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​ ​V.

Candidates

Poe-Llamanzares​ ​v.​ ​Commission​ ​on​ ​Elections,​ ​G.R.​ ​Nos.​ ​221697​ ​&​ ​221698-700,​ ​08​ ​March
2016​ ​-​ ​MANGILA

FACTS:

Grace Poe was found abandoned as a newborn infant in Jaro, Iloilo by Edgardo Militar. Parental care and
custody was passed on by Edgardo to his relatives. The relatives registered petitioner as a foundling with
the Office of the Civil Registrar. Petitioner was adopted by Fernando Poe Jr and Susan Roces. Although
necessary notations were made by OCR-Iloilo on petitioner's foundling certificate reflecting the court
decreed adoption, ​he petitioner's adoptive mother discovered only sometime in the second half of 2005
that the lawyer who handled petitioner's adoption failed to secure from the OCR-Iloilo a new Certificate of
Live​ ​Birth​ ​indicating​ ​petitioner's​ ​new​ ​name​ ​and​ ​the​ ​name​ ​of​ ​her​ ​adoptive​ ​parents.

At the age of 18, Poe was registered as a voter of San Juan. In 1988, she was issued a Philippine
passport. In 1991, Poe married Teodoro Llamanzares and flew to the US right after the wedding. In 2001,
Poe​ ​became​ ​a​ ​naturalized​ ​American​ ​Citizen​ ​and​ ​she​ ​obtained​ ​a​ ​US​ ​Passport​ ​that​ ​same​ ​year.

In April 2004, Poe came back to the Philippines in order to support her father’s candidacy. She then
returned to the US in July 2004 with her two daughters. Poe returned in December 2004 after learning of
her father’s deteriorating condition. The latter died and Poe stayed until February 2005 to take care of the
funeral​ ​arrangements.

Poe stated that she wanted to be with her grieving mother hence, she and her husband decided to move
and reside permanently in the Philippines sometime first quarter of 2005. They prepared for resettlement
including notification of their children’s schools, coordination with property movers and inquiry with
Philippine authorities as to how they can bring their pet dog. According to Poe, as early as 2004, she
already​ ​quit​ ​her​ ​job​ ​in​ ​the​ ​US.

Poe came home on May 24, 2005 and immediately secured a TIN while her husband stayed in the US.
She and her family stayed with her mother until she and husband was able to purchase a condominium in
San Juan sometime February 2006. On February 14, 2006, Poe returned to the US to dispose the other
family belongings. She travelled back in March 2006. In early 2006, Poe and husband acquired a property
in​ ​Corinthian​ ​Hills​ ​in​ ​Quezon​ ​City​ ​where​ ​they​ ​built​ ​their​ ​family​ ​home.

On July 7, 2006, Poe took her Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to R.A. 9225.
On July 10, 2006, she filed a sworn petition to reacquire Philippine citizenship together with petitions for
derivative citizenship on behalf of her three children. The Bureau of Immigration acted in favor of the
petition on July 18, 2006. She and her children were then considered dual citizens. Poe then registered
as​ ​voter​ ​in​ ​August​ ​2006​ ​and​ ​secured​ ​a​ ​Philippine​ ​passport​ ​thereafter.

On October 6, 2010, she was appointed as Chairperson of the MTRCB. Before assuming her post, she
executed an Affidavit of Renunciation of Allegiance to the US before a notary public in Pasig City on
October 20, 2010. The following day, she submitted the Affidavit to the Bureau of Immigration and took
her oath as MTRCB Chairperson. According to Poe, she stopped using her American passport from then
on.
On July 12, 2011, Poe executed an Oath/Affirmation of Renunciation of Nationality of the US before the
Vice Consul of the US Embassy in Manila. On that day, she accomplished a sworn 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 present. On December 9, 2011, the US Vice Consul issued a
Certificate​ ​of​ ​Loss​ ​of​ ​Nationality​ ​of​ ​the​ ​US​ ​effective​ ​October​ ​21,​ ​2010.

On October 2, 2012, Poe filed with COMELEC her Certificate of Candidacy for Senator stating that she
was a resident of the Philippines for a period of 6 years and 6 months before May 13, 2013. She was then
proclaimed​ ​a​ ​Senator​ ​on​ ​May​ ​16,​ ​2013.

On October 15, 2015, Poe filed her COC for the Presidency for the May 2016 elections. She declared that
she is a natural born and her residence in the Philippine up to the day before election would be 10 years
and​ ​11​ ​months​ ​counted​ ​from​ ​May​ ​24,​ ​2005.

Several petitions were filed against Poe before COMELEC. Estrella Elamparo filed a petition to deny due
course said COC alleging that (1) she committed material misrepresentation in her COC when she stated
that she is a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years 11 months up to the day before May 9, 2016
Elections, (2) she is not natural born considering that Poe is a foundling. It was argued that international
law does not confer natural born status and Filipino citizenship to foundlings hence, she is not qualified to
apply for reacquisition of Filipino citizenship under R.A.9225 as she is not a natural citizen to begin with.
Assuming that Poe was a natural born citizen, she lost it when she became a US Citizen. On the matter of
petitioner’s residency, Elamparo pointed out that petitioner was bound by the sword declaration she made
in her 2012 COC for Senator wherein she indicated that she had resided in the country for only 6 years
and 6 months as of May 2013 elections. Elamparo likewise insisted that assuming ​that petitioner is
qualified to regain her 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.

Tatad, Contreras and Valdez filed against petitioner before the COMELEC petition to disqualify petitioner.
Tatad alleged that petitioner lacks requisite residency and citizenship to qualify her for Presidency.
Francisco​ ​Tatad,​ ​theorized​ ​that:
● Philippines adhere to the principle of jus sanguinis and hence persons of unknown ​
p ​ arentage,
particularly​ ​foundlings,​ ​are​ ​not​ ​natural​ ​born​ ​Filipino​ ​citizens.​ ​
 
● Using statutory construction, considering that foundlings were not expressly included in the
categories of citizens in the 1935 Constitution, the framers are said to have the ​
​intention to
exclude​ ​them​ ​
 
● International conventions are not self-executory hence, local legislations are necessary to ​
g ​ ive
effect​ ​to​ ​obligations​ ​assumed​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Philippines.​ ​
 
● There​ ​is​ ​no​ ​standard​ ​practice​ ​that​ ​automatically​ ​confers​ ​natural​ ​born​ ​status​ ​to​ ​foundlings.​ 
​  

Petitioner Valdez alleged that Poe’s repatriation under R.A 9225 did not bestow upon her the status of a
natural born citizen as those who repatriates only acquires Philippine citizenship and not their original
status​ ​as​ ​natural​ ​born​ ​citizens.

In​ ​her​ ​defense,​ ​Poe​ ​countered​ ​these​ ​petitions​ ​by​ ​raising​ ​the​ ​following​ ​arguments:
· ​The grounds invoked by the petitioners were not proper grounds for a disqualification case ​
a
​s
enumerated​ ​under​ ​Section​ ​12​ ​and​ ​68​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Omnibus​ ​Election​ ​Code.​ ​
 

· ​What the petitioners filed focus on establishing her ineligibility, hence, they fall within the

​exclusive​ ​jurisdiction​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Presidential​ ​Electoral​ ​Tribunal,​ ​not​ ​the​ ​COMELEC.​ ​
 

· ​The July 18, 2006 Order of the Bureau of Immigration declaring her as natural born, her
appointment as MTRCB Chair and the issuance of the decree of adoption reinforced her ​
​position
as​ ​a​ ​natural​ ​born​ ​citizen​ ​
 

· ​As early as first quarter of 2005, she started to reestablish her domicile in the Philippines ​
a
​ nd
that she can reestablish her domicile of choice even before she renounced her ​
A ​ merican
citizenship.​ ​
 

·​​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​The​ ​period​ ​of​ ​residency​ ​as​ ​stated​ ​in​ ​her​ ​COC​ ​for​ ​senator​ ​was​ ​a​ ​mistake​ ​in​ ​good​ ​faith.​ ​
 

· ​Customary International Law dictates that foundlings are entitled to a nationality and are
presumed​ ​to​ ​be​ ​citizens​ ​of​ ​the​ ​country​ ​where​ ​they​ ​are​ ​found.

COMELEC First Division ruled against the petitioner resolving that she is not a natural born citizen and
that she failed to complete the 10 year residency requirement. Hence, the present petition for certiorari
before​ ​the​ ​Supreme​ ​Court.

ISSUE/S:

1.​​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​Whether​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​has​ ​jurisdiction​ ​to​ ​disqualify​ ​POE​
 


2.​​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​Whether​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be​ ​concluded​ ​that​ ​Poe’s​ ​parents​ ​are​ ​Filipinos
3.​​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​Whether​ ​Poe​ ​is​ ​a​ ​natural-born​ ​citizen
4.​​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​Whether​ ​Poe’s​ ​repatriation​ ​resulted​ ​to​ ​reacquisition​ ​of​ ​natural​ ​born​ ​citizenship
5.​​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​Whether​ ​Poe​ ​is​ ​a​ ​resident​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Philippines​ ​for​ ​10​ ​years.

DECISION:

RE:​ ​JURISDICTION

NO. ​The issue before the COMELEC is whether the COC should be denied due course ‘on the exclusive
ground’ that she made in the certificate a false material representation. COMELEC should restrain itself
from going into the issue of qualifications of the candidate. It cannot, in the same cancellation case,
decide the qualification or lack thereof of a candidate. Not one of the enumerated powers of the
COMELEC as stated in Article IX C, Sec. 2 of the Constitution grants the commission the power to
determine the qualifications of a candidate. Such powers are granted to the Electoral Tribunal as stated in
Article​ ​VI​ ​Section​ ​17​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​under​ ​Article​ ​VII,​ ​Section​ ​4​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Constitution.

Insofar as the qualification of a candidate is concerned, Rule 25 and Rule 23 of the COMELEC rules do
not allow, are not authorization and are not vestment of jurisdiction for the COMELEC to determine the
qualification of a candidate. The facts of qualification must first be established in a prior proceeding before
an authority vested with jurisdiction. Prior determination of qualification may be by statute, by an
executive​ ​order​ ​or​ ​by​ ​a​ ​judgment​ ​of​ ​a​ ​competent​ ​court​ ​or​ ​tribunal.

If a candidate cannot be disqualified without a prior finding that he or she is suffering from a
disqualification "provided by law or the Constitution," neither can the certificate of candidacy be cancelled
or denied due course on grounds of false 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 can be conceded are
self-evident facts of unquestioned or unquestionable veracity and judicial confessions. Such are, anyway,
bases​ ​equivalent​ ​to​ ​prior​ ​decisions​ ​against​ ​which​ ​the​ ​falsity​ ​of​ ​representation​ ​can​ ​be​ ​determined.

RE:​ ​NATIONALITY​ ​OF​ ​FILIPINOS

YES. ​. The Solicitor General offered official Statistics from the Philippine Statistics office that from 1965 to
1975, the total number of foreigners born in the Philippines was 15,985. While the Filipinos born in the
country were more than 10 Million. On this basis, there is a 99% chance that the child born in the
Philippines would be a Filipino which in turn, would indicate more than ample probability that Poe’s
parents are Filipinos. Other circumstantial evidence of the nationality of petitioner's parents are the fact
that she was abandoned as an infant in a Roman Catholic Church in Iloilo City. She also has typical
Filipino features: height, flat nasal bridge, straight black hair, almond shaped eyes and an oval face. All of
the foregoing evidence, that a person with typical Filipino features is abandoned in Catholic Church in a
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​ ​certainty,​ ​that​ ​petitioner's​ ​parents​ ​are​ ​Filipinos.

RE:​ ​Citizenship​ ​of​ ​the​ ​petitioner

Yes. ​Poe, as a foundling, is a natural born citizen. While the 1935 Constitution is silent as to foundlings,
there is no restrictive language that would exclude them either. The amendment to the Constitution
proposed by constitutionalist Rafols to include foundlings as natural born citizens was not carried out, not
because there was any objection to the notion that persons of unknown parentage are not citizens, but
only because their number was not enough to merit specific mention. There was no intent or language
that would permit discrimination against foundlings. On the contrary, all three Constitutions guarantee the
basic right to equal protection of the laws. Likewise, domestic laws on adoption support the principle that
foundlings are Filipinos. These laws do not provide that adoption confers citizenship upon the adoptee,
rather, the adoptee must be Filipino in the first place to be adopted. Recent legislation all expressly refer
to​ ​“Filipino​ ​children”​ ​and​ ​include​ ​foundlings​ ​as​ ​among​ ​Filipino​ ​children​ ​who​ ​may​ ​be​ ​adopted.

The argument that the process to determine that the child is a foundling leading to the issuance of a
foundling certificate are acts to acquire or perfect Philippine citizenship is without merit. Hence, the
argument that as a foundling, Poe underwent a process in order to acquire or perfect her Philippine
citizenship,​ ​is​ ​untenable.

“Having to perform an act” means that the act must be personally done by the citizen. In this case, the
determination of foundling status was done by authorities, not by Poe. Second, the object of the process
is to determine the whereabouts of the parents, not the citizenship of the child and lastly, the process is
not​ ​analogous​ ​to​ ​naturalization​ ​proceedings.

Under international law, foundlings are citizens. Generally accepted principles of international law which
include international customs form part of the laws of the land. The common thread of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Convent on
Civil and Political Rights obligates the Philippines to grant nationality from birth and to ensure that no child
is stateless. The principles stated in the Hague Convention on Certain Questions Relation to the Conflict
of Nationality laws (that a foundling is presumed to have the nationality of the country of birth) and
Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (foundling is presumed born of citizens of the country
where​ ​he​ ​is​ ​found)​ ​
​bind​ ​the​ ​Philippines​ ​although​ ​we​ ​are​ ​not​ ​signatory​ ​to​ ​these​ ​conventions.

Although we are not a signatory to the Hague Convention, we are a signatory to the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights (UDHR) which affirms Article 14 of the Hague Convention. Likewise, the Convention on
the Reduction of Statelessness affirms Article 15 of the UDHR. By analogy, although the Philippines has
not signed the International Convention for the Protection of Persons from Enforced Disappearance, we
(the Supreme Court) ruled that the proscription against enforced disappearance was nonetheless binding
as​ ​a​ ​generally​ ​accepted​ ​principle​ ​of​ ​international​ ​law.

Poe’s evidence shows that at least 60 countries in Asia, North and South America and Europe have
passed legislation recognizing foundlings as its citizens. 166 out of 189 countries accept that foundlings
are recognized as citizens. Hence, there is a generally accepted principle of international law to presume
foundlings​ ​as​ ​having​ ​been​ ​born​ ​and​ ​a​ ​national​ ​of​ ​the​ ​country​ ​in​ ​which​ ​it​ ​is​ ​found.

RE:​ ​Repatriation​ ​of​ ​Petitioner

Yes. ​The COMELEC ruled ​that petitioner's repatriation in July 2006 under the provisions of R.A. No.
9225 did not result in the reacquisition of natural-born citizenship. The COMELEC reasoned that since the
applicant must perform an act, what is reacquired is not "natural-born" citizenship but only plain
"Philippine citizenship." The COMELEC in ruling as such disregarded jurisprudence on the matter of
repatriation which states that repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality. A natural born
citizen before he lost his Philippine nationality will be restored to his former status as natural born Filipino
after repatriation (Benson v. HRET, Pareno v. Commission on Audit etc). In passing R.A. 9225, Congress
saw it fit to decree that natural born citizenship may be reacquired even if it has been lost. It is not for the
COMELEC​ ​to​ ​disagree​ ​with​ ​the​ ​Congress’​ ​determination.

Neither is repatriation an act to ‘acquire or perfect’ one’s citizenship. In the case of Bengson, the Court
pointed out that there are only two types of citizens under the 1987 constitution: natural born and
naturalized. There is no third category for repatriated citizens. The COMELEC cannot reverse a judicial
precedent.​ ​Hence,​ ​COMELEC’s​ ​decision​ ​is​ ​wrapped​ ​with​ ​grave​ ​abuse​ ​of​ ​discretion.

RE:​ ​Residency​ ​requirement

Yes. ​Grace Poe satisfied the requirements of animus manendi coupled with animus revertendi in
acquiring a new domicile. There are three requisites to acquire a new domicile 1. Residence or bodily
presence in a new locality 2. Intention to remain (animus manendi) and 3. Intention to abandon the old
domicile (animus non-revertendi). The 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.

Poe presented voluminous evidence showing that she and her family abandoned their US domicile and
relocated​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Philippines​ ​for​ ​good.

COMELEC refused to consider the petitioner’s domicile has been timely changed as of May 24, 2005 and
maintained that although there is physical presence and animus manendi, there is no animus revertendi.
Respondents contend that the stay of an alien former Filipino cannot be counted until he/she obtains a
permanent resident visa or reacquired Philippine citizenship since she is still an American until July 7,
2006​ ​on​ ​the​ ​basis​ ​of​ ​previous​ ​cases​ ​ruled​ ​upon​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Supreme​ ​Court.

SC held that the other cases previously decided by the court wherein residence was counted only from
the acquisition of permanent residence were decided as such because there is sparse evidence on
establishment of residence. These cases cannot be applied in the present case. In the case at bar, there
is overwhelming evidence that leads to no to other conclusion that Poe decided to permanently abandon
her​ ​US​ ​residence​ ​and​ ​reside​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Philippines​ ​as​ ​early​ ​as​ ​May​ ​24,​ ​2005.

These evidence, coupled with her eventual application to reacquire Philippine citizenship is clear that
when​ ​she​ ​returned​ ​in​ ​May​ ​2005,​ ​it​ ​was​ ​for​ ​good.

Poe was able to prove that her statement in her 2012 COC was only a mistake in good faith. Such a
mistake could be given in evidence against her but it was by no means conclusive considering the
overwhelming evidence submitted by Poe. Considering that the COMELEC failed to take into
consideration these overwhelming evidence, its decision is tainted with grave abuse of discretion. The
decision of the COMELEC is hereby annulled and set aside. Poe is thus declared qualified to be a
candidate​ ​for​ ​President​ ​in​ ​the​ ​National​ ​and​ ​Local​ ​Election​ ​on​ ​May​ ​9,​ ​2016.

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Maquiling​ ​v.​ ​Comelec​ ​(G.R.​ ​No.​ ​195649,​ ​April​ ​16,​ ​2013)​ ​-​ ​MARCILLA

FACTS: ​Respondent Arnado is a natural born Filipino citizen who became a naturalized citizen
of the US thus he lost his Filipino citizenship. He applied for repatriation under RA 9225 before
the Consulate General of the Philippines in San Francisco, USA and took Oath of Allegiance to
the Philippines on July 10, 2008. On April 3, 2009, Arnado again took his Oath of Allegiance to
the Republic and executed an Affidavit of Renunciation of his foreign citizenship. ​On 30
November 2009, Arnado filed his Certificate of Candidacy for Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del
Norte​. On 28 April 2010, respondent Linog C. Balua (Balua), another mayoralty candidate, filed
a petition to disqualify Arnado and/or to cancel his certificate of candidacy for municipal mayor
of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte in connection with the 10 May 2010 local and national elections.
Balua presented in his Memorandum a computer-generated travel record ​dated 03 December
2009 indicating that Arnado has been using his US Passport No. 057782700 in entering and
departing the Philippines. ​The 2010 elections pushed through without the COMELEC acting
upon the motion of Balua, and Arnado garnered the highest number of votes and subsequently
proclaimed​ ​as​ ​Mayor.
The COMELEC First Division treated the petition as one for disqualification and not an
action for the cancellation of a CoC based on misrepresentation. They ruled that Arnado’s act of
consistently using his US passport after renouncing his US citizenship on 03 April 2009
effectively negated his Affidavit of Renunciation. Arnado sought reconsideration of the resolution
before the COMELEC En Banc on the ground that "the evidence is insufficient to justify the
Resolution and that the said Resolution is contrary to law." Petitioner Casan Macode Maquiling
(Maquiling), another candidate for mayor of Kauswagan, and who garnered the second highest
number of votes in the 2010 elections, intervened in the case and filed before the COMELEC En
Banc a Motion for Reconsideration together with an Opposition to Arnado’s Amended Motion for
Reconsideration. Maquiling argued that while the First Division correctly disqualified Arnado, the
order of succession under Section 44 of the Local Government Code is not applicable in this
case. Consequently, he claimed that the cancellation of Arnado’s candidacy and the nullification
of his proclamation, Maquiling, as the legitimate candidate who obtained the highest number of
lawful votes, should be proclaimed as the winner. The COMELEC En Banc allowed the
intervention of Maquiling but agrees with the dispositive portion of the Resolution of the First
Division allowing the order of succession under Section 44 of the Local Government Code to
take effect. The COMELEC En Banc agreed with the treatment by the First Division of the
petition as one for disqualification, and ruled that the petition was filed well within the period
prescribed by law, having been filed on 28 April 2010, which is not later than 11 May 2010, the
date of proclamation. However, the COMELEC En Banc reversed and set aside the ruling of the
First Division and granted Arnado’s Motion for Reconsideration stating that the use of his US
passport did not have the effect of reverting his status to dual citizenship because he did not yet
know​ ​that​ ​he​ ​had​ ​been​ ​issued​ ​a​ ​Philippine​ ​passport​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​of​ ​his​ ​travels​ ​abroad.

Maquiling filed the instant petition questioning the propriety of declaring Arnado qualified
to run for public office despite his continued use of a US passport, and praying that Maquiling be
proclaimed​ ​as​ ​the​ ​winner​ ​in​ ​the​ ​2010​ ​mayoralty​ ​race​ ​in​ ​Kauswagan,​ ​Lanao​ ​del​ ​Norte.

ISSUE/S:

1)​​ ​ ​ ​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​intervention​ ​is​ ​allowed​ ​in​ ​a​ ​disqualification​ ​case.
2)​​ ​ ​ ​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​the​ ​use​ ​of​ ​a​ ​foreign​ ​passport​ ​after​ ​renouncing​ ​foreign​ ​citizenship
affects​ ​one’s​ ​qualifications​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​public​ ​office.
3)​​ ​ ​ ​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​the​ ​rule​ ​on​ ​succession​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Local​ ​Government​ ​Code​ ​is​ ​applicable​ ​to
this​ ​case.

DECISION:

1) YES. Intervention of a rival candidate in a disqualification case is proper when there has not yet
been any proclamation of the winner. In Mercado vs. Manzano, the Supreme Court held that,
petitioner had a right to intervene at that stage of the proceedings for the disqualification against
private respondent is clear from Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646, otherwise known as the Electoral
Reforms Law of 1987, which provides: Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to
be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any
reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he
is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission
shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the
complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the
proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of guilt is strong. Under this provision,
intervention may be allowed in proceedings for disqualification even after election if there has yet
been no final judgment rendered. Clearly then, Maquiling has the right to intervene in the case.
The fact that the COMELEC En Banc has already ruled that Maquiling has not shown that the
requisites for the exemption to the second-placer rule set forth in Sinsuat v. COMELEC ​are
present and therefore would not be prejudiced by the outcome of the case, does not deprive
Maquiling​ ​of​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​elevate​ ​the​ ​matter​ ​before​ ​this​ ​Court.
2) YES. The use of foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign citizenship is a positive and
voluntary act of representation as to one’s nationality and citizenship; it does not divest Filipino
citizenship regained by repatriation but it recants the Oath of Renunciation required to qualify one
to run for an elective position. After reacquiring his Philippine Citizenship, Arnado renounced his
American citizenship by executing an Affidavit of Renunciation, thus completing the requirements
for eligibility to run for public office. By renouncing his foreign citizenship, he was deemed to be
solely a Filipino citizen, regardless of the effect of such renunciation under the laws of the foreign
country. However, this legal presumption does not operate permanently and is open to attack
when, after renouncing the foreign citizenship, the citizen performs positive acts showing his
continued possession of a foreign citizenship. The renunciation of foreign citizenship is not a
hollow oath that can simply be professed at any time, only to be violated the next day. It requires
an absolute and perpetual renunciation of the foreign citizenship and a full divestment of all civil
and political rights granted by the foreign country which granted the citizenship. We therefore hold
that Arnado, by using his US passport after renouncing his American citizenship, has recanted
the same Oath of Renunciation he took. Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code applies to
his situation. He is disqualified not only from holding the public office but even from becoming a
candidate​ ​in​ ​the​ ​May​ ​2010​ ​elections.
3) NO. The rule on succession in the LGC is not applicable. Maquiling is not a second placer as he
obtained the highest number of votes from among the qualified candidates. The Supreme Court
held that the ballot cannot override the constitutional and statutory requirements for qualifications
and disqualifications of candidates. When the law requires certain qualifications to be possessed
or that certain disqualifications be not possessed by persons desiring to serve as elective public
officials, those qualifications must be met before one even becomes a candidate. When a person
who is not qualified is voted for and eventually garners the highest number of votes, even the will
of the electorate expressed through the ballot cannot cure the defect in the qualifications of the
candidate. To rule otherwise is to trample upon and rent asunder the very law that sets forth the
qualifications and disqualifications of candidates. With Arnado being barred from even becoming
a candidate, his certificate of candidacy is thus rendered void from the beginning. It could not
have produced any other legal effect except that Arnado rendered it impossible to effect his
disqualification prior to the elections because he filed his answer to the petition when the
elections were conducted already and he was already proclaimed the winner. Arnado being a
non-candidate, the votes cast in his favor should not have been counted. This leaves Maquiling
as the qualified candidate who obtained the highest number of votes. Therefore, the rule on
succession​ ​under​ ​the​ ​Local​ ​Government​ ​Code​ ​will​ ​not​ ​apply.
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Arnado​ ​v.​ ​Comelec,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​210164,​ ​18​ ​August​ ​2015​ ​-​ ​MUNGCAL

FACTS:
Petitioner​ ​Arnado​ ​is​ ​a​ ​natural-born​ ​Filipino​ ​citizen​ ​who​ ​lost​ ​his​ ​Philippine​ ​citizenship​ ​by​ ​way​ ​of
naturalization​ ​as​ ​a​ ​citizen​ ​of​ ​the​ ​US.​ ​In​ ​preparation​ ​for​ ​his​ ​plans​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​public​ ​office​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Philippines,
he​ ​applied​ ​for​ ​repatriation​ ​under​ ​R.A.​ ​9225​ ​before​ ​the​ ​Consul​ ​General​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Philippines​ ​in​ ​San​ ​Francisco,
California.​ ​On​ ​April​ ​3,​ ​2009,​ ​he​ ​executed​ ​an​ ​Affidavit​ ​of​ ​Renunciation​ ​of​ ​his​ ​foreign​ ​citizenship.​ ​On
November​ ​30,​ ​2009,​ ​he​ ​filed​ ​his​ ​Certificate​ ​of​ ​Candidacy​ ​for​ ​the​ ​mayoral​ ​position​ ​of​ ​Kauswagan,​ ​Lanao
del​ ​Norte.​ ​Another​ ​mayoralty​ ​candidate,​ ​Linog​ ​C.​ ​Balua,​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​petition​ ​to​ ​disqualify​ ​Arnado​ ​and/or​ ​cancel
his​ ​CoC​ ​as​ ​he​ ​remained​ ​a​ ​US​ ​citizen​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​of​ ​filing​ ​as​ ​he​ ​continued​ ​to​ ​use​ ​his​ ​US​ ​passport​ ​for​ ​entry
to​ ​and​ ​exit​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Philippines​ ​AFTER​ ​executing​ ​the​ ​Affidavit​ ​of​ ​Renunciation.​ ​With​ ​this​ ​petition​ ​pending,
the​ ​May​ ​10,​ ​2010​ ​elections​ ​proceeded​ ​and​ ​petitioner​ ​garnered​ ​the​ ​highest​ ​number​ ​of​ ​votes.​ ​He​ ​was
subsequently​ ​proclaimed.

On​ ​October​ ​5,​ ​2010,​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​First​ ​Division​ ​issued​ ​a​ ​resolution​ ​that​ ​states​ ​that​ ​Arnado’s​ ​continued
use​ ​of​ ​his​ ​US​ ​passport​ ​effectively​ ​negated​ ​the​ ​Affidavit​ ​of​ ​Renunciation​ ​he​ ​executed,​ ​and​ ​as​ ​such,​ ​he​ ​was
disqualified​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​public​ ​office​ ​for​ ​failure​ ​to​ ​comply​ ​with​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​requisites​ ​of​ ​R.A.​ ​9225.​ ​Arnado
moved​ ​for​ ​reconsideration.​ ​The​ ​COMELEC​ ​En​ ​Banc​ ​eventually​ ​reversed​ ​the​ ​ruling​ ​of​ ​the​ ​First​ ​Division​ ​as
the​ ​use​ ​of​ ​his​ ​US​ ​passport​ ​did​ ​not​ ​have​ ​the​ ​effect​ ​of​ ​reverting​ ​his​ ​status​ ​to​ ​dual​ ​citizenship​ ​because​ ​he
did​ ​not​ ​yet​ ​know​ ​that​ ​he​ ​had​ ​been​ ​issued​ ​a​ ​Philippine​ ​passport​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​of​ ​the​ ​trips.​ ​Casan​ ​Maconde
Maquiling,​ ​another​ ​mayoral​ ​candidate,​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​petition​ ​with​ ​the​ ​SC​ ​assailing​ ​the​ ​resolution​ ​and​ ​praying​ ​for
the​ ​application​ ​of​ ​the​ ​rule​ ​of​ ​succession,​ ​as​ ​he​ ​garnered​ ​the​ ​second​ ​highest​ ​votes​ ​of​ ​the​ ​district.​ ​While​ ​the
case​ ​was​ ​pending,​ ​Arnado​ ​filed​ ​his​ ​CoC​ ​for​ ​the​ ​May​ ​2013​ ​local​ ​elections​ ​for​ ​the​ ​same​ ​position.​ ​The​ ​SC
rendered​ ​a​ ​decision​ ​on​ ​April​ ​16,​ ​2013​ ​in​ ​favor​ ​of​ ​Maquiling,​ ​declaring​ ​him​ ​mayor​ ​and​ ​disqualifying​ ​Arnado
from​ ​running​ ​for​ ​elective​ ​positions.​ ​Subsequently,​ ​Arnado​ ​again​ ​won​ ​by​ ​majority​ ​vote​ ​and​ ​was​ ​proclaimed
the​ ​mayor.​ ​Unfazed,​ ​Maquiling​ ​again​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​petition​ ​to​ ​COMELEC,​ ​seeking​ ​to​ ​nullify​ ​his​ ​proclamation,
citing​ ​the​ ​recent​ ​decision​ ​in​ ​his​ ​case​ ​as​ ​basis.​ ​COMELEC’s​ ​Second​ ​Division​ ​and​ ​COMELEC​ ​En​ ​Banc
echoed​ ​and​ ​affirmed​ ​the​ ​ruling​ ​of​ ​the​ ​SC​ ​that​ ​disqualifies​ ​Arnado​ ​from​ ​running​ ​for​ ​elective​ ​positions,​ ​the
reason​ ​being​ ​that​ ​he​ ​has​ ​not​ ​complied​ ​with​ ​the​ ​two​ ​requirements​ ​of​ ​R.A.​ ​9225.​ ​Hence,​ ​this​ ​petition​ ​for
motion​ ​of​ ​issuance​ ​of​ ​status​ ​quo​ ​ante​ ​order​.

