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1. Cayetano V. COMELEC the enforcement and administration of a law relative to a plebiscite.

It
G.R. 166388 & G.R. 166652 falls under the jurisdiction of the COMELEC under Section 2 (1), Article IX
January 23, 2006 (C) of the Constitution authorizing it ‘to enforce and administer all laws
Topic: Power to enforce and administer all election laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite,
Petitioners: Alan Cayetano initiative, referendum, and recall.’"
Respondents: COMELEC - The recount resulted in a 21,105 affirmative votes represent the majority
Ponente: J. Sandoval Gutierrez and the highest votes obtained during the 1998 Taguig Plebiscite which
DOCTRINE: COMELEC has jurisdiction over plebiscite results resulted in a ratification and approval of the conversion
- Hence, this petition before the Supreme Court alleging that COMELEC
FACTS (G.R. 166388) acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of
- Alan Peter S. Cayetano representing the district of Taguig-Pateros filed a jurisdiction in confirming the ratification and approval of the conversion
case against COMELEC declaring declaring the ratification and approval, of Taguig into a highly urbanized city.
through a plebiscite, of the conversion of the Municipality of Taguig,
Metro Manila, into a highly urbanized city. Private respondents are ISSUE
residents and duly registered voters of Taguig. Whether COMELEC has jurisdiction over plebiscite results

FACTS (G.R. 166652) HELD


Yes!
- COMELEC conducted a plebiscite in Taguig, Metro Manila on the
conversion of this municipality into a highly urbanized city as mandated
RATIO
by Republic Act No. 8487
The Supreme Court held that it is clear from petitioner’s allegations that the
- The residents of Taguig were asked this question: "Do you approve the
matters being raised – the alleged incomplete canvass of plebiscite votes during the
conversion of the Municipality of Taguig, Metro Manila into a highly
revision proceedings and the irregularities, frauds, and anomalies purportedly
urbanized city to be known as the City of Taguig, as provided for in
committed therein – are factual in nature. They involve an examination of the
Republic Act No. 8487?
admissibility and sufficiency of the evidence presented during the revision
- Plebiscite Board of Canvassers without completing the canvass of 64 proceedings before the COMELEC.
other election returns declared that the “No” votes won
- Respondents alleged that fraud and irregularities attended the casting Certainly, the SC cannot do in the present special civil actions for certiorari under
and counting of votes Rule 65 of the 1987 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. Section 1 of the same
- Petitioner intervened in the case. He then filed a motion to dismiss the Rule confines the power of this Court to resolve issues mainly involving jurisdiction,
petition on the ground that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction over an including grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of
action involving the conduct of a plebiscite. He alleged that a plebiscite jurisdiction attributed to the public respondent.
couldn’t be the subject of an election protest.
- The COMELEC Second Division issued a Resolution granting petitioner’s The above factual findings of the COMELEC supported by evidence, are accorded,
motion and dismissing the petition to annul the results of the Taguig not only respect, but also with finality. This is so because "the conduct of plebiscite
plebiscite for lack of jurisdiction. and determination of its result have always been the business of the COMELEC and
- The COMELEC en banc affirmed this Resolution. not the regular courts. Such a case involves the appreciation of ballots, which is
- Private respondents filed with this Court a petition for certiorari and best left to the COMELEC.
mandamus, docketed as G.R. No. 155855, entitled Ma. Salvacion Buac
and Antonio Bautista vs. COMELEC and Alan Peter S. Cayetano. As an independent constitutional body exclusively charged with the power of
- The Supreme Court held on such case that the controversy on the enforcement and administration of all laws and regulations relative to the conduct
conduct of the Taguig plebiscite "is a matter that involves of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall, the COMELEC has
the indisputable expertise in the field of election and related laws." Its acts,
therefore, enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties

DISPOSITIVE PORTION
WHEREFORE, the instant petitions are dismissed for lack of merit. Costs against
petitioner. SO ORDERED.
2. Manzala vs. Commission on Elections
HELD: Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests
FACTS: Petitioner Ibarra R. Manzala and private respondent Julie R. Monton were involving elective municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not
mayoralty candidates in the Municipality of Magdiwang, Romblon, during the May appealable. In the exercise of its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial powers, the
10, 2004 National and Local Elections. On May 13, 2004, the Municipal Board of Constitution also mandates the COMELEC to hear and decide cases first by division
Canvassers proclaimed private respondent as the duly elected Municipal Mayor and upon motion for reconsideration, by the COMELEC en banc. Election cases
with 2,579 votes, or a margin of 13 votes, over petitioners 2,566 votes. cannot be treated in a similar manner as criminal cases where, upon appeal from a
conviction by the trial court, the whole case is thrown open for review and the
On May 19, 2004, petitioner filed an election protest with the RTC of Romblon appellate court can resolve issues which are not even set forth in the pleadings. In
seeking recount in the 10 precincts of Magdiwang on the grounds of fraud, serious the present case, the COMELEC en banc had thoroughly reviewed the decision of its
irregularities, and willful violation of the Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Former Second Division and affirmed the findings thereof with modification as to
Bilang 881) the number of votes obtained by both parties after re-appreciation, that is, private
respondent obtained 2,535 votes, or a margin of 60 votes, over petitioners 2,475
Private respondent filed an Answer with Counter-Protest and Counterclaim, votes.
averring that the election was held peacefully with no irregularity whatsoever.
The appreciation of the contested ballots and election documents involves a
The trial court rendered judgment in favor of petitioner. IBARRA R. MANZALA was question of fact best left to the determination of the COMELEC, a specialized
proclaimed as the duly-elected Municipal Mayor with a majority of 137 valid votes. agency tasked with the supervision of elections all over the country. To reiterate,
The proclamation that JULIE R. MONTON was the duly-elected MAYOR was the COMELEC is the constitutional commission vested with the exclusive original
ANNULLED. jurisdiction over election contests involving regional, provincial and city officials, as
well as appellate jurisdiction over election protests involving elective municipal and
Petitioner moved for the execution of the decision pending appeal which the trial barangay officials.
court granted on December 16, 2005.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of showing that the Commission on
On appeal, the respondent raised the following assignment of errors: that the trial Elections committed any grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed
court erred in invalidating 144 votes of private respondent ostensibly on the Resolution, dated August 24, 2006, by the Former Second Division and the
ground of pattern voting. Resolution, dated January 24, 2007, by the Commission en banc, which declared
private respondent Julie R. Monton to be the duly elected Municipal Mayor of
On August 24, 2006, the Former Second Division of the COMELEC issued a Magdiwang, Romblon in the May 10, 2004 National and Local Elections.
Resolution which reversed and set aside the decision of the trial court. It found that
private respondent obtained 2,560 votes, or a margin of 17 votes, over petitioners Accordingly, the Commission on Elections en banc is DIRECTED to forthwith cause
2,543 votes. the full implementation of the Writ of Execution it issued

Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was denied by the COMELEC En Banc in its
Resolution of January 24, 2007. It later affirmed the earlier Resolution dated August
24, 2006.

On February 1, 2007, petitioner filed this petition for certiorari and prohibition.

ISSUE: WON COMELEC has jurisdiction to review, revise, modify, or even reverse
and set aside the decision of the RTC and WON the RTC’s ruling on the validity of
the ballots should not be disturbed
3. Goh v Bayron goods and services
G.R. No. 212584  Moreover, in the Organizational Performance Indicator Framework (OPIF)
November 25, 2014 Reference Guide issued by the Department of Budget and Management
Topic: Power to enforce and administer election law (DBM) itself, a "Program" is defined as "an integrated group of activities
Petitioner: Alroben J. Goh that contribute to a particular continuing objective of a
Respondent: Hon. Lucilo R. Bayron and COMELEC department/agency
 Hence, a budget under the category of "Program" is intended to finance
Doctrine: There is no need for supplemental legislation to authorize the COMELEC the regular day-to-day activities of the Commission for the continuing
to conduct recall election for 2014 basic maintenance of its administrative operation
 COMELEC hereby RESOLVES, not to continue with any proceedings
Facts: relative to recall as it does not have a line item budget or legal authority
to commit public funds for the purpose
 On March 17, 2014, Goh filed before the COMELEC a recall petition  Goh filed the present petition on June 6, 2014
against Mayor Bayron  He prayed for partial annulment and reversal of that decision, in so far as
 On April 1, COMELEC found the recall petition sufficient in form and the same directed the suspension of further action on the instant Recall
substance but suspended the funding of any and all recall elections until Petition
the resolution of the funding issue  And that the Commission committed grave abuse of discretion
 On April 28, 2014, Mayor Bayron filed with the COMELEC an Omnibus
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
Motion for Reconsideration and Clarification which prayed for the
 Bayron moved for dismissal on numerous grounds
dismissal of the recall petition
 COMELEC through OSG argued that the 2014 GAA does not provide for an
 COMELEC ruled it cannot proceed with the conduct of recall elections as
it does not have an appropriation or legal authority to commit public appropriation or line item to serve contingency fund for the conduct of
funds for the purpose Recall Elections
 The Commission does not have an appropriation or line item budget to
serve as a contingency fund Issue: W/N COMELEC can refuse to conduct the Recall Elections based on having no
 This brings us to the relevance of classifying an agency's budget into two funds to do so? (NO)
major categories - Programs and Projects. Their definitions are found in
Held:
the 2014 Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF)
 We grant Goh’s petition
submitted by the President to Congress as required by the Constitution
 The 2014 GAA provides the line item appropriation to allow COMELEC to
 In the Glossary of Terms attached to the 2014 BESF, a "Program" is
perform its constitutional mandate of conducting recall elections
defined as "a homogenous group of activities necessary for the  There is no need for supplemental legislation to authorize COMELEC to
performance of a major purpose for which a government agency is conduct recall elections for 2014
established, for the basic maintenance of the agency s administrative  The 1987 Constitution expressly provides the COMELEC with the power
operations or for the provisions of staff support to agency s to enforce and administer laws and regulations relative to the conduct of
administrative operations or for the provisions of staff support to the an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall." The 1987
agency’s line functions." Constitution not only guaranteed the COMELEC's fiscal autonomy, but
 On the other hand, "Projects" are defined as "special agency also granted its head, as authorized by law, to augment items in its
undertakings which are to be carried out within a definite time frame and appropriations from its savings. The 2014 GAA provides such
which are intended to result [in] some pre-determined measures of authorization to the COMELEC Chairman
 Goh asserts the 2014 GAA provided COMELEC total amount of
P2,735,321000.00 and as evidence reproduced COMELEC’s budget 4. Dibaratun vs. COMELEC
allocation in the 2014 GAA G.R. No. 170365
 Goh further states the COMELEC’s personnel themselves admitted the February 2, 2010
existence of a contingency fund Topic: POWER TO ENFORCE AND ADMINISTER ALL ELECTION LAWS
 Goh also cited an online news article which quoted COMELEC Petitioners: ABDUL GAFFAR P.M. DIBARATUN
spokesperson James Jimenez saying that “lack of budget should not be an Respondents: COMELEC, ABUBAKAR
issue, we always have a ‘standby’ budget for recall, plebiscite, etc.” Ponente: J. Peralta
 Finally, Goh presented a letter from Rep. Ungab, Chairman of the House
of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations stating that 2014 FACTS:
budget of the COMELEC is authorized amounts to P2,735,321,000 of  Abubakar filed before the COMELEC a petition for declaration of failure
which P1,401,501,000 is appropriated for the conduct and supervision of of elections in an election precinct, and annul the proclamation of Dibaratun
elections, referenda, recall votes and plebiscites as Punong Barangay.
 Under these circumstances, we find it difficult to justify the COMELEC’s  Abubakar alleged that Dibaratun’s son entered the polling place possessing
reasons why it is unable to conduct recall elections filled up ballots with intent of placing them in the ballot box.
 Considering that there is an existing line item appropriation for the  When he was confronted, Dibaratun’s son committed violence, causing
conduct of recall election in the 2014 GAA, we see no reason why the commotion and thereby stopping the polls, with only 10 out of 151 registered
COMELEC is unable to perform its constitutional mandate to enforce and voters having voted.
administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of recall
 Despite the number of voters, the Board of Election Inspectors, who were
 Should the funds appropriated be deemed insufficient, then the allegedly in connivance with Dibaratun, canvassed the votes and proclaimed
COMELEC Chairman may exercise his authority to augment such line item Dibaratun as the winner.
appropriation from the COMELEC’s existing savings
 COMELEC granted the petition, and ordered Dibaratun to meanwhile act as
Punong Barangay until the special elections.
 Dibaratun filed petition for certiorari with the SC, contending that the petition
was filed outside the reglementary period of 10 days from proclamation, and
that there was grave abuse of discretion on the part of COMELEC

ISSUE:
WON the declaration of failure of election was made properly by the COMELEC.

