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TAN VS.

COMELEC, 237 SCRA 353, OCTOBER 4, 1994 designated as Foreign-Assisted, consisting of fifteen (15) projects
which include the construction of Human Development Center,
Facts: On May 10, 1992, the petitioner, as an incumbent City various Day Care cum Production Centers and waterworks systems;
Prosecutor of Davao City, was designated by the COMELEC as the extension and renovation of various buildings; the acquisition of
Vice-Chairman of the City Board of Canvassers in the said area for hospital and laboratory equipment; and the rehabilitation of office
the May 11, 1992, synchronized national and local elections and equipment.
conformably with the provisions of Section 20 (a) of Republic Act
6646 and Section 221 (b) of the Omnibus Election Code. Manuel On the same day, respondent Judge issued the question TRO. In the
Garcia was proclaimed the winning candidate for a Congressional same order, he directed the petitioners to file their Answer within 10
seat to represent the 2nd District of Davao City. Alterado, the private days from receipt of notice and set the hearing on the application for
respondent, filed a number of cases questioning the validity of the the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction for April 24, 1992.
proclamation. The cases filed in the House of Representatives Instead of filing the Answer, the petitioners filed the special civil
Electoral Tribunal and the Office of the Ombudsman was dismissed. action for certiorari and prohibition, with a prayer for a writ of
What is still pending is an administrative charge, against the Board preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order. They
of Canvassers and herein petitioner for “Misconduct, Neglect of contend that the case principally involves an alleged violation of the
Duty, Gross Incompetence, and Acts Inimical to the Service”, Omnibus Election Code thus the jurisdiction is exclusively vested in
instituted in the COMELEC. the Comelec, not the Regional Trial Court.

Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC has the jurisdiction to take ISSUE:
action on the administrative case when in fact the petitioner as a City
prosecutor is under the Administrative jurisdiction. Whether or not the trial court has jurisdiction over the subject matter
of Special Civil Action No. 465.
Held: The COMELEC’s authority under Section 2 (6-8), Article 9 of
the Constitution is virtually all-encompassing when it comes to RULING:
election matters, also Section 52, Article 7 of the Omnibus Election
The material operative facts alleged in the petition therein inexorably
Code. It should be stressed that the administrative case against
link the private respondent's principal grievance to alleged violations
petitioner is in relation to the performance of his duties as an Election
of paragraphs (a), (b), (v) and (w), Section 261 of the Omnibus
canvasser and not as a City Prosecutor. The COMELEC’s mandate
Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881). There is particular
includes its authority to exercise direct and immediate suspension and
emphasis on the last two (2) paragraphs which read:
control over national and local officials or employees, including
members of any national and local law enforcement agency and Sec. 261. Prohibited Acts. — The following shall be guilty of an
instrumentality of the government, required by law to perform duties election offense:
relative to the conduct of elections. To say that the COMELEC is
without jurisdiction to look into charges of election offenses (a) Vote-buying and vote-selling. —
committed by officials and employees of government outside the
regular employ of the COMELEC would be to unduly deny to it the xxx xxx xxx
proper and sound exercise of such recommendatory power and,
(b) Conspiracy to bribe voters. —
perhaps more than that, even a possible denial of the process to the
official or employee concerned. xxx xxx xxx

(v) Prohibition against release, disbursement or expenditure of public


funds. Any public official or employee including barangay officials
Gallardo vs. Tabamo, Jr. January 29, 1993 218 SCRA 253
and those of government-owned or controlled corporations and their
FACTS: subsidiaries, who, during forty-five days before a regular election and
thirty days before a special election, releases, disburses or expends
On April 10, 1992, private respondent filed his Petition (Special Civil any public funds for:
Action No. 465) before the court a quo against petitioners to prohibit
and restrain them from pursuing or prosecuting certain public works (1) Any and all kinds of public works, except the following:
projects as it violates the 45-day ban on public works imposed by the
xxx xxx xxx
Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881) because although
they were initiated few days before March 27, 1992, the date the ban (w) Prohibition against construction of public works, delivery of
took effect, they were not covered by detailed engineering plans, materials for public works and issuance of treasury warrants and
specifications or a program of work which are preconditions for the similar devices. — During the period of forty-five days preceding a
commencement of any public works project. The questioned projects regular election and thirty days before a special election, any person
are classified into two (2) categories: (a) those that are Locally- who (a) undertakes the construction of any public works, except for
Funded, consisting of 29 different projects for the maintenance or projects or works exempted in the preceding paragraph; or (b) issues,
concreting of various roads, the rehabilitation of the Katibawasan uses or avails of treasury warrants or any device undertaking future
Falls and the construction of the Capitol Building, and (b) those
delivery of money, goods or other things of value chargeable against Facts:
public funds.
The petition alleges that the petitioner is a candidate for the Office of
The court ruled that Comelec has jurisdiction to enforce and Mayor of the City of Ozamiz as Independent this coming January 30,
administer all laws relative to the conduct of elections. The 1987 1980 local election. He filed his certificate of candidacy with the
Constitution implicitly grants the Commission the power to Election Registrar of Ozamis City on January 7, 1980 because of the
promulgate such rules and regulations as provided in Section 2 of news in the Bulletin Today. The said news stated that the respondent
Article IX-C. Moreover, the present Constitution also invests the COMELEC issued a resolution for the extension of time for filing
Comission with the power to “investigate and, where appropriate, COC. However, the President denied said resolution. Therefore,
prosecute cases of violations of election law, including acts or respondent COMELEC informed the petitioner that his name might
omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices. not be included in the list of candidates for mayor because of the said
incident. Thus, this petition.
It is not true that, as contended by the petitioners, the jurisdiction of
the Regional Trial Court under the election laws is limited to criminal
ISSUE:
actions for violations of the Omnibus Election Code. The
Constitution itself grants to it exclusive original jurisdiction over
WON the certificate of candidacy of the petitioner which was filed
contests involving elective municipal officials. Neither can the Court
on January 7, 1980 is valid.
agree with the petitioners' assertion that the Special Civil Action filed
in the RTC below involves the prosecution of election offenses; the
DECISION:
said action seeks some reliefs incident to or in connection with
alleged election offenses; specifically, what is sought is the
WHEREFORE, the petition for mandamus is hereby DISMISSED
prevention of the further commission of these offenses which, by
for lack of merit.
their alleged nature, are continuing.

There is as well no merit in the petitioners' claim that the private RATIO DECIDENDI:
respondent has no legal standing to initiate the filing of a complaint
for a violation of the Omnibus Election Code. There is nothing in the NO. A certificate of candidacy filed beyond reglementary period is
law to prevent any citizen from exposing the commission of an void.
election offense and from filing a complaint in connection therewith. Section 7, Batasang Pambansa Bilang 52, provides that "The sworn
On the contrary, under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, initiation certificate of candidacy shall be filed in triplicate not later than
of complaints for election offenses may be done motu propio by the January 4, 1980." It is a fact admitted by the petitioner that the
Commission on Elections or upon written complaint by any citizen, President had not extended the period within which to file the
candidate or registered political party or organization under the party- certificate of candidacy.
list system or any of the accredited citizens arms of the Commission. This Court is powerless to grant the remedy prayed for in the petition.
However, such written complaints should be filed with the "Law Having been filed beyond January 4, 1980, the certificate of
Department of the Commission; or with the offices of the Election candidacy of the petitioner is void.
Registrars, Provincial Election Supervisors or Regional Election
Directors, or the State Prosecutor, Provincial Fiscal or City Fiscal."
As earlier intimated, the private respondent was not seriously In the case of De Guzman vs. Board of Canvassers of La Union,
concerned with the criminal aspect of his alleged grievances. He and Lucero (48 Phil., 211), the court said: "The certificate of the
merely sought a stoppage of the public works projects because of respondent Juan T. Lucero was defective, lacking the formality of the
their alleged adverse effect on his candidacy. Indeed, while he may oath. This irregularity might have justified the elimination of the
have had reason to fear and may have even done the right thing, he name of Juan T. Lucero as a legal candidate for the office of
committed a serious procedural misstep and invoked the wrong provincial governor, if an objection on the part of the petitioner
authority. Tomas de Guzman had been made in due time. Yet we are of the
opinion that this irregularity does not invalidate the election for the
The court, therefore, has no alternative but to grant this petition on
fundamental reason that after it was proven by the count of the votes
the basis their resolution of the principal issue. Nevertheless, it must
that Juan T. Lucero had obtained the majority of the legal votes, the
be strongly emphasized that in so holding that the trial court has no
will of the people cannot be frustrated by a technically consisting in
jurisdiction over the subject matter of Special Civil Action No. 465.
that his certificate of candidacy had not been properly sworn to." The
second and eight assignments of error are groundless and must be
dismissed.

GADOR vs. COMELEC


Quinto v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 189698
Facts: The first requirement means that there must be real and substantial
differences between the classes treated differently. As illustrated in
Pursuant to its constitutional mandate to enforce and administer the fairly recent Mirasol v. Department of Public Works and
election laws, COMELEC issued Resolution No. 8678, the Highways, a real and substantial distinction exists between a
Guidelines on the Filing of Certificates of Candidacy (CoC) and motorcycle and other motor vehicles sufficient to justify its
Nomination of Official Candidates of Registered Political Parties in classification among those prohibited from plying the toll ways. Not
Connection with the May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections. all motorized vehicles are created equal—a two-wheeled vehicle is
Sections 4 and 5 of Resolution No. 8678 provide: less stable and more easily overturned than a four-wheel vehicle.

SEC. 4. Effects of Filing Certificates of Candidacy.—a) Any person Nevertheless, the classification would still be invalid if it does not
holding a public appointive office or position including active comply with the second requirement—if it is not germane to the
members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and other officers purpose of the law.
and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations,
shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the The third requirement means that the classification must be enforced
filing of his certificate of candidacy. not only for the present but as long as the problem sought to be
corrected continues to exist. And, under the last requirement, the
b) Any person holding an elective office or position shall not be classification would be regarded as invalid if all the members of the
considered resigned upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy class are not treated similarly, both as to rights conferred and
for the same or any other elective office or position. obligations imposed.

Alarmed that they will be deemed ipso facto resigned from their Applying the four requisites to the instant case, the Court finds that
offices the moment they file their CoCs, petitioners Eleazar P. Quinto the differential treatment of persons holding appointive offices as
and Gerino A. Tolentino, Jr., who hold appointive positions in the opposed to those holding elective ones is not germane to the purposes
government and who intend to run in the coming elections, filed the of the law.
instant petition for prohibition and certiorari, seeking the declaration
of the afore-quoted Section 4(a) of Resolution No. 8678 as null and The obvious reason for the challenged provision is to prevent the use
void. Petitioners also contend that Section 13 of R.A. No. 9369, the of a governmental position to promote one’s candidacy, or even to
basis of the assailed COMELEC resolution, contains two wield a dangerous or coercive influence on the electorate. The
conflicting provisions. These must be harmonized or reconciled to measure is further aimed at promoting the efficiency, integrity, and
give effect to both and to arrive at a declaration that they are not ipso discipline of the public service by eliminating the danger that the
facto resigned from their positions upon the filing of their CoCs. discharge of official duty would be motivated by political
considerations rather than the welfare of the public. The restriction is
Issue: whether the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section also justified by the proposition that the entry of civil servants to the
13 of R.A. No. 9369 and Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. electoral arena, while still in office, could result in neglect or
8678 are violative of the equal protection clause inefficiency in the performance of duty because they would be
attending to their campaign rather than to their office work.
Held: Yes.
If we accept these as the underlying objectives of the law, then the
In considering persons holding appointive positions as ipso facto
assailed provision cannot be constitutionally rescued on the ground
resigned from their posts upon the filing of their CoCs, but not
of valid classification. Glaringly absent is the requisite that the
considering as resigned all other civil servants, specifically the
classification must be germane to the purposes of the law. Indeed,
elective ones, the law unduly discriminates against the first class. The
whether one holds an appointive office or an elective one, the evils
fact alone that there is substantial distinction between those who hold
sought to be prevented by the measure remain. For example, the
appointive positions and those occupying elective posts, does not
Executive Secretary, or any Member of the Cabinet for that matter,
justify such differential treatment.
could wield the same influence as the Vice-President who at the same
In order that there can be valid classification so that a discriminatory time is appointed to a Cabinet post (in the recent past, elected Vice-
governmental act may pass the constitutional norm of equal Presidents were appointed to take charge of national housing, social
protection, it is necessary that the four (4) requisites of valid welfare development, interior and local government, and foreign
classification be complied with, namely: affairs). With the fact that they both head executive offices, there is
no valid justification to treat them differently when both file their
(1) It must be based upon substantial distinctions; CoCs for the elections. Under the present state of our law, the Vice-
President, in the example, running this time, let us say, for President,
(2) It must be germane to the purposes of the law; retains his position during the entire election period and can still use
the resources of his office to support his campaign.
(3) It must not be limited to existing conditions only; and
As to the danger of neglect, inefficiency or partisanship in the
(4) It must apply equally to all members of the class.
discharge of the functions of his appointive office, the inverse could
be just as true and compelling. The public officer who files his
certificate of candidacy would be driven by a greater impetus for The view of the dissenting seven failed to obtain a vote of eight
excellent performance to show his fitness for the position aspired for. members, so it was not controlling. The provision of the

There is thus no valid justification to treat appointive officials BAUTISTA V. COMELEC


differently from the elective ones. The classification simply fails to
meet the test that it should be germane to the purposes of the law. The 298 SCRA 480
measure encapsulated in the second proviso of the third paragraph of
(SINGSON)
Section 13 of R.A. No. 9369 and in Section 66 of the OEC violates
the equal protection clause.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. FACTS:


The second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic
Act No. 9369, Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section Petitioner Cipriano “Efren” Bautista and private respondent
4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 8678 are declared as were duly registered candidates for the position of Mayor of Navotas
UNCONSTITUTIONAL. in the 1998 Elections. Aside from them, a certain Edwin “Efren”
Bautista (Edwin Bautista) also filed a certificate of candidacy for the
same position.

