayer for the issuance of a temporary the creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units involve a common
restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction, filed by Rogelio Bagabuyo (petitioner) to prevent the Commission on denominator the material change in the political and economic rights of the local government units directly affected, as well
Elections (COMELEC) from implementing Resolution No. 7837 on the ground that Republic Act No. 9371[2] the law that as of the people therein; 4) a voters sovereign power to decide on who should be elected as the entire citys Congressman was
Resolution No. 7837 implements is unconstitutional. arbitrarily reduced by at least one half because the questioned law and resolution only allowed him to vote and be voted for
in the district designated by the COMELEC; 5) a voter was also arbitrarily denied his right to elect the Congressman and the
BACKGROUND FACTS members of the city council for the other legislative district, and 6) government funds were illegally disbursed without prior
approval by the sovereign electorate of Cagayan De Oro City.[10]
On October 10, 2006, Cagayan de Oros then Congressman Constantino G. Jaraula filed and sponsored House Bill No. 5859: An
Act Providing for the Apportionment of the Lone Legislative District of the City of Cagayan De Oro.[3] This law eventually
became Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9371.[4] It increased Cagayan de Oros legislative district from one to two. For the election of
May 2007, Cagayan de Oros voters would be classified as belonging to either the first or the second district, depending on THE ISSUES
their place of residence. The constituents of each district would elect their own representative to Congress as well as eight
members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod. The core issues, based on the petition and the parties memoranda, can be limited to the following contentious points:

Section 1 of R.A. No. 9371 apportioned the Citys barangays as follows: 1) Did the petitioner violate the hierarchy of courts rule; if so, should the instant petition be dismissed on this ground?

Legislative Districts The lone legislative district of the City of Cagayan De Oro is hereby apportioned to commence in the next 2) Does R.A. No. 9371 merely provide for the legislative reapportionment of Cagayan de Oro City, or does it involve the
national elections after the effectivity of this Act. Henceforth, barangays Bonbon, Bayabas, Kauswagan, Carmen, Patag, Bulua, division and conversion of a local government unit?
Iponan, Baikingon, San Simon, Pagatpat, Canitoan, Balulang, Lumbia, Pagalungan, Tagpangi, Taglimao, Tuburan, Pigsag-an,
Tumpagon, Bayanga, Mambuaya, Dansulihon, Tignapoloan and Bisigan shall comprise the first district while barangays 3) Does R.A. No. 9371 violate the equality of representation doctrine?
Macabalan, Puntod, Consolacion, Camaman-an, Nazareth, Macasandig, Indahag, Lapasan, Gusa, Cugman, FS Catanico, Tablon,
Agusan, Puerto, Bugo, and Balubal and all urban barangays from Barangay 1 to Barangay 40 shall comprise the second OUR RULING
district.[5]
Except for the issue of the hierarchy of courts rule, we find the petition totally without merit.
On March 13, 2007, the COMELEC en Banc promulgated Resolution No. 7837[6] implementing R.A. No. 9371.
The hierarchy of courts principle.
Petitioner Rogelio Bagabuyo filed the present petition against the COMELEC on March 27, 2007.[7] On 10 April 2008, the
petitioner amended the petition to include the following as respondents: Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita; the Secretary The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas
corpus.[11] It was pursuant to this original jurisdiction that the petitioner filed the present petition.
While this jurisdiction is shared with the Court of Appeals[12] and the RTCs,[13] a direct invocation of the Supreme Courts Under both Article VI, Section 5, and Article X, Section 10 of the Constitution, the authority to act has been vested in the
jurisdiction is allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefor, clearly and especially set out in the Legislature. The Legislature undertakes the apportionment and reapportionment of legislative districts,[22] and likewise acts
petition. Reasons of practicality, dictated by an increasingly overcrowded docket and the need to prioritize in favor of matters on local government units by setting the standards for their creation, division, merger, abolition and alteration of boundaries
within our exclusive jurisdiction, justify the existence of this rule otherwise known as the principle of hierarchy of courts. and by actually creating, dividing, merging, abolishing local government units and altering their boundaries through
More generally stated, the principle requires that recourse must first be made to the lower-ranked court exercising legislation. Other than this, not much commonality exists between the two provisions since they are inherently different
concurrent jurisdiction with a higher court.[14] although they interface and relate with one another.

Among the cases we have considered sufficiently special and important to be exceptions to the rule, are petitions for The concern that leaps from the text of Article VI, Section 5 is political representation and the means to make a legislative
certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto against our nations lawmakers when the validity of their enactments is district sufficiently represented so that the people can be effectively heard. As above stated, the aim of legislative
assailed.[15] The present petition is of this nature; its subject matter and the nature of the issues raised among them, apportionment is to equalize population and voting power among districts.[23] Hence, emphasis is given to the number of
whether legislative reapportionment involves a division of Cagayan de Oro City as a local government unit are reasons enough people represented; the uniform and progressive ratio to be observed among the representative districts; and accessibility
for considering it an exception to the principle of hierarchy of courts. Additionally, the petition assails as well a resolution of and commonality of interests in terms of each district being, as far as practicable, continuous, compact and adjacent territory.
the COMELEC en banc issued to implement the legislative apportionment that R.A. No. 9371 decrees. As an action against a In terms of the people represented, every city with at least 250,000 people and every province (irrespective of population) is
COMELEC en banc resolution, the case falls under Rule 64 of the Rules of Court that in turn requires a review by this Court via entitled to one representative. In this sense, legislative districts, on the one hand, and provinces and cities, on the other,
a Rule 65 petition for certiorari.[16] For these reasons, we do not see the principle of hierarchy of courts to be a stumbling relate and interface with each other. To ensure continued adherence to the required standards of apportionment, Section
block in our consideration of the present case. 5(4) specifically mandates reapportionment as soon as the given standards are met.

The Plebiscite Requirement. In contrast with the equal representation objective of Article VI, Section 5, Article X, Section 10 expressly speaks of how local
government units may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered. Its concern is the
The petitioner insists that R.A. No. 9371 converts and divides the City of Cagayan de Oro as a local government unit, and does commencement, the termination, and the modification of local government units corporate existence and territorial
not merely provide for the Citys legislative apportionment. This argument essentially proceeds from a misunderstanding of coverage; and it speaks of two specific standards that must be observed in implementing this concern, namely, the criteria
the constitutional concepts of apportionment of legislative districts and division of local government units. established in the local government code and the approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units
directly affected. Under the Local Government Code (R.A. No. 7160) passed in 1991, the criteria of income, population and
Legislative apportionment is defined by Blacks Law Dictionary as the determination of the number of representatives which a land area are specified as verifiable indicators of viability and capacity to provide services.[24] The division or merger of
State, county or other subdivision may send to a legislative body.[17] It is the allocation of seats in a legislative body in existing units must comply with the same requirements (since a new local government unit will come into being), provided
proportion to the population; the drawing of voting district lines so as to equalize population and voting power among the that a division shall not reduce the income, population, or land area of the unit affected to less than the minimum
districts.[18] Reapportionment, on the other hand, is the realignment or change in legislative districts brought about by requirement prescribed in the Code.[25]
changes in population and mandated by the constitutional requirement of equality of representation.[19]
A pronounced distinction between Article VI, Section 5 and, Article X, Section 10 is on the requirement of a plebiscite. The
Article VI (entitled Legislative Department) of the 1987 Constitution lays down the rules on legislative apportionment under Constitution and the Local Government Code expressly require a plebiscite to carry out any creation, division, merger,
its Section 5 which provides: abolition or alteration of boundary of a local

Sec. 5(1). (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred fifty members unless otherwise government unit.[26] In contrast, no plebiscite requirement exists under the apportionment or reapportionment provision. In
fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Tobias v. Abalos,[27] a case that arose from the division of the congressional district formerly covering San Juan and
Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive Mandaluyong into separate districts, we confirmed this distinction and the fact that no plebiscite is needed in a legislative
ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional and reapportionment. The plebiscite issue came up because one was ordered and held for Mandaluyong in the course of its
sectoral parties or organizations. conversion into a highly urbanized city, while none was held for San Juan. In explaining why this happened, the Court ruled
that no plebiscite was necessary for San Juan because the objective of the plebiscite was the conversion of Mandaluyong into
(3) Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, continuous, compact, and adjacent territory. Each city with a a highly urbanized city as required by Article X, Section 10 the Local Government Code; the creation of a new legislative
population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative. district only followed as a consequence. In other words, the apportionment alone and by itself did not call for a plebiscite, so
that none was needed for San Juan where only a reapportionment took place.
(4) Within three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts
based on the standards provided in this section. The need for a plebiscite under Article X, Section 10 and the lack of requirement for one under Article VI, Section 5 can best
be appreciated by a consideration of the historical roots of these two provisions, the nature of the concepts they embody as
Separately from the legislative districts that legal apportionment or reapportionment speaks of, are the local government heretofore discussed, and their areas of application.
units (historically and generically referred to as municipal corporations) that the Constitution itself classified into provinces,
cities, municipalities and barangays.[20] In its strict and proper sense, a municipality has been defined as a body politic and A Bit of History.
corporate constituted by the incorporation of the inhabitants of a city or town for the purpose of local government
thereof.[21] The creation, division, merger, abolition or alteration of boundary of local government units, i.e., of provinces, In Macias v. COMELEC,[28] we first jurisprudentially acknowledged the American roots of our apportionment provision,
cities, municipalities, and barangays, are covered by the Article on Local Government (Article X). Section 10 of this Article noting its roots from the
provides:
Fourteenth Amendment[29] of the U.S. Constitution and from the constitutions of some American states. The Philippine
No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, Organic Act of 1902 created the Philippine Assembly,[30] the body that acted as the lower house of the bicameral legislature
except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the under the Americans, with the Philippine Commission acting as the upper house. While the members of the Philippine
votes cast in a plebiscite in the political unit directly affected. Commission were appointed by the U.S. President with the conformity of the U.S. Senate, the members of the Philippine
Assembly were elected by representative districts previously delineated under the Philippine Organic Act of 1902 pursuant to government units corporate existence begins upon the election and qualification of its chief executive and a majority of the
the mandate to apportion the seats of the Philippine Assembly among the provinces as nearly as practicable according to members of its Sanggunian.[37]
population. Thus, legislative apportionment first started in our country.
As a political subdivision, a local government unit is an instrumentality of the state in carrying out the functions of
The Jones Law or the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916 maintained the apportionment provision, dividing the country into 12 government.[38] As a corporate entity with a distinct and separate juridical personality from the State, it exercises special
senate districts and 90 representative districts electing one delegate each to the House of Representatives. Section 16 of the functions for the sole benefit of its constituents. It acts as an agency of the community in the administration of local
Act specifically vested the Philippine Legislature with the authority to redistrict the Philippine Islands. affairs[39] and the mediums through which the people act in their corporate capacity on local concerns.[40] In light of these
roles, the Constitution saw it fit to expressly secure the consent of the people affected by the creation, division, merger,
Under the 1935 Constitution, Article VI, Section 5 retained the concept of legislative apportionment together with district as abolition or alteration of boundaries of local government units through a plebiscite.
the basic unit of apportionment; the concern was equality of representation . . . as an essential feature of republican
institutions as expressed in the leading case of Macias v. COMELEC.[31] The case ruled that inequality of representation is a These considerations clearly show the distinctions between a legislative apportionment or reapportionment and the division
justiciable, not a political issue, which ruling was reiterated in Montejo v. COMELEC.[32] Notably, no issue regarding the of a local government unit. Historically and by its intrinsic nature, a legislative apportionment does not mean, and does not
holding of a plebiscite ever came up in these cases and the others that followed, as no plebiscite was required. even imply, a division of a local government unit where the apportionment takes place. Thus, the plebiscite requirement that
applies to the division of a province, city, municipality or barangay under the Local Government Code should not apply to and
Article VIII, Section 2 of the 1973 Constitution retained the concept of equal representation in accordance with the number of be a requisite for the validity of a legislative apportionment or reapportionment.
their respective inhabitants and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio with each district being, as far as practicable,
contiguous, compact and adjacent territory. This formulation was essentially carried over to the 1987 Constitution, R.A. No. 9371 and COMELEC Res. No. 7837
distinguished only from the previous one by the presence of party-list representatives. In neither Constitution was a plebiscite
required. R.A. No. 9371 is, on its face, purely and simply a reapportionment legislation passed in accordance with the authority granted
to Congress under Article VI, Section 5(4) of the Constitution. Its core provision Section 1 provides:
The need for a plebiscite in the creation, division, merger, or abolition of local government units was not constitutionally
enshrined until the 1973 Constitution. However, as early as 1959, R.A. No. 2264[33] required, in the creation of barrios by SECTION 1. Legislative Districts. The lone legislative district of the City of Cagayan de Oro is hereby apportioned to commence
Provincial Boards, that the creation and definition of boundaries be upon petition of a majority of the voters in the areas in the next national elections after the effectivity of this Act. Henceforth, barangays Bonbon, Bayabas, Kauswagan, Carmen,
affected. In 1961, the Charter of the City of Caloocan (R.A. No. 3278) carried this further by requiring that the Act shall take Patag, Bulua, Iponan, Baikingon, San Simon, Pagatpat, Canitoan, Balulang, Lumbia, Pagalungan, Tagpangi, Taglimao, Tuburan,
effect after a majority of voters of the Municipality of Caloocan vote in favor of the conversion of their municipality into a city Pigsag-an, Tumpagon, Bayanga, Mambuaya, Dansulihon, Tignapoloan and Bisigan shall comprise the first district while
in a plebiscite. This was followed up to 1972 by other legislative enactments requiring a plebiscite as a condition for the barangays Macabalan, Puntod, Consolacion, Camaman-an, Nazareth, Macansandig, Indahag, Lapasan, Gusa, Cugman, FS
creation and conversion of local government units as well as the transfer of sitios from one legislative unit to another.[34] In Catanico, Tablon, Agusan, Puerto, Bugo and Balubal and all urban barangays from Barangay 1 to Barangay 40 shall comprise
1973, the plebiscite requirement was accorded constitutional status. the second district.

Under these separate historical tracks, it can be seen that the holding of a plebiscite was never a requirement in legislative Under these wordings, no division of Cagayan de Oro City as a political and corporate entity takes place or is mandated.
apportionment or reapportionment. After it became constitutionally entrenched, a plebiscite was also always identified with Cagayan de Oro City politically remains a single unit and its administration is not divided along territorial lines. Its territory
the creation, division, merger, abolition and alteration of boundaries of local government units, never with the concept of remains completely whole and intact; there is only the addition of another legislative district and the delineation of the city
legislative apportionment. into two districts for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives. Thus, Article X, Section 10 of the
Constitution does not come into play and no plebiscite is necessary to validly apportion Cagayan de Oro City into two districts.
Nature and Areas of Application.
Admittedly, the legislative reapportionment carries effects beyond the creation of another congressional district in the city by
providing, as reflected in COMELEC Resolution No. 7837, for additional Sangguniang Panglunsod seats to be voted for along
the lines of the congressional apportionment made. The effect on the Sangguniang Panglunsod, however, is not directly
The legislative district that Article VI, Section 5 speaks of may, in a sense, be called a political unit because it is the basis for traceable to R.A. No. 9371 but to another law R.A. No. 6636[41] whose Section 3 provides:
the election of a member of the House of Representatives and members of the local legislative body. It is not, however, a
political subdivision through which functions of government are carried out. It can more appropriately be described as a SECTION 3. Other Cities. The provision of any law to the contrary notwithstanding the City of Cebu, City of Davao, and any
representative unit that may or may not encompass the whole of a city or a province, but unlike the latter, it is not a other city with more than one representative district shall have eight (8) councilors for each district who shall be residents
corporate unit. Not being a corporate unit, a district does not act for and in behalf of the people comprising the district; it thereof to be elected by the qualified voters therein, provided that the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Bacolod, Iloilo
merely delineates the areas occupied by the people who will choose a representative in their national affairs. Unlike a and other cities comprising a representative district shall have twelve (12) councilors each and all other cities shall have ten
province, which has a governor; a city or a municipality, which has a mayor; and a barangay, which has a punong barangay, a (10) councilors each to be elected at large by the qualified voters of the said cities: Provided, That in no case shall the present
district does not have its own chief executive. The role of the congressman that it elects is to ensure that the voice of the number of councilors according to their charters be reduced.
people of the district is heard in Congress, not to oversee the affairs of the legislative district. Not being a corporate unit also
signifies that it has no legal personality that must be created or dissolved and has no capacity to act. Hence, there is no need However, neither does this law have the effect of dividing the City of Cagayan de Oro into two political and corporate units
for any plebiscite in the creation, dissolution or any other similar action on a legislative district. and territories. Rather than divide the city either territorially or as a corporate entity, the effect is merely to enhance voter
representation by giving each city voter more and greater say, both in Congress and in the Sangguniang Panglunsod.
The local government units, on the other hand, are political and corporate units. They are the territorial and political
subdivisions of the state.[35] They possess legal personality on the authority of the Constitution and by action of the To illustrate this effect, before the reapportionment, Cagayan de Oro had only one congressman and 12 city council members
Legislature. The Constitution defines them as entities that Congress can, by law, create, divide, abolish, merge; or whose citywide for its population of approximately 500,000.[42] By having two legislative districts, each of them with one
boundaries can be altered based on standards again established by both the Constitution and the Legislature.[36] A local congressman, Cagayan de Oro now effectively has two congressmen, each one representing 250,000 of the citys population.
In terms of services for city residents, this easily means better access to their congressman since each one now services only
250,000 constituents as against the 500,000 he used to represent. The same goes true for the Sangguniang Panglungsod with Before the Court is a petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by Romulo B. Macalintal, a member of the Philippine Bar,
its ranks increased from 12 to 16 since each legislative district now has 8 councilors. In representation terms, the fewer seeking a declaration that certain provisions of Republic Act No. 9189 (The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003)[1] suffer
constituents represented translate to a greater voice for each individual city resident in Congress and in the Sanggunian; each from constitutional infirmity. Claiming that he has actual and material legal interest in the subject matter of this case in seeing
congressman and each councilor represents both a smaller area and fewer constituents whose fewer numbers are now to it that public funds are properly and lawfully used and appropriated, petitioner filed the instant petition as a taxpayer and
concentrated in each representative. The City, for its part, now has twice the number of congressmen speaking for it and as a lawyer.
voting in the halls of Congress. Since the total number of congressmen in the country has not increased to the point of
doubling its numbers, the presence of two congressman (instead of one) from the same city cannot but be a quantitative and The Court upholds the right of petitioner to file the present petition.
proportional improvement in the representation of Cagayan de Oro City in Congress.
R.A. No. 9189, entitled, An Act Providing for A System of Overseas Absentee Voting by Qualified Citizens of the Philippines
Abroad, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes, appropriates funds under Section 29 thereof which provides
that a supplemental budget on the General Appropriations Act of the year of its enactment into law shall provide for the
Equality of representation. necessary amount to carry out its provisions. Taxpayers, such as herein petitioner, have the right to restrain officials from
wasting public funds through the enforcement of an unconstitutional statute.[2] The Court has held that they may assail the
The petitioner argues that the distribution of the legislative districts is unequal. District 1 has only 93,719 registered voters validity of a law appropriating public funds[3] because expenditure of public funds by an officer of the State for the purpose of
while District 2 has 127,071. District 1 is composed mostly of rural barangays while District 2 is composed mostly of urban executing an unconstitutional act constitutes a misapplication of such funds.[4]
barangays.[43] Thus, R.A. No. 9371 violates the principle of equality of representation.

A clarification must be made. The law clearly provides that the basis for districting shall be the number of the inhabitants of a
city or a province, not the number of registered voters therein. We settled this very same question in Herrera v. COMELEC[44] The challenged provision of law involves a public right that affects a great number of citizens. The Court has adopted the
when we interpreted a provision in R.A. No. 7166 and COMELEC Resolution No. 2313 that applied to the Province of policy of taking jurisdiction over cases whenever the petitioner has seriously and convincingly presented an issue of
Guimaras. We categorically ruled that the basis for districting is the number of inhabitants of the Province of Guimaras by transcendental significance to the Filipino people. This has been explicitly pronounced in Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa
municipality based on the official 1995 Census of Population as certified to by Tomas P. Africa, Administrator of the National Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, Inc. vs. Tan,[5] where the Court held:
Statistics Office.
Objections to taxpayers suit for lack of sufficient personality standing, or interest are, however, in the main procedural
The petitioner, unfortunately, did not provide information about the actual population of Cagayan de Oro City. However, we matters. Considering the importance to the public of the cases at bar, and in keeping with the Courts duty, under the 1987
take judicial notice of the August 2007 census of the National Statistics Office which shows that barangays comprising Constitution, to determine whether or not the other branches of government have kept themselves within the limits of the
Cagayan de Oros first district have a total population of 254,644, while the second district has 299,322 residents. Undeniably, Constitution and the laws and that they have not abused the discretion given to them, the Court has brushed aside
these figures show a disparity in the population sizes of the districts.[45] The Constitution, however, does not require technicalities of procedure and has taken cognizance of these petitions.[6]
mathematical exactitude or rigid equality as a standard in gauging equality of representation.[46] In fact, for cities, all it asks is
that each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand shall have one representative, while ensuring Indeed, in this case, the Court may set aside procedural rules as the constitutional right of suffrage of a considerable number
representation for every province regardless of the size of its population. To ensure quality representation through of Filipinos is involved.
commonality of interests and ease of access by the representative to the constituents, all that the Constitution requires is that
every legislative district should comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. Thus, the The question of propriety of the instant petition which may appear to be visited by the vice of prematurity as there are no
Constitution leaves the local government units as they are found and does not require their division, merger or transfer to ongoing proceedings in any tribunal, board or before a government official exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial
satisfy the numerical standard it imposes. Its requirements are satisfied despite some numerical disparity if the units are functions as required by Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, dims in light of the importance of the constitutional issues raised by the
contiguous, compact and adjacent as far as practicable. petitioner. In Taada vs. Angara,[7] the Court held:

The petitioners contention that there is a resulting inequality in the division of Cagayan de Oro City into two districts because In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the Constitution, the petition no doubt
the barangays in the first district are mostly rural barangays while the second district is mostly urban, is largely raises a justiciable controversy. Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the
unsubstantiated. But even if backed up by proper proof, we cannot question the division on the basis of the difference in the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. The question thus posed
barangays levels of development or developmental focus as these are not part of the constitutional standards for legislative is judicial rather than political. The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld.
apportionment or reapportionment. What the components of the two districts of Cagayan de Oro would be is a matter for the Once a controversy as to the application or interpretation of constitutional provision is raised before this Court (as in the
lawmakers to determine as a matter of policy. In the absence of any grave abuse of discretion or violation of the established instant case), it becomes a legal issue which the Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide.
legal parameters, this Court cannot intrude into the wisdom of these policies.[47]
In another case of paramount impact to the Filipino people, it has been expressed that it is illogical to await the adverse
WHEREFORE, we hereby DISMISS the petition for lack of merit. Costs against the petitioner.SO ORDERED. consequences of the law in order to consider the controversy actual and ripe for judicial resolution.[8] In yet another case, the
Court said that:

. . . despite the inhibitions pressing upon the Court when confronted with constitutional issues, it will not hesitate to declare a
ATTY. ROMULO B. MACALINTAL, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, HON. ALBERTO ROMULO, in his official law or act invalid when it is convinced that this must be done. In arriving at this conclusion, its only criterion will be the
capacity as Executive Secretary, and HON. EMILIA T. BONCODIN, Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management, Constitution and God as its conscience gives it in the light to probe its meaning and discover its purpose. Personal motives and
respondents. political considerations are irrelevancies that cannot influence its decisions. Blandishment is as ineffectual as intimidation, for
all the awesome power of the Congress and Executive, the Court will not hesitate to make the hammer fall heavily, where the
acts of these departments, or of any official, betray the peoples will as expressed in the Constitution . . .[9]
The need to consider the constitutional issues raised before the Court is further buttressed by the fact that it is now more In compliance with the Resolution of the Court, the Solicitor General filed his comment for all public respondents. He
than fifteen years since the ratification of the 1987 Constitution requiring Congress to provide a system for absentee voting by contraposes that the constitutional challenge to Section 5(d) must fail because of the absence of clear and unmistakable
qualified Filipinos abroad. Thus, strong reasons of public policy demand that the Court resolves the instant petition[10] and showing that said provision of law is repugnant to the Constitution. He stresses: All laws are presumed to be constitutional; by
determine whether Congress has acted within the limits of the Constitution or if it had gravely abused the discretion the doctrine of separation of powers, a department of government owes a becoming respect for the acts of the other two
entrusted to it.[11] departments; all laws are presumed to have adhered to constitutional limitations; the legislature intended to enact a valid,
sensible, and just law.
The petitioner raises three principal questions:

A. Does Section 5(d) of Rep. Act No. 9189 allowing the registration of voters who are immigrants or permanent residents in
other countries by their mere act of executing an affidavit expressing their intention to return to the Philippines, violate the In addition, the Solicitor General points out that Section 1, Article V of the Constitution is a verbatim reproduction of those
residency requirement in Section 1 of Article V of the Constitution? provided for in the 1935 and the 1973 Constitutions. Thus, he cites Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of
Representatives[16] wherein the Court held that the term residence has been understood to be synonymous with domicile
B. Does Section 18.5 of the same law empowering the COMELEC to proclaim the winning candidates for national offices and under both Constitutions. He further argues that a person can have only one domicile but he can have two residences, one
party list representatives including the President and the Vice-President violate the constitutional mandate under Section 4, permanent (the domicile) and the other temporary;[17] and that the definition and meaning given to the term residence
Article VII of the Constitution that the winning candidates for President and the Vice-President shall be proclaimed as winners likewise applies to absentee voters. Invoking Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC[18] which reiterates the Courts ruling in
by Congress? Faypon vs. Quirino,[19] the Solicitor General maintains that Filipinos who are immigrants or permanent residents abroad may
have in fact never abandoned their Philippine domicile.[20]
C. May Congress, through the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created in Section 25 of Rep. Act No. 9189, exercise
the power to review, revise, amend, and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations that the Commission on Elections Taking issue with the petitioners contention that green card holders are considered to have abandoned their Philippine
shall promulgate without violating the independence of the COMELEC under Section 1, Article IX-A of the Constitution? domicile, the Solicitor General suggests that the Court may have to discard its ruling in Caasi vs. Court of Appeals[21] in so far
as it relates to immigrants and permanent residents in foreign countries who have executed and submitted their affidavits
The Court will resolve the questions in seriatim. conformably with Section 5(d) of R.A. No. 9189. He maintains that through the execution of the requisite affidavits, the
Congress of the Philippines with the concurrence of the President of the Republic had in fact given these immigrants and
A. Does Section 5(d) of Rep. Act No. 9189 violate Section 1, Article V of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the permanent residents the opportunity, pursuant to Section 2, Article V of the Constitution, to manifest that they had in fact
Philippines? never abandoned their Philippine domicile; that indubitably, they would have formally and categorically expressed the
requisite intentions, i.e., animus manendi and animus revertendi; that Filipino immigrants and permanent residents abroad
Section 5(d) provides: possess the unquestionable right to exercise the right of suffrage under Section 1, Article V of the Constitution upon approval
of their registration, conformably with R.A. No. 9189.[22]
Sec. 5. Disqualifications. The following shall be disqualified from voting under this Act:
The seed of the present controversy is the interpretation that is given to the phrase, qualified citizens of the Philippines
........ abroad as it appears in R.A. No. 9189, to wit:

d) An immigrant or a permanent resident who is recognized as such in the host country, unless he/she executes, upon SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. It is the prime duty of the State to provide a system of honest and orderly overseas absentee
registration, an affidavit prepared for the purpose by the Commission declaring that he/she shall resume actual physical voting that upholds the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot. Towards this end, the State ensures equal opportunity to all
permanent residence in the Philippines not later than three (3) years from approval of his/her registration under this Act. qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad in the exercise of this fundamental right.
Such affidavit shall also state that he/she has not applied for citizenship in another country. Failure to return shall be cause for
the removal of the name of the immigrant or permanent resident from the National Registry of Absentee Voters and his/her SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. For purposes of this Act:
permanent disqualification to vote in absentia.
a) Absentee Voting refers to the process by which qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad, exercise their right to vote;
Petitioner posits that Section 5(d) is unconstitutional because 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 . . . (Emphasis supplied)
for at least six months immediately preceding an election. Petitioner cites the ruling of the Court in Caasi vs. Court of
Appeals[12] to support his claim. In that case, the Court held that a green card holder immigrant to the United States is f) Overseas Absentee Voter refers to a citizen of the Philippines who is qualified to register and vote under this Act, not
deemed to have abandoned his domicile and residence in the Philippines. otherwise disqualified by law, who is abroad on the day of elections. (Emphasis supplied)

Petitioner further argues that Section 1, Article V of the Constitution does not allow provisional registration or a promise by a SEC. 4. Coverage. All citizens of the Philippines abroad, who are not otherwise disqualified by law, at least eighteen (18) years
voter to perform a condition to be qualified to vote in a political exercise;[13] that the legislature should not be allowed to of age on the day of elections, may vote for president, vice-president, senators and party-list representatives. (Emphasis
circumvent the requirement of the Constitution on the right of suffrage by providing a condition thereon which in effect supplied)
amends or alters the aforesaid residence requirement to qualify a Filipino abroad to vote.[14] 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 in relation to Sections 1 and 2, Article V of the Constitution which read:
Section 1, Article V of the Constitution.
SEC. 1. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen
Respondent COMELEC refrained from commenting on this issue.[15] 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. No literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be
imposed on the exercise of suffrage.
To put matters in their right perspective, it is necessary to dwell first on the significance of absentee voting. The concept of
absentee voting is relatively new. It is viewed thus:
SEC. 2. 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 method of absentee voting has been said to be completely separable and distinct from the regular system of voting, and
to be a new and different manner of voting from that previously known, and an exception to the customary and usual manner
. . . . . . . . . (Emphasis supplied) of voting. The right of absentee and disabled voters to cast their ballots at an election is purely statutory; absentee voting was
unknown to, and not recognized at, the common law.
Section 1, Article V of the Constitution specifically provides that suffrage may be exercised by (1) all citizens of the Philippines,
(2) not otherwise disqualified by law, (3) at least eighteen years of age, (4) who are residents in the Philippines for at least one Absentee voting is an outgrowth of modern social and economic conditions devised to accommodate those engaged in
year and in the place where they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. Under Section military or civil life whose duties make it impracticable for them to attend their polling places on the day of election, and the
5(d) of R.A. No. 9189, one of those disqualified from voting is an immigrant or permanent resident who is recognized as such privilege of absentee voting may flow from constitutional provisions or be conferred by statutes, existing in some
in the host country unless he/she executes an affidavit declaring that he/she shall resume actual physical permanent jurisdictions, which provide in varying terms for the casting and reception of ballots by soldiers and sailors or other qualified
residence in the Philippines not later than three years from approval of his/her registration under said Act. voters absent on election day from the district or precinct of their residence.

Petitioner questions the rightness of the mere act of execution of an affidavit to qualify the Filipinos abroad who are Such statutes are regarded as conferring a privilege and not a right, or an absolute right. When the legislature chooses to
immigrants or permanent residents, to vote. He focuses solely on Section 1, Article V of the Constitution in ascribing grant the right by statute, it must operate with equality among all the class to which it is granted; but statutes of this nature
constitutional infirmity to Section 5(d) of R.A. No. 9189, totally ignoring the provisions of Section 2 empowering Congress to may be limited in their application to particular types of elections. The statutes should be construed in the light of any
provide a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. constitutional provisions affecting registration and elections, and with due regard to their texts prior to amendment and to
predecessor statutes and the decisions thereunder; they should also be construed in the light of the circumstances under
A simple, cursory reading of Section 5(d) of R.A. No. 9189 may indeed give the impression that it contravenes Section 1, which they were enacted; and so as to carry out the objects thereof, if this can be done without doing violence to their
Article V of the Constitution. Filipino immigrants and permanent residents overseas are perceived as having left and provisions and mandates. Further, in passing on statutes regulating absentee voting, the court should look to the whole and
abandoned the Philippines to live permanently in their host countries and therefore, a provision in the law enfranchising every part of the election laws, the intent of the entire plan, and reasons and spirit of their adoption, and try to give effect to
those who do not possess the residency requirement of the Constitution by the mere act of executing an affidavit expressing every portion thereof.[29] (Emphasis supplied)
their intent to return to the Philippines within a given period, risks a declaration of unconstitutionality. However, the risk is
more apparent than real. Ordinarily, an absentee is not a resident and vice versa; a person cannot be at the same time, both a resident and an
absentee.[30] However, under our election laws and the countless pronouncements of the Court pertaining to elections, an
The Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law of the nation to which all other laws must conform and in accordance absentee remains attached to his residence in the Philippines as residence is considered synonymous with domicile.
with which all private rights must be determined and all public authority administered.[23] Laws that do not conform to the
Constitution shall be stricken down for being unconstitutional. In Romualdez-Marcos,[31] the Court enunciated:

Generally, however, all laws are presumed to be constitutional. In Peralta vs. COMELEC, the Court said: Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that [f]or the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of
natural persons is their place of habitual residence. In Ong vs. Republic, this court took the concept of domicile to mean an
. . . An act of the legislature, approved by the executive, is presumed to be within constitutional limitations. The responsibility individuals permanent home, a place to which, whenever absent for business or for pleasure, one intends to return, and
of upholding the Constitution rests not on the courts alone but on the legislature as well. The question of the validity of every depends on facts and circumstances in the sense that they disclose intent. Based on the foregoing, domicile includes the twin
statute is first determined by the legislative department of the government itself.[24] elements of the fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place and animus manendi, or the intention of returning there
permanently.
Thus, presumption of constitutionality of a law must be overcome convincingly:
Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual relationship of an individual to a certain place. It is the physical
. . . To declare a law unconstitutional, the repugnancy of that law to the Constitution must be clear and unequivocal, for even presence of a person in a given area, community or country. The essential distinction between residence and domicile in law
if a law is aimed at the attainment of some public good, no infringement of constitutional rights is allowed. To strike down a is that residence involves the intent to leave when the purpose for which the resident has taken up his abode ends. One may
law there must be a clear showing that what the fundamental law condemns or prohibits, the statute allows it to be done.[25] seek a place for purposes such as pleasure, business, or health. If a persons intent be to remain, it becomes his domicile; if his
intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is established it is residence. It is thus, quite perfectly normal for an individual to have
As the essence of R.A. No. 9189 is to enfranchise overseas qualified Filipinos, it behooves the Court to take a holistic view of different residences in various places. However, a person can only have a single domicile, unless, for various reasons, he
the pertinent provisions of both the Constitution and R.A. No. 9189. It is a basic rule in constitutional construction that the successfully abandons his domicile in favor of another domicile of choice. In Uytengsu vs. Republic, we laid this distinction
Constitution should be construed as a whole. In Chiongbian vs. De Leon,[26] the Court held that a constitutional provision quite clearly:
should function to the full extent of its substance and its terms, not by itself alone, but in conjunction with all other provisions
of that great document. Constitutional provisions are mandatory in character unless, either by express statement or by There is a difference between domicile and residence. Residence is used to indicate a place of abode, whether permanent or
necessary implication, a different intention is manifest.[27] The intent of the Constitution may be drawn primarily from the temporary; domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence to which, when absent, one has the intention of returning. A man
language of the document itself. Should it be ambiguous, the Court may consider the intent of its framers through their may have a residence in one place and a domicile in another. Residence is not domicile, but domicile is residence coupled
debates in the constitutional convention.[28] with the intention to remain for an unlimited time. A man can have but one domicile for the same purpose at any time, but he
may have numerous places of residence. His place of residence is generally his place of domicile, but it is not by any means
R.A. No. 9189 was enacted in obeisance to the mandate of the first paragraph of Section 2, Article V of the Constitution that necessarily so since no length of residence without intention of remaining will constitute domicile.
Congress shall provide a system for voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. It must be stressed that Section 2 does not provide for
the parameters of the exercise of legislative authority in enacting said law. Hence, in the absence of restrictions, Congress is
presumed to have duly exercised its function as defined in Article VI (The Legislative Department) of the Constitution.
For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are dictated by the peculiar criteria of political laws. As these far as residence in the place where he will actually cast his ballot is concerned, the meaning seems to be different. He could
concepts have evolved in our election law, what has clearly and unequivocally emerged is the fact that residence for election have a domicile somewhere else and yet he is a resident of a place for six months and he is allowed to vote there. So that
purposes is used synonymously with domicile.[32] (Emphasis supplied) there may be serious constitutional obstacles to absentee voting, unless the vote of the person who is absent is a vote which
will be considered as cast in the place of his domicile.
Aware of the domiciliary legal tie that links an overseas Filipino to his residence in this country, the framers of the
Constitution considered the circumstances that impelled them to require Congress to establish a system for overseas MR. OPLE. Thank you for citing the jurisprudence.
absentee voting, thus:
It gives me scant comfort thinking of about two million Filipinos who should enjoy the right of suffrage, at least a substantial
MR. OPLE. With respect to Section 1, it is not clear whether the right of suffrage, which here has a residential restriction, is segment of these overseas Filipino communities. The Committee, of course, is aware that when this Article of the Constitution
not denied to citizens temporarily residing or working abroad. Based on the statistics of several government agencies, there explicitly and unequivocally extends the right of effective suffrage to Filipinos abroad, this will call for a logistical exercise of
ought to be about two million such Filipinos at this time. Commissioner Bernas had earlier pointed out that these provisions global proportions. In effect, this will require budgetary and administrative commitments on the part of the Philippine
are really lifted from the two previous Constitutions of 1935 and 1973, with the exception of the last paragraph. They could government, mainly through the COMELEC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and perhaps, a more extensive elaboration of
not therefore have foreseen at that time the phenomenon now described as the Filipino labor force explosion overseas. this mechanism that will be put in place to make effective the right to vote. Therefore, seeking shelter in some wise
jurisprudence of the past may not be sufficient to meet the demands of the right of suffrage for Filipinos abroad that I have
According to government data, there are now about 600,000 contract workers and employees, and although the major mentioned. But I want to thank the Committee for saying that an amendment to this effect may be entertained at the proper
portions of these expatriate communities of workers are to be found in the Middle East, they are scattered in 177 countries in time. . . . . . . . . .
the world.
[33] (Emphasis supplied)
In a previous hearing of the Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Agencies, the Chairman of the Commission on
Elections, Ramon Felipe, said that there was no insuperable obstacle to making effective the right of suffrage for Filipinos Thus, the Constitutional Commission recognized the fact that while millions of Filipinos reside abroad principally for economic
overseas. Those who have adhered to their Filipino citizenship notwithstanding strong temptations are exposed to embrace a reasons and hence they contribute in no small measure to the economic uplift of this country, their voices are marginal
more convenient foreign citizenship. And those who on their own or under pressure of economic necessity here, find that insofar as the choice of this countrys leaders is concerned.
they have to detach themselves from their families to work in other countries with definite tenures of employment. Many of
them are on contract employment for one, two, or three years. They have no intention of changing their residence on a The Constitutional Commission realized that under the laws then existing and considering the novelty of the system of
permanent basis, but are technically disqualified from exercising the right of suffrage in their countries of destination by the absentee voting in this jurisdiction, vesting overseas Filipinos with the right to vote would spawn constitutional problems
residential requirement in Section 1 which says: especially because the Constitution itself provides for the residency requirement of voters:

Suffrage shall be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are eighteen years of age or
over, 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 preceding the election. MR. REGALADO. Before I act on that, may I inquire from Commissioner Monsod if the term absentee voting also includes
transient voting; meaning, those who are, let us say, studying in Manila need not go back to their places of registration, for
I, therefore, ask the Committee whether at the proper time they might entertain an amendment that will make this exercise instance, in Mindanao, to cast their votes.
of the right to vote abroad for Filipino citizens an effective, rather than merely a nominal right under this proposed
Constitution. MR. MONSOD. I think our provision is for absentee voting by Filipinos abroad.

FR. BERNAS. Certainly, the Committee will consider that. But more than just saying that, I would like to make a comment on MR. REGALADO. How about those people who cannot go back to the places where they are registered?
the meaning of residence in the Constitution because I think it is a concept that has been discussed in various decisions of the
Supreme Court, particularly in the case of Faypon vs. Quirino, a 1954 case which dealt precisely with the meaning of residence MR. MONSOD. Under the present Election Code, there are provisions for allowing students and military people who are
in the Election Law. Allow me to quote: temporarily in another place to register and vote. I believe that those situations can be covered by the Omnibus Election
Code. The reason we want absentee voting to be in the Constitution as a mandate to the legislature is that there could be
A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for greener pastures, as the saying goes, to improve his lot and that, of inconsistency on the residence rule if it is just a question of legislation by Congress. So, by allowing it and saying that this is
course, includes study in other places, practice of his avocation, reengaging in business. When an election is to be held, the possible, then legislation can take care of the rest.[34] (Emphasis supplied)
citizen who left his birthplace to improve his lot may decide to return to his native town, to cast his ballot, but for professional
or business reasons, or for any other reason, he may not absent himself from the place of his professional or business Thus, Section 2, Article V of the Constitution came into being to remove any doubt as to the inapplicability of the residency
activities. requirement in Section 1. It is precisely to avoid any problems that could impede the implementation of its pursuit to
enfranchise the largest number of qualified Filipinos who are not in the Philippines that the Constitutional Commission
So, they are here registered as voters as he has the qualifications to be one, and is not willing to give up or lose the explicitly mandated Congress to provide a system for overseas absentee voting.
opportunity to choose the officials who are to run the government especially in national elections. Despite such registration,
the animus revertendi to his home, to his domicile or residence of origin has not forsaken him. The discussion of the Constitutional Commission on the effect of the residency requirement prescribed by Section 1, Article V
of the Constitution on the proposed system of absentee voting for qualified Filipinos abroad is enlightening:
This may be the explanation why the registration of a voter in a place other than his residence of origin has not been deemed
sufficient to consider abandonment or loss of such residence of origin.

In other words, residence in this provision refers to two residence qualifications: residence in the Philippines and residence in
the place where he will vote. As far as residence in the Philippines is concerned, the word residence means domicile, but as
MR. SUAREZ. May I just be recognized for a clarification. There are certain qualifications for the exercise of the right of THE PRESIDENT. The Commissioner is not stating here that he wants new qualifications for these absentee voters.
suffrage like having resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place where they propose to vote for at least six
months preceding the elections. What is the effect of these mandatory requirements on the matter of the exercise of the MR. MONSOD. That is right. They must have the qualifications and none of the disqualifications.
right of suffrage by the absentee voters like Filipinos abroad?
THE PRESIDENT. It is just to devise a system by which they can vote.
THE PRESIDENT. Would Commissioner Monsod care to answer?
MR. MONSOD. That is right, Madam President.[35] (Emphasis supplied)
MR. MONSOD. I believe the answer was already given by Commissioner Bernas, that the domicile requirements as well as the
qualifications and disqualifications would be the same. Clearly therefrom, the intent of the Constitutional Commission is to entrust to Congress the responsibility of devising a system
of absentee voting. The qualifications of voters as stated in Section 1 shall remain except for the residency requirement. This
THE PRESIDENT. Are we leaving it to the legislature to devise the system? is in fact the reason why the Constitutional Commission opted for the term qualified Filipinos abroad with respect to the
system of absentee voting that Congress should draw up. As stressed by Commissioner Monsod, by the use of the adjective
FR. BERNAS. I think there is a very legitimate problem raised there. qualified with respect to Filipinos abroad, the assumption is that they have the qualifications and none of the disqualifications
to vote. In fine-tuning the provision on absentee voting, the Constitutional Commission discussed how the system should
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. work:

MR. BENGZON. I believe Commissioner Suarez is clarified.

FR. BERNAS. But I think it should be further clarified with regard to the residence requirement or the place where they vote in MR. SUAREZ. For clarification purposes, we just want to state for the record that in the case of qualified Filipino citizens
practice; the understanding is that it is flexible. For instance, one might be a resident of Naga or domiciled therein, but he residing abroad and exercising their right of suffrage, they can cast their votes for the candidates in the place where they
satisfies the requirement of residence in Manila, so he is able to vote in Manila. were registered to vote in the Philippines. So as to avoid any complications, for example, if they are registered in Angeles City,
they could not vote for a mayor in Naga City.
MR. TINGSON. Madam President, may I then suggest to the Committee to change the word Filipinos to QUALIFIED FILIPINO
VOTERS. Instead of VOTING BY FILIPINOS ABROAD, it should be QUALIFIED FILIPINO VOTERS. If the Committee wants In other words, if that qualified voter is registered in Angeles City, then he can vote only for the local and national candidates
QUALIFIED VOTERS LIVING ABROAD, would that not satisfy the requirement? in Angeles City. I just want to make that clear for the record.

THE PRESIDENT. What does Commissioner Monsod say? MR. REGALADO. Madam President.

MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I think I would accept the phrase QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD because QUALIFIED would THE PRESIDENT. What does Commissioner Regalado say?
assume that he has the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to vote.
MR. REGALADO. I just want to make a note on the statement of Commissioner Suarez that this envisions Filipinos residing
MR. TINGSON. That is right. So does the Committee accept? abroad. The understanding in the amendment is that the Filipino is temporarily abroad. He may not be actually residing
abroad; he may just be there on a business trip. It just so happens that the day before the elections he has to fly to the United
FR. BERNAS. QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD? States, so he could not cast his vote. He is temporarily abroad, but not residing there. He stays in a hotel for two days and
comes back. This is not limited only to Filipinos temporarily residing abroad. But as long as he is temporarily abroad on the
THE PRESIDENT. Does the Committee accept the amendment? date of the elections, then he can fall within the prescription of Congress in that situation.

MR. REGALADO. Madam President. MR. SUAREZ. I thank the Commissioner for his further clarification. Precisely, we need this clarification on record.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Regalado is recognized. MR. MONSOD. Madam President, to clarify what we mean by temporarily abroad, it need not be on very short trips. One can
be abroad on a treaty traders visa. Therefore, when we talk about registration, it is possible that his residence is in Angeles
MR. REGALADO. When Commissioner Bengzon asked me to read my proposed amendment, I specifically stated that the and he would be able to vote for the candidates in Angeles, but Congress or the Assembly may provide the procedure for
National Assembly shall prescribe a system which will enable qualified citizens, temporarily absent from the Philippines, to registration, like listing ones name, in a registry list in the embassy abroad. That is still possible under the system.
vote. According to Commissioner Monsod, the use of the phrase absentee voting already took that into account as its
meaning. That is referring to qualified Filipino citizens temporarily abroad. FR. BERNAS. Madam President, just one clarification if Commissioner Monsod agrees with this.

