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REGISTRATION OF VOTERS Commissioner Luzviminda G. Tancangco and Ralph C.

Lantion, together with Consultant


Resurreccion Z. Borra (now Commissioner) attended the public hearing called by the Senate
Committee headed by Senator Roco, held at the Senate, New GSIS Headquarters Bldg., Pasay
City.
G.R. No. 147066 26 March 2001
On January 29, 2001, Commissioners Tancangco and Lantion submitted Memorandum No.
2001-027 on the Report on the Request for a Two-day Additional Registration of New Voters
AKBAYAN - Youth, SCAP, UCSC, MASP, KOMPIL II - Youth, ALYANSA, KALIPI, PATRICIA Only, excerpts of which are hereto quoted:
Q. PICAR, MYLA GAIL Z. TAMONDONG, EMMANUEL E. OMBAO, JOHNNY ACOSTA,
ARCHIE JOHN TALAUE, RYAN DAPITAN, CHRISTOPHER OARDE, JOSE MARI MODESTO, "Please be advised that the undersigned attended the public hearing called by
RICHARD M. VALENCIA, EDBEN TABUCOL, petitioners the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms, Suffrage and People's Participation
vs. Allowed presided by the Hon. Sen. Raul Roco, its Committee Chairman to date at the
COMMISSION ON ELECTION, respondents. Senate, new GSIS Headquarters Building, Pasay City. The main agenda item is
the request by youth organizations to hold additional two days of registration.
Thus, participating students and civic leaders along with Comelec
Representatives were in agreement that is legally feasible to have a two-day
additional registration of voters to be conducted preferably on February 17 and
G.R. No. 147179 26 March 2001
18, 2001 nationwide. The deadline for the continuing voters registration under
R.A. 8189 is December 27, 2000.
MICHELLE D. BETITO, petitioner,
vs.
"To address the concern that this may open the flood parts for 'hakot system,'
CHAIRMAN ALFREDO BENIPAYO, COMMISSIONER MEHOL SADAIN, RUFINO JAVIER,
certain restrictive parameters were discussed. The following guidelines to serve
LUZVIMINDA TANCANGCO, RALPH LANTION, FLORENTINO TUASON and
as safeguard against fraudulent applicants:
RESURRECCION BORRA, all of the Commission on Election (COMELEC), respondents.
1. The applicants for the registration shall be 25 years of age or less and will be
BUENA, J.:
registering for the first time on May 14, 2001;
2. The applicants shall register in their places of residences; and,
At the helm of controversy in the instant consolidated petitions (G.R. No. 147066 and G.R. 3. The applicants shall present valid identification documents, like school records
147179.) before us is the exercise of a right so indubitably cherished and accorded primacy, if
not utmost reverence, no less than by the fundamental law - the right of suffrage.
"Preparatory to the registration days, the following activities are likewise agreed:
Invoking this right, herein petitioners - representing the youth sector - seek to direct the
1. Submission of the list of students and their addresses immediately prior to the
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to conduct a special registration before the May 14, 2001
actual registration of the applicants;
General Elections, of new voters ages 18 to 21. According to petitioners, around four million
2. The Comelec filed officers will be given the opportunity to verify the voters
youth failed to register on or before the December 27, 2000 deadline set by the respondent
enumerator's list or conduct ocular inspection;
COMELEC under Republic Act No. 8189 (Voter's Registration Act of 1996).
3. Availability of funds for the purpose; and,
4. Meetings with student groups to ensure orderly and honest political awareness
Acting on the clamor of the students and civic leaders, Senator Raul Roco, Chairman if the and interest to participate in the political process generated by the recent political
Committee on Electoral Reforms, Suffrage, and People's Participation, through a Letter dated events in the country among our youth. considering that they failed to register on
January 25, 2001, invited the COMELEC to a public hearing for the purpose of discussing the December 27, 2000 deadline, they approved for special registration days.
extension of the registration of voters to accommodate those who were not able to register
before the COMELEC deadline.
"In viewing of the foregoing, the Commission en banc has to discuss all aspects
1âwphi1.nêt

regarding this request with directives to the Finance Services Department (FSD)
to submit certified available funds for the purpose, and for the Deputy Executive of March 16, 2001. Moreover, this Court resolved to set the consolidated cases for oral
Director for Operations (DEDO) for estimated costs of additional two days of arguments on March 16, 2001.
registration.
On March 16, 2001, the Solicitor General, in its Manifestation and Motion in lieu of Comment,
The presence of REDs on January 30 can be used partly for consultation on the practical side recommended that an additional continuing registration of voters be conducted at the soonest
and logistical requirements of such additional registration days. The meeting will be set at 1:30 possible time "in order to accommodate the disfranchised voters for purposes of the May 14,
p.m. at the Office of ED. 2001 elections."

Immediately, Commissioner Borra called a consultation meeting among regional heads and In effect, the Court in passing upon the merits of the present petitions, is tasked to resolve a two-
representatives, and a number of senior staff headed by Executive Director Mamasapunod pronged issue focusing on respondent COMELEC's issuance of the assailed Resolution dated
Aguam. It was the consensus of the group, with the exception of Director Jose Tolentino, Jr., of February 8, 2001, which Resolution, petitioners, by and large, argue to have undermined their
the ASD, to disapproved the request for additional registration of voters on the ground that constitutional right to vote on the May 14, 2001 general elections and caused the
Section 8 of R.A. 8189 explicitly provides that no registration shall be conducted during the disenfranchisement of around for four million Filipinos of voting age who failed to register before
period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election and that the Commission the registration deadline set by the COMELEC.
has no more time left to accomplish all pre-election activities.
Thus, this Court shall determine:
On February 8, 2001, the COMELEC issued Resolution N. 3584, the decretal portion:
a. Whether or not respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing
"Deliberating on the foregoing memoranda, the Commission RESOLVED, as it COMELEC Resolution dated February 8, 2001.
Denied hereby RESOLVES, to deny the request to conduct a two-day additional b. Whether or not this Court can compel respondent COMELEC, through the extraordinary
registration of new voters on February 17, and 18 2001." writ of mandamus, to conduct a special registration of new voters during the period
between the COMELEC's imposed December 27, 2000 deadline and the May 14, 2001
Commissioners Rufino S.B. Javier and Mehol K. Sadain voted to deny the request while general elections.
Commissioners Luzviminda Tancangco and Ralph Lantion voted to accommodate the students'
request. With this impasse, the Commission construed its Resolution as having taken effect. The petitions are bereft of merit.

Aggrieved by the denial, petitioners AKBAYAN-Youth, SCAP, UCSC, MASP, KOMPIL II In a representative democracy such as ours, the right of suffrage, although accorded a prime
(YOUTH) et. al. filed before this Court the instant Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus, docketed niche in the hierarchy of rights embodied in the fundamental law, ought to be exercised within
as G.R. NO. 147066, which seeks to set aside and nullify respondent COMELEC's Resolution the proper bounds and framework of the Constitutions and must properly yield to pertinent laws
and/or to declare Section 8 of R.A. 8189 unconstitutional insofar as said provision effectively skillfully enacted by the Legislature, which statutes for all intents and purposes, are crafted to
causes the disenfranchisement of petitioners and others similarly situated. Likewise, petitioners effectively insulate such so cherished right from ravishment and preserve the democratic
pray for the issuance of a writ of mandamus directing respondent COMELEC to conduct a institutions our people have, for so long, guarded against the spoils of opportunism, debauchery
special registration of new voters and to admit for registration petitioners and other similarly and abuse.
situated young Filipinos to qualify them to vote in the May 14, 2001 General Elections.
To be sure, the right of suffrage ardently invoked by herein petitioners, is not at all absolute.
On March 09, 2001, herein petitioner Michelle Betito, a student of the University of the Needles to say, the exercise of the right of suffrage, as in the enjoyment of all other rights, is
Philippines, likewise filed a Petition for Mandamus, docketed as G.R. No. 147179, praying that subject to existing substantive and procedural requirements embodied in our Constitution,
this Court direct the COMELEC to provide for another special registration day under the statute books and other repositories of law. Thus, as to the substantive aspect, Section 1, Article
continuing registration provision under the Election code. V of the Constitutions provides:

On March 13, 2001, this court resolved to consolidate the two petitions and further required "SECTION 1. SUFFRAGE MAY BE EXERCISED BY ALL CITIZENS OF THE
respondents to file their Comment thereon within a non-extendible period expiring at 10:00 A.M. PHILIPPINES NOT OTHERWISE DISQUALIFIED BY LAW, WHO ARE AT
LEAST EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE, AND WHO SHALL HAVE RESIDED IN
THE PHILIPPINES FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR AND IN THE PLACE WHEREIN As aptly observed and succinctly worded by respondent COMELEC in its Comment:
THEY PROPOSE TO VOTE FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS IMMEDIATELY
PRECEDING THE ELECTION. NO LITERACY, PROPERTY, OR OTHER "x x x. The petition for exclusion is a necessary component to registration since it
SUBSTANTIVE REQUIREMENT SHALL BE IMPOSED ON THE EXERCISE OF is a safety mechanism that gives a measure of protection against flying voters,
SUFFRAGE." non-qualified registrants, and the like. The prohibitive period, on the other hand
serves the purpose of securing the voter's substantive right to be included in the
As to the procedural limitation, the right of a citizen to vote is necessarily conditioned upon list of voters.
certain procedural requirements he must undergo: among others, the process of registration.
Specifically, a citizen in order to be qualified to exercise his right to vote, in addition to the "In real-world terms, this means that if a special voter's registration is conducted,
minimum requirements set by fundamental charter, is obliged by law to register, at present, then the prohibitive period for filing petitions for exclusion must likewise be
under the provisions of Republic Act No. 8189, otherwise known as the "Voter's Registration Act adjusted to a later date. If we do not, then no one can challenge the Voter's list
of 1996." since we would already be well into the 100-day prohibitive period. Aside from
being a flagrant breach of the principles of due process, this would open the
Stated differently, the act of registration is an indispensable precondition to the right of suffrage. registration process to abuse and seriously compromise the integrity of the
For registration is part and parcel of the right to vote and an indispensable element in the voter's list, and consequently, that of the entire election.
election process. Thus, contrary to petitioners' argument, registration cannot and should not be
denigrated to the lowly stature of a mere statutory requirement. Proceeding from the significance "x x x. The short cuts that will have to be adopted in order to fit the entire process
of registration as a necessary requisite to the right to vote, the State undoubtedly, in the exercise of registration within the last 60 days will give rise to haphazard list of voters,
of its inherent police power, may then enact laws to safeguard and regulate the act of voter's some of whom might not even be qualified to vote, x x x the very possibility that
registration for the ultimate purpose of conducting honest, orderly and peaceful election, to the we shall be conducting elections on the basis of an inaccurate list is enough to
incidental yet generally important end, that even pre-election activities could be performed by the cast a cloud of doubt over the results of the polls. If that happens, the unforgiving
duly constituted authorities in a realistic and orderly manner - one which is not indifferent and so public will disown the results of the elections, regardless of who wins, and
far removed from the pressing order of the day and the prevalent circumstances of the times. regardless of how many courts validate our own results. x x x"

Viewed broadly, existing legal proscription and pragmatic operational considerations bear great Perhaps undaunted by such scenario, petitioners invoke the so called "standby" powers or
weight in the adjudication of the issues raised in the instant petitions. "residual" powers of the COMELEC, as provided under the relevant provisions of Section 29,
Republic Act No. 6646 (An act introducing additional reforms in the electoral system and for
On the legal score, Section 8 or R.A. 8189, which provides a system of continuing registration, is other purposes) and adopted verbatim in Section 28 of Republic Act No. 8436 (An act
explicit, to wit: authorizing the COMELEC to use an automated election system in the May 11, 1998 national or
local electoral exercises, providing funds therefore and for other purposes), thus:
"SEC. 8. System of Continuing Registration of Voters. - The Personal filing of
application of registration of voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the "SEC. 28. Designation of other Dates for Certain Pre-election Acts - if it should
Election Officer during regular office hours. No registration shall, however, be no longer be possible to observe the periods and dates prescribed by law for
conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a certain pre-election acts, the Commission shall fix other periods and dates in
regular election and ninety (90) days before a special election," (Emphasis Ours) order to ensure accomplishments of the activities so voters shall not be deprived
of their right to suffrage."
Likewise, Section 35 of R. A. 8189, which among others, speaks of a prohibitive period within
which to file a sworn petition for the exclusion of voters from the permanent voter's list, provides: On this matter, the act of registration is concededly, by its very nature, a pre-election act. Under
Section 3(a) of R. A. 8189, registration, as a process, has its own specific definition, precise
"SEC. 35. Petition for Exclusion of Voters from the List - Any registered voter, meaning and coverage, thus:
representative of a political party x x x may file x x x except one hundred (100)
days prior to a regular election x x x." "a) Registration refers to the act of accomplishing and filing of a sworn
application for registration by a qualified voter before the election officer of the
city or municipality wherein he resides and including the same in the book of registration, which in its own language, "can no longer be accomplished within the time left to
registered voters upon approval by the Election Registration Board." (us) the Commission."

At this point, it bears emphasis that the provision of Section 29 R.A. 8436 invoked by herein Hence:
petitioners and Section 8 of R.A. 8189 volunteered by respondent COMELEC, far from
contradicting each other, actually share some common ground. True enough, both provisions, "xxx xxx xxx
although at first glance may seem to be at war in relation to the other, are in more circumspect,
perusal, necessarily capable of being harmonized and reconciled. 19) In any case, even without the legal obstacles, the last 60 days will not be a
walk in the park for the COMELEC. Allow us to outline what the Commission has
Rudimentary is the principle in legal hermeneutics that changes made by the legislature in the yet to do, and the time to do it in:
form of amendments to a stature should be given effect, together with other parts of the
amendment act. It is not to be presumed that the legislature, in making such changes, was 20) First we have to complete the Project of Precincts by the 19th of March. The
indulging in mere semantic exercise. There must be some purpose in making them, which Projects of Precincts indicate the total number of established precincts and the
should be ascertained and given effect. number of registered voters per precincts in a city or municipality. Without the
final Project of Precincts, we cannot even determine the proper allocation of
Similarly, every new statute should be construed in connection with those already existing in official ballots, election returns and other election forms and paraphernalia. More
relation to the same subject matter and all should be made to harmonize and stand together, if succinctly said, without the Project of Precincts, we won't know how many forms
they can be done by any fair and reasonable interpretation. Interpretare et concordare legibus to print and so we're liable to come up short.
est optimus interpretandi, which means that the best method of interpretation is that which
makes laws consistent with other laws. Accordingly, Courts of justice, when confronted with 21) More importantly, without a completed Project of Precincts, it will be
apparently conflicting statutes, should endeavor to reconcile them instead of declaring outright impossible to complete the rest of the tasks that must be accomplished prior to
the invalidity of one against the other. Courts should harmonize them, if this is possible, because the elections.
they are equally the handiwork of the same legislature.
22) Second, the Board of Elections Inspectors must be constituted on or before
In light of the foregoing doctrine, we hold that Section 8 of R.A. 8189 applies in the present case, the 4th of March. In addition, the list of the members of the BEI - including the
for the purpose of upholding the assailed COMELEC Resolution and denying the instant precinct where they are assigned and the barangay where the precinct is located
petitions, considering that the aforesaid law explicitly provides that no registration shall be must be furnished by the Election Officer to all the candidates and political
conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election. candidates not later that 26th of March.

Corollarily, it is specious for herein petitioners to argue that respondent COMELEC may validly 23) Third, the Book of Voters, which contains the approved Voter Registration
and legally conduct a two-day special registration, through the expedient of the letter of Section Records of registered voters in particular precinct must be inspected, verified,
28 of RA 8436. To this end, the provisions of Section 28, RA 8436 would come into play in cases and sealed beginning March 30 until April 15.
where the pre-election acts are susceptible of performance within the available period prior to
election day. In more categorical language, Section 28 of R.A 8436 is, to our mind, anchored on 24) Fourth, the Computerized Voters' List must be finalized and printed out of use
the sound premise that these certain "pre-election acts" are still capable of being reasonably on election day; and finally
performed vis-a-vis the remaining period before the date of election and the conduct of other
related pre-election activities required under the law.
25.) Fifth, the preparation, bidding, printing, and distribution of the voters
Information sheet must be completed on or before April 15.
In its Comment, respondent COMELEC- which is the constitutional body tasked by no less that
the fundamental charter (Sec 2, par. 3, Article IX-C of the Constitution) to decide, except those
26.) With this rigorous schedule of pre-election activities, the COMELEC will
involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including registration of voters
have roughly a month that will act as a buffer against any number of unforeseen
painstakingly and thoroughly emphasized the "operational impossibility of conducting a special
occurrences that might delay the elections. This is the logic and the wisdom
behind setting the 120-day prohibitive period. After all , preparing for an election 33) Only at this point can our Election Officers once against focus on the
is no easy task. business of getting ready for the elections. Once the results of the special
registration are finalized, they can be encoded and a new Computerized Voters'
27) To hold special registrations now would, aside from being illegal, whittle that List generated - at the earliest, by May 11, after which the new CVL would be
approximately 30-day margin away to nothing. posted. Incidentally, if we were to follow the letter of the law strictly, a May 11
posting date for the new CVL would be improper since the R.A. 8189 provides
28) When we say registration of voters, we do not- contrary to popular opinion- that the CVL be posted at least 90 days before the election.
refer only to the act of going to the Election Officer and writing our names down.
Registration is. In fact a long process that takes about three weeks to complete, 34) Assuming optimistically that we can then finish the inspection, verification,
not even counting how long it would take to prepare for the registration in the first and sealing of the Book of Voters by May 15, we will already have overshot the
place. May 14 election date, and still not have finished our election preparations.

29) In order to concretize, the senior Staff of the COMELEC, the other 35) After this point, we could have to prepare the allocation of Official Ballots,
Commissioners, prepared a time-table in order to see exactly how the Election Returns, and other Non-Accountable Forms and Supplies to be used for
superimposition of special registration would affect the on-going preparation for the new registrants. Once the allocation is ready, the contracts would be
the May 14 elections. awarded, the various forms printed, delivered, verified, and finally shipped out to
the different municipalities. All told, this process would take approximately 26
30) We assumed for the sake of argument that we were to hold the special days, from the 15th of May until June 10.
registration on April 16 and 17. These are not arbitrary numbers, by the way it
takes in account the fact that we only have about 800,000 Voters Registration 36) Only then can we truly say that we are ready to hold the elections.
Forms available, as against an estimated 4.5 million potential registrants, and it
would take about 14 days - if we were to declare special registrations today - to XXX XXX XXX
print up the difference and to verify these accountable forms. After printing and
verification, the forms would have to be packed and shipped - roughly taking up a It is an accepted doctrine in administrative law that the determination of administrative agency as
further two and a half weeks. Only then can we get on with registration. to the operation, implementation and application of a law would be accorded great weight
considering that these specialized government bodies are, by their nature and functions, in the
31) The first step in registration is, of course, filling the application for registration best position to know what they can possible do or not do, under prevailing circumstances.
with the Election Officer. The application, according to Section 17 of R.A. 8189, is
then set for hearing, with notice of that hearing being posted in the city or Beyond this, it is likewise well-settled that the law does not require that the impossible be done.
municipal bulletin board for at least one week prior. Thus, if we held registrations The law obliges no one to perform an impossibility, expressed in the maxim, nemo tenetur ad
on the 16th and the 17th, the posting requirement would be completed by the impossible. In other words, there is no obligation to do an impossible thing. Impossibilium
24th. Considering that time must be allowed for the filling of oppositions, the nulla obligatio est. Hence, a statute may not be so construed as to require compliance with
earliest that the Election Registration Board can be convened for hearing would what it prescribes cannot, at the time, be legally ..., it must be presumed that the legislature did
be the May 1st and 2nd. not at all intend an interpretation or application of a law which is far removed from the realm of
the possible. Truly, the interpretation of statutes, the interpretation to be given must be such that
32) Assuming - and this is a big assumption - that there are rift challenges to the it is in accordance with logic, common sense, reasonableness and practicality. Thus, we are of
applicant's right to register, the Election Registration Board can immediately rule the considered view that they "stand-by power" of the respondent COMELEC under Section 28
on the applicant's registration, and post notices of its action by the 2nd until the of R.A. 8436, presupposed the possibility of its being exercised or availed of, and not otherwise.
7th of May. By the 10th, copies of the notice of the action taken by the board will
have already been furnished to the applicants and the heads of the registered Further, petitioners' bare allegation that they were disfranchised when respondent COMELEC
political parties. pegged the registration deadline on December 27, 2000 instead of the day before the prohibitive
period before the May 14, 2001 regular elections commences - is, to our mind, not sufficient. On
this matter, there is no allegation in the two consolidated petitions and the records are bereft of
any showing that anyone of herein petitioners has filed an application to be registered as a voter As to the petitioners' prayer for the issuance of the writ of mandamus, we hold that this Court
which was denied by the COMELEC nor filed a complaint before the respondent COMELEC cannot, in view of the very nature of such extraordinary writ, issue the same without
alleging that he or she proceeded to the Office of the Election Officer to register between the transgressing the time-honored principles in this jurisdiction.
period starting from December 28, 2000 to January 13, 2001, and that he or she was disallowed
or barred by respondent COMELEC from filing his application for registration. While it may be As an extraordinary writ, the remedy of mandamus lies only to compel an officer to perform a
true that respondent COMELEC set the registration deadline on December 27, 2000, this Court ministerial duty, not a discretionary one; mandamus will not issue to control the exercise of
is of the firm view that petitioners were not totally denied the opportunity to avail of the continuing discretion of a public officer where the law imposes upon him the duty to exercise his judgment
registration under R.A. 8189. Stated in a different manner, the petitioners in the instant case are in reference to any manner in which he is required to act, because it is his judgment that is to be
not without fault or blame. They admit in their petition that they failed to register, for whatever exercised and not that of the court.
reason, within the period of registration and came to this Court and invoked its protective mantle
not realizing, so to speak, the speck in their eyes. Impuris minibus nemo accedat curiam. Let Considering the circumstances where the writ of mandamus lies and the peculiarities of the
no one come to court with unclean hands. present case, we are of the firm belief that petitioners failed to establish, to the satisfaction of this
Court, that they are entitled to the issuance of this extraordinary writ so as to effectively compel
In a similar vein, well-entrenched is the rule in our jurisdiction that the law aids the vigilant and respondent COMELEC to conduct a special registration of voters. For the determination of
not those who slumber on their rights. Vigilanties sed non dormientibus jura in re whether or not the conduct of a special registration of voters is feasible, possible or practical
subveniunt. within the remaining period before the actual date of election, involves the exercise of discretion
and thus, cannot be controlled by mandamus.
Applying the foregoing, this Court is of the firm view that respondent COMELEC did not commit
an abuse of discretion, much less be adjudged to have committed the same in some patent, In Bayan vs. Executive Secretary Zamora and related cases, we enunciated that the Court's
whimsical and arbitrary manner, in issuing Resolution No, 3584 which, in respondent's own function, as sanctioned by Article VIII, Section 1, is "merely [to] check, whether or not the
terms, resolved "to deny the request to conduct a two-day additional registration of new voters governmental branch or agency has gone beyond the constitutionally limits of its jurisdiction, not
on February 17 and 18, 2001." that it erred or has a different view. In the absence of a showing ...[of] grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction, there is no occasion for the Court to exercise its corrective
On this particular matter, grave abuse of discretion implies a capricious and whimsical exercise power...It has no power to look into what it thinks is apparent error.
of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or, when the power is exercised in an arbitrary
or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and it must be so patent and Finally, the Court likewise takes judicial notice of the fact that the President has issued
gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of Proclamation No. 15 calling Congress to a Special Session on March 18, 2001, to allow the
laws.1âwphi1.nêt
conduct of Special Registration of new voters. House Bill No., 12930 has been filed before the
Lower House, which bills seeks to amend R.A. 8189 as to the 120-day prohibitive period
Under these circumstances, we rule that the COMELEC in denying the request of petitioners to provided for under said law. Similarly, Senate Bill No. 2276 was filed before the Senate, with the
hold a special registration, acted within the bounds and confines of the applicable law on the same intention to amend the aforesaid law and, in effect, allow the conduct of special registration
matter - Section 8 of R.A. 8189. In issuing the assailed Resolution, respondent COMELEC before the May 14, 2001 General Elections.This Court views the foregoing factual circumstances
simply performed its constitutional task to enforce and administer all laws and regulations as a clear intimation on the part of both the executive and legislative departments that a legal
relative to the conduct of an election, inter alia, questions relating to the registration of voters; obstacle indeed stands in the way of the conduct by the Commission on Elections of a special
evidently, respondent COMELEC merely exercised a prerogative that chiefly pertains to it and registration before May 14, 2001 General Elections.
one which squarely falls within the proper sphere of its constitutionally mandated powers. Hence,
whatever action respondent takes in the exercise of its wide latitude of discretion, specifically on WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petitions for certiorari and mandamus are
matters involving voters' registration, pertains to the wisdom rather than the legality of the act. hereby DENIED.
Accordingly, in the absence of clear showing of grave abuse of power or discretion on the part of
respondent COMELEC, this Court may not validly conduct an incursion and meddle with affairs SO ORDERED.
exclusively within the province of respondent COMELEC - a body accorded by no less than the
fundamental law with independence.
Petitioners contend that the serious questions involved in this case and potential
disenfranchisement of millions of Filipino voters justify resort to this Court in the first instance,
G.R. No. 189868 December 15, 2009 claiming that based on National Statistics Office (NSO) data, the projected voting population for
the May 10, 2010 elections is 3,758,964 for the age group 18-19 and 8,756,981 for the age
group 20-24, or a total of 12,515,945.
KABATAAN PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVE RAYMOND V. PALATINO, ALVIN A. PETERS,
PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUSP), MA.
CRISTINA ANGELA GUEVARRA, CHAIRPERSON OF THE STUDENT CHRISTIAN Petitioners further contend that COMELEC Resolution No. 8585 is an unconstitutional
MOVEMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES (SCMP), VENCER MARI E. CRISOSTOMO, SECRETARY encroachment on the legislative power of Congress as it amends the system of continuing voter
registration under Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8189 (RA 8189), otherwise known as The
GENERAL OF KABATAAN PARTY-LIST, VIJAE O. ALQUISOLA, PRESIDENT OF THE
Voter’s Registration Act of 1996, reading:
COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES (CEGP), DIANNE KRISTEL M. ASUELO,
SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE KABATAANG ARTISTA PARA SA TUNAY NA KALAYAAN
(KARATULA), KENNETH CARLISLE EARL EUGENIO, ANA KATRINA V. TEJERO, VICTOR Section 8. System of Continuing Registration of Voters. The personal filing of application of
LOUIS E. CRISOSTOMO, JACQUELINE ALEXIS S. MERCED, and JADE CHARMANE ROSE registration of voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the Election Officer during regular
J. VALENZUELA, Petitioners, office hours. No registration shall, however, be conducted during the period starting one hundred
vs. twenty (120) days before a regular election and ninety (90) days before a special election.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
They thus pray that COMELEC Resolution No. 8585 be declared null and void, and that the
DECISION COMELEC be accordingly required to extend the voter registration until January 9, 2010 which is
the day before the 120-day prohibitive period starting on January 10, 2010.
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
The COMELEC maintains in its Comment filed on December 7, 2009 that, among other things,
the Constitution and the Omnibus Election Code confer upon it the power to promulgate rules
At the threshold once again is the right of suffrage of the sovereign Filipino people – the
and regulations in order to ensure free, orderly and honest elections; that Section 29 of Republic
foundation of Philippine democracy. As the country prepares to elect its next set of leaders on
May 10, 2010, the Court upholds this primordial right. Act No. 6646 (RA 6646)4 and Section 28 of Republic Act No. 8436 (RA 8436)5 authorize it to fix
other dates for pre-election acts which include voter registration; and that its schedule of pre-
election acts shows that the October 31, 2009 deadline of voter registration was impelled by
On November 12, 2008, respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) issued Resolution operational and pragmatic considerations, citing Akbayan-Youth v. COMELEC6 wherein the
No. 85141 which, among other things, set December 2, 2008 to December 15, 2009 as the Court denied a similar prayer for an extension of the December 27, 2000 deadline of voter
period of continuing voter registration using the biometrics process in all areas nationwide, registration for the May 14, 2001 elections.
except in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Subsequently, the COMELEC issued
Resolution No. 85852 on February 12, 2009 adjusting the deadline of voter registration for the
The petition is impressed with merit.
May 10, 2010 national and local elections to October 31, 2009, instead of December 15, 2009 as
previously fixed by Resolution No. 8514.
The right of suffrage lies at the heart of our constitutional democracy. The right of every Filipino
The intense public clamor for an extension of the October 31, 2009 deadline notwithstanding, the to choose the leaders who will lead the country and participate, to the fullest extent possible, in
COMELEC stood firm in its decision not to extend it, arguing mainly that it needs ample time to every national and local election is so zealously guarded by the fundamental law that it devoted
prepare for the automated elections. Via the present Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus filed an entire article solely therefor:
on October 30, 2009,3 petitioners challenge the validity of COMELEC Resolution No. 8585 and
seek a declaration of its nullity. ARTICLE V
SUFFRAGE
Petitioner Raymond V. Palatino, a youth sectoral representative under the Kabataan Party-list,
sues as a member of the House of Representatives and a concerned citizen, while the rest of SECTION 1. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise
petitioners sue as concerned citizens. disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the
Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six
months immediately preceding the election. No literacy, property or other substantive under RA 8189. This Court’s primary duty is to harmonize laws rather than consider one as
requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage. repealed by the other. The presumption is against inconsistency or repugnance and,
accordingly, against implied repeal. For Congress is presumed to know the existing laws on the
SECTION 2. The Congress shall provide a system of securing the secrecy and sanctity of the subject and not to enact inconsistent or conflicting statutes.10
ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad.
Both R.A. No. 6646, Section 29 and R.A. No. 8436, Section 28 grant the COMELEC the power
The Congress shall also design a procedure for the disabled and the illiterates to vote without to fix other periods and dates for pre-election activities only if the same cannot be reasonably
the assistance of other persons. Until then, they shall be allowed to vote under existing laws and held within the period provided by law. This grant of power, however, is for the purpose of
such rules as the Commission on Elections may promulgate to protect the secrecy of the ballot. enabling the people to exercise the right of suffrage – the common underlying policy of RA 8189,
RA 6646 and RA 8436.
Preserving the sanctity of the right of suffrage ensures that the State derives its power from the
consent of the governed. The paramount importance of this right is also a function of the State In the present case, the Court finds no ground to hold that the mandate of continuing voter
policy of people empowerment articulated in the constitutional declaration that sovereignty registration cannot be reasonably held within the period provided by RA 8189, Sec. 8 – daily
resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them,7 bolstered by the during office hours, except during the period starting 120 days before the May 10, 2010 regular
recognition of the vital role of the youth in nation-building and directive to the State to encourage elections. There is thus no occasion for the COMELEC to exercise its power to fix other dates or
their involvement in public and civic affairs.8 deadlines therefor.

It is against this backdrop that Congress mandated a system of continuing voter registration in The present case differs significantly from Akbayan-Youth v. COMELEC.11 In said case, the
Section 8 of RA 8189 which provides: Court held that the COMELEC did not commit abuse of discretion in denying the request of the
therein petitioners for an extension of the December 27, 2000 deadline of voter registration for
Section 8. System of Continuing Registration of Voters. The personal filing of application the May 14, 2001 elections. For the therein petitioners filed their petition with the Court within the
of registration of voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the Election Officer during regular 120-day prohibitive period for the conduct of voter registration under Section 8 of RA 8189, and
office hours. No registration shall, however, be conducted during the period starting one hundred sought the conduct of a two-day registration on February 17 and 18, 2001, clearly within the 120-
twenty (120) days before a regular election and ninety (90) days before a special election. day prohibitive period.
(emphasis and underscoring supplied)
The Court in fact suggested in Akbayan-Youth that the therein petitioners could have, but had
The clear text of the law thus decrees that voters be allowed to register daily during regular not, registered during the period between the December 27, 2000 deadline set by the
offices hours, except during the period starting 120 days before a regular election and 90 days COMELEC and before the start of the 120-day prohibitive period prior to the election date or
before a special election. January 13, 2001, thus:

By the above provision, Congress itself has determined that the period of 120 days before a [T]here is no allegation in the two consolidated petitions and the records are bereft of any
regular election and 90 days before a special election is enough time for the COMELEC to make showing that anyone of herein petitioners has filed an application to be registered as a voter
ALL the necessary preparations with respect to the coming elections including: (1) completion of which was denied by the COMELEC nor filed a complaint before the respondent COMELEC
project precincts, which is necessary for the proper allocation of official ballots, election returns alleging that he or she proceeded to the Office of the Election Officer to register between the
and other election forms and paraphernalia; (2) constitution of the Board of Election Inspectors, period starting from December 28, 2000 to January 13, 2001, and that he or she was disallowed
including the determination of the precincts to which they shall be assigned; (3) finalizing the or barred by respondent COMELEC from filing his application for registration. While it may be
Computerized Voters List; (4) supervision of the campaign period; and (5) preparation, bidding, true that respondent COMELEC set the registration deadline on December 27, 2000, this Court
printing and distribution of Voter’s Information Sheet. Such determination of Congress is well is of the firm view that petitioners were not totally denied the opportunity to avail of the continuing
within the ambit of its legislative power, which this Court is bound to respect. And the registration under R.A. 8189.12 (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
COMELEC’s rule-making power should be exercised in accordance with the prevailing law.9
The clear import of the Court’s pronouncement in Akbayan-Youth is that had the therein
Respecting the authority of the COMELEC under RA 6646 and RA 8436 to fix other dates for petitioners filed their petition – and sought an extension date that was – before the 120-day
pre-election acts, the same is not in conflict with the mandate of continuing voter registration prohibitive period, their prayer would have been granted pursuant to the mandate of RA 8189. In
the present case, as reflected earlier, both the dates of filing of the petition (October 30, 2009) On 25 March 1998, DOMINO filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of Representative
and the extension sought (until January 9, 2010) are prior to the 120-day prohibitive period. The of the Lone Legislative District of the Province of Sarangani indicating in item nine (9) of his
Court, therefore, finds no legal impediment to the extension prayed for. certificate that he had resided in the constituency where he seeks to be elected for one (1) year
and two (2) months immediately preceding the election.3
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. COMELEC Resolution No. 8585 is declared null and
void insofar as it set the deadline of voter registration for the May 10, 2010 elections on October On 30 March 1998, private respondents Narciso Ra. Grafilo, Jr., Eddy B. Java, Juan P. Bayonito,
31, 2009. The COMELEC is directed to proceed with dispatch in reopening the registration of Jr., Rosario Samson and Dionisio P. Lim, Sr., fied with the COMELEC a Petition to Deny Due
voters and holding the same until January 9, 2010. This Decision is IMMEDIATELY Course to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy, which was docketed as SPA No. 98-022 and
EXECUTORY. assigned to the Second Division of the COMELEC. Private respondents alleged that DOMINO,
contrary to his declaration in the certificate of candidacy, is not a resident, much less a registered
SO ORDERED. voter, of the province of Sarangani where he seeks election. To substantiate their allegations,
private respondents presented the following evidence:

1. Annex "A" — the Certificate of Candidacy of respondent for the


position of Congressman of the Lone District of the Province of
Sarangani filed with the Office of the Provincial Election
Supervisor of Sarangani on March 25, 1998, where in item 4
INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION PROCEEDINGS thereof he wrote his date of birth as December 5, 1953; in item 9,
he claims he have resided in the constituency where he seeks
election for one (1) year and two (2) months; and, in item 10, that
he is registered voter of Precinct No. 14A-1, Barangay Poblacion,
G.R. No. 134015 July 19, 1999 Alabel, Sarangani;

JUAN DOMINO, petitioner, 2. Annex "B" — Voter's Registration Record with SN 31326504
vs. dated June 22, 1997 indicating respondent's registration at
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, NARCISO Ra. GRAFILO, JR., EDDY B. JAVA, JUAN P. Precinct No. 4400-A, Old Balara, Quezon City;
BAYONITO, JR., ROSARIO SAMSON and DIONISIO P. LIM, SR., respondent, LUCILLE
CHIONGBIAN-SOLON, intervenor. 3. Annex "C" — Respondent's Community Tax Certificate No.
11132214C dated January 15, 1997;

4. Annex "D" — Certified true copy of the letter of Herson D.


DAVIDE, JR., CJ.: Dema-ala, Deputy Provincial & Municipal Treasurer of Alabel,
Sarangani, dated February 26, 1998, addressed to Mr. Conrado
Challenged in this case for certiorari with a prayer for preliminary injunction are the Resolution of G. Butil, which reads:
6 May 19981 of the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (hereafter COMELEC),
declaring petitioner Juan Domino (hereafter DOMINO) disqualified as candidate for In connection with your letter of even date, we are furnishing you
representative of the Lone Legislative District of the Province of Sarangani in the 11 May 1998 herewith certified xerox copy of the triplicate copy of
elections, and the Decision of 29 May 19982 of the COMELEC en banc denying DOMINO's COMMUNITY TAX CERTIFICATE NO. 11132214C in the name
motion for reconsideration. of Juan Domino.

The antecedents are not disputed. 1âwphi 1.nêt


Furthermore, Community Tax Certificate No. 11132212C of the
same stub was issued to Carlito Engcong on September 5, 1997,
while Certificate No. 11132213C was also issued to Mr. Juan
Domino but was cancelled and serial no. 11132215C was issued PREVIOUS REGISTRATION of respondent subscribed and
in the name of Marianita Letigio on September 8, 1997. sworn to on 22 October 1997 before Election Officer Mantil Allim
at Alabel, Sarangani. 4
5. Annex "E" — The triplicate copy of the Community Tax
Certificate No. 11132214C in the name of Juan Domino dated For his defense, DOMINO maintains that he had complied with the one-year residence
September 5, 1997; requirement and that he has been residing in Sarangani since January 1997. In support of the
said contention, DOMINO presented before the COMELEC the following exhibits, to wit:
6. Annex "F" — Copy of the letter of Provincial Treasurer Lourdes
P. Riego dated March 2, 1998 addressed to Mr. Herson D. Dema- 1. Annex "1" — Copy of the Contract of Lease between Nora
ala, Deputy Provincial Treasurer and Municipal Treasurer of Dacaldacal as Lessor and Administrator of the properties of
Alabel, Sarangani, which states: deceased spouses Maximo and Remedios Dacaldacal and
respondent as Lessee executed on January 15, 1997, subscribed
For easy reference, kindly turn-over to the undersigned for and sworn to before Notary Public Johnny P. Landero;
safekeeping, the stub of Community Tax Certificate containing
Nos. 11132201C-11132250C issued to you on June 13, 1997 and 2. Annex "2" — Copy of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate
paid under Official Receipt No. 7854744. with Absolute Deed of sale executed by and between the heirs of
deceased spouses Maximo and Remedios Dacaldacal, namely:
Upon request of Congressman James L. Chiongbian. Maria Lourdes, Jupiter and Beberlie and the respondent on
November 4, 1997, subscribed and sworn to before Notary Public
7. Annex "G" — Certificate of Candidacy of respondent for the Jose A. Alegario;
position of Congressman in the 3rd District of Quezon City for the
1995 elections filed with the Office of the Regional Election 3. Annex "3" — True Carbon Xerox copy of the Decision dated
Director, National Capital Region, on March 17, 1995, where, in January 19, 1998, of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Metro Manila,
item 4 thereof, he wrote his birth date as December 22, 1953; in Branch 35, Quezon City, in Election Case NO. 725 captioned as
item 8 thereof his "residence in the constituency where I seek to "In the Matter of the Petition for the Exclusion from the List of
be elected immediately preceding the election" as 3 years and 5 voters of Precinct No. 4400-A Brgy. Old Balara, Quezon City,
months; and, in item 9, that he is a registered voter of Precinct Spouses Juan and Zorayda Domino, Petitioners, -versus- Elmer
No. 182, Barangay Balara, Quezon City; M. Kayanan, Election Officer, Quezon City, District III, and the
Board of Election Inspectors of Precinct No. 4400-A, Old Balara,
8. Annex "H" — a copy of the APPLICATION FOR TRANSFER Quezon City, Respondents." The dispositive portion of which
OF REGISTRATION RECORDS DUE TO CHANGE OF reads:
RESIDENCE of respondent dated August 30, 1997 addressed to
and received by Election Officer Mantil Alim, Alabel, Sarangani, 1. Declaring the registration of petitioners as
on September 22, 1997, stating among others, that "[T]he voters of Precinct No. 4400-A, Barangay Old
undersigned's previous residence is at 24 Bonifacio Street, Ayala Balara, in District III Quezon City as completely
Heights, Quezon City, III District, Quezon City; wherein he is a erroneous as petitioners were no longer residents
registered voter" and "that for business and residence purposes, of Quezon City but of Alabel, Sarangani where
the undersigned has transferred and conducts his business and they have been residing since December 1996;
reside at Barangay Poblacion, Alabel, Province of Sarangani prior
to this application;" 2. Declaring this erroneous registration of
petitioners in Quezon City as done in good faith
9. Annex "I" — Copy of the SWORN APPLICATION FOR OF due to an honest mistake caused by
CANCELLATION OF THE VOTER'S [TRANSFER OF]
circumstances beyond their control and without 9. Annex "7-a" — Certification dated April 16, 1998, issued by
any fault of petitioners; Atty. Elmer M. Kayanan, Election Officer IV, District III, Quezon
City, which reads:
3. Approving the transfer of registration of voters
of petitioners from Precint No. 4400-A of This is to certify that the spouses JUAN and ZORAYDA DOMINO
Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City to Precinct No. are no longer registered voters of District III, Quezon City. Their
14A1 of Barangay Poblacion of Alabel, Sarangani; registration records (VRR) were transferred and are now in the
and possession of the Election Officer of Alabel, Sarangani.