PAMIL VS. TELECOM [86 SCRA 413; G.R. 34854; 20 NOV Petitioner filed a petition praying that Edwin Bautista be
1978] declared a nuisance candidate.
Facts: Fr. Margarito Gonzaga was elected as Municipal Mayor in COMELEC declared Edwin Bautista as nuisance candidate
Alburquerque, Bohol. Petitioner, also an aspirant for said office, then and consequently ordered the cancellation of his certificate of
filed a suit for quo warranto for Gonzaga’s disqualification based on candidacy for the position of Mayor.
the Administrative Code provision: “In no case shall there be elected
or appointed to a municipal office ecclesiastics, soldiers in active MR was filed by Edwin Bautista; subsequently denied.
service, persons receiving salaries or compensation from provincial
or national funds, or contractors for public works of the Before final determination of Edwin Bautista’s MR, upon
municipality." The respondent Judge, in sustaiing Fr. Gonzaga’s right request of petitioner’s counsel, the Regional Election Director of
to the office, ruled that the provision had already been impliedly NCR gave instructions to the BEI to tally separately either in some
repealed by the Election Code of 1971. Petitioner on the other hand portion of the same election return not intended for votes for
argues that there was no implied repeal. mayoralty candidates or in a separate paper the votes “Efren
Bautista”, “Efren”, “E. Bautista” and “Bautista”, considered as stray
Issues: votes.

When the canvass of the election returns was commenced,


(1) Whether or Not Fr. Gonzaga is eligible for the position of
the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Navotas refused to canvass as
municipal mayor, according to law.
part of the valid votes of petitioner the separate tallies of votes on
(2) Whether or Not the prohibition regarding elected or appointed
which were written “Efren Bautista”, “Efren”, “E. Bautista” and
ecclesiastics is constitutional.
“Bautista”.
Held: The court was divided. Five voted that the prohibition was not Petitioner filed with COMELEC a Petition to Declare Illegal
unconstitutional. Seven others voted that the provision was impliedly the Proceedings of the Municipal Board of Canvassers; dismissed for
repealed. However, the minority vote overruled the seven. According lack of merit.
to the dissenting seven, there are three reasons for the
said provision to be inoperative. First, the 1935 Constitution stated,
“No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political
rights.” Second, said section 2175 is superseded by the Constitution. HELD:
Third, section 2175 has been repealed by Sec. 23 of the Election Code
There was grave abuse of discretion in denying the inclusion as part
(1971): “Appointive public office holders and active members of the
of petitioner’s valid votes the Bautista stray votes that were separately
Armed Forces are no longer disqualified from running for an elective
tallied by the BEI and Board of Canvassers.
office”. Ecclesiastics were no longer included in the enumeration
of personsineligible under the said Election Code. On the other hand,
the controlling five argued: Section 2175 of the Administrative Code
deals with a matter different from that of section 23 of the Election # It must be emphasized that the case at bar involves a
Code. Also, section 2175 of the Administrative Code did not violate ground for disqualification which clearly affects the voter’s will and
the right to freedom of religion because it did not give any causes confusion that frustrates the same.
requirement for a religious test.
# Election Laws give effect to, rather than frustrate, the will Petitioner Adovo and Gilo files petition before Comelec to
of the voter. Thus, extreme caution should be observed before any disqualify Hagedorn claiming that he is disqualified from running for
ballot is invalidated. a 4th term; petition was dismissed

# In the appreciation of ballots, doubts are resolved in favor


of their validity.
HELD:
# Matters tend to get complicated when technical rules are
strictly applied – technicalities should not be permitted to defeat the Hagedorn is qualified to run in the recall election
intention of the voter, especially so if that intention is discoverable
from the ballot itself, as in this case.
Art. X Sec. 8 of 1987 Constitution: the term of office of
# Sec. 69 of the Omnibus Election Code – the COMELEC
elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be
may motu proprio or upon a verified petition of an interested party,
determined by law, shall be 3 years and no such official shall serve
refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy 1) if
for more than 3 consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the
it is shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election
office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption
process in mockery or disrepute, 2) or to cause confusion among
in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was
voters by the similarity of the names of registered candidates; 3) or
elected.
by other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that a
candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which Sec. 43 (b) RA 7160: Term of office – no local official shall
the certificate of candidacy has been filed and thus prevent a faithful serve for more than 3 consecutive terms in the same position.
determination of the true will of the electorate. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not
be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the
# Fatual circumstances and logic dictate that the “Bautista”
full term for which the elective official was elected
and “Efren” votes which were mistakenly deemed as stray votes refer
only to one candidate, herein petitioner. Such votes, which represent These constitutional and statutory provisions have 2 parts
the voice of approx. 21,000 electors could not have been intended for
Edwin Bautista, allegedly known in Navotas as a tricycle driver and The first part provides that an elective local official cannot
worse a drug addict, not known as “Efren” as stated in his certificate serve ore than 3 consecutive terms
of candidacy, but Boboy” or “Boboy Tarugo” as his known
appellation or nickname, and satisfactorily and finally shown as a The clear intent is that only consecutive terms count in
candidate with no political line up, no personal funds that could have determining the 3-term limit rule
supported his campaign, and no accomplishments which may be
The second part states that voluntary renunciation of office
noted band considered by the public, as against a known former
for any length of time does not interrupt the continuity of service
public officer who had served the people of Navotas as Brgy. Official,
councilor and vice mayor. The clear intent is that involuntary severance from office for
any length of time interrupts continuity of service and prevents the
# To rule otherwise will definitely result in the
service before and after the interruption from being joined together
disenfranchisement of the will of the electorate, which is, as we
to form a continuous service or consecutive terms
mentioned, the situation that our election laws are enacted to prevent.
After 3 consecutive terms, an elective local official cannot
SOCRATES V. COMELEC
seek immediate reelection for a fourth term
391 SCRA 457
The prohibited election refers to the next regular election for
(NEPOMUCENO) 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
FACTS:
First, a subsequent election like a recall election is no longer
Petitioner is mayor of Puerto Princesa, who was removed an immediate reelection after three consecutive terms
from office thru a recall proceeding initiated by the majority of the
incumbent barangay officials of the city Second, the intervening period constitutes an involuntary
interruption in the continuity of service
Petitioner filed a motion to nullify the recall resolution but
was dismissed by the Comelec for lack of merit Clearly, the constitution prohibits immediate reelection for
a fourth term following three consecutive terms
Comelec set date for conducting the recall election; former
3 term mayor Edward Hagedorn files his certificate of candidacy
The constitution, however, does not prohibit a subsequent HELD:
reelection for a fourth term as long as the reelection is not
immediately after the end of the third consecutive term Latasa cannot serve as Mayor of the new city of Digos. Latasa having
been elected as mayor in 1998, the conversion of Digos from a
A recall election midway in the term following the third municipality to a city in 2000 falls within his term. As Digos acquired
consecutive term is a subsequent election but not an immediate a new corporate existence, qualifications for its elective positions also
reelection after the third term change. As a result, the Office of the Municipal Mayor was abolished
to make way for the creation of the Office of the City Mayor.
Neither does the constitution prohibit one barred from However, under the Charter of the City of Digos, the elective officials
seeking immediate reelection to run in any other subsequent election of the Municipality of Digos shall have hold-over power until a new
involving the same term of office election and the duly elected officials have assumed their office.
Latasa never ceased to discharge his duties as Mayor during the
What the constitution prohibits is a consecutive fourth term
conversion of Digos. Also, although Digos was converted into a city,
The prohibited election referred to by the framers of the Digos never redefined its territory, the inhabitants are the same group
constitution is the immediate reelection after the third term, not any of voters who elected petitioner Latasa to be their municipal mayor
other subsequent election for three consecutive terms. These are also the same inhabitants over
whom he held power and authority as their chief executive for nine
The framers expressly acknowledged that the prohibited years.
election refers only to the immediate reelection, and not to any
subsequent election, during the 6 year period following the two term Sunga’s cannot claim that he be proclaimed as mayor after the
limit disqualification of Latasa, the SC already ruled that the
disqualification of the winning candidate does not entitle the second
The framers of the constitution did not intend “the period of highest vote earner the position of mayor. Vacancy be filled by
rest” of an elective official who has reached his term limit to be the succession.
full extent of the succeeding term
RAMON LABO, JR. VS COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

In 1988, Ramon Labo, Jr. was elected as mayor of Baguio City. His
Latasa vs. Comelec rival, Luis Lardizabal filed a petition for quo warranto against Labo
as Lardizabal asserts that Labo is an Australian citizen hence
FACTS: disqualified; that he was naturalized as an Australian after he married
an Australian. Labo avers that his marriage with an Australian did
Arsenio Latasa was elected Mayor of Digos, Davao del Sur to 3 three
not make him an Australian; that at best he has dual citizenship,
consecutive terms (1992, 1995, 1998). During his third term, a
Australian and Filipino; that even if he indeed became an Australian
plebiscite was held to convert Digos into a component city (2000).
when he married an Australian citizen, such citizenship was lost when
The ratification of the Charter of the City of Digos ended the tenure
his marriage with the Australian was later declared void for being
of Latasa as Mayor. However, he was still mandated as hold-over
bigamous. Labo further asserts that even if he’s considered as an
mayor of the city until the next election.
Australian, his lack of citizenship is just a mere technicality which
For the election of 2001, Latasa filed his COC for his first term as should not frustrate the will of the electorate of Baguio who voted for
mayor of the city. He acknowledges that he served as mayor of Digos him by a vast majority.
when it was still a municipality. Sunga, also a candidate for mayor,
ISSUES:
filed a petition to disqualify Latasa as he already had served as mayor
for three consecutive terms in violation of the Local Government 1. Whether or not Labo can retain his public office.
Code and the Constitution. Comelec issued a resolution in favor of
Sunga and disqualified Latasa. Latasa submitted a motion for 2. Whether or not Lardizabal, who obtained the second highest vote
reconsideration which was not acted upon by the Comelec until the in the mayoralty race, can replace Labo in the event Labo is
end of the May 14 elections. As a result, Latasa was still able to disqualified.
continue his campaign and eventually won the election. Sunga now
also sought to annul Latasa’s proclamation. Comelec only rendered HELD: 1. No. Labo did not question the authenticity of evidence
its decision denying Latasa’s motion for reconsideration in 2002. presented against him. He was naturalized as an Australian in 1976.
Sunga claims that he should be proclaimed mayor as he holds the It was not his marriage to an Australian that made him an Australian.
second most number of votes in 2001 It was his act of subsequently swearing by taking an oath of
allegiance to the government of Australia. He did not dispute that he
ISSUE: needed an Australian passport to return to the Philippines in 1980;
and that he was listed as an immigrant here. It cannot be said also that
WON Latasa is eligible to run as candidate for the position of mayor he is a dual citizen. Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the
of the newly-created City of Digos immediately after he served for national interest and shall be dealt with by law. He lost his Filipino
three consecutive terms as mayor of the Municipality of Digos. citizenship when he swore allegiance to Australia. He cannot also
claim that when he lost his Australian citizenship, he became solely Issue:
a Filipino. To restore his Filipino citizenship, he must be naturalized Whether a vice-mayor who succeeds to the office of mayor by
or repatriated or be declared as a Filipino through an act of Congress operation of law and serves the remainder of the term is considered
– none of this happened. to have served a term in that office for the purpose of the three-term
limit.
Labo, being a foreigner, cannot serve public office. His claim that his
lack of citizenship should not overcome the will of the electorate is Held:
not tenable. The people of Baguio could not have, even unanimously, The Court ruled in favor of Capco. The term served must therefore
changed the requirements of the Local Government Code and the be one for which the official concerned was elected. If he is not
Constitution simply by electing a foreigner (curiously, would Baguio serving a term for which he was elected because he is simply
have voted for Labo had they known he is Australian). The electorate continuing the service of the official he succeeds, such official cannot
had no power to permit a foreigner owing his total allegiance to the be considered to have fully served the term notwithstanding his
Queen of Australia, or at least a stateless individual owing no voluntary renunciation of office prior to its expiration. There is a
allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, to preside over them as difference between the case of a vice-mayor and that of a member of
mayor of their city. Only citizens of the Philippines have that the House of Representatives who succeeds another who dies,
privilege over their countrymen. resigns, becomes incapacitated, or is removed from office. The vice-
mayor succeeds to the mayorship by operation of law. On the other
2. Lardizabal on the other hand cannot assert, through the quo hand, the Representative is elected to fill the vacancy. In a real sense,
warranto proceeding, that he should be declared the mayor by reason therefore, such representative serves a term for which he was elected.
of Labo’s disqualification because Lardizabal obtained the second To consider Capco to have served the first term in full (when he
highest number of vote. It would be extremely repugnant to the basic succeeded the mayorship upon demise of Cesar Borja) and therefore
concept of the constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a ineligible to run a third time for reelection would be not only to falsify
candidate who has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is reality but also to unduly restrict the right of the people to choose
proclaimed a winner and imposed as the representative of a whom they wish to govern them. Hence, the petition was dismissed.
constituency, the majority of which have positively declared through
their ballots that they do not choose him. Sound policy dictates that RAYMUNDO ADORMEO V. COMELEC
public elective offices are filled by those who have received the
highest number of votes cast in the election for that office, and it is a G.R. No. 147927; February 4, 2002; J. Quisumbing
fundamental idea in all republican forms of government that no one
NATURE: Petition for certiorari with a prayer for writ of preliminary
can be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless
injunction and/ or temporary restraining order to set aside
he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the
COMELEC resolution declaring Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. qualified to
election.
run for Mayor in Lucena City for the May 14, 2001 election.
Borja, Jr. v. COMELEC GR 133495 (September 3, 1998)
FACTS: Petitioner Raymundo Adormeo and private respondent,
G.R. No. 133495; 295 SCRA 157 Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. were the only candidates for mayor of Lucena
September 3, 1998 City in the May 14, 2001 elections.