MR. MONSOD. Yes, we accepted that. I would like to say that with respect to registration we will leave it up to the legislative Suppose we have a situation of a child of a diplomatic officer who reaches the voting age while living abroad and he has never
assembly, for example, to require where the registration is. If it is, say, members of the diplomatic corps who may be registered here. Where will he register? Will he be a registered voter of a certain locality in the Philippines?
continuously abroad for a long time, perhaps, there can be a system of registration in the embassies. However, we do not like
to preempt the legislative assembly. MR. MONSOD. Yes, it is possible that the system will enable that child to comply with the registration requirements in an
embassy in the United States and his name is then entered in the official registration book in Angeles City, for instance.
THE PRESIDENT. Just to clarify, Commissioner Monsods amendment is only to provide a system.
FR. BERNAS. In other words, he is not a registered voter of Los Angeles, but a registered voter of a locality here.
MR. MONSOD. Yes.
MR. MONSOD. That is right. He does not have to come home to the Philippines to comply with the registration procedure
here.
Senator Arroyo. Mr. President, when the Constitution says, in Section 2 of Article V, it reads: The Congress shall provide a
FR. BERNAS. So, he does not have to come home. system for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad.

MR. BENGZON. Madam President, the Floor Leader wishes to inquire if there are more clarifications needed from the body. 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.

Also, the Floor Leader is happy to announce that there are no more registered Commissioners to propose amendments. So I I will lose votes here from permanent residents so-called green-card holders, but the Constitution is the Constitution. We
move that we close the period of amendments. cannot compromise on this. The Senate cannot be a party to something that would affect or impair the Constitution.

It is clear from these discussions of the members of the Constitutional Commission that they intended to enfranchise as much Look at what the Constitution says In the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding
as possible all Filipino citizens abroad who have not abandoned their domicile of origin. The Commission even intended to the election.
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. Mr. President, all of us here have run (sic) for office.

It is in pursuance of that intention that the Commission provided for Section 2 immediately after the residency requirement of I live in Makati. My neighbor is Pateros where Senator Cayetano lives. We are separated only by a creek. But one who votes in
Section 1. By the doctrine of necessary implication in statutory construction, which may be applied in construing Makati cannot vote in Pateros unless he resides in Pateros for six months. That is how restrictive our Constitution is. I am not
constitutional provisions,[37] the strategic location of Section 2 indicates that the Constitutional Commission provided for an talking even about the Election Code. I am talking about the Constitution.
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 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
satisfy the residency requirement in Section 1, Article V of the Constitution. months before the election, otherwise, he is not qualified to vote.

That Section 2 of Article V of the Constitution is an exception to the residency requirement found in Section 1 of the same That is why I am raising this point because I think we have a fundamental difference here.
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 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 six-month/one-year residency
Senator Arroyo. Mr. President, this bill should be looked into in relation to the constitutional provisions. I think the sponsor requirement is to demonstrate unmistakably that Section 2 which authorizes absentee voting is an exception to the six-
and I would agree that the Constitution is supreme in any statute that we may enact. month/one-year residency requirement. That is the first principle, Mr. President, that one must remember.

Let me read Section 1, Article V, of the Constitution entitled, Suffrage. It says: The second reason, Mr. President, is that under our jurisprudence and I think this is so well-entrenched that one need not
argue about it residency has been interpreted as synonymous with domicile.
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 But the third more practical reason, Mr. President, is, if we follow the interpretation of the gentleman, then it is legally and
propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. 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.
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 committee amendment Accordingly, Section 4 of R.A. No. 9189 provides for the coverage of the absentee voting process, to wit:
which in fact does not alter the original text of the bill will have any effect on this?
SEC. 4. Coverage. All citizens of the Philippines abroad, who are not otherwise disqualified by law, at least eighteen (18) years
Senator Angara. Good question, Mr. President. And this has been asked in various fora. This is in compliance with the of age on the day of elections, may vote for president, vice-president, senators and party-list representatives.
Constitution. One, the interpretation here of residence is synonymous with domicile.
which does not require physical residency in the Philippines; and Section 5 of the assailed law which enumerates those who
As the gentleman and I know, Mr. President, domicile is the intent to return to ones home. And the fact that a Filipino may are disqualified, to wit:
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. SEC. 5. Disqualifications. The following shall be disqualified from voting under this Act:

This is consistent, Mr. President, with the constitutional mandate that we that Congress must provide a franchise to overseas a) Those who have lost their Filipino citizenship in accordance with Philippine laws;
Filipinos.
b) Those who have expressly renounced their Philippine citizenship and who have pledged allegiance to a foreign country;
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. c) Those who have committed and are 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 committed and been found guilty of Disloyalty as
defined under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code, such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon or amnesty: already a green-card holder, that means he has acquired permanent residency in the United States, then he must indicate an
Provided, however, That any person disqualified to vote under this subsection shall automatically acquire the right to vote intention to return. This is what makes for the definition of domicile. And to acquire the vote, we thought that we would
upon expiration of five (5) years after service of sentence; Provided, further, That the Commission may take cognizance of require the immigrants and the green-card holders . . . Mr. President, the three administration senators are leaving, maybe
final judgments issued by foreign courts or tribunals only on the basis of reciprocity and subject to the formalities and we may ask for a vote [Laughter].
processes prescribed by the Rules of Court on execution of judgments;
Senator Villar. For a merienda, Mr. President.
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 Senator Angara. Mr. President, going back to the business at hand. The rationale for the requirement that an immigrant or a
permanent residence in the Philippines not later than three (3) years from approval of his/her registration under this Act. green-card holder should file an affidavit that he will go back to the Philippines is that, if he is already an immigrant or a
Such affidavit shall also state that he/she has not applied for citizenship in another country. Failure to return shall be cause for green-card holder, that means he may not return to the country any more and that contradicts the definition of domicile
the removal of the name of the immigrant or permanent resident from the National Registry of Absentee Voters and his/her under the law.
permanent disqualification to vote in absentia.
But what we are trying to do here, Mr. President, is really provide the choice to the voter. The voter, after consulting his
e) Any citizen of the Philippines abroad previously declared insane or incompetent by competent authority in the Philippines lawyer or after deliberation within the family, may decide No, I think we are risking our permanent status in the United States
or abroad, as verified by the Philippine embassies, consulates or foreign service establishments concerned, unless such if we file an affidavit that we want to go back. But we want to give him the opportunity to make that decision. We do not
competent authority subsequently certifies that such person is no longer insane or incompetent. want to make that decision for him. [39] (Emphasis supplied)

As finally approved into law, Section 5(d) of R.A. No. 9189 specifically disqualifies an immigrant or permanent resident who is The jurisprudential declaration in Caasi vs. Court of Appeals that green card holders are disqualified to run for any elective
recognized as such in the host country because immigration or permanent residence in another country implies renunciation office finds no application to the present case because the Caasi case did not, for obvious reasons, consider the absentee
of ones residence in his country of origin. However, same Section allows an immigrant and permanent resident abroad to voting rights of Filipinos who are immigrants and permanent residents in their host countries.
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 In the advent of The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 or R.A. 9189, they may still be considered as a qualified citizen of
disqualified by law must be entitled to exercise the right of suffrage and, that Congress must establish a system for absentee the Philippines abroad upon fulfillment of the requirements of registration under the new law for the purpose of exercising
voting; for otherwise, if actual, physical residence in the Philippines is required, there is no sense for the framers of the their right of suffrage.
Constitution to mandate Congress to establish a system for absentee voting.
It must be emphasized that Section 5(d) does not only require an affidavit or a promise to resume actual physical permanent
Contrary to the claim of petitioner, the execution of the affidavit itself is not the enabling or enfranchising act. The affidavit residence in the Philippines not later than three years from approval of his/her registration, the Filipinos abroad must also
required in Section 5(d) is not only proof of the intention of the immigrant or permanent resident to go back and resume declare that they have not applied for citizenship in another country. Thus, they must return to the Philippines; otherwise,
residency in the Philippines, but more significantly, it serves as an explicit expression that he had not in fact abandoned his their failure to return shall be cause for the removal of their names from the National Registry of Absentee Voters and his/her
domicile of origin. Thus, it is not correct to say that the execution of the affidavit under Section 5(d) violates the Constitution permanent disqualification to vote in absentia.
that proscribes provisional registration or a promise by a voter to perform a condition to be qualified to vote in a political
exercise. Thus, Congress crafted a process of registration by which a Filipino voter permanently residing abroad who is at least eighteen
years old, not otherwise disqualified by law, who has not relinquished Philippine citizenship and who has not actually
To repeat, the affidavit is required of immigrants and permanent residents abroad because by their status in their host abandoned his/her intentions to return to his/her domicile of origin, the Philippines, is allowed to register and vote in the
countries, they are presumed to have relinquished their intent to return to this country; thus, without the affidavit, the Philippine embassy, consulate or other foreign service establishments of the place which has jurisdiction over the country
presumption of abandonment of Philippine domicile shall remain. where he/she has indicated his/her address for purposes of the elections, while providing for safeguards to a clean election.

Further perusal of the transcripts of the Senate proceedings discloses another reason why the Senate required the execution Thus, Section 11 of R.A. No. 9189 provides:
of said affidavit. It wanted the affiant to exercise the option to return or to express his intention to return to his domicile of
origin and not to preempt that choice by legislation. Thus: SEC. 11. Procedure for Application to Vote in Absentia.

11.1. Every qualified citizen of the Philippines abroad whose application for registration has been approved, including those
previously registered under Republic Act No. 8189, shall, in every national election, file with the officer of the embassy,
Senator Villar. Yes, we are going back. consulate or other foreign service establishment authorized by the Commission, a sworn written application to vote in a form
prescribed by the Commission. The authorized officer of such embassy, consulate or other foreign service establishment shall
It states that: For Filipino immigrants and those who have acquired permanent resident status abroad, a requirement for the transmit to the Commission the said application to vote within five (5) days from receipt thereof. The application form shall
registration is the submission of a Sworn Declaration of Intent to Return duly sworn before any Philippine embassy or be accomplished in triplicate and submitted together with the photocopy of his/her overseas absentee voter certificate of
consulate official authorized to administer oath registration.

Mr. President, may we know the rationale of this provision? Is the purpose of this Sworn Declaration to include only those 11.2. Every application to vote in absentia may be done personally at, or by mail to, the embassy, consulate or foreign service
who have the intention of returning to be qualified to exercise the right of suffrage? What if the Filipino immigrant has no establishment, which has jurisdiction over the country where he/she has indicated his/her address for purposes of the
purpose of returning? Is he automatically disbarred from exercising this right to suffrage? elections.

Senator Angara. The rationale for this, Mr. President, is that we want to be expansive and all-inclusive in this law. That as long 11.3. Consular and diplomatic services rendered in connection with the overseas absentee voting processes shall be made
as he is a Filipino, no matter whether he is a green-card holder in the U.S. or not, he will be authorized to vote. But if he is available at no cost to the overseas absentee voter.
Contrary to petitioners claim that Section 5(d) circumvents the Constitution, Congress enacted the law prescribing a system of proclamation of winning candidates despite the fact that the scheduled election has not taken place in a particular country or
overseas absentee voting in compliance with the constitutional mandate. Such mandate expressly requires that Congress countries, if the holding of elections therein has been rendered impossible by events, factors and circumstances peculiar to
provide a system of absentee voting that necessarily presupposes that the qualified citizen of the Philippines abroad is not such country or countries, in which events, factors and circumstances are beyond the control or influence of the Commission.
physically present in the country. The provisions of Sections 5(d) and 11 are components of the system of overseas absentee (Emphasis supplied)
voting established by R.A. No. 9189. The qualified Filipino abroad who executed the affidavit is deemed to have retained his
domicile in the Philippines. He is presumed not to have lost his domicile by his physical absence from this country. His having Petitioner claims that the provision of Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 empowering the COMELEC to order the proclamation of
become an immigrant or permanent resident of his host country does not necessarily imply an abandonment of his intention winning candidates insofar as it affects the canvass of votes and proclamation of winning candidates for president and vice-
to return to his domicile of origin, the Philippines. Therefore, under the law, he must be given the opportunity to express that president, is unconstitutional because it violates the following provisions of paragraph 4, Section 4 of Article VII of the
he has not actually abandoned his domicile in the Philippines by executing the affidavit required by Sections 5(d) and 8(c) of Constitution:
the law.
SEC. 4 . . .
Petitioners speculative apprehension that the implementation of Section 5(d) would affect the credibility of the elections is
insignificant as what is important is to ensure that all those who possess the qualifications to vote on the date of the election The returns of every election for President and Vice-President, duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province or
are given the opportunity and permitted to freely do so. The COMELEC and the Department of Foreign Affairs have enough city, shall be transmitted to the Congress, directed to the President of the Senate. Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass,
resources and talents to ensure the integrity and credibility of any election conducted pursuant to R.A. No. 9189. the President of the Senate shall, not later than thirty days after the day of the election, open all the certificates in the
presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives in joint public session, and the Congress, upon determination of the
As to the eventuality that the Filipino abroad would renege on his undertaking to return to the Philippines, the penalty of authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner provided by law, canvass the votes.
perpetual disenfranchisement provided for by Section 5(d) would suffice to serve as deterrence to non-compliance with
his/her undertaking under the affidavit. The person having the highest number of votes shall be proclaimed elected, but in case two or more shall have an equal and
highest number of votes, one of them shall forthwith be chosen by the vote of a majority of all the Members of both Houses
Petitioner argues that should a sizable number of immigrants renege on their promise to return, the result of the elections of the Congress, voting separately.
would be affected and could even be a ground to contest the proclamation of the winning candidates and cause further
confusion and doubt on the integrity of the results of the election. Indeed, the probability that after an immigrant has The Congress shall promulgate its rules for the canvassing of the certificates.
exercised the right to vote, he shall opt to remain in his host country beyond the third year from the execution of the
affidavit, is not farfetched. However, it is not for this Court to determine the wisdom of a legislative exercise. As expressed in which gives to Congress the duty to canvass the votes and proclaim the winning candidates for president and vice-president.
Taada vs. Tuvera,[40] the Court is not called upon to rule on the wisdom of the law or to repeal it or modify it if we find it
impractical. The Solicitor General asserts that this provision must be harmonized with paragraph 4, Section 4, Article VII of the
Constitution and should be taken to mean that COMELEC can only proclaim the winning Senators and party-list
Congress itself was conscious of said probability and in fact, it has addressed the expected problem. Section 5(d) itself representatives but not the President and Vice-President.[41]
provides for a deterrence which is that the Filipino who fails to return as promised stands to lose his right of suffrage. Under
Section 9, should a registered overseas absentee voter fail to vote for two consecutive national elections, his name may be Respondent COMELEC has no comment on the matter.
ordered removed from the National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters.
Indeed, the phrase, proclamation of winning candidates, in Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 is far too sweeping that it necessarily
Other serious legal questions that may be raised would be: what happens to the votes cast by the qualified voters abroad who includes the proclamation of the winning candidates for the presidency and the vice-presidency.
were not able to return within three years as promised? What is the effect on the votes cast by the non-returnees in favor of
the winning candidates? The votes cast by qualified Filipinos abroad who failed to return within three years shall not be Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 appears to be repugnant to Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution only insofar as said Section
invalidated because they were qualified to vote on the date of the elections, but their failure to return shall be cause for the totally disregarded the authority given to Congress by the Constitution to proclaim the winning candidates for the positions of
removal of the names of the immigrants or permanent residents from the National Registry of Absentee Voters and their president and vice-president.
permanent disqualification to vote in absentia.
In addition, the Court notes that Section 18.4 of the law, to wit:
In fine, considering the underlying intent of the Constitution, the Court does not find Section 5(d) of R.A. No. 9189 as
constitutionally defective. 18.4. . . . Immediately upon the completion of the canvass, the chairman of the Special Board of Canvassers shall transmit via
facsimile, electronic mail, or any other means of transmission equally safe and reliable the Certificates of Canvass and the
B. Is Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 in relation to Section 4 of the same Act in contravention of Section 4, Article VII of the Statements of Votes to the Commission, . . . [Emphasis supplied]
Constitution?
clashes with paragraph 4, Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution which provides that the returns of every election for
Section 4 of R.A. No. 9189 provides that the overseas absentee voter may vote for president, vice-president, senators and President and Vice-President shall be certified by the board of canvassers to Congress.
party-list representatives.
Congress could not have allowed the COMELEC to usurp a power that constitutionally belongs to it or, as aptly stated by
Section 18.5 of the same Act provides: petitioner, to encroach on the power of Congress to canvass the votes for president and vice-president and the power to
proclaim the winners for the said positions. The provisions of the Constitution as the fundamental law of the land should be
SEC. 18. On-Site Counting and Canvassing. read as part of The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 and hence, the canvassing of the votes and the proclamation of the
winning candidates for president and vice-president for the entire nation must remain in the hands of Congress.
18. 5 The canvass of votes shall not cause the delay of the proclamation of a winning candidate if the outcome of the election
will not be affected by the results thereof. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Commission is empowered to order the
C. Are Sections 19 and 25 of R.A. No. 9189 in violation of Section 1, Article IX-A of the Constitution? R.A. No. 9189 created the JCOC, as follows:

Petitioner avers that Sections 19 and 25 of R.A. No. 9189 violate Article IX-A (Common Provisions) of the Constitution, to wit: SEC. 25. Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. A Joint Congressional Oversight Committee is hereby created, composed of
the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, and seven (7) other
Section 1. The Constitutional Commissions, which shall be independent, are the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Senators designated by the Senate President, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms,
Elections, and the Commission on Audit. (Emphasis supplied) and seven (7) other Members of the House of Representatives designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives:
Provided, That, of the seven (7) members to be designated by each House of Congress, four (4) should come from the
He submits that the creation of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee with the power to review, revise, amend and majority and the remaining three (3) from the minority.
approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the COMELEC, R.A. No. 9189 intrudes into the
independence of the COMELEC which, as a constitutional body, is not under the control of either the executive or legislative
departments of government; that only the COMELEC itself can promulgate rules and regulations which may be changed or
revised only by the majority of its members; and that should the rules promulgated by the COMELEC violate any law, it is the The Joint Congressional Oversight Committee shall have the power to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Act. It
Court that has the power to review the same via the petition of any interested party, including the legislators. shall review, revise, amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission. (Emphasis
supplied)
It is only on this question that respondent COMELEC submitted its Comment. It agrees with the petitioner that Sections 19
and 25 of R.A. No. 9189 are unconstitutional. Like the petitioner, respondent COMELEC anchors its claim of SEC. 19. Authority of the Commission to Promulgate Rules. The Commission shall issue the necessary rules and regulations to
unconstitutionality of said Sections upon Section 1, Article IX-A of the Constitution providing for the independence of the effectively implement the provisions of this Act within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act. The Implementing Rules
constitutional commissions such as the COMELEC. It asserts that its power to formulate rules and regulations has been upheld and Regulations shall be submitted to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior
in Gallardo vs. Tabamo, Jr.[42] where this Court held that the power of the COMELEC to formulate rules and regulations is approval.
implicit in its power to implement regulations under Section 2(1) of Article IX-C[43] of the Constitution. COMELEC joins the
petitioner in asserting that as an independent constitutional body, it may not be subject to interference by any government Composed of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) is
instrumentality and that only this Court may review COMELEC rules and only in cases of grave abuse of discretion. a purely legislative body. There is no question that the authority of Congress to monitor and evaluate the implementation of
R.A. No. 9189 is geared towards possible amendments or revision of the law itself and thus, may be performed in aid of its
The COMELEC adds, however, that another provision, vis--vis its rule-making power, to wit: legislation.

SEC. 17. Voting by Mail. However, aside from its monitoring and evaluation functions, R.A. No. 9189 gives to the JCOC the following functions: (a) to
review, revise, amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) promulgated by the COMELEC [Sections 25
17.1. For the May, 2004 elections, the Commission shall authorize voting by mail in not more than three (3) countries, subject and 19]; and (b) subject to the approval of the JCOC [Section 17.1], the voting by mail in not more than three countries for the
to the approval of the Congressional Oversight Committee. Voting by mail may be allowed in countries that satisfy the May 2004 elections and in any country determined by COMELEC.
following conditions:
The ambit of legislative power under Article VI of the Constitution is circumscribed by other constitutional provisions. One
a) Where the mailing system is fairly well-developed and secure to prevent occasion for fraud; such provision is Section 1 of Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution ordaining that constitutional commissions such as the
COMELEC shall be independent.
b) Where there exists a technically established identification system that would preclude multiple or proxy voting; and
Interpreting Section 1, Article X of the 1935 Constitution providing that there shall be an independent COMELEC, the Court
c) Where the system of reception and custody of mailed ballots in the embassies, consulates and other foreign service has held that [w]hatever may be the nature of the functions of the Commission on Elections, the fact is that the framers of
establishments concerned are adequate and well-secured. the Constitution wanted it to be independent from the other departments of the Government.[44] In an earlier case, the
Court elucidated:
Thereafter, voting by mail in any country shall be allowed only upon review and approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight
Committee. The Commission on Elections is a constitutional body. It is intended to play a distinct and important part in our scheme of
government. In the discharge of its functions, it should not be hampered with restrictions that would be fully warranted in the
is likewise unconstitutional as it violates Section 1, Article IX-A mandating the independence of constitutional commissions. case of a less responsible organization. The Commission may err, so may this court also. It should be allowed considerable
latitude in devising means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of the great objective for which it was created
The Solicitor General takes exception to his prefatory statement that the constitutional challenge must fail and agrees with free, orderly and honest elections. We may not agree fully with its choice of means, but unless these are clearly illegal or
the petitioner that Sections 19 and 25 are invalid and unconstitutional on the ground that there is nothing in Article VI of the constitute gross abuse of discretion, this court should not interfere. Politics is a practical matter, and political questions must
Constitution on Legislative Department that would as much as imply that Congress has concurrent power to enforce and be dealt with realistically not from the standpoint of pure theory. The Commission on Elections, because of its fact-finding
administer election laws with the COMELEC; and by the principles of exclusio unius est exclusio alterius and expressum facit facilities, its contacts with political strategists, and its knowledge derived from actual experience in dealing with political
cessare tacitum, the constitutionally enumerated powers of Congress circumscribe its authority to the exclusion of all others. controversies, is in a peculiarly advantageous position to decide complex political questions.

The parties are unanimous in claiming that Sections 19, 25 and portions of Section 17.1 are unconstitutional. Thus, there is no The Court has no general powers of supervision over COMELEC which is an independent body except those specifically
actual issue forged on this question raised by petitioner. granted by the Constitution, that is, to review its decisions, orders and rulings.[46] In the same vein, it is not correct to hold
that because of its recognized extensive legislative power to enact election laws, Congress may intrude into the independence
However, the Court finds it expedient to expound on the role of Congress through the Joint Congressional Oversight of the COMELEC by exercising supervisory powers over its rule-making authority.
Committee (JCOC) vis--vis the independence of the COMELEC, as a constitutional body.
By virtue of Section 19 of R.A. No. 9189, Congress has empowered the COMELEC to issue the necessary rules and regulations and proclaim the winning candidates for President and Vice-President which is lodged with Congress under Section 4, Article
to effectively implement the provisions of this Act within sixty days from the effectivity of this Act. This provision of law VII of the Constitution.
follows the usual procedure in drafting rules and regulations to implement a law the legislature grants an administrative
agency the authority to craft the rules and regulations implementing the law it has enacted, in recognition of the The constitutionality of Section 5(d) is UPHELD.
administrative expertise of that agency in its particular field of operation.[47] Once a law is enacted and approved, the
legislative function is deemed accomplished and complete. The legislative function may spring back to Congress relative to Pursuant to Section 30 of R.A. No. 9189, the rest of the provisions of said law continues to be in full force and effect. SO
the same law only if that body deems it proper to review, amend and revise the law, but certainly not to approve, review, ORDERED.
revise and amend the IRR of the COMELEC.

By vesting itself with the powers to approve, review, amend, and revise the IRR for The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of
2003, Congress went beyond the scope of its constitutional authority. Congress trampled upon the constitutional mandate of MICHAEL O. MASTURA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (Second Division), THE NEW MUNICIPAL BOARD OF
independence of the COMELEC. Under such a situation, the Court is left with no option but to withdraw from its usual CANVASSERS OF MATANOG, MAGUINDANAO, THE NEW PROVINCIAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF MAGUINDANAO and
reticence in declaring a provision of law unconstitutional. DIDAGEN P. DILANGALEN, respondents.

The second sentence of the first paragraph of Section 19 stating that [t]he Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be This Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with prayer for preliminary injunction and/or restraining order seeks to
submitted to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior approval, and the second reverse, annul or set aside: (a) the 29 February 1996 Order of public respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) which
sentence of the second paragraph of Section 25 stating that [i]t shall review, revise, amend and approve the Implementing annulled and set aside the canvass made by the original Municipal Board of Canvassers of Matanog, Maguindanao, created a
Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission, whereby Congress, in both provisions, arrogates unto itself a function new set of municipal and provincial boards of canvassers and directing them to recanvass the votes using the COMELEC copy
not specifically vested by the Constitution, should be stricken out of the subject statute for constitutional infirmity. Both of the election returns and to proclaim the duly elected Member of the House of Representatives, First District of
provisions brazenly violate the mandate on the independence of the COMELEC. Maguindanao; (b) the 5 March 1996 Order of the COMELEC Second Division which merely noted the Urgent Motion to
Examine and Verify the Canvassed MBC Copies of Election Returns, COMELEC Copy of the Certificate of Canvass and the
Similarly, the phrase, subject to the approval of the Congressional Oversight Committee in the first sentence of Section 17.1 accompanying Statement of Votes; (c) the 14 March 1996 Order denying the Urgent Motion to Defer Implementation of the
which empowers the Commission to authorize voting by mail in not more than three countries for the May, 2004 elections; 29 February 1996 Order; and, (d) the 20 March 1996 order denying Masturas Motion for Reconsideration of the 29 February
and the phrase, only upon review and approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee found in the second 1996 Order.
paragraph of the same section are unconstitutional as they require review and approval of voting by mail in any country after
the 2004 elections. Congress may not confer upon itself the authority to approve or disapprove the countries wherein voting Petitioner Michael O. Mastura and private respondent Didagen P. Dilangalen were congressional candidates for the first
by mail shall be allowed, as determined by the COMELEC pursuant to the conditions provided for in Section 17.1 of R.A. No. district of Maguindanao during the 8 May 1995 elections. In the canvassing of votes, Dilangalen objected to the inclusion of
9189.[48] Otherwise, Congress would overstep the bounds of its constitutional mandate and intrude into the independence of the Certificate of Canvass of the Municipality of Matanog on the ground that the same was allegedly tampered. Acting on the
the COMELEC. objection, the COMELEC Second Division ordered the production and examination of the election returns of the Municipality
of Matanog. In the course of the examination four (4) ballot boxes were produced and opened. Ballot Box No. 1 contained the
During the deliberations, all the members of the Court agreed to adopt the separate opinion of Justice Reynato S. Puno as MTC Judge copy of the election returns, Ballot Box No. 2 the Provincial Board of Canvassers copy of the election returns,
part of the ponencia on the unconstitutionality of Sections 17.1, 19 and 25 of R.A. No. 9189 insofar as they relate to the Ballot Box No. 3 the COMELEC copy of the election returns, and Ballot Box No. 4 the Provincial Board of Canvassers copy of
creation of and the powers given to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. the municipal Certificate of Canvass of Matanog with its supporting Statement of Votes.

WHEREFORE, the petition is partly GRANTED. The following portions of R.A. No. 9189 are declared VOID for being Upon examination and comparison of the copies of the election returns of the MTC Judge and the COMELEC, the COMELEC
UNCONSTITUTIONAL: Second Division found that, indeed, the Certificate of Canvass of the Municipality of Matanog had been tampered with.
Consequently, the COMELEC Second Division issued the herein assailed Order of 29 February 1996 annulling the Certificate of
a) The phrase in the first sentence of the first paragraph of Section 17.1, to wit: subject to the approval of the Joint Canvass of Matanog thus -
Congressional Oversight Committee;
After comparing the fifty-seven (57) election returns, Municipal Trial Court copy (Judge copy) with the Comelec copy as to the
b) The portion of the last paragraph of Section 17.1, to wit: only upon review and approval of the Joint Congressional number of votes obtained by candidates Didagen P. Dilangalen and Michael O. Mastura, both in words and figures and the
Oversight Committee; taras x x x the Second Division, finding that no inconsistencies exist between the two (2) copies of the election returns, and
finding further that the Statement of Votes submitted by the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Matanog, Maguindanao is not
c) The second sentence of the first paragraph of Section 19, to wit: The Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be reflective of the true votes obtained in the election returns per verification, hereby annuls the canvass made by the Municipal
submitted to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior approval; and Board of Canvassers of Matanog, Maguindanao.

d) The second sentence in the second paragraph of Section 25, to wit: It shall review, revise, amend and approve the WHEREFORE, the canvass conducted by the Municipal Board of Canvassers for the position of Member, House of
Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission of the same law; Representatives (First District) is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.

for being repugnant to Section 1, Article IX-A of the Constitution mandating the independence of constitutional commission, A new Municipal Board of Canvassers for the Municipality of Matanog, Maguindanao is hereby constituted x x x to conduct a
such as COMELEC. new recanvassing at the Comelec Session Hall at Intramuros, Manila, prepare a new Certificate of Canvass using the Comelec
copy of the election returns and, thereafter, to immediately submit the new Certificate of Canvass to the new Provincial
The constitutionality of Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 is UPHELD with respect only to the authority given to the COMELEC to Board of Canvassers as herein constituted x x x x[1]
proclaim the winning candidates for the Senators and party-list representatives but not as to the power to canvass the votes
The following day, Mastura filed an Urgent Motion to Examine and Verify the Canvassed MBC Copies of the Election Returns The COMELEC has broad powers to ascertain the true results of the election by means available to it. For the attainment of
and the COMELEC Copy of the Certificate of Canvass and Accompanying Statement of Votes. The COMELEC Second Division that end, it is not strictly bound by the rules of evidence.[5]
merely noted the motion in view of the 29 February 1996 Order.[2]
Pursuant to its administrative functions, the COMELEC exercises direct supervision and control over the proceedings before
Thereafter Mastura filed an Urgent Motion to Defer Implementation of the 29 February 1996 Order. Mastura argued that the the Board of Canvassers. In Aratuc v. Commission on Elections[6] we held -
29 February 1996 Order was issued precipitately and prematurely considering that some other documents, particularly the
Certificate of Canvass of Matanog which he considered necessary for the resolution of the issue, was yet to be produced and While nominally, the procedure of bringing to the Commission objections to the actuations of boards of canvassers has been
examined. The COMELEC Second Division denied the motion - quite loosely referred to in certain quarters, even by the Commission and by this Court x x x as an appeal, the fact of the
matter is that the authority of the Commission in reviewing such actuations does not spring from any appellant jurisdiction
x x x (I)t appearing that when the Commission opened the election returns for Matanog, Maguindanao, particularly the Judge conferred by any specific provision of law, for there is none such provision anywhere in the Election Code, but from the
copy and the Comelec copy and made comparison thereof to ascertain the actual votes of candidates Didagen P. Dilangalen plenary prerogative of direct control and supervision endowed to it by the above-quoted provisions of Section 168. And in
and Michael O. Mastura per precinct which consists of fifty-seven (57) precincts, in compliance with the Supreme Court administrative law, it is a too well settled postulate to need any supporting citation here, that a superior body or office having
resolution, the results thereof, fully convinced the Commission of the manifest irregularity committed in the Statement of supervision and control over another may do directly what the latter is supposed to do or ought to have done x x x x
Votes by precincts. Thus, it annuls the canvass made by the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Matanog, Maguindanao.
Also in Lucman v. Dimaporo[7] we ruled -
Clearly, on the basis of the results of the primary documents, there is no need for the examination and opening of other
documents mentioned in the motion of private respondent. Besides, the opening of other documents will entail more delay in The function of a canvassing board in the canvass of the returns is purely ministerial in nature. Equally ministerial, therefore,
the proclamation of the rightful winner for the position of Member, House of Representatives, First District of is the function of the Commission on Elections, in the exercise of its supervisory power over said Board, pursuant to our
Maguindanao.[3] Constitution and laws. So long as the election returns have been accomplished in due form, the Board, and on appeal
therefrom, the Commission on Elections must include said returns in the canvass.
Meanwhile, the new Municipal Board of Canvassers convened and recanvassed the votes. During the proceedings Mastura
objected to the inclusion of fifty (50) out of the fifty-seven (57) election returns on the ground that the COMELEC copy of the In Abes v. Commission on Elections[8] we emphasized -
election returns was not reflective of the true results unless compared with the copy of the original Municipal Board of
Canvassers. But the new Municipal Board of Canvassers believed otherwise; hence, it included in the canvass the fifty (50) x x x (T)he board of canvassers is a ministerial body. It is enjoined by law to canvass all votes on election returns submitted to
election returns objected to by Mastura who thereafter walked out while the new Municipal Board of Canvassers continued it in due form. It has been said, and properly, that its powers are limited generally to the mechanical or mathematical function
with the canvassing. of ascertaining and declaring the apparent result of the election by adding or compiling the votes cast for each candidate as
shown on the face of the returns before them, and then declaring or certifying the result so ascertained. Comelec is the
After the proceedings in the Municipal Board of Canvassers, the Provincial Board of Canvassers convened and prepared the constitutional body charged with the duty to enforce all laws relative to elections, duty bound to see to it that the board of
Certificate of Canvass and Statement of Votes of the Municipality of Matanog. As a result, private respondent Dilangalen was canvassers perform its proper function.
proclaimed the duly elected member of the House of Representatives, First District of Maguindanao.
Pertinent rulings of this Court have since defined Comelec's powers in pursuance of its supervisory or administrative authority
Mastura now comes to us imputing to public respondent COMELEC Second Division grave abuse of discretion amounting to over officials charged with specific duties under the election code. It is within the legitimate concerns of Comelec to annul a
lack of jurisdiction in issuing its Orders of 29 February 1996, 5 March 1996, 14 March 1996, and 20 March 1996. canvass or proclamation based on incomplete returns, or on incorrect or tampered returns; annul a canvass or proclamation
made in an unauthorized meeting of the board of canvassers either because it lacked a quorum or because the board did not
We find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent COMELEC. It is settled jurisprudence that COMELEC can meet at all. Neither Constitution nor statute has granted Comelec or board of canvassers the power, in the canvass of election
suspend the canvass of votes pending its inquiry whether there exists a discrepancy between the various copies of election returns, to look beyond the face thereof, once satisfied of their authenticity.
returns from the disputed voting centers. Corollarily, once the election returns were found to be falsified or tampered with,
the COMELEC can annul the illegal canvass and order the Board of Canvassers to reconvene and proclaim the winners on the The assailed Orders having been issued pursuant to COMELEC's administrative powers and in the absence of any finding of
basis of the genuine returns or, if it should refuse, replace the members of the board or proclaim the winners itself.[4] grave abuse of discretion, judicial interference is therefore unnecessary and uncalled for. Consequently, the questioned
Orders must perforce be upheld.
This was exactly what happened in the instant petition. Dilangalen objected to the inclusion of the Certificate of Canvass of
the Municipality of Matanog and, acting on the objection, COMELEC ordered the production and examination of the MTC Additionally, Secs. 27, 28 and 29 of R.A. No. 7166[9] provide -
Judge copy and the COMELEC copy of the election returns. Based on the comparison, the COMELEC Second Division found
and concluded that indeed the Certificate of Canvass of the Municipality of Matanog was tampered with. Consequently, it Sec. 27. Number of Copies of Election Returns and Their Distribution. - The board of election inspectors shall prepare in
ordered its annulment and created a new set of Municipal and Provincial Boards of Canvassers to recanvass the votes. After handwriting the election returns in their respective polling places, in the number of copies herein provided and in the form to
the recanvassing, Dilangalen emerged as the winner and was thereafter proclaimed the duly elected member of the House of be prescribed and provided by the Commission.
Representatives, First District of Maguindanao.
The copies of the election returns shall be distributed as follows: (a) In the election of x x x members of the House of
That the Certificate of Canvass of the Municipality of Matanog was tampered with is a factual finding of the COMELEC. Absent Representatives: 1) The first copy shall be delivered to the city or municipal board of canvassers; 2) The second copy, to the
any showing of abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, this Court should refrain from reviewing the same, and Congress, directed to the President of the Senate; 3) The third copy, to the Commission; 4) The fourth copy, to the provincial
must accord it instead the respect it deserves. The rule that factual findings of administrative bodies will not be disturbed by board of canvassers; 5) The fifth copy, to x x x the city or municipal treasurer; 6) The sixth copy shall be given to the city or
courts of justice except when there is absolutely no evidence or no substantial evidence in support of such findings should be municipal trial court judge or in his absence to any official who may be designated by the Commission. The city or municipal
applied with greater force when it concerns the COMELEC, as the framers of the Constitution intended to place the COMELEC trial court judge or the official designated by the Commission shall keep his copies of the election returns sealed and
- created and explicitly made independent by the Constitution itself - on a level higher than statutory administrative organs. unopened. Said copy may be opened only during the canvass upon order of the board of canvassers for purposes of
comparison with other copies of the returns whose authenticity is in question; and, 7) The seventh copy shall be deposited The antecedents are not disputed.
inside the compartment of the ballot box for valid ballots x x x x
On 25 March 1998, DOMINO filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of Representative of the Lone Legislative District
Sec. 28. Canvassing by Provincial, City, District and Municipal Boards of Canvassers. - (a) The city or municipal board of of the Province of Sarangani indicating in item nine (9) of his certificate that he had resided in the constituency where he
canvassers shall canvass the election returns for x x x members of the House of Representatives and/or elective provincial and seeks to be elected for one (1) year and two (2) months immediately preceding the election.[3]
city or municipal officials. Upon completion of the canvass, it shall prepare the certificate of canvass for x x x Members of the
House of Representatives x x x x On 30 March 1998, private respondents Narciso Ra. Grafilo, Jr., Eddy B. Java, Juan P. Bayonito, Jr., Rosario Samson and
Dionisio P. Lim, Sr., filed with the COMELEC a Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy, which was
Sec. 29. Number of Copies of Certificate of Canvass and their Distribution. - (a) The certificate of canvass for x x x Members of docketed as SPA No. 98-022 and assigned to the Second Division of the COMELEC. Private respondents alleged that DOMINO,
the House of Representatives x x x shall be prepared in seven (7) copies by the city or municipal board of canvassers and contrary to his declaration in the certificate of candidacy, is not a resident, much less a registered voter, of the province of
distributed as follows: 1) The first copy shall be delivered to the provincial board of canvassers x x x x; 2) The second copy shall Sarangani where he seeks election. To substantiate their allegations, private respondents presented the following evidence:
be sent to the Commission; 3) The third copy shall be kept by the chairman of the board; 4) The fourth copy shall be given to
the citizens arm designated by the Commission to conduct a media-based unofficial count; and, 5) The fifth, sixth and seventh 1. Annex A the Certificate of Candidacy of respondent for the position of Congressman of the Lone District of the Province of
copies shall be given to the representatives of any three (3) of the six (6) major political parties in accordance with the Sarangani filed with the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor of Sarangani on March 25, 1998, where in item 4 thereof
voluntary agreement of the parties x x x x he wrote his date of birth as December 5, 1953; in item 9, he claims he have resided in the constituency where he seeks
election for one (1) year and two (2) months; and, in item 10, that he is registered voter of Precinct No. 14A-1, Barangay
In the instant petition, petitioner Mastura argues that the COMELEC Second Division should have made use of the Municipal Poblacion, Alabel, Sarangani;
Board of Canvassers copy of the election returns for the simple reason that it is the original copy. This is a misconception. All
the seven (7) copies of the election returns are all original copies, although the copy for the Municipal Board of Canvassers is 2. Annex B Voters Registration Record with SN 31326504 dated June 22, 1997 indicating respondents registration at Precinct
designated as the first copy. This designation is only for the purpose of distribution and does not in any way accord said copy No. 4400-A, Old Balara, Quezon City;
the status of being the only original copy. Consequently, it was properly within the exercise of its discretion when COMELEC
ordered the production and examination of the MTC Judge copy and the COMELEC copy of the election returns. COMELEC is 3. Annex C Respondents Community Tax Certificate No. 11132214C dated January 15, 1997;
not required to retrieve and examine all the seven (7) copies of the election returns.
4. Annex D Certified true copy of the letter of Herson D. Dema-ala, Deputy Provincial & Municipal Treasurer of Alabel,
Additionally, Sec. 15 of R.A. No. 7166 does not in any way specify that the COMELEC should use the Municipal Board of Sarangani, dated February 26, 1998, addressed to Mr. Conrado G. Butil, which reads:
Canvassers copy in correcting manifest error. COMELEC is in fact given enough leeway in this regard -
In connection with your letter of even date, we are furnishing you herewith certified xerox copy of the triplicate copy of
Sec. 15. Pre-Proclamation Cases Not Allowed in Elections for President, Vice-President, Senator and Member of the House of COMMUNITY TAX CERTIFICATE NO. 11132214C in the name of Juan Domino.
Representatives. - For purposes of the elections for President, Vice-President, Senator and Member of the House of
Representatives, no pre-proclamation cases shall be allowed on matters relating to the preparation, transmission, receipt, Furthermore, Community Tax Certificate No. 11132212C of the same stub was issued to Carlito Engcong on September 5,
custody and appreciation of the election returns or the certificate of canvass, as the case may be. However, this does not 1997, while Certificate No. 11132213C was also issued to Mr. Juan Domino but was cancelled and serial no. 11132215C was
preclude the authority of the appropriate canvassing body motu proprio or upon written complaint of an interested person to issued in the name of Marianita Letigio on September 8, 1997.
correct manifest errors in the certificate of canvass or election returns before it x x x x
5. Annex E The triplicate copy of the Community Tax Certificate No. 11132214C in the name of Juan Domino dated September
There is another reason for denying the instant petition. When petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the 29 February 5, 1997;
1996 Order was denied for being interlocutory in nature, petitioner should have sought prior recourse from the COMELEC en
banc before coming to this Court, pursuant to Sec. 3, Art. IX-C, of the Constitution. 6. Annex F Copy of the letter of Provincial Treasurer Lourdes P. Riego dated March 2, 1998 addressed to Mr. Herson D. Dema-
ala, Deputy Provincial Treasurer and Municipal Treasurer of Alabel, Sarangani, which states:
WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion committed by public respondent COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS Second
Division, the instant petition is DISMISSED. The assailed Orders of 29 February 1996, 5 March 1996, 14 March 1996 and 20 For easy reference, kindly turn-over to the undersigned for safekeeping, the stub of Community Tax Certificate containing
March 1996 of the COMELEC Second Division are AFFIRMED.SO ORDERED. Nos. 11132201C-11132250C issued to you on June 13, 1997 and paid under Official Receipt No. 7854744.

Upon request of Congressman James L. Chiongbian.

JUAN DOMINO, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, NARCISO Ra. GRAFILO, JR., EDDY B. JAVA, JUAN P. BAYONITO, 7. Annex G Certificate of Candidacy of respondent for the position of Congressman in the 3rd District of Quezon City for the
JR., ROSARIO SAMSON and DIONISIO P. LIM, SR., respondents. 1995 elections filed with the Office of the Regional Election Director, National Capital Region, on March 17, 1995, where, in
item 4 thereof, he wrote his birth date as December 22, 1953; in item 8 thereof his residence in the constituency where I seek
LUCILLE CHIONGBIAN-SOLON, intervenor. to be elected immediately preceding the election as 3 years and 5 months; and, in item 9, that he is a registered voter of
Precinct No. 182, Barangay Balara, Quezon City;

8. Annex H a copy of the APPLICATION FOR TRANSFER OF REGISTRATION RECORDS DUE TO CHANGE OF RESIDENCE of
Challenged in this case for certiorari with a prayer for preliminary injunction are the Resolution of 6 May 1998[1] of the respondent dated August 30, 1997 addressed to and received by Election Officer Mantil Alim, Alabel, Sarangani, on
Second Division of the Commission on Elections (hereafter COMELEC), declaring petitioner Juan Domino (hereafter DOMINO) September 22, 1997, stating among others, that [T]he undersigneds previous residence is at 24 Bonifacio Street, Ayala
disqualified as candidate for representative of the Lone Legislative District of the Province of Sarangani in the 11 May 1998 Heights, Quezon City, III District, Quezon City; wherein he is a registered voter and that for business and residence purposes,
elections, and the Decision of 29 May 1998[2] of the COMELEC en banc denying DOMINOs motion for reconsideration.
the undersigned has transferred and conducts his business and reside at Barangay Poblacion, Alabel, Province of Sarangani 9. Annex 7-a - Certification dated April 16, 1998, issued by Atty. Elmer M. Kayanan, Election Officer IV, District III, Quezon City,
prior to this application; which reads:

9. Annex I Copy of the SWORN APPLICATION FOR CANCELLATION OF VOTERS [TRANSFER OF] PREVIOUS REGISTRATION of This is to certify that the spouses JUAN and ZORAYDA DOMINO are no longer registered voters of District III, Quezon City.
respondent subscribed and sworn to on 22 October 1997 before Election Officer Mantil Allim at Alabel, Sarangani.[4] Their registration records (VRR) were transferred and are now in the possession of the Election Officer of Alabel, Sarangani.