ISSUE/S:
Is​ ​Arnado​ ​qualified​ ​to​ ​be​ ​an​ ​electoral​ ​candidate,​ ​despite​ ​his​ ​subsequent​ ​use​ ​of​ ​his​ ​US​ ​passport​ ​after
executing​ ​an​ ​Affidavit​ ​of​ ​Renunciation?

DECISION:
NO.​ ​Arnado​ ​has​ ​not​ ​yet​ ​satisfied​ ​the​ ​requiremets​ ​set​ ​forth​ ​in​ ​R.A.​ ​9225,​ ​Section​ ​5(2)​ ​which​ ​states​ ​that​ ​he
must:
1. meet​ ​the​ ​qualifications​ ​for​ ​holding​ ​such​ ​public​ ​office​ ​as​ ​required​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Constitution​ ​and​ ​the
existing​ ​laws;​ ​and,
2. make​ ​a​ ​personal​ ​and​ ​sworn​ ​renunciation​ ​of​ ​any​ ​and​ ​all​ ​foregin​ ​citizenships​ ​before​ ​any​ ​public
officer​ ​authorized​ ​to​ ​administer​ ​an​ ​oath.

It​ ​cannot​ ​be​ ​said​ ​that​ ​Arnado​ ​complied​ ​with​ ​the​ ​second​​ ​requirement​ ​as​ ​he​ ​used​ ​his​ ​US​ ​passport​ ​after
executing​ ​the​ ​required​ ​affidavit.​ ​It​ ​invalidated​ ​his​ ​oath​ ​of​ ​renunciation​ ​resulting​ ​in​ ​his​ ​disqualification​ ​to​ ​run
for​ ​mayor​ ​in​ ​the​ ​2010​ ​elections.​ ​Since​ ​then,​ ​and​ ​up​ ​to​ ​the​ ​time​ ​he​ ​filed​ ​his​ ​CoC​ ​for​ ​the​ ​2013​ ​elections,
Arnado​ ​did​ ​not​ ​cure​​ ​the​ ​defect​ ​in​ ​his​ ​qualification​ ​by​ ​executing​ ​another​ ​Affidavit​ ​of​ ​Renunciation.​ ​There
is​ ​no​ ​law​ ​prohibiting​ ​him​ ​from​ ​executing​ ​Affidavit​ ​of​ ​Renunciation​ ​for​ ​every​ ​election​ ​period,​ ​if​ ​it​ ​would​ ​avert
possible​ ​questions​ ​about​ ​his​ ​qualifications​ ​as​ ​a​ ​Filipino​ ​citizen.​ ​The​ ​decision​ ​in​ ​the​ ​case​ ​of​ ​Maquiling​ ​is
binding​​ ​and​ ​applicable​ ​by​ ​virtue​ ​of​ ​the​ ​stare​ ​decisis​ ​et​ ​non​ ​quieta​ ​movere​ ​doctrine.

Popular​ ​vote​ ​does​ ​not​ ​cure​ ​the​ ​ineligibility​ ​of​ ​a​ ​candidate.​ ​It​ ​cannot​ ​override​ ​the​ ​constitutional​ ​and
statutory​ ​requirements​ ​for​ ​qualifications​ ​and​ ​disqualifications.​ ​Thus,​ ​despite​ ​Arnado’s​ ​victories​ ​in​ ​2010
and​ ​2013,​ ​it​ ​cannot​ ​be​ ​“used​ ​as​ ​a​ ​magic​ ​formula​ ​to​ ​bypass​ ​election​ ​eligibility​ ​requirements.”

Petition​ ​is​ ​DISMISSED.

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Caballero​ ​v.​ ​Commission​ ​on​ ​Elections,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​209835,​ ​22​ ​September​ ​2015​ ​-​ ​NOBLE

FACTS: ​Petitioner and private respondent Jonathan Enrique V. Nanud, Jr. were both candidates for the
mayoralty position of the Municipality of Uyugan, Province of Batanes in the May 13, 2013 elections.
Private respondent filed a Petition to deny due course to or cancellation of petitioner's certificate of
candidacy alleging that the latter made a false representation when he declared in his COC that he was
eligible​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​Mayor​ ​of​ ​Uyugan,​ ​Batanes​ ​despite​ ​being​ ​a​ ​Canadian​ ​citizen​ ​and​ ​a​ ​non​resident​ ​thereof.

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 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. He claimed that he did not lose his domicile
of origin in Uyugan, Batanes despite becoming a Canadian citizen as he merely left Uyugan temporarily
to pursue a brighter 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.

Petitioner contends that when private respondent filed a petition to deny due course or to cancel his COC
with the Office of 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 mail as a mode of service was resorted to.
Petitioner argues that private respondent violated Section 4, paragraphs (1) and (4),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.

Petitioner avers that the requirement of the law in fixing the residence qualification of a candidate running
for public office is not strictly on the period of residence in the place where he seeks to be elected but on
the acquaintance by the candidate on his constituents' vital needs for their common welfare; and that his
nine months of actual stay in Uyugan, Batanes prior to his election is a substantial compliance with the
law.​ ​Petitioner​ ​insists​ ​that​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​gravely​ ​abused​ ​its​ ​discretion​ ​in​ ​canceling​ ​his​ ​COC.

ISSUE/S:

1. Whether or not the petition against petitioner should be dismissed due to respondent’s
non-compliance​ ​with​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​Rules​ ​of​ ​Procedure
2. Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​Petitioner​ ​abandoned​ ​his​ ​Philippine​ ​domicile
3. Whether or not petitioner had been a resident of Uyugan, Batanes at least one (1) year before the
elections​ ​held​ ​on​ ​May​ ​13,​ ​2013
4. Whether or not COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in canceling petitioner’s COC for
material​ ​misrepresentation

DECISION:

NO. ​While private respondent failed to comply with the above-mentioned requirements, the settled rule,
however, is that the COMELEC Rules of Procedure are subject to liberal construction. Moreover, the
COMELEC may exercise its power to suspend its own rules in the interest of justice and in order to obtain
the speedy disposition of all cases before the Commission. In this case, the issue raised, i.e., whether
petitioner had been a resident of Uyugan, Batanes at least one (1) year 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.

YES. ​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. COMELEC we ruled that naturalization in a foreign country may
result in an abandonment of domicile in the Philippines. This holds true in petitioner's case as permanent
resident status in Canada is required for the acquisition of Canadian citizenship. Hence, petitioner had
effectively abandoned his domicile in the Philippines and transferred his domicile of choice in Canada. His
frequent visits to Uyugan, Batanes during his vacation from work in Canada cannot be considered as
waiver​ ​of​ ​such​ ​abandonment.

NO. Petitioner's retention of his Philippine citizenship under RA No. 9225 did not automatically make him
regain his residence in Uyugan, Batanes. He must still prove that after becoming a Philippine citizen on
September 13, 2012, he had reestablished Uyugan, Batanes as his new domicile of choice which is
reckoned​ ​from​ ​the​ ​time​ ​he​ ​made​ ​it​ ​as​ ​such.

The COMELEC found that petitioner failed to present competent evidence to prove that he was able to
reestablish his 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 that he re-established his domicile in Uyugan,
Batanes, if such was accompanied by physical presence thereat, coupled with 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.

NO. 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 preceding the day of the election, thus, a ground
for a petition under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code. We have held that in order to justify the
cancellation of COC under Section 78, it is essential that the false representation mentioned therein
pertains to a material matter for the sanction imposed by this provision would affect the substantive rights
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, age, citizenship or any other legal qualification necessary to run for
a local elective office as provided for in the Local Government Code. Furthermore, aside from the
requirement of materiality, the misrepresentation must consist of a deliberate attempt to mislead,
misinform,​ ​or​ ​hide​ ​a​ ​fact​ ​which​ ​would​ ​otherwise​ ​render​ ​a​ ​candidate​ ​ineligible.

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Frivaldo​ ​v.​ ​Comelec,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​120295,​ ​28​ ​June​ ​1996​ ​-​ ​RUBIO

FACTS: ​On March 20, 1995, private respondent Juan G. Frivaldo filed his Certificate of Candidacy for
the office of Governor of Sorsogon in the May 8, 1995 elections. Petitioner Raul R. Lee, another
candidate, filed a petition ​with the Comelec praying that Frivaldo "be disqualified from seeking or holding
any public office or position by reason of not yet being a citizen of the Philippines," and that his Certificate
of​ ​Candidacy​ ​be​ ​cancelled.

On May 1, 1995, the Second Division of the Comelec promulgated a Resolution granting the
petition and declares that respondent is DISQUALIFIED to run for the Office of Governor of Sorsogon on
the ground that he is NOT a citizen of the Philippines. Thus, Respondent's certificate of candidacy is
cancelled.

The Motion for Reconsideration filed by Frivaldo remained unacted upon until after the May 8,
1995 elections. So, his candidacy continued and he was voted for during the elections held on said date.
On​ ​May​ ​11,​ ​1995,​ ​the​ ​Comelec​ ​en​ ​banc​ a
​ ffirmed​ ​the​ ​aforementioned​ ​Resolution​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Second​ ​Division.

The Provincial Board of Canvassers completed the canvass of the election returns and a
Certificate of Votes ​dated May 27, 1995 was issued showing the following votes obtained by the
candidates​ ​for​ ​the​ ​position​ ​of​ ​Governor​ ​of​ ​Sorsogon:
Antonio​ ​H.​ ​Escudero,​ ​Jr. ​ ​51,060
Juan​ ​G.​ ​Frivaldo ​ ​73,440
Raul​ ​R.Lee ​ ​53,304
Isagani​ ​P.​ ​Ocampo ​ ​1,925

On June 9, 1995, Lee filed a petition ​praying for his proclamation as the duly-elected Governor of
Sorsogon. In an order​, ​the Comelec ​en bane ​directed "the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Sorsogon to
reconvene for the purpose of proclaiming candidate Raul Lee as the winning gubernatorial candidate in
the province of Sorsogon on June 29,1995 x x x." Accordingly, at 8:30 in the evening of June 30,1995,
Lee​ ​was​ ​proclaimed​ ​governor​ ​of​ ​Sorsogon.

On July 6, 1995, Frivaldo filed with the Comelec a new petition praying for the annulment of the
June 30, 1995 proclamation of Lee and for his own proclamation. He alleged that on June 30, 1995, at
2:00 in the afternoon, he took his oath of allegiance as a citizen of the Philippines after "his petition for
repatriation under P.D. 725 which he filed with the Special Committee on Naturalization in September
1994 had been granted." As such, when "the said order (dated June 21, 1995) (of the Comelec) x x x was
released and received by Frivaldo on June 30, 1995 at 5:30 o'clock in the evening, there was no more
legal​ ​impediment​ ​to​ ​the​ ​proclamation​ ​(of​ ​Frivaldo)​ ​as​ ​governor​ ​x​ ​x​ ​x."
On December 19, 1995, the Comelec First Division promulgated the herein assailed Resolution
holding that Lee, "not having garnered the highest number of votes," was not legally entitled to be
proclaimed as duly-elected governor; and that Frivaldo, "having garnered the highest number of votes,
and xxx having reacquired his Filipino citizenship by repatriation on June 30, 1995 under the provisions of
Presidential​ ​Decree​ ​No.​ ​725​ ​xxx​ ​(is)​ ​qualified​ ​to​ ​hold​ ​the​ ​office​ ​of​ ​governor​ ​of​ ​Sorsogon";

Upon the finality of the annulment of the proclamation of Raul R. Lee, the Provincial Board of
Canvassers is directed to immediately reconvene and, on the basis of the completed canvass, proclaim
petitioner Juan G. Frivaldo as the duly elected Governor of Sorsogon having garnered the highest number
of votes, and he having reacquired his Filipino citizenship by repatriation on June 30,1995 under the
provisions​ ​of​ ​Presidential​ ​Decree​ ​No.​ ​725​ ​and,​ ​thus,​ ​qualified​ ​to​ ​hold​ ​the​ ​office​ ​of​ ​Governor​ ​of​ ​Sorsogon.

Hence​ ​this​ ​petition

ISSUE/S:​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​Frivaldo​ ​is​ ​qualified​ ​to​ ​run​ ​as​ ​provincial​ ​governor?

DECISION:​ ​Yes.​ ​"Sec.​ ​39.​ ​Qualifications.

(a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in the
barangay, municipality, city, or province or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan,
sangguniang panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; a resident
therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election; and able to read and write
Filipino​ ​or​ ​any​ ​other​ ​local​ ​language​ ​or​ ​dialect.

(b) Candidates for the position of governor, vice governor or member of the sangguniang
panlalawigan, or mayor, vice mayor or member of the sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities
must​ ​be​ ​at​ ​least​ ​twenty-three​ ​(23)​ ​years​ ​of​ ​age​ ​on​ ​election​ ​day.

Under Philippine law, citizenship may be reacquired by direct act of Congress, by naturalization or by
repatriation.
Despite his lack of Philippine citizenship, Frivaldo was overwhelmingly elected governor by the electorate
of Sorsogon. Twice, he was judicially declared a non-Filipino and thus twice disqualified from holding and
discharging his popular mandate. Now, he comes to us a third time, with a fresh vote from the people of
Sorsogon and a favorable decision from the Commission on Elections to boot. Moreover, he now boasts
of having successfully passed through the third and last mode of reacquiring citizenship: by repatriation
under P.D. No. 725. That he took his oath of allegiance under the provisions of said Decree at 2:00 p.m.
on June 30, 1995 is not disputed. Hence, he insists that Lee should not have been proclaimed as the
duly-elected governor of Sorsogon when the Provincial Board of Canvassers met at 8:30 p.m. on the said
date since, clearly and unquestionably, he garnered the highest number of votes in the elections and
since​ ​at​ ​that​ ​time,​ ​he​ ​already​ ​reacquired​ ​his​ ​citizenship.
NOTE: (Case Epilogue) ​In sum, we rule that the ​citizenship requirement in the Local Government
Code is to be possessed by an elective official at the latest as of the time he is proclaimed ​and ​at
the start of the term of office to which he has been elected. We further hold P.D. No. 725 to be in full
force and effect up to the present, not having been suspended or repealed expressly nor impliedly at any
time, and Frivaldo's repatriation by virtue thereof to have been properly granted and thus valid and
effective. Moreover, by reason of the remedial or curative nature of the law granting him a new right to
resume his political status and the legislative intent behind it, as well as his unique situation of having
been forced to give up his citizenship and political aspiration as his means of escaping a regime he
abhorred, his repatriation is to be given retroactive effect as of the date of his application therefor, during
the​ ​pendency​ ​of​ ​which​ ​he​ ​was​ ​stateless,​ ​he​ ​having​ ​given​ ​'​ ​up​ ​his​ ​U.​ ​S.​ ​nationality.

Thus, in contemplation of law, ​he possessed the vital requirement of Filipino citizenship as of the
start of the term of office of governor, and should have been proclaimed instead of Lee.
Furthermore, since his reacquisition of citizenship retroacted to August 17, 1994, his registration
as​ ​a​ ​voter​ ​of​ ​Sorsogon​ ​is​ ​deemed​ ​to​ ​have​ ​been​ ​validated​ ​as​ ​of​ ​said​ ​date​ ​as​ ​well.

The foregoing, of course, are precisely consistent with our holding that ​lack of the citizenship
requirement is not a continuing disability or disqualification to run for and hold public office. And
once again, we emphasize herein our previous rulings recognizing the Comelec's authority and
jurisdiction​ ​to​ ​hear​ ​and​ ​decide​ ​petitions​ ​for​ ​annulment​ ​of​ ​proclamations.

This Court has time and again liberally and equitably construed the electoral laws of our country
to give fullest effect to the manifest will of our people, for in case of doubt, political laws must be
interpreted to give life and spirit to the popular mandate freely expressed through the ballot.
Otherwise stated, legal niceties and technicalities cannot stand in the way of the sovereign will.
Consistently, we have held: ​"x x x (L)aws governing election contests must be liberally construed to the
end that the will of the people in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by mere technical
objections

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Mercado​ ​v.​ ​Manzano,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​135083,​ ​26​ ​May​ ​1999​ ​-​ ​SALONGA

FACTS:​ ​Respondent​ ​Edu​ ​Manzano​ ​was​ ​born​ ​in​ ​U.S.A.​ ​He​ ​acquired​ ​US​ ​citizenship​ ​by​ ​operation​ ​of​ ​the
US​ ​Constitution​ ​and​ ​under​ ​the​ ​principle​ ​of​ ​jus​ ​soli​ ​(by​ ​place).​ ​However,​ ​he​ ​was​ ​also​ ​a​ ​natural​ ​born​ ​Filipino
citizen​ ​by​ ​operation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​1935​ ​PH​ ​Constitution,​ ​as​ ​his​ ​father​ ​and​ ​mother​ ​were​ ​Filipinos​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​of​ ​his
birth.

He​ ​was​ ​6​ ​when​ ​his​ ​parents​ ​brought​ ​him​ ​to​ ​the​ ​PH​ ​using​ ​a​ ​US​ ​passport.​ ​His​ ​parents​ ​also​ ​registered​ ​him
as​ ​an​ ​alien​ ​with​ ​the​ ​PH​ ​Bureau​ ​of​ ​Immigration​ ​and​ ​was​ ​issued​ ​an​ ​alien​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​registration.​ ​This​ ​did
not​ ​result​ ​in​ ​the​ ​loss​ ​of​ ​his​ ​PH​ ​citizenship,​ ​as​ ​he​ ​did​ ​not​ ​renounce​ ​it​ ​and​ ​did​ ​not​ ​take​ ​an​ ​oath​ ​of​ ​allegiance
to​ ​the​ ​US.

It​ ​is​ ​an​ ​undisputed​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​when​ ​Edu​ ​attained​ ​the​ ​age​ ​of​ ​majority,​ ​he​ ​registered​ ​himself​ ​as​ ​a​ ​voter,​ ​and
voted​ ​in​ ​the​ ​elections​ ​of​ ​1992,​ ​1995​ ​and​ ​1998,​ ​which​ ​effectively​ ​renounced​ ​his​ ​US​ ​citizenship​ ​under​ ​US
law.​ ​Under​ ​PH​ ​law,​ ​he​ ​no​ ​longer​ ​had​ ​U.S.​ ​citizenship.

Upon​ ​petition​ ​of​ ​a​ ​certain​ ​Mamaril,​ ​2nd​


​ ​ ​ ​Div​ ​of​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​ordered​ ​the​ ​cancellation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​COC​ ​on​ ​the
ground​ ​of​ ​dual​ ​citizenship.

At​ ​the​ ​time​ ​of​ ​the​ ​May​ ​11,​ ​1998​ ​elections,​ ​the​ ​resolution​ ​of​ ​the​ ​2​nd​​ ​Div​ ​was​ ​not​ ​yet​ ​final.

Edu​ ​won​ ​for​ ​vice-mayor​ ​of​ ​Makati​ ​City,​ ​beating​ ​his​ ​closest​ ​rival,​ ​Ernesto​ ​Mercado,​ ​petitioner​ ​herein.

Proclamation​ ​of​ ​Edu​ ​was​ ​suspended​ ​in​ ​view​ ​of​ ​a​ ​pending​ ​petition​ ​for​ ​disqualification.

COMELEC​ ​en​ ​banc​ ​reversed​ ​the​ ​decision​ ​and​ ​declared​ ​Edu​ ​qualified​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​the​ ​position,​ ​thus​ ​he​ ​was
proclaimed.

ISSUE/S:​ ​W/N​ ​there​ ​was​ ​violation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​prohibition​ ​on​ ​dual​ ​citizens​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​office?

DECISION:​ ​No.​ ​Dual​ ​citizenship​ ​is​ ​different​ ​from​ ​dual​ ​allegiance.

The​ ​former​ ​arises​ ​when,​ ​as​ ​a​ ​result​ ​of​ ​the​ ​concurrent​ ​application​ ​of​ ​the​ ​different​ ​laws​ ​of​ ​two​ ​or​ ​more
states,​ ​a​ ​person​ ​is​ ​simultaneously​ ​considered​ ​a​ ​national​ ​by​ ​the​ ​said​ ​states.​ ​ ​Such​ ​a​ ​situation​ ​may​ ​arise
when​ ​a​ ​person​ ​whose​ ​parents​ ​are​ ​citizens​ ​of​ ​a​ ​state​ ​which​ ​adheres​ ​to​ ​the​ ​principle​ ​of​ ​jus​ ​sanguinis​ ​is
born​ ​in​ ​a​ ​state​ ​which​ ​follows​ ​the​ ​doctrine​ ​of​ ​jus​ ​soli.​ ​ ​Such​ ​a​ ​person,​ ​ipso​ ​facto​ ​and​ ​without​ ​any​ ​voluntary
act​ ​on​ ​his​ ​part,​ ​is​ ​concurrently​ ​considered​ ​a​ ​citizen​ ​of​ ​both​ ​states.

Dual​ ​allegiance,​ ​on​ ​the​ ​other​ ​hand,​ ​refers​ ​to​ ​the​ ​situation​ ​in​ ​which​ ​a​ ​person​ ​simultaneously​ ​owes,​ ​by
some​ ​positive​ ​act,​ ​loyalty​ ​to​ ​two​ ​or​ ​more​ ​states.

While​ ​dual​ ​citizenship​ ​is​ ​involuntary,​ ​dual​ ​allegiance​ ​is​ ​the​ ​result​ ​of​ ​an​ ​individuals​ ​volition.

Section​ ​5,​ ​Article​ ​IV​ ​on​ ​citizenship,​ ​refers​ ​not​ ​to​ ​those​ ​with​ ​dual​ ​citizens​ ​per​ ​se​ ​but​ ​with
naturalized​ ​citizens​ ​who​ ​maintain​ ​their​ ​allegiance​ ​to​ ​their​ ​countries​ ​of​ ​origin​ ​even​ ​after​ ​their
naturalization.

Hence,​ ​the​ ​phrase​ ​dual​ ​citizenship​ ​under​ ​LGC,​ ​Sec​ ​40(d)​ ​must​ ​be​ ​understood​ ​as​ ​referring​ ​to​ ​dual
allegiance.

Consequently,​ ​persons​ ​with​ ​mere​ ​dual​ ​citizenship​ ​do​ ​not​ ​fall​ ​under​ ​this​ ​disqualification​ ​unlike​ ​those​ ​with
dual​ ​allegiance.​ ​For​ ​candidates​ ​with​ ​dual​ ​citizenship,​ ​it​ ​should​ ​suffice​ ​if,​ ​upon​ ​the​ ​filing​ ​of​ ​their​ ​COC,​ ​they
elect​ ​PH​ ​citizenship​ ​to​ ​terminate​ ​their​ ​status​ ​as​ ​persons​ ​with​ ​dual​ ​citizenship​ ​considering​ ​that​ ​their
condition​ ​is​ ​the​ ​unavoidable​ ​consequence​ ​of​ ​conflicting​ ​laws​ ​of​ ​different​ ​states.

By​ ​filing​ ​a​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy​ ​when​ ​he​ ​ran​ ​for​ ​his​ ​present​ ​post,​ ​private​ ​respondent​ ​elected​ ​Philippine
citizenship​ ​and​ ​in​ ​effect​ ​renounced​ ​his​ ​American​ ​citizenship.​ ​ ​The​ ​filing​ ​of​ ​such​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy
sufficed​ ​to​ ​renounce​ ​his​ ​American​ ​citizenship,​ ​effectively​ ​removing​ ​any​ ​disqualification​ ​he​ ​might​ ​have​ ​as
a​ ​dual​ ​citizen.

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Villaber​ ​v.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​148326,​ ​15​ ​November​ ​2001-​ ​SANGALANG

FACTS: ​Both petitioner Villaber and respondent Douglas R. Cagas were rival candidates for a
congressional seat in the First District of Davao del Sur during the May 14, 2001 elections. Cagas filed
with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), a consolidated petition to disqualify Villaber and to cancel
the latter’s certificate of candidacy. Cagas alleged that Villaber was convicted for violation of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 22 and was sentenced to suffer 1 year imprisonment. Cagas further alleged that this
crime involves moral turpitude; hence, under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code, he is disqualified
to run for any public office. Moreover, Cagas also asserted that Villaber made a false material
representation in his certificate of candidacy that he is "Eligible for the office I seek to be elected " - which
false statement is a ground to deny due course or cancel the said certificate pursuant to Section 78 of the
Omnibus Election Code. COMELEC issued the resolution declaring Villaber disqualified as a candidate
for and from holding any elective public office and canceling his certificate of candidacy. The COMELEC
ruled that a conviction for violation of B.P. BIg. 22 involves moral turpitude. Villaber filed a motion for
reconsideration​ ​but​ ​was​ ​denied​.

ISSUE/S:​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​violation​ ​of​ ​B.P.​ ​Blg.​ ​22​ ​involves​ ​moral​ ​turpitude,​ ​which​ ​would​ ​disqualify​ ​Villaber
as​ ​a​ ​candidate​ ​for​ ​and​ ​from​ ​holding​ ​any​ ​public​ ​office.
DECISION: YES​. As to the meaning of "moral turpitude," we have consistently adopted the definition in
Black's Law Dictionary as "an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man
owes his fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and
duty between man and woman, or conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals." In re
Vinzon, moral turpitude is considered as encompassing "everything which is done contrary to justice,
honesty , or good morals." We, however, clarified in ​Dela Torre vs. COMELEC that "not every criminal
act involves moral turpitude," and that ''as to what crime involves moral turpitude is for the Supreme Court
to determine. ​In the final analysis, whether or not a crime involves moral turpitude is ultimately a
question of fact and frequently depends on all the circumstances surrounding the violation of the
statute.​"

In the case at bar, petitioner does not assail the facts and circumstances surrounding the commission of
the crime. In effect, he admits all the elements of the crime for which he was convicted. At any rate, the
question of whether or not the crime involves moral turpitude can be resolved by analyzing its elements
alone.

The​ ​elements​ ​of​ ​the​ ​offense​ ​under​ ​the​ ​above​ ​provision​ ​are:
1.​ ​The​ ​accused​ ​makes,​ ​draws​ ​or​ ​issues​ ​any​ ​check​ ​to​ ​apply​ ​to​ ​account​ ​or​ ​for​ ​value;
2. ​The accused knows at the time of the issuance that he or she does not have sufficient
funds in, or credit with, the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon its
presentment​;​ ​and
3. The check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit, or it
would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason,
ordered​ ​the​ ​bank​ ​to​ ​stop​ ​payment.

The presence of the second element manifests moral turpitude. In ​People vs. Atty. Fe Tuanda we held
that a conviction for violation of B.P. BIg. 22 "imports deceit" and "certainly relates to and affects the good
moral character of a person...." In ​Vaca v. Court ​of ​Appeals, ​we held that in determining the penalty to be
imposed for violation of B.P. Blg. 22, the philosophy underlying the Indeterminate Sentence Law applies.
The philosophy is to redeem valuable human material, and to prevent unnecessary deprivation of
personal liberty and economic usefulness with due regard to the protection of the social order. There we
deleted the prison sentence imposed on petitioners. We imposed on them only a fine double the amount
of the check issued. We considered the fact that petitioners brought the appeal, believing in good faith,
that no violation of B.P. Blg. 22 was committed, 'otherwise, they would have simply accepted the
judgment of the trial court and applied for probation to evade prison term.' We do the same here. We
believe​ ​such​ ​would​ ​best​ ​serve​ ​the​ ​ends​ ​of​ ​criminal​ ​justice."

In fine, we find no grave abuse of discretion committed by respondent COMELEC in issuing the assailed
Resolutions.

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Lonzanida​ ​v.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​135150,​ ​28​ ​July​ ​1999​ ​-​ ​SIMEON

FACTS: ​Petitioner Romeo Lonzanida was duly elected and served two consecutive terms as municipal
mayor of San Antonio, Zambales prior to the 1995 elections. In the 1995 elections Lonzanida was again
proclaimed as mayor. He assumed office and discharged the duties thereof. His proclamation in 1995
was however contested by his then opponent Juan Alvez who filed an election protest before the RTC of
Zambales which rendered a decision that the declaration of the results of election in 1995 for mayor in
San Antonio, Zambales is null and void on the ground of failure of elections. And subsequently declared
that​ ​said​ ​office​ ​is​ ​vacant.