Facts:  Talaga, Jr. was elected mayor in May 1992, and served the
Jose T. Capco, Jr. was elected Vice Mayor of Pateros on January 18, full term.
1988 for a term ending June 30, 1992. On September 2, 1989, he
 He was re-elected in 1995-1998.
became Mayor upon the death of the incumbent, Cesar Borja. On
May 11, 1992, he ran and was elected Mayor for a term of three years  In the election of 1998, he lost to Bernard G. Tagarao.
which ended on June 30, 1995. On May 8, 1995, he was re-elected However, in the recall election of May 12, 2000, he again
Mayor for another term of three years ending July 30, 1998. On won and served the unexpired term of Tagarao until June 30,
March 27, 1998, Capco filed a certificate of candidacy for Mayor of 2001. (13 months and 18 days)
Pateros relative to the May 11, 1998 elections. Petitioner Benjamin
Borja, Jr., who was also a candidate for Mayor, sought Capco’s Petitioner filed with the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor,
disqualification on the theory that the latter would already have Lucena City a Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificate
served as mayor for three consecutive terms by June 30, 1998 and of Candidacy and/or Disqualification of Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr., on the
would thereafter be ineligible to serve for another term after that. The ground that the latter was elected and had served as city mayor for
COMELEC ruled in favor of Capco saying that “In both the three (3) consecutive terms. Petitioner contended that Talaga’s
Constitution and the Local Government Code, the three-term candidacy as Mayor constituted a violation of Section 8, Article X of
limitation refers to the term of office for which the local official was the 1987 Constitution.
elected. It made no reference to succession to an office to which he
was not elected.” Capco won in the elections against Borja. The Comelec first division on April 20, 2001 found Talaga, Jr.
disqualified.
 The Comelec en banc reversed and ruled that: 2) that he has fully served three consecutive terms.”

1.) respondent was not elected for three (3) consecutive terms Accordingly, COMELEC’s ruling that private respondent was not
because he did not win in the May 11, 1998 elections; elected for three (3) consecutive terms should be upheld.

2.) that he was installed only as mayor by reason of his victory Patently untenable is petitioner’s contention that COMELEC in
in the recall elections; allowing respondent Talaga, Jr. to run in the May 1998 election
violates Article X, Section 8 of 1987 Constitution. To bolster his case,
3.) that his victory in the recall elections was not considered a respondent adverts to the comment of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, a
term of office and is not included in the 3-term disqualification rule, Constitutional Commission member, stating that in interpreting said
and provision that “if one is elected representative to serve the unexpired
term of another, that unexpired, no matter how short, will be
4.) that he did not fully serve the three (3) consecutive terms,
considered one term for the purpose of computing the number of
and his loss in the May 11, 1998 elections is considered an
successive terms allowed.”
interruption in the continuity of his service as Mayor of Lucena City.
As pointed out by the COMELEC en banc, Fr. Bernas’ comment is
ISSUE: WON Talaga is disqualified to run for mayor
pertinent only to members of the House of Representatives.Unlike
HELD: No local government officials, there is no recall election provided for
members of Congress.
RATIO: The issue before us was already addressed in Borja, Jr. vs.
COMELEC, 295 SCRA 157, 169 (1998), where we held,o Neither can respondent’s victory in the recall election be deemed a
recapitulate, the term limit for elective local officials must be taken violation of Section 8, Article X of the Constitution as “voluntary
to refer to the right to be elected as well as the right to serve in the renunciation” for clearly it is not.
same elective position.
In Lonzanida vs. COMELEC, we said:
Consequently, it is not enough that an individual has served three
“…The second sentence of the constitutional provision under
consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must also have been
scrutiny states, “Voluntary renunciation of office for any length of
elected to the same position for the same number of times before the
time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of
disqualification can apply.
service for the full term for which he was elected.” The clear intent
This point can be made clearer by considering the following case or of the framers of the constitution to bar any attempt to circumvent the
situation: three-term limit by a voluntary renunciation of office and at the same
time respect the people’s choice and grant their elected official full
Suppose B is elected mayor and, during his first term, he is twice service of a term is evident in this provision. Voluntary renunciation
suspended for misconduct for a total of 1 year. of a term does not cancel the renounced term in the computation of
the three term limit; conversely, involuntary severance from office
 If he is twice reelected after that, can he run for one for any length of time short of the full term provided by law amounts
more term in the next election? to an interruption of continuity of service. The petitioner vacated his
post a few months before the next mayoral elections, not by voluntary
 Yes, because he has served only two full terms
renunciation but in compliance with the legal process of writ of
successively.
execution issued by the COMELEC to that effect. Such involuntary
 To consider C as eligible for reelection would be in severance from office is an interruption of continuity of service and
accord with the understanding of the Constitutional thus, the petitioner did not fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term.”
Commission that while the people should be
DISPOSITION: Petition DISMISSED. COMELEC en banc
protected from the evils that a monopoly of
AFFIRMED.
political power may bring about, care should be
taken that their freedom of choice is not unduly
curtailed.

ALDOVINO VS COMELEC AND ASILO


Likewise, in the case of Lonzanida vs. COMELEC, 311 SCRA 602,
611 (1999), we said, FACTS: Is the preventive suspension of an elected public official an
interruption of his term of office for purposes of the three-term limit
“This Court held that the two conditions for the application of the rule under Section 8, Article X of the Constitution and Section 43(b)
disqualification must concur: of Republic Act No. 7160 (RA 7160, or the Local Government Code)
The respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) ruled that
1) that the official concerned has been elected for three consecutive
preventive suspension is an effective interruption because it renders
terms in the same local government post and
the suspended public official unable to provide complete service for "Interruption" of a term exempting an elective official from the three-
the full term; thus, such term should not be counted for the purpose term limit rule is one that involves no less than the involuntary loss
of the three-term limit rule. The present petition seeks to annul and of title to office. The elective official must have involuntarily left his
set aside this COMELEC ruling for having been issued with grave office for a length of time, however short, for an effective
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. interruption to occur. This has to be the case if the thrust of Section
Wilfredo F. Asilo (Asilo) was elected councilor of Lucena City for 8, Article X and its strict intent are to be faithfully served, i.e., to limit
three consecutive terms: for the1998-2001, 2001-2004, and 2004- an elective official’s continuous stay in office to no more than three
2007 terms, respectively. In September 2005 or during his2004-2007 consecutive terms, using "voluntary renunciation" as an example and
term of office, the Sandiganbayan preventively suspended him for 90 standard of what does not constitute an interruption. Strict adherence
days in relation with a criminal case he then faced. to the intent of the three-term limit rule demands that preventive
suspension should not be considered an interruption that allows an
This Court, however, subsequently lifted the Sandiganbayan’s elective official’s stay in office beyond three terms. A preventive
suspension order; hence, he resumed performing the functions of his suspension cannot simply be a term interruption because the
office and finished his term. suspended official continues to stay in office although he is barred
from exercising the functions and prerogatives of the office within
In the 2007 election, Asilo filed his certificate of candidacy for
the suspension period.
the same position. The petitioners Simon B. Aldovino, Jr., Danilo B.
Faller, and Ferdinand N. Talabong (the petitioners) sought todeny The best indicator of the suspended official’s continuity in office is
due course to Asilo’s certificate of candidacy or to cancel it on the the absence of a permanent replacement and the lack of the authority
ground that he had been elected and had served for three terms; his to appoint one since no vacancy exists
candidacy for a fourth term therefore violated the three-term limit
rule under Section 8, Article X of the Constitution and Section 43(b) .
of RA 7160.The COMELEC’s Second Division ruled against the
petitioners and in Asilo’s favour in its Resolution of November 28,
2007. It reasoned out that the three-term limit rule did not apply, as
Asilo failed to render complete service for the 2004-2007 term
because of the suspension the Sandiganbayan had ordered.

ISSUE: Whether preventive suspension of an elected local official is


an interruption of the three-term limit rule; and . Whether preventive
suspension is considered involuntary renunciation as contemplated in
Section 43(b) of RA 7160HELD: NEGATIVE. Petition is
meritorious. As worded, the constitutional provision fixes the term of
a local elective office and limits an elective official’s stay in office to
no more than three consecutive terms. This is the first branch of the
rule embodied in Section 8, Article X. Significantly, this provision
refers to a "term" as a period of time –three years – during which an
official has title to office and can serve. The word "term" in a legal
sense means a fixed and definite period of time which the law
describes that an officer may hold an office, preventive suspension is
not a qualified interruption…

Lonzanida v. Commission on Elections - presented the question of


whether the disqualification on the basis of the three-term limit
applies if the election of the public official (to be strictly accurate, the
proclamation as winner of the public official) for his supposedly third
term had been declared invalid in a final and executory judgment. We
ruled that the two requisites for the application of the disqualification
(viz., 1. that the official concerned has been elected for three
consecutive terms in the same local government post; and 2. that
he has fully served three consecutive terms…… The petitioner
vacated his post a few months before the next mayoral elections, not
by voluntary renunciation but in compliance with the legal process of
writ of execution issued by the COMELEC to that effect. Such
involuntary severance from office is an interruption of continuity
of service and thus, the petitioner did not fully serve the 1995-1998
mayoral term.(EXCEPTION)
G.R. No. 196804 October 9, 2012 On November 26, 2009 and December 1, 2009, Ramon Talaga
(Ramon) and Philip M. Castillo (Castillo) respectively filed their
MAYOR BARBARA RUBY C. TALAGA, Petitioner, vs. certificates of candidacy (CoCs) for the position of Mayor of Lucena
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and RODERICK A. City to be contested in the scheduled May 10, 2010 national and local
ALCALA, Respondents. elections.2
x-----------------------x Ramon, the official candidate of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD,3 declared
in his CoC that he was eligible for the office he was seeking to be
G.R. No. 197015
elected to.
PHILIP M. CASTILLO, Petitioner, vs.
Four days later, or on December 5, 2009, Castillo filed with the
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, BARBARA RUBY TALAGA
COMELEC a petition denominated as In the Matter of the Petition to
and RODERICK A. ALCALA, Respondents.
Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy of Ramon Y.
DECISION Talaga, Jr. as Mayor for Having Already Served Three (3)
Consecutive Terms as a City Mayor of Lucena, which was docketed
BERSAMIN, J.: as SPA 09-029 (DC).4 He alleged

In focus in these consolidated special civil actions are the therein that Ramon, despite knowing that he had been elected and had
disqualification of a substitute who was proclaimed the winner of a served three consecutive terms as Mayor of Lucena City, still filed
mayoralty election; and the ascertainment of who should assume the his CoC for Mayor of Lucena City in the May 10, 2010 national and
office following the substitute’s disqualification. local elections.

The consolidated petitions for certiorari seek to annul and set aside The pertinent portions of Castillo’s petition follow:
the En Banc Resolution issued on May 20, 2011 in SPC No. 10-024
by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), the dispositive 1. Petitioner is of legal age, Filipino, married, and a resident of
portion of which states: Barangay Mayao Crossing, Lucena City but may be served with
summons and other processes of this Commission at the address of
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: his counsel at 624 Aurora Blvd., Lucena City 4301;