For his defense, DOMINO maintains that he had complied with the one-year residence requirement and that he has been This certification is being issued upon the request of Mr. JUAN DOMINO.
residing in Sarangani since January 1997. In support of the said contention, DOMINO presented before the COMELEC the
following exhibits, to wit:

1. Annex 1 - Copy of the Contract of Lease between Nora Dacaldacal as Lessor and Administrator of the properties of 10. Annex 8 - Affidavit of Nora Dacaldacal and Maria Lourdes Dacaldacal stating the circumstances and incidents detailing
deceased spouses Maximo and Remedios Dacaldacal and respondent as Lessee executed on January 15, 1997, subscribed and their alleged acquaintance with respondent.
sworn to before Notary Public Johnny P. Landero;
11. Annexes 8-a, 8-b, 8-c and 8-d - Copies of the uniform affidavits of witness Myrna Dalaguit, Hilario Fuentes, Coraminda
2. Annex 2 - Copy of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate with Absolute Deed of sale executed by and between the heirs of Lomibao and Elena V. Piodos subscribed and sworn to before Notary Public Bonifacio F. Doria, Jr., on April 18, 1998,
deceased spouses Maximo and Remedios Dacaldacal, namely: Maria Lourdes, Jupiter and Beberlie and the respondent on embodying their alleged personal knowledge of respondents residency in Alabel, Sarangani;
November 4, 1997, subscribed and sworn to before Notary Public Jose A. Alegario;
12. Annex 8-e - A certification dated April 20, 1998, subscribed and sworn to before Notary Public Bonifacio, containing a
3. Annex 3 - True Carbon Xerox copy of the Decision dated January 19, 1998, of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Metro Manila, listing of the names of fifty-five(55) residents of Alabel, Sarangani, declaring and certifying under oath that they personally
Branch 35, Quezon City, in Election Case NO. 725 captioned as In the Matter of the Petition for the Exclusion from the List of know the respondent as a permanent resident of Alabel, Sarangani since January 1997 up to present;
voters of Precinct No. 4400-A Brgy. Old Balara, Quezon City, Spouses Juan and Zorayda Domino, Petitioners, -versus- Elmer M.
Kayanan, Election Officer, Quezon City, District III, and the Board of Election Inspectors of Precinct No. 4400-A, Old Balara, 13. Annexes 9, 9-a and 9-b- Copies of Individual Income Tax Return for the year 1997, BIR form 2316 and W-2, respectively, of
Quezon City, Respondents. The dispositive portion of which reads: respondent; and,

1. Declaring the registration of petitioners as voters of Precinct No. 4400-A, Barangay Old Balara, in District III Quezon City as 14. Annex 10 - The affidavit of respondent reciting the chronology of events and circumstances leading to his relocation to the
completely erroneous as petitioners were no longer residents of Quezon City but of Alabel, Sarangani where they have been Municipality of Alabel, Sarangani, appending Annexes A, B, C, D, D-1, E, F, G with sub-markings G-1 and G-2 and H his CTC No.
residing since December 1996; 111`32214C dated September 5, 1997, which are the same as Annexes 1, 2, 4, 5, 6-a, 3, 7, 9 with sub-markings 9-a and 9-b
except Annex H.[5]
2. Declaring this erroneous registration of petitioners in Quezon City as done in good faith due to an honest mistake caused by
circumstances beyond their control and without any fault of petitioners; On 6 May 1998, the COMELEC 2nd Division promulgated a resolution declaring DOMINO disqualified as candidate for the
position of representative of the lone district of Sarangani for lack of the one-year residence requirement and likewise
3. Approving the transfer of registration of voters of petitioners from Precinct No. 4400-A of Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City ordered the cancellation of his certificate of candidacy, on the basis of the following findings:
to Precinct No. 14A1 of Barangay Poblacion of Alabel, Sarangani; and
What militates against respondents claim that he has met the residency requirement for the position sought is his own Voters
4. Ordering the respondents to immediately transfer and forward all the election/voters registration records of the petitioners Registration Record No. 31326504 dated June 22, 1997 [Annex B, Petition] and his address indicated as 24 Bonifacio St., Ayala
in Quezon City to the Election Officer, the Election Registration Board and other Comelec Offices of Alabel, Sarangani where Heights, Old Balara, Quezon City. This evidence, standing alone, negates all his protestations that he established residence at
the petitioners are obviously qualified to exercise their respective rights of suffrage. Barangay Poblacion, Alabel, Sarangani, as early as January 1997. It is highly improbable, nay incredible, for respondent who
previously ran for the same position in the 3rd Legislative District of Quezon City during the elections of 1995 to unwittingly
4. Annex 4 - Copy of the Application for Transfer of Registration Records due to Change of Residence addressed to Mantil forget the residency requirement for the office sought.
Alim, COMELEC Registrar, Alabel, Sarangani, dated August 30, 1997.
Counting, therefore, from the day after June 22, 1997 when respondent registered at Precinct No. 4400-A, up to and until the
5. Annex 5 - Certified True Copy of the Notice of Approval of Application, the roster of applications for registration approved day of the elections on May 11, 1998, respondent clearly lacks the one (1) year residency requirement provided for
by the Election Registration Board on October 20, 1997, showing the spouses Juan and Zorayda Bailon Domino listed as candidates for Member of the House of Representatives under Section 6, Article VI of the Constitution.
numbers 111 and 112 both under Precinct No. 14A1, the last two names in the slate indicated as transferees without VRR
numbers and their application dated August 30, 1997 and September 30, 1997, respectively. All told, petitioners evidence conspire to attest to respondents lack of residence in the constituency where he seeks election
and while it may be conceded that he is a registered voter as contemplated under Section 12 of R.A. 8189, he lacks the
6. Annex 6 - same as Annex 5 qualification to run for the position of Congressman for the Lone District of the Province of Sarangani.[6]

7. Annex 6-a - Copy of the Sworn Application for Cancellation of Voters Previous Registration (Annex I, Petition); On 11 May 1998, the day of the election, the COMELEC issued Supplemental Omnibus Resolution No. 3046, ordering that the
votes cast for DOMINO be counted but to suspend the proclamation if winning, considering that the Resolution disqualifying
8. Annex 7 - Copy of claim card in the name of respondent showing his VRR No. 31326504 dated October 20, 1997 as a him as candidate had not yet become final and executory.[7]
registered voter of Precinct No. 14A1, Barangay Poblacion, Alabel, Sarangani;
The result of the election, per Statement of Votes certified by the Chairman of the Provincial Board of Canvassers,[8] shows proceedings had been held, a decision in an exclusion or inclusion proceeding, even if final and unappealable, does not
that DOMINO garnered the highest number of votes over his opponents for the position of Congressman of the Province of acquire the nature of res judicata.[13] In this sense, it does not operate as a bar to any future action that a party may take
Sarangani. concerning the subject passed upon in the proceeding.[14] Thus, a decision in an exclusion proceeding would neither be
conclusive on the voters political status, nor bar subsequent proceedings on his right to be registered as a voter in any other
election.[15]

On 15 May 1998, DOMINO filed a motion for reconsideration of the Resolution dated 6 May 1998, which was denied by the Thus, in Tan Cohon v. Election Registrar[16] we ruled that:
COMELEC en banc in its decision dated 29 May 1998. Hence, the present Petition for Certiorari with prayer for Preliminary
Mandatory Injunction alleging, in the main, that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or xxx It is made clear that even as it is here held that the order of the City Court in question has become final, the same does
lack of jurisdiction when it ruled that he did not meet the one-year residence requirement. not constitute res adjudicata as to any of the matters therein contained. It is ridiculous to suppose that such an important and
intricate matter of citizenship may be passed upon and determined with finality in such a summary and peremptory
On 14 July 1998, acting on DOMINOs Motion for Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order, the Court directed the parties to proceeding as that of inclusion and exclusion of persons in the registry list of voters. Even if the City Court had granted
maintain the status quo prevailing at the time of the filing of the instant petition.[9] appellants petition for inclusion in the permanent list of voters on the allegation that she is a Filipino citizen qualified to vote,
her alleged Filipino citizenship would still have been left open to question.
On 15 September 1998, Lucille L. Chiongbian-Solon, (hereafter INTERVENOR), the candidate receiving the second highest
number of votes, was allowed by the Court to Intervene.[10] Moreover, the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City in its 18 January decision exceeded its jurisdiction when it declared
DOMINO a resident of the Province of Sarangani, approved and ordered the transfer of his voters registration from Precinct
INTERVENOR in her Motion for Leave to Intervene and in her Comment in Intervention[11] is asking the Court to uphold the No. 4400-A of Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City to precinct 14A1 of Barangay Poblacion, Alabel, Sarangani. It is not within the
disqualification of petitioner Juan Domino and to proclaim her as the duly elected representative of Sarangani in the 11 May competence of the trial court, in an exclusion proceedings, to declare the challenged voter a resident of another municipality.
1998 elections. The jurisdiction of the lower court over exclusion cases is limited only to determining the right of voter to remain in the list of
voters or to declare that the challenged voter is not qualified to vote in the precinct in which he is registered, specifying the
Before us DOMINO raised the following issues for resolution, to wit: ground of the voters disqualification. The trial court has no power to order the change or transfer of registration from one
place of residence to another for it is the function of the election Registration Board as provided under Section 12 of R.A. No.
a. Whether or not the judgment of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City declaring petitioner as resident of Sarangani 8189.[17] The only effect of the decision of the lower court excluding the challenged voter from the list of voters, is for the
and not of Quezon City is final, conclusive and binding upon the whole world, including the Commission on Elections. Election Registration Board, upon receipt of the final decision, to remove the voters registration record from the
corresponding book of voters, enter the order of exclusion therein, and thereafter place the record in the inactive file.[18]
b. Whether or not petitioner herein has resided in the subject congressional district for at least one (1) year immediately
preceding the May 11, 1998 elections; and Finally, the application of the rule on res judicata is unavailing. Identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action are
indispensable requirements for the application of said doctrine. Neither herein Private Respondents nor INTERVENOR, is a
c. Whether or not respondent COMELEC has jurisdiction over the petition a quo for the disqualification of petitioner.[12] party in the exclusion proceedings. The Petition for Exclusion was filed by DOMINO himself and his wife, praying that he and
his wife be excluded from the Voters List on the ground of erroneous registration while the Petition to Deny Due Course to or
The first issue. Cancel Certificate of Candidacy was filed by private respondents against DOMINO for alleged false representation in his
certificate of candidacy. For the decision to be a basis for the dismissal by reason of res judicata, it is essential that there must
The contention of DOMINO that the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City in the exclusion proceedings be between the first and the second action identity of parties, identity of subject matter and identity of causes of action.[19]
declaring him a resident of the Province of Sarangani and not of Quezon City is final and conclusive upon the COMELEC cannot In the present case, the aforesaid essential requisites are not present. In the case of Nuval v. Guray, et al.,[20] the Supreme
be sustained. Court in resolving a similar issue ruled that:

The COMELEC has jurisdiction as provided in Sec. 78, Art. IX of the Omnibus Election Code, over a petition to deny due course The question to be solved under the first assignment of error is whether or not the judgment rendered in the case of the
to or cancel certificate of candidacy. In the exercise of the said jurisdiction, it is within the competence of the COMELEC to petition for the exclusion of Norberto Gurays name from the election list of Luna, is res judicata, so as to prevent the
determine whether false representation as to material facts was made in the certificate of candidacy, that will include, among institution and prosecution of an action in quo warranto, which is now before us.
others, the residence of the candidate.
The procedure prescribed by section 437 of the Administrative Code, as amended by Act No. 3387, is of a summary character
The determination of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City in the exclusion proceedings as to the right of DOMINO to and the judgment rendered therein is not appealable except when the petition is tried before the justice of the peace of the
be included or excluded from the list of voters in the precinct within its territorial jurisdiction, does not preclude the capital or the circuit judge, in which case it may be appealed to the judge of first instance, with whom said two lower judges
COMELEC, in the determination of DOMINOs qualification as a candidate, to pass upon the issue of compliance with the have concurrent jurisdiction.
residency requirement.

The proceedings for the exclusion or inclusion of voters in the list of voters are summary in character. Thus, the factual
findings of the trial court and its resultant conclusions in the exclusion proceedings on matters other than the right to vote in The petition for exclusion was presented by Gregorio Nuval in his dual capacity as qualified voter of the municipality of Luna,
the precinct within its territorial jurisdiction are not conclusive upon the COMELEC. Although the court in inclusion or and as a duly registered candidate for the office of president of said municipality, against Norberto Guray as a registered voter
exclusion proceedings may pass upon any question necessary to decide the issue raised including the questions of citizenship in the election list of said municipality. The present proceeding of quo warranto was interposed by Gregorio Nuval in his
and residence of the challenged voter, the authority to order the inclusion in or exclusion from the list of voters necessarily capacity as a registered candidate voted for the office of municipal president of Luna, against Norberto Guray, as an elected
caries with it the power to inquire into and settle all matters essential to the exercise of said authority. However, except for candidate for the same office. Therefore, there is no identity of parties in the two cases, since it is not enough that there be
the right to remain in the list of voters or for being excluded therefrom for the particular election in relation to which the an identity of persons, but there must be an identity of capacities in which said persons litigate. ( Art. 1259 of the Civil Code;
Bowler vs. Estate of Alvarez, 23 Phil., 561; 34 Corpus Juris, p. 756, par. 1165)
In said case of the petition for the exclusion, the object of the litigation, or the litigious matter was the exclusion of Norberto absent. Intention to acquire a domicile without actual residence in the locality does not result in acquisition of domicile, nor
Guray as a voter from the election list of the municipality of Luna, while in the present quo warranto proceeding, the object of does the fact of physical presence without intention.[29]
the litigation, or the litigious matter is his exclusion or expulsion from the office to which he has been elected. Neither does
there exist, then, any identity in the object of the litigation, or the litigious matter. The lease contract entered into sometime in January 1997, does not adequately support a change of domicile. The lease
contract may be indicative of DOMINOs intention to reside in Sarangani but it does not engender the kind of permanency
In said case of the petition for exclusion, the cause of action was that Norberto Guray had not the six months legal residence required to prove abandonment of ones original domicile. The mere absence of individual from his permanent residence, no
in the municipality of Luna to be a qualified voter thereof, while in the present proceeding of quo warranto, the cause of matter how long, without the intention to abandon it does not result in loss or change of domicile.[30] Thus the date of the
action is that Norberto Guray has not the one years legal residence required for eligibility to the office of municipal president contract of lease of a house and lot located in the province of Sarangani, i.e., 15 January 1997, cannot be used, in the absence
of Luna. Neither does there exist therefore, identity of causes of action. of other circumstances, as the reckoning period of the one-year residence requirement.

In order that res judicata may exist the following are necessary: (a) identity of parties; (b) identity of things; and (c) identity of Further, Dominos lack of intention to abandon his residence in Quezon City is further strengthened by his act of registering as
issues (Aquino vs. Director of Lands, 39 Phil. 850). And as in the case of the petition for exclusion and in the present quo voter in one of the precincts in Quezon City. While voting is not conclusive of residence, it does give rise to a strong
warranto proceeding, as there is no identity of parties, or of things or litigious matter, or of issues or causes of action, there is presumption of residence especially in this case where DOMINO registered in his former barangay. Exercising the right of
no res judicata. election franchise is a deliberate public assertion of the fact of residence, and is said to have decided preponderance is a
doubtful case upon the place the elector claims as, or believes to be, his residence.[31] The fact that a party continuously
The Second Issue. voted in a particular locality is a strong factor in assisting to determine the status of his domicile.[32]

Was DOMINO a resident of the Province of Sarangani for at least one year immediately preceding the 11 May 1998 election as His claim that his registration in Quezon City was erroneous and was caused by events over which he had no control cannot
stated in his certificate of candidacy? be sustained. The general registration of voters for purposes of the May 1998 elections was scheduled for two (2) consecutive
weekends, viz.: June 14, 15, 21, and 22.[33]
We hold in the negative.
While, Dominos intention to establish residence in Sarangani can be gleaned from the fact that be bought the house he was
It is doctrinally settled that the term residence, as used in the law prescribing the qualifications for suffrage and for elective renting on November 4, 1997, that he sought cancellation of his previous registration in Quezon City on 22 October 1997,[34]
office, means the same thing as domicile, which imports not only an intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal and that he applied for transfer of registration from Quezon City to Sarangani by reason of change of residence on 30 August
presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention.[21] Domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence 1997,[35] DOMINO still falls short of the one year residency requirement under the Constitution.
to which, whenever absent for business, pleasure, or some other reasons, one intends to return.[22] Domicile is a question of
intention and circumstances. In the consideration of circumstances, three rules must be borne in mind, namely: (1) that a man In showing compliance with the residency requirement, both intent and actual presence in the district one intends to
must have a residence or domicile somewhere; (2) when once established it remains until a new one is acquired; and (3) a represent must satisfy the length of time prescribed by the fundamental law.[36] Dominos failure to do so rendered him
man can have but one residence or domicile at a time.[23] ineligible and his election to office null and void.[37]

Records show that petitioners domicile of origin was Candon, Ilocos Sur[24] and that sometime in 1991, he acquired a new The Third Issue.
domicile of choice at 24 Bonifacio St. Ayala Heights, Old Balara, Quezon City, as shown by his certificate of candidacy for the
position of representative of the 3rd District of Quezon City in the May 1995 election. Petitioner is now claiming that he had DOMINOs contention that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction in the present petition is bereft of merit.
effectively abandoned his residence in Quezon City and has established a new domicile of choice at the Province of Sarangani.
As previously mentioned, the COMELEC, under Sec. 78, Art. IX of the Omnibus Election Code, has jurisdiction over a petition to
A persons domicile once established is considered to continue and will not be deemed lost until a new one is established.[25] deny due course to or cancel certificate of candidacy. Such jurisdiction continues even after election, if for any reason no final
To successfully effect a change of domicile one must demonstrate an actual removal or an actual change of domicile; a bona judgment of disqualification is rendered before the election, and the candidate facing disqualification is voted for and receives
fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one and definite acts which correspond the highest number of votes[38] and provided further that the winning candidate has not been proclaimed or has taken his
with the purpose.[26] In other words, there must basically be animus manendi coupled with animus non revertendi. The oath of office.[39]
purpose to remain in or at the domicile of choice must be for an indefinite period of time; the change of residence must be
voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new domicile must be actual.[27] It has been repeatedly held in a number of cases, that the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunals sole and exclusive
jurisdiction over all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of Congress as provided under
It is the contention of petitioner that his actual physical presence in Alabel, Sarangani since December 1996 was sufficiently Section 17 of Article VI of the Constitution begins only after a candidate has become a member of the House of
established by the lease of a house and lot located therein in January 1997 and by the affidavits and certifications under oath Representatives.[40]
of the residents of that place that they have seen petitioner and his family residing in their locality.
The fact of obtaining the highest number of votes in an election does not automatically vest the position in the winning
While this may be so, actual and physical is not in itself sufficient to show that from said date he had transferred his residence candidate.[41] A candidate must be proclaimed and must have taken his oath of office before he can be considered a member
in that place. To establish a new domicile of choice, personal presence in the place must be coupled with conduct indicative of of the House of Representatives.
that intention. While residence simply requires bodily presence in a given place, domicile requires not only such bodily
presence in that place but also a declared and probable intent to make it ones fixed and permanent place of abode, ones In the instant case, DOMINO was not proclaimed as Congressman-elect of the Lone Congressional District of the Province of
home.[28] Sarangani by reason of a Supplemental Omnibus Resolution issued by the COMELEC on the day of the election ordering the
suspension of DOMINOs proclamation should he obtain the winning number of votes. This resolution was issued by the
As a general rule, the principal elements of domicile, physical presence in the locality involved and intention to adopt it as a COMELEC in view of the non-finality of its 6 May 1998 resolution disqualifying DOMINO as candidate for the position.
domicile, must concur in order to establish a new domicile. No change of domicile will result if either of these elements is
Considering that DOMINO has not been proclaimed as Congressman-elect in the Lone Congressional District of the Province of
Sarangani he cannot be deemed a member of the House of Representative. Hence, it is the COMELEC and not the Electoral
Tribunal which has jurisdiction over the issue of his ineligibility as a candidate.[42] MANUEL B. JAPZON, versus COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JAIME S. TY,

Issue raised by INTERVENOR. This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rules 64[1] and 65[2] of the Revised Rules of Court seeking to annul and set
aside the Resolution[3] dated 31 July 2007 of the First Division of public respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and
After finding that DOMINO is disqualified as candidate for the position of representative of the province of Sarangani, may the Resolution[4] dated 28 September 2007 of COMELEC en banc, in SPA No. 07-568, for having been rendered with grave
INTERVENOR, as the candidate who received the next highest number of votes, be proclaimed as the winning candidate? abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

It is now settled doctrine that the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes may not be proclaimed winner Both petitioner Manuel B. Japzon (Japzon) and private respondent Jaime S. Ty (Ty) were candidates for the Office of Mayor of
in case the winning candidate is disqualified.[43] the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, in the local elections held on 14 May 2007.

In every election, the peoples choice is the paramount consideration and their expressed will must, at all times, be given On 15 June 2007, Japzon instituted SPA No. 07-568 by filing before the COMELEC a Petition[5] to disqualify and/or cancel Tys
effect. When the majority speaks and elects into office a candidate by giving the highest number of votes cast in the election Certificate of Candidacy on the ground of material misrepresentation. Japzon averred in his Petition that Ty was a former
for that office, no one can be declared elected in his place.[44] natural-born Filipino, having been born on 9 October 1943 in what was then Pambujan Sur, Hernani Eastern Samar (now the
Municipality of General Macarthur, Easter Samar) to spouses Ang Chim Ty (a Chinese) and Crisanta Aranas Sumiguin (a
It would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who Filipino). Ty eventually migrated to the United States of America (USA) and became a citizen thereof. Ty had been residing in
has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed a winner and imposed as the representative of a the USA for the last 25 years. When Ty filed his Certificate of Candidacy on 28 March 2007, he falsely represented therein that
constituency, the majority of which have positively declared through their ballots that they do not choose him.[45] To he was a resident of Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, for one year before 14 May 2007, and was not
simplistically assume that the second placer would have received the other votes would be to substitute our judgment for the a permanent resident or immigrant of any foreign country. While Ty may have applied for the reacquisition of his Philippine
mind of the voters. He could not be considered the first among qualified candidates because in a field which excludes the citizenship, he never actually resided in Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, for a period of one year
qualified candidate, the conditions would have substantially changed.[46] immediately preceding the date of election as required under Section 39 of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the
Local Government Code of 1991. In fact, even after filing his application for reacquisition of his Philippine citizenship, Ty
Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who have received the highest number of votes cast in the continued to make trips to the USA, the most recent of which was on 31 October 2006 lasting until 20 January 2007.
election for that office, and it is fundamental idea in all republican forms of government that no one can be declared elected Moreover, although Ty already took his Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, he continued to comport himself
and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the as an American citizen as proven by his travel records. He had also failed to renounce his foreign citizenship as required by
election.[47] Republic Act No. 9225, otherwise known as the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003, or related laws. Hence,
Japzon prayed for in his Petition that the COMELEC order the disqualification of Ty from running for public office and the
cancellation of the latters Certificate of Candidacy.

The effect of a decision declaring a person ineligible to hold an office is only that the election fails entirely, that the wreath of In his Answer[6] to Japzons Petition in SPA No. 07-568, Ty admitted that he was a natural-born Filipino who went to the USA
victory cannot be transferred[48] from the disqualified winner to the repudiated loser because the law then as now only to work and subsequently became a naturalized American citizen. Ty claimed, however, that prior to filing his Certificate of
authorizes a declaration of election in favor of the person who haS obtained a plurality of votes[49] and does not entitle the Candidacy for the Office of Mayor of the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, on 28 March 2007, he already
candidate receiving the next highest number of votes to be declared elected. In such case, the electors have failed to make a performed the following acts: (1) with the enactment of Republic Act No. 9225, granting dual citizenship to natural-born
choice and the election is a nullity.[50] To allow the defeated and repudiated candidate to take over the elective position Filipinos, Ty filed with the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, California, USA, an application for the reacquisition of
despite his rejection by the electorate is to disenfranchise the electorate without any fault on their part and to undermine the his Philippine citizenship; (2) on 2 October 2005, Ty executed an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before
importance and meaning of democracy and the peoples right to elect officials of their choice.[51] Noemi T. Diaz, Vice Consul of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, California, USA; (3) Ty applied for a Philippine
passport indicating in his application that his residence in the Philippines was at A. Mabini St., Barangay 6, Poblacion, General
INTERVENORs plea that the votes cast in favor of DOMINO be considered stray votes cannot be sustained. INTERVENORs Macarthur, Eastern Samar. Tys application was approved and he was issued on 26 October 2005 a Philippine passport; (4) on
reliance on the opinion made in the Labo, Jr. case[52] to wit: if the electorate, fully aware in fact and in law of a candidates 8 March 2006, Ty personally secured and signed his Community Tax Certificate (CTC) from the Municipality of General
disqualification so as to bring such awareness within the realm of notoriety, would nevertheless cast their votes in favor of Macarthur, in which he stated that his address was at Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern Samar; (5)
the ineligible candidate, the electorate may be said to have waived the validity and efficacy of their votes by notoriously thereafter, on 17 July 2006, Ty was registered as a voter in Precinct 0013A, Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern
misapplying their franchise or throwing away their votes, in which case, the eligible candidate obtaining the next higher Samar; (6) Ty secured another CTC dated 4 January 2007 again stating therein his address as Barangay 6, Poblacion, General
number of votes may be deemed elected, is misplaced. Macarthur, Eastern Samar; and (7) finally, Ty executed on 19 March 2007 a duly notarized Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship.
Given the aforementioned facts, Ty argued that he had reacquired his Philippine citizenship and renounced his American
Contrary to the claim of INTERVENOR, petitioner was not notoriously known by the public as an ineligible candidate. Although citizenship, and he had been a resident of the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, for more than one year prior
the resolution declaring him ineligible as candidate was rendered before the election, however, the same is not yet final and to the 14 May 2007 elections. Therefore, Ty sought the dismissal of Japzons Petition in SPA No. 07-568.
executory. In fact, it was no less than the COMELEC in its Supplemental Omnibus Resolution No. 3046 that allowed DOMINO
to be voted for the office and ordered that the votes cast for him be counted as the Resolution declaring him ineligible has Pending the submission by the parties of their respective Position Papers in SPA No. 07-568, the 14 May 2007 elections were
not yet attained finality. Thus the votes cast for DOMINO are presumed to have been cast in the sincere belief that he was a already held. Ty acquired the highest number of votes and was declared Mayor of the Municipality of General Macarthur,
qualified candidate, without any intention to misapply their franchise. Thus, said votes can not be treated as stray, void, or Eastern Samar, by the Municipal Board of Canvassers on 15 May 2007.[7]
meaningless.[53]
Following the submission of the Position Papers of both parties, the COMELEC First Division rendered its Resolution[8] dated
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED. The resolution dated 6 May 1998 of the COMELEC 2nd Division and the 31 July 2007 in favor of Ty.
decision dated 29 May 1998 of the COMELEC En Banc, are hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.
The COMELEC First Division found that Ty complied with the requirements of Sections 3 and 5 of Republic Act No. 9225 and Records showed that after taking an Oath of Allegiance before the Vice Consul of the Philippine Consulate General on October
reacquired his Philippine citizenship, to wit: 2, 2005, [Ty] applied and was issued a Philippine passport on October 26, 2005; and secured a community tax certificate from
the Municipality of General Macarthur on March 8, 2006. Evidently, [Ty] was already a resident of Barangay 6, Poblacion,
Philippine citizenship is an indispensable requirement for holding an elective public office, and the purpose of the citizenship General Macarthur, Eastern Samar for more than one (1) year before the elections on May 14, 2007.[10] (Emphasis ours.)
qualification is none other than to ensure that no alien, i.e., no person owing allegiance to another nation, shall govern our
people and our country or a unit of territory thereof. Evidences revealed that [Ty] executed an Oath of Allegiance before The dispositive portion of the 31 July 2007 Resolution of the COMELEC First Division, thus, reads:
Noemi T. Diaz, Vice Consul of the Philippine Consulate General, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. on October 2, 2005 and
executed a Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship on March 19, 2007 in compliance with R.A. [No.] 9225. Moreover, neither is WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.[11]
[Ty] a candidate for or occupying public office nor is in active service as commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the
armed forces in the country of which he was naturalized citizen.[9] Japzon filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the foregoing Resolution of the COMELEC First Division. On 28 September 2007,
the COMELEC en banc issued its Resolution[12] denying Japzons Motion for Reconsideration and affirming the assailed
Resolution of the COMELEC First Division, on the basis of the following ratiocination:

The COMELEC First Division also held that Ty did not commit material misrepresentation in stating in his Certificate of We have held that a Natural born Filipino who obtains foreign citizenship, and subsequently spurns the same, is by clear acts
Candidacy that he was a resident of Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, for at least one year before of repatriation a Filipino Citizen and hence qualified to run as a candidate for any local post.
the elections on 14 May 2007. It reasoned that:
It must be noted that absent any showing of irregularity that overturns the prevailing status of a citizen, the presumption of
Although [Ty] has lost his domicile in [the] Philippines when he was naturalized as U.S. citizen in 1969, the reacquisition of his regularity remains. Citizenship is an important aspect of every individuals constitutionally granted rights and privileges. This is
Philippine citizenship and subsequent acts thereof proved that he has been a resident of Barangay 6, Poblacion, General essential in determining whether one has the right to exercise pre-determined political rights such as the right to vote or the
Macarthur, Eastern Samar for at least one (1) year before the elections held on 14 May 2007 as he represented in his right to be elected to office and as such rights spring from citizenship.
certificate of candidacy[.]
Owing to its primordial importance, it is thus presumed that every person is a citizen of the country in which he resides; that
As held in Coquilla vs. Comelec: citizenship once granted is presumably retained unless voluntarily relinquished; and that the burden rests upon who alleges a
change in citizenship and allegiance to establish the fact.
The term residence is to be understood not in its common acceptation as referring to dwelling or habitation, but rather to
domicile or legal residence, that is, the place where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home, where he, no Our review of the Motion for Reconsideration shows that it does not raise any new or novel issues. The arguments made
matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain (animus manendi). A domicile of therein have already been dissected and expounded upon extensively by the first Division of the Commission, and there
origin is acquired by every person at birth. It is usually the place where the childs parents reside and continues until the same appears to be no reason to depart from the wisdom of the earlier resolution. We thus affirm that [Ty] did not commit any
is abandoned by acquisition of new domicile (domicile of choice). material misrepresentation when he accomplished his Certificate of Candidacy. The only ground for denial of a Certificate of
Candidacy would be when there was material misrepresentation meant to mislead the electorate as to the qualifications of
In the case at bar, petitioner lost his domicile of origin in Oras by becoming a U.S. citizen after enlisting in the U.S. Navy in the candidate. There was none in this case, thus there is not enough reason to deny due course to the Certificate of Candidacy
1965. From then on and until November 10, 2000, when he reacquired Philippine citizenship, petitioner was an alien without of Respondent James S. Ty.[13]
any right to reside in the Philippines save as our immigration laws may have allowed him to stay as a visitor or as a resident
alien. Failing to obtain a favorable resolution from the COMELEC, Japzon proceeded to file the instant Petition for Certiorari, relying
on the following grounds:
Indeed, residence in the United States is a requirement for naturalization as a U.S. citizen. Title 8, 1427(a) of the United States
Code provides: A. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
JURISDICTION WHEN IT CAPRICIOUSLY, WHIMSICALLY AND WANTONLY DISREGARDED THE PARAMETERS SET BY LAW AND
Requirements of naturalization: Residence JURISPRUDENCE FOR THE ACQUISITION OF A NEW DOMICILE OF CHOICE AND RESIDENCE.[14]

(a) No person, except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, shall be naturalized unless such applicant, (1) year B. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
immediately preceding the date of filing his application for naturalization has resided continuously, after being lawfully JURISDICTION WHEN IT CAPRICIOUSLY, WHIMSICALLY AND WANTONLY REFUSED TO CANCEL [TYS] CERTIFICATE OF
admitted for permanent residence, within the United States for at least five years and during the five years immediately CANDIDACY, AND CONSEQUENTLY DECLARE [JAPZON] AS THE DULY ELECTED MAYOR OF GEN. MACARTHUR, EASTERN
preceding the date of filing his petition has been physically present therein for periods totaling at least half of that time, and SAMAR.[15]
who has resided within the State or within the district of the Service in the United States in which the applicant filed the
application for at least three months, (2) has resided continuously within the United States from the date of the application Japzon argues that when Ty became a naturalized American citizen, he lost his domicile of origin. Ty did not establish his
up to the time of admission to citizenship, and (3) during all period referred to in this subsection has been and still is a person residence in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines, just because he reacquired his Philippine
of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good citizenship. The burden falls upon Ty to prove that he established a new domicile of choice in General Macarthur, Eastern
order and happiness of the United States. (Emphasis added) Samar, a burden which he failed to discharge. Ty did not become a resident of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, by merely
executing the Oath of Allegiance under Republic Act No. 9225.
In Caasi v. Court of Appeals, this Court ruled that immigration to the United States by virtue of a greencard, which entitles one
to reside permanently in that country, constitutes abandonment of domicile in the Philippines. With more reason then does Therefore, Japzon asserts that Ty did not meet the one-year residency requirement for running as a mayoralty candidate in
naturalization in a foreign country result in an abandonment of domicile in the Philippines. the 14 May 2007 local elections. The one-year residency requirement for those running for public office cannot be waived or
liberally applied in favor of dual citizens. Consequently, Japzon believes he was the only remaining candidate for the Office of
Mayor of the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, and is the only placer in the 14 May 2007 local elections.
(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
Japzon prays for the Court to annul and set aside the Resolutions dated 31 July 2007 and 28 September 2007 of the COMELEC and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath.
First Division and en banc, respectively; to issue a new resolution denying due course to or canceling Tys Certificate of
Candidacy; and to declare Japzon as the duly elected Mayor of the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar. Breaking down the afore-quoted provision, for a natural born Filipino, who reacquired or retained his Philippine citizenship
under Republic Act No. 9225, to run for public office, he must: (1) meet the qualifications for holding such public office as
As expected, Ty sought the dismissal of the present Petition. According to Ty, the COMELEC already found sufficient evidence required by the Constitution and existing laws; and (2) make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign
to prove that Ty was a resident of the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, one year prior to the 14 May 2007 citizenships before any public officer authorized to administer an oath.
local elections. The Court cannot evaluate again the very same pieces of evidence without violating the well-entrenched rule
that findings of fact of the COMELEC are binding on the Court. Ty disputes Japzons assertion that the COMELEC committed That Ty complied with the second requirement is beyond question. On 19 March 2007, he personally executed a Renunciation
grave abuse of discretion in rendering the assailed Resolutions, and avers that the said Resolutions were based on the of Foreign Citizenship before a notary public. By the time he filed his Certificate of Candidacy for the Office of Mayor of the
evidence presented by the parties and consistent with prevailing jurisprudence on the matter. Even assuming that Ty, the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, on 28 March 2007, he had already effectively renounced his American
winning candidate for the Office of Mayor of the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, is indeed disqualified citizenship, keeping solely his Philippine citizenship.
from running in the local elections, Japzon as the second placer in the same elections cannot take his place.
The other requirement of Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225 pertains to the qualifications required by the Constitution and
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), meanwhile, is of the position that Ty failed to meet the one-year residency existing laws.
requirement set by law to qualify him to run as a mayoralty candidate in the 14 May 2007 local elections. The OSG opines that
Ty was unable to prove that he intended to remain in the Philippines for good and ultimately make it his new domicile. Article X, Section 3 of the Constitution left it to Congress to enact a local government code which shall provide, among other
Nonetheless, the OSG still prays for the dismissal of the instant Petition considering that Japzon, gathering only the second things, for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local
highest number of votes in the local elections, cannot be declared the duly elected Mayor of the Municipality of General officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units.
Macarthur, Eastern Samar, even if Ty is found to be disqualified from running for the said position. And since it took a position
adverse to that of the COMELEC, the OSG prays from this Court to allow the COMELEC to file its own Comment on Japzons Pursuant to the foregoing mandate, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991, Section 39
Petition. The Court, however, no longer acted on this particular prayer of the COMELEC, and with the submission of the of which lays down the following qualifications for local elective officials:
Memoranda by Japzon, Ty, and the OSG, it already submitted the case for decision.
SEC. 39. Qualifications. (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay,
The Court finds no merit in the Petition at bar. municipality, city or province or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or
sanggunian bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately
There is no dispute that Ty was a natural-born Filipino. He was born and raised in the Municipality of General Macarthur, preceding the day of the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or dialect.
Eastern Samar, Philippines. However, he left to work in the USA and eventually became an American citizen. On 2 October
2005, Ty reacquired his Philippine citizenship by taking his Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before Noemi (c) Candidates for the position of mayor or vice mayor of independent component cities, component cities, or municipalities
T. Diaz, Vice Consul of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, California, USA, in accordance with the provisions of must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age on election day.
Republic Act No. 9225.[16] At this point, Ty still held dual citizenship, i.e., American and Philippine. It was only on 19 March
2007 that Ty renounced his American citizenship before a notary public and, resultantly, became a pure Philippine citizen The challenge against Tys qualification to run as a candidate for the Office of Mayor of the Municipality of General Macarthur,
again. Eastern Samar, centers on his purported failure to meet the one-year residency requirement in the said municipality.

It bears to point out that Republic Act No. 9225 governs the manner in which a natural-born Filipino may reacquire or The term residence is to be understood not in its common acceptation as referring to dwelling or habitation, but rather to
retain[17] his Philippine citizenship despite acquiring a foreign citizenship, and provides for his rights and liabilities under such domicile or legal residence, that is, the place where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home, where he, no
circumstances. A close scrutiny of said statute would reveal that it does not at all touch on the matter of residence of the matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain (animus manendi).[18]
natural-born Filipino taking advantage of its provisions. Republic Act No. 9225 imposes no residency requirement for the
reacquisition or retention of Philippine citizenship; nor does it mention any effect of such reacquisition or retention of
Philippine citizenship on the current residence of the concerned natural-born Filipino. Clearly, Republic Act No. 9225 treats
citizenship independently of residence. This is only logical and consistent with the general intent of the law to allow for dual A domicile of origin is acquired by every person at birth. It is usually the place where the childs parents reside and continues
citizenship. Since a natural-born Filipino may hold, at the same time, both Philippine and foreign citizenships, he may establish until the same is abandoned by acquisition of new domicile (domicile of choice). In Coquilla,[19] the Court already
residence either in the Philippines or in the foreign country of which he is also a citizen. acknowledged that for an individual to acquire American citizenship, he must establish residence in the USA. Since Ty himself
admitted that he became a naturalized American citizen, then he must have necessarily abandoned the Municipality of
Residency in the Philippines only becomes relevant when the natural-born Filipino with dual citizenship decides to run for General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines, as his domicile of origin; and transferred to the USA, as his domicile of choice.
public office.
As has already been previously discussed by this Court herein, Tys reacquisition of his Philippine citizenship under Republic
Act No. 9225 had no automatic impact or effect on his residence/domicile. He could still retain his domicile in the USA, and he
did not necessarily regain his domicile in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines. Ty merely had
Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225 reads: the option to again establish his domicile in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines, said place
becoming his new domicile of choice. The length of his residence therein shall be determined from the time he made it his
SEC. 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities. Those who retain or reacquire Philippine citizenship under this Act shall enjoy domicile of choice, and it shall not retroact to the time of his birth.
full civil and political rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of the Philippines
and the following conditions:
How then could it be established that Ty indeed established a new domicile in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern As espoused by Ty, the issue of whether he complied with the one-year residency requirement for running for public office is
Samar, Philippines? a question of fact. Its determination requires the Court to review, examine and evaluate or weigh the probative value of the
evidence presented by the parties before the COMELEC.
In Papandayan, Jr. v. Commission on Elections,[20] the Court provided a summation of the different principles and concepts in
jurisprudence relating to the residency qualification for elective local officials. Pertinent portions of the ratio in Papandayan The COMELEC, taking into consideration the very same pieces of evidence presently before this Court, found that Ty was a
are reproduced below: resident of the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, one year prior to the 14 May 2007 local elections. It is
axiomatic that factual findings of administrative agencies, such as the COMELEC, which have acquired expertise in their field
Our decisions have applied certain tests and concepts in resolving the issue of whether or not a candidate has complied with are binding and conclusive on the Court. An application for certiorari against actions of the COMELEC is confined to instances
the residency requirement for elective positions. The principle of animus revertendi has been used to determine whether a of grave abuse of discretion amounting to patent and substantial denial of due process, considering that the COMELEC is
candidate has an intention to return to the place where he seeks to be elected. Corollary to this is a determination whether presumed to be most competent in matters falling within its domain.[21]
there has been an abandonment of his former residence which signifies an intention to depart therefrom. In Caasi v. Court of
Appeals, this Court set aside the appealed orders of the COMELEC and the Court of Appeals and annulled the election of the The Court even went further to say that the rule that factual findings of administrative bodies will not be disturbed by courts
respondent as Municipal Mayor of Bolinao, Pangasinan on the ground that respondents immigration to the United States in of justice, except when there is absolutely no evidence or no substantial evidence in support of such findings, should be
1984 constituted an abandonment of his domicile and residence in the Philippines. Being a green card holder, which was applied with greater force when it concerns the COMELEC, as the framers of the Constitution intended to place the
proof that he was a permanent resident or immigrant of the United States, and in the absence of any waiver of his status as COMELECcreated and explicitly made independent by the Constitution itselfon a level higher than statutory administrative
such before he ran for election on January 18, 1988, respondent was held to be disqualified under 68 of the Omnibus Election organs. The factual finding of the COMELEC en banc is therefore binding on the Court.[22]
Code of the Philippines (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881).
The findings of facts of quasi-judicial agencies which have acquired expertise in the specific matters entrusted to their
In Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, respondent Jose Ong, Jr. was proclaimed the duly elected jurisdiction are accorded by this Court not only respect but even finality if they are supported by substantial evidence. Only
representative of the 2nd District of Northern Samar. The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) upheld his substantial, not preponderance, of evidence is necessary. Section 5, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court provides that in cases filed
election against claims that he was not a natural born Filipino citizen and a resident of Laoang, Northern Samar. In sustaining before administrative or quasi-judicial bodies, a fact may be deemed established if it is supported by substantial evidence, or
the ruling of the HRET, this Court, citing Faypon v. Quirino, applied the concept of animus revertendi or intent to return, that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion.[23]
stating that his absence from his residence in order to pursue studies or practice his profession as a certified public
accountant in Manila or his registration as a voter other than in the place where he was elected did not constitute loss of The assailed Resolutions dated 31 July 2007 and 28 September 2007 of the COMELEC First Division and en banc, respectively,
residence. The fact that respondent made periodical journeys to his home province in Laoag revealed that he always had were both supported by substantial evidence and are, thus, binding and conclusive upon this Court.
animus revertendi.
Tys intent to establish a new domicile of choice in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines, became
In Abella v. Commission on Elections and Larrazabal v. Commission on Elections, it was explained that the determination of a apparent when, immediately after reacquiring his Philippine citizenship on 2 October 2005, he applied for a Philippine
persons legal residence or domicile largely depends upon the intention that may be inferred from his acts, activities, and passport indicating in his application that his residence in the Philippines was at A. Mabini St., Barangay 6, Poblacion, General
utterances. In that case, petitioner Adelina Larrazabal, who had obtained the highest number of votes in the local elections of Macarthur, Eastern Samar. For the years 2006 and 2007, Ty voluntarily submitted himself to the local tax jurisdiction of the
February 1, 1988 and who had thus been proclaimed as the duly elected governor, was disqualified by the COMELEC for lack Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, by paying community tax and securing CTCs from the said municipality
of residence and registration qualifications, not being a resident nor a registered voter of Kananga, Leyte. The COMELEC ruled stating therein his address as A. Mabini St., Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern Samar. Thereafter, Ty applied
that the attempt of petitioner Larrazabal to change her residence one year before the election by registering at Kananga, for and was registered as a voter on 17 July 2006 in Precinct 0013A, Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern
Leyte to qualify her to run for the position of governor of the province of Leyte was proof that she considered herself a Samar.
resident of Ormoc City. This Court affirmed the ruling of the COMELEC and held that petitioner Larrazabal had established her
residence in Ormoc City, not in Kananga, Leyte, from 1975 up to the time that she ran for the position of Provincial Governor In addition, Ty has also been bodily present in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines, since his
of Leyte on February 1, 1988. There was no evidence to show that she and her husband maintained separate residences, i.e., arrival on 4 May 2006, inarguably, just a little over a year prior to the 14 May 2007 local elections. Japzon maintains that Tys
she at Kananga, Leyte and her husband at Ormoc City. The fact that she occasionally visited Kananga, Leyte through the years trips abroad during said period, i.e., to Bangkok, Thailand (from 14 to 18 July 2006), and to the USA (from 31 October 2006 to
did not signify an intention to continue her residence after leaving that place. 19 January 2007), indicate that Ty had no intention to permanently reside in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern
Samar, Philippines. The COMELEC First Division and en banc, as well as this Court, however, view these trips differently. The
In Romualdez v. RTC, Br. 7, Tacloban City, the Court held that domicile and residence are synonymous. The term residence, as fact that Ty did come back to the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines, after said trips, is a further
used in the election law, imports not only an intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal presence in that place, manifestation of his animus manendi and animus revertendi.
coupled with conduct indicative of such intention. Domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent for
business or pleasure, or for like reasons, one intends to return. In that case, petitioner Philip G. Romualdez established his There is no basis for this Court to require Ty to stay in and never leave at all the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern
residence during the early 1980s in Barangay Malbog, Tolosa, Leyte. It was held that the sudden departure from the country Samar, for the full one-year period prior to the 14 May 2007 local elections so that he could be considered a resident thereof.
of petitioner, because of the EDSA Peoples Power Revolution of 1986, to go into self-exile in the United States until favorable To the contrary, the Court has previously ruled that absence from residence to pursue studies or practice a profession or
conditions had been established, was not voluntary so as to constitute an abandonment of residence. The Court explained registration as a voter other than in the place where one is elected, does not constitute loss of residence.[24] The Court also
that in order to acquire a new domicile by choice, there must concur (1) residence or bodily presence in the new locality, (2) notes, that even with his trips to other countries, Ty was actually present in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern
an intention to remain there, and (3) an intention to abandon the old domicile. There must be animus manendi coupled with Samar, Philippines, for at least nine of the 12 months preceding the 14 May 2007 local elections. Even if length of actual stay
animus non revertendi. The purpose to remain in or at the domicile of choice must be for an indefinite period of time; the in a place is not necessarily determinative of the fact of residence therein, it does strongly support and is only consistent with
change of residence must be voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new domicile must be actual. Tys avowed intent in the instant case to establish residence/domicile in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern
Samar.
Ultimately, the Court recapitulates in Papandayan, Jr. that it is the fact of residence that is the decisive factor in determining
whether or not an individual has satisfied the residency qualification requirement. Japzon repeatedly brings to the attention of this Court that Ty arrived in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern
Samar, on 4 May 2006 only to comply with the one-year residency requirement, so Ty could run as a mayoralty candidate in
the 14 May 2007 elections. In Aquino v. COMELEC,[25] the Court did not find anything wrong in an individual changing Faced with the prospect of not being able to vote in the May 2004 elections owing to the COMELEC's refusal to include them
residences so he could run for an elective post, for as long as he is able to prove with reasonable certainty that he has in the National Registry of Absentee Voters, petitioner Nicolas-Lewis et al., [5] filed on April 1, 2004 this petition for certiorari
effected a change of residence for election law purposes for the period required by law. As this Court already found in the and mandamus.
present case, Ty has proven by substantial evidence that he had established residence/domicile in the Municipality of General
Macarthur, Eastern Samar, by 4 May 2006, a little over a year prior to the 14 May 2007 local elections, in which he ran as a A little over a week before the May 10, 2004 elections, or on April 30, 2004, the COMELEC filed a Comment,[6] therein praying
candidate for the Office of the Mayor and in which he garnered the most number of votes. for the denial of the petition. As may be expected, petitioners were not able to register let alone vote in said elections.