Both parties appealed to the COMELEC and resolved the election protest filed by Alvez and after
a revision and re-appreciation of the contested ballots declared Alvez the duly elected mayor of San
Antonio, Zambales by plurality of votes cast in his favor. Thereafter,COMELEC issued a writ of execution
ordering Lonzanida to vacate the post, which obeyed, and Alvez assumed office for the remainder of the
term.

In 1998 elections, Lonzanida filed again his candidacy for the same position in the same
municipality which was questioned by his opponent Muli on ​April 21, 1998 in view of the “three-term limit
rule”. On ​May 13, 1998​, petitioner Lonzanida was proclaimed winner. Come May 21, 1998 the First
Division of COMELEC issued the questioned resolution granting the petition for disqualification upon a
finding that Lonzanida had served three consecutive terms as mayor of San Antonio, Zambales and he is
therefore disqualified to run for the same post for the fourth time. Said decision was reaffirmed by
COMELEC​ ​En​ ​Banc​ ​on​ ​August​ ​11,​ ​1998​.

Petitioner filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 and now challenges the validity of the
resolutions issued by COMELEC First Division and En Banc which disqualified him to run for Mayor in the
municipality of San Antonio, Zambales in the May 1998 elections and that all votes cast in his favor shall
not be counted and if he has been proclaimed winner the said proclamation is declared null and void.
Petitioner also argues that the COMELEC ceased to have jurisdiction over the petition for disqualification
after he was proclaimed winner in the 1998 mayoral elections; as the proper remedy is a petition for ​quo
warranto​ ​with​ ​the​ ​appropriate​ ​regional​ ​trial​ ​court​ ​under​ ​Rule​ ​36​ ​of​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​Rules​ ​of​ ​Procedure.
ISSUE/S:​​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​COMELEC​ ​has​ ​jurisdiction​ ​over​ ​a​ ​petition​ ​for​ ​disqualification​ ​after​ ​the
petitioner’s​ ​proclamation

DECISION: YES. ​The Supreme Court held that the petitioners contention that the COMELEC ceased to
have jurisdiction over the petition for disqualification after he was proclaimed winner is without merit. The
instant petition for disqualification was filed on April 21, 1998 or before the May 1998 elections and was
resolved on May 21, 1998 or after the petitioners proclamation. It was held in the case of Sunga ​vs​.
COMELEC and Trinidad that the proclamation nor the assumption of office of a candidate against
whom a petition for disqualification is pending before the COMELEC does not divest the
COMELEC​ ​of​ ​jurisdiction​ ​to​ ​continue​ ​hearing​ ​the​ ​case​ ​and​ ​to​ ​resolve​ ​it​ ​on​ ​the​ ​merits.

​Section​ ​6​ ​of​ ​RA​ ​6646​ ​specifically​ ​mandates​ ​that:

Sec. 6. Effects of disqualification Case.- any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be
disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a
candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and
receives the winning number of votes in such election, the court or commission shall continue with the
trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor,
may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever
the​ ​evidence​ ​of​ ​his​ ​guilt​ ​is​ ​strong.

This court held that the clear legislative intent is that the COMELEC should continue the trial and
hearing of the disqualification case to its conclusion i.e., until judgment is rendered. The outright dismissal
of the petition for disqualification filed before the election but which remained unresolved after the
proclamation of the candidate sought to be disqualified will unduly reward the said candidate and may
encourage him to employ delaying tactics to impede the resolution of the petition until after he has been
proclaimed.

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Abundo​ ​v.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​201716,​ ​08​ ​January​ ​2013​ ​-​ ​SY

FACTS:

​Petitioner Abelardo Abundo ran for municipal mayor of Viga, Catanduanes in the 2001, 2004 and
2007 elections. Petitioner was proclaimed as the winner for 2001 and 2007, while in the 2004 elections,
he was proclaimed as the duly elected winner on May 2006 because of his election protest against Jose
Torres. Petitioner only held office and served as mayor, for the 2004-2007 term, during the period of May
2006 until June 2007. Petitioner again ran for the position of mayor in the 2010 elections, where his
opponents Jose Torres and respondent Ernesto Vega filed a petition for disqualification of petitioner’s
certificate of candidacy on the ground of the 3-term limit rule. The COMELEC, the RTC and the CA all
ruled that petitioner was disqualified to run for mayor in the 2010 elections because of the 3-term limit rule
and​ ​applied​ ​the​ ​case​ ​of​ ​Aldovino​ ​v.​ ​COMELEC.
Petitioner filed a petition for certiorari against the decision of the COMELEC and the CA arguing
that the case of Aldovino is not the same with his case, and so, it cannot be applied; that if Aldovino will
be applied, it recognizes that the term of an official can be interrupted and petitioner’s term, in fact has
been interrupted; and that to rule that Torres’ invalid proclamation is an interruption of his term while at
the same time not considering petitioner’s eventual proclamation as an interruption is absurd.
Respondents, on the other hand, argue that Aldovino is applicable and petitioner was only temporarily
unable to discharge the functions of his office; that an involuntary interruption implies that the service of
the term has begun before it was interrupted; and that the actual length of service is immaterial in the
application​ ​of​ ​the​ ​3-term​ ​limit.

ISSUE/S:

Will the assumption and service of Jose Torres as mayor before petitioner Abundo’s eventual
proclamation​ ​be​ ​considered​ ​as​ ​an​ ​interruption​ ​of​ ​term​ ​on​ ​the​ ​part​ ​of​ ​petitioner?

DECISION:

In the application of the 3-term limit rule, the requisites of election to the same elective position for
3 consecutive terms and full service of the term must be present. Torres’ 2 year period of service is an
interruption of the term of petitioner because the 2nd requisite of full service of the term is not present. A
term, as contemplated by law, is a fixed and definite period of time that an officer may hold office. The
term of an elective local official is 3 years under sec. 43(b) of the LGC. Petitioner cannot be said to have
fully served the term for the years 2004-2007 because during the period of June 2004 - May 2006, Torres
still had title to and right to assume the functions of mayor. Petitioner was relegated to being an ordinary
constituent pending the election protest against Torres. The 2 year period of Torres’ term is an involuntary
interruption on the part of petitioner and an involuntary interruption cannot be considered as a service for
a​ ​full​ ​term​ ​for​ ​the​ ​purposes​ ​of​ ​the​ ​3-term​ ​limit​ ​rule.

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Marquez​ ​v.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​243​ ​SCRA​ ​538​ ​-​ ​BISDA

FACTS:

Petitioner Bienvenido Marquez, a defeated candidate for the elective position of Provincial
Governor of the Province of Quezon in the 11​th May 1992 elections filed a petition for certiorari praying for
the reversal of the Resolution of COMELEC which dismissed his petition for quo warranto against the
winning​ ​candidate​ ​Eduardo​ ​Rodriguez,​ ​for​ ​being​ ​allegedly​ ​a​ ​fugitive​ ​from​ ​justice.
The petition seeks to resolve the conflicting claims of the parties with regard the meaning of the
term:​ ​"fugitive​ ​from​ ​justice”.
The​ ​phrase​ ​is​ ​used​ ​under​ ​Section​ ​40(e)​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Local​ ​Government​ ​Code​ ​(Republic​ ​Act​ ​No.​ ​7160).

Sec. 40. ​Disqualifications​. The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective
local​ ​position:
xxx​ ​xxx​ ​xxx
(e)​ ​Fugitive​ ​from​ ​justice​ ​in​ ​criminal​ ​or​ ​non-political​ ​cases​ ​here​ ​or​ ​abroad​ ​(.)

It is stated that at the time Rodriguez filed his COC, a criminal charge against him for 10 counts of
insurance fraud or grand theft of personal property was still pending at the Municipal Court of Los Angeles
in the USA. However, it is claimed that the warrant of arrest which was issued by the said court has yet to
be​ ​served​ ​to​ ​Rodriguez​ ​on​ ​the​ ​account​ ​of​ ​his​ ​alleged​ ​"flight"​ ​from​ ​that​ ​country.

Before the 1992 elections, Marquez filed a petition for the cancellation of respondent’s COC on
the ground of the candidate’s disqualification under Sec. 40 (e) of the LGC, but this was dismissed by the
COMELEC. After the proclamation of Rodriguez on May 29, 1992, Marquez filed a quo warranto
proceedings which was again dismissed by the COMELEC. A motion for reconsideration was also denied.
Hence,​ ​this​ ​petition.

ISSUE/S:
Whether or not private respondent Rodriguez is ​disqualified ​from being a candidate and thereby
ineligible​ ​from​ ​holding​ ​an​ ​elective​ ​local​ ​office.

DECISION:

The case was remanded by the Court to the COMELEC for the determination of the unresolved
fact​ ​which​ ​is​ ​whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​Rodriguez​ ​is​ ​a​ ​fugitive​ ​from​ ​justice.

Petitioner's position is with merit. The law needs no further interpretation and construction.
Section 40(e) of Republic Act No. 7160, is rather clear and it disqualifies "fugitive from justice" ​includes
not only those who flee after conviction to avoid punishment but likewise those who, after being
charged​ ​flee​ ​to​ ​avoid​ ​prosecution​.
However, according to the deliberations of the Oversight Committee which finally came out with
Article 73 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991, the following
persons shall be disqualified from running for any local position: xxx (e) Fugitives from justice in criminal
or non-political cases here or abroad. ​Fugitive from justice refers to a person who has been
convicted​ ​by​ ​final​ ​judgment​.

Private respondent reminded the Court that the construction placed upon a law by the officials in
charge of its enforcement deserves great and considerable weight. The Court certainly agrees; however,
when there clearly is no obscurity and ambiguity in an enabling law, it must merely be made to apply as it
is so written. An administrative rule or regulation can neither expand nor constrict the law but must remain
congruent to it. The Court believes and thus holds that the said Article 73 to the extent that it confines the
term "fugitive from justice" to refer only to a person (the fugitive) "​who has been convicted by final
judgment​,"​ ​is​ ​an​ ​inordinate​ ​and​ ​undue​ ​circumscription​ ​of​ ​the​ ​law.

Unfortunately, the COMELEC did not make any definite finding on whether or not private
respondent is a "fugitive from justice”. The omission is understandable since the COMELEC dismissed
outrightly the petition for ​quo warranto on the basis instead of Rule 73 of the Rules and Regulations
promulgated by the Oversight Committee. ​The Court itself, not being a trier of facts, is thus
constrained to remand the case to the COMELEC for a determination of this unresolved factual
matter.

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Dela​ ​Cruz​ ​v.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​192221,​ ​13​ ​November​ ​2012​ ​-​ ​CIMAFRANCA

FACTS: ​On November 28, 2009, petitioner Casimira Dela Cruz filed her COC for the position of
Vice-Mayor of Bugasong, Antique under the NPC. Subsequently, a certain Aurelio Dela Cruz filed his
COC​ ​for​ ​the​ ​same​ ​position.
On December 6, 2009, petitioner filed a petition to declare Aurelio a nuisance candidate on the ground
that the latter filed his COC to put the election process in mockery and to cause confusion among voters
due to the similarity of his surname with the petitioner’s surname. Petitioner asserted that she is a very
strong candidate for the said position, having been elected as a SB member for three consecutive terms,
compared​ ​to​ ​Aurelio​ ​De​ ​la​ ​Cruz​ ​who​ ​has​ ​no​ ​prior​ ​political​ ​experience​ ​and​ ​no​ ​political​ ​party​ ​affiliation.

On January 29, 2010, the COMELEC First Division issued a Resolution declaring Aurelio Dela Cruz as a
nuisance candidate and cancelling his certificate of candidacy for the vice-mayoralty position in
Bugasong. Despite his declaration as a nuisance candidate, Aurelio Dela Cruz’s name still appeared in
the Official Sample Ballot and Certified List of Candidates issued by the COMELEC. This prompted
petitioner to file an urgent motion, praying that the COMELEC will issue an order to delete Aurelio Dela
Cruz’s name in the Official Ballots, Certified List of Candidates and other election paraphernalia. In case
that such deletion cannot be done before the May 2010 elections, that all votes cast in favor of Aurelio be
credited​ ​in​ ​her​ ​favor​ ​in​ ​accordance​ ​with​ ​COMELEC​ ​Resolution​ ​No.​ ​4116​ ​dated​ ​May​ ​7,​ ​2001.

On May 1, 2010, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 8844, listing the name of disqualified candidates,
including that of Aurelio Dela Cruz and it further provided that votes casted upon disqualified candidates
shall be considered as stray. On the day of the election, Aurelio Dela Cruz’s name remained in the
ballots.

After the canvassing of the Municipal Board of Canvassers, the Statement of Votes showed that private
respondent John Lloyd Pacete garnered 6,428 votes as compared to petitioner Casimira Dela Cruz’s
6,389 votes, and 532 votes for Aurelio Dela Cruz. As a result, private respondent was proclaimed as
Vice-Mayor​ ​of​ ​Bugasong.

Petitioner then filed an election protest before the RTC. Petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari under
Sec. 2, Rule 64 of the ROC before the SC, alleging that COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion
in wrongly applying Resolution No. 8844, which considered the votes for Aurelio Dela Cruz as stray.
Petitioner contends that COMELEC Resolution No. 4116 dated May 7, 2001 should be applied, and as a
result, the votes for Aurelio Dela Cruz, whose COC was denied due course or cancelled on the ground
that he is a nuisance candidate with the same surname as of the bona fide candidates, shall be credited
in​ ​favor​ ​of​ ​the​ ​petitioner.

ISSUE/S:​ ​W/N​ ​COMELEC​ ​committed​ ​grave​ ​abuse​ ​of​ ​discretion​ ​when​ ​it​ ​issued​ ​Resolution​ ​No.​ ​8844.

DECISION: YES. ​Private respondent thus suggests that regardless of the ground for disqualification, the
votes cast for the disqualified candidate should result in considering the votes cast for him as stray as
explicitly​ ​mandated​ ​by​ ​Section​ ​211(24)​ ​in​ ​relation​ ​to​ ​Section​ ​72​ ​of​ ​the​ ​OEC.

It bears to stress that Sections 211 (24) and 72 applies to all disqualification cases and not to petitions to
cancel or deny due course to a certificate of candidacy such as Sections 69 (nuisance candidates) and 78
(material​ ​representation​ ​shown​ ​to​ ​be​ ​false)​.

To emphasize, a petition for disqualification, on the one hand, can be premised on Section 12 or 68 of the
OEC, or Section 40 of the LGC. On the other hand, a petition to deny due course to or cancel a CoC can
only be grounded on a statement of a material representation in the said certificate that is false. The
petitions also have different effects. While a person who is disqualified under Section 68 is merely
prohibited to continue as a candidate, the person whose certificate is cancelled or denied due course
under Section 78 is not treated as a candidate at all, as if he/she never filed a CoC. Thus, in Miranda v.
Abaya, this Court made the distinction that a candidate who is disqualified under Section 68 can validly be
substituted under Section 77 of the OEC because he/she remains a candidate until disqualified; but a
person whose CoC has been denied due course or cancelled under Section 78 cannot be substituted
because​ ​he/she​ ​is​ ​never​ ​considered​ ​a​ ​candidate.
Clearly, a petition to cancel or deny due course to a COC under Section 69 as in Section 78 cannot be
treated in the same manner as a petition to disqualify under Section 68 as what COMELEC did when it
applied the rule provided in Section 72 that the votes cast for a disqualified candidate be considered
stray, to those registered candidates whose COC’s had been cancelled or denied due course. Strictly
speaking, a cancelled certificate cannot give rise to a valid candidacy, and much less to valid votes. Said
votes cannot be counted in favor of the candidate whose COC was cancelled as he/she is not treated as
a candidate at all, as if he/she never filed a COC. But should these votes cast for the candidate whose
COC​ ​was​ ​cancelled​ ​or​ ​denied​ ​due​ ​course​ ​be​ ​considered​ ​stray?

Under COMELEC Resolution No. 4116 ​issued in relation to the finality of resolutions or decisions in
special​ ​action​ ​cases,​ ​provides:

“(5) the decision or resolution of a DIVISION on nuisance candidate, particularly where the nuisance
candidate has the same name as the bona fide candidate shall be immediately executory after the lapse
of five (5) days unless a motion for reconsideration is seasonably filed. In which case, ​the votes cast shall
not​ ​be​ ​considered​ ​stray​ ​but​ ​shall​ ​be​ ​counted​ ​and​ ​tallied​ ​for​ ​the​ ​bona​ ​fide​ ​candidate​.​”

The foregoing rule regarding the votes cast for a nuisance candidate declared as such under a final
judgment was applied by this Court in Bautista v. COMELEC ​where the name of the nuisance candidate
Edwin Bautista (having the same surname with the bona fide candidate) still appeared on the ballots on
election day because while the COMELEC rendered its decision to cancel Edwin Bautista’s COC on April
30, 1998, it denied his motion for reconsideration only on May 13, 1998 or three days after the election.
We said that the votes for candidates for mayor separately tallied on orders of the COMELEC Chairman
was for the purpose of later counting the votes and hence are not really stray votes. These separate
tallies actually made the will of the electorate determinable despite the apparent confusion caused by a
potential​ ​nuisance​ ​candidate.

But since the COMELEC decision declaring Edwin Bautista a nuisance candidate was not yet final on
Election Day, this Court also considered those factual circumstances showing that the votes mistakenly
deemed as "stray votes" refer to only the legitimate candidate (petitioner Efren Bautista) and could not
have been intended for Edwin Bautista. We further noted that the voters had constructive as well as
actual​ ​knowledge​ ​of​ ​the​ ​action​ ​of​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​delisting​ ​Edwin​ ​Bautista​ ​as​ ​a​ ​candidate​ ​for​ ​mayor.

A stray vote is invalidated because there is no way of determining the real intention of the voter. This is,
however, not the situation in the case at bar. Significantly, it has also been established that by virtue of
newspaper releases and other forms of notification, the voters were informed of the COMELEC’s decision
to​ ​declare​ ​Edwin​ ​Bautista​ ​a​ ​nuisance​ ​candidate.

In the more recent case of Martinez III v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal,this Court likewise
applied the rule in COMELEC Resolution No. 4116 not to consider the votes cast for a nuisance
candidate stray but to count them in favor of the bona fide candidate notwithstanding that the decision to
declare​ ​him​ ​as​ ​such​ ​was​ ​issued​ ​only​ ​after​ ​the​ ​elections.

As illustrated in Bautista, the pendency of proceedings against a nuisance candidate on Election Day
inevitably exposes the bona fide candidate to the confusion over the similarity of names that affects the
voter’s will and frustrates the same. It may be that the factual scenario in Bautista is not exactly the same
as in this case, mainly because the COMELEC resolution declaring Edwin Bautista a nuisance candidate
was issued before and not after the elections, with the electorate having been informed thereof through
newspaper releases and other forms of notification on the day of election. Undeniably, however, the
adverse effect on the voter’s will was similarly present in this case, if not worse, considering the
substantial​ ​number​ ​of​ ​ballots​ ​with​ ​only​ ​"MARTINEZ"​ ​or
"C. MARTINEZ" written on the line for Representative - over five thousand - which have been declared as
stray votes, the invalidated ballots being more than sufficient to overcome private respondent’s lead of
only​ ​453​ ​votes​ ​after​ ​the​ ​recount.
Here, Aurelio was declared a nuisance candidate long before the May 10, 2010 elections. On the basis of
Resolution No. 4116, the votes cast for him should not have been considered stray but counted in favor of
petitioner. ​COMELEC’s changing of the rule on votes cast for nuisance candidates resulted in the
invalidation of significant number of votes and the loss of petitioner to private respondent by a slim
margin.​ ​We​ ​observed​ ​in​ ​Martinez:
Bautista upheld the basic rule that the primordial objective of election laws is to give effect to, rather than
frustrate, the will of the voter. The inclusion of nuisance candidates turns the electoral exercise into an
uneven playing field where the bona fide candidate is faced with the prospect of having a significant
number of votes cast for him invalidated as stray votes by the mere presence of another candidate with a
similar surname. Any delay on the part of the COMELEC increases the probability of votes lost in this
manner. While political campaigners try to minimize stray votes by advising the electorate to write the full
name​ ​of​ ​their​ ​candidate​ ​on​ ​the​ ​ballot,​ ​still,​ ​election​ ​woes​ ​brought​ ​by​ ​nuisance​ ​candidates​ ​persist.

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Atty.​ ​Risos-Vidal​ ​v.​ ​Comelec​ ​and​ ​Estrada,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​206666,​ ​January​ ​21,​ ​2015)​ ​-​ ​FLORES

FACTS: ​On September 12, 2007, the Sandiganbayan convicted former President Estrada for the crime of
plunder sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and the accessory penalties of civil
interdiction​ ​during​ ​the​ ​period​ ​of​ ​sentence​ ​and​ ​perpetual​ ​absolute​ ​disqualification.

On October 25, 2007, however, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo extended executive clemency,
by​ ​way​ ​of​ ​pardon,​ ​to​ ​former​ ​President​ ​Estrada,​ ​which​ ​states​ ​that:
“WHEREAS, this Administration has a policy of releasing inmates who have reached the age of seventy
(70),

WHEREAS,​ ​Joseph​ ​Ejercito​ ​Estrada​ ​has​ ​been​ ​under​ ​detention​ ​for​ ​six​ ​and​ ​a​ ​half​ ​years,

WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or
office,

xxx​ ​He​ ​is​ ​hereby​ ​restored​ ​to​ ​his​ ​civil​ ​and​ ​political​ ​rights​.​ ​xxxx

xxx​ ​Upon​ ​acceptance​ ​of​ ​this​ ​pardon​ ​by​ ​JOSEPH​ ​EJERCITO​ ​ESTRADA,​ ​this​ ​pardon​ ​shall​ ​take​ ​effect.”

On​ ​October​ ​26,​ ​2007,​ ​former​ ​President​ ​Estrada​ ​"received​ ​and​ ​accepted​ ​the​ ​pardon.

On November 30, 2009, former President Estrada filed a Certificate of Candidacy ​for the position of
President. During that time, his candidacy earned 3 oppositions in the COMELEC. All 3 petitions were
effectively​ ​dismissed​ ​on​ ​the​ ​uniform​ ​grounds​ ​that;

(i)​ ​the​ ​Constitutional​ ​proscription​ ​on​ ​reelection​ ​applies​ ​to​ ​a​ ​sitting​ ​president;​ ​and
(ii) the pardon granted to former President Estrada by former President Arroyo restored the former’s right
to​ ​vote​ ​and​ ​be​ ​voted​ ​for​ ​a​ ​public​ ​office.

After the conduct of the May 10, 2010 synchronized elections, however, former President Estrada only
managed​ ​to​ ​garner​ ​the​ ​second​ ​highest​ ​number​ ​of​ ​votes.

On October 2, 2012, former President Estrada filed a Certificate of Candidacy for a local elective post,
that​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Mayor​ ​of​ ​the​ ​City​ ​of​ ​Manila.
On January 24, 2013, Risos-Vidal, filed a Petition for Disqualification against former President Estrada
before the COMELEC. Risos Vidal anchored her petition on the theory that "Former President Estrada is
Disqualified to Run for Public Office because of his Conviction for Plunder by the Sandiganbayan
Sentencing Him to Suffer the Penalty of Reclusion Perpetua with Perpetual Absolute Disqualification”.
She relied on Section 40 of the Local Government Code (LGC), in relation to Section 12 of the Omnibus
Election​ ​Code​ ​(OEC).

In a Resolution,the COMELEC dismissed the petition for disqualification. The subsequent motion for
reconsideration filed by Risos-Vidal was denied in a Resolution. On April 30, 2013, Risos-Vidal invoked
the​ ​Court’s​ ​jurisdiction​ ​by​ ​filing​ ​the​ ​present​ ​petition.

While the case was pending before the Court, the elections were conducted as scheduled and former
President​ ​Estrada​ ​proclaimed​ ​as​ ​the​ ​duly​ ​elected​ ​Mayor​ ​of​ ​the​ ​City​ ​of​ ​Manila.

Lim, one of former President Estrada’s opponents for the position of Mayor, moved for leave to intervene
in this case. His motion was granted by the Court. Lim subscribed to Risos-Vidal’s theory that former
President Estrada is disqualified to run for and hold public office as the pardon granted to the latter failed
to​ ​expressly​ ​remit​ ​his​ ​perpetual​ ​disqualification.

ISSUE: Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction in ruling that former President Estrada is qualified to vote and be voted for in public office as
a​ ​result​ ​of​ ​the​ ​pardon​ ​granted​ ​to​ ​him​ ​by​ ​former​ ​President​ ​Arroyo.

HELD: NO. The Supreme Court held that former President Estrada was granted an absolute pardon that
fully restored all his civil and political rights, which naturally includes the right to seek public elective office,
the focal point of this controversy. The wording of the pardon extended to former President Estrada is
complete,​ ​unambiguous,​ ​and​ ​unqualified.

The​ ​pardoning​ ​power​ ​of​ ​the​ ​President​ ​cannot​ ​be​ ​limited​ ​by​ ​legislative​ ​action.

The 1987 Constitution, specifically Section 19 of Article VII and Section 5 of Article IX-C, provides that the
President of the Philippines possesses the power to grant pardons, along with other acts of executive
clemency,​ ​to​ ​wit:

Section 19. Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the President
may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures, after conviction by final
judgment.

It is apparent from the foregoing constitutional provisions that the only instances in which the President
may​ ​not​ ​extend​ ​pardon​ ​remain​ ​to​ ​be​ ​in:
(1)​ ​impeachment​ ​cases;
(2)​ ​cases​ ​that​ ​have​ ​not​ ​yet​ ​resulted​ ​in​ ​a​ ​final​ ​conviction;​ ​and
(3) cases involving violations of election laws, rules and regulations in which there was no favorable
recommendation​ ​coming​ ​from​ ​the​ ​COMELEC.

Therefore, it can be argued that any act of Congress by way of statute cannot operate to delimit the
pardoning power of the President. The disqualification of former President Estrada under Section 40 of
the LGC in relation to Section 12 of the OEC was removed by his acceptance of the absolute pardon
granted to him. Such pardon effectively restored his right to seek public elective office. This is made
possible​ ​by​ ​reading​ ​Section​ ​40(a)​ ​of​ ​the​ ​LGC​ ​in​ ​relation​ ​to​ ​Section​ ​12​ ​of​ ​the​ ​OEC.

While it may be apparent that the proscription in Section 40(a) of the LGC is worded in absolute terms,
Section 12 of the OEC provides a legal escape from the prohibition – a plenary pardon or amnesty. In
other words, the latter provision allows any person who has been granted plenary pardon or amnesty
after conviction by final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude, to run for and hold any public
office,​ ​whether​ ​local​ ​or​ ​national​ ​position.

Where the scope and import of the executive clemency extended by the President is in issue, the Court
must turn to the only evidence available to it, and that is the pardon itself. From a detailed review of the
four corners of said document, nothing therein gives an iota of intimation that the third Whereas Clause is
actually a limitation, proviso, stipulation or condition on the grant of the pardon, such that the breach of
the mentioned commitment not to seek public office will result in a revocation or cancellation of said
pardon. To the Court, what it is simply is a statement of fact or the prevailing situation at the time the
executive clemency was granted. It was not used as a condition to the efficacy or to delimit the scope of
the​ ​pardon.

Hence, the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Resolutions. WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and petition in
intervention​ ​are​ ​DISMISSED.

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Aratea​ ​vs.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​683​ ​SCRA​ ​1​ ​(2012)​ ​-​ ​JUSTINIANO

FACTS:​ ​Romeo​ ​Lonzanida​ ​(Lonzanida)​ ​and​ ​Estela​ ​Antipolo​ ​(Antipolo,​ ​private​ ​respondent)​ ​were
candidates​ ​for​ ​Mayor​ ​of​ ​San​ ​Antonio,​ ​Zambales​ ​in​ ​the​ ​May​ ​2010​ ​national​ ​and​ ​local​ ​elections.​ ​Efren
Aratea​ ​(Aratea,​ ​petitioner)​ ​ran​ ​for​ ​the​ ​position​ ​of​ ​Vice​ ​Mayor​ ​in​ ​the​ ​same​ ​province​ ​and​ ​district.​ ​On
December​ ​1,​ ​2009,​ ​Lonzanida​ ​filed​ ​his​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy​ ​for​ ​the​ ​position​ ​of​ ​Mayor.​ ​On
December​ ​8,​ ​2009,​ ​Dra.​ ​Sigrid​ ​Rodolfo​ ​(Rodolfo)​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​petition​ ​under​ ​Section​ ​78​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Omnibus
Election​ ​Code​ ​to​ ​disqualify​ ​Lonzanida​ ​and​ ​to​ ​deny​ ​him​ ​due​ ​course​ ​or​ ​to​ ​cancel​ ​his​ ​CoC​ ​on​ ​the
ground​ ​that​ ​Lonzanida​ ​was​ ​elected,​ ​and​ ​had​ ​already​ ​served​ ​as​ ​mayor​ ​of​ ​San​ ​Antonio,​ ​Zambales
for​ ​four​ ​(4)​ ​consecutive​ ​terms​ ​immediately​ ​prior​ ​to​ ​the​ ​May​ ​2010​ ​elections.​ ​Rodolfo​ ​asserted​ ​that
Lonzanida​ ​made​ ​a​ ​false​ ​material​ ​representation​ ​in​ ​his​ ​CoC​ ​when​ ​he​ ​certified​ ​under​ ​oath​ ​that​ ​he
was​ ​eligible​ ​for​ ​the​ ​office​ ​he​ ​sought​ ​for​ ​election.​ ​Sec.​ ​8,​ ​Art.​ ​X​ ​of​ ​the​ ​1987​ ​Constitution​ ​and​ ​Sec.​ ​43
(b)​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Local​ ​Gov’t​ ​Code​ ​both​ ​prohibit​ ​a​ ​local​ ​elective​ ​official​ ​from​ ​being​ ​elected​ ​and​ ​serving​ ​for
more​ ​than​ ​three​ ​consecutive​ ​terms​ ​for​ ​the​ ​same​ ​position.

