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Sixto Brillantes, Jr.

vs Haydee Yorac
192 SCRA 358 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Constitutional Commissions – The Commission on Elections –
COMELEC’s Constitutional Independence
In December 1989, a coup attempt occurred prompting the president to create a fact finding commission which
would be chaired by Hilario Davide. Consequently he has to vacate his chairmanship over the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC). Haydee Yorac, an associate commissioner in the COMELEC, was appointed by then President
Corazon Aquino as a temporary substitute, in short, she was appointed in an acting capacity. Sixto Brillantes, Jr.
then questioned such appointment urging that under Art 10-C of the Constitution “in no case shall any member of
the COMELEC be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity”.
Brillantes further argued that the choice of the acting chairman should not come from the President for such is an
internal matter that should be resolved by the members themselves and that the intrusion of the president violates
the independence of the COMELEC as a constitutional commission.
ISSUE: Whether or not the designation made by the president violates the constitutional independence of the
COMELEC.
HELD: Yes. Yorac’s designation as acting chairman is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled that although all
constitutional commissions are essentially executive in nature, they are not under the control of the president in the
discharge of their functions. The designation made by the president has dubious justification as it was merely
grounded on the quote “administrative expediency” to present the functions of the COMELEC. Aside from such
justification, it found no basis on existing rules on statutes. It is the members of the COMELEC who should choose
whom to sit temporarily as acting chairman in the absence of Davide (they normally do that by choosing the most
senior member).
But even though the president’s appointment of Yorac as acting president is void, the members of COMELEC can
choose to reinstate Yorac as their acting chairman – the point here is that, it is the members who should elect their
acting chairman pursuant to the principle that constitutional commissions are independent bodies.

ABS-CBN BROADCASTING CORPORATION vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

[G.R. No. 133486 ; January 28, 2000] Constitutional Law| Freedom of Expression| Freedom of the Press|
FACTS:
COMELEC issued a Resolution restraining ABS-CBN or any other groups from conducting exit survey during the
elections for national officials particularly for President and Vice President. The electoral body believed that
such project might conflict with the official COMELEC count, as well as the unofficial quick count of the National
Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL).

ISSUE:
Whether the COMELEC Resolution restraining survey polls infringes the Freedom of Speech and of the Press.

HELD:
The holding of exit polls and the dissemination of their results through mass media constitute an essential part of
the freedoms of speech and of the press. Hence, the COMELEC cannot ban them totally in the guise of promoting
clean, honest, orderly and credible elections. Quite the contrary, exit polls — properly conducted and publicized
— can be vital tools in eliminating the evils of election-fixing and fraud. Narrowly tailored countermeasures may
be prescribed by the COMELEC so as to minimize or suppress the incidental problems in the conduct of exit polls,
without transgressing in any manner the fundamental rights of our people.

The freedoms of speech and of the press should all the more be upheld when what is sought to be curtailed is the
dissemination of information meant to add meaning to the equally vital right of suffrage. The Court cannot
support any ruling or order “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 candidate or a party to speak or the freedom
of the electorate to know is invoked against actions allegedly made to assure clean and free elections, this Court
shall lean in favor of freedom. For in the ultimate analysis, the freedom of the citizen and the State’s power to
regulate should not be antagonistic. There can be no free and honest elections if, in the efforts to maintain them,
the freedom to speak and the right to know are unduly curtailed.

G.R. No. L-52713 January 31, 1985

GELACIO I. YASON, petitioner,


vs.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, THE MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF ROXAS, ORIENTAL
MINDORO, and LUCIO T. SUAREZ, JR., respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:

Gelacio I. Yason filed this petition for certiorari and mandamus — (1) to set aside the resolution of respondent
Comelec mission on Elections (COMELEC) which denied due course to his candidacy for Mayor of Roxas, Oriental
Mindoro for having changed his party affiliation; (2) to set aside the resolution of COMELEC which declared
Lucio T. Suarez, Jr. as the duly elected Mayor after it had ordered all votes cast for Yason to be considered
stray votes; and (3) to order COMELEC or the Municipal Board of Canvassers to proclaim petitioner Yason, who
had obtained the highest number of votes, as the duly elected Mayor.

On January 4, 1980 at 2:45 in the afternoon, petitioner Yason filed his certificate of candidacy for Mayor of
Roxas, Oriental Mindoro with the Municipal Election Registrar. On the blank space in Item No. 4 indicating
"Political Party/Group or Aggrupation," he stated "Nationalists, (NP)." Shortly afterwards, Yason had a change
of mind. A few minutes before midnight of the same day, he went back to the municipal election registrar, asked
for the certified of candidacy he had filed that afternoon, and erased the words and letters, "Nationalista,
(NP)." Over the erased items, he typed "Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL)." The same thing was done for Item No.
5, "state if nominated by Political Party/Group or Aggrupation" where the word "Yes" was erased and
"Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL)" typed clearly as the answer. Both changes in Items 4 and 5 were initialed by
Mr. Yason.

Around January 10, 1980, the chairman of the Nationalista Party for the province of Oriental Mindoro submitted
the NP candidates for local positions. Allegedly unknown to the petitioner, his name was included in the complete
NP line-up of candidates for his municipality.

On the morning of election day on January 30, 1980, after the petitioner came to know from the Certified List of
Candidates furnished by the COMELEC for posting in election booths and guidance of citizens' election
committees that COMELEC had listed him in the official line-up of NP candidates, he immediately disclaimed
knowledge of his having been nominated by the NP provincial chapter. He sent a telegram to COMELEC,
attention Law Department, which reads:

SIR:

THIS IS IN CONNECTION WITH THE PARTY AFFILIATION IN WHICH ALL CANDIDATES UNDER MY
FACTION WERE LISTED OFFICIALLY UNDER THE NATIONALISTA PARTY.

RECORDS WOULD SHOW THAT MY CANDIDACY AND THAT OF THE VICE-MAYOR AND EIGHT
COUNCILORS FILED THEIR CERTIFICATES OF CANDIDACY UNDER THE KILUSANG BAGONG
LIPUNAN (KBL).
WE WANT TO PUT ON RECORD THAT WE HAVE NOT CHANGED OR AUTHORIZED ANY
REPRESENTATIVE TO CHANGE OFFICIALLY OUR PARTY FROM KBL TO NATIONALISTA PARTY.

THANK YOU.

VERY TRULY YOURS,

ENGR. GELACIO I.
YASON
CANDIDATE FOR
MAYOR
ROXAS OR
MINDORO

Yason also sent a formal letter to COMELEC, copy furnished the Roxas Election Registrar, embodying the same
protest.

After the canvass of election returns was completed on February 1, 1980, the respondent Board of Canvassers
certified that the number of votes obtained by the candidates were:

Yason . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 933

Suarez . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,568

thus indicating that Yason won by 365 votes over Suarez. Incidentally, only Yason and one councilor in his line-up
won. The winning candidate for vice-mayor, Oscar C. Sison, and seven of the eight councilors who won were in
the ticket of respondent Suarez. Councilor Venancio Yap, the sole candidate who won with petitioner Yason
placed fifth among the elected councilors.

A day later, on February 2, 1980, Suarez filed with COMELEC a petition for disqualification of Yason as
candidate for mayor. Notice of the petition or a copy thereof was not furnished the petitioner. Two days later,
on February 4, 1980, without the petitioner having been given an opportunity to controvert, comment upon, or
answer the petition, the COMELEC issued the questioned resolution which denied due course to the candidacy of
Yason. Having secured a copy of the resolution on his own initiative, Yason filed on February 11, 1980 a motion
for reconsideration followed by a motion to suspend proclamation of the mayor of Roxas, Oriental Mindoro.

On February 13, 1980, the COMELEC ordered the citizens' election committee and the election registrar of
Roxas to consider all votes cast for Yason as stray and to declare Lucio T. Suarez as duly elected mayor.

The petitioner contends that respondent COMELEC acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in
issuing the questioned resolutions.

On February 26, 1980, this Court restrained the respondents from enforcing the questioned resolutions. The
restraining order was later modified to enjoin respondent Suarez from assuming the office of mayor and from
discharging the duties of the mayorship.

On March 18, 1980, respondent Suarez filed a comment and counter-petition with this Court. In this counter-
petition, Suarez stated that the municipal board of canvassers proclaimed Yason as mayor-elect on March 2,
1980. He also asks that this proclamation be set aside.

In this petition, Yason raises the following issues for consideration:


I. THE COMELEC, AFTER THE ELECTION AND ALL THE VOTES WERE PROPERLY CANVASSED (AND
WINNER PROCLAIMED) HAVE NO MORE POWER OR JURISDICTION TO CANCEL A CERTIFICATE
OF CANDIDACY OR DISQUALIFY PETITIONER AS A CANDIDATE;

II. THE COMELEC HAS NO JURISDICTION TO ENTERTAIN THE PETITION FOR DISQUALIFICATION,
THE SAME HAVING BEEN FILED OUT OF TIME; and

III. PETITIONER, BEFORE THE COMELEC WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS OF LAW.

Under the facts of this case, may petitioner Yason be denied the mayorship of Roxas, Oriental Mindoro on the
ground of turncoatism?

There is no question from the records that Yason received 3,933 votes against the 3,568 votes cast for Suarez.
The elections were clean and orderly. As a matter of fact, only Yason and Councilor Venancio Yap managed to
win. The vice-mayoral candidate and seven out of eight candidates for councilor who emerged winners all
belonged to the Suarez camp. There is no indication of any frauds and malpractices as would indicate a
tampering with the people's choice. The only issue raised against the petitioner is "turncoatism."

The provision applicable to the case of petitioner Yason is Section 10, Article XII-C of the Constitution as it was
worded during the 1980 local elections. At that time, it read:

SEC. 10. No elective public officer may change his political party affiliation during his term of
office, and no candidate for any elective public office may change his political party affiliation
within six months immediately preceding or following an election.

On April 7, 1981, the above provision was amended by the addition of the phrase "unless otherwise provided
by law" at its end after the word "election."

In Luna v. Rodriguez (39 Phil. 208) decided on November 29, 1918, this Court stressed the basic principle which
has governed all elections in our country from the early years of democratic government up to the present. This
Court stated:

... The purpose of an election is to give the voters a direct participation in the affairs of their
government, either in determining who shall be their public officials or in deciding some question
of public interest; and for this purpose, all of the legal voters should be permitted, unhampered
and unmolested, to cast their ballots. When that is done, and no frauds have been committed, the
ballot should be counted and the election should not be declared null Innocent voters should not
be deprived of their participation in the affairs of their government for mere irregularities on the
part of election officers for which they are in no way responsible. A different rule would make the
manner and method of performing a public duty of greater importance than the duty itself.

In elections, the first consideration of every democratic polity is to give effect to the expressed will of the
majority. It is true that constitutional and statutory provisions requiring compliance with measures intended to
enhance the quality of our democratic institutions must be obeyed. The restriction against turncoatism is one such
measure. However, even as there should be compliance with the provision on turncoatism, an interpretation in
particular cases which respects the free and untrammelled expression of the voters' choice must be followed in its
enforcement.

The various and numerous provisions of the Election Law were adopted to assist the voters in their participation in
the affairs of the Government and not to defeat that object. (Villavert v. Former, 84 Phil. 756, 763). Election
cases involve not only the adjudication of the private interests of rival candidates but also the paramount need
of dispelling the uncertainty which beclouds the real choice of the electorate with respect to who shall discharge
the prerogatives of the offices within their gift. They are imbued with public interest. (Vda. de Mesa v. Mencias,
18 SCRA 533, 538) The disenfranchisement of electors is not favored. (Lloren v. Court of Appeals, et al., 19
SCRA 110). This is especially true where the majority of voters are sought to be disenfranchised.

Applying the above rules to the interpretation of the turncoatism provision in the light of the facts of this case, we
find merit in the petition.

The records are not precise and definite about petitioner Yason's being a turncoat as defined by the Constitution.
Up to the day he filed his certificate of candidacy, Yason's choice as to whether he would remain with the KBL as
an independent KBL candidate or move over to the welcoming Nationalista Party was marked by vacillation.

Yason's final decision was, however, clear and beyond doubt. Notwithstanding the unholy hour before midnight,
on January 4, 1980, Yason withdrew the certificate of candidacy he had earlier filed that afternoon, erased
"Nationalists (NP)" from the space denoting party affiliation, typed "Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL)" thereon and
initialed the change. And to remove any doubts about his choice, he erased the word "Yes" from the query
whether he was nominated by a political party and instead typed "Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL)" followed by
his initials.

There is no provision of law forbidding the withdrawal of candidacy at any time before election. As a matter of
fact, the law does not require that the withdrawal of a certificate so as to validate a second filing of another
certificate of candidacy must be made on or before the deadline for filing candidacies. (Montinola v. Commission
on Elections, 98 Phil. 220). By the same token, once entries in a certificate of candidacy are corrected, it is the
corrected version which is considered filed and not the earlier one.

The records do not show that Yason ever affiliated with the Nationalists Party or that he signed any NP
membership form or took his oath as an NP member. The only records available show him as still belonging to
the KBL. The petitioner has submitted campaign leaflets which indicate that he was running as a KBL candidate
and that his campaign motto was "Umunlad sa Bagong Lipunan — Boy Yason ang ating Kailangan."

The private respondent has introduced affidavits to show that the local Nacionalista Party of Roxas, Oriental
Mindoro campaigned for Yason as its own candidate for mayor. Apart from protesting his inclusion in the NP
line-up of the provincial chapter and formally disowning such support in a telegram and letter to COMELEC, the
petitioner has not shown what other measures he took. Nevertheless, we cannot categorically tag Yason as a
"turncoat" under the law simply because he did not reject more strongly the support which another party
voluntarily gave to him.