Finally, when the evidence of the alleged lack of residence qualification of a candidate for an elective position is weak or On May 20, 2004, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a Manifestation (in Lieu of Comment), therein stating that all
inconclusive and it clearly appears that the purpose of the law would not be thwarted by upholding the victors right to the qualified overseas Filipinos, including dual citizens who care to exercise the right of suffrage, may do so , observing, however,
office, the will of the electorate should be respected. For the purpose of election laws is to give effect to, rather than that the conclusion of the 2004 elections had rendered the petition moot and academic.[7]
frustrate, the will of the voters.[26] To successfully challenge Tys disqualification, Japzon must clearly demonstrate that Tys
ineligibility is so patently antagonistic to constitutional and legal principles that overriding such ineligibility and thereby giving The holding of the 2004 elections had, as the OSG pointed out, indeed rendered the petition moot and academic, but insofar
effect to the apparent will of the people would ultimately create greater prejudice to the very democratic institutions and only as petitioners participation in such political exercise is concerned. The broader and transcendental issue tendered or
juristic traditions that our Constitution and laws so zealously protect and promote. In this case, Japzon failed to substantiate subsumed in the petition, i.e., the propriety of allowing duals to participate and vote as absentee voter in future elections,
his claim that Ty is ineligible to be Mayor of the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines. however, remains unresolved.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for Certiorari is DISMISSED. SO ORDERED. 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 reacquired Philippine
citizenship pursuant to R.A. 9225 may vote as absentee voter under R.A. 9189.

LOIDA NICOLAS-LEWIS, GREGORIO B. MACABENTA, ALEJANDRO A. ESCLAMADO, ARMANDO B. HEREDIA, REUBEN S. The Court resolves the poser in the affirmative, and thereby accords merit to the petition.
SEGURITAN, ERIC LACHICA FURBEYRE, TERESITA A. CRUZ, JOSEFINA OPENA DISTERHOFT, MERCEDES V. OPENA, CORNELIO
R. NATIVIDAD, EVELYN D. NATIVIDAD, In esse, this case is all about suffrage. A quick look at the governing provisions on the right of suffrage is, therefore, indicated.

- versus - We start off with Sections 1 and 2 of Article V of the Constitution, respectively reading as follows:

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, 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
In this petition for certiorari and mandamus, petitioners, referring to themselves as "duals" or dual citizens, pray that they and propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. xxx.
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 SEC 2. The Congress shall provide a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad.
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. 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
The facts: non‑resident may, as an exception to the residency prescription in the preceding section, be allowed to vote.

Petitioners are successful applicants for recognition of Philippine citizenship under R.A. 9225 which accords to such applicants In response to its above mandate, Congress enacted R.A. 9189 - the OAVL[8] - identifying in its Section 4 who can vote under
the right of suffrage, among others. Long before the May 2004 national and local elections, petitioners sought registration it and in the following section who cannot, as follows:
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 Section 4. Coverage. All citizens of the Philippines abroad, who are not otherwise disqualified by law, at least eighteen (18)
elections owing to their lack of the one-year residence requirement prescribed by the Constitution. The same letter, however, years of age on the day of elections, may vote for president, vice-president, senators and party-list representatives.
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 Section 5. Disqualifications. The following shall be disqualified from voting under this Act:
elections.
(a) Those who have lost their Filipino citizenship in accordance with Philippine laws;
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: (b) Those who have expressly renounced their Philippine citizenship and who have pledged allegiance to a foreign country;

Although R.A. 9225 enjoys the presumption of constitutionality , it is the Commission's position that those who have availed (c) Those who have [been] convicted in a final judgment by a court or tribunal of an offense punishable by imprisonment of
of the law cannot exercise the right of suffrage given under the OAVL for the reason that the OAVL was not enacted for them. not less than one (1) year, including those who have been found guilty of Disloyalty as defined under Article 137 of the
Hence, as Filipinos who have merely re-acquired their citizenship on 18 September 2003 at the earliest, and as law and Revised Penal Code, .;
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] (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 Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of this Act, become citizens of a foreign country shall retain
his/her permanent disqualification to vote in absentia. their Philippine citizenship upon taking the aforesaid oath.

(e) Any citizen of the Philippines abroad previously declared insane or incompetent by competent authority . (Words SEC. 4. Derivative Citizenship. The unmarried child, whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted, below eighteen (18) years of
in bracket added.) age, of those who re-acquire 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 re-acquire 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
Notably, Section 5 lists those who cannot avail themselves of the absentee voting mechanism. However, Section 5(d) of the and the following conditions:
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 (1) Those intending to exercise their right of suffrage must meet the requirements under Section 1, Article V of the
Macalintal, it - Constitution, Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 and other existing laws;

violates Section 1, Article V of the 1987 Constitution which requires that the voter must be a resident in the Philippines for at (2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualifications for holding such public office as
least one year and in the place where he proposes to vote for at least six months immediately preceding an election. [The required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy, make a personal
challenger] cites Caasi vs. Court of Appeals [9] to support his claim [where] the Court held that a green card holder immigrant and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship ;
to the [US] is deemed to have abandoned his domicile and residence in the Philippines.
3) xxx xxx xxx.
[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 (4) xxx xxx xxx;
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 (5) That right to vote or be elected or appointed to any public office in the Philippines cannot be exercised by, or extended to,
suffrage should not be granted to anyone who, on the date of the election, does not possess the qualifications provided for by those who:
Section 1, Article V of the Constitution.[10] (Words in bracket added.)
(a) are candidates for or are occupying any public office in the country of which they are naturalized citizens; and/or
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: (b) are in active service as commissioned or non-commissioned officers in the armed forces of the country which they are
naturalized citizens.
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 After what appears to be a successful application for recognition of Philippine citizenship under R.A. 9189, petitioners now
of one's residence in his country of origin. However, same Section allows an immigrant and permanent resident abroad to invoke their right to enjoy political rights, specifically the right of suffrage, pursuant to Section 5 thereof.
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 Opposing the petitioners bid, however, respondent COMELEC invites attention to the same Section 5 (1) providing that duals
disqualified by law must be entitled to exercise the right of suffrage and, that Congress must establish a system for absentee 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
voting; for otherwise, if actual, physical residence in the Philippines is required, there is no sense for the framers of the Constitution, R.A. 9189 and other existing laws. Capitalizing on what at first blush is the clashing provisions of the aforecited
Constitution to mandate Congress to establish a system for absentee voting. 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:
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 4. DUALS MUST FIRST ESTABLISH THEIR DOMICILE/ RESIDENCE IN THE PHILIPPINES
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 4.01. The inclusion of such additional and specific requirements in RA 9225 is logical. The duals, upon renouncement of their
the Constitution that proscribes provisional registration or a promise by a voter to perform a condition to be qualified to vote Filipino citizenship and acquisition of foreign citizenship, have practically and legally abandoned their domicile and severed
in a political exercise. [11] 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]
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: he Court disagrees.

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.
As may be noted, there is no provision in the dual citizenship law - R.A. 9225 - requiring "duals" to actually establish residence
SEC. 3. Retention of Philippine Citizenship. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, natural-born citizens of the and physically stay in the Philippines first before they can exercise their right to vote. On the contrary, R.A. 9225, in implicit
Philippines who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are acknowledgment that duals are most likely non-residents, grants under its Section 5(1) the same right of suffrage as that
hereby deemed to have re-acquired Philippine citizenship upon taking the following oath of allegiance to the Republic:
granted an absentee voter under R.A. 9189. It cannot be overemphasized that R.A. 9189 aims, in essence, to enfranchise as Look at what the Constitution says In the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding
much as possible all overseas Filipinos who, save for the residency requirements exacted of an ordinary voter under ordinary the election.
conditions, are qualified to vote. Thus, wrote the Court in Macalintal:
Mr. President, all of us here have run (sic) for office.
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 I live in Makati. My neighbor is Pateros . We are separated only by a creek. But one who votes in Makati cannot vote in
Filipinos who reach voting age abroad whose parents domicile of origin is in the Philippines, and consider them qualified as Pateros unless he resides in Pateros for six months. That is how restrictive our Constitution is. .
voters for the first time.
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
It is in pursuance of that intention that the Commission provided for Section 2 [Article V] immediately after the residency months before the election, otherwise, he is not qualified to vote.
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 Senator Angara. It is a good point to raise, Mr. President. But it is a point already well-debated even in the constitutional
with respect to qualified Filipinos abroad. The same Commission has in effect declared that qualified Filipinos who are not in commission of 1986. And the reason Section 2 of Article V was placed immediately after the six-month/one-year residency
the Philippines may be allowed to vote even though they do not satisfy the residency requirement in Section 1, Article V of requirement is to demonstrate unmistakably that Section 2 which authorizes absentee voting is an exception to the six-
the Constitution. month/one-year residency requirement. That is the first principle, Mr. President, that one must remember.

That Section 2 of Article V of the Constitution is an exception to the residency requirement found in Section 1 of the same The second reason, Mr. President, is that under our jurisprudence residency has been interpreted as synonymous with
Article was in fact the subject of debate when Senate Bill No. 2104, which became R.A. No. 9189, was deliberated upon on the domicile.
Senate floor, thus:
But the third more practical reason, is, if we follow the interpretation of the gentleman, then it is legally and constitutionally
Senator Arroyo. Mr. President, this bill should be looked into in relation to the constitutional provisions. I think the sponsor impossible to give a franchise to vote to overseas Filipinos who do not physically live in the country, which is quite ridiculous
and I would agree that the Constitution is supreme in any statute that we may enact. 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)
Let me read Section 1, Article V, of the Constitution .
Lest it be overlooked, no less than the COMELEC itself admits that the Citizenship Retention and Re‑Acquisition Act expanded
Now, Mr. President, the Constitution says, who shall have resided in the Philippines. They are permanent immigrants. They the coverage of overseas absentee voting. According to the poll body:
have changed residence so they are barred under the Constitution. This is why I asked whether this committee amendment
which in fact does not alter the original text of the bill will have any effect on this? 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
Senator Angara. Good question, Mr. President. And this has been asked in various fora. This is in compliance with the provisions of RA 9225; [15]
Constitution. One, the interpretation here of residence is synonymous with domicile.
Considering the unison intent of the Constitution and R.A. 9189 and the expansion of the scope of that law with the passage
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 of R.A. 9225, the irresistible conclusion is that "duals" may now exercise the right of suffrage thru the absentee voting scheme
have been physically absent from the Philippines and may be physically a resident of the United States, for example, but has a and as overseas absentee voters. R.A. 9189 defines the terms adverted to in the following wise:
clear intent to return to the Philippines, will make him qualified as a resident of the Philippines under this law.
Absentee Voting refers to the process by which qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad exercise their right to vote;
This is consistent, Mr. President, with the constitutional mandate that we that Congress must provide a franchise to overseas
Filipinos. 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;
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.

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:

Senator Arroyo. Mr. President, when the Constitution says, in Section 2 of Article V, it reads: The Congress shall provide a SEC. 4. Derivative Citizenship. The unmarried child, whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted, below eighteen (18) years of
system for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. age, of those who re-acquire Philippine citizenship upon effectivity of this Act shall be deemed citizens of the Philippines.

The key to this whole exercise, Mr. President, is qualified. In other words, anything that we may do or say in granting our It is very likely that a considerable number of those unmarried children below eighteen (18) years of age had never set foot in
compatriots abroad must be anchored on the proposition that they are qualified. Absent the qualification, they cannot vote. the Philippines. Now then, if the next generation of "duals" may nonetheless avail themselves the right to enjoy full civil and
And residents (sic) is a qualification. 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 Elections were subsequently held on May 13, 2013 and the election returns showed that petitioner won over private
Philippine citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225, the Citizenship Retention and Re‑Acquisition Act of 2003, may exercise the respondent.8 Private respondent filed an Urgent Ex-parte Motion to Defer Proclamation.9
right to vote under the system of absentee voting in Republic Act No. 9189, the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003. SO
ORDERED. On May 14, 2013, petitioner was proclaimed Mayor of Uyugan, Batanes.

On May 16, 2013, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the COMELEC En Banc assailing the May 3, 2013
Resolution issued by the COMELEC's First Division canceling his COC.
ROGELIO BATIN CABALLERO, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND JONATHAN ENRIQUE V. NANUD, JR.,
Respondents. On May 17, 2013, private respondent filed a Petition to Annul Proclamation.10

Before us is a petition for certiorari with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order seeking to set aside the On November 6, 2013, the COMELEC En Banc issued its assailed Resolution denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
Resolution1 dated November 6, 2013 of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) En Banc which affirmed in toto the
Resolution2 dated May 3, 2013 of the COMELEC First Division canceling the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) of petitioner Petitioner filed with us the instant petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order.
Rogelio Batin Caballero.
In the meantime, private respondent filed a Motion for Execution11 of the May 3, 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC First
Petitioner3 and private respondent Jonathan Enrique V. Nanud, Jr.4 were both candidates for the mayoralty position of the Division as affirmed by the En Banc and prayed for the cancellation of petitioner's COC, the appropriate correction of the
Municipality of Uyugan, Province of Batanes in the May 13, 2013 elections. Private respondent filed a Petition5 to deny due certificate of canvas to reflect that all votes in favor of petitioner are stray votes, declaration of nullity of petitioner's
course to or cancellation of petitioner's certificate of candidacy alleging that the latter made a false representation when he proclamation and proclamation of private respondent as the duly-elected Mayor of Uyugan, Batanes in the May 13, 2013
declared in his COC that he was eligible to run for Mayor of Uyugan, Batanes despite being a Canadian citizen and a elections.
non-resident thereof.
On December 12, 2013, COMELEC Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. issued a Writ of Execution.12 Private respondent took his
During the December 10, 2012 conference, petitioner, through counsel, manifested that he was not properly served with a Oath of Office13 on December 20, 2013.
copy of the petition and the petition was served by registered mail not in his address in Barangay Imnajbu, Uyugan, Batanes.
He, however, received a copy of the petition during the conference. Petitioner did not file an Answer but filed a In the instant petition for certiorari, petitioner raises the following assignment of errors, to wit:cralawlawlibrary
Memorandum controverting private respondent's substantial allegations in his petition.
THE COMELEC EN BANC GRAVELY ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE CLEAR IMPORT OF PROCEDURAL RULES PROVIDED FOR
Petitioner argued that prior to the filing of his COC on October 3, 2012, he took an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the UNDER COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 9523 PROMULGATED ON 25 SEPTEMBER 2012.
Philippines before the Philippine Consul General in Toronto, Canada on September 13, 2012 and became a dual Filipino and
Canadian citizen pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 9225, otherwise known as the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act
of 2003. Thereafter, he renounced his Canadian citizenship and executed an Affidavit of Renunciation before a Notary Public
in Batanes on October 1, 2012 to conform with Section 5(2) of RA No. 9225.6 He claimed that he did not lose his domicile of THE COMELEC EN BANC GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT PETITIONER ABANDONED HIS PHILIPPINE DOMICILE WHEN HE
origin in Uyugan, Batanes despite becoming a Canadian citizen as he merely left Uyugan temporarily to pursue a brighter WORKED IN SEVERAL FOREIGN COUNTRIES FOR "GREENER PASTURE."
future for him and his family; and that he went back to Uyugan during his vacation while working in Nigeria, California, and
finally in Canada. EVEN ASSUMING THAT PETITIONER HAS ABANDONED HIS PHILIPPINE DOMICILE WHEN HE BECAME A CANADIAN CITIZEN,
HIS REACQUISITION OF HIS FILIPINO CITIZENSHIP, TAKING OATH OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT NINE (9)
MONTHS PRIOR TO HIS ELECTION ON 13 MAY 2013, IS A SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW ON
RESIDENCY.14chanrobleslaw
On May 3, 2013, the COMELEC First Division issued a Resolution finding that petitioner made a material misrepresentation in
his COC when he declared that he is a resident of Barangay Imnajbu, Uyugan, Batanes within one year prior to the election. Petitioner contends that when private respondent filed a petition to deny due course or to cancel his COC with the Office of
The decretal portion of the resolution reads:cralawlawlibrary the Municipal Election Officer of Uyugan, Batanes, a copy thereof was not personally served on him; that private respondent
later sent a copy of the petition to him by registered mail without an attached affidavit stating the reason on why registered
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES to GRANT the instant Petition. The mail as a mode of service was resorted to. Petitioner argues that private respondent violated Section 4, paragraphs (1)15 and
Certificate of Candidacy of respondent Caballero is hereby CANCELLED.7chanrobleslaw (4),16 Rule 23 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, as amended by COMELEC Resolution No. 9523, thus, his petition to deny
due course or cancel petitioner's certificate of candidacy should have been denied outright.
The COMELEC First Division did not discuss the procedural deficiency raised by petitioner as he was already given a copy of
the petition and also in consonance with the Commission's constitutional duty of determining the qualifications of petitioner We are not convinced.
to run for elective office. It found that while petitioner complied with the requirements of RA No. 9225 since he had taken his
Oath of Allegiance to the Philippines and had validly renounced his Canadian citizenship, he failed to comply with the other While private respondent failed to comply with the above-mentioned requirements, the settled rule, however, is that the
requirements provided under RA No. 9225 for those seeking elective office, i.e., persons who renounced their foreign COMELEC Rules of Procedure are subject to liberal construction. Moreover, the COMELEC may exercise its power to suspend
citizenship must still comply with the one year residency requirement provided for under Section 39 of the Local Government its own rules as provided under Section 4, Rule 1 of their Rules of Procedure.cralawlawlibrary
Code. Petitioner's naturalization as a Canadian citizen resulted in the abandonment of his domicile of origin in Uyugan,
Batanes; thus, having abandoned his domicile of origin, it is incumbent upon him to prove that he was able to reestablish his Sec. 4. Suspension of the Rules. - In the interest of justice and in order to obtain speedy disposition of all matters pending
domicile in Uyugan for him to be eligible to run for elective office in said locality which he failed to do. before the Commission, these rules or any portion thereof may be suspended by the Commission.chanrobleslaw
Under this authority, the Commission is similarly enabled to cope with all situations without concerning itself about Petitioner next claims that he did not abandon his Philippine domicile. He argues that he was born and baptized in Uyugan,
procedural niceties that do not square with the need to do justice, in any case without further loss of time, provided that the Batanes; studied and had worked therein for a couple of years, and had paid his community tax certificate; and, that he was a
right of the parties to a full day in court is not substantially impaired.17 registered voter and had exercised his right of suffrage and even built his house therein. He also contends that he usually
comes back to Uyugan, Batanes during his vacations from work abroad, thus, his domicile had not been lost. Petitioner avers
In Hayudini v. COMELEC,18 we sustained the COMELEC's liberal treatment of respondent's petition to deny due course or that the requirement of the law in fixing the residence qualification of a candidate running for public office is not strictly on
cancel petitioner's COC despite its failure to comply with Sections 2 and 4 of Rule 23 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, as the period of residence in the place where he seeks to be elected but on the acquaintance by the candidate on his
amended by Resolution No. 9523, i.e., pertaining to the period to file petition and to provide sufficient explanation as to why constituents' vital needs for their common welfare; and that his nine months of actual stay in Uyugan, Batanes prior to his
his petition was not served personally on petitioner, respectively, and held that:cralawlawlibrary election is a substantial compliance with the law. Petitioner insists that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in
canceling his COC.
As a general rule, statutes providing for election contests are to be liberally construed in order that the will of the people in
the choice of public officers may not be defeated by mere technical objections. Moreover, it is neither fair nor just to keep in We are not persuaded.
office, for an indefinite period, one whose right to it is uncertain and under suspicion. It is imperative that his claim be
immediately cleared, not only for the benefit of the winner but for the sake of public interest, which can only be achieved by
brushing aside technicalities of procedure that protract and delay the trial of an ordinary action. This principle was reiterated
in the cases of Tolentino v. Commission on Elections and De Castro v. Commission on Elections, where the Court held that "in RA No. 9225, which is known as the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003, declares that natural-born citizens of
exercising its powers and jurisdiction, as defined by its mandate to protect the integrity of elections, the COMELEC must not the Philippines, who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country, can
be straitjacketed by procedural rules in resolving election disputes." re-acquire or retain his Philippine citizenship under the conditions of the law.21 The law does not provide for residency
requirement for the reacquisition or retention of Philippine citizenship; nor does it mention any effect of such reacquisition or
Settled is the rule that the COMELEC Rules of Procedure are subject to liberal construction. The COMELEC has the power to retention of Philippine citizenship on the current residence of the concerned natural-born Filipino.22
liberally interpret or even suspend its rules of procedure in the interest of justice, including obtaining a speedy disposition of
all matters pending before it. This liberality is for the purpose of promoting the effective and efficient implementation of its RA No. 9225 treats citizenship independently of residence.23 This is only logical and consistent with the general intent of the
objectives - ensuring the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections, as well as achieving just, law to allow for dual citizenship. Since a natural-born Filipino may hold, at the same time, both Philippine and foreign
expeditious, and inexpensive determination and disposition of every action and proceeding brought before the COMELEC. citizenships, he may establish residence either in the Philippines or in the foreign country of which he is also a citizen.24
Unlike an ordinary civil action, an election contest is imbued with public interest. It involves not only the adjudication of However, when a natural-born Filipino with dual citizenship seeks for an elective public office, residency in the Philippines
private and pecuniary interests of rival candidates, but also the paramount need of dispelling the uncertainty which beclouds becomes material. Section 5(2) of FLA No. 9225 provides:cralawlawlibrary
the real choice of the electorate. And the tribunal has the corresponding duty to ascertain, by all means within its command,
whom the people truly chose as their rightful leader.19chanrobleslaw 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
Here, we find that the issue raised, i.e., whether petitioner had been a resident of Uyugan, Batanes at least one (1) year Philippines and the following conditions:
before the elections held on May 13, 2013 as he represented in his COC, pertains to his qualification and eligibility to run for
public office, therefore imbued with public interest, which justified the COMELEC's suspension of its own rules. We adopt the (2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualifications for holding such public office as
COMELEC's s ratiocination in accepting the petition, to wit:cralawlawlibrary 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 before any public officer authorized to administer an oath.
This Commission recognizes the failure of petitioner to comply strictly with the procedure for filing a petition to deny due
course to or cancel certificate of candidacy set forth in Section 4, Rule 23 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure as amended by Republic Act No. 7160, which is known as the Local Government Code of 1991, provides, among others, for the qualifications
COMELEC Resolution No. 9523, which requires service of a copy of the petition to respondent prior to its filing. But then, we of an elective local official. Section 39 thereof states:cralawlawlibrary
should also consider the efforts exerted by petitioner in serving a copy of his petition to respondent after being made aware
that such service is necessary. We should also take note of the impossibility for petitioner to personally serve a copy of the SEC. 39. Qualifications. - (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay,
petition to respondent since he was in Canada at the time of its filing as shown in respondent's travel records. municipality, city or province or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or
sanggunian bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately
The very purpose of prior service of the petition to respondent is to afford the latter an opportunity to answer the preceding the day of the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or dialect.chanrobleslaw
allegations contained in the petition even prior to the service of summons by the Commission to him. In this case, respondent
was given a copy of the petition during the conference held on 10 December 2012 and was ultimately accorded the occasion Clearly, the Local Government Code requires that the candidate must be a resident of the place where he seeks to be elected
to rebut all the allegations against him. He even filed a Memorandum containing his defenses to petitioner's allegations. For at least one year immediately preceding the election day. Respondent filed the petition for cancellation of petitioner's COC on
all intents and purposes, therefore, respondent was never deprived of due process which is the very essence of this the ground that the latter made material misrepresentation when he declared therein that he is a resident of Uyugan,
Commission's Rules of Procedure. Batanes for at least one year immediately preceeding the day of elections.

Even the Supreme Court acknowledges the need for procedural rules to bow to substantive considerations "through a The term "residence" is to be understood not in its common acceptation as referring to "dwelling" or "habitation," but rather
liberal construction aimed at promoting their objective of securing a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action to "domicile" or legal residence,25 that is, "the place where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home, where
and proceeding, x x x he, no matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain (animus manendi)."26 A
domicile of origin is acquired by every person at birth. It is usually the place where the child's parents reside and continues
When a case is impressed with public interest, a relaxation of the application of the rules is in order, x until the same is abandoned by acquisition of new domicile (domicile of choice). It consists not only in the intention to reside
in a fixed place but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention.27
Unquestionably, the instant case is impressed with public interest which warrants the relaxation of the application of the
[R]ules of [P]rocedure, consistent with the ruling of the Supreme Court in several cases.20chanrobleslaw
Petitioner was a natural born Filipino who was born and raised in Uyugan, Batanes. Thus, it could be said that he had his
domicile of origin in Uyugan, Batanes. However, he later worked in Canada and became a Canadian citizen. In Coquilla v.
COMELEC28 we ruled that naturalization in a foreign country may result in an abandonment of domicile in the Philippines. SEC. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. - The certificate of candidacy shall state that the person filing it is announcing
This holds true in petitioner's case as permanent resident status in Canada is required for the acquisition of Canadian his candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for said office; if for Member of the Batasang Pambansa, the
citizenship.29 Hence, petitioner had effectively abandoned his domicile in the Philippines and transferred his domicile of province, including its component cities, highly urbanized city or district or sector which he seeks to represent; the political
choice in Canada. His frequent visits to Uyugan, Batanes during his vacation from work in Canada cannot be considered as party to which he belongs; civil status; his date of birth; residence; his post office address for all election purposes; his
waiver of such abandonment. profession or occupation; that he will support and defend the Constitution of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and
allegiance thereto; that he will obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; that
The next question is what is the effect of petitioner's retention of his Philippine citizenship under RA No. 9225 on his he is not a permanent resident or immigrant to a foreign country; that the obligation imposed by his oath is assumed
residence or domicile? voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that the facts stated in the certificate of candidacy are true
to the best of his knowledge.
In Japzon v. COMELEC,30 wherein respondent Ty reacquired his Philippine citizenship under RA No. 9225 and run for Mayor of
General Macarthur, Eastern Samar and whose residency in the said place was put in issue, we had the occasion to state, SEC. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. - A verified petition seeking to deny due course
thus:cralawlawlibrary or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any material representation
contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five
[Petitioner's] reacquisition of his Philippine citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225 had no automatic impact or effect on days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, after due notice and hearing, not later
his residence/domicile. He could still retain his domicile in the USA, and he did not necessarily regain his domicile in the than fifteen days before the election.chanrobleslaw
Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines. Ty merely had the option to again establish his domicile in the
Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines, said place becoming his new domicile of choice. The length of We have held that in order to justify the cancellation of COC under Section 78, it is essential that the false representation
his residence therein shall be determined from the time he made it his domicile of choice, and it shall not retroact to the time mentioned therein pertains to a material matter for the sanction imposed by this provision would affect the substantive rights
of his birth.31chanrobleslaw of a candidate - the right to run for the elective post for which he filed the certificate of candidacy.36 We concluded that
material representation contemplated by Section 78 refers to qualifications for elective office, such as the requisite residency,
Hence, petitioner's retention of his Philippine citizenship under RA No. 9225 did not automatically make him regain his age, citizenship or any other legal qualification necessary to run for a local elective office as provided for in the Local
residence in Uyugan, Batanes. He must still prove that after becoming a Philippine citizen on September 13, 2012, he had Government Code.37 Furthermore, aside from the requirement of materiality, the misrepresentation must consist of a
reestablished Uyugan, Batanes as his new domicile of choice which is reckoned from the time he made it as such. deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible.38 We,
therefore, find no grave abuse of discretion committed by the COMELEC in canceling petitioner's COC for material
The COMELEC found that petitioner failed to present competent evidence to prove that he was able to reestablish his misrepresentation.
residence in Uyugan within a period of one year immediately preceding the May 13, 2013 elections. It found that it was only
after reacquiring his Filipino citizenship by virtue of RA No. 9225 on September 13, 2012 that petitioner can rightfully claim WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED. The Resolution dated May 3, 2013 of the COMELEC First Division and
that he re-established his domicile in Uyugan, Batanes, if such was accompanied by physical presence thereat, coupled with the Resolution dated November 6, 2013 of the COMELEC En Banc and are hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED
an actual intent to reestablish his domicile there. However, the period from September 13, 2012 to May 12, 2013 was even
less than the one year residency required by law.

Doctrinally entrenched is the rule that in a petition for certiorari, findings of fact of administrative bodies, such as respondent JOSE L. ATIENZA, JR., MATIAS V. DEFENSOR, JR., RODOLFO G.VALENCIA, DANILO E. SUAREZ,SOLOMON R.
COMELEC in the instant case, are final unless grave abuse of discretion has marred such factual determinations/~ Clearly, CHUNGALAO,SALVACION ZALDIVAR-PEREZ,HARLIN CAST-ABAYON, MELVIN G.MACUSI and ELEAZAR P. QUINTO,
where there is no proof of grave abuse of discretion, arbitrariness, fraud or error of law in the questioned Resolutions, we Petitioners, - versus - Leonardo-De Castro, COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS,
may not review the factual findings of COMELEC, nor substitute its own findings on the sufficiency of evidence.33
This petition is an offshoot of two earlier cases already resolved by the Court involving a leadership dispute within a political
Records indeed showed that petitioner failed to prove that he had been a resident of Uyugan, Batanes for at least one year party. In this case, the petitioners question their expulsion from that party and assail the validity of the election of new party
immediately preceding the day of elections as required under Section 39 of the Local Government Code. leaders conducted by the respondents.

Petitioner's argument that his nine (9) months of actual stay in Uyugan, Batanes, prior to the May 13, 2013 local elections is a Statement of the Facts and the Case
substantial compliance with the law, is not persuasive. In Aquino v. Commission on Elections,34 we held:cralawlawlibrary
For a better understanding of the controversy, a brief recall of the preceding events is in order.
x x x A democratic government is necessarily a government of laws. In a republican government those laws are themselves
ordained by the people. Through their representatives, they dictate the qualifications necessary for service in government On July 5, 2005 respondent Franklin M. Drilon (Drilon), as erstwhile president of the Liberal Party (LP), announced his partys
positions. And as petitioner clearly lacks one of the essential qualifications for running for membership in the House of withdrawal of support for the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. But petitioner Jose L. Atienza, Jr.
Representatives, not even the will of a majority or plurality of the voters of the Second District of Makati City would substitute (Atienza), LP Chairman, and a number of party members denounced Drilons move, claiming that he made the announcement
for a requirement mandated by the fundamental law itself.35chanrobleslaw without consulting his party.

Petitioner had made a material misrepresentation by stating in his COC that he is a resident of Uyugan, Batanes for at least
one (1) year immediately proceeding the day of the election, thus, a ground for a petition under Section 78 of the Omnibus
Election Code. Section 74, in relation to Section 78, of the OEC governs the cancellation of, and grant or denial of due course On March 2, 2006 petitioner Atienza hosted a party conference to supposedly discuss local autonomy and party matters but,
to COCs, to wit:cralawlawlibrary when convened, the assembly proceeded to declare all positions in the LPs ruling body vacant and elected new officers, with
Atienza as LP president. Respondent Drilon immediately filed a petition[1] with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to
nullify the elections. He claimed that it was illegal considering that the partys electing bodies, the National Executive Council forfeited their party membership when they ran under other political parties during the May 2007 elections. They were
(NECO) and the National Political Council (NAPOLCO), were not properly convened. Drilon also claimed that under the dropped from the roster of LP members.
amended LP Constitution,[2] party officers were elected to a fixed three-year term that was yet to end on November 30,
2007. On June 18, 2009 the COMELEC issued the assailed resolution denying petitioners Atienza, et al.s petition. It noted that the
May 2007 elections necessarily changed the composition of the NECO since the amended LP Constitution explicitly made
On the other hand, petitioner Atienza claimed that the majority of the LPs NECO and NAPOLCO attended the March 2, 2006 incumbent senators, members of the House of Representatives, governors and mayors members of that body. That some lost
assembly. The election of new officers on that occasion could be likened to people power, wherein the LP majority removed or won these positions in the May 2007 elections affected the NECO membership. Petitioners failed to prove that the NECO
respondent Drilon as president by direct action. Atienza also said that the amendments[3] to the original LP Constitution, or which elected Roxas as LP president was not properly convened.
the Salonga Constitution, giving LP officers a fixed three-year term, had not been properly ratified. Consequently, the term of
Drilon and the other officers already ended on July 24, 2006. As for the validity of petitioners Atienza, et al.s expulsion as LP members, the COMELEC observed that this was a membership
issue that related to disciplinary action within the political party. The COMELEC treated it as an internal party matter that was
On October 13, 2006, the COMELEC issued a resolution,[4] partially granting respondent Drilons petition. It annulled the beyond its jurisdiction to resolve.
March 2, 2006 elections and ordered the holding of a new election under COMELEC supervision. It held that the election of
petitioner Atienza and the others with him was invalid since the electing assembly did not convene in accordance with the Without filing a motion for reconsideration of the COMELEC resolution, petitioners Atienza, et al. filed this petition for
Salonga Constitution. But, since the amendments to the Salonga Constitution had not been properly ratified, Drilons term certiorari under Rule 65.
may be deemed to have ended. Thus, he held the position of LP president in a holdover capacity until new officers were
elected. The Issues Presented

Both sides of the dispute came to this Court to challenge the COMELEC rulings. On April 17, 2007 a divided Court issued a Respondents Roxas, et al. raise the following threshold issues:
resolution,[5] granting respondent Drilons petition and denying that of petitioner Atienza. The Court held, through the
majority, that the COMELEC had jurisdiction over the intra-party leadership dispute; that the Salonga Constitution had been 1. Whether or not the LP, which was not impleaded in the case, is an indispensable party; and
validly amended; and that, as a consequence, respondent Drilons term as LP president was to end only on November 30,
2007. 2. Whether or not petitioners Atienza, et al., as ousted LP members, have the requisite legal standing to question Roxas
election.
Subsequently, the LP held a NECO meeting to elect new party leaders before respondent Drilons term expired. Fifty-nine
NECO members out of the 87 who were supposedly qualified to vote attended. Before the election, however, several persons Petitioners Atienza, et al., on the other hand, raise the following issues:
associated with petitioner Atienza sought to clarify their membership status and raised issues regarding the composition of
the NECO. Eventually, that meeting installed respondent Manuel A. Roxas II (Roxas) as the new LP president. 3. Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when it upheld the NECO membership that elected respondent
Roxas as LP president;
On January 11, 2008 petitioners Atienza, Matias V. Defensor, Jr., Rodolfo G. Valencia, Danilo E. Suarez, Solomon R. Chungalao,
Salvacion Zaldivar-Perez, Harlin Cast-Abayon, Melvin G. Macusi, and Eleazar P. Quinto, filed a petition for mandatory and 4. Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when it resolved the issue concerning the validity of the NECO
prohibitory injunction[6] before the COMELEC against respondents Roxas, Drilon and J.R. Nereus O. Acosta, the party meeting without first resolving the issue concerning the expulsion of Atienza, et al. from the party; and
secretary general. Atienza, et al. sought to enjoin Roxas from assuming the presidency of the LP, claiming that the NECO
assembly which elected him was invalidly convened. They questioned the existence of a quorum and claimed that the NECO 5. Whether or not respondents Roxas, et al. violated petitioners Atienza, et al.s constitutional right to due process by the
composition ought to have been based on a list appearing in the partys 60th Anniversary Souvenir Program. Both Atienza and latters expulsion from the party.
Drilon adopted that list as common exhibit in the earlier cases and it showed that the NECO had 103 members.
The Courts Ruling
Petitioners Atienza, et al. also complained that Atienza, the incumbent party chairman, was not invited to the NECO meeting
and that some members, like petitioner Defensor, were given the status of guests during the meeting. Atienzas allies allegedly One. Respondents Roxas, et al. assert that the Court should dismiss the petition for failure of petitioners Atienza, et al. to
raised these issues but respondent Drilon arbitrarily thumbed them down and railroaded the proceedings. He suspended the implead the LP as an indispensable party. Roxas, et al. point out that, since the petition seeks the issuance of a writ of
meeting and moved it to another room, where Roxas was elected without notice to Atienzas allies. mandatory injunction against the NECO, the controversy could not be adjudicated with finality without making the LP a party
to the case.[7]
On the other hand, respondents Roxas, et al. claimed that Roxas election as LP president faithfully complied with the
provisions of the amended LP Constitution. The partys 60th Anniversary Souvenir Program could not be used for determining But petitioners Atienza, et al.s causes of action in this case consist in respondents Roxas, et al.s disenfranchisement of
the NECO members because supervening events changed the bodys number and composition. Some NECO members had Atienza, et al. from the election of party leaders and in the illegal election of Roxas as party president. Atienza, et al. were
died, voluntarily resigned, or had gone on leave after accepting positions in the government. Others had lost their re-election supposedly excluded from the elections by a series of despotic acts of Roxas, et al., who controlled the proceedings. Among
bid or did not run in the May 2007 elections, making them ineligible to serve as NECO members. LP members who got elected these acts are Atienza, et al.s expulsion from the party, their exclusion from the NECO, and respondent Drilons railroading of
to public office also became part of the NECO. Certain persons of national stature also became NECO members upon election proceedings. Atienza, et al. attributed all these illegal and prejudicial acts to Roxas, et al.
respondent Drilons nomination, a privilege granted the LP president under the amended LP Constitution. In other words, the
NECO membership was not fixed or static; it changed due to supervening circumstances. Since no wrong had been imputed to the LP nor had some affirmative relief been sought from it, the LP is not an
indispensable party. Petitioners Atienza, et al.s prayer for the undoing of respondents Roxas, et al.s acts and the reconvening
Respondents Roxas, et al. also claimed that the party deemed petitioners Atienza, Zaldivar-Perez, and Cast-Abayon resigned of the NECO are directed against Roxas, et al.
for holding the illegal election of LP officers on March 2, 2006. This was pursuant to a March 14, 2006 NAPOLCO resolution
that NECO subsequently ratified. Meanwhile, certain NECO members, like petitioners Defensor, Valencia, and Suarez,
Two. Respondents Roxas, et al. also claim that petitioners Atienza, et al. have no legal standing to question the election of and consistent with party rules. Consequently, the COMELEC did not gravely abuse its discretion when it upheld the
Roxas as LP president because they are no longer LP members, having been validly expelled from the party or having joined composition of the NECO that elected Roxas as LP president.
other political parties.[8] As non-members, they have no stake in the outcome of the action.
Petitioner Atienza claims that the Courts resolution in the earlier cases recognized his right as party chairman with a term, like
But, as the Court held in David v. Macapagal-Arroyo,[9] legal standing in suits is governed by the real parties-in-interest rule respondent Drilon, that would last up to November 30, 2007 and that, therefore, his ouster from that position violated the
under Section 2, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court. This states that every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the Courts resolution. But the Courts resolution in the earlier cases did not preclude the party from disciplining Atienza under
real party-in-interest. And real party-in-interest is one who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit or Sections 29[13] and 46[14] of the amended LP Constitution. The party could very well remove him or any officer for cause as it
the party entitled to the avails of the suit. In other words, the plaintiffs standing is based on his own right to the relief sought. saw fit.
In raising petitioners Atienza, et al.s lack of standing as a threshold issue, respondents Roxas, et al. would have the Court
hypothetically assume the truth of the allegations in the petition. Four. Petitioners Atienza, et al. lament that the COMELEC selectively exercised its jurisdiction when it ruled on the
composition of the NECO but refused to delve into the legality of their expulsion from the party. The two issues, they said,
Here, it is precisely petitioners Atienza, et al.s allegations that respondents Roxas, et al. deprived them of their rights as LP weigh heavily on the leadership controversy involved in the case. The previous rulings of the Court, they claim, categorically
members by summarily excluding them from the LP roster and not allowing them to take part in the election of its officers upheld the jurisdiction of the COMELEC over intra-party leadership disputes.[15]
and that not all who sat in the NECO were in the correct list of NECO members. If Atienza, et al.s allegations were correct,
they would have been irregularly expelled from the party and the election of officers, void. Further, they would be entitled to But, as respondents Roxas, et al. point out, the key issue in this case is not the validity of the expulsion of petitioners Atienza,
recognition as members of good standing and to the holding of a new election of officers using the correct list of NECO et al. from the party, but the legitimacy of the NECO assembly that elected respondent Roxas as LP president. Given the
members. To this extent, therefore, Atienza, et al. who want to take part in another election would stand to be benefited or COMELECs finding as upheld by this Court that the membership of the NECO in question complied with the LP Constitution,
prejudiced by the Courts decision in this case. Consequently, they have legal standing to pursue this petition. the resolution of the issue of whether or not the party validly expelled petitioners cannot affect the election of officers that
the NECO held.
Three. In assailing respondent Roxas election as LP president, petitioners Atienza, et al. claim that the NECO members allowed
to take part in that election should have been limited to those in the list of NECO members appearing in the partys 60th While petitioners Atienza, et al. claim that the majority of LP members belong to their faction, they did not specify who these
Anniversary Souvenir Program. Atienza, et al. allege that respondent Drilon, as holdover LP president, adopted that list in the members were and how their numbers could possibly affect the composition of the NECO and the outcome of its election of
earlier cases before the COMELEC and it should thus bind respondents Roxas, et al. The Courts decision in the earlier cases, party leaders. Atienza, et al. has not bothered to assail the individual qualifications of the NECO members who voted for
said Atienza, et al., anointed that list for the next party election. Thus, Roxas, et al. in effect defied the Courts ruling when Roxas. Nor did Atienza, et al. present proof that the NECO had no quorum when it then assembled. In other words, the claims
they removed Atienza as party chairman and changed the NECOs composition.[10] of Atienza, et al. were totally unsupported by evidence.

But the list of NECO members appearing in the partys 60th Anniversary Souvenir Program was drawn before the May 2007
elections. After the 2007 elections, changes in the NECO membership had to be redrawn to comply with what the amended
LP Constitution required. Respondent Drilon adopted the souvenir program as common exhibit in the earlier cases only to
prove that the NECO, which supposedly elected Atienza as new LP president on March 2, 2006, had been improperly
convened. It cannot be regarded as an immutable list, given the nature and character of the NECO membership.

Consequently, petitioners Atienza, et al. cannot claim that their expulsion from the party impacts on the party leadership
issue or on the election of respondent Roxas as president so that it was indispensable for the COMELEC to adjudicate such
claim. Under the circumstances, the validity or invalidity of Atienza, et al.s expulsion was purely a membership issue that had
to be settled within the party. It is an internal party matter over which the COMELEC has no jurisdiction.
Nothing in the Courts resolution in the earlier cases implies that the NECO membership should be pegged to the partys 60th
Anniversary Souvenir Program. There would have been no basis for such a position. The amended LP Constitution did not What is more, some of petitioner Atienzas allies raised objections before the NECO assembly regarding the status of members
intend the NECO membership to be permanent. Its Section 27[11] provides that the NECO shall include all incumbent from their faction. Still, the NECO proceeded with the election, implying that its membership, whose composition has been
senators, members of the House of Representatives, governors, and mayors who were LP members in good standing for at upheld, voted out those objections.
least six months. It follows from this that with the national and local elections taking place in May 2007, the number and
composition of the NECO would have to yield to changes brought about by the elections. The COMELECs jurisdiction over intra-party disputes is limited. It does not have blanket authority to resolve any and all
controversies involving political parties. Political parties are generally free to conduct their activities without interference
Former NECO members who lost the offices that entitled them to membership had to be dropped. Newly elected ones who from the state. The COMELEC may intervene in disputes internal to a party only when necessary to the discharge of its
gained the privilege because of their offices had to come in. Furthermore, former NECO members who passed away, resigned constitutional functions.
from the party, or went on leave could not be expected to remain part of the NECO that convened and held elections on
November 26, 2007. In addition, Section 27 of the amended LP Constitution expressly authorized the party president to The COMELECs jurisdiction over intra-party leadership disputes has already been settled by the Court. The Court ruled in
nominate persons of national stature to the NECO. Thus, petitioners Atienza, et al. cannot validly object to the admission of Kalaw v. Commission on Elections[16] that the COMELECs powers and functions under Section 2, Article IX-C of the
12 NECO members nominated by respondent Drilon when he was LP president. Even if this move could be regarded as Constitution, include the ascertainment of the identity of the political party and its legitimate officers responsible for its acts.
respondents Roxas, et al.s way of ensuring their election as party officers, there was certainly nothing irregular about the act The Court also declared in another case[17] that the COMELECs power to register political parties necessarily involved the
under the amended LP Constitution. determination of the persons who must act on its behalf. Thus, the COMELEC may resolve an intra-party leadership dispute, in
a proper case brought before it, as an incident of its power to register political parties.
The NECO was validly convened in accordance with the amended LP Constitution. Respondents Roxas, et al. explained in
details how they arrived at the NECO composition for the purpose of electing the party leaders.[12] The explanation is logical The validity of respondent Roxas election as LP president is a leadership issue that the COMELEC had to settle. Under the
amended LP Constitution, the LP president is the issuing authority for certificates of nomination of party candidates for all
national elective positions. It is also the LP president who can authorize other LP officers to issue certificates of nomination BARANGAY ASSOCIATION FOR NATIONAL ADVANCEMENT AND TRANSPARENCY (BANAT), Petitioner,
for candidates to local elective posts.[18] In simple terms, it is the LP president who certifies the official standard bearer of vs.
the party. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (sitting as the National Board of Canvassers), Respondent.
ARTS BUSINESS AND SCIENCE PROFESSIONALS, Intervenor.
The law also grants a registered political party certain rights and privileges that will redound to the benefit of its official AANGAT TAYO, Intervenor.
candidates. It imposes, too, legal obligations upon registered political parties that have to be carried out through their COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (SENIOR CITIZENS),
leaders. The resolution of the leadership issue is thus particularly significant in ensuring the peaceful and orderly conduct of Intervenor.
the elections.[19]
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
Five. Petitioners Atienza, et al. argue that their expulsion from the party is not a simple issue of party membership or
discipline; it involves a violation of their constitutionally-protected right to due process of law. They claim that the NAPOLCO G.R. No. 179295 April 21, 2009
and the NECO should have first summoned them to a hearing before summarily expelling them from the party. According to
Atienza, et al., proceedings on party discipline are the equivalent of administrative proceedings[20] and are, therefore,
covered by the due process requirements laid down in Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations.[21] BAYAN MUNA, ADVOCACY FOR TEACHER EMPOWERMENT THROUGH ACTION, COOPERATION AND
HARMONY TOWARDS EDUCATIONAL REFORMS, INC., and ABONO, Petitioners,
vs.
But the requirements of administrative due process do not apply to the internal affairs of political parties. The due process
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
standards set in Ang Tibay cover only administrative bodies created by the state and through which certain governmental acts
or functions are performed. An administrative agency or instrumentality contemplates an authority to which the state
delegates governmental power for the performance of a state function.[22] The constitutional limitations that generally apply DECISION
to the exercise of the states powers thus, apply too, to administrative bodies.
The Case
The constitutional limitations on the exercise of the states powers are found in Article III of the Constitution or the Bill of
Rights. The Bill of Rights, which guarantees against the taking of life, property, or liberty without due process under Section 1
is generally a limitation on the states powers in relation to the rights of its citizens. The right to due process is meant to Petitioner in G.R. No. 179271 — Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) — in a petition
for certiorari and mandamus,1 assails the Resolution2 promulgated on 3 August 2007 by the Commission on Elections
protect ordinary citizens against arbitrary government action, but not from acts committed by private individuals or entities.
(COMELEC) in NBC No. 07-041 (PL). The COMELEC’s resolution in NBC No. 07-041 (PL) approved the recommendation
In the latter case, the specific statutes that provide reliefs from such private acts apply. The right to due process guards
of Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head of the National Board of Canvassers (NBC) Legal Group, to deny the petition of BANAT for
against unwarranted encroachment by the state into the fundamental rights of its citizens and cannot be invoked in private being moot. BANAT filed before the COMELEC En Banc, acting as NBC, a Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-
controversies involving private parties.[23] List Representatives Provided by the Constitution.

