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G.R. No. 120823, Oct.

24, 1995 with respect to the election returns as from the other two:, PN 16 and 20-A,
excluding the returns of the latter.
HADJI HAMID PATORAY 6. This wiped out Patoray’s lead of 25 votes and instead gave Disomimba lead of
193 votes.
vs COMELEC, (NEW) MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF 7. On July 3, Patoray filed an MR, but this was denied by the COMELEC en banc,
TAMPARAN, LANAO DEL SUR and TOPAAN D. DISOMIMBA as well as his Motion for the Constitution of a new MBC to implement the 2 nd
Division’s Resolution.
8. COMELEC 2nd Division:
a. The affidavits of the chairpersons of the Board of Inspectors of PN 16
and 20-A were to the effect that the returns contained different number
of votes from what they had tallied, and hence should be considered
Petition for certiorari and prohibition for the annulment of the resolution, dated June 30,
1995, of the Second Division of the Commission on Elections and the resolution, dated July
b. Contrary to MBC’s findings of “clean/genuine” returns, Election Return
12, 1995, of the COMELEC en banc, ordering the exclusion of two election returns from the No. 661290 from PN 16 showed a discrepancy between the “taras” and
canvass for the mayoralty of the Municipality of Tamparan, Lanao del Sur. the written figures, while Election Return No. 661295 from PN 20-A
lacked data as to provincial and congressional candidates
FACTS: c. The Certificates of Votes cast in the two precincts, which showed
1. Patoray and Disomimba were candidates for mayor for Tamparan, Lanao del different number of votes, constitute evidence of tampering, alteration,
Sur in the May 1995 elections. and falsification
2. During the canvassing of votes by the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC), 9. Petitioner PATORAY’s arguments
Disomimba objected to the inclusion of election returns from four (4) precincts, a. COMELEC excluded the subject returns without examining other
Precinct Nos. 16, 17, 19, and 20-A, on the grounds that these had been authentic copies of the questioned returns or ordering the opening of
“prepared under duress, threats, coercion, and intimidation” and that these were the ballot boxes based solely on the affidavits of the BEI chairpersons
“substituted, fraudulent, and obviously manufactured” returns. whose recollections were unreliable
3. On May 31, 1995, the MBC denied Disomimba’s objections and included the 4 b. It was impossible to commit any falsification in the preparation of the
questioned returns, noting that they appeared “clean, genuine, and regular on returns as such was done in the presence of the parties’ pollwatchers,
their faces”. and that the affidavits presented by Disomimba came from biased
4. On June 3, Disomimba appealed to the COMELEC. Among the record sources
transmitted was the report of the MBC on the canvass of the election returns c. COMELEC should have ordered authentic copies of the returns to be
from 45 precincts, which showed the tootal number of votes received by each used or directed a recount of votes to determine Disomimba’s claims,
party as follows: as provided in OEC 235 and 2361.
Hadji Patoray - 3778 votes 10. Respondent DISOMIMBA’s arguments:
Topaan Disomimba - 3753 votes a. The use of the Certificates of Votes and BEI chairs’ affidavits were valid
_________ on the ground that all copies of the election returns in question 2 were
DIFFERENCE - 25 votes delivered to the Election Officer, who held such returns from May 18-26
5. On June 30, COMELEC 2 Division affirmed the MBC ruling as to the election
nd until the MBC used them.
returns from two of the four questioned precincts, PN 17 and 19, but reversed it b. All copies of the election returns could have been substituted by
spurious ones because of the opportunity which the Election Officer had