There are other reasons for granting this petition.

A petition to disqualify a candidate, as would validly cancel any votes cast for him as "stray votes" if granted,
should be filed before the day of elections. This will enable a substitute candidacy to be filed thus giving the
electorate a choice of alternative candidates. (See Section 28, P.D. No. 1296, Election Code of 1978).

For the 1980 local elections, the COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 8434 which mandated that the exact
deadline for the filing of petitions for disqualification was "5:00 o'clock P.M., Friday, January 25, 1980." The
mandatory nature of the deadline is explicit from the statement of an exact hour, day and date.

Respondent Suarez filed his petition for the disqualification of Yason on February 2, 1980 after the results of the
elections were already known. Suarez has submitted a copy of a letter he allegedly wrote to COMELEC dated
January 25, 1980 protesting the turncoatism of Yason and stating that a formal petition would follow. The
authenticity of this letter is doubtful because it is dated January 25, 1980 and yet, it was supposed to have
been received that same day in Manila. Suarez was campaigning for the January 30 elections in the distant
town of Roxas, Oriental Mindoro. It is not shown what he was doing in Manila five days before a hotly contested
election. To reach Roxas, one has to take a car or bus ride from Manila to Batangas City, a ferry ride of several
hours to Calapan, and at least six hours ride over rough roads to reach Roxas. At any rate, even if filed on
January 25, 1980, whoever initialed its receipt by the COMELEC Law Division was careful to extricate himself or
herself from a potentially difficult situation by pointedly entering "6:00 P.M." as the time of receipt or one hour
after the official deadline. Moreover, COMELEC was completely unaware of the letter because it acted only
after the February 2, 1980 petition was filed. There is absolutely no mention in the petition that an informal
letter had earlier been filed.

We rule that the petition to disqualify the petitioner was filed long after the deadline for filing had lapsed.
Moreover, considering its lack of merit it may not be validated on equitable grounds.

The provision on turncoatism was incorporated in the 1973 Constitution to bring about disciplined political parties
with dedicated party followers. The shift to a parliamentary system at this time was clear. The President was a
nominal Head of State while executive power was exercised by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. The Prime
Minister under the 1973 Constitution, as Chief of State, was elected by the National Assembly, remained a
member of the Parliament during Ms tenure as Chief Executive, and could be removed by a no confidence
majority vote of the legislature. The Constitution has since been amended to have a President elected nationwide
for a fixed term who can be removed by the legislature only through impeachment. However, whether the
government is pure parliamentary, modified parliamentary, pure presidential, or modified presidential, it cannot
be denied that the turncoatism provision represents an Ideal objective. The opposition party should be strong,
organized, and united in its challenge. It should be more or less permanent, not broken up into squabbling
factions after being defeated in an election. It should present a viable alternative program of government so
that when elected to political power, the people can exact strict compliance with its promises and platforms.

Unfortunately, the 1980 experience showed that perhaps disciplined political parties with faithful and dedicated
members cannot be organized through unduly strict and peremptory legislation. Perhaps, voluntary action
through evolutionary processes helped along by carefully crafted legislation would have been preferable. At
any rate, the Constitution was amended in 1981 such that the provision on "turncoatism" would be enforced,
"unless otherwise provided by law."

Batas Pambansa Blg. 697 governing the 1984 elections for Batasan members provided otherwise — "any
person, including an elective official, may change his party affiliation for purposes of the election herein
provided for." Thus, a candidate for the Batasan may change his party affiliation even within the proscribed
term or period.

True, the same Section 14 of Batas Pambansa Big. 697 provides that pending disqualification cases before the
COMELEC or the Supreme Court based on "turncoatism" shall not be affected by the provisions of the section.
Nonetheless, the spirit behind the enactment of Section 14, B.P. Blg. 697 as an exception to the turncoatism
provision of the Constitution constrains us to adopt a liberal view in applying the law to the facts of the case
before us to insure that the win of the people of Roxas, Negros Oriental expressed through their ballots shall be
respected.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The questioned resolutions of respondent Commission on Elections
are SET ASIDE. The proclamation of petitioner Gelacio I. Yason as duly elected Mayor of Roxas, Oriental
Mindoro is AFFIRMED. The temporary restraining order dated February 26, 1980 as subsequently modified is
made PERMANENT.

SO ORDERED.

Concepcion Jr., Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin, De la Fuente and Cuevas, JJ., concur.

UTUTALUM vs. COMELEC


181 SCRA 335
Facts: Petitioner Untalum obtained 482 votes while respondent Anni received 35,581 votes out of the 39,801
voters. If the returns of Siasi were excluded, petitioner would have lead of 5,301 votes. Petitioner filed written
objections to the returns from Siasi on the ground that they “appear to be tampered with or falsified” owing to
the “great excess of votes” appearing in the said returns.

COMELEC issued annulling the Siasi List of Voters “on the ground of massive irregularities committed in the
preparation and being statistically improbable”, and ordering a new registration of voters for the local elections.

Petitioner contends that the issue he raised referred to “obvious manufactured returns,” a proper subject matter
for a pre-proclamation controversy and therefore cognizable by the COMELEC; that election returns from Siasi
should be excluded from the canvass of the results since its original List of Voters had already been finally
annulled.

Issue: Whether or not the election returns from Siasi should be excluded from the canvass of the results since the
original List of Voters had been finally annulled.

Held: The Siasi returns, however, do not show prima facie that on the basis of the old List of Voters, there is actually
a great excess of votes over what could have been legally cast considering that only 36,000 persons actually
voted out of the 39,801 voters.

Petitioner’s cause of action is not a listed ground for a pre-proclamation controversy. To allow the COMELEC to do
so retroactively would be to empower it to annul a previous election because of the subsequent annulment of a
questioned registry. The list must then be considered conclusive evidence of persons who could exercise the right
of suffrage in a particular election. The preparation of a voter’s list is not a proceeding before the Board of
Canvassers. A pre-proclamation controversy is limited to challenges directed against the Board of Canvassers, not
the Board of Election Inspectors and such challenge should relate to specified election returns against which the
petitioner should have made verbal elections.

[G.R. No. 128877. December 10, 1999]

ROLANDO ABAD, JR., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; HON. OCTAVIO A. FERNANDEZ, JR.,
Presiding Judge, Second Metropolitan Circuit Trial Court, General Natividad, Nueva Ecija; and
SUSANITO SARENAS, JR., respondents.

RESOLUTION
QUISUMBING, J.:

This special civil action for certiorari seeks to annul the COMELEC En Banc Resolution in SPR No. 45-96, dated
April 29, 1997. Petitioner ABAD had sought COMELECs review of respondent Judges orders issued in the election
protest filed against private respondent SARENAS. In said Resolution, the COMELEC denied review, decreeing thus:

WHEREFORE, considering that the June 3, 1996 Order of the Court a quo had already attained finality at the
time of the filing of this Petition, thus, must remain undisturbed, and there being no showing that the drawing of
lots mandated by the Courts Order dated October 3, 1996, was attended by fraud or irregularities, the
Commission En Banc RESOLVED to DISMISS the Petition for lack of merit.[1]

The factual antecedents are as follows:


Petitioner Abad and private respondent Sarenas were both candidates for Sangguniang Kabataan (SK)
chairman of Barangay Sta. Barbara, Llanera, Nueva Ecija, during the May 6, 1996, SK elections.
Petitioner emerged as winner with 66 votes as against private respondents 62 votes. Petitioner was thus
proclaimed SK chairman of Sta. Barbara.[2]
Private respondent soon thereafter filed an election protest alleging fraud on the part of petitioner through
the registration of four unqualified voters. Three voters were allegedly underaged while one lacked the required
residency in the barangay. Private respondent asked for a recount of the votes cast.[3]
The election protest was filed before the Second Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Gen. Natividad,
Nueva Ecija, presided over by respondent Judge.
In his answer, petitioner claimed that private respondent was barred from questioning the qualifications of the
four voters because he failed to ask for their exclusion from the voters list as provided for under Section 22 of
COMELEC Resolution No. 2824, the Rules and Regulations Governing the May 6, 1996 Elections of the SK; and
Section 2 of COMELEC Resolution No. 2832, the Instructions for the Registration of Voters in connection with the SK
elections. Petitioner contended that the permanent registry list of voters is conclusive on the question of who has the
right to vote in an election under the Omnibus Election Code. Petitioner also claimed that a recount is not justified
under the provisions of the same Code.
In addition, petitioner charged private respondent with vote-buying. He further alleged error on the part of
the Board of Election Tellers in the appreciation of votes.
In an Order dated June 3, 1996, respondent MCTC Judge Fernandez ruled in favor of private
respondent. According to Judge Fernandez, while the registry list of voters is indeed conclusive as to who can vote,
this must be disregarded if justice were to prevail. Moreover, said Judge Fernandez, a recount of the votes would
not be determinative of who actually won the SK chairmanship. Instead, he ordered that four votes, representing
the votes of those persons whose qualification as voters were questioned, be deducted from petitioner.[4]
As this resulted in a 62-62 tie between petitioner and private respondent, Judge Fernandez ordered that the
winner be determined via drawing of lots or toss of a coin.[5]
Petitioner appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 26 which, however, dismissed his
appeal, since under COMELEC Resolution No. 2824, the decision of the MCTC insofar as the SK election is
concerned can only be elevated to the COMELEC en banc through a petition for review and only in meritorious
cases. The RTC through Acting Presiding Judge Johnson L. Ballutay ordered remand of the case to the court of
origin.[6]
The drawing of lots ordered by the MCTC proceeded on October 3, 1996. Petitioner was absent although he
was duly notified of the proceeding.[7] Private respondent Sarenas emerged as winner in the drawing of lots. In
an order issued on the same day, the MCTC directed him to take his oath of office and to assume his duties as SK
chairman.
Thus petitioner Abad then filed a petition for review with the COMELEC en banc.
In its Resolution dismissing the petition, the COMELEC said:

On the basis of the facts presented the Commission En Banc holds that the June 3, 1996 Order of the Municipal
Trial Court had, as of the filing of the Petition for Review already become final. In short, the Petition as regards
said Order had prescribed. Records show that the decision of the Trial Court annulling the proclamation of Abad
and declaring a tie between him and Sarenas, to be broken by a drawing of lots, was received by Abad on
June 5, 1996. Though he appealed said Order to the Regional Trial Court, the remedy availed of was not the
one obtaining under COMELEC Resolution 2824, Section 49 of which provides:

Finality of Proclamation. The proclamation of the winning candidates shall be final. However, the Metropolitan Trial
Courts/Municipal Trial Courts/Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall have original jurisdiction over all election protest
cases, whose decision shall be final. The Commission En Banc in meritorious cases may entertain a petition for review
of the decision of the MeTC/MTC/MCTC in accordance with the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. An appeal bond of
P2,000.00 shall be required which shall be refundable if the appeal is found meritorious.
More properly, and conformably with said provision, Petitioner should have directed his Petition to the
Commission En Banc within thirty days from June 5, 1996, the date the decision was served upon him.Even if we
assume that his procedural lapse was justifiable thus permit his appeal to the RTC to stay the running of the
prescriptive period, he should have rectified his error upon receipt of the Order of the RTC dismissing his Appeal
on July 10, 1996. Petitioner had several opportunities to avail of the correct remedy. Yet, he procrastinated and
acted only when he lost the drawing of lots to respondent.Considering therefore that Petitioner failed to question
the propriety of the Order of the Court a quo dated June 3, 1996, the same had become final and executory.

The October 3, 1996 Order of the MTC, is issued in implementation of the June 3, 1996 Order, declaring a tie
between Petitioner and Respondent Sarenas and directing a drawing of lots to break it. Having become
executory as of October 3, 1996, its implementation become mandatory. Records show that Petitioner was duly
notified of the proceedings. He did not appear despite notice. He can not invoke his non-appearance as an
excuse for questioning the proceedings. The same was conducted in public. No irregularity or anomaly attending
the proceeding was proven by Petitioner. There is therefore no cogent reason to warrant the setting aside of the
result thereof.[8]

Hence, this petition. While petitioner raises principally the issue of grave abuse of discretion on the part of
the COMELEC for not declaring as null and void the challenged orders of the trial court, the more fundamental
issue here, in our view, involves the COMELECs own jurisdiction. The Court cannot proceed further in this case without
resolving that issue.
Note that from the trial court, petitioner proceeded directly to the COMELEC en banc. Apparently, he was
proceeding pursuant to Section 49 of COMELEC Resolution No. 2824, which provides:

xxx The Commission en banc in meritorious cases may entertain a petition for review of the decision of the
MetC/MTC/MCTC in accordance with the Comelec Rules of Procedure. xxx

But we find this rule not in accord but in conflict with Article IX-C, Section 3 of the Constitution, which states
that:

Sec. 3. The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in two divisions, and shall promulgate its rules of
procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, including pre-proclamation controversies. All such
election cases shall be heard and decided in division, provided that motions for reconsideration of decisions
shall be decided by the Commission en banc. (Emphasis supplied.)