1. REVERSING and SETTING ASIDE the January 11, 2011 2. Respondent Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. is likewise of legal age, married,
Resolution of the Second Division; and a resident of Barangay Ibabang Iyam, Lucena City and with
postal address at the Office of the City Mayor, City Hall, Lucena City,
2. GRANTING the petition in intervention of Roderick A. Alcala; where he may be served with summons and other processes of this
Commission;
3. ANNULLING the election and proclamation of respondent
Barbara C. Talaga as mayor of Lucena City and CANCELLING the 3. Petitioner, the incumbent city vice-mayor of Lucena having been
Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation issued therefor; elected during the 2007 local elections, is running for city mayor of
Lucena under the Liberal party this coming 10 May 2010 local
4. Ordering respondent Barbara Ruby Talaga to cease and desist from
elections and has filed his certificate of candidacy for city mayor of
discharging the functions of the Office of the Mayor;
Lucena;
5. In view of the permanent vacancy in the Office of the Mayor of
4. Respondent was successively elected mayor of Lucena City in
Lucena City, the proclaimed Vice-Mayor is ORDERED to succeed
2001, 2004, and 2007 local elections based on the records of the
as Mayor as provided under Section 44 of the Local Government
Commission on Elections of Lucena City and had fully served the
Code;
aforesaid three (3) terms without any voluntary and involuntary
6. DIRECTING the Clerk of Court of the Commission to furnish interruption;
copies of this Resolution to the Office of the President of the
5. Except the preventive suspension imposed upon him from 13
Philippines, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the
October 2005 to 14 November 2005 and from 4 September 2009 to
Department of Finance and the Secretary of the Sangguniang
30 October 2009 pursuant to Sandiganbayan 4th Division Resolution
Panglunsod of Lucena City.
in Criminal Case No. 27738 dated 3 October 2005, the public service
Let the Department of Interior and Local Government and the as city mayor of the respondent is continuous and uninterrupted under
Regional Election Director of Region IV of COMELEC implement the existing laws and jurisprudence;
this resolution.
6. There is no law nor jurisprudence to justify the filing of the
SO ORDERED. 1 certificate of candidacy of the respondent, hence, such act is
outrightly unconstitutional, illegal, and highly immoral;
Antecedents
7. Respondent, knowing well that he was elected for and had fully suspension from office. And this was further bolstered by the fact that
served three (3) consecutive terms as a city mayor of Lucena, he still the DILG issued a
filed his Certificate of Candidacy for City Mayor of Lucena for this
coming 10 May 2010 national and local elections; Memorandum directing him, among others, to reassume his
position." (Emphasis supplied.)
8. Under the Constitution and existing Election Laws, New Local
Government Code of the Philippines, and jurisprudence the 5. Clearly, there was no misrepresentation on the part of respondent
respondent is no longer entitled and is already disqualified to be a city as would constitute a ground for the denial of due course to and/or
mayor for the fourth consecutive term; the cancellation of respondent’s certificate of candidacy at the time
he filed the same. Petitioner’s ground for the denial of due course to
9. The filing of the respondent for the position of city mayor is highly and/or the cancellation of respondent’s certificate of candidacy thus
improper, unlawful and is potentially injurious and prejudicial to has no basis, in fact and in law, as there is no ground to warrant such
taxpayers of the City of Lucena; and relief under the Omnibus Election Code and/or its implementing
laws.
10. It is most respectfully prayed by the petitioner that the respondent
be declared disqualified and no longer entitled to run in public office 6. Pursuant, however, to the new ruling of the Supreme Court in
as city mayor of Lucena City based on the existing law and respect of the issue on the three (3)-term limitation, respondent
jurisprudence.5 acknowledges that he is now DISQUALIFIED to run for the position
of Mayor of Lucena City having served three (3) (albeit interrupted)
The petition prayed for the following reliefs, to wit: terms as Mayor of Lucena City prior to the filing of his certificate of
candidacy for the 2010 elections.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed that the
Certificate of Candidacy filed by the respondent be denied due course 7. In view of the foregoing premises and new jurisprudence on the
to or cancel the same and that he be declared as a disqualified matter, respondent respectfully submits the present case for decision
candidate under the existing Election Laws and by the provisions of declaring him as DISQUALIFIED to run for the position of Mayor
the New Local Government Code.6 (Emphasis supplied.) of Lucena City.9
Ramon countered that that the Sandiganbayan had preventively Notwithstanding his express recognition of his disqualification to run
suspended him from office during his second and third terms; and as Mayor of Lucena City in the May 10, 2010 national and local
that the three-term limit rule did not then apply to him pursuant to the elections, Ramon did not withdraw his CoC.
prevailing jurisprudence7 to the effect that an involuntary separation
from office amounted to an interruption of continuity of service for Acting on Ramon’s Manifestation with Motion to Resolve, the
purposes of the application of the three-term limit rule. COMELEC First Division issued a Resolution on April 19,
2010,10 disposing as follows:
In the meantime, on December 23, 2009, the Court promulgated the
ruling in Aldovino, Jr. v. Commission on Elections,8 holding that WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is hereby
preventive suspension, being a mere temporary incapacity, was not a GRANTED. Accordingly, Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. is hereby declared
valid ground for avoiding the effect of the three-term limit rule. Thus, DISQUALIFIED to run for Mayor of Lucena City for the 10 May
on December 30, 2009, Ramon filed in the COMELEC a 2010 National and Local Elections.
Manifestation with Motion to Resolve, taking into account the
intervening ruling in Aldovino. Relevant portions of his SO ORDERED.
Manifestation with Motion to Resolve are quoted herein, viz:
Initially, Ramon filed his Verified Motion for Reconsideration
4. When respondent filed his certificate of candidacy for the position against the April 19, 2010 Resolution of the COMELEC First
of Mayor of Lucena City, the rule that ‘where the separation from Division.11 Later on, however, he filed at 9:00 a.m. of May 4, 2010
office is caused by reasons beyond the control of the officer – i.e. an Ex-parte Manifestation of Withdrawal of the Pending Motion for
involuntary – the service of term is deemed interrupted’ has not yet Reconsideration.12 At 4:30 p.m. on the same date, Barbara Ruby filed
been overturned by the new ruling of the Supreme Court. As a matter her own CoC for Mayor of Lucena City in substitution of Ramon,
of fact, the prevailing rule then of the Honorable Commission in [sic] attaching thereto the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance
respect of the three (3)-term limitation was its decision in the case of (CONA) issued by Lakas-Kampi-CMD, the party that had nominated
Aldovino, et al. vs. Asilo where it stated: Ramon.13

"Thus, even if respondent was elected during the 2004 elections, On May 5, 2010, the COMELEC En Banc, acting on Ramon’s Ex
which was supposedly his third and final term as city councilor, the parte Manifestation of Withdrawal, declared the COMELEC First
same cannot be treated as a complete service or full term in office Division’s Resolution dated April 19, 2010 final and executory. 14
since the same was interrupted when he was suspended by the
On election day on May 10, 2010, the name of Ramon remained
Sandiganbayan Fourth Division. And the respondent actually heeded
printed on the ballots but the votes cast in his favor were counted in
the suspension order since he did not receive his salary during the
favor of Barbara Ruby as his substitute candidate, resulting in
period October 16-31 and November 1-15 by reason of his actual
Barbara Ruby being ultimately credited with 44,099 votes as against disqualification only is affirmed by the fact that its members signed
Castillo’s 39,615 votes.15 Resolution No. 8917 where it was clearly stated that the First
Division only disqualified Ramon.
Castillo promptly filed a petition in the City Board of Canvassers
(CBOC) seeking the suspension of Barbara Ruby’s proclamation.16 Having been disqualified only, the doctrine laid down in Miranda v.
Abaya is not applicable. Ramon was rightly substituted by Ruby. As
It was only on May 13, 2010 when the COMELEC En Banc, upon such, the votes for Ramon cannot be considered as stray votes but
the recommendation of its Law Department,17gave due course to should be counted in favor of Ruby since the substituted and the
Barbara Ruby’s CoC and CONA through Resolution No. 8917, substitute carry the same surname – Talaga, as provided in Section
thereby including her in the certified list of 12 of Republic Act No. 9006.
18
candidates. Consequently, the CBOC proclaimed Barbara Ruby as
the newly-elected Mayor of Lucena City.19 xxxx

On May 20, 2010, Castillo filed a Petition for Annulment of Moreover, there is no provision in the Omnibus Election Code or any
Proclamation with the COMELEC,20 docketed as SPC 10-024. He election laws for that matter which requires that the substitution and
alleged that Barbara Ruby could not substitute Ramon because his the Certificate of Candidacy of the substitute should be approved and
CoC had been cancelled and denied due course; and Barbara Ruby given due course first by the Commission or the Law Department
could not be considered a candidate because the COMELEC En Banc before it can be considered as effective. All that Section 77 of the
had approved her substitution three days after the elections; hence, Omnibus Election Code as implemented by Section 13 of Resolution
the votes cast for Ramon should be considered stray. No. 8678 requires is that it should be filed with the proper office. The
respondent is correct when she argued that in fact even the BEI can
In her Comment on the Petition for Annulment of receive a CoC of a substitute candidate in case the cause for the
Proclamation,21 Barbara Ruby maintained the validity of her substitution happened between the day before the election and mid-
substitution. She countered that the COMELEC En Banc did not deny day of election day. Thus, even if the approval of the substitution was
due course to or cancel Ramon’s COC, despite a declaration of his made after the election, the substitution became effective on the date
disqualification, because there was no finding that he had committed of the filing of the CoC with the Certificate of Nomination and
misrepresentation, the ground for the denial of due course to or Acceptance.
cancellation of his COC. She prayed that with her valid substitution,
Section 12 of Republic Act No. 900622 applied, based on which the There being no irregularity in the substitution by Ruby of Ramon as
votes cast for Ramon were properly counted in her favor. candidate for mayor of Lucena City, the counting of the votes of
Ramon in favor of Ruby is proper. The proclamation, thus, of Ruby
On July 26, 2010, Roderick Alcala (Alcala), the duly-elected Vice as mayor elect of Lucena City is in order. Hence, we find no cogent
Mayor of Lucena City, sought to intervene,23positing that he should reason to annul the proclamation of respondent Barbara Ruby C.
assume the post of Mayor because Barbara Ruby’s substitution had Talaga as the duly elected Mayor of the City of Lucena after the
been invalid and Castillo had clearly lost the elections. elections conducted on May 10, 2010.25

On January 11, 2011, the COMELEC Second Division dismissed Acting on Castillo and Alcala’s respective motions for
Castillo’s petition and Alcala’s petition-in-intervention,24 holding: reconsideration, the COMELEC En Banc issued the assailed
Resolution dated May 20, 2011 reversing the COMELEC Second
In the present case, Castillo was notified of Resolution 8917 on May
Division’s ruling.26
13, 2010 as it was the basis for the proclamation of Ruby on that date.
He, however, failed to file any action within the prescribed period Pointing out that: (a) Resolution No. 8917 did not attain finality for
either in the Commission or the Supreme Court assailing the said being issued without a hearing as a mere incident of the COMELEC’s
resolution. Thus, the said resolution has become final and executory. ministerial duty to receive the COCs of substitute candidates; (b)
It cannot anymore be altered or reversed. Resolution No. 8917 was based on the wrong facts; and (c) Ramon’s
disqualification was resolved with finality only on May 5, 2010, the
xxxx
COMELEC En Banc concluded that Barbara Ruby could not have
x x x. A close perusal of the petition filed by Castillo in SPA 10-029 properly substituted Ramon but had simply become an additional
(Dc) shows that it was actually for the disqualification of Ramon for candidate who had filed her COC out of time; and held that Vice
having served three consecutive terms, which is a ground for his Mayor Alcala should succeed to the position pursuant to Section 44
disqualification under the Constitution in relation to Section 4(b)3 of of the Local Government Code (LGC).27
Resolution 8696. There was no mention therein that Ramon has
Issues
committed material representation that would be a ground for the
cancellation or denial of due course to the CoC of Ramon under The core issue involves the validity of the substitution by Barbara
Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code. The First Division, in fact, Ruby as candidate for the position of Mayor of Lucena City in lieu of
treated the petition as one for disqualification as gleaned from the Ramon, her husband.
body of the resolution and its dispositive portion quoted above. This
treatment of the First Division of the petition as one for
Ancillary to the core issue is the determination of who among the belongs, if he belongs to any, and his post-office address for all
contending parties should assume the contested elective position. election purposes being as well stated.

Ruling Accordingly, a person’s declaration of his intention to run for public


office and his affirmation that he possesses the eligibility for the
The petitions lack merit. position he seeks to assume, followed by the timely filing of such
declaration, constitute a valid CoC that render the person making the
1.
declaration a valid or official candidate.
Existence of a valid CoC is a condition
There are two remedies available to prevent a candidate from running
sine qua non for a valid substitution
in an electoral race. One is through a petition for disqualification and
The filing of a CoC within the period provided by law is a mandatory the other through a petition to deny due course to or cancel a
requirement for any person to be considered a candidate in a national certificate of candidacy. The Court differentiated the two remedies in
or local election. This is clear from Section 73 of the Omnibus Fermin v. Commission on Elections,30 thuswise:
Election Code, to wit:
x x x A petition for disqualification, on the one hand, can be premised
Section 73. Certificate of candidacy — No person shall be eligible on Section 12 or 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, or Section 40 of
for any elective public office unless he files a sworn certificate of the Local Government Code. On the other hand, a petition to deny
candidacy within the period fixed herein. 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
Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code specifies the contents of a petitions also have different effects. While a person who is
COC, viz: disqualified under Section 68 is merely prohibited to continue as a
candidate, the person whose certificate is cancelled or denied due
Section 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy.—The certificate of course under Section 78 is not treated as a candidate at all, as if he/she
candidacy shall state that the person filing it is announcing his never filed a CoC.31
candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for said
office; if for Member of the Batasang Pambansa, the province, Inasmuch as the grounds for disqualification under Section 68 of the
including its component cities, highly urbanized city or district or Omnibus Election Code (i.e., prohibited acts of candidates, and the
sector which he seeks to represent; the political party to which he fact of a candidate’s permanent residency in another country when
belongs; civil status; his date of birth; residence; his post office that fact affects the residency requirement of a candidate) are separate
address for all election purposes; his profession or occupation; that and distinct from the grounds for the cancellation of or denying due
he will support and defend the Constitution of the Philippines and course to a COC (i.e., nuisance candidates under Section 69 of the
will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; that he will obey the Omnibus Election Code; and material misrepresentation under
laws, legal orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code), the Court has recognized
authorities; that he is not a permanent resident or immigrant to a in Miranda v. Abaya32 that the following circumstances may result
foreign country; that the obligation imposed by his oath is assumed from the granting of the petitions, to wit:
voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and
that the facts stated in the certificate of candidacy are true to the best (1) A candidate may not be qualified to run for election but may have
of his knowledge. x x x filed a valid CoC;