1SECTION 236. Discrepancies in election returns. — In case it appears to the board of canvassers that summarily to determine whether the integrity of the ballot box had been preserved, and once
there exists discrepancies in the other authentic copies of the election returns from a polling place or satisfied thereof shall order the opening of the ballot box to recount the votes cast in the polling place
discrepancies in the votes of any candidate in words and figures in the same return, and in either case solely for the purpose of determining the true result of the count of votes of the candidates
the difference affects the results of the election, the Commission, upon motion of the board of concerned.
canvassers or any candidate affected and after due notice to all candidates concerned, shall proceed 2 Those for the COMELEC, Provincial Board of Canvassers, Municipal Treasurer, and MTC
and that therefore, it was futile for the COMELEC to use the other instance does not come within the purview of RA 6646, Sec. 17, but rather,
copies of the election returns within OEC 234, which states that:
11. COMELEC arguments: a. SECTION 234. Material defects in the election returns. — If it should
a. RA 6646, Sec. 173 provides that notwithstanding the provisions of OEC clearly appear that some requisites in form or data had been omitted in
235-236, Certificates of Votes may be used to prove "tampering, the election returns, the board of canvassers shall call for all the
alteration, falsification or any other anomaly committed in the election members of the board of election inspectors concerned by the most
returns concerned" expeditious means, for the same board to effect the correction:
b. It also maintains that on the basis of the affidavits of the BEI Provided, That in case of the omission in the election returns of the
chairpersons the election returns in question were unquestionably name of any candidate and/or his corresponding votes, the board of
manufactured and substituted for the genuine returns. canvassers shall require the board of election inspectors concerned to
complete the necessary data in the election returns and affix therein
ISSUE: their initials:
1. WON the COMELEC was correct in ordering the exclusion of Election Return Provided, further, That if the votes omitted in the returns cannot be
No. 661290 (PN 16) – Yes, BUT it should have ordered a recount of the ascertained by other means except by recounting the ballots, the
ballots or used the Cert. of Votes cast in the precinct in question to Commission, after satisfying itself that the identity and integrity of the
determine the votes for each party ballot box have not been violated, shall order the board of election
inspectors to open the ballot box, and, also after satisfying itself that the
2. WON the COMELEC was correct in order the exclusion of Election Return No.
integrity of the ballots therein has been duly preserved, order the board
662195 – NO
of election inspectors to count the votes for the candidate whose votes
have been omitted with notice thereof to all candidates for the position
HELD: involved and thereafter complete the returns.
1. The Certificate of Votes (CoV) is evidence not only of tampering, alteration, The right of a candidate to avail of this provision shall not be lost or
falsification or any other anomaly in the preparation of election returns but also affected by the fact that an election protest is subsequently filed by any
of the votes obtained by candidates. of the candidates.
2. In this case, The CoV in PN 16 shows that Patoray received 207 votes, not 237 6. The CoV in PN 20-A cannot be used even if RA 6646, Sec. 17 were applicable,
votes as indicated in election return, while Disomimba received 137 votes, not as it was signed only by the BEI chair of that precinct, contrary to the
107 as indicated in the return, thus affecting the election results. requirement of RA 6646, Sec. 16 requirement that it must be signed and
3. The COMELEC's 2nd Division could also have ordered a recount of the votes thumbmarked by each member of the BEI which issued the certificated.
cast after determining that the ballot box has not been tampered with in 7. The COMELEC, should have simply ordered a recount of the votes cast in the
accordance with OEC 236. The failure of COMELEC to do either, after excluding two precincts and directed the proclamation of the winner accordingly.
the election return will result in the disfranchisement of the voters in PN 16.

4. HOWEVER, COMELEC erred in excluding Election Return No. 662195 on the DISPOSITIVE: COMELEC resolutions set aside; COMELEC ordered to issue another
basis of CoV cast in PN 20-A and the affidavit of the BEI of PN 20-A, on the
one in accordance with this decision.
ground that it was “incomplete” for “lacking data as to provincial and
congressional candidates.”
5. Such makes the case not for discrepancy in election returns (justifying resort to
CoV under OEC 236, in rel. to RA 6646, Sec.7), but rather makes it one involving
material defects in an election return under OEC 234. Hence, this specific

3SECTION 17. Certificate of Votes as Evidence. — The provisions of Sections 235 and 236 of Batas canvassers by at least two members of the board of election inspectors who issued the certificate:
Pambansa Blg. 881 notwithstanding, the certificate of votes shall be admissible in evidence to prove Provided, That failure to present any certificate of votes shall not be a bar to the presentation of
tampering, alteration, falsification or any anomaly committed in the election returns concerned, other evidence to impugn the authenticity of the election returns.
when duly authenticated by testimonial or documentary evidence presented to the board of