In Sarmiento v. Commission on Elections,[9] we ruled that the COMELEC, sitting en banc, does not have the
requisite authority to hear and decide election cases in the first instance. This power pertains to the divisions of the
Commission. Any decision by the Commission en banc as regards election cases decided by it in the first instance is
null and void.
In the recent case of Zarate v. COMELEC,[10] this rule has been reiterated. We nullified the decision of the
COMELEC en banc in Zarate, which incidentally also concerns a 1996 SK election case appealed directly from the
MTC. We remanded the case and ordered it assigned to an appropriate division of the COMELEC.
Thus, consistent with the rulings in Zarate and Sarmiento cases, we are now constrained to declare as null and
void the questioned resolution of the COMELEC en banc in this case of Abad (SPR No. 45-96).
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The decision of the COMELEC en banc in SPR No. 45-96 is SET
ASIDE and the Commission is ordered to assign the case to one of its Divisions for prompt resolution.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Purisima, Buena, Gonzaga-
Reyes, Ynares-Santiago and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
Pardo J., no part.
RAMIREZ vs. COMELEC
270 SCRA 590, 1997

Facts: The Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) of Gipolos, Eastern Samar proclaimed petitioner Ramirez winner
in the vice-mayoralty race over another candidate, private respondent Go based on the results showing that
Ramirez obtained more votes than Go.

Go petitioned COMELEC for correction of manifest error claiming that owing to error in addition, he was credited
with lesser votes. The COMELEC en banc issued a Resolution directing the MBC to reconvene and recompute the
votes in the Statement of Votes and proclaim the winning candidate. Acting on separate motions filed by Ramirez
and Go, the COMELEC en banc affirmed its earlier resolution.

Ramirez petitioned the Supreme Court to annul the 2 COMELEC en banc resolutions and to reinstate his
proclamation as the duly elected vice-mayor. He alleged that the COMELEC en banc had no jurisdiction over the
controversy since it was not yet acted upon by a division of the COMELEC.

Issue: Whether the COMELEC en banc has jurisdiction to act directly on the petition for correction of manifest error
filed by private respondent Go?

Held: The Supreme Court ruled in the affirmative, citing Rule 27, Section 5 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules which
provides correction of manifest errors in the tabulation or tallying of results during the canvassing as one of the
pre-proclamation controversies which maybe filed directly with the COMELEC en banc.

The Supreme Court annulled the COMELEC resolutions but directed COMELEC to reconvene the MBC or if this is
not feasible, to constitute a new MBC in Gipolos, Eastern Samar and to order it to promptly revise the Statement
of Votes based on the election returns from all the precincts of the Municipality and thereafter, proclaim the winning
candidate.

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 134047. December 15, 1999]
AMADO S. BAGATSING, ERNESTO M. MACEDA, and JAIME LOPEZ, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS and JOSE L. ATIENZA, respondents.

FACTS: Petitioners Amado S. Bagatsing, Ernesto M. Maceda and Jaime Lopez and herein private respondent
Jose L. Atienza were candidates for the position of Mayor of Manila in the May 11, 1998 elections.
On May 18, 1998, seven (7) days after the elections, petitioners filed with the COMELEC a complaint for
disqualification against private respondent, on the ground that the latter allegedly caused the disbursement of
public funds in the amount of Three Million Three Hundred Seventy-Five Thousand (P3,375,000.00) Pesos, more or
less, within the prohibited forty-five-day period before the elections in violation Batas Pambansa Blg. 881,
otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines.

The alleged disbursement was intended to be distributed in the form of financial assistance to the public school
teachers of the City of Manila who manned the precinct polls in that city during the elections.
The COMELEC (First Division)* issued an order suspending the proclamation of private respondent,
appearing that the evidence presented consisting of disbursement voucher and the general payroll evidencing
payment to the teachers in the form of financial assistance dated May 5, 1998, in violation of Section 68 of the
Omnibus Election Code,

On May 21, 1998, private respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration and sought to set aside the afore-
quoted order directing the suspension of his proclamation as mayor, which was granted.
That same day, petitioners filed a Motion to Suspend Immediate Intended Proclamation of Respondent also
filed a Motion for Reconsideration and a Second Motion to Suspend Immediate Intended Proclamation of
Respondent before COMELEC en banc.

In the afternoon of the same day, June 4, 1998, and proclaimed private respondent as the duly elected
Mayor of the City of Manila.[5]

On June 25, 1999, without waiting for the resolution of their motion for reconsideration pending before the
COMELEC en banc, petitioners filed the instant petition to set aside the June 4, 1998 resolution of the
COMELEC's First Division.

ISSUE: Whether or not filing of petition will suspend the proclamation of the winning candidate.

HELD:
We find this contention without merit.

The mere filing of a petition for disqualification is not a ground to suspend the proclamation of the winning
candidate. In the absence of an order suspending proclamation, the winning candidate who is sought to be
disqualified is entitled to be proclaimed as a matter of law. This is clear from Section 6 of R.A. 6646 providing
that the proclamation of the candidate sought to be disqualified is suspended only if there is an order of the
COMELEC suspending proclamation. Here, there was no order suspending private respondent’s
proclamation. Consequently, private respondent was legally proclaimed on June 4, 1998.

Neither did the COMELEC err in not ordering the suspension of private respondent's proclamation. The second
paragraph of paragraph 2 of Resolution No. 2050 provides that where a complaint is filed after the elections but
before proclamation, as in this case, the complaint must be dismissed as a disqualification case but shall be referred
to the Law Department for preliminary investigation. If before the proclamation, the Law Department makes
a prima facie finding of guilt and the corresponding information has been filed with the appropriate trial court,
the complainant may file a petition for suspension of the proclamation of respondent with the court before which
the criminal case is pending and that court may order the suspension of the proclamation if the evidence of guilt is
strong.

[G.R. No. 120318. December 5, 1997]

RICARDO "BOY" CANICOSA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, MUNICIPAL BOARD OF


CANVASSERS OF CALAMBA LAGUNA and SEVERINO LAJARA, respondents.

DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J.:

RICARDO "BOY" CANICOSA and SEVERINO LAJARA were candidates for mayor in Calamba, Laguna, during
the 8 May 1995 elections. After obtaining a majority of some 24,000 votes[1] Lajara was proclaimed winner by
the Municipal Board of Canvassers. On 15 May 1995 Canicosa filed
with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) a Petition to Declare Failure of Election and to Declare Null and Void
the Canvass and Proclamation because of alleged widespread frauds and anomalies in casting and counting of
votes, preparation of election returns, violence, threats, intimidation, vote buying, unregistered voters voting, and
delay in the delivery of election documents and paraphernalia from the precincts to the Office of the Municipal
Treasurer. Canicosa particularly averred that: (a) the names of the registered voters did not appear in the list of
voters in their precincts; (b) more than one-half of the legitimate registered voters were not able to vote with
strangers voting in their stead; (c) he was credited with less votes than he actually received; (d) control data of the
election returns was not filled up in some precincts; (e) ballot boxes brought to the Office of the Municipal Treasurer
were unsecured, i.e., without padlocks nor self-locking metal seals; and, (f) there was delay in the delivery of
election returns. But the COMELEC en banc dismissed the petition on the ground that the allegations therein did not
justify a declaration of failure of election.
Indeed, the grounds cited by Canicosa do not warrant a declaration of failure of election. Section 6 of BP Blg.
881, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code, reads:

Sec. 6. Failure of election. - If, on account of force majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud, or other analogous causes
the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed, or had been suspended before the hour
fixed by law for the closing of the voting, or after the voting and during the preparation and the transmission of
the election returns or in the custody or canvass thereof, such election results in a failure to elect, and in any of
such cases the failure or suspension of election would affect the result of the election, the Commission shall, on the
basis of a verified petition by any interested party and after due notice and hearing, call for the holding or
continuation of the election not held, suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect on a date reasonably close
to the date of the election not held, suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect but not later than thirty days
after the cessation of the cause of such postponement or suspension of the election or failure to elect.

Clearly, there are only three (3) instances where a failure of election may be declared, namely: (a) 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; (b) the election in any polling place had been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the
closing of the voting on account of force majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud, or other analogous causes; or (c) after
the voting and during the preparation and transmission of the election returns or in the custody or canvass thereof,
such election results in a failure to elect on account of force majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud, or other analogous
causes.
None of the grounds invoked by Canicosa falls under any of those enumerated.
Canicosa bewails that the names of the registered voters in the various precincts did not appear in their
respective lists of voters. But this is not a ground to declare a failure of election.The filing of a petition for
declaration of failure of election therefore is not the proper remedy. The day following the last day for registration
of voters, the poll clerk delivers a certified list of voters to the election registrar, election supervisor and the
COMELEC, copies of which are open to public inspection. On the same day, the poll clerk posts a copy of the list
of registered voters in each polling place. Each member of the board of election inspectors retains a copy of the
list which may be inspected by the public in their residence or in their office during office hours.[2]
Fifteen (15) days before the regular elections on 8 May 1995 the final list of voters was posted in each
precinct pursuant to Sec. 148 of RA No. 7166. Based on the lists thus posted Canicosa could have filed a petition
for inclusion of registered voters with the regular courts. The question of inclusion or exclusion from the list of voters
involves the right to vote [3] which is not within the power and authority of COMELEC to rule upon. The determination
of whether one has the right to vote is a justiciable issue properly cognizable by our regular courts. Section 138,
Art. XII, of the Omnibus Election Code states:

Sec. 138. Jurisdiction in inclusion and exclusion cases. - The municipal and metropolitan trial courts shall have
original and exclusive jurisdiction over all matters of inclusion and exclusion of voters from the list in their
respective municipalities or cities. Decisions of the municipal or metropolitan trial courts may be appealed
directly by the aggrieved party to the proper regional trial court within five days from receipts of notice
thereof, otherwise said decision of the municipal or metropolitan trial court shall decide the appeal within ten
days from the time the appeal was received and its decision shall be immediately final and executory. No
motion for reconsideration shall be entertained by the courts (Sec. 37, PD 1896, as amended).

On the other hand, Canicosa could have also filed with the COMELEC a verified complaint seeking the
annulment of the book of voters pursuant to Sec. 10, of RA No. 7166:
Sec. 10. Annulment of the List of Voters. - Any book of voters the preparation of which has been affected with
fraud, bribery, forgery, impersonation, intimidation, force or any other similar irregularity or which is statistically
improbable may be annulled after due notice and hearing by the Commission motu propio or after the filing of a
verified complaint: Provided, that no order, ruling or decision annulling a book of voters shall be executed within
sixty (60) days before an election.

If indeed the situation herein described was common in almost all of the 557 precincts as alleged by
Canicosa,[4] then it was more expedient on his part to avail of the remedies provided by law in order to maintain
the integrity of the election. Since Canicosa failed to resort to any of the above options, the permanent list of
voters as finally corrected before the election remains conclusive on the question as to who had the right to vote in
that election, although not in subsequent elections.[5]
Canicosa also avers that more than one-half (1/2) of the legitimate registered voters were not able to vote,
instead, strangers voted in their behalf. Again, this is not a ground which warrants a declaration of failure of
election. Canicosa was allowed to appoint a watcher in every precinct. The watcher is empowered by law to
challenge any illegal voter. Thus, Secs. 199 and 202, Art. XVII, of the Omnibus Election Code, provide:

Sec. 199. Challenge of illegal voters. - (a) Any voter, or watcher may challenge any person offering to vote for
not being registered, for using the name of another or suffering from existing disqualification. In such case, the
board of election inspectors shall satisfy itself as to whether or not the ground for the challenge is true by
requiring proof of registration or identity of the voter x x x x

Sec. 202. Record of challenges and oaths. - The poll clerk shall keep a prescribed record of challenges and oaths
taken in connection therewith and the resolution of the board of election inspectors in each case and, upon the
termination of the voting, shall certify that it contains all the challenges made x x x x

The claim of Canicosa that he was credited with less votes than he actually received and that the control data
of the election returns was not filled up should have been raised in the first instance before the board of election
inspectors or board of canvassers. Section 179, Art. XV, of the Omnibus Election Code clearly provides for the
rights and duties of watchers -

Sec. 179. Rights and duties of watchers. - x x x x The watchers x x x shall have the right to witness and inform
themselves of the proceedings of the board of election inspectors x x x to file a protest against any irregularity
or violation of law which they believe may have been committed by the board of election inspectors or by any
of its members or by any persons, to obtain from the board of election inspectors a certificate as to the filing of
such protest and/or of the resolution thereon x x x and to be furnished with a certificate of the number of votes
in words and figures cast for each candidate, duly signed and thumbmarked by the chairman and all the
members of the board of election inspectors x x x x

To safeguard and maintain the sanctity of election returns, Sec. 212, Art. XVIII, of the Omnibus Election
Code states -

Sec. 212. Election returns. - x x x x Immediately upon the accomplishment of the election returns, each copy
thereof shall be sealed in the presence of the watchers and the public, and placed in the proper envelope, which
shall likewise be sealed and distributed as herein provided.