Although political parties play an important role in our democratic set-up as an intermediary between the state and its
citizens, it is still a private organization, not a state instrument. The discipline of members by a political party does not involve The following are intervenors in G.R. No. 179271: Arts Business and Science Professionals (ABS), Aangat Tayo (AT), and
the right to life, liberty or property within the meaning of the due process clause. An individual has no vested right, as against Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Inc. (Senior Citizens).
the state, to be accepted or to prevent his removal by a political party. The only rights, if any, that party members may have,
in relation to other party members, correspond to those that may have been freely agreed upon among themselves through Petitioners in G.R. No. 179295 — Bayan Muna, Abono, and Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Through Action,
their charter, which is a contract among the party members. Members whose rights under their charter may have been Cooperation and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms (A Teacher) — in a petition for certiorari with mandamus and
violated have recourse to courts of law for the enforcement of those rights, but not as a due process issue against the prohibition,3 assails NBC Resolution No. 07-604 promulgated on 9 July 2007. NBC No. 07-60 made a partial proclamation of
government or any of its agencies. parties, organizations and coalitions that obtained at least two percent of the total votes cast under the Party-List System. The
COMELEC announced that, upon completion of the canvass of the party-list results, it would determine the total number of
But even when recourse to courts of law may be made, courts will ordinarily not interfere in membership and disciplinary seats of each winning party, organization, or coalition in accordance with Veterans Federation Party v. COMELEC5 (Veterans).
matters within a political party. A political party is free to conduct its internal affairs, pursuant to its constitutionally-protected
right to free association. In Sinaca v. Mula,[24] the Court said that judicial restraint in internal party matters serves the public Estrella DL Santos, in her capacity as President and First Nominee of the Veterans Freedom Party, filed a motion to intervene
interest by allowing the political processes to operate without undue interference. It is also consistent with the state policy of in both G.R. Nos. 179271 and 179295.
allowing a free and open party system to evolve, according to the free choice of the people.[25]
The Facts
To conclude, the COMELEC did not gravely abuse its discretion when it upheld Roxas election as LP president but refused to
rule on the validity of Atienza, et al.s expulsion from the party. While the question of party leadership has implications on the
COMELECs performance of its functions under Section 2, Article IX-C of the Constitution, the same cannot be said of the issue The 14 May 2007 elections included the elections for the party-list representatives. The COMELEC counted 15,950,900 votes
pertaining to Atienza, et al.s expulsion from the LP. Such expulsion is for the moment an issue of party membership and cast for 93 parties under the Party-List System.6
discipline, in which the COMELEC cannot intervene, given the limited scope of its power over political parties.
On 27 June 2002, BANAT filed a Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List Representatives Provided by the
WHEREFORE, the Court DISMISSES the petition and UPHOLDS the Resolution of the Commission on Elections dated June 18, Constitution, docketed as NBC No. 07-041 (PL) before the NBC. BANAT filed its petition because "[t]he Chairman and the
2009 in COMELEC Case SPP 08-001. SO ORDERED. Members of the [COMELEC] have recently been quoted in the national papers that the [COMELEC] is duty bound to and shall
implement the Veterans ruling, that is, would apply the Panganiban formula in allocating party-list seats."7 There were no
intervenors in BANAT’s petition before the NBC. BANAT filed a memorandum on 19 July 2007.
On 9 July 2007, the COMELEC, sitting as the NBC, promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-60. NBC Resolution No. 07-60
proclaimed thirteen (13) parties as winners in the party-list elections, namely: Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (BUHAY), Bayan RANK PARTY/ORGANIZATION/ VOTES
Muna, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC), Gabriela’s Women Party (Gabriela), Association of Philippine Electric COALITION RECEIVED
Cooperatives (APEC), A Teacher, Akbayan! Citizen’s Action Party (AKBAYAN), Alagad, Luzon Farmers Party (BUTIL),
Cooperative-Natco Network Party (COOP-NATCCO), Anak Pawis, Alliance of Rural Concerns (ARC), and Abono. We quote
NBC Resolution No. 07-60 in its entirety below: 1 BUHAY 1,163,218

WHEREAS, the Commission on Elections sitting en banc as National Board of Canvassers, thru its Sub-Committee for Party- 2 BAYAN MUNA 972,730
List, as of 03 July 2007, had officially canvassed, in open and public proceedings, a total of fifteen million two hundred
eighty three thousand six hundred fifty-nine (15,283,659) votes under the Party-List System of Representation, in connection
with the National and Local Elections conducted last 14 May 2007;
3 CIBAC 760,260

WHEREAS, the study conducted by the Legal and Tabulation Groups of the National Board of Canvassers reveals that the
projected/maximum total party-list votes cannot go any higher than sixteen million seven hundred twenty three thousand 4 GABRIELA 610,451
one hundred twenty-one (16,723,121) votes given the following statistical data:

Projected/Maximum Party-List Votes for May 2007 Elections 5 APEC 538,971

i. Total party-list votes already canvassed/tabulated 15,283,659 6 A TEACHER 476,036

ii. Total party-list votes remaining uncanvassed/ untabulated (i.e. canvass deferred) 1,337,032 7 AKBAYAN 470,872

iii. Maximum party-list votes (based on 100% outcome) from areas not yet submitted for 102,430 8 ALAGAD 423,076
canvass (Bogo, Cebu; Bais City; Pantar, Lanao del Norte; and Pagalungan,
Maguindanao)
9 BUTIL 405,052

Maximum Total Party-List Votes 16,723,121


10 COOP-NATCO 390,029

WHEREAS, Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7941 (Party-List System Act) provides in part: 11 BATAS 386,361

The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system 12 ANAK PAWIS 376,036
shall be entitled to one seat each: provided, that those garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to
additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes: provided, finally, that each party, organization, or coalition shall be
entitled to not more than three (3) seats. 13 ARC 338,194

WHEREAS, for the 2007 Elections, based on the above projected total of party-list votes, the presumptive two percent (2%)
threshold can be pegged at three hundred thirty four thousand four hundred sixty-two (334,462) votes; 14 ABONO 337,046

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court, in Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) versus COMELEC, reiterated its ruling in
Veterans Federation Party versus COMELEC adopting a formula for the additional seats of each party, organization or
coalition receving more than the required two percent (2%) votes, stating that the same shall be determined only after all party- WHEREAS, except for Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS), against which an URGENT
list ballots have been completely canvassed; PETITION FOR CANCELLATION/REMOVAL OF REGISTRATION AND DISQUALIFICATION OF PARTY-LIST NOMINEE
(With Prayer for the Issuance of Restraining Order) has been filed before the Commission, docketed as SPC No. 07-250, all the
parties, organizations and coalitions included in the aforementioned list are therefore entitled to at least one seat under the
WHEREAS, the parties, organizations, and coalitions that have thus far garnered at least three hundred thirty four thousand party-list system of representation in the meantime.
four hundred sixty-two (334,462) votes are as follows:
NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, Executive Order
No. 144, Republic Act Nos. 6646, 7166, 7941, and other election laws, the Commission on Elections, sitting en banc as the
National Board of Canvassers, hereby RESOLVES to PARTIALLY PROCLAIM, subject to certain conditions set forth below, Finally, all proclamation of the nominees of concerned parties, organizations and coalitions with pending disputes shall
the following parties, organizations and coalitions participating under the Party-List System: likewise be held in abeyance until final resolution of their respective cases.

Let the Clerk of the Commission implement this Resolution, furnishing a copy thereof to the Speaker of the House of
1 Buhay Hayaan Yumabong BUHAY Representatives of the Philippines.

2 Bayan Muna BAYAN MUNA SO ORDERED.8 (Emphasis in the original)

Pursuant to NBC Resolution No. 07-60, the COMELEC, acting as NBC, promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-72, which
3 Citizens Battle Against Corruption CIBAC declared the additional seats allocated to the appropriate parties. We quote from the COMELEC’s interpretation of the Veterans
formula as found in NBC Resolution No. 07-72:

4 Gabriela Women’s Party GABRIELA


WHEREAS, on July 9, 2007, the Commission on Elections sitting en banc as the National Board of Canvassers proclaimed
thirteen (13) qualified parties, organization[s] and coalitions based on the presumptive two percent (2%) threshold of 334,462
votes from the projected maximum total number of party-list votes of 16,723,121, and were thus given one (1) guaranteed
5 Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives APEC
party-list seat each;

6 Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Through Action, Cooperation A TEACHER WHEREAS, per Report of the Tabulation Group and Supervisory Committee of the National Board of Canvassers, the
and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms, Inc. projected maximum total party-list votes, as of July 11, 2007, based on the votes actually canvassed, votes canvassed but not
included in Report No. 29, votes received but uncanvassed, and maximum votes expected for Pantar, Lanao del Norte, is
16,261,369; and that the projected maximum total votes for the thirteen (13) qualified parties, organizations and coalition[s] are
7 Akbayan! Citizen’s Action Party AKBAYAN as follows:

8 Alagad ALAGAD Party-List Projected total number of votes

9 Luzon Farmers Party BUTIL 1 BUHAY 1,178,747

10 Cooperative-Natco Network Party COOP-NATCCO 2 BAYAN MUNA 977,476

11 Anak Pawis ANAKPAWIS 3 CIBAC 755,964

12 Alliance of Rural Concerns ARC 4 GABRIELA 621,718

13 Abono ABONO 5 APEC 622,489

6 A TEACHER 492,369
This is without prejudice to the proclamation of other parties, organizations, or coalitions which may later on be established to
have obtained at least two percent (2%) of the total actual votes cast under the Party-List System.
7 AKBAYAN 462,674

The total number of seats of each winning party, organization or coalition shall be determined pursuant to Veterans Federation
Party versus COMELEC formula upon completion of the canvass of the party-list results. 8 ALAGAD 423,190

The proclamation of Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS) is hereby deferred until final
resolution of SPC No. 07-250, in order not to render the proceedings therein moot and academic. 9 BUTIL 409,298
10 COOP-NATCO 412,920

16,261,369
11 ANAKPAWIS 370,165

12 ARC 375,846 which entitles it to two (2) additional seats.

WHEREAS, in determining the additional seats for the other qualified parties, organizations and coalitions, the correct formula
13 ABONO 340,151
as expressed in Veterans and reiterated in CIBAC is, as follows:

No. of votes of
WHEREAS, based on the above Report, Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (Buhay) obtained the highest number of votes among the
concerned party
thirteen (13) qualified parties, organizations and coalitions, making it the "first party" in accordance with Veterans Federation
Party versus COMELEC, reiterated in Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) versus COMELEC; No. of additional
Additional seats for
= x seats allocated
a concerned party
to first party
WHEREAS, qualified parties, organizations and coalitions participating under the party-list system of representation that have No. of votes of
obtained one guaranteed (1) seat may be entitled to an additional seat or seats based on the formula prescribed by the Supreme first party
Court in Veterans;

WHEREAS, in determining the additional seats for the "first party", the correct formula as expressed in Veterans, is:
WHEREAS, applying the above formula, the results are as follows:

Number of votes of first party


Proportion of votes of first Party List Percentage Additional Seat
= party relative to total votes for
party-list system
Total votes for party-list system BAYAN MUNA 1.65 1

CIBAC 1.28 1
wherein the proportion of votes received by the first party (without rounding off) shall entitle it to additional seats:

GABRIELA 1.05 1
Proportion of votes received Additional seats
by the first party
APEC 1.05 1

Equal to or at least 6% Two (2) additional seats


A TEACHER 0.83 0

Equal to or greater than 4% but less than 6% One (1) additional seat
AKBAYAN 0.78 0

Less than 4% No additional seat


ALAGAD 0.71 0

WHEREAS, applying the above formula, Buhay obtained the following percentage: BUTIL 0.69 0

1,178,747 = 0.07248 or 7.2% COOP-NATCO 0.69 0


Acting on the foregoing Petition of the Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) party-
ANAKPAWIS 0.62 0 list, Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head, National Board of Canvassers Legal Group submitted his comments/observations and
recommendation thereon [NBC 07-041 (PL)], which reads:
ARC 0.63 0
COMMENTS / OBSERVATIONS:

ABONO 0.57 0 Petitioner Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT), in its Petition to Proclaim the Full
Number of Party-List Representatives Provided by the Constitution prayed for the following reliefs, to wit:

1. That the full number -- twenty percent (20%) -- of Party-List representatives as mandated by Section 5, Article VI
NOW THEREFORE, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution, Omnibus Election Code, Executive Order No.
of the Constitution shall be proclaimed.
144, Republic Act Nos. 6646, 7166, 7941 and other elections laws, the Commission on Elections en banc sitting as the National
Board of Canvassers, hereby RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to proclaim the following parties, organizations or
coalitions as entitled to additional seats, to wit: 2. Paragraph (b), Section 11 of RA 7941 which prescribes the 2% threshold votes, should be harmonized with
Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution and with Section 12 of the same RA 7941 in that it should be applicable
only to the first party-list representative seats to be allotted on the basis of their initial/first ranking.
Party List Additional Seats
3. The 3-seat limit prescribed by RA 7941 shall be applied; and
BUHAY 2
4. Initially, all party-list groups shall be given the number of seats corresponding to every 2% of the votes they
received and the additional seats shall be allocated in accordance with Section 12 of RA 7941, that is, in proportion
BAYAN MUNA 1 to the percentage of votes obtained by each party-list group in relation to the total nationwide votes cast in the party-
list election, after deducting the corresponding votes of those which were allotted seats under the 2% threshold rule.
In fine, the formula/procedure prescribed in the "ALLOCATION OF PARTY-LIST SEATS, ANNEX "A" of
COMELEC RESOLUTION 2847 dated 25 June 1996, shall be used for [the] purpose of determining how many
CIBAC 1
seats shall be proclaimed, which party-list groups are entitled to representative seats and how many of their
nominees shall seat [sic].
GABRIELA 1
5. In the alternative, to declare as unconstitutional Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7941 and that the procedure in
allocating seats for party-list representative prescribed by Section 12 of RA 7941 shall be followed.
APEC 1
R E C O M M E N D A T I O N:

This is without prejudice to the proclamation of other parties, organizations or coalitions which may later on be established to The petition of BANAT is now moot and academic.
have obtained at least two per cent (2%) of the total votes cast under the party-list system to entitle them to one (1) guaranteed
seat, or to the appropriate percentage of votes to entitle them to one (1) additional seat. The Commission En Banc in NBC Resolution No. 07-60 promulgated July 9, 2007 re "In the Matter of the Canvass of Votes
and Partial Proclamation of the Parties, Organizations and Coalitions Participating Under the Party-List System During the May
Finally, all proclamation of the nominees of concerned parties, organizations and coalitions with pending disputes shall 14, 2007 National and Local Elections" resolved among others that the total number of seats of each winning party,
likewise be held in abeyance until final resolution of their respective cases. organization or coalition shall be determined pursuant to the Veterans Federation Party versus COMELEC formula upon
completion of the canvass of the party-list results."1awphi1

Let the National Board of Canvassers Secretariat implement this Resolution, furnishing a copy hereof to the Speaker of the
House of Representatives of the Philippines. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the National Board of Canvassers RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to approve and
adopt the recommendation of Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head, NBC Legal Group, to DENY the herein petition of BANAT for
being moot and academic.
SO ORDERED.9
Let the Supervisory Committee implement this resolution.
Acting on BANAT’s petition, the NBC promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-88 on 3 August 2007, which reads as follows:
SO ORDERED.10
This pertains to the Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List Representatives Provided by the Constitution filed by the
Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT).
BANAT filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus assailing the ruling in NBC Resolution No. 07-88. BANAT did not file a
motion for reconsideration of NBC Resolution No. 07-88.
On 9 July 2007, Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher asked the COMELEC, acting as NBC, to reconsider its decision to use the The proclamation of Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS), against which an Urgent
Veterans formula as stated in its NBC Resolution No. 07-60 because the Veterans formula is violative of the Constitution and Petition for Cancellation/Removal of Registration and Disqualification of Party-list Nominee (with Prayer for the Issuance of
of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941). On the same day, the COMELEC denied reconsideration during the proceedings of Restraining Order) has been filed before the COMELEC, was deferred pending final resolution of SPC No. 07-250.
the NBC.11
Issues
Aside from the thirteen party-list organizations proclaimed on 9 July 2007, the COMELEC proclaimed three other party-list
organizations as qualified parties entitled to one guaranteed seat under the Party-List System: Agricultural Sector Alliance of
BANAT brought the following issues before this Court:
the Philippines, Inc. (AGAP),12 Anak Mindanao (AMIN),13 and An Waray.14 Per the certification15 by COMELEC, the
following party-list organizations have been proclaimed as of 19 May 2008:
1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives provided in Section 5(2), Article VI of the
Constitution mandatory or is it merely a ceiling?
Party-List No. of Seat(s)
2. Is the three-seat limit provided in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 constitutional?
1.1 Buhay 3
3. Is the two percent threshold and "qualifier" votes prescribed by the same Section 11(b) of RA 7941
constitutional?
1.2 Bayan Muna 2
4. How shall the party-list representatives be allocated?16
1.3 CIBAC 2
Bayan Muna, A Teacher, and Abono, on the other hand, raised the following issues in their petition:
1.4 Gabriela 2
I. Respondent Commission on Elections, acting as National Board of Canvassers, committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-60 to implement
1.5 APEC 2 the First-Party Rule in the allocation of seats to qualified party-list organizations as said rule:

A. Violates the constitutional principle of proportional representation.


1.6 A Teacher 1

B. Violates the provisions of RA 7941 particularly:


1.7 Akbayan 1
1. The 2-4-6 Formula used by the First Party Rule in allocating additional seats for the "First
Party" violates the principle of proportional representation under RA 7941.
1.8 Alagad 1

2. The use of two formulas in the allocation of additional seats, one for the "First Party" and
1.9 Butil 1 another for the qualifying parties, violates Section 11(b) of RA 7941.

1.10 Coop-Natco [sic] 1 3. The proportional relationships under the First Party Rule are different from those required
under RA 7941;

1.11 Anak Pawis 1 C. Violates the "Four Inviolable Parameters" of the Philippine party-list system as provided for under the
same case of Veterans Federation Party, et al. v. COMELEC.
1.12 ARC 1
II. Presuming that the Commission on Elections did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction when it implemented the First-Party Rule in the allocation of seats to qualified party-list
1.13 Abono 1 organizations, the same being merely in consonance with the ruling in Veterans Federations Party, et al. v.
COMELEC, the instant Petition is a justiciable case as the issues involved herein are constitutional in nature,
involving the correct interpretation and implementation of RA 7941, and are of transcendental importance to our
1.14 AGAP 1 nation.17

Considering the allegations in the petitions and the comments of the parties in these cases, we defined the following
1.15 AMIN 1 issues in our advisory for the oral arguments set on 22 April 2008:
1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives in Section 5(2), Article VI of the Section 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. — The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum (20%) of
Constitution mandatory or merely a ceiling? the total number of the members of the House of Representatives including those under the party-list.

2. Is the three-seat limit in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 constitutional? xxx

3. Is the two percent threshold prescribed in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 to qualify for one seat Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution states that the "House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two
constitutional? hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law." The House of Representatives shall be composed of district
representatives and party-list representatives. The Constitution allows the legislature to modify the number of the members of
the House of Representatives.1avvphi1.zw+
4. How shall the party-list representative seats be allocated?

Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution, on the other hand, states the ratio of party-list representatives to the total number of
5. Does the Constitution prohibit the major political parties from participating in the party-list elections?
representatives. We compute the number of seats available to party-list representatives from the number of legislative districts.
If not, can the major political parties be barred from participating in the party-list elections?18
On this point, we do not deviate from the first formula in Veterans, thus:

The Ruling of the Court


Number of seats
available to legislative districts
The petitions have partial merit. We maintain that a Philippine-style party-list election has at least four inviolable parameters as
Number of seats available to
clearly stated in Veterans. For easy reference, these are:
x .20 = party-list representatives

First, the twenty percent allocation — the combined number of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed twenty .80
percent of the total membership of the House of Representatives, including those elected under the party list;

Second, the two percent threshold — only those parties garnering a minimum of two percent of the total valid votes
cast for the party-list system are "qualified" to have a seat in the House of Representatives; This formula allows for the corresponding increase in the number of seats available for party-list representatives whenever a
legislative district is created by law. Since the 14th Congress of the Philippines has 220 district representatives, there are 55
seats available to party-list representatives.
Third, the three-seat limit — each qualified party, regardless of the number of votes it actually obtained, is entitled
to a maximum of three seats; that is, one "qualifying" and two additional seats;
220
Fourth, proportional representation— the additional seats which a qualified party is entitled to shall be computed "in
proportion to their total number of votes."19 x .20 = 55

.80
However, because the formula in Veterans has flaws in its mathematical interpretation of the term "proportional
representation," this Court is compelled to revisit the formula for the allocation of additional seats to party-list organizations.

Number of Party-List Representatives: After prescribing the ratio of the number of party-list representatives to the total number of representatives, the Constitution
The Formula Mandated by the Constitution left the manner of allocating the seats available to party-list representatives to the wisdom of the legislature.

Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution provides: Allocation of Seats for Party-List Representatives:
The Statutory Limits Presented by the Two Percent Threshold
and the Three-Seat Cap
Section 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, 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 All parties agree on the formula to determine the maximum number of seats reserved under the Party-List System, as well as on
progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, the formula to determine the guaranteed seats to party-list candidates garnering at least two-percent of the total party-list votes.
regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. However, there are numerous interpretations of the provisions of R.A. No. 7941 on the allocation of "additional seats" under
the Party-List System. Veterans produced the First Party Rule,20 and Justice Vicente V. Mendoza’s dissent in Veterans
presented Germany’s Niemeyer formula21 as an alternative.
(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under
the party-list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list
representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous The Constitution left to Congress the determination of the manner of allocating the seats for party-list representatives. Congress
cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector. enacted R.A. No. 7941, paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 11 and Section 12 of which provide:

The first paragraph of Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941 reads: Section 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. — x x x
In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote,22 the following procedure shall be observed: In G.R. No. 179295, Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher criticize both the COMELEC’s original 2-4-6 formula and the
Veterans formula for systematically preventing all the party-list seats from being filled up. They claim that both formulas do
not factor in the total number of seats alloted for the entire Party-List System. Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher reject the
(a) The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the number of
three-seat cap, but accept the 2% threshold. After determining the qualified parties, a second percentage is generated by
votes they garnered during the elections.
dividing the votes of a qualified party by the total votes of all qualified parties only. The number of seats allocated to a qualified
party is computed by multiplying the total party-list seats available with the second percentage. There will be a first round of
(b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party- seat allocation, limited to using the whole integers as the equivalent of the number of seats allocated to the concerned party-list.
list system shall be entitled to one seat each: Provided, That those garnering more than two percent (2%) of the After all the qualified parties are given their seats, a second round of seat allocation is conducted. The fractions, or remainders,
votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes: Provided, finally, That from the whole integers are ranked from highest to lowest and the remaining seats on the basis of this ranking are allocated
each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats. until all the seats are filled up.26

Section 12. Procedure in Allocating Seats for Party-List Representatives. — The COMELEC shall tally all the votes for the We examine what R.A. No. 7941 prescribes to allocate seats for party-list representatives.
parties, organizations, or coalitions on a nationwide basis, rank them according to the number of votes received and allocate
party-list representatives proportionately according to the percentage of votes obtained by each party, organization, or coalition
Section 11(a) of R.A. No. 7941 prescribes the ranking of the participating parties from the highest to the lowest based on the
as against the total nationwide votes cast for the party-list system. (Emphasis supplied)
number of votes they garnered during the elections.

In G.R. No. 179271, BANAT presents two interpretations through three formulas to allocate party-list representative seats.
Table 1. Ranking of the participating parties from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes garnered during the
elections.27
The first interpretation allegedly harmonizes the provisions of Section 11(b) on the 2% requirement with Section 12 of R.A.
No. 7941. BANAT described this procedure as follows:
Votes Votes
Rank Party Rank Party
(a) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty percent (20%) of the total Members of the House of Garnered Garnered
Representatives including those from the party-list groups as prescribed by Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution,
Section 11 (1st par.) of RA 7941 and Comelec Resolution No. 2847 dated 25 June 1996. Since there are 220 District
Representatives in the 14th Congress, there shall be 55 Party-List Representatives. All seats shall have to be 1 BUHAY 1,169,234 48 KALAHI 88,868
proclaimed.

2 BAYAN MUNA 979,039 49 APOI 79,386


(b) All party-list groups shall initially be allotted one (1) seat for every two per centum (2%) of the total party-list
votes they obtained; provided, that no party-list groups shall have more than three (3) seats (Section 11, RA 7941).
3 CIBAC 755,686 50 BP 78,541
(c) The remaining seats shall, after deducting the seats obtained by the party-list groups under the immediately
preceding paragraph and after deducting from their total the votes corresponding to those seats, the remaining seats
shall be allotted proportionately to all the party-list groups which have not secured the maximum three (3) seats 4 GABRIELA 621,171 51 AHONBAYAN 78,424
under the 2% threshold rule, in accordance with Section 12 of RA 7941.23

Forty-four (44) party-list seats will be awarded under BANAT’s first interpretation. 5 APEC 619,657 52 BIGKIS 77,327

The second interpretation presented by BANAT assumes that the 2% vote requirement is declared unconstitutional, and 6 A TEACHER 490,379 53 PMAP 75,200
apportions the seats for party-list representatives by following Section 12 of R.A. No. 7941. BANAT states that the
COMELEC:
7 AKBAYAN 466,112 54 AKAPIN 74,686
(a) shall tally all the votes for the parties, organizations, or coalitions on a nationwide basis;

8 ALAGAD 423,149 55 PBA 71,544


(b) rank them according to the number of votes received; and,

(c) allocate party-list representatives proportionately according to the percentage of votes obtained by each party, 9 COOP-NATCCO 409,883 56 GRECON 62,220
organization or coalition as against the total nationwide votes cast for the party-list system.24

BANAT used two formulas to obtain the same results: one is based on the proportional percentage of the votes received by each 10 BUTIL 409,160 57 BTM 60,993
party as against the total nationwide party-list votes, and the other is "by making the votes of a party-list with a median
percentage of votes as the divisor in computing the allocation of seats."25 Thirty-four (34) party-list seats will be awarded under
BANAT’s second interpretation.
11 BATAS 385,810 58 A SMILE 58,717 29 ANAD 188,521 76 VENDORS 33,691

12 ARC 374,288 59 NELFFI 57,872 30 BANAT 177,028 77 ADD-TRIBAL 32,896

13 ANAKPAWIS 370,261 60 AKSA 57,012 31 ANG KASANGGA 170,531 78 ALMANA 32,255

14 ABONO 339,990 61 BAGO 55,846 32 BANTAY 169,801 79 AANGAT KA PILIPINO 29,130

15 AMIN 338,185 62 BANDILA 54,751 33 ABAKADA 166,747 80 AAPS 26,271

16 AGAP 328,724 63 AHON 54,522 34 1-UTAK 164,980 81 HAPI 25,781

17 AN WARAY 321,503 64 ASAHAN MO 51,722 35 TUCP 162,647 82 AAWAS 22,946

18 YACAP 310,889 65 AGBIAG! 50,837 36 COCOFED 155,920 83 SM 20,744

19 FPJPM 300,923 66 SPI 50,478 37 AGHAM 146,032 84 AG 16,916

20 UNI-MAD 245,382 67 BAHANDI 46,612 38 ANAK 141,817 85 AGING PINOY 16,729

21 ABS 235,086 68 ADD 45,624 39 ABANSE! PINAY 130,356 86 APO 16,421

22 KAKUSA 228,999 69 AMANG 43,062 40 PM 119,054 87 BIYAYANG BUKID 16,241

23 KABATAAN 228,637 70 ABAY PARAK 42,282 41 AVE 110,769 88 ATS 14,161

24 ABA-AKO 218,818 71 BABAE KA 36,512 42 SUARA 110,732 89 UMDJ 9,445

25 ALIF 217,822 72 SB 34,835 43 ASSALAM 110,440 90 BUKLOD FILIPINA 8,915

26 SENIOR CITIZENS 213,058 73 ASAP 34,098 44 DIWA 107,021 91 LYPAD 8,471

27 AT 197,872 74 PEP 33,938 45 ANC 99,636 92 AA-KASOSYO 8,406

28 VFP 196,266 75 ABA ILONGGO 33,903 46 SANLAKAS 97,375 93 KASAPI 6,221


47 ABC 90,058 TOTAL 15,950,900 13 ANAKPAWIS 370,261 2.32% 1

14 ABONO 339,990 2.13% 1


The first clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941 states that "parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two
percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each." This clause guarantees a seat to
the two-percenters. In Table 2 below, we use the first 20 party-list candidates for illustration purposes. The percentage of votes 15 AMIN 338,185 2.12% 1
garnered by each party is arrived at by dividing the number of votes garnered by each party by 15,950,900, the total number of
votes cast for all party-list candidates.
16 AGAP 328,724 2.06% 1
Table 2. The first 20 party-list candidates and their respective percentage of votes garnered over the total votes for the party-
list.28
17 AN WARAY 321,503 2.02% 1

Votes Garnered over Total


Rank Party Votes Garnered Guaranteed Seat Total 17
Votes for Party-List, in %

1 BUHAY 1,169,234 7.33% 1 18 YACAP 310,889 1.95% 0

2 BAYAN MUNA 979,039 6.14% 1 19 FPJPM 300,923 1.89% 0

3 CIBAC 755,686 4.74% 1 20 UNI-MAD 245,382 1.54% 0

4 GABRIELA 621,171 3.89% 1


From Table 2 above, we see that only 17 party-list candidates received at least 2% from the total number of votes cast for party-
list candidates. The 17 qualified party-list candidates, or the two-percenters, are the party-list candidates that are "entitled to one
5 APEC 619,657 3.88% 1 seat each," or the guaranteed seat. In this first round of seat allocation, we distributed 17 guaranteed seats.

The second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941 provides that "those garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes
6 A TEACHER 490,379 3.07% 1 shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes." This is where petitioners’ and intervenors’
problem with the formula in Veterans lies. Veterans interprets the clause "in proportion to their total number of votes" to be in
proportion to the votes of the first party. This interpretation is contrary to the express language of R.A. No. 7941.
7 AKBAYAN 466,112 2.92% 1
We rule that, in computing the allocation of additional seats, the continued operation of the two percent threshold for the
distribution of the additional seats as found in the second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941 is unconstitutional. This
8 ALAGAD 423,149 2.65% 1 Court finds that the two percent threshold makes it mathematically impossible to achieve the maximum number of available
party list seats when the number of available party list seats exceeds 50. The continued operation of the two percent threshold in
the distribution of the additional seats frustrates the attainment of the permissive ceiling that 20% of the members of the House
9 COOP-NATCCO 409,883 2.57% 1 of Representatives shall consist of party-list representatives.

10 BUTIL 409,160 2.57% 1 To illustrate: There are 55 available party-list seats. Suppose there are 50 million votes cast for the 100 participants in the party
list elections. A party that has two percent of the votes cast, or one million votes, gets a guaranteed seat. Let us further assume
that the first 50 parties all get one million votes. Only 50 parties get a seat despite the availability of 55 seats. Because of the
operation of the two percent threshold, this situation will repeat itself even if we increase the available party-list seats to 60
11 BATAS29 385,810 2.42% 1
seats and even if we increase the votes cast to 100 million. Thus, even if the maximum number of parties get two percent of the
votes for every party, it is always impossible for the number of occupied party-list seats to exceed 50 seats as long as the two
percent threshold is present.
12 ARC 374,288 2.35% 1

We therefore strike down the two percent threshold only in relation to the distribution of the additional seats as found in the
second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941. The two percent threshold presents an unwarranted obstacle to the full
implementation of Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution and prevents the attainment of "the broadest possible
representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives." 30 4 GABRIELA 621,171 3.89% 1 1.48 2 N.A.

In determining the allocation of seats for party-list representatives under Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941, the following procedure 5 APEC 619,657 3.88% 1 1.48 2 N.A.
shall be observed:

1. The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the number of 6 A Teacher 490,379 3.07% 1 1.17 2 N.A.
votes they garnered during the elections.

7 AKBAYAN 466,112 2.92% 1 1.11 2 N.A.


2. The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-
list system shall be entitled to one guaranteed seat each.
8 ALAGAD 423,149 2.65% 1 1.01 2 N.A.
3. Those garnering sufficient number of votes, according to the ranking in paragraph 1, shall be entitled to additional
seats in proportion to their total number of votes until all the additional seats are allocated.
931 COOP-NATCCO 409,883 2.57% 1 1 2 N.A.
4. Each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.

10 BUTIL 409,160 2.57% 1 1 2 N.A.


In computing the additional seats, the guaranteed seats shall no longer be included because they have already been allocated, at
one seat each, to every two-percenter. Thus, the remaining available seats for allocation as "additional seats" are the maximum
seats reserved under the Party List System less the guaranteed seats. Fractional seats are disregarded in the absence of a 11 BATAS 385,810 2.42% 1 1 2 N.A.
provision in R.A. No. 7941 allowing for a rounding off of fractional seats.

In declaring the two percent threshold unconstitutional, we do not limit our allocation of additional seats in Table 3 below to the 12 ARC 374,288 2.35% 1 1 2 N.A.
two-percenters. The percentage of votes garnered by each party-list candidate is arrived at by dividing the number of votes
garnered by each party by 15,950,900, the total number of votes cast for party-list candidates. There are two steps in the second
round of seat allocation. First, the percentage is multiplied by the remaining available seats, 38, which is the difference between 13 ANAKPAWIS 370,261 2.32% 1 1 2 N.A.
the 55 maximum seats reserved under the Party-List System and the 17 guaranteed seats of the two-percenters. The whole
integer of the product of the percentage and of the remaining available seats corresponds to a party’s share in the remaining
available seats. Second, we assign one party-list seat to each of the parties next in rank until all available seats are completely 14 ABONO 339,990 2.13% 1 1 2 N.A.
distributed. We distributed all of the remaining 38 seats in the second round of seat allocation. Finally, we apply the three-seat
cap to determine the number of seats each qualified party-list candidate is entitled. Thus:
15 AMIN 338,185 2.12% 1 1 2 N.A.
Table 3. Distribution of Available Party-List Seats

16 AGAP 328,724 2.06% 1 1 2 N.A.


Votes
Garnered Additional (B) plus
Guaranteed Applying 17 AN WARAY 321,503 2.02% 1 1 2 N.A.
over Seats (C), in
Votes Seat the three
Rank Party Total Votes (Second whole
Garnered (First Round) seat cap
for Party List, Round) integers
(B) (E) 18 YACAP 310,889 1.95% 0 1 1 N.A.
in % (C) (D)
(A)

19 FPJPM 300,923 1.89% 0 1 1 N.A.


1 BUHAY 1,169,234 7.33% 1 2.79 3 N.A.

20 UNI-MAD 245,382 1.54% 0 1 1 N.A.


2 BAYAN MUNA 979,039 6.14% 1 2.33 3 N.A.

21 ABS 235,086 1.47% 0 1 1 N.A.


3 CIBAC 755,686 4.74% 1 1.80 2 N.A.
Participation of Major Political Parties in Party-List Elections
22 KAKUSA 228,999 1.44% 0 1 1 N.A.

The Constitutional Commission adopted a multi-party system that allowed all political parties to participate in the party-list
23 KABATAAN 228,637 1.43% 0 1 1 N.A. elections. The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission clearly bear this out, thus:

MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just want to say that we suggested or proposed the party list system because we wanted to
24 ABA-AKO 218,818 1.37% 0 1 1 N.A. open up the political system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty system. x x x We are for opening up the system, and
we would like very much for the sectors to be there. That is why one of the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on the
number of representatives from any single party that can sit within the 50 allocated under the party list system. x x x.
25 ALIF 217,822 1.37% 0 1 1 N.A.
xxx
SENIOR
26 213,058 1.34% 0 1 1 N.A.
CITIZENS MR. MONSOD. Madam President, the candidacy for the 198 seats is not limited to political parties. My question is this: Are
we going to classify for example Christian Democrats and Social Democrats as political parties? Can they run under the party
list concept or must they be under the district legislation side of it only?
27 AT 197,872 1.24% 0 1 1 N.A.
MR. VILLACORTA. In reply to that query, I think these parties that the Commissioner mentioned can field candidates for the
Senate as well as for the House of Representatives. Likewise, they can also field sectoral candidates for the 20 percent or 30
28 VFP 196,266 1.23% 0 1 1 N.A. percent, whichever is adopted, of the seats that we are allocating under the party list system.

29 ANAD 188,521 1.18% 0 1 1 N.A. MR. MONSOD. In other words, the Christian Democrats can field district candidates and can also participate in the party list
system?

30 BANAT 177,028 1.11% 0 1 1 N.A. MR. VILLACORTA. Why not? When they come to the party list system, they will be fielding only sectoral candidates.

MR. MONSOD. May I be clarified on that? Can UNIDO participate in the party list system?
ANG
31 170,531 1.07% 0 1 1 N.A.
KASANGGA
MR. VILLACORTA. Yes, why not? For as long as they field candidates who come from the different marginalized
sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution.
32 BANTAY 169,801 1.06% 0 1 1 N.A.
MR. MONSOD. Suppose Senator Tañada wants to run under BAYAN group and says that he represents the farmers, would he
qualify?
33 ABAKADA 166,747 1.05% 0 1 1 N.A.
MR. VILLACORTA. No, Senator Tañada would not qualify.
34 1-UTAK 164,980 1.03% 0 1 1 N.A.
MR. MONSOD. But UNIDO can field candidates under the party list system and say Juan dela Cruz is a farmer. Who would
pass on whether he is a farmer or not?
35 TUCP 162,647 1.02% 0 1 1 N.A.
MR. TADEO. Kay Commissioner Monsod, gusto ko lamang linawin ito. Political parties, particularly minority political
parties, are not prohibited to participate in the party list election if they can prove that they are also organized along
36 COCOFED 155,920 0.98% 0 1 1 N.A. sectoral lines.

Total 17 55 MR. MONSOD. What the Commissioner is saying is that all political parties can participate because it is precisely the
contention of political parties that they represent the broad base of citizens and that all sectors are represented in them. Would
the Commissioner agree?

Applying the procedure of seat allocation as illustrated in Table 3 above, there are 55 party-list representatives from the 36 MR. TADEO. Ang punto lamang namin, pag pinayagan mo ang UNIDO na isang political party, it will dominate the party list
winning party-list organizations. All 55 available party-list seats are filled. The additional seats allocated to the parties with at mawawalang saysay din yung sector. Lalamunin mismo ng political parties ang party list system. Gusto ko lamang bigyan ng
sufficient number of votes for one whole seat, in no case to exceed a total of three seats for each party, are shown in column diin ang "reserve." Hindi ito reserve seat sa marginalized sectors. Kung titingnan natin itong 198 seats, reserved din ito sa
(D). political parties.
MR. MONSOD. Hindi po reserved iyon kasi anybody can run there. But my question to Commissioner Villacorta and probably It is a national party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a majority of the
also to Commissioner Tadeo is that under this system, would UNIDO be banned from running under the party list system? regions. It is a regional party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a majority of
the cities and provinces comprising the region.
MR. VILLACORTA. No, as I said, UNIDO may field sectoral candidates. On that condition alone, UNIDO may be
allowed to register for the party list system. (d) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors enumerated in Section 5
hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interests and concerns of their sector,
MR. MONSOD. May I inquire from Commissioner Tadeo if he shares that answer?
(e) A sectoral organization refers to a group of citizens or a coalition of groups of citizens who share similar
physical attributes or characteristics, employment, interests or concerns.
MR. TADEO. The same.

(f) A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly registered national, regional, sectoral parties or organizations for
MR. VILLACORTA. Puwede po ang UNIDO, pero sa sectoral lines.
political and/or election purposes.

xxxx
Congress, in enacting R.A. No. 7941, put the three-seat cap to prevent any party from dominating the party-list elections.

MR. OPLE. x x x In my opinion, this will also create the stimulus for political parties and mass organizations to seek common
Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 prohibits major political parties from participating in the party-list system. On the
ground. For example, we have the PDP-Laban and the UNIDO. I see no reason why they should not be able to make common
contrary, the framers of the Constitution clearly intended the major political parties to participate in party-list elections through
goals with mass organizations so that the very leadership of these parties can be transformed through the participation of mass
their sectoral wings. In fact, the members of the Constitutional Commission voted down, 19-22, any permanent sectoral seats,
organizations. And if this is true of the administration parties, this will be true of others like the Partido ng Bayan which is now
and in the alternative the reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups.33 In defining a "party" that participates in
being formed. There is no question that they will be attractive to many mass organizations. In the opposition parties to which
party-list elections as either "a political party or a sectoral party," R.A. No. 7941 also clearly intended that major political
we belong, there will be a stimulus for us to contact mass organizations so that with their participation, the policies of such
parties will participate in the party-list elections. Excluding the major political parties in party-list elections is manifestly
parties can be radically transformed because this amendment will create conditions that will challenge both the mass
against the Constitution, the intent of the Constitutional Commission, and R.A. No. 7941. This Court cannot engage in socio-
organizations and the political parties to come together. And the party list system is certainly available, although it is open to all
political engineering and judicially legislate the exclusion of major political parties from the party-list elections in patent
the parties. It is understood that the parties will enter in the roll of the COMELEC the names of representatives of mass
violation of the Constitution and the law.
organizations affiliated with them. So that we may, in time, develop this excellent system that they have in Europe where labor
organizations and cooperatives, for example, distribute themselves either in the Social Democratic Party and the Christian
Democratic Party in Germany, and their very presence there has a transforming effect upon the philosophies and the leadership Read together, R.A. No. 7941 and the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission state that major political parties are
of those parties. allowed to establish, or form coalitions with, sectoral organizations for electoral or political purposes. There should not be a
problem if, for example, the Liberal Party participates in the party-list election through the Kabataang Liberal ng Pilipinas
(KALIPI), its sectoral youth wing. The other major political parties can thus organize, or affiliate with, their chosen sector or
It is also a fact well known to all that in the United States, the AFL-CIO always vote with the Democratic Party. But the
sectors. To further illustrate, the Nacionalista Party can establish a fisherfolk wing to participate in the party-list election, and
businessmen, most of them, always vote with the Republican Party, meaning that there is no reason at all why political parties
this fisherfolk wing can field its fisherfolk nominees. Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) can do the same for the urban
and mass organizations should not combine, reenforce, influence and interact with each other so that the very objectives that we
poor.
set in this Constitution for sectoral representation are achieved in a wider, more lasting, and more institutionalized way.
Therefore, I support this [Monsod-Villacorta] amendment. It installs sectoral representation as a constitutional gift, but at the
same time, it challenges the sector to rise to the majesty of being elected representatives later on through a party list system; and The qualifications of party-list nominees are prescribed in Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941:
even beyond that, to become actual political parties capable of contesting political power in the wider constitutional arena for
major political parties.
Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. — No person shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural born
citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately
x x x 32 (Emphasis supplied) preceding the day of the elections, able to read and write, 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 is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day
of the election.
R.A. No. 7941 provided the details for the concepts put forward by the Constitutional Commission. Section 3 of R.A. No. 7941
reads:
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the
day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to
Definition of Terms. (a) The party-list system is a mechanism of proportional representation in the election of representatives to
continue until the expiration of his term.
the House of Representatives from national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof registered with
the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Component parties or organizations of a coalition may participate independently
provided the coalition of which they form part does not participate in the party-list system. Under Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941, it is not necessary that the party-list organization’s nominee "wallow in poverty, destitution
and infirmity"34 as there is no financial status required in the law. It is enough that the nominee of the sectoral
party/organization/coalition belongs to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors,35 that is, if the nominee represents the
(b) A party means either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties.
fisherfolk, he or she must be a fisherfolk, or if the nominee represents the senior citizens, he or she must be a senior citizen.