HELD: YES

 The 1987 Constitution vests in the COMELEC the broad power to enforce all
the laws and regulations relative to the conduct of elections, as well as the
plenary authority to decide all questions affecting elections except the
question as to the right to vote.
 In its Resolution, the COMELEC en banc, citing Banaga, Jr. v. Commission on
Elections, enumerated the three instances when a failure of elections may be
declared by the Commission:
 the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed on
account of force majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud or other analogous
causes;
 the election in any polling place had been suspended before the hour 5. Cagas v COMELEC
fixed by law for the closing of the voting on account of force majeure, GR NO. 209185
violence, terrorism, fraud or other analogous causes; or October 25, 2013
 after the voting and during the preparation and transmission of the Topic: Power to Enforce and Administer all Election Laws
election returns or in the custody or canvass thereof, such election Petitioners: Marc Douglas C. Cagas
results in a failure to elect on account of force majeure, violence, Respondents: COMELEC represented by Chairman Brillantes and the Provincial
terrorism, fraud or other analogous causes. Election Officer of Davao Del sur represented by Atty. Barlaan
 Before the COMELEC can act on a verified petition seeking to declare a failure Ponente: Carpio, J.
of elections, two conditions must concur:
 no voting took place in the precinct or precincts on the date fixed by law, FACTS:
or even if there was voting, the election resulted in a failure to elect; and  Cagas, while he was the representative of the first district of Davao del
 the votes not cast would have affected the result of the elections. The Sur, filed with Hon. Bautista, representative of the second district, HB
cause of such failure of election could only be any of the following: force 4451, which is the bill creating Davao Occidental.
majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud or other analogous causes.  HB 4451 was signed into RA 10360, which is the Charter of the Province
 the affidavits submitted by the witnesses of the petitioner all state that it is of Davao Occidental.
respondent Dibaratun and his followers and relatives who were the cause  Sec 2 and 7 of RA 10360: Composition of the new provinces of Davao
of the violence which resulted in the suspension of the election after only ten Occidental and Davao del Sur, which provides the former a legislative
(10) people managed to vote. district to commence in the next national and local elections.
 The COMELEC en banc ruled that since both parties agreed that the elections  Sec 46 of RA 10360: “The Province of Davao Occidental shall be created,
were suspended before the hour fixed by law due to violence caused by as provided for in this Charter, upon approval by the majority of the votes
undetermined persons, there was obviously a failure of elections in cast by the voters of the affected areas in a plebiscite to be conducted
the aforementioned precinct. and supervised by the COMELEC within 60 days from the date of
 As to the question of filing the petition within time, the reglementary period effectivity of this Charter.”
contended by petitioner does not apply for this petition. The action to declare  The House passed RA 10360 on November 28, 2012.
failure of elections is neither a pre-proclamation controversy nor election  Senate passed it on January 14, 2013.
contest.  RA 10360 was published on January 21, 2013 due to the constitutional
. requirement.
 COMELEC then only had until April 6, 2013 to conduct the plebiscite.
 However, prior to RA 10360’s effectivity, COMELEC suspended the
conduct of all plebiscites in preparation for the National and Local
Elections on May 13, 2013. COMELEC extended such suspension, saying
that all plebiscites will be deferred until after the October 28, 2013
Barangay Elections.
 In a COMELCT meeting, the body decided that the plebiscite for the
creation of Davao Occidental will be held simultaneously with the
October 28, 2013 Barangay Elections to save expenses.
 COMELECT then released a resolution citing the following schedule:
o September 9: Last day to constitute the Plebiscite Board of
Canvassers.
o September 28 to November 12: Plebiscite Period
o September 28 to October 26: Information and Campaign Period
o October 27: Eve of Plebiscite Day Sec. 46 of RA 10360 provides that the plebiscite for the creation of Davao
o October 28: Plebiscite Day and Casting of Votes Occidental be held within 60 days from its effectivity or until April 6, 2013.
 On October 9, however, Cagas filed the petition for prohibition, citing
three causes of action: Cagas claims that RA 10360 did not confer any power to the COMELEC to exercise
o COMELEC has no authority or legal basis to amend or modify discretion when the plebiscite for Davao Occidental will be held. On the contrary,
Sec. 46 of RA 10360 by mere minute resolutions because it is the law provides a specific date for when the COMELEC should conduct such
only the Congress who can modify existing laws. plebiscite. Cagas views the period mentioned by the law as mandatory; hence,
o COMELEC is without authority to hold a plebiscite on October COMELEC has no legal basis to hold the plebiscite on October 28.
28 because Sec. 46 of RA 10360 has already lapsed.
o Cagas has no other remedy to prevent COMELEC from holding The Constitution, however, grants the COMELEC the power to enforce and
the Plebiscite on October 28 except through a TRO and administer all laws relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative,
preliminary injunction because COMELEC has already referendum, and recall. It has the exclusive charge of the enforcement and
commenced the preparation for the voting scheduled on the administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections. Hence, the law’s
same day as the Barangay and SK elections. intent is to give COMELEC all the necessary and incidental powers for it to achieve
 COMELEC, through the OSG, argued: the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.
o The Constitution does not fix the period to hold a plebiscite for
the creation of a LGU; BP 881 of the Omnibus Election Code also provides COMELEC the power to set
o There was logistical and financial impossibility for the COMELEC elections on another date.
to hold a plebiscite at a mere two months’ notice;
o Legislative intent for RA 10360 is to be implemented; The facts show that the tight time frame of RA 10360’s signing and effectivity
o Public interest demands that the plebiscite be conducted; and coupled with the National and Local Elections rendered the holding of a plebiscite
o COMELEC did not abuse its discretion. on or before April 6, 2013 impossible. The logistical and financial impossibility of
holding a plebiscite so close to the National and Local Elections is unforeseen and
ISSUE: unexpected, which is analogous to a force majeure. COMELEC is justified and did
W/N COMELEC acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction or with grave abuse of not act with grave abuse of discretion in postponing the plebiscite for the creation
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it resolved to hold the of the province.
plebiscite on October 28? NO
In other words, the plebiscite cannot take priority over the right of suffrage of the
HELD/RATIO: people, which the COMELEC must prioritize over the former. To even demand that
The conduct of a plebiscite is necessary for the creation of a province under Sec. 10 the COMELEC desist from holding such plebiscite on its chosen date based on the
and 11, Art. X of the Constitution. Furthermore, the law does not specify a date as argument of Cagas would be an utter waste of time, not to mention detriment to
to when plebiscites should be held. public interest.

The Constitution recognizes that the power to fix the date of elections is legislative In election law, the right of suffrage should prevail over mere scheduling. Indeed,
in nature, which is shown by the exceptions in previously mentioned Constitutional Cagas insistence that only Congress can cure the infirmity in the date fails in light of
powers, as well as in the election of local officials. the absence of abuse of discretion of the COMELEC.

Sec. 10 of RA 7160 furnishes the general rule as to when a plebiscite may be held: Wherefore, petition is dismissed for lack of merit.
“…plebiscite shall be conducted by the COMELEC within 120 days from the date of
effectivity of the law or ordinance effecting such action, unless said law or
ordinance fixed another date.”
6. Tolentino vs. COMELEC HELD
G.R. 187958, 187961, and 187962 Yes. SC declared that the petitions for certiorari and prohibition have no merit
7 April 2010
Topic: Power to enforce and administer all election law RATIO
Petitioners: Mayor Abraham Tolentino; Vice Mayor Celso P. De Castro In regular election contests, the general averment of fraud or irregularities in the
Respondents: COMELEC, JOCELYN RICARDO, ARNEL TARUC, MARLENE CATAN, counting of votes justifies the examination of the ballots and recounting of
MARIA THERESA MENDOZA COSTA, FIDELA ROFOLS CASTILLO, DOMINADOR BASSI, votes. This process of examination is the revision of the ballots pursuant to Section
ROBERTO MALABANAN HERNANDEZ, NERISSA MANZANO, LEONIDEZ MAGLABE 6, Rule 20 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure, to wit:
HERNANDEZ, TAGUMPAY REYES, and ELINO FAJARDO
Ponente: Bersamin Section 6. Revision of Ballots. When the allegations in a protest or counter-protest
so warrant, or whenever in the opinion of the Commission or Division the interest
FACTS of justice so demands, it shall immediately order the ballot boxes containing ballots
In the May 14, 2007 elections, all the parties ran for elective local offices of and their keys, list of voters with voting records, book of voters, and other
Tagaytay City. Petitioners Tolentino and De Castro were proclaimed Mayor and documents used in the election to be brought before the Commission, and shall
Vice-Mayor respectively. order the revision of the ballots.