Furthermore, it is provided in Sec. 215 of the Omnibus Election Code that -

Sec. 215. Board of election inspectors to issue a certificate of the number of votes polled by the candidates for an
office to the watchers. - After the announcement of the results of the election and before leaving the polling
place, it shall be the duty of the board of election inspectors to issue a certificate of the number of votes
received by a candidate upon request of the watchers. All members of the board of election inspectors shall sign
the certificate.
Supplementing the preceding provisions, Secs. 16 and 17 of RA No. 6646 also require -

Sec. 16. Certification of votes. - After the counting of the votes cast in the precinct and announcement of the
results of the election, and before leaving the polling place, the board of election inspectors shall issue a
certificate of votes upon request of the duly accredited watchers x x x x

Sec. 17. Certificate of Votes as Evidence. - The provisions of Secs. 235 and 236 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881
notwithstanding, the certificate of votes shall be admissible in evidence to prove tampering, alteration,
falsification or anomaly committed in the election returns concerned x x x x

From the foregoing provisions, it is clear that in case of inconsistency as to the number of votes written in the
election returns and the certificate of votes, a petition for correction of election returns must immediately be filed
with COMELEC by all or a majority of the members of the board of election inspectors or any candidate affected
by the error or mistake. In order to make out a case for correction of election returns, there must be an error and
at least a majority of the members of the board of election inspectors agrees that such error existed.Canicosa
never mentioned that he petitioned for the correction of the election returns before the COMELEC
Canicosa complains that the election returns were delivered late and the ballot boxes brought to the Office
of the Municipal Treasurer unsecured, i.e., without padlocks nor self-locking metal seals. These bare allegations
cannot impel us to declare failure of election. Assuming that the election returns were delivered late, we still cannot
see why we should declare a failure to elect. The late deliveries did not convert the election held in Calamba into
a mockery or farce to make us conclude that there was indeed a failure of election.
In fine, the grounds cited by Canicosa in his petition do not fall under any of the instances enumerated in Sec.
6 of the Omnibus Election Code. In Mitmug v. Commission on Elections [6]we ruled that before COMELEC can act on
a verified petition seeking to declare a failure of election, at least two (2) conditions must concur: (a) no voting has
taken place in the precincts on the date fixed by law, or even if there was voting, the election nevertheless resulted
in failure to elect; and, (b) the votes that were not cast would affect the result of the election. From the face of the
instant petition, it is readily apparent than an election took place and that it did not result in a failure to elect.[7]
Canicosa finally insists that it was error on the part of COMELEC sitting en banc to rule on his petition. He
maintains that his petition should have first been heard by a division of COMELEC and later by the COMELEC en
banc upon motion for reconsideration, pursuant to Sec. 3, Art. IX-C, of the Constitution.[8]
But this provision applies only when the COMELEC acts in the exercise of its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial
functions and not when it merely exercises purely administrative functions. To reiterate, the grounds cited by
Canicosa in his petition are that: (a) the names of the registered voters did not appear in the list of voters in their
respective precincts; (b) more than one-half of the legitimate registered voters were not able to vote with strangers
voting in their stead; (c) he was credited with less votes than he actually received; (d) the control data of the
election returns was not filled up in some precincts; (e) ballot boxes brought to the Office of the Municipal Treasurer
were unsecured, i. e., without padlocks nor self-locking metal seals; and, (f) there was delay in the delivery of
election returns.
Clearly, all these matters require the exercise by the COMELEC of its administrative functions. Section 2, Art.
IX-C, of the 1987 Constitution grants extensive administrative powers tothe COMELEC with regard to the
enforcement and administration of all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of elections. Likewise, Sec. 52
of BP Blg. 881, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code, states:

Sec. 52. Powers and functions of the Commission on Elections. - In addition to the powers and functions conferred
upon it by the Constitution, the Commission shall have exclusive charge of the enforcement and administration of
all laws relative to the conduct of elections for the purpose of ensuring free, orderly and honest elections x x x x

Quite obviously, it is only in the exercise of its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial powers that the COMELEC is
mandated to hear and decide cases first by Division and then, upon motion for reconsideration, by the COMELEC en
banc. This is when it is jurisdictional. In the instant case, as aforestated, the issues presented demand only the
exercise by the COMELEC of its administrative functions.
The COMELEC exercises direct and immediate supervision and control over national and local officials or
employees, including members of any national or local law enforcement agency and instrumentality of the
government required by law to perform duties relative to the conduct of elections. Its power of direct supervision
and control includes the power to review, modify or set aside any act of such national and local officials. [9] It
exercises immediate supervision and control over the members of the boards of election inspectors and
canvassers. Its statutory power of supervision and control includes the power to revise, reverse or set aside the
action of the boards, as well as to do what the boards should have done, even if questionsrelative thereto have
not been elevated to it by an aggrieved party, for such power includes the authority to initiate motu proprio or
by itself such steps or actions as may be required pursuant to law.[10]
Specifically, Canicosa alleged that he was credited with less votes than he actually received. But he did not
raise any objection before the Municipal Board of Canvassers; instead, he went directly to the COMELEC. He now
claims, after the COMELEC en banc dismissed his petition, that it was error on the part of COMELEC to rule on his
petition while sitting en banc.
We have already disposed of this issue in Castromayor v. Commission on Elections [11] thus should be
pinpointed out, in this connection, that what is involved here is a simple problem of arithmetic. The Statement of
Votes is merely a tabulation per precinct of the votes obtained by the candidates as reflected in the election
returns. In making the correction in computation, the MBC will be acting in an administrative capacity, under the
control and supervision of the COMELEC. Hence, any question pertaining to the proceedings of the MBC may be
raised directly to the COMELEC en banc in the exercise of its constitutional function to decide questions affecting
elections.
Moreover, it is expressly provided in Rule 27, Sec. 7, of the Comelec Rules of Procedure that any party
dissatisfied with the ruling of the board of canvassers shall have a right to appeal to the COMELEC en banc:

Sec. 7. Correction of Errors in Tabulation or Tallying of Results by the Board of Canvassers. - (a) Where it is clearly
shown before proclamation that manifest errors were committed in the tabulation or tallying or election returns,
or certificates of canvass, during the canvassing as where (1) a copy of the election returns of one precinct or two
or more copies of a certificate of canvass were tabulated more than once, (2) two copies of the election returns
or certificate of canvass were tabulated separately, (3) there was a mistake in the adding or copying of the
figures into the certificate of canvass or into thestatement of votes by precinct, or (4) so-called election returns
from non-existent precincts were included in the canvass, the board may motu proprio, or upon verified petition
by any candidate, political party, organization or coalition of political parties, after due notice and hearing,
correct the errors committed x x x x (h) The appeal shall be heard and decided by the Commission en banc.

In Tatlonghari v. Commission on Elections [12] it was made to appear in the Certificate of Canvass of Votes and
Proclamation of the Winning Candidates that respondent therein received 4,951 votes or more than what he
actually obtained. In resolving the case we ruled that the correction of the manifest mistake in mathematical
addition calls for a mere clerical task of the board of canvassers. The remedy invoked was purely
administrative. In Feliciano v. Lugay [13] we categorized the issue concerning registration of voters, which Canicosa
cited as a ground in his petition for declaration of failure of election, as an administrative question. Likewise,
questions as to whether elections have been held or whether certain returns were falsified or manufactured and
therefore should be excluded from the canvass do not involve the right to vote. Such questions are properly within
the administrative jurisdiction of COMELEC, [14] hence, may be acted upon directly by the COMELEC en
banc without having to pass through any of its divisions.
WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion committed by public respondent Commission on Elections,
the petition is DISMISSED and its Resolution en banc of 23 May 1995 dismissing the petition before it on the ground
that the allegations therein did not justify a declaration of failure of election is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Francisco, Panganiban, and
Martinez, JJ., concur.
Mendoza, J., on leave.
TAN vs. COMELEC
G.R. No. 73155 July 11, 1986
Governing law: Art XI Sec. 3 of Constitution in relation to Sec. 197 of Local Government Code

Facts:
This case was prompted by the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 885, An Act Creating a New Province in the
Island of Negros to be known as the Province of Negros del Norte, effective Dec. 3, 1985. (Cities of Silay, Cadiz
and San Carlos and the municipalities of Calatrava, Taboso, Escalante, Sagay, Manapla, Victorias, E.R.
Magalona, and Salvador Benedicto proposed to belong to the new province).
Pursuant to and in implementation of this law, the COMELEC scheduled a plebiscite for January 3, 1986.
Petitioners opposed, filing a case for Prohibition and contending that the B.P. 885 is unconstitutional and not in
complete accord with the Local Government Code because:
• The voters of the parent province of Negros Occidental, other than those living within the territory of the new
province of Negros del Norte, were not included in the plebiscite.
• The area which would comprise the new province of Negros del Norte would only be about 2,856.56 sq. km.,
which is lesser than the minimum area prescribed by the governing statute, Sec. 197 of LGC.

Issue:
WON the plebiscite was legal and complied with the constitutional requisites of the Consititution, which states
that — “Sec. 3. No province, city, municipality or barrio may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its
boundary substantially altered except in accordance with the criteria established in the Local Government Code,
and subject to the approval by a majority of the votes in a plebiscite in the unit or units affected”? NO.

Held:
Whenever a province is created, divided or merged and there is substantial alteration of the boundaries, “the
approval of a majority of votes in the plebiscite in the unit or units affected” must first be obtained. The creation
of the proposed new province of Negros del Norte will necessarily result in the division and alteration of the
existing boundaries of Negros Occidental (parent province).
Plain and simple logic will demonstrate that two political units would be affected. The first would be the parent
province of Negros Occidental because its boundaries would be substantially altered. The other affected entity
would be composed of those in the area subtracted from the mother province to constitute the proposed province
of Negros del Norte.
Paredes vs. Executive (G.R. No. 55628) should not be taken as a doctrinal or compelling precedent. Rather, the
dissenting view of Justice Abad Santos is applicable, to wit:
“…when the Constitution speaks of “the unit or units affected” it means all of the people of the municipality if the
municipality is to be divided such as in the case at bar or of the people of two or more municipalities if there be
a merger.”
The remaining portion of the parent province is as much an area affected. The substantial alteration of the
boundaries of the parent province, not to mention the adverse economic effects it might suffer, eloquently argue
the points raised by the petitioners.”
SC pronounced that the plebscite has no legal effect for being a patent nullity.
Lynette Garvida vs Florencio Sales, Jr.
271 SCRA 767 – Law on Public Officers – Ineligibility – SK Chairman – “Labo Doctrine” Applied
In 1996, Lynette Garvida filed her candidacy to the position of Chairman of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) of
a barangay in Bangui, Ilocos Norte. Her candidacy was opposed by her rival Florencio Sales, Jr. on the ground
that she is over 21 years old (21 years old, 9 months at the time of the filing). Nevertheless, the trial court ordered
that she be admitted as a candidate and the SK elections went on. Sales, in the meantiume, filed a petition to
cancel the certificate of candidacy of Garvida. When the elections results came in, Garvida won with a vote of
78, while Sales got 76. Garvida was eventually proclaimed as winner but had to face the petition filed by Sales.
Garvida, in her defense, averred that Section 424 of the Local Government Code (LGC) provides that candidates
for the SK must be at least 15 years of age and a maximum age of 21 years. Garvida states that the LGC does
not specify that the maximum age requirement is exactly 21 years hence said provision must be construed as 21
years and a fraction of a year but still less than 22 years – so long as she does not exceed 22 she is still eligible
because she is still, technically, 21 years of age (although she exceeds it by 9 months).
ISSUE: Whether or not Garvida met the age requirement.
HELD: No. Section 424 of the Local Government Code provides that candidates for SK must be:

1. Filipino citizen;
2. an actual resident of the barangay for at least six months;
3. 15 but not more than 21 years of age; and
4. duly registered in the list of the Sangguniang Kabataan or in the official barangay list.

The provision is clear. Must not be more than 21 years of age. The said phrase is not equivalent to “less than 22
years old.” The law does not state that the candidate be less than 22 years on election day. If such was the intention
of Congress in framing the LGC, then they should have expressly provided such.
Sales claims that he obtained the second highest number of vote, hence he should be declared as the SK Chairman, is
this a valid contention?
No. Applying the ruling in Labo vs COMELEC, a defeated candidate, though obtaining the second highest number
of vote, is not deemed to have been elected by reason of the winner’s eventual disqualification/ineligibility. He
cannot be declared as successor simply because he did not get the majority or the plurality of votes – the electorate
did not choose him. It would have been different if Sales was able to prove that the voters still voted for Garvida
despite knowing her ineligibility, this would have rendered her votes “stray”.
Under Section 435 of the LGC, the SK Chairman should be succeeded by the SK member who obtained the highest
number of votes, should the SK member obtaining such vote succeed Garvida?**
(**Not to be confused with Sales’ situation – Sales was a candidate for SK chairmanship not SK membership.)
The above argument can’t be considered in this case because Section 435 only applies when the SK Chairman
“refuses to assume office, fails to qualify, is convicted of a felony, voluntarily resigns, dies, is permanently
incapacitated, is removed from office, or has been absent without leave for more than three (3) consecutive
months.” Garvida’s case is not what Section 435 contemplates. Her removal from office by reason of her age is
a question of eligibility. Being “eligible” means being “legally qualified; capable of being legally chosen.”
Ineligibility, on the other hand, refers to the lack of the qualifications prescribed in the Constitution or the statutes
for holding public office. Ineligibility is not one of the grounds enumerated in Section 435 for succession of the SK
Chairman.

Mercado v. Manzano Case Digest [G.R. No. 135083. May 26, 1999]
FACTS:

Petitioner Ernesto Mercado and Eduardo Manzano were both candidates for Vice-Mayor of Makati in the May
11, 1998 elections.

Based on the results of the election, Manzano garnered the highest number of votes. However, his proclamation
was suspended due to the pending petition for disqualification filed by Ernesto Mercado on the ground that he
was not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States.

From the facts presented, it appears that Manzano is both a Filipino and a US citizen.

The Commission on Elections declared Manzano disqualified as candidate for said elective position.
However, in a subsequent resolution of the COMELEC en banc, the disqualification of the respondent was
reversed. Respondent was held to have renounced his US citizenship when he attained the age of majority and
registered himself as a voter in the elections of 1992, 1995 and 1998.

Manzano was eventually proclaimed as the Vice-Mayor of Makati City on August 31, 1998.

Thus the present petition.

ISSUE:

Whether or not a dual citizen is disqualified to hold public elective office in the philippines.