(c) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles and
Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 mandates the filling-up of the entire 20% allocation of party-list representatives
policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of securing their adoption,
found in the Constitution. The Constitution, in paragraph 1, Section 5 of Article VI, left the determination of the number of the
regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members as candidates for public office.
members of the House of Representatives to Congress: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two x-----------------------x
hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, x x x." The 20% allocation of party-list representatives is merely a
ceiling; party-list representatives cannot be more than 20% of the members of the House of Representatives. However, we
G.R. No. 203958
cannot allow the continued existence of a provision in the law which will systematically prevent the constitutionally allocated
20% party-list representatives from being filled. The three-seat cap, as a limitation to the number of seats that a qualified party-
list organization may occupy, remains a valid statutory device that prevents any party from dominating the party-list elections. KAPATIRAN NG MGA NAKULONG NA WALANG SALA, INC. (KAKUSA), Petitioner,
Seats for party-list representatives shall thus be allocated in accordance with the procedure used in Table 3 above. vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
However, by a vote of 8-7, the Court decided to continue the ruling in Veterans disallowing major political parties from
participating in the party-list elections, directly or indirectly. Those who voted to continue disallowing major political parties x-----------------------x
from the party-list elections joined Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno in his separate opinion. On the formula to allocate party-list
seats, the Court is unanimous in concurring with this ponencia.
G.R. No. 203960

WHEREFORE, we PARTIALLY GRANT the petition. We SET ASIDE the Resolution of the COMELEC dated 3 August
2007 in NBC No. 07-041 (PL) as well as the Resolution dated 9 July 2007 in NBC No. 07-60. We declare unconstitutional the 1st CONSUMERS ALLIANCE FOR RURAL ENERGY, INC. (1-CARE), Petitioner,
two percent threshold in the distribution of additional party-list seats. The allocation of additional seats under the Party-List vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
System shall be in accordance with the procedure used in Table 3 of this Decision. Major political parties are disallowed from
participating in party-list elections. This Decision is immediately executory. No pronouncement as to costs.
x-----------------------x
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 203976

ALLIANCE FOR RURAL AND AGRARIAN RECONSTRUCTION, INC. (ARARO), Petitioner,


vs.
ATONG PAGLAUM, INC., represented by its President, Mr. Alan Igot, Petitioner,
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203981
G.R. Nos. 203818-19
ASSOCIATION FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS ADVOCACY ON LEADERSHIP (ARAL) PARTY-LIST, represented
herein by Ms. Lourdes L. Agustin, the party’s Secretary General, Petitioner,
AKO BICOL POLITICAL PARTY (AKB), Petitioner,
vs.
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

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

G.R. No. 204002


G.R. No. 203922

ALLIANCE FOR RURAL CONCERNS, Petitioner,


ASSOCIATION OF PHILIPPINE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES (APEC),represented by its President Congressman
vs.
Ponciano D. Payuyo, Petitioner,
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204094
G.R. No. 203936
ALLIANCE FOR NATIONALISM AND DEMOCRACY (ANAD), Petitioner,
vs.
AKSYON MAGSASAKA-PARTIDO TINIG NG MASA, represented by its President Michael Abas Kida, Petitioner,
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
x-----------------------x BANTAY PARTY LIST, represented by Maria Evangelina F. Palparan, President, Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
G.R. No. 204100

x-----------------------x
1-BRO PHILIPPINE GUARDIANS BROTHERHOOD, INC., (1BRO-PGBI) formerly PGBI, Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent. G.R. No. 204153

x-----------------------x PASANG MASDA NATIONWIDE PARTY by its President Roberto "Ka Obet" Martin, Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondents.
G.R. No. 204122

x-----------------------x
1 GUARDIANS NATIONALIST PHILIPPINES, INC., (1GANAP/GUARDIANS), Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC composed of SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., Chairman, RENE V. G.R. No. 204158
SARMIENTO, Commissioner,LUCENITO N. TAGLE, Commissioner,ARMANDO C. VELASCO,
Commissioner,ELIAS R. YUSOPH, Commissioner, andCHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, Commissioner, Respondents.
ABROAD PARTY LIST, Petitioner,
vs.
x-----------------------x COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, CHAIRMAN SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., COMMISSIONERS RENE V.
SARMIENTO, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, MARIA GRACIA
CIELO M. PADACA, LUCENITO TAGLE, AND ALL OTHER PERSONS ACTING ON THEIR BEHALF,
G.R. No. 204125
Respondents.

AGAPAY NG INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHTS ALLIANCE, INC. (A-IPRA), represented by its Secretary
x-----------------------x
General,Ronald D. Macaraig, Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent. G.R. No. 204174

x-----------------------x AANGAT TAYO PARTY LIST-PARTY, represented by its President Simeon T. Silva, Jr., Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
G.R. No. 204126

x-----------------------x
KAAGAPAY NG NAGKAKAISANG AGILANG PILIPINONG MAGSASAKA (KAP), formerly known as AKO
AGILA NG NAGKAKAISANG MAGSASAKA (AKO AGILA), represented by its Secretary General, Leo R. San
Buenaventura, Petitioner, G.R. No. 204216
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
COCOFED-PHILIPPINE COCONUT PRODUCERS FEDERATION, INC., Petitioner,
vs.
x-----------------------x COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

G.R. No. 204139 x-----------------------x

ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM), represented by Atty. Berteni Cataluña Causing, Petitioner, G.R. No. 204220
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
ABANG LINGKOD PARTY-LIST, Petitioner,
vs.
x-----------------------x COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

G.R. No. 204141 x-----------------------x


G.R. No. 204236 x-----------------------x

FIRM 24-K ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner, G.R. No. 204321


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
ANG AGRIKULTURA NATIN ISULONG (AANI), represented by its Secretary General Jose C. Policarpio, Jr.,
Petitioner,
x-----------------------x vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
G.R. No. 204238
x-----------------------x
ALLIANCE OF BICOLNON PARTY (ABP), Petitioner,
vs. G.R. No. 204323
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
BAYANI PARTYLIST as represented byHomer Bueno, Fitrylin Dalhani,Israel de Castro, Dante Navarroand Guiling
x-----------------------x Mamondiong, Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, CHAIRMAN SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., COMMISSIONERS RENE V.
G.R. No. 204239
SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S.
LIM, and MARIA GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA, Respondents.
GREEN FORCE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF MOTHER EARTH (GREENFORCE),
Petitioner,
x-----------------------x
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
G.R. No. 204341
x-----------------------x
ACTION LEAGUE OF INDIGENOUS MASSES(ALIM) PARTY-LIST, represented herein by its President Fatani S.
Abdul Malik, Petitioner,
G.R. No. 204240
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
AGRI-AGRA NA REPORMA PARA SA MAGSASAKA NG PILIPINAS MOVEMENT (AGRI), represented by its
Secretary General, Michael Ryan A. Enriquez, Petitioner,
x-----------------------x
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
G.R. No. 204356
x-----------------------x
BUTIL FARMERS PARTY, Petitioner,
vs.
G.R. No. 204263
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

A BLESSED PARTY LIST A.K.A. BLESSEDFEDERATION OF FARMERS AND FISHERMEN INTERNATIONAL,


x-----------------------x
INC., Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. G.R. No. 204358

x-----------------------x ALLIANCE OF ADVOCATES IN MININGADVANCEMENT FOR NATIONAL PROGRESS (AAMA), Petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
G.R. No. 204318

x-----------------------x
UNITED MOVEMENT AGAINST DRUGS FOUNDATION (UNIMAD) PARTY-LIST, Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. G.R. No. 204359
SOCIAL MOVEMENT FOR ACTIVEREFORM AND TRANSPARENCY (SMART), represented by its Chairman, G.R. No. 204394
Carlito B. Cubelo, Petitioner,
vs.
ASSOCIATION OF GUARD UTILITY HELPER, AIDER, RIDER, DRIVER/DOMESTIC HELPER, JANITOR,
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
AGENT AND NANNY OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (GUARDJAN), Petitioner,
vs.
x-----------------------x COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

G.R. No. 204364 x-----------------------x

ADHIKAIN AT KILUSAN NG ORDINARYONG-TAO, PARA SA LUPA, PABAHAY, HANAPBUHAY AT G.R. No. 204402
KAUNLARAN (AKO BUHAY), Petitioner,
vs.
KALIKASAN PARTY-LIST, represented by its President, Clemente G. Bautista, Jr., and Secretary General, Frances
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., RENE V. SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N.
Q. Quimpo, Petitioner,
TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, and MA. GRACIA CIELO
vs.
M. PADACA, in their capacities as Commissioners thereof, Respondents.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

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

G.R. No. 204367


G.R. No. 204408

AKBAY KALUSUGAN INCORPORATION(AKIN), Petitioner,


PILIPINO ASSOCIATION FOR COUNTRY-URBAN POOR YOUTH ADVANCEMENT AND WELFARE
vs.
(PACYAW), Petitioner,
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204370
G.R. No. 204410
AKO AN BISAYA (AAB), represented by itsSecretary General, Rodolfo T. Tuazon, Petitioner,
vs.
1-UNITED TRANSPORT KOALISYON (1-UTAK), Petitioner,
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204374
G.R. No. 204421
BINHI-PARTIDO NG MGA MAGSASAKA PARA SA MGA MAGSASAKA, Petitioner,
vs.
COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC. SENIOR CITIZEN
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
PARTY-LIST, represented herein by its 1st nominee and Chairman, Francisco G. Datol, Jr., Petitioner,
vs.
x-----------------------x COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

G.R. No. 204379 x-----------------------x

ALAGAD NG SINING (ASIN) represented by its President, Faye Maybelle Lorenz, Petitioner, G.R. No. 204425
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC., Petitioner,
vs.
x-----------------------x COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and ANY OF ITS OFFICERS AND AGENTS, ACTING FOR AND IN ITS
BEHALF, INCLUDING THE CHAIR AND MEMBERSOF THE COMMISSION, Respondents.
x-----------------------x x-----------------------x

G.R. No. 204426 G.R. No. 204485

ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL ATHLETICS ENTREPRENEURS AND HOBBYISTS, INC. (ALA-EH), Petitioner, ALLIANCE OF ORGANIZATIONS, NETWORKS AND ASSOCIATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (ALONA),
vs. Petitioner,
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., RENE V. SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. vs.
TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, and MA. GRACIA CIELO COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
M. PADACA, in their respective capacities as COMELEC Chairperson and Commissioners, Respondents.
x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204486
G.R. No. 204428
1st KABALIKAT NG BAYAN GINHAWANG SANGKATAUHAN (1st KABAGIS), Petitioner,
ANG GALING PINOY (AG), represented by its Secretary General, Bernardo R. Corella, Jr., Petitioner, vs.
vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204490
G.R. No. 204435
PILIPINAS PARA SA PINOY (PPP), Petitioner,
1 ALLIANCE ADVOCATING AUTONOMY PARTY (1AAAP), Petitioner, vs.
vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
PERLAS-BERNABE,*
x-----------------------x
DECISION
G.R. No. 204436
CARPIO, J.:
ABYAN ILONGGO PARTY (AI), represented byits Party President, Rolex T. Suplico, Petitioner,
vs.
The Cases
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

These cases constitute 54 Petitions for Certiorari and Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition1 filed by 52 party-list groups and
x-----------------------x
organizations assailing the Resolutions issued by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) disqualifying them from
participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections, either by denial of their petitions for registration under the party-list
G.R. No. 204455 system, or cancellation of their registration and accreditation as party-list organizations.

MANILA TEACHER SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner, This Court resolved to consolidate the 54 petitions in the Resolutions dated 13 November 2012, 2 20 November 2012,3 27
vs. November 2012,4 4 December 2012,5 11 December 2012,6 and 19 February 2013.7
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
The Facts Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941) and COMELEC Resolution Nos. 9366 and
x-----------------------x 9531, approximately 280 groups and organizations registered and manifested their desire to participate in the 13 May 2013
party-list elections.
G.R. No. 204484
G.R. No. SPP No. Group Grounds for Denial
PARTIDO NG BAYAN ANG BIDA (PBB), represented by its Secretary General, Roger M. Federazo, Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. A. Via the COMELEC En Banc’s automatic review of the COMELEC
Division’s resolutions approving registration of groups/organizations Resolution dated 29 November 201212

Resolution dated 23 November 20128 6 204370 12-011 (PP) Ako An Bisaya - Failure to represent a
(AAB) marginalized sector of
society, despite the formation
1 204379 12-099 Alagad ng - The "artists" sector is not of a sectoral wing for the
(PLM) Sining (ASIN) considered marginalized and benefit of farmers of Region
underrepresented; 8;
- Failure to prove track - Constituency has district
record; and representatives;
- Failure of the nominees to - Lack of track record in
qualify under RA 7941 and representing peasants and
Ang Bagong Bayani. farmers; and
- Nominees are neither
farmers nor peasants.
Omnibus Resolution dated 27 November 20129

Resolution dated 4 December 201213


2 204455 12-041 Manila Teachers - A non-stock savings and
(PLM) Savings and loan association cannot be
Loan considered marginalized and 7 204436 12-009 (PP), Abyan Ilonggo - Failure to show that the
Association, Inc. underrepresented; and 12-165 Party (AI) party represents a
(Manila - The first and second (PLM) marginalized and
Teachers) nominees are not teachers by underrepresented sector, as
profession. the Province of Iloilo has
district representatives;
- Untruthful statements in the
3 204426 12-011 Association of - Failure to show that its
memorandum; and
(PLM) Local Athletics members belong to the - Withdrawal of three of its
Entrepreneurs marginalized; and
five nominees.
and Hobbyists, - Failure of the nominees to
Inc. (ALA-EH) qualify.
Resolution dated 4 December 201214
Resolution dated 27 November 201210
8 204485 12-175 (PL) Alliance of - Failure to establish that the
Organizations, group can represent 14
4 204435 12-057 1 Alliance - Failure of the nominees to
Networks and Associations of sectors; - The sectors of homeowners’
(PLM) Advocating qualify: although registering the Philippines, associations, entrepreneurs
Autonomy Party as a regional political party,
Inc. (ALONA) and cooperatives are not
(1AAAP) two of the nominees are not
marginalized and
residents of the region; and
underrepresented; and
four of the five nominees do
- The nominees do not belong
not belong to the
to the marginalized and
marginalized and underrepresented.
underrepresented.

Resolution dated 27 November 201211


B. Via the COMELEC En Banc’s review on motion for reconsideration
of the COMELEC Division’s resolutions denying registration of groups
5 204367 12-104 (PL) Akbay - Failure of the group to show and organizations
Kalusugan that its nominees belong to
(AKIN), Inc. the urban poor sector.
Resolution dated 7 November 201215
9 204139 12-127 (PL) Alab ng - Failure to prove track Region 12 has district
Mamamahayag record as an organization; representatives; and
(ALAM) - Failure to show that the - Failure to show a track
group actually represents the record of undertaking
marginalized and programs for the welfare of
underrepresented; and the sector the group seeks to
- Failure to establish that the represent.
group can represent all
sectors it seeks to represent.

In a Resolution dated 5 December 2012,19 the COMELEC En Banc affirmed the COMELEC Second Division’s resolution to
Resolution dated 7 November 201216 grant Partido ng Bayan ng Bida’s (PBB) registration and accreditation as a political party in the National Capital Region.
However, PBB was denied participation in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections because PBB does not represent any
"marginalized and underrepresented" sector; PBB failed to apply for registration as a party-list group; and PBB failed to
10 204402 12-061 (PP) Kalikasan Party-List - The group reflects an establish its track record as an organization that seeks to uplift the lives of the "marginalized and underrepresented." 20
(KALIKASAN) advocacy for the These 13 petitioners (ASIN, Manila Teachers, ALA-EH, 1AAAP, AKIN, AAB, AI, ALONA, ALAM, KALIKASAN,
environment, and is not GUARDJAN, PPP, and PBB) were not able to secure a mandatory injunction from this Court. The COMELEC, on 7 January
representative of the 2013 issued Resolution No. 9604,21 and excluded the names of these 13 petitioners in the printing of the official ballot for the
marginalized and 13 May 2013 party-list elections.
underrepresented; Pursuant to paragraph 222 of Resolution No. 9513, the COMELEC En Banc scheduled summary evidentiary hearings to
- There is no proof that determine whether the groups and organizations that filed manifestations of intent to participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list
elections have continually complied with the requirements of R.A. No. 7941 and Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v.
majority of its members
COMELEC23 (Ang Bagong Bayani). The COMELEC disqualified the following groups and organizations from participating in
belong to the marginalized
the 13 May 2013 party-list elections:
and underrepresented;
- The group represents
sectors with conflicting G.R. No. SPP No. Group Grounds for Denial
interests; and
- The nominees do not belong
to the sector which the group Resolution dated 10 October 201224
claims to represent.

1 203818-19 12-154 AKO Bicol Retained registration and


Resolution dated 14 November 201217 (PLM) Political Party accreditation as a political
12-177 (AKB) party, but denied participation
(PLM) in the May 2013 party-list
11 204394 12-145 (PL) Association of - Failure to prove elections
Guard, Utility membership base and track - Failure to represent any
Helper, Aider, record; marginalized and
Rider, Driver/ - Failure to present activities underrepresented sector;
Domestic that sufficiently benefited its - The Bicol region already
Helper, intended constituency; and has representatives in
Janitor, Agent - The nominees do not belong Congress; and
and to any of the sectors which - The nominees are not
Nanny of the the group seeks to represent. marginalized and
Philippines, Inc. underrepresented.
(GUARDJAN)

Omnibus Resolution dated 11 October 201225


Resolution dated 5 December 201218

2 203766 12-161 Atong Paglaum, Cancelled registration and


12 204490 12-073 Pilipinas Para sa - Failure to show that the (PLM) Inc. (Atong accreditation
(PLM) Pinoy (PPP) group represents a Paglaum) - The nominees do not belong
marginalized and to the sectors which the party
underrepresented sector, as represents; and
- The party failed to file its 7 204122 12-223 1 Guardians Cancelled registration
Statement of Contributions (PLM) Nationalist - The party is a military
and Expenditures for the Philippines, Inc. fraternity;
2010 Elections. (1GANAP/ - The sector of community
GUARDIANS) volunteer workers is too
broad to allow for meaningful
3 203981 12-187 Association for Cancelled registration and representation; and
(PLM) Righteousness accreditation - The nominees do not appear
Advocacy on - Failure to comply, and for to belong to the sector of
Leadership violation of election laws; community volunteer
(ARAL) - The nominees do not workers.
represent the sectors which
the party represents; and
- There is doubt that the party 8 20426 12-257 Blessed Cancelled registration
is organized for religious (PLM) Federation of - Three of the seven
purposes. Farmers and nominees do not belong to
Fishermen the sector of farmers and
International, fishermen, the sector sought
4 204002 12-188 Alliance for Cancelled registration and Inc. (A to be represented; and
(PLM) Rural Concerns accreditation BLESSED - None of the nominees are
(ARC) - Failure of the nominees to Party-List) registered voters of Region
qualify; and XI, the region sought to be
- Failure of the party to prove represented.
that majority of its members
belong to the sectors it seeks
to represent. Resolution dated 16 October 201227

5 204318 12-220 United Cancelled registration and 9 203960 12-260 1st Cancelled registration
(PLM) Movement accreditation (PLM) Consumers - The sector of rural energy
Against Drugs - The sectors of drug Alliance for consumers is not
Foundation counsellors and lecturers, Rural Energy, marginalized and
(UNIMAD) veterans and the youth, are Inc. (1-CARE) underrepresented;
not marginalized and - The party’s track record is
underrepresented; related to electric
- Failure to establish track cooperatives and not rural
record; and energy consumers; and
- Failure of the nominees to - The nominees do not belong
qualify as representatives of to the sector of rural energy
the youth and young urban consumers.
professionals.

Resolution dated 16 October 201228


Omnibus Resolution dated 16 October 201226

10 203922 12-201 Association of Cancelled registration and


6 204100 12-196 1-Bro Philippine Cancelled registration (PLM) Philippine accreditation
(PLM) Guardians - Failure to define the sector Electric - Failure to represent a
Brotherhood, it seeks to represent; and Cooperatives marginalized and
Inc. (1BRO-PGBI) - The nominees do not belong (APEC) underrepresented sector; and
to a marginalized and - The nominees do not belong
underrepresented sector. to the sector that the party
claims to represent.
Resolution dated 23 October 201229 14 203936 12-248 Aksyon Cancelled registration
(PLM) Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng - Failure to show that
Masa (AKMA-PTM) majority of its members are
11 204174 12-232 Aangat Tayo Cancelled registration and marginalized and
(PLM) Party-List Party accreditation underrepresented;
( AT ) - The incumbent - Failure to prove that four of
representative in Congress its nine nominees actually
failed to author or sponsor belong to the farmers sector;
bills that are beneficial to the and
sectors that the party - Failure to show that five of
represents (women, elderly, its nine nominees work on
youth, urban poor); and uplifting the lives of the
- The nominees do not belong members of the sector.
to the marginalized sectors
that the party seeks to
represent. 15 204126 12-263 Kaagapay ng Cancelled registration
(PLM) Nagkakaisang - The Manifestation of Intent
Agilang and Certificate of Nomination
Omnibus Resolution dated 24 October 201230 Pilipinong were not signed by an
Magsasaka appropriate officer of the
(KAP) party;
12 203976 12-288 Alliance for Cancelled registration and
- Failure to show track record
(PLM) Rural and accreditation
for the farmers and peasants
Agrarian - The interests of the peasant
sector; and
Reconstruction, and urban poor sectors that - Failure to show that
Inc. (ARARO) the party represents differ;
nominees actually belong to
- The nominees do not belong
the sector, or that they have
to the sectors that the party
undertaken meaningful
seeks to represent;
activities for the sector.
- Failure to show that three of
the nominees are bona fide
party members; and 16 204364 12-180 Adhikain at Cancelled registration
- Lack of a Board resolution (PLM) Kilusan ng - Failure to show that
to participate in the party-list Ordinaryong nominees actually belong to
elections. Tao Para sa the sector, or that they have
Lupa, Pabahay, undertaken meaningful
Hanapbuhay at activities for the sector.
Omnibus Resolution dated 24 October 201231 Kaunlaran
(AKO-BAHAY)
13 204240 12-279 Agri-Agra na Cancelled registration
(PLM) Reporma Para sa - The party ceased to exist for
17 204141 12-229 The True Cancelled registration
Magsasaka ng more than a year immediately (PLM) Marcos Loyalist - Failure to show that
Pilipinas after the May 2010 elections;
(for God, majority of its members are
Movement - The nominees do not belong
Country and marginalized and
(AGRI) to the sector of peasants and
People) underrepresented; and
farmers that the party seeks to
Association of - Failure to prove that two of
represent;
the Philippines, its nominees actually belong
- Only four nominees were
Inc. (BANTAY) to the marginalized and
submitted to the COMELEC;
underrepresented.
and
- Failure to show meaningful
activities for its constituency. 18 204408 12-217 Pilipino Cancelled registration
(PLM) Association for - Change of sector (from
Country – Urban urban poor youth to urban
Poor Youth poor) necessitates a new for the marginalized and
Advancement application; underrepresented; and
and Welfare - Failure to show track record - The nominees did not
( PA C YAW ) for the marginalized and appear to be marginalized and
underrepresented; underrepresented.
- Failure to prove that
majority of its members and
officers are from the urban Resolution dated 7 November 201233
poor sector; and
- The nominees are not
22 204094 12-185 Alliance for Cancelled registration and
members of the urban poor
sector. (PLM) Nationalism and accreditation
Democracy - Failure to represent an
(ANAD) identifiable marginalized and
19 204153 12-277 Pasang Masda Cancelled registration underrepresented sector;
(PLM) Nationwide - The party represents drivers - Only three nominees were
Party (PASANG and operators, who may have submitted to the COMELEC;
MASDA) conflicting interests; and - The nominees do not
- Nominees are either belong to the marginalized
operators or former operators. and underrepresented; and
- Failure to submit its
Statement of Contribution
20 203958 12-015 Kapatiran ng Cancelled registration and Expenditures for the
(PLM) mga Nakulong - Failure to prove that 2007 Elections.
na Walang Sala, na Walang Sala,
Inc. (KAKUSA) Inc. (KAKUSA)
majority of its officers and Omnibus Resolution dated 7 November 201234
members belong to the
marginalized and
underrepresented; 23 204239 12-060 Green Force for Cancelled registration and
(PLM) the Environment accreditation
- The incumbent
Sons and - The party is an advocacy
representative in Congress
Daughters of group and does not represent
failed to author or sponsor
Mother Earth the marginalized and
bills that are beneficial to the
(GREENFORCE) underrepresented;
sector that the party
- Failure to comply with the
represents (persons
track record requirement; and
imprisoned without proof of
guilt beyond reasonable - The nominees are not
marginalized citizens.
doubt);
- Failure to show track record
for the marginalized and 24 204236 12-254 Firm 24-K Cancelled registration and
underrepresented; and (PLM) Association, Inc. accreditation
- The nominees did not (FIRM 24-K) - The nominees do not
appear to be marginalized and belong to the sector that the
underrepresented. party seeks to represent
(urban poor and peasants of
the National Capital Region);
Resolution dated 30 October 201232
- Only two of its nominees
reside in the National Capital
21 204428 12-256 Ang Galing Cancelled registration and Region; and
(PLM) Pinoy (AG) accreditation - Failure to comply with the
- Failure to attend the track record requirement.
summary hearing;
- Failure to show track record
25 204341 12-269 Action League Cancelled registration and sector; and
(PLM) of Indigenous accreditation - Failure to establish that the
Masses (ALIM) - Failure to establish that its nominees are employed in the construction industry, the
nominees are members of the sector it claims to represent.
indigenous people in the
Mindanao and Cordilleras
sector that the party seeks to Resolution dated 7 November 201238
represent;
- Only two of the party’s
29 204323 12-210 Bayani Party Cancelled registration and
nominees reside in the
(PLM) List (BAYANI) accreditation
Mindanao and Cordilleras;
and - Failure to prove a track
record of trying to uplift the
- Three of the nominees do
marginalized and
not appear to belong to the
underrepresented sector of
marginalized.
professionals; and
- One nominee was declared
Resolution dated 7 November 201235 unqualified to represent the
sector of professionals.

26 204358 12-204 Alliance of Cancelled registration


(PLM) Advocates in - The sector it represents is a Resolution dated 7 November 201239
Mining specifically defined group
Advancement which may not be allowed
30 204321 12-252 Ang Agrikultura Cancelled registration and
for National registration under the party-list system; and
(PLM) Natin Isulong accreditation
Progress - Failure to establish that the
(AANI) - Failure to establish a track
(AAMA) nominees actually belong to
record of enhancing the lives
the sector.
of the marginalized and
underrepresented farmers
Resolution dated 7 November 201236 which it claims to represent;
and
- More than a majority of the
27 204359 12-272 Social Cancelled registration party’s nominees do not
(PLM) Movement for - The nominees are belong to the farmers sector.
Active Reform disqualified from
and representing the sectors that
Transparency the party represents; Resolution dated 7 November 201240
(SMART) - Failure to comply with the
track record requirement; and
31 204125 12-292 Agapay ng Cancelled registration and
- There is doubt as to whether
(PLM) Indigenous accreditation
majority of its members are
Peoples Rights - Failure to prove that its five
marginalized and
Alliance, Inc. nominees are members of the
underrepresented.
(A-IPRA) indigenous people sector;
- Failure to prove that its five
Resolution dated 7 November 201237 nominees actively
participated in the
undertakings of the party; and
28 204238 12-173 Alliance of Cancelled registration and - Failure to prove that its five nominees are bona fide
(PLM) Bicolnon Party accreditation members.
(ABP) - Defective registration and
accreditation dating back to
2010; Resolution dated 7 November 201241
- Failure to represent any
32 204216 12-202 Philippine Cancelled registration and 35 204374 12-228 Binhi-Partido ng Cancelled registration and
(PLM) Coconut accreditation (PLM) mga Magsasaka accreditation
Producers - The party is affiliated with Para sa mga - The party receives
Federation, Inc. private and government Magsasaka assistance from the
(COCOFED) agencies and is not (BINHI) government through the
marginalized; Department of Agriculture;
- The party is assisted by the and
government in various - Failure to prove that the
projects; and group is marginalized and
- The nominees are not underrepresented.
members of the marginalized
sector of coconut farmers and
producers. Resolution dated 28 November 201245

Resolution dated 7 November 201242 36 204356 12-136 Butil Farmers Cancelled registration and
(PLM) Party (BUTIL) accreditation
- Failure to establish that the
33 204220 12-238 Abang Lingkod Cancelled registration agriculture and cooperative
(PLM) Party-List - Failure to establish a track sectors are marginalized and
(ABANG record of continuously underrepresented; and
LINGKOD) representing the peasant - The party’s nominees
farmers sector; neither appear to belong to
- Failure to show that its the sectors they seek to
members actually belong to represent, nor to have
the peasant farmers sector; actively participated in the
and undertakings of the party.
- Failure to show that its
nominees are marginalized
and underrepresented, have Resolution dated 3 December 201246
actively participated in
programs for the
37 204486 12-194 1st Cancelled registration and
advancement of farmers, and
(PLM) Kabalikat ng accreditation
adhere to its advocacies.
Bayan - Declaration of untruthful
Ginhawang statements;
Resolution dated 14 November 201243 Sangkatauhan - Failure to exist for at least
(1st one year; and
KABAGIS) - None of its nominees
34 204158 12-158 Action Cancelled registration and belong to the labor,
(PLM) Brotherhood for Active accreditation - Failure to show that the fisherfolk, and urban poor
Dreamers, Inc. party is actually able to indigenous cultural
(ABROAD) represent all of the sectors it communities sectors which it
claims to represent; seeks to represent.
- Failure to show a complete
track record of its activities
since its registration; and Resolution dated 4 December 201247
- The nominees are not part
of any of the sectors which
38 204410 12-198 1-United Cancelled accreditation
the party seeks to represent.
(PLM) Transport - The party represents drivers
Koalisyon (1-UTAK) and operators, who may have
Resolution dated 28 November 201244 conflicting interests; and
- The party’s nominees do not
belong to any marginalized and underrepresented sector. (PLM) (AKMA-PTM)

Resolution dated 4 December 201248 203958 12-015 Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala,
(PLM) Inc. (KAKUSA)

39 204421, 12-157 Coalition of Cancelled registration


204425 (PLM), Senior Citizens - The party violated election 203976 12-288 Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction,
12-191 in the laws because its nominees (PLM) Inc. (ARARO)
(PLM) Philippines, Inc. had a term-sharing
(SENIOR agreement.
CITIZENS) Resolution dated 20 November 2012

204094 12-185 Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy


These 39 petitioners (AKB, Atong Paglaum, ARAL, ARC, UNIMAD, 1BRO-PGBI, 1GANAP/GUARDIANS, A BLESSED (PLM) (ANAD)
Party-List, 1-CARE, APEC, AT, ARARO, AGRI, AKMA-PTM, KAP, AKO-BAHAY, BANTAY, PACYAW, PASANG
MASDA, KAKUSA, AG, ANAD, GREENFORCE, FIRM 24-K, ALIM, AAMA, SMART, ABP, BAYANI, AANI, A-IPRA,
COCOFED, ABANG LINGKOD, ABROAD, BINHI, BUTIL, 1st KABAGIS, 1-UTAK, SENIOR CITIZENS) were able to 204125 12-292 Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples Rights Alliance,
secure a mandatory injunction from this Court, directing the COMELEC to include the names of these 39 petitioners in the (PLM) Inc. (A-IPRA)
printing of the official ballot for the 13 May 2013 party-list elections.
Petitioners prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. This Court issued
Status Quo Ante Orders in all petitions. This Decision governs only the 54 consolidated petitions that were granted Status Quo 204100 12-196 1-Bro Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, Inc.
Ante Orders, namely: (PLM) (1BRO-PGBI)

G.R. No. SPP No. Group Resolution dated 27 November 2012

Resolution dated 13 November 2012 204141 12-229 The True Marcos Loyalist (for God, Country
(PLM) and People) Association of the Philippines, Inc.
(BANTAY)
203818-19 12-154 AKO Bicol Political Party (AKB)
(PLM)
12-177 204240 12-279 Agri-Agra na Reporma Para sa Magsasaka ng
(PLM) (PLM) Pilipinas Movement (AGRI)

203981 12-187 Association for Righteousness Advocacy on 204216 12-202 Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc.
(PLM) Leadership (ARAL) (PLM) (COCOFED)

204002 12-188 Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC) 204158 12-158 Action Brotherhood for Active Dreamer, Inc.
(PLM) (PLM) (ABROAD)

203922 12-201 Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives Resolutions dated 4 December 2012
(PLM) (APEC)
204122 12-223 1 Guardians Nationalist Philippines, Inc.
203960 12-260 1st (PLM) (1GANAP/GUARDIANS)
(PLM) Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy, Inc.
(1-CARE)
203766 12-161 Atong Paglaum, Inc. (Atong Paglaum)
(PLM)
203936 12-248 Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa
204318 12-220 United Movement Against Drugs Foundation 204359 12-272 Social Movement for Active Reform and
(PLM) (UNIMAD) (PLM) Transparency (SMART)

204263 12-257 Blessed Federation of Farmers and Fishermen 204356 12-136 Butil Farmers Party (BUTIL)
(PLM) International, Inc. (A BLESSED Party-List) (PLM)

204174 12-232 Aangat Tayo Party-List Party (AT) Resolution dated 11 December 2012
(PLM)

204402 12-061 (PL) Kalikasan Party-List (KALIKASAN)


204126 12-263 Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang Agilang Pilipinong
(PLM) Magsasaka (KAP)
204394 12-145 (PL) Association of Guard, Utility Helper, Aider,
Rider, Driver/Domestic Helper, Janitor, Agent
204364 12-180 Adhikain at Kilusan ng Ordinaryong Tao Para sa and Nanny of the Philippines, Inc.
(PLM) Lupa, Pabahay, Hanapbuhay at Kaunlaran (GUARDJAN)
(AKO-BAHAY)

204408 12-217 Pilipino Association for Country – Urban Poor


204139 12-127 (PL) Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) (PLM) Youth Advancement and Welfare (PACYAW)

204220 12-238 Abang Lingkod Party-List (ABANG 204428 12-256 Ang Galing Pinoy (AG)
(PLM) LINGKOD) (PLM)

204236 12-254 Firm 24-K Association, Inc. (FIRM 24-K) 204490 12-073 Pilipinas Para sa Pinoy (PPP)
(PLM) (PLM)

204238 12-173 Alliance of Bicolnon Party (ABP) 204379 12-099 Alagad ng Sining (ASIN)
(PLM) (PLM)

204239 12-060 Green Force for the Environment Sons and 204367 12-104 (PL) Akbay Kalusugan (AKIN)
(PLM) Daughters of Mother Earth (GREENFORCE)

204426 12-011 Association of Local Athletics Entrepreneurs


204321 12-252 Ang Agrikultura Natin Isulong (AANI) (PLM) and Hobbyists, Inc. (ALA-EH)
(PLM)

204455 12-041 Manila Teachers Savings and Loan Association,


204323 12-210 Bayani Party List (BAYANI) (PLM) Inc. (Manila Teachers)
(PLM)

204374 12-228 Binhi-Partido ng mga Magsasaka Para sa mga


204341 12-269 Action League of Indigenous Masses (ALIM) (PLM) Magsasaka (BINHI)
(PLM)

204370 12-011 (PP) Ako An Bisaya (AAB)


204358 12-204 Alliance of Advocates in Mining Advancement
(PLM) for National Progress (AAMA)
204435 12-057 1 Alliance Advocating Autonomy Party
(PLM) (1AAAP)
The 1987 Constitution provides the basis for the party-list system of representation. Simply put, the party-list system is
204486 12-194 1st Kabalikat ng Bayan Ginhawang
intended to democratize political power by giving political parties that cannot win in legislative district elections a chance to
(PLM) Sangkatauhan (1st KABAGIS)
win seats in the House of Representatives.50 The voter elects two representatives in the House of Representatives: one for his or
her legislative district, and another for his or her party-list group or organization of choice. The 1987 Constitution provides:
204410 12-198 1-United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK)
(PLM) Section 5, Article VI

(1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless
204421, 12-157 Coalition of Senior Citizens in the Philippines,
otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and
204425 (PLM) Inc. (SENIOR CITIZENS)
the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a
12-191 uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of
(PLM) registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.

204436 12-009 (PP), Abyan Ilonggo Party (AI) (2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including
12-165 those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats
(PLM) allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor,
peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by
law, except the religious sector.
204485 12-175 (PL) Alliance of Organizations, Networks and
Associations of the Philippines, Inc. (ALONA) Sections 7 and 8, Article IX-C

204484 11-002 Partido ng Bayan ng Bida (PBB) Sec. 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or coalition shall be valid, except for those registered under the
party-list system as provided in this Constitution.

Resolution dated 11 December 2012 Sec. 8. Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered under the party-list system, shall not be represented in the
voters’ registration boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of canvassers, or other similar bodies. However, they shall be
entitled to appoint poll watchers in accordance with law.
204153 12-277 Pasang Masda Nationwide Party (PASANG
(PLM) MASDA)
Commissioner Christian S. Monsod, the main sponsor of the party-list system, stressed that "the party-list system is not
synonymous with that of the sectoral representation."51 The constitutional provisions on the party-list system should be read
in light of the following discussion among its framers:
The Issues
MR. MONSOD: x x x.
We rule upon two issues: first, whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in disqualifying petitioners from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections, either by denial of their new I would like to make a distinction from the beginning that the proposal for the party list system is not synonymous with that of
petitions for registration under the party-list system, or by cancellation of their existing registration and accreditation as party- the sectoral representation. Precisely, the party list system seeks to avoid the dilemma of choice of sectors and who constitute
list organizations; and second, whether the criteria for participating in the party-list system laid down in Ang Bagong Bayani the members of the sectors. In making the proposal on the party list system, we were made aware of the problems precisely
and Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency v. Commission on Elections49 (BANAT) should be cited by Commissioner Bacani of which sectors will have reserved seats. In effect, a sectoral representation in the Assembly
applied by the COMELEC in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections. would mean that certain sectors would have reserved seats; that they will choose among themselves who would sit in those
reserved seats. And then, we have the problem of which sector because as we will notice in Proclamation No. 9, the sectors
The Court’s Ruling cited were the farmers, fishermen, workers, students, professionals, business, military, academic, ethnic and other similar
groups. So these are the nine sectors that were identified here as "sectoral representatives" to be represented in this
Commission. The problem we had in trying to approach sectoral representation in the Assembly was whether to stop at these
We hold that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in following prevailing decisions of this Court in nine sectors or include other sectors. And we went through the exercise in a caucus of which sector should be included which
disqualifying petitioners from participating in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections. However, since the Court adopts in went up to 14 sectors. And as we all know, the longer we make our enumeration, the more limiting the law become because
this Decision new parameters in the qualification of national, regional, and sectoral parties under the party-list system, thereby when we make an enumeration we exclude those who are not in the enumeration. Second, we had the problem of who comprise
abandoning the rulings in the decisions applied by the COMELEC in disqualifying petitioners, we remand to the COMELEC all the farmers. Let us just say the farmers and the laborers. These days, there are many citizens who are called "hyphenated
the present petitions for the COMELEC to determine who are qualified to register under the party-list system, and to participate citizens." A doctor may be a farmer; a lawyer may also be a farmer. And so, it is up to the discretion of the person to say "I am
in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections, under the new parameters prescribed in this Decision. a farmer" so he would be included in that sector.

The Party-List System The third problem is that when we go into a reserved seat system of sectoral representation in the Assembly, we are, in effect,
giving some people two votes and other people one vote. We sought to avoid these problems by presenting a party list system.
Under the party list system, there are no reserved seats for sectors. Let us say, laborers and farmers can form a sectoral party or
a sectoral organization that will then register and present candidates of their party. How do the mechanics go? Essentially, MR. MONSOD. Madam President, the candidacy for the 198 seats is not limited to political parties. My question is this:
under the party list system, every voter has two votes, so there is no discrimination. First, he will vote for the representative of Are we going to classify for example Christian Democrats and Social Democrats as political parties? Can they run
his legislative district. That is one vote. In that same ballot, he will be asked: What party or organization or coalition do you under the party list concept or must they be under the district legislation side of it only?
wish to be represented in the Assembly? And here will be attached a list of the parties, organizations or coalitions that have
been registered with the COMELEC and are entitled to be put in that list. This can be a regional party, a sectoral party, a
MR. VILLACORTA. In reply to that query, I think these parties that the Commissioner mentioned can field candidates
national party, UNIDO, Magsasaka or a regional party in Mindanao. One need not be a farmer to say that he wants the farmers'
for the Senate as well as for the House of Representatives. Likewise, they can also field sectoral candidates for the 20
party to be represented in the Assembly. Any citizen can vote for any party. At the end of the day, the COMELEC will then
percent or 30 percent, whichever is adopted, of the seats that we are allocating under the party list system.
tabulate the votes that had been garnered by each party or each organization — one does not have to be a political party and
register in order to participate as a party — and count the votes and from there derive the percentage of the votes that had been
cast in favor of a party, organization or coalition. MR. MONSOD. In other words, the Christian Democrats can field district candidates and can also participate in the
party list system?
When such parties register with the COMELEC, we are assuming that 50 of the 250 seats will be for the party list system. So,
we have a limit of 30 percent of 50. That means that the maximum that any party can get out of these 50 seats is 15. When the MR. VILLACORTA. Why not? When they come to the party list system, they will be fielding only sectoral candidates.
parties register they then submit a list of 15 names. They have to submit these names because these nominees have to meet the
minimum qualifications of a Member of the National Assembly. At the end of the day, when the votes are tabulated, one gets
the percentages. Let us say, UNIDO gets 10 percent or 15 percent of the votes; KMU gets 5 percent; a women’s party gets 2 1/2 MR. MONSOD. May I be clarified on that? Can UNIDO participate in the party list system?
percent and anybody who has at least 2 1/2 percent of the vote qualifies and the 50 seats are apportioned among all of these
parties who get at least 2 1/2 percent of the vote. MR. VILLACORTA. Yes, why not? For as long as they field candidates who come from the different marginalized
sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution.
What does that mean? It means that any group or party who has a constituency of, say, 500,000 nationwide gets a seat in the
National Assembly. What is the justification for that? When we allocate legislative districts, we are saying that any district that MR. MONSOD. Suppose Senator Tañada wants to run under BAYAN group and says that he represents the farmers, would he
has 200,000 votes gets a seat. There is no reason why a group that has a national constituency, even if it is a sectoral or special qualify?
interest group, should not have a voice in the National Assembly. It also means that, let us say, there are three or four labor
groups, they all register as a party or as a group. If each of them gets only one percent or five of them get one percent, they are
not entitled to any representative. So, they will begin to think that if they really have a common interest, they should band MR. VILLACORTA. No, Senator Tañada would not qualify.
together, form a coalition and get five percent of the vote and, therefore, have two seats in the Assembly. Those are the
dynamics of a party list system. MR. MONSOD. But UNIDO can field candidates under the party list system and say Juan dela Cruz is a farmer. Who would
pass on whether he is a farmer or not?
We feel that this approach gets around the mechanics of sectoral representation while at the same time making sure that those
who really have a national constituency or sectoral constituency will get a chance to have a seat in the National Assembly. MR. TADEO. Kay Commissioner Monsod, gusto ko lamang linawin ito. Political parties, particularly minority political
These sectors or these groups may not have the constituency to win a seat on a legislative district basis. They may not be able to parties, are not prohibited to participate in the party list election if they can prove that they are also organized along
win a seat on a district basis but surely, they will have votes on a nationwide basis. sectoral lines.

The purpose of this is to open the system. In the past elections, we found out that there were certain groups or parties that, if we MR. MONSOD. What the Commissioner is saying is that all political parties can participate because it is precisely the
count their votes nationwide; have about 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 votes. But they were always third place or fourth place in each contention of political parties that they represent the broad base of citizens and that all sectors are represented in them. Would
of the districts. So, they have no voice in the Assembly. But this way, they would have five or six representatives in the the Commissioner agree?
Assembly even if they would not win individually in legislative districts. So, that is essentially the mechanics, the purpose and
objectives of the party list system.
MR. TADEO. Ang punto lamang namin, pag pinayagan mo ang UNIDO na isang political party, it will dominate the party list
at mawawalang saysay din yung sector. Lalamunin mismo ng political parties ang party list system. Gusto ko lamang bigyan ng
BISHOP BACANI: Madam President, am I right in interpreting that when we speak now of party list system though we refer to diin ang "reserve." Hindi ito reserve seat sa marginalized sectors. Kung titingnan natin itong 198 seats, reserved din ito sa
sectors, we would be referring to sectoral party list rather than sectors and party list? political parties.