The evident purposes of the requirement for the filing of CoCs and in (2) A candidate may not be qualified and at the same time may not
fixing the time limit for filing them are, namely: (a) to enable the have filed a valid CoC; and
voters to know, at least 60 days prior to the regular election, the
(3) A candidate may be qualified but his CoC may be denied due
candidates from among whom they are to make the choice; and (b) to
course or cancelled.
avoid confusion and inconvenience in the tabulation of the votes cast.
If the law does not confine to the duly-registered candidates the In the event that a candidate is disqualified to run for a public office,
choice by the voters, there may be as many persons voted for as there or dies, or withdraws his CoC before the elections, Section 77 of the
are voters, and votes may be cast even for unknown or fictitious Omnibus Election Code provides the option of substitution, to wit:
persons as a mark to identify the votes in favor of a candidate for
another office in the same election.28 Moreover, according to Sinaca Section 77. Candidates in case of death, disqualification or
v. Mula,29 the CoC is: withdrawal. — If after the last day for the filing of certificates of
candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or accredited political
x x x in the nature of a formal manifestation to the whole world of party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, only a person
the candidate’s political creed or lack of political creed. It is a belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a
statement of a person seeking to run for a public office certifying that certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew
he announces his candidacy for the office mentioned and that he is or was disqualified. The substitute candidate nominated by the
eligible for the office, the name of the political party to which he political party concerned may file his certificate of candidacy for the
office affected in accordance with the preceding sections not later
than mid-day of the day of the election. If the death, withdrawal or Castillo’s petition contained essential allegations pertaining to a
disqualification should occur between the day before the election and Section 78 petition, namely: (a) Ramon made a false representation
mid-day of election day, said certificate may be filed with any board in his CoC; (b) the false representation referred to a material matter
of election inspectors in the political subdivision where he is a that would affect the substantive right of Ramon as candidate (that is,
candidate, or, in the case of candidates to be voted for by the entire the right to run for the election for which he filed his certificate); and
electorate of the country, with the Commission. (c) Ramon made the false representation with the intention to deceive
the electorate as to his qualification for public office or deliberately
Nonetheless, whether the ground for substitution is death, withdrawal attempted to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact that would otherwise
or disqualification of a candidate, Section 77 of the Omnibus Election render him ineligible.37 The petition expressly challenged Ramon’s
Code unequivocally states that only an official candidate of a eligibility for public office based on the prohibition stated in the
registered or accredited party may be substituted. Constitution and the Local Government Code against any person
serving three consecutive terms, and specifically prayed that "the
Considering that a cancelled CoC does not give rise to a valid
Certificate of Candidacy filed by the respondent Ramon be denied
candidacy,33 there can be no valid substitution of the candidate under
due course to or cancel the same and that he be declared as a
Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code. It should be clear, too, that
disqualified candidate."38
a candidate who does not file a valid CoC may not be validly
substituted, because a person without a valid CoC is not considered a The denial of due course to or the cancellation of the CoC under
candidate in much the same way as any person who has not filed a Section 78 involves a finding not only that a person lacks a
CoC is not at all a candidate.34 qualification but also that he made a material representation that is
false.39 A petition for the denial of due course to or cancellation of
Likewise, a candidate who has not withdrawn his CoC in accordance
CoC that is short of the requirements will not be granted. In Mitra v.
with Section 73 of the Omnibus Election Code may not be
Commission on Elections,40 the Court stressed that there must also be
substituted. A withdrawal of candidacy can only give effect to a
a deliberate attempt to mislead, thus:
substitution if the substitute candidate submits prior to the election a
sworn CoC as required by Section 73 of the Omnibus Election The false representation under Section 78 must likewise be a
Code.35 "deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact that would
otherwise render a candidate ineligible." Given the purpose of the
2.
requirement, it must be made with the intention to deceive the
Declaration of Ramon’s disqualification electorate as to the would-be candidate’s qualifications for public
rendered his CoC invalid; hence, he was not office. Thus, the misrepresentation that Section 78 addresses cannot
a valid candidate to be properly substituted be the result of a mere innocuous mistake, and cannot exist in a
situation where the intent to deceive is patently absent, or where no
In the light of the foregoing rules on the CoC, the Court concurs with deception on the electorate results. The deliberate character of the
the conclusion of the COMELEC En Banc that the Castillo petition misrepresentation necessarily follows from a consideration of the
in SPA 09-029 (DC) was in the nature of a petition to deny due course consequences of any material falsity: a candidate who falsifies a
to or cancel a CoC under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code. material fact cannot run; if he runs and is elected, he cannot serve; in
both cases, he can be prosecuted for violation of the election laws.
In describing the nature of a Section 78 petition, the Court said in
Fermin v. Commission on Elections:36 It is underscored, however, that a Section 78 petition should not be
interchanged or confused with a Section 68 petition. The remedies
Lest it be misunderstood, the denial of due course to or the under the two sections are different, for they are based on different
cancellation of the CoC is not based on the lack of qualifications but grounds, and can result in different eventualities.41 A person who is
on a finding that the candidate made a material representation that is disqualified under Section 68 is prohibited to continue as a candidate,
false, which may relate to the qualifications required of the public but a person whose CoC is cancelled or denied due course under
office he/she is running for. It is noted that the candidate states in Section 78 is not considered as a candidate at all because his status is
his/her CoC that he/she is eligible for the office he/she seeks. Section that of a person who has not filed a CoC.42 Miranda v. Abaya43 has
78 of the OEC, therefore, is to be read in relation to the constitutional clarified that a candidate who is disqualified under Section 68 can be
and statutory provisions on qualifications or eligibility for public validly substituted pursuant to Section 77 because he remains a
office. If the candidate subsequently states a material representation candidate until disqualified; but a person whose CoC has been denied
in the CoC that is false, the COMELEC, following the law, is due course or cancelled under Section 78 cannot be substituted
empowered to deny due course to or cancel such certificate. Indeed, because he is not considered a candidate.1âwphi1
the Court has already likened a proceeding under Section 78 to a quo
warranto proceeding under Section 253 of the OEC since they both To be sure, the cause of Ramon’s ineligibility (i.e., the three-term
deal with the eligibility or qualification of a candidate, with the limit) is enforced both by the Constitution and statutory law. Article
distinction mainly in the fact that a "Section 78" petition is filed X, Section 8 of the 1987 Constitution provides:
before proclamation, while a petition for quo warranto is filed after
proclamation of the winning candidate. 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 of the person to be substituted, for how can a person take the place of
terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time somebody who does not exist or who never was. The Court has no
shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his other choice but to rule that in all the instances enumerated in Section
service for the full term for which he was elected. 77 of the Omnibus Election Code, the existence of a valid certificate
of candidacy seasonably filed is a requisite sine qua non.
Section 43 of the Local Government Code reiterates the
constitutional three-term limit for all elective local officials, to wit: All told, a disqualified candidate may only be substituted if he had a
valid certificate of candidacy in the first place because, if the
Section 43. Term of Office. – (a) x x x disqualified candidate did not have a valid and seasonably filed
certificate of candidacy, he is and was not a candidate at all. If a
(b) No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3)
person was not a candidate, he cannot be substituted under Section
consecutive terms in the same position. Voluntary renunciation of the
77 of the Code. Besides, if we were to allow the so-called "substitute"
office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption
to file a "new" and "original" certificate of candidacy beyond the
in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective
period for the filing thereof, it would be a crystalline case of unequal
official concerned was elected. (Emphasis supplied.)
protection of the law, an act abhorred by our
The objective of imposing the three-term limit rule was "to avoid the Constitution.47 (Emphasis supplied)
evil of a single person accumulating excessive power over a
3.
particular territorial jurisdiction as a result of a prolonged stay in the
same office." The Court underscored this objective in Aldovino, Jr. Granting without any qualification of petition in
v. Commission on Elections,44 stating: SPA No. 09-029(DC) manifested COMELEC’s intention to
declare Ramon disqualified and to cancel his CoC
x x x The framers of the Constitution specifically included an
exception to the people’s freedom to choose those who will govern That the COMELEC made no express finding that Ramon committed
them in order to avoid the evil of a single person accumulating any deliberate misrepresentation in his CoC was of little consequence
excessive power over a particular territorial jurisdiction as a result of in the determination of whether his CoC should be deemed cancelled
a prolonged stay in the same office. To allow petitioner Latasa to vie or not.
for the position of city mayor after having served for three
consecutive terms as a municipal mayor would obviously defeat the In Miranda v. Abaya,48 the specific relief that the petition prayed for
very intent of the framers when they wrote this exception. Should he was that the CoC "be not given due course and/or cancelled." The
be allowed another three consecutive terms as mayor of the City of COMELEC categorically granted "the petition" and then pronounced
Digos, petitioner would then be possibly holding office as chief — in apparent contradiction — that Joel Pempe Miranda was
executive over the same territorial jurisdiction and inhabitants for a "disqualified." The
total of eighteen consecutive years. This is the very scenario sought
to be avoided by the Constitution, if not abhorred by it. Court held that the COMELEC, by granting the petition without any
qualification, disqualified Joel Pempe Miranda and at the same time
To accord with the constitutional and statutory proscriptions, Ramon cancelled Jose Pempe Miranda’s CoC. The Court explained:
was absolutely precluded from asserting an eligibility to run as Mayor
of Lucena City for the fourth consecutive term. Resultantly, his CoC The question to settle next is whether or not aside from Joel "Pempe"
was invalid and ineffectual ab initio for containing the incurable Miranda being disqualified by the Comelec in its May 5, 1998
defect consisting in his false declaration of his eligibility to run. The resolution, his certificate of candidacy had likewise been denied due
invalidity and inefficacy of his CoC made his situation even worse course and cancelled.
than that of a nuisance candidate because the nuisance candidate may
The Court rules that it was.
remain eligible despite cancellation of his CoC or despite the denial
of due course to the CoC pursuant to Section 69 of the Omnibus Private respondent’s petition in SPA No. 98-019 specifically prayed
Election Code.45 for the following:
Ramon himself specifically admitted his ineligibility when he filed WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that the Certificate of
his Manifestation with Motion to Resolve on December 30, 2009 in Candidacy filed by respondent for the position of Mayor for the City
the COMELEC.46 That sufficed to render his CoC invalid, of Santiago be not given due course and/or cancelled.
considering that for all intents and purposes the COMELEC’s
declaration of his disqualification had the effect of announcing that Other reliefs just and equitable in the premises are likewise prayed
he was no candidate at all. for.

We stress that a non-candidate like Ramon had no right to pass on to (Rollo, p. 31; Emphasis ours.)
his substitute. As Miranda v. Abaya aptly put it:
In resolving the petition filed by private respondent specifying a very
Even on the most basic and fundamental principles, it is readily particular relief, the Comelec ruled favorably in the following
understood that the concept of a substitute presupposes the existence manner:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Commission (FIRST the elections.52 Instead, he cites Cayat v. Commission on
DIVISION) GRANTS the Petition. Respondent JOSE "Pempe" Elections,53 where the Court said:
MIRANDA is hereby DISQUALIFIED from running for the position
of mayor of Santiago City, Isabela, in the May 11, 1998 national and x x x In Labo there was no final judgment of disqualification before
local elections. the elections. The doctrine on the rejection of the second placer was
applied in Labo and a host of other cases because the judgment
SO ORDERED. declaring the candidate’s disqualification in Labo and the other cases
had not become final before the elections. To repeat, Labo and the
(p.43, Rollo; Emphasis ours.) other cases applying the doctrine on the rejection of the second placer
have one common essential condition — the disqualification of the
From a plain reading of the dispositive portion of the Comelec
candidate had not become final before the elections. This essential
resolution of May 5, 1998 in SPA No. 98-019, it is sufficiently clear
condition does not exist in the present case.
that the prayer specifically and particularly sought in the petition was
GRANTED, there being no qualification on the matter whatsoever. Thus, in Labo, Labo’s disqualification became final only on 14 May
The disqualification was simply ruled over and above the granting of 1992, three days after the 11 May 1992 elections. On election day
the specific prayer for denial of due course and cancellation of the itself, Labo was still legally a candidate. In the present case, Cayat
certificate of candidacy. x x x.49 was disqualified by final judgment 23 days before the 10 May 2004
elections. On election day, Cayat was no longer legally a candidate
xxxx
for mayor. In short, Cayat’s candidacy for Mayor of Buguias,
x x x. There is no dispute that the complaint or petition filed by Benguet was legally non-existent in the 10 May 2004 elections.
private respondent in SPA No. 98-019 is one to deny due course and
The law expressly declares that a candidate disqualified by final
to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Jose "Pempe" Miranda
judgment before an election cannot be voted for, and votes cast for
(Rollo, pp. 26-31). There is likewise no question that the said petition
him shall not be counted. This is a mandatory provision of law.
was GRANTED without any qualification whatsoever. It is rather
Section 6 of Republic Act No. 6646, The Electoral Reforms Law of
clear, therefore, that whether or not the Comelec granted any further
1987, states:
relief in SPA No. 98-019 by disqualifying the candidate, the fact
remains that the said petition was granted and that the certificate of Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case.— Any candidate who has
candidacy of Jose "Pempe" Miranda was denied due course and been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted
cancelled. x x x.50 for, and the votes cast for him shall not be