RULING:

The court ruled that the phrase "dual citizenship" in R.A. 7160 Sec. 40 (d) and R.A. 7854 Sec. 20 must be
understood as referring to dual allegiance. Dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. The former arises
when, as a result of the application of the different laws of two or more states, a person is simultaneously
considered a national by the said states. Dual allegiance on the other hand, refers to a situation in which a
person simultaneously owes, by some positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is
involuntary, dual allegiance is a result of an individual's volition. Article IV Sec. 5 of the Constitution provides
"Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law."

Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall under this disqualification. Unlike those with dual
allegiance, who must, therefore, be subject to strict process with respect to the termination of their status, for
candidates with dual citizenship, it should suffice if, upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy, they elect
Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as persons with dual citizenship considering that their condition is
the unavoidable consequence of conflicting laws of different states.

By electing Philippine citizenship, such candidates at the same time forswear allegiance to the other country of
which they are also citizens and thereby terminate their status as dual citizens. It may be that, from the point of
view of the foreign state and of its laws, such an individual has not effectively renounced his foreign
citizenship. That is of no moment.

When a person applying for citizenship by naturalization takes an oath that he renounces his loyalty to any
other country or government and solemnly declares that he owes his allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines,
the condition imposed by law is satisfied and complied with. The determination whether such renunciation is valid
or fully complies with the provisions of our Naturalization Law lies within the province and is an exclusive
prerogative of our courts. The latter should apply the law duly enacted by the legislative department of the
Republic. No foreign law may or should interfere with its operation and application.

The court ruled that the filing of certificate of candidacy of respondent sufficed to renounce his American
citizenship, effectively removing any disqualification he might have as a dual citizen. By declaring in his
certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino citizen; that he is not a permanent resident or immigrant of another
country; that he will defend and support the Constitution of the Philippines and bear true faith and allegiance
thereto and that he does so without mental reservation, private respondent has, as far as the laws of this country
are concerned, effectively repudiated his American citizenship and anything which he may have said before as a
dual citizen.

On the other hand, private respondent’s oath of allegiance to the Philippines, when considered with the fact that
he has spent his youth and adulthood, received his education, practiced his profession as an artist, and taken
part in past elections in this country, leaves no doubt of his election of Philippine citizenship.

His declarations will be taken upon the faith that he will fulfill his undertaking made under oath. Should he
betray that trust, there are enough sanctions for declaring the loss of his Philippine citizenship through
expatriation in appropriate proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, the court sustained the denial of entry into
the country of petitioner on the ground that, after taking his oath as a naturalized citizen, he applied for the
renewal of his Portuguese passport and declared in commercial documents executed abroad that he was a
Portuguese national. A similar sanction can be taken against any one who, in electing Philippine citizenship,
renounces his foreign nationality, but subsequently does some act constituting renunciation of his Philippine
citizenship.

The petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

Romualdez-Marcos vs COMELEC
TITLE: Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC
CITATION: 248 SCRA 300

FACTS:

Imelda, a little over 8 years old, in or about 1938, established her domicile in Tacloban, Leyte where she studied
and graduated high school in the Holy Infant Academy from 1938 to 1949. She then pursued her college
degree, education, in St. Paul’s College now Divine Word University also in Tacloban. Subsequently, she taught
in Leyte Chinese School still in Tacloban. She went to manila during 1952 to work with her cousin, the late
speaker Daniel Romualdez in his office in the House of Representatives. In 1954, she married late President
Ferdinand Marcos when he was still a Congressman of Ilocos Norte and was registered there as a voter. When
Pres. Marcos was elected as Senator in 1959, they lived together in San Juan, Rizal where she registered as a
voter. In 1965, when Marcos won presidency, they lived in Malacanang Palace and registered as a voter in San
Miguel Manila. She served as member of the Batasang Pambansa and Governor of Metro Manila during 1978.

Imelda Romualdez-Marcos was running for the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte for the
1995 Elections. Cirilo Roy Montejo, the incumbent Representative of the First District of Leyte and also a
candidate for the same position, filed a “Petition for Cancellation and Disqualification" with the Commission on
Elections alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional requirement for residency. The petitioner, in an
honest misrepresentation, wrote seven months under residency, which she sought to rectify by adding the words
"since childhood" in her Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy filed on March 29, 1995 and that "she
has always maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or residence. She arrived at the seven months residency
due to the fact that she became a resident of the Municipality of Tolosa in said months.

ISSUE: Whether petitioner has satisfied the 1year residency requirement to be eligible in running as
representative of the First District of Leyte.

HELD:
Residence is used synonymously with domicile for election purposes. The court are in favor of a conclusion
supporting petitoner’s claim of legal residence or domicile in the First District of Leyte despite her own
declaration of 7 months residency in the district for the following reasons:

1. A minor follows domicile of her parents. Tacloban became Imelda’s domicile of origin by operation of law
when her father brought them to Leyte;

2. Domicile of origin is only lost when there is actual removal or change of domicile, a bona fide intention of
abandoning the former residence and establishing a new one, and acts which correspond with the purpose. In
the absence and concurrence of all these, domicile of origin should be deemed to continue.

3. A wife does not automatically gain the husband’s domicile because the term “residence” in Civil Law does not
mean the same thing in Political Law. When Imelda married late President Marcos in 1954, she kept her
domicile of origin and merely gained a new home and not domicilium necessarium.

4. Assuming that Imelda gained a new domicile after her marriage and acquired right to choose a new one only
after the death of Pres. Marcos, her actions upon returning to the country clearly indicated that she chose
Tacloban, her domicile of origin, as her domicile of choice. To add, petitioner even obtained her residence
certificate in 1992 in Tacloban, Leyte while living in her brother’s house, an act, which supports the domiciliary
intention clearly manifested. She even kept close ties by establishing residences in Tacloban, celebrating her
birthdays and other important milestones.

WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the necessary residence qualifications to run for a seat
in the House of Representatives in the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC's questioned Resolutions dated April 24,
May 7, May 11, and May 25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE. Respondent COMELEC is hereby directed to order
the Provincial Board of Canvassers to proclaim petitioner as the duly elected Representative of the First District of
Leyte.

Lonzanida vs COMELEC, G.R. No. 135150 case brief summary


July 28, 1999

Facts:

Romeo Lonzanida was elected and had served as municipal mayor of San Antonio, Zambales in terms 1989-1992,
1992-1995 and 1995-1998. However, his proclamation relative to the 1995 election was protested and was
eventually declared by the RTC and then by COMELEC null and void on the ground of failure of elections.

On February 27, 1998, or about three months before the May 1998 elections, Lonzanida vacated the mayoralty
post in light of a COMELEC order and writ of execution it issued. Juan Alvez, Lonzanida’s opponent assumed office
for the remainder of the term.

In the May 1998 elections, Lonzanida again filed his certificate of candidacy. His opponent, Efren Muli, filed a
petition for disqualification on the ground that Lonzanida had already served three consecutive terms in the same
post. On May 13, 1998, petitioner Lonzanida was proclaimed winner.

The COMELEC granted the petition for disqualification.

Petitioner Lonzanida challenged the validity of the COMELEC resolution maintaining that he was duly elected
mayor for only two consecutive terms and that his assumption of office in 1995 cannot be counted as service of a
term for the purpose of applying the three term limit for local government officials, because he was not the duly
elected mayor of San Antonio in the May 1995 elections. He also argued that the COMELEC ceased to have
jurisdiction over the petition for disqualification after he was proclaimed winner in the 1998 mayoral elections as
the proper remedy is a petition for quo warranto with the appropriate regional trial court under Rule 36 of the
COMELEC Rules of Procedure.

The private respondent maintained that the petitioner’s assumption of office in 1995 should be considered as
service of one full term because he discharged the duties of mayor for almost three years until March 1, 1998 or
barely a few months before the next mayoral elections.

Issues:

1. WON petitioner’s assumption of office as mayor of San Antonio Zambales from May 1995 to 1998 may be
considered as service of one full term for the purpose of applying the three-term limit for elective local government
officials.

2. WON COMELEC ceased to have jurisdiction over the petition for disqualification after petitioner was proclaimed
winner.

Held:

1. NO. Two conditions for the application of the disqualification must concur: 1) that the official concerned has
been elected for three consecutive terms in the same local government post and 2) that he has fully served three
consecutive terms.

“To recapitulate, the term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as well as
the right to serve in the same elective position. Consequently, it is not enough that an individual has served three
consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must also have been elected to the same position for the same number
of times before the disqualification can apply.”
The two requisites for the application of the three term rule are absent. First, the petitioner cannot be considered
as having been duly elected to the post in the May 1995 elections, and second, the petitioner did not fully serve
the 1995-1998 mayoral term by reason of involuntary relinquishment of office.

After a re-appreciation and revision of the contested ballots the COMELEC itself declared by final judgment that
petitioner Lonzanida lost in the May 1995 mayoral elections and his previous proclamation as winner was declared
null and void. His assumption of office as mayor cannot be deemed to have been by reason of a valid election
but by reason of a void proclamation. It has been repeatedly held by this court that a proclamation subsequently
declared void is no proclamation at all and while a proclaimed candidate may assume office on the strength of
the proclamation of the Board of Canvassers he is only a presumptive winner who assumes office subject to the
final outcome of the election protest. Lonzanida did not serve a term as mayor of San Antonio, Zambales from
May 1995 to March 1998 because he was not duly elected to the post; he merely assumed office as presumptive
winner, which presumption was later overturned by the COMELEC when it decided with finality that Lonzanida lost
in the May 1995 mayoral elections.

Second, the petitioner cannot be deemed to have served the May 1995 to 1998 term because he was ordered
to vacate his post before the expiration of the term. The respondents’ contention that the petitioner should be
deemed to have served one full term from May 1995-1998 because he served the greater portion of that term
has no legal basis to support it; it disregards the second requisite for the application of the disqualification, i.e.,
that he has fully served three consecutive terms. The second sentence of the constitutional provision under scrutiny
states, “Voluntary renunciation of office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the
continuity of service for the full term for which he was elected. “The clear intent of the framers of the constitution
to bar any attempt to circumvent the three-term limit by a voluntary renunciation of office and at the same time
respect the people’s choice and grant their elected official full service of a term is evident in this
provision. Voluntary renunciation of a term does not cancel the renounced term in the computation of the three
term limit; conversely, involuntary severance from office for any length of time short of the full term provided by
law amounts to an interruption of continuity of service. The petitioner vacated his post a few months before the
next mayoral elections, not by voluntary renunciation but in compliance with the legal process of writ of execution
issued by the COMELEC to that effect. Such involuntary severance from office is an interruption of continuity of
service and thus, the petitioner did not fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term.

In sum, the petitioner was not the duly elected mayor and that he did not hold office for the full term; hence, his
assumption of office from May 1995 to March 1998 cannot be counted as a term for purposes of computing the
three term limit. The Resolution of the COMELEC finding him disqualified on this ground to run in the May 1998
mayoral elections should therefore be set aside.

2. NO. It was held in the case of Sunga vs. COMELEC that the proclamation or the assumption of office of a
candidate against whom a petition for disqualification is pending before the COMELEC does not divest the
COMELEC of jurisdiction to continue hearing the case and to resolve it on the merits.

Section 6 of RA 6646 specifically mandates that:

“Sec. 6. Effects of disqualification Case.- any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified
shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared
by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes
in such election, the court or commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and,
upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the
proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong.”
The clear legislative intent is that the COMELEC should continue the trial and hearing of the disqualification case
to its conclusion i.e., until judgment is rendered. The outright dismissal of the petition for disqualification filed before
the election but which remained unresolved after the proclamation of the candidate sought to be disqualified will
unduly reward the said candidate and may encourage him to employ delaying tactics to impede the resolution of
the petition until after he has been proclaimed.

It must be emphasized that the purpose of a disqualification proceeding is to prevent the candidate from running
or, if elected, from serving, or to prosecute him for violation of the election laws. Obviously, the fact that a
candidate has been proclaimed elected does not signify that his disqualification is deemed condoned and may no
longer be the subject of a separate investigation.” (Lonzanida vs. Comelec, G.R. No. 135150. July 28, 1999)

Sinaca vs. COMELEC


G.R. No. 135691 (1999)
Ponente: Davide

FACTS:
LAKAS-NUCD-UMPD had 2 opposing factions judging the May 11, 1998 elections -- the Barbers wing, which
nominated Grachil G. Canoy and was headed by Robert Barbers, and the Matugas wing, which nominated
Teodoro F. Sinaca, Jr. and was headed by Francisco Matugas.

Miguel Mula, a candidate for vice-mayor belonging to the Barbers wing filed a petition for disqualification against
Teodoro, a mayoral candidate in Malimono, Surigao del Norte, which COMELEC granted. Consequently, Teodoro
filed a motion for reconsideration. The same date that Teodoro filed a motion for reconsideration, Sinaca Sinaca,
an independent candidate, withdrew his certificate of candidacy, became a member of LAKAS, and ran as the
substitute mayoral candidate under the Matugas wing. As such, he filed another certificate of candidacy, now as
mayoral candidate under LAKAS.

On May 11, 1998, Mula filed another petition for disqualification against Sinaca, contending that his nomination
as a substitute candidate is illegal because prior to being a substitute candidate, he was not part of any party;
his nomination bears only the approval of Provincial Chair Matugas, without consultation with the other party
membes; and substitution takes place only when the disqualification of a party results to losing representation, but
in this case, LAKAS still had Canoy as the party's candidate.

On May 28, 1998, COMELEC dismissed Mula's petition and upheld Sinaca's candidacy because Matugas was
allowed to nominate Sinaca as substitute candidate, and that the petition was rendered moot and academic
because Sinaca was already declared winner of the election, and has already taken his oath of office. Eventually,
Mula filed a motion for reconsideration. On October 6, 1998, COMELEC en ban issued a resolution disqualifying
Sinaca solely on the basis of being an independent candidate prior to his nomination as a substitute candidate.
Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that in the event that an official candidate dies, withdraws or is
disqualified on the last day of the filing of certificates of candidacy, only a person belonging to the same party
may replace the candidate.