The private respondents contested the election results in 116 ballot boxes against The protests involved herein assailed the authenticity of the election returns and
the winning Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Sangguniang Panlungsod. the veracity of the counting of the ballots. In that regard, the ballots themselves
are the best evidence
The Second Division of the COMELEC (Division) found the protest sufficient in form
and substance. The Division required the City Treasurer of Tagaytay to inventory The only means to overcome the presumption of legitimacy of the election returns
the protested ballot boxes and to turn them over to COMELEC’s Electoral Contest is to examine and determine first whether the ballot boxes have been substantially
and Adjudication Department (ECAD). preserved in the manner mandated by law. Hence, the necessity to issue the order
of revision.
40 ballot boxes out of the 116 protested ones were set aside due to apparent According to Mendoza v. Commission on Elections, the COMELEC does not lose
sealing defects or irregularities. The Division ordered the constitution of a Revision jurisdiction over the provincial election contest by reason of the transmittal of the
Committee. It also formally requested the SET to allow the revision to proceed provincial ballot boxes and other election materials to the SET, because its
within its premises. jurisdiction over provincial election contest exists side by side with the jurisdiction
of the SET, with each tribunal being supreme in its respective areas of concern,
Tolentino alleges that the Division should first resolve the issue of the inclusion or with neither being higher than the other in terms of precedence; hence, the
exclusion of protested ballot boxes and that COMELEC should provide a reasonable jurisdiction of one must yield to the other.
procedure. De Castro contends that his rights to substantive and procedural due
process were denied when the Division chose to conduct the revision piecemeal In the proper exercise of its jurisdiction, therefore, the Division, mindful of the
starting with the positions of Mayor, then Vice Mayor, and finally the Councilors, need for the expeditious disposition of the cases, formally requested the SET to
separately. permit the revision of the 44 ballot boxes within its premises. The Division made
this request although it had suspended the revision proceedings through a previous
ISSUE order on account of the then incomplete number of ballot boxes in ECADs custody.
Whether the order of revision and the revision of ballots synchronized with that of In this connection, the contention that the Divisions suspension order became
SET without first resolving the issue of inclusion/exclusion of the segregated ballot immutable cannot be upheld; such an order, being essentially interlocutory in
boxes (16 out of 44 ballot boxes) were proper? character, could not attain finality. An interlocutory order is one that resolves an
incidental or collateral matter without putting an end to the case, and for that
reason does not become final and immutable upon the expiration of the period names of his revisors whose tasks included the raising of objections, the claiming
prescribed for taking an appeal from a judgment or final order. votes for him, or the contesting of the votes in favor of his opponent. He has
neither alleged being deprived of this opportunity, nor indicated any situation in
In Rosal clearly mandates so, viz: which his revisors were denied access to the revision proceedings. He could not
also insist that the COMELEC did not consider his legal and factual arguments;
Under the circumstances, the question as to who between the parties was duly besides, he could still raise them in his memorandum should he chose to. During
elected to the office of mayor cannot be settled without further proceedings in the the revision stage, he should raise all objections, present his evidence and
Comelec. In keeping with the precepts laid down in this decision, the Comelec must witnesses, and file his memorandum before the case would be submitted for
first ascertain, after due hearing, whether it has before it the same ballots cast and resolution.
counted in the elections. For this purpose, it must determine:
(1) which ballot boxes sufficiently retained their integrity as to justify the conclusion DISPOSITIVE PORTION
that the ballots contained therein could be relied on as better evidence than the In fine, the Division did not commit any abuse of discretion, least of all grave, in its
election returns and issuance of the assailed orders. Its actuations relative to the conduct of the revision
(2) which ballot boxes were in such a condition as would afford a reasonable proceedings in the three election protests were far from capricious or whimsical.
opportunity for unauthorized persons to gain unlawful access to their contents. In The Division issued ground rules with sufficient notice to the parties, who were
the latter case, the ballots must be held to have lost all probative value and cannot thereby adequately shielded from partiality or unfairness during the process of
be used to set aside the official count reflected in the election returns. revision. The Division should instead be commended for carrying out its mandate to
expedite the disposition of the present election controversies.
Consequently, no ruling could be handed down against the integrity of the ballot
boxes that would effectively render naught the evidentiary value of the ballots they WHEREFORE, we dismiss the petitions for lack of merit.
contained unless a full blown trial on the merits was first conducted. Tolentino
should accept the legal impossibility for the Division to rule on the issue of inclusion
or exclusion of the set-aside ballot boxes except after the revision process.

in Air Manila, Inc. v. Balatbat, the formulation was simplified into four basic rights,
as follows:

1. The right to notice, be it actual or constructive, of the institution of the


proceedings that may affect a persons legal right;

2. The right to a reasonable opportunity to appear and defend his rights and to
introduce witnesses and relevant evidence in his favor;

3. The right to a tribunal so constituted as to give him reasonable assurance of


honesty and impartiality, and one of competent jurisdiction; and

4. The right to a finding or decision of that tribunal supported by substantial


evidence presented at the hearing or at least ascertained in the records or
disclosed to the parties.

Gauged upon the foregoing guidelines, Tolentino’s gripe was unwarranted. He was
not denied procedural due process. The Division had required him to provide the
7. BAGUMBAYAN-VNP v COMELEC Special Civil Action for Mandamus to compel the COMELEC to comply. The latter
G.R. 222731 filed for a Motion for Additional Time but the same was denied.
March 8, 2016
Topic: Election Law; Power to Enforce and Administer all Election Laws ISSUE
Petitioner: Bagumbayan Volunteers for a New Philippines, Former Senator Gordon Whether the COMELEC may be compelled by a Writ of Mandamus to enable the
as Chairman of Bagumbayan-VNP VVPAT system capability feature for the 2016 elections (YES)
Respondents: COMELEC
Ponente: Leonen, J. HELD/RATIO
The inaction of the COMELEC in utilizing the VVPAT feature of the vote-counting
machines fails to fulfill the duty required under RA 8436, as amended by RA 9369,
DOCTRINE
which states that the automated election system must at least have the following
It is true that the COMELEC is given ample discretion to administer the elections, but
functional capabilities, namely: (1) provision for VVPAT; (2) system auditability
certainly, its constitutional duty is to enforce the law. The Commission is not given
which provides supporting documentation for verifying the correctness of reported
the constitutional competence to amend or modify the law it is sworn to uphold.
results; and (3) provide the voter a system of verification to find out whether or not
the machine has registered his choice. The COMELEC’s act of rendering inoperative
FACTS
the VVPAT feature runs contrary to why such law required in this feature in the first
Petitioners Bagumbayan-VNP and Former Senator Gordon filed a petition for
place. Under RA 9369, it is considered a policy of the State that the votes reflect the
mandamus to compel respondent COMELEC to implement the Voter Verified Paper
genuine will of the people. Article XI (C) Sec. 2 of the 1987 Constitution empowers
Audit Trail (VVPAT) in the May 2016 National and Local Elections. Gordon authored
the COMELEC to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the
RA 9369 which repealed RA 8436, otherwise known as the Automated Election
conduct of an election. One of the laws that the COMELEC must implement is RA
System Law. RA 9369 introduced changes to RA 8436, including several safeguards
9369 which requires the automated election system to have the capability of
to ensure the sanctity of the ballot, transparency, and to reduce any attempt to
providing a voter-verified paper audit trail.
alter election results. In 2010 and 2013, the COMELEC used the PCOS. For the 2016
elections, they opted to use the vote-counting machine capable of producing
DISPOSITIVE
VVPAT. The VVPAT consists of physical paper records of voter ballots as voters have
WHERFORE, the Petition for Mandamus is GRANTED. The Commission on Elections
cast them on an electronic voting system. Through it, the voter can verify if the
is ORDERED to enable the vote verification feature of the vote-counting machines,
choices on the paper match the choices that he/she actually made in the ballot.
which prints the voter’s choices without prejudice to the issuance of guidelines to
There will be an electronic tally of the votes cast, or the votes stored in the vote-
regulate the release and disposal of the issued receipts in order to ensure a clean,
counting machine, as well as a paper record of the individual votes cast on the
honest, and orderly elections such as, but not limited to, ensuring that after voter
VVPAT receipt. The COMELEC, through its then Chairperson Andres Bautista,
verification, receipts should be deposited in a separate ballot box and not taken out
refuses to implement the VVPAT function based on fears that such feature ma aid
of the precinct.
in vote-buying and that the voting period may take longer. Petitioners argue that
the COMELEC’s fears are baseless and speculative and cited the position paper of
automations expert Atty. Chong recommending that the old yellow ballot boxes
can be used alongside the vote-counting machine and that the VVPAT receipts can
be immediately placed in such. After voting, the voter may verify if the machine
accurately recorded his/her vote. If so, the voter drops the VVPAT receipt into the
old yellow ballot box. If not, the voter may have it recorded with the poll watchers
for appropriate action. At the end of the polling, the old ballot boxes shall be
turned over for manual counting and the result of such will be compared with that
of the automated count. Petitioners sent Chairperson Bautista a letter demanding
the implementation of the VVPAT feature, it being a mandatory requirement under
the automated election laws however, he never answered. Petitioners then filed a
8. MARMETO V. COMELEC  MARMETO’S ARGUMENTS:
G.R. NO 213953 o Assails the COMELEC's denial of an initiative petition due to lack
September 16 2017 of appropriated funds constitutes a gross neglect of the
Topic: Power to enforce and administer all election laws COMELEC's duties under the Constitution.
Petitioners: Engineer Oscar A. Marmeto o Marmeto believes that the COMELEC has a ministerial duty to
Respondents: COMELEC conduct the initiative proceedings under pertinent laws upon
Ponente: Del Castillo, J. compliance with the legal requirements for the exercise of the
right. He asserts that the COMELEC evaded its mandated duty
by citing unavailability of funds as ground to frustrate the
DOCTRINE: COMELEC commits grave abuse of discretion when it dismisses an
conduct of local initiative.
initiative petition on the ground that there were no funds allocated for the
purpose. However, it is the COMELEC which has the power to determine whether  COMELEC’S CONTENTION:
the propositions in an initiative petition are within the powers of a concerned o The COMELEC, on the other hand, claims that the denial of
Sanggunian to enact. Marmeto's initiative petition was proper, since the propositions
therein were beyond the legal powers of the Sangguniang
FACTS: Panlungsod to enact.
 Marmeto filed in behalf of the Muntinlupa People Power a proposed
ISSUE: Whether or not the grant of Marmeto’s initiative petition is proper.
ordinance with the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Muntinlupa.
 The proposal sought the creation of a sectoral council and the
HELD: NO. Petition denied.
appropriation of the amount of P200M for the livelihood programs and
projects that would benefit the people of Muntinlupa City
The COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing Marmeto' s
 For failure of the Sangguniang Panlungsod to act on the proposition
initiative petition on the ground that there were no funds allocated for the
within 30 days from its filing, Marmeto filed a petition for initiative within
purpose.
the same body to invoke the power of initative under RA No. 7160, or the
LGC.
However, the COMELEC has the power to review whether the propositions in an
 The secretary of the sanggunian Panlungsod wrote a letter to the
initiative petition are within the power of the concerned Sanggunian to enact.
COMELEC stating that the proposal could not be acted upon because the
city’s budget had already been enacted.
In Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority v. Commission on Elections,38 the Court ruled
 Thus, the secretary claimed that a new appropriation ordinance was that: While regular courts may take jurisdiction over 'approved propositions' per
needed to provide funds for the conduct of the initiative.
said Sec. 18 of R.A. 6735, the COMELEC in the exercise of its quasi-judicial and
 The COMELEC issued a resolution setting aside Marmeto' s initiative administrative powers may adjudicate and pass upon such proposals insofar as
petition because the propositions were beyond the powers of their form and language are concerned x x x and it may be added, even as to
the Sanggunian Panglunsod to enact and were not in accordance with the content, where the proposals or parts thereof are patently and clearly outside the
provisions of existing laws and rules. 'capacity of the local legislative body to enact.'
 Marmeto sought reconsideration of COMELEC's resolution contending
that the sectoral council sought to be created would not constitute as a The COMELEC's power to review the substance of the propositions is also implied in
legislative body separate from the Sanggunian Panlungsod. He clarified Section 12 of RA No. 6735, which gives this Court appellate power to review the
that the sectoral council would merely act as the people's representative, COMELEC's "findings of the sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition for initiative
which would facilitate the exercise of the people's power of initiative and or referendum.
referendum.
 However, the COMELEC did not find Marmeto's motion for
reconsideration meritorious.
However, the Supreme Court finds that Marmeto’s propositions in his initiative
petition are beyond the powers of the Sanggunian Panlungsod ng Muntilupa to
enact due to the following reasons:
1. The creation of a separate local legislative body is ultra vires
2. The sectoral council VMPP's proposed function overlaps with the Local
Development Council
3. The LGC requires local government funds and monies to be spent solely
for public purposes, and provides transparency and accountability
measures to ensure this end. Although comprised of Muntinlupa
residents and voters, Marmeto' s MPP remains a private organization and
its members cannot be considered as public officers who are burdened
with responsibility for public funds and who may be held administratively
and criminally liable for the imprudent use thereof.