4. Ordering the respondents to immediately This certification is being issued upon the request of Mr. JUAN
transfer and forward all the election/voter's DOMINO.
registration records of the petitioners in Quezon
City to the Election Officer, the Election 10. Annex "8" — Affidavit of Nora Dacaldacal and Maria Lourdes
Registration Board and other Comelec Offices of Dacaldacal stating the circumstances and incidents detailing their
Alabel, Sarangani where the petitioners are alleged acquaintance with respondent.
obviously qualified to excercise their respective
rights of suffrage. 11. Annexes "8-a", "8-b", "8-c" and "8-d" — Copies of the uniform
affidavits of witness Myrna Dalaguit, Hilario Fuentes, Coraminda
4. Annex "4" — Copy of the Application for Transfer of Lomibao and Elena V. Piodos subscribed and sworn to before
Registration Records due to Change of Residence addressed to Notary Public Bonifacio F. Doria, Jr., on April 18, 1998,
Mantil Alim, COMELEC Registrar, Alabel, Sarangani, dated embodying their alleged personal knowledge of respondent's
August 30, 1997. residency in Alabel, Sarangani;

5. Annex "5" — Certified True Copy of the Notice of Approval of 12. Annex "8-e" — A certification dated April 20, 1998, subscribed
Application, the roster of applications for registration approved by and sworn to before Notary Public Bonifacio, containing a listing
the Election Registration Board on October 20, 1997, showing the of the names of fifty-five (55) residents of Alabel, Sarangani,
spouses Juan and Zorayda Bailon Domino listed as numbers 111 declaring and certifying under oath that they personally know the
and 112 both under Precinct No. 14A1, the last two names in the respondent as a permanent resident of Alabel, Sarangani since
slate indicated as transferees without VRR numbers and their January 1997 up to present;
application dated August 30, 1997 and September 30, 1997,
respectively. 13. Annexes "9", "9-a" and "9-b" — Copies of Individual Income
Tax Return for the year 1997, BIR form 2316 and W-2,
6. Annex "6" — same as Annex "5" respectively, of respondent; and,

7. Annex "6-a" — Copy of the Sworn Application for Cancellation 14. Annex "10" — The affidavit of respondent reciting the
of Voter's Previous Registration (Annex "I", Petition); chronology of events and circumstances leading to his relocation
to the Municipality of Alabel, Sarangani, appending Annexes "A",
8. Annex "7" — Copy of claim card in the name of respondent "B", "C", "D", "D-1", "E", "F", "G" with sub-markings "G-1" and "G-
showing his VRR No. 31326504 dated October 20, 1997 as a 2" and "H" his CTC No. 111`32214C dated September 5, 1997,
registered voter of Precinct No. 14A1, Barangay Poblacion, which are the same as Annexes "1", "2", "4", "5", "6-a", "3", "7",
Alabel, Sarangani; "9" with sub-markings "9-a" and "9-b" except Annex "H".5
On 6 May 1998, the COMELEC 2nd Division promulgated a resolution declaring DOMINO On 14 July 1998, acting on DOMINO's Motion for Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order, the
disqualified as candidate for the position of representative of the lone district of Sarangani for Court directed the parties to maintain the status quo prevailing at the time of the filing of the
lack of the one-year residence requirement and likewise ordered the cancellation of his instant petition.9
certificate of candidacy, on the basis of the following findings:
On 15 September 1998, Lucille L. Chiongbian-Solon, (hereafter INTERVENOR), the candidate
What militates against respondent's claim that he has met the residency receiving the second highest number of votes, was allowed by the Court to
requirement for the position sought is his own Voter's Registration Record No. Intervene.10 INTERVENOR in her Motion for Leave to Intervene and in her Comment in
31326504 dated June 22, 1997 [Annex "B", Petition] and his address indicated Intervention 11 is asking the Court to uphold the disqualification of petitioner Juan Domino and to
as 24 Bonifacio St., Ayala Heights, Old Balara, Quezon City. This evidence, proclaim her as the duly elected representative of Sarangani in the 11 May 1998 elections.
standing alone, negates all his protestations that he established residence at
Barangay Poblacion, Alabel, Sarangani, as early as January 1997. It is highly Before us DOMINO raised the following issues for resolution, to wit:
improbable, nay incredible, for respondent who previously ran for the same
position in the 3rd Legislative District of Quezon City during the elections of 1995 a. Whether or not the judgment of the Metropolitan Trial Court of
to unwittingly forget the residency requirement for the office sought. Quezon City declaring petitioner as resident of Sarangani and not
of Quezon City is final, conclusive and binding upon the whole
Counting, therefore, from the day after June 22, 1997 when respondent world, including the Commission on Elections.
registered at Precinct No. 4400-A, up to and until the day of the elections on May
11, 1998, respondent clearly lacks the one (1) year residency requirement b. Whether or not petitioner herein has resided in the subject
provided for candidates for Member of the House of Representatives under congressional district for at least one (1) year immediately
Section 6, Article VI of the Constitution. preceding the May 11, 1998 elections; and

All told, petitioner's evidence conspire to attest to respondent's lack of residence c. Whether or not respondent COMELEC has jurisdiction over the
in the constituency where he seeks election and while it may be conceded that petition a quo for the disqualification of petitioner.12
he is a registered voter as contemplated under Section 12 of R.A. 8189, he lacks
the qualification to run for the position of Congressman for the Lone District of the
The first issue.
Province of Sarangani.6
The contention of DOMINO that the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City in the
On 11 May 1998, the day of the election, the COMELEC issued Supplemental Omnibus
exclusion proceedings declaring him a resident of the Province of Sarangani and not of Quezon
Resolution No. 3046, ordering that the votes cast for DOMINO be counted but to suspend the
City is final and conclusive upon the COMELEC cannot be sustained.
proclamation if winning, considering that the Resolution disqualifying him as candidate had not
yet become final and executory.7
The COMELEC has jurisdiction as provided in Sec. 78, Art. IX of the Omnibus Election Code,
over a petition to deny due course to or cancel certificate of candidacy. In the exercise of the
The result of the election, per Statement of Votes certified by the Chairman of the Provincial
said jurisdiction, it is within the competence of the COMELEC to determine whether false
Board of Canvassers,8 shows that DOMINO garnered the highest number of votes over his
representation as to material facts was made in the certificate of candidacy, that will include,
opponents for the position of Congressman of the Province of Sarangani.
among others, the residence of the candidate.
On 15 May 1998, DOMINO filed a motion for reconsideration of the Resolution dated 6 May
The determination of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City in the exclusion proceedings as
1998, which was denied by the COMELEC en banc in its decision dated 29 May 1998. Hence,
to the right of DOMINO to be included or excluded from the list of voters in the precinct within its
the present Petition for Certiorari with prayer for Preliminary Mandatory Injunction alleging, in the
territorial jurisdicton, does not preclude the COMELEC, in the determination of DOMINO's
main, that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of
qualification as a candidate, to pass upon the issue of compliance with the residency
jurisdiction when it ruled that he did not meet the one-year residence requirement.
requirement.
The proceedings for the exclusion or inclusion of voters in the list of voters are summary in Finally, the application of the rule on res judicata is unavailing. Identity of parties, subject matter
character. Thus, the factual findings of the trial court and its resultant conclusions in the and cause of action are indispensable requirements for the application of said doctrine. Neither
exclusion proceedings on matters other than the right to vote in the precinct within its territorial herein Private Respondents nor INTERVENOR, is a party in the exclusion proceedings. The
jurisdiction are not conclusive upon the COMELEC. Although the court in inclusion or exclusion Petition for Exclusion was filed by DOMINDO himself and his wife, praying that he and his wife
proceedings may pass upon any question necessary to decide the issue raised including the be excluded from the Voter's List on the ground of erroneous registration while the Petition to
questions of citizenship and residence of the challenged voter, the authority to order the Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy was filed by private respondents against
inclusion in or exclusion from the list of voters necessarily caries with it the power to inquire into DOMINO for alleged false representation in his certificate of candidacy. For the decision to be a
and settle all matters essential to the exercise of said authority. However, except for the right to basis for the dismissal by reason of res judicata, it is essential that there must be between the
remain in the list of voters or for being excluded therefrom for the particular election in relation to first and the second action identity of parties, identity of subject matter and identity of causes of
which the proceedings had been held, a decision in an exclusion or inclusion proceeding, even if action.19 In the present case, the aforesaid essential requisites are not present. In the case
final and unappealable, does not acquire the nature of res judicata.13 In this sense, it does not of Nuval v. Guray, et al., 20 the Supreme Court in resolving a similar issue ruled that:
operate as a bar to any future action that a party may take concerning the subject passed upon
in the proceeding.14 Thus, a decision in an exclusion proceeding would neither be conclusive on The question to be solved under the first assignment of error is whether or not
the voter's political status, nor bar subsequent proceedings on his right to be registered as a the judgment rendered in the case of the petition for the exclusion of Norberto
voter in any other election.15 Guray's name from the election list of Luna, is res judicata, so as to prevent the
institution and prosecution of an action in quo warranto, which is now before us.
Thus, in Tan Cohon v. Election Registrar16 we ruled that:
The procedure prescribed by section 437 of the Administrative Code, as
. . . It is made clear that even as it is here held that the order of the City Court in amended by Act No. 3387, is of a summary character and the judgment rendered
question has become final, the same does not constitute res adjudicata as to any therein is not appealable except when the petition is tried before the justice of the
of the matters therein contained. It is ridiculous to suppose that such an peace of the capital or the circuit judge, in which case it may be appealed to the
important and intricate matter of citizenship may be passed upon and determined judge of first instance, with whom said two lower judges have concurrent
with finality in such a summary and peremptory proceeding as that of inclusion jurisdiction.
and exclusion of persons in the registry list of voters. Even if the City Court had
granted appellant's petition for inclusion in the permanent list of voters on the The petition for exclusion was presented by Gregorio Nuval in his dual capacity
allegation that she is a Filipino citizen qualified to vote, her alleged Filipino as qualified voter of the municipality of Luna, and as a duly registered candidate
citizenship would still have been left open to question. for the office of president of said municipality, against Norberto Guray as a
registered voter in the election list of said municipality. The present proceeding
Moreover, the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City in its 18 January decision exceeded its of quo warranto was interposed by Gregorio Nuval in his capacity as a registered
jurisdiction when it declared DOMINO a resident of the Province of Sarangani, approved and candidate voted for the office of municipal president of Luna, against Norberto
ordered the transfer of his voter's registration from Precinct No. 4400-A of Barangay Old Balara, Guray, as an elected candidate for the same office. Therefore, there is no identity
Quezon City to precinct 14A1 of Barangay Poblacion, Alabel, Sarangani. It is not within the of parties in the two cases, since it is not enough that there be an identity of
competence of the trial court, in an exclusion proceedings, to declare the challenged voter a persons, but there must be an identity of capacities in which said persons litigate.
resident of another municipality. The jurisdiction of the lower court over exclusion cases is limited (Art. 1259 of the Civil Code; Bowler vs. Estate of Alvarez, 23 Phil., 561; 34
only to determining the right of voter to remain in the list of voters or to declare that the Corpus Juris, p. 756, par. 1165)
challenged voter is not qualified to vote in the precint in which he is registered, specifying the
ground of the voter's disqualification. The trial court has no power to order the change or transfer In said case of the petition for the exclusion, the object of the litigation, or the
of registration from one place of residence to another for it is the function of the election litigious matter was the exclusion of Norberto Guray as a voter from the election
Registration Board as provided under Section 12 of R.A. No. 8189. 17 The only effect of the list of the municipality of Luna, while in the present que warranto proceeding, the
decision of the lower court excluding the challenged voter from the list of voters, is for the object of the litigation, or the litigious matter is his exclusion or expulsion from the
Election Registration Board, upon receipt of the final decision, to remove the voter's registration office to which he has been elected. Neither does there exist, then, any identity in
record from the corresponding book of voters, enter the order of exclusion therein, and thereafter the object of the litigation, or the litigious matter.
place the record in the inactive file.18
In said case of the petition for exclusion, the cause of action was that Norberto revertendi. The purpose to remain in or at the domicile of choice must be for an indefinite period
Guray had not the six months' legal residence in the municipality of Luna to be a of time; the change of residence must be voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for
qualified voter thereof, while in the present proceeding of quo warranto, the the new domicile must be actual.27
cause of action is that Norberto Guray has not the one year's legal residence
required for eligibility to the office of municipal president of Luna. Neither does It is the contention of petitioner that his actual physical presence in Alabel, Sarangani since
there exist therefore, identity of causes of action. December 1996 was sufficiently established by the lease of a house and lot located therein in
January 1997 and by the affidavits and certifications under oath of the residents of that place
In order that res judicata may exist the following are necessary: (a) identity of that they have seen petitioner and his family residing in their locality.
parties; (b) identity of things; and (c) identity of issues (Aquino v. Director of
Lands, 39 Phil. 850). And as in the case of the petition for excluision and in the While this may be so, actual and physical is not in itself sufficient to show that from said date he
present quo warranto proceeding, as there is no identity of parties, or of things or had transferred his residence in that place. To establish a new domicile of choice, personal
litigious matter, or of issues or causes of action, there is no res judicata. presence in the place must be coupled with conduct indicative of that intention. While
"residence" simply requires bodily presence in a given place, "domicile" requires not only such
The Second Issue. bodily presence in that place but also a declared and probable intent to make it one's fixed and
permanent place of abode, one's home.28
Was DOMINO a resident of the Province of Sarangani for at least one year immediately
preceding the 11 May 1998 election as stated in his certificate of candidacy? As a general rule, the principal elements of domicile, physical presence in the locality involved
and intention to adopt it as a domicile, must concur in order to establish a new domicile. No
We hold in the negative. change of domicile will result if either of these elements is absent. Intention to acquire a domicile
without actual residence in the locality does not result in acquisition of domicile, nor does the fact
It is doctrinally settled that the term "residence," as used in the law prescribing the qualifications of physical presence without intention.29
for suffrage and for elective office, means the same thing as "domicile," which imports not only
an intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal presence in that place, coupled with The lease contract entered into sometime in January 1997, does not adequately support a
conduct indicative of such intention.21 "Domicile" denotes a fixed permanent residence to which, change of domicile. The lease contract may be indicative of DOMINO's intention to reside in
whenever absent for business, pleasure, or some other reasons, one intends to Sarangani but it does not engender the kind of permanency required to prove abandonment of
return.22 "Domicile" is a question of intention and circumstances. In the consideration of one's original domicile. The mere absence of individual from his permanent residence, no matter
circumstances, three rules must be borne in mind, namely: (1) that a man must have a residence how long, without the intention to abandon it does not result in loss or change of
or domicile somewhere; (2) when once established it remains until a new one is acquired; and domicile. 30 Thus the date of the contract of lease of a house and lot located in the province of
(3) a man can have but one residence or domicile at a time.23 Sarangani, i.e., 15 January 1997, cannot be used, in the absence of other circumstances, as the
reckoning period of the one-year residence requirement.
Records show that petitioner's domicile of origin was Candon, Ilocos
Sur 24 and that sometime in 1991, he acquired a new domicile of choice at 24 Bonifacio St. Ayala Further, Domino's lack of intention to abandon his residence in Quezon City is further
Heights, Old Balara, Quezon City, as shown by his certificate of candidacy for the position of strengthened by his act of registering as voter in one of the precincts in Quezon City. While
representative of the 3rd District of Quezon City in the May 1995 election. Petitioner is now voting is not conclusive of residence, it does give rise to a strong presumption of residence
claiming that he had effectively abandoned his "residence" in Quezon City and has established a especially in this case where DOMINO registered in his former barangay. Exercising the right of
new "domicile" of choice at the Province of Sarangani. election franchise is a deliberate public assertion of the fact of residence, and is said to have
decided preponderance in a doubtful case upon the place the elector claims as, or believes to
A person's "domicile" once established is considered to continue and will not be deemed lost be, his residence.31 The fact that a party continously voted in a particular locality is a strong factor
until a new one is established. 25 To successfully effect a change of domicile one must in assisting to determine the status of his domicile.32
demonstrate an actual removal or an actual change of domicile; a bona fide intention of
abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one and definite acts which His claim that his registration in Quezon City was erroneous and was caused by events over
correspond with the which he had no control cannot be sustained. The general registration of voters for purposes of
purpose. 26 In other words, there must basically be animus manendi coupled with animus non
the May 1998 elections was scheduled for two (2) consecutive weekends, viz.: June 14, 15, 21, Cosidering that DOMINO has not been proclaimed as Congressman-elect in the Lone
and 22.33 Congressional District of the Province of Sarangani he cannot be deemed a member of the
House of Representatives. Hence, it is the COMELEC and not the Electoral Tribunal which has
While, Domino's intention to establish residence in Sarangani can be gleaned from the fact that jurisdiction over the issue of his ineligibility as a candidate.42
be bought the house he was renting on November 4, 1997, that he sought cancellation of his
previous registration in Qezon City on 22 October 1997,34 and that he applied for transfer of Issue raised by INTERVENOR.
registration from Quezon City to Sarangani by reason of change of residence on 30 August
1997,35 DOMINO still falls short of the one year residency requirement under the Constitution. After finding that DOMINO is disqualified as candidate for the position of representative of the
province of Sarangani, may INTERVENOR, as the candidate who received the next highest
In showing compliance with the residency requirement, both intent and actual presence in the number of votes, be proclaimed as the winning candidate?
district one intends to represent must satisfy the length of time prescribed by the fundamental
law.36 Domino's failure to do so rendered him ineligible and his election to office null and void.37 It is now settled doctrine that the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes
may not be proclaimed winner in case the winning candidate is disqualified.43 In every election,
The Third Issue. the people's choice is the paramount consideration and their expressed will must, at all times, be
given effect. When the majority speaks and elects into office a candidate by giving the highest
DOMINO's contention that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction in the present petition is bereft of number of votes cast in the election for that office, no one can be declared elected in his place.44
merit.
It would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally guaranteed right to
As previously mentioned, the COMELEC, under Sec. 78, Art. IX of the Omnibus Election Code, suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed a
has jurisdiction over a petition to deny due course to or cancel certificate of candidacy. Such winner and imposed as the representative of a constituency, the majority of which have positively
jurisdiction continues even after election, if for any reason no final judgment of disqualification is declared through their ballots that they do not choose him.45 To simplistically assume that the
rendered before the election, and the candidate facing disqualification is voted for and receives second placer would have received the other votes would be to substitute our judgment for the
the highest number of votes38 and provided further that the winning candidate has not been mind of the voters. He could not be considered the first among qualified candidates because in a
proclaimed or has taken his oath of office.39 field which excludes the qualified candidate, the conditions would have substantially changed.46

It has been repeatedly held in a number of cases, that the House of Representatives Electoral Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who have received the
Tribunal's sole and exclusive jurisdiction over all contests relating to the election, returns and highest number of votes cast in the election for that office, and it is fundamental idea in all
qualifications of members of Congress as provided under Section 17 of Article VI of the republican forms of government that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be
Constitution begins only after a candidate has become a member of the House of declared carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the
Representatives. 40 election.47

The fact of obtaining the highest number of votes in an election does not automatically vest the The effect of a decision declaring a person ineligible to hold an office is only that the election
position in the winning candidate.41 A candidate must be proclaimed and must have taken his fails entirely, that the wreath of victory cannot be transferred48 from the disqualified winner to the
oath of office before he can be considered a member of the House of Representatives. repudiated loser because the law then as now only authorizes a declaration of election in favor
of the person who has obtained a plurality of votes49 and does not entitle the candidate receiving
In the instant case, DOMINO was not proclaimed as Congressman-elect of the Lone the next highest number of votes to be declared elected. In such case, the electors have failed to
Congressional District of the Province of Sarangani by reason of a Supplemental Omnibus make a choice and the election is a nullity.50 To allow the defeated and repudiated candidate to
Resolution issued by the COMELEC on the day of the election ordering the suspension of take over the elective position despite his rejection by the electorate is to disenfranchise the
DOMINO's proclamation should he obtain the winning number of votes. This resolution was electorate without any fault on their part and to undermine the importance and meaning of
issued by the COMELEC in view of the non-finality of its 6 May 1998 resolution disqualifying democracy and the people's right to elect officials of their choice.51
DOMINO as candidate for the position.
INTERVENOR's plea that the votes cast in favor of DOMINO be considered stray votes cannot
be sustained. INTERVENOR's reliance on the opinion made in the Labo, Jr. case52 to wit: if the
electorate, fully aware in fact and in law of a candidate's disqualification so as to bring such while the second one, O.C.A. I.P.I. No. 95-54-MTJ, was referred to this Court by the Office of the
awareness within the realm of notoriety, would nevertheless cast their votes in favor of the President.
ineligible candidate, the electorate may be said to have waived the validity and efficacy of their
votes by notoriously misapplying their franchise or throwing away their votes, in which case, the O.C.A. I.P.I. No. 95-54-MTJ was dismissed by the First Division on October 25, 1995,1 On the
eligible candidate obtaining the next higher number of votes may be deemed elected, is other hand, O.C.A. I.P.I. No. 95-25-MTJ was redocketed as Administrative Matter No. MTJ-95-
misplaced. 1056 and referred by the Second Division to Acting Executive Judge Fortunato2 L. Madrona of
the Regional Trial Court of Ormoc City, Leyte, for investigation, report, and recommendation on
Contrary to the claim of INTERVENOR, petitioner was not notoriously known by the public as an October 16, 1996.3
ineligible candidate. Although the resolution declaring him ineligible as candidate was rendered
before the election, however, the same is not yet final and executory. In fact, it was no less than On September 15, 1997, Investigating Judge Fortunito L. Madrona submitted his report.4 With
the COMELEC in its Supplemental Omnibus Resolution No. 3046 that allowed DOMINO to be respect to Criminal Case No. 584, entitled "People of the Philippines v. Julia Enriqua Seco," the
voted for the office and ordered that the votes cast for him be counted as the Resolution Investigating Judge found the following facts:
declaring him ineligible has not yet attained finality. Thus the votes cast for DOMINO are
presumed to have been cast in the sincere belief that he was a qualified candidate, without any (1) In Crim. Case No. 584 entitled People of the Philippines vs. Julia Enriqua Seco . . .,
intention to misapply their franchise. Thus, said votes can not be treated as stray, void, or the accused then was charged of Usurpation of Authority and Official Functions under
meaningless.53 Art. 177 of the Revised Penal Code, involving, as the complaint states, a "paquiao"
contract in which the accused Julia Seco allegedly signed as the Barangay Captain of
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED. The resolution dated 6 May 1998 of the Brgy. Cansuso, Matag-ob, Leyte;
COMELEC 2nd Division and the decision dated 29 May 1998 of the COMELEC En Banc, are
hereby AFFIRMED. 1âwphi1.nêt

(2) In the course of the proceedings after the prosecution had already presented its
witnesses, the complaint was dismissed on the basis of an Affidavit of Desistance
SO ORDERED. executed by complainant Restituto C. Pedrano which was prepared and executed before
Provincial Prosecutor Rosario D. Beleta on June 4, 1992 (Exh. "R"). This Affidavit of
Desistance is opposite to the earlier affidavit of the same complainant dated March 17,
1997 ... which was made the basis of the Complaint;

(3) On the basis of the Affidavit of Desistance the respondent issued the Order dated
December 22, 1992 dismissing the case (Exh. "S");
A.M. No. MTJ-95-1056 May 21, 2001
(4) Prior to the issuance of the Affidavit of Desistance that is on May 20, 1987, accused
DATU INOCENCIO C. SIAWAN, complainant, Julia Enriqua Seco had filed before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court a Motion for
vs. Inhibition of the Presiding Judge now respondent in this case (Exh. "Q"). The meat of this
JUDGE AQUILINO A. INOPIQUEZ, JR., respondent. motion for inhibition is that the father-in-law of the Presiding Judge, herein respondent,
was conspicuously present in the proceedings during which time he gave consultation to
MENDOZA, J.: the complainant who was reportedly his political leader and protegee. The accused
herself signed the motion with "conforme" of a certain Atty. Camilo Superable acting as
This is a complaint filed by Datu Inocencio Siawan against Judge Aquilino. A. Inopiquez, Jr. of counsel;
the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Kananga-Matag-ob, Leyte, for gross ignorance of the law, gross
abuse of power, and misconduct in connection with the latter's handling of a criminal case and (5) The Motion for Inhibition was denied by the Presiding Judge, herein respondent;
two election cases for inclusion of voters. Originally, two identical complaints against respondent
were filed. The first was referred to this Court by the Department of Justice, the National Bureau (6) The accused after the dismissal of the case sued Restituto C. Pedrano in a separate
of Investigation, the Commission on Elections, and the Government Service Insurance System, civil action for damages (docketed as Civil Case No. 3167-0 before the RTC, Ormoc City
and now elevated to the Court of Appeals as CA-G.R. CV No. 51495), as a result of
which the latter, through an Omnibus Motion (Exh. "T") dated November 4, 1993 or about (13) The complaint in Criminal Case No. 1181 (Exh. "Y") in substance, is the same as
a year after the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 584, filed by Atty. Eusebio Otadoy, Jr. the complaint in Criminal Case No. 584 (Exh. "O") . . . All supporting affidavits except the
who acted as counsel and private prosecutor, wanted to revive the case against accused complaint affidavit of Pedrano, were all reproduced from the previous complaint in
Julia Enriqua Seco; Criminal Case No. 584 (TSN of June 16, 1997, pp. 28-29);

(7) Then accused Seco herself filed Opposition to Omnibus Motion dated November 26, (14) The new complaint re Criminal Case No. 1181 was filed April 21, 1994 (supra, p.
1993 (Exh. "U") stating, among others, the grounds that (a) the lower court has no more 30). About a week later, or on April 28, 1994, respondent Judge issued the Order . . .
jurisdiction as the assailed order was long final and (b) the motion was only signed by the inhibiting himself from trying the case (Exh. "6") on the ground that "the counsel for the
private prosecutor with no authority from the public prosecutor to file such kind of offended party is related to the Presiding Judge";
pleading;
(15) The Order of inhibition, however, was denied by the Regional Trial Court, Ormoc
(8) Respondent as Presiding Judge issued the Order dated January 20, 1994 (Exh. "V") City in an Order dated September 1, 1994 (Exh. "7") and soon thereafter, respondent
ordering the withdrawal from the records of the affidavit of Restituto Pedrano dated June judge in an Order dated September 5, 1994 dismissed Criminal Case No. 1181. The
4, 1992 (the desistance) and recalling the Order of the Court dated December 22, 1992 principal reason given for the dismissal is the admission by respondent that the case
(which is for dismissal) and reinstating the case in the court's calendar; "had been filed by the offended party without however the intervention of the public
prosecutor or the station commander. The crime of Usurpation of Authority and Official
(9) Because of the reinstatement, the accused through her daughter, Mrs. Lilia Tordillo, Function is a public offense and the offended party is the People of the Philippines. It
requested the fixing of the bail bond, which in the Order of the Court dated February 24, appears that the instant case has been instituted not by the proper party." (Exh. "VV" and
1994 (Exh. "W") was fixed at P4,000.00; Exh. "9").

(10) The Order of respondent (Exh. "W") shows a warrant of arrest must have been (16) A Motion For Reconsideration re the Order of dismissal was filed by the private
issued against complainant, then accused Seco in connection with Criminal Case No. complainant to which the respondent judge directed accused's counsel, to file comment
584. This was testified to by her during the hearing (TSN of April 29, 1997, pp. 56-57) to the motion despite the fact she was not yet arrested or that the Court had not yet
although respondent through counsel stated that the record of the case is "bereft of acquired jurisdiction over her body (TSN, supra, p. 34 et seq. Cf. P. 37);
warrant of arrest" (Ibid, p. 65);
(17) The respondent judge issued the Order of November 14, 1994 (Exh. "8") denying
(11) Respondent reconsidered the previous Order by issuing the Order dated March 29, the motion for reconsideration;
1994 (Exh. "X"). In this latter Order, he voluntarily inhibited himself from further taking
cognizance of the case for reasons of delicadeza; (18) A second motion for reconsideration was again filed by the private complainant and
the respondent in an Order dated December 23, 1994 (Exh. "SS") directed anew the
(12) Obviously because of the statement in respondent's Order of March 29, 1994 (see accused's counsel for another comment;
last sentence, first paragraph, page 2 thereof) herein quoted as follows:
(19) Atty. Custodio Cañete complied and filed his comment dated December 26, 1994
If ever the private complainant wants to [revive], the case he should refile the and a supplemental comment dated February 6, 1995 (Exh. "TT") stating among others
case [anew]. Anyway the crime has not yet [prescribed] and double jeopardy will that the counsel is not the lawyer representing the then accused (herein complainant) in
not come in for the accused in the instant case had not been [arraigned]. Criminal Case No. 1181 whom the Court had not yet acquired jurisdiction in the first
place;
a complaint denominated as Criminal Case No. 1181 (Exh. "Y") was filed by the same
complainant, Restituto Pedrano, before the same Municipal Circuit Trial Court of (20) Criminal Case No. 1181 was finally laid to rest on February 17, 1995 as per
Kananga-Matag-ob, Leyte of respondent judge against the same accused and involving admission of complainant (TSN, April 29, 1997, pp. 57-58).5
the same offense.
As regards the election cases decided by respondent, the Investigating Judge found the
following:
(1) Respondent is the Presiding Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Kananga- Seco.12 Apparently realizing that the motion for disqualification was meritorious, respondent, after
Matag-ob, Leyte, residing in Brgy. Riverside, Matag-ob, Leyte (TSN of June 3, 1997, p. partially hearing the case, dismissed it on the basis of an affidavit of desistance of the
19). complainant, Restituto Pedrano. But, as Seco sued Pedrano for damages for filing the criminal
case, respondent judge ordered the withdrawal of Pedrano's affidavit of desistance from the
(2) Respondent has had relatives who ran for public office while he assumed as such record and recalled his order dismissing the criminal case. Respondent then revived Criminal
presiding judge. His brother-in-law Edgardo Laurente ran for Mayor during the January Case No. 584 only to dismiss it again, saying the complainant in the criminal case could always
18, 1988 elections but lost to complainant Michael L. Torrevillas (TSN of April 15, 1997, refile it. He then inhibited himself on the ground of delicadeza citing his relationship to counsel
pp. 63-64). His son, Van Russel, ran for SK Chairman of Brgy. Riverside and won on the for the private prosecutor.13 When Criminal Case No. 1181 was filed against accused Seco,
December 4, 1992 election. His daughter, Cheri May, also ran for the position of based on the same facts as Criminal Case No. 584, respondent, to whom the case was again
Chairman of the Sangguniang Kabataan of Brgy. Riverside on May complainant. The fact assigned, issued an order, dated April 28, 1994, inhibiting himself, reiterating that he is related to
thus stands out that there was no such petition for inhibition filed against the respondent the private prosecutor.14
in the inclusion and exclusion cases filed in the latter's sala.6
Thus, respondent could have recused himself from the moment his disqualification was sought
On the basis of these facts, Judge Madrona found respondent guilty of grave abuse of official by the accused Julia Enriqua Seco in Criminal Case No. 594. Apparently, he later realized it was
functions and/or oppression and recommended that he be fined the sum of P15,000.00 and/or untenable for him to continue hearing the criminal case not only because of his relationship to
suspended for a period of six months.7 On March 15, 1999, the Office of the Court Administrator Atty. Otadoy but also to Atty. Felix Sun and Edgardo Laurente, both of whom were his brothers-
submitted its report likewise finding that respondent judge mishandled Criminal Case No. 584 in-law,15 who were actively participating in the prosecution of the criminal case. Respondent
and recommended that respondent judge be fined P15,000.00, with warning that repetition of the hung on to the case as long as he could until this case was filed against him. It is noteworthy that
same or similar offense in the future will be dealt with more severely.8 the order of respondent finally inhibiting himself from trying Criminal Case No. 584was issued
only on March 29, 1994, after the herein letter-complaint of Datu Siawan, dated March 24, 1994,
We find both recommendations to be well taken. had already been prepared and drafted. Indeed, it is too much of a coincidence that respondent
judge's decision to recuse himself in Criminal Case No. 584 and Criminal Case No. 1181 came
only after the filing of this case against him.
Re Criminal Case No. 584
Indeed, although the disqualification of judges is limited only to cases where the judge is related
Complainant's counsel in Criminal Case No. 584 was Atty. Eusebio Otadoy, Jr.9 Respondent
to counsel within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity, the Rules nonetheless provide
admits that he is related to Atty. Otadoy whose maternal surname is in fact Inopiquez, but
that a judge may, in the exercise of his discretion, disqualify himself from sitting in a case for
respondent claims he could not trace who among their forefathers were related. He claims that
other just and valid reasons.16 A judge should not handle a case where he might be perceived,
he and counsel are not even second cousins.10
rightly or wrongly, to be susceptible to bias and impartiality, which axiom is intended to preserve
and promote public confidence in the integrity and respect for the judiciary.17 In this case, the
Although respondent is not related within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity to Atty refusal of respondent to inhibit himself from the conduct of the case and his doing so only after
Otadoy, the evidence shows that because of his relationship not only to Atty Otadoy but also to being threatened with an administrative case could not but create the impression that he had
those helping the complainant, Restituto Pedrano, one of whom, Guillermo Laurente, is ulterior motives in wanting to try the case.
respondent's father-in-law, while the other one, Atty. Felix Sun, is his brother-in-law, respondent
judge acted with obvious partiality for complainant in the criminal case. It must be recalled that
Indeed, it was even error for him to dismiss Criminal Case No. 584 on the basis of the affidavit of
the accused Julia Enriqua Seco, who was charged on March 19, 1987 with usurpation of
desistance of Restituto Pedrano without determining whether the affidavit was voluntarily
authority and official functions, moved on May 20, 1987 for the disqualification of respondent on
executed. Then, as already stated, because Seco sued Pedrano for damages, respondent
the ground that Atty. Sun, respondent's brother-in-law, was actively participating in the
reinstated the criminal case based on the latter's omnibus motion even if it had already been
prosecution of the case, while Guillermo Laurente, respondent's father-in-law, was often present
almost a year after he had dismissed it, because allegedly such would not anyway constitute
during the trial because the complainant therein, Restituto Pedrano, was his political protégée.11
double jeopardy as the accused Seco had not yet been arraigned. However, respondent admits
that when he dismissed the case, the prosecution had already presented its evidence.18 This
Without addressing the issues raised by accused Seco, respondent denied her motion for means that the accused Seco had been already arraigned at the time the case against her was
inhibition in his order, dated May 22, 1987, on the pretext that the motion was filed with the dismissed, so that its refiling subsequently placed her in jeopardy of being twice punished for the
assistance of Atty. Camilo A. Superable, who was then not the counsel of record of accused same offense.
It is obvious that respondent got entangled in his own maneuverings in his desire to favor and The first case was a petition for inclusion of a voter in the voter's list. Respondent judge admits
protect the complainant Restituto Pedrano and those helping the latter. As the Court that the petitioner, retired Judge Ponciano C. Inopiquez, Sr., is his uncle.20 Nonetheless, he
Administrator well observed in his memorandum to the Court: justifies his failure to recuse himself on the ground that the petition of Ponciano C. Inopiquez, Sr.
was meritorious. Respondent claims that a hearing was conducted on February 28, 1992 during
Indeed, respondent's bias towards the private complainant showed when he allowed his which Ponciano C. Inopiquez, Sr. testified to prove that he was a resident of Brgy. Talisay,
father-in-law to advise the private complainant, who is said to be his political leader Matag-ob, Leyte.21
during the proceedings held in Crim. Case No. 584. It must have been disconcerting on
the part of the accused to see the private complainant openly consulting the father-in-law Respondent judge's contention is without merit. Rule 137, §1 of the Rules of Court provides:
of the person sitting in judgment of his case.
No judge or judicial officer shall sit in any case in which he, or his wife or child, is
To maintain the appearance of impartiality in his court, at the first instance, respondent pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise, or in which he is related to
should have stopped his father-in-law from meddling in the proceedings. If he did not either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to counsel within the
want to offend or displease him, he should have outrightly inhibited himself from further fourth degree, computed according to the rules of civil law, or in which he has been
trying the case. However, he even denied the motion for inhibition filed by the accused. executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel, or in which he has presided in any
inferior court when his ruling or decision is the subject of review, without the written
It may also be added that a well-meaning judge may not just order the reopening of an consent of all parties in interest, signed by them and entered upon the record.
already dismissed criminal case or direct the removal of a vital evidence on record
without first going over the record of the case. But, a judge whose mind is set to favor a A judge may, in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself from sitting in a
party-litigant may literally turn a blind eye to the proceedings which already transpired case, for just or valid reasons other than those mentioned above.
and the applicable law and jurisprudence on the case before him.
Similarly, Rule 3.12 of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides:
We are referring to the irregular actuations of respondent in the same Crim. Case No.
584 wherein he granted the motion of the private prosecutor to withdraw or detach the A judge should take no part in a proceeding where the judge's impartiality might
Affidavit of Desistance executed by the private complainant 1) without the approval of the reasonably be questioned. These cases include, among others, proceedings where:
private prosecutor; 2) despite the fact that the dismissal of the case was already final;
and 3) stating in the order that the accused was not yet arraigned, when the truth is the ....
prosecution has already rested when the case was dismissed on December 22, 1992. It
cannot be said that respondent overlooked these facts because the accused filed a
(d) the judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth
timely opposition to the motion.
degree or to counsel within the fourth degree;
Respondent's apparent irregular actuations were calculated to give the private
....
complainant a leverage in the civil action for damages filed by the accused Seco before
the Regional Trial Court – on the basis of the affidavit of desistance executed by the
private complainant. In every instance the judge shall indicate the legal reason for inhibition.

Respondent's deliberate mishandling of the case erodes the people's faith in the Under these provisions, respondent judge was disqualified from hearing the petition of his uncle
judiciary. There being nothing on record showing that complainant was deprived of her and it was immaterial that the petition was meritorious. The purpose of the prohibition is to
liberty as a consequence of respondent's indiscretions, a fine imposed upon him may be prevent not only a conflict of interest but also the appearance of impropriety on the part of a
appropriate under the premises.19 judge. A judge should take no part in a proceeding where his impartiality might reasonably be
questioned and he should administer justice impartially and without delay.22 The failure of
respondent judge to inhibit himself constitutes an abuse of his authority and undermines public
Re Election Case Nos. 333 and 292
confidence in the impartiality of judges.
Nor is it true respondent decided the election cases solely on the basis of their merits. The (b) Notices to the members of the board of election inspectors and to challenged voters
records show that he disregarded the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. Blg. 881). shall state the place, day and hour in which such petition shall be heard, and such notice
may be made by sending a copy thereof by registered mail or by personal delivery or by
In Election Case No. 333, the petitioner, respondent's uncle, Ponciano C. Inopiquez, alleged that leaving it in the possession of a person of sufficient discretion in the residence of the said
he was a resident of Barangay. Talisay, Matag-ob, Leyte; that he had the qualifications of a voter person or, in the event that the foregoing procedure is not practicable, by posting a copy
and none of the disqualifications; that he had not voted for two consecutive elections in Metro in a conspicuous place in the city hall or municipal building and in two other conspicuous
Manila; that he was unable to register in Barangay Talisay, Matag-ob, Leyte, because he could places within the city or municipality, at least ten days prior to the day set for the hearing.
not book a plane for Leyte on that day; and that it was his intention to vote in Leyte as he was
already retired as judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 4, of Manila.23 In Election Case No. (c) Each petition shall refer to only one precinct.
292, on the other hand, the seven petitioners, all surnamed Herbas, alleged that they had been
residents of Barangay San Sebastian, Matag-ob, Leyte for two years at the time of the petition; (d) No costs shall be assessed in these proceedings. However, if the court should be
that they were refused registration on February 1, 1992 at Brgy. San Sebastian, Matag-ob, Leyte satisfied that the application has been filed for the sole purpose of molesting the adverse
by the Board of Election Inspectors; and that they have not voted for two consecutive elections.24 party and causing him to incur expenses, it may condemn the culpable party to pay the
costs and incidental expenses.
The Omnibus Election Code (B.P. Blg. 881), as amended by P.D. No. 1896, provides, however,
that: (e) Any candidate who may be affected by the proceedings may intervene and present
his evidence.
Sec. 139. Petition for inclusion of voters in the list. – Any person whose application for
registration has been disapproved by the board of election inspectors or whose name (f) The decision shall be based on the evidence presented. If the question is whether or
has been stricken out from the list may apply, within twenty days after the last not the voter is real or fictitious, his non-appearance on the day set for hearing shall
registration days, to the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court, for an order directing be prima facie evidence that the registered voter is fictitious. In no case shall a decision
the board of election inspectors to include or reinstate his name in the list, together with be rendered upon a stipulation of facts.
the certificate of the board of elections inspectors regarding his case and proof of service
of notice of his petition upon a member of the board of election inspectors with indication (g) These applications shall be heard and decided without delay. The decision shall be
of the time, place, and court before which the petition is to be heard. rendered within six hours after the hearing and within ten days from the date of its filing
in court. Cases appealed to the regional trial court shall be decided within ten days from
Thus, under the law, a petition for inclusion may be filed only by a person (a) whose application receipt of the appeal in the office of the clerk of court. In any case, the court shall decide
for registration has been disapproved by the board of election inspectors or (b) whose name has these petitions not later than the day before the election and the decision rendered
been stricken out from the list of voters. No exception is provided by the law. The petition of thereon shall be immediately final and executory, notwithstanding the provision of
former Judge Ponciano C. Inopiquez does not fall within the coverage of the law, since he was Section 138 on the finality of decisions.
neither refused registration by the board nor his name ordered stricken from the list of voters of
Barangay Talisay, Matag-ob, Leyte. Whether or not Ponciano Inopiquez had good reason for his The records show that neither of the petition in Election Case No. 33325 and Election Case No.
failure to register as a voter was irrelevant. Otherwise, every person who is unable to register for 29226 named the board of election inspectors a party to the proceedings. Nor is there any
whatever reason, i.e., he or she was working in another province or was out of the country during showing that the board of election inspectors was ever notified of hearings to be conducted on
the registration period, could simply file a petition for inclusion in order to be able to vote. such inclusion proceedings either by registered mail or by personal delivery, or by notice posted
in a conspicuous place in the city hall or municipal building and in two other conspicuous places
The Omnibus Election Code further provides: within the city or municipality at least 10 days prior to the day set for the hearing as required in
paragraph (b) of the above provision.
Section 143. Common rules governing judicial proceedings in the matter of inclusion,
exclusion, and correction of names of voters. --- (a) Outside of regular office hours, no The failure of respondent to observe the requirements of the Election Code is inexcusable. As a
petition for inclusion, exclusion, or correction of names of voters shall be received. judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court vested with the jurisdiction to hear and decide petitions
for inclusion or exclusion of voters, he is expected to be familiar with these requirements
because it can be assumed that these election cases were not the first cases he has decided.
In Villaluz v. Mijares,27 a judge was fined P10,000.00 for trying and deciding the petition for x---------------------------------------------------------x
correction of entry filed by her grandson. On the other hand, in the case
of Pacris v. Pagalilauan,28 the respondent judge therein was found guilt of gross ignorance of the G.R. No. 147613 June 26, 2001
law for having violated or failed to apply relevant provisions of the Omnibus Election Code and
was fined P10,000.00. In this case, however, respondent did not simply fail to recuse himself BAYAN MUNA, petitioner,
from cases in which his relatives were either involved or interested, the record shows he did so vs.
to favor or protect the parties. Considering that respondent was previously censured and warned COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; NATIONALIST PEOPLE'S COALITION (NPC); LABAN NG
by this Court for grave abuse of discretion and gross ignorance of the law, we hold that a fine of DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO (LDP); PARTIDO NG MASANG PILIPINO (PMP); LAKAS-
P20,000.00 and suspension for three (3) months without pay would be an appropriate penalty in NUCD-UMDP; LIBERAL PARTY; MAMAMAYANG AYAW SA DROGA; CREBA; NATIONAL
view of respondent's violation of Rule 137 of the Rules of Court and his abuse of authority.29 FEDERATION OF SUGARCANE PLANTERS; JEEP; and BAGONG BAYANI
ORGANIZATION, respondents.
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Aquilino A. Inopiquez, Jr. is hereby ORDERED to pay a fine of
P20,000.00 for violation of Rule 137 of the Rules of Court and is SUSPENDED without pay for a PANGANIBAN, J.:
period of three months for abuse of authority and ignorance of the law.1âwphi1.nêt

The party-list system is a social justice tool designed not only to give more law to the great
SO ORDERED. masses of our people who have less in life, but also to enable them to become veritable
lawmakers themselves, empowered to participate directly in the enactment of laws designed to
benefit them. It intends to make the marginalized and the underrepresented not merely passive
recipients of the State's benevolence, but active participants in the mainstream of representative
democracy. Thus, allowing all individuals and groups, including those which now dominate
district elections, to have the same opportunity to participate in party-list elections would
desecrate this lofty objective and mongrelize the social justice mechanism into an atrocious
POLITICAL PARTIES
veneer for traditional politics.