ISSUE: W/N COMELEC was correct in disqualifying Sinaca

HELD:

NO. Matugas had authority to nominate a candidate without Barbers' concurrence because he was designated as
LAKAS HQ's Deputy Secretary General and National Secretariat Executive Director. Sinaca was also rightfully a
member of LAKAS. The Supreme Court said that "a political party has the right to identify the people who constitute
the association and to select a standard bearer who best represents the party's ideologies and preference. Political
parties are generally free to conduct their internal affairs free from judicial supervision; this common-law principle
of judicial restraint, uprooted in the constitutionally protected right of free association, serves the public interest by
allowing political processes to operate without undue interference. Thus, the rule is that the determination of
disputes as to party nominations rests with the party, in the absence of statutes giving the court's jurisdiction."

JOEL G. MIRANDA VS. ANTONIO M. ABAYA

Jose "Pempe" Miranda, then incumbent mayor of Santiago City, Isabela, filed his certificate of candidacy for the
same mayoralty post for the synchronized May 11, 1998 elections. Private respondent Antonio M. Abaya filed a
Petition to Deny Due Course to and/or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy. The petition was GRANTED by Comelec
and they further ruled to DISQUALIFY Jose "Pempe" Miranda.

On May 6, 1998, way beyond the deadline for filing a certificate of candidacy, petitioner Joel G. Miranda filed
his certificate of candidacy for the mayoralty post, supposedly as a substitute for his father, Jose "Pempe" Miranda.
During the May 11, 1998 elections, petitioner and private respondent vied for the mayoralty seat, with petitioner
garnering 22,002 votes, 1,666 more votes than private respondent who got only 20, 336 votes.
Private respondent filed a Petition to Declare Null and Void Substitution with Prayer for Issuance of Writ of
Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order. He prayed for the nullification of petitioner's
certificate of candidacy for being void ab initio because the certificate of candidacy of Jose "Pempe" Miranda,
whom petitioner was supposed to substitute, had already been cancelled and denied due course.

Issue: WON the petitioner, who was beyond the deadline for filing a certificate of candidacy, be qualified to
substitute a candidate whose COC was cancelled and denied?

Held: NO.

In Bautista vs. Comelec the Court explicitly ruled that "a cancelled certificate does not give rise to a valid
candidacy." A person without a valid certificate of candidacy cannot be considered a candidate in much the same
way as any person who has not filed any certificate of candidacy at all can not, by any stretch of the imagination,
be a candidate at all.

The law clearly provides:


SEC. 73. Certificate of candidacy -- No person shall be eligible for any elective public office unless he files
a sworn certificate of candidacy within the period fixed herein.
By its express language, the foregoing provision of law is absolutely mandatory. It is but logical to say that any
person who attempts to run for an elective office but does not file a certificate of candidacy, is not a candidate
at all. No amount of votes would catapult him into office.

In Gador vs. Comelec (95 SCRA 431 [1980]), the Court held that a certificate of candidacy filed beyond the period
fixed by law is void, and the person who filed it is not, in law, a candidate. Much in the same manner as a person
who filed no certificate of candidacy at all and a person who filed it out of time, a person whose certificate of
candidacy is cancelled or denied due course is no candidate at all. No amount of votes should entitle him to the
elective office aspired for. The evident purposes of the law in requiring the filing of certificates of candidacy and
in fixing the time limit therefor are: (a) to enable the voters to know, at least sixty days before the regular election,
the candidates among whom they are to make the choice, and (b) to avoid confusion and inconvenience in the
tabulation of the votes cast. For if the law did not confine the choice or election by the voters to the duly registered
candidates, there might be as many persons voted for as there are voters, and votes might be cast even for
unknown or fictitious persons as a mark to identify the votes in favor of a candidate for another office in the same
election.
After having considered the importance of a certificate of candidacy, it can be readily understood why in Bautista
the Court ruled that a person with a cancelled certificate is no candidate at all.

A disqualified candidate may only be substituted if he had a valid certificate of candidacy in the first place
because, if the disqualified candidate did not have a valid and seasonably filed certificate of candidacy, he is
and was not a candidate at all. If a person was not a candidate, he cannot be substituted under Section 77 of the
Omnibus Election Code. Besides, if we were to allow the so-called "substitute" to file a "new" and "original"
certificate of candidacy beyond the period for the filing thereof, it would be a crystalline case of unequal
protection of the law, an act abhorred by our Constitution.

Hence, Comelec ruling to ANNUL the election and proclamation of petitioner was AFFIRMED.

G.R. No. L-53953 January 5, 1981

SANDE AGUINALDO, NARCISO MENDIOLA, OLYMPIO MEDINA, ROLANDO HERNANDEZ and LEOPOLDO
PINON petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and SATURNINO V. TIAMSON, respondents.
FERNANDO, C.J.:

Two circumstances decisive in their significance stand out in this certiorari proceeding against respondent
Commission on Elections. It was filed only on May 30, 1980, after an election duly held and after the
proclamation of the victorious candidate for Mayor, private respondent Saturnino TIAMSON. Moreover, as far
back as March 10, 1980, an action for quo warranto had been instituted by his opponent Cesar Villones. The
plea for its dismissal made in the comments both of the Solicitor General, 1 appearing for respondent
Commission, as well as respondent Tiamson, considered as answers, must therefore be sustained. Since Venezuela
v. Commission on Elections, 2 this Court has invariably adhered to the principle that after the holding of the
January 30, 1980 election, and a proclamation thereafter made, a petition to disqualify a candidate based on
a change of political party affiliation within six months immediately preceding or following an election, 3 filed
with this Court after January 30, 1980, arising from a pre-proclamation controversy, should be dismissed without
prejudice to such ground being passed upon in a proper election protest or quo warranto proceeding. Where,
however, such constitutional provision had been seasonably invoked prior to that date with the Commission on
Elections having acted on it and the matter then elevated to this Court before such election, the issue thus
presented should be resolved.

The facts are undisputed. In the January 30, 1980 election, there were three candidates, Saturnino Tiamson of
the Nacionalista Party, Cesar Villones of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan and Edgardo Samson of the National
Union for Liberation. 4 After the canvassing of the election returns, it was shown that private respondent Tiamson
had more than 117 votes over the candidate Villones. 5 On February 29, 1980, he was proclaimed as Mayor by
the Municipal Board of Canvassers and on March 3, 1980 assumed such position. 6 On March 10, 1980, as
mentioned, Villones filed a quo warranto petition based on the above disqualification provision of the
Constitution. 7 This certiorari proceeding, as noted at the outset, was not filed until May 30, 1980, directed
against an order of respondent Commission on Elections denying the motion for reconsideration of a previous
order of dismissal of a petition to disqualify private respondent Tiamson. 8

It is thus manifest why this certiorari proceeding must be dismissed. The ruling in Venezuela was applied in
Villegas v. Commission on Elections, 9 Potencion v. Conunission on Elections, 10 Arcenas v. Commission on
Elections, 11 and Singco v. Conunission on Elections. 12 A citation from Arcenas finds pertinence: "Nor does a
decision of this character detract from the binding force of the principle announced in Reyes v. Comelec, that the
provision on disqualification arising from a change in a political party affiliation by a candidate within six
months is both 'innovative and mandatory. 'As should be clear, the issue of disqualification has not been rendered
moot and academic, only the remedy to be pursued is no longer the pre- proclamation controversy." 13 So it must
be in this case with a quo warranto petition having already been filed as far back as March 10, 1980, by the
party most interested, no less than the losing candidate, Cesar Villones.

WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed for lack of merit. No costs.

Barredo, Makasiar, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., Fernandez, Guerrero. De Castro and Melencio-Herrera, JJ., concur.

Abad Santos J., is on leave.

GARCIA ET AL. VS COMELEC


Posted by kaye lee on 10:58 AM
G.R. No. 111511 October 5, 1993 [Initiative and Referendum; Recall proceeding]

FACTS:
Enrique T. Garcia was elected governor of Bataan in the 1992 elections. Some mayors, vice-mayors and
members of the Sangguniang Bayan of the twelve (12) municipalities of the province constituted themselves into
a Preparatory Recall Assembly to initiate the recall election of petitioner Garcia. They issued Resolution No. 1 as
formal initiation of the recall proceedings. COMELEC scheduled the recall election for the gubernatorial position
of Bataan.

Petitioners then filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with writ of preliminary injunction to annul the
Resolution of the COMELEC because the PRAC failed to comply with the "substantive and procedural
requirement" laid down in Section 70 of R.A. 7160 (Local Government Code 1991). They pointed out the most
fatal defect of the proceeding followed by the PRAC in passing the Resolution: the deliberate failure to send
notices of the meeting to 65 members of the assembly.

ISSUES:
1) Whether or not the people have the sole and exclusive right to initiate recall proceedings.
2) Whether or not the procedure for recall violated the right of elected local public officials belonging to the
political minority to equal protection of the law.

RULING:
1) No. There is nothing in the Constitution that will remotely suggest that the people have the "sole and exclusive
right to decide on whether to initiate a recall proceeding." The Constitution did not provide for any mode, let
alone a single mode, of initiating recall elections.
The mandate given by section 3 of Article X of the Constitution is for Congress to "enact a local government code
which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure through a system of
decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum . . ." By this constitutional mandate,
Congress was clearly given the power to choose the effective mechanisms of recall as its discernment dictates.
What the Constitution simply required is that the mechanisms of recall, whether one or many, to be chosen by
Congress should be effective. Using its constitutionally granted discretion, Congress deemed it wise to enact an
alternative mode of initiating recall elections to supplement the former mode of initiation by direct action of the
people. The legislative records reveal there were two (2) principal reasons why this alternative mode of initiating
the recall process thru an assembly was adopted, viz: (a) to diminish the difficulty of initiating recall thru the
direct action of the people; and (b) to cut down on its expenses.

2) No. Under the Sec. 70 of the LGC, all mayors, vice-mayors and sangguniang members of the municipalities
and component cities are made members of the preparatory recall assembly at the provincial level. Its
membership is not apportioned to political parties. No significance is given to the political affiliation of its
members. Secondly, the preparatory recall assembly, at the provincial level includes all the elected officials in
the province concerned. Considering their number, the greater probability is that no one political party can
control its majority. Thirdly, sec. 69 of the Code provides that the only ground to recall a locally elected public
official is loss of confidence of the people. The members of the PRAC are in the PRAC not in representation of
their political parties but as representatives of the people. By necessary implication, loss of confidence cannot be
premised on mere differences in political party affiliation. Indeed, our Constitution encourages multi-party system
for the existence of opposition parties is indispensable to the growth and nurture of democratic system. Clearly
then, the law as crafted cannot be faulted for discriminating against local officials belonging to the minority.
Moreover, the law instituted safeguards to assure that the initiation of the recall process by a preparatory recall
assembly will not be corrupted by extraneous influences. We held that notice to all the members of the recall
assembly is a condition sine qua non to the validity of its proceedings. The law also requires a qualified majority
of all the preparatory recall assembly members to convene in session and in a public place. Needless to state,
compliance with these requirements is necessary, otherwise, there will be no valid resolution of recall which can
be given due course by the COMELEC.
Chavez v. Commission on Elections
G. R. No. 162777, August 31, 2004
FACTS: Petitioner Chavez, on various dates, entered into formal agreements with certain establishments to endorse
their products and pursuant to these agreements, three billboards were set up along the Balintawak Interchange
of the North Expressway. (These last two agreements were entered into on October 14, 2003 and November 10,
2003, respectively.) On December 30, 2003, petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of Senator
under Alyansa ng Pag-asa. Thereafter, respondent COMELEC issued a Resolution No. 6520 which contains Sec. 32
prohibiting all propaganda materials showing the image or mentioning the name of a person, who subsequent to
the placement thereof becomes a candidate for public office. Petitioner was asked by the respondent to comply
with the rule but petitioner asked that he be exempted from said Resolution considering that the billboards
mentioned therein are mere product endorsement and cannot be construed as paraphernalia for premature
campaigning under the rules. COMELEC it ordered petitioner to remove or cause the removal of the billboards, or
to cover them from public view pending the approval of his request. Not agreeing with the decision, petitioner
Chavez asks the Supreme Court that the COMELEC be enjoined from enforcing the assailed provision. Hence, the
petition for prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.

ISSUES:
1) Whether or not the billboard mentioned therein are exempted from sec. 32 of resolution no. 6520 due to the
reason that it is purely product endorsement and do not announce or solicit any support for petitioner's candidacy.
2) Whether or not Sec. 32 of Resolution 6520 is a valid exercise of police power.