DISPOSITIVE PORTION:
WHEREFORE, the Petition for certiorari and mandamus is DISMISSED. The
Resolution No. 14-0509 of the Commission on Elections dated July 22, 2014
is AFFIRMED.
9. Aquino V. COMELEC public officer or employee in the civil service x x x within the election
G.R. 211789-211790 period except upon prior approval of the Commission."
March 17, 2015 - On December 7, 2012, Aquino sought reconsideration15 of the
Topic: Judicial review and remedies COMELEC’s October 19, 2012 resolution.
Petitioners: Dr. Rey B. Aquino - The COMELEC agreed with the complainants’ position and ruled that the
Respondents: COMELEC word "whatever" in Section 261(h) of BP 881 expanded the coverage of
Ponente: J. Brion the prohibition so as to include any movement of personnel, including
reassignment, among others. In fact, to dispel any ambiguity as regards
Section 261(h)’s prohibition, Resolution No. 8737 defined the word
DOCTRINE: COMELEC doesn’t have any jurisdiction in the implementation of the
"transfer" as including any personnel action.
reassignment process
- The COMELEC affirmed in toto the October 19, 2012 resolution.
- Hence, this
FACTS
- On January 8, 2010, Aquino, as President and Chief Executive Officer of
ISSUE
the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC), issued PhilHealth
Whether Aquino did indeed violated Resolution No. 8737
Special Order No. 16, Series of 2010 (reassignment order) directing the
reassignment of several PHIC officers and employees.
HELD
- On the same date, Aquino released the reassignment order, via the
No!
PHIC’s intranet service, to all PHIC officers and employees, including the
following: (1) Dennis Adre, PHIC Regional Vice-President (VP); (2)
RATIO
Masiding Alonto, PHIC Regional VP; and (3) Khaliquzzaman M. Macabato,
In Resolution No. 8737, the COMELEC defined the phrase "transfer or detail
PHIC Assistant Regional VP.
whatever" found in Section 261(h) of BP 881 as including any personnel action, i.e.,
- On January 11, 2010, Aquino issued an Advisory implementing the
"reassignment." The Supreme Court has already subsequently held that the
reassignment order.
interpretation of the term whatever as used in Section 261(h) of BP 881 in relation
- In view of the reassignment order and its directive, Dean Rudyard A. Avila
to the terms transfer and detail. In agreeing with the Solicitor General’s position,
III, consultant to the Chairman of the Board of PHIC and former Secretary
this Court declared that the terms transfer and detail are modified by the term
of the PHIC Board of Directors, filed before the COMELEC on January 18,
whatever such that "any movement of personnel from one station to another,
2010, a complaint against Aquino and Melinda C. Mercado, PHIC Officer-
whether or not in the same office or agency, during the election period is covered
in-Charge, Executive VPand Chief Operating Officer, for violation of
by the prohibition.
COMELEC Resolution No. 8737in relation to Section 261(h) of BP 881. The
case was docketed as E.O. Case No. 10-003.
Thus, to reiterate and emphasize – the election law’s prohibition on transfer or
- On March 29, 2010, Aquino filed a petition before the COMELEC
detail covers any movement of personnel from one station to another, whether or
reiterating his request and maintaining that PhilHealth SO No. 16-2010 is
not in the same office or agency when made or caused during the election period.
beyond the coverage of Resolution No. 8737. The COMELEC directed its
Law Department to file the appropriate information against Aquino for
As a general rule, the period of election starts at ninety (90) days before and ends
violation of Resolution No. 8737 in relation to Section 261(h) of BP 881; it
thirty (30) days after the election date pursuant to Section 9, Article IX-C of the
dismissed, for lack of merit, the complaint against Mercado, Mendiola,
Constitution and Section 3 of BP 881. This rule, however, is not without exception.
and Basa
Under these same provisions, the COMELEC is not precluded from setting a period
- The COMELEC declared that Aquino violated Section 261(h) of BP 881
different from that provided thereunder.
when he directed the transfer/reassignment of the PHIC officers and
employees within the declared election period without its prior approval.
In this case, the COMELEC fixed the election period for the May 10, 2010 Elections
It pointed out that Section 261(h) considers an election offense for "any
at 120 days before and 30 days after the day of the election. We find this period
public official who makes or causes the transfer or detail whatever of any
proper as we find no arbitrariness in the COMELEC’s act of fixing an election period DISPOSITIVE PORTION
longer than the period fixed in the Constitution and BP 881 WHEREFORE, in the light of these considerations, we hereby GRANT the petition.
We REVERSE and SET ASIDE the resolutions dated October 19, 2012, and February
In short, during the making or causing phase of the entire transfer or reassignment 18, 2014, of the Commission on Elections in E.O. Case No. 10-003 and E.O. Case No.
process – from drafting the order, to its signing, up to its release – the issuing 10-008. The complaints against petitioner Dr. Rey B. Aquino for violation of RA
official plays a very real and active role. Once the transfer or reassignment order is 8737 in relation to Section 261(h) of BP 881 are hereby dismissed.
issued, the active role is shifted to the addressee of the order who should now
carry out the purpose of the order. At this level – the implementation phase – the
issuing official’s only role is to see to it that the concerned officer or employee
complies with the order. The issuing official may only exert discipline upon the
addressee who refuses to comply with the order.

Following these considerations, we find that the COMELEC gravely abused its
discretion in this case based on the following facts:

First, Aquino made or caused the reassignment of the concerned PHIC officers and
employees before the election period.

Second, Aquino sent out, via the PHIC’s intranet service, the reassignment order to
all affected PHIC officers and employees before the election period.

Third, the reassignment order was complete in its terms, as it enumerated clearly
the affected PHIC officers and employees as well as their respective places of
reassignments and was made effective immediately or on the day of its issue,
which was likewise before the election period.
Fourth, the subsequent orders that Aquino issued were not reassignment orders
per se contrary to the COMELEC’s assessment.

Based on these clear facts, Aquino completed the act of making or causing the
reassignment of the affected PHIC officers and employees before the start of the
election period. In this sense, the evils sought to be addressed by Section 261 (h) of
BP 881 is kept intact by the timely exercise of his management prerogative in
rearranging or reassigning PHIC personnel within its various offices necessary for
the PHIC's efficient and smooth operation. As Aquino's acts of issuing the order fell
outside the coverage of the transfer prohibition, he cannot be held liable for
violation of Section 261(h).

In sum, the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when, firstly, it used wrong or
irrelevant considerations when it sought to hold Aquino liable for violation of
Section 261 (h) for issuing orders that were clearly not for reassignment, but which
were simply orders for retention of position or orders for temporary discharge of
additional duties.
10 BASMALA V COMELEC HELD: PETITION DISMISSED

DOCTRINE: The findings of fact of COMELEC, when supported by substantial The issue of who was the duly elected mayor of Taraka, Lanao del Sur during the
evidence, are final, non-reviewable and binding upon the Supreme Court. It is the May 10, 2004 National and Local Elections has been rendered moot and academic
specialized agency tasked with the supervision of elections all over the country. by the expiration of the term of the contested office, and the election and
proclamation of a new set of municipal officials after the May 14, 2007 National
FACTS: and Local Elections, because whatever judgment is reached, the same can no
The petitioner Kennedy B. Basmala (Basmala) and the private respondent longer have any practical legal effect or, in the nature of things, can no longer be
Amenodin U. Sumagayan (Sumagayan) were candidates for mayor in Taraka, Lanao enforced.
del Sur during the May 10, 2004 National and Local Elections. Sumagayan emerged
as the winner with 2,103 votes as opposed to Basmalas 1,866 votes. Contesting the This notwithstanding, the Court finds that no grave abuse of discretion tainted the
results in 21 out of the 43 precincts that functioned in Taraka, Basmala filed an assailed COMELEC resolutions as to warrant the issuance of the extraordinary writ
election protest RTC of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. of certiorari. Grave abuse of discretion is such capricious and whimsical exercise of
judgment equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. Mere abuse of discretion is not enough.
The trial court rendered its Decision declaring petitioner as the duly elected It must be grave, as when it is exercised arbitrarily or despotically by reason of
municipal mayor of Taraka. The RTC arrived at this ruling by tallying the results in passion or personal hostility. The abuse must be so patent and so gross as to
38 precincts after rejecting the results in the election returns of 5 amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty
precincts. Accordingly, the results were 1,831 votes for Basmala and 1,662 for enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.
Sumagayan.
The COMELEC, in resolving the case, examined the records of the protest, the
The Commissions Second Division rendered the aforesaid assailed evidence submitted by the parties, and the pertinent election documents. As it is
Resolution reversing and setting aside the trial court’s decision. It ruled that the the specialized agency tasked with the supervision of elections all over the country,
RTC was in error when it merely relied on the testimonies of Basmalas witnesses, its findings of fact when supported by substantial evidence are final, non-
who were his relatives and watchers, and discounted the testimonies of the Board reviewable and binding upon the Court. Furthermore, the appreciation of election
of Election Inspectors (BEI) chairpersons. The COMELEC declared that the evidence documents involves a question of fact best left to the determination of the
adduced was not sufficient to justify the invalidation of the election results in the 5 COMELEC. Let it be reiterated that the Court is not a trier of facts and it will only
contested precincts. In the absence of clear and convincing evidence that massive step in if there is a showing that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of
fraud attended the elections in the said 5 precincts, the election returns therein discretion.
should be upheld.

The COMELEC en banc sustained the division ruling. It ruled that petitioner, by
presenting only the self-serving testimonies of his witnesses, failed to discharge his
burden of proving the truthfulness of his allegations. The authenticity and
genuineness of the election returns could not be disregarded because the returns
were not proven to be false, tainted or manufactured.

Discontented, petitioner instituted the instant petition for certiorari before the
Court.