The Case

G.R. No. 147589 June 26, 2001 Before us are two Petitions under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, challenging Omnibus
Resolution No. 3785 1 issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on March 26, 2001.
ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY (under the acronym OFW), represented herein This Resolution approved the participation of 154 organizations and parties, including those
by its secretary-general, MOHAMMAD OMAR FAJARDO, petitioner, herein impleaded, in the 2001 party-list elections. Petitioners seek the disqualification of private
vs. respondents, arguing mainly that the party-list system was intended to benefit the marginalized
ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY GO! GO! PHILIPPINES; THE TRUE MARCOS and underrepresented; not the mainstream political parties, the non-marginalized or
LOYALIST ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES; PHILIPPINE LOCAL AUTONOMY; overrepresented.
CITIZENS MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT AND PEACE;
CHAMBER OF REAL ESTATE BUILDERS ASSOCIATION; SPORTS & HEALTH The Factual Antecedents
ADVANCEMENT FOUNDATION, INC.; ANG LAKAS NG OVERSEAS CONTRACT WORKERS
(OCW); BAGONG BAYANI ORGANIZATION and others under "Organizations/Coalitions"
With the onset of the 2001 elections, the Comelec received several Petitions for registration filed
of Omnibus Resolution No. 3785; PARTIDO NG MASANG PILIPINO; LAKAS NUCD-UMDP;
by sectoral parties, organizations and political parties. According to the Comelec, "[v]erifications
NATIONALIST PEOPLE'S COALITION; LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO; AKSYON
were made as to the status and capacity of these parties and organizations and hearings were
DEMOKRATIKO; PDP-LABAN; LIBERAL PARTY; NACIONALISTA PARTY; ANG BUHAY
scheduled day and night until the last party w[as] heard. With the number of these petitions and
HAYAANG YUMABONG; and others under "Political Parties" of Omnibus Resolution No.
the observance of the legal and procedural requirements, review of these petitions as well as
3785. respondents.
deliberations takes a longer process in order to arrive at a decision and as a result the two (2)
divisions promulgated a separate Omnibus Resolution and individual resolution on political
parties. These numerous petitions and processes observed in the disposition of these petition[s] Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the pace of the Comelec, Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party
hinder the early release of the Omnibus Resolutions of the Divisions which were promulgated filed a Petition 9 before this Court on April 16, 2001. This Petition, docketed as GR No. 147589,
only on 10 February 2001." 2 assailed Comelec Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. In its Resolution dated April 17, 2001, 10 the
Court directed respondents to comment on the Petition within a non-extendible period of five
Thereafter, before the February 12, 2001 deadline prescribed under Comelec Resolution No. days from notice. 11
3426 dated December 22, 2000, the registered parties and organizations filed their respective
Manifestations, stating their intention to participate in the party-list elections. Other sectoral and On April 17, 2001, Petitioner Bayan Muna also filed before this Court a Petition, 12 docketed as
political parties and organizations whose registrations were denied also filed Motions for GR No. 147613, also challenging Comelec Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. In its Resolution
Reconsideration, together with Manifestations of their intent to participate in the party-list dated May 9, 2001, 13 the Court ordered the consolidation of the two Petitions before it; directed
elections. Still other registered parties filed their Manifestations beyond the deadline. respondents named in the second Petition to file their respective Comments on or before noon of
May 15, 2001; and called the parties to an Oral Argument on May 17, 2001. It added that the
The Comelec gave due course or approved the Manifestations (or accreditations) of 154 parties Comelec may proceed with the counting and canvassing of votes cast for the party-list elections,
and organizations, but denied those of several others in its assailed March 26, 2001 Omnibus but barred the proclamation of any winner therein, until further orders of the Court.
Resolution No. 3785, which we quote:
Thereafter, Comments 14 on the second Petition were received by the Court and, on May 17,
"We carefully deliberated the foregoing matters, having in mind that this system of proportional 2001, the Oral Argument was conducted as scheduled. In an Order given in open court, the
representation scheme will encourage multi-partisan [sic] and enhance the inability of small, new parties were directed to submit their respective Memoranda simultaneously within a non-
or sectoral parties or organization to directly participate in this electoral window. extendible period of five days. 15

"It will be noted that as defined, the 'party-list system' is a 'mechanism of proportional Issues:
representation' in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives from national,
regional, and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof registered with the During the hearing on May 17, 2001, the Court directed the parties to address the following
Commission on Elections. issues:

"However, in the course of our review of the matters at bar, we must recognize the fact that there "1. Whether or not recourse under Rule 65 is proper under the premises. More
is a need to keep the number of sectoral parties, organizations and coalitions, down to a specifically, is there no other plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
manageable level, keeping only those who substantially comply with the rules and regulations law?
and more importantly the sufficiency of the Manifestations or evidence on the Motions for
Reconsiderations or Oppositions." 3 "2. Whether or not political parties may participate in the party-list elections.

On April 10, 2001, Akbayan Citizens Action Party filed before the Comelec a Petition praying that "3. Whether or not the party-list system is exclusive to 'marginalized and
"the names of [some of herein respondents] be deleted from the 'Certified List of Political underrepresented' sectors and organizations.
Parties/Sectoral Parties/Organizations/Coalitions Participating in the Party List System for the
May 14, 2001 Elections' and that said certified list be accordingly amended." It also asked, as an "4. Whether or not the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in promulgating
alternative, that the votes cast for the said respondents not be counted or canvassed, and that Omnibus Resolution No. 3785." 16
the latter's nominees not be proclaimed. 4 On April 11, 2001, Bayan Muna and Bayan Muna-
Youth also filed a Petition for Cancellation of Registration and Nomination against some of
The Court's Ruling
herein respondents. 5
The Petitions are partly meritorious. These cases should be remanded to the Comelec which will
On April 18, 2001, the Comelec required the respondents in the two disqualification cases to file
determine, after summary evidentiary hearings, whether the 154 parties and organizations
Comments within three days from notice. It also set the date for hearing on April 26, 2001, 6 but
enumerated in the assailed Omnibus Resolution satisfy the requirements of the Constitution and
subsequently reset it to May 3, 2001. 7 During the hearing, however, Commissioner Ralph C.
RA 7941, as specified in this Decision.
Lantion merely directed the parties to submit their respective memoranda. 8
First Issue: a nullity, or when the need for relief is extremely urgent and certiorari is the only adequate and
speedy remedy available." 26
Recourse Under Rule 65
Second Issue:
Respondents contend that the recourse of both petitioners under Rule 65 is improper because
there are other plain, speedy and adequate remedies in the ordinary course of law. 17 The Office Participation of Political Parties
of the Solicitor General argues that petitioners should have filed before the Comelec a petition
either for disqualification or for cancellation of registration, pursuant to Sections 19, 20, 21 and In its Petition, Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party contends that "the inclusion of political
22 of Comelec Resolution No. 3307-A 18 dated November 9, 2000. 19 parties in the party-list system is the most objectionable portion of the questioned
Resolution." 27 For its part, Petitioner Bayan Muna objects to the participation of "major political
We disagree. At bottom, petitioners attack the validity of Comelec Omnibus Resolution 3785 for parties." 28 On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General, like the impleaded political
having been issued with grave abuse of discretion, insofar as it allowed respondents to parties, submits that the Constitution and RA No. 7941 allow political parties to participate in the
participate in the party-list elections of 2001. Indeed, under both the Constitution 20 and the Rules party-list elections. It argues that the party-list system is, in fact, open to all "registered national,
of Court, such challenge may be brought before this Court in a verified petition for certiorari regional and sectoral parties or organizations." 29
under Rule 65.
We now rule on this issue. Under the Constitution and RA 7941, private respondents cannot be
Moreover, the assailed Omnibus Resolution was promulgated by Respondent Commission en disqualified from the party-list elections, merely on the ground that they are political parties.
banc; hence, no motion for reconsideration was possible, it being a prohibited pleading under Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution provides that members of the House of Representatives
Section 1 (d), Rule 13 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. 21 may "be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties
or organizations."
The Court also notes that Petitioner Bayan Muna had filed before the Comelec a Petition for
Cancellation of Registration and Nomination against some of herein respondents. 22 The Furthermore, under Sections 7 and 8, Article IX (C) of the Constitution, political parties may be
Comelec, however, did not act on that Petition. In view of the pendency of the elections, registered under the party-list system.
Petitioner Bayan Muna sought succor from this Court, for there was no other adequate recourse
at the time. Subsequent events have proven the urgency of petitioner's action; to this date, the "Sec. 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or coalition shall be valid,
Comelec has not yet formally resolved the Petition before it. But a resolution may just be a except for those registered under the party-list system as provided in this Constitution.
formality because the Comelec, through the Office of the Solicitor General, has made its position
on the matter quite clear. "Sec. 8. Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered under the party-list
system, shall not be represented in the voters' registration boards, boards of election
In any event, this case presents an exception to the rule that certiorari shall lie only in the inspectors, boards of canvassers, or other similar bodies. However, they shall be entitled
absence of any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy. 23 It has been held that certiorari is to appoint poll watchers in accordance with law." 30
available, notwithstanding the presence of other remedies, "where the issue raised is one purely
of law, where public interest is involved, and in case of urgency." 24 Indeed, the instant case is During the deliberations in the Constitutional Commission, Comm. Christian S. Monsod pointed
indubitably imbued with public interest and with extreme urgency, for it potentially involves the out that the participants in the party-list system may "be a regional party, a sectoral party, a
composition of 20 percent of the House of Representatives. national party, UNIDO, 31 Magsasaka, or a regional party in Mindanao." 32 This was also clear
from the following exchange between Comms. Jaime Tadeo and Blas Ople: 33
Moreover, this case raises transcendental constitutional issues on the party-list system, which
this Court must urgently resolve, consistent with its duty to "formulate guiding and controlling "MR. TADEO. Naniniwala ba kayo na ang party list ay pwedeng paghati-hatian ng UNIDO, PDP-
constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines, or rules." 25 Laban, PNP, Liberal at Nacionalista?

Finally, procedural requirements "may be glossed over to prevent a miscarriage of justice, when MR. OPLE. Maaari yan sapagkat bukas ang party list system sa lahat ng mga partido."
the issue involves the principle of social justice x x x when the decision sought to be set aside is
Indeed, Commissioner Monsod stated that the purpose of the party-list provision was to open up "(1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and
the system, in order to give a chance to parties that consistently place third or fourth in fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative
congressional district elections to win a seat in Congress. 34 He explained: "The purpose of this is districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in
to open the system. In the past elections, we found out that there were certain groups or parties accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform
that, if we count their votes nationwide, have about 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 votes. But they were and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a
always third or fourth place in each of the districts. So, they have no voice in the Assembly. But party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.
this way, they would have five or six representatives in the Assembly even if they would not win
individually in legislative districts. So, that is essentially the mechanics, the purpose and (2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number
objectives of the party-list system." of representatives including those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after
the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list
For its part, Section 2 of RA 7941 also provides for "a party-list system of registered national, representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor,
regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, x x x." Section 3 expressly peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other
states that a "party" is "either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties." More to sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector." (Emphasis supplied.)
the point, the law defines "political party" as "an organized group of citizens advocating an
ideology or platform, principles and policies for the general conduct of government and which, as Notwithstanding the sparse language of the provision, a distinguished member of the
the most immediate means of securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain Constitutional Commission declared that the purpose of the party-list provision was to give
of its leaders and members as candidates for public office." "genuine power to our people" in Congress. Hence, when the provision was discussed, he
exultantly announced: "On this first day of August 1986, we shall, hopefully, usher in a new
Furthermore, Section 11 of RA 7941 leaves no doubt as to the participation of political parties in chapter to our national history, by giving genuine power to our people in the legislature." 35
the party-list system. We quote the pertinent provision below:
The foregoing provision on the party-list system is not self-executory. It is, in fact, interspersed
"x x x with phrases like "in accordance with law" or "as may be provided by law"; it was thus up to
Congress to sculpt in granite the lofty objective of the Constitution. Hence, RA 7941 was
"For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the first five (5) major political parties on the basis of enacted. It laid out the statutory policy in this wise:
party representation in the House of Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the
Philippines shall not be entitled to participate in the party-list system. "SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. -- The State shall promote proportional representation in the
election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of
x x x" registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will
enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations
Indubitably, therefore, political parties – even the major ones -- may participate in the party-list and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the
elections. formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to
become members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop
and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible
Third Issue:
representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by
enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the
Marginalized and Underrepresented simplest scheme possible."

That political parties may participate in the party-list elections does not mean, however, that any The Marginalized and Underrepresented to Become Lawmakers Themselves
political party -- or any organization or group for that matter -- may do so. The requisite character
of these parties or organizations must be consistent with the purpose of the party-list system, as
The foregoing provision mandates a state policy of promoting proportional representation by
laid down in the Constitution and RA 7941. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, provides as
means of the Filipino-style party-list system, which will "enable" the election to the House of
follows:
Representatives of Filipino citizens,
1. who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties; "SEC. 5. Registration. -- Any organized group of persons may register as a party, organization or
and coalition for purposes of the party-list system by filing with the COMELEC not later than ninety
(90) days before the election a petition verified by its president or secretary stating its desire to
2. who lack well-defined constituencies; but participate in the party-list system as a national, regional or sectoral party or organization or a
coalition of such parties or organizations, attaching thereto its constitution, by-laws, platform or
3. who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that program of government, list of officers, coalition agreement and other relevant information as the
will benefit the nation as a whole. COMELEC may require: Provided, that the sector shall include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban
poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas
workers, and professionals."
The key words in this policy are "proportional representation," "marginalized and
underrepresented," and "lack of well-defined constituencies."
While the enumeration of marginalized and underrepresented sectors is not exclusive, it
demonstrates the clear intent of the law that not all sectors can be represented under the party-
"Proportional representation" here does not refer to the number of people in a particular district,
list system. It is a fundamental principle of statutory construction that words employed in a
because the party-list election is national in scope. Neither does it allude to numerical strength in
statute are interpreted in connection with, and their meaning is ascertained by reference to, the
a distressed or oppressed group. Rather, it refers to the representation of the "marginalized and
words and the phrases with which they are associated or related. Thus, the meaning of a term in
underrepresented" as exemplified by the enumeration in Section 5 of the law; namely, "labor,
a statute may be limited, qualified or specialized by those in immediate association. 38
peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women,
youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals."
The Party-List System Desecrated by the OSG Contentions
However, it is not enough for the candidate to claim representation of the marginalized and
underrepresented, because representation is easy to claim and to feign. The party-list Notwithstanding the unmistakable statutory policy, the Office of the Solicitor General submits that
organization or party must factually and truly represent the marginalized and underrepresented RA No. 7941 "does not limit the participation in the party-list system to the marginalized and
constituencies mentioned in Section 5. 36 Concurrently, the persons nominated by the party-list underrepresented sectors of society." 39 In fact, it contends that any party or group that is not
candidate-organization must be "Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and disqualified under Section 6 40 of RA 7941 may participate in the elections. Hence, it admitted
underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties." during the Oral Argument that even an organization representing the super rich of Forbes Park
or Dasmariñas Village could participate in the party-list elections. 41
Finally, "lack of well-defined constituenc[y] " refers to the absence of a traditionally identifiable
electoral group, like voters of a congressional district or territorial unit of government. Rather, it The declared policy of RA 7941 contravenes the position of the Office of the Solicitor General
points again to those with disparate interests identified with the "marginalized or (OSG). We stress that the party-list system seeks to enable certain Filipino citizens – specifically
underrepresented." those belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties – to be
elected to the House of Representatives. The assertion of the OSG that the party-list system is
not exclusive to the marginalized and underrepresented disregards the clear statutory policy. Its
In the end, the role of the Comelec is to see to it that only those Filipinos who are "marginalized
claim that even the super-rich and overrepresented can participate desecrates the spirit of the
and underrepresented" become members of Congress under the party-list system, Filipino-style.
party-list system.
The intent of the Constitution is clear: to give genuine power to the people, not only by giving
Indeed, the law crafted to address the peculiar disadvantages of Payatas hovel dwellers cannot
more law to those who have less in life, but more so by enabling them to become veritable
be appropriated by the mansion owners of Forbes Park. The interests of these two sectors are
lawmakers themselves. Consistent with this intent, the policy of the implementing law, we repeat,
manifestly disparate; hence, the OSG's position to treat them similarly defies reason and
is likewise clear: "to enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented
common sense. In contrast, and with admirable candor, Atty. Lorna Patajo-Kapunan 42 admitted
sectors, organizations and parties, x x x, to become members of the House of Representatives."
during the Oral Argument that a group of bankers, industrialists and sugar planters could not join
Where the language of the law is clear, it must be applied according to its express terms. 37
the party-list system as representatives of their respective sectors. 43
The marginalized and underrepresented sectors to be represented under the party-list system
While the business moguls and the mega-rich are, numerically speaking, a tiny minority, they are
are enumerated in Section 5 of RA 7941, which states:
neither marginalized nor underrepresented, for the stark reality is that their economic clout
engenders political power more awesome than their numerical limitation. Traditionally, political This Court, therefore, cannot allow the party-list system to be sullied and prostituted by those
power does not necessarily emanate from the size of one's constituency; indeed, it is likely to who are neither marginalized nor underrepresented. It cannot let that flicker of hope be snuffed
arise more directly from the number and amount of one's bank accounts. out. The clear state policy must permeate every discussion of the qualification of political parties
and other organizations under the party-list system.
It is ironic, therefore, that the marginalized and underrepresented in our midst are the majority
who wallow in poverty, destitution and infirmity. It was for them that the party-list system was Refutation of the Separate Opinions
enacted -- to give them not only genuine hope, but genuine power; to give them the opportunity
to be elected and to represent the specific concerns of their constituencies; and simply to give The Separate Opinions of our distinguished colleagues, Justices Jose C. Vitug and Vicente V.
them a direct voice in Congress and in the larger affairs of the State. In its noblest sense, the Mendoza, are anchored mainly on the supposed intent of the framers of the Constitution as
party-list system truly empowers the masses and ushers a new hope for genuine change. Verily, culled from their deliberations.
it invites those marginalized and underrepresented in the past – the farm hands, the fisher folk,
the urban poor, even those in the underground movement – to come out and participate, as The fundamental principle in constitutional construction, however, is that the primary source from
indeed many of them came out and participated during the last elections. The State cannot now which to ascertain constitutional intent or purpose is the language of the provision itself. The
disappoint and frustrate them by disabling and desecrating this social justice vehicle. presumption is that the words in which the constitutional provisions are couched express the
objective sought to be attained. 46 In other words, verba legis still prevails. Only when the
Because the marginalized and underrepresented had not been able to win in the congressional meaning of the words used is unclear and equivocal should resort be made to extraneous aids of
district elections normally dominated by traditional politicians and vested groups, 20 percent of construction and interpretation, such as the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission or
the seats in the House of Representatives were set aside for the party-list system. In arguing that Convention, in order to shed light on and ascertain the true intent or purpose of the provision
even those sectors who normally controlled 80 percent of the seats in the House could being construed. 47
participate in the party-list elections for the remaining 20 percent, the OSG and the Comelec
disregard the fundamental difference between the congressional district elections and the party- Indeed, as cited in the Separate Opinion of Justice Mendoza, this Court stated in Civil Liberties
list elections. Union v. Executive Secretary 48 that "the debates and proceedings of the constitutional
convention [may be consulted] in order to arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting
As earlier noted, the purpose of the party-list provision was to open up the system, 44 in order to Constitution x x x only when other guides fail as said proceedings are powerless to vary the
enhance the chance of sectoral groups and organizations to gain representation in the House of terms of the Constitution when the meaning is clear. Debates in the constitutional convention
Representatives through the simplest scheme possible. 45 Logic shows that the system has been 'are of value as showing the views of the individual members, and as indicating the reason for
opened to those who have never gotten a foothold within it -- those who cannot otherwise win in their votes, but they give us no light as to the views of the large majority who did not talk, much
regular elections and who therefore need the "simplest scheme possible" to do so. Conversely, it less of the mass or our fellow citizens whose votes at the polls gave that instrument the force of
would be illogical to open the system to those who have long been within it -- those privileged fundamental law. We think it safer to construe the constitution from what appears upon its face.'
sectors that have long dominated the congressional district elections. The proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people
adopting it than in the framers' understanding thereof."
The import of the open party-list system may be more vividly understood when compared to a
student dormitory "open house," which by its nature allows outsiders to enter the facilities. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, relative to the party-list system, is couched in clear
Obviously, the "open house" is for the benefit of outsiders only, not the dormers themselves who terms: the mechanics of the system shall be provided by law. Pursuant thereto, Congress
can enter the dormitory even without such special privilege. In the same vein, the open party-list enacted RA 7941. In understanding and implementing party-list representation, we should
system is only for the "outsiders" who cannot get elected through regular elections otherwise; it therefore look at the law first. Only when we find its provisions ambiguous should the use of
is not for the non-marginalized or overrepresented who already fill the ranks of Congress. extraneous aids of construction be resorted to.

Verily, allowing the non-marginalized and overrepresented to vie for the remaining seats under But, as discussed earlier, the intent of the law is obvious and clear from its plain words. Section 2
the party-list system would not only dilute, but also prejudice the chance of the marginalized and thereof unequivocally states that the party-list system of electing congressional representatives
underrepresented, contrary to the intention of the law to enhance it. The party-list system is a was designed to "enable underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack
tool for the benefit of the underprivileged; the law could not have given the same tool to others, well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of
to the prejudice of the intended beneficiaries. appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole x x x." The criteria for participation is
well defined. Thus, there is no need for recourse to constitutional deliberations, not even to the Basic rudiments of due process require that respondents should first be given an opportunity to
proceedings of Congress. In any event, the framers' deliberations merely express their individual show that they qualify under the guidelines promulgated in this Decision, before they can be
opinions and are, at best, only persuasive in construing the meaning and purpose of the deprived of their right to participate in and be elected under the party-list system.
constitution or statute.
Guidelines for Screening Party-List Participants
Be it remembered that the constitutionality or validity of Sections 2 and 5 of RA 7941 is not an
issue here. Hence, they remain parts of the law, which must be applied plainly and simply. The Court, therefore, deems it proper to remand the case to the Comelec for the latter to
determine, after summary evidentiary hearings, whether the 154 parties and organizations
Fourth Issue: allowed to participate in the party-list elections comply with the requirements of the law. In this
light, the Court finds it appropriate to lay down the following guidelines, culled from the law and
Grave Abuse of Discretion the Constitution, to assist the Comelec in its work.

From its assailed Omnibus Resolution, it is manifest that the Comelec failed to appreciate fully First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and
the clear policy of the law and the Constitution. On the contrary, it seems to have ignored the underrepresented groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. In other words, it must show --
facet of the party-list system discussed above. The OSG as its counsel admitted before the through its constitution, articles of incorporation, bylaws, history, platform of government and
Court that any group, even the non-marginalized and overrepresented, could field candidates in track record -- that it represents and seeks to uplift marginalized and underrepresented sectors.
the party-list elections. Verily, majority of its membership should belong to the marginalized and underrepresented. And
it must demonstrate that in a conflict of interests, it has chosen or is likely to choose the interest
When a lower court, or a quasi-judicial agency like the Commission on Elections, violates or of such sectors.
ignores the Constitution or the law, its action can be struck down by this Court on the ground of
grave abuse of discretion. 49 Indeed, the function of all judicial and quasi-judicial instrumentalities Second, while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the
is to apply the law as they find it, not to reinvent or second-guess it. 50 Constitution to participate in the party-list system, they must comply with the declared statutory
policy of enabling "Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors x x x
In its Memorandum, Petitioner Bayan Muna passionately pleads for the outright disqualification to be elected to the House of Representatives." In other words, while they are not disqualified
of the major political parties – Respondents Lakas-NUCD, LDP, NPC, LP and PMP – on the merely on the ground that they are political parties, they must show, however, that they
ground that under Comelec Resolution No. 4073, they have been accredited as the five (six, represent the interests of the marginalized and underrepresented. The counsel of Aksyon
including PDP-Laban) major political parties in the May 14, 2001 elections. It argues that Demokratiko and other similarly situated political parties admitted as much during the Oral
because of this, they have the "advantage of getting official Comelec Election Returns, Argument, as the following quote shows:
Certificates of Canvass, preferred poll watchers x x x." We note, however, that this accreditation
does not refer to the party-list election, but, inter alia, to the election of district representatives for "JUSTICE PANGANIBAN: I am not disputing that in my question. All I am saying is, the political
the purpose of determining which parties would be entitled to watchers under Section 26 of party must claim to represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors?
Republic Act No. 7166.
ATTY. KAPUNAN: Yes, Your Honor, the answer is yes."52
What is needed under the present circumstances, however, is a factual determination of whether
respondents herein and, for that matter, all the 154 previously approved groups, have the Third, in view of the objections53 directed against the registration of Ang Buhay Hayaang
necessary qualifications to participate in the party-list elections, pursuant to the Constitution and Yumabong, which is allegedly a religious group, the Court notes the express constitutional
the law. provision that the religious sector may not be represented in the party-list system. The extent of
the constitutional proscription is demonstrated by the following discussion during the
Bayan Muna also urges us to immediately rule out Respondent Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga deliberations of the Constitutional Commission:
(MAD), because "it is a government entity using government resources and privileges." This
Court, however, is not a trier of facts. 51 It is not equipped to receive evidence and determine the "MR. OPLE. x x x
truth of such factual allegations.
In the event that a certain religious sect with nationwide and even international networks of (8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least
members and supporters, in order to circumvent this prohibition, decides to form its own political two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2)
party in emulation of those parties I had mentioned earlier as deriving their inspiration and preceding elections for the constituency in which it has registered."59
philosophies from well-established religious faiths, will that also not fall within this prohibition?
Note should be taken of paragraph 5, which disqualifies a party or group for violation of or failure
MR. MONSOD. If the evidence shows that the intention is to go around the prohibition, then to comply with election laws and regulations. These laws include Section 2 of RA 7941, which
certainly the Comelec can pierce through the legal fiction."54 states that the party-list system seeks to "enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and
underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties x x x to become members of the House of
The following discussion is also pertinent: Representatives." A party or an organization, therefore, that does not comply with this policy
must be disqualified.
"MR. VILLACORTA. When the Commissioner proposed "EXCEPT RELIGIOUS GROUPS," he is
not, of course, prohibiting priests, imams or pastors who may be elected by, say, the indigenous Fifth, the party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity
community sector to represent their group. funded or assisted by, the government. By the very nature of the party-list system, the party or
organization must be a group of citizens, organized by citizens and operated by citizens. It must
REV. RIGOS. Not at all, but I am objecting to anybody who represents the Iglesia ni Kristo, the be independent of the government. The participation of the government or its officials in the
Catholic Church, the Protestant Church et cetera."55 affairs of a party-list candidate is not only illegal60 and unfair to other parties, but also deleterious
to the objective of the law: to enable citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented
sectors and organizations to be elected to the House of Representatives.
Furthermore, the Constitution provides that "religious denominations and sects shall not be
registered."56 The prohibition was explained by a member57 of the Constitutional Commission in
this wise: "[T] he prohibition is on any religious organization registering as a political party. I do Sixth, the party must not only comply with the requirements of the law; its nominees must
not see any prohibition here against a priest running as a candidate. That is not prohibited here; likewise do so. Section 9 of RA 7941 reads as follows:
it is the registration of a religious sect as a political party."58
"SEC. 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. – No person shall be nominated as party-list
Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941, which representative unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident
enumerates the grounds for disqualification as follows: of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the
election, able to read and write, a bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks
to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-
"(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association organized for
five (25) years of age on the day of the election.
religious purposes;
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than
(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;
thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains
the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until the expiration of
(3) It is a foreign party or organization; his term."

(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and
organization, whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees. To repeat, under Section 2 of RA 7941,
through third parties for partisan election purposes; the nominees must be Filipino citizens "who belong to marginalized and underrepresented
sectors, organizations and parties." Surely, the interests of the youth cannot be fully represented
(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections; by a retiree; neither can those of the urban poor or the working class, by an industrialist. To allow
otherwise is to betray the State policy to give genuine representation to the marginalized and
(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition; underrepresented.

(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or


Eighth, as previously discussed, while lacking a well-defined political constituency, the nominee The Resolution of this Court dated May 9, 2001, directing the Comelec "to refrain from
must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation proclaiming any winner" during the last party-list election, shall remain in force until after the
that will benefit the nation as a whole. Senator Jose Lina explained during the bicameral Comelec itself will have complied and reported its compliance with the foregoing disposition.
committee proceedings that "the nominee of a party, national or regional, is not going to
represent a particular district x x x."61 This Decision is immediately executory upon the Commission on Elections' receipt thereof. No
pronouncement as to costs.
Epilogue
SO ORDERED.
The linchpin of this case is the clear and plain policy of the law: "to enable Filipino citizens
belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who
lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and
enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members
of the House of Representatives."

Crucial to the resolution of this case is the fundamental social justice principle that those who G.R. No. 179271 April 21, 2009
have less in life should have more in law. The party-list system is one such tool intended to
benefit those who have less in life. It gives the great masses of our people genuine hope and BARANGAY ASSOCIATION FOR NATIONAL ADVANCEMENT AND TRANSPARENCY
genuine power. It is a message to the destitute and the prejudiced, and even to those in the (BANAT), Petitioner,
underground, that change is possible. It is an invitation for them to come out of their limbo and vs.
seize the opportunity. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (sitting as the National Board of Canvassers), Respondent.
ARTS BUSINESS AND SCIENCE PROFESSIONALS, Intervenor.
Clearly, therefore, the Court cannot accept the submissions of the Comelec and the other AANGAT TAYO, Intervenor.
respondents that the party-list system is, without any qualification, open to all. Such position COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (SENIOR
does not only weaken the electoral chances of the marginalized and underrepresented; it also CITIZENS), Intervenor.
prejudices them. It would gut the substance of the party-list system. Instead of generating hope,
it would create a mirage. Instead of enabling the marginalized, it would further weaken them and x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
aggravate their marginalization.
G.R. No. 179295 April 21, 2009
In effect, the Comelec would have us believe that the party-list provisions of the Constitution and
RA 7941 are nothing more than a play on dubious words, a mockery of noble intentions, and an BAYAN MUNA, ADVOCACY FOR TEACHER EMPOWERMENT THROUGH ACTION,
empty offering on the altar of people empowerment. Surely, this could not have been the COOPERATION AND HARMONY TOWARDS EDUCATIONAL REFORMS, INC., and
intention of the framers of the Constitution and the makers of RA 7941. ABONO, Petitioners,
vs.
WHEREFORE, this case is REMANDED to the Comelec, which is hereby DIRECTED to COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
immediately conduct summary evidentiary hearings on the qualifications of the party-list
participants in the light of the guidelines enunciated in this Decision. Considering the extreme DECISION
urgency of determining the winners in the last party-list elections, the Comelec is directed to
begin its hearings for the parties and organizations that appear to have garnered such number of CARPIO, J.:
votes as to qualify for seats in the House of Representatives. The Comelec is further DIRECTED
to submit to this Court its compliance report within 30 days from notice hereof.
The Case
1âwphi 1.nêt

Petitioner in G.R. No. 179271 — Barangay Association for National Advancement and
Transparency (BANAT) — in a petition for certiorari and mandamus,1 assails the
Resolution2 promulgated on 3 August 2007 by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in NBC WHEREAS, the Commission on Elections sitting en banc as National Board of Canvassers, thru
No. 07-041 (PL). The COMELEC’s resolution in NBC No. 07-041 (PL) approved the its Sub-Committee for Party-List, as of 03 July 2007, had officially canvassed, in open and public
recommendation of Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head of the National Board of Canvassers (NBC) proceedings, a total of fifteen million two hundred eighty three thousand six hundred fifty-
Legal Group, to deny the petition of BANAT for being moot. BANAT filed before the COMELEC nine (15,283,659) votes under the Party-List System of Representation, in connection with the
En Banc, acting as NBC, a Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List Representatives National and Local Elections conducted last 14 May 2007;
Provided by the Constitution.
WHEREAS, the study conducted by the Legal and Tabulation Groups of the National Board of
The following are intervenors in G.R. No. 179271: Arts Business and Science Professionals Canvassers reveals that the projected/maximum total party-list votes cannot go any higher
(ABS), Aangat Tayo (AT), and Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Inc. than sixteen million seven hundred twenty three thousand one hundred twenty-one
(Senior Citizens). (16,723,121) votes given the following statistical data:

Petitioners in G.R. No. 179295 — Bayan Muna, Abono, and Advocacy for Teacher Projected/Maximum Party-List Votes for May 2007 Elections
Empowerment Through Action, Cooperation and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms (A
Teacher) — in a petition for certiorari with mandamus and prohibition,3 assails NBC Resolution
No. 07-604 promulgated on 9 July 2007. NBC No. 07-60 made a partial proclamation of parties, i. Total party-list votes already canvassed/tabulated 15,283,659
organizations and coalitions that obtained at least two percent of the total votes cast under the
Party-List System. The COMELEC announced that, upon completion of the canvass of the party- ii. Total party-list votes remaining uncanvassed/ 1,337,032
list results, it would determine the total number of seats of each winning party, organization, or
untabulated (i.e. canvass deferred)
coalition in accordance with Veterans Federation Party v. COMELEC5 (Veterans).

Estrella DL Santos, in her capacity as President and First Nominee of the Veterans Freedom iii. Maximum party-list votes (based on 100% outcome) 102,430
Party, filed a motion to intervene in both G.R. Nos. 179271 and 179295. from areas not yet submitted for canvass (Bogo,
Cebu; Bais City; Pantar, Lanao del Norte; and
The Facts Pagalungan, Maguindanao)

The 14 May 2007 elections included the elections for the party-list representatives. The
COMELEC counted 15,950,900 votes cast for 93 parties under the Party-List System.6 Maximum Total Party-List Votes 16,723,121

On 27 June 2002, BANAT filed a Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List
Representatives Provided by the Constitution, docketed as NBC No. 07-041 (PL) before the WHEREAS, Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7941 (Party-List System Act) provides in part:
NBC. BANAT filed its petition because "[t]he Chairman and the Members of the [COMELEC]
have recently been quoted in the national papers that the [COMELEC] is duty bound to and shall
The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes
implement the Veterans ruling, that is, would apply the Panganiban formula in allocating party-list
cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each: provided, that those garnering
seats."7 There were no intervenors in BANAT’s petition before the NBC. BANAT filed a
more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their
memorandum on 19 July 2007.
total number of votes: provided, finally, that each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled
to not more than three (3) seats.
On 9 July 2007, the COMELEC, sitting as the NBC, promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-60.
NBC Resolution No. 07-60 proclaimed thirteen (13) parties as winners in the party-list elections,
WHEREAS, for the 2007 Elections, based on the above projected total of party-list votes, the
namely: Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (BUHAY), Bayan Muna, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption
presumptive two percent (2%) threshold can be pegged at three hundred thirty four thousand
(CIBAC), Gabriela’s Women Party (Gabriela), Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives
four hundred sixty-two (334,462) votes;
(APEC), A Teacher, Akbayan! Citizen’s Action Party (AKBAYAN), Alagad, Luzon Farmers Party
(BUTIL), Cooperative-Natco Network Party (COOP-NATCCO), Anak Pawis, Alliance of Rural
Concerns (ARC), and Abono. We quote NBC Resolution No. 07-60 in its entirety below:
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court, in Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) versus
12 ANAK PAWIS 376,036
COMELEC, reiterated its ruling in Veterans Federation Party versus COMELEC adopting a
formula for the additional seats of each party, organization or coalition receving more than the
required two percent (2%) votes, stating that the same shall be determined only after all party-list 13 ARC 338,194
ballots have been completely canvassed;

WHEREAS, the parties, organizations, and coalitions that have thus far garnered at least three 14 ABONO 337,046
hundred thirty four thousand four hundred sixty-two (334,462) votes are as follows:

RANK PARTY/ORGANIZATION/ VOTES WHEREAS, except for Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan
(BATAS), against which an URGENT PETITION FOR CANCELLATION/REMOVAL OF
COALITION RECEIVED
REGISTRATION AND DISQUALIFICATION OF PARTY-LIST NOMINEE (With Prayer for the
Issuance of Restraining Order) has been filed before the Commission, docketed as SPC No. 07-
1 BUHAY 1,163,218 250, all the parties, organizations and coalitions included in the aforementioned list are therefore
entitled to at least one seat under the party-list system of representation in the meantime.

2 BAYAN MUNA 972,730 NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution, the Omnibus
Election Code, Executive Order No. 144, Republic Act Nos. 6646, 7166, 7941, and other election
laws, the Commission on Elections, sitting en banc as the National Board of Canvassers, hereby
3 CIBAC 760,260
RESOLVES to PARTIALLY PROCLAIM, subject to certain conditions set forth below, the
following parties, organizations and coalitions participating under the Party-List System:
4 GABRIELA 610,451
1 Buhay Hayaan Yumabong BUHAY
5 APEC 538,971
2 Bayan Muna BAYAN MUNA
6 A TEACHER 476,036
3 Citizens Battle Against Corruption CIBAC
7 AKBAYAN 470,872
4 Gabriela Women’s Party GABRIELA
8 ALAGAD 423,076
5 Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives APEC
9 BUTIL 405,052
6 Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Through A TEACHER
10 COOP-NATCO 390,029 Action, Cooperation and Harmony Towards
Educational Reforms, Inc.
11 BATAS 386,361
7 Akbayan! Citizen’s Action Party AKBAYAN
WHEREAS, on July 9, 2007, the Commission on Elections sitting en banc as the National Board
8 Alagad ALAGAD
of Canvassers proclaimed thirteen (13) qualified parties, organization[s] and coalitions based on
the presumptive two percent (2%) threshold of 334,462 votes from the projected maximum total
9 Luzon Farmers Party BUTIL number of party-list votes of 16,723,121, and were thus given one (1) guaranteed party-list seat
each;

10 Cooperative-Natco Network Party COOP-NATCCO WHEREAS, per Report of the Tabulation Group and Supervisory Committee of the National
Board of Canvassers, the projected maximum total party-list votes, as of July 11, 2007, based on
the votes actually canvassed, votes canvassed but not included in Report No. 29, votes received
11 Anak Pawis ANAKPAWIS
but uncanvassed, and maximum votes expected for Pantar, Lanao del Norte, is 16,261,369; and
that the projected maximum total votes for the thirteen (13) qualified parties, organizations and
12 Alliance of Rural Concerns ARC coalition[s] are as follows:

13 Abono ABONO Party-List Projected total number of votes

1 BUHAY 1,178,747
This is without prejudice to the proclamation of other parties, organizations, or coalitions which
may later on be established to have obtained at least two percent (2%) of the total actual votes
cast under the Party-List System. 2 BAYAN MUNA 977,476

The total number of seats of each winning party, organization or coalition shall be determined 3 CIBAC 755,964
pursuant to Veterans Federation Party versus COMELEC formula upon completion of the
canvass of the party-list results.
4 GABRIELA 621,718
The proclamation of Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS) is
hereby deferred until final resolution of SPC No. 07-250, in order not to render the proceedings 5 APEC 622,489
therein moot and academic.

Finally, all proclamation of the nominees of concerned parties, organizations and coalitions with 6 A TEACHER 492,369
pending disputes shall likewise be held in abeyance until final resolution of their respective
cases.
7 AKBAYAN 462,674
Let the Clerk of the Commission implement this Resolution, furnishing a copy thereof to the
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines. 8 ALAGAD 423,190

SO ORDERED.8 (Emphasis in the original)


9 BUTIL 409,298
Pursuant to NBC Resolution No. 07-60, the COMELEC, acting as NBC, promulgated NBC
Resolution No. 07-72, which declared the additional seats allocated to the appropriate parties. 10 COOP-NATCO 412,920
We quote from the COMELEC’s interpretation of the Veterans formula as found in NBC
Resolution No. 07-72:
11 ANAKPAWIS 370,165 Less than 4% No additional seat

12 ARC 375,846
WHEREAS, applying the above formula, Buhay obtained the following percentage:

13 ABONO 340,151
1,178,747

= 0.07248 or 7.2%
WHEREAS, based on the above Report, Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (Buhay) obtained the
highest number of votes among the thirteen (13) qualified parties, organizations and coalitions, 16,261,369
making it the "first party" in accordance with Veterans Federation Party versus COMELEC,
reiterated in Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) versus COMELEC;
which entitles it to two (2) additional seats.
WHEREAS, qualified parties, organizations and coalitions participating under the party-list
system of representation that have obtained one guaranteed (1) seat may be entitled to an
additional seat or seats based on the formula prescribed by the Supreme Court in Veterans; WHEREAS, in determining the additional seats for the other qualified parties, organizations and
coalitions, the correct formula as expressed in Veterans and reiterated in CIBAC is, as follows:
WHEREAS, in determining the additional seats for the "first party", the correct formula as
expressed in Veterans, is: No. of votes of
concerned party
No. of additional
Number of votes of first party Additional seats for
Proportion of votes of first = x seats allocated
a concerned party
= party relative to total votes for to first party
No. of votes of
party-list system
Total votes for party-list system first party

wherein the proportion of votes received by the first party (without rounding off) shall entitle it to WHEREAS, applying the above formula, the results are as follows:
additional seats:
Party List Percentage Additional Seat
Proportion of votes received Additional seats
by the first party BAYAN MUNA 1.65 1

Equal to or at least 6% Two (2) additional seats CIBAC 1.28 1

Equal to or greater than 4% but less than 6% One (1) additional seat GABRIELA 1.05 1
APEC 1.05 1 GABRIELA 1

A TEACHER 0.83 0 APEC 1

AKBAYAN 0.78 0
This is without prejudice to the proclamation of other parties, organizations or coalitions which
may later on be established to have obtained at least two per cent (2%) of the total votes cast
ALAGAD 0.71 0 under the party-list system to entitle them to one (1) guaranteed seat, or to the appropriate
percentage of votes to entitle them to one (1) additional seat.
BUTIL 0.69 0
Finally, all proclamation of the nominees of concerned parties, organizations and coalitions with
pending disputes shall likewise be held in abeyance until final resolution of their respective
COOP-NATCO 0.69 0 cases.

Let the National Board of Canvassers Secretariat implement this Resolution, furnishing a copy
ANAKPAWIS 0.62 0 hereof to the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines.