HELD:
1) No, the Supreme Court held that the billboard mentioned therein should not be exempted from sec. 32 of
resolution no. 6520. The Supreme Court held that Under the Omnibus Election Code, "election campaign" or
"partisan political activity" is defined as an act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular
candidate or candidates to a public office. One of the activities included therein is "Directly or indirectly soliciting
votes, pledges or support for or against a candidate".
2) Yes, the Supreme Court held that Sec. 32 of resolution no. 6520 is a valid exercise of police power. The Supreme
Court said that A close examination of the assailed provision reveals that its primary objectives are to prohibit
premature campaigning and to level the playing field for candidates of public office, to equalize the situation
between popular or rich candidates, on one hand, and lesser-known or poorer candidates, on the other, by
preventing the former from enjoying undue advantage in exposure and publicity on account of their resources and
popularity. This is within the context of police power to prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace,
education, good order, or safety, and the general welfare of the people.
Sandoval vs Commission on Elections
323 SCRA 403
Adjudicatory Powers

FACTS: Petitioner and private respondent herein were candidates for the congressional seat for the Malabon-
Navotas legislative district during the elections held on May 11, 1998. After canvassing the municipal certificates
of canvass, the district board of canvassers proclaimed petitioner the duly elected congressman. The petitioner
took his oath of office on the same day. Private respondent filed with the Comelec a petition, which sought the
annulment of petitioner's proclamation. He alleged that there was a verbal order from the Comelec Chairman to
suspend the canvass and proclamation of the winning candidate, but the district board of canvassers proceeded
with the canvass and proclamation despite the said verbal order. He also alleged that there was non-inclusion of
19 election returns in the canvass, which would result in an incomplete canvass of the election returns. The Comelec
en banc issued an order setting aside the proclamation of petitioner and ruled the proclamation as void. Hence,
this petition for certiorari seeking the annulment and reversal of the Comelec order.

ISSUE: Whether or not the COMELEC's order to set aside petitioner's proclamation was valid

RULING: No. Although the COMELEC is clothed with jurisdiction over the subject matter and issue of SPC No.98-
143 and SPC No. 98-206, we find the exercise of its jurisdiction tainted with illegality. We hold that its order to
set aside the proclamation of petitioner is invalid for having been rendered without due process of law. Procedural
due process demands prior notice and hearing. Then after the hearing, it is also necessary that the tribunal show
substantial evidence to support its ruling. In other words, due process requires that a party be given an opportunity
to adduce his evidence to support his side of the case and that the evidence should be considered in the adjudication
of the case. The facts show that COMELEC set aside the proclamation of petitioner , without the benefit of prior
notice and hearing and it rendered the questioned order based solely on private respondent's allegations.

Public respondent submits that procedural due process need not be observed in this case because it was merely
exercising its administrative power to review, revise and reverse the actions of the board of canvassers. It set aside
the proclamation made by the district board of canvassers for the position of congressman upon finding that it was
tainted with illegality. We cannot accept public respondent's argument.

Taking cognizance of private respondent's petitions for annulment of petitioner's proclamation, COMELEC was not
merely performing an administrative function. The administrative powers of the COMELEC include the power to
determine the number and location of polling places, appoint election officials and inspectors, conduct registration
of voters, deputize law enforcement agencies and government instrumentalities to ensure free, orderly, honest,
peaceful and credible elections, register political parties, organizations or coalitions, accredit citizens' arms of the
Commission, prosecute election offenses, and recommend to the President the removal of or imposition of any other
disciplinary action upon any officer or employee it has deputized for violation or disregard of its directive, order
or decision. In addition, the Commission also has direct control and supervision over all personnel involved in the
conduct of election. However , the resolution of the adverse claims of private respondent and petitioner as regards
the existence of a manifest error in the questioned certificate of canvass requires the COMELEC to act as an arbiter.
It behooves the Commission to hear both parties to determine the veracity of their allegations and to decide
whether the alleged error is a manifest error. Hence, the resolution of this issue calls for the exercise by the
COMELEC of its quasi- judicial power. It has been said that where a power rests in judgment or discretion, so that
it is of judicial nature or character, but does not involve the exercise of functions of a judge, or is conferred upon
an officer other than a judicial officer, it is deemed quasi-judicial. The COMELEC therefore, acting as quasi-judicial
tribunal, cannot ignore the requirements of procedural due process in resolving the petitions filed by private
respondent.

G.R. No. 216607

ARLENE LLENA EMPAYNADO CHUA, Petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, IMELDA E. FRAGATA, and KRYSTLE MARIE C. BACANI, Respondents.

DECISION

LEONEN, J.:

Dual citizens are disqualified from running for any elective local position. They cannot successfully run and
assume office because their ineligibility is inherent in them, existing prior to the filing of their certificates of
candidacy. Their certificates of candidacy are void ab initio, and votes cast for them will be disregarded.
Consequently, whoever garners the next highest number of votes among the eligible candidates is the person
legally entitled to the position.

This resolves a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition1 assailing the Commission on Elections Resolutions dated
October 17, 20132 and January 30, 2015.3 The Commission on Elections annulled the "proclamation of . . .
Arlene Llena Empaynado Chua as Councilor for the Fourth District of Manila[,]"4 and directed the Board of
Canvassers to reconvene and proclaim Krystle Marie C. Bacani (Bacani) as Councilor for having garnered the
next highest number of votes.5
On October 3, 2012, Arlene Llena Empaynado Chua (Chua) filed her Certificate of Candidacy6 for Councilor for
the Fourth District of Manila during the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections. The Fourth District of Manila
is entitled to six (6) seats in the Sangguniang Panlungsod.7

After the conduct of elections, Chua garnered the sixth highest number of votes.8 She was proclaimed by the
Board of Canvassers on May 15, 2013.9

On the date of Chua’s proclamation, however, Imelda E. Fragata (Fragata) filed a Petition10 captioned as a
"petition to declare [Chua] as a nuisance candidate"11 and "to deny due course and/or cancel [Chua’s]
Certificate of Candidacy."12 Fragata was allegedly a registered voter in the Fourth District13 who claimed that
Chua was unqualified to run for Councilor on two grounds: Chua was not a Filipino citizen, and she was a
permanent resident of the United States of America.14 Fragata specifically alleged the following in her Petition:

3. [Chua] is not a Filipino Citizen.

4. Prior to the filing of her candidacy, [Chua] has been living in the United States of America (USA) for at
least 33 years.

5. [Chua] is an immigrant and was validly issued a Green Card by the Government of the USA.

6. She resided and continues to reside [in Georgia, USA].

7. [Chua] has been a Registered Professional Nurse in the State of Georgia, USA since November 17,
1990.

8. . . . [Chua’s] Professional License in the USA is still to expire in 31 January 2014.15

The last paragraph of the Petition prayed that Chua "be disqualified as a candidate for the position of councilor
in the Fourth District of the City of Manila[.]"16

Answering the Petition, Chua contended that she was a natural-born Filipino, born to Filipino parents in
Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.17 With respect to her residency, Chua alleged that she had been residing in
Sampaloc, Manila since 200818 and had more than complied with the one-year period required to run for
Councilor.19

According to Chua, Fragata’s Petition was belatedly filed,20 whether it was treated as one for declaration of a
nuisance candidate21 or for denial of due course or cancellation of certificate of candidacy.22 Fragata filed her
Petition on May 15, 2013, which was beyond five (5) days from October 5, 2012, the last day of the filing of
certificates of candidacy.23 The Petition was also filed beyond 25 days from October 3, 2012,24 the date Chua
filed her Certificate of Candidacy.25

Chua stressed that she had already been proclaimed on May 15, 2013, the same date that Fragata filed her
Petition; hence, Fragata’s proper remedy was to file a petition for quo warranto26 under Section 253 of the
Omnibus Election Code. Chua prayed that the Commission dismiss Fragata’s Petition.27

On June 19, 2013, Bacani filed a Motion to Intervene with Manifestation and Motion to Annul
Proclamation.28 Bacani alleged that she likewise ran for Councilor in the Fourth District of Manila, and that after
the canvassing of votes, she ranked seventh among all the candidates, next to Chua.29 Should Chua be
disqualified, Bacani claimed that she should be proclaimed Councilor30 following this Court’s ruling in Maquiling v.
Commission on Elections.31

Bacani argued that Chua, being a dual citizen, was unqualified to run for Councilor.32 Based on an Order of the
Bureau of Immigration, Chua was allegedly naturalized as an American citizen on December 7, 1977.33 She was
issued an American passport34 on July 14, 2006.
Chua took an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on September 21, 2011.35 Nonetheless, Chua
allegedly continued on using her American passport, specifically on the following dates:

October 16, 2012 Departure for the United States

December 11, 2012 Arrival in the Philippines

May 30, 2013 Departure for the United States36

Moreover, Chua did not execute an oath of renunciation of her American citizenship.37

With Chua being a dual citizen at the time she filed her Certificate of Candidacy, Bacani prayed that the
Commission on Elections annul Chua’s proclamation.38

In her Comment/Opposition (to the Motion to Intervene of Krystle Marie Bacani),39 Chua argued that the Motion
was a belatedly filed petition to deny due course or cancel a certificate of candidacy, having been filed after
the day of the elections.40 According to Chua, the Motion should not even be considered since she was already
proclaimed by the Board of Canvassers.41 Thus, Chua prayed that the Motion to Intervene be denied and
expunged from the records of the case.42

The Commission on Elections then ordered the parties to file their respective memoranda.43

In her Memorandum,44 Chua maintained that Fragata’s Petition was filed out of time and should have been
outright dismissed.45 Reiterating that she had already been proclaimed, Chua argued that Fragata’s proper
remedy was a petition for quo warranto.46

Countering Chua’s claims, Fragata and Bacani restated in their Joint Memorandum47 that Chua was a dual citizen
disqualified from running for any elective local position.

The Commission on Elections Second Division resolved Fragata’s Petition. Ruling that Bacani had a legal interest in
the matter in litigation, it allowed Bacani’s Motion to Intervene.48 The Commission said that should Fragata’s
Petition be granted, the votes for Chua would not be counted.49 In effect, Bacani would garner the sixth highest
number of votes among the qualified candidates, which would earn her a seat in the Sangguniang Panlungsod of
Manila.50

With respect to the nature of Fragata’s Petition, the Commission on Elections held that it was one for
disqualification, regardless of the caption stating that it was a petition to declare Chua a nuisance
candidate.51 The Petition alleged a ground for disqualification under Section 40 of the Local Government
Code,52 specifically, that Chua was a permanent resident in the United States.

Since Fragata filed a petition for disqualification, Rule 25, Section 3 of the Commission on Elections Rules of
Procedure governed the period for its filing.53 Under the Rules, a petition for disqualification should be filed
"any day after the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy, but not later than the date of the
proclamation." Fragata filed the Petition within this period, having filed it on the date of Chua’s proclamation on
May 15, 2013.54

The Commission no longer discussed whether Chua was a permanent resident of the United States. Instead, it
found that Chua was a dual citizen when she filed her Certificate of Candidacy.55 Although she reacquired her
Filipino citizenship in 2011 by taking an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, petitioner failed to
take a sworn and personal renunciation of her American citizenship required under Section 5(2) of the Citizenship
Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003.56

Considering that Chua is a dual citizen, the Commission held that Chua was disqualified to run for Councilor
pursuant to Section 40 of the Local Government Code.57 Consequently, Chua’s Certificate of Candidacy was void
ab initio, and all votes casted for her were stray.58 Chua’s proclamation was likewise voided, and
per Maquiling, Bacani was declared to have garnered the sixth highest number of votes.59

Thus, in the Resolution dated October 17, 2013, the Commission on Elections Second Division ruled in favor of
Fragata and Bacani.60 The dispositive portion of the October 17, 2013 Resolution reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission (Second Division) RESOLVES, as it hereby RESOLVED:

1. To ANNUL the proclamation of respondent Arlene Llena Empaynado Chua as Councilor for the Fourth
District of Manila;

2. To DIRECT the Board of Canvassers of the City of Manila to CONVENE and PROCLAIM Intervenor
Krystle Marie C. Bacani as the duly elected Councilor of the Fourth District of the City of Manila, having
obtained the sixth highest number of votes for said position.

Let the Deputy Executive Director for Operations implement this Resolution.

SO ORDERED.61

Chua moved for reconsideration,62 but the Commission on Elections En Banc denied the Motion in the Resolution
dated January 30, 2015.

Arguing that the Commission issued its October 17, 2013 and January 30, 2015 Resolutions with grave abuse of
discretion, Chua filed before this Court a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with prayer for issuance of
temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction.63 Fragata and Bacani jointly filed their
Comment,64 while the Commission on Elections filed its Comment65 through the Office of the Solicitor General.

Chua emphasizes that she was already proclaimed as a duly elected Councilor.66 Assuming that she was
ineligible to run for office, this created a permanent vacancy in the Sangguniang Panlungsod, which was to be
filled according to the rule on succession under Section 45 of the Local Government Code, and not by
proclamation of the candidate who garnered the next highest number of votes.67

Chua maintains that Fragata belatedly filed her Petition before the Commission on Elections.68 Since Fragata
filed a Petition to deny due course or cancel certificate of candidacy, it should have been filed within five (5)
days from the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy, but not later than 25 days from the time of the
filing of the certificate of candidacy assailed.69 Fragata filed the Petition on May 15, 2013, more than 25 days
after Chua filed her Certificate of Candidacy on October 3, 2012.70 The Commission on Elections, therefore,
should have outright dismissed Fragata’s Petition.71

With her already proclaimed, Chua argues that the Commission on Elections should have respected the voice of
the people.72 Chua prays that the Resolutions annulling her proclamation and subsequently proclaiming Bacani
be set aside.73

As for Fragata and Bacani as well as the Commission on Elections, all maintain that Fragata’s Petition was a
petition for disqualification assailing Chua’s citizenship and status as a permanent resident in the United
States.74The Petition, which Fragata filed on the date of Chua’s proclamation, was filed within the reglementary
period.75

The Commission on Elections stresses that Chua was a dual citizen at the time she filed her Certificate of
Candidacy.76 Consequently, she was ineligible to run for Councilor and was correctly considered a non-
candidate. 77All the votes casted in Chua’s favor were correctly disregarded, resulting in Bacani garnering the
next highest number of votes.78 Following Maquiling, the Commission argues that Bacani was validly proclaimed
as Councilor, and, contrary to Chua’s claim, the rule on succession under Section 45 of the Local Government
Code did not apply, with the disqualifying circumstance existing prior to the filing of the Certificate of
Candidacy.79

Although Chua was already proclaimed, the Commission on Elections argues that "[t]he will of the people as
expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of ineligibility, especially if they mistakenly believed that the
candidate was qualified."80 Fragata, Bacani, and the Commission on Elections pray that the Petition for
Certiorari and Prohibition be dismissed.81

The issues for this Court’s resolution are the following:

First, whether private respondent Imelda E. Fragata filed a petition for disqualification or a petition to deny due
course or cancel certificate of candidacy; and

Second, whether the rule on succession under Section 45 of the Local Government Code applies to this case.