Lonzanida never denied having held the office of mayor of San Antonio, Zambales for
more than nine consecutive years. The COMELEC Second Division rendered a Resolution on Feb.
18, 2010 cancelling Lonzanida’s CoC; his name is hereby ordered stricken off the list of Official
Candidates in the May 10, 2010 elections. Lonzanida filed a motion for reconsideration before the
COMELEC En Banc and his case remained pending during the May 2010 elections. Lonzanida and
Aratea garnered the highest number of votes and were respectively proclaimed Mayor and
Vice-Mayor. In August 24, 2010, as a result of Aratea’s requests to the DILG to assume the
position of Mayor due to the disqualification of Lonzanida, then Secretary Jesse Robredo allowed
Aratea to take an oath of office as the permanent Municipal Mayor without prejudice however to
the​ ​outcome​ ​of​ ​the​ ​case​ ​pending​ ​before​ ​the​ ​COMELEC.

On August 11, 2010, the COMELEC En Banc issued a Resolution disqualifying Lonzanida from
running for Mayor in the May 2010 elections. The COMELEC En Banc's resolution was based on
two grounds: ​first, ​Lonzanida had been elected and had served as Mayor for more than three
consecutive terms without interruption; and ​second, ​Lonzanida had been convicted by final
judgment of ten (10) counts of falsification under the Revised Penal Code​. ​Lonzanida was
sentenced for each count of falsification to imprisonment of four (4) years and one (1) day of
prisión correccional ​as minimum, to eight (8) years and one (1) day of ​prisión mayor ​as maximum.
The judgment of conviction became final on 23 October 2009 in the Decision of this Court in
Lonzanida​ ​v.​ ​People,​ ​before​ ​Lonzanida​​ ​filed​ ​his​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy​ ​on​ ​Dec.​ ​1,​ ​2009.

On August 25, 2010, Antipolo filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene and to Admit Attached
Petition-in-Intervention. Antipolo claimed the right to be proclaimed as Mayor of San Antonio,
Zambales because Lonzanida ceased to be a candidate when the COMELEC ordered the striking
out of Lonzanida’s name in the Official List of Candidates. Aratea asserted that Antipolo, as the
candidate who received the second highest number of votes, could not be proclaimed as the
winning candidate. Since ​Lonzanida​'s disqualification was not yet final during election day, the
votes cast in his favor could not be declared stray. ​Lonzanida​'s subsequent disqualification
resulted in a permanent vacancy in the Office of Mayor, and Aratea, as the duly-elected
Vice-Mayor,​ ​was​ ​mandated​ ​by​ ​Section​ ​44​ ​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Local​ ​Government​ ​Code​​ ​to​ ​succeed​ ​as​ ​Mayor.

ISSUE/S:​ ​Who​ ​should​ ​fill​ ​the​ ​vacancy​ ​resulting​ ​from​ ​Lonzanida’s​ ​disqualification,​ ​Aratea​ ​or
Antipolo?

DECISION:​ ​The​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​held​ ​that​ ​Antipolo,​ ​the​ ​alleged​ ​“second​ ​placer”,​ ​should​ ​be
proclaimed​ ​Mayor​ ​because​ ​Lonzanida’s​ ​CoC​ ​was​ ​void​ ​ab​ ​initio.​ ​Lonzanida​ ​was​ ​never​ ​a​ ​candidate
at​ ​all.​ ​All​ ​votes​ ​for​ ​Lonzanida​ ​were​ ​stray​ ​votes.​ ​Thus,​ ​Antipolo,​ ​the​ ​only​ ​qualified​ ​candidate,
actually​ ​garnered​ ​the​ ​highest​ ​number​ ​of​ ​votes​ ​for​ ​the​ ​position​ ​of​ ​Mayor.
False​ ​Material​ ​Representation
The conviction of ​Lonzanida by final judgment, with the penalty of ​prisión mayor, disqualifies him
perpetually from holding any public office, or from being elected to any public office. This
perpetual disqualification took effect upon the finality of the judgment of conviction, before
Lonzanida​​ ​filed​ ​his​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy.

The penalty of ​prisión mayor ​automatically carries with it, by operation of law, the accessory
penalties of temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification. Under
Article 30 of the Revised Penal Code​, temporary absolute disqualification produces the effect of
"deprivation of the right to vote in any election for any popular elective office ​or to be elected to
such office.​" The duration of temporary absolute disqualification is the same as that of the
principal penalty of ​prisión mayor. On the other hand, under Article 32 of the Revised Penal Code​,
perpetual special disqualification means that "the offender shall not be permitted to hold any
public office during the period of his disqualification," ​which is perpetually. Both temporary
absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification constitute ineligibilities to hold
elective public office. A person suffering from these ineligibilities is ineligible to run for elective
public office, and commits a false material representation if he states in his certificate of
candidacy​ ​that​ ​he​ ​is​ ​eligible​ ​to​ ​so​ ​run.

Perpetual special disqualification is a ground for a petition under Section 78 of the ​Omnibus
Election Code because this accessory penalty is an ineligibility, which means that the convict is
not eligible to run for public office, contrary to the statement that Section 74 requires him to state
under​ ​oath​ ​in​ ​his​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy.
Section 78 of the ​Omnibus Election Code states that a certificate of candidacy may be denied or
cancelled when there is false material representation of the contents of the certificate of
candidacy:

Sec. 78. ​Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. — A verified
petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed
by the 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 days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy
and shall be decided, after due notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the
election.​ ​(Emphasis​ ​supplied)

Section​ ​74​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Omnibus​ ​Election​ ​Code​​ ​details​ ​the​ ​contents​ ​of​ ​the​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy:

“Sec. 74. ​Contents of certificate of candidacy. — The certificate of candidacy shall state
that the person filing it is announcing his candidacy for the office stated therein and that
he​ ​is​ ​eligible​ ​for​ ​said​ ​office…”

In a certificate of candidacy, the candidate is asked to certify under oath his eligibility, and thus
qualification, to the office he seeks election. Even though the certificate of candidacy does not
specifically ask the candidate for the number of terms elected and served in an elective position,
such fact is material in determining a candidate's eligibility, and thus qualification for the office.
Election to and service of the same local elective position for three consecutive terms renders a
candidate ineligible from running for the same position in the succeeding elections. ​Lonzanida
misrepresented his eligibility because he knew full well that he had been elected, and had served,
as mayor of San Antonio, Zambales for more than three consecutive terms yet he still certified
that he was eligible to run for mayor for the next succeeding term. Thus, Lonzanida​'s
representation that he was eligible for the office that he sought election constitutes false material
representation​ ​as​ ​to​ ​his​ ​qualification​ ​or​ ​eligibility​ ​for​ ​the​ ​office.

Effect​ ​of​ ​a​ ​Void​ ​Certificate​ ​of​ ​Candidacy


A cancelled certificate of candidacy void ​ab initio ​cannot give rise to a valid candidacy, and much
less to valid votes. The Supreme Court quotes from the COMELEC's February 2, 2011 Resolution
with​ ​approval:

As early as February 18, 2010, the Commission speaking through the Second Division
had already ordered the cancellation of ​Lonzanida​'s certificate of candidacy, and had
stricken off his name in the list of official candidates for the mayoralty post of San
Antonio, Zambales. Thereafter, the Commission En Banc in its resolution dated August
11, 2010 unanimously affirmed the resolution disqualifying ​Lonzanida​. Our findings were
likewise sustained by the Supreme Court no less. The disqualification of ​Lonzanida is
not simply anchored on one ground. On the contrary, it was emphasized in our En Banc
resolution that ​Lonzanida​'s disqualification is two-pronged: first, he violated the
constitutional fiat on the three-term limit; and second, as early as December 1, 2009, he
is known to have been convicted by final judgment for ten (10) counts of Falsification
under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code​. In other words, on election day, respondent
Lonzanida​'s disqualification is notoriously known in fact and in law. ​Ergo, since
respondent ​Lonzanida was never a candidate for the position of Mayor of San Antonio,
Zambales, the votes cast for him should be considered stray votes. Consequently,
Intervenor Antipolo, who remains as the sole qualified candidate for the mayoralty post
and obtained the highest number of votes, should now be proclaimed as the duly elected
Mayor​ ​of​ ​San​ ​Antonio,​ ​Zambales.

Lonzanida​'s certificate of candidacy was cancelled because he was ineligible or not qualified to
run for Mayor. Whether his certificate of candidacy is cancelled before or after the elections is
immaterial because the cancellation on such ground means he was never a candidate from the
very beginning, his certificate of candidacy being void ​ab initio. ​There was only one qualified
candidate for Mayor in the May 2010 elections — Antipolo, who therefore received the highest
number​ ​of​ ​votes.

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Jalosjos​ ​vs.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​683​ ​SCRA​ ​1​ ​(2012)​ ​-​ ​SY

FACTS:

Dominador Jalosjos and Agapito Cardino were candidates for mayor of Dapitan City, Zamboanga
del Norte during the 2010 elections. Cardino filed a petition under sec. 78 of the Omnibus Election Code
to deny due course and cancel the certificate of candidacy of Jalosjos because of false material
representation when Jalosjos declared under oath that he was eligible to run for mayor. Jalosjos had
previously been convicted by final judgement of the crime of robbery and sentenced to prision mayor.
Jalosjos argued that he was granted probation for his conviction and that a previous petition for
disqualification filed against him based on the same grounds was denied during the 2004 elections.
Cardino argues that a Sandiganbayan decision on 2008 found Gregorio Bacolod, the administrator of the
parole and probation administration, guilty of issuing a falsified certification attesting to the fact that
Jalosjos had fully complied with the terms and conditions of his probation. It is based on the
Sandiganbayan decision that Cardino argues that Jalosjos had not served his sentence, The COMELEC
granted the petition of Cardino and cancelled the certificate of candidacy of Jalosjos based on the
Sandiganbayan decision. Both parties subsequently appealed the decision of the COMELEC to the
Supreme​ ​Court.

ISSUE/S:

Did the COMELEC commit grave abuse of discretion when it ruled that Jalosjos’ probation was revoked
and cancelled his certificate of candidacy without making a finding that he committed a deliberate
misrepresentation​ ​regarding​ ​his​ ​qualifications?

DECISION:

​Jalosjos committed false material representation in his certificate of candidacy when he declared
himself to be eligible to run for public office. The penalty of prision mayor carries with it the accessory
penalties of temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification. Both
disqualifications constitute ineligibilities to hold public office under sec. 40 of the LGC and sec. 12 of the
Omnibus Election Code. Perpetual special disqualification, particularly, deprives the convict to hold public
office​ ​perpetually.

Jalosjos’ contention that because he had been granted probation, then he is already eligible to
hold public office is wrong. First, the basis of Jalosjos’ argument is derived from a falsified certification
that was already ruled by the Sandiganbayan; second, the accessory penalty of perpetual special
disqualification takes effect immediately upon final conviction and its effectivity does not depend on the
duration​ ​of​ ​the​ ​principal​ ​penalty​ ​or​ ​on​ ​whether​ ​the​ ​convict​ ​serves​ ​his​ ​jail​ ​sentence​ ​or​ ​not.

Taking into account the Sandiganbayan decision regarding the probation of Jalosjos and the fact
that he was given the accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification, Jalosjos therefore, is
ineligible to run for public office. A false statement in a certificate of candidacy stating that a candidate is
eligible to run for public office, when in fact he is not, is a false material representation that is a ground for
a petition to deny due course or cancel the certificate of candidacy under sec. 78 of the Omnibus Election
Code.

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Quinto​ ​vs.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​606​ ​SCRA​ ​258,​ ​December​ ​1,​ ​2009​ ​-​ ​SIMEON

FACTS: In 1997, Congress enacted Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8436 authorizing COMELEC to use an
Automated​ ​Election​ ​System​ ​(AES)​ ​in​ ​the​ ​1998​ ​elections.​ ​Section​ ​11​ ​of​ ​RA​ ​8436​ ​states​ ​that:

“SEC. 11. Xxx ​For this purpose, the deadline for the filing of certificate of
candidacy/petition for registration/manifestation to participate in the election shall not be later
than one hundred twenty (120) days before the elections: ​Provided, That, any elective official,
whether national or local, running for any office other than the one which he/she is holding in a
permanent capacity, except for president and vice president, shall be deemed resigned only upon
the start of the campaign period corresponding to the position for which he/she is running:
Provided, further​, That, unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect upon
the start of the aforesaid campaign period​: ​Provided, finally​, That, for purposes of the May 11, 1998
elections, the deadline for filing of the certificate of candidacy for the positions of President, Vice
President, Senators and candidates under the Party-List System as well as petitions for registration
and/or manifestation to participate in the Party-List System shall be on February 9, 1998 while the
deadline​ ​for​ ​the​ ​filing​ ​of​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy​ ​for​ ​other​ ​positions​ ​shall​ ​be​ ​on​ ​March​ ​27,​ ​1998..”

Subsequently,​ ​on​ ​January​ ​23,​ ​2007,​ ​the​ ​Congress​ ​enacted​ ​RA​ ​9369​ ​which​ ​authorized​ ​again
COMELEC​ ​to​ ​use​ ​an​ ​AES​ ​and​ ​by​ ​virtue​ ​of​ ​Section​ ​13​ ​of​ ​said​ ​law,​ ​it​ ​modified​ ​Section​ ​11​ ​of​ ​the​ ​previous
act.
Section​ ​13​ ​of​ ​RA​ ​9369​ ​states​ ​that:

“Section 15. ​Official Ballot.​ The Commission shall prescribe the format of the electronic display
and/or the size and form of the official ballot, which shall contain the titles of the position to be filled and/or
the propositions to be voted upon in an initiative, referendum or plebiscite. Where practicable, electronic
displays must be constructed to present the names of all candidates for the same position in the same
page or screen, otherwise, the electronic displays must be constructed to present the entire ballot to the
voter, in a series of sequential pages, and to ensure that the voter sees all of the ballot options on all
pages before completing his or her vote and to allow the voter to review and change all ballot choices
prior to completing and casting his or her ballot. Under each position to be filled, the names of candidates
shall be arranged alphabetically by surname and uniformly indicated using the same type size. The
maiden or married name shall be listed in the official ballot, as preferred by the female candidate. Under
each​ ​proposition​ ​to​ ​be​ ​vote​ ​upon,​ ​the​ ​choices​ ​should​ ​be​ ​uniformly​ ​indicated​ ​using​ ​the​ ​same​ ​font​ ​and​ ​size.

A fixed space where the chairman of the board of election inspectors shall affix his/her signature
to​ ​authenticate​ ​the​ ​official​ ​ballot​ ​shall​ ​be​ ​provided.”
COMELEC then issued a resolution regarding the filing of COC which in effect states that any
person holding an appointive position in the government including all its branches shall be considered
ipso​ ​facto​ ​resigned​ ​upon​ ​filing​ ​his​ ​COC.

Petitioner​ ​assails​ ​Section​ ​13​ ​of​ ​the​ ​said​ ​RA​ ​9369​ ​as​ ​it​ ​violates​ ​the​ ​equal​ ​protection​ ​clause.

ISSUE/S: ​Whether or not ​second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act No. 9369,
Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 8678 are
constitutional.

DECISION: NO. ​The Supreme Court held that second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of
Republic Act No. 9369, Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section 4(a) of COMELEC
Resolution No. 8678 are declared as ​UNCONSTITUTIONAL because it violates the equal protection
clause.

In order that there can be valid classification so that a discriminatory governmental act may pass
the constitutional norm of equal protection, it is necessary that the four (4) requisites of valid classification
be​ ​complied​ ​with,​ ​namely:
(1) It​ ​must​ ​be​ ​based​ ​upon​ ​substantial​ ​distinctions;
(2) It​ ​must​ ​be​ ​germane​ ​to​ ​the​ ​purposes​ ​of​ ​the​ ​law;
(3) It​ ​must​ ​not​ ​be​ ​limited​ ​to​ ​existing​ ​conditions​ ​only;​ ​and
(4) It​ ​must​ ​apply​ ​equally​ ​to​ ​all​ ​members​ ​of​ ​the​ ​class.

The classification, even if based on substantial distinctions, will still be invalid if it is not
germane to the purpose of the law. Applying the four requisites to the instant case, the Court
finds that the differential treatment of persons holding appointive offices as opposed to those
holding​ ​elective​ ​ones​ ​is​ ​not​ ​germane​ ​to​ ​the​ ​purposes​ ​of​ ​the​ ​law.

The obvious reason for the challenged provision is to prevent the use of a governmental position
to promote ones candidacy, or even to wield a dangerous or coercive influence on the electorate. The
measure is further aimed at promoting the efficiency, integrity, and discipline of the public service by
eliminating the danger that the discharge of official duty would be motivated by political considerations
rather than the welfare of the public.​[34] The restriction is also justified by the proposition that the entry of
civil servants to the electoral arena, while still in office, could result in neglect or inefficiency in the
performance​ ​of​ ​duty​ ​because​ ​they​ ​would​ ​be​ ​attending​ ​to​ ​their​ ​campaign​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​to​ ​their​ ​office​ ​work.

If we accept these as the underlying objectives of the law, then the assailed provision cannot be
constitutionally rescued on the ground of valid classification. Glaringly absent is the requisite that the
classification must be germane to the purposes of the law. Indeed, whether one holds an appointive office
or​ ​an​ ​elective​ ​one,​ ​the​ ​evils​ ​sought​ ​to​ ​be​ ​prevented​ ​by​ ​the​ ​measure​ ​remain.

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Quinto​ ​vs.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​613​ ​SCRA​ ​385,​ ​Feb.​ ​22,​ ​2010​ ​-​ ​SANGALANG

Doctrine: ​The purpose of the law is to defer to the sovereign will of the people by letting elective officials
serve until the end of the terms for which they were elected notwithstanding the filing of their certificates
of candidacy. On the contrary, the automatic resignation rule was imposed upon appointive officials
because unlike elected politicians, appointive officials, as officers and employees in the civil service, are
strictly prohibited from engaging in any partisan political activity or from taking part in any election, except
to​ ​vote.

FACTS: ​This is a motion for reconsideration of the Decision of the Supreme Court in Quinto vs.
COMELEC, 1 December 2009 which granted the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition filed by Eleazar P.
Quinto and Gerino A. Tolentino, Jr. and declared as unconstitutional the second proviso in the third
paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act No. 9369, Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section
4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 8678, mainly on the ground that they violate the equal protection
clause of the Constitution and suffer from overbreadth. The assailed Decision thus paved the way for
public appointive officials to continue discharging the powers, prerogatives and functions of their office
notwithstanding​ ​their​ ​entry​ ​into​ ​the​ ​political​ ​arena .

ISSUE/S: ​(1) Whether or not the second proviso in paragraph 3, Section 13 of RA 9369, Section 66 of the
Omnibus​ ​Election​ ​Code,​ ​and​ ​Section​ ​4(a)​ ​of​ ​RA​ ​8678​ ​violate​ ​the​​ ​equal​ ​protection​ ​clause
(2) Whether or not the second proviso in paragraph 3, Section 13 of RA 9369, Section 66 of the
Omnibus​ ​Election​ ​Code,​ ​and​ ​Section​ ​4(a)​ ​of​ ​RA​ ​8678​ ​suffer​ ​from​ ​overbreadth

DECISION​: ​(1) ​NO​, the assailed provisions are not unconstitutional, and accordingly reverse the
December 1, 2009 Decision. The intent of both Congress and the framers of our Constitution to limit the
participation of civil service officers and employees in partisan political activities is too plain to be
mistaken. The assailed provisions are not violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
These laws and regulations implement Section 2(4), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution, which prohibits
civil​ ​service​ ​officers​ ​and​ ​employees​ ​from​ ​engaging​ ​in​ ​any​ ​electioneering​ ​or​ ​partisan​ ​political​ ​campaign.

The equal protection of the law clause in the Constitution is not absolute, but is subject to reasonable
classification. ​The equal protection clause does not require the universal application of the laws to all
persons or things without distinction. What it simply requires is equality among equals as determined
according to a valid classification. The test developed by jurisprudence here and yonder is that of
reasonableness,​ ​which​ ​has​ ​four​ ​requisites:

(1)​ ​The​ ​classification​ ​rests​ ​on​ ​substantial​ ​distinctions;


(2)​ ​It​ ​is​ ​germane​ ​to​ ​the​ ​purposes​ ​of​ ​the​ ​law;
(3)​ ​It​ ​is​ ​not​ ​limited​ ​to​ ​existing​ ​conditions​ ​only;​ ​and
(4)​ ​It​ ​applies​ ​equally​ ​to​ ​all​ ​members​ ​of​ ​the​ ​same​ ​class.

Our assailed Decision readily acknowledged that these deemed-resigned provisions satisfy the first, third
and fourth requisites of reasonableness. It, however, proffers the dubious conclusion that the differential
treatment of appointive officials vis-à-vis elected officials is not germane to the purpose of the law,
because "whether one holds an appointive office or an elective one, the evils sought to be prevented by
the​ ​measure​ ​remain."

In the instant case, is there a rational justification for excluding elected officials from the operation of the
deemed resigned provisions? There is. An election is the embodiment of the popular will, perhaps the
purest expression of the sovereign power of the people. It involves the choice or selection of candidates
to public office by popular vote. Considering that elected officials are put in office by their constituents for
a definite term, it may justifiably be said that they were excluded from the ambit of the deemed resigned
provisions in utmost respect for the mandate of the sovereign will. In other words, complete deference is
accorded to the will of the electorate that they be served by such officials until the end of the term for
which they were elected. In contrast, there is no such expectation insofar as appointed officials are
concerned. ​The dichotomized treatment of appointive and elective officials is therefore germane to
the​ ​purposes​ ​of​ ​the​ ​law.

(2) NO​, Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678 and Section 13 of RA 9369, which merely reiterate Section 66 of
the Omnibus Election Code, are not unconstitutionally overbroad. The view that the assailed provisions
are overly broad because they apply indiscriminately to all appointive civil servants regardless of position
obviously fails to consider a different, yet equally plausible, threat to the government posed by the
partisan potential of a large and growing bureaucracy: the danger of systematic abuse perpetrated by a
"powerful political machine" that has amassed "the scattered powers of government workers" so as to
give​ ​itself​ ​and​ ​its​ ​incumbent​ ​workers​ ​an​ ​"unbreakable​ ​grasp​ ​on​ ​the​ ​reins​ ​of​ ​power."

The avoidance of such a "politically active public work force" which could give an emerging political
machine an "unbreakable grasp on the reins of power" is reason enough to impose a restriction on the
candidacies of all appointive public officials without further distinction as to the type of positions being
held​ ​by​ ​such​ ​employees​ ​or​ ​the​ ​degree​ ​of​ ​influence​ ​that​ ​may​ ​be​ ​attendant​ ​thereto.

Obviously, these rules and guidelines, including the restriction in Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678, were
issued specifically for purposes of the May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections, which, it must be
noted, are decidedly partisan in character. Thus, it is clear that the restriction in Section 4(a) of RA 8678
applies only to the candidacies of appointive officials vying for partisan elective posts in the May 10, 2010
National​ ​and​ ​Local​ ​Elections.

The Court added that in the case at bar, the probable harm to society in permitting incumbent appointive
officials to remain in office, even as they actively pursue elective posts, far outweighs the less likely evil of
having arguably protected candidacies blocked by the possible inhibitory effect of a potentially overly
broad​ ​statute.

In conclusion, Appointed Officials Running in May 2010 Elections are deemed resigned upon filing
of​ ​their​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy.

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Mendoza​ ​vs.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​191084,​ ​March​ ​25,​ ​2010​ ​-​ ​SALONGA

FACTS:​ ​Petitioner​ ​Mendoza​ ​was​ ​proclaimed​ ​winner​ ​of​ ​the​ ​2007​ ​gubernatorial​ ​election​ ​in​ ​Bulacan,
beating​ ​respondent​ ​Pagdanganan​ ​by​ ​15,732​ ​votes.

On​ ​1​ ​June​ ​2007,​ ​respondent​ ​filed​ ​the​ ​Election​ ​Protest​ ​alleging​ ​massive​ ​electoral​ ​fraud​ ​perpetrated​ ​by
petitioner.​ ​Petition​ ​was​ ​raffled​ ​to​ ​the​ ​2nd​ ​Div​ ​of​ ​the​ ​COMELEC

On​ ​June​ ​18,​ ​2007,​ ​petitioners​ ​filed​ ​his​ ​Answer​ ​with​ ​Counter-Protest.

The​ ​COMELEC​ ​proceeded​ ​to​ ​conduct​ ​the​ ​preliminary​ ​conference​ ​and​ ​to​ ​order​ ​a​ ​revision​ ​of​ ​the​ ​ballots
from​ ​the​ ​contested​ ​precincts​ ​indicated​ ​in​ ​said​ ​pleadings.

Upon​ ​the​ ​evidence​ ​adduced​ ​and​ ​the​ ​memoranda​ ​subsequently​ ​filed​ ​by​ ​the​ ​parties,​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​2nd
Div​ ​rendered​ ​the​ ​December​ ​1,​ ​2009​ ​Resolution,​ ​w/c​ ​annulled​ ​and​ ​set​ ​aside​ ​petitioners​ ​proclamation​ ​as
governor​ ​and​ ​proclaimed​ ​respondent​ ​duly​ ​elected​ ​to​ ​said​ ​position​ ​by​ ​a​ ​winning​ ​margin​ ​of​ ​4,321​ ​votes.
Coupled​ ​with​ ​a​ ​directive​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Department​ ​of​ ​Interior​ ​and​ ​Local​ ​Government​ ​to​ ​implement​ ​the​ ​same,​ ​the
resolution​ ​ordered​ ​petitioner​ ​to​ ​immediately​ ​vacate​ ​said​ ​office,​ ​to​ ​cease​ ​and​ ​desist​ ​from​ ​discharging​ ​the
functions​ ​pertaining​ ​thereto​ ​and​ ​to​ ​cause​ ​a​ ​peaceful​ ​turn-over​ ​thereof​ ​to​ ​respondent.

petitioner​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​Motion​ ​for​ ​Reconsideration​ ​with​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​En​ ​Banc​ ​but​ ​the​ ​latter,​ ​on​ ​8​ ​February
2010​ ​denied​ ​MR​ ​and​ ​issued​ ​writ​ ​of​ ​execution​ ​of​ ​judgement.
On​ ​11​ ​February​ ​2010,​ ​petitioner​ ​filed​ ​before​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​an​ ​Urgent​ ​Motion​ ​to​ ​Recall​ ​the​ ​Resolution
Promulgated​ ​on​ ​February​ ​8,​ ​2010​ ​on​ ​the​ ​following​ ​grounds:​ ​(a)​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​concurrence​ ​of​ ​the​ ​majority​ ​of​ ​the
members​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Commission;​ ​(b)​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​re-hearing;​ ​and​ ​(c)​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​notice​ ​for​ ​the​ ​promulgation​ ​of​ ​the
resolution.

On​ ​12​ ​February​ ​2010,​ ​petitioner​ ​filed​ ​the​ ​instant​ ​Petition​ ​for​ ​Certiorari​ ​with​ ​an​ ​Urgent​ ​Prayer​ ​for​ ​the
Issuance​ ​of​ ​a​ ​TRO​ ​and/or​ ​a​ ​Status​ ​Quo​ ​Order​ ​and​ ​Writ​ ​of​ ​Preliminary​ ​Injunction​ ​against​ ​the​ ​8​ ​February
2010​ ​Resolution​ ​of​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​En​ ​Banc.​ ​The​ ​petition​ ​is​ ​anchored​ ​on​ ​the​ ​same​ ​grounds​ ​raised​ ​in​ ​the
Feb​ ​11​ ​petition.

On​ ​10​ ​February​ ​2010,​ ​it​ ​appears​ ​that​ ​COMELEC​ ​en​ ​banc​ ​issued​ ​an​ ​order​ ​scheduling​ ​the​ ​case​ ​for
re-hearing​ ​on​ ​15​ ​February​ ​2010,​ ​on​ ​the​ ​ground​ ​that​ ​there​ ​was​ ​no​ ​majority​ ​vote​ ​of​ ​the​ ​members​ ​obtained
in​ ​the​ ​Resolution​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Commission​ ​En​ ​Banc​ ​promulgated​ ​on​ ​February​ ​8,​ ​2010.​ ​As​ ​it​ ​turned​ ​out,​ ​the
deliberations​ ​which​ ​ensued​ ​again​ ​failed​ ​to​ ​muster​ ​the​ ​required​ ​majority​ ​vote.

Both​ ​respondent​ ​and​ ​the​ ​OSG​ ​argue​ ​that,​ ​in​ ​addition​ ​to​ ​its​ ​premature​ ​filing,​ ​the​ ​petition​ ​at​ ​bench​ ​violated
the​ ​rule​ ​against​ ​forum​ ​shopping.​ ​Claiming​ ​that​ ​he​ ​received​ ​the​ ​10​ ​February​ ​2010​ ​Order​ ​of​ ​the​ ​COMELEC
En​ ​Banc​ ​late​ ​in​ ​the​ ​morning​ ​of​ ​12​ ​February​ ​2010​ ​or​ ​when​ ​the​ ​filing​ ​of​ ​the​ ​petition​ ​was​ ​already​ ​underway.

ISSUE/S:​ ​1.​​ ​W/N​ ​the​ ​issue​ ​on​ ​forum​ ​shopping​ ​would​ ​bar​ ​the​ ​action​ ​of​ ​petitioner?

2.​ ​W/N​ ​the​ ​protest​ ​of​ ​respondent​ ​should​ ​be​ ​dismissed?