ARC 0.63 0 SO ORDERED.9

Acting on BANAT’s petition, the NBC promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-88 on 3 August 2007,
ABONO 0.57 0 which reads as follows:

This pertains to the Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List Representatives Provided
NOW THEREFORE, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution, Omnibus Election by the Constitution filed by the Barangay Association for National Advancement and
Code, Executive Order No. 144, Republic Act Nos. 6646, 7166, 7941 and other elections laws, Transparency (BANAT).
the Commission on Elections en banc sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, hereby
RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to proclaim the following parties, organizations or Acting on the foregoing Petition of the Barangay Association for National Advancement and
coalitions as entitled to additional seats, to wit: Transparency (BANAT) party-list, Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head, National Board of Canvassers
Legal Group submitted his comments/observations and recommendation thereon [NBC 07-041
(PL)], which reads:
Party List Additional Seats
COMMENTS / OBSERVATIONS:
BUHAY 2
Petitioner Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT), in its
Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List Representatives Provided by the Constitution
BAYAN MUNA 1 prayed for the following reliefs, to wit:

CIBAC 1 1. That the full number -- twenty percent (20%) -- of Party-List representatives as
mandated by Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution shall be proclaimed.
2. Paragraph (b), Section 11 of RA 7941 which prescribes the 2% threshold votes, On 9 July 2007, Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher asked the COMELEC, acting as NBC, to
should be harmonized with Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution and with Section 12 of reconsider its decision to use the Veterans formula as stated in its NBC Resolution No. 07-60
the same RA 7941 in that it should be applicable only to the first party-list representative because the Veterans formula is violative of the Constitution and of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A.
seats to be allotted on the basis of their initial/first ranking. No. 7941). On the same day, the COMELEC denied reconsideration during the proceedings of
the NBC.11
3. The 3-seat limit prescribed by RA 7941 shall be applied; and
Aside from the thirteen party-list organizations proclaimed on 9 July 2007, the COMELEC
4. Initially, all party-list groups shall be given the number of seats corresponding to every proclaimed three other party-list organizations as qualified parties entitled to one guaranteed
2% of the votes they received and the additional seats shall be allocated in accordance seat under the Party-List System: Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines, Inc.
with Section 12 of RA 7941, that is, in proportion to the percentage of votes obtained by (AGAP),12 Anak Mindanao (AMIN),13 and An Waray.14 Per the certification15 by COMELEC, the
each party-list group in relation to the total nationwide votes cast in the party-list election, following party-list organizations have been proclaimed as of 19 May 2008:
after deducting the corresponding votes of those which were allotted seats under the 2%
threshold rule. In fine, the formula/procedure prescribed in the "ALLOCATION OF Party-List No. of Seat(s)
PARTY-LIST SEATS, ANNEX "A" of COMELEC RESOLUTION 2847 dated 25 June
1996, shall be used for [the] purpose of determining how many seats shall be
proclaimed, which party-list groups are entitled to representative seats and how many of 1.1 Buhay 3
their nominees shall seat [sic].
1.2 Bayan Muna 2
5. In the alternative, to declare as unconstitutional Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7941
and that the procedure in allocating seats for party-list representative prescribed by
Section 12 of RA 7941 shall be followed. 1.3 CIBAC 2

R E C O M M E N D A T I O N: 1.4 Gabriela 2

The petition of BANAT is now moot and academic.


1.5 APEC 2
The Commission En Banc in NBC Resolution No. 07-60 promulgated July 9, 2007 re "In the
Matter of the Canvass of Votes and Partial Proclamation of the Parties, Organizations and 1.6 A Teacher 1
Coalitions Participating Under the Party-List System During the May 14, 2007 National and Local
Elections" resolved among others that the total number of seats of each winning party,
organization or coalition shall be determined pursuant to the Veterans Federation 1.7 Akbayan 1
Party versus COMELEC formula upon completion of the canvass of the party-list results." 1awphi1

1.8 Alagad 1
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the National Board of Canvassers RESOLVED, as it
hereby RESOLVES, to approve and adopt the recommendation of Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head,
NBC Legal Group, to DENY the herein petition of BANAT for being moot and academic. 1.9 Butil 1

Let the Supervisory Committee implement this resolution. 1.10 Coop-Natco [sic] 1

SO ORDERED.10
1.11 Anak Pawis 1
BANAT filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus assailing the ruling in NBC Resolution No.
07-88. BANAT did not file a motion for reconsideration of NBC Resolution No. 07-88.
1.12 ARC 1 1. The 2-4-6 Formula used by the First Party Rule in allocating additional
seats for the "First Party" violates the principle of proportional
representation under RA 7941.
1.13 Abono 1
2. The use of two formulas in the allocation of additional seats, one for
1.14 AGAP 1 the "First Party" and another for the qualifying parties, violates Section
11(b) of RA 7941.

1.15 AMIN 1 3. The proportional relationships under the First Party Rule are different
from those required under RA 7941;

The proclamation of Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS), C. Violates the "Four Inviolable Parameters" of the Philippine party-list system as
against which an Urgent Petition for Cancellation/Removal of Registration and Disqualification of provided for under the same case of Veterans Federation Party, et al. v.
Party-list Nominee (with Prayer for the Issuance of Restraining Order) has been filed before the COMELEC.
COMELEC, was deferred pending final resolution of SPC No. 07-250.
II. Presuming that the Commission on Elections did not commit grave abuse of discretion
Issues amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it implemented the First-Party Rule in
the allocation of seats to qualified party-list organizations, the same being merely in
BANAT brought the following issues before this Court: consonance with the ruling in Veterans Federations Party, et al. v. COMELEC, the
instant Petition is a justiciable case as the issues involved herein are constitutional in
1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives provided in Section 5(2), nature, involving the correct interpretation and implementation of RA 7941, and are of
Article VI of the Constitution mandatory or is it merely a ceiling? transcendental importance to our nation.17

2. Is the three-seat limit provided in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 constitutional? Considering the allegations in the petitions and the comments of the parties in these
cases, we defined the following issues in our advisory for the oral arguments set on 22
April 2008:
3. Is the two percent threshold and "qualifier" votes prescribed by the same Section 11(b)
of RA 7941 constitutional?
1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives in Section 5(2),
Article VI of the Constitution mandatory or merely a ceiling?
4. How shall the party-list representatives be allocated?16
2. Is the three-seat limit in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 constitutional?
Bayan Muna, A Teacher, and Abono, on the other hand, raised the following issues in their
petition:
3. Is the two percent threshold prescribed in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 to qualify
for one seat constitutional?
I. Respondent Commission on Elections, acting as National Board of Canvassers,
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it
promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-60 to implement the First-Party Rule in the 4. How shall the party-list representative seats be allocated?
allocation of seats to qualified party-list organizations as said rule:
5. Does the Constitution prohibit the major political parties from participating in
A. Violates the constitutional principle of proportional representation. the party-list elections? If not, can the major political parties be barred from
participating in the party-list elections?18
B. Violates the provisions of RA 7941 particularly:
The Ruling of the Court
The petitions have partial merit. We maintain that a Philippine-style party-list election has at least Section 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. — The party-list representatives shall
four inviolable parameters as clearly stated in Veterans. For easy reference, these are: constitute twenty per centum (20%) of the total number of the members of the House of
Representatives including those under the party-list.
First, the twenty percent allocation — the combined number of all party-list congressmen
shall not exceed twenty percent of the total membership of the House of xxx
Representatives, including those elected under the party list;
Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution states that the "House of Representatives shall be
Second, the two percent threshold — only those parties garnering a minimum of two composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law." The
percent of the total valid votes cast for the party-list system are "qualified" to have a seat House of Representatives shall be composed of district representatives and party-list
in the House of Representatives; representatives. The Constitution allows the legislature to modify the number of the members of
the House of Representatives. 1avv phi 1.zw+

Third, the three-seat limit — each qualified party, regardless of the number of votes it
actually obtained, is entitled to a maximum of three seats; that is, one "qualifying" and Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution, on the other hand, states the ratio of party-list
two additional seats; representatives to the total number of representatives. We compute the number of seats
available to party-list representatives from the number of legislative districts. On this point, we do
Fourth, proportional representation— the additional seats which a qualified party is not deviate from the first formula in Veterans, thus:
entitled to shall be computed "in proportion to their total number of votes."19
Number of seats
However, because the formula in Veterans has flaws in its mathematical interpretation of the available to legislative districts
term "proportional representation," this Court is compelled to revisit the formula for the allocation Number of seats available to
of additional seats to party-list organizations. x .20 = party-list representatives

Number of Party-List Representatives: .80


The Formula Mandated by the Constitution

Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution provides: This formula allows for the corresponding increase in the number of seats available for party-list
representatives whenever a legislative district is created by law. Since the 14th Congress of the
Section 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred Philippines has 220 district representatives, there are 55 seats available to party-list
and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts representatives.
apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with
the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio,
and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered 220
national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.
x .20 = 55
(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of
.80
representatives including those under the party-list. For three consecutive terms after the
ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall
be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor,
indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by After prescribing the ratio of the number of party-list representatives to the total number of
law, except the religious sector. representatives, the Constitution left the manner of allocating the seats available to party-
list representatives to the wisdom of the legislature.
The first paragraph of Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941 reads:
Allocation of Seats for Party-List Representatives: (a) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty percent (20%) of the total
The Statutory Limits Presented by the Two Percent Threshold Members of the House of Representatives including those from the party-list groups as
and the Three-Seat Cap prescribed by Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, Section 11 (1st par.) of RA 7941
and Comelec Resolution No. 2847 dated 25 June 1996. Since there are 220 District
All parties agree on the formula to determine the maximum number of seats reserved under the Representatives in the 14th Congress, there shall be 55 Party-List Representatives. All
Party-List System, as well as on the formula to determine the guaranteed seats to party-list seats shall have to be proclaimed.
candidates garnering at least two-percent of the total party-list votes. However, there are
numerous interpretations of the provisions of R.A. No. 7941 on the allocation of "additional (b) All party-list groups shall initially be allotted one (1) seat for every two per centum
seats" under the Party-List System. Veterans produced the First Party Rule,20 and Justice (2%) of the total party-list votes they obtained; provided, that no party-list groups shall
Vicente V. Mendoza’s dissent in Veterans presented Germany’s Niemeyer formula21 as an have more than three (3) seats (Section 11, RA 7941).
alternative.
(c) The remaining seats shall, after deducting the seats obtained by the party-list groups
The Constitution left to Congress the determination of the manner of allocating the seats for under the immediately preceding paragraph and after deducting from their total the votes
party-list representatives. Congress enacted R.A. No. 7941, paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 11 corresponding to those seats, the remaining seats shall be allotted proportionately to all
and Section 12 of which provide: the party-list groups which have not secured the maximum three (3) seats under the 2%
threshold rule, in accordance with Section 12 of RA 7941.23
Section 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. — x x x
Forty-four (44) party-list seats will be awarded under BANAT’s first interpretation.
In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote,22 the following procedure shall be
observed: The second interpretation presented by BANAT assumes that the 2% vote requirement is
declared unconstitutional, and apportions the seats for party-list representatives by following
(a) The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the Section 12 of R.A. No. 7941. BANAT states that the COMELEC:
lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during the elections.
(a) shall tally all the votes for the parties, organizations, or coalitions on a nationwide
(b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the basis;
total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each: Provided,
That those garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to (b) rank them according to the number of votes received; and,
additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes: Provided, finally, That
each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats. (c) allocate party-list representatives proportionately according to the percentage of votes
obtained by each party, organization or coalition as against the total nationwide votes
Section 12. Procedure in Allocating Seats for Party-List Representatives. — The COMELEC cast for the party-list system.24
shall tally all the votes for the parties, organizations, or coalitions on a nationwide basis, rank
them according to the number of votes received and allocate party-list representatives BANAT used two formulas to obtain the same results: one is based on the proportional
proportionately according to the percentage of votes obtained by each party, organization, or percentage of the votes received by each party as against the total nationwide party-list votes,
coalition as against the total nationwide votes cast for the party-list system. (Emphasis supplied) and the other is "by making the votes of a party-list with a median percentage of votes as the
divisor in computing the allocation of seats."25 Thirty-four (34) party-list seats will be awarded
In G.R. No. 179271, BANAT presents two interpretations through three formulas to allocate under BANAT’s second interpretation.
party-list representative seats.
In G.R. No. 179295, Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher criticize both the COMELEC’s original
The first interpretation allegedly harmonizes the provisions of Section 11(b) on the 2% 2-4-6 formula and the Veterans formula for systematically preventing all the party-list seats from
requirement with Section 12 of R.A. No. 7941. BANAT described this procedure as follows: being filled up. They claim that both formulas do not factor in the total number of seats alloted for
the entire Party-List System. Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher reject the three-seat cap, but
accept the 2% threshold. After determining the qualified parties, a second percentage is
generated by dividing the votes of a qualified party by the total votes of all qualified parties only.
9 COOP-NATCCO 409,883 56 GRECON 62,220
The number of seats allocated to a qualified party is computed by multiplying the total party-list
seats available with the second percentage. There will be a first round of seat allocation, limited
to using the whole integers as the equivalent of the number of seats allocated to the concerned 10 BUTIL 409,160 57 BTM 60,993
party-list. After all the qualified parties are given their seats, a second round of seat allocation is
conducted. The fractions, or remainders, from the whole integers are ranked from highest to
lowest and the remaining seats on the basis of this ranking are allocated until all the seats are 11 BATAS 385,810 58 A SMILE 58,717
filled up.26
12 ARC 374,288 59 NELFFI 57,872
We examine what R.A. No. 7941 prescribes to allocate seats for party-list representatives.

Section 11(a) of R.A. No. 7941 prescribes the ranking of the participating parties from the 13 ANAKPAWIS 370,261 60 AKSA 57,012
highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during the elections.

Table 1. Ranking of the participating parties from the highest to the lowest based on the number 14 ABONO 339,990 61 BAGO 55,846
of votes garnered during the elections.27
15 AMIN 338,185 62 BANDILA 54,751
Votes Votes
Rank Party Rank Party
Garnered Garnered 16 AGAP 328,724 63 AHON 54,522

1 BUHAY 1,169,234 48 KALAHI 88,868 17 AN WARAY 321,503 64 ASAHAN MO 51,722

2 BAYAN MUNA 979,039 49 APOI 79,386 18 YACAP 310,889 65 AGBIAG! 50,837

3 CIBAC 755,686 50 BP 78,541 19 FPJPM 300,923 66 SPI 50,478

4 GABRIELA 621,171 51 AHONBAYAN 78,424 20 UNI-MAD 245,382 67 BAHANDI 46,612

5 APEC 619,657 52 BIGKIS 77,327 21 ABS 235,086 68 ADD 45,624

6 A TEACHER 490,379 53 PMAP 75,200 22 KAKUSA 228,999 69 AMANG 43,062

7 AKBAYAN 466,112 54 AKAPIN 74,686 23 KABATAAN 228,637 70 ABAY PARAK 42,282

8 ALAGAD 423,149 55 PBA 71,544 24 ABA-AKO 218,818 71 BABAE KA 36,512


25 ALIF 217,822 72 SB 34,835 41 AVE 110,769 88 ATS 14,161

26 SENIOR CITIZENS 213,058 73 ASAP 34,098 42 SUARA 110,732 89 UMDJ 9,445

27 AT 197,872 74 PEP 33,938 43 ASSALAM 110,440 90 BUKLOD FILIPINA 8,915

28 VFP 196,266 75 ABA ILONGGO 33,903 44 DIWA 107,021 91 LYPAD 8,471

29 ANAD 188,521 76 VENDORS 33,691 45 ANC 99,636 92 AA-KASOSYO 8,406

30 BANAT 177,028 77 ADD-TRIBAL 32,896 46 SANLAKAS 97,375 93 KASAPI 6,221

31 ANG KASANGGA 170,531 78 ALMANA 32,255 47 ABC 90,058 TOTAL 15,950,900

32 BANTAY 169,801 79 AANGAT KA PILIPINO 29,130


The first clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941 states that "parties, organizations, and
coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall
33 ABAKADA 166,747 80 AAPS 26,271 be entitled to one seat each." This clause guarantees a seat to the two-percenters. In Table 2
below, we use the first 20 party-list candidates for illustration purposes. The percentage of votes
garnered by each party is arrived at by dividing the number of votes garnered by each party by
34 1-UTAK 164,980 81 HAPI 25,781 15,950,900, the total number of votes cast for all party-list candidates.

35 TUCP 162,647 82 AAWAS 22,946 Table 2. The first 20 party-list candidates and their respective percentage of votes garnered over
the total votes for the party-list.28

36 COCOFED 155,920 83 SM 20,744


Votes Garnered over
Votes Guaranteed
Rank Party Total Votes for
37 AGHAM 146,032 84 AG 16,916 Garnered Seat
Party-List, in %

38 ANAK 141,817 85 AGING PINOY 16,729 1 BUHAY 1,169,234 7.33% 1

39 ABANSE! PINAY 130,356 86 APO 16,421 2 BAYAN MUNA 979,039 6.14% 1

40 PM 119,054 87 BIYAYANG BUKID 16,241 3 CIBAC 755,686 4.74% 1


4 GABRIELA 621,171 3.89% 1 19 FPJPM 300,923 1.89% 0

5 APEC 619,657 3.88% 1 20 UNI-MAD 245,382 1.54% 0

6 A TEACHER 490,379 3.07% 1


From Table 2 above, we see that only 17 party-list candidates received at least 2% from the total
number of votes cast for party-list candidates. The 17 qualified party-list candidates, or the two-
7 AKBAYAN 466,112 2.92% 1 percenters, are the party-list candidates that are "entitled to one seat each," or the guaranteed
seat. In this first round of seat allocation, we distributed 17 guaranteed seats.
8 ALAGAD 423,149 2.65% 1
The second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941 provides that "those garnering more than
two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total
9 COOP-NATCCO 409,883 2.57% 1 number of votes." This is where petitioners’ and intervenors’ problem with the formula
in Veterans lies. Veterans interprets the clause "in proportion to their total number of votes" to
be in proportion to the votes of the first party. This interpretation is contrary to the express
10 BUTIL 409,160 2.57% 1 language of R.A. No. 7941.

We rule that, in computing the allocation of additional seats, the continued operation of the two
11 BATAS29 385,810 2.42% 1
percent threshold for the distribution of the additional seats as found in the second clause of
Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941 is unconstitutional. This Court finds that the two percent
12 ARC 374,288 2.35% 1 threshold makes it mathematically impossible to achieve the maximum number of available party
list seats when the number of available party list seats exceeds 50. The continued operation of
the two percent threshold in the distribution of the additional seats frustrates the attainment of
13 ANAKPAWIS 370,261 2.32% 1 the permissive ceiling that 20% of the members of the House of Representatives shall consist of
party-list representatives.
14 ABONO 339,990 2.13% 1
To illustrate: There are 55 available party-list seats. Suppose there are 50 million votes cast for
the 100 participants in the party list elections. A party that has two percent of the votes cast, or
15 AMIN 338,185 2.12% 1 one million votes, gets a guaranteed seat. Let us further assume that the first 50 parties all get
one million votes. Only 50 parties get a seat despite the availability of 55 seats. Because of the
operation of the two percent threshold, this situation will repeat itself even if we increase the
16 AGAP 328,724 2.06% 1 available party-list seats to 60 seats and even if we increase the votes cast to 100 million. Thus,
even if the maximum number of parties get two percent of the votes for every party, it is always
impossible for the number of occupied party-list seats to exceed 50 seats as long as the two
17 AN WARAY 321,503 2.02% 1 percent threshold is present.

Total 17 We therefore strike down the two percent threshold only in relation to the distribution of the
additional seats as found in the second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941. The two
percent threshold presents an unwarranted obstacle to the full implementation of Section 5(2),
18 YACAP 310,889 1.95% 0 Article VI of the Constitution and prevents the attainment of "the broadest possible
representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives."30
In determining the allocation of seats for party-list representatives under Section 11 of R.A. No. Party
7941, the following procedure shall be observed:
List, in %
1. The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the (A)
lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during the elections.
1 BUHAY 1,169,234 7.33% 1 2.79 3 N.A.
2. The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the
total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one guaranteed seat each.
BAYAN
2 979,039 6.14% 1 2.33 3 N.A.
3. Those garnering sufficient number of votes, according to the ranking in paragraph 1, MUNA
shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes until all the
additional seats are allocated.
3 CIBAC 755,686 4.74% 1 1.80 2 N.A.
4. Each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.
4 GABRIELA 621,171 3.89% 1 1.48 2 N.A.
In computing the additional seats, the guaranteed seats shall no longer be included because
they have already been allocated, at one seat each, to every two-percenter. Thus, the remaining
available seats for allocation as "additional seats" are the maximum seats reserved under the 5 APEC 619,657 3.88% 1 1.48 2 N.A.
Party List System less the guaranteed seats. Fractional seats are disregarded in the absence of
a provision in R.A. No. 7941 allowing for a rounding off of fractional seats.
6 A Teacher 490,379 3.07% 1 1.17 2 N.A.
In declaring the two percent threshold unconstitutional, we do not limit our allocation of additional
seats in Table 3 below to the two-percenters. The percentage of votes garnered by each party- 7 AKBAYAN 466,112 2.92% 1 1.11 2 N.A.
list candidate is arrived at by dividing the number of votes garnered by each party by
15,950,900, the total number of votes cast for party-list candidates. There are two steps in the
second round of seat allocation. First, the percentage is multiplied by the remaining available 8 ALAGAD 423,149 2.65% 1 1.01 2 N.A.
seats, 38, which is the difference between the 55 maximum seats reserved under the Party-List
System and the 17 guaranteed seats of the two-percenters. The whole integer of the product of COOP-
the percentage and of the remaining available seats corresponds to a party’s share in the 931 409,883 2.57% 1 1 2 N.A.
remaining available seats. Second, we assign one party-list seat to each of the parties next in NATCCO
rank until all available seats are completely distributed. We distributed all of the remaining 38
seats in the second round of seat allocation. Finally, we apply the three-seat cap to determine 10 BUTIL 409,160 2.57% 1 1 2 N.A.
the number of seats each qualified party-list candidate is entitled. Thus:

Table 3. Distribution of Available Party-List Seats 11 BATAS 385,810 2.42% 1 1 2 N.A.

Votes Guaranteed Additional (B) plus 12 ARC 374,288 2.35% 1 1 2 N.A.


Applying
Garnered Seat Seats (C), in
Votes the three
Rank Party over (First (Second whole 13 ANAKPAWIS 370,261 2.32% 1 1 2 N.A.
Garnered seat cap
Total Round) Round) integers
(E)
Votes for (B) (C) (D)
14 ABONO 339,990 2.13% 1 1 2 N.A. 29 ANAD 188,521 1.18% 0 1 1 N.A.

15 AMIN 338,185 2.12% 1 1 2 N.A. 30 BANAT 177,028 1.11% 0 1 1 N.A.

16 AGAP 328,724 2.06% 1 1 2 N.A. ANG


31 170,531 1.07% 0 1 1 N.A.
KASANGGA
17 AN WARAY 321,503 2.02% 1 1 2 N.A.
32 BANTAY 169,801 1.06% 0 1 1 N.A.
18 YACAP 310,889 1.95% 0 1 1 N.A.
33 ABAKADA 166,747 1.05% 0 1 1 N.A.
19 FPJPM 300,923 1.89% 0 1 1 N.A.
34 1-UTAK 164,980 1.03% 0 1 1 N.A.
20 UNI-MAD 245,382 1.54% 0 1 1 N.A.
35 TUCP 162,647 1.02% 0 1 1 N.A.
21 ABS 235,086 1.47% 0 1 1 N.A.
36 COCOFED 155,920 0.98% 0 1 1 N.A.
22 KAKUSA 228,999 1.44% 0 1 1 N.A.
Total 17 55
23 KABATAAN 228,637 1.43% 0 1 1 N.A.

Applying the procedure of seat allocation as illustrated in Table 3 above, there are 55 party-list
24 ABA-AKO 218,818 1.37% 0 1 1 N.A. representatives from the 36 winning party-list organizations. All 55 available party-list seats are
filled. The additional seats allocated to the parties with sufficient number of votes for one whole
seat, in no case to exceed a total of three seats for each party, are shown in column (D).
25 ALIF 217,822 1.37% 0 1 1 N.A.
Participation of Major Political Parties in Party-List Elections
SENIOR
26 213,058 1.34% 0 1 1 N.A.
CITIZENS The Constitutional Commission adopted a multi-party system that allowed all political parties
to participate in the party-list elections. The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission
clearly bear this out, thus:
27 AT 197,872 1.24% 0 1 1 N.A.
MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just want to say that we suggested or proposed the party list
28 VFP 196,266 1.23% 0 1 1 N.A. system because we wanted to open up the political system to a pluralistic society through a
multiparty system. x x x We are for opening up the system, and we would like very much for
the sectors to be there. That is why one of the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on the
number of representatives from any single party that can sit within the 50 allocated under
the party list system. x x x.
xxx seat sa marginalized sectors. Kung titingnan natin itong 198 seats, reserved din ito sa political
parties.
MR. MONSOD. Madam President, the candidacy for the 198 seats is not limited to political
parties. My question is this: Are we going to classify for example Christian Democrats and Social MR. MONSOD. Hindi po reserved iyon kasi anybody can run there. But my question to
Democrats as political parties? Can they run under the party list concept or must they be under Commissioner Villacorta and probably also to Commissioner Tadeo is that under this system,
the district legislation side of it only? would UNIDO be banned from running under the party list system?

MR. VILLACORTA. In reply to that query, I think these parties that the Commissioner mentioned MR. VILLACORTA. No, as I said, UNIDO may field sectoral candidates. On that condition
can field candidates for the Senate as well as for the House of Representatives. Likewise, they alone, UNIDO may be allowed to register for the party list system.
can also field sectoral candidates for the 20 percent or 30 percent, whichever is adopted,
of the seats that we are allocating under the party list system. MR. MONSOD. May I inquire from Commissioner Tadeo if he shares that answer?

MR. MONSOD. In other words, the Christian Democrats can field district candidates and can MR. TADEO. The same.
also participate in the party list system?
MR. VILLACORTA. Puwede po ang UNIDO, pero sa sectoral lines.
MR. VILLACORTA. Why not? When they come to the party list system, they will be fielding
only sectoral candidates. xxxx

MR. MONSOD. May I be clarified on that? Can UNIDO participate in the party list system? MR. OPLE. x x x In my opinion, this will also create the stimulus for political parties and mass
organizations to seek common ground. For example, we have the PDP-Laban and the UNIDO. I
MR. VILLACORTA. Yes, why not? For as long as they field candidates who come from the see no reason why they should not be able to make common goals with mass organizations so
different marginalized sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution. that the very leadership of these parties can be transformed through the participation of mass
organizations. And if this is true of the administration parties, this will be true of others like the
MR. MONSOD. Suppose Senator Tañada wants to run under BAYAN group and says that he Partido ng Bayan which is now being formed. There is no question that they will be attractive to
represents the farmers, would he qualify? many mass organizations. In the opposition parties to which we belong, there will be a stimulus
for us to contact mass organizations so that with their participation, the policies of such parties
MR. VILLACORTA. No, Senator Tañada would not qualify. can be radically transformed because this amendment will create conditions that will challenge
both the mass organizations and the political parties to come together. And the party list system
MR. MONSOD. But UNIDO can field candidates under the party list system and say Juan dela is certainly available, although it is open to all the parties. It is understood that the parties will
Cruz is a farmer. Who would pass on whether he is a farmer or not? enter in the roll of the COMELEC the names of representatives of mass organizations affiliated
with them. So that we may, in time, develop this excellent system that they have in Europe
where labor organizations and cooperatives, for example, distribute themselves either in the
MR. TADEO. Kay Commissioner Monsod, gusto ko lamang linawin ito. Political parties,
Social Democratic Party and the Christian Democratic Party in Germany, and their very
particularly minority political parties, are not prohibited to participate in the party list
presence there has a transforming effect upon the philosophies and the leadership of those
election if they can prove that they are also organized along sectoral lines.
parties.
MR. MONSOD. What the Commissioner is saying is that all political parties can participate
It is also a fact well known to all that in the United States, the AFL-CIO always vote with the
because it is precisely the contention of political parties that they represent the broad base of
Democratic Party. But the businessmen, most of them, always vote with the Republican Party,
citizens and that all sectors are represented in them. Would the Commissioner agree?
meaning that there is no reason at all why political parties and mass organizations should not
combine, reenforce, influence and interact with each other so that the very objectives that we set
MR. TADEO. Ang punto lamang namin, pag pinayagan mo ang UNIDO na isang political party, it in this Constitution for sectoral representation are achieved in a wider, more lasting, and more
will dominate the party list at mawawalang saysay din yung sector. Lalamunin mismo ng political institutionalized way. Therefore, I support this [Monsod-Villacorta] amendment. It installs sectoral
parties ang party list system. Gusto ko lamang bigyan ng diin ang "reserve." Hindi ito reserve representation as a constitutional gift, but at the same time, it challenges the sector to rise to the
majesty of being elected representatives later on through a party list system; and even beyond Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 prohibits major political parties from participating in
that, to become actual political parties capable of contesting political power in the wider the party-list system. On the contrary, the framers of the Constitution clearly intended the major
constitutional arena for major political parties. political parties to participate in party-list elections through their sectoral wings. In fact, the
members of the Constitutional Commission voted down, 19-22, any permanent sectoral seats,
x x x 32 (Emphasis supplied) and in the alternative the reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups.33 In defining
a "party" that participates in party-list elections as either "a political party or a sectoral party,"
R.A. No. 7941 provided the details for the concepts put forward by the Constitutional R.A. No. 7941 also clearly intended that major political parties will participate in the party-list
Commission. Section 3 of R.A. No. 7941 reads: elections. Excluding the major political parties in party-list elections is manifestly against the
Constitution, the intent of the Constitutional Commission, and R.A. No. 7941. This Court cannot
engage in socio-political engineering and judicially legislate the exclusion of major political
Definition of Terms. (a) The party-list system is a mechanism of proportional representation in
parties from the party-list elections in patent violation of the Constitution and the law.
the election of representatives to the House of Representatives from national, regional and
sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof registered with the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC). Component parties or organizations of a coalition may participate Read together, R.A. No. 7941 and the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission state that
independently provided the coalition of which they form part does not participate in the party-list major political parties are allowed to establish, or form coalitions with, sectoral organizations for
system. electoral or political purposes. There should not be a problem if, for example, the Liberal Party
participates in the party-list election through the Kabataang Liberal ng Pilipinas (KALIPI), its
sectoral youth wing. The other major political parties can thus organize, or affiliate with, their
(b) A party means either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties.
chosen sector or sectors. To further illustrate, the Nacionalista Party can establish a fisherfolk
wing to participate in the party-list election, and this fisherfolk wing can field its fisherfolk
(c) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or nominees. Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) can do the same for the urban poor.
platform, principles and policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the
most immediate means of securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports
The qualifications of party-list nominees are prescribed in Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941:
certain of its leaders and members as candidates for public office.
Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. — No person shall be nominated as party-list
It is a national party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at
representative unless he is a natural born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident
least a majority of the regions. It is a regional party when its constituency is spread over
of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the
the geographical territory of at least a majority of the cities and provinces comprising the
elections, able to read and write, bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks
region.
to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-
five (25) years of age on the day of the election.
(d) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the
sectors enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than
interests and concerns of their sector,
thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains
the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue until the expiration of his term.
(e) A sectoral organization refers to a group of citizens or a coalition of groups of citizens
who share similar physical attributes or characteristics, employment, interests or
Under Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941, it is not necessary that the party-list organization’s nominee
concerns.
"wallow in poverty, destitution and infirmity"34 as there is no financial status required in the law. It
is enough that the nominee of the sectoral party/organization/coalition belongs to the
(f) A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly registered national, regional, sectoral marginalized and underrepresented sectors,35 that is, if the nominee represents the fisherfolk, he
parties or organizations for political and/or election purposes. or she must be a fisherfolk, or if the nominee represents the senior citizens, he or she must be a
senior citizen.
Congress, in enacting R.A. No. 7941, put the three-seat cap to prevent any party from
dominating the party-list elections. Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 mandates the filling-up of the entire 20% allocation of
party-list representatives found in the Constitution. The Constitution, in paragraph 1, Section 5 of
Article VI, left the determination of the number of the members of the House of Representatives CARPIO, J.:
to Congress: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred
and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, x x x." The 20% allocation of party-list We grant Rosalinda A. Penera’s (Penera) motion for reconsideration of this Court’s Decision of
representatives is merely a ceiling; party-list representatives cannot be more than 20% of the 11 September 2009 (Decision).
members of the House of Representatives. However, we cannot allow the continued existence of
a provision in the law which will systematically prevent the constitutionally allocated 20% party- The assailed Decision dismissed Penera’s petition and affirmed the Resolution dated 30 July
list representatives from being filled. The three-seat cap, as a limitation to the number of seats 2008 of the COMELEC En Banc as well as the Resolution dated 24 July 2007 of the COMELEC
that a qualified party-list organization may occupy, remains a valid statutory device that prevents Second Division. The Decision disqualified Penera from running for the office of Mayor in Sta.
any party from dominating the party-list elections. Seats for party-list representatives shall thus Monica, Surigao del Norte and declared that the Vice-Mayor should succeed Penera.
be allocated in accordance with the procedure used in Table 3 above.
In support of her motion for reconsideration, Penera submits the following arguments:
However, by a vote of 8-7, the Court decided to continue the ruling in Veterans disallowing major
political parties from participating in the party-list elections, directly or indirectly. Those who voted
1. Penera was not yet a candidate at the time of the incident under Section 11 of RA
to continue disallowing major political parties from the party-list elections joined Chief Justice
8436 as amended by Section 13 of RA 9369.
Reynato S. Puno in his separate opinion. On the formula to allocate party-list seats, the Court is
unanimous in concurring with this ponencia.
2. The petition for disqualification failed to submit convincing and substantial evidence
against Penera for violation of Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code.
WHEREFORE, we PARTIALLY GRANT the petition. We SET ASIDE the Resolution of the
COMELEC dated 3 August 2007 in NBC No. 07-041 (PL) as well as the Resolution dated 9 July
2007 in NBC No. 07-60. We declare unconstitutional the two percent threshold in the distribution 3. Penera never admitted the allegations of the petition for disqualification and has
of additional party-list seats. The allocation of additional seats under the Party-List System shall consistently disputed the charge of premature campaigning.
be in accordance with the procedure used in Table 3 of this Decision. Major political parties are
disallowed from participating in party-list elections. This Decision is immediately executory. No 4. The admission that Penera participated in a motorcade is not the same as admitting
pronouncement as to costs. she engaged in premature election campaigning.

SO ORDERED. Section 79(a) of the Omnibus Election Code defines a "candidate" as "any person aspiring for or
seeking an elective public office, who has filed a certificate of candidacy x x x." The second
sentence, third paragraph, Section 15 of RA 8436, as amended by Section 13 of RA 9369,
provides that "[a]ny person who files his certificate of candidacy within [the period for filing] shall
only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his
certificate of candidacy." The immediately succeeding proviso in the same third paragraph states
that "unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of
CANDIDACY the aforesaid campaign period." These two provisions determine the resolution of this case.

The Decision states that "[w]hen the campaign period starts and [the person who filed his
certificate of candidacy] proceeds with his/her candidacy, his/her intent turning into actuality, we
G.R. No. 181613 November 25, 2009 can already consider his/her acts, after the filing of his/her COC and prior to the campaign
period, as the promotion of his/her election as a candidate, hence, constituting premature
campaigning, for which he/she may be disqualified."1
ROSALINDA A. PENERA, Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and EDGAR T. ANDANAR, Respondents. Under the Decision, a candidate may already be liable for premature campaigning after the filing
of the certificate of candidacy but even before the start of the campaign period. From the filing of
the certificate of candidacy, even long before the start of the campaign period, the Decision
RESOLUTION
considers the partisan political acts of a person so filing a certificate of candidacy "as the
promotion of his/her election as a candidate." Thus, such person can be disqualified for deadline for filing the certificate of candidacy make one who filed his certificate of candidacy
premature campaigning for acts done before the start of the campaign period. In short, the before 2 January 2004 immediately liable for violation of Section 80 if he engaged in election
Decision considers a person who files a certificate of candidacy already a "candidate" even campaign or partisan political activities prior to the start of the campaign period on 24 March
before the start of the campaign period. lawphil 2004?

The assailed Decision is contrary to the clear intent and letter of the law. Section 11 of RA 8436 provides:

The Decision reverses Lanot v. COMELEC,2 which held that a person who files a certificate of SECTION 11. Official Ballot. – The Commission shall prescribe the size and form of the official
candidacy is not a candidate until the start of the campaign period. In Lanot, this ballot which shall contain the titles of the positions to be filled and/or the propositions to be voted
Court explained: upon in an initiative, referendum or plebiscite. Under each position, the names of candidates
shall be arranged alphabetically by surname and uniformly printed using the same type size. A
Thus, the essential elements for violation of Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code are: (1) a fixed space where the chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors shall affix his/her signature
person engages in an election campaign or partisan political activity; (2) the act is designed to to authenticate the official ballot shall be provided.
promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates; (3) the act is done outside
the campaign period. Both sides of the ballots may be used when necessary.

The second element requires the existence of a "candidate." Under Section 79(a), a candidate is For this purpose, the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition for registration/
one who "has filed a certificate of candidacy" to an elective public office. Unless one has filed his manifestation to participate in the election shall not be later than one hundred twenty (120) days
certificate of candidacy, he is not a "candidate." The third element requires that the campaign before the elections: Provided, That, any elective official, whether national or local, running for
period has not started when the election campaign or partisan political activity is committed. any office other than the one which he/she is holding in a permanent capacity, except for
president and vice-president, shall be deemed resigned only upon the start of the campaign
Assuming that all candidates to a public office file their certificates of candidacy on the last day, period corresponding to the position for which he/she is running: Provided, further, That, unlawful
which under Section 75 of the Omnibus Election Code is the day before the start of the acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect upon the start of the aforesaid
campaign period, then no one can be prosecuted for violation of Section 80 for acts done prior to campaign period: Provided, finally, That, for purposes of the May 11, 1998 elections, the
such last day. Before such last day, there is no "particular candidate or candidates" to campaign deadline for filing of the certificate of candidacy for the positions of President, Vice-President,
for or against. On the day immediately after the last day of filing, the campaign period starts and Senators and candidates under the party-list system as well as petitions for registration and/or
Section 80 ceases to apply since Section 80 covers only acts done "outside" the campaign manifestation to participate in the party-list system shall be on February 9, 1998 while the
period. deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy for other positions shall be on March 27, 1998.

Thus, if all candidates file their certificates of candidacy on the last day, Section 80 may only The official ballots shall be printed by the National Printing Office and/or the Bangko Sentral ng
apply to acts done on such last day, which is before the start of the campaign period and after at Pilipinas at the price comparable with that of private printers under proper security measures
least one candidate has filed his certificate of candidacy. This is perhaps the reason why those which the Commission shall adopt. The Commission may contract the services of private printers
running for elective public office usually file their certificates of candidacy on the last day or close upon certification by the National Printing Office/Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas that it cannot meet
to the last day. the printing requirements. Accredited political parties and deputized citizens’ arms of the
Commission may assign watchers in the printing, storage and distribution of official ballots.
There is no dispute that Eusebio’s acts of election campaigning or partisan political activities
were committed outside of the campaign period. The only question is whether Eusebio, who filed To prevent the use of fake ballots, the Commission through the Committee shall ensure that the
his certificate of candidacy on 29 December 2003, was a "candidate" when he committed those serial number on the ballot stub shall be printed in magnetic ink that shall be easily detectable by
acts before the start of the campaign period on 24 March 2004. inexpensive hardware and shall be impossible to reproduce on a photocopying machine, and
that identification marks, magnetic strips, bar codes and other technical and security markings,
Section 11 of Republic Act No. 8436 ("RA 8436") moved the deadline for the filing of certificates are provided on the ballot.
of candidacy to 120 days before election day. Thus, the original deadline was moved from 23
March 2004 to 2 January 2004, or 81 days earlier. The crucial question is: did this change in the
The official ballots shall be printed and distributed to each city/municipality at the rate of one (1) THE CHAIRMAN (REP. TANJUATCO). Again, since the intention of this provision is just to
ballot for every registered voter with a provision of additional four (4) ballots per precinct. afford the Comelec enough time to print the ballots, this provision does not intend to change the
campaign periods as presently, or rather election periods as presently fixed by existing law.
Under Section 11 of RA 8436, the only purpose for the early filing of certificates of candidacy is
to give ample time for the printing of official ballots. This is clear from the following deliberations THE ACTING CHAIRMAN (SEN. FERNAN). So, it should be subject to the other prohibition.
of the Bicameral Conference Committee:
THE CHAIRMAN (REP. TANJUATCO). That’s right.
SENATOR GONZALES. Okay. Then, how about the campaign period, would it be the same[,]
uniform for local and national officials? THE ACTING CHAIRMAN (SEN. FERNAN). Okay.