MR. MONSOD: As a matter of fact, if this body accepts the party list system, we do not even have to mention sectors because MR. MONSOD. Hindi po reserved iyon kasi anybody can run there. But my question to Commissioner Villacorta and probably
the sectors would be included in the party list system. They can be sectoral parties within the party list system. also to Commissioner Tadeo is that under this system, would UNIDO be banned from running under the party list system?

xxxx MR. VILLACORTA. No, as I said, UNIDO may field sectoral candidates. On that condition alone, UNIDO may be
allowed to register for the party list system.
MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just want to say that we suggested or proposed the party list system because we wanted to
open up the political system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty system. x x x We are for opening up the system, and MR. MONSOD. May I inquire from Commissioner Tadeo if he shares that answer?
we would like very much for the sectors to be there. That is why one of the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on the
number of representatives from any single party that can sit within the 50 allocated under the party list system. x x x.
MR. TADEO. The same.

xxx
MR. VILLACORTA. Puwede po ang UNIDO, pero sa sectoral lines.
MR. MONSOD: Sino po ang magsasabi kung iyong kandidato ng UNIDO ay hindi talagang labor leader or isang laborer? The indisputable intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution to include in the party-list system both sectoral and non-sectoral
Halimbawa, abogado ito. parties is clearly written in Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution, which states:

MR. TADEO: Iyong mechanics. Section 5. (1) The House of Representative shall be composed of not more that two hundred and fifty members, 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
MR. MONSOD: Hindi po mechanics iyon because we are trying to solve an inherent problem of sectoral representation. My
progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national,
question is: Suppose UNIDO fields a labor leader, would he qualify?
regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. (Emphasis supplied)

MR. TADEO: The COMELEC may look into the truth of whether or not a political party is really organized along a
Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution is crystal-clear that there shall be "a party-list system of registered national,
specific sectoral line. If such is verified or confirmed, the political party may submit a list of individuals who are actually
regional, and sectoral parties or organizations." The commas after the words "national," and "regional," separate national
members of such sectors. The lists are to be published to give individuals or organizations belonging to such sector the
and regional parties from sectoral parties. Had the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended national and regional parties to be
chance to present evidence contradicting claims of membership in the said sector or to question the claims of the
at the same time sectoral, they would have stated "national and regional sectoral parties." They did not, precisely because it was
existence of such sectoral organizations or parties. This proceeding shall be conducted by the COMELEC and shall be
never their intention to make the party-list system exclusively sectoral.
summary in character. In other words, COMELEC decisions on this matter are final and unappealable. 52 (Emphasis
supplied)
What the framers intended, and what they expressly wrote in Section 5(1), could not be any clearer: the party-list system is
composed of three different groups, and the sectoral parties belong to only one of the three groups. The text of Section 5(1)
Indisputably, the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended the party-list system to include not only sectoral parties but also
leaves no room for any doubt that national and regional parties are separate from sectoral parties.
non-sectoral parties. The framers intended the sectoral parties to constitute a part, but not the entirety, of the party-list system.
As explained by Commissioner Wilfredo Villacorta, political parties can participate in the party-list system "For as long
as they field candidates who come from the different marginalized sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution."53 Thus, the party-list system is composed of three different groups: (1) national parties or organizations; (2) regional parties or
organizations; and (3) sectoral parties or organizations. National and regional parties or organizations are different from
sectoral parties or organizations. National and regional parties or organizations need not be organized along sectoral lines and
In fact, the framers voted down, 19-22, a proposal to reserve permanent seats to sectoral parties in the House of
need not represent any particular sector.
Representatives, or alternatively, to reserve the party-list system exclusively to sectoral parties. As clearly explained by Justice
Jose C. Vitug in his Dissenting Opinion in Ang Bagong Bayani:
Moreover, Section 5(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution mandates that, during the first three consecutive terms of Congress
after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, "one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as
The draft provisions on what was to become Article VI, Section 5, subsection (2), of the 1987 Constitution took off from two
provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth,
staunch positions — the first headed by Commissioner Villacorta, advocating that of the 20 per centum of the total seats in
and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector." This provision clearly shows again that the
Congress to be allocated to party-list representatives half were to be reserved to appointees from the marginalized and
party-list system is not exclusively for sectoral parties for two obvious reasons.
underrepresented sectors. The proposal was opposed by some Commissioners. Mr. Monsod expressed the difficulty in
delimiting the sectors that needed representation. He was of the view that reserving seats for the marginalized and
underrepresented sectors would stunt their development into full-pledged parties equipped with electoral machinery potent First, the other one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives would naturally be open to non-sectoral party-list
enough to further the sectoral interests to be represented. The Villacorta group, on the other hand, was apprehensive that pitting representatives, clearly negating the idea that the party-list system is exclusively for sectoral parties representing the
the unorganized and less-moneyed sectoral groups in an electoral contest would be like placing babes in the lion's den, so to "marginalized and underrepresented." Second, the reservation of one-half of the party-list seats to sectoral parties applies only
speak, with the bigger and more established political parties ultimately gobbling them up. R.A. 7941 recognized this concern for the first "three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution," clearly making the party-list system fully open
when it banned the first five major political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of Representatives from after the end of the first three congressional terms. This means that, after this period, there will be no seats reserved for any
participating in the party-list system for the first party-list elections held in 1998 (and to be automatically lifted starting with the class or type of party that qualifies under the three groups constituting the party-list system.
2001 elections). The advocates for permanent seats for sectoral representatives made an effort towards a compromise — that
the party-list system be open only to underrepresented and marginalized sectors. This proposal was further whittled down by
Hence, the clear intent, express wording, and party-list structure ordained in Section 5(1) and (2), Article VI of the 1987
allocating only half of the seats under the party-list system to candidates from the sectors which would garner the required
Constitution cannot be disputed: the party-list system is not for sectoral parties only, but also for non-sectoral parties.
number of votes. The majority was unyielding. Voting 19-22, the proposal for permanent seats, and in the alternative the
reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups, was voted down. The only concession the Villacorta group was able
to muster was an assurance of reserved seats for selected sectors for three consecutive terms after the enactment of the 1987 Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act, which is the law that implements the party-list system prescribed in the
Constitution, by which time they would be expected to gather and solidify their electoral base and brace themselves in the Constitution, provides:
multi-party electoral contest with the more veteran political groups.54 (Emphasis supplied)
Section 3. Definition of Terms. (a) The party-list system is a mechanism of proportional representation in the election of
Thus, in the end, the proposal to give permanent reserved seats to certain sectors was outvoted. Instead, the reservation of seats representatives to the House of Representatives from national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions
to sectoral representatives was only allowed for the first three consecutive terms.55 There can be no doubt whatsoever that the thereof registered with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Component parties or organizations of a coalition may
framers of the 1987 Constitution expressly rejected the proposal to make the party-list system exclusively for sectoral parties participate independently provided the coalition of which they form part does not participate in the party-list system.
only, and that they clearly intended the party-list system to include both sectoral and non-sectoral parties.
(b) A party means either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties.
The common denominator between sectoral and non-sectoral parties is that they cannot expect to win in legislative district
elections but they can garner, in nationwide elections, at least the same number of votes that winning candidates can garner in
legislative district elections. The party-list system will be the entry point to membership in the House of Representatives for (c) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles
both these non-traditional parties that could not compete in legislative district elections. and policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of securing their
adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members as candidates for public Section 6. Refusal and/or Cancellation of Registration. — The COMELEC may, motu proprio or upon verified complaint of
office. any interested party, refuse 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:
It is a national party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a majority of the
regions. It is a regional party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a majority of (1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association organized for religious purposes;
the cities and provinces comprising the region.
(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;
(d) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors enumerated in
Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of their sector.
(3) It is a foreign party or organization;

(e) A sectoral organization refers to a group of citizens or a coalition of groups of citizens who share similar
(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization, whether
physical attributes or characteristics, employment, interests or concerns.
directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan election purposes;

(f) A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly registered national, regional, sectoral parties or organizations for
(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections;
political and/or election purposes. (Emphasis supplied)

(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;


Section 3(a) of R.A. No. 7941 defines a "party" as "either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties."
Clearly, a political party is different from a sectoral party. Section 3(c) of R.A. No. 7941 further provides that a "political
party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles and policies for the general (7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or
conduct of government." On the other hand, Section 3(d) of R.A. No. 7941 provides that a "sectoral party refers to an
organized group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains
to the special interest and concerns of their sector." R.A. No. 7941 provides different definitions for a political and a (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
sectoral party. Obviously, they are separate and distinct from each other.
registered.

R.A. No. 7941 does not require national and regional parties or organizations to represent the "marginalized and
None of the 8 grounds to refuse or cancel registration refers to non-representation of the "marginalized and underrepresented."
underrepresented" sectors. To require all national and regional parties under the party-list system to represent the
"marginalized and underrepresented" is to deprive and exclude, by judicial fiat, ideology-based and cause-oriented parties from
the party-list system. How will these ideology-based and cause-oriented parties, who cannot win in legislative district elections, The phrase "marginalized and underrepresented" appears only once in R.A. No. 7941, in Section 2 on Declaration of
participate in the electoral process if they are excluded from the party-list system? To exclude them from the party-list system is Policy.57 Section 2 seeks "to promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of
to prevent them from joining the parliamentary struggle, leaving as their only option the armed struggle. To exclude them from Representatives through the party-list system," which will enable Filipinos belonging to the "marginalized and
the party-list system is, apart from being obviously senseless, patently contrary to the clear intent and express wording of the underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies," to become
1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941. members of the House of Representatives. While the policy declaration in Section 2 of R.A. No. 7941 broadly refers to
"marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties," the specific implementing provisions of R.A. No. 7941
Under the party-list system, an ideology-based or cause-oriented political party is clearly different from a sectoral party. A do not define or require that the sectors, organizations or parties must be "marginalized and underrepresented." On the contrary,
political party need not be organized as a sectoral party and need not represent any particular sector. There is no requirement in to even interpret that all the sectors mentioned in Section 5 are "marginalized and underrepresented" would lead to absurdities.
R.A. No. 7941 that a national or regional political party must represent a "marginalized and underrepresented" sector. It is
sufficient that the political party consists of citizens who advocate the same ideology or platform, or the same governance How then should we harmonize the broad policy declaration in Section 2 of R.A. No. 7941 with its specific implementing
principles and policies, regardless of their economic status as citizens. provisions, bearing in mind the applicable provisions of the 1987 Constitution on the matter?

Section 5 of R.A. No. 7941 states that "the sectors shall include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural The phrase "marginalized and underrepresented" should refer only to the sectors in Section 5 that are, by their nature,
communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals."56 The sectors mentioned economically "marginalized and underrepresented." These sectors are: labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous
in Section 5 are not all necessarily "marginalized and underrepresented." For sure, "professionals" are not by definition cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and other similar sectors. For these sectors, a majority of the
"marginalized and underrepresented," not even the elderly, women, and the youth. However, professionals, the elderly, women, members of the sectoral party must belong to the "marginalized and underrepresented." The nominees of the sectoral
and the youth may "lack well-defined political constituencies," and can thus organize themselves into sectoral parties in party either must belong to the sector, or must have a track record of advocacy for the sector represented. Belonging to
advocacy of the special interests and concerns of their respective sectors. the "marginalized and underrepresented" sector does not mean one must "wallow in poverty, destitution or infirmity." It is
sufficient that one, or his or her sector, is below the middle class. More specifically, the economically "marginalized and
Section 6 of R.A. No. 7941 provides another compelling reason for holding that the law does not require national or regional underrepresented" are those who fall in the low income group as classified by the National Statistical Coordination Board. 58
parties, as well as certain sectoral parties in Section 5 of R.A. No. 7941, to represent the "marginalized and underrepresented."
Section 6 provides the grounds for the COMELEC to refuse or cancel the registration of parties or organizations after due The recognition that national and regional parties, as well as sectoral parties of professionals, the elderly, women and the youth,
notice and hearing. need not be "marginalized and underrepresented" will allow small ideology-based and cause-oriented parties who lack "well-
defined political constituencies" a chance to win seats in the House of Representatives. On the other hand, limiting to the
"marginalized and underrepresented" the sectoral parties for labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural
communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and other sectors that by their nature are economically at the margins of
society, will give the "marginalized and underrepresented" an opportunity to likewise win seats in the House of immediately preceding the day of the election, able to read and write, a bona fide member of the party or organization which he
Representatives. seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on
the day of the election.
This interpretation will harmonize the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 and will give rise to a multi-party system where
those "marginalized and underrepresented," both in economic and ideological status, will have the opportunity to send their In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the
own members to the House of Representatives. This interpretation will also make the party-list system honest and transparent, day of the election.
eliminating the need for relatively well-off party-list representatives to masquerade as "wallowing in poverty, destitution and
infirmity," even as they attend sessions in Congress riding in SUVs.
Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until
the expiration of his term.1âwphi1
The major political parties are those that field candidates in the legislative district elections. Major political parties cannot
participate in the party-list elections since they neither lack "well-defined political constituencies" nor represent "marginalized
A party-list nominee must be a bona fide member of the party or organization which he or she seeks to represent. In the case of
and underrepresented" sectors. Thus, the national or regional parties under the party-list system are necessarily those that
sectoral parties, to be a bona fide party-list nominee one must either belong to the sector represented, or have a track
do not belong to major political parties. This automatically reserves the national and regional parties under the party-list
record of advocacy for such sector.
system to those who "lack well-defined political constituencies," giving them the opportunity to have members in the House of
Representatives.
In disqualifying petitioners, the COMELEC used the criteria prescribed in Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT. Ang Bagong
Bayani laid down the guidelines for qualifying those who desire to participate in the party-list system:
To recall, Ang Bagong Bayani expressly declared, in its second guideline for the accreditation of parties under the party-list
system, that "while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the Constitution to participate in the
party-list system, they must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling ‘Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and underrepresented groups
and underrepresented sectors xxx to be elected to the House of Representatives.’ "However, the requirement in Ang Bagong identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. x x x
Bayani, in its second guideline, that "the political party xxx must represent the marginalized and underrepresented,"
automatically disqualified major political parties from participating in the party-list system. This inherent inconsistency in
Second, while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the Constitution to participate in the party-list
Ang Bagong Bayani has been compounded by the COMELEC’s refusal to register sectoral wings officially organized by major
political parties. BANAT merely formalized the prevailing practice when it expressly prohibited major political parties from system, they must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling "Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and
participating in the party-list system, even through their sectoral wings. underrepresented sectors x x x to be elected to the House of Representatives." x x x.

Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941 expressly prohibited the "first five (5) major political parties on the basis of party representation xxxx
in the House of Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress" from participating in the May 1988 party-list elections.59
Thus, major political parties can participate in subsequent party-list elections since the prohibition is expressly limited Third, x x x the religious sector may not be represented in the party-list system. x x x.
only to the 1988 party-list elections. However, major political parties should participate in party-list elections only through
their sectoral wings. The participation of major political parties through their sectoral wings, a majority of whose members are
"marginalized and underrepresented" or lacking in "well-defined political constituencies," will facilitate the entry of the xxxx
"marginalized and underrepresented" and those who "lack well-defined political constituencies" as members of the House of
Representatives. Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941, which enumerates the grounds for
disqualification as follows:
The 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 allow major political parties to participate in party-list elections so as to encourage
them to work assiduously in extending their constituencies to the "marginalized and underrepresented" and to those who "lack "(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association, organized for religious purposes;
well-defined political constituencies." The participation of major political parties in party-list elections must be geared towards
the entry, as members of the House of Representatives, of the "marginalized and underrepresented" and those who "lack well-
defined political constituencies," giving them a voice in law-making. Thus,to participate in party-list elections, a major political (2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;
party that fields candidates in the legislative district elections must organize a sectoral wing, like a labor, peasant, fisherfolk,
urban poor, professional, women or youth wing, that can register under the party-list system. (3) It is a foreign party or organization;

Such sectoral wing of a major political party must have its own constitution, by-laws, platform or program of government, (4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization, whether
officers and members, a majority of whom must belong to the sector represented. The sectoral wing is in itself an independent directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan election purposes;
sectoral party, and is linked to a major political party through a coalition. This linkage is allowed by Section 3 of R.A. No.
7941, which provides that "component parties or organizations of a coalition may participate independently (in party-list
elections) provided the coalition of which they form part does not participate in the party-list system." (5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections;

Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941 prescribes the qualifications of party-list nominees. This provision prescribes a special qualification (6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;
only for the nominee from the youth sector.
(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or
Section 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is a
natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year
(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the Thus, we remand all the present petitions to the COMELEC. In determining who may participate in the coming 13 May 2013
votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it has and subsequent party-list elections, the COMELEC shall adhere to the following parameters:
registered."
1. Three different groups may participate in the party-list system: (1) national parties or organizations, (2) regional
Fifth, the party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the parties or organizations, and (3) sectoral parties or organizations.
government. x x x.
2. National parties or organizations and regional parties or organizations do not need to organize along sectoral lines
xxxx and do not need to represent any "marginalized and underrepresented" sector.

Sixth, the party must not only comply with the requirements of the law; its nominees must likewise do so. Section 9 of RA 7941 3. Political parties can participate in party-list elections provided they register under the party-list system and do not
reads as follows: field candidates in legislative district elections. A political party, whether major or not, that fields candidates in
legislative district elections can participate in party-list elections only through its sectoral wing that can separately
register under the party-list system. The sectoral wing is by itself an independent sectoral party, and is linked to a
"SEC 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. - No person shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is a
political party through a coalition.
natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1)year
immediately preceding the day of the election, able to read and write, 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 is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on 4. Sectoral parties or organizations may either be "marginalized and underrepresented" or lacking in "well-defined
the day of the election. political constituencies." It is enough that their principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of
their sector. The sectors that are "marginalized and underrepresented" include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor,
indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, and overseas workers. The sectors that lack "well-defined
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the
political constituencies" include professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth.
day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to
continue in office until the expiration of his term."
5. A majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that represent the "marginalized and
underrepresented" must belong to the "marginalized and underrepresented" sector they represent. Similarly, a
Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so
majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that lack "well-defined political constituencies" must
also must its nominees. x x x.
belong to the sector they represent. The nominees of sectoral parties or organizations that represent the
"marginalized and underrepresented," or that represent those who lack "well-defined political constituencies," either
Eighth, x x x the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that must belong to their respective sectors, or must have a track record of advocacy for their respective sectors. The
will benefit the nation as a whole. (Emphasis supplied) nominees of national and regional parties or organizations must be bona-fide members of such parties or
organizations.
In 2009, by a vote of 8-7 in BANAT, this Court stretched the Ang Bagong Bayani ruling further. In BANAT, the majority
officially excluded major political parties from participating in party-list elections,60 abandoning even the lip-service that Ang 6. National, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations shall not be disqualified if some of their nominees are
Bagong Bayani accorded to the 1987 Constitution and R.A.No. 7941 that major political parties can participate in party-list disqualified, provided that they have at least one nominee who remains qualified.
elections.
The COMELEC excluded from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections those that did not satisfy these two criteria:
The minority in BANAT, however, believed that major political parties can participate in the party-list system through their (1) all national, regional, and sectoral groups or organizations must represent the "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors,
sectoral wings. The minority expressed that "[e]xcluding the major political parties in party-list elections is manifestly against and (2) all nominees must belong to the "marginalized and underrepresented" sector they represent. Petitioners may have been
the Constitution, the intent of the Constitutional Commission, and R.A. No. 7941. This Court cannot engage in socio-political disqualified by the COMELEC because as political or regional parties they are not organized along sectoral lines and do not
engineering and judicially legislate the exclusion of major political parties from the party-list elections in patent violation of the represent the "marginalized and underrepresented." Also, petitioners' nominees who do not belong to the sectors they represent
Constitution and the law."61 The experimentations in socio-political engineering have only resulted in confusion and absurdity may have been disqualified, although they may have a track record of advocacy for their sectors. Likewise, nominees of non-
in the party-list system. Such experimentations, in clear contravention of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941, must now sectoral parties may have been disqualified because they do not belong to any sector. Moreover, a party may have been
come to an end. disqualified because one or more of its nominees failed to qualify, even if the party has at least one remaining qualified
nominee. As discussed above, the disqualification of petitioners, and their nominees, under such circumstances is contrary to
the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941.
We cannot, however, fault the COMELEC for following prevailing jurisprudence in disqualifying petitioners. In following
prevailing jurisprudence, the COMELEC could not have committed grave abuse of discretion. However, for the coming 13
May 2013 party-list elections, we must now impose and mandate the party-list system actually envisioned and authorized This Court is sworn to uphold the 1987 Constitution, apply its provisions faithfully, and desist from engaging in socio-
under the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941. In BANAT, this Court devised a new formula in the allocation of party-list economic or political experimentations contrary to what the Constitution has ordained. Judicial power does not include the
seats, reversing the COMELEC's allocation which followed the then prevailing formula in Ang Bagong Bayani. In BANAT, power to re-write the Constitution. Thus, the present petitions should be remanded to the COMELEC not because the
however, the Court did not declare that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion. Similarly, even as we COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying petitioners, but because petitioners may now possibly qualify
acknowledge here that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion, we declare that it would not be in accord with to participate in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections under the new parameters prescribed by this Court.
the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 to apply the criteria in Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT in determining who are
qualified to participate in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections. For this purpose, we suspend our rule62 that a party
WHEREFORE, all the present 54 petitions are GRANTED. The 13 petitions, which have been granted Status Quo Ante Orders
may appeal to this Court from decisions or orders of the COMELEC only if the COMELEC committed grave abuse of
but without mandatory injunction to include the names of petitioners in the printing of ballots, are remanded to the Commission
discretion.
on Elections only for determination whether petitioners are qualified to register under the party-list system under the parameters
prescribed in this Decision but they shall not participate in the 13 May 2013 part-list elections. The 41 petitions, which have
been granted mandatory injunctions to include the names of petitioners in the printing of ballots, are remanded to the Contreras Militar" to "Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe." Although necessary notations were made by OCR-Iloilo on
Commission on Elections for determination whether petitioners are qualified to register under the party-list system and to petitioner's foundling certificate reflecting the court decreed adoption,2 the petitioner's adoptive mother discovered only
participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections under the parameters prescribed in this Decision. The Commission on sometime in the second half of 2005 that the lawyer who handled petitioner's adoption failed to secure from the OCR-Iloilo a
Elections may conduct summary evidentiary hearings for this purpose. This Decision is immediately executory. new Certificate of Live Birth indicating petitioner's new name and the name of her adoptive parents. 3 Without delay,
petitioner's mother executed an affidavit attesting to the lawyer's omission which she submitted to the OCR-Iloilo. On 4 May
SO ORDERED. 2006, OCR-Iloilo issued a new Certificate of Live Birth in the name of Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe.4

Having reached the age of eighteen (18) years in 1986, petitioner registered as a voter with the local COMELEC Office in San
Juan City. On 13 December 1986, she received her COMELEC Voter's Identification Card for Precinct No. 196 in Greenhills, San
Juan, Metro Manila.5
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES, Petitioners,
On 4 April 1988, petitioner applied for and was issued Philippine Passport No. F9272876 by the Department of Foreign Affairs
vs.
(DFA). Subsequently, on 5 April 1993 and 19 May 1998, she renewed her Philippine passport and respectively secured
Philippine Passport Nos. L881511 and DD156616.7
COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO Respondents.
Initially, the petitioner enrolled and pursued a degree in Development Studies at the University of the Philippines8 but she
opted to continue her studies abroad and left for the United States of America (U.S.) in 1988. Petitioner graduated in 1991
from Boston College in Chestnuts Hill, Massachusetts where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies.9
x-----------------------x
On 27 July 1991, petitioner married Teodoro Misael Daniel V. Llamanzares (Llamanzares), a citizen of both the Philippines and
the U.S., at Sanctuario de San Jose Parish in San Juan City. 10 Desirous of being with her husband who was then based in the
U.S., the couple flew back to the U.S. two days after the wedding ceremony or on 29 July 1991. 11
G.R. No. 221698-700
While in the U.S., the petitioner gave birth to her eldest child Brian Daniel (Brian) on 16 April 1992.12 Her two daughters
Hanna MacKenzie (Hanna) and Jesusa Anika (Anika) were both born in the Philippines on 10 July 1998 and 5 June 2004,
respectively. 13
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES, Petitioners,
On 18 October 2001, petitioner became a naturalized American citizen. 14 She obtained U.S. Passport No. 017037793 on 19
vs. December 2001. 15

COMELEC, FRANCISCO S. TATAD, ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS AND AMADO D. VALDEZ Respondents. On 8 April 2004, the petitioner came back to the Philippines together with Hanna to support her father's candidacy for
President in the May 2004 elections. It was during this time that she gave birth to her youngest daughter Anika. She returned
to the U.S. with her two daughters on 8 July 2004. 16

Before the Court are two consolidated petitions under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with extremely After a few months, specifically on 13 December 2004, petitioner rushed back to the Philippines upon learning of her father's
urgent application for an ex parte issuance of temporary restraining order/status quo ante order and/or writ of preliminary deteriorating medical condition. 17 Her father slipped into a coma and eventually expired. The petitioner stayed in the
injunction assailing the following: (1) 1 December 2015 Resolution of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Second country until 3 February 2005 to take care of her father's funeral arrangements as well as to assist in the settlement of his
Division; (2) 23 December 2015 Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc, in SPA No. 15-001 (DC); (3) 11 December 2015 estate.18
Resolution of the COMELEC First Division; and ( 4) 23 December 2015 Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc, in SPA No. 15-002
(DC), SPA No. 15-007 (DC) and SPA No. 15-139 (DC) for having been issued without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of According to the petitioner, the untimely demise of her father was a severe blow to her entire family. In her earnest desire to
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. be with her grieving mother, the petitioner and her husband decided to move and reside permanently in the Philippines
sometime in the first quarter of 2005.19 The couple began preparing for their resettlement including notification of their
children's schools that they will be transferring to Philippine schools for the next semester;20 coordination with property
movers for the relocation of their household goods, furniture and cars from the U.S. to the Philippines;21 and inquiry with
The Facts Philippine authorities as to the proper procedure to be followed in bringing their pet dog into the country.22 As early as 2004,
the petitioner already quit her job in the U.S.23
Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares (petitioner) was found abandoned as a newborn infant in the Parish Church of Jaro,
Iloilo by a certain Edgardo Militar (Edgardo) on 3 September 1968. Parental care and custody over petitioner was passed on Finally, petitioner came home to the Philippines on 24 May 200524 and without delay, secured a Tax Identification Number
by Edgardo to his relatives, Emiliano Militar (Emiliano) and his wife. Three days after, 6 September 1968, Emiliano reported from the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Her three (3) children immediately followed25 while her husband was forced to stay in
and registered petitioner as a foundling with the Office of the Civil Registrar of Iloilo City (OCR-Iloilo). In her Foundling the U.S. to complete pending projects as well as to arrange the sale of their family home there.26
Certificate and Certificate of Live Birth, the petitioner was given the name "Mary Grace Natividad Contreras Militar." 1
The petitioner and her children briefly stayed at her mother's place until she and her husband purchased a condominium unit
When petitioner was five (5) years old, celebrity spouses Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (a.k.a. Fenando Poe, Jr.) and Jesusa Sonora with a parking slot at One Wilson Place Condominium in San Juan City in the second half of 2005.27 The corresponding
Poe (a.k.a. Susan Roces) filed a petition for her adoption with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of San Juan City. On 13 May Condominium Certificates of Title covering the unit and parking slot were issued by the Register of Deeds of San Juan City to
1974, the trial court granted their petition and ordered that petitioner's name be changed from "Mary Grace Natividad
petitioner and her husband on 20 February 2006.28 Meanwhile, her children of school age began attending Philippine private Petitioner's filing of her COC for President in the upcoming elections triggered the filing of several COMELEC cases against her
schools. which were the subject of these consolidated cases.

On 14 February 2006, the petitioner made a quick trip to the U.S. to supervise the disposal of some of the family's remaining Origin of Petition for Certiorari in G.R. No. 221697
household belongings.29 She travelled back to the Philippines on 11 March 2006.30
A day after petitioner filed her COC for President, Estrella Elamparo (Elamparo) filed a petition to deny due course or cancel
In late March 2006, petitioner's husband officially informed the U.S. Postal Service of the family's change and abandonment of said COC which was docketed as SPA No. 15-001 (DC) and raffled to the COMELEC Second Division.59 She is convinced that
their address in the U.S.31 The family home was eventually sold on 27 April 2006.32 Petitioner's husband resigned from his the COMELEC has jurisdiction over her petition.60 Essentially, Elamparo's contention is that petitioner committed material
job in the U.S. in April 2006, arrived in the country on 4 May 2006 and started working for a major Philippine company in July misrepresentation when she stated in her COC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and that she is a resident of the
2006.33 Philippines for at least ten (10) years and eleven (11) months up to the day before the 9 May 2016 Elections.61

In early 2006, petitioner and her husband acquired a 509-square meter lot in Corinthian Hills, Quezon City where they built On the issue of citizenship, Elamparo argued that petitioner cannot be considered as a natural-born Filipino on account of the
their family home34 and to this day, is where the couple and their children have been residing.35 A Transfer Certificate of fact that she was a foundling.62 Elamparo claimed that international law does not confer natural-born status and Filipino
Title covering said property was issued in the couple's name by the Register of Deeds of Quezon City on 1June 2006. citizenship on foundlings.63 Following this line of reasoning, petitioner is not qualified to apply for reacquisition of Filipino
citizenship under R.A. No. 9225 for she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen to begin with.64 Even assuming arguendo that
On 7 July 2006, petitioner took her Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to Republic Act (R.A.) No. petitioner was a natural-born Filipino, she is deemed to have lost that status when she became a naturalized American
9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003.36 Under the same Act, she filed with the Bureau of citizen.65 According to Elamparo, natural-born citizenship must be continuous from birth.66
Immigration (BI) a sworn petition to reacquire Philippine citizenship together with petitions for derivative citizenship on
behalf of her three minor children on 10 July 2006.37 As can be gathered from its 18 July 2006 Order, the BI acted favorably On the matter of petitioner's residency, Elamparo pointed out that petitioner was bound by the sworn declaration she made
on petitioner's petitions and declared that she is deemed to have reacquired her Philippine citizenship while her children are in her 2012 COC for Senator wherein she indicated that she had resided in the country for only six ( 6) years and six ( 6)
considered as citizens of the Philippines.38 Consequently, the BI issued Identification Certificates (ICs) in petitioner's name months as of May 2013 Elections. Elamparo likewise insisted that assuming arguendo that petitioner is qualified to regain her
and in the names of her three (3) children. 39 natural-born status under R.A. No. 9225, she still fell short of the ten-year residency requirement of the Constitution as her
residence could only be counted at the earliest from July 2006, when she reacquired Philippine citizenship under the said Act.
Again, petitioner registered as a voter of Barangay Santa Lucia, San Juan City on 31 August 2006.40 She also secured from the Also on the assumption that petitioner is qualified to reacquire lost Philippine Citizenship, Elamparo is of the belief that she
DFA a new Philippine Passport bearing the No. XX4731999.41 This passport was renewed on 18 March 2014 and she was failed to reestablish her domicile in the Philippines.67
issued Philippine Passport No. EC0588861 by the DFA.42
Petitioner seasonably filed her Answer wherein she countered that:
On 6 October 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino III appointed petitioner as Chairperson of the Movie and Television Review
and Classification Board (MTRCB).43 Before assuming her post, petitioner executed an "Affidavit of Renunciation of Allegiance (1) the COMELEC did not have jurisdiction over Elamparo's petition as it was actually a petition for quo warranto which could
to the United States of America and Renunciation of American Citizenship" before a notary public in Pasig City on 20 October only be filed if Grace Poe wins in the Presidential elections, and that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has primary jurisdiction
2010,44 in satisfaction of the legal requisites stated in Section 5 of R.A. No. 9225.45 The following day, 21 October 2010 to revoke the BI's July 18, 2006 Order;
petitioner submitted the said affidavit to the BI46 and took her oath of office as Chairperson of the MTRCB.47 From then on,
petitioner stopped using her American passport.48 (2) the petition failed to state a cause of action because it did not contain allegations which, if hypothetically admitted, would
make false the statement in her COC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen nor was there any allegation that there was a
On 12 July 2011, the petitioner executed before the Vice Consul of the U.S. Embassy in Manila an "Oath/Affirmation of willful or deliberate intent to misrepresent on her part;
Renunciation of Nationality of the United States."49 On that day, she accomplished a sworn questionnaire before the U.S.
Vice Consul wherein she stated that she had taken her oath as MTRCB Chairperson on 21 October 2010 with the intent, (3) she did not make any material misrepresentation in the COC regarding her citizenship and residency qualifications for:
among others, of relinquishing her American citizenship.50 In the same questionnaire, the petitioner stated that she had
resided outside of the U.S., specifically in the Philippines, from 3 September 1968 to 29 July 1991 and from May 2005 to a. the 1934 Constitutional Convention deliberations show that foundlings were considered citizens;
present.51
b. foundlings are presumed under international law to have been born of citizens of the place where they are found;
On 9 December 2011, the U.S. Vice Consul issued to petitioner a "Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States"
effective 21 October 2010.52 c. she reacquired her natural-born Philippine citizenship under the provisions of R.A. No. 9225;

On 2 October 2012, the petitioner filed with the COMELEC her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for Senator for the 2013 d. she executed a sworn renunciation of her American citizenship prior to the filing of her COC for President in the May 9,
Elections wherein she answered "6 years and 6 months" to the question "Period of residence in the Philippines before May 2016 Elections and that the same is in full force and effect and has not been withdrawn or recanted;
13, 2013."53 Petitioner obtained the highest number of votes and was proclaimed Senator on 16 May 2013. 54
e. the burden was on Elamparo in proving that she did not possess natural-born status;
On 19 December 2013, petitioner obtained Philippine Diplomatic Passport No. DE0004530. 55
f. residence is a matter of evidence and that she reestablished her domicile in the Philippines as early as May 24, 2005;
On 15 October 2015, petitioner filed her COC for the Presidency for the May 2016 Elections. 56 In her COC, the petitioner
declared that she is a natural-born citizen and that her residence in the Philippines up to the day before 9 May 2016 would be g. she could reestablish residence even before she reacquired natural-born citizenship under R.A. No. 9225;
ten (10) years and eleven (11) months counted from 24 May 2005.57 The petitioner attached to her COC an "Affidavit
Affirming Renunciation of U.S.A. Citizenship" subscribed and sworn to before a notary public in Quezon City on 14 October
2015. 58
h. statement regarding the period of residence in her 2012 COC for Senator was an honest mistake, not binding and should He further argued that petitioner's own admission in her COC for Senator that she had only been a resident of the Philippines
give way to evidence on her true date of reacquisition of domicile; for at least six (6) years and six (6) months prior to the 13 May 2013 Elections operates against her. Valdez rejected
petitioner's claim that she could have validly reestablished her domicile in the Philippines prior to her reacquisition of
i. Elamparo's petition is merely an action to usurp the sovereign right of the Filipino people to decide a purely political Philippine citizenship. In effect, his position was that petitioner did not meet the ten (10) year residency requirement for
question, that is, should she serve as the country's next leader.68 President.

After the parties submitted their respective Memoranda, the petition was deemed submitted for resolution. Unlike the previous COMELEC cases filed against petitioner, Contreras' petition,85 docketed as SPA No. 15-007 (DC), limited
the attack to the residency issue. He claimed that petitioner's 2015 COC for President should be cancelled on the ground that
On 1 December 2015, the COMELEC Second Division promulgated a Resolution finding that petitioner's COC, filed for the she did not possess the ten-year period of residency required for said candidacy and that she made false entry in her COC
purpose of running for the President of the Republic of the Philippines in the 9 May 2016 National and Local Elections, when she stated that she is a legal resident of the Philippines for ten (10) years and eleven (11) months by 9 May 2016.86
contained material representations which are false. The fallo of the aforesaid Resolution reads: Contreras contended that the reckoning period for computing petitioner's residency in the Philippines should be from 18 July
2006, the date when her petition to reacquire Philippine citizenship was approved by the BI.87 He asserted that petitioner's
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, the instant Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificate of physical presence in the country before 18 July 2006 could not be valid evidence of reacquisition of her Philippine domicile
Candidacy is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Certificate of Candidacy for President of the Republic of the Philippines in the since she was then living here as an American citizen and as such, she was governed by the Philippine immigration laws.88
May 9, 2016 National and Local Elections filed by respondent Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe Llamanzares is hereby
CANCELLED.69 In her defense, petitioner raised the following arguments:

Motion for Reconsideration of the 1 December 2015 Resolution was filed by petitioner which the COMELEC En Banc resolved First, Tatad's petition should be dismissed outright for failure to state a cause of action. His petition did not invoke grounds
in its 23 December 2015 Resolution by denying the same.70 proper for a disqualification case as enumerated under Sections 12 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code.89 Instead, Tatad
completely relied on the alleged lack of residency and natural-born status of petitioner which are not among the recognized
Origin of Petition for Certiorari in G.R. Nos. 221698-700 grounds for the disqualification of a candidate to an elective office.90

This case stemmed from three (3) separate petitions filed by Francisco S. Tatad (Tatad), Antonio P. Contreras (Contreras) and Second, the petitions filed against her are basically petitions for quo warranto as they focus on establishing her ineligibility for
Amado D. Valdez (Valdez) against petitioner before the COMELEC which were consolidated and raffled to its First Division. the Presidency.91 A petition for quo warranto falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET)
and not the COMELEC.92
In his petition to disqualify petitioner under Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure,71 docketed as SPA No. 15-002 (DC),
Tatad alleged that petitioner lacks the requisite residency and citizenship to qualify her for the Presidency.72 Third, the burden to prove that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen is on the respondents.93 Otherwise stated, she has a
presumption in her favor that she is a natural-born citizen of this country.
Tatad theorized that since the Philippines adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis, persons of unknown parentage,
particularly foundlings, cannot be considered natural-born Filipino citizens since blood relationship is determinative of Fourth, customary international law dictates that foundlings are entitled to a nationality and are presumed to be citizens of
natural-born status.73 Tatad invoked the rule of statutory construction that what is not included is excluded. He averred that the country where they are found.94 Consequently, the petitioner is considered as a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.95
the fact that foundlings were not expressly included in the categories of citizens in the 193 5 Constitution is indicative of the
framers' intent to exclude them.74 Therefore, the burden lies on petitioner to prove that she is a natural-born citizen.75 Fifth, she claimed that as a natural-born citizen, she has every right to be repatriated under R.A. No. 9225 or the right to
reacquire her natural-born status.96 Moreover, the official acts of the Philippine Government enjoy the presumption of
Neither can petitioner seek refuge under international conventions or treaties to support her claim that foundlings have a regularity, to wit: the issuance of the 18 July 2006 Order of the BI declaring her as natural-born citizen, her appointment as
nationality.76 According to Tatad, international conventions and treaties are not self-executory and that local legislations are MTRCB Chair and the issuance of the decree of adoption of San Juan RTC.97 She believed that all these acts reinforced her
necessary in order to give effect to treaty obligations assumed by the Philippines.77 He also stressed that there is no standard position that she is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.98
state practice that automatically confers natural-born status to foundlings.78
Sixth, she maintained that as early as the first quarter of 2005, she started reestablishing her domicile of choice in the
Similar to Elamparo's argument, Tatad claimed that petitioner cannot avail of the option to reacquire Philippine citizenship Philippines as demonstrated by her children's resettlement and schooling in the country, purchase of a condominium unit in
under R.A. No. 9225 because it only applies to former natural-born citizens and petitioner was not as she was a foundling.79 San Juan City and the construction of their family home in Corinthian Hills.99

Referring to petitioner's COC for Senator, Tatad concluded that she did not comply with the ten (10) year residency Seventh, she insisted that she could legally reestablish her domicile of choice in the Philippines even before she renounced
requirement.80 Tatad opined that petitioner acquired her domicile in Quezon City only from the time she renounced her her American citizenship as long as the three determinants for a change of domicile are complied with.100 She reasoned out
American citizenship which was sometime in 2010 or 2011.81 Additionally, Tatad questioned petitioner's lack of intention to that there was no requirement that renunciation of foreign citizenship is a prerequisite for the acquisition of a new domicile
abandon her U.S. domicile as evinced by the fact that her husband stayed thereat and her frequent trips to the U.S.82 of choice.101

In support of his petition to deny due course or cancel the COC of petitioner, docketed as SPA No. 15-139 (DC), Valdez alleged Eighth, she reiterated that the period appearing in the residency portion of her COC for Senator was a mistake made in good
that her repatriation under R.A. No. 9225 did not bestow upon her the status of a natural-born citizen.83 He advanced the faith.102
view that former natural-born citizens who are repatriated under the said Act reacquires only their Philippine citizenship and
will not revert to their original status as natural-born citizens.84 In a Resolution103 promulgated on 11 December 2015, the COMELEC First Division ruled that petitioner is not a natural-born
citizen, that she failed to complete the ten (10) year residency requirement, and that she committed material
misrepresentation in her COC when she declared therein that she has been a resident of the Philippines for a period of ten
(10) years and eleven (11) months as of the day of the elections on 9 May 2016. The COMELEC First Division concluded that
she is not qualified for the elective position of President of the Republic of the Philippines. The dispositive portion of said Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices
Resolution reads: shall be final, executory, and not appealable.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to GRANT the Petitions and cancel (3) Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number
the Certificate of Candidacy of MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POE-LLAMANZARES for the elective position of President of and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters.
the Republic of the Philippines in connection with the 9 May 2016 Synchronized Local and National Elections.
(4) Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government,
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration seeking a reversal of the COMELEC First Division's Resolution. On 23 December including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and
2015, the COMELEC En Banc issued a Resolution denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. credible elections.