We dismiss the Petition. The allegations of private respondent Fragata’s Petition before the Commission on
Elections show that it was a timely filed petition for disqualification. Moreover, the Commission on Elections did
not gravely abuse its discretion in disqualifying petitioner Arlene Llena Empaynado Chua, annulling her
proclamation, and subsequently proclaiming private respondent Krystle Marie C. Bacani, the candidate who
garnered the sixth highest number of votes among the qualified candidates.

As this Court has earlier observed in Fermin v. Commission on Elections,82 members of the bench and the bar have
"indiscriminately interchanged"83 the remedies of a petition to deny due course or cancel certificate of candidacy
and a petition for disqualification, thus "adding confusion to the already difficult state of our jurisprudence on
election laws."84

The remedies, however, have different grounds and periods for their filing. The remedies have different legal
consequences.

A person files a certificate of candidacy to announce his or her candidacy and to declare his or her eligibility for
the elective office indicated in the certificate.85 Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code on the contents of a
certificate of candidacy states:

Sec. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. – The certificate of candidacy shall state that the person filing it is
announcing his candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for said office; if for Member of the
Batasang Pambansa, the province, including its component cities, highly urbanized city or district or section which
he seeks to represent; the political party to which he belongs; civil status; his date of birth; residence; his post
office address for all election purposes; his profession or occupation; that he will support and defend the
Constitution of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; that he will obey the laws,
legal orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; that he is not a permanent resident or
immigrant to a foreign country; that the obligation imposed by his oath is assumed voluntarily, without mental
reservation or purpose of evasion; and that the facts stated in the certificate of candidacy are true to the best of
his knowledge.

Unless a candidate has officially changed his name through a court approved proceeding, a candidate shall use
in a certificate of candidacy the name by which he has been baptized, or if has not been baptized in any church
or religion, the name registered in the office of the local civil registrar or any other name allowed under the
provisions of existing law or, in the case of a Muslim, his Hadji name after performing the prescribed religious
pilgrimage: Provided, That when there are two or more candidates for an office with the same name and
surname, each candidate, upon being made aware of such fact, shall state his paternal and maternal surname,
except the incumbent who may continue to use the name and surname stated in his certificate of candidacy when
he was elected. He may also include one nickname or stage name by which he is generally or popularly known in
the locality.

The person filing a certificate of candidacy shall also affix his latest photograph, passport size; a statement in
duplicate containing his bio-data and program of government not exceeding one hundred words, if he so
desires.

The Commission on Elections has the ministerial duty to receive and acknowledge receipt of certificates of
candidacy.86 However, under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code,87 the Commission may deny due course
or cancel a certificate of candidacy through a verified petition filed exclusively on the ground that "any material
representation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false." The "material representation"
referred to in Section 78 is that which involves the eligibility or qualification for the office sought by the person
who filed the certificate.88 Section 78 must, therefore, be read "in relation to the constitutional and statutory
provisions on qualifications or eligibility for public office."89 Moreover, the false representation "must consist of a
deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible."90

A person intending to run for public office must not only possess the required qualifications for the position for
which he or she intends to run. The candidate must also possess none of the grounds for disqualification under the
law. As Justice Vicente V. Mendoza said in his Dissenting Opinion in Romualdez-Marcos v. Commission on
Elections,91 "that an individual possesses the qualifications for a public office does not imply that he is not
disqualified from becoming a candidate or continuing as a candidate for a public office and vice-versa."92

Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code provides for grounds in filing a petition for disqualification:

Sec. 68 Disqualifications. – Any candidate who, in action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final
decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other material
consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions; (b)
committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy; (c) spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of
that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any contribution prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96,
97 and 104; or (e) violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, sub-
paragraph 6, shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the
office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the
residence requirement provided for in the election laws.

Apart from the grounds provided in Section 68, any of the grounds in Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code
as well as in Section 40 of the Local Government Code may likewise be raised in a petition for disqualification.
Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code states:

Sec. 12. Disqualifications. – Any person who has been declared by competent authority insane or incompetent, or
has been sentenced by final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or for any offense for which he has
been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall be
disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted
amnesty.

This disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be deemed removed upon the declaration by
competent authority that said insanity or incompetence had been removed or after the expiration of a period of
five years from his service of sentence, unless within the same period he again becomes disqualified.

Disqualifications specifically applicable to those running for local elective positions are found in Section 40 of the
Local Government Code:

SECTION 40. Disqualifications. – The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective local
position:
(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense
punishable by one (1) year or more of imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence;

(b) Those removed from office as a result of an administrative case;

(c) Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to the Republic;

(d) Those with dual citizenship;

(e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad;

(f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired the right to reside abroad and
continue to avail of the same right after the effectivity of this Code; and

(g) The insane or feeble-minded.

Private respondent Fragata alleges in her Petition that petitioner is a permanent resident in the United States, a
green card holder who, prior to the filing of her Certificate of Candidacy for Councilor, has resided in the State
of Georgia for 33 years. She anchors her Petition on Section 40 of the Local Government Code, which
disqualifies permanent residents of a foreign country from running for any elective local position.

It is true that under Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code, persons who file their certificates of candidacy
declare that they are not a permanent resident or immigrant to a foreign country. Therefore, a petition to deny
due course or cancel a certificate of candidacy may likewise be filed against a permanent resident of a foreign
country seeking an elective post in the Philippines on the ground of material misrepresentation in the certificate of
candidacy.93

What remedy to avail himself or herself of, however, depends on the petitioner. If the false material
representation in the certificate of candidacy relates to a ground for disqualification, the petitioner may choose
whether to file a petition to deny due course or cancel a certificate of candidacy or a petition for
disqualification, so long as the petition filed complies with the requirements under the law.94

Before the Commission on Elections, private respondent Fragata had a choice of filing either a petition to deny
due course or cancel petitioner’s certificate of candidacy or a petition for disqualification. In her Petition, private
respondent Fragata did not argue that petitioner made a false material representation in her Certificate of
Candidacy; she asserted that petitioner was a permanent resident disqualified to run for Councilor under Section
40 of the Local Government Code. Private respondent Fragata’s Petition, therefore, was a petition for
disqualification.

It follows that private respondent Fragata timely filed her Petition before the Commission on Elections. Under
Rule 25, Section 3 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission, a petition for disqualification "shall be filed any
day after the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy, but not later that the date of proclamation." Private
respondent Fragata filed her Petition on the date of petitioner’s proclamation on May 15, 2013. The Commission
on Elections did not gravely abuse its discretion in taking cognizance of private respondent Fragata’s Petition.

In addition, the Commission on Elections correctly admitted private respondent Bacani’s pleading-in-intervention.

An adverse decision against petitioner would require a pronouncement as to who should assume the position of
Councilor. Hence, those who believe that they are entitled to the position may prove their legal interest in the
matter in litigation95 and may properly intervene for a complete disposition of the case.

Private respondent Bacani claims that she is entitled to the position of Councilor. In her Motion to Intervene, she
argues for petitioner’s disqualification and alleges the circumstances surrounding petitioner’s dual citizenship. She
then cites Maquiling, arguing that she should be proclaimed in lieu of petitioner because she obtained the sixth
highest number of votes among the qualified candidates. Private respondent Bacani’s intervention was, therefore,
proper.

II

The Commission on Elections did not gravely abuse its discretion in disqualifying petitioner, annulling her
proclamation, and subsequently proclaiming private respondent Bacani as the duly elected Councilor for the
Fourth District of Manila.

Petitioner was born to Filipino parents in 1967, which makes her a natural-born Filipino under the 1935
Constitution.96 Ten years later, on December 7, 1977, petitioner became a naturalized American. Hence, she lost
her Filipino citizenship pursuant to Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 63.97

It was on September 21, 2011 when petitioner took an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, thus
reacquiring her Filipino citizenship.98 From September 21, 2011 up to the present, however, petitioner failed to
execute a sworn and personal renunciation of her foreign citizenship particularly required of those seeking
elective public office. Section 5(2) of the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003

provides:

SECTION 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities. – Those who retain or re-acquire Philippine citizenship under
this Act shall enjoy full civil and political rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under
existing laws of the Philippines and the following conditions:

....

(2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualifications for holding such public
office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of
candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer
authorized to administer an oath[.]

Petitioner cannot claim that she has renounced her American citizenship by taking the Oath of Allegiance. The
oath of allegiance and the sworn and personal renunciation of foreign citizenship are separate requirements, the
latter being an additional requirement for qualification to run for public office. In Jacot v. Dal:99

[T]he oath of allegiance contained in the Certificate of Candidacy, which is substantially similar to the one
contained in Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9225, does not constitute the personal and sworn renunciation sought
under Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225. It bears to emphasize that the said oath of allegiance is a general
requirement for all those who wish to run as candidates in Philippine elections; while the renunciation of foreign
citizenship is an additional requisite only for those who have retained or reacquired Philippine citizenship under
Republic Act No. 9225 and who seek elective public posts, considering their special circumstance of having more
than one citizenship.100

With petitioner’s failure to execute a personal and sworn renunciation of her American citizenship, petitioner was
a dual citizen at the time she filed her Certificate of Candidacy on October 3, 2012. Under Section 40 of the
Local Government Code, she was disqualified to run for Councilor in the Fourth District of Manila during the 2013
National and Local Elections.

Petitioner, however, argues that the Commission on Elections gravely abused its discretion in proclaiming private
respondent Bacani, the mere seventh placer among the candidates for Councilor and, therefore, not the
electorate’s choice. Petitioner maintains that the vacancy left by her disqualification should be filled according to
the rule on succession under Section 45(a)(1) of the Local Government Code, which provides:
SECTION 45. Permanent Vacancies in the Sanggunian. – (a) Permanent vacancies in the sanggunian where
automatic successions provided above do not apply shall be filled by appointment in the following manner:

(1) The President, through the Executive Secretary, in the case of the sangguniang panlalawigan and the
sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities and independent component cities[.]

The permanent vacancies referred to in Section 45 are those arising "when an elective local official fills a higher
vacant office, refuses to assume office, fails to qualify, dies, is removed from office, voluntarily resigns, or is
otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office."101 In these situations, the vacancies
were caused by those whose certificates of candidacy were valid at the time of the filing "but subsequently had
to be cancelled because of a violation of law that took place, or a legal impediment that took effect, after the
filing of the certificate of candidacy."102

The rule on succession under Section 45, however, would not apply if the permanent vacancy was caused by one
whose certificate of candidacy was void ab initio. Specifically with respect to dual citizens, their certificates of
candidacy are void ab initio because they possess "a substantive [disqualifying circumstance] . . . [existing] prior
to the filing of their certificate of candidacy."103 Legally, they should not even be considered candidates. The
votes casted for them should be considered stray and should not be counted.104

In cases of vacancies caused by those with void ab initio certificates of candidacy, the person legally entitled to
the vacant position would be the candidate who garnered the next highest number of votes among those
eligible.105 In this case, it is private respondent Bacani who is legally entitled to the position of Councilor, having
garnered the sixth highest number of votes among the eligible candidates. The Commission on Elections correctly
proclaimed private respondent Bacani in lieu of petitioner.

Petitioner may have garnered more votes than private respondent Bacani. She may have already been
proclaimed. Nevertheless, elections are more than a numbers game. Hence, in Maquiling:

The ballot cannot override the constitutional and statutory requirements for qualifications and disqualifications of
candidates. When the law requires certain qualifications to be possessed or that certain disqualifications be not
possessed by persons desiring to serve as elective public officials, those qualifications must be met before one
even becomes a candidate. When a person who is not qualified is voted for and eventually garners the highest
number of votes, even the will of the electorate expressed through the ballot cannot cure the defect in the
qualifications of the candidate. To rule otherwise is to trample upon and rent asunder the very law that sets forth
the qualifications and disqualifications of candidates. We might as well write off our election laws if the voice of
the electorate is the sole determinant of who should be proclaimed worthy to occupy elective positions in our
republic.. . . .

As in any contest, elections are governed by rules that determine the qualifications and disqualifications of those
who are allowed to participate as players. When there are participants who turn out to be ineligible, their
victory is voided and the laurel is awarded to the next in rank who does not possess any of the disqualifications
nor lacks any of the qualifications set in the rules to be eligible as candidates. 106

All told, petitioner Arlene Llena Empaynado Chua is a dual citizen correctly disqualified from running for the
position of Councilor in the Fourth District of Manila during the 2013 National and Local elections. With her dual
citizenship existing prior to the filing of the certificate of candidacy, her Certificate of Candidacy was void ab
initio. She was correctly considered a non-candidate. All votes casted for her were stray, and the person legally
entitled to the position is private respondent Krystle Marie C. Bacani, the candidate with the next highest number
of votes among the eligible candidates. The Commission on Elections did not gravely abuse its discretion in
annulling Chua's proclamation and subsequently proclaiming private respondent Bacani.

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition is DISMISSED. This Decision is immediately executory.