ISSUE: WoN decisions rendered by the COMELEC may be reviewed by the Court
through a petition for certiorari
11. Partido ng Mangagawa v COMELEC their respective second nominees be proclaimed as duly elected
G.R. No. 164702 members of the House of Representatives
March 15, 2006  On July 31, 2004, COMCLEC issued Resolution No. NBC -4-011 but failed
Topic: Judicial Review and Remedies to resolve substantive issues
Petitioner: Partido ng Manggagawa and Butil Farmers  For failure of the respondent Commission to resolve the substantive
Respondent: COMELEC issues, petitioner filed the instant petition on August 18, 2004
 They seek the issuance of a writ of mandamus to compel respondent
Facts: Commission
o To convene as the National Board of Canvassers for the Party-
List system
 Several party-list participants sent queries to the respondent COMELEC
o To declare them as entitled to 1 addition seat each
regarding the formula to be adopted in computing the additional seats
o To immediately proclaim their respective second nominees
for the party-list winners in the May 10, 2004 elections
o To declare other similarly situated party-list organizations as
 The respondent Commission issued Resolution No. 6835, adopting
entitled to one additional seat each
the simplified formula of "one additional seat per additional two percent
 COMELEC submits petitioner’s recourse to a petition for mandamus with
of the total party-list vote
the SC is improper
For the party-list candidate garnering the highest number of votes, the
 It raises the procedural issues
following formula was adopted
o The proper remedy is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65
 Number of votes of first party Proportion of votes of first ---------------------
o Action was filed out of time
-------------- = party relative to total votes Total votes for party-list system
o Failure to file a motion for reconsideration is fatal to
for the party-list system
petitioners’ action
o And for the additional seats of other parties who reached the
 In assailing the petitioner for mandamus, Commission relies on Sec 7, Art
required two percent mark, the following formula applies:
IX(A) of the 1987 Constitution which provides that;
o No. of votes of
Additional seats concerned party No. of
o Any decision order or ruling of the respondent Commission may
additional for concerned = --------------------- x seats allocated to
be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved
party No. of votes of first the first party
party within 30 days from receipt of a copy thereof
 The applicability of these formulas was reiterated in the June 25, 2003
Resolution of the Supreme Court in Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party
Issue: W/N Mandamus is the proper remedy? (for syllabus topic)
v COMELEC
 However, on November 10, 2003, the Supreme Court promulgated a
Held:
Resolution in the same case, this time penned by Chief Justice Hilario
 YES
Davide, Jr., granting BUHAY's motion for reconsideration of the June 25,
2003 Resolution  Under the Constitution, this Court has original jurisdiction over petitions
for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus
 Effectively, the Supreme Court, with Justices Jose Vitug and Panganiban
registering separate opinions, adopted the simplified COMELEC formula  We have consistently ruled that where the duty of the respondent
of one additional seat per additional two percent of the total party-list Commission is ministerial, mandamus lies to compel its performance
votes garnered when it declared BUHAY entitled to one additional seat  A purely ministerial act, as distinguished from a discretionary act, is one
and proceeded to order the COMELEC to proclaim BUHAY's second which an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts, in a
nominee prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of legal authority,
 After all winners were announced, On June 22, 2004 petitioner together without regard to or the exercise of his own judgment upon the propriety
with CIBAC filed a Joint Motion for Immediate Proclamation or impropriety of the act done
 They prayed that they be declared as entitle to 1 additional seat each and  The case at bar is one of mandamus over which this Court has jurisdiction
for it is respondent Commission's ministerial duty to apply the formula as
decided by this Court after interpreting the existing law on party-list 12. Querubin vs. COMELEC
representation G.R. No. 218787
 Respondent Commission has no discretion to refuse enforcement of any December 08, 2015
decision of this Court under any guise or guile. Topic: JUDICIAL REVIEW AND REMEDIES
 Though captioned as a Petition for Mandamus, the same may be treated Petitioners: LEO QUERUBIN
as a petition for certiorari and mandamus considering that it alleges that Respondents: COMELEC, SMARTMATIC
the respondent Commission acted contrary to prevailing jurisprudence, Ponente: J. Velasco, Jr.
hence, with grave abuse of discretion and without jurisdiction
 The petition at bar involves the rightful representation in the House of FACTS:
Representatives of the marginalized groups by the party-list winners and
their constitutional claim merits more than a disposition based on thin  On October 27, 2014, COMELEC, through Resolution No. 14-0715, released the
technicality bidding documents for the "Two- Stage Competitive Bidding for the Lease of
 Respondent Commission contends that petitioners' failure to file a Election Management System (EMS) and Precinct-Based Optical Mark Reader
motion for reconsideration of Resolution No. 6835 is fatal (OMR) or Optical Scan (OP-SCAN) System" that will be used in the 2016
 Again, argument is without merit National and Local Elections.
 Under Rule 13, Section 1(d) of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, a motion  The joint venture of Smartmatic-TIM Corporation (SMTC), Smartmatic
for reconsideration of an en banc ruling, order or decision of the International Holding B.V., and Jarltech International Corporation (Smartmatic
respondent Commission is not allowed JV) responded to the call and submitted bid for the project on the scheduled
 Moreover, the issue of what formula applies in determining the date. Indra Sistemas, S.A. (Indra) and MIRU Systems Co. Ltd. likewise signified
additional seats to be allocated to party-list winners is a pure question of their interest in the project, but only Indra, aside from Smartmatic JV,
law that is a recognized exception to the rule on exhaustion of submitted its bid.
administrative remedies
  Smartmatic JV, informed the COMELEC Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) that
one of its partner corporations, SMTC, has a pending application with the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to amend its Articles of
Incorporation (AOI).
 Smartmatic JV and Indra then, participated in the end-to-end testing of their
initial technical proposals for the procurement project before the BAC. The
BAC, through its Resolution No. 1, declared Smartmatic JV and Indra eligible to
participate in the second stage of the bidding process.
 The BAC then issued a Notice requiring them to submit their Final Revised
Technical Tenders and Price proposals to which the eligible participants
complied. Finding that the joint venture satisfied the requirements in the
published Invitation to Bid, Smartmatic JV, on March 26, 2015, was declared to
have tendered a complete and responsive Overall Summary of the Financial
Proposal. Meanwhile, Indra was disqualified for submitting a non-responsive
bid.
 For purposes of post-qualification evaluation, the BAC, required Smartmatic JV
to submit additional documents and a prototype sample of its OMR. The
prototype was subjected to testing to gauge its compliance with the
requirements outlined in the project's Terms of Reference (TOR).
After the
conduct of post-qualification, the BAC, disqualified Smartmatic JV on two responsive bid is a "judgment" within the contemplation of the rule, and is,
grounds:
 therefore, a proper subject of a Rule 64 petition.
 Failure to submit valid AOI; and  The argument fails to persuade. Rule 64 does not cover rulings of the
 The demo unit failed to meet the technical requirement that the system COMELEC in the exercise of its administrative powers
shall be capable of writing all data/files, audit log, statistics and ballot  The rule cited by petitioners is an application of the constitutional mandate
images simultaneously in at least two (2) data storages. requiring that, unless otherwise provided by law, the rulings of the
constitutional commissions shall be subject to review only by the Supreme
 The ruling prompted Smartmatic JV to move for reconsideration but the Court on certiorari.
motion was denied due to non-compliance with the technical requirements of  The Court has consistently held that the phrase "decision, order, or ruling" of
the project. constitutional commissions, the COMELEC included, that may be brought
 Aggrieved, Smartmatic JV filed a Protest, seeking permission to conduct directly to the Supreme Court on certiorari is not all-encompassing, and that it
another technical demonstration of its SAES 1800 plus OMR (OMR+), the OMR only relates to those rendered in the commissions' exercise of adjudicatory or
Smartmatic JV presented during the public bidding before the COMELEC en quasi-judicial powers. In the case of the COMELEC, this would limit the
banc. provision's coverage to the decisions, orders, or rulings issued pursuant to its
 Smartmatic JV was allowed to prove compliance with the technical authority to be the sole judge of generally all controversies and contests
specifications for the second time, but this time before the electoral tribunal's relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of elective offices.
Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC). This was followed, by another technical  the instant petition revolves around the issue on whether or not Smartmatic
demonstration before the Commission en banc at the Advanced Science and JV is eligible to participate in the bidding process for the COMELEC's
Technology Institute (ASTI) at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, procurement of 23,000 units of optical mark readers. The case does not stem
Quezon City. from an election controversy involving the election, qualification, or the
 After the second demonstration, the COMELEC ruled that the OMR+ complied returns of an elective office. Rather, it pertains to the propriety of the polling
with the requirements specified in the TOR. commission's conduct of the procurement process, and its initial finding that
 Although Smartmatic JV's compliance with the technical requirements in the Smartmatic JV is eligible to participate therein.
TOR, Commissioner Luie Tito F. Guia (Guia) would nonetheless dissent in part,  It springs from the COMELEC's compliance with the Constitutional directive to
questioning the sufficiency of the documents submitted by the Smartmatic JV. enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an
Taking their cue from Commissioner Guia's dissent, petitioners now assail the election. Specifically, it arose from the electoral commission's exercise of Sec.
June 29, 2015 Decision of the COMELEC through the instant recourse.

 12 of RA 8436, otherwise known as the Automated Elections Law, as amended
by RA 9369, which authorized the COMELEC "to procure, in accordance with
ISSUE: existing laws, by purchase, lease, rent or other forms of acquisition, supplies,
Whether or not the petition is the proper remedial vehicle to assail the subject equipment, materials, software, facilities, and other services, from local or
decision of the COMELEC en banc foreign sources free from taxes and import duties, subject to accounting and
auditing rules and regulation."
HELD: NO. Rule 64 is not applicable in assailing the COMELEC en banc's Decision  The subject matter of Smartmatic JV's protest, therefore, does not qualify as
granting Smartmatic JV's protest one necessitating the COMELEC's exercise of its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial
powers that could properly be the subject of a Rule 64 petition, but is, in fact,
 In arguing for the propriety of the remedial vehicle chosen, petitioners claim administrative in nature. Petitioners should then have sought redress via a
that under Rule 64, Sec. 2 of the Rules of Court, "[a] judgment or final order or petition for the issuance of the extraordinary writ of certiorari under Rule 65
resolution of the Commission on Elections x x x may be brought by the to assail the COMELEC en banc's June 29, 2015 Decision granting the protest.
aggrieved party to the Supreme Court on certiorari under Rule 65.” Because rule 64 will only lie upon showing that the COMELEC acted
 They postulate that the June 29, 2015 Decision of the COMELEC en capriciously or whimsically, with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
banc declaring Smartmatic JV as the eligible bidder with the lowest calculated or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the Decision, such as where the power is
exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal
hostility. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to 13. Villarosa v Festin
an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined GR NO. 212953
or to act at all in contemplation of law. Mere abuse of discretion will not August 5, 2014
suffice. Topic: Judicial Review and Remedies
Petitioners: Jose Tapales Villarosa
Respondents: Romulo De Mesa Festin and COMELEC
Ponente: Velasco, J., Jr.

FACTS:
 Petitioner and Respondent were two out of four rival candidates for the
mayoral office in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro during the May 13, 2013
National and Local Elections.
 On May 15, Respondent was proclaimed the victor with 20,761 votes,
edging Petitioner who got 19,557 votes.
 With a difference of 1,204 votes, Petitioner filed a Petition for Protest Ad
Cautelam before the RTC, alleging irregularities in the conduct of the
election. Specifically, Petitioner raised the complaints of various voters
who claimed that some ballots were pre-marked or that the ovals
appearing on the ballots corresponding to Petitioner’s name were
embossed to prevent them from being shaded.
 As a consequence of the electoral fraud in the 92 clustered precincts of
San Jose, Petitioner claims that Respondent was illegally proclaimed.
 Respondent answered, also impugning the election results, specifically
the number of votes awarded to Petitioner.
 Both parties raised an issue in the accuracy of the votes; hence, a physical
recount was conducted in the RTC.
 RTC: Declared proclamation of Respondent void. Petitioner is the duly
elected mayor. The Court deducts 2,050 votes from Respondent due to
pre-marking and tampering.
 Petitioner filed a Motion for Execution Pending Appeal.
 Respondent then elevated the case to COMELEC via a Petition for
Certiorari with prayer for injunctive relief.
 Petitioner moved for its dismissal on the ground that Respondent’s
verification is defective.
 COMELEC: On Feb. 13, through its First Division, issued a TRO over the
RTC from implementing its decision during the pendency of the case. On
Apr. 14, through its Special First Division, also granted Respondent’s
request for a preliminary injunction, enjoining the RTC’s decision
execution pending appeal.
 Petitioner filed an urgent motion praying for its quashal but was denied
by the First Division.
 Petitioner questioned the issuance of the injunction since it was issued by It then becomes indisputable that the formation of the Special Divisions is
a newly-constituted Special First Division, which was allegedly formed sanctioned by both COMELEC Rules and the Constitution.
due to the absence of several COMELEC Commissioners, who were
attending to overseas absentee voter issues. Petitioner points out that Therefore, no grave abuse can be ascribed to the COMELEC when the Special First
the special division was constituted only on April 8, 2014 and it only had Division issued the writ of preliminary injunction, which was questioned by
two members, Chairman Brillantes and Commissioner Parreño. Petitioner. It cannot be said that the First Division and the Special First Division are
two distinct bodies and there has been a transfer of jurisdiction.
ISSUE:
W/N the formation of the Special First Division and the orders handed down by it is In other words, COMELEC did not create a separate Division but merely filled the
lawful? YES vacancies in both of its divisions. The word “Special” in its title just shows that the
commissioners are only sitting in the division in a temporary capacity or as a
HELD/RATIO: substitute. The jurisdiction over cases assumed by the First Division was not lost by
Petitioner insists that the COMELEC First Division acquired jurisdiction over the the formation of the Special First Division since this only entails a change in the
case on Feb. 13, 2014 when it directed him to file an answer and when it issued a composition of magistrates assigned to it. The case was not reassigned or re-
TRO enjoining the execution. Hence, Petitioner argues that this precluded the raffled. Simply put, it is still the same jurisdiction since jurisdiction was never lost to
Special First Division from acquiring jurisdiction over the same case and issuing the begin with.
writ of preliminary injunction. Additionally, Petitioner argues that the absence of
two commissioners in the division is not sufficient to remove it from its jurisdiction Petitioner’s cry over violation of due process has no ground to stand on.
and confer it to a new one.
Wherefore, Petition is dismissed.
The Court does not agree. It finds Petitioner’s argument both unsound and
procedurally defective.