THE CHAIRMAN (REP. TANJUATCO). Personally, I would agree to retaining it at the present THE CHAIRMAN (REP. TANJUATCO). In other words, actually, there would be no conflict
periods. anymore because we are talking about the 120-day period before election as the last day of filing
a certificate of candidacy, election period starts 120 days also. So that is election period already.
SENATOR GONZALES. But the moment one files a certificate of candidacy, he’s already a But he will still not be considered as a candidate.
candidate, and there are many prohibited acts on the part of candidate.
Thus, because of the early deadline of 2 January 2004 for purposes of printing of official ballots,
THE CHAIRMAN (REP. TANJUATCO). Unless we. . . . Eusebio filed his certificate of candidacy on 29 December 2003. Congress, however, never
intended the filing of a certificate of candidacy before 2 January 2004 to make the person filing to
SENATOR GONZALES. And you cannot say that the campaign period has not yet began (sic). become immediately a "candidate" for purposes other than the printing of ballots. This legislative
intent prevents the immediate application of Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code to those
THE CHAIRMAN (REP. TANJUATCO). If we don’t provide that the filing of the certificate will not filing to meet the early deadline. The clear intention of Congress was to preserve the "election
bring about one’s being a candidate. periods as x x x fixed by existing law" prior to RA 8436 and that one who files to meet the early
deadline "will still not be considered as a candidate."3 (Emphasis in the original)
SENATOR GONZALES. If that’s a fact, the law cannot change a fact.
Lanot was decided on the ground that one who files a certificate of candidacy is not a candidate
until the start of the campaign period. This ground was based on the deliberations of the
THE CHAIRMAN (REP. TANJUATCO). No, but if we can provide that the filing of the certificate
legislators who explained the intent of the provisions of RA 8436, which laid the legal framework
of candidacy will not result in that official vacating his position, we can also provide that insofar
for an automated election system. There was no express provision in the original RA 8436
he is concerned, election period or his being a candidate will not yet commence. Because here,
stating that one who files a certificate of candidacy is not a candidate until the start of the
the reason why we are doing an early filing is to afford enough time to prepare this machine
campaign period.
readable ballots.
When Congress amended RA 8436, Congress decided to expressly incorporate the Lanot
So, with the manifestations from the Commission on Elections, Mr. Chairman, the House Panel
doctrine into law, realizing that Lanot merely relied on the deliberations of Congress in holding
will withdraw its proposal and will agree to the 120-day period provided in the Senate version.
that —
THE CHAIRMAN (SENATOR FERNAN). Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The clear intention of Congress was to preserve the "election periods as x x x fixed by existing
law" prior to RA 8436 and that one who files to meet the early deadline "will still not be
xxxx considered as a candidate."4 (Emphasis supplied)

SENATOR GONZALES. How about prohibition against campaigning or doing partisan acts Congress wanted to insure that no person filing a certificate of candidacy under the early
which apply immediately upon being a candidate? deadline required by the automated election system would be disqualified or penalized for any
partisan political act done before the start of the campaign period. Thus, in enacting RA 9369,
Congress expressly wrote the Lanot doctrine into the second sentence, third paragraph of the clearly means that before the start of the campaign period, such election offenses cannot be so
amended Section 15 of RA 8436, thus: committed.

xxx When the applicable provisions of RA 8436, as amended by RA 9369, are read together, these
provisions of law do not consider Penera a candidate for purposes other than the printing of
For this purpose, the Commission shall set the deadline for the filing of certificate of ballots, until the start of the campaign period. There is absolutely no room for any other
candidacy/petition for registration/manifestation to participate in the election. Any person who interpretation.
files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the
start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided, That, We quote with approval the Dissenting Opinion of Justice Antonio T. Carpio:
unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the
aforesaid campaign period: Provided, finally, That any person holding a public appointive office x x x The definition of a "candidate" in Section 79(a) of the Omnibus Election Code should be
or position, including active members of the armed forces, and officers and employees in read together with the amended Section 15 of RA 8436. A "‘candidate’ refers to any person
government-owned or -controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from aspiring for or seeking an elective public office, who has filed a certificate of candidacy by
his/her office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of his/her certificate of himself or through an accredited political party, aggroupment or coalition of parties." However, it
candidacy. (Boldfacing and underlining supplied) is no longer enough to merely file a certificate of candidacy for a person to be considered a
candidate because "any person who files his certificate of candidacy within [the filing] period
Congress elevated the Lanot doctrine into a statute by specifically inserting it as the second shall only be considered a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his
sentence of the third paragraph of the amended Section 15 of RA 8436, which cannot be certificate of candidacy." Any person may thus file a certificate of candidacy on any day within
annulled by this Court except on the sole ground of its unconstitutionality. The Decision cannot the prescribed period for filing a certificate of candidacy yet that person shall be considered a
reverse Lanot without repealing this second sentence, because to reverse Lanot would mean candidate, for purposes of determining one’s possible violations of election laws, only during the
repealing this second sentence. campaign period. Indeed, there is no "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" designed
to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates to public office simply
The assailed Decision, however, in reversing Lanot does not claim that this second sentence or because there is no "candidate" to speak of prior to the start of the campaign period. Therefore,
any portion of Section 15 of RA 8436, as amended by RA 9369, is unconstitutional. In fact, the despite the filing of her certificate of candidacy, the law does not consider Penera a candidate at
Decision considers the entire Section 15 good law. Thus, the Decision is self-contradictory — the time of the questioned motorcade which was conducted a day before the start of the
reversing Lanot but maintaining the constitutionality of the second sentence, which embodies the campaign period. x x x
Lanot doctrine. In so doing, the Decision is irreconcilably in conflict with the clear intent and letter
of the second sentence, third paragraph, Section 15 of RA 8436, as amended by RA 9369. The campaign period for local officials began on 30 March 2007 and ended on 12 May 2007.
Penera filed her certificate of candidacy on 29 March 2007. Penera was thus a candidate on 29
In enacting RA 9369, Congress even further clarified the first proviso in the third paragraph of March 2009 only for purposes of printing the ballots. On 29 March 2007, the law still did not
Section 15 of RA 8436. The original provision in RA 8436 states — consider Penera a candidate for purposes other than the printing of ballots. Acts committed by
Penera prior to 30 March 2007, the date when she became a "candidate," even if constituting
x x x Provided, further, That, unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take election campaigning or partisan political activities, are not punishable under Section 80 of the
effect upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period, x x x. Omnibus Election Code. Such acts are within the realm of a citizen’s protected freedom of
expression. Acts committed by Penera within the campaign period are not covered by Section 80
as Section 80 punishes only acts outside the campaign period.5
In RA 9369, Congress inserted the word "only" so that the first proviso now reads —
The assailed Decision gives a specious reason in explaining away the first proviso in the third
x x x Provided, That, unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only
paragraph, the amended Section 15 of RA 8436 that election offenses applicable to candidates
upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
take effect only upon the start of the campaign period. The Decision states that:
Thus, Congress not only reiterated but also strengthened its mandatory directive that election
x x x [T]he line in Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8436, as amended, which provides that "any
offenses can be committed by a candidate "only" upon the start of the campaign period. This
unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the
campaign period," does not mean that the acts constituting premature campaigning can only be The law does not state, as the assailed Decision asserts, that partisan political acts done by a
committed, for which the offender may be disqualified, during the campaign period. Contrary to candidate before the campaign period are unlawful, but may be prosecuted only upon the start of
the pronouncement in the dissent, nowhere in said proviso was it stated that campaigning before the campaign period. Neither does the law state that partisan political acts done by a candidate
the start of the campaign period is lawful, such that the offender may freely carry out the same before the campaign period are temporarily lawful, but becomes unlawful upon the start of the
with impunity. campaign period. This is clearly not the language of the law. Besides, such a law as envisioned
in the Decision, which defines a criminal act and curtails freedom of expression and speech,
As previously established, a person, after filing his/her COC but prior to his/her becoming a would be void for vagueness.
candidate (thus, prior to the start of the campaign period), can already commit the acts described
under Section 79(b) of the Omnibus Election Code as election campaign or partisan political Congress has laid down the law — a candidate is liable for election offenses only upon the start
activity, However, only after said person officially becomes a candidate, at the beginning of the of the campaign period. This Court has no power to ignore the clear and express mandate of the
campaign period, can said acts be given effect as premature campaigning under Section 80 of law that "any person who files his certificate of candidacy within [the filing] period shall only be
the Omnibus Election Code. Only after said person officially becomes a candidate, at the start of considered a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of
the campaign period, can his/her disqualification be sought for acts constituting premature candidacy." Neither can this Court turn a blind eye to the express and clear language of the law
campaigning. Obviously, it is only at the start of the campaign period, when the person officially that "any unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start
becomes a candidate, that the undue and iniquitous advantages of his/her prior acts, constituting of the campaign period."
premature campaigning, shall accrue to his/her benefit. Compared to the other candidates who
are only about to begin their election campaign, a candidate who had previously engaged in The forum for examining the wisdom of the law, and enacting remedial measures, is not this
premature campaigning already enjoys an unfair headstart in promoting his/her Court but the Legislature. This Court has no recourse but to apply a law that is as clear, concise
candidacy.6 (Emphasis supplied) and express as the second sentence, and its immediately succeeding proviso, as written in the
third paragraph of Section 15 of RA 8436, as amended by RA 9369.
It is a basic principle of law that any act is lawful unless expressly declared unlawful by law. This
is specially true to expression or speech, which Congress cannot outlaw except on very narrow WHEREFORE, we GRANT petitioner Rosalinda A. Penera’s Motion for Reconsideration. We
grounds involving clear, present and imminent danger to the State. The mere fact that the law SET ASIDE the Decision of this Court in G.R. No. 181613 promulgated on 11 September 2009,
does not declare an act unlawful ipso facto means that the act is lawful. Thus, there is no need as well as the Resolutions dated 24 July 2007 and 30 January 2008 of the COMELEC Second
for Congress to declare in Section 15 of RA 8436, as amended by RA 9369, that political Division and the COMELEC En Banc, respectively, in SPA No. 07-224. Rosalinda A. Penera
partisan activities before the start of the campaign period are lawful. It is sufficient for Congress shall continue as Mayor of Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte.
to state that "any unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon
the start of the campaign period." The only inescapable and logical result is that the same acts, if SO ORDERED.
done before the start of the campaign period, are lawful.

In layman’s language, this means that a candidate is liable for an election offense only for acts
done during the campaign period, not before. The law is clear as daylight — any election offense
that may be committed by a candidate under any election law cannot be committed before the
start of the campaign period. In ruling that Penera is liable for premature campaigning for
partisan political acts before the start of the campaigning, the assailed Decision ignores the clear G.R. No. 189698 February 22, 2010
and express provision of the law.
ELEAZAR P. QUINTO and GERINO A. TOLENTINO, JR., Petitioners,
The Decision rationalizes that a candidate who commits premature campaigning can be vs.
disqualified or prosecuted only after the start of the campaign period. This is not what the law COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
says. What the law says is "any unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take
effect only upon the start of the campaign period." The plain meaning of this provision is that the RESOLUTION
effective date when partisan political acts become unlawful as to a candidate is when the
campaign period starts. Before the start of the campaign period, the same partisan political acts
PUNO, C.J.:
are lawful.
Upon a careful review of the case at bar, this Court resolves to grant the respondent Pursuant to Section 2, Rule 56-A of the 1997 Rules of Court,5 in relation to Section 1, Rule 52 of
Commission on Elections’ (COMELEC) motion for reconsideration, and the movants-intervenors’ the same rules,6 COMELEC had a period of fifteen days from receipt of notice of the assailed
motions for reconsideration-in-intervention, of this Court’s December 1, 2009 Decision Decision within which to move for its reconsideration. COMELEC received notice of the assailed
(Decision).1 Decision on December 2, 2009, hence, had until December 17, 2009 to file a Motion for
Reconsideration.
The assailed Decision granted the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition filed by Eleazar P.
Quinto and Gerino A. Tolentino, Jr. and declared as unconstitutional the second proviso in the The Motion for Reconsideration of COMELEC was timely filed. It was filed on December 14,
third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act No. 9369,2 Section 66 of the Omnibus Election 2009. The corresponding Affidavit of Service (in substitution of the one originally submitted on
Code3 and Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 8678,4 mainly on the ground that they December 14, 2009) was subsequently filed on December 17, 2009 – still within the
violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution and suffer from overbreadth. The assailed reglementary period.
Decision thus paved the way for public appointive officials to continue discharging the powers,
prerogatives and functions of their office notwithstanding their entry into the political arena. ii. Propriety of the Motions for Reconsideration-in-Intervention

In support of their respective motions for reconsideration, respondent COMELEC and movants- Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court provides:
intervenors submit the following arguments:
A person who has legal interest in the matter in litigation or in the success of either of the parties,
(1) The assailed Decision is contrary to, and/or violative of, the constitutional proscription or an interest against both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other
against the participation of public appointive officials and members of the military in disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof may, with leave of court,
partisan political activity; be allowed to intervene in the action. The court shall consider whether or not the intervention will
unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties, and whether or not
(2) The assailed provisions do not violate the equal protection clause when they accord the intervenor’s rights may be fully protected in a separate proceeding.
differential treatment to elective and appointive officials, because such differential
treatment rests on material and substantial distinctions and is germane to the purposes Pursuant to the foregoing rule, this Court has held that a motion for intervention shall be
of the law; entertained when the following requisites are satisfied: (1) the would-be intervenor shows that he
has a substantial right or interest in the case; and (2) such right or interest cannot be adequately
(3) The assailed provisions do not suffer from the infirmity of overbreadth; and pursued and protected in another proceeding.7

(4) There is a compelling need to reverse the assailed Decision, as public safety and Upon the other hand, Section 2, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court provides the time within which a
interest demand such reversal. motion for intervention may be filed, viz.:

We find the foregoing arguments meritorious. SECTION 2. Time to intervene.– The motion for intervention may be filed at any time before
rendition of judgment by the trial court. A copy of the pleading-in-intervention shall be attached to
I. the motion and served on the original parties. (italics supplied)

Procedural Issues This rule, however, is not inflexible. Interventions have been allowed even beyond the period
prescribed in the Rule, when demanded by the higher interest of justice. Interventions have also
First, we shall resolve the procedural issues on the timeliness of the COMELEC’s motion for been granted to afford indispensable parties, who have not been impleaded, the right to be
reconsideration which was filed on December 15, 2009, as well as the propriety of the motions heard even after a decision has been rendered by the trial court,8 when the petition for review of
for reconsideration-in-intervention which were filed after the Court had rendered its December 1, the judgment has already been submitted for decision before the Supreme Court,9 and even
2009 Decision. where the assailed order has already become final and executory.10 In Lim v. Pacquing,11 the
motion for intervention filed by the Republic of the Philippines was allowed by this Court to avoid
grave injustice and injury and to settle once and for all the substantive issues raised by the
i. Timeliness of COMELEC’s Motion for Reconsideration
parties.
In fine, the allowance or disallowance of a motion for intervention rests on the sound discretion The assailed Decision struck down Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678, the second proviso in the
of the court12 after consideration of the appropriate circumstances.13 We stress again that Rule third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act (RA) 9369, and Section 66 of the Omnibus
19 of the Rules of Court is a rule of procedure whose object is to make the powers of the court Election Code, on the following grounds:
fully and completely available for justice.14 Its purpose is not to hinder or delay, but to facilitate
and promote the administration of justice.15 (1) They violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution because of the differential
treatment of persons holding appointive offices and those holding elective positions;
We rule that, with the exception of the IBP – Cebu City Chapter, all the movants-intervenors may
properly intervene in the case at bar. (2) They are overbroad insofar as they prohibit the candidacy of all civil servants holding
appointive posts: (a) without distinction as to whether or not they occupy high/influential
First, the movants-intervenors have each sufficiently established a substantial right or interest in positions in the government, and (b) they limit these civil servants’ activity regardless of
the case. whether they be partisan or nonpartisan in character, or whether they be in the national,
municipal or barangay level; and
As a Senator of the Republic, Senator Manuel A. Roxas has a right to challenge the December
1, 2009 Decision, which nullifies a long established law; as a voter, he has a right to intervene in (3) Congress has not shown a compelling state interest to restrict the fundamental right
a matter that involves the electoral process; and as a public officer, he has a personal interest in of these public appointive officials.
maintaining the trust and confidence of the public in its system of government.
We grant the motions for reconsideration. We now rule that Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678,
On the other hand, former Senator Franklin M. Drilon and Tom V. Apacible are candidates in the Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code, and the second proviso in the third paragraph of
May 2010 elections running against appointive officials who, in view of the December 1, 2009 Section 13 of RA 9369 are not unconstitutional, and accordingly reverse our December 1, 2009
Decision, have not yet resigned from their posts and are not likely to resign from their posts. Decision.
They stand to be directly injured by the assailed Decision, unless it is reversed.
III.
Moreover, the rights or interests of said movants-intervenors cannot be adequately pursued and
protected in another proceeding. Clearly, their rights will be foreclosed if this Court’s Decision Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution 8678 Compliant with Law
attains finality and forms part of the laws of the land.
Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution 8678 is a faithful reflection of the present state of the law
With regard to the IBP – Cebu City Chapter, it anchors its standing on the assertion that "this and jurisprudence on the matter, viz.:
case involves the constitutionality of elections laws for this coming 2010 National Elections," and
that "there is a need for it to be allowed to intervene xxx so that the voice of its members in the Incumbent Appointive Official. - Under Section 13 of RA 9369, which reiterates Section 66 of the
legal profession would also be heard before this Highest Tribunal as it resolves issues of Omnibus Election Code, any person holding a public appointive office or position, including
transcendental importance."16 active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and officers and employees in
government-owned or -controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his
Prescinding from our rule and ruling case law, we find that the IBP-Cebu City Chapter has failed office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy.
to present a specific and substantial interest sufficient to clothe it with standing to intervene in
the case at bar. Its invoked interest is, in character, too indistinguishable to justify its intervention. Incumbent Elected Official. – Upon the other hand, pursuant to Section 14 of RA 9006 or the Fair
Election Act,17 which repealed Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code18 and rendered
We now turn to the substantive issues. ineffective Section 11 of R.A. 8436 insofar as it considered an elected official as resigned only
upon the start of the campaign period corresponding to the positions for which they are
II. running,19 an elected official is not deemed to have resigned from his office upon the filing of his
certificate of candidacy for the same or any other elected office or position. In fine, an elected
Substantive Issues official may run for another position without forfeiting his seat.
These laws and regulations implement Section 2(4), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution, which (26) Engaging directly or indirectly in partisan political activities by one holding a non-political
prohibits civil service officers and employees from engaging in any electioneering or partisan office.
political campaign.
xxxx
The intention to impose a strict limitation on the participation of civil service officers and
employees in partisan political campaigns is unmistakable. The exchange between Section 55. Political Activity. — No officer or employee in the Civil Service including members of
Commissioner Quesada and Commissioner Foz during the deliberations of the Constitutional the Armed Forces, shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity or take part
Commission is instructive: in any election except to vote nor shall he use his official authority or influence to coerce the
political activity of any other person or body. Nothing herein provided shall be understood to
MS. QUESADA. prevent any officer or employee from expressing his views on current political problems or
issues, or from mentioning the names of his candidates for public office whom he supports:
xxxx Provided, That public officers and employees holding political offices may take part in political
and electoral activities but it shall be unlawful for them to solicit contributions from their
Secondly, I would like to address the issue here as provided in Section 1 (4), line 12, and I subordinates or subject them to any of the acts involving subordinates prohibited in the Election
quote: "No officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any Code.
partisan political activity." This is almost the same provision as in the 1973 Constitution.
However, we in the government service have actually experienced how this provision has been Section 261(i) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (the Omnibus Election Code) further makes
violated by the direct or indirect partisan political activities of many government officials. intervention by civil service officers and employees in partisan political activities an election
offense, viz.:
So, is the Committee willing to include certain clauses that would make this provision more strict,
and which would deter its violation? SECTION 261. Prohibited Acts. — The following shall be guilty of an election offense:

MR. FOZ. Madam President, the existing Civil Service Law and the implementing rules on the xxxx
matter are more than exhaustive enough to really prevent officers and employees in the public
service from engaging in any form of partisan political activity. But the problem really lies in (i) Intervention of public officers and employees. — Any officer or employee in the civil service,
implementation because, if the head of a ministry, and even the superior officers of offices and except those holding political offices; any officer, employee, or member of the Armed Forces of
agencies of government will themselves violate the constitutional injunction against partisan the Philippines, or any police force, special forces, home defense forces, barangay self-defense
political activity, then no string of words that we may add to what is now here in this draft will units and all other para-military units that now exist or which may hereafter be organized who,
really implement the constitutional intent against partisan political activity. x x x20 (italics supplied) directly or indirectly, intervenes in any election campaign or engages in any partisan political
activity, except to vote or to preserve public order, if he is a peace officer.
To emphasize its importance, this constitutional ban on civil service officers and employees is
presently reflected and implemented by a number of statutes. Section 46(b)(26), Chapter 7 and The intent of both Congress and the framers of our Constitution to limit the participation of civil
Section 55, Chapter 8 – both of Subtitle A, Title I, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 – service officers and employees in partisan political activities is too plain to be mistaken.
respectively provide in relevant part:
But Section 2(4), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution and the implementing statutes apply only
Section 44. Discipline: General Provisions: to civil servants holding apolitical offices. Stated differently, the constitutional ban does not cover
elected officials, notwithstanding the fact that "[t]he civil service embraces all branches,
xxxx subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or
controlled corporations with original charters."21 This is because elected public officials, by the
(b) The following shall be grounds for disciplinary action: very nature of their office, engage in partisan political activities almost all year round, even
outside of the campaign period.22 Political partisanship is the inevitable essence of a political
office, elective positions included.23
xxxx
The prohibition notwithstanding, civil service officers and employees are allowed to vote, as well We now hold that Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678, Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code,
as express their views on political issues, or mention the names of certain candidates for public and the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of RA 9369 are not violative of the
office whom they support. This is crystal clear from the deliberations of the Constitutional equal protection clause of the Constitution.
Commission, viz.:
i. Fariñas, et al. v. Executive Secretary, et al. is Controlling
MS. AQUINO: Mr. Presiding Officer, my proposed amendment is on page 2, Section 1,
subparagraph 4, lines 13 and 14. On line 13, between the words "any" and "partisan," add the In truth, this Court has already ruled squarely on whether these deemed-resigned provisions
phrase ELECTIONEERING AND OTHER; and on line 14, delete the word "activity" and in lieu challenged in the case at bar violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution in Fariñas, et
thereof substitute the word CAMPAIGN. al. v. Executive Secretary, et al.25

May I be allowed to explain my proposed amendment? In Fariñas, the constitutionality of Section 14 of the Fair Election Act, in relation to Sections 66
and 67 of the Omnibus Election Code, was assailed on the ground, among others, that it unduly
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Treñas): Commissioner Aquino may proceed. discriminates against appointive officials. As Section 14 repealed Section 67 (i.e., the deemed-
resigned provision in respect of elected officials) of the Omnibus Election Code, elected officials
MS. AQUINO: The draft as presented by the Committee deleted the phrase "except to vote" are no longer considered ipso facto resigned from their respective offices upon their filing of
which was adopted in both the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions. The phrase "except to vote" was certificates of candidacy. In contrast, since Section 66 was not repealed, the limitation on
not intended as a guarantee to the right to vote but as a qualification of the general prohibition appointive officials continues to be operative – they are deemed resigned when they file their
against taking part in elections. certificates of candidacy.

Voting is a partisan political activity. Unless it is explicitly provided for as an exception to this The petitioners in Fariñas thus brought an equal protection challenge against Section 14, with
prohibition, it will amount to disenfranchisement. We know that suffrage, although plenary, is not the end in view of having the deemed-resigned provisions "apply equally" to both elected and
an unconditional right. In other words, the Legislature can always pass a statute which can appointive officials. We held, however, that the legal dichotomy created by the Legislature is a
withhold from any class the right to vote in an election, if public interest so required. I would only reasonable classification, as there are material and significant distinctions between the two
like to reinstate the qualification by specifying the prohibited acts so that those who may want to classes of officials. Consequently, the contention that Section 14 of the Fair Election Act, in
vote but who are likewise prohibited from participating in partisan political campaigns or relation to Sections 66 and 67 of the Omnibus Election Code, infringed on the equal protection
electioneering may vote. clause of the Constitution, failed muster. We ruled:

MR. FOZ: There is really no quarrel over this point, but please understand that there was no The petitioners' contention, that the repeal of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code
intention on the part of the Committee to disenfranchise any government official or employee. pertaining to elective officials gives undue benefit to such officials as against the appointive ones
The elimination of the last clause of this provision was precisely intended to protect the members and violates the equal protection clause of the constitution, is tenuous.
of the civil service in the sense that they are not being deprived of the freedom of expression in a
political contest. The last phrase or clause might have given the impression that a government The equal protection of the law clause in the Constitution is not absolute, but is subject to
employee or worker has no right whatsoever in an election campaign except to vote, which is not reasonable classification. If the groupings are characterized by substantial distinctions that make
the case. They are still free to express their views although the intention is not really to allow real differences, one class may be treated and regulated differently from the other. The Court
them to take part actively in a political campaign.24 has explained the nature of the equal protection guarantee in this manner:

IV. The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and individual or class privilege, as
well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality. It is not intended to prohibit
Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678, Section 13 of RA 9369, and Section 66 of the Omnibus Election legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by territory within which it
Code Do Not Violate the Equal Protection Clause is to operate. It does not demand absolute equality among residents; it merely requires that all
persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges
conferred and liabilities enforced. The equal protection clause is not infringed by legislation
which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class, if it applies alike to all
persons within such class, and reasonable grounds exist for making a distinction between those must then be the rule rather than the exception if litigants are to have faith in the even-handed
who fall within such class and those who do not. administration of justice in the courts.28

Substantial distinctions clearly exist between elective officials and appointive officials. The former Our Fariñas ruling on the equal protection implications of the deemed-resigned provisions
occupy their office by virtue of the mandate of the electorate. They are elected to an office for a cannot be minimalized as mere obiter dictum. It is trite to state that an adjudication on any point
definite term and may be removed therefrom only upon stringent conditions. On the other hand, within the issues presented by the case cannot be considered as obiter dictum.29 This rule
appointive officials hold their office by virtue of their designation thereto by an appointing applies to all pertinent questions that are presented and resolved in the regular course of the
authority. Some appointive officials hold their office in a permanent capacity and are entitled to consideration of the case and lead up to the final conclusion, and to any statement as to the
security of tenure while others serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. matter on which the decision is predicated.30 For that reason, a point expressly decided does not
lose its value as a precedent because the disposition of the case is, or might have been, made
Another substantial distinction between the two sets of officials is that under Section 55, Chapter on some other ground; or even though, by reason of other points in the case, the result reached
8, Title I, Subsection A. Civil Service Commission, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 might have been the same if the court had held, on the particular point, otherwise than it did.31 As
(Executive Order No. 292), appointive officials, as officers and employees in the civil service, are we held in Villanueva, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, et al.:32
strictly prohibited from engaging in any partisan political activity or take (sic) part in any election
except to vote. Under the same provision, elective officials, or officers or employees holding … A decision which the case could have turned on is not regarded as obiter dictum merely
political offices, are obviously expressly allowed to take part in political and electoral activities. because, owing to the disposal of the contention, it was necessary to consider another question,
nor can an additional reason in a decision, brought forward after the case has been disposed of
By repealing Section 67 but retaining Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code, the legislators on one ground, be regarded as dicta. So, also, where a case presents two (2) or more points,
deemed it proper to treat these two classes of officials differently with respect to the effect on any one of which is sufficient to determine the ultimate issue, but the court actually decides all
their tenure in the office of the filing of the certificates of candidacy for any position other than such points, the case as an authoritative precedent as to every point decided, and none of such
those occupied by them. Again, it is not within the power of the Court to pass upon or look into points can be regarded as having the status of a dictum, and one point should not be denied
the wisdom of this classification. authority merely because another point was more dwelt on and more fully argued and
considered, nor does a decision on one proposition make statements of the court regarding
Since the classification justifying Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006, i.e., elected officials vis-à-vis other propositions dicta.33 (italics supplied)
appointive officials, is anchored upon material and significant distinctions and all the persons
belonging under the same classification are similarly treated, the equal protection clause of the ii. Classification Germane to the Purposes of the Law
Constitution is, thus, not infringed.26
The Fariñas ruling on the equal protection challenge stands on solid ground even if reexamined.
The case at bar is a crass attempt to resurrect a dead issue. The miracle is that our assailed
Decision gave it new life. We ought to be guided by the doctrine of stare decisis et non quieta To start with, the equal protection clause does not require the universal application of the laws to
movere. This doctrine, which is really "adherence to precedents," mandates that once a case all persons or things without distinction.34 What it simply requires is equality among equals as
has been decided one way, then another case involving exactly the same point at issue should determined according to a valid classification.35 The test developed by jurisprudence here and
be decided in the same manner.27 This doctrine is one of policy grounded on the necessity for yonder is that of reasonableness,36 which has four requisites:
securing certainty and stability of judicial decisions. As the renowned jurist Benjamin Cardozo
stated in his treatise The Nature of the Judicial Process: (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions;

It will not do to decide the same question one way between one set of litigants and the opposite (2) It is germane to the purposes of the law;
way between another. "If a group of cases involves the same point, the parties expect the same
decision. It would be a gross injustice to decide alternate cases on opposite principles. If a case (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only; and
was decided against me yesterday when I was a defendant, I shall look for the same judgment
today if I am plaintiff. To decide differently would raise a feeling of resentment and wrong in my
(4) It applies equally to all members of the same class.37
breast; it would be an infringement, material and moral, of my rights." Adherence to precedent
Our assailed Decision readily acknowledged that these deemed-resigned provisions satisfy the An election is the embodiment of the popular will, perhaps the purest expression of the
first, third and fourth requisites of reasonableness. It, however, proffers the dubious conclusion sovereign power of the people.49 It involves the choice or selection of candidates to public office
that the differential treatment of appointive officials vis-à-vis elected officials is not germane to by popular vote.50 Considering that elected officials are put in office by their constituents for a
the purpose of the law, because "whether one holds an appointive office or an elective one, the definite term, it may justifiably be said that they were excluded from the ambit of the deemed
evils sought to be prevented by the measure remain," viz.: resigned provisions in utmost respect for the mandate of the sovereign will. In other words,
complete deference is accorded to the will of the electorate that they be served by such officials
… For example, the Executive Secretary, or any Member of the Cabinet for that matter, could until the end of the term for which they were elected. In contrast, there is no such expectation
wield the same influence as the Vice-President who at the same time is appointed to a Cabinet insofar as appointed officials are concerned.
post (in the recent past, elected Vice-Presidents were appointed to take charge of national
housing, social welfare development, interior and local government, and foreign affairs). With the The dichotomized treatment of appointive and elective officials is therefore germane to the
fact that they both head executive offices, there is no valid justification to treat them differently purposes of the law. For the law was made not merely to preserve the integrity, efficiency, and
when both file their [Certificates of Candidacy] for the elections. Under the present state of our discipline of the public service; the Legislature, whose wisdom is outside the rubric of judicial
law, the Vice-President, in the example, running this time, let us say, for President, retains his scrutiny, also thought it wise to balance this with the competing, yet equally compelling, interest
position during the entire election period and can still use the resources of his office to support of deferring to the sovereign will.51 (emphasis in the original)
his campaign.38
In fine, the assailed Decision would have us "equalize the playing field" by invalidating provisions
Sad to state, this conclusion conveniently ignores the long-standing rule that to remedy an of law that seek to restrain the evils from running riot. Under the pretext of equal protection, it
injustice, the Legislature need not address every manifestation of the evil at once; it may would favor a situation in which the evils are unconfined and vagrant, existing at the behest of
proceed "one step at a time."39 In addressing a societal concern, it must invariably draw lines and both appointive and elected officials, over another in which a significant portion thereof is
make choices, thereby creating some inequity as to those included or excluded.40 Nevertheless, contained. The absurdity of that position is self-evident, to say the least.
as long as "the bounds of reasonable choice" are not exceeded, the courts must defer to the
legislative judgment.41 We may not strike down a law merely because the legislative aim would The concern, voiced by our esteemed colleague, Mr. Justice Nachura, in his dissent, that elected
have been more fully achieved by expanding the class.42 Stated differently, the fact that a officials (vis-à-vis appointive officials) have greater political clout over the electorate, is indeed a
legislative classification, by itself, is underinclusive will not render it unconstitutionally arbitrary or matter worth exploring – but not by this Court. Suffice it to say that the remedy lies with the
invidious.43 There is no constitutional requirement that regulation must reach each and every Legislature. It is the Legislature that is given the authority, under our constitutional system, to
class to which it might be applied;44 that the Legislature must be held rigidly to the choice of balance competing interests and thereafter make policy choices responsive to the exigencies of
regulating all or none. the times. It is certainly within the Legislature’s power to make the deemed-resigned provisions
applicable to elected officials, should it later decide that the evils sought to be prevented are of
Thus, any person who poses an equal protection challenge must convincingly show that the law such frequency and magnitude as to tilt the balance in favor of expanding the class. This Court
creates a classification that is "palpably arbitrary or capricious."45 He must refute all possible cannot and should not arrogate unto itself the power to ascertain and impose on the people the
rational bases for the differing treatment, whether or not the Legislature cited those bases as best state of affairs from a public policy standpoint.
reasons for the enactment,46 such that the constitutionality of the law must be sustained even if
the reasonableness of the classification is "fairly debatable."47 In the case at bar, the petitioners iii. Mancuso v. Taft Has Been Overruled
failed – and in fact did not even attempt – to discharge this heavy burden. Our assailed Decision
was likewise silent as a sphinx on this point even while we submitted the following thesis: Finding no Philippine jurisprudence to prop up its equal protection ruling, our assailed Decision
adverted to, and extensively cited, Mancuso v. Taft.52 This was a decision of the First Circuit of
... [I]t is not sufficient grounds for invalidation that we may find that the statute’s distinction is the United States Court of Appeals promulgated in March 1973, which struck down as
unfair, underinclusive, unwise, or not the best solution from a public-policy standpoint; rather, we unconstitutional a similar statutory provision. Pathetically, our assailed Decision, relying on
must find that there is no reasonably rational reason for the differing treatment.48 Mancuso, claimed:

In the instant case, is there a rational justification for excluding elected officials from the (1) The right to run for public office is "inextricably linked" with two fundamental freedoms
operation of the deemed resigned provisions? I submit that there is. – freedom of expression and association;
(2) Any legislative classification that significantly burdens this fundamental right must be But, as the Court held in Pickering v. Board of Education,59 the government has an interest in
subjected to strict equal protection review; and regulating the conduct and ‘the speech of its employees that differ(s) significantly from those it
possesses in connection with regulation of the speech of the citizenry in general. The problem in
(3) While the state has a compelling interest in maintaining the honesty and impartiality any case is to arrive at a balance between the interests of the (employee), as a citizen, in
of its public work force, the deemed-resigned provisions pursue their objective in a far commenting upon matters of public concern and the interest of the (government), as an
too heavy-handed manner as to render them unconstitutional. employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees.’
Although Congress is free to strike a different balance than it has, if it so chooses, we think the
It then concluded with the exhortation that since "the Americans, from whom we copied the balance it has so far struck is sustainable by the obviously important interests sought to be
provision in question, had already stricken down a similar measure for being unconstitutional[,] it served by the limitations on partisan political activities now contained in the Hatch Act.
is high-time that we, too, should follow suit."
It seems fundamental in the first place that employees in the Executive Branch of the
Our assailed Decision’s reliance on Mancuso is completely misplaced. We cannot blink away the Government, or those working for any of its agencies, should administer the law in accordance
fact that the United States Supreme Court effectively overruled Mancuso three months after its with the will of Congress, rather than in accordance with their own or the will of a political party.
promulgation by the United States Court of Appeals. In United States Civil Service Commission, They are expected to enforce the law and execute the programs of the Government without bias
et al. v. National Association of Letter Carriers AFL-CIO, et al.53 and Broadrick, et al. v. State of or favoritism for or against any political party or group or the members thereof. A major thesis of
Oklahoma, et al.,54 the United States Supreme Court was faced with the issue of whether the Hatch Act is that to serve this great end of Government-the impartial execution of the laws-it
statutory provisions prohibiting federal55 and state56 employees from taking an active part in is essential that federal employees, for example, not take formal positions in political parties, not
political management or in political campaigns were unconstitutional as to warrant facial undertake to play substantial roles in partisan political campaigns, and not run for office on
invalidation. Violation of these provisions results in dismissal from employment and possible partisan political tickets. Forbidding activities like these will reduce the hazards to fair and
criminal sanctions. effective government.

The Court declared these provisions compliant with the equal protection clause. It held that (i) in There is another consideration in this judgment: it is not only important that the Government and
regulating the speech of its employees, the state as employer has interests that differ its employees in fact avoid practicing political justice, but it is also critical that they appear to the
significantly from those it possesses in regulating the speech of the citizenry in general; (ii) the public to be avoiding it, if confidence in the system of representative Government is not to be
courts must therefore balance the legitimate interest of employee free expression against the eroded to a disastrous extent.
interests of the employer in promoting efficiency of public services; (iii) if the employees’
expression interferes with the maintenance of efficient and regularly functioning services, the Another major concern of the restriction against partisan activities by federal employees was
limitation on speech is not unconstitutional; and (iv) the Legislature is to be given some flexibility perhaps the immediate occasion for enactment of the Hatch Act in 1939. That was the conviction
or latitude in ascertaining which positions are to be covered by any statutory that the rapidly expanding Government work force should not be employed to build a powerful,
restrictions.57 Therefore, insofar as government employees are concerned, the correct standard invincible, and perhaps corrupt political machine. The experience of the 1936 and 1938
of review is an interest-balancing approach, a means-end scrutiny that examines the closeness campaigns convinced Congress that these dangers were sufficiently real that substantial barriers
of fit between the governmental interests and the prohibitions in question.58 should be raised against the party in power-or the party out of power, for that matter-using the
thousands or hundreds of thousands of federal employees, paid for at public expense, to man its
Letter Carriers elucidated on these principles, as follows: political structure and political campaigns.

Until now, the judgment of Congress, the Executive, and the country appears to have been that A related concern, and this remains as important as any other, was to further serve the goal that
partisan political activities by federal employees must be limited if the Government is to operate employment and advancement in the Government service not depend on political performance,
effectively and fairly, elections are to play their proper part in representative government, and and at the same time to make sure that Government employees would be free from pressure
employees themselves are to be sufficiently free from improper influences. The restrictions so far and from express or tacit invitation to vote in a certain way or perform political chores in order to
imposed on federal employees are not aimed at particular parties, groups, or points of view, but curry favor with their superiors rather than to act out their own beliefs. It may be urged that
apply equally to all partisan activities of the type described. They discriminate against no racial, prohibitions against coercion are sufficient protection; but for many years the joint judgment of
ethnic, or religious minorities. Nor do they seek to control political opinions or beliefs, or to the Executive and Congress has been that to protect the rights of federal employees with
interfere with or influence anyone's vote at the polls. respect to their jobs and their political acts and beliefs it is not enough merely to forbid one
employee to attempt to influence or coerce another. For example, at the hearings in 1972 on
proposed legislation for liberalizing the prohibition against political activity, the Chairman of the any cost, they are set out in terms that the ordinary person exercising ordinary common sense
Civil Service Commission stated that ‘the prohibitions against active participation in partisan can sufficiently understand and comply with, without sacrifice to the public interest.' x x x
political management and partisan political campaigns constitute the most significant safeguards
against coercion . . ..’ Perhaps Congress at some time will come to a different view of the xxxx
realities of political life and Government service; but that is its current view of the matter, and we
are not now in any position to dispute it. Nor, in our view, does the Constitution forbid it. [Appellants] nevertheless maintain that the statute is overbroad and purports to reach protected,
as well as unprotected conduct, and must therefore be struck down on its face and held to be
Neither the right to associate nor the right to participate in political activities is absolute in any incapable of any constitutional application. We do not believe that the overbreadth doctrine may
event.60 x x x appropriately be invoked in this manner here.

xxxx xxxx

As we see it, our task is not to destroy the Act if we can, but to construe it, if consistent with the The consequence of our departure from traditional rules of standing in the First Amendment area
will of Congress, so as to comport with constitutional limitations. (italics supplied) is that any enforcement of a statute thus placed at issue is totally forbidden until and unless a
limiting construction or partial invalidation so narrows it as to remove the seeming threat or
Broadrick likewise definitively stated that the assailed statutory provision is constitutionally deterrence to constitutionally protected expression. Application of the overbreadth doctrine in
permissible, viz.: this manner is, manifestly, strong medicine. It has been employed by the Court sparingly and
only as a last resort. x x x
Appellants do not question Oklahoma's right to place even-handed restrictions on the partisan
political conduct of state employees. Appellants freely concede that such restrictions serve valid x x x But the plain import of our cases is, at the very least, that facial over-breadth adjudication is
and important state interests, particularly with respect to attracting greater numbers of qualified an exception to our traditional rules of practice and that its function, a limited one at the outset,
people by insuring their job security, free from the vicissitudes of the elective process, and by attenuates as the otherwise unprotected behavior that it forbids the State to sanction moves from
protecting them from ‘political extortion.’ Rather, appellants maintain that however permissible, ‘pure speech’ toward conduct and that conduct-even if expressive-falls within the scope of
even commendable, the goals of s 818 may be, its language is unconstitutionally vague and its otherwise valid criminal laws that reflect legitimate state interests in maintaining comprehensive
prohibitions too broad in their sweep, failing to distinguish between conduct that may be controls over harmful, constitutionally unprotected conduct. Although such laws, if too broadly
proscribed and conduct that must be permitted. For these and other reasons, appellants assert worded, may deter protected speech to some unknown extent, there comes a point where that
that the sixth and seventh paragraphs of s 818 are void in toto and cannot be enforced against effect-at best a prediction-cannot, with confidence, justify invalidating a statute on its face and so
them or anyone else. prohibiting a State from enforcing the statute against conduct that is admittedly within its power
to proscribe. To put the matter another way, particularly where conduct and not merely speech is
We have held today that the Hatch Act is not impermissibly vague.61 We have little doubt that s involved, we believe that the overbreadth of a statute must not only be real, but substantial as
818 is similarly not so vague that ‘men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its well, judged in relation to the statute's plainly legitimate sweep. It is our view that s 818 is not
meaning.’62 Whatever other problems there are with s 818, it is all but frivolous to suggest that substantially overbroad and that whatever overbreadth may exist should be cured through case-
the section fails to give adequate warning of what activities it proscribes or fails to set out ‘explicit by-case analysis of the fact situations to which its sanctions, assertedly, may not be applied.
standards' for those who must apply it. In the plainest language, it prohibits any state classified
employee from being ‘an officer or member’ of a ‘partisan political club’ or a candidate for ‘any Unlike ordinary breach-of-the peace statutes or other broad regulatory acts, s 818 is directed, by
paid public office.’ It forbids solicitation of contributions ‘for any political organization, candidacy its terms, at political expression which if engaged in by private persons would plainly be
or other political purpose’ and taking part ‘in the management or affairs of any political party or in protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. But at the same time, s 818 is not a
any political campaign.’ Words inevitably contain germs of uncertainty and, as with the Hatch censorial statute, directed at particular groups or viewpoints. The statute, rather, seeks to
Act, there may be disputes over the meaning of such terms in s 818 as ‘partisan,’ or ‘take part regulate political activity in an even-handed and neutral manner. As indicted, such statutes have
in,’ or ‘affairs of’ political parties. But what was said in Letter Carriers, is applicable here: ‘there in the past been subject to a less exacting overbreadth scrutiny. Moreover, the fact remains that
are limitations in the English language with respect to being both specific and manageably brief, s 818 regulates a substantial spectrum of conduct that is as manifestly subject to state regulation
and it seems to us that although the prohibitions may not satisfy those intent on finding fault at as the public peace or criminal trespass. This much was established in United Public Workers v.
Mitchell, and has been unhesitatingly reaffirmed today in Letter Carriers. Under the decision in
Letter Carriers, there is no question that s 818 is valid at least insofar as it forbids classified Clearly, as the above-cited US cases pertain to different types of laws and were decided based
employees from: soliciting contributions for partisan candidates, political parties, or other partisan on a different set of facts, Letter Carriers and Broadrick cannot be interpreted to mean a reversal
political purposes; becoming members of national, state, or local committees of political parties, of Mancuso. x x x (italics in the original)
or officers or committee members in partisan political clubs, or candidates for any paid public
office; taking part in the management or affairs of any political party's partisan political campaign; We hold, however, that his position is belied by a plain reading of these cases. Contrary to his
serving as delegates or alternates to caucuses or conventions of political parties; addressing or claim, Letter Carriers, Broadrick and Mancuso all concerned the constitutionality of resign-to-run
taking an active part in partisan political rallies or meetings; soliciting votes or assisting voters at laws, viz.:
the polls or helping in a partisan effort to get voters to the polls; participating in the distribution of
partisan campaign literature; initiating or circulating partisan nominating petitions; or riding in (1) Mancuso involved a civil service employee who filed as a candidate for nomination as
caravans for any political party or partisan political candidate. representative to the Rhode Island General Assembly. He assailed the constitutionality of
§14.09(c) of the City Home Rule Charter, which prohibits "continuing in the classified
x x x It may be that such restrictions are impermissible and that s 818 may be susceptible of service of the city after becoming a candidate for nomination or election to any public
some other improper applications. But, as presently construed, we do not believe that s 818 office."
must be discarded in toto because some persons’ arguably protected conduct may or may not
be caught or chilled by the statute. Section 818 is not substantially overbroad and it not, (2) Letter Carriers involved plaintiffs who alleged that the Civil Service Commission was
therefore, unconstitutional on its face. (italics supplied) enforcing, or threatening to enforce, the Hatch Act’s prohibition against "active
participation in political management or political campaigns"63 with respect to certain
It bears stressing that, in his Dissenting Opinion, Mr. Justice Nachura does not deny the defined activities in which they desired to engage. The plaintiffs relevant to this
principles enunciated in Letter Carriers and Broadrick. He would hold, nonetheless, that these discussion are:
cases cannot be interpreted to mean a reversal of Mancuso, since they "pertain to different types
of laws and were decided based on a different set of facts," viz.: (a) The National Association of Letter Carriers, which alleged that its members
were desirous of, among others, running in local elections for offices such as
In Letter Carriers, the plaintiffs alleged that the Civil Service Commission was enforcing, or school board member, city council member or mayor;
threatening to enforce, the Hatch Act’s prohibition against "active participation in political
management or political campaigns." The plaintiffs desired to campaign for candidates for public (b) Plaintiff Gee, who alleged that he desired to, but did not, file as a candidate
office, to encourage and get federal employees to run for state and local offices, to participate as for the office of Borough Councilman in his local community for fear that his
delegates in party conventions, and to hold office in a political club. participation in a partisan election would endanger his job; and