DECISION:​ ​1.​ ​No.​​ ​Public​ ​interest​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​the​ ​case​ ​militates​ ​against​ ​the​ ​dismissal​ ​of​ ​the​ ​pleading​ ​on
technical​ ​grounds​ ​like​ ​forum​ ​shopping.

2.​ ​Yes.​​ ​The​ ​failure​ ​of​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​En​ ​Banc​ ​to​ ​muster​ ​the​ ​required​ ​majority​ ​vote​ ​even​ ​after​ ​the​ ​15
February​ ​2010​ ​re-hearing​ ​should​ ​have​ ​caused​ ​the​ ​dismissal​ ​of​ ​respondents​ ​Election​ ​Protest.

Having​ ​conceded​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​grounds​ ​subsequently​ ​raised​ ​by​ ​the​ ​petitioner​ ​in​ ​his​ ​Urgent​ ​Motion​ ​to​ ​Recall
the​ ​Resolution​ ​Promulgated​ ​on​ ​February​ ​8,​ ​2010,​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​En​ ​Banc​ ​significantly​ ​failed​ ​to​ ​obtain​ ​the
votes​ ​required​ ​under​ ​its​ ​own​ ​Rules​ ​of​ ​Procedure

The​ ​failure​ ​of​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​En​ ​Banc​ ​to​ ​muster​ ​the​ ​required​ ​majority​ ​vote​ ​even​ ​after​ ​the​ ​15​ ​February
2010​ ​re-hearing​ ​should​ ​have​ ​caused​ ​the​ ​dismissal​ ​of​ ​respondents​ ​Election​ ​Protest.

Pursuant​ ​to​ ​Section​ ​6,​ ​Article​ ​IX-A​ ​and​ ​Section​ ​3,​ ​Article​ ​IX-C​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Constitution,​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​Rules​ ​of
Procedure​ ​is​ ​clear​ ​on​ ​this​ ​matter.​ ​Without​ ​any​ ​trace​ ​of​ ​ambiguity,​ ​Section​ ​6,​ ​Rule​ ​18​ ​of​ ​said​ ​Rule
categorically​ ​provides​ ​as​ ​follows:

Sec.​ ​6.​ ​Procedure​ ​if​ ​Opinion​ ​is​ ​Equally​ ​Divided.​ ​When​ ​the​ ​Commission​ ​en​ ​banc​ ​is​ ​equally​ ​divided​ ​in
opinion,​ ​or​ ​the​ ​necessary​ ​majority​ ​cannot​ ​be​ ​had,​ ​the​ ​case​ ​shall​ ​be​ ​reheard,​ ​and​ ​if​ ​on​ ​rehearing​ ​no
decision​ ​is​ ​reached,​ ​the​ ​action​ ​or​ ​proceeding​ ​shall​ ​be​ ​dismissed​ ​if​ ​originally​ ​commenced​ ​in​ ​the
Commission;​ ​in​ ​appealed​ ​cases,​ ​the​ ​judgment​ ​or​ ​order​ ​appealed​ ​from​ ​shall​ ​stand​ ​affirmed;​ ​and​ ​in​ ​all
incidental​ ​matters,​ ​the​ ​petition​ ​or​ ​motion​ ​shall​ ​be​ ​denied.

Resolution​ ​of​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​promulgated​ ​on​ ​8​ ​February​ ​2010​ ​is​ ​NULLIFIED​ ​and​ ​SET​ ​ASIDE.​ ​The
election​ ​protest​ ​of​ ​respondent​ ​Roberto​ ​M.​ ​Pagdanganan​ ​is​ ​hereby​ ​DISMISSED.
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Socrates​ ​vs.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​391​ ​SCRA​ ​457,​ ​Nov.​ ​12,​ ​2002​ ​-​ ​RUBIO

FACTS: ​On July 2, 2002, 312 out of 528 members of the then incumbent barangay officials of the Puerto
Princesa convened themselves into a Preparatory Recall Assembly (PRA for brevity) at the Gymnasium
of Barangay San Jose. The PRA was convened to initiate the recall of Victorino Dennis M. Socrates
(Socrates for brevity) who assumed office as Puerto Princesas mayor on June 30, 2001. The members of
the PRA designated Mark David M. Hagedorn, president of the Association of Barangay Captains, as
interim chair of the PRA. On the same date, the PRA passed Resolution No. 01-02 (Recall Resolution for
brevity) which declared its loss of confidence in Socrates and called for his recall. The PRA requested the
COMELEC​ ​to​ ​schedule​ ​the​ ​recall​ ​election​ ​for​ ​mayor​ ​within​ ​30​ ​days​ ​from​ ​receipt​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Recall​ ​Resolution.

On July 16, 2002, Socrates filed with the COMELEC a petition, docketed as E.M. No. 02-010
(RC), to nullify and deny due course to the Recall Resolution. The COMELEC ​en banc promulgated a
resolution​ ​dismissing​ ​for​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​merit​ ​Socrates​ ​petition.
The COMELEC gave due course to the Recall Resolution and scheduled the recall election on
September​ ​7,​ ​2002.

On August 23, 2002, Edward M. Hagedorn (Hagedorn for brevity) filed his certificate of candidacy
for​ ​mayor​ ​in​ ​the​ ​recall​ ​election.

Ma. Flores F. Adovo (Adovo for brevity) and Merly E. Gilo (Gilo for brevity) filed a petition before
the COMELEC to disqualify Hagedorn from running in the recall election and to cancel his certificate of
candidacy. A certain Bienvenido Ollave, Sr. (Ollave for brevity) filed a petition-in-intervention also seeking
to disqualify Hagedorn. Genaro V. Manaay filed another petition against Hagedorn alleging substantially
the same facts and involving the same issues. The petitions were all anchored on the ground that
Hagedorn is disqualified from running for a fourth consecutive term, having been elected and having
served as mayor of the city for three (3) consecutive full terms immediately prior to the instant recall
election​ ​for​ ​the​ ​same​ ​post.

The COMELEC declared Hagedorn qualified to run in the recall election. The COMELEC also
reset​ ​the​ ​recall​ ​election​ ​from​ ​September​ ​7,​ ​2002​ ​to​ ​September​ ​24,​ ​2002.
Hence,​ ​the​ ​instant​ ​consolidated​ ​petitions.

ISSUE/S:​ ​Whether​ ​Hagedorn​ ​is​ ​qualified​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​mayor​ ​in​ ​the​ ​recall​ ​election​ ​of​ ​Puerto​ ​Princesa​ ​on
September​ ​24,​ ​2002.

DECISION:​ ​Yes.​ ​The​ ​three-term​ ​limit​ ​rule​ ​for​ ​elective​ ​local​ ​officials​ ​is​ ​found​ ​in​ ​Section​ ​8,​ ​Article​ ​X​ ​of​ ​the
Constitution,​ ​which​ ​states:

Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be
determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three
consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be
considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was
elected.
This three-term limit rule is reiterated in Section 43 (b) of RA No. 7160, otherwise known as the
Local​ ​Government​ ​Code,​ ​which​ ​provides:

Section​ ​43.​ ​Term​ ​of​ ​Office.​ ​(a)​ ​x​ ​x​ ​x


(b) No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same
position. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an
interruption​ ​in​ ​the​ ​continuity​ ​of​ ​service​ ​for​ ​the​ ​full​ ​term​ ​for​ ​which​ ​the​ ​elective​ ​official​ ​was​ ​elected.

These​ ​constitutional​ ​and​ ​statutory​ ​provisions​ ​have​ ​two​ ​parts.

● The first part provides that an elective local official cannot serve for more than three consecutive
terms. The clear intent is that only ​consecutive terms count in determining the three-term limit
rule.

● The second part states that voluntary renunciation of office for any length of time does not
interrupt the continuity of service. The clear intent is that ​involuntary severance from office ​for any
length of time interrupts continuity of service and prevents the service before and after the
interruption​ ​from​ ​being​ ​joined​ ​together​ ​to​ ​form​ ​a​ ​continuous​ ​service​ ​or​ ​consecutive​ ​terms.

After three consecutive terms, an elective local official cannot seek ​immediate reelection for a
fourth term. The prohibited election refers to the next regular election for the same office following the end
of​ ​the​ ​third​ ​consecutive​ ​term.

Any ​subsequent ​election​, like a recall election, is no longer covered by the prohibition for two
reasons. First, a subsequent election like a recall election is no longer an immediate reelection after three
consecutive terms. Second, the intervening period constitutes an involuntary interruption in the continuity
of​ ​service.

From​ ​June​ ​30,​ ​2001​ ​until​ ​the​ ​recall​ ​election​ ​on​ ​September​ ​24,​ ​2002,​ ​the​ ​mayor​ ​of​ ​Puerto
Princesa​ ​was​ ​Socrates.​ ​During​ ​the​ ​same​ ​period,​ ​Hagedorn​ ​was​ ​simply​ ​a​ ​private​ ​citizen.​ ​This​ ​period​ ​is
clearly​ ​an​ ​interruption​ ​in​ ​the​ ​continuity​ ​of​ ​Hagedorns​ ​service​ ​as​ ​mayor,​ ​not​ ​because​ ​of​ ​his​ ​voluntary
renunciation,​ ​but​ ​because​ ​of​ ​a​ ​legal​ ​prohibition.

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Pamatong​ ​v.​ ​Commission​ ​on​ ​Elections,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​161872,​ ​April​ ​13,​ ​2004​ ​-​ ​NOBLE

FACTS: ​Petitioner Pamatong filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for President. Respondent
COMELEC declared petitioner and 35 others as nuisance candidates who could not wage a nationwide
campaign and/or are not nominated by a political party or are not supported by a registered political party
with​ ​a​ ​national​ ​constituency.

Pamatong filed a Petition For Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court claiming that the COMELEC
violated his right to "equal access to opportunities for public service" under Section 26, Article II of the
1987 Constitution, by limiting the number of qualified candidates only to those who can afford to wage a
nationwide campaign and/or are nominated by political parties. The COMELEC supposedly erred in
disqualifying him since he is the most qualified among all the presidential candidates, i.e., he possesses
all the constitutional and legal qualifications for the office of the president, he is capable of waging a
national campaign since he has numerous national organizations under his leadership, he also has the
capacity to wage an international campaign since he has practiced law in other countries, and he has a
platform​ ​of​ ​government.

ISSUE/S:​ ​Is​ ​there​ ​a​ ​constitutional​ ​right​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​public​ ​office?
DECISION: ​NO. ​What is recognized in Section 26, Article II of the Constitution is merely a privilege
subject to limitations imposed by law. It neither bestows such a right nor elevates the privilege to the level
of an enforceable right. There is nothing in the plain language of the provision which suggests such a
thrust​ ​or​ ​justifies​ ​an​ ​interpretation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​sort.

The "equal access" provision is a subsumed part of Article II of the Constitution, entitled "Declaration of
Principles and State Policies." The provisions under the Article are generally considered not
self-executing, and there is no plausible reason for according a different treatment to the "equal access"
provision. Like the rest of the policies enumerated in Article II, the provision does not contain any judicially
enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for legislative or executive action. The
disregard​ ​of​ ​the​ ​provision​ ​does​ ​not​ ​give​ ​rise​ ​to​ ​any​ ​cause​ ​of​ ​action​ ​before​ ​the​ ​courts.

Obviously, the provision is not intended to compel the State to enact positive measures that would
accommodate as many people as possible into public office. Moreover, the provision as written leaves
much to be desired if it is to be regarded as the source of positive rights. It is difficult to interpret the
clause as operative in the absence of legislation since its effective means and reach are not properly
defined. Broadly written, the myriad of claims that can be subsumed under this rubric appear to be
entirely open-ended. Words and phrases such as "equal access," "opportunities," and "public service" are
susceptible to countless interpretations owing to their inherent impreciseness. Certainly, it was not the
intention of the framers to inflict on the people an operative but amorphous foundation from which innately
unenforceable​ ​rights​ ​may​ ​be​ ​sourced.

The privilege of equal access to opportunities to public office may be subjected to limitations. Some valid
limitations specifically on the privilege to seek elective office are found in the provisions of the Omnibus
Election Code on "Nuisance Candidates.” As long as the limitations apply to everybody equally without
discrimination, however, the equal access clause is not violated. Equality is not sacrificed as long as the
burdens engendered by the limitations are meant to be borne by anyone who is minded to file a certificate
of candidacy. In the case at bar, there is no showing that any person is exempt from the limitations or the
burdens​ ​which​ ​they​ ​create.

The rationale behind the prohibition against nuisance candidates and the disqualification of candidates
who have not evinced a bona fide intention to run for office is easy to divine. The State has a compelling
interest to ensure that its electoral exercises are rational, objective, and orderly. Towards this end, the
State takes into account the practical considerations in conducting elections. Inevitably, the greater the
number of candidates, the greater the opportunities for logistical confusion, not to mention the increased
allocation of time and resources in preparation for the election. The organization of an election with bona
fide candidates standing is onerous enough. To add into the mix candidates with no serious intentions or
capabilities to run a viable campaign would actually impair the electoral process. This is not to mention
the candidacies which are palpably ridiculous so as to constitute a one-note joke. The poll body would be
bogged by irrelevant minutiae covering every step of the electoral process, most probably posed at the
instance​ ​of​ ​these​ ​nuisance​ ​candidates.​ ​It​ ​would​ ​be​ ​a​ ​senseless​ ​sacrifice​ ​on​ ​the​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​State.

The question of whether a candidate is a nuisance candidate or not is both legal and factual. The basis of
the factual determination is not before this Court. Thus, the remand of this case for the reception of further
evidence is in order. The SC remanded to the COMELEC for the reception of further evidence, to
determine the question on whether petitioner Elly Velez Lao Pamatong is a nuisance candidate as
contemplated​ ​in​ ​Section​ ​69​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Omnibus​ ​Election​ ​Code.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Timbol​ ​v.​ ​Commission​ ​on​ ​Elections,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​206004​ ​(Resolution),​ ​[February​ ​24,​ ​2015])​ ​-
MUNGCAL

FACTS:
Petitioner​ ​Joseph​ ​B.​ ​Timbol​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​Certificate​ ​of​ ​Candidacy​ ​on​ ​October​ ​5,​ ​2012​ ​for​ ​the​ ​position​ ​of​ ​Member
of​ ​the​ ​Sangguniang​ ​Panlungsod​ ​of​ ​Caloocan​ ​City’s​ ​Second​ ​District.​ ​On​ ​January​ ​11,​ ​2013​ ​he​ ​has​ ​been
declared,​ ​in​ ​Resolution​ ​no.​ ​9610​ ​by​ ​the​ ​COMELEC,​ ​as​ ​a​ ​nuisance​ ​candidate,​ ​ordering​ ​the​ ​removal​ ​of​ ​his
name​ ​in​ ​the​ ​list​ ​of​ ​certified​ ​list​ ​of​ ​candidates.​ ​His​ ​name​ ​was​ ​among​ ​those​ ​listed​ ​on​ ​the​ ​COMELEC’s
website​ ​under​ ​nuisance​ ​candidates.​ ​He​ ​received​ ​a​ ​subpoena​ ​on​ ​January​ ​15,​ ​2013​ ​from​ ​COMELEC
Election​ ​Officer​ ​Dinah​ ​A.​ ​Valencia​ ​ordering​ ​him​ ​to​ ​appear​ ​before​ ​her​ ​in​ ​a​ ​clarificatory​ ​hearing​ ​in
connection​ ​with​ ​his​ ​Certificate​ ​of​ ​Candidacy.​ ​He​ ​appeared​ ​before​ ​her​ ​on​ ​January​ ​17,​ ​2013,​ ​together​ ​with
his​ ​counsel,​ ​and​ ​argued​ ​that​ ​he​ ​was​ ​not​ ​a​ ​nuisance​ ​candidate.​ ​His​ ​contention​ ​was​ ​bolstered​ ​by​ ​the​ ​fact
that​ ​he​ ​ranked​ ​8th​ ​among​ ​all​ ​the​ ​candidates​ ​who​ ​ran​ ​for​ ​Member​ ​of​ ​Sangguniang​ ​Panglungsod​ ​of​ ​the
Second​ ​District​ ​of​ ​Caloocan​ ​City​ ​in​ ​2010.​ ​He​ ​alleged​ ​that​ ​he​ ​also​ ​had​ ​sufficient​ ​funds​ ​to​ ​sustain​ ​his
campaign.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​hearing,​ ​he​ ​also​ ​stated​ ​that​ ​his​ ​name​ ​was​ ​already​ ​on​ ​the​ ​list​ ​of​ ​nuisance​ ​candidates​ ​on
the​ ​COMELEC​ ​website.​ ​He​ ​was​ ​eventually​ ​promised​ ​that​ ​his​ ​name​ ​would​ ​be​ ​deleted​ ​from​ ​said​ ​list.

Election​ ​Officer​ ​Valencia​ ​issued​ ​a​ ​favorable​ ​recommendation​ ​for​ ​Timbol​ ​in​ ​a​ ​Memorandum​ ​dated​ ​January
17,​ ​2013.​ ​Despite​ ​this​ ​recommendation,​ ​his​ ​name​ ​was​ ​not​ ​removed​ ​from​ ​the​ ​list.​ ​As​ ​the​ ​printing​ ​of​ ​ballots
is​ ​set​ ​on​ ​February​ ​4,​ ​2013,​ ​Timbol​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​petition​ ​two​ ​days​ ​before​ ​the​ ​printing​ ​date​ ​to​ ​include​ ​his​ ​name​ ​on
the​ ​certified​ ​list​ ​of​ ​candidates​ ​for​ ​the​ ​May​ ​13,​ ​2013​ ​elections.​ ​In​ ​a​ ​minute​ ​resolution,​ ​COMELEC​ ​denied
the​ ​petition​ ​for​ ​being​ ​moot​ ​as​ ​the​ ​printing​ ​had​ ​already​ ​begun.​ ​On​ ​March​ ​15,​ ​2013,​ ​he​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​petition​ ​for
certiorari​ ​alleging​ ​that​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​gravely​ ​abused​ ​its​ ​discretion​ ​in​ ​declaring​ ​him​ ​a​ ​nuisance​ ​candidate
without​ ​affording​ ​him​ ​due​ ​process​ ​of​ ​law,​ ​as​ ​the​ ​declaration​ ​was​ ​done​ ​prior​ ​to​ ​the​ ​clarificatory​ ​hearing.
The​ ​COMELEC​ ​counters​ ​that​ ​the​ ​issue​ ​has​ ​already​ ​become​ ​moot​ ​and​ ​academic,​ ​as​ ​the​ ​May​ ​2013
elections​ ​have​ ​already​ ​been​ ​conducted.

ISSUE/S:
1. Is​ ​the​ ​case​ ​at​ ​hand​ ​moot​ ​and​ ​academic?
2. Was​ ​the​ ​petitioner​ ​given​ ​an​ ​ample​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​be​ ​heard?

DECISION:
In​ ​the​ ​first​ ​issue,​ ​YES,​ ​the​ ​case​ ​is​ ​already​ ​moot​ ​and​ ​academic.​ ​It​ ​already​ ​“ceases​ ​to​ ​present​ ​a​ ​justiciable
controversy​ ​because​ ​of​ ​supervening​ ​events​ ​so​ ​that​ ​a​ ​declaration​ ​thereon​ ​would​ ​be​ ​of​ ​no​ ​practical​ ​use
or​ ​value​.”​ ​Petitioner​ ​filed​ ​this​ ​petition​ ​39​ ​days​ ​after​ ​COMELEC​ ​began​ ​printing​ ​the​ ​ballots​ ​and​ ​the​ ​May
2013​ ​elections​ ​have​ ​already​ ​been​ ​concluded,​ ​and​ ​winners​ ​already​ ​proclaimed.​ ​Despite​ ​its​ ​moot​ ​nature,
the​ ​court​ ​is​ ​not​ ​precluded​ ​from​ ​setting​ ​forth​ ​“controlling​ ​and​ ​authoritative”​ ​doctrines​ ​to​ ​be​ ​observed​ ​by​ ​the
COMELEC​ ​in​ ​denying​ ​due​ ​course​ ​or​ ​cancelling​ ​CoCs​ ​of​ ​alleged​ ​nuisance​ ​candidates​ ​as​ ​any​ ​motu​ ​proprio
action​ ​is​ ​still​ ​subject​ ​to​ ​the​ ​candidate’s​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​be​ ​heard.

In​ ​the​ ​second​ ​issue,​ ​NO​,​ ​he​ ​was​ ​not​ ​given​ ​an​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​be​ ​heard​ ​and​ ​adduce​ ​evidence​ ​to​ ​prove​ ​that
he​ ​is​ ​not​ ​a​ ​nuisance​ ​candidate.

Nuisance​ ​candidates​​ ​are​ ​those​ ​who​ ​file​ ​their​ ​CoCs​ ​“to​ ​put​ ​the​ ​election​ ​process​ ​in​ ​mockery​ ​or​ ​disrepute
or​ ​to​ ​cause​ ​confusion​ ​among​ ​the​ ​voters​ ​by​ ​the​ ​similarity​ ​of​ ​the​ ​names​ ​of​ ​the​ ​registered​ ​candidates​ ​or​ ​by
other​ ​circumstances​ ​or​ ​acts​ ​which​ ​clearly​ ​demonstrate​ ​that​ ​the​ ​candidate​ ​has​ ​no​ b ​ ona​ ​fide​ ​ ​intention​ ​to
run​ ​for​ ​the​ ​office​ ​for​ ​which​ ​the​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy​ ​has​ ​been​ ​filed​ ​and​ ​thus​ ​prevent​ ​a​ ​faithful
determination​ ​of​ ​the​ ​true​ ​will​ ​of​ ​the​ ​electorate.​ ​They​ ​are​ ​prohibited​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​office​ ​as​ ​they​ ​destroy​ ​the
rationality,​ ​objectivity​ ​and​ ​orderliness​ ​of​ ​the​ ​electoral​ ​process.​ ​This​ ​prohibition​ ​is​ ​practical,​ ​to​ ​lessen
logistical​ ​confusion​ ​and​ ​to​ ​decrease​ ​allocation​ ​of​ ​time​ ​and​ ​resources​ ​in​ ​preparation​ ​for​ ​the​ ​election.
Respondent,​ ​in​ ​this​ ​case,​ ​declared​ ​petitioner​ ​a​ ​nuisance​ ​candidate​ ​without​ ​giving​ ​him​ ​a​ ​chance​ ​to
explain​ ​his​ ​bona​ ​fide​ ​intention​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​office.​ ​Respondent​ ​issued​ ​the​ ​Resolution​ ​prior​​ ​to​ ​the​ ​clarificatory
hearing.​ ​This​ ​was,​ ​in​ ​effect,​ ​an​ ​ineffective​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​be​ ​heard.​ ​In​ ​election​ ​cases,​ ​due​ ​process
requirements​ ​are​ ​satisfied​ ​“when​ ​the​ ​parties​ ​are​ ​afforded​ ​fair​ ​and​ ​reasonable​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​explain
their​ ​side​ ​of​ ​the​ ​controversy​ ​at​ ​hand.​”​ ​The​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​petitioner​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​petition​ ​to​ ​be​ ​included​ ​in​ ​the​ ​list​ ​of
certified​ ​candidates​ ​did​ ​not​ ​cure​ ​the​ ​defect​ ​in​ ​Resolution​ ​no.​ ​9610;​ ​he​ ​would​ ​not​ ​have​ ​to​ ​file​ ​it​ ​had​ ​he
been​ ​given​ ​the​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​be​ ​heard​ ​in​ ​the​ ​first​ ​place.​ ​As​ ​to​ ​the​ ​minute​ ​resolution,​ ​the​ ​court​ ​ruled​ ​that
COMELEC​ ​should​ ​also​ ​balance​ ​its​ ​duty​ ​“to​ ​ensure​ ​that​ ​the​ ​electoral​ ​process​ ​is​ ​clean,​ ​honest,​ ​orderly​ ​and
peaceful”​ ​with​ ​the​ ​right​ ​of​ ​an​ ​alleged​ ​nuisance​ ​candidate​ ​to​ ​due​ ​process.

Be​ ​that​ ​as​ ​it​ ​may,​ ​the​ ​petition​ ​is​ ​still​ ​DENIED​​ ​for​ ​being​ ​moot​ ​and​ ​academic.

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Rulloda​ ​v.​ ​Commission​ ​on​ ​Elections,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​154198,​ ​[January​ ​20,​ ​2003],​ ​443​ ​PHIL
649-656​ ​-​ ​MARCILLA

FACTS: ​In the barangay elections of July 15, 2002, Romeo N. Rulloda and Remegio L. Placido were the
contending candidates for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas, San Jacinto, Pangasinan. On June 22,
2002, Romeo suffered a heart attack and passed away. His widow, petitioner Petronila Betty Rulloda,
wrote a letter to the Commission on Elections on June 25, 2002 seeking permission to run as candidate
for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas in lieu of her late husband. Petitioners request was supported by
the Appeal-Petition containing several signatures of people purporting to be members of the electorate of
Barangay​ ​Sto.​ ​Tomas.

On July 14, 2002, Election Officer Ludivico L. Asuncion issued a directive to the Chairman and Members
of the Barangay Board of Canvassers of Sto. Tomas to add the words NOT COUNTED whenever the
name BETTY or PETRONILA or RULLODA is written on the ballot. During the canvassing of votes,
petitioner garnered 516 votes against 290 votes of Private respondent Placido. Despite this, the Board of
Canvassers​ ​proclaimed​ ​Placido​ ​as​ ​the​ ​Barangay​ ​Chairman​ ​of​ ​Sto.​ ​Tomas.

The above-quoted Resolution cited as authority the COMELECs Resolution No. 4801 dated May 23,
2002, setting forth the guidelines on the filing of certificates of candidacy in connection with the July 15,
2002 synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, more particularly Section 9 thereof
which​ ​reads:

Sec. 9. Substitution of candidates. There shall be no substitution of candidates for barangay and
sangguniang​ ​kabataan​ ​officials.

Hence, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari, seeking to annul Section 9 of Resolution No. 4801
and Resolution No. 5217, both of the COMELEC, insofar as they prohibited petitioner from running as
substitute​ ​candidate​ ​in​ ​lieu​ ​of​ ​her​ ​deceased​ ​husband
ISSUE/S:​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​substitution​ ​is​ ​allowed​ ​in​ ​the​ ​barangay​ ​election

DECISION:YES​. The Supreme Court granted the instant petition. The assailed Resolution No. 5217 of
the Commission on Elections, insofar as it denied due course to petitioners certificate of candidacy, is
declared NULL and VOID. The proclamation of respondent Remegio L. Placido as Barangay Chairman of
Sto. Tomas, San Jacinto, Pangasinan is SET ASIDE, and the Board of Canvassers of the said Barangay
is​ ​ORDERED​ ​to​ ​proclaim​ ​petitioner​ ​as​ ​the​ ​duly​ ​elected​ ​Barangay​ ​Chairman​ ​thereof.

Respondents base their argument on Section 77 of the Omnibus Elections Code on candidates in case of
death, disqualification or withdrawal of another. Private respondent argues that inasmuch as the barangay
election is non-partisan, there can be no substitution because there is no political party from which to
designate the substitute. Such an interpretation, aside from being ​non sequitur, ignores the purpose of
election laws which is to give effect to, rather than frustrate, the will of the voters. It is a solemn duty to
uphold the clear and unmistakable mandate of the people. It is well-settled that in case of doubt, political
laws must be so construed as to give life and spirit to the popular mandate freely expressed through the
ballot.

Contrary to respondents claim, the absence of a specific provision governing substitution of candidates in
barangay elections cannot be inferred as a prohibition against said substitution. Such a restrictive
construction cannot be read into the law where the same is not written. Indeed, there is more reason to
allow the substitution of candidates where no political parties are involved than when political
considerations​ ​or​ ​party​ ​affiliations​ ​reign,​ ​a​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​must​ ​have​ ​been​ ​subsumed​ ​by​ ​law.

To reiterate, it was petitioner who obtained the plurality of votes in the contested election. Technicalities
and procedural niceties in election cases should not be made to stand in the way of the true will of the
electorate. Laws governing election contests must be liberally construed to the end that the will of the
people​ ​in​ ​the​ ​choice​ ​of​ ​public​ ​officials​ ​may​ ​not​ ​be​ ​defeated​ ​by​ ​mere​ ​technical​ ​objections.

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Federico​ ​v.​ ​Commission​ ​on​ ​Elections,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​199612,​ ​[January​ ​22,​ ​2013],​ ​702​ ​PHIL​ ​68-92
-​ ​MANGILA

FACTS:

Edna Sanchez and Osmundo Maligaya were candidates for the position of municipal mayor of Sto.
Tomas, Batangas in May 10, 2010 elections. On April 27, 2010, Armando Sanchez, husband of Edna and
the gubernatorial candidate for the province of Batangas, died. Two days later, or on April 29, 2010, ​Edna
withdrew her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the position of mayor. She then filed a new COC and the
corresponding Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) for the position of governor as
substitute candidate for her deceased husband. On May 5, 2010, petitioner Renato M. Federico
(Federico) filed with the Office of the Election Officer of Sto. Tomas, Batangas, his COC and CONA as
official candidate of the Nationalista Party and as substitute candidate for mayor, in view of the withdrawal
of Edna. On May 7, 2010, Maligaya filed his Petition to Deny Due Course and to Cancel Certificate of
Candidacy of Federico. Maligaya sought to have Federico declared ineligible to run as substitute
candidate for Edna because the period to file the COC for substitute candidates had already lapsed after
December​ ​14,​ ​2009,​ ​pursuant​ ​to​ ​Section​ ​13​ ​of​ ​Comelec​ ​Resolution​ ​No.​ ​8678.