Petitioner’s procedural lapse becomes manifest with the availability of a plain,


speedy, and adequate remedy at his disposal, his hasty resort to certiorari to the SC
cannot be justified. On this ground alone, his petition should be dismissed outright.

Taking the facts into consideration, however, the Court rules that the assailed order
by the COMELEC Special First Division was not issued in grave abuse of discretion.

COMELEC’s action in this case finds constitutional basis under Sec. 3, Art. IX-C,
wherein it is stated that the COMELEC may sit en banc in two divisions. Pursuant to
this mandate, COMELEC promulgated Resolution 7808, wherein Sec. 6, Rule 3
states that substitution of members of a division and the designation of a special
first division for pending cases. This rule was then amended by Resolution 9636 and
eventually Resolution 9868, wherein it addressed the temporary vacancies in the
divisions of the COMELEC due to pressing election concerns.

Due to the vacancies, and to constitute a quorum for the Divisions, Chairman
Brillantes sat as presiding Chairman for both divisions. Hence, special divisions were
created to address pending cases.
14. Macabago vs. COMELEC Private respondent alleged that there was a massive substitution of voters,
G.R. 152163 rampant and pervasive irregularities in voting procedures in Precincts Nos. 19, 20,
Date 18 November 2002 28 and 29, and a failure of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) to comply with
Topic: Judicial Review and Remedies Sections 28 and 29 of Comelec Resolution No. 3743 and Section 193 of the
Petitioners: Sabdullah T. Macabago Omnibus Election Code, thus rendering the election process in those precincts a
Respondents: COMELEC, Jamael M. Salacop (private respondent) sham and a mockery and the proclamation of the winning candidates a nullity.
Ponente: Callejo
Petitioner denied the truth of the material allegations in the petition and averred
that it raised a pre-proclamation controversy. He further alleged that the grounds
DOCTRINE:
relied upon by private respondent would be proper in an election protest but not in
Pre-proclamation controversies are properly limited to challenges directed against
a pre-proclamation controversy.
the Board of Canvassers and proceedings before said Board relating to particular
election returns to which private respondent should have made specific verbal
The COMELEC En Banc took cognizance of the petition and issued an order
objections subsequently reduced to writing. The proceedings are summary in
directing the Election Officer of Saguiran, Lanao del Sur, to bring to and produce
nature; thus, the reception of evidence aliunde,e.g.,the original copies of the VRRs,
before the COMELEC Office in Manila the original VRRs of the questioned precincts
is proscribed. In fine, in pre-proclamation proceedings, the COMELEC is not to look
for technical examination. Petitioner filed with the Court a special civil action
beyond or behind election returns which are on their face regular and authentic
for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended,
returns. Issues such as fraud or terrorism attendant to the election process, the
praying for the reversal of the February 11, 2002 order of the COMELEC En Banc
resolution of which would compel or necessitate the COMELEC to pierce the veil of
election returns which appear to be prima facie regular, on their face, are
ISSUE
anathema to a pre-proclamation controversy. Such issues should be posed and
(a) whether petitioner's recourse to this Court under Rule 65 of the 1997
resolved in a regular election protest. In his petition with the COMELEC, private
Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, is in order;
respondent alleged that fraud and irregularities allegedly perpetrated by
unscrupulous individuals who substituted for the registered voters and voted for
(b) and (b) whether the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction or committed a
the latter in the subject precincts, in conspiracy with the Board of Election
grave abuse of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in
Inspectors, or abetted by the members thereof, attended the electoral process in
taking cognizance of the petition of private respondent and in issuing the
the subject precincts. The fraud and the irregularities catalogued by private
assailed Order|||
respondent required the reception of evidencealiunde.As stated earlier, such
grounds are not proper bases for a pre-proclamation controversy but are
HELD
appropriate for a regular election contest within the original jurisdiction of the
The Supreme Court upheld petitioner's contention and granted the petition.
Regional Trial Court.
RATIO
FACTS
According to the Court, the grounds alleged by private respondent are not proper
Petitioner Sabdullah T. Macabago was proclaimed by the Municipal Board of
bases for a pre-proclamation controversy but are appropriate for a regular election
Canvassers as the winning candidate for the position of Municipal Mayor of
contest within the original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court. The Court
Saguiran, Lanao del Sur in the May 2001 elections. Private respondent Jamael M.
stressed that pre-proclamation controversies are limited to challenges directed
Salacop, the losing candidate, filed a petition with the Commission on Elections
against the Board of Canvassers and are summary in nature; thus, the reception of
(COMELEC) against petitioner and the proclaimed Vice-Mayor and Municipal
evidence aliunde,e.g.,the original copies of the Voter's Registration Records, is
Councilors, as well as the members of the Municipal Board of Canvassers, to annul
proscribed. In his petition with the COMELEC, private respondent alleged that fraud
the elections and the proclamation of candidates in the Municipality of Saguiaran,
and irregularities allegedly perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals who
Lanao del Sur.
substituted for the registered voters and voted for the latter in the subject
precincts, in conspiracy with the Board of Election Inspectors, or abetted by the
members thereof, attended the electoral process in the subject precincts. The 15. Diocese of Bacolod V. COMELEC
fraud and the irregularities catalogued by private respondent required the G.R. 205728
reception of evidencealiunde and would compel or necessitate the COMELEC to July 5, 2016
pierce the veil of election returns which appear to be prima facie regular and Topic: Judicial review and remedies
authentic. Said issues, according to the court, are anathema to a pre-proclamation Petitioners: Diocese of Bacolod
controversy and should be posed and resolved in a regular election contest. The Respondents: COMELEC
assailed order was set aside by the Court without prejudice to the filing of a regular Ponente: J. Leonen
election protest, the period for the filing of which is deemed suspended by the
filing of the petition before the Commission on Elections which gave rise to the
DOCTRINE: Rule 64 is not the exclusive remedy for all COMELEC acts but also Rule
present petition
65 especially when grave abuse of discretion can be thoroughly seen

FACTS (RESOLUTION OF THE 2015 Case)


DISPOSITIVE PORTION
- On February 21, 2013, petitioners posted two (2) tarpaulins within a
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed order is SET ASIDE.
private compound housing the San Sebastian Cathedral of Bacolod. Each
The petition of herein private respondent with the public respondent is DISMISSED,
tarpaulin was approximately six feet (6′) by ten feet (10′) in size.
without prejudice to the filing of a regular election protest, the period for the filing
- They were posted on the front walls of the cathedral within public view.
of which is deemed suspended by the filing of the petition before the Commission
The first tarpaulin contains the message “IBASURA RH Law” referring to
on Elections which gave rise to the petition at bar.|
the Reproductive Health Law of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10354.
- The second tarpaulin is the subject of the present case. This tarpaulin
contains the heading “Conscience Vote” and lists candidates as either
“(Anti-RH) Team Buhay” with a check mark, or “(Pro-RH) Team Patay”
with an “X” mark.
- The electoral candidates were classified according to their vote on
the adoption of Republic Act No. 10354, otherwise known as the RH Law.
- Petitioners as comprising “Team Patay,” are those who voted for it while
those who voted against it form “Team Buhay”
- Respondents conceded that the tarpaulin was neither sponsored nor paid
for by any candidate. Petitioners also conceded that the tarpaulin
contains names of candidates for the 2013 elections, but not of
politicians who helped in the passage of the RH Law but were not
candidates for that election.
- The Supreme Court held in 2015, that such actions by the petitioner
herewith doesn’t constitute a violation of Fair Elections Act and that such
prohibition made by the COMELC was done in excess of their jurisdiction
since they do not have any authority over private persons but only
political candidates
- Hence, this motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court alleging
that the assailed notice are not final orders by the COMELEC and that it is
not within the purview of the SC’s power to review it

ISSUE
Whether the facts of this case warrant the application of Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court instead of Rule 64 DISPOSITIVE PORTION
WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED with FINALITY. SO
HELD ORDERED.
Yes!

RATIO
On respondents' argument on the prematurity of filing the case before this Court,
we discussed in our Decision that Rule 64 is not the exclusive remedy for all
Commission on Elections' acts as Rule 65 applies for grave abuse of discretion
resulting to ouster of jurisdiction. The five (5) cases again cited by respondents are
not precedents since these involve election protests or are disqualification cases
filed by losing candidates against the winning candidates. hanroblaw

Petitioners are not candidates. They are asserting their right to freedom of
expression. We acknowledged the "chilling effect" of the assailed notice and letter
on this constitutional right in our Decision, thus: “Nothing less than the electorate's
political speech will be affected by the restrictions imposed by COMELEC. Political
speech is motivated by the desire to be heard and understood, to move people to
action. It is concerned with the sovereign right to change the contours of power
whether through the election of representatives in a republican government or the
revision of the basic text of the Constitution. The zeal with which we protect this
kind of speech does not depend on our evaluation of the cogency of the message.
Neither do we assess whether we should protect speech based on the motives of
COMELEC. We evaluate restrictions on freedom of expression from their effects.
We protect both speech and medium because the quality of this freedom in
practice will define the quality of deliberation in our democratic society.

COMELEC's notice and letter affect preferred speech. Respondents' acts are
capable of repetition. Under the conditions in which it was issued and in view of
the novelty of this case, it could result in a "chilling effect" that would affect other
citizens who want their voices heard on issues during the elections. Other citizens
who wish to express their views regarding the election and other related issues
may choose not to, for fear of reprisal or sanction by the COMELEC.”