Alarmed by the adverse rulings of the COMELEC, petitioner instituted the present petitions for certiorari with urgent prayer (5) Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions which, in addition to other
for the issuance of an ex parte temporary restraining order/status quo ante order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. On 28 requirements, must present their platform or program of government; and accredit citizens' arms of the Commission on
December 2015, temporary restraining orders were issued by the Court enjoining the COMELEC and its representatives from Elections. Religious denominations and sects shall not be registered. Those which seek to achieve their goals through violence
implementing the assailed COMELEC Resolutions until further orders from the Court. The Court also ordered the consolidation or unlawful means, or refuse to uphold and adhere to this Constitution, or which are supported by any foreign government
of the two petitions filed by petitioner in its Resolution of 12 January 2016. Thereafter, oral arguments were held in these shall likewise be refused registration.
cases.
Financial contributions from foreign governments and their agencies to political parties, organizations, coalitions, or
The Court GRANTS the petition of Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares and to ANNUL and SET ASIDE the: candidates related to elections constitute interference in national affairs, and, when accepted, shall be an additional ground
for the cancellation of their registration with the Commission, in addition to other penalties that may be prescribed by law.
1. Resolution dated 1 December 2015 rendered through its Second Division, in SPA No. 15-001 (DC), entitled Estrella C.
Elamparo, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares. (6) File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters; investigate
and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election
2. Resolution dated 11 December 2015, rendered through its First Division, in the consolidated cases SPA No. 15-002 (DC) frauds, offenses, and malpractices.
entitled Francisco S. Tatad, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; SPA No. 15-007 (DC)
entitled Antonio P. Contreras, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; and SPA No. 15-139 (7) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where
(DC) entitled Amado D. Valdez, petitioner, v. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent. propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and
nuisance candidacies.
3. Resolution dated 23 December 2015 of the Commission En Banc, upholding the 1 December 2015 Resolution of the Second
Division. (8) Recommend to the President the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other
disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to its directive, order, or decision.
4. Resolution dated 23 December 2015 of the Commission En Banc, upholding the 11 December 2015 Resolution of the First
Division. (9) Submit to the President and the Congress a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative,
referendum, or recall.
The procedure and the conclusions from which the questioned Resolutions emanated are tainted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. The petitioner is a QUALIFIED CANDIDATE for President in the 9 May 2016 Not any one of the enumerated powers approximate the exactitude of the provisions of Article VI, Section 17 of the same
National Elections. basic law stating that:

The issue before the COMELEC is whether or not the COC of petitioner should be denied due course or cancelled "on the The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests
exclusive ground" that she made in the certificate a false material representation. The exclusivity of the ground should hedge relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of
in the discretion of the COMELEC and restrain it from going into the issue of the qualifications of the candidate for the nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining
position, if, as in this case, such issue is yet undecided or undetermined by the proper authority. The COMELEC cannot itself, six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of
in the same cancellation case, decide the qualification or lack thereof of the candidate. proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or organizations registered under the party-list system
represented therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.
We rely, first of all, on the Constitution of our Republic, particularly its provisions in Article IX, C, Section 2:
or of the last paragraph of Article VII, Section 4 which provides that:
Section 2. The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions:
The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications
(1) Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, of the President or Vice-President, and may promulgate its rules for the purpose.
and recall.
The tribunals which have jurisdiction over the question of the qualifications of the President, the Vice-President, Senators and
(2) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective the Members of the House of Representatives was made clear by the Constitution. There is no such provision for candidates
regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided for these positions.
by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction.
Can the COMELEC be such judge? event they are elected. Only in cases involving charges of false representations made in certificates of candidacy is the
COMELEC given jurisdiction.
The opinion of Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in Romualdez-Marcos v. Commission on Elections,104 which was affirmatively
cited in the En Banc decision in Fermin v. COMELEC105 is our guide. The citation in Fermin reads: Third is the policy underlying the prohibition against pre-proclamation cases in elections for President, Vice President,
Senators and members of the House of Representatives. (R.A. No. 7166, § 15) The purpose is to preserve the prerogatives of
Apparently realizing the lack of an authorized proceeding for declaring the ineligibility of candidates, the COMELEC the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and the other Tribunals as "sole judges" under the Constitution of the
amended its rules on February 15, 1993 so as to provide in Rule 25 § 1, the following: election, returns and qualifications of members of Congress of the President and Vice President, as the case may be.106

Grounds for disqualification. - Any candidate who does not possess all the qualifications of a candidate as provided for by To be sure, the authoritativeness of the Romualdez pronouncements as reiterated in Fermin, led to the amendment through
the Constitution or by existing law or who commits any act declared by law to be grounds for disqualification may be COMELEC Resolution No. 9523, on 25 September 2012 of its Rule 25. This, the 15 February1993 version of Rule 25, which
disqualified from continuing as a candidate. states that:

The lack of provision for declaring the ineligibility of candidates, however, cannot be supplied by a mere rule. Such an act is Grounds for disqualification. -Any candidate who does not possess all the qualifications of a candidate as provided for by
equivalent to the creation of a cause of action which is a substantive matter which the COMELEC, in the exercise of its rule- the Constitution or by existing law or who commits any act declared by law to be grounds for disqualification may be
making power under Art. IX, A, §6 of the Constitution, cannot do it. It is noteworthy that the Constitution withholds from the disqualified from continuing as a candidate.107
COMELEC even the power to decide cases involving the right to vote, which essentially involves an inquiry into qualifications
based on age, residence and citizenship of voters. [Art. IX, C, §2(3)] was in the 2012 rendition, drastically changed to:

The assimilation in Rule 25 of the COMELEC rules of grounds for ineligibility into grounds for disqualification is contrary to Grounds. - Any candidate who, in action or protest in which he is a party, is declared by final decision of a competent court,
the evident intention of the law. For not only in their grounds but also in their consequences are proceedings for guilty of, or found by the Commission to be suffering from any disqualification provided by law or the Constitution.
"disqualification" different from those for a declaration of "ineligibility." "Disqualification" proceedings, as already stated, are
based on grounds specified in § 12 and §68 of the Omnibus Election Code and in §40 of the Local Government Code and are A Petition to Disqualify a Candidate invoking grounds for a Petition to Deny to or Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy or
for the purpose of barring an individual from becoming a candidate or from continuing as a candidate for public office. In a Petition to Declare a Candidate as a Nuisance Candidate, or a combination thereof, shall be summarily dismissed.
word, their purpose is to eliminate a candidate from the race either from the start or during its progress. "Ineligibility," on the
other hand, refers to the lack of the qualifications prescribed in the Constitution or the statutes for holding public office and Clearly, the amendment done in 2012 is an acceptance of the reality of absence of an authorized proceeding for determining
the purpose of the proceedings for declaration of ineligibility is to remove the incumbent from office. before election the qualifications of candidate. Such that, as presently required, to disqualify a candidate there must be a
declaration by a final judgment of a competent court that the candidate sought to be disqualified "is guilty of or found by the
Consequently, that an individual possesses the qualifications for a public office does not imply that he is not disqualified Commission to be suffering from any disqualification provided by law or the Constitution."
from becoming a candidate or continuing as a candidate for a public office and vice versa. We have this sort of dichotomy in
our Naturalization Law. (C.A. No. 473) That an alien has the qualifications prescribed in §2 of the Law does not imply that he Insofar as the qualification of a candidate is concerned, Rule 25 and Rule 23 are flipsides of one to the other. Both do not
does not suffer from any of [the] disqualifications provided in §4. allow, are not authorizations, are not vestment of jurisdiction, for the COMELEC to determine the qualification of a candidate.
The facts of qualification must beforehand be established in a prior proceeding before an authority properly vested with
Before we get derailed by the distinction as to grounds and the consequences of the respective proceedings, the importance jurisdiction. The prior determination of qualification may be by statute, by executive order or by a judgment of a competent
of the opinion is in its statement that "the lack of provision for declaring the ineligibility of candidates, however, cannot be court or tribunal.
supplied by a mere rule". Justice Mendoza lectured in Romualdez-Marcos that:
If a candidate cannot be disqualified without a prior finding that he or she is suffering from a disqualification "provided by law
Three reasons may be cited to explain the absence of an authorized proceeding for determining before election the or the Constitution," neither can the certificate of candidacy be cancelled or denied due course on grounds of false
qualifications of a candidate. representations regarding his or her qualifications, without a prior authoritative finding that he or she is not qualified, such
prior authority being the necessary measure by which the falsity of the representation can be found. The only exception that
First is the fact that unless a candidate wins and is proclaimed elected, there is no necessity for determining his eligibility for can be conceded are self-evident facts of unquestioned or unquestionable veracity and judicial confessions. Such are, anyway,
the office. In contrast, whether an individual should be disqualified as a candidate for acts constituting election offenses (e.g., bases equivalent to prior decisions against which the falsity of representation can be determined.
vote buying, over spending, commission of prohibited acts) is a prejudicial question which should be determined lest he wins
because of the very acts for which his disqualification is being sought. That is why it is provided that if the grounds for The need for a predicate finding or final pronouncement in a proceeding under Rule 23 that deals with, as in this case, alleged
disqualification are established, a candidate will not be voted for; if he has been voted for, the votes in his favor will not be false representations regarding the candidate's citizenship and residence, forced the COMELEC to rule essentially that since
counted; and if for some reason he has been voted for and he has won, either he will not be proclaimed or his proclamation foundlings108 are not mentioned in the enumeration of citizens under the 1935 Constitution,109 they then cannot be
will be set aside. citizens. As the COMELEC stated in oral arguments, when petitioner admitted that she is a foundling, she said it all. This
borders on bigotry. Oddly, in an effort at tolerance, the COMELEC, after saying that it cannot rule that herein petitioner
Second is the fact that the determination of a candidates' eligibility, e.g., his citizenship or, as in this case, his domicile, may possesses blood relationship with a Filipino citizen when "it is certain that such relationship is indemonstrable," proceeded to
take a long time to make, extending beyond the beginning of the term of the office. This is amply demonstrated in the say that "she now has the burden to present evidence to prove her natural filiation with a Filipino parent."
companion case (G.R. No. 120265, Agapito A. Aquino v. COMELEC) where the determination of Aquino's residence was still
pending in the COMELEC even after the elections of May 8, 1995. This is contrary to the summary character proceedings The fact is that petitioner's blood relationship with a Filipino citizen is DEMONSTRABLE.
relating to certificates of candidacy. That is why the law makes the receipt of certificates of candidacy a ministerial duty of the
COMELEC and its officers. The law is satisfied if candidates state in their certificates of candidacy that they are eligible for the
position which they seek to fill, leaving the determination of their qualifications to be made after the election and only in the
At the outset, it must be noted that presumptions regarding paternity is neither unknown nor unaccepted in Philippine Law. From 1965 to 1975, the total number of foreigners born in the Philippines is 15,986 while the total number of Filipinos born
The Family Code of the Philippines has a whole chapter on Paternity and Filiation.110 That said, there is more than sufficient in the Philippines is 15,558,278. For this period, the ratio of non-Filipino children is 1:661. This means that the statistical
evider1ce that petitioner has Filipino parents and is therefore a natural-born Filipino. Parenthetically, the burden of proof was probability that any child born in the Philippines on that decade would be a natural born Filipino is 99.83%.
on private respondents to show that petitioner is not a Filipino citizen. The private respondents should have shown that both
of petitioner's parents were aliens. Her admission that she is a foundling did not shift the burden to her because such status We can invite statisticians and social anthropologists to crunch the numbers for us, but I am confident that the statistical
did not exclude the possibility that her parents were Filipinos, especially as in this case where there is a high probability, if not probability that a child born in the Philippines would be a natural born Filipino will not be affected by whether or not the
certainty, that her parents are Filipinos. parents are known. If at all, the likelihood that a foundling would have a Filipino parent might even be higher than 99.9%.
Filipinos abandon their children out of poverty or perhaps, shame. We do not imagine foreigners abandoning their children
The factual issue is not who the parents of petitioner are, as their identities are unknown, but whether such parents are here in the Philippines thinking those infants would have better economic opportunities or believing that this country is a
Filipinos. Under Section 4, Rule 128: tropical paradise suitable for raising abandoned children. I certainly doubt whether a foreign couple has ever considered their
child excess baggage that is best left behind.
Sect. 4. Relevancy, collateral matters - Evidence must have such a relation to the fact in issue as to induce belief in its
existence or no-existence. Evidence on collateral matters shall not be allowed, except when it tends in any reasonable degree To deny full Filipino citizenship to all foundlings and render them stateless just because there may be a theoretical chance
to establish the probability of improbability of the fact in issue. that one among the thousands of these foundlings might be the child of not just one, but two, foreigners is downright
discriminatory, irrational, and unjust. It just doesn't make any sense. Given the statistical certainty - 99.9% - that any child
The Solicitor General offered official statistics from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)111 that from 1965 to 1975, the born in the Philippines would be a natural born citizen, a decision denying foundlings such status is effectively a denial of their
total number of foreigners born in the Philippines was 15,986 while the total number of Filipinos born in the country was birthright. There is no reason why this Honorable Court should use an improbable hypothetical to sacrifice the fundamental
10,558,278. The statistical probability that any child born in the Philippines in that decade is natural-born Filipino was 99.83%. political rights of an entire class of human beings. Your Honor, constitutional interpretation and the use of common sense are
For her part, petitioner presented census statistics for Iloilo Province for 1960 and 1970, also from the PSA. In 1960, there not separate disciplines.
were 962,532 Filipinos and 4,734 foreigners in the province; 99.62% of the population were Filipinos. In 1970, the figures
were 1,162,669 Filipinos and 5,304 foreigners, or 99.55%. Also presented were figures for the child producing ages (15-49). In As a matter of law, foundlings are as a class, natural-born citizens. While the 1935 Constitution's enumeration is silent as to
1960, there were 230,528 female Filipinos as against 730 female foreigners or 99.68%. In the same year, there were 210,349 foundlings, there is no restrictive language which would definitely exclude foundlings either. Because of silence and ambiguity
Filipino males and 886 male aliens, or 99.58%. In 1970, there were 270,299 Filipino females versus 1, 190 female aliens, or in the enumeration with respect to foundlings, there is a need to examine the intent of the framers. In Nitafan v.
99.56%. That same year, there were 245,740 Filipino males as against only 1,165 male aliens or 99.53%. COMELEC did not Commissioner of Internal Revenue,114 this Court held that:
dispute these figures. Notably, Commissioner Arthur Lim admitted, during the oral arguments, that at the time petitioner was
found in 1968, the majority of the population in Iloilo was Filipino.112 The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental principle of constitutional construction that the
intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it should be given effect. The primary task in
Other circumstantial evidence of the nationality of petitioner's parents are the fact that she was abandoned as an infant in a constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the
Roman Catholic Church in Iloilo City.1âwphi1 She also has typical Filipino features: height, flat nasal bridge, straight black hair, people in the adoption of the Constitution. It may also be safely assumed that the people in ratifying the Constitution were
almond shaped eyes and an oval face. guided mainly by the explanation offered by the framers.115

There is a disputable presumption that things have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary As pointed out by petitioner as well as the Solicitor General, the deliberations of the 1934 Constitutional Convention show
habits of life.113 All of the foregoing evidence, that a person with typical Filipino features is abandoned in Catholic Church in a that the framers intended foundlings to be covered by the enumeration. The following exchange is recorded:
municipality where the population of the Philippines is overwhelmingly Filipinos such that there would be more than a 99%
chance that a child born in the province would be a Filipino, would indicate more than ample probability if not statistical Sr. Rafols: For an amendment. I propose that after subsection 2, the following is inserted: "The natural children of a foreign
certainty, that petitioner's parents are Filipinos. That probability and the evidence on which it is based are admissible under father and a Filipino mother not recognized by the father.
Rule 128, Section 4 of the Revised Rules on Evidence.
President:
To assume otherwise is to accept the absurd, if not the virtually impossible, as the norm. In the words of the Solicitor General:
[We] would like to request a clarification from the proponent of the amendment. The gentleman refers to natural children
Second. It is contrary to common sense because foreigners do not come to the Philippines so they can get pregnant and or to any kind of illegitimate children?
leave their newborn babies behind. We do not face a situation where the probability is such that every foundling would have
a 50% chance of being a Filipino and a 50% chance of being a foreigner. We need to frame our questions properly. What are Sr. Rafols:
the chances that the parents of anyone born in the Philippines would be foreigners? Almost zero. What are the chances that
the parents of anyone born in the Philippines would be Filipinos? 99.9%. To all kinds of illegitimate children. It also includes natural children of unknown parentage, natural or illegitimate children
of unknown parents.

Sr. Montinola:
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, from 2010 to 2014, on a yearly average, there were 1,766,046 children born
in the Philippines to Filipino parents, as opposed to 1,301 children in the Philippines of foreign parents. Thus, for that sample For clarification. The gentleman said "of unknown parents." Current codes consider them Filipino, that is, I refer to the
period, the ratio of non-Filipino children to natural born Filipino children is 1:1357. This means that the statistical probability Spanish Code wherein all children of unknown parentage born in Spanish territory are considered Spaniards, because the
that any child born in the Philippines would be a natural born Filipino is 99.93%. presumption is that a child of unknown parentage is the son of a Spaniard. This may be applied in the Philippines in that a
child of unknown parentage born in the Philippines is deemed to be Filipino, and there is no need ...
Sr. Rafols: international law were already clear to the effect that illegitimate children followed the citizenship of the mother, and that
foundlings followed the nationality of the place where they were found, thereby making unnecessary the inclusion in the
There is a need, because we are relating the conditions that are [required] to be Filipino. Constitution of the proposed amendment.

Sr. Montinola: This explanation was likewise the position of the Solicitor General during the 16 February 2016 Oral Arguments:

But that is the interpretation of the law, therefore, there is no [more] need for amendment. We all know that the Rafols proposal was rejected. But note that what was declined was the proposal for a textual and
explicit recognition of foundlings as Filipinos. And so, the way to explain the constitutional silence is by saying that it was the
Sr. Rafols: view of Montinola and Roxas which prevailed that there is no more need to expressly declare foundlings as Filipinos.

The amendment should read thus: Obviously, it doesn't matter whether Montinola's or Roxas' views were legally correct. Framers of a constitution can
constitutionalize rules based on assumptions that are imperfect or even wrong. They can even overturn existing rules. This is
"Natural or illegitimate of a foreign father and a Filipino mother recognized by one, or the children of unknown parentage." basic. What matters here is that Montinola and Roxas were able to convince their colleagues in the convention that there is
no more need to expressly declare foundlings as Filipinos because they are already impliedly so recognized.
Sr. Briones:
In other words, the constitutional silence is fully explained in terms of linguistic efficiency and the avoidance of redundancy.
The amendment [should] mean children born in the Philippines of unknown parentage. The policy is clear: it is to recognize foundlings, as a class, as Filipinos under Art. IV, Section 1 (3) of the 1935 Constitution. This
inclusive policy is carried over into the 1973 and 1987 Constitution. It is appropriate to invoke a famous scholar as he was
Sr. Rafols: paraphrased by Chief Justice Fernando: the constitution is not silently silent, it is silently vocal. 118

The son of a Filipina to a Foreigner, although this [person] does not recognize the child, is not unknown. The Solicitor General makes the further point that the framers "worked to create a just and humane society," that "they were
reasonable patriots and that it would be unfair to impute upon them a discriminatory intent against foundlings." He exhorts
President: that, given the grave implications of the argument that foundlings are not natural-born Filipinos, the Court must search the
records of the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions "for an express intention to deny foundlings the status of Filipinos. The
Does the gentleman accept the amendment or not? burden is on those who wish to use the constitution to discriminate against foundlings to show that the constitution really
intended to take this path to the dark side and inflict this across the board marginalization."
Sr. Rafols:
We find no such intent or language permitting discrimination against foundlings. On the contrary, all three Constitutions
I do not accept the amendment because the amendment would exclude the children of a Filipina with a foreigner who does guarantee the basic right to equal protection of the laws. All exhort the State to render social justice. Of special consideration
not recognize the child. Their parentage is not unknown and I think those of overseas Filipino mother and father [whom the are several provisions in the present charter: Article II, Section 11 which provides that the "State values the dignity of every
latter] does not recognize, should also be considered as Filipinos. human person and guarantees full respect for human rights," Article XIII, Section 1 which mandates Congress to "give highest
priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social,
President: economic, and political inequalities x x x" and Article XV, Section 3 which requires the State to defend the "right of children to
assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation,
The question in order is the amendment to the amendment from the Gentleman from Cebu, Mr. Briones. and other conditions prejudicial to their development." Certainly, these provisions contradict an intent to discriminate against
foundlings on account of their unfortunate status.
Sr. Busion:
Domestic laws on adoption also support the principle that foundlings are Filipinos. These laws do not provide that adoption
Mr. President, don't you think it would be better to leave this matter in the hands of the Legislature? confers citizenship upon the adoptee. Rather, the adoptee must be a Filipino in the first place to be adopted. The most basic
of such laws is Article 15 of the Civil Code which provides that "[l]aws relating to family rights, duties, status, conditions, legal
Sr. Roxas: capacity of persons are binding on citizens of the Philippines even though living abroad." Adoption deals with status, and a
Philippine adoption court will have jurisdiction only if the adoptee is a Filipino. In Ellis and Ellis v. Republic,119 a child left by
Mr. President, my humble opinion is that these cases are few and far in between, that the constitution need [not] refer to an unidentified mother was sought to be adopted by aliens. This Court said:
them. By international law the principle that children or people born in a country of unknown parents are citizens in this
nation is recognized, and it is not necessary to include a provision on the subject exhaustively.116 In this connection, it should be noted that this is a proceedings in rem, which no court may entertain unless it has
jurisdiction, not only over the subject matter of the case and over the parties, but also over the res, which is the personal
Though the Rafols amendment was not carried out, it was not because there was any objection to the notion that persons of status of Baby Rose as well as that of petitioners herein. Our Civil Code (Art. 15) adheres to the theory that jurisdiction over
"unknown parentage" are not citizens but only because their number was not enough to merit specific mention. Such was the the status of a natural person is determined by the latter's nationality. Pursuant to this theory, we have jurisdiction over the
account,117 cited by petitioner, of delegate and constitution law author Jose Aruego who said: status of Baby Rose, she being a citizen of the Philippines, but not over the status of the petitioners, who are foreigners.120
(Underlining supplied)
During the debates on this provision, Delegate Rafols presented an amendment to include as Filipino citizens the illegitimate
children with a foreign father of a mother who was a citizen of the Philippines, and also foundlings; but this amendment was Recent legislation is more direct. R.A. No. 8043 entitled "An Act Establishing the Rules to Govern the Inter-Country Adoption
defeated primarily because the Convention believed that the cases, being too few to warrant the inclusion of a provision in of Filipino Children and For Other Purposes" (otherwise known as the "Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995"), R.A. No. 8552,
the Constitution to apply to them, should be governed by statutory legislation. Moreover, it was believed that the rules of entitled "An Act Establishing the Rules and Policies on the Adoption of Filipino Children and For Other Purposes" (otherwise
known as the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998) and this Court's A.M. No. 02-6-02-SC or the "Rule on Adoption," all expressly
refer to "Filipino children" and include foundlings as among Filipino children who may be adopted.
In 1986, the country also ratified the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 24 thereof
It has been argued that the process to determine that the child is a foundling leading to the issuance of a foundling certificate provide for the right of every child "to acquire a nationality:"
under these laws and the issuance of said certificate are acts to acquire or perfect Philippine citizenship which make the
foundling a naturalized Filipino at best. This is erroneous. Under Article IV, Section 2 "Natural-born citizens are those who are Article 24
citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship." In
the first place, "having to perform an act" means that the act must be personally done by the citizen. In this instance, the 1. Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin,
determination of foundling status is done not by the child but by the authorities.121 Secondly, the object of the process is the property or birth, the right, to such measures of protection as are required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family,
determination of the whereabouts of the parents, not the citizenship of the child. Lastly, the process is certainly not society and the State.
analogous to naturalization proceedings to acquire Philippine citizenship, or the election of such citizenship by one born of an
alien father and a Filipino mother under the 1935 Constitution, which is an act to perfect it.

In this instance, such issue is moot because there is no dispute that petitioner is a foundling, as evidenced by a Foundling 2. Every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name.
Certificate issued in her favor.122 The Decree of Adoption issued on 13 May 1974, which approved petitioner's adoption by
Jesusa Sonora Poe and Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, expressly refers to Emiliano and his wife, Rosario Militar, as her "foundling
parents," hence effectively affirming petitioner's status as a foundling.123
3. Every child has the right to acquire a nationality.
Foundlings are likewise citizens under international law. Under the 1987 Constitution, an international law can become part
of the sphere of domestic law either by transformation or incorporation. The transformation method requires that an
international law be transformed into a domestic law through a constitutional mechanism such as local legislation.124 On the
other hand, generally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the incorporation clause of the Constitution, form The common thread of the UDHR, UNCRC and ICCPR is to obligate the Philippines to grant nationality from birth and ensure
part of the laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty obligations. Generally accepted principles of international that no child is stateless. This grant of nationality must be at the time of birth, and it cannot be accomplished by the
law include international custom as evidence of a general practice accepted as law, and general principles of law recognized application of our present naturalization laws, Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended, and R.A. No. 9139, both of which
by civilized nations.125 International customary rules are accepted as binding as a result from the combination of two require the applicant to be at least eighteen (18) years old.
elements: the established, widespread, and consistent practice on the part of States; and a psychological element known as
the opinionjuris sive necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity). Implicit in the latter element is a belief that the practice in The principles found in two conventions, while yet unratified by the Philippines, are generally accepted principles of
question is rendered obligatory by the existence of a rule of law requiring it.126 "General principles of law recognized by international law. The first is Article 14 of the 1930 Hague Convention on Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of
civilized nations" are principles "established by a process of reasoning" or judicial logic, based on principles which are "basic Nationality Laws under which a foundling is presumed to have the "nationality of the country of birth," to wit:
to legal systems generally,"127 such as "general principles of equity, i.e., the general principles of fairness and justice," and
the "general principle against discrimination" which is embodied in the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Article 14
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Racial Discrimination, the Convention Against Discrimination in Education, the Convention (No. 111) Concerning A child whose parents are both unknown shall have the nationality of the country of birth. If the child's parentage is
Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation."128 These are the same core principles which underlie the established, its nationality shall be determined by the rules applicable in cases where the parentage is known.
Philippine Constitution itself, as embodied in the due process and equal protection clauses of the Bill of Rights.129
A foundling is, until the contrary is proved, presumed to have been born on the territory of the State in which it was found.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights ("UDHR") has been interpreted by this Court as part of the generally accepted (Underlining supplied)
principles of international law and binding on the State.130 Article 15 thereof states:
The second is the principle that a foundling is presumed born of citizens of the country where he is found, contained in Article
1. Everyone has the right to a nationality. 2 of the 1961 United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness:

2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality. Article 2

The Philippines has also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Article 7 of the UNCRC imposes the A foundling found in the territory of a Contracting State shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be considered to have
following obligations on our country: been born within the territory of parents possessing the nationality of that State.

Article 7 That the Philippines is not a party to the 1930 Hague Convention nor to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of
Statelessness does not mean that their principles are not binding. While the Philippines is not a party to the 1930 Hague
1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a Convention, it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, Article 15(1) ofwhich131 effectively affirms Article
nationality and as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents. 14 of the 1930 Hague Convention. Article 2 of the 1961 "United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness"
merely "gives effect" to Article 15(1) of the UDHR.132 In Razon v. Tagitis, 133 this Court noted that the Philippines had not
signed or ratified the "International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance." Yet, we ruled
that the proscription against enforced disappearances in the said convention was nonetheless binding as a "generally
2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations accepted principle of international law." Razon v. Tagitis is likewise notable for declaring the ban as a generally accepted
under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.
principle of international law although the convention had been ratified by only sixteen states and had not even come into The COMELEC's rule arrogantly disregards consistent jurisprudence on the matter of repatriation statutes in general and of
force and which needed the ratification of a minimum of twenty states. Additionally, as petitioner points out, the Court was R.A. No. 9225 in particular.
content with the practice of international and regional state organs, regional state practice in Latin America, and State
Practice in the United States. In the seminal case of Bengson Ill v. HRET, 140 repatriation was explained as follows:

Another case where the number of ratifying countries was not determinative is Mijares v. Ranada, 134 where only four Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality. This means that a naturalized Filipino who lost his
countries had "either ratified or acceded to"135 the 1966 "Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was originally a natural-
Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters" when the case was decided in 2005. The Court also pointed out that that nine born citizen before he lost his Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his former status as a natural-born Filipino.
member countries of the European Common Market had acceded to the Judgments Convention. The Court also cited U.S.
laws and jurisprudence on recognition of foreign judgments. In all, only the practices of fourteen countries were considered R.A. No. 9225 is a repatriation statute and has been described as such in several cases. They include Sobejana-Condon v.
and yet, there was pronouncement that recognition of foreign judgments was widespread practice. COMELEC141 where we described it as an "abbreviated repatriation process that restores one's Filipino citizenship x x x." Also
included is Parreno v. Commission on Audit,142 which cited Tabasa v. Court of Appeals,143 where we said that "[t]he
Our approach in Razon and Mijares effectively takes into account the fact that "generally accepted principles of international repatriation of the former Filipino will allow him to recover his natural-born citizenship. Parreno v. Commission on Audit144 is
law" are based not only on international custom, but also on "general principles of law recognized by civilized nations," as the categorical that "if petitioner reacquires his Filipino citizenship (under R.A. No. 9225), he will ... recover his natural-born
phrase is understood in Article 38.1 paragraph (c) of the ICJ Statute. Justice, fairness, equity and the policy against citizenship."
discrimination, which are fundamental principles underlying the Bill of Rights and which are "basic to legal systems
generally,"136 support the notion that the right against enforced disappearances and the recognition of foreign judgments, The COMELEC construed the phrase "from birth" in the definition of natural citizens as implying "that natural-born citizenship
were correctly considered as "generally accepted principles of international law" under the incorporation clause. must begin at birth and remain uninterrupted and continuous from birth." R.A. No. 9225 was obviously passed in line with
Congress' sole prerogative to determine how citizenship may be lost or reacquired. Congress saw it fit to decree that natural-
Petitioner's evidence137 shows that at least sixty countries in Asia, North and South America, and Europe have passed born citizenship may be reacquired even if it had been once lost. It is not for the COMELEC to disagree with the Congress'
legislation recognizing foundlings as its citizen. Forty-two (42) of those countries follow the jus sanguinis regime. Of the sixty, determination.
only thirty-three (33) are parties to the 1961 Convention on Statelessness; twenty-six (26) are not signatories to the
Convention. Also, the Chief Justice, at the 2 February 2016 Oral Arguments pointed out that in 166 out of 189 countries More importantly, COMELEC's position that natural-born status must be continuous was already rejected in Bengson III v.
surveyed (or 87.83%), foundlings are recognized as citizens. These circumstances, including the practice of jus sanguinis HRET145 where the phrase "from birth" was clarified to mean at the time of birth: "A person who at the time of his birth, is a
countries, show that it is a generally accepted principle of international law to presume foundlings as having been born of citizen of a particular country, is a natural-born citizen thereof." Neither is "repatriation" an act to "acquire or perfect" one's
nationals of the country in which the foundling is found. citizenship. In Bengson III v. HRET, this Court pointed out that there are only two types of citizens under the 1987
Constitution: natural-born citizen and naturalized, and that there is no third category for repatriated citizens:
Current legislation reveals the adherence of the Philippines to this generally accepted principle of international law. In
particular, R.A. No. 8552, R.A. No. 8042 and this Court's Rules on Adoption, expressly refer to "Filipino children." In all of It is apparent from the enumeration of who are citizens under the present Constitution that there are only two classes of
them, foundlings are among the Filipino children who could be adopted. Likewise, it has been pointed that the DFA issues citizens: (1) those who are natural-born and (2) those who are naturalized in accordance with law. A citizen who is not a
passports to foundlings. Passports are by law, issued only to citizens. This shows that even the executive department, acting naturalized Filipino, ie., did not have to undergo the process of naturalization to obtain Philippine citizenship, necessarily is a
through the DFA, considers foundlings as Philippine citizens. natural-born Filipino. Noteworthy is the absence in said enumeration of a separate category for persons who, after losing
Philippine citizenship, subsequently reacquire it. The reason therefor is clear: as to such persons, they would either be
Adopting these legal principles from the 1930 Hague Convention and the 1961 Convention on Statelessness is rational and natural-born or naturalized depending on the reasons for the loss of their citizenship and the mode prescribed by the
reasonable and consistent with the jus sanguinis regime in our Constitution. The presumption of natural-born citizenship of applicable law for the reacquisition thereof. As respondent Cruz was not required by law to go through naturalization
foundlings stems from the presumption that their parents are nationals of the Philippines. As the empirical data provided by proceedings in order to reacquire his citizenship, he is perforce a natural-born Filipino. As such, he possessed all the necessary
the PSA show, that presumption is at more than 99% and is a virtual certainty. qualifications to be elected as member of the House of Representatives.146

In sum, all of the international law conventions and instruments on the matter of nationality of foundlings were designed to The COMELEC cannot reverse a judicial precedent. That is reserved to this Court. And while we may always revisit a doctrine,
address the plight of a defenseless class which suffers from a misfortune not of their own making. We cannot be restrictive as a new rule reversing standing doctrine cannot be retroactively applied. In Morales v. Court of Appeals and Jejomar Erwin S.
to their application if we are a country which calls itself civilized and a member of the community of nations. The Solicitor Binay, Jr.,147 where we decreed reversed the condonation doctrine, we cautioned that it "should be prospective in
General's warning in his opening statement is relevant: application for the reason that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws of the Constitution, until reversed, shall
form part of the legal system of the Philippines." This Court also said that "while the future may ultimately uncover a
.... the total effect of those documents is to signify to this Honorable Court that those treaties and conventions were doctrine's error, it should be, as a general rule, recognized as good law prior to its abandonment. Consequently, the people's
drafted because the world community is concerned that the situation of foundlings renders them legally invisible. It would be reliance thereupon should be respected."148
tragically ironic if this Honorable Court ended up using the international instruments which seek to protect and uplift
foundlings a tool to deny them political status or to accord them second-class citizenship.138 Lastly, it was repeatedly pointed out during the oral arguments that petitioner committed a falsehood when she put in the
spaces for "born to" in her application for repatriation under R.A. No. 9225 the names of her adoptive parents, and this misled
The COMELEC also ruled139 that petitioner's repatriation in July 2006 under the provisions of R.A. No. 9225 did not result in the BI to presume that she was a natural-born Filipino. It has been contended that the data required were the names of her
the reacquisition of natural-born citizenship. The COMELEC reasoned that since the applicant must perform an act, what is biological parents which are precisely unknown.
reacquired is not "natural-born" citizenship but only plain "Philippine citizenship."
This position disregards one important fact - petitioner was legally adopted. One of the effects of adoption is "to sever all
legal ties between the biological parents and the adoptee, except when the biological parent is the spouse of the
adoptee."149 Under R.A. No. 8552, petitioner was also entitled to an amended birth certificate "attesting to the fact that the
adoptee is the child of the adopter(s)" and which certificate "shall not bear any notation that it is an amended issue."150 That
law also requires that "[a]ll records, books, and papers relating to the adoption cases in the files of the court, the Department and animus manendi, but maintained there was no animus non-revertendi.154 The COMELEC disregarded the import of all
[of Social Welfare and Development], or any other agency or institution participating in the adoption proceedings shall be the evidence presented by petitioner on the basis of the position that the earliest date that petitioner could have started
kept strictly confidential."151 The law therefore allows petitioner to state that her adoptive parents were her birth parents as residence in the Philippines was in July 2006 when her application under R.A. No. 9225 was approved by the BI. In this regard,
that was what would be stated in her birth certificate anyway. And given the policy of strict confidentiality of adoption COMELEC relied on Coquilla v. COMELEC,155 Japzon v. COMELEC156 and Caballero v. COMELEC. 157 During the oral
records, petitioner was not obligated to disclose that she was an adoptee. arguments, the private respondents also added Reyes v. COMELEC.158 Respondents contend that these cases decree that the
stay of an alien former Filipino cannot be counted until he/she obtains a permanent resident visa or reacquires Philippine
Clearly, to avoid a direct ruling on the qualifications of petitioner, which it cannot make in the same case for cancellation of citizenship, a visa-free entry under a balikbayan stamp being insufficient. Since petitioner was still an American (without any
COC, it resorted to opinionatedness which is, moreover, erroneous. The whole process undertaken by COMELEC is wrapped in resident visa) until her reacquisition of citizenship under R.A. No. 9225, her stay from 24 May 2005 to 7 July 2006 cannot be
grave abuse of discretion. counted.

On Residence But as the petitioner pointed out, the facts in these four cases are very different from her situation. In Coquilla v.
COMELEC,159 the only evidence presented was a community tax certificate secured by the candidate and his declaration that
The tainted process was repeated in disposing of the issue of whether or not petitioner committed false material he would be running in the elections. Japzon v. COMELEC160 did not involve a candidate who wanted to count residence prior
representation when she stated in her COC that she has before and until 9 May 2016 been a resident of the Philippines for ten to his reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. With the Court decreeing that residence is distinct from citizenship, the issue
(10) years and eleven (11) months. there was whether the candidate's acts after reacquisition sufficed to establish residence. In Caballero v. COMELEC, 161 the
candidate admitted that his place of work was abroad and that he only visited during his frequent vacations. In Reyes v.
Petitioner's claim that she will have been a resident for ten (10) years and eleven (11) months on the day before the 2016 COMELEC,162 the candidate was found to be an American citizen who had not even reacquired Philippine citizenship under
elections, is true. R.A. No. 9225 or had renounced her U.S. citizenship. She was disqualified on the citizenship issue. On residence, the only
proof she offered was a seven-month stint as provincial officer. The COMELEC, quoted with approval by this Court, said that
The Constitution requires presidential candidates to have ten (10) years' residence in the Philippines before the day of the "such fact alone is not sufficient to prove her one-year residency."
elections. Since the forthcoming elections will be held on 9 May 2016, petitioner must have been a resident of the Philippines
prior to 9 May 2016 for ten (10) years. In answer to the requested information of "Period of Residence in the Philippines up to It is obvious that because of the sparse evidence on residence in the four cases cited by the respondents, the Court had no
the day before May 09, 2016," she put in "10 years 11 months" which according to her pleadings in these cases corresponds choice but to hold that residence could be counted only from acquisition of a permanent resident visa or from reacquisition of
to a beginning date of 25 May 2005 when she returned for good from the U.S. Philippine citizenship. In contrast, the evidence of petitioner is overwhelming and taken together leads to no other conclusion
that she decided to permanently abandon her U.S. residence (selling the house, taking the children from U.S. schools, getting
When petitioner immigrated to the U.S. in 1991, she lost her original domicile, which is the Philippines. There are three quotes from the freight company, notifying the U.S. Post Office of the abandonment of their address in the U.S., donating
requisites to acquire a new domicile: 1. Residence or bodily presence in a new locality; 2. an intention to remain there; and 3. excess items to the Salvation Army, her husband resigning from U.S. employment right after selling the U.S. house) and
an intention to abandon the old domicile.152 To successfully effect a change of domicile, one must demonstrate an actual permanently relocate to the Philippines and actually re-established her residence here on 24 May 2005 (securing T.I.N,
removal or an actual change of domicile; a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a enrolling her children in Philippine schools, buying property here, constructing a residence here, returning to the Philippines
new one and definite acts which correspond with the purpose. In other words, there must basically be animus manendi after all trips abroad, her husband getting employed here). Indeed, coupled with her eventual application to reacquire
coupled with animus non revertendi. The purpose to remain in or at the domicile of choice must be for an indefinite period of Philippine citizenship and her family's actual continuous stay in the Philippines over the years, it is clear that when petitioner
time; the change of residence must be voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new domicile must be returned on 24 May 2005 it was for good.
actual.153
In this connection, the COMELEC also took it against petitioner that she had entered the Philippines visa-free as a balikbayan.
Petitioner presented voluminous evidence showing that she and her family abandoned their U.S. domicile and relocated to A closer look at R.A. No. 6768 as amended, otherwise known as the "An Act Instituting a Balikbayan Program," shows that
the Philippines for good. These evidence include petitioner's former U.S. passport showing her arrival on 24 May 2005 and her there is no overriding intent to treat balikbayans as temporary visitors who must leave after one year. Included in the law is a
return to the Philippines every time she travelled abroad; e-mail correspondences starting in March 2005 to September 2006 former Filipino who has been naturalized abroad and "comes or returns to the Philippines." 163 The law institutes a
with a freight company to arrange for the shipment of their household items weighing about 28,000 pounds to the balikbayan program "providing the opportunity to avail of the necessary training to enable the balikbayan to become
Philippines; e-mail with the Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry inquiring how to ship their dog to the Philippines; school economically self-reliant members of society upon their return to the country"164 in line with the government's
records of her children showing enrollment in Philippine schools starting June 2005 and for succeeding years; tax "reintegration program."165 Obviously, balikbayans are not ordinary transients.
identification card for petitioner issued on July 2005; titles for condominium and parking slot issued in February 2006 and
their corresponding tax declarations issued in April 2006; receipts dated 23 February 2005 from the Salvation Army in the U.S. Given the law's express policy to facilitate the return of a balikbayan and help him reintegrate into society, it would be an
acknowledging donation of items from petitioner's family; March 2006 e-mail to the U.S. Postal Service confirming request for unduly harsh conclusion to say in absolute terms that the balikbayan must leave after one year. That visa-free period is
change of address; final statement from the First American Title Insurance Company showing sale of their U.S. home on 27 obviously granted him to allow him to re-establish his life and reintegrate himself into the community before he attends to
April 2006; 12 July 2011 filled-up questionnaire submitted to the U.S. Embassy where petitioner indicated that she had been a the necessary formal and legal requirements of repatriation. And that is exactly what petitioner did - she reestablished life
Philippine resident since May 2005; affidavit from Jesusa Sonora Poe (attesting to the return of petitioner on 24 May 2005 here by enrolling her children and buying property while awaiting the return of her husband and then applying for
and that she and her family stayed with affiant until the condominium was purchased); and Affidavit from petitioner's repatriation shortly thereafter.
husband (confirming that the spouses jointly decided to relocate to the Philippines in 2005 and that he stayed behind in the
U.S. only to finish some work and to sell the family home). No case similar to petitioner's, where the former Filipino's evidence of change in domicile is extensive and overwhelming, has
as yet been decided by the Court. Petitioner's evidence of residence is unprecedented. There is no judicial precedent that
The foregoing evidence were undisputed and the facts were even listed by the COMELEC, particularly in its Resolution in the comes close to the facts of residence of petitioner. There is no indication in Coquilla v. COMELEC,166 and the other cases
Tatad, Contreras and Valdez cases. cited by the respondents that the Court intended to have its rulings there apply to a situation where the facts are different.
Surely, the issue of residence has been decided particularly on the facts-of-the case basis.
However, the COMELEC refused to consider that petitioner's domicile had been timely changed as of 24 May 2005. At the oral
arguments, COMELEC Commissioner Arthur Lim conceded the presence of the first two requisites, namely, physical presence
To avoid the logical conclusion pointed out by the evidence of residence of petitioner, the COMELEC ruled that petitioner's The facts now, if not stretched to distortion, do not show or even hint at an intention to hide the 2012 statement and have it
claim of residence of ten (10) years and eleven (11) months by 9 May 2016 in her 2015 COC was false because she put six ( 6) covered by the 2015 representation. Petitioner, moreover, has on her side this Court's pronouncement that:
years and six ( 6) months as "period of residence before May 13, 2013" in her 2012 COC for Senator. Thus, according to the
COMELEC, she started being a Philippine resident only in November 2006. In doing so, the COMELEC automatically assumed Concededly, a candidate's disqualification to run for public office does not necessarily constitute material
as true the statement in the 2012 COC and the 2015 COC as false. misrepresentation which is the sole ground for denying due course to, and for the cancellation of, a COC. Further, as already
discussed, the candidate's misrepresentation in his COC must not only refer to a material fact (eligibility and qualifications for
As explained by petitioner in her verified pleadings, she misunderstood the date required in the 2013 COC as the period of elective office), but should evince a deliberate intent to mislead, misinform or hide a fact which would otherwise render a
residence as of the day she submitted that COC in 2012. She said that she reckoned residency from April-May 2006 which was candidate ineligible. It must be made with an intention to deceive the electorate as to one's qualifications to run for public
the period when the U.S. house was sold and her husband returned to the Philippines. In that regard, she was advised by her office.168
lawyers in 2015 that residence could be counted from 25 May 2005
In sum, the COMELEC, with the same posture of infallibilism, virtually ignored a good number of evidenced dates all of which
Petitioner's explanation that she misunderstood the query in 2012 (period of residence before 13 May 2013) as inquiring can evince animus manendi to the Philippines and animus non revertedi to the United States of America. The veracity of the
about residence as of the time she submitted the COC, is bolstered by the change which the COMELEC itself introduced in the events of coming and staying home was as much as dismissed as inconsequential, the focus having been fixed at the
2015 COC which is now "period of residence in the Philippines up to the day before May 09, 2016." The COMELEC would not petitioner's "sworn declaration in her COC for Senator" which the COMELEC said "amounts to a declaration and therefore an
have revised the query if it did not acknowledge that the first version was vague. admission that her residence in the Philippines only commence sometime in November 2006"; such that "based on this
declaration, [petitioner] fails to meet the residency requirement for President." This conclusion, as already shown, ignores the
That petitioner could have reckoned residence from a date earlier than the sale of her U.S. house and the return of her standing jurisprudence that it is the fact of residence, not the statement of the person that determines residence for purposes
husband is plausible given the evidence that she had returned a year before. Such evidence, to repeat, would include her of compliance with the constitutional requirement of residency for election as President. It ignores the easily researched
passport and the school records of her children. matter that cases on questions of residency have been decided favorably for the candidate on the basis of facts of residence
far less in number, weight and substance than that presented by petitioner.169 It ignores, above all else, what we consider as
It was grave abuse of discretion for the COMELEC to treat the 2012 COC as a binding and conclusive admission against a primary reason why petitioner cannot be bound by her declaration in her COC for Senator which declaration was not even
petitioner. It could be given in evidence against her, yes, but it was by no means conclusive. There is precedent after all where considered by the SET as an issue against her eligibility for Senator. When petitioner made the declaration in her COC for
a candidate's mistake as to period of residence made in a COC was overcome by evidence. In Romualdez-Marcos v. Senator that she has been a resident for a period of six (6) years and six (6) months counted up to the 13 May 2013 Elections,
COMELEC,167 the candidate mistakenly put seven (7) months as her period of residence where the required period was a she naturally had as reference the residency requirements for election as Senator which was satisfied by her declared years of
minimum of one year. We said that "[i]t is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which ought to residence. It was uncontested during the oral arguments before us that at the time the declaration for Senator was made,
be decisive in determining whether or not an individual has satisfied the constitutions residency qualification requirement." petitioner did not have as yet any intention to vie for the Presidency in 2016 and that the general public was never made
The COMELEC ought to have looked at the evidence presented and see if petitioner was telling the truth that she was in the aware by petitioner, by word or action, that she would run for President in 2016. Presidential candidacy has a length-of-
Philippines from 24 May 2005. Had the COMELEC done its duty, it would have seen that the 2012 COC and the 2015 COC both residence different from that of a senatorial candidacy. There are facts of residence other than that which was mentioned in
correctly stated the pertinent period of residency. the COC for Senator. Such other facts of residence have never been proven to be false, and these, to repeat include:

The COMELEC, by its own admission, disregarded the evidence that petitioner actually and physically returned here on 24 [Petitioner] returned to the Philippines on 24 May 2005. (petitioner's] husband however stayed in the USA to finish pending
May 2005 not because it was false, but only because COMELEC took the position that domicile could be established only from projects and arrange the sale of their family home.
petitioner's repatriation under R.A. No. 9225 in July 2006. However, it does not take away the fact that in reality, petitioner
had returned from the U.S. and was here to stay permanently, on 24 May 2005. When she claimed to have been a resident for Meanwhile [petitioner] and her children lived with her mother in San Juan City. [Petitioner] enrolled Brian in Beacon School
ten (10) years and eleven (11) months, she could do so in good faith. in Taguig City in 2005 and Hanna in Assumption College in Makati City in 2005. Anika was enrolled in Learning Connection in
San Juan in 2007, when she was already old enough to go to school.
For another, it could not be said that petitioner was attempting to hide anything. As already stated, a petition for quo
warranto had been filed against her with the SET as early as August 2015. The event from which the COMELEC pegged the In the second half of 2005, [petitioner] and her husband acquired Unit 7F of One Wilson Place Condominium in San Juan.
commencement of residence, petitioner's repatriation in July 2006 under R.A. No. 9225, was an established fact to repeat, for [Petitioner] and her family lived in Unit 7F until the construction of their family home in Corinthian Hills was completed.
purposes of her senatorial candidacy.
Sometime in the second half of 2005, [petitioner's] mother discovered that her former lawyer who handled [petitioner's]
Notably, on the statement of residence of six (6) years and six (6) months in the 2012 COC, petitioner recounted that this was adoption in 1974 failed to secure from the Office of the Civil Registrar of Iloilo a new Certificate of Live Birth indicating
first brought up in the media on 2 June 2015 by Rep. Tobias Tiangco of the United Nationalist Alliance. Petitioner appears to [petitioner's] new name and stating that her parents are "Ronald Allan K. Poe" and "Jesusa L. Sonora."
have answered the issue immediately, also in the press. Respondents have not disputed petitioner's evidence on this point.
From that time therefore when Rep. Tiangco discussed it in the media, the stated period of residence in the 2012 COC and the In February 2006, [petitioner] travelled briefly to the US in order to supervise the disposal of some of the family's remaining
circumstances that surrounded the statement were already matters of public record and were not hidden. household belongings.1a\^/phi1 [Petitioner] returned to the Philippines on 11 March 2006.

Petitioner likewise proved that the 2012 COC was also brought up in the SET petition for quo warranto. Her Verified Answer, In late March 2006, [petitioner's] husband informed the United States Postal Service of the family's abandonment of their
which was filed on 1 September 2015, admitted that she made a mistake in the 2012 COC when she put in six ( 6) years and address in the US.
six ( 6) months as she misunderstood the question and could have truthfully indicated a longer period. Her answer in the SET
case was a matter of public record. Therefore, when petitioner accomplished her COC for President on 15 October 2015, she The family home in the US was sole on 27 April 2006.
could not be said to have been attempting to hide her erroneous statement in her 2012 COC for Senator which was expressly
mentioned in her Verified Answer.
In April 2006, [petitioner's] husband resigned from his work in the US. He returned to the Philippines on 4 May 2006 and
began working for a Philippine company in July 2006.

In early 2006, [petitioner] and her husband acquired a vacant lot in Corinthian Hills, where they eventually built their family
home.170

In light of all these, it was arbitrary for the COMELEC to satisfy its intention to let the case fall under the exclusive ground of
false representation, to consider no other date than that mentioned by petitioner in her COC for Senator.

All put together, in the matter of the citizenship and residence of petitioner for her candidacy as President of the Republic,
the questioned Resolutions of the COMELEC in Division and En Banc are, one and all, deadly diseased with grave abuse of
discretion from root to fruits.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolutions, to wit:

1. dated 1 December 2015 rendered through the COMELEC Second Division, in SPA No. 15-001 (DC), entitled Estrella C.
Elamparo, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent, stating that:

[T]he Certificate of Candidacy for President of the Republic of the Philippines in the May 9, 2016 National and Local
Elections filed by respondent Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares is hereby GRANTED.

2. dated 11 December 2015, rendered through the COMELEC First Division, in the consolidated cases SPA No. 15-002 (DC)
entitled Francisco S. Tatad, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; SPA No. 15-007 (DC)
entitled Antonio P. Contreras, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; and SPA No. 15-139
(DC) entitled Amado D. Valdez, petitioner, v. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; stating that:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to GRANT the petitions and cancel
the Certificate of Candidacy of MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POE-LLAMANZARES for the elective position of President of
the Republic of the Philippines in connection with the 9 May 2016 Synchronized Local and National Elections.

3. dated 23 December 2015 of the COMELEC En Banc, upholding the 1 December 2015 Resolution of the Second Division
stating that:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to DENY the Verified Motion for
Reconsideration of SENATOR MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POE-LLAMANZARES. The Resolution dated 11 December
2015 of the Commission First Division is AFFIRMED.

4. dated 23 December 2015 of the COMELEC En Banc, upholding the 11 December 2015 Resolution of the First Division.

are hereby ANNULED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POE-LLAMANZARES is DECLARED
QUALIFIED to be a candidate for President in the National and Local Elections of 9 May 2016.

SO ORDERED.