The COMELEC En Banc gave due course to the COC of Edna as substitute gubernatorial candidate and
to that of Federico as substitute mayoralty candidate in Sto. Tomas. By that time, however, the official
ballots had already been printed. Expectedly, on May 10, 2010, the day of elections, the name
"SANCHEZ, Edna P." was retained in the list of candidates for Mayor of Sto. Tomas, and garnered the
highest number of votes. Certificate of Canvass of Votes and Proclamation of Winning Candidates​11
(COCVP) was printed out declaring Edna Sanchez as winning candidate. Maligaya filed his Petition to
Annul Proclamation of Edna Sanchez. A second print out of COCVP was issued by MBOC bearing the
same​ ​time​ ​and​ ​dae​ ​with​ ​the​ ​same​ ​number​ ​of​ ​votes​ ​garnered​ ​by​ ​Edna​ ​being​ ​credited​ ​to​ ​Federico.

Maligaya filed his Petition to Annul Proclamation of Federico. The petition was predicated on the alleged
illegal act of MBOC in issuing falsified and patently antedated second COCVP in the name of Federico
without​ ​annulling​ ​the​ ​first​ ​COCVP​ ​issued​ ​in​ ​favor​ ​of​ ​Edna.

ISSUE/S:
Whether​ ​Federico​ ​could​ ​validly​ ​substitute​ ​Edna​ ​who​ ​withdrew​ ​her​ ​candidacy​ ​for​ ​the​ ​mayoralty​ ​position;

DECISION:

No.​ ​Federico’s​ ​substitution​ ​of​ ​Edna​ ​Sanchez​ ​as​ ​mayoralty​ ​candidate​ ​was​ ​not​ ​valid.
Federico posits that he timely filed his COC as it was not later than midday of the day of the election. He
argues that the law makes no distinction between the different causes for substitution – death,
disqualification or withdrawal. Regardless of the cause of substitution, the deadline for the filing of a
substitute COC is "not later than mid-day of the election." Accordingly, he asserts that he validly
substituted Edna having filed his COC and CONA on May 5, 2010 or five (5) days before the elections
and having complied with all the procedural requirements for a valid substitution. Federico’s argument is
not well-taken. The Comelec is empowered by law to prescribe such rules so as to make efficacious and
successful the conduct of the first national automated election. The Comelec, which has the constitutional
mandate to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election," has
been empowered to set the dates for certain pre-election proceedings. In the exercise of such
constitutional and legislated power, especially to safeguard and improve on the Automated Election
System (AES), Comelec came out with Resolution No. 8678. As automated elections had been mandated
by law, there was a need for the early printing of the ballots. So that all candidates would be
accommodated in the ballots, the early filing of COCs was necessary. If there would be late filing and
approval of COCs, the names of aspiring candidates would not be included in the ballot, the only
document​ ​to​ ​be​ ​read​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Precinct​ ​Count​ ​Optical​ ​Scan​ ​(PCOS)​ ​machines.

Different deadlines were set to govern the specific circumstances that would necessitate the substitution
of a candidate due to death, disqualification or withdrawal. In case of death or disqualification, the
substitute had until midday of the election day to file the COC. In case of withdrawal, which is the situation
at bench, the substitute should have filed a COC by December 14, 2009. Unlike death or disqualification,
withdrawal is voluntary. Generally, a candidate has sufficient time to ponder on his candidacy and to
withdraw while the printing has not yet started. If a candidate withdraws after the printing, the name of the
substitute candidate can no longer be accommodated in the ballot and a vote for the substitute will just be
wasted. When Batangas Governor Armando Sanchez died on April 27, 2010, Edna withdrew her
candidacy as mayor and substituted her late husband as gubernatorial candidate for the province on April
29, 2010. The party actually had the option to substitute another candidate for Governor aside from Edna.
By fielding Edna as their substitute candidate for Governor, the party knew that she had to withdraw her
candidacy for Mayor. Considering that the deadline for substitution in case of withdrawal had already
lapsed, no person could substitute her as mayoralty candidate. The sudden death of then Governor
Armando Sanchez and the substitution by his widow in the gubernatorial race could not justify a belated
substitution​ ​in​ ​the​ ​mayoralty​ ​race.

There being no valid substitution, the candidate with the highest number of votes should be proclaimed as
the duly elected mayor. As Federico's substitution was not valid, there was only one qualified candidate in
the mayoralty race in Sto. Tomas, Batangas Maligaya. Being the only candidate, he received the highest
number of votes. Accordingly, he should be proclaimed as the duly elected mayor in the May 10,2010
elections.
Considering that Maligaya was the winner, the position of Intervenor Silva that he be considered the legal
successor of Federico, whom he claims failed to qualify, has no legal basis. There is simply no vacancy.
When​ ​there​ ​is​ ​no​ ​vacancy,​ ​the​ ​rule​ ​on​ ​succession​ ​under​ ​Section​ ​44​ ​of​ ​the​ ​LGC​ ​cannot​ ​be​ ​invoked.

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Engle​ ​v.​ ​Commission​ ​on​ ​Elections,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​215995,​ ​[January​ ​19,​ ​2016]​ ​-​ ​JUSTINIANO
FACTS:
​ ​Engle​ ​and​ ​Menzon​ ​were​ ​both​ ​candidates​ ​for​ ​the​ ​position​ ​of​ ​Vice-Mayor​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Municipality​ ​of​ ​Babtngon,
Province​ ​of​ ​Leyte​ ​in​ ​the​ ​May​ ​13,​ ​2013​ ​Automated​ ​Synchronized​ ​National,​ ​Local​ ​and​ ​ARMM​ ​Regional
Elections.
Originally, it was James Engle, the petitioner’s late husband, who was the candidate for the said
contested position, however, prior to the said elections, (on Feb. 2, 2013) he died of cardiogenic shock.
Due to this event, the petitioner filed her CoC on Feb. 22, 2013 as a substitute candidate for her
deceased​ ​spouse.
Private respondent filed a Petition to Deny Due Course and/or Cancel the Certificate of Candidacy
(CoC) of petitioner on the ground that the latter misrepresented that she is qualified to substitute her
husband,​ ​who​ ​was​ ​declared​ ​an​ ​independent​ ​candidate​ ​by​ ​the​ ​COMELEC.
James Engle was under the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and their Leyte Chapter
President, Ferdinand Romualdez signed the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) of
Engle, however, Lakas-CMD failed to submit to the COMELEC the authorization of Romualdez to sign
the CONAs of their candidates, as prescribed by Sec. 6(3) of COMELEC Resolution No. 9518. Thus, all
the candidates of LAKAS-CMD whose CONAs were signed by Romualdez were considered as
independent​ ​candidates.
Due to the above stated events, private respondent charged the petitioner with violation of Section 15,
COMELEC Resolution No. 9518 which disallows the substitution of an independent candidate. Menzon
argued that the act of the petitioner in declaring that she was a member of Lakas-CMD was intended to
deceive​ ​the​ ​electorate​ ​that​ ​she​ ​was​ ​qualified​ ​to​ ​substitute​ ​her​ ​husband.
However, it was only on July 5, 2013 when the COMELEC Second Division’s Resolution, which
denied due course to and cancelled the petitioner’s COC which resulted to the annulment of petitioner’s
previous proclamation as duly-elected Vice-Mayor, was issued. Despite the fact that COMELEC did not
find any false material representation they still cancelled the petitioner’s CoC on the ground that she
could not have validly substituted her husband, who was deemed an independent candidate for failure
of Lakas-CMD to submit to the COMELEC Law Department Romualdez's authority to sign CONAs for
and​ ​on​ ​behalf​ ​of​ ​the​ ​party.

ISSUE/S:
1.​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​petitioner’s​ ​CoC​ ​was​ ​validly​ ​cancelled​ ​by​ ​the​ ​COMELEC.
2.​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​petitioner​ ​can​ ​validly​ ​substitute​ ​her​ ​husband​ ​after​ ​his​ ​unexpected​ ​demise.
3.​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​private​ ​respondent​ ​can​ ​be​ ​validly​ ​proclaimed​ ​as​ ​Vice-Mayor.

DECISION:
FIRST​ ​ISSUE:
No. The CoC was not validly cancelled because there was no false material representation found on the
petitioner’s CoC. The petition to deny due course to, or cancel a CoC may be filed on the ​exclusive
ground​​ ​of​ ​false​ ​material​ ​representation​ ​in​ ​said​ ​COC​ ​(Section​ ​78​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Omnibus​ ​Election​ ​C​ode).
As stated in the case of ​Salcedo v COMELEC​: “it is essential that the false representation
mentioned therein pertain[s] to a material matter for the sanction imposed by this provision would affect
the substantive rights of a candidate the right to run for the elective post for which he filed the certificate
of candidacy.” Thus, it may be concluded that the material representation are those that refer to the
qualifications​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​elective​ ​office.
Undeniably, private respondent failed to demonstrate that petitioner made a false statement regarding
her qualifications or concealed any disqualification for the office to which she sought to be elected in her
COC​ ​to​ ​warrant​ ​its​ ​cancellation​ ​under​ ​Section​ ​78.
Moreover, records show that when the late husband of the petitioner filed his COC, he clearly indicated
therein that he was a nominee of Lakas-CMD and attached thereto not only the CONA signed by
Romualdez but also the Authority to Sign CONA in favor of Romualdez signed by Lakas-CMD President
Revilla​ ​and​ ​Lakas-CMD​ ​Secretary-General​ ​Aquino.
Thus, it was evident that James Engle was publicly known as a member of Lakas-CMD. As far as the
party and his wife were concerned, James L. Engle, as a member of Lakas-CMD, may be substituted
as a candidate upon his death. When the petitioner filed her COC as a substitute on Feb. 22, 2013,
there was no Letter from the COMELEC declaring James Engle as an independent candidate, such
Letter was only sent by the COMELEC on March 21, 2013. Thus, such “ruling” of the COMELEC came
after​ ​the​ ​filing​ ​of​ ​petitioner’s​ ​COC.
With respect to the denial of due course to James L. Engle's COC as a nominee of Lakas-CMD and to
petitioner's COC as his substitute, the COMELEC Law Department's letter is not binding and at most,
recommendatory. It is settled in jurisprudence that the denial of due course or cancellation of one's
COC is not within the administrative powers of the COMELEC, but rather calls for the exercise of its
quasi-judicial functions. The Court have also previously held that the COMELEC, in the exercise of its
adjudicatory or quasi-judicial powers, is mandated by the Constitution to hear and decide such cases
first​ ​by​ ​Division​ ​and,​ ​upon​ ​motion​ ​for​ ​reconsideration,​ ​by​ ​the​​ ​En​ ​Banc​.
In resolving cases to deny due course to or cancel certificates of candidacy, the COMELEC cannot
merely rely on the recommendations of its Law Department but must conduct due proceedings through
one of its divisions. Returning to the case at bar, the COMELEC Second Division only formally ruled on
the status of James L. Engle as an independent candidate and the invalidity of petitioner's substitution
on​ ​July​ ​5,​ ​2013,​ ​months​ ​after​ ​the​ ​May​ ​13,​ ​2013​ ​Elections.
Under these premises, the COMELEC correctly did not cancel petitioner's COC on the ground of false
material​ ​representation​ ​as​ ​there​ ​was​ ​none.

SECOND​ ​ISSUE:
​Yes. Even after the death of the petitioner’s husband, James Engle’s name remained on the
ballot. Furthermore, he received almost twice the number of votes received by the private respondent.
Since the people of Babatngon, Leyte could not have possibly meant to waste their votes on a
deceased candidate, the Court conclude that petitioner was the undisputed choice of the electorate as
Vice-Mayor​ ​on​ ​the​ ​apparent​ ​belief​ ​that​ ​she​ ​may​ ​validly​ ​substitute​ ​her​ ​husband.
Moreover, as to the power of the COMELEC to prescribe rules so as to make efficacious and
successful the conduct of elections (such as the submission of Romualdez’s authority to sign the
CONA) the Court recognizes such power. However, it is a long standing principle in jurisprudence that
rules and regulations for the conduct of elections are mandatory before the election, but when they are
sought to be enforced after the election they are held to be directory only, if that is possible, especially
where, if they are held to be mandatory, innocent voters will be deprived of their votes without any fault
on​ ​their​ ​part.
As​ ​held​ ​in​​ ​Rulloda​ ​v.​ ​Commission​ ​on​ ​Elections​:
Technicalities and procedural niceties in election cases should not be made to stand in the way
of the true will of the electorate. Laws governing election contests must be liberally construed to
the end that the will of the people in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by mere
technical​ ​objections.
Applying such jurisprudential precedent, the Court finds that the late submission of Romualdez's
authority to sign the CONA of James L. Engle to the COMELEC was a mere technicality that cannot
be​ ​used​ ​to​ ​defeat​ ​the​ ​will​ ​of​ ​the​ ​electorate​ ​in​ ​a​ ​fair​ ​and​ ​honest​ ​election.
Thus​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be​ ​held​ ​that​ ​petitioner​ ​may​ ​validly​ ​substitute​ ​her​ ​husband.

THIRD​ ​ISSUE:
It is no longer necessary to resolve the third issue on whether the COMELEC properly proclaimed
private​ ​respondent,​ ​the​ ​second-placer​ ​in​ ​the​ ​vice-mayoral​ ​race​ ​of​ ​Babatngon,​ ​in​ ​place​ ​of​ ​petitioner.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution of the
COMELEC Second Division and the Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc are REVERSED and
SET ASIDE. Petitioner Marcelina S. Engle is declared the duly-elected Vice-Mayor of Babatngon,
Leyte​ ​during​ ​the​ ​May​ ​13,​ ​2013​ ​Elections.

VI. Campaign,​ ​Election​ ​Propaganda,​ ​etc.

Chavez​ ​v.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​162777,​ ​31​ ​August​ ​2007​ ​-​ ​GAMO

FACTS:
In​ ​this​ ​petition​ ​for​ ​prohibition​ ​with​ ​prayer​ ​for​ ​the​ ​issuance​ ​of​ ​a​ ​writ​ ​of​ ​preliminary​ ​injunction,​ ​Francisco​ ​I.
Chavez​ ​stands​ ​as​ ​a​ ​taxpayer​ ​and​ ​a​ ​citizen​ ​asking​ ​this​ ​Court​ ​to​ ​enjoin​ ​the​ ​Commission​ ​on​ ​Elections
(COMELEC)​ ​from​ ​enforcing​ ​Section​ ​32​ ​of​ ​its​ ​Resolution​ ​No.​ ​6520,​ ​dated​ ​January​ ​6,​ ​2004.

Section​ ​32.​​ ​All​ ​propaganda​ ​materials​ ​such​ ​as​ ​posters,​ ​streamers,​ ​stickers​ ​or​ ​paintings​ ​on​ ​walls
and​ ​other​ ​materials​ ​showing​ ​the​ ​picture,​ ​image,​ ​or​ ​name​ ​of​ ​a​ ​person,​ ​and​ ​all​ ​advertisements​ ​on
print,​ ​in​ ​radio​ ​or​ ​on​ ​television​ ​showing​ ​the​ ​image​ ​or​ ​mentioning​ ​the​ ​name​ ​of​ ​a​ ​person,​ ​who
subsequent​ ​to​ ​the​ ​placement​ ​or​ ​display​ ​thereof​ ​becomes​ ​a​ ​candidate​ ​for​ ​public​ ​office​ ​shall​ ​be
immediately​ ​removed​ ​by​ ​said​ ​candidate​ ​and​ ​radio​ ​station,​ ​print​ ​media​ ​or​ ​television​ ​station​ ​within
3​ ​days​ ​after​ ​the​ ​effectivity​ ​of​ ​these​ ​implementing​ ​rules;​ ​otherwise,​ ​he​ ​and​ ​said​ ​radio​ ​station,​ ​print
media​ ​or​ ​television​ ​station​ ​shall​ ​be​ ​presumed​ ​to​ ​have​ ​conducted​ ​premature​ ​campaigning​ ​in
violation​ ​of​ ​Section​ ​80​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Omnibus​ ​Election​ ​Code.

Chavez,​ ​on​ ​various​ ​dates​ ​in​ ​2003,​ ​entered​ ​into​ ​formal​ ​agreements​ ​with​ ​certain​ ​establishments​ ​to​ ​endorse
their​ ​products​ ​namely:​ ​clothing​ ​company​ ​96°​ ​North,​ ​Konka​ ​International​ ​Plastics​ ​Manufacturing
Corporation,​ ​and​ ​amusement​ ​and​ ​video​ ​games​ ​business,​ ​G-Box.​ ​Pursuant​ ​to​ ​these​ ​agreements,​ ​three
billboards​ ​were​ ​set​ ​up​ ​along​ ​the​ ​Balintawak​ ​Interchange​ ​of​ ​the​ ​North​ ​Expressway.​ ​One​ ​billboard​ ​showed
petitioner​ ​promoting​ ​the​ ​plastic​ ​products​ ​of​ ​Konka​ ​and​ ​the​ ​other​ ​two​ ​showed​ ​petitioner​ ​endorsing​ ​the
clothes​ ​of​ ​96°​ ​North.​ ​One​ ​more​ ​billboard​ ​was​ ​set​ ​up​ ​along​ ​Roxas​ ​Boulevard​ ​showing​ ​petitioner​ ​promoting
G-Box.

On​ ​December​ ​30,​ ​2003,​ ​however,​ ​petitioner​ ​filed​ ​his​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy​ ​for​ ​the​ ​position​ ​of​ ​Senator
under​ ​Alyansa​ ​ng​ ​Pag-asa,​ ​a​ ​tripartite​ ​alliance​ ​of​ ​three​ ​political​ ​parties:​ ​PROMDI,​ ​REPORMA,​ ​and
Aksyon​ ​Demokratiko.

On​ ​January​ ​6,​ ​2004,​ ​respondent​ ​COMELEC​ ​issued​ ​Resolution​ ​No.​ ​6520,​ ​which​ ​contained​ ​Section​ ​32.​ ​On
January​ ​21,​ ​2004,​ ​petitioner​ ​was​ ​directed​ ​to​ ​comply​ ​with​ ​the​ ​said​ ​provision​ ​by​ ​the​ ​COMELEC's​ ​Law
Department.​ ​He​ ​replied​ ​by​ ​requesting​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​that​ ​he​ ​be​ ​informed​ ​as​ ​to​ ​how​ ​he​ ​may​ ​have​ ​violated
the​ ​assailed​ ​provision.​ ​He​ ​sent​ ​another​ ​letter​ ​dated​ ​February​ ​23,​ ​2004,​ ​this​ ​time​ ​asking​ ​the​ ​COMELEC
that​ ​he​ ​be​ ​exempted​ ​from​ ​the​ ​application​ ​of​ ​Section​ ​32,​ ​considering​ ​that​ ​the​ ​billboards​ ​adverted​ ​to​ ​are
mere​ ​product​ ​endorsements​ ​not​ ​campaign​ ​paraphernalia.​ ​The​ ​COMELEC​ ​answered​ ​by​ ​issuing​ ​another
letter,​ ​and​ ​ordered​ ​him​ ​to​ ​remove​ ​or​ ​cause​ ​the​ ​removal​ ​of​ ​the​ ​billboards,​ ​or​ ​to​ ​cover​ ​them​ ​from​ ​public
view​ ​pending​ ​the​ ​approval​ ​of​ ​his​ ​request.​ ​Petitioner​ ​Chavez​ ​asks​ ​the​ ​SC​ ​to​ ​declare​ ​that​ ​the​ ​COMELEC
be​ ​enjoined​ ​from​ ​enforcing​ ​the​ ​assailed​ ​provision.

ISSUE/S:
Is​ ​Section​ ​32​ ​of​ ​COMELEC​ ​Resolution​ ​No.​ ​6520:​ ​(1)​ ​an​ ​invalid​ ​exercise​ ​of​ ​police​ ​power;​ ​(2)​ ​a​ ​gross
violation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​non-impairment​ ​clause;​ ​(3)​ ​in​ ​the​ ​nature​ ​of​ ​an​ ​ex-post​ ​facto​ ​law;​ ​(4)​ ​contrary​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Fair
Elections​ ​Act;​ ​and​ ​(5)​ ​invalid​ ​due​ ​to​ ​overbreadth.

DECISION:​ ​I​ ​put​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​issues,​ ​landmark​ ​yung​ ​case​ ​baka​ ​maraming​ ​itanong​ ​is​ ​sir.
1.​ ​Yes,​ ​the​ ​Resolution​ ​is​ ​a​ ​valid​ ​exercise​ ​of​ ​police​ ​power.​ ​A​ ​close​ ​examination​ ​of​ ​the​ ​assailed​ ​provision
reveals​ ​that​ ​its​ ​primary​ ​objectives​ ​are​ ​to​ ​prohibit​ ​premature​ ​campaigning​ ​and​ ​to​ ​level​ ​the​ ​playing​ ​field​ ​for
candidates​ ​of​ ​public​ ​office,​ ​to​ ​equalize​ ​the​ ​situation​ ​between​ ​popular​ ​or​ ​rich​ ​candidates,​ ​on​ ​one​ ​hand,​ ​and
lesser-known​ ​or​ ​poorer​ ​candidates,​ ​on​ ​the​ ​other,​ ​by​ ​preventing​ ​the​ ​former​ ​from​ ​enjoying​ ​undue
advantage​ ​in​ ​exposure​ ​and​ ​publicity​ ​on​ ​account​ ​of​ ​their​ ​resources​ ​and​ ​popularity.​ ​The​ ​latter​ ​is​ ​a​ ​valid
reason​ ​for​ ​the​ ​exercise​ ​of​ ​police​ ​power.

Moreover,​ ​petitioner​ ​cannot​ ​claim​ ​that​ ​the​ ​subject​ ​billboards​ ​are​ ​purely​ ​product​ ​endorsements​ ​and​ ​do​ ​not
announce​ ​nor​ ​solicit​ ​any​ ​support​ ​for​ ​his​ ​candidacy.​ ​Under​ ​the​ ​Omnibus​ ​Election​ ​Code,​ ​"election
campaign"​ ​or​ ​"partisan​ ​political​ ​activity"​ ​is​ ​defined​ ​as​ ​an​ ​act​ ​designed​ ​to​ ​promote​ ​the​ ​election​ ​or​ ​defeat​ ​of
a​ ​particular​ ​candidate​ ​or​ ​candidates​ ​to​ ​a​ ​public​ ​office.​ ​Activities​ ​included​ ​under​ ​this​ ​definition​ ​is:​ ​(5)
Directly​ ​or​ ​indirectly​ ​soliciting​ ​votes,​ ​pledges​ ​or​ ​support​ ​for​ ​or​ ​against​ ​a​ ​candidate.

It​ ​is​ ​true​ ​that​ ​when​ ​petitioner​ ​entered​ ​into​ ​the​ ​contracts​ ​or​ ​agreements​ ​to​ ​endorse​ ​certain​ ​products,​ ​he
acted​ ​as​ ​a​ ​private​ ​individual​ ​and​ ​had​ ​all​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​lend​ ​his​ ​name​ ​and​ ​image​ ​to​ ​these​ ​products.​ ​However,
when​ ​he​ ​filed​ ​his​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy​ ​for​ ​Senator,​ ​the​ ​billboards​ ​featuring​ ​his​ ​name​ ​and​ ​image
assumed​ ​partisan​ ​political​ ​character​ ​because​ ​the​ ​same​ ​indirectly​ ​promoted​ ​his​ ​candidacy.​ ​Therefore,​ ​the
COMELEC​ ​was​ ​acting​ ​well​ ​within​ ​its​ ​scope​ ​of​ ​powers​ ​when​ ​it​ ​required​ ​petitioner​ ​to​ ​discontinue​ ​the
display​ ​of​ ​the​ ​subject​ ​billboards.​ ​If​ ​the​ ​subject​ ​billboards​ ​were​ ​to​ ​be​ ​allowed,​ ​candidates​ ​for​ ​public​ ​office
whose​ ​name​ ​and​ ​image​ ​are​ ​used​ ​to​ ​advertise​ ​commercial​ ​products​ ​would​ ​have​ ​more​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​make
themselves​ ​known​ ​to​ ​the​ ​electorate,​ ​to​ ​the​ ​disadvantage​ ​of​ ​other​ ​candidates​ ​who​ ​do​ ​not​ ​have​ ​the​ ​same
chance​ ​of​ ​lending​ ​their​ ​faces​ ​and​ ​names​ ​to​ ​endorse​ ​popular​ ​commercial​ ​products​ ​as​ ​image​ ​models.
Similarly,​ ​an​ ​individual​ ​intending​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​public​ ​office​ ​within​ ​the​ ​next​ ​few​ ​months,​ ​could​ ​pay​ ​private
corporations​ ​to​ ​use​ ​him​ ​as​ ​their​ ​image​ ​model​ ​with​ ​the​ ​intention​ ​of​ ​familiarizing​ ​the​ ​public​ ​with​ ​his​ ​name
and​ ​image​ ​even​ ​before​ ​the​ ​start​ ​of​ ​the​ ​campaign​ ​period.​ ​This,​ ​without​ ​a​ ​doubt,​ ​would​ ​be​ ​a​ ​circumvention
of​ ​the​ ​rule​ ​against​ ​premature​ ​campaigning:

Sec.​ ​80.​​ ​Election​ ​campaign​ ​or​ ​partisan​ ​political​ ​activity​ ​outside​ ​campaign​ ​period.​ ​–​ ​It​ ​shall​ ​be​ ​unlawful​ ​for
any​ ​person,​ ​whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​a​ ​voter​ ​or​ ​candidate,​ ​or​ ​for​ ​any​ ​party,​ ​or​ ​association​ ​of​ ​persons,​ ​to​ ​engage​ ​in
an​ ​election​ ​campaign​ ​or​ ​partisan​ ​political​ ​activity​ ​except​ ​during​ ​the​ ​campaign​ ​period.
Under​ ​Article​ ​IX​ ​(C)​ ​(4)​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Constitution,​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​is​ ​expressly​ ​authorized​ ​to​ ​supervise​ ​or
regulate​ ​the​ ​enjoyment​ ​or​ ​utilization​ ​of​ ​all​ ​media​ ​communication​ ​or​ ​information​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​equal
opportunity,​ ​time,​ ​and​ ​space.​ ​All​ ​these​ ​are​ ​aimed​ ​at​ ​the​ ​holding​ ​of​ ​free,​ ​orderly,​ ​honest,​ ​peaceful,​ ​and
credible​ ​elections.

2.​ ​Neither​ ​is​ ​it​ ​a​ ​gross​ ​violation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​non-impairment​ ​clause.​ ​The​ ​non-impairment​ ​clause​ ​of​ ​the
Constitution​ ​must​ ​yield​ ​to​ ​the​ ​loftier​ ​purposes​ ​targeted​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Government.​ ​Equal​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​proffer
oneself​ ​for​ ​public​ ​office,​ ​without​ ​regard​ ​to​ ​the​ ​level​ ​of​ ​financial​ ​resources​ ​one​ ​may​ ​have​ ​at​ ​his​ ​disposal,​ ​is
indeed​ ​of​ ​vital​ ​interest​ ​to​ ​the​ ​public.​ ​The​ ​State​ ​has​ ​the​ ​duty​ ​to​ ​enact​ ​and​ ​implement​ ​rules​ ​to​ ​safeguard​ ​this
interest

The​ ​Court​ ​also​ ​notes​ ​that​ ​the​ ​very​ ​contracts​ ​entered​ ​into​ ​by​ ​petitioner​ ​provide​ ​that​ ​the​ ​endorser's
photograph​ ​and​ ​image​ ​shall​ ​be​ ​utilized​ ​in​ ​whatever​ ​form,​ ​mode​ ​and​ ​manner​ ​"​in​ ​keeping​ ​with​ ​norms​​ ​of
decency,​ ​reasonableness,​ ​morals​ ​and​ ​law​;"…

3.​ ​Petitioner​ ​also​ ​claims​ ​that​ ​Section​ ​32​ ​is​ ​in​ ​the​ ​nature​ ​of​ ​an​ ​ex​ ​post​ ​facto​ ​law.​ ​He​ ​claims​ ​that​ ​the
assailed​ ​provision​ ​makes​ ​an​ ​individual​ ​criminally​ ​liable​ ​for​ ​an​ ​election​ ​offense​ ​for​ ​not​ ​removing​ ​such
advertisement,​ ​even​ ​if​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​the​ ​said​ ​advertisement​ ​was​ ​exhibited,​ ​the​ ​same​ ​was​ ​clearly​ ​legal.
Section​ ​32,​ ​although​ ​not​ ​penal​ ​in​ ​nature,​ ​defines​ ​an​ ​offense​ ​and​ ​prescribes​ ​a​ ​penalty​ ​for​ ​said​ ​offense.
Laws​ ​of​ ​this​ ​nature​ ​must​ ​operate​ ​prospectively,​ ​except​ ​when​ ​they​ ​are​ ​favorable​ ​to​ ​the​ ​accused.​ ​The
offense,​ ​as​ ​expressly​ ​prescribed​ ​in​ ​the​ ​assailed​ ​provision,​ ​is​ ​the​ ​non-removal​ ​of​ ​the​ ​described
propaganda​ ​materials​ ​three​ ​(3)​ ​days​ ​after​ ​the​ ​effectivity​ ​of​ ​COMELEC​ ​Resolution​ ​No.​ ​6520​.​ ​Nowhere​ ​is​ ​it
indicated​ ​in​ ​the​ ​assailed​ ​provision​ ​that​ ​it​ ​shall​ ​operate​ ​retroactively.​ ​There​ ​is,​ ​therefore,​ ​no​ ​ex​ ​post​ ​facto
law​ ​in​ ​this​ ​case.