Direct resort to this court is allowed to avoid such proscribed conditions. Rule 65 is
also the procedural platform for raising grave abuse of discretion. The urgency
posed by the circumstances during respondents' issuance of the assailed notice and
letter—the then issue on the RH Law as well as the then upcoming elections—also
rendered compliance with the doctrine on exhaustion of administrative remedies
as unreasonable. All these circumstances surrounding this case led to this Court's
pro hac vice ruling to allow due course to the Petition.
16. LEODEGARIO LABAO V. COMELEC proclaimed as the duly elected Municipal Mayor of Mambusao, Capiz on
G.R. NO 212615 May 14, 2013.
July 19 2016  The COMELEC First Division resolves the case and disqualifies Labao as
Topic: Judicial review and remedies candidate for the position of Mayor.
Petitioners: Leodegario A. Labao, Jr.  Labao, Jr. moved for the reconsideration of the above-quoted ruling on
Respondents: COMELEC and Ludovico L. Martelino, Jr. the ground that the petition for disqualification has ceased to be a pre-
Ponente: Leonardo – De Castro, J. proclamation controversy as he had already been proclaimed as Mayor
 The COMELEC En Banc denied Labao’s motion.
DOCTRINE: A pre-proclamation controversy refers to any question pertaining to or
affecting the proceedings of the board of canvassers which may be raised by any ISSUE
candidate or by any registered political party or coalition of political parties before 1. Whether or not the petition against Labao is a pre-proclamation
the board or directly with the Commission, or any matter raised under controversy.
Sections 233, 234, 235 and 236 in relation to the preparation, transmission, receipt, 2. Whether or not Labao was a fugitive from justice.
custody and appreciation of the election returns.
 233 – When the election returns are delayed, lost or destroyed HELD
No. The petition against Labao, Jr. was one for disqualification, and he is not a
 234 – Material defects in election returns
fugitive from justice.
 235 – When election returns appear to be tampered or falsified
 236 – Discrepancies in election returns
RATIO
FACTS
Having absolutely nothing to do with any matter or ground pertaining to or
 Ludovico L. Martelino sought the disqualification of Labao, Jr. as
affecting the proceedings of the board of canvassers in relation to the preparation,
candidate for Mayor of the Municipality of Mambusao, Capiz in the May
transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of the election returns, the petition
2013 elections, on the ground that Labao was a fugitive from justice as he
for disqualification does not qualify as a pre-proclamation controversy.
went into hiding after he was charged in court to avoid criminal
prosecution.
Section 243 of the OEC further enumerates the issues which are proper subject
 Ludovico averred that there was a warrant for Labao’s arrest for Murder.
matters of a pre-proclamation controversy as follows:
 The Information for murder stemmed from the assassination of Vice Sec. 243. Issues that may be raised in pre-proclamation controversy. - The
Mayor Abel Martinez in front of his residence on May 4, 2012. following shall be proper issues that may be raised in a pre-proclamation
o The assailants were not immediately known controversy:
o December 20, 2012 - However, one Loredo executed an a. Illegal composition or proceeding of the board of canvassers;
extrajudicial confession admitting his participation in the killing b. The canvassed election returns are incomplete, contain material
of the Vice Mayor, and implicating Labao as the mastermind defects, appear to be tampered with or falsified, or contain
o The DOJ found probable cause to indict Labao and four other discrepancies in the same returns or in other authentic copies
persons for murder thereof as mentioned in Sections 233, 234, 235 and 236 of this
 Warrants for the arrest of Labao, Jr. and four other personalities were Code;
issued. c. The election returns were prepared under duress, threats,
 Acting on a tip, the PNP attempted but failed to apprehend Labao at St. coercion, or intimidation, or they are obviously manufactured or
Paul’s Hospital where he was supposedly confined. not authentic; and
 Labao asserts that he was not a fugitive from justice. He countered that d. When substitute or fraudulent returns in controverted polling
there was no charge against him when he filed his Certificate of places were canvassed, the results of which materially affected
Candidacy. He also puts emphasis on the fact that he had already been the standing of the aggrieved candidate or candidates.
17. Panlilio V. COMELEC
In Suhuri v. Commission on Elections, this Court held that the above "enumeration is G.R. 181478
restrictive and exclusive." Thus; in this case, the petition filed against Labao, Jr. July 15, 2009
does not come within the scope of a pre-proclamation controversy under the OEC Topic: Judicial Review and Remedies
provision. In the case at bar, the petition for disqualification against Labao, Jr. was Petitioners: Eddie T. Panlilio
based on Section 40(e) of the Local Government Code disqualifying fugitives from Respondents: COMELEC
justice in criminal or non-political cases here or abroad from running for any Ponente: J. Leonardo-De Castro
elective local position.
DOCTRINE: Interlocutory orders before the COMELEC can’t be assailed through a
HE WAS NOT A FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE. Rule 65 or a motion for reconsideration since there’s still something left to be done
Fugitive from justice - the intent to evade is the compelling factor that animates with the case
one's flight from a particular jurisdiction.
FACTS
Labao’s intent to evade has not been established by the evidence on record. - The parties herein were two of the contending gubernatorial candidates
in the province of Pampanga during the May 14, 2007 national and local
In addition, Labao’s desire to participate in the proceedings before the DOJ and the elections.
RTC were seen in the ff. circumstances: - On May 18, 2007, the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Pampanga
 He took his Oath of Office as Municipal Mayor proclaimed petitioner as the duly elected governor of Pampanga having
 He assumed office garnered the highest number of votes of Two Hundred Nineteen
 He served as the Municipal Mayor Thousand Seven Hundred Six (219,706) vote with a winning margin of
 He filed a Petition for Review before the DOJ One Thousand One Hundred Forty-Seven (1,147) votes over the 218,559
 He participated in the proceedings before the RTC Mambusao votes of private respondent.
- On May 25, 2007, private respondent filed an election protest against
Also, there was no proof to show the efforts exerted by the police to locate Labao, petitioner based on the allegations that fraud transpired during the
Jr. and that despite such efforts; the warrant of arrest against him could not be election
served. - COMELEC, Second Division, issued the first assailed order giving due
course to private respondent’s election protest and directed among
DISPOSITIVE PORTION others, the revision of ballots pertaining to the protested precincts of
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition filed by Leodegario A. Labao, Jr. in the Province of Pampanga.
G.R. No. 212615 is GRANTED. Consequently, the petition filed by Sharon Grace - Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid order but
Martinez-Martelino in G.R. No. 212989 is DISMISSED for being moot and academic. the same was denied by the same Division, in the second challenged
Order dated August 1, 2007.
- On August 8, 2007, petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion (1) to certify his
earlier motion for reconsideration at the COMELEC En Banc; and (2) to
stay the COMELECs order directing the collection of ballot boxes.
Thereafter, on August 16, 2007, petitioner filed an urgent motion to hold
in abeyance the retrieval and collection of ballot boxes.
- COMELEC En Banc denied such petition
- COMELEC En Banc ratiocinated that the assailed orders of the COMELEC
Second Division were interlocutory orders, which are not one of the
orders required by Section 5 (C) Rule 3 and Section 5 Rule 19 of the
COMELEC Rules of Procedure to be certified to the Commission en banc Furthermore, the present controversy does not fall under any of the instances of
for resolution which the COMELEC En Banc can take cognizance. Section 2, Rule 3 of the 1993
- Hence, this petition before the Supreme Court alleging that COMELEC COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides:
acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in denying the petitioner’s omnibus motion “SEC. 2. The Commission En Banc. The Commission shall sit en banc in cases
hereinafter specifically provided, or in pre-proclamation cases upon a vote of a
ISSUE majority of the members of the Commission, or in all other cases where a division is
Whether the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or not authorized to act, or where, upon a unanimous vote of all the Members of a
excess of jurisdiction in denying the petitioner’s omnibus motion Division, an interlocutory matter or issue relative to an action or proceeding before
it is decided to be referred to the Commission en banc.”
HELD
No! This case is not among those specifically provided under the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure in which the COMELEC may sit en banc. Neither is it one where a
RATIO Division is not authorized to act nor one where the members of the Second Division
This issue has been squarely addressed in Repol v. COMELEC, where the Court has have unanimously voted to refer the issue to the COMELEC En Banc. Thus, the
declared that the remedy to assail an interlocutory order of the COMELEC in COMELEC En Banc is not the proper forum where petitioner may bring the assailed
Division, which allegedly was issued with grave abuse of discretion or without or in interlocutory Orders for resolution.
excess of jurisdiction, is provided in Section 5(c), Rule 3 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules
of Procedure. DISPOSITIVE PORTION
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition for certiorari is
Such case provides that since the COMELECs Division issued the interlocutory hereby DISMISSED, and the status quo ante order issued by this Court on February
Order, the same COMELEC Division should resolve the motion for reconsideration 19, 2008 is lifted. SO ORDERED.
of the Order. The remedy of the aggrieved party is neither to file a motion for
reconsideration for certification to the COMELEC En Banc nor to elevate the issue
to this Court via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Civil
Procedure

The acts of a Division that are subject of a motion for reconsideration must have a
character of finality before the same can be elevated to the COMELEC en banc. The
elementary rule is that an order is final in nature if it completely disposes of the
entire case. But if there is something more to be done in the case after its issuance,
that order is interlocutory.

It is clear from the foregoing constitutional provision that the COMELEC En


Banc shall decide motions for reconsideration only of decisions of a Division,
meaning those acts having a final character. Here, the assailed Second Division
order did not completely dispose of the case, as there was something more to be
done, which was to decide the election protest. Being interlocutory, the assailed
Second Division orders may not be resolved by the COMELEC En Banc
18. ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation v COMELEC, 323 SCRA 811
The holding of exit polls and the dissemination of their results through mass media
DOCTRINE: The holding of exit polls and the dissemination of their results through constitute an essential part of the freedoms of speech and of the press. The
mass media constitute an essential part of the freedoms of speech and of the Constitution mandates that no law shall be passed abridging freedom of speech
press. Hence, the Comelec cannot ban them totally in the guise of promoting clean, and press. Hence, the COMELEC cannot ban them totally in the guise of promoting
honest, orderly and credible elections. Quite the contrary, exit polls -- properly clean, honest, orderly and credible elections. Quite the contrary, exit polls —
conducted and publicized -- can be vital tools in eliminating the evils of election- properly conducted and publicized — can be vital tools in eliminating the evils of
fixing and fraud. Narrowly tailored countermeasures may be prescribed by the election-fixing and fraud. Narrowly tailored countermeasures may be prescribed by
Comelec so as to minimize or suppress the incidental problems in the conduct of the COMELEC so as to minimize or suppress the incidental problems in the conduct
exit polls, without transgressing in any manner the fundamental rights of our of exit polls, without transgressing in any manner the fundamental rights of our
people. people.

FACTS: Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc Resolution issued a restraining The freedoms of speech and of the press should all the more be upheld when what
order to stop ABS-CBN or any other groups, its agents or representatives from is sought to be curtailed is the dissemination of information meant to add meaning
conducting such exit survey and to authorize the Honorable Chairman to issue the to the equally vital right of suffrage. The Court cannot support any ruling or order
same. “the effect of which would be to nullify so vital a constitutional right as free
speech.” When faced with borderline situations in which the freedom of a
The Resolution was issued by the Comelec allegedly upon "information from [a] candidate or a party to speak or the freedom of the electorate to know is invoked
reliable source that ABS-CBN (Lopez Group) has prepared a project, with PR groups, against actions allegedly made to assure clean and free elections, this Court shall
to conduct radio-TV coverage of the elections x x x and to make [an] exit survey of lean in favor of freedom. For in the ultimate analysis, the freedom of the citizen
the x x x vote during the elections for national officials particularly for President and the State’s power to regulate should not be antagonistic. There can be no free
and Vice President, results of which shall be [broadcast] immediately." The and honest elections if, in the efforts to maintain them, the freedom to speak and
electoral body believed that such project might conflict with the official Comelec the right to know are unduly curtailed.
count, as well as the unofficial quick count of the National Movement for Free
Elections (Namfrel). It also noted that it had not authorized or deputized Petitioner
ABS-CBN to undertake the exit survey. There are limitations however to this freedom in which the state, in the exercise of
its police power, can curtail whenever these tests are satisfied:
On May 9, 1998, the Court issued the Temporary Restraining Order prayed for by
petitioner. The Court directed the Comelec to cease and desist, until further orders, 1. Clear and present danger rule – the evil consequence of comment or
from implementing the assailed Resolution or the restraining order issued pursuant utterance must be extremely serious and the degree of imminence must be
thereto, if any. In fact, the exit polls were actually conducted and reported by extremely high before the utterance can be punished. The danger to be guarded
media without any difficulty or problem. against is the substantive evil sought to be prevented.