In Broadrick, the appellants sought the invalidation for being vague and overbroad a provision in (c) Plaintiff Myers, who alleged that he desired to run as a Republican candidate
the (sic) Oklahoma’s Merit System of Personnel Administration Act restricting the political in the 1971 partisan election for the mayor of West Lafayette, Indiana, and that
activities of the State’s classified civil servants, in much the same manner as the Hatch Act he would do so except for fear of losing his job by reason of violation of the Hatch
proscribed partisan political activities of federal employees. Prior to the commencement of the Act.
action, the appellants actively participated in the 1970 reelection campaign of their superior, and
were administratively charged for asking other Corporation Commission employees to do
The Hatch Act defines "active participation in political management or political campaigns" by
campaign work or to give referrals to persons who might help in the campaign, for soliciting
cross-referring to the rules made by the Civil Service Commission. The rule pertinent to our
money for the campaign, and for receiving and distributing campaign posters in bulk.
inquiry states:
Mancuso, on the other hand, involves, as aforesaid, an automatic resignation provision. Kenneth
30. Candidacy for local office: Candidacy for a nomination or for election to any National, State,
Mancuso, a full time police officer and classified civil service employee of the City of Cranston,
county, or municipal office is not permissible. The prohibition against political activity extends not
filed as a candidate for nomination as representative to the Rhode Island General Assembly.
merely to formal announcement of candidacy but also to the preliminaries leading to such
The Mayor of Cranston then began the process of enforcing the resign-to-run provision of the
announcement and to canvassing or soliciting support or doing or permitting to be done any act
City Home Rule Charter.
in furtherance of candidacy. The fact that candidacy, is merely passive is immaterial; if an
employee acquiesces in the efforts of friends in furtherance of such candidacy such
acquiescence constitutes an infraction of the prohibitions against political activity. (italics The question before us is whether Pawtucket's charter provision, which bars a city employee's
supplied) candidacy in even a nonpartisan city election, is constitutional. The issue compels us to
extrapolate two recent Supreme Court decisions, Civil Service Comm'n v. Nat'l Ass'n of Letter
Section 9(b) requires the immediate removal of violators and forbids the use of appropriated Carriers and Broadrick v. Oklahoma. Both dealt with laws barring civil servants from partisan
funds thereafter to pay compensation to these persons.64 political activity. Letter Carriers reaffirmed United Public Workers v. Mitchell, upholding the
constitutionality of the Hatch Act as to federal employees. Broadrick sustained Oklahoma's "Little
(3) Broadrick was a class action brought by certain Oklahoma state employees seeking a Hatch Act" against constitutional attack, limiting its holding to Oklahoma's construction that the
declaration of unconstitutionality of two sub-paragraphs of Section 818 of Oklahoma’s Merit Act barred only activity in partisan politics. In Mancuso v. Taft, we assumed that proscriptions of
System of Personnel Administration Act. Section 818 (7), the paragraph relevant to this candidacy in nonpartisan elections would not be constitutional. Letter Carriers and Broadrick
discussion, states that "[n]o employee in the classified service shall be … a candidate for compel new analysis.
nomination or election to any paid public office…" Violation of Section 818 results in dismissal
from employment, possible criminal sanctions and limited state employment ineligibility. xxxx

Consequently, it cannot be denied that Letter Carriers and Broadrick effectively overruled What we are obligated to do in this case, as the district court recognized, is to apply the Court’s
Mancuso. By no stretch of the imagination could Mancuso still be held operative, as Letter interest balancing approach to the kind of nonpartisan election revealed in this record. We
Carriers and Broadrick (i) concerned virtually identical resign-to-run laws, and (ii) were decided believe that the district court found more residual vigor in our opinion in Mancuso v. Taft than
by a superior court, the United States Supreme Court. It was thus not surprising for the First remains after Letter Carriers. We have particular reference to our view that political candidacy
Circuit Court of Appeals – the same court that decided Mancuso – to hold categorically and was a fundamental interest which could be trenched upon only if less restrictive alternatives were
emphatically in Magill v. Lynch65 that Mancuso is no longer good law. As we priorly explained: not available. While this approach may still be viable for citizens who are not government
employees, the Court in Letter Carriers recognized that the government's interest in regulating
Magill involved Pawtucket, Rhode Island firemen who ran for city office in 1975. Pawtucket’s both the conduct and speech of its employees differs significantly from its interest in regulating
"Little Hatch Act" prohibits city employees from engaging in a broad range of political activities. those of the citizenry in general. Not only was United Public Workers v. Mitchell "unhesitatingly"
Becoming a candidate for any city office is specifically proscribed,66 the violation being punished reaffirmed, but the Court gave little weight to the argument that prohibitions against the coercion
by removal from office or immediate dismissal. The firemen brought an action against the city of government employees were a less drastic means to the same end, deferring to the judgment
officials on the ground that that the provision of the city charter was unconstitutional. However, of the Congress. We cannot be more precise than the Third Circuit in characterizing the Court's
the court, fully cognizant of Letter Carriers and Broadrick, took the position that Mancuso had approach as "some sort of 'balancing' process".68 It appears that the government may place
since lost considerable vitality. It observed that the view that political candidacy was a limits on campaigning by public employees if the limits substantially serve government interests
fundamental interest which could be infringed upon only if less restrictive alternatives were not that are "important" enough to outweigh the employees' First Amendment rights. x x x (italics
available, was a position which was no longer viable, since the Supreme Court (finding that the supplied)
government’s interest in regulating both the conduct and speech of its employees differed
significantly from its interest in regulating those of the citizenry in general) had given little weight Upholding thus the constitutionality of the law in question, the Magill court detailed the major
to the argument that prohibitions against the coercion of government employees were a less governmental interests discussed in Letter Carriers and applied them to the Pawtucket provision
drastic means to the same end, deferring to the judgment of Congress, and applying a as follows:
"balancing" test to determine whether limits on political activity by public employees substantially
served government interests which were "important" enough to outweigh the employees’ First In Letter Carriers[,] the first interest identified by the Court was that of an efficient government,
Amendment rights.67 faithful to the Congress rather than to party. The district court discounted this interest, reasoning
that candidates in a local election would not likely be committed to a state or national platform.
It must be noted that the Court of Appeals ruled in this manner even though the election in Magill This observation undoubtedly has substance insofar as allegiance to broad policy positions is
was characterized as nonpartisan, as it was reasonable for the city to fear, under the concerned. But a different kind of possible political intrusion into efficient administration could be
circumstances of that case, that politically active bureaucrats might use their official power to thought to threaten municipal government: not into broad policy decisions, but into the particulars
help political friends and hurt political foes. Ruled the court: of administration favoritism in minute decisions affecting welfare, tax assessments, municipal
contracts and purchasing, hiring, zoning, licensing, and inspections. Just as the Court in Letter
Carriers identified a second governmental interest in the avoidance of the appearance of
"political justice" as to policy, so there is an equivalent interest in avoiding the appearance of
political preferment in privileges, concessions, and benefits. The appearance (or reality) of context, but without party officials looking over their shoulders most supervisors will prefer to let
favoritism that the charter's authors evidently feared is not exorcised by the nonpartisan employees go their own ways.
character of the formal election process. Where, as here, party support is a key to successful
campaigning, and party rivalry is the norm, the city might reasonably fear that politically active In short, the government may constitutionally restrict its employees' participation in nominally
bureaucrats would use their official power to help political friends and hurt political foes. This is nonpartisan elections if political parties play a large role in the campaigns. In the absence of
not to say that the city's interest in visibly fair and effective administration necessarily justifies a substantial party involvement, on the other hand, the interests identified by the Letter Carriers
blanket prohibition of all employee campaigning; if parties are not heavily involved in a Court lose much of their force. While the employees' First Amendment rights would normally
campaign, the danger of favoritism is less, for neither friend nor foe is as easily identified. outbalance these diminished interests, we do not suggest that they would always do so. Even
when parties are absent, many employee campaigns might be thought to endanger at least one
A second major governmental interest identified in Letter Carriers was avoiding the danger of a strong public interest, an interest that looms larger in the context of municipal elections than it
powerful political machine. The Court had in mind the large and growing federal bureaucracy does in the national elections considered in Letter Carriers. The city could reasonably fear the
and its partisan potential. The district court felt this was only a minor threat since parties had no prospect of a subordinate running directly against his superior or running for a position that
control over nominations. But in fact candidates sought party endorsements, and party confers great power over his superior. An employee of a federal agency who seeks a
endorsements proved to be highly effective both in determining who would emerge from the Congressional seat poses less of a direct challenge to the command and discipline of his agency
primary election and who would be elected in the final election. Under the prevailing customs, than a fireman or policeman who runs for mayor or city council. The possibilities of internal
known party affiliation and support were highly significant factors in Pawtucket elections. The discussion, cliques, and political bargaining, should an employee gather substantial political
charter's authors might reasonably have feared that a politically active public work force would support, are considerable. (citations omitted)
give the incumbent party, and the incumbent workers, an unbreakable grasp on the reins of
power. In municipal elections especially, the small size of the electorate and the limited powers The court, however, remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings in respect of
of local government may inhibit the growth of interest groups powerful enough to outbalance the the petitioners’ overbreadth charge. Noting that invalidating a statute for being overbroad is "not
weight of a partisan work force. Even when nonpartisan issues and candidacies are at stake, to be taken lightly, much less to be taken in the dark," the court held:
isolated government employees may seek to influence voters or their co-workers improperly; but
a more real danger is that a central party structure will mass the scattered powers of government The governing case is Broadrick, which introduced the doctrine of "substantial" overbreadth in a
workers behind a single party platform or slate. Occasional misuse of the public trust to pursue closely analogous case. Under Broadrick, when one who challenges a law has engaged in
private political ends is tolerable, especially because the political views of individual employees constitutionally unprotected conduct (rather than unprotected speech) and when the challenged
may balance each other out. But party discipline eliminates this diversity and tends to make law is aimed at unprotected conduct, "the overbreadth of a statute must not only be real, but
abuse systematic. Instead of a handful of employees pressured into advancing their immediate substantial as well, judged in relation to the statute's plainly legitimate sweep." Two major
superior's political ambitions, the entire government work force may be expected to turn out for uncertainties attend the doctrine: how to distinguish speech from conduct, and how to define
many candidates in every election. In Pawtucket, where parties are a continuing presence in "substantial" overbreadth. We are spared the first inquiry by Broadrick itself. The plaintiffs in that
political campaigns, a carefully orchestrated use of city employees in support of the incumbent case had solicited support for a candidate, and they were subject to discipline under a law
party's candidates is possible. The danger is scarcely lessened by the openness of Pawtucket's proscribing a wide range of activities, including soliciting contributions for political candidates and
nominating procedure or the lack of party labels on its ballots. becoming a candidate. The Court found that this combination required a substantial overbreadth
approach. The facts of this case are so similar that we may reach the same result without
The third area of proper governmental interest in Letter Carriers was ensuring that employees worrying unduly about the sometimes opaque distinction between speech and conduct.
achieve advancement on their merits and that they be free from both coercion and the prospect
of favor from political activity. The district court did not address this factor, but looked only to the The second difficulty is not so easily disposed of. Broadrick found no substantial overbreadth in
possibility of a civil servant using his position to influence voters, and held this to be no more of a a statute restricting partisan campaigning. Pawtucket has gone further, banning participation in
threat than in the most nonpartisan of elections. But we think that the possibility of coercion of nonpartisan campaigns as well. Measuring the substantiality of a statute's overbreadth
employees by superiors remains as strong a factor in municipal elections as it was in Letter apparently requires, inter alia, a rough balancing of the number of valid applications compared to
Carriers. Once again, it is the systematic and coordinated exploitation of public servants for the number of potentially invalid applications. Some sensitivity to reality is needed; an invalid
political ends that a legislature is most likely to see as the primary threat of employees' rights. application that is far-fetched does not deserve as much weight as one that is probable. The
Political oppression of public employees will be rare in an entirely nonpartisan system. Some question is a matter of degree; it will never be possible to say that a ratio of one invalid to nine
superiors may be inclined to ride herd on the politics of their employees even in a nonpartisan valid applications makes a law substantially overbroad. Still, an overbreadth challenger has a
duty to provide the court with some idea of the number of potentially invalid applications the
statute permits. Often, simply reading the statute in the light of common experience or litigated En passant, we find it quite ironic that Mr. Justice Nachura cites Clements v. Fashing76 and
cases will suggest a number of probable invalid applications. But this case is different. Whether Morial, et al. v. Judiciary Commission of the State of Louisiana, et al.77 to buttress his dissent.
the statute is overbroad depends in large part on the number of elections that are insulated from Maintaining that resign-to-run provisions are valid only when made applicable to specified
party rivalry yet closed to Pawtucket employees. For all the record shows, every one of the city, officials, he explains:
state, or federal elections in Pawtucket is actively contested by political parties. Certainly the
record suggests that parties play a major role even in campaigns that often are entirely …U.S. courts, in subsequent cases, sustained the constitutionality of resign-to-run provisions
nonpartisan in other cities. School committee candidates, for example, are endorsed by the local when applied to specified or particular officials, as distinguished from all others,78 under a
Democratic committee. classification that is germane to the purposes of the law. These resign-to-run legislations were
not expressed in a general and sweeping provision, and thus did not violate the test of being
The state of the record does not permit us to find overbreadth; indeed such a step is not to be germane to the purpose of the law, the second requisite for a valid classification. Directed, as
taken lightly, much less to be taken in the dark. On the other hand, the entire focus below, in the they were, to particular officials, they were not overly encompassing as to be overbroad.
short period before the election was held, was on the constitutionality of the statute as applied. (emphasis in the original)
Plaintiffs may very well feel that further efforts are not justified, but they should be afforded the
opportunity to demonstrate that the charter forecloses access to a significant number of offices, This reading is a regrettable misrepresentation of Clements and Morial. The resign-to-run
the candidacy for which by municipal employees would not pose the possible threats to provisions in these cases were upheld not because they referred to specified or particular
government efficiency and integrity which Letter Carriers, as we have interpreted it, deems officials (vis-à-vis a general class); the questioned provisions were found valid precisely because
significant. Accordingly, we remand for consideration of plaintiffs' overbreadth claim. (italics the Court deferred to legislative judgment and found that a regulation is not devoid of a rational
supplied, citations omitted) predicate simply because it happens to be incomplete. In fact, the equal protection challenge in
Clements revolved around the claim that the State of Texas failed to explain why some public
Clearly, Letter Carriers, Broadrick, and Magill demonstrate beyond doubt that Mancuso v. Taft, officials are subject to the resign-to-run provisions, while others are not. Ruled the United States
heavily relied upon by the ponencia, has effectively been overruled.69 As it is no longer good law, Supreme Court:
the ponencia’s exhortation that "[since] the Americans, from whom we copied the provision in
question, had already stricken down a similar measure for being unconstitutional[,] it is high-time Article XVI, § 65, of the Texas Constitution provides that the holders of certain offices
that we, too, should follow suit" is misplaced and unwarranted.70 automatically resign their positions if they become candidates for any other elected office, unless
the unexpired portion of the current term is one year or less. The burdens that § 65 imposes on
Accordingly, our assailed Decision’s submission that the right to run for public office is candidacy are even less substantial than those imposed by § 19. The two provisions, of course,
"inextricably linked" with two fundamental freedoms – those of expression and association – lies serve essentially the same state interests. The District Court found § 65 deficient, however, not
on barren ground. American case law has in fact never recognized a fundamental right to because of the nature or extent of the provision's restriction on candidacy, but because of the
express one’s political views through candidacy,71 as to invoke a rigorous standard of manner in which the offices are classified. According to the District Court, the classification
review.72 Bart v. Telford73 pointedly stated that "[t]he First Amendment does not in terms confer a system cannot survive equal protection scrutiny, because Texas has failed to explain sufficiently
right to run for public office, and this court has held that it does not do so by implication either." why some elected public officials are subject to § 65 and why others are not. As with the case of
Thus, one’s interest in seeking office, by itself, is not entitled to constitutional § 19, we conclude that § 65 survives a challenge under the Equal Protection Clause unless
protection.74 Moreover, one cannot bring one’s action under the rubric of freedom of association, appellees can show that there is no rational predicate to the classification scheme.
absent any allegation that, by running for an elective position, one is advancing the political
ideas of a particular set of voters.75 The history behind § 65 shows that it may be upheld consistent with the "one step at a time"
approach that this Court has undertaken with regard to state regulation not subject to more
Prescinding from these premises, it is crystal clear that the provisions challenged in the case at vigorous scrutiny than that sanctioned by the traditional principles. Section 65 was enacted in
bar, are not violative of the equal protection clause. The deemed-resigned provisions 1954 as a transitional provision applying only to the 1954 election. Section 65 extended the
substantially serve governmental interests (i.e., (i) efficient civil service faithful to the government terms of those offices enumerated in the provision from two to four years. The provision also
and the people rather than to party; (ii) avoidance of the appearance of "political justice" as to staggered the terms of other offices so that at least some county and local offices would be
policy; (iii) avoidance of the danger of a powerful political machine; and (iv) ensuring that contested at each election. The automatic resignation proviso to § 65 was not added until 1958.
employees achieve advancement on their merits and that they be free from both coercion and In that year, a similar automatic resignation provision was added in Art. XI, § 11, which applies to
the prospect of favor from political activity). These are interests that are important enough to officeholders in home rule cities who serve terms longer than two years. Section 11 allows home
outweigh the non-fundamental right of appointive officials and employees to seek elective office. 1avvphi1 rule cities the option of extending the terms of municipal offices from two to up to four years.
Thus, the automatic resignation provision in Texas is a creature of the State's electoral reforms Apart from nullifying Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678, Section 13 of RA 9369, and Section 66 of
of 1958. That the State did not go further in applying the automatic resignation provision to those the Omnibus Election Code on equal protection ground, our assailed Decision struck them down
officeholders whose terms were not extended by § 11 or § 65, absent an invidious purpose, is for being overbroad in two respects, viz.:
not the sort of malfunctioning of the State's lawmaking process forbidden by the Equal Protection
Clause. A regulation is not devoid of a rational predicate simply because it happens to be (1) The assailed provisions limit the candidacy of all civil servants holding appointive
incomplete. The Equal Protection Clause does not forbid Texas to restrict one elected posts without due regard for the type of position being held by the employee seeking an
officeholder's candidacy for another elected office unless and until it places similar restrictions on elective post and the degree of influence that may be attendant thereto;79 and
other officeholders. The provision's language and its history belie any notion that § 65 serves the
invidious purpose of denying access to the political process to identifiable classes of potential (2) The assailed provisions limit the candidacy of any and all civil servants holding
candidates. (citations omitted and italics supplied) appointive positions without due regard for the type of office being sought, whether it be
partisan or nonpartisan in character, or in the national, municipal or barangay level.
Furthermore, it is unfortunate that the dissenters took the Morial line that "there is no blanket
approval of restrictions on the right of public employees to become candidates for public office" Again, on second look, we have to revise our assailed Decision.
out of context. A correct reading of that line readily shows that the Court only meant to confine its
ruling to the facts of that case, as each equal protection challenge would necessarily have to
i. Limitation on Candidacy Regardless of Incumbent Appointive Official’s Position, Valid
involve weighing governmental interests vis-à-vis the specific prohibition assailed. The Court
held:
According to the assailed Decision, the challenged provisions of law are overly broad because
they apply indiscriminately to all civil servants holding appointive posts, without due regard for
The interests of public employees in free expression and political association are unquestionably
the type of position being held by the employee running for elective office and the degree of
entitled to the protection of the first and fourteenth amendments. Nothing in today's decision
influence that may be attendant thereto.
should be taken to imply that public employees may be prohibited from expressing their private
views on controversial topics in a manner that does not interfere with the proper performance of
their public duties. In today's decision, there is no blanket approval of restrictions on the right of Its underlying assumption appears to be that the evils sought to be prevented are extant only
public employees to become candidates for public office. Nor do we approve any general when the incumbent appointive official running for elective office holds an influential post.
restrictions on the political and civil rights of judges in particular. Our holding is necessarily
narrowed by the methodology employed to reach it. A requirement that a state judge resign his Such a myopic view obviously fails to consider a different, yet equally plausible, threat to the
office prior to becoming a candidate for non-judicial office bears a reasonably necessary relation government posed by the partisan potential of a large and growing bureaucracy: the danger of
to the achievement of the state's interest in preventing the actuality or appearance of judicial systematic abuse perpetuated by a "powerful political machine" that has amassed "the scattered
impropriety. Such a requirement offends neither the first amendment's guarantees of free powers of government workers" so as to give itself and its incumbent workers an "unbreakable
expression and association nor the fourteenth amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the grasp on the reins of power."80 As elucidated in our prior exposition:81
laws. (italics supplied)
Attempts by government employees to wield influence over others or to make use of their
Indeed, the Morial court even quoted Broadrick and stated that: respective positions (apparently) to promote their own candidacy may seem tolerable – even
innocuous – particularly when viewed in isolation from other similar attempts by other
In any event, the legislature must have some leeway in determining which of its employment government employees. Yet it would be decidedly foolhardy to discount the equally (if not more)
positions require restrictions on partisan political activities and which may be left unregulated. realistic and dangerous possibility that such seemingly disjointed attempts, when taken together,
And a State can hardly be faulted for attempting to limit the positions upon which such constitute a veiled effort on the part of an emerging central party structure to advance its own
restrictions are placed. (citations omitted) agenda through a "carefully orchestrated use of [appointive and/or elective] officials" coming
from various levels of the bureaucracy.
V.
…[T]he avoidance of such a "politically active public work force" which could give an emerging
political machine an "unbreakable grasp on the reins of power" is reason enough to impose a
Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678, Section 13 of RA 9369, and Section 66 of the Omnibus Election
restriction on the candidacies of all appointive public officials without further distinction as to the
Code Do Not Suffer from Overbreadth
type of positions being held by such employees or the degree of influence that may be attendant special rules, including a separate rule on deemed resignations which is found in Section 39 of
thereto. (citations omitted) the Omnibus Election Code. Said provision states:

ii. Limitation on Candidacy Regardless of Type of Office Sought, Valid Section 39. Certificate of Candidacy. – No person shall be elected punong barangay or kagawad
ng sangguniang barangay unless he files a sworn certificate of candidacy in triplicate on any day
The assailed Decision also held that the challenged provisions of law are overly broad because from the commencement of the election period but not later than the day before the beginning of
they are made to apply indiscriminately to all civil servants holding appointive offices, without due the campaign period in a form to be prescribed by the Commission. The candidate shall state the
regard for the type of elective office being sought, whether it be partisan or nonpartisan in barangay office for which he is a candidate.
character, or in the national, municipal or barangay level.
xxxx
This erroneous ruling is premised on the assumption that "the concerns of a truly partisan office
and the temptations it fosters are sufficiently different from those involved in an office removed Any elective or appointive municipal, city, provincial or national official or employee, or those in
from regular party politics [so as] to warrant distinctive treatment,"82 so that restrictions on the civil or military service, including those in government-owned or-controlled corporations, shall
candidacy akin to those imposed by the challenged provisions can validly apply only to situations be considered automatically resigned upon the filing of certificate of candidacy for a barangay
in which the elective office sought is partisan in character. To the extent, therefore, that such office.
restrictions are said to preclude even candidacies for nonpartisan elective offices, the challenged
restrictions are to be considered as overbroad. Since barangay elections are governed by a separate deemed resignation rule, under the
present state of law, there would be no occasion to apply the restriction on candidacy found in
Again, a careful study of the challenged provisions and related laws on the matter will show that Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code, and later reiterated in the proviso of Section 13 of RA
the alleged overbreadth is more apparent than real. Our exposition on this issue has not been 9369, to any election other than a partisan one. For this reason, the overbreadth challenge
repudiated, viz.: raised against Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code and the pertinent proviso in Section 13
of RA 9369 must also fail. 85
A perusal of Resolution 8678 will immediately disclose that the rules and guidelines set forth
therein refer to the filing of certificates of candidacy and nomination of official candidates of In any event, even if we were to assume, for the sake of argument, that Section 66 of the
registered political parties, in connection with the May 10, 2010 National and Local Omnibus Election Code and the corresponding provision in Section 13 of RA 9369 are general
Elections.83 Obviously, these rules and guidelines, including the restriction in Section 4(a) of rules that apply also to elections for nonpartisan public offices, the overbreadth challenge would
Resolution 8678, were issued specifically for purposes of the May 10, 2010 National and Local still be futile. Again, we explained:
Elections, which, it must be noted, are decidedly partisan in character. Thus, it is clear that the
restriction in Section 4(a) of RA 8678 applies only to the candidacies of appointive officials vying In the first place, the view that Congress is limited to controlling only partisan behavior has not
for partisan elective posts in the May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections. On this score, the received judicial imprimatur, because the general proposition of the relevant US cases on the
overbreadth challenge leveled against Section 4(a) is clearly unsustainable. matter is simply that the government has an interest in regulating the conduct and speech of its
employees that differs significantly from those it possesses in connection with regulation of the
Similarly, a considered review of Section 13 of RA 9369 and Section 66 of the Omnibus Election speech of the citizenry in general.86
Code, in conjunction with other related laws on the matter, will confirm that these provisions are
likewise not intended to apply to elections for nonpartisan public offices. Moreover, in order to have a statute declared as unconstitutional or void on its face for being
overly broad, particularly where, as in this case, "conduct" and not "pure speech" is involved, the
The only elections which are relevant to the present inquiry are the elections for barangay overbreadth must not only be real, but substantial as well, judged in relation to the statute’s
offices, since these are the only elections in this country which involve nonpartisan public plainly legitimate sweep.87
offices.84
In operational terms, measuring the substantiality of a statute’s overbreadth would entail, among
In this regard, it is well to note that from as far back as the enactment of the Omnibus Election other things, a rough balancing of the number of valid applications compared to the number of
Code in 1985, Congress has intended that these nonpartisan barangay elections be governed by potentially invalid applications.88 In this regard, some sensitivity to reality is needed; an invalid
application that is far-fetched does not deserve as much weight as one that is probable.89 The
question is a matter of degree.90 Thus, assuming for the sake of argument that the partisan- provinces.100 Even the Secretary of Justice had filed her certificate of substitution for
nonpartisan distinction is valid and necessary such that a statute which fails to make this representative of the first district of Quezon province last December 14, 2009101 – even as her
distinction is susceptible to an overbreadth attack, the overbreadth challenge presently mounted position as Justice Secretary includes supervision over the City and Provincial
must demonstrate or provide this Court with some idea of the number of potentially invalid Prosecutors,102 who, in turn, act as Vice-Chairmen of the respective Boards of
elections (i.e. the number of elections that were insulated from party rivalry but were Canvassers.103 The Judiciary has not been spared, for a Regional Trial Court Judge in the South
nevertheless closed to appointive employees) that may in all probability result from the has thrown his hat into the political arena. We cannot allow the tilting of our electoral playing field
enforcement of the statute.91 in their favor.

The state of the record, however, does not permit us to find overbreadth. Borrowing from the For the foregoing reasons, we now rule that Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678 and Section 13 of
words of Magill v. Lynch, indeed, such a step is not to be taken lightly, much less to be taken in RA 9369, which merely reiterate Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code, are not
the dark,92 especially since an overbreadth finding in this case would effectively prohibit the State unconstitutionally overbroad.
from ‘enforcing an otherwise valid measure against conduct that is admittedly within its power to
proscribe.’93 IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court RESOLVES to GRANT the respondent’s and the intervenors’
Motions for Reconsideration; REVERSE and SET ASIDE this Court’s December 1, 2009
This Court would do well to proceed with tiptoe caution, particularly when it comes to the Decision; DISMISS the Petition; and ISSUE this Resolution declaring as not
application of the overbreadth doctrine in the analysis of statutes that purportedly attempt to UNCONSTITUTIONAL (1) Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 8678, (2) the second
restrict or burden the exercise of the right to freedom of speech, for such approach is manifestly proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act No. 9369, and (3) Section 66 of the
strong medicine that must be used sparingly, and only as a last resort.94 Omnibus Election Code.

In the United States, claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained only where, in the SO ORDERED.
judgment of the court, the possibility that protected speech of others may be muted and
perceived grievances left to fester (due to the possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes)
outweighs the possible harm to society in allowing some unprotected speech or conduct to go
unpunished.95 Facial overbreadth has likewise not been invoked where a limiting construction
could be placed on the challenged statute, and where there are readily apparent constructions
that would cure, or at least substantially reduce, the alleged overbreadth of the statute.96
G.R. No. 179695 December 18, 2008
In the case at bar, the probable harm to society in permitting incumbent appointive officials to
remain in office, even as they actively pursue elective posts, far outweighs the less likely evil of MIKE A. FERMIN, petitioner,
having arguably protected candidacies blocked by the possible inhibitory effect of a potentially vs.
overly broad statute.a1f COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and UMBRA RAMIL BAYAM DILANGALEN, respondents.

In this light, the conceivably impermissible applications of the challenged statutes – which are, at G.R. No. 182369 December 18, 2008
best, bold predictions – cannot justify invalidating these statutes in toto and prohibiting the State
from enforcing them against conduct that is, and has for more than 100 years been, MIKE A. FERMIN, petitioner,
unquestionably within its power and interest to proscribe.97 Instead, the more prudent approach vs.
would be to deal with these conceivably impermissible applications through case-by-case COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and UMBRA RAMIL BAYAM DILANGALEN, respondents.
adjudication rather than through a total invalidation of the statute itself.98
DECISION
Indeed, the anomalies spawned by our assailed Decision have taken place. In his Motion for
Reconsideration, intervenor Drilon stated that a number of high-ranking Cabinet members had NACHURA, J.:
already filed their Certificates of Candidacy without relinquishing their posts.99 Several
COMELEC election officers had likewise filed their Certificates of Candidacy in their respective
These consolidated petitions provide a welcome avenue for the Court to dichotomize, once and 1. THE PETITIONER is of legal age, a registered voter, resident and incumbent
for all, two popular remedies to prevent a candidate from running for an elective position which Municipal Mayor of the Municipality of Northern Kabuntalan, holding office
are indiscriminately interchanged by the Bench and the Bar, adding confusion to the already at Barangay Paulino Labio in the Municipality of Northern Kabuntalan where he may be
difficult state of our jurisprudence on election laws. served summons and other legal processes.

For the Court’s resolution are two petitions for certiorari under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 of 2. THE PETITIONER is a candidate for election as Mayor in the same Municipality of
the Rules of Court: (1) G.R. No. 179695, which assails the June 29, 2007 Resolution1 of the Northern Kabuntalan, being a resident of and domiciled in the Municipality since birth.
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) 2nd Division in SPA No. 07-372, and the September 20, The Respondent is also a candidate for the same office, Mayor in the same Municipality
2007 Resolution2 of the COMELEC En Banc affirming the said division resolution; and (2) G.R. of Northern Kabuntalan. He is, however, not a resident of the Municipality.
No. 182369, which challenges the February 14, 2008 Resolution3 of the COMELEC 1st Division
in SPR No. 45-2007, the March 13, 2008 Order4 of the COMELEC En Banc denying petitioner’s 3. THE RESPONDENT perjured himself when he swore to the truth of his statement in
motion for reconsideration, and the March 26, 2008 Entry of Judgment5 issued by the Electoral his Certificate of Candidacy of being a resident of the Municipality for the last 38 years,
Contests and Adjudication Department (ECAD) of the Commission in the said case. when in truth and in fact he simply transferred his registration from the Municipality of
Kabuntalan on 13 December 2006, wherein he stated that he has relocated to that
The relevant facts and proceedings follow. municipality a year and six months earlier, or no earlier than June 2005.

After the creation of Shariff Kabunsuan,6 the Regional Assembly of the Autonomous Region in 4. THE RESPONDENT perjured himself when he swore to the truth of his statement in
Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), on November 22, 2006, passed Autonomy Act No. 2057 creating the his Certificate of Candidacy of being a resident of the Municipality for the last 38 years,
Municipality of Northern Kabuntalan in Shariff Kabunsuan. This new municipality was constituted when in truth and in fact he has stayed for at least 33 years in Barangay Payan,
by separating Barangays Balong, Damatog, Gayonga, Guiawa, Indatuan, Kapinpilan, P. Labio, Municipality [of] Kabunt[a]lan.
Libungan, Montay, Sabaken and Tumaguinting from the Municipality of Kabuntalan.8
5. THE RESPONDENT perjured himself when he swore to the truth of his statement in
Mike A. Fermin, the petitioner in both cases, was a registered voter of Barangay Payan, his Application for Transfer that he is a resident of Barangay Indatuan on 13 December
Kabuntalan. On December 13, 2006, claiming that he had been a resident of Barangay Indatuan 2006, wherein he stated that he has relocated to that municipality a year and six months
for 1 year and 6 months, petitioner applied with the COMELEC for the transfer of his registration earlier, or on or about June 2005, when in truth and in fact he has never resided much
record to the said barangay.9 In the meantime, the creation of North Kabuntalan was ratified in a less domiciled himself in Indatuan or anywhere else in the Municipality of Northern
plebiscite on December 30, 2006,10 formally making Barangay Indatuan a component of Kabuntalan earlier than 14 May 2006.
Northern Kabuntalan.
6. THE RESPONDENT perjured himself when he swore to the truth of his statement in
Thereafter, on January 8, 2007, the COMELEC approved petitioner's application for the transfer his Certificate of Candidacy of being a resident of the Municipality for the last 38 years,
of his voting record and registration as a voter to Precinct 21A of Barangay Indatuan, Northern when in truth and in fact he has never resided in the Municipality, but was simply visiting
Kabuntalan.11 On March 29, 2007, Fermin filed his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) for mayor of the area whenever election is [f]ast approaching.
Northern Kabuntalan in the May 14, 2007 National and Local Elections.12
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed that, [in
On April 20, 2007, private respondent Umbra Ramil Bayam Dilangalen, another mayoralty consideration] of the Respondent not possessing the residence required for candidacy,
candidate, filed a Petition13 for Disqualification [the Dilangalen petition] against Fermin, docketed and having perjured himself in a number of times, the Commission disqualify the
as SPA (PES) No. A07-003 [re-docketed as SPA No. 07-372 before the COMELEC] with the Respondent.14
Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor of Shariff Kabunsuan. The petition alleged that the
petitioner did not possess the period of residency required for candidacy and that he perjured Elections were held without any decision being rendered by the COMELEC in the said case.
himself in his CoC and in his application for transfer of voting record. The pertinent portions of After the counting and canvassing of votes, Dilangalen emerged as the victor with 1,849 votes
the petition follow: over Fermin’s 1,640.15 The latter subsequently filed an election protest (Election Case No. 2007-
022) with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 13 of Cotabato City.16
G.R. No. 179695 CoC but not later than the candidate’s proclamation should he win in the elections. As he filed
the petition on April 20, 2007, long before the proclamation of the eventual winning candidate,
On June 29, 2007, the COMELEC 2nd Division, in SPA No. 07-372, disqualified Fermin for not the same was filed on time.24
being a resident of Northern Kabuntalan.17 It ruled that, based on his declaration that he is a
resident of Barangay Payan as of April 27, 2006 in his oath of office before Datu Andal Private respondent likewise posits that petitioner failed to comply with the one-year residency
Ampatuan, Fermin could not have been a resident of Barangay Indatuan for at least one year.18 requirement for him to be able to run for an elective office in Northern Kabuntalan. Petitioner
applied for the transfer of his voting record on December 13, 2006, and this was approved only
The COMELEC En Banc, on September 20, 2007, affirmed the Division's ruling.19 on January 8, 2007.25

Thus, petitioner instituted G.R. No. 179695 before this Court raising the following issues: G.R. No. 182369

A. During the pendency of G.R. No. 179695 with the Court, Dilangalen filed, on September 27,
2007, with the RTC of Cotabato a motion to dismiss Election Case No. 07-022 on the ground
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITION TO DISQUALIFY PETITIONER FROM SEEKING that Fermin had no legal standing to file the said protest, the COMELEC En Banc having already
THE MAYORALTY POST OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF NORTHERN KABUNTALAN affirmed his disqualification as a candidate; and this Court, in the abovementioned case, did not
SHOULD BE DISMISSED FOR HAVING BEEN FILED OUT OF TIME. issue an order restraining the implementation of the assailed COMELEC resolutions.

B. The RTC, however, denied this motion on September 28, 2007. On motion for reconsideration,
the trial court remained steadfast in its stand that the election protest was separate and distinct
from the COMELEC proceedings, and that, unless restrained by the proper authority, it would
WHETHER OR NOT THE ONE (1) YEAR RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT AS PROVIDED
continue hearing the protest.26
BY ART. 56, PAR. NO. 3, RULE XIII, RULES AND REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING
THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF THE AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM
MINDANAO IS APPLICABLE TO PETITIONER, WHO TRANSFERRED HIS VOTER'S Assailing the RTC’s denial of his motions, Dilangalen filed a Petition for Certiorari and
REGISTRATION RECORD DUE TO CHANGE OF RESIDENCE FROM BARANGAY Prohibition27 docketed as SPR No. 45-2007 with the COMELEC. On February 14, 2008, the
PAYAN TO BARANGAY INDATUAN IN THE SAME MUNICIPALITY OF COMELEC 1st Division set aside the aforesaid orders of the trial court for having been issued
KABUNTALAN.20 with grave abuse of discretion, prohibited the said court from acting on and proceeding with the
protest, and ordered it to dismiss the same.28 The COMELEC En Banc, on March 13, 2008,
denied petitioner’s motion for the reconsideration of the division’s ruling on account of Fermin’s
Petitioner contends that the Dilangalen petition is a petition to deny due course to or cancel a
failure to pay the required fees. It further directed the issuance of an entry of judgment in the
CoC under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC).21 Following Republic Act (R.A.) No.
said case.29 On March 26, 2008, the ECAD recorded the finality of the ruling in SPR No. 45-2007
6646, the same must be filed within 5 days from the last day for the filing of CoC, which, in this
in the Book of Entries of Judgments.30
case, is March 30, 2007, and considering that the said petition was filed by Dilangalen only on
April 20, 2007, the same was filed out of time. The COMELEC should have then dismissed SPA
No. 07-372 outright.22 These developments prompted Fermin to file another certiorari petition before this Court,
docketed as G.R. No. 182369. In this petition, Fermin raises the following issues for our
resolution:
Petitioner further argues that he has been a resident of Barangay Indatuan long before the
creation of Northern Kabuntalan. This change of residence prompted him to apply for the
transfer of his voter’s registration record from Barangay Payan to Barangay Indatuan. Moreover, A.
the one year residency requirement under the law is not applicable to candidates for elective
office in a newly created municipality, because the length of residency of all its inhabitants is Whether or not public respondent has departed from the accepted and usual course of
reckoned from the effective date of its creation.23 its rules of procedure, as to call for an exercise of the power of supervision by the
Honorable Court.
In his comment, private respondent counters that the petition it filed is one for disqualification
under Section 68 of the OEC which may be filed at any time after the last day for filing of the B.
Whether or not public respondent in taking cognizance of the certiorari and prohibition The primordial issues in these consolidated cases may be encapsulated, as follows:
not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in (sic) excess [of jurisdiction]. (1) Whether or not the Dilangalen petition is one under Section 68 or Section 78 of the OEC;

C. (2) Whether or not it was filed on time;

Whether or not public respondent, in ordering Judge Ibrahim to dismiss the election (3) Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abuse its discretion when it declared petitioner as not
protest case, acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion a resident of the locality for at least one year prior to the May 14, 2007 elections; and
amounting to lack or in (sic) excess of jurisdiction.
(4) Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abuse its discretion when it ordered the dismissal of
D. Election Case No. 07-022 on the ground that Fermin had no legal standing to file the protest.

Whether or not public respondent, in not uniformly observing its process in the service of Our Ruling
its resolution and/or order, had denied to petitioner the equal protection of the law.
I.
E.
Pivotal in the ascertainment of the timeliness of the Dilangalen petition is its proper
Whether or not the petition for certiorari and prohibition is dismissible in view of the characterization.
pendency of another action and whereby the result of the first action is determinative of
the second action in any event and regardless of which party is successful. As aforesaid, petitioner, on the one hand, argues that the Dilangalen petition was filed pursuant
to Section 78 of the OEC; while private respondent counters that the same is based on Section
F. 68 of the Code.