Petitioner​ ​urges​ ​that​ ​Section​ ​32​ ​is​ ​a​ ​violation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Fair​ ​Elections​ ​Act.​ ​According​ ​to​ ​him,​ ​under​ ​this​ ​law,
billboards​ ​are​ ​already​ ​permitted​ ​as​ ​lawful​ ​election​ ​propaganda.​ ​Petitioner's​ ​argument​ ​is​ ​not​ ​tenable.​ ​The
assailed​ ​provision​ ​does​ ​not​ ​prohibit​ ​billboards​ ​as​ ​lawful​ ​election​ ​propaganda.​ ​It​ ​only​ ​regulates​ ​their​ ​use​ ​to
prevent​ ​premature​ ​campaigning​ ​and​ ​to​ ​equalize,​ ​as​ ​much​ ​as​ ​practicable,​ ​the​ ​situation​ ​of​ ​all​ ​candidates​ ​by
preventing​ ​popular​ ​and​ ​rich​ ​candidates​ ​from​ ​gaining​ ​undue​ ​advantage​ ​in​ ​exposure​ ​and​ ​publicity​ ​on
account​ ​of​ ​their​ ​resources​ ​and​ ​popularity.​ ​Under​ ​Sections​ ​3​ ​and​ ​13​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Fair​ ​Elections​ ​Act,​ ​all​ ​election
propaganda​ ​are​ ​subject​ ​to​ ​the​ ​supervision​ ​and​ ​regulation​ ​by​ ​the​ ​COMELEC:
SECTION​ ​3.​ ​Lawful​ ​Election​ ​Propaganda.​ ​--​ ​Election​ ​propaganda,​ ​whether​ ​on​ ​television,​ ​cable​ ​television
radio,​ ​newspapers​ ​or​ ​any​ ​other​ ​medium​ ​is​ ​hereby​ ​allowed​ ​for​ ​all​ ​registered​ ​political​ ​parties,​ ​national,
regional,​ ​sectoral​ ​parties​ ​or​ ​organizations​ ​participating​ ​under​ ​the​ ​party​ ​list​ ​elections​ ​and​ ​for​ ​all​ ​bona​ ​fide
candidates​ ​seeking​ ​national​ ​and​ ​local​ ​elective​ ​positions​ ​subject​ ​to​ ​the​ ​limitation​ ​on​ ​authorized​ ​expenses
of​ ​candidates​ ​and​ ​political​ ​parties​ ​observance​ ​of​ ​truth​ ​in​ ​advertising​ ​and​ ​to​ ​the​ ​supervision​ ​and​ ​regulation
by​ ​the​ ​Commission​ ​on​ ​Elections​ ​(COMELEC).

4.​ ​Finally,​ ​petitioner​ ​contends​ ​that​ ​Section​ ​32​ ​is​ ​invalid​ ​because​ ​of​ ​overbreadth.​ ​A​ ​statute​ ​or​ ​regulation​ ​is
considered​ ​void​ ​for​ ​overbreadth​ ​when​ ​it​ ​offends​ ​the​ ​constitutional​ ​principle​ ​that​ ​a​ ​governmental​ ​purpose
to​ ​control​ ​or​ ​prevent​ ​activities​ ​constitutionally​ ​subject​ ​to​ ​State​ ​regulations​ ​may​ ​not​ ​be​ ​achieved​ ​by​ ​means
that​ ​sweep​ ​unnecessarily​ ​broadly​ ​and​ ​thereby​ ​invade​ ​the​ ​area​ ​of​ ​protected​ ​freedoms​.

The​ ​provision​ ​in​ ​question​ ​is​ ​limited​ ​in​ ​its​ ​operation​ ​both​ ​as​ ​to​ ​time​ ​and​ ​scope.​ ​It​ ​only​ ​disallows​ ​the
continued​ ​display​ ​of​ ​a​ ​person's​ ​propaganda​ ​materials​ ​and​ ​advertisements​ ​after​ ​he​ ​has​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​certificate
of​ ​candidacy​ ​and​ ​before​ ​the​ ​start​ ​of​ ​the​ ​campaign​ ​period.​ ​Said​ ​materials​ ​and​ ​advertisements​ ​must​ ​also
show​ ​his​ ​name​ ​and​ ​image.

There​ ​is​ ​no​ ​blanket​ ​prohibition​ ​of​ ​the​ ​use​ ​of​ ​propaganda​ ​materials​ ​and​ ​advertisements.​ ​During​ ​the
campaign​ ​period,​ ​these​ ​may​ ​be​ ​used​ ​subject​ ​only​ ​to​ ​reasonable​ ​limitations​ ​necessary​ ​and​ ​incidental​ ​to
achieving​ ​the​ ​purpose​ ​of​ ​preventing​ ​premature​ ​campaigning​ ​and​ ​promoting​ ​equality​ ​of​ ​opportunities
among​ ​all​ ​candidates.​ ​Therefore​ ​it​ ​is​ ​not​ ​invalid​ ​on​ ​the​ ​ground​ ​of​ ​overbreadth.
WHEREFORE,​​ ​the​ ​petition​ ​is​ ​DISMISSED

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Penera​ ​v.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​181614,​ ​11​ ​September​ ​2009​ ​and​ ​25​ ​November​ ​2009​ ​-​ ​FLORES

ROSALINDA​ ​A.​ ​PENERA,​ ​Petitioner​ ​vs​ ​COMELEC​ ​and​ ​EDGAR​ ​T.​ ​ANDANAR,​ ​Respondents

September​ ​11,​ ​2009​ ​Decision

NOTE: The case is a Petition for ​Certiorari ​with Prayer for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction
and/or Temporary Restraining Order ​seeking the nullification of the Resolution of the COMELEC ​en banc
dated​ ​30​ ​January​ ​2008.

FACTS: Penera and private respondent Edgar T. Andanar were mayoralty candidates in Sta. Monica,
Surigao Del Norte during the May 14 2007 elections. On 2 April 2007, Andanar filed before the Office of
the Regional Election Director (ORED), Caraga, a Petition for Disqualification ​against Penera, as well as
the candidates for Vice-Mayor and ​Sangguniang Bayan who belonged to her political party for unlawfully
engaging in election campaigning and partisan political activity prior to the commencement of the
campaign period. Andanar claimed that on 29 March 2007, a day before the start of the authorized
campaign period on 30 March 2007, Penera and her partymates went around the different barangays in
Sta. Monica, announcing their candidacies and requesting the people to vote for them on the day of the
elections.

Penera filed an Answer averring that the charge of premature campaigning was not true. Although Penera
admitted that a motorcade did take place, she explained that it was simply in accordance with the usual
practice in nearby cities and provinces, where the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) was preceded
by a motorcade, which dispersed soon after the completion of such filing and that during the motorcade
held​ ​by​ ​her​ ​political​ ​party,​ ​no​ ​person​ ​made​ ​any​ ​speech,​ ​not​ ​even​ ​any​ ​of​ ​the​ ​candidates.

While the case was pending before the COMELEC 2nd Division, the May 14, 2007 elections took place
and, as a result thereof, Penera was proclaimed the duly elected Mayor of Sta. Monica. Penera soon
assumed office on July 2, 2002. On July 24, 2007, the COMELEC issued its Resolution which disqualified
Penera from continuing as a mayoralty candidate in Sta. Monica, for engaging in premature campaigning,
in violation of Sections 80 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code but absolves the other candidates from
Peneras party from such violation because the photos submitted by Andanar only identified Penera and it
cannot be conclusively proven that the other candidates from Peneras party were indeed with Penera
during​ ​the​ ​Motorcade.

NOTE: Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento put forth a Dissenting Opinion stating that the pieces of
evidence submitted by Andanar did not sufficiently establish probable cause that Penera engaged in
premature​ ​campaigning,​ ​in​ ​violation​ ​of​ ​Sections​ ​80​ ​and​ ​68​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Omnibus​ ​Election​ ​Code.
Penera filed before the COMELEC ​en banc a Motion for Reconsideration maintaining that she did not
make any admission on the factual matters stated in the appealed resolution. The COMELEC ​en banc
denied​ ​Peneras​ ​Motion​ ​for​ ​Reconsideration.​ ​Hence,​ ​this​ ​petition.

ISSUE: ​Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or in
excess of jurisdiction in finding that the act of Penera in conducting a motorcade before the filing of her
certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy​ ​constitutes​ ​premature​ ​campaigning.
HELD: ​NO​. The prohibited act of premature campaigning is defined under Section 80 of the Omnibus
Election​ ​Code,​ ​to​ ​wit:

SECTION​ ​80.​ ​Election​ ​campaign​ ​or​ ​partisan​ ​political​ ​activity​ ​outside​ ​campaign​ ​period​.
It shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not a voter or candidate, or for any party, or association of
persons, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during the campaign
period: ​Provided​, That political parties may hold political conventions or meetings to nominate their official
candidates within 30 days before the commencement of the campaign period and 45 days for Presidential
and​ ​Vice-Presidential​ ​election.

If the commission of the prohibited act of premature campaigning is duly proven, the consequence of the
violation​ ​is​ ​clearly​ ​spelled​ ​out​ ​in​ ​Section​ ​68​ ​of​ ​the​ ​said​ ​Code,​ ​which​ ​reads:

SECTION. 68. ​Disqualifications​. - Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is
declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having xxx (e)
violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6, shall be
disqualified​ ​from​ ​continuing​ ​as​ ​a​ ​candidate,​ ​or​ ​if​ ​he​ ​has​ ​been​ ​elected,​ ​from​ ​holding​ ​the​ ​office.​ ​xxx”

In the case at bar, it had been sufficiently established, not just by Andanars evidence, but also those of
Penera herself, that Penera and her partymates, after filing their COCs on 29 March 2007, participated in
a motorcade which passed through the different ​barangays of Sta. Monica, waived their hands to the
public, and threw candies to the onlookers. Indeed, Penera expressly admitted in her Position Paper that:
Respondents actually had a motorcade of only 2 jeppneys and 10 motorcycles after filing their Certificate
of Candidacy at 3:00 P.M., March 29, 2007 without any speeches made and only one streamer of a board
member​ ​Candidate​ ​and​ ​multi-colored​ ​balloons​ ​attached​ ​to​ ​the​ ​jeppneys​ ​and​ ​motorcycles.

More importantly, the conduct of a motorcade is a form of election campaign or partisan political activity,
falling squarely within the ambit of Section 79(b)(2) of the Omnibus Election Code, on holding political
caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of
soliciting​ ​votes​ ​and/or​ ​undertaking​ ​any​ ​campaign​ ​or​ ​propaganda​ ​for​ ​or​ ​against​ ​a​ ​candidate.

A ​motorcade is a procession or parade of automobiles or other motor vehicles. ​The conduct thereof during
election periods by the candidates and their supporters is a fact that need not be belabored due to its
widespread and pervasive practice. The obvious purpose of the conduct of motorcades is to introduce the
candidates and the positions, to which they seek to be elected, to the voting public; or to make them more
visible so as to facilitate the recognition and recollection of their names in the minds of the voters come
election time. Unmistakably, motorcades are undertaken for no other purpose than to promote the
election​ ​of​ ​a​ ​particular​ ​candidate​ ​or​ ​candidates.

WHEREFORE, Petition for ​Certiorari is hereby DISMISSED. In view of the disqualification of petitioner
Rosalinda A. Penera from running for the office of Mayor of Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte, and the
resulting permanent vacancy therein, it is hereby DECLARED that the proclaimed Vice-Mayor is the
rightful​ ​successor​ ​to​ ​said​ ​office.
November​ ​25,​ ​2009​ ​Decision

FACTS: The Court granted Penera’s motion for reconsideration for the September 11, 2009 Decision
which dismissed Penera’s petition and affirmed the Resolution which disqualified her from running for the
office​ ​of​ ​Mayor​ ​in​ ​Sta.​ ​Monica,​ ​Surigao​ ​del​ ​Norte​ ​and​ ​declared​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Vice-Mayor​ ​should​ ​succeed​ ​her.

In​ ​support​ ​of​ ​her​ ​motion​ ​for​ ​reconsideration,​ ​Penera​ ​submits​ ​the​ ​following​ ​arguments:

1. Penera was not yet a candidate at the time of the incident under Section 11 of RA 8436 as amended by
Section​ ​13​ ​of​ ​RA​ ​9369.

2. The petition for disqualification failed to submit convincing and substantial evidence against Penera for
violation​ ​of​ ​Section​ ​80​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Omnibus​ ​Election​ ​Code.

3. Penera never admitted the allegations of the petition for disqualification and has consistently disputed
the​ ​charge​ ​of​ ​premature​ ​campaigning.

4. The admission that Penera participated in a motorcade is not the same as admitting she engaged in
premature​ ​election​ ​campaigning.

Section 79(a) of the Omnibus Election Code defines a "candidate" as "any person aspiring for or seeking
an​ ​elective​ ​public​ ​office,​ ​who​ ​has​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​candidacy​ ​x​ ​x​ ​x."

The second sentence, third paragraph, Section 15 of RA 8436, as amended by Section 13 of RA 9369,
provides that "[a]ny person who files his certificate of candidacy within the period for filing ​shall only be
considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of
candidacy." The immediately succeeding proviso in the same third paragraph states that "​unlawful acts or
omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the aforesaid campaign
period.​"​ ​These​ ​two​ ​provisions​ ​determine​ ​the​ ​resolution​ ​of​ ​this​ ​case.

The Decision states that "when the campaign period starts and the person who filed his certificate of
candidacy proceeds with his/her candidacy, his/her intent turning into actuality, we can already consider
his/her acts, after the filing of his/her COC and prior to the campaign period, ​as the promotion of his/her
election as a candidate​, hence, constituting premature campaigning, for which he/she may be
disqualified."

Futhermore, under the Decision, a candidate may already be liable for premature campaigning after the
filing of the certificate of candidacy but even before the start of the campaign period. From the filing of the
certificate of candidacy, even long before the start of the campaign period, the Decision considers the
partisan political acts of a person so filing a certificate of candidacy "as the promotion of his/her election
as a candidate." Thus, such person can be disqualified for premature campaigning for acts done before
the start of the campaign period. ​In short, the Decision considers a person who files a certificate of
candidacy​ ​already​ ​a​ ​"candidate"​ ​even​ ​before​ ​the​ ​start​ ​of​ ​the​ ​campaign​ ​period.

ISSUE:​​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​the​ ​September​ ​11,​ ​2009​ ​Decision​ ​shall​ ​be​ ​set​ ​aside.

HELD: YES. The Supreme Court held that the assailed Decision is contrary to the clear intent and letter
of the law. The Decision reverses ​Lanot v. COMELEC​, which held that a person who files a certificate of
candidacy​ ​is​ ​NOT​ ​a​ ​candidate​ ​until​ ​the​ ​start​ ​of​ ​the​ ​campaign​ ​period.

In ​Lanot, ​the Court ​explained that the essential elements for violation of Section 80 of the Omnibus
Election​ ​Code​ ​are:
(1)​ ​a​ ​person​ ​engages​ ​in​ ​an​ ​election​ ​campaign​ ​or​ ​partisan​ ​political​ ​activity;
(2)​ ​the​ ​act​ ​is​ ​designed​ ​to​ ​promote​ ​the​ ​election​ ​or​ ​defeat​ ​of​ ​a​ ​particular​ ​candidate​ ​or​ ​candidates;
(3)​ ​the​ ​act​ ​is​ ​done​ ​outside​ ​the​ ​campaign​ ​period.

The second element requires the existence of a "candidate." Under Section 79(a), a candidate is one who
"has filed a certificate of candidacy" to an elective public office. Unless one has filed his certificate of
candidacy, he is not a "candidate." The third element requires that the campaign period has not started
when​ ​the​ ​election​ ​campaign​ ​or​ ​partisan​ ​political​ ​activity​ ​is​ ​committed.

Assuming that all candidates to a public office file their certificates of candidacy on the last day, which
under Section 75 of the Omnibus Election Code is the day before the start of the campaign period, then
no one can be prosecuted for violation of Section 80 for acts done prior to such last day. Before such last
day, there is no "particular candidate or candidates" to campaign for or against. On the day immediately
after the last day of filing, the campaign period starts and Section 80 ceases to apply since Section 80
covers​ ​only​ ​acts​ ​done​ ​"outside"​ ​the​ ​campaign​ ​period.

Thus, if all candidates file their certificates of candidacy on the last day, Section 80 may only apply to acts
done on such last day, which is before the start of the campaign period and after at least one candidate
has filed his certificate of candidacy. This is perhaps the reason why those running for elective public
office​ ​usually​ ​file​ ​their​ ​certificates​ ​of​ ​candidacy​ ​on​ ​the​ ​last​ ​day​ ​or​ ​close​ ​to​ ​the​ ​last​ ​day.

It is a basic principle of law that any act is lawful unless expressly declared unlawful by law. This is
specially true to expression or speech, which Congress cannot outlaw except on very narrow grounds
involving clear, present and imminent danger to the State. The mere fact that the law does not declare an
act unlawful ipso facto means that the act is lawful. Thus, there is no need for Congress to declare in
Section 15 of RA 8436, as amended by RA 9369, that political partisan activities before the start of the
campaign period are lawful. It is sufficient for Congress to state that "any unlawful act or omission
applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period." The only
inescapable and logical result is that the same acts, if done before the start of the campaign period, are
lawful.

Congress has laid down the law — a candidate is liable for election offenses only upon the start of the
campaign period. This Court has no power to ignore the clear and express mandate of the law that "any
person who files his certificate of candidacy within the filing period shall only be considered a candidate at
the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy." Neither can this Court turn
a blind eye to the express and clear language of the law that "any unlawful act or omission applicable to a
candidate​ ​shall​ ​take​ ​effect​ ​only​ ​upon​ ​the​ ​start​ ​of​ ​the​ ​campaign​ ​period."

The forum for examining the wisdom of the law, and enacting remedial measures, is not this Court but the
Legislature. This Court has no recourse but to apply a law that is as clear, concise and express as the
second sentence, and its immediately succeeding proviso, as written in the third paragraph of Section 15
of​ ​RA​ ​8436,​ ​as​ ​amended​ ​by​ ​RA​ ​9369.

WHEREFORE, we GRANT petitioner Rosalinda A. Penera’s Motion for Reconsideration. We SET ASIDE
the Decision of this Court promulgated on 11 September 2009. Rosalinda A. Penera shall continue as
Mayor​ ​of​ ​Sta.​ ​Monica,​ ​Surigao​ ​del​ ​Norte.

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SWS​ ​v.​ ​COMELEC,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​147571,​ ​05​ ​May​ ​2001​ ​-​ ​DIMACULANGAN
FACTS:​ ​Petitioners​ ​herein​ ​are​ ​the​ ​Social​ ​Weather​ ​Stations​ ​(SWS),​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Manila​ ​Standard,​ ​a
newspaper​ ​of​ ​general​ ​circulation.SWS​ ​states​ ​that​ ​it​ ​wishes​ ​to​ ​conduct​ ​an​ ​election​ ​survey​ ​throughout​ ​the
period​ ​of​ ​the​ ​elections​ ​both​ ​at​ ​the​ ​national​ ​and​ ​local​ ​levels​ ​and​ ​release​ ​to​ ​the​ ​media​ ​the​ ​results​ ​of​ ​such
survey​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​publish​ ​them​ ​directly.​ ​Petitioner​ ​Kamahalan​ ​Publishing​ ​Corporation,​ ​on​ ​the​ ​other​ ​hand,
states​ ​that​ ​it​ ​intends​ ​to​ ​publish​ ​election​ ​survey​ ​results​ ​up​ ​to​ ​the​ ​last​ ​day​ ​of​ ​the​ ​elections​ ​on​ ​May​ ​14,​ ​2001.
However,​ ​the​ ​desired​ ​surveys​ ​of​ ​the​ ​petitioners​ ​are​ ​restrained​ ​by​ ​both​ ​§5.4​ ​of​ ​Republic​ ​Act​ ​No.​ ​9006​ ​and
of​ ​Resolution​ ​3636,​ ​§24(h)​ ​of​ ​COMELEC​ ​which​ ​states​ ​that​ ​—
Surveys​ ​affecting​ ​national​ ​candidates​ ​shall​ ​not​ ​be​ ​published​ ​fifteen​ ​(15)​ ​days​ ​before​ ​an​ ​election​ ​and
surveys​ ​affecting​ ​local​ ​candidates​ ​shall​ ​not​ ​be​ ​published​ ​seven​ ​(7)​ ​days​ ​before​ ​an​ ​election.
As​ ​such,​ ​petitioners​ ​went​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​to​ ​enjoin​ ​the​ ​respondent​ ​from​ ​enforcing​ ​the
same.​ ​They​ ​argue​ ​that​ ​the​ ​restriction​ ​on​ ​the​ ​publication​ ​of​ ​election​ ​survey​ ​results​ ​constitutes​ ​a​ ​prior
restraint​ ​on​ ​the​ ​exercise​ ​of​ ​freedom​ ​of​ ​speech​ ​without​ ​any​ ​clear​ ​and​ ​present​ ​danger​ ​to​ ​justify​ ​such
restraint.​ ​However,​ ​respondent​ ​justifies​ ​both​ ​the​ ​law​ ​and​ ​the​ ​resolution​ ​upon​ ​the​ ​following​ ​grounds​ ​(a)
necessary​ ​to​ ​prevent​ ​the​ ​manipulation​ ​and​ ​corruption​ ​of​ ​the​ ​electoral​ ​process​ ​by​ ​unscrupulous​ ​and
erroneous​ ​surveys​ ​just​ ​before​ ​the​ ​election,​ ​and​ ​(b)​ ​the​ ​impairment​ ​of​ ​freedom​ ​of​ ​expression​ ​is​ ​minimal.

ISSUE/S:​ ​1.​ ​Is​ ​the​ ​section​ ​in​ ​question​ ​unconstitutional​ ​for​ ​abridging​ ​the​ ​freedom​ ​of​ ​speech,​ ​expression,
and​ ​of​ ​the​ ​press?
2.​ ​Can​ ​it​ ​be​ ​justified​ ​under​ ​Art.​ ​IX-C,​ ​§4​ ​of​ ​the​ ​1987​ ​Constitution?

DECISION:​ ​YES.​ ​The​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​held​ ​that​ ​the​ ​law​ ​is​ ​invalid​ ​because​ ​(1)​ ​it​ ​imposes​ ​a​ ​prior​ ​restraint
on​ ​the​ ​freedom​ ​of​ ​expression,​ ​(2)​ ​it​ ​is​ ​a​ ​direct​ ​and​ ​total​ ​suppression​ ​of​ ​a​ ​category​ ​of​ ​expression​ ​even
though​ ​such​ ​suppression​ ​is​ ​only​ ​for​ ​a​ ​limited​ ​period,​ ​and​ ​(3)​ ​the​ ​governmental​ ​interest​ ​sought​ ​to​ ​be
promoted​ ​can​ ​be​ ​achieved​ ​by​ ​means​ ​other​ ​than​ ​the​ ​suppression​ ​of​ ​freedom​ ​of​ ​expression.​ ​In​ ​connection
to​ ​the​ ​third​ ​reasoning,​ ​the​ ​Court​ ​held​ ​that​ ​under​ ​the​ ​Administrative​ ​Code,​ ​COMELEC​ ​has​ ​the​ ​power​ ​to
stop​ ​any​ ​illegal​ ​activity,​ ​or​ ​confiscate,​ ​tear​ ​down,​ ​and​ ​stop​ ​any​ ​unlawful,​ ​libelous,​ ​misleading​ ​or​ ​false
election​ ​propaganda,​ ​after​ ​due​ ​notice​ ​and​ ​hearing.​ ​Pursuant​ ​to​ ​this​ ​power​ ​of​ ​the​ ​COMELEC,​ ​it​ ​can
confiscate​ ​bogus​ ​survey​ ​results​ ​calculated​ ​to​ ​mislead​ ​voters.​ ​And​ ​the​ ​exercise​ ​of​ ​such​ ​power​ ​by​ ​the
COMELEC​ ​can​ ​clearly​ ​meet​ ​the​ ​end​ ​sought​ ​by​ ​the​ ​law​ ​—​ ​to​ ​prevent​ ​the​ ​manipulation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​elections​ ​by
reason​ ​of​ ​erroneous​ ​surveys.
Also,​ ​the​ ​Court​ ​held​ ​that​ ​it​ ​cannot​ ​be​ ​justified​ ​on​ ​the​ ​ground​ ​that​ ​it​ ​is​ ​only​ ​for​ ​a​ ​limited​ ​period​ ​and​ ​is​ ​only
incidental.​ ​The​ ​prohibition​ ​may​ ​be​ ​for​ ​a​ ​limited​ ​time,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​curtailment​ ​of​ ​the​ ​right​ ​of​ ​expression​ ​is​ ​direct,
absolute,​ ​and​ ​substantial.​ ​It​ ​constitutes​ ​a​ ​total​ ​suppression​ ​of​ ​a​ ​category​ ​of​ ​speech​ ​and​ ​is​ ​not​ ​made​ ​less
so​ ​because​ ​it​ ​is​ ​only​ ​for​ ​a​ ​period​ ​of​ ​fifteen​ ​(15)​ ​days​ ​immediately​ ​before​ ​a​ ​national​ ​election​ ​and​ ​seven​ ​(7)
days​ ​immediately​ ​before​ ​a​ ​local​ ​election.

NO.​ ​Indeed,​ ​any​ ​system​ ​of​ ​prior​ ​restraints​ ​of​ ​expression​ ​that​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Court​ ​bears​ ​a​ ​heavy
presumption​ ​against​ ​its​ ​constitutional​ ​validity.​ ​The​ ​Government​ ​thus​ ​carries​ ​a​ ​heavy​ ​burden​ ​of​ ​showing
justification​ ​for​ ​the​ ​enforcement​ ​of​ ​such​ ​restraint.There​ ​is​ ​thus​ ​a​ ​reversal​ ​of​ ​the​ ​normal​ ​presumption​ ​of
validity​ ​that​ ​inheres​ ​in​ ​every​ ​legislation.​ ​Art.​ ​IX-C,​ ​§4​ ​gives​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​supervisory​ ​powers​ ​to​ ​regulate
the​ ​enjoyment​ ​or​ ​utilization​ ​of​ ​franchise​ ​for​ ​the​ ​operation​ ​of​ ​media​ ​communication.​ ​Therefore,​ ​the
technical​ ​effect​ ​of​ ​Article​ ​IX​ ​(C)​ ​(4)​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Constitution​ ​may​ ​be​ ​seen​ ​to​ ​be​ ​that​ ​no​ ​presumption​ ​of​ ​invalidity
arises​ ​in​ ​respect​ ​of​ ​exercises​ ​of​ ​supervisory​ ​or​ ​regulatory​ ​authority​ ​on​ ​the​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Comelec​ ​for​ ​the
purpose​ ​of​ ​securing​ ​equal​ ​opportunity​ ​among​ ​candidates​ ​for​ ​political​ ​office,​ ​although​ ​such​ ​supervision​ ​or
regulation​ ​may​ ​result​ ​in​ ​some​ ​limitation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​rights​ ​of​ ​free​ ​speech​ ​and​ ​free​ ​press.​ ​It​ ​must​ ​be​ ​noted,
however,​ ​that​ ​the​ ​presumption​ ​of​ ​validity​ ​is​ ​limited​ ​only​ ​to​ ​those​ ​laws​ ​that​ ​ensure​ ​equal​ ​opportunity,​ ​time,
space,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​reply​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​uniform​ ​and​ ​reasonable​ ​rates​ ​of​ ​charges​ ​for​ ​the​ ​use​ ​of​ ​such​ ​media
facilities​ ​for​ ​public​ ​information​ ​campaigns​ ​and​ ​forums​ ​among​ ​candidates.
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GMA​ ​Network​ ​Inc.​ ​v.​ ​Comelec,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​205357,​ ​02​ ​September​ ​2014​ ​-​ ​DESUASIDO

FACTS: ​Assailed in these petitions are certain regulations promulgated by COMELEC relative to the
conduct of the 2013 national and local elections dealing with political advertisements. Specifically, the
petitions question the constitutionality of the limitations placed on aggregate airtime allowed to candidates
and political parties, as well as the requirements incident thereto, such as the need to report the same,
and​ ​the​ ​sanctions​ ​imposed​ ​for​ ​violations.

The five (5) petitions before the Court put in issue the alleged unconstitutionality of Section 9 (a) of
COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 limiting the broadcast and radio advertisements of candidates and
political parties for national election positions to an aggregate total of one hundred twenty (120) minutes
and one hundred eighty (180) minutes, respectively. They contend that such restrictive regulation on
allowable broadcast time violates freedom of the press, impairs the people’s right to suffrage as well as
their right to information relative to the exercise of their right to choose who to elect during the forthcoming
elections

Section 9 (a) provides for an “aggregate total” airtime instead of the previous “per station” airtime for
political campaigns or advertisements, and also required prior COMELEC approval for candidates’
television​ ​and​ ​radio​ ​guestings​ ​and​ ​appearances.

ISSUE/S:
1. WON the COMELEC went beyond the authority granted it by the law in adopting “aggregate”
basis​ ​in​ ​the​ ​determination​ ​of​ ​allowable​ ​airtime
2. WON Section 9 (a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 on airtime limits violates freedom of
expression,​ ​of​ ​speech​ ​and​ ​of​ ​the​ ​press.

DECISION:
1. YES.The​ ​law,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​the​ ​basis​ ​of​ ​the​ ​regulation​ ​subject​ ​of​ ​these​ ​petitions,​ ​pertinently​ ​provides:

6.2. (a) Each bona fide candidate or registered political party for a nationally elective office shall
be entitled to not more than one hundred twenty (120) minutes of television advertisement and
one​ ​hundred​ ​eighty​ ​(180)​ ​minutes​ ​of​ ​radio​ ​advertisement​ ​whether​ ​by​ ​purchase​ ​or​ ​donation.