ISSUE: Petitioner raises this lone issue: Whether or not the Respondent 2. Dangerous tendency rule - If the words uttered create a dangerous
Commission acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to a lack or excess of tendency which the state has a right to prevent, then such words are punishable. It
jurisdiction when it approved the issuance of a restraining order enjoining the is sufficient if the natural tendency and probable effect of the utterance be to bring
petitioner or any [other group], its agents or representatives from conducting exit about the substantive evil which the legislative body seeks to prevent. Note that
polls during the x x x May 11 elections. the words need not be definite so as to incite the listeners to acts of force, violence
or unlawfulness.
HELD: Admittedly, no law prohibits the holding and the reporting of exit polls. The
question can thus be more narrowly defined: May the Comelec, in the exercise of The court adheres to the clear and present danger rule which is a question on the
its powers, totally ban exit polls? proximity and degree of the utterance will result to the danger or evil sought to be
avoided. This is a heavy burden because the court is always on the side of freedom The contents of their ballots are not exposed. Even the choice of revealing who
of expression. To justify restriction, the promotion of substantial govt interest must they voted for is not mandatory but voluntary.
be clearly shown. And even when its purpose are legitimate and substantial, the
means employed should not be broad as to stifle personal liberties when the end The reason behind the principle of ballot secrecy is to avoid vote buying through
can be more narrowly achieved. voter identification. Thus, voters are prohibited from exhibiting the contents of
their official ballots to other persons, from making copies thereof, or from putting
In this case, the freedoms of speech and of the press should all the more be upheld distinguishing marks thereon so as to be identified. Also proscribed is finding out
when what is sought to be curtailed is the dissemination of information meant to the contents of the ballots cast by particular voters or disclosing those of disabled
add meaning to the equally vital right of suffrage. The interest being protected is or illiterate voters who have been assisted. Clearly, what is forbidden is the
the fundamental right to vote and securing its sanctity through the ballots. association of voters with their respective votes, for the purpose of assuring that
However the means employed are necessarily broad because it effectively prevents the votes have been cast in accordance with the instructions of a third party. This
other uses of exit poll data – for long term research purposes. result cannot, however, be achieved merely through the voters' verbal and
confidential disclosure to a pollster of whom they have voted for.
COMELEC tried to justify the restraint in arguing that such conduct of exit polls
present a clear and present danger of destroying the credibility and integrity of
electoral process. (na unreliable and surveys and might conflict with the count of
COMELEC and NAMFREL) However its arguments are purely speculative. Why?

1. Because in a survey, the participants are randomly selected so the results


will be a representation or reflection of the general sentiment of the community.
2. It is merely an opinion of the community or group polled. Its result is not
meant to replace or be at par with the official COMELEC count.

COMELEC ‘s restriction on exit polls is overly broad. Its application is without


qualification whether the exit polls is disruptive or not. And assuming arguendo
that there is such qualification, there is no showing that exit polls will cause chaos
in voting centers. The absolute prohibition restricts the future use of valuable
information for long-term research on the impact of current events on the voting
behavior of people.

ABS-CBN even explained its methodology which has enough precautions against
the evils enumerated by COMELEC:
(1) communities are randomly selected in each province;
(2) residences to be polled in such communities are also chosen at random;
(3) only individuals who have already voted, as shown by the indelible ink on their
fingers, are interviewed;
(4) the interviewers use no cameras of any sort;
(5) the poll results are released to the public only on the day after the elections

And lastly, on the issue of violation of ballot secrecy, the court said that such is not
at issue here. The exit poll dies not seek to access the ballots of the interviewees.
19. Carlos v Angeles o Respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion when
G.R. No. 142907 she declared Serapio as duly elected mayor
November 29, 2000 o The assailed decision is contrary to law, not supported by the
Topic: Judicial Review and Remedies evidence
Petitioner: Jose Emmanuel L. Carlos
Respondent: Hon. Adoracion G. Angeles Issue: W/N the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to review by petition for
certiorari a special civil action, the decision of the RTC in an election protest,
Facts:
considering it has no appellate jurisdiction over the decision? (YES)
 Petitioner and respondent were candidates for the position of mayor in Held:
Valenzuela
 Petition is impressed with merit
 Petitioner Carlos was proclaimed as the duly elected mayor of Valenzuela
 SC has original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition and
 Respondent Serapio filed with the RTC an election protest
mandamus against the RTC in election protest case before it, regardless
 Due to inhibition of all RTC judges in Valenzuela, court was assigned to of whether it has appellate jurisdiction over such decision
the RTC of Caloocan
 Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
 One June 26, 1998, petitioner filed with the RTC an answer with o (1) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting
affirmative defenses and MTD ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over
 Court denied the MTD petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto,
 Petitioner elevated the denial to the COMELEC on petitioner for certiorari and habeas corpus.
and prohibition  Sec. 2. The Commission on Election shall exercise the following powers
 In the course of protest, municipal treasurer of Valenzuela collected the and functions:
ballot boxes and delivered them to the RTC o (2) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests
 Petitioner filed a consolidated motion that included a prayer for authority relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of all
to photocopy all the official copies of the revision reports elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate
 RTC denied the issuance of such authorization and subsequently denied jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal
the MR officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or
 The petitioner raised the denial to the COMELEC on petition for certiorari involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of
and mandamus which also remains to be unsolved limited jurisdiction
 RTC set aside the final tally of valid votes because of its finding of  In like manner, the COMELEC has original jurisdiction to issue writs of
significant badges of fraud certiorari, prohibition and mandamus involving election cases in aid of its
 They thus declared a pattern of fraud in the conduct of the election appellate jurisdiction
 RTC rendered judgement ruling and declaring Serapio as duly elected  The Commission is vested with exclusive authority to hear and decide
mayor petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus involving election
 Serapio filed with the RTC a motion for execution cases remains in full force and effect but only in such cases where, under
 Meanwhile, On May 4, 2000, petitioner filed a notice of appeal from the paragraph (2), Section 1, Article IX-C of the Constitution, it has exclusive
decision of the RTC to the COMELEC appellate jurisdiction. Simply put, the COMELEC has the authority to
 On May 8, 2000, petitioner filed the present course alleging issue the extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus
o SC has original jurisdiction to entertain special civil actions of only in aid of its appellate jurisdiction
certiorari and prohibition  Consequently, both the Supreme Court and COMELEC have concurrent
o There are important reasons and compelling circumstances jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus over
which justify petitioner direct recourse to SC decisions of trial courts of general jurisdiction (regional trial courts) in
election cases involving elective municipal officials. The Court that takes
jurisdiction first shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over the case 20. Antonio vs. COMELEC
 Ergo, this Court has jurisdiction over the present petition of certiorari as a G.R. No. 135869
special civil action expressly conferred on it and provided for in the September 22, 1999
Constitution Topic: JUDICIAL REVIEW AND REMEDIES
 Relative to the appeal that petitioner filed with the COMELEC, the same Petitioners: RUSTICO H. ANTONIO
would not bar the present action as an exception to the rule because Respondents: COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and VICENTE T. MIRANDA,
under the circumstances, appeal would not be a speedy and adequate JR., respondents.
remedy in the ordinary course of law The exception is sparingly allowed Ponente: J. Gonzaga-Reyes
in situations where the abuse of discretion is not only grave and
whimsical but also palpable and patent, and the invalidity of the assailed FACTS:
act is shown on its face  The parties here are rival candidates for the Punong Barangay of Bgy. Ilaya, Las
Pinas, Manila.
 After Antonio was proclaimed winner, Miranda, Jr. filed an election protest
before the MTC of Las Pinas. The trial court ruled in favor of the latter and
declared Miranda as the duly elected Barangay Chairman.
 Nine days from receipt of the decision, Antonio filed a Notice of Appeal before
the COMELEC. The Commission, however, dismissed the same on the ground
that Antonio failed to perfect his appeal within the prescribed time.
 In dismissing the appeal, the COMELEC relied on Section 21, Rule 35 of the
COMELEC Rules of Procedure which reads:
o SEC. 21. Appeal From any decision rendered by the court, the aggrieved
party may appeal to the Commission on Elections within five (5) days
after the promulgation of the decision.
 On the other hand, petitioner contends that the period of appeal from
decisions of the Municipal Trial Courts or Metropolitan Trial Courts involving
barangay officials is governed by Section 9 of Republic Act 6679 and Section
252 of the Omnibus Election Code which reads:
o SEC. 9. A sworn petition contesting the election of a barangay official
may be filed with the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court by any
candidate who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and has been
voted for a barangay office within ten (10) days after the proclamation of
the results of the election. The trial court shall decide the election protest
within thirty (30) days after the filing thereof. The decision of the
municipal or metropolitan trial court may be appealed within ten (10)
days from receipt of a copy thereof by the aggrieved party to the
regional trial court which shall decide the issue within thirty (30) days
from receipt of the appeal and whose decision on questions of fact shall
be final and non-appealable. For purposes of the barangay elections, no
pre-proclamation cases shall be allowed.
o SEC. 252. Election contest for barangay offices. A sworn petition
contesting the election of a barangay officer shall be filed with the
proper municipal or metropolitan trial court by any candidate who has the instance of the Commission for failure to file a notice of appeal within the
duly filed a certificate of candidacy and has been voted for the same prescribed period, the COMELEC is precisely given the discretion, in a case
office within ten days after the proclamation of the results of the where the appeal is not filed on time to dismiss the action or proceeding.
election. The trial court shall decide the election protest within fifteen
days after the filing thereof. The decision of the municipal or
metropolitan trial court may be appealed within ten days from receipt of
a copy thereof by the aggrieved party to the regional trial court which
shall decide the case within thirty days from its submission, and whose
decisions shall be final.

ISSUE:
Whether the period to appeal a decision of a municipal trial court to the COMELEC
in an election protest involving a barangay position is 5 days per COMELEC Rules of
Procedure or 10 days as provided for in RA 6679 and the Omnibus Election Code.

HELD: The protest is within 5 days.


 Section 6, Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution grants and authorizes the
COMELEC to promulgate its own rules of procedure.
 The 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure have provided a uniform five (5) day
period for taking an appeal consistent with the expeditious resolution of
election-related cases. It would be absurd and therefore not clearly intended,
to maintain the 10-day period for barangay election contests.
 In view of the Flores vs. COMELEC case, jurisprudence has consistently
recognized that the COMELEC Rules of Procedure are controlling in election
protests heard by a regional trial court. The Court en banc has held in Rodillas
vs. COMELEC that the procedure for perfecting an appeal from the decision of
the Municipal Trial Court in a barangay election protest case is set forth in the
COMELEC Rules of Procedure. More recently, in Calucag vs. Commission on
Elections, the Court en banc had occasion to state that: xxx. Therefore, the
COMELEC is the proper appellate court clothed with jurisdiction to hear the
appeal, which appeal must be filed within five days after the promulgation of
the MTC s decision. xxx.
 Significantly, Section 5(5), Article VIII of the Constitution provides in part that
[r]ules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain
effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.
 The period for filing an appeal is by no means a mere technicality of law or
procedure. It is an essential requirement without which the decision appealed
from would become final and executory as if no appeal was filed at all. The
right of appeal is merely a statutory privilege and may be exercised only in the
manner prescribed by, and in accordance with, the provisions of the law. By
virtue of Section 9 (d), Rule 22 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure which
provides that an appeal may be dismissed upon motion of either party or at