Whether or not there is forum shopping. After studying the said petition in detail, the Court finds that the same is in the nature of a petition
to deny due course to or cancel a CoC under Section 7833 of the OEC. The petition contains the
G. essential allegations of a "Section 78" petition, namely: (1) the candidate made a representation
in his certificate; (2) the representation pertains to a material matter which would affect the
Whether or not the public respondent, acting not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, has substantive rights of the candidate (the right to run for the election for which he filed his
authority to issue TRO and/or Preliminary Injunction as ancillary remedy of the original certificate); and (3) the candidate made the false representation with the intention to deceive the
action for certiorari and prohibition. electorate as to his qualification for public office or deliberately attempted to mislead, misinform,
or hide a fact which would otherwise render him ineligible.34 It likewise appropriately raises a
H. question on a candidate’s eligibility for public office, in this case, his possession of the one-year
residency requirement under the law.
Whether or not public respondent has jurisdiction to divest the Court of Judge Ibrahim of
its jurisdiction on the election protest case.31 Lest it be misunderstood, the denial of due course to or the cancellation of the CoC is not based
on the lack of qualifications but on a finding that the candidate made a material representation
that is false, which may relate to the qualifications required of the public office he/she is running
The Court, on April 29, 2008, initially dismissed the said petition.32 Fermin subsequently filed in
for. It is noted that the candidate states in his/her CoC that he/she is eligible for the office he/she
succession his motions for reconsideration and for the consolidation of G.R. Nos. 179695 &
seeks. Section 78 of the OEC, therefore, is to be read in relation to the constitutional35 and
182369. Considering that the two petitions were interrelated, the Court resolved to consolidate
statutory36 provisions on qualifications or eligibility for public office. If the candidate
them.
subsequently states a material representation in the CoC that is false, the COMELEC,
following the law, is empowered to deny due course to or cancel such certificate.37 Indeed,
The Issues the Court has already likened a proceeding under Section 78 to a quo warranto proceeding
under Section 25338 of the OEC since they both deal with the eligibility or qualification of a moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office,
candidate,39 with the distinction mainly in the fact that a "Section 78" petition is filed before unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty.
proclamation, while a petition for quo warranto is filed after proclamation of the wining candidate.
The disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be deemed removed
At this point, we must stress that a "Section 78" petition ought not to be interchanged or upon the declaration by competent authority that said insanity or incompetence
confused with a "Section 68" petition. They are different remedies, based on different had been removed or after the expiration of a period of five years from his
grounds, and resulting in different eventualities. Private respondent’s insistence, therefore, service or sentence, unless within the same period he again becomes
that the petition it filed before the COMELEC in SPA No. 07-372 is in the nature of a disqualified.
disqualification case under Section 68, as it is in fact captioned a "Petition for Disqualification,"
does not persuade the Court. Section 40 of the Local Government Code (LGC)40

The ground raised in the Dilangalen petition is that Fermin allegedly lacked one of the SECTION 40. Disqualifications–The following persons are disqualified from
qualifications to be elected as mayor of Northern Kabuntalan, i.e., he had not established running for any elective local position:
residence in the said locality for at least one year immediately preceding the election. Failure to
meet the one-year residency requirement for the public office is not a ground for the (a) Those sentence by final judgment for an offense involving moral
"disqualification" of a candidate under Section 68. The provision only refers to the commission of turpitude or for an offense punishable by one (1) year or more of
prohibited acts and the possession of a permanent resident status in a foreign country as imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence;
grounds for disqualification, thus:
(b) Those removed from office as a result of an administrative case;
SEC. 68. Disqualifications.–Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a
party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the
(c) Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance
Commission of having (a) given money or other material consideration to influence,
to the Republic;
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 (d) Those with dual citizenship;
contribution prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated any of
Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6, shall be (e) Fugitive from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad;
disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the
office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country (f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired
shall not be qualified to run for any elective office under this Code, unless said person the right to reside abroad and continue to avail of the same right after the
has waived his status as a permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in effectivity of this Code; and
accordance with the residence requirement provided for in the election laws.
(g) The insane or feeble-minded.
Likewise, the other provisions of law referring to "disqualification" do not include the lack of the
one-year residency qualification as a ground therefor, thus: Considering that the Dilangalen petition does not state any of these grounds for disqualification,
it cannot be categorized as a "Section 68" petition.
Sections 12 of the OEC
To emphasize, a petition for disqualification, on the one hand, can be premised on Section 12 or
SEC. 12. Disqualifications.–Any person who has been declared by competent 68 of the OEC, or Section 40 of the LGC. On the other hand, a petition to deny due course to or
authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final judgment for cancel a CoC can only be grounded on a statement of a material representation in the said
subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or for any offense for which he has been certificate that is false. The petitions also have different effects. While a person who is
sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving disqualified under Section 68 is merely prohibited to continue as a candidate, the person whose
certificate is cancelled or denied due course under Section 78 is not treated as a candidate at all,
as if he/she never filed a CoC. Thus, in Miranda v. Abaya,41 this Court made the distinction that a 2. For being a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country;
candidate who is disqualified under Section 68 can validly be substituted under Section 77 of the
OEC because he/she remains a candidate until disqualified; but a person whose CoC has been 3. For lack of the required age;
denied due course or cancelled under Section 78 cannot be substituted because he/she is never
considered a candidate.42 4. For lack of residence;

In support of his claim that he actually filed a "petition for disqualification" and not a "petition to 5. For not being a registered voter;
deny due course to or cancel a CoC," Dilangalen takes refuge in Rule 25 of the COMELEC
Rules of Procedure,43 specifically Section 144 thereof, to the extent that it states, "[a]ny candidate
6. For not being able to read and write;
who does not possess all the qualifications of a candidate as provided for by the Constitution or
by existing law x x x may be disqualified from continuing as a candidate," and COMELEC
Resolution No. 780045 (Rules Delegating to COMELEC Field Officials the Authority to Hear and 7. In case of a party-list nominee, for not being a bona fide member of the party
Receive Evidence in Disqualification Cases Filed in Connection with the May 14, 2007 National or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days
and Local Elections), which states in Section 5(C)(1) and (3)(a)(4) that: immediately preceding the day of the election. [Emphasis supplied.]

Sec. 5. Procedure in filing petitions.–For purposes of the preceding section, the following We disagree. A COMELEC rule or resolution cannot supplant or vary the legislative enactments
procedure shall be observed: that distinguish the grounds for disqualification from those of ineligibility, and the appropriate
proceedings to raise the said grounds. In other words, Rule 25 and COMELEC Resolution No.
7800 cannot supersede the dissimilar requirements of the law for the filing of a petition for
xxxx
disqualification under Section 68, and a petition for the denial of due course to or cancellation of
CoC under Section 78 of the OEC.46 As aptly observed by the eminent constitutionalist, Supreme
C. PETITION TO DISQUALIFY A CANDIDATE PURSUANT TO SEC. 68 OF THE Court Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, in his separate opinion in Romualdez-Marcos v. Commission
OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE AND PETITION TO DISQUALIFY FOR LACK OF on Elections:47
QUALIFICATIONS OR POSSESSING SOME GROUNDS FOR DISQUALIFICATION
Apparently realizing the lack of an authorized proceeding for declaring the ineligibility of
1) A verified petition to disqualify a candidate pursuant to Sec. 68 of the OEC and the candidates, the COMELEC amended its rules on February 15, 1993 so as to provide in
verified petition to disqualify a candidate for lack of qualifications or possessing some Rule 25, §1 the following:
grounds for disqualification may be filed on any day after the last day for filing of
certificates of candidacy but not later than the date of proclamation.
Grounds for disqualification. – Any candidate who does not possess all the
qualifications of a candidate as provided for by the Constitution or by existing law
xxxx or who commits any act declared by law to be grounds for disqualification may be
disqualified from continuing as a candidate.
3) The petition to disqualify a candidate for lack of qualification or possessing some
grounds for disqualification, shall be filed in ten (10) legible copies with the concerned The lack of provision for declaring the ineligibility of candidates, however, cannot
office mentioned in Sec. 3 hereof, personally or through a duly authorized representative be supplied by a mere rule. Such an act is equivalent to the creation of a cause of
by any person of voting age, or duly registered political party, organization or coalition of action which is a substantive matter which the COMELEC, in the exercise of its
political parties on the grounds that any candidate does not possess all the qualifications rule-making power under Art. IX, A, §6 of the Constitution, cannot do. It is
of a candidate as provided for by the constitution or by existing law, or who possesses noteworthy that the Constitution withholds from the COMELEC even the power to decide
some grounds for disqualification, cases involving the right to vote, which essentially involves an inquiry into qualifications
based on age, residence and citizenship of voters. [Art. IX, C, §2(3)]
3.a. Disqualification under existing election laws:
The assimilation in Rule 25 of the COMELEC rules of grounds for ineligibility into
1. For not being a citizen of the Philippines; grounds for disqualification is contrary to the evident intention of the law. For not
only in their grounds but also in their consequences are proceedings for
"disqualification" different from those for a declaration of "ineligibility." for filing "Section 78" petitions. While Section 7 of the said law makes reference to Section 5 on
"Disqualification" proceedings, as already stated, are based on grounds specified the procedure in the conduct of cases for the denial of due course to the CoCs of nuisance
in §12 and §68 of the Omnibus Election Code and in §40 of the Local Government candidates54 (retired Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., in his dissenting opinion in Aquino v.
Code and are for the purpose of barring an individual from becoming a candidate Commission on Elections55 explains that "the ‘procedure hereinabove provided’ mentioned in
or from continuing as a candidate for public office. In a word, their purpose is to Section 7 cannot be construed to refer to Section 6 which does not provide for a procedure but
eliminate a candidate from the race either from the start or during its progress. for the effects of disqualification cases, [but] can only refer to the procedure provided in Section
"Ineligibility," on the other hand, refers to the lack of the qualifications prescribed 5 of the said Act on nuisance candidates x x x."), the same cannot be taken to mean that the 25-
in the Constitution or the statutes for holding public office and the purpose of the day period for filing "Section 78" petitions under the OEC is changed to 5 days counted from the
proceedings for declaration of ineligibility is to remove the incumbent from office. last day for the filing of CoCs. The clear language of Section 78 certainly cannot be amended or
modified by the mere reference in a subsequent statute to the use of a procedure specifically
Consequently, that an individual possesses the qualifications for a public office intended for another type of action. Cardinal is the rule in statutory construction that repeals by
does not imply that he is not disqualified from becoming a candidate or continuing implication are disfavored and will not be so declared by the Court unless the intent of the
as a candidate for a public office and vice-versa. We have this sort of dichotomy in legislators is manifest.56 In addition, it is noteworthy that Loong,57 which upheld the 25-day period
our Naturalization Law. (C.A. No. 473) That an alien has the qualifications prescribed in for filing "Section 78" petitions, was decided long after the enactment of R.A. 6646. In this
§2 of the law does not imply that he does not suffer from any of [the] disqualifications regard, we therefore find as contrary to the unequivocal mandate of the law, Rule 23, Section 2
provided in §4. of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure which states:

Indeed, provisions for disqualifications on the ground that the candidate is guilty of Sec. 2. Period to File Petition.–The petition must be filed within five (5) days following the
prohibited election practices or offenses, like other pre-proclamation remedies, are aimed last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy.
at the detestable practice of "grabbing the proclamation and prolonging the election
protest," through the use of "manufactured" election returns or resort to other trickery for As the law stands, the petition to deny due course to or cancel a CoC "may be filed at any time
the purpose of altering the results of the election. This rationale does not apply to cases not later than twenty-five days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy."
for determining a candidate’s qualifications for office before the election. To the contrary,
it is the candidate against whom a proceeding for disqualification is brought who could be Accordingly, it is necessary to determine when Fermin filed his CoC in order to ascertain whether
prejudiced because he could be prevented from assuming office even though in the end the Dilangalen petition filed on April 20, 2007 was well within the restrictive 25-day period. If it
he prevails.48 was not, then the COMELEC should have, as discussed above, dismissed the petition outright.

Furthermore, the procedure laid down in the said Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure The record in these cases reveals that Fermin filed his CoC for mayor of Northern Kabuntalan for
cannot be used in "Section 78" proceedings, precisely because a different rule, Rule the May 14, 2007 National and Local Elections on March 29, 2007.58 It is clear therefore that the
23,49 specifically governs petitions to deny due course to or cancel CoCs. petition to deny due course to or cancel Fermin’s CoC was filed by Dilangalen well within the 25-
day reglementary period. The COMELEC therefore did not abuse its discretion, much more
II. gravely, when it did not dismiss the petition outright.

Having thus determined that the Dilangalen petition is one under Section 78 of the OEC, the III.
Court now declares that the same has to comply with the 25-day statutory period for its
filing. Aznar v. Commission on Elections50 and Loong v. Commission on Elections51 give However, the Court finds the COMELEC to have gravely abused its discretion when it
ascendancy to the express mandate of the law that "the petition may be filed at any time not precipitately declared that Fermin was not a resident of Northern Kabuntalan for at least one
later than twenty-five days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy." year prior to the said elections.
Construed in relation to reglementary periods and the principles of prescription, the dismissal of
"Section 78" petitions filed beyond the 25-day period must come as a matter of course. In its assailed June 29, 2007 Resolution, 59 the COMELEC ruled as follows:

We find it necessary to point out that Sections 5 and 752 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. In the petitioner’s memorandum, an authenticated copy of the respondent’s oath of office
6646,53 contrary to the erroneous arguments of both parties, did not in any way amend the period subscribed and sworn to before Datu Andal Ampatuan, Governor Maguindanao
Province, it was stated that respondent’s residence is at Barangay Payan, Maguindanao should be dismissed, a disquisition that Fermin has no standing as a candidate would be
(sic) as of April 27, 2006. Clearly the respondent is not a resident of Northern Kabuntalan reckless and improper.
earlier than 15 May 2006 as his very own oath of office would reveal that he is really a
resident of Barangay Payan, Kabuntalan less than 365 days immediately preceding the WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petitions for certiorari are GRANTED. The assailed
May 14, 2007 elections. He is a resident of a barangay not a component of the local issuances of the COMELEC are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.
government unit in which he seeks to be elected as of May 15, 2006 and is therefore not
qualified or eligible to seek election as mayor in the said municipality.60 SO ORDERED.

Obviously, the COMELEC relied on a single piece of evidence to support its finding that
petitioner was not a resident of Barangay Indatuan, Northern Kabuntalan, i.e., the oath of office
subscribed and sworn to before Governor Datu Andal Ampatuan, in which petitioner indicated
that he was a resident of Barangay Payan, Kabuntalan as of April 27, 2006. However, this single
piece of evidence does not necessarily support a finding that petitioner was not a resident of
Northern Kabuntalan as of May 14, 2006, or one year prior to the May 14, 2007 G.R. No. 196804 October 9, 2012
elections.61 Petitioner merely admitted that he was a resident of another locality as of April 27,
2006, which was more than a year before the elections. It is not inconsistent with his subsequent MAYOR BARBARA RUBY C. TALAGA, Petitioner,
claim that he complied with the residency requirement for the elective office, as petitioner could vs.
have transferred to Barangay Indatuan after April 27, 2006, on or before May 14, 2006. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and RODERICK A. ALCALA, Respondents.

Neither does this evidence support the allegation that petitioner failed to comply with the x-----------------------x
residency requirement for the transfer of his voting record from Barangay Payan
to Barangay Indatuan. Given that a voter is required to reside in the place wherein he proposes
G.R. No. 197015
to vote only for six months immediately preceding the election,62 petitioner’s application for
transfer on December 13, 2006 does not contradict his earlier admission that he was a resident
of Barangay Payan as of April 27, 2006. Be that as it may, the issue involved in the Dilangalen PHILIP M. CASTILLO, Petitioner,
petition is whether or not petitioner made a material representation that is false in his CoC, and vs.
not in his application for the transfer of his registration and voting record. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, BARBARA RUBY TALAGA and RODERICK A.
ALCALA, Respondents.
The foregoing considered, the Court finds that the Dilangalen petition does not make out a prima
facie case. Its dismissal is therefore warranted. We emphasize that the mere filing of a petition DECISION
and the convenient allegation therein that a candidate does not reside in the locality where he
seeks to be elected is insufficient to effect the cancellation of his CoC. Convincing evidence must BERSAMIN, J.:
substantiate every allegation.63 A litigating party is said to have a prima facie case when the
evidence in his favor is sufficiently strong for his opponent to be called on to answer it. A prima In focus in these consolidated special civil actions are the disqualification of a substitute who
facie case, then, is one which is established by sufficient evidence and can be overthrown only was proclaimed the winner of a mayoralty election; and the ascertainment of who should assume
by rebutting evidence adduced on the other side.64 the office following the substitute’s disqualification.

IV. The consolidated petitions for certiorari seek to annul and set aside the En Banc Resolution
issued on May 20, 2011 in SPC No. 10-024 by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), the
In light of the foregoing disquisition, the COMELEC’s order for the dismissal of Fermin’s election dispositive portion of which states:
protest is tainted with grave abuse of discretion, considering that the same is premised on
Fermin’s alleged lack of legal standing to file the protest, which, in turn, is based on Fermin’s WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
alleged lack of residency qualification. With our disposition herein that the Dilangalen petition
1. REVERSING and SETTING ASIDE the January 11, 2011 Resolution of the Second therein that Ramon, despite knowing that he had been elected and had served three consecutive
Division; terms as Mayor of Lucena City, still filed his CoC for Mayor of Lucena City in the May 10, 2010
national and local elections.
2. GRANTING the petition in intervention of Roderick A. Alcala;
The pertinent portions of Castillo’s petition follow:
3. ANNULLING the election and proclamation of respondent Barbara C. Talaga as mayor
of Lucena City and CANCELLING the Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation issued 1. Petitioner is of legal age, Filipino, married, and a resident of Barangay Mayao
therefor; Crossing, Lucena City but may be served with summons and other processes of this
Commission at the address of his counsel at 624 Aurora Blvd., Lucena City 4301;
4. Ordering respondent Barbara Ruby Talaga to cease and desist from discharging the
functions of the Office of the Mayor; 2. Respondent Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. is likewise of legal age, married, and a resident of
Barangay Ibabang Iyam, Lucena City and with postal address at the Office of the City
5. In view of the permanent vacancy in the Office of the Mayor of Lucena City, the Mayor, City Hall, Lucena City, where he may be served with summons and other
proclaimed Vice-Mayor is ORDERED to succeed as Mayor as provided under Section 44 processes of this Commission;
of the Local Government Code;
3. Petitioner, the incumbent city vice-mayor of Lucena having been elected during the
6. DIRECTING the Clerk of Court of the Commission to furnish copies of this Resolution 2007 local elections, is running for city mayor of Lucena under the Liberal party this
to the Office of the President of the Philippines, the Department of Interior and Local coming 10 May 2010 local elections and has filed his certificate of candidacy for city
Government, the Department of Finance and the Secretary of the Sangguniang mayor of Lucena;
Panglunsod of Lucena City.
4. Respondent was successively elected mayor of Lucena City in 2001, 2004, and 2007
Let the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Regional Election Director of local elections based on the records of the Commission on Elections of Lucena City and
Region IV of COMELEC implement this resolution. had fully served the aforesaid three (3) terms without any voluntary and involuntary
interruption;
SO ORDERED.1
5. Except the preventive suspension imposed upon him from 13 October 2005 to 14
Antecedents November 2005 and from 4 September 2009 to 30 October 2009 pursuant to
Sandiganbayan 4th Division Resolution in Criminal Case No. 27738 dated 3 October
2005, the public service as city mayor of the respondent is continuous and uninterrupted
On November 26, 2009 and December 1, 2009, Ramon Talaga (Ramon) and Philip M. Castillo
under the existing laws and jurisprudence;
(Castillo) respectively filed their certificates of candidacy (CoCs) for the position of Mayor of
Lucena City to be contested in the scheduled May 10, 2010 national and local elections.2
6. There is no law nor jurisprudence to justify the filing of the certificate of candidacy of
the respondent, hence, such act is outrightly unconstitutional, illegal, and highly immoral;
Ramon, the official candidate of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, declared in his CoC that he was eligible
3

for the office he was seeking to be elected to.


7. Respondent, knowing well that he was elected for and had fully served three (3)
consecutive terms as a city mayor of Lucena, he still filed his Certificate of Candidacy for
Four days later, or on December 5, 2009, Castillo filed with the COMELEC a petition
City Mayor of Lucena for this coming 10 May 2010 national and local elections;
denominated as In the Matter of the Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificate of
Candidacy of Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. as Mayor for Having Already Served Three (3) Consecutive
Terms as a City Mayor of Lucena, which was docketed as SPA 09-029 (DC).4 He alleged 8. Under the Constitution and existing Election Laws, New Local Government Code of
the Philippines, and jurisprudence the respondent is no longer entitled and is already
disqualified to be a city mayor for the fourth consecutive term;
9. The filing of the respondent for the position of city mayor is highly improper, unlawful 5. Clearly, there was no misrepresentation on the part of respondent as would constitute a
and is potentially injurious and prejudicial to taxpayers of the City of Lucena; and ground for the denial of due course to and/or the cancellation of respondent’s certificate of
candidacy at the time he filed the same. Petitioner’s ground for the denial of due course to
10. It is most respectfully prayed by the petitioner that the respondent be declared and/or the cancellation of respondent’s certificate of candidacy thus has no basis, in fact and in
disqualified and no longer entitled to run in public office as city mayor of Lucena City law, as there is no ground to warrant such relief under the Omnibus Election Code and/or its
based on the existing law and jurisprudence.5 implementing laws.

The petition prayed for the following reliefs, to wit: 6. Pursuant, however, to the new ruling of the Supreme Court in respect of the issue on the three
(3)-term limitation, respondent acknowledges that he is now DISQUALIFIED to run for the
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed that the Certificate of Candidacy position of Mayor of Lucena City having served three (3) (albeit interrupted) terms as Mayor of
filed by the respondent be denied due course to or cancel the same and that he be declared as a Lucena City prior to the filing of his certificate of candidacy for the 2010 elections.
disqualified candidate under the existing Election Laws and by the provisions of the New Local
Government Code.6 (Emphasis supplied.) 7. In view of the foregoing premises and new jurisprudence on the matter, respondent
respectfully submits the present case for decision declaring him as DISQUALIFIED to run for the
Ramon countered that that the Sandiganbayan had preventively suspended him from office position of Mayor of Lucena City.9
during his second and third terms; and that the three-term limit rule did not then apply to him
pursuant to the prevailing jurisprudence7 to the effect that an involuntary separation from office Notwithstanding his express recognition of his disqualification to run as Mayor of Lucena City in
amounted to an interruption of continuity of service for purposes of the application of the three- the May 10, 2010 national and local elections, Ramon did not withdraw his CoC.
term limit rule.
Acting on Ramon’s Manifestation with Motion to Resolve, the COMELEC First Division issued a
In the meantime, on December 23, 2009, the Court promulgated the ruling in Aldovino, Jr. v. Resolution on April 19, 2010,10 disposing as follows:
Commission on Elections,8 holding that preventive suspension, being a mere temporary
incapacity, was not a valid ground for avoiding the effect of the three-term limit rule. Thus, on WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly,
December 30, 2009, Ramon filed in the COMELEC a Manifestation with Motion to Resolve, Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. is hereby declared DISQUALIFIED to run for Mayor of Lucena City for the
taking into account the intervening ruling in Aldovino. Relevant portions of his Manifestation with 10 May 2010 National and Local Elections.
Motion to Resolve are quoted herein, viz:
SO ORDERED.
4. When respondent filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of Mayor of Lucena City, the
rule that ‘where the separation from office is caused by reasons beyond the control of the officer Initially, Ramon filed his Verified Motion for Reconsideration against the April 19, 2010
– i.e. involuntary – the service of term is deemed interrupted’ has not yet been overturned by the Resolution of the COMELEC First Division.11 Later on, however, he filed at 9:00 a.m. of May 4,
new ruling of the Supreme Court. As a matter of fact, the prevailing rule then of the Honorable 2010 an Ex-parte Manifestation of Withdrawal of the Pending Motion for Reconsideration.12 At
Commission in [sic] respect of the three (3)-term limitation was its decision in the case of 4:30 p.m. on the same date, Barbara Ruby filed her own CoC for Mayor of Lucena City in
Aldovino, et al. vs. Asilo where it stated: substitution of Ramon, attaching thereto the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA)
issued by Lakas-Kampi-CMD, the party that had nominated Ramon.13
"Thus, even if respondent was elected during the 2004 elections, which was supposedly his third
and final term as city councilor, the same cannot be treated as a complete service or full term in On May 5, 2010, the COMELEC En Banc, acting on Ramon’s Ex parte Manifestation of
office since the same was interrupted when he was suspended by the Sandiganbayan Fourth Withdrawal, declared the COMELEC First Division’s Resolution dated April 19, 2010 final and
Division. And the respondent actually heeded the suspension order since he did not receive his executory.14
salary during the period October 16-31 and November 1-15 by reason of his actual suspension
from office. And this was further bolstered by the fact that the DILG issued a On election day on May 10, 2010, the name of Ramon remained printed on the ballots but the
votes cast in his favor were counted in favor of Barbara Ruby as his substitute candidate,
Memorandum directing him, among others, to reassume his position." (Emphasis supplied.) resulting in Barbara Ruby being ultimately credited with 44,099 votes as against Castillo’s
39,615 votes.15
Castillo promptly filed a petition in the City Board of Canvassers (CBOC) seeking the suspension above. This treatment of the First Division of the petition as one for disqualification only is
of Barbara Ruby’s proclamation.16 affirmed by the fact that its members signed Resolution No. 8917 where it was clearly stated that
the First Division only disqualified Ramon.
It was only on May 13, 2010 when the COMELEC En Banc, upon the recommendation of its Law
Department,17 gave due course to Barbara Ruby’s CoC and CONA through Resolution No. 8917, Having been disqualified only, the doctrine laid down in Miranda v. Abaya is not applicable.
thereby including her in the certified list of candidates.18 Consequently, the CBOC proclaimed Ramon was rightly substituted by Ruby. As such, the votes for Ramon cannot be considered as
Barbara Ruby as the newly-elected Mayor of Lucena City.19 stray votes but should be counted in favor of Ruby since the substituted and the substitute carry
the same surname – Talaga, as provided in Section 12 of Republic Act No. 9006.
On May 20, 2010, Castillo filed a Petition for Annulment of Proclamation with the
COMELEC,20 docketed as SPC 10-024. He alleged that Barbara Ruby could not substitute xxxx
Ramon because his CoC had been cancelled and denied due course; and Barbara Ruby could
not be considered a candidate because the COMELEC En Banc had approved her substitution Moreover, there is no provision in the Omnibus Election Code or any election laws for that matter
three days after the elections; hence, the votes cast for Ramon should be considered stray. which requires that the substitution and the Certificate of Candidacy of the substitute should be
approved and given due course first by the Commission or the Law Department before it can be
In her Comment on the Petition for Annulment of Proclamation,21 Barbara Ruby maintained the considered as effective. All that Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code as implemented by
validity of her substitution. She countered that the COMELEC En Banc did not deny due course Section 13 of Resolution No. 8678 requires is that it should be filed with the proper office. The
to or cancel Ramon’s COC, despite a declaration of his disqualification, because there was no respondent is correct when she argued that in fact even the BEI can receive a CoC of a
finding that he had committed misrepresentation, the ground for the denial of due course to or substitute candidate in case the cause for the substitution happened between the day before the
cancellation of his COC. She prayed that with her valid substitution, Section 12 of Republic Act election and mid-day of election day. Thus, even if the approval of the substitution was made
No. 900622 applied, based on which the votes cast for Ramon were properly counted in her favor. after the election, the substitution became effective on the date of the filing of the CoC with the
Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance.
On July 26, 2010, Roderick Alcala (Alcala), the duly-elected Vice Mayor of Lucena City, sought
to intervene,23 positing that he should assume the post of Mayor because Barbara Ruby’s There being no irregularity in the substitution by Ruby of Ramon as candidate for mayor of
substitution had been invalid and Castillo had clearly lost the elections. Lucena City, the counting of the votes of Ramon in favor of Ruby is proper. The proclamation,
thus, of Ruby as mayor elect of Lucena City is in order. Hence, we find no cogent reason to
On January 11, 2011, the COMELEC Second Division dismissed Castillo’s petition and Alcala’s annul the proclamation of respondent Barbara Ruby C. Talaga as the duly elected Mayor of the
petition-in-intervention,24 holding: City of Lucena after the elections conducted on May 10, 2010.25

In the present case, Castillo was notified of Resolution 8917 on May 13, 2010 as it was the basis Acting on Castillo and Alcala’s respective motions for reconsideration, the COMELEC En Banc
for the proclamation of Ruby on that date. He, however, failed to file any action within the issued the assailed Resolution dated May 20, 2011 reversing the COMELEC Second Division’s
prescribed period either in the Commission or the Supreme Court assailing the said resolution. ruling.26
Thus, the said resolution has become final and executory. It cannot anymore be altered or
reversed. Pointing out that: (a) Resolution No. 8917 did not attain finality for being issued without a hearing
as a mere incident of the COMELEC’s ministerial duty to receive the COCs of substitute
xxxx candidates; (b) Resolution No. 8917 was based on the wrong facts; and (c) Ramon’s
disqualification was resolved with finality only on May 5, 2010, the COMELEC En Banc
x x x. A close perusal of the petition filed by Castillo in SPA 10-029 (Dc) shows that it was concluded that Barbara Ruby could not have properly substituted Ramon but had simply become
actually for the disqualification of Ramon for having served three consecutive terms, which is a an additional candidate who had filed her COC out of time; and held that Vice Mayor Alcala
ground for his disqualification under the Constitution in relation to Section 4(b)3 of Resolution should succeed to the position pursuant to Section 44 of the Local Government Code (LGC).27
8696. There was no mention therein that Ramon has committed material representation that
would be a ground for the cancellation or denial of due course to the CoC of Ramon under Issues
Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code. The First Division, in fact, treated the petition as one
for disqualification as gleaned from the body of the resolution and its dispositive portion quoted
The core issue involves the validity of the substitution by Barbara Ruby as candidate for the the votes in favor of a candidate for another office in the same election.28 Moreover, according to
position of Mayor of Lucena City in lieu of Ramon, her husband. Sinaca v. Mula,29 the CoC is:

Ancillary to the core issue is the determination of who among the contending parties should x x x in the nature of a formal manifestation to the whole world of the candidate’s political creed
assume the contested elective position. or lack of political creed. It is a statement of a person seeking to run for a public office certifying
that he announces his candidacy for the office mentioned and that he is eligible for the office, the
Ruling name of the political party to which he belongs, if he belongs to any, and his post-office address
for all election purposes being as well stated.
The petitions lack merit.
Accordingly, a person’s declaration of his intention to run for public office and his affirmation that
1. he possesses the eligibility for the position he seeks to assume, followed by the timely filing of
such declaration, constitute a valid CoC that render the person making the declaration a valid or
official candidate.
Existence of a valid CoC is a condition
sine qua non for a valid substitution
There are two remedies available to prevent a candidate from running in an electoral race. One
is through a petition for disqualification and the other through a petition to deny due course to or
The filing of a CoC within the period provided by law is a mandatory requirement for any person
cancel a certificate of candidacy. The Court differentiated the two remedies in Fermin v.
to be considered a candidate in a national or local election. This is clear from Section 73 of the
Commission on Elections,30 thuswise:
Omnibus Election Code, to wit:
x x x A petition for disqualification, on the one hand, can be premised on Section 12 or 68 of the
Section 73. Certificate of candidacy — No person shall be eligible for any elective public office
Omnibus Election Code, or Section 40 of the Local Government Code. On the other hand, a
unless he files a sworn certificate of candidacy within the period fixed herein.
petition to deny due course to or cancel a CoC can only be grounded on a statement of a
material representation in the said certificate that is false. The petitions also have different
Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code specifies the contents of a COC, viz: effects. While a person who is disqualified under Section 68 is merely prohibited to continue as a
candidate, the person whose certificate is cancelled or denied due course under Section 78 is
Section 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy.—The certificate of candidacy shall state that the not treated as a candidate at all, as if he/she never filed a CoC.31
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 Inasmuch as the grounds for disqualification under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code
cities, highly urbanized city or district or sector which he seeks to represent; the political party to (i.e., prohibited acts of candidates, and the fact of a candidate’s permanent residency in another
which he belongs; civil status; his date of birth; residence; his post office address for all election country when that fact affects the residency requirement of a candidate) are separate and
purposes; his profession or occupation; that he will support and defend the Constitution of the distinct from the grounds for the cancellation of or denying due course to a COC (i.e., nuisance
Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; that he will obey the laws, legal candidates under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code; and material misrepresentation
orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; that he is not a permanent under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code), the Court has recognized in Miranda v.
resident or immigrant to a foreign country; that the obligation imposed by his oath is assumed Abaya32 that the following circumstances may result from the granting of the petitions, to wit:
voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that the facts stated in the
certificate of candidacy are true to the best of his knowledge. x x x
(1) A candidate may not be qualified to run for election but may have filed a valid CoC;
The evident purposes of the requirement for the filing of CoCs and in fixing the time limit for filing
(2) A candidate may not be qualified and at the same time may not have filed a valid
them are, namely: (a) to enable the voters to know, at least 60 days prior to the regular election,
CoC; and
the candidates from among whom they are to make the choice; and (b) to avoid confusion and
inconvenience in the tabulation of the votes cast. If the law does not confine to the duly-
registered candidates the choice by the voters, there may be as many persons voted for as there (3) A candidate may be qualified but his CoC may be denied due course or cancelled.
are voters, and votes may be cast even for unknown or fictitious persons as a mark to identify
In the event that a candidate is disqualified to run for a public office, or dies, or withdraws his Lest it be misunderstood, the denial of due course to or the cancellation of the CoC is not based
CoC before the elections, Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code provides the option of on the lack of qualifications but on a finding that the candidate made a material representation
substitution, to wit: that is false, which may relate to the qualifications required of the public office he/she is running
for. It is noted that the candidate states in his/her CoC that he/she is eligible for the office he/she
Section 77. Candidates in case of death, disqualification or withdrawal. — If after the last day for seeks. Section 78 of the OEC, therefore, is to be read in relation to the constitutional and
the filing of certificates of candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or accredited political statutory provisions on qualifications or eligibility for public office. If the candidate subsequently
party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging to, and certified states a material representation in the CoC that is false, the COMELEC, following the law, is
by, the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, empowered to deny due course to or cancel such certificate. Indeed, the Court has already
withdrew or was disqualified. The substitute candidate nominated by the political party likened a proceeding under Section 78 to a quo warranto proceeding under Section 253 of the
concerned may file his certificate of candidacy for the office affected in accordance with the OEC since they both deal with the eligibility or qualification of a candidate, with the distinction
preceding sections not later than mid-day of the day of the election. If the death, withdrawal or mainly in the fact that a "Section 78" petition is filed before proclamation, while a petition for quo
disqualification should occur between the day before the election and mid-day of election day, warranto is filed after proclamation of the winning candidate.
said certificate may be filed with any board of election inspectors in the political subdivision
where he is a candidate, or, in the case of candidates to be voted for by the entire electorate of Castillo’s petition contained essential allegations pertaining to a Section 78 petition, namely: (a)
the country, with the Commission. Ramon made a false representation in his CoC; (b) the false representation referred to a material
matter that would affect the substantive right of Ramon as candidate (that is, the right to run for
Nonetheless, whether the ground for substitution is death, withdrawal or disqualification of a the election for which he filed his certificate); and (c) Ramon made the false representation with
candidate, Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code unequivocally states that only an official the intention to deceive the electorate as to his qualification for public office or deliberately
candidate of a registered or accredited party may be substituted. attempted to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact that would otherwise render him ineligible.37 The
petition expressly challenged Ramon’s eligibility for public office based on the prohibition stated
Considering that a cancelled CoC does not give rise to a valid candidacy,33 there can be no valid in the Constitution and the Local Government Code against any person serving three
substitution of the candidate under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code. It should be clear, consecutive terms, and specifically prayed that "the Certificate of Candidacy filed by the
too, that a candidate who does not file a valid CoC may not be validly substituted, because a respondent Ramon be denied due course to or cancel the same and that he be declared as a
person without a valid CoC is not considered a candidate in much the same way as any person disqualified candidate."38
who has not filed a CoC is not at all a candidate.34
The denial of due course to or the cancellation of the CoC under Section 78 involves a finding
Likewise, a candidate who has not withdrawn his CoC in accordance with Section 73 of the not only that a person lacks a qualification but also that he made a material representation that is
Omnibus Election Code may not be substituted. A withdrawal of candidacy can only give effect false.39 A petition for the denial of due course to or cancellation of CoC that is short of the
to a substitution if the substitute candidate submits prior to the election a sworn CoC as required requirements will not be granted. In Mitra v. Commission on Elections,40 the Court stressed that
by Section 73 of the Omnibus Election Code.35 there must also be a deliberate attempt to mislead, thus:

2. The false representation under Section 78 must likewise be a "deliberate attempt to mislead,
misinform, or hide a fact that would otherwise render a candidate ineligible." Given the purpose
of the requirement, it must be made with the intention to deceive the electorate as to the would-
Declaration of Ramon’s disqualification
be candidate’s qualifications for public office. Thus, the misrepresentation that Section 78
rendered his CoC invalid; hence, he was not
addresses cannot be the result of a mere innocuous mistake, and cannot exist in a situation
a valid candidate to be properly substituted
where the intent to deceive is patently absent, or where no deception on the electorate results.
The deliberate character of the misrepresentation necessarily follows from a consideration of the
In the light of the foregoing rules on the CoC, the Court concurs with the conclusion of the consequences of any material falsity: a candidate who falsifies a material fact cannot run; if he
COMELEC En Banc that the Castillo petition in SPA 09-029 (DC) was in the nature of a petition runs and is elected, he cannot serve; in both cases, he can be prosecuted for violation of the
to deny due course to or cancel a CoC under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code. election laws.

In describing the nature of a Section 78 petition, the Court said in Fermin v. Commission on It is underscored, however, that a Section 78 petition should not be interchanged or confused
Elections:36 with a Section 68 petition. The remedies under the two sections are different, for they are based
on different grounds, and can result in different eventualities.41 A person who is disqualified under To accord with the constitutional and statutory proscriptions, Ramon was absolutely precluded
Section 68 is prohibited to continue as a candidate, but a person whose CoC is cancelled or from asserting an eligibility to run as Mayor of Lucena City for the fourth consecutive term.
denied due course under Section 78 is not considered as a candidate at all because his status is Resultantly, his CoC was invalid and ineffectual ab initio for containing the incurable defect
that of a person who has not filed a CoC.42 Miranda v. Abaya43 has clarified that a candidate who consisting in his false declaration of his eligibility to run. The invalidity and inefficacy of his CoC
is disqualified under Section 68 can be validly substituted pursuant to Section 77 because he made his situation even worse than that of a nuisance candidate because the nuisance
remains a candidate until disqualified; but a person whose CoC has been denied due course or candidate may remain eligible despite cancellation of his CoC or despite the denial of due
cancelled under Section 78 cannot be substituted because he is not considered a candidate. 1âwphi1 course to the CoC pursuant to Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code.45

To be sure, the cause of Ramon’s ineligibility (i.e., the three-term limit) is enforced both by the Ramon himself specifically admitted his ineligibility when he filed his Manifestation with Motion to
Constitution and statutory law. Article X, Section 8 of the 1987 Constitution provides: Resolve on December 30, 2009 in the COMELEC.46 That sufficed to render his CoC invalid,
considering that for all intents and purposes the COMELEC’s declaration of his disqualification
Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be had the effect of announcing that he was no candidate at all.
determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three
consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be We stress that a non-candidate like Ramon had no right to pass on to his substitute. As Miranda
considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was v. Abaya aptly put it:
elected.
Even on the most basic and fundamental principles, it is readily understood that the concept of a
Section 43 of the Local Government Code reiterates the constitutional three-term limit for all substitute presupposes the existence of the person to be substituted, for how can a person take
elective local officials, to wit: the place of somebody who does not exist or who never was. The Court has no other choice but
to rule that in all the instances enumerated in Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code, the
Section 43. Term of Office. – (a) x x x existence of a valid certificate of candidacy seasonably filed is a requisite sine qua non.

(b) No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same All told, a disqualified candidate may only be substituted if he had a valid certificate of candidacy
position. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an in the first place because, if the disqualified candidate did not have a valid and seasonably filed
interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official concerned certificate of candidacy, he is and was not a candidate at all. If a person was not a candidate, he
was elected. (Emphasis supplied.) cannot be substituted under Section 77 of the 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
The objective of imposing the three-term limit rule was "to avoid the evil of a single person thereof, it would be a crystalline case of unequal protection of the law, an act abhorred by our
accumulating excessive power over a particular territorial jurisdiction as a result of a prolonged Constitution.47 (Emphasis supplied)
stay in the same office." The Court underscored this objective in Aldovino, Jr. v. Commission on
Elections,44 stating: 3.

x x x The framers of the Constitution specifically included an exception to the people’s freedom Granting without any qualification of petition in
to choose those who will govern them in order to avoid the evil of a single person accumulating SPA No. 09-029(DC) manifested COMELEC’s intention to
excessive power over a particular territorial jurisdiction as a result of a prolonged stay in the declare Ramon disqualified and to cancel his CoC
same office. To allow petitioner Latasa to vie for the position of city mayor after having served for
three consecutive terms as a municipal mayor would obviously defeat the very intent of the That the COMELEC made no express finding that Ramon committed any deliberate
framers when they wrote this exception. Should he be allowed another three consecutive terms misrepresentation in his CoC was of little consequence in the determination of whether his CoC
as mayor of the City of Digos, petitioner would then be possibly holding office as chief executive should be deemed cancelled or not.
over the same territorial jurisdiction and inhabitants for a total of eighteen consecutive years.
This is the very scenario sought to be avoided by the Constitution, if not abhorred by it. In Miranda v. Abaya,48 the specific relief that the petition prayed for was that the CoC "be not
given due course and/or cancelled." The COMELEC categorically granted "the petition" and then
pronounced — in apparent contradiction — that Joel Pempe Miranda was "disqualified." The
Court held that the COMELEC, by granting the petition without any qualification, disqualified Joel granted any further relief in SPA No. 98-019 by disqualifying the candidate, the fact remains that
Pempe Miranda and at the same time cancelled Jose Pempe Miranda’s CoC. The Court the said petition was granted and that the certificate of candidacy of Jose "Pempe" Miranda was
explained: denied due course and cancelled. x x x.50

The question to settle next is whether or not aside from Joel "Pempe" Miranda being disqualified The crucial point of Miranda v. Abaya was that the COMELEC actually granted the particular
by the Comelec in its May 5, 1998 resolution, his certificate of candidacy had likewise been relief of cancelling or denying due course to the CoC prayed for in the petition by not subjecting
denied due course and cancelled. that relief to any qualification.