The crucial point of Miranda v. Abaya was that the COMELEC counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final
actually granted the particular relief of cancelling or denying due judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and
course to the CoC prayed for in the petition by not subjecting that receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or
relief to any qualification. Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action,
inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any
Miranda v. Abaya applies herein. Although Castillo’s petition in SPA
intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of
No. 09-029 (DC) specifically sought both the disqualification of
the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt
Ramon and the denial of due course to or cancellation of his CoC, the
is strong. (Emphasis added)
COMELEC categorically stated in the Resolution dated April 19,
2010 that it was granting the petition. Despite the COMELEC making Section 6 of the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987 covers two
no finding of material misrepresentation on the part of Ramon, its situations. The first is when the disqualification becomes final before
granting of Castillo’s petition without express qualifications the elections, which is the situation covered in the first sentence of
manifested that the COMELEC had cancelled Ramon’s CoC based Section 6. The second is when the disqualification becomes final after
on his apparent ineligibility. The Resolution dated April 19, 2010 the elections, which is the situation covered in the second sentence of
became final and executory because Castillo did not move for its Section 6.
reconsideration, and because Ramon later withdrew his motion for
reconsideration filed in relation to it. The present case falls under the first situation. Section 6 of the
Electoral Reforms Law governing the first situation is categorical: a
4. candidate disqualified by final judgment before an election cannot be
voted for, and votes cast for him shall not be counted. The Resolution
Elected Vice Mayor must succeed
disqualifying Cayat became final on 17 April 2004, way before the
and assume the position of Mayor
10 May 2004 elections. Therefore, all the 8,164 votes cast in Cayat’s
due to a permanent vacancy in the office
favor are stray. Cayat was never a candidate in the 10 May 2004
On the issue of who should assume the office of Mayor of Lucena elections. Palileng’s proclamation is proper because he was the sole
City, Castillo submits that the doctrine on the rejection of the second- and only candidate, second to none.54
placer espoused in Labo, Jr. v. Commission on Elections51 should not
Relying on the pronouncement in Cayat, Castillo asserts that he was
apply to him because Ramon’s disqualification became final prior to
entitled to assume the position of Mayor of Lucena City for having
obtained the highest number of votes among the remaining qualified vacated position.62 No law imposed upon and compelled the people
candidates. of Lucena City to accept a loser to be their political leader or their
representative.63
It would seem, then, that the date of the finality of the COMELEC
resolution declaring Ramon disqualified is decisive. According to The only time that a second placer is allowed to take the place of a
Section 10, Rule 19 of the COMELEC’s Resolution No. 8804, 55 a disqualified winning candidate is when two requisites concur,
decision or resolution of a Division becomes final and executory after namely: (a) the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes
the lapse of five days following its promulgation unless a motion for is disqualified; and (b) the electorate was fully aware in fact and in
reconsideration is seasonably filed. Under Section 8, Rule 20 of law of that candidate’s disqualification as to bring such awareness
Resolution No. 8804, the decision of the COMELEC En Banc within the realm of notoriety but the electorate still cast the plurality
becomes final and executory five days after its promulgation and of the votes in favor of the ineligible candidate.64Under this sole
receipt of notice by the parties. exception, the electorate may be said to have waived the validity and
efficacy of their votes by notoriously misapplying their franchise or
The COMELEC First Division declared Ramon disqualified through throwing away their votes, in which case the eligible candidate with
its Resolution dated April 19, 2010, the copy of which Ramon the second highest number of votes may be deemed elected.65 But the
received on the same date.56 Ramon filed a motion for exception did not apply in favor of Castillo simply because the second
reconsideration on April 21, 201057 in accordance with Section 7 of element was absent. The electorate of Lucena City were not the least
COMELEC Resolution No. 8696,58 but withdrew the motion on May aware of the fact of Barbara Ruby’s ineligibility as the substitute. In
4, 2010,59ostensibly to allow his substitution by Barbara Ruby. On fact, the COMELEC En Banc issued the Resolution finding her
his part, Castillo did not file any motion for reconsideration. Such substitution invalid only on May 20, 2011, or a full year after the
circumstances indicated that there was no more pending matter that decisions.
could have effectively suspended the finality of the ruling in due
course. Hence, the Resolution dated April 19, 2010 could be said to On the other hand, the COMELEC En Banc properly disqualified
have attained finality upon the lapse of five days from its Barbara Ruby from assuming the position of Mayor of Lucena City.
promulgation and receipt of it by the parties. This happened probably To begin with, there was no valid candidate for her to substitute due
on April 24, 2010. Despite such finality, the COMELEC En Banc to Ramon’s ineligibility. Also, Ramon did not voluntarily withdraw
continued to act on the withdrawal by Ramon of his motion for his CoC before the elections in accordance with Section 73 of the
reconsideration through the May 5, 2010 Resolution declaring the Omnibus Election Code. Lastly, she was not an additional candidate
April 19, 2010 Resolution of the COMELEC First Division final and for the position of Mayor of Lucena City because her filing of her
executory. CoC on May 4, 2010 was beyond the period fixed by law. Indeed, she
was not, in law and in fact, a candidate.66
Yet, we cannot agree with Castillo’s assertion that with Ramon’s
disqualification becoming final prior to the May 10, 2010 elections, A permanent vacancy in the office of Mayor of Lucena City thus
the ruling in Cayat was applicable in his favor. Barbara Ruby’s filing resulted, and such vacancy should be filled pursuant to the law on
of her CoC in substitution of Ramon significantly differentiated this succession defined in Section 44 of the LGC, to wit:67
case from the factual circumstances obtaining in Cayat. Rev. Fr.
Nardo B. Cayat, the petitioner in Cayat, was disqualified on April 17, Section 44. Permanent Vacancies in the Offices of the Governor,
2004, and his disqualification became final before the May 10, 2004 Vice-Governor, Mayor, and Vice-Mayor. – If a permanent vacancy
elections. Considering that no substitution of Cayat was made, occurs in the office of the governor or mayor, the vice-governor or
Thomas R. Palileng, Sr., his rival, remained the only candidate for vice-mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor. x x x
the mayoralty post in Buguias, Benguet. In contrast, after Barbara
WHEREFORE, the Court DISMISSES the petitions in these
Ruby substituted Ramon, the May 10, 2010 elections proceeded with
consolidated cases; AFFIRMS the Resolution issued on May 20,
her being regarded by the electorate of Lucena City as a bona fide
2011 by the COMELEC En Banc; and ORDERS the petitioners to
candidate. To the electorate, she became a contender for the same
pay the costs of suit.
position vied for by Castillo, such that she stood on the same footing
as Castillo. Such standing as a candidate negated Castillo’s claim of SO ORDERED.
being the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes, and of
being consequently entitled to assume the office of Mayor.

Indeed, Castillo could not assume the office for he was only a second G.R. No. 195229 October 9, 2012
placer.1âwphi1 Labo, Jr. should be applied. There, the Court
emphasized that the candidate obtaining the second highest number EFREN RACEL ARA TEA, Petitioner, vs.
of votes for the contested office could not assume the office despite COMMISSiON ON ELECTIONS and ESTELA D.
the disqualification of the first placer because the second placer was ANTlPOLO, Respondents.
"not the choice of the sovereign will."60 Surely, the Court explained,
DECISION
a minority or defeated candidate could not be deemed elected to the
office.61 There was to be no question that the second placer lost in the CARPIO, J.:
election, was repudiated by the electorate, and could not assume the
The Case Aratea took his oath of office as Acting Mayor before Regional Trial
Court (RTC) Judge Raymond C. Viray of Branch 75, Olongapo City
This is a special civil action for certiorari1 seeking to review and on 5 July 2010.9 On the same date, Aratea wrote the Department of
nullify the Resolution2 dated 2 February 2011 and the Order3 dated Interior and Local Government (DILG) and requested for an opinion
12 January 2011 of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) En on whether, as Vice-Mayor, he was legally required to assume the
Banc in Dra. Sigrid S. Rodolfo v. Romeo D. Lonzanida, docketed as Office of the Mayor in view of Lonzanida’s disqualification. DILG
SPA No. 09-158 (DC). The petition asserts that the COMELEC Legal Opinion No. 117, S. 201010 stated that Lonzanida was
issued the Resolution and Order with grave abuse of discretion disqualified to hold office by reason of his criminal conviction. As a
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. consequence of Lonzanida’s disqualification, the Office of the Mayor
was deemed permanently vacant. Thus, Aratea should assume the
The Facts
Office of the Mayor in an acting capacity without prejudice to the
Romeo D. Lonzanida (Lonzanida) and Estela D. Antipolo (Antipolo) COMELEC’s resolution of Lonzanida’s motion for reconsideration.
were candidates for Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales in the May In another letter dated 6 August 2010, Aratea requested the DILG to
2010 National and Local Elections. Lonzanida filed his certificate of allow him to take the oath of office as Mayor of San Antonio,
candidacy on 1 December 2009.4 On 8 December 2009, Dra. Sigrid Zambales. In his response dated 24 August 2010, then Secretary Jesse
S. Rodolfo (Rodolfo) filed a petition under Section 78 of the Omnibus M. Robredo allowed Aratea to take an oath of office as "the
Election Code to disqualify Lonzanida and to deny due course or to permanent Municipal Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales without
cancel Lonzanida’s certificate of candidacy on the ground that prejudice however to the outcome of the cases pending before the
Lonzanida was elected, and had served, as mayor of San Antonio, [COMELEC]."11
Zambales for four (4) consecutive terms immediately prior to the
On 11 August 2010, the COMELEC En Banc issued a
term for the May 2010 elections. Rodolfo asserted that Lonzanida
Resolution12 disqualifying Lonzanida from running for Mayor in the
made a false material representation in his certificate of candidacy
May 2010 elections. The COMELEC En Banc’s resolution was based
when Lonzanida certified under oath that he was eligible for the
on two grounds: first, Lonzanida had been elected and had served as
office he sought election. Section 8, Article X of the 1987
Mayor for more than three consecutive terms without interruption;
Constitution5 and Section 43(b) of the Local Government Code6 both
andsecond, Lonzanida had been convicted by final judgment of ten
prohibit a local elective official from being elected and serving for
(10) counts of falsification under the Revised Penal Code. Lonzanida
more than three consecutive terms for the same position.
was sentenced for each count of falsification to imprisonment of four
The COMELEC Second Division rendered a Resolution7 on 18 (4) years and one (1) day of prisión correccional as minimum, to
February 2010 cancelling Lonzanida’s certificate of candidacy. eight (8) years and one (1) day of prisión mayor as maximum. The
Pertinent portions of the 18 February 2010 Resolution read: judgment of conviction became final on 23 October 2009 in the
Decision of this Court in Lonzanida v. People,13before Lonzanida
Respondent Lonzanida never denied having held the office of mayor filed his certificate of candidacy on 1 December 2009. Pertinent
of San Antonio, Zambales for more than nine consecutive years. portions of the 11 August 2010 Resolution read:
Instead he raised arguments to forestall or dismiss the petition on the
grounds other than the main issue itself. We find such arguments as Prescinding from the foregoing premises, Lonzanida, for having
wanting. Respondent Lonzanida, for holding the office of mayor for served as Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales for more than three (3)
more than three consecutive terms, went against the three-term limit consecutive terms and for having been convicted by a final judgment
rule; therefore, he could not be allowed to run anew in the 2010 of a crime punishable by more than one (1) year of imprisonment, is
elections. It is time to infuse new blood in the political arena of San clearly disqualified to run for the same position in the May 2010
Antonio. Elections.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Motion for
GRANTED. The Certificate of Candidacy of Respondent Romeo D. Reconsideration is hereby DENIED.
Lonzanida for the position of mayor in the municipality of San
SO ORDERED.14
Antonio, Zambales is hereby CANCELLED. His name is hereby
ordered STRICKEN OFF the list of Official Candidates for the On 25 August 2010, Antipolo filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene
position of Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales in May 10, 2010 and to Admit Attached Petition-in-Intervention.15She claimed her
elections. right to be proclaimed as Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales because
Lonzanida ceased to be a candidate when the COMELEC Second
SO ORDERED.8
Division, through its 18 February 2010 Resolution, ordered the
Lonzanida’s motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC En cancellation of his certificate of candidacy and the striking out of his
Banc remained pending during the May 2010 elections. Lonzanida name from the list of official candidates for the position of Mayor of
and Efren Racel Aratea (Aratea) garnered the highest number of votes San Antonio, Zambales in the May 2010 elections.
and were respectively proclaimed Mayor and Vice-Mayor.
In his Comment filed on 26 January 2011, Aratea asserted that
Antipolo, as the candidate who received the second highest number
of votes, could not be proclaimed as the winning candidate. Since 1. Declares NULL and VOID the proclamation of respondent
Lonzanida’s disqualification was not yet final during election day, ROMEO D. LONZANIDA;
the votes cast in his favor could not be declared stray. Lonzanida’s
subsequent disqualification resulted in a permanent vacancy in the 2. GRANTS the Petition for Intervention of Estela D. Antipolo;
Office of Mayor, and Aratea, as the duly-elected Vice-Mayor, was
3. Orders the immediate CONSTITUTION of a Special Municipal
mandated by Section 4416 of the Local Government Code to succeed
Board of Canvassers to PROCLAIM Intervenor Estela D. Antipolo
as Mayor.
as the duly elected Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales;
The COMELEC’s Rulings
4. Orders Vice-Mayor Efren Racel Aratea to cease and desist from
The COMELEC En Banc issued an Order dated 12 January 2011, discharging the functions of the Office of the Mayor, and to cause a
stating: peaceful turn-over of the said office to Antipolo upon her
proclamation; and
Acting on the "Motion for Leave to Intervene and to Admit Attached
Petition-in-Intervention" filed by Estela D. Antipolo (Antipolo) and 5. Orders the Office of the Executive Director as well as the Regional
pursuant to the power of this Commission to suspend its Rules or any Election Director of Region III to cause the implementation of this
portion thereof in the interest of justice, this Commission hereby Resolution and disseminate it to the Department of Interior and Local
RESOLVES to: Government.