(b) Each bona fide candidate or registered political party for a locally elective office shall be
entitled to not more than sixty (60) minutes of television advertisement and ninety (90) minutes of
radio​ ​advertisement​ ​whether​ ​by​ ​purchase​ ​or​ ​donation;​ ​ ​x​ ​x​ ​x

The law, on its face, does not justify a conclusion that the maximum allowable airtime should be
based on the totality of possible broadcast in all television or radio stations. Senator Cayetano
has called our attention to the legislative intent relative to the airtime allowed – that it should be
on​ ​a​ ​“per​ ​station”​ ​basis.

This is further buttressed by the fact that the Fair Election Act (R.A. No. 9006) actually repealed
the previous provision, Section 11(b) of Republic Act No. 6646,44 which prohibited direct political
advertisements – the so-called “political ad ban.” If under the previous law, no candidate was
allowed to directly buy or procure on his own his broadcast or print campaign advertisements,
and that he must get it through the COMELEC Time or COMELEC Space, R.A. No. 9006 relieved
him or her from that restriction and allowed him or her to broadcast time or print space subject to
the limitations set out in the law. Congress, in enacting R.A. No. 9006, felt that the previous law
was not an effective and efficient way of giving voice to the people. Noting the debilitating effects
of the previous law on the right of suffrage and Philippine democracy, Congress decided to repeal
such​ ​rule​ ​by​ ​enacting​ ​the​ ​Fair​ ​Election​ ​Act.

It is ineluctable to conclude that Congress intended to provide a more expansive and liberal
means by which the candidates, political parties, citizens and other stakeholders in the periodic
electoral exercise may be given a chance to fully explain and expound on their candidacies and
platforms of governance, and for the electorate to be given a chance to know better the
personalities behind the candidates. In this regard, the media is also given a very important part in
that undertaking of providing the means by which the political exercise becomes an interactive
process. All of these would be undermined and frustrated with the kind of regulation that the
respondent​ ​came​ ​up​ ​with.

2. YES. The Court held that the assailed rule on “aggregate-based” airtime limits is unreasonable
and arbitrary as it unduly restricts and constrains the ability of candidates and political parties to
reach out and communicate with the people. Here, the adverted reason for imposing the
“aggregate-based” airtime limits – leveling the playing field – does not constitute a compelling
state interest which would justify such a substantial restriction on the freedom of candidates and
political parties to communicate their ideas, philosophies, platforms and programs of government.
And, this is specially so in the absence of a clear-cut basis for the imposition of such a prohibitive
measure.

It is also particularly unreasonable and whimsical to adopt the aggregate-based time limits on
broadcast time when we consider that the Philippines is not only composed of so many islands.
There are also a lot of languages and dialects spoken among the citizens across the country.
Accordingly, for a national candidate to really reach out to as many of the electorates as possible,
then it might also be necessary that he conveys his message through his advertisements in
languages and dialects that the people may more readily understand and relate to. To add all of
these airtimes in different dialects would greatly hamper the ability of such candidate to express
himself​ ​–​ ​a​ ​form​ ​of​ ​suppression​ ​of​ ​his​ ​political​ ​speech.

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Emilio​ ​Ramon​ ​“E.R.”​ ​P.​ ​Ejercito​ ​v.​ ​Comelec,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​212398,​ ​25​ ​November​ ​2014​ ​-​ ​DEIPARINE

FACTS: ​Three days prior to the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections, a petition for disqualification
was filed by San Luis before the Office of the COMELEC Clerk in Manila against Ejercito, who was a
fellow gubernatorial candidate and, at the time, the incumbent Governor of the Province of Laguna. It was
alleged that Ejercito,during the campaign period for 2013 local election, distributed to the electorates of
the province of Laguna the so-called “Orange Card” which could be used in any public hospital within the
Province of Laguna for their medical need, and such card should be considered as a material
consideration in convincing the voters to cast their votes for [Ejercito’s] favor in clear violation of Section
68​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Omnibus​ ​Election​ ​Code:

“Sec. 68. Disqualifications. – Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is
declared by final decision by a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having
(a) given money or other material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public
officials performing electoral functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy;
(c) spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited,
received or made any contribution prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e)
violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86, and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6,
shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the
office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country shall not
be qualified to run for any elective office under this Code, unless said person has waived his
status as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence
requirement​ ​provided​ ​for​ ​in​ ​the​ ​election​ ​laws.”

The second cause of action is based on an alleged overspending by Ejercito. Accordingly to Section 5 of
COMELEC Resolution No. 9615, otherwise known as the Rules and Regulations Implementing FAIR
ELECTION ACT, a candidate for the position of Provincial Governor of Laguna is only authorized to incur
an election expense amounting to FOUR MILLION FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY-SIX THOUSAND FIVE
HUNDRED SIXTY-SIX (P4,576,566.00) PESOS. It is alleged that for television campaign commercials
alone,​ ​Ejercito​ ​already​ ​spent​ ​the​ ​sum​ ​of​ ​PhP23,730.784.

Despite this petition, Ejercito and Ramil L. Hernandez were proclaimed by the Provincial Board of
Canvassers as the duly-elected Governor and Vice-Governor, respectively, of Laguna. The COMELEC
First Division issued a Summons with Notice of Conference on June 4, 2013. Ejercito then filed his
Verified Answer on June 13, 2013 that prayed for the dismissal of the petition due to procedural and
substantive irregularities and taking into account his proclamation as Provincial Governor. As to the acts
he allegedly committed, Ejercito claimed that the same are baseless, unfounded, and totally speculative.
He stated that the Health Access Program or the E.R. “Orange Card” was a priority project of his
administration as incumbent Governor of Laguna and was never intended to influence the electorate
during the May 2013 elections. He added that the “Orange Card,” which addressed the increasing need
for and the high cost of quality health services, provides the Laguneños not only access to medical
services but also the privilege to avail free livelihood seminars to help them find alternative sources of
income. With respect to the charge of having exceeded the total allowable election expenditures, Ejercito
submitted that the accusation deserves no consideration for being speculative, self-serving, and
uncorroborated​ ​by​ ​any​ ​other​ ​substantial​ ​evidence.

The scheduled case conference between the parties on June 13, 2013 was reset to June 27,
2013. In the latter date, all the documentary exhibits were marked in evidence and the parties agreed to
file their respective memorandum within ten (10) days.San Luis substantially reiterated the content of the
Petition in his Memorandum. It was stressed that the case is a “Special Action for Disqualification”
seeking to disqualify Ejercito as gubernatorial candidate for violation of Section 68 (a) (c) of the OEC. On
September 26, 2013, the COMELEC First Division promulgated a Resolution granting the petition for
disqualification against Ejercito. Only Ejercito filed a Verified Motion for Reconsideration before the
COMELEC En Banc. After the parties’ exchange of pleadings, the Resolution of the COMELEC First
Division​ ​was​ ​unanimously​ ​affirmed​ ​on​ ​May​ ​21,​ ​2014.

​In this present petition, Ejercito insists that his alleged acts of giving material consideration in the
form of “Orange Cards” and election overspending are considered as election offenses under Section 35
of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615,48 in relation to Section 1349 of R.A. No. 9006, and punishable under
Section 26450 of the OEC. Considering that San Luis’ petition partakes of the nature of a complaint for
election offenses, the COMELEC First Division has no jurisdiction over the same based on COMELEC
Resolution​ ​No.​ ​938651​ ​and​ ​Section​ ​26552​ ​of​ ​the​ ​OEC.

ISSUE/S:​ ​Whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​Ejercito​ ​should​ ​be​ ​disqualified

DECISION: YES. ​The purpose of a disqualification proceeding is to prevent the candidate from running
or, if elected, from serving, or to prosecute him for violation of the election laws. A petition to disqualify a
candidate may be filed pursuant to Section 68 of the OEC. [T]he jurisdiction of the COMELEC to
disqualify candidates is limited to those enumerated in Section 68 of the [OEC]. All other election offenses
are beyond the ambit of COMELEC jurisdiction. They are criminal and not administrative in nature.
Pursuant to Sections 265 and 268 of the [OEC], the power of the COMELEC is confined to the conduct of
preliminary investigation on the alleged election offenses for the purpose of prosecuting the alleged
offenders​ ​before​ ​the​ ​regular​ ​courts​ ​of​ ​justice,​ ​viz:

“Section 265. Prosecution. – The Commission shall, through its duly authorized legal officers,
have the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses punishable
under this Code, and to prosecute the same. The Commission may avail of the assistance of
other prosecuting arms of the government: Provided, however, That in the event that the
Commission fails to act on any complaint within four months from its filing, the complainant may
file the complaint with the office of the fiscal or with the Ministry of Justice for proper investigation
and​ ​prosecution,​ ​if​ ​warranted.
x​ ​x​ ​x​ ​x​ ​x​ ​x​ ​x​ ​x​ ​x
Section 268. Jurisdiction. – The regional trial court shall have the exclusive original jurisdiction to
try and decide any criminal action or proceeding for violation of this Code, except those relating to
the offense of failure to register or failure to vote which shall be under the jurisdictions of
metropolitan​ ​or​ ​municipal​ ​trial​ ​courts.

From the decision of the courts, appeal will lie as in other criminal cases.” In the case at bar, the
COMELEC First Division and COMELEC En Banc correctly ruled that the petition filed by San Luis
against Ejercito is not just for prosecution of election offense but for disqualification as well. The title of
San Luis’ petition shows that the case was brought under Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure,
as amended by COMELEC Resolution No. 9523. Further, the averments of San Luis’ petition rely on
Section​ ​68​ ​(a)​ ​and​ ​(c)​ ​of​ ​the​ ​OEC​ ​as​ ​grounds​ ​for​ ​its​ ​causes​ ​of​ ​action.

As for the alleged overspending on television advertisements, Ejercito contends that those
advertisment contracts were forged. The Court however held that the subject TV advertisements were
done and broadcasted with Ejercito’s consent. As found by the COMELEC First Division, the advertising
contracts submitted in evidence by San Luis as well as those in legal custody of the COMELEC belie his
hollow assertion. His express conformity to the advertising contracts is actually a must because
non-compliance​ ​is​ ​considered​ ​as​ ​an​ ​election​ ​offense.

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The​ ​Diocese​ ​of​ ​Bacolod​ ​v.​ ​Comelec,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​205728,​ ​21​ ​January​ ​2015​ ​-​ ​CIMAFRANCA

FACTS: ​On February 21, 2013, petitioners posted two 6 x 10 feet tarpaulins within the San Sebastian
Cathedral of Bacolod. The first tarpaulin contains “IBASURA RH LAW”, pertaining to R.A. 10354 or the
Reproductive Health Law, while the second one, which is the subject of this case, contains the heading
“Conscience Vote” and lists candidates for the 2013 elections as either “Team Buhay” with a check mark
(Anti – RH) and “Team Patay” (Pro-RH) with an X mark. ​Those who voted for the passing of the law were
classified​ ​by​ ​petitioners​ ​as​ ​comprising​ ​"Team​ ​Patay,"​ ​while​ ​those​ ​who​ ​voted​ ​against​ ​it​ ​form​ ​"Team​ ​Buhay"

On February 22, 2013, respondent Atty. Maril Marjucon, in her capacity as Election Officer of Bacolod
City, issued a Notice to Remove Campaign Materials addressed to petitioner, ordering the removal of the
tarpaulins within 3 days from receipt because it was oversized based on COMELEC Resolution No. 9615.
Such resolution provides for the size requirement of 2 by 3 feet. Petitioners replied asking for the
COMELEC to give them a definite ruling regarding the tarpaulin, and while pending this opinion and
availment​ ​of​ ​legal​ ​remedies,​ ​the​ ​tarpaulin​ ​be​ ​allowed​ ​to​ ​remain.

On February 27, 2013, COMELEC Law Department issued a letter ​ordering the immediate removal of the
tarpaulin; otherwise, it will be constrained to file an election offense against petitioners. Concerned about
the imminent threat of prosecution for their exercise of free speech, petitioners initiated this case through
this petition for certiorari and prohibition with application for preliminary injunction and temporary
restraining​ ​order.

ISSUE/S:​ ​W/N​ ​the​ ​COMELEC​ ​has​ ​the​ ​power​ ​to​ ​regulate​ ​the​ ​tarpaulin.

DECISION:​ ​ ​NO.​ ​COMELEC​ ​had​ ​no​ ​legal​ ​basis​ ​to​ ​regulate​ ​expressions​ ​made​ ​by​ ​private​ ​citizens
Respondents cite the Constitution, laws, and jurisprudence to support their position that they had the
power to regulate the tarpaulin. However, all of these provisions pertain to candidates and political
parties. Petitioners are not candidates. Neither do they belong to any political party. COMELEC does not
have the authority to regulate the enjoyment of the preferred right to freedom of expression exercised by
a​ ​non-candidate​ ​in​ ​this​ ​case.

Respondents cite ​Article IX-C, Section 4 of the Constitution. In Sanidad vs. COMELEC, ​We held that the
"evil sought to be prevented by this provision is the possibility that a franchise holder may favor or give
any undue advantage to a candidate in terms of advertising space or radio or television time." This court
found that "media practitioners exercising their freedom of expression during plebiscite periods are
neither the franchise holders nor the candidates”; thus, their right to expression during this period may not
be regulated by COMELEC. ​Similar to the media, petitioners in the case at bar are neither franchise
holders​ ​nor​ ​candidates.

Respondents​ ​likewise​ ​cite​ ​Article​ ​IX-C,​ ​Section​ ​2(7)​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Constitution:
“Sec. 2. The COMELEC shall exercise the following powers and functions: xxx (7) Recommend to the
Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where
propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses,
malpractices,​ ​and​ ​nuisance​ ​candidates.​”

Based on the enumeration made on acts that may be penalized, it will be inferred that this provision only
affects​ ​candidates.

Section 9 of the Fair Election Act ​on the posting of campaign materials ​only mentions "parties" and
"candidates":
“Sec. 9. Posting of Campaign Materials. - The COMELEC may authorize ​political parties and party-list
groups​​ ​to​ ​erect​ ​common​ ​poster​ ​areas​ ​for​ ​their​ ​candidates​​ ​in​ ​not​ ​more​ ​than​ ​ten​ ​(10)​ ​public​ ​places…”

Similarly, Section 17 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615, the rules and regulations implementing the Fair
Election​ ​Act,​ ​provides​ ​as​ ​follows:
SECTION 17. Posting of Campaign Materials. - Parties and candidates may post any lawful campaign
material​ ​in:
a. Authorized common poster areas in public places subject to the requirements and/or limitations set
forth​ ​in​ ​the​ ​next​ ​following​ ​section;​ ​and
b.​ ​Private​ ​places​ ​provided​ ​it​ ​has​ ​the​ ​consent​ ​of​ ​the​ ​owner​ ​thereof.
The posting of campaign materials in public places outside of the designated common poster areas and
those enumerated under Section 7 (g) of these Rules and the like is prohibited. Persons posting the same
shall be liable together with the candidates and other persons who caused the posting. It will be
presumed that the candidates and parties caused the posting of campaign materials outside the common
poster areas if they do not remove the same within three (3) days from notice which shall be issued by the
Election Officer of the city or municipality where the unlawful election propaganda are posted or
displayed.

Respondents considered the tarpaulin as a campaign material in their issuances. ​The above provisions
regulating the posting of campaign materials only apply to candidates and political parties, and petitioners
are​ ​neither​ ​of​ ​the​ ​two​.

Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9006 on "Lawful Election Propaganda" also states that these are "allowed
for all registered political parties, national, regional, sectoral parties or organizations participating under
the party-list elections and for all bona fide candidates seeking national and local elective positions
subject to the limitation on authorized expenses of candidates and political parties. . . ." Section 6 of
COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 provides for a similar wording. ​These provisions show that election
propaganda refers to matter done by or on behalf of and in coordination with candidates and political
parties. Some level of coordination with the candidates and political parties for whom the election
propaganda are released would ensure that these candidates and political parties maintain within the
authorized​ ​expenses​ ​limitation​.

The tarpaulin was not paid for by any candidate or political party. There was no allegation that petitioners
coordinated with any of the persons named in the tarpaulin regarding its posting. On the other hand,
petitioners​ ​posted​ ​the​ ​tarpaulin​ ​as​ ​part​ ​of​ ​their​ ​advocacy​ ​against​ ​the​ ​RH​ ​Law.

In the case at bar, petitioners lost their ability to give a commentary on the candidates for the 2013
national elections because of the COMELEC notice and letter. ​It was not merely a regulation on the
campaigns​ ​of​ ​candidates​ ​vying​ ​for​ ​public​ ​office.

Every citizen’s expression with political consequences enjoys a high degree of protection. Respondents
argue that the tarpaulin is election propaganda, being petitioners’ way of endorsing candidates who voted
against the RH Law and rejecting those who voted for it. As such, it is subject to regulation by COMELEC
under its constitutional mandate. ​On the other hand, petitioners invoke their "constitutional right to
communicate their opinions, views and beliefs about issues and candidates. They argue that the tarpaulin
was their statement of approval and appreciation of the named public officials’ act of voting against the
RH Law, and their criticism toward those who voted in its favor. It was "part of their advocacy campaign
against​ ​the​ ​RH​ ​Law,"​​ ​which​ ​was​ ​not​ ​paid​ ​for​ ​by​ ​any​ ​candidate​ ​or​ ​political​ ​party.

The term "political advertisement" or "election propaganda" refers to any matter broadcasted, published,
printed, displayed or exhibited, in any medium, which contain the name, image, logo, brand, insignia,
color motif, initials, and other symbol or graphic representation that is capable of being associated with a
candidate or party, and is intended to draw the attention of the public or a segment thereof to promote or
oppose, directly or indirectly, the election of the said candidate or candidates to a public office. In
broadcast media, political advertisements may take the form of spots, appearances on TV shows and
radio programs, live or taped announcements, teasers, and other forms of advertising messages or
announcements used by commercial advertisers. ​Political advertising includes matters, not falling within
the scope of personal opinion​, that appear on any Internet website, including, but not limited to, social
networks, blogging sites, and micro-blogging sites, in return for consideration, or otherwise capable of
pecuniary​ ​estimation.​​ ​(Sec.​ ​1[4]​ ​of​ ​COMELEC​ ​Resolution​ ​No.​ ​9615)

In the hierarchy of civil liberties, ​the rights of free expression and of assembly occupy a preferred position
as they are essential to the preservation and vitality of our civil and political institutions; and such priority
"gives​ ​these​ ​liberties​ ​the​ ​sanctity​ ​and​ ​the​ ​sanction​ ​not​ ​permitting​ ​dubious​ ​intrusions."
Not all speech are treated the same. Some types of speech may be subjected to some regulation by the
State under its pervasive police power, in order that it may not be injurious to the equal right of others or
those of the community or society. The difference in treatment is expected because the relevant interests
of​ ​one​ ​type​ ​of​ ​speech.

We distinguish between political and commercial speech. ​Political speech refers to ​speech "both
intended and received as a contribution to public deliberation about some issue," "fostering informed and
civic minded deliberation." On the other hand, ​commercial speech ​has been defined as ​speech that
does "no more than propose a commercial transaction." The expression resulting from the content of the
tarpaulin is, however, definitely political speech. In Justice Brion’s dissenting opinion, he discussed that
"[t]he content of the tarpaulin, as well as the timing of its posting, makes it subject of the regulations in RA
9006 and Comelec Resolution No. 9615." He adds that "while indeed the RH issue, by itself, is not an
electoral matter, the slant that the petitioners gave the issue converted the non-election issue into a live
election​ ​one​ ​hence,​ ​Team​ ​Buhay​ ​and​ ​Team​ ​Patay​ ​and​ ​the​ ​plea​ ​to​ ​support​ ​one​ ​and​ ​oppose​ ​the​ ​other."
While the tarpaulin may influence the success or failure of the named candidates and political parties, this
does not necessarily mean it is election propaganda. ​The tarpaulin was not paid for or posted "in return
for​ ​consideration"​ ​by​ ​any​ ​candidate,​ ​political​ ​party,​ ​or​ ​party-list​ ​group.

*Content​ ​based​ ​regulation:

Size limitations during elections hit at a core part of expression. The content of the tarpaulin is not easily
divorced from the size of its medium. Content-based regulation bears a heavy presumption of invalidity,
and this court has used the clear and present danger rule as measure. Content-based restraint or
censorship refers to ​restrictions "based on the subject matter of the utterance or speech. ​We reiterate that
the regulation involved at bar is content-based. The tarpaulin content is not easily divorced from the size
of​ ​its​ ​medium.

*When​ ​private​ ​speech​ ​becomes​ ​election​ ​paraphernalia​:

The requirements of the Constitution regarding equality in opportunity must provide limits to some
expression​ ​during​ ​electoral​ ​campaigns.
Thus clearly, regulation of speech in the context of electoral campaigns made by candidates or the
members of their political parties or their political parties may be regulated as to time, place, and manner.
This​ ​is​ ​the​ ​effect​ ​of​ ​our​ ​rulings​ ​in​ ​Osmeña​ ​v.​ ​COMELEC​ ​and​ ​National​ ​Press​ ​Club​ ​v.​ ​COMELEC.
Regulation of speech in the context of electoral campaigns made by persons who are not candidates or
who do not speak as members of a political party which are, taken as a whole, principally advocacies of a
social issue that the public must consider during elections is unconstitutional. Such regulation is
inconsistent with the guarantee of according the fullest possible range of opinions coming from the
electorate including those that can catalyze candid, uninhibited, and robust debate in the criteria for the
choice​ ​of​ ​a​ ​candidate.
This does not mean that there cannot be a specie of speech by a private citizen which will not amount to
an​ ​election​ ​paraphernalia​ ​to​ ​be​ ​validly​ ​regulated​ ​by​ ​law.

Regulation of election paraphernalia will still be constitutionally valid if it reaches into speech of persons
who are not candidates or who do not speak as members of a political party if they are not candidates,
only ​if what is regulated is declarative speech that, taken as a whole, has for its principal object the
endorsement of a candidate ONLY​. The regulation (a) should be provided by law, (b) reasonable, (c)
narrowly tailored to meet the objective of enhancing the opportunity of all candidates to be heard and
considering the primacy of the guarantee of free expression, and (d) demonstrably the least restrictive
means to achieve that object. The regulation must only be with respect to the time, place, and manner of
the rendition of the message. In no situation may the speech be prohibited or censored on the basis of its
content.​ ​For​ ​this​ ​purpose,​ ​it​ ​will​ ​not​ ​matter​ ​whether​ ​the​ ​speech​ ​is​ ​made​ ​with​ ​or​ ​on​ ​private​ ​property.
This is not the situation, however, in this case for two reasons. First, as discussed, ​the principal message
in​ ​the​ ​twin​ ​tarpaulins​ ​of​ ​petitioners​ ​consists​ ​of​ ​a​ ​social​ ​advocacy​.

Second, as pointed out in the concurring opinion of Justice Antonio Carpio, the present law — Section 3.3
of Republic Act No. 9006 and Section 6(c) of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 — if applied to this case,
will not pass the test of reasonability​. A fixed size for election posters or tarpaulins without any relation to
the distance from the intended average audience will be arbitrary. At certain distances, posters measuring
2 by 3 feet could no longer be read by the general public and, hence, would render speech meaningless.
It​ ​will​ ​amount​ ​to​ ​the​ ​abridgement​ ​of​ ​speech​ ​with​ ​political​ ​consequences.

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1-UTAK​ ​v.​ ​Comelec,​ ​G.R.​ ​No.​ ​206020,​ ​14​ ​April​ ​2015​ ​–​ ​CABANGBANG

FACTS: ​On February 12, 2001, RA No. 9006, otherwise known as the “Fair Elections Act”, Sec. 9
thereof​ ​provides:
“​Posting of Campaign Materials – The Comelec may authorize political parties and paty – list
groups to erect common poster areas for their candidates in not more than 10 public places such as
plazas, markets, barangay centers and the like, wherein candidates can post, display or exhibit election
propaganda:​ ​Provided​ ​that​ ​the​ ​size​ ​of​ ​the​ ​poster​ ​areas​ ​shall​ ​not​ ​exceed​ ​12x16​ ​ft​ ​or​ ​its​ ​equivalent.

Independent candidates with no political parties may likewise be authorized to erect common poster
areas in not more than ten (10) public places, the size of which shall not exceed four (4) by six (6) feet or
its​ ​equivalent.

Candidates may post any lawful propaganda material in private places with the consent of the owner
thereof, and in public places or property which shall be allocated equitably and impartially among the
candidates.

On January 15, 2013, the COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 9615, which provided for the rules
implementing R.A. No. 9006 in connection with the May 13, 2013 national and local elections and
subsequent​ ​elections.

Sec.​ ​7.​ ​Prohibited​ ​Forms​ ​of​ ​Election​ ​Propaganda.–​ ​During​ ​the​ ​campaign​ ​period,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​unlawful:
(f) To post, display or exhibit any election campaign or propaganda material outside of authorized
common​ ​poster​ ​areas,​ ​in​ ​public​ ​places,​ ​or​ ​in​ ​private​ ​properties​ ​without​ ​the​ ​consent​ ​of​ ​the​ ​owner​ ​thereof.
(g)​ ​Public​ ​places​ ​referred​ ​to​ ​in​ ​the​ ​previous​ ​subsection​ ​(f)​ ​include​ ​any​ ​of​ ​the​ ​following:
x​ ​x​ ​x​ ​x
5. Public utility vehicles such as buses, jeepneys, trains, taxi cabs, ferries, pedicabs and tricycles,
whether​ ​motorized​ ​or​ ​not;
6. Within the premises of public transport terminals, such as bus terminals, airports, seaports, docks,
piers,​ ​train​ ​stations,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​like.
- violation of 5 and 6 under subsection (g) shall be a cause for the revocation of the public utility
franchise and will make the owner and/or operator of the transportation service and/or terminal
liable​ ​for​ ​an​ ​election​ ​offence.

In an letter, the petitioner, through Melencio Vargas, sought clarification from the COMELEC as regards
the application of RA No. 9615, particularly Sec. 7(g) items (5) and (6), in relation to Sec. 7 (f). The
petitioner explained that the prohibition stated in the aforementioned provisions impedes the right to free
speech of the private owners of PUVs and transport terminals. They requested the COMELEC to
reconsider the implementation of the assailed provisions. COMELEC through a minute resolution denied
the​ ​petitioner’s​ ​request.​ ​Hence,​ ​the​ ​instant​ ​petition.

Petitioner contends that the assailed provisions violate the right of free speech of the owners of PUVs and
transport terminals; that the prohibition curtails their idea of who should be voted. They also claim that
there is no substantial public interest threatened by the posting of political advertisements. Further, the
petitioner posits that the ownership of the PUVs per se, as well as the transport terminals, remains private
and, hence, the owners thereof could not be prohibited by the COMELEC from expressing their political
opinion​ ​lest​ ​their​ ​property​ ​rights​ ​be​ ​unduly​ ​intruded​ ​upon.

On the other hand, the COMELEC posits that privately-owned PUVs and transport terminals are public
spaces that are subject to its regulation. It explains that under the Constitution, the COMELEC has the
power to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, including
the power to regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all franchises and permits for the operation of
transportation​ ​utilities.

ISSUE/S: ​Whether​ ​Section​ ​7(g)​ ​items​ ​(5)​ ​and​ ​(6),​ ​in​ ​relation​ ​to​ ​Section​ ​7(f),of​ ​Resolution​ ​No.
9615,​ ​which​ ​prohibits​ ​the​ ​posting​ ​of​ ​any​ ​election​ ​campaign​ ​or​ ​propaganda​ ​material,​ ​inter​ ​alia,​ ​in
PUVs​ ​and​ ​public​ ​transport​ ​terminals​ ​are​ ​valid​ ​regulations.

DECISION: ​The petition is meritorious. Section 7(g) items (5) and (6), in relation to Section 7(f),
of Resolution No. 9615 issued by the Commission on Elections are hereby declared NULL and
VOID.

Section 7(g) items (5) and (6), in relation to Section 7(f), of Resolution No. 9615 unduly infringe on the
fundamental right of the people to freedom of speech. Pursuant to the assailed provisions of Resolution
No. 9615, posting an election campaign material during an election period in PUVs and transport
terminals carries with it the penalty of revocation of the public utility franchise and shall make the owner
thereof​ ​liable​ ​for​ ​an​ ​election​ ​offense.

The prohibition constitutes a clear prior restraint on the right to free expression of the owners of PUVs and
transport terminals. As a result of the prohibition, owners of PUVs and transport terminals are forcefully
and effectively inhibited from expressing their preferences under the pain of indictment for an election
offense​ ​and​ ​the​ ​revocation​ ​of​ ​their​ ​franchise​ ​or​ ​permit​ ​to​ ​operate.
Also, the prohibition is not within the COMELEC’s constitutionally delegated power of supervision or
regulation. As worded, Section 4, Article IX-C of the Constitution only grants COMELEC supervisory and
regulatory powers over the enjoyment or utilization "of all franchises or permits for the operation," inter
alia, of transportation and other public utilities. The COMELEC’s constitutionally delegated powers of
supervision and regulation do not extend to the ownership per se of PUVs and transport terminals, but
only​ ​to​ ​the​ ​franchise​ ​or​ ​permit​ ​to​ ​operate​ ​the​ ​same.

The COMELEC does not have the constitutional power to regulate public transport terminals owned by
private persons. The ownership of transport terminals, even if made available for use by the public
commuters, likewise remains private. Although owners of public transport terminals may be required by
local governments to obtain permits in order to operate, the permit only pertains to circumstances
affecting the operation of the transport terminal as such. The regulation of such permit to operate should
similarly be limited to circumstances affecting the operation of the transport terminal. A regulation of
public transport terminals based on extraneous circumstances, such as prohibiting the posting of election
campaign materials thereon, amounts to regulating the ownership of the transport terminal and not merely
the​ ​permit​ ​to​ ​operate​ ​the​ ​same.