1. GRANT the aforesaid Motion; SO ORDERED.19

2. ADMIT the Petition-in-Intervention filed by Antipolo; Aratea filed the present petition on 9 February 2011.

3. REQUIRE the Respondent, ROMEO DUMLAO LONZANIDA, The Issues


as well as EFREN RACEL ARATEA, proclaimed Vice-Mayor of
The manner of filling up the permanent vacancy in the Office of the
San Antonio, Zambales, to file their respective Comments on the
Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales is dependent upon the
Petition-in- Intervention within a non-extendible period of five (5)
determination of Lonzanida’s removal. Whether Lonzanida was
days from receipt thereof;
disqualified under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, or made
4. SET the above-mentioned Petition-in-Intervention for hearing on a false material representation under Section 78 of the same
January 26, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. COMELEC Session Hall, 8th Floor, Code that resulted in his certificate of candidacy being void ab
Palacio del Gobernador, Intramuros, Manila. initio, is determinative of whether Aratea or Antipolo is the rightful
occupant to the Office of the Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales.
WHEREFORE, furnish copies hereof the parties for their information
and compliance. The dissenting opinions reverse the COMELEC’s 2 February 2011
Resolution and 12 January 2011 Order. They hold that Aratea, the
SO ORDERED.17 duly elected Vice-Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales, should be
declared Mayor pursuant to the Local Government Code’s rule on
In its Resolution dated 2 February 2011, the COMELEC En Banc no succession.
longer considered Lonzanida’s qualification as an issue: "It is beyond
cavil that Lonzanida is not eligible to hold and discharge the functions The dissenting opinions make three grave errors: first, they ignore
of the Office of the Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales. The sole issue prevailing jurisprudence that a false representation in the certificate
to be resolved at this juncture is how to fill the vacancy resulting from of candidacy as to eligibility in the number of terms elected and
Lonzanida’s disqualification."18 The Resolution further stated: served is a material fact that is a ground for a petition to cancel a
certificate of candidacy under Section 78; second, they ignore that a
We cannot sustain the submission of Oppositor Aratea that Intervenor false representation as to eligibility to run for public office due to the
Antipolo could never be proclaimed as the duly elected Mayor of fact that the candidate suffers from perpetual special
Antipolo [sic] for being a second placer in the elections. The disqualification is a material fact that is a ground for a petition to
teachings in the cases of Codilla vs. De Venecia and Nazareno and cancel a certificate of candidacy under Section 78; and third, they
Domino vs. COMELEC, et al., while they remain sound resort to a strained statutory construction to conclude that the
jurisprudence find no application in the case at bar. What sets this violation of the three-term limit rule cannot be a ground for
case apart from the cited jurisprudence is that the notoriety of cancellation of a certificate of candidacy under Section 78, even when
Lonzanida’s disqualification and ineligibility to hold public office is it is clear and plain that violation of the three-term limit rule is an
established both in fact and in law on election day itself. Hence, ineligibility affecting the qualification of a candidate to elective
Lonzanida’s name, as already ordered by the Commission on office.
February 18, 2010 should have been stricken off from the list of
official candidates for Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales. The dissenting opinions tread on dangerous ground when they assert
that a candidate’s eligibility to the office he seeks election must be
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Commission hereby: strictly construed to refer only to the details, i.e., age, citizenship, or
residency, among others, which the law requires him to state in his Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code provides:
COC, and which he must swear under oath to possess. The dissenting
opinions choose to view a false certification of a candidate’s Sec. 12. Disqualification. — Any person who has been declared by
eligibility on the three-term limit rule not as a ground for false competent authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by
material representation under Section 78 but as a ground for final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any
disqualification under Section 68 of the same Code. This is clearly offense for which he was sentenced to a penalty of more than
contrary to well-established jurisprudence. eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall
be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, unless he has
The Court’s Ruling been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty.

We hold that Antipolo, the alleged "second placer," should be The disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be
proclaimed Mayor because Lonzanida’s certificate of candidacy was deemed removed upon the declaration by competent authority that
void ab initio. In short, Lonzanida was never a candidate at all. All said insanity or incompetence had been removed or after the
votes for Lonzanida were stray votes. Thus, Antipolo, the only expiration of a period of five years from his service of sentence,
qualified candidate, actually garnered the highest number of votes for unless within the same period he again becomes disqualified.
the position of Mayor. (Emphasis supplied)

Qualifications and Disqualifications The grounds for disqualification for a petition under Section 68 of the
Omnibus Election Code are specifically enumerated:
Section 65 of the Omnibus Election Code points to the Local
Government Code for the qualifications of elective local officials. Sec. 68. Disqualifications. ‒ Any candidate who, in an action or
Paragraphs (a) and (c) of Section 39 and Section 40 of the Local protest in which he is a party is declared by final decision by a
Government Code provide in pertinent part: competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a)
given money or other material consideration to influence, induce
Sec. 39. Qualifications. ‒ (a) An elective local official must be a or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral
citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay, functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his
municipality, city or province x x x; a resident therein for at least one candidacy; (c) spent in his election campaign an amount in excess
(1) year immediately preceding the day of the election; and able to of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any
read and write Filipino or any other local language or dialect. contribution prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; (e)
violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e,
xxxx
k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6, shall be disqualified from continuing
(c) Candidates for the position of mayor or vice-mayor of as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the office. Any
independent component cities, component cities, or municipalities person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign
must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age on election day. country shall not be qualified to run for any elective office under this
Code, unless said person has waived his status as permanent resident
xxxx or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence
requirement provided for in the election laws. (Emphasis supplied)
Sec. 40. Disqualifications. - The following persons are disqualified
from running for any elective local position: A petition for disqualification under Section 68 clearly refers to "the
commission of prohibited acts and possession of a permanent resident
(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving status in a foreign country."20 All the offenses mentioned in Section
moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by one (1) year or 68 refer to election offenses under the Omnibus Election Code,
more of imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving not to violations of other penal laws. There is absolutely nothing in
sentence; the language of Section 68 that would justify including violation of
the three-term limit rule, or conviction by final judgment of the crime
(b) Those removed from office as a result of an administrative case;
of falsification under the Revised Penal Code, as one of the grounds
(c) Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of or offenses covered under Section 68. In Codilla, Sr. v. de
allegiance to the Republic; Venecia,21 this Court ruled:

(d) Those with dual citizenship; [T]he jurisdiction of the COMELEC to disqualify candidates is
limited to those enumerated in Section 68 of the Omnibus Election
(e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or non-political cases here or Code. All other election offenses are beyond the ambit of COMELEC
abroad; jurisdiction. They are criminal and not administrative in nature. x x x

(f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have Clearly, the violation by Lonzanida of the three-term limit rule, or his
acquired the right to reside abroad and continue to avail of the same conviction by final judgment of the crime of falsification under the
right after the effectivity of this Code; and Revised Penal Code, does not constitute a ground for a petition under
Section 68.
(g) The insane or feeble-minded. (Emphasis supplied)
False Material Representation candidacy. The pertinent provisions of the Revised Penal Code are
as follows:
Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code states that a certificate of
candidacy may be denied or cancelled when there is false material Art. 27. Reclusion perpetua. — x x x
representation of the contents of the certificate of candidacy:
Prisión mayor and temporary disqualification. — The duration of
Sec. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of the penalties of prisión mayor and temporary disqualification
candidacy. ‒ A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to shall be from six years and one day to twelve years, except when
cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by the the penalty of disqualification is imposed as an accessory penalty,
person exclusively on the ground that any material representation in which case, it shall be that of the principal penalty.
contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false.
The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days xxxx
from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be
Art. 30. Effects of the penalties of perpetual or temporary absolute
decided, after due notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days
disqualification. — The penalties of perpetual or temporary
before the election. (Emphasis supplied)
absolute disqualification for public office shall produce the
Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code details the contents of the following effects:
certificate of candidacy:
1. The deprivation of the public offices and employments which
Sec. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. ‒ The certificate of the offender may have held, even if conferred by popular election.
candidacy shall state that the person filing it is announcing his
2. The deprivation of the right to vote in any election for any
candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for said
popular elective office or to be elected to such office.
office; if for Member of the Batasang Pambansa, the province,
including its component cities, highly urbanized city or district or 3. The disqualification for the offices or public employments and
sector which he seeks to represent; the political party to which he for the exercise of any of the rights mentioned.
belongs; civil status; his date of birth; residence; his post office
address for all election purposes; his profession or occupation; that In case of temporary disqualification, such disqualification as is
he will support and defend the Constitution of the Philippines and comprised in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this article shall last during the
will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; that he will obey the term of the sentence.
laws, legal orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted
authorities; that he is not a permanent resident or immigrant to a 4. The loss of all rights to retirement pay or other pension for any
foreign country; that the obligation imposed by his oath is assumed office formerly held.
voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and
Art. 31. Effects of the penalties of perpetual or temporary special
that the facts stated in the certificate of candidacy are true to the best
disqualification. — The penalties of perpetual or temporary
of his knowledge.
special disqualification for public office, profession or calling shall
x x x x (Emphasis supplied) produce the following effects:

A candidate for mayor in the 2010 local elections was thus required 1. The deprivation of the office, employment, profession or calling
to provide 12 items of information in the certificate of affected.
candidacy:22 name; nickname or stage name; gender; age; place of
2. The disqualification for holding similar offices or employments
birth; political party that nominated the candidate; civil status;
either perpetually or during the term of the sentence, according to the
residence/address; profession or occupation; post office address for
extent of such disqualification.
election purposes; locality of which the candidate is a registered
voter; and period of residence in the Philippines before 10 May 2010. Art. 32. Effects of the penalties of perpetual or temporary special
The candidate also certifies four statements: a statement that the disqualification for the exercise of the right of suffrage. —
candidate is a natural born or naturalized Filipino citizen; a statement The perpetual or temporary special disqualification for the
that the candidate is not a permanent resident of, or immigrant to, a exercise of the right of suffrage shall deprive the offender
foreign country; a statement that the candidate is eligible for the perpetually or during the term of the sentence, according to the
office he seeks election; and a statement of the candidate’s allegiance nature of said penalty, of the right to vote in any popular election for
to the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.23 The any public office or to be elected to such office.Moreover, the
certificate of candidacy should also be under oath, and filed within offender shall not be permitted to hold any public office during
the period prescribed by law. the period of his disqualification.
The conviction of Lonzanida by final judgment, with the penalty Art. 42. Prisión mayor — Its accessory penalties. — The penalty of
of prisión mayor, disqualifies him perpetually from holding any prision mayor shall carry with it that oftemporary absolute
public office, or from being elected to any public office. This disqualification and that of perpetual special disqualification from
perpetual disqualification took effect upon the finality of the the right of suffrage which the offender shall suffer although
judgment of conviction, before Lonzanida filed his certificate of
pardoned as to the principal penalty, unless the same shall have been antecedents; thus, the word "perpetually" refers to the perpetual kind
expressly remitted in the pardon. (Emphasis supplied) of special disqualification, while the phrase "during the term of the
sentence" refers to the temporary special disqualification. The
The penalty of prisión mayor automatically carries with it, by duration between the perpetual and the temporary (both special) are
operation of law,24 the accessory penalties of temporary absolute necessarily different because the provision, instead of merging their
disqualification and perpetual special disqualification. Under durations into one period, states that such duration is "according to
Article 30 of the Revised Penal Code, temporary absolute the nature of said penalty" — which means according to whether the
disqualification produces the effect of "deprivation of the right to vote penalty is the perpetual or the temporary special disqualification.
in any election for any popular elective office or to be elected to such (Emphasis supplied)
office.” The duration of temporary absolute disqualification is the
same as that of the principal penalty of prisión mayor. On the other Clearly, Lacuna instructs that the accessory penalty of perpetual
hand, under Article 32 of the Revised Penal Code, perpetual special special disqualification "deprives the convict of the right to vote or
disqualification means that "the offender shall not be permitted to to be elected to or hold public office perpetually.”
hold any public office during the period of his
disqualification,” which is perpetually. Both temporary absolute The accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification takes
disqualification and perpetual special disqualification constitute effect immediately once the judgment of conviction becomes
ineligibilities to hold elective public office. A person suffering from final. The effectivity of this accessory penalty does not depend on the
these ineligibilities is ineligible to run for elective public office, duration of the principal penalty, or on whether the convict serves his
and commits a false material representation if he states in his jail sentence or not. The last sentence of Article 32 states that "the
certificate of candidacy that he is eligible to so run. offender shall not be permitted to hold any public office during the
period of his [perpetual special] disqualification." Once the judgment
In Lacuna v. Abes (Lacuna),25 the Court, speaking through Justice of conviction becomes final, it is immediately executory. Any public
J.B.L. Reyes, explained the import of the accessory penalty office that the convict may be holding at the time of his conviction
of perpetual special disqualification: becomes vacant upon finality of the judgment, and the convict
becomes ineligible to run for any elective public office
On the first defense of respondent-appellee Abes, it must be perpetually. In the case of Lonzanida, he became ineligible
remembered that appellee’s conviction of a crime penalized with perpetually to hold, or to run for, any elective public office from the
prision mayor which carried the accessory penalties of temporary time the judgment of conviction against him became final. The
absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification from judgment of conviction was promulgated on 20 July 2009 and
the right of suffrage (Article 42, Revised Penal Code); and Section became final on 23 October 2009, before Lonzanida filed his
99 of the Revised Election Code disqualifies a person from voting if certificate of candidacy on 1 December 2009 . 26
he had been sentenced by final judgment to suffer one year or more
of imprisonment. Perpetual special disqualification is a ground for a petition under
Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code because this accessory
The accessory penalty of temporary absolute disqualification penalty is an ineligibility, which means that the convict is not eligible
disqualifies the convict for public office and for the right to vote, such to run for public office, contrary to the statement that Section 74
disqualification to last only during the term of the sentence (Article requires him to state under oath in his certificate of candidacy. As this
27, paragraph 3, & Article 30, Revised Penal Code) that, in the case Court held in Fermin v. Commission on Elections,27 the false material
of Abes, would have expired on 13 October 1961. representation may refer to "qualifications or eligibility.” One who
suffers from perpetual special disqualification is ineligible to run for
But this does not hold true with respect to the other accessory penalty
public office. If a person suffering from perpetual special
of perpetual special disqualification for the exercise of the right of
disqualification files a certificate of candidacy stating under oath that
suffrage. This accessory penalty deprives the convict of the right to
"he is eligible to run for (public) office," as expressly required
vote or to be elected to or hold public office perpetually, as
under Section 74, then he clearly makes afalse material
distinguished from temporary special disqualification, which lasts
representation that is a ground for a petition under Section 78. As
during the term of the sentence. Article 32, Revised Penal Code,
this Court explained inFermin:
provides:
Lest it be misunderstood, the denial of due course to or the
Art. 32. Effects of the penalties of perpetual or temporary special
cancellation of the CoC is not based on the lack of qualifications but
disqualification for the exercise of the right of suffrage. — The
on a finding that the candidate made a material representation that is
perpetual or temporary special disqualification for the exercise of the
false, which may relate to the qualifications required of the public
right of suffrage shall deprive the offender perpetually or during the
office he/she is running for. It is noted that the candidate states
term of the sentence, according to the nature of said penalty, of the
in his/her CoC that he/she is eligible for the office he/she seeks.
right to vote in any popular election for any public office or to be
Section 78 of the OEC, therefore, is to be read in relation to the
elected to such office. Moreover, the offender shall not be permitted
constitutional and statutory provisions on qualifications or
to hold any public office during the period of disqualification.
eligibility for public office. If the candidate subsequently states a
The word "perpetually" and the phrase "during the term of the material representation in the CoC that is false, the COMELEC,
sentence" should be applied distributively to their respective following the law, is empowered to deny due course to or cancel
such certificate. Indeed, the Court has already likened a proceeding cancel" Ong’s certificate of candidacy under Section 78 was
under Section 78 to a quo warranto proceeding under Section 253 of predicated on the violation of the three-term limit rule.
the OEC since they both deal with the eligibility or qualification of a
candidate, with the distinction mainly in the fact that a "Section 78" Loong, Fermin and Munder:
petition is filed before proclamation, while a petition for quo warranto
When Possession of a Disqualifying Condition
is filed after proclamation of the winning candidate.28 (Emphasis
is Not a Ground for a Petition for Disqualification
supplied)
It is obvious from a reading of the laws and jurisprudence that there
Latasa, Rivera and Ong:
is an overlap in the grounds for eligibility and ineligibility vis-à-
The Three-Term Limit Rule as a Ground for Ineligibility vis qualifications and disqualifications. For example, a candidate may
represent that he is a resident of a particular Philippine
Section 74 requires the candidate to certify that he is eligible for the locality37 when he is actually a permanent resident of another
public office he seeks election. Thus, Section 74 states that "the country.38 In cases of such overlap, the petitioner should not be
certificate of candidacy shall state that the person filing x x x is constrained in his choice of remedy when the Omnibus Election Code
eligible for said office.” The three-term limit rule, enacted to prevent explicitly makes available multiple remedies.39 Section 78 allows the
the establishment of political dynasties and to enhance the filing of a petition to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of
electorate’s freedom of choice,29 is found both in the candidacy before the election, while Section 253 allows the filing of
Constitution30 and the law.31 After being elected and serving for three a petition for quo warranto after the election. Despite the overlap of
consecutive terms, an elective local official cannot seek immediate the grounds, one should not confuse a petition for disqualification
reelection for the same office in the next regular election32 because using grounds enumerated in Section 68 with a petition to deny due
he is ineligible. One who has an ineligibility to run for elective public course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy under Section 78.
office is not "eligible for [the] office." As used in Section 74, the word
"eligible"33 means having the right to run for elective public office, The distinction between a petition under Section 68 and a petition
that is, having all the qualifications and none of the ineligibilities to under Section 78 was discussed in Loong v. Commission on
run for the public office. Elections40 with respect to the applicable prescriptive period.
Respondent Nur Hussein Ututalum filed a petition under Section 78
In Latasa v. Commission on Elections,34 petitioner Arsenio Latasa to disqualify petitioner Benjamin Loong for the office of Regional
was elected mayor of the Municipality of Digos, Davao del Sur in Vice-Governor of the Autonomous Government of Muslim
1992, 1995, and 1998. The Municipality of Digos was converted into Mindanao for false representation as to his age. The petition was filed
the City of Digos during Latasa’s third term. Latasa filed his 16 days after the election, and clearly beyond the prescribed 25 day
certificate of candidacy for city mayor for the 2001 elections. Romeo period from the last day of filing certificates of candidacy. This Court
Sunga, Latasa’s opponent, filed before the COMELEC a "petition to ruled that Ututalum’s petition was one based on false representation
deny due course, cancel certificate of candidacy and/or under Section 78, and not for disqualification under Section 68.
disqualification" under Section 78 on the ground that Latasa falsely Hence, the 25-day prescriptive period provided in Section 78 should
represented in his certificate of candidacy that he is eligible to run as be strictly applied. We recognized the possible gap in the law:
mayor of Digos City. Latasa argued that he did not make any false
representation. In his certificate of candidacy, Latasa inserted a It is true that the discovery of false representation as to material facts
footnote after the phrase "I am eligible" and indicated " *Having required to be stated in a certificate of candidacy, under Section 74
served three (3) term[s] as municipal mayor and now running for the of the Code, may be made only after the lapse of the 25-day period
first time as city mayor." The COMELEC First Division cancelled prescribed by Section 78 of the Code, through no fault of the person
Latasa’s certificate of candidacy for violation of the three-term limit who discovers such misrepresentations and who would want the
rule but not for false material representation. This Court affirmed the disqualification of the candidate committing the misrepresentations.
COMELEC En Banc’s denial of Latasa’s motion for reconsideration. It would seem, therefore, that there could indeed be a gap between
the time of the discovery of the misrepresentation, (when the
We cancelled Marino Morales’ certificate of candidacy in Rivera III discovery is made after the 25-day period under Sec. 78 of the Code
v. Commission on Elections (Rivera).35 We held that Morales has lapsed) and the time when the proclamation of the results of the
exceeded the maximum three-term limit, having been elected and election is made. During this so-called "gap" the would-be petitioner
served as Mayor of Mabalacat for four consecutive terms (1995 to (who would seek the disqualification of the candidate) is left with
1998, 1998 to 2001, 2001 to 2004, and 2004 to 2007). We declared nothing to do except to wait for the proclamation of the results, so
him ineligible as a candidate for the same position for the 2007 to that he could avail of a remedy against the misrepresenting candidate,
2010 term. Although we did not explicitly rule that Morales’ that is, by filing a petition for quo warranto against him. Respondent
violation of the three-term limit rule constituted false material Commission sees this "gap" in what it calls a procedural gap which,
representation, we nonetheless granted the petition to cancel according to it, is unnecessary and should be remedied.
Morales’ certificate of candidacy under Section 78. We also affirmed
the cancellation of Francis Ong’s certificate of candidacy in Ong v. At the same time, it can not be denied that it is the purpose and intent
Alegre,36 where the "petition to disqualify, deny due course and of the legislative branch of the government to fix a definite time
within which petitions of protests related to eligibility of candidates
for elective offices must be filed, as seen in Sections 78 and 253 of The dissenting opinions place the violation of the three-term limit
the Code. Respondent Commission may have seen the need to rule as a disqualification under Section 68 as the violation allegedly
remedy this so-called “procedural gap", but it is not for it to prescribe is "a status, circumstance or condition which bars him from running
what the law does not provide, its function not being legislative. The for public office despite the possession of all the qualifications under
question of whether the time to file these petitions or protests is too Section 39 of the [Local Government Code]." In so holding the
short or ineffective is one for the Legislature to decide and remedy.41 dissenting opinions write in the law what is not found in the law.
Section 68 is explicit as to the proper grounds for disqualification
In Fermin v. Commission on Elections,42 the issue of a candidate’s under said Section. The grounds for filing a petition for
possession of the required one-year residency requirement was raised disqualification under Section 68 are specifically enumerated in said
in a petition for disqualification under Section 68 instead of a petition Section. However, contrary to the specific enumeration in Section 68
to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy under and contrary to prevailing jurisprudence, the dissenting opinions add
Section 78. Despite the question of the one-year residency being a to the enumerated grounds the violation of the three-term limit rule
proper ground under Section 78, Dilangalen, the petitioner before the and falsification under the Revised Penal Code, which are obviously
COMELEC in Fermin, relied on Section 5(C)(1) and 5(C)(3)(a)(4) of not found in the enumeration in Section 68.
COMELEC Resolution No. 780043 and filed the petition under
Section 68. In Fermin, we ruled that "a COMELEC rule or resolution The dissenting opinions equate Lonzanida’s possession of a
cannot supplant or vary legislative enactments that distinguish the disqualifying condition (violation of the three-term limit rule) with
grounds for disqualification from those of ineligibility, and the the grounds for disqualification under Section 68. Section 68 is
appropriate proceedings to raise the said grounds." 44 A petition for explicit as to the proper grounds for disqualification: the commission
disqualification can only be premised on a ground specified in of specific prohibited acts under the Omnibus Election Code and
Section 12 or 68 of the Omnibus Election Code or Section 40 of the possession of a permanent residency or immigrant status in a foreign
Local Government Code. Thus, a petition questioning a candidate’s country. Any other false representation regarding a material fact
possession of the required one-year residency requirement, as should be filed under Section 78, specifically under the candidate’s
distinguished from permanent residency or immigrant status in a certification of his eligibility. In rejecting a violation of the three-term
foreign country, should be filed under Section 78, and a petition under limit as a condition for eligibility, the dissenting opinions resort to
Section 68 is the wrong remedy. judicial legislation, ignoring the verba legis doctrine and well-
established jurisprudence on this very issue.
In Munder v. Commission on Elections,45 petitioner Alfais Munder
filed a certificate of candidacy for Mayor of Bubong, Lanao del Sur In a certificate of candidacy, the candidate is asked to certify under
on 26 November 2009. Respondent Atty. Tago Sarip filed a petition oath his eligibility, and thus qualification, to the office he seeks
for Munder’s disqualification on 13 April 2010. Sarip claimed that election. Even though the certificate of candidacy does not
Munder misrepresented that he was a registered voter of Bubong, specifically ask the candidate for the number of terms elected and
Lanao del Sur, and that he was eligible to register as a voter in 2003 served in an elective position, such fact is material in determining a
even though he was not yet 18 years of age at the time of the voter’s candidate’s eligibility, and thus qualification for the office. Election
registration. Moreover, Munder’s certificate of candidacy was not to and service of the same local elective position for three consecutive
accomplished in full as he failed to indicate his precinct and did not terms renders a candidate ineligible from running for the same
affix his thumb-mark. The COMELEC Second Division dismissed position in the succeeding elections. Lonzanida misrepresented his
Sarip’s petition and declared that his grounds are not grounds for eligibility because he knew full well that he had been elected, and had
disqualification under Section 68 but for denial or cancellation of served, as mayor of San Antonio, Zambales for more than three
Munder’s certificate of candidacy under Section 78. Sarip’s petition consecutive terms yet he still certified that he was eligible to run for
was filed out of time as he had only 25 days after the filing of mayor for the next succeeding term. Thus, Lonzanida’s
Munder’s certificate of candidacy, or until 21 December 2009, within representation that he was eligible for the office that he sought
which to file his petition. election constitutes false material representation as to his
qualification or eligibility for the office.
The COMELEC En Banc, however, disqualified Munder. In
reversing the COMELEC Second Division, the COMELEC En Banc Legal Duty of COMELEC
did not rule on the propriety of Sarip’s remedy but focused on the to Enforce Perpetual Special Disqualification
question of whether Munder was a registered voter of Bubong, Lanao
del Sur. This Court reinstated the COMELEC Second Division’s Even without a petition under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election
resolution. This Court ruled that the ground raised in the petition, lack Code, the COMELEC is under a legal duty to cancel the certificate
of registration as voter in the locality where he was running as a of candidacy of anyone suffering from perpetual special
candidate, is inappropriate for a petition for disqualification. We disqualification to run for public office by virtue of a final judgment
further declared that with our ruling in Fermin, we had already of conviction. The final judgment of conviction is judicial notice to
rejected the claim that lack of substantive qualifications of a the COMELEC of the disqualification of the convict from running
candidate is a ground for a petition for disqualification under Section for public office. The law itself bars the convict from running for
68. The only substantive qualification the absence of which is a public office, and the disqualification is part of the final judgment of
ground for a petition under Section 68 is the candidate’s permanent conviction. The final judgment of the court is addressed not only to
residency or immigrant status in a foreign country.
the Executive branch, but also to other government agencies tasked duly elected Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales. Petitioner Efren Racel
to implement the final judgment under the law. Aratea is ORDERED to cease and desist from discharging the
functions of the Office of the Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales.
Whether or not the COMELEC is expressly mentioned in the
judgment to implement the disqualification, it is assumed that the SO ORDERED.
portion of the final judgment on disqualification to run for elective
public office is addressed to the COMELEC because under the
Constitution the COMELEC is duty bound to "enforce and
administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an
election."46 The disqualification of a convict to run for elective public
office under the Revised Penal Code, as affirmed by final judgment
of a competent court, is part of theenforcement and
administration of "all the laws" relating to the conduct of elections.

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.47 We quote from the
COMELEC’s 2 February 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.48 (Boldfacing and underscoring in the original;
italicization supplied)

Lonzanida's certificate of candidacy was cancelled because he was


ineligible or not qualified to run for Mayor.1âwphi1Whether 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 201 0 elections - Anti polo, who
therefore received the highest number of votes.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The Resolution dated


2 February 2011 and the Order dated 12 January 2011 of the
COMELEC En Bane in SPA No. 09-158 (DC) are AFFIRMED. The
COMELEC En Bane isDIRECTED to constitute a Special
Municipal Board of Canvassers to proclaim Estela D. Antipolo as the