The Court rules that it was. Miranda v. Abaya applies herein. Although Castillo’s petition in SPA No. 09-029 (DC) specifically
sought both the disqualification of Ramon and the denial of due course to or cancellation of his
Private respondent’s petition in SPA No. 98-019 specifically prayed for the following: CoC, the COMELEC categorically stated in the Resolution dated April 19, 2010 that it was
granting the petition. Despite the COMELEC making no finding of material misrepresentation on
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that the Certificate of Candidacy filed by respondent for the part of Ramon, its granting of Castillo’s petition without express qualifications manifested that
the position of Mayor for the City of Santiago be not given due course and/or cancelled. the COMELEC had cancelled Ramon’s CoC based on his apparent ineligibility. The Resolution
dated April 19, 2010 became final and executory because Castillo did not move for its
reconsideration, and because Ramon later withdrew his motion for reconsideration filed in
Other reliefs just and equitable in the premises are likewise prayed for.
relation to it.
(Rollo, p. 31; Emphasis ours.)
4.
In resolving the petition filed by private respondent specifying a very particular relief, the
Elected Vice Mayor must succeed
Comelec ruled favorably in the following manner:
and assume the position of Mayor
due to a permanent vacancy in the office
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Commission (FIRST DIVISION) GRANTS the
Petition. Respondent JOSE "Pempe" MIRANDA is hereby DISQUALIFIED from running for the
On the issue of who should assume the office of Mayor of Lucena City, Castillo submits that the
position of mayor of Santiago City, Isabela, in the May 11, 1998 national and local elections.
doctrine on the rejection of the second-placer espoused in Labo, Jr. v. Commission on
Elections51 should not apply to him because Ramon’s disqualification became final prior to the
SO ORDERED. elections.52 Instead, he cites Cayat v. Commission on Elections,53 where the Court said:

(p.43, Rollo; Emphasis ours.) x x x In Labo there was no final judgment of disqualification before the elections. The doctrine on
the rejection of the second placer was applied in Labo and a host of other cases because the
From a plain reading of the dispositive portion of the Comelec resolution of May 5, 1998 in SPA judgment declaring the candidate’s disqualification in Labo and the other cases had not become
No. 98-019, it is sufficiently clear that the prayer specifically and particularly sought in the petition final before the elections. To repeat, Labo and the other cases applying the doctrine on the
was GRANTED, there being no qualification on the matter whatsoever. The disqualification was rejection of the second placer have one common essential condition — the disqualification of the
simply ruled over and above the granting of the specific prayer for denial of due course and candidate had not become final before the elections. This essential condition does not exist in
cancellation of the certificate of candidacy. x x x.49 the present case.

xxxx Thus, in Labo, Labo’s disqualification became final only on 14 May 1992, three days after the 11
May 1992 elections. On election day itself, Labo was still legally a candidate. In the present
x x x. There is no dispute that the complaint or petition filed by private respondent in SPA No. 98- case, Cayat was disqualified by final judgment 23 days before the 10 May 2004 elections. On
019 is one to deny due course and to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Jose "Pempe" election day, Cayat was no longer legally a candidate for mayor. In short, Cayat’s candidacy for
Miranda (Rollo, pp. 26-31). There is likewise no question that the said petition was GRANTED Mayor of Buguias, Benguet was legally non-existent in the 10 May 2004 elections.
without any qualification whatsoever. It is rather clear, therefore, that whether or not the Comelec
The law expressly declares that a candidate disqualified by final judgment before an election indicated that there was no more pending matter that could have effectively suspended the
cannot be voted for, and votes cast for him shall not be counted. This is a mandatory provision of finality of the ruling in due course. Hence, the Resolution dated April 19, 2010 could be said to
law. Section 6 of Republic Act No. 6646, The Electoral Reforms Law of 1987, states: have attained finality upon the lapse of five days from its promulgation and receipt of it by the
parties. This happened probably on April 24, 2010. Despite such finality, the COMELEC En Banc
Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case.— Any candidate who has been declared by final continued to act on the withdrawal by Ramon of his motion for reconsideration through the May
judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be 5, 2010 Resolution declaring the April 19, 2010 Resolution of the COMELEC First Division final
and executory.
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 Yet, we cannot agree with Castillo’s assertion that with Ramon’s disqualification becoming final
Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest prior to the May 10, 2010 elections, the ruling in Cayat was applicable in his favor. Barbara
and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order Ruby’s filing of her CoC in substitution of Ramon significantly differentiated this case from the
the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is factual circumstances obtaining in Cayat. Rev. Fr. Nardo B. Cayat, the petitioner in Cayat, was
strong. (Emphasis added) disqualified on April 17, 2004, and his disqualification became final before the May 10, 2004
elections. Considering that no substitution of Cayat was made, Thomas R. Palileng, Sr., his rival,
Section 6 of the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987 covers two situations. The first is when the remained the only candidate for the mayoralty post in Buguias, Benguet. In contrast, after
disqualification becomes final before the elections, which is the situation covered in the first Barbara Ruby substituted Ramon, the May 10, 2010 elections proceeded with her being
sentence of Section 6. The second is when the disqualification becomes final after the elections, regarded by the electorate of Lucena City as a bona fide candidate. To the electorate, she
which is the situation covered in the second sentence of Section 6. became a contender for the same position vied for by Castillo, such that she stood on the same
footing as Castillo. Such standing as a candidate negated Castillo’s claim of being the candidate
who obtained the highest number of votes, and of being consequently entitled to assume the
The present case falls under the first situation. Section 6 of the Electoral Reforms Law governing
office of Mayor.
the first situation is categorical: a candidate disqualified by final judgment before an election
cannot be voted for, and votes cast for him shall not be counted. The Resolution disqualifying
Cayat became final on 17 April 2004, way before the 10 May 2004 elections. Therefore, all the Indeed, Castillo could not assume the office for he was only a second placer. Labo, Jr. should
1âw phi 1

8,164 votes cast in Cayat’s favor are stray. Cayat was never a candidate in the 10 May 2004 be applied. There, the Court emphasized that the candidate obtaining the second highest
elections. Palileng’s proclamation is proper because he was the sole and only candidate, second number of votes for the contested office could not assume the office despite the disqualification
to none.54 of the first placer because the second placer was "not the choice of the sovereign will."60 Surely,
the Court explained, a minority or defeated candidate could not be deemed elected to the
office.61 There was to be no question that the second placer lost in the election, was repudiated
Relying on the pronouncement in Cayat, Castillo asserts that he was entitled to assume the
by the electorate, and could not assume the vacated position.62 No law imposed upon and
position of Mayor of Lucena City for having obtained the highest number of votes among the
compelled the people of Lucena City to accept a loser to be their political leader or their
remaining qualified candidates.
representative.63
It would seem, then, that the date of the finality of the COMELEC resolution declaring Ramon
The only time that a second placer is allowed to take the place of a disqualified winning
disqualified is decisive. According to Section 10, Rule 19 of the COMELEC’s Resolution No.
candidate is when two requisites concur, namely: (a) the candidate who obtained the highest
8804,55 a decision or resolution of a Division becomes final and executory after the lapse of five
number of votes is disqualified; and (b) the electorate was fully aware in fact and in law of that
days following its promulgation unless a motion for reconsideration is seasonably filed. Under
candidate’s disqualification as to bring such awareness within the realm of notoriety but the
Section 8, Rule 20 of Resolution No. 8804, the decision of the COMELEC En Banc becomes
electorate still cast the plurality of the votes in favor of the ineligible candidate.64 Under this sole
final and executory five days after its promulgation and receipt of notice by the parties.
exception, the electorate may be said to have waived the validity and efficacy of their votes by
notoriously misapplying their franchise or throwing away their votes, in which case the eligible
The COMELEC First Division declared Ramon disqualified through its Resolution dated April 19, candidate with the second highest number of votes may be deemed elected.65 But the exception
2010, the copy of which Ramon received on the same date.56 Ramon filed a motion for did not apply in favor of Castillo simply because the second element was absent. The electorate
reconsideration on April 21, 201057 in accordance with Section 7 of COMELEC Resolution No. of Lucena City were not the least aware of the fact of Barbara Ruby’s ineligibility as the
8696,58 but withdrew the motion on May 4, 2010,59 ostensibly to allow his substitution by Barbara substitute. In fact, the COMELEC En Banc issued the Resolution finding her substitution invalid
Ruby. On his part, Castillo did not file any motion for reconsideration. Such circumstances only on May 20, 2011, or a full year after the decisions.
On the other hand, the COMELEC En Banc properly disqualified Barbara Ruby from assuming Banc dated 2 February 2011 is being questioned for finding that respondent Rommel Arnado y
the position of Mayor of Lucena City. To begin with, there was no valid candidate for her to Cagoco (respondent Arnado/Arnado) is solely a Filipino citizen qualified to run for public office
substitute due to Ramon’s ineligibility. Also, Ramon did not voluntarily withdraw his CoC before despite his continued use of a U.S. passport.
the elections in accordance with Section 73 of the Omnibus Election Code. Lastly, she was not
an additional candidate for the position of Mayor of Lucena City because her filing of her CoC on FACTS
May 4, 2010 was beyond the period fixed by law. Indeed, she was not, in law and in fact, a
candidate.66 Respondent Arnado is a natural born Filipino citizen.3 However, as a consequence of his
subsequent naturalization as a citizen of the United States of America, he lost his Filipino
A permanent vacancy in the office of Mayor of Lucena City thus resulted, and such vacancy citizenship. Arnado applied for repatriation under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225 before the
should be filled pursuant to the law on succession defined in Section 44 of the LGC, to wit:67 Consulate General of the Philippines in San Franciso, USA and took the Oath of Allegiance to
the Republic of the Philippines on 10 July 2008.4 On the same day an Order of Approval of his
Section 44. Permanent Vacancies in the Offices of the Governor, Vice-Governor, Mayor, and Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition was issued in his favor.5
Vice-Mayor. – If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the governor or mayor, the vice-
governor or vice-mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor. x x x The aforementioned Oath of Allegiance states:

WHEREFORE, the Court DISMISSES the petitions in these consolidated cases; AFFIRMS the I, Rommel Cagoco Arnado, solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the
Resolution issued on May 20, 2011 by the COMELEC En Banc; and ORDERS the petitioners to Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated by the duly
pay the costs of suit. constituted authorities of the Philippines and I hereby declare that I recognize and accept the
supreme authority of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; and that I
SO ORDERED. impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.6

On 3 April 2009 Arnado again took his Oath of Allegiance to the Republic and executed an
Affidavit of Renunciation of his foreign citizenship, which states:

I, Rommel Cagoco Arnado, do solemnly swear that I absolutely and perpetually renounce all
allegiance and fidelity to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA of which I am a citizen, and I divest
G.R. No. 195649 April 16, 2013 myself of full employment of all civil and political rights and privileges of the United States of
America.
CASAN MACODE MAQUILING, Petitioner,
vs. I solemnly swear that all the foregoing statement is true and correct to the best of my knowledge
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ROMMEL ARNADO y CAGOCO, LINOG G. and belief.7
BALUA, Respondents.
On 30 November 2009, Arnado filed his Certificate of Candidacy for Mayor of Kauswagan,
DECISION Lanao del Norte, which contains, among others, the following statements:

SERENO, CJ.: I am a natural born Filipino citizen / naturalized Filipino citizen.

THE CASE I am not a permanent resident of, or immigrant to, a foreign country.

This is a Petition for Certiorari ender Rule 64 in conjunction with Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to I am eligible for the office I seek to be elected to.
review the Resolutions of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). The Resolution1 in SPA
No. 10-1 09(DC) of the COMELEC First Division dated 5 October 201 0 is being assailed for
applying Section 44 of the Local Government Code while the Resolution2 of the COMELEC En
I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and will maintain true Neither motion was acted upon, having been overtaken by the 2010 elections where Arnado
faith and allegiance thereto. I will obey the laws, legal orders and decrees promulgated by the garnered the highest number of votes and was subsequently proclaimed as the winning
duly constituted authorities. candidate for Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of It was only after his proclamation that Arnado filed his verified answer, submitting the following
evasion.8 documents as evidence:14

On 28 April 2010, respondent Linog C. Balua (Balua), another mayoralty candidate, filed a 1. Affidavit of Renunciation and Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines
petition to disqualify Arnado and/or to cancel his certificate of candidacy for municipal mayor of dated 03 April 2009;
Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte in connection with the 10 May 2010 local and national elections.9
2. Joint-Affidavit dated 31 May 2010 of Engr. Virgil Seno, Virginia Branzuela, Leoncio
Respondent Balua contended that Arnado is not a resident of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte and Daligdig, and Jessy Corpin, all neighbors of Arnado, attesting that Arnado is a long-time
that he is a foreigner, attaching thereto a certification issued by the Bureau of Immigration dated resident of Kauswagan and that he has been conspicuously and continuously residing in
23 April 2010 indicating the nationality of Arnado as "USA-American."10To further bolster his his family’s ancestral house in Kauswagan;
claim of Arnado’s US citizenship, Balua presented in his Memorandum a computer-generated
travel record11 dated 03 December 2009 indicating that Arnado has been using his US Passport 3. Certification from the Punong Barangay of Poblacion, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte
No. 057782700 in entering and departing the Philippines. The said record shows that Arnado left dated 03 June 2010 stating that Arnado is a bona fide resident of his barangay and that
the country on 14 April 2009 and returned on 25 June 2009, and again departed on 29 July Arnado went to the United States in 1985 to work and returned to the Philippines in 2009;
2009, arriving back in the Philippines on 24 November 2009.
4. Certification dated 31 May 2010 from the Municipal Local Government Operations
Balua likewise presented a certification from the Bureau of Immigration dated 23 April 2010, Office of Kauswagan stating that Dr. Maximo P. Arnado, Sr. served as Mayor of
certifying that the name "Arnado, Rommel Cagoco" appears in the available Computer Kauswagan, from January 1964 to June 1974 and from 15 February 1979 to 15 April
Database/Passenger manifest/IBM listing on file as of 21 April 2010, with the following pertinent 1986; and
travel records:
5. Voter Certification issued by the Election Officer of Kauswagan certifying that Arnado
DATE OF Arrival : 01/12/2010 has been a registered voter of Kauswagan since 03 April 2009.

NATIONALITY : USA-AMERICAN THE RULING OF THE COMELEC FIRST DIVISION

PASSPORT : 057782700 Instead of treating the Petition as an action for the cancellation of a certificate of candidacy
based on misrepresentation,15 the COMELEC First Division considered it as one for
DATE OF Arrival : 03/23/2010 disqualification. Balua’s contention that Arnado is a resident of the United States was dismissed
upon the finding that "Balua failed to present any evidence to support his contention,"16 whereas
NATIONALITY : USA-AMERICAN the First Division still could "not conclude that Arnado failed to meet the one-year residency
requirement under the Local Government Code."17
PASSPORT : 05778270012
In the matter of the issue of citizenship, however, the First Division disagreed with Arnado’s
13
On 30 April 2010, the COMELEC (First Division) issued an Order requiring the respondent to claim that he is a Filipino citizen.18
personally file his answer and memorandum within three (3) days from receipt thereof.
We find that although Arnado appears to have substantially complied with the requirements of
After Arnado failed to answer the petition, Balua moved to declare him in default and to present R.A. No. 9225, Arnado’s act of consistently using his US passport after renouncing his US
evidence ex-parte. citizenship on 03 April 2009 effectively negated his Affidavit of Renunciation.
xxxx 5. He is undoubtedly the people’s choice as indicated by his winning the elections;

Arnado’s continued use of his US passport is a strong indication that Arnado had no real 6. His proclamation as the winning candidate ousted the COMELEC from jurisdiction
intention to renounce his US citizenship and that he only executed an Affidavit of Renunciation to over the case; and
enable him to run for office. We cannot turn a blind eye to the glaring inconsistency between
Arnado’s unexplained use of a US passport six times and his claim that he re-acquired his 7. The proper remedy to question his citizenship is through a petition for quo warranto,
Philippine citizenship and renounced his US citizenship. As noted by the Supreme Court in the which should have been filed within ten days from his proclamation.
Yu case, "a passport is defined as an official document of identity and nationality issued to a
person intending to travel or sojourn in foreign countries." Surely, one who truly divested himself Petitioner Casan Macode Maquiling (Maquiling), another candidate for mayor of Kauswagan,
of US citizenship would not continue to avail of privileges reserved solely for US nationals.19 and who garnered the second highest number of votes in the 2010 elections, intervened in the
case and filed before the COMELEC En Banc a Motion for Reconsideration together with an
The dispositive portion of the Resolution rendered by the COMELEC Opposition to Arnado’s Amended Motion for Reconsideration. Maquiling argued that while the
First Division correctly disqualified Arnado, the order of succession under Section 44 of the Local
First Division reads: Government Code is not applicable in this case. Consequently, he claimed that the cancellation
of Arnado’s candidacy and the nullification of his proclamation, Maquiling, as the legitimate
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition for disqualification and/or to cancel the candidate who obtained the highest number of lawful votes, should be proclaimed as the winner.
certificate of candidacy of Rommel C. Arnado is hereby GRANTED. Rommel C. Arnado’s
proclamation as the winning candidate for Municipal Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Nore is Maquiling simultaneously filed his Memorandum with his Motion for Intervention and his Motion
hereby ANNULLED. Let the order of succession under Section 44 of the Local Government for Reconsideration. Arnado opposed all motions filed by Maquiling, claiming that intervention is
Code of 1991 take effect.20 prohibited after a decision has already been rendered, and that as a second-placer, Maquiling
undoubtedly lost the elections and thus does not stand to be prejudiced or benefitted by the final
The Motion for Reconsideration and adjudication of the case.
the Motion for Intervention
RULING OF THE COMELEC EN BANC
Arnado sought reconsideration of the resolution before the COMELEC En Banc on the ground
that "the evidence is insufficient to justify the Resolution and that the said Resolution is contrary In its Resolution of 02 February 2011, the COMELEC En Banc held that under Section 6 of
to law."21 He raised the following contentions:22 Republic Act No. 6646, the Commission "shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action,
inquiry or protest even after the proclamation of the candidate whose qualifications for office is
1. The finding that he is not a Filipino citizen is not supported by the evidence consisting questioned."
of his Oath of Allegiance and the Affidavit of Renunciation, which show that he has
substantially complied with the requirements of R.A. No. 9225; As to Maquiling’s intervention, the COMELEC En Banc also cited Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646
which allows intervention in proceedings for disqualification even after elections if no final
2. The use of his US passport subsequent to his renunciation of his American citizenship judgment has been rendered, but went on further to say that Maquiling, as the second placer,
is not tantamount to a repudiation of his Filipino citizenship, as he did not perform any act would not be prejudiced by the outcome of the case as it agrees with the dispositive portion of
to swear allegiance to a country other than the Philippines; the Resolution of the First Division allowing the order of succession under Section 44 of the
Local Government Code to take effect.
3. He used his US passport only because he was not informed of the issuance of his
Philippine passport, and that he used his Philippine passport after he obtained it; The COMELEC En Banc agreed with the treatment by the First Division of the petition as one for
disqualification, and ruled that the petition was filed well within the period prescribed by
4. Balua’s petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Arnado was filed out of time, law,24 having been filed on 28 April 2010, which is not later than 11 May 2010, the date of
and the First Division’s treatment of the petition as one for disqualification constitutes proclamation.
grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction;23
However, the COMELEC En Banc reversed and set aside the ruling of the First Division and "The application of the more assimilative principle of continuity of citizenship is more appropriate
granted Arnado’s Motion for Reconsideration, on the following premises: in this case. Under said principle, once a person becomes a citizen, either by birth or
naturalization, it is assumed that he desires to continue to be a citizen, and this assumption
First: stands until he voluntarily denationalizes or expatriates himself. Thus, in the instant case
respondent after reacquiring his Philippine citizenship should be presumed to have remained a
By renouncing his US citizenship as imposed by R.A. No. 9225, the respondent embraced his Filipino despite his use of his American passport in the absence of clear, unequivocal and
Philippine citizenship as though he never became a citizen of another country. It was at that competent proof of expatriation. Accordingly, all doubts should be resolved in favor of retention
time, April 3, 2009, that the respondent became a pure Philippine Citizen again. of citizenship."26

xxxx On the other hand, Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento dissented, thus:

The use of a US passport … does not operate to revert back his status as a dual citizen prior to Respondent evidently failed to prove that he truly and wholeheartedly abandoned his allegiance
his renunciation as there is no law saying such. More succinctly, the use of a US passport does to the United States. The latter’s continued use of his US passport and enjoyment of all the
not operate to "un-renounce" what he has earlier on renounced. The First Division’s reliance in privileges of a US citizen despite his previous renunciation of the afore-mentioned citizenship
the case of In Re: Petition for Habeas Corpus of Willy Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, et al. is runs contrary to his declaration that he chose to retain only his Philippine citizenship.
misplaced. The petitioner in the said case is a naturalized citizen who, after taking his oath as a Respondent’s submission with the twin requirements was obviously only for the purpose of
naturalized Filipino, applied for the renewal of his Portuguese passport. Strict policy is complying with the requirements for running for the mayoralty post in connection with the May
maintained in the conduct of citizens who are not natural born, who acquire their citizenship by 10, 2010 Automated National and Local Elections.
choice, thus discarding their original citizenship. The Philippine State expects strict conduct of
allegiance to those who choose to be its citizens. In the present case, respondent is not a Qualifications for elective office, such as citizenship, are continuing requirements; once any of
naturalized citizen but a natural born citizen who chose greener pastures by working abroad and them is lost during his incumbency, title to the office itself is deemed forfeited. If a candidate is
then decided to repatriate to supposedly help in the progress of Kauswagan. He did not apply for not a citizen at the time he ran for office or if he lost his citizenship after his election to office, he
a US passport after his renunciation. Thus the mentioned case is not on all fours with the case at is disqualified to serve as such. Neither does the fact that respondent obtained the plurality of
bar. votes for the mayoralty post cure the latter’s failure to comply with the qualification requirements
regarding his citizenship.
xxxx
Since a disqualified candidate is no candidate at all in the eyes of the law, his having received
The respondent presented a plausible explanation as to the use of his US passport. Although he the highest number of votes does not validate his election. It has been held that where a petition
applied for a Philippine passport, the passport was only issued on June 18, 2009. However, he for disqualification was filed before election against a candidate but was adversely resolved
was not notified of the issuance of his Philippine passport so that he was actually able to get it against him after election, his having obtained the highest number of votes did not make his
about three (3) months later. Yet as soon as he was in possession of his Philippine passport, the election valid. His ouster from office does not violate the principle of vox populi suprema est lex
respondent already used the same in his subsequent travels abroad. This fact is proven by the because the application of the constitutional and statutory provisions on disqualification is not a
respondent’s submission of a certified true copy of his passport showing that he used the same matter of popularity. To apply it is to breath[e] life to the sovereign will of the people who
for his travels on the following dates: January 31, 2010, April 16, 2010, May 20, 2010, January expressed it when they ratified the Constitution and when they elected their representatives who
12, 2010, March 31, 2010 and June 4, 2010. This then shows that the use of the US passport enacted the law.27
was because to his knowledge, his Philippine passport was not yet issued to him for his use. As
probably pressing needs might be undertaken, the respondent used whatever is within his THE PETITION BEFORE THE COURT
control during that time.25
Maquiling filed the instant petition questioning the propriety of declaring Arnado qualified to run
In his Separate Concurring Opinion, COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes cited that the use of for public office despite his continued use of a US passport, and praying that Maquiling be
foreign passport is not one of the grounds provided for under Section 1 of Commonwealth Act proclaimed as the winner in the 2010 mayoralty race in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.
No. 63 through which Philippine citizenship may be lost.
Ascribing both grave abuse of discretion and reversible error on the part of the COMELEC En The effect of a disqualification case is enunciated in Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646:
Banc for ruling that Arnado is a Filipino citizen despite his continued use of a US passport,
Maquiling now seeks to reverse the finding of the COMELEC En Banc that Arnado is qualified to Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. - Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment
run for public office. 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
Corollary to his plea to reverse the ruling of the COMELEC En Banc or to affirm the First is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission
Division’s disqualification of Arnado, Maquiling also seeks the review of the applicability of shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the
Section 44 of the Local Government Code, claiming that the COMELEC committed reversible complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the
error in ruling that "the succession of the vice mayor in case the respondent is disqualified is in proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong.
order."
Mercado v. Manzano28
There are three questions posed by the parties before this Court which will be addressed
seriatim as the subsequent questions hinge on the result of the first. clarified the right of intervention in a disqualification case. In that case, the Court said:

The first question is whether or not intervention is allowed in a disqualification case. That petitioner had a right to intervene at that stage of the proceedings for the disqualification
against private respondent is clear from Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646, otherwise known as the
The second question is whether or not the use of a foreign passport after renouncing foreign Electoral Reforms Law of 1987, which provides: Any candidate who has been declared by final
citizenship amounts to undoing a renunciation earlier made. 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
A better framing of the question though should be whether or not the use of a foreign passport disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the
after renouncing foreign citizenship affects one’s qualifications to run for public office. 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 third question is whether or not the rule on succession in the Local Government Code is the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of guilt is strong.
applicable to this case. Under this provision, intervention may be allowed in proceedings for disqualification even after
election if there has yet been no final judgment rendered.29
OUR RULING
Clearly then, Maquiling has the right to intervene in the case. The fact that the COMELEC En
Banc has already ruled that Maquiling has not shown that the requisites for the exemption to the
Intervention of a rival candidate in a
second-placer rule set forth in Sinsuat v. COMELEC30 are present and therefore would not be
disqualification case is proper when
prejudiced by the outcome of the case, does not deprive Maquiling of the right to elevate the
there has not yet been any
matter before this Court.
proclamation of the winner.
Arnado’s claim that the main case has attained finality as the original petitioner and respondents
Petitioner Casan Macode Maquiling intervened at the stage when respondent Arnado filed a
therein have not appealed the decision of the COMELEC En Banc, cannot be sustained. The
Motion for Reconsideration of the First Division Resolution before the COMELEC En Banc. As
elevation of the case by the intervenor prevents it from attaining finality. It is only after this Court
the candidate who garnered the second highest number of votes, Maquiling contends that he
has ruled upon the issues raised in this instant petition that the disqualification case originally
has an interest in the disqualification case filed against Arnado, considering that in the event the
filed by Balua against Arnado will attain finality.
latter is disqualified, the votes cast for him should be considered stray and the second-placer
should be proclaimed as the winner in the elections.
The use of foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign citizenship is a positive and
voluntary act of representation as to one’s nationality and citizenship; it does not divest
It must be emphasized that while the original petition before the COMELEC is one for
Filipino citizenship regained by repatriation but it recants the Oath of Renunciation
cancellation of the certificate of candidacy and / or disqualification, the COMELEC First Division
required to qualify one to run for an elective position.
and the COMELEC En Banc correctly treated the petition as one for disqualification.
Section 5(2) of The Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003 provides: Between 03 April 2009, the date he renounced his foreign citizenship, and 30 November 2009,
the date he filed his COC, he used his US passport four times, actions that run counter to the
Those who retain or re-acquire Philippine citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and affidavit of renunciation he had earlier executed. By using his foreign passport, Arnado positively
political rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of and voluntarily represented himself as an American, in effect declaring before immigration
the Philippines and the following conditions: authorities of both countries that he is an American citizen, with all attendant rights and privileges
granted by the United States of America.
xxxx
The renunciation of foreign citizenship is not a hollow oath that can simply be professed at any
(2)Those seeking elective public in the Philippines shall meet the qualification for holding such time, only to be violated the next day. It requires an absolute and perpetual renunciation of the
public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the foreign citizenship and a full divestment of all civil and political rights granted by the foreign
certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign before country which granted the citizenship.
any public officer authorized to administer an oath.
Mercado v. Manzano34 already hinted at this situation when the Court declared:
x x x31
His declarations will be taken upon the faith that he will fulfill his undertaking made under oath.
Rommel Arnado took all the necessary steps to qualify to run for a public office. He took the Should he betray that trust, there are enough sanctions for declaring the loss of his Philippine
Oath of Allegiance and renounced his foreign citizenship. There is no question that after citizenship through expatriation in appropriate proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, we
performing these twin requirements required under Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225 or the sustained the denial of entry into the country of petitioner on the ground that, after taking his oath
Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003, he became eligible to run for public office. 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 anyone who, in electing Philippine citizenship, renounces his foreign
Indeed, Arnado took the Oath of Allegiance not just only once but twice: first, on 10 July 2008
nationality, but subsequently does some act constituting renunciation of his Philippine
when he applied for repatriation before the Consulate General of the Philippines in San
citizenship.
Francisco, USA, and again on 03 April 2009 simultaneous with the execution of his Affidavit of
Renunciation. By taking the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic, Arnado re-acquired his
Philippine citizenship. At the time, however, he likewise possessed American citizenship. Arnado While the act of using a foreign passport is not one of the acts enumerated in Commonwealth
had therefore become a dual citizen. Act No. 63 constituting renunciation and loss of Philippine citizenship,35 it is nevertheless an act
which repudiates the very oath of renunciation required for a former Filipino citizen who is also a
citizen of another country to be qualified to run for a local elective position.
After reacquiring his Philippine citizenship, Arnado renounced his American citizenship by
executing an Affidavit of Renunciation, thus completing the requirements for eligibility to run for
public office. When Arnado used his US passport on 14 April 2009, or just eleven days after he renounced his
American citizenship, he recanted his Oath of Renunciation36 that he "absolutely and perpetually
renounce(s) all allegiance and fidelity to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA"37 and that he
By renouncing his foreign citizenship, he was deemed to be solely a Filipino citizen, regardless
"divest(s) himself of full employment of all civil and political rights and privileges of the United
of the effect of such renunciation under the laws of the foreign country.32
States of America."38
However, this legal presumption does not operate permanently and is open to attack when, after
We agree with the COMELEC En Banc that such act of using a foreign passport does not divest
renouncing the foreign citizenship, the citizen performs positive acts showing his continued
Arnado of his Filipino citizenship, which he acquired by repatriation. However, by representing
possession of a foreign citizenship.33
himself as an American citizen, Arnado voluntarily and effectively reverted to his earlier status as
a dual citizen. Such reversion was not retroactive; it took place the instant Arnado represented
Arnado himself subjected the issue of his citizenship to attack when, after renouncing his foreign himself as an American citizen by using his US passport.
citizenship, he continued to use his US passport to travel in and out of the country before filing
his certificate of candidacy on 30 November 2009. The pivotal question to determine is whether
he was solely and exclusively a Filipino citizen at the time he filed his certificate of candidacy,
thereby rendering him eligible to run for public office.
This act of using a foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign citizenship is fatal to Arnado’s his foreign citizenship, but who subsequently represents himself as a foreign citizen, to hold any
bid for public office, as it effectively imposed on him a disqualification to run for an elective local public office.
position.
Arnado justifies the continued use of his US passport with the explanation that he was not
Arnado’s category of dual citizenship is that by which foreign citizenship is acquired through a notified of the issuance of his Philippine passport on 18 June 2009, as a result of which he was
positive act of applying for naturalization. This is distinct from those considered dual citizens by only able to obtain his Philippine passport three (3) months later.43
virtue of birth, who are not required by law to take the oath of renunciation as the mere filing of
the certificate of candidacy already carries with it an implied renunciation of foreign The COMELEC En Banc differentiated Arnado from Willy Yu, the Portuguese national who
citizenship.39 Dual citizens by naturalization, on the other hand, are required to take not only the sought naturalization as a Filipino citizen and later applied for the renewal of his Portuguese
Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines but also to personally renounce foreign passport. That Arnado did not apply for a US passport after his renunciation does not make his
citizenship in order to qualify as a candidate for public office. use of a US passport less of an act that violated the Oath of Renunciation he took. It was still a
positive act of representation as a US citizen before the immigration officials of this country.
By the time he filed his certificate of candidacy on 30 November 2009, Arnado was a dual citizen
enjoying the rights and privileges of Filipino and American citizenship. He was qualified to vote, The COMELEC, in ruling favorably for Arnado, stated "Yet, as soon as he was in possession of
but by the express disqualification under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code,40 he was his Philippine passport, the respondent already used the same in his subsequent travels
not qualified to run for a local elective position. abroad."44 We cannot agree with the COMELEC. Three months from June is September. If
indeed, Arnado used his Philippine passport as soon as he was in possession of it, he would not
In effect, Arnado was solely and exclusively a Filipino citizen only for a period of eleven days, or have used his US passport on 24 November 2009.
from 3 April 2009 until 14 April 2009, on which date he first used his American passport after
renouncing his American citizenship. Besides, Arnado’s subsequent use of his Philippine passport does not correct the fact that after
he renounced his foreign citizenship and prior to filing his certificate of candidacy, he used his
This Court has previously ruled that: US passport. In the same way that the use of his foreign passport does not undo his Oath of
Renunciation, his subsequent use of his Philippine passport does not undo his earlier use of his
Qualifications for public office are continuing requirements and must be possessed not only at US passport.
the time of appointment or election or assumption of office but during the officer's entire tenure.
Once any of the required qualifications is lost, his title may be seasonably challenged. x x x.41 Citizenship is not a matter of convenience. It is a badge of identity that comes with attendant civil
and political rights accorded by the state to its citizens. It likewise demands the concomitant duty
The citizenship requirement for elective public office is a continuing one. It must be possessed to maintain allegiance to one’s flag and country. While those who acquire dual citizenship by
not just at the time of the renunciation of the foreign citizenship but continuously. Any act which choice are afforded the right of suffrage, those who seek election or appointment to public office
violates the oath of renunciation opens the citizenship issue to attack. are required to renounce their foreign citizenship to be deserving of the public trust. Holding
public office demands full and undivided allegiance to the Republic and to no other.
We agree with the pronouncement of the COMELEC First Division that "Arnado’s act of
consistently using his US passport effectively negated his "Affidavit of Renunciation."42 This does We therefore hold that Arnado, by using his US passport after renouncing his American
not mean, that he failed to comply with the twin requirements under R.A. No. 9225, for he in fact citizenship, has recanted the same Oath of Renunciation he took. Section 40(d) of the Local
did. Government Code applies to his situation. He is disqualified not only from holding the public
office but even from becoming a candidate in the May 2010 elections.
It was after complying with the requirements that he performed positive acts which effectively
disqualified him from running for an elective public office pursuant to Section 40(d) of the Local We now resolve the next issue.
Government Code of 1991.
Resolving the third issue necessitates revisiting Topacio v. Paredes45 which is the jurisprudential
The purpose of the Local Government Code in disqualifying dual citizens from running for any spring of the principle that a second-placer cannot be proclaimed as the winner in an election
elective public office would be thwarted if we were to allow a person who has earlier renounced contest. This doctrine must be re-examined and its soundness once again put to the test to
address the ever-recurring issue that a second-placer who loses to an ineligible candidate cast ballots. In the one case the question is as to who received a plurality of the legally cast
cannot be proclaimed as the winner in the elections. ballots; in the other, the question is confined to the personal character and circumstances of a
single individual.48 (Emphasis supplied)
The Facts of the case are as follows:
Note that the sentence where the phrase is found starts with "In the other case, there is not,
On June 4, 1912, a general election was held in the town of Imus, Province of Cavite, to fill the strictly speaking, a contest" in contrast to the earlier statement, "In the former, we have a contest
office of municipal president. The petitioner, Felipe Topacio, and the respondent, Maximo Abad, in the strict sense of the word, because of the opposing parties are striving for supremacy."
were opposing candidates for that office. Topacio received 430 votes, and Abad 281. Abad
contested the election upon the sole ground that Topacio was ineligible in that he was reelected The Court in Topacio v. Paredes cannot be said to have held that "the wreath of victory cannot
the second time to the office of the municipal president on June 4, 1912, without the four years be transferred from an ineligible candidate to any other candidate when the sole question is the
required by Act No. 2045 having intervened.46 eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of the legally cast ballots."

Abad thus questioned the eligibility of To p a c i o on the basis of a statutory prohibition for A proper reading of the case reveals that the ruling therein is that since the Court of First
seeking a second re-election absent the four year interruption. Instance is without jurisdiction to try a disqualification case based on the eligibility of the person
who obtained the highest number of votes in the election, its jurisdiction being confined "to
The often-quoted phrase in Topacio v. Paredes is that "the wreath of victory cannot be determine which of the contestants has been duly elected" the judge exceeded his jurisdiction
transferred from an ineligible candidate to any other candidate when the sole question is the when he "declared that no one had been legally elected president of the municipality of Imus at
eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of the legally cast ballots."47 the general election held in that town on 4 June 1912" where "the only question raised was
whether or not Topacio was eligible to be elected and to hold the office of municipal president."
This phrase is not even the ratio decidendi; it is a mere obiter dictum. The Court was comparing
"the effect of a decision that a candidate is not entitled to the office because of fraud or The Court did not rule that Topacio was disqualified and that Abad as the second placer cannot
irregularities in the elections x x x with that produced by declaring a person ineligible to hold be proclaimed in his stead. The Court therein ruled:
such an office."
For the foregoing reasons, we are of the opinion and so hold that the respondent judge
The complete sentence where the phrase is found is part of a comparison and contrast between exceeded his jurisdiction in declaring in those proceedings that no one was elected municipal
the two situations, thus: president of the municipality of Imus at the last general election; and that said order and all
subsequent proceedings based thereon are null and void and of no effect; and, although this
Again, the effect of a decision that a candidate is not entitled to the office because of fraud or decision is rendered on respondents' answer to the order to show cause, unless respondents
irregularities in the elections is quite different from that produced by declaring a person ineligible raised some new and additional issues, let judgment be entered accordingly in 5 days, without
to hold such an office. In the former case the court, after an examination of the ballots may find costs. So ordered.49
that some other person than the candidate declared to have received a plurality by the board of
canvassers actually received the greater number of votes, in which case the court issues its On closer scrutiny, the phrase relied upon by a host of decisions does not even have a legal
mandamus to the board of canvassers to correct the returns accordingly; or it may find that the basis to stand on. It was a mere pronouncement of the Court comparing one process with
manner of holding the election and the returns are so tainted with fraud or illegality that it cannot another and explaining the effects thereof. As an independent statement, it is even illogical.
be determined who received a plurality of the legally cast ballots. In the latter case, no question
as to the correctness of the returns or the manner of casting and counting the ballots is before Let us examine the statement:
the deciding power, and generally the only result can be that the election fails entirely. In the
former, we have a contest in the strict sense of the word, because of the opposing parties are "x x x the wreath of victory cannot be transferred from an ineligible candidate to any other
striving for supremacy. If it be found that the successful candidate (according to the board of candidate when the sole question is the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of the legally
canvassers) obtained a plurality in an illegal manner, and that another candidate was the real cast ballots."
victor, the former must retire in favor of the latter. In the other case, there is not, strictly speaking,
a contest, as the wreath of victory cannot be transferred from an ineligible candidate to any other What prevents the transfer of the wreath of victory from the ineligible candidate to another
candidate when the sole question is the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of the legally candidate?
When the issue being decided upon by the Court is the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality This issue has also been jurisprudentially clarified in Velasco v. COMELEC52 where the Court
of the legally cast ballots and ineligibility is thereafter established, what stops the Court from ruled that the ruling in Quizon and Saya-ang cannot be interpreted without qualifications lest
adjudging another eligible candidate who received the next highest number of votes as the "Election victory x x x becomes a magic formula to bypass election eligibility requirements."53
winner and bestowing upon him that "wreath?"
We have ruled in the past that a candidate’s victory in the election may be considered a
An ineligible candidate who receives the highest number of votes is a wrongful winner. By sufficient basis to rule in favor of the candidate sought to be disqualified if the main issue
express legal mandate, he could not even have been a candidate in the first place, but by virtue involves defects in the candidate’s certificate of candidacy. We said that while provisions relating
of the lack of material time or any other intervening circumstances, his ineligibility might not have to certificates of candidacy are mandatory in terms, it is an established rule of interpretation as
been passed upon prior to election date. Consequently, he may have had the opportunity to hold regards election laws, that mandatory provisions requiring certain steps before elections will be
himself out to the electorate as a legitimate and duly qualified candidate. However, construed as directory after the elections, to give effect to the will of the people. We so ruled in
notwithstanding the outcome of the elections, his ineligibility as a candidate remains unchanged. Quizon v. COMELEC and Saya-ang v. COMELEC:
Ineligibility does not only pertain to his qualifications as a candidate but necessarily affects his
right to hold public office. The number of ballots cast in his favor cannot cure the defect of failure The present case perhaps presents the proper time and opportunity to fine-tune our above
to qualify with the substantive legal requirements of eligibility to run for public office. ruling. We say this with the realization that a blanket and unqualified reading and application of
this ruling can be fraught with dangerous significance for the rule of law and the integrity of our
The popular vote does not cure the elections. For one, such blanket/unqualified reading may provide a way around the law that
ineligibility of a candidate. effectively negates election requirements aimed at providing the electorate with the basic
information to make an informed choice about a candidate’s eligibility and fitness for office.
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 The first requirement that may fall when an unqualified reading is made is Section 39 of the LGC
that certain disqualifications be not possessed by persons desiring to serve as elective public which specifies the basic qualifications of local government officials. Equally susceptive of being
officials, those qualifications must be met before one even becomes a candidate. When a person rendered toothless is Section 74 of the OEC that sets out what should be stated in a COC.
who is not qualified is voted for and eventually garners the highest number of votes, even the will Section 78 may likewise be emasculated as mere delay in the resolution of the petition to cancel
of the electorate expressed through the ballot cannot cure the defect in the qualifications of the or deny due course to a COC can render a Section 78 petition useless if a candidate with false
candidate. To rule otherwise is to trample upon and rent asunder the very law that sets forth the COC data wins. To state the obvious, candidates may risk falsifying their COC qualifications if
qualifications and disqualifications of candidates. We might as well write off our election laws if they know that an election victory will cure any defect that their COCs may have. Election victory
the voice of the electorate is the sole determinant of who should be proclaimed worthy to occupy then becomes a magic formula to bypass election eligibility requirements. (Citations omitted)
elective positions in our republic.
What will stop an otherwise disqualified individual from filing a seemingly valid COC, concealing
This has been, in fact, already laid down by the Court in Frivaldo v. COMELEC50 when we any disqualification, and employing every strategy to delay any disqualification case filed against
pronounced: him so he can submit himself to the electorate and win, if winning the election will guarantee a
disregard of constitutional and statutory provisions on qualifications and disqualifications of
x x x. The fact that he was elected by the people of Sorsogon does not excuse this patent candidates?
violation of the salutary rule limiting public office and employment only to the citizens of this
country. The qualifications prescribed for elective office cannot be erased by the electorate It is imperative to safeguard the expression of the sovereign voice through the ballot by ensuring
alone. that its exercise respects the rule of law. To allow the sovereign voice spoken through the ballot
to trump constitutional and statutory provisions on qualifications and disqualifications of
The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of ineligibility, candidates is not democracy or republicanism. It is electoral anarchy. When set rules are
especially if they mistakenly believed, as in this case, that the candidate was qualified. disregarded and only the electorate’s voice spoken through the ballot is made to matter in the
Obviously, this rule requires strict application when the deficiency is lack of citizenship. If a end, it precisely serves as an open invitation for electoral anarchy to set in.
1âw phi 1

person seeks to serve in the Republic of the Philippines, he must owe his total loyalty to this
country only, abjuring and renouncing all fealty and fidelity to any other state.51 (Emphasis Maquiling is not a second-placer as
supplied) he obtained the highest number of
votes from among the qualified Section 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. - Any candidate who has been declared by final
candidates. 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
With Arnado’s disqualification, Maquiling then becomes the winner in the election as he obtained disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the
the highest number of votes from among the qualified candidates. 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
We have ruled in the recent cases of Aratea v. COMELEC54 and Jalosjos v. COMELEC55 that a the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is
void COC cannot produce any legal effect. strong.

Thus, the votes cast in favor of the ineligible candidate are not considered at all in determining There was no chance for Arnado’s proclamation to be suspended under this rule because
the winner of an election. Arnado failed to file his answer to the petition seeking his disqualification. Arnado only filed his
Answer on 15 June 2010, long after the elections and after he was already proclaimed as the
winner.
Even when the votes for the ineligible candidate are disregarded, the will of the electorate is still
respected, and even more so. The votes cast in favor of an ineligible candidate do not constitute
the sole and total expression of the sovereign voice. The votes cast in favor of eligible and The disqualifying circumstance surrounding Arnado’s candidacy involves his citizenship. It does
legitimate candidates form part of that voice and must also be respected. not involve the commission of election offenses as provided for in the first sentence of Section 68
of the Omnibus Election Code, the effect of which is to disqualify the individual from continuing
as a candidate, or if he has already been elected, from holding the office.
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 The disqualifying circumstance affecting Arnado is his citizenship. As earlier discussed, Arnado
who does not possess any of the disqualifications nor lacks any of the qualifications set in the was both a Filipino and an American citizen when he filed his certificate of candidacy. He was a
rules to be eligible as candidates. dual citizen disqualified to run for public office based on Section 40(d) of the Local Government
Code.
There is no need to apply the rule cited in Labo v. COMELEC56 that when the voters are well
aware within the realm of notoriety of a candidate’s disqualification and still cast their votes in Section 40 starts with the statement "The following persons are disqualified from running for any
favor said candidate, then the eligible candidate obtaining the next higher number of votes may elective local position." The prohibition serves as a bar against the individuals who fall under any
be deemed elected. That rule is also a mere obiter that further complicated the rules affecting of the enumeration from participating as candidates in the election.
qualified candidates who placed second to ineligible ones.
With Arnado being barred from even becoming a candidate, his certificate of candidacy is thus
The electorate’s awareness of the candidate’s disqualification is not a prerequisite for the rendered void from the beginning. It could not have produced any other legal effect except that
disqualification to attach to the candidate. The very existence of a disqualifying circumstance Arnado rendered it impossible to effect his disqualification prior to the elections because he filed
makes the candidate ineligible. Knowledge by the electorate of a candidate’s disqualification is his answer to the petition when the elections were conducted already and he was already
not necessary before a qualified candidate who placed second to a disqualified one can be proclaimed the winner.
proclaimed as the winner. The second-placer in the vote count is actually the first-placer among
the qualified candidates. To hold that such proclamation is valid is to negate the prohibitory character of the
disqualification which Arnado possessed even prior to the filing of the certificate of candidacy.
That the disqualified candidate has already been proclaimed and has assumed office is of no The affirmation of Arnado's disqualification, although made long after the elections, reaches back
moment. The subsequent disqualification based on a substantive ground that existed prior to the to the filing of the certificate of candidacy. Arnado is declared to be not a candidate at all in the
filing of the certificate of candidacy voids not only the COC but also the proclamation. May 201 0 elections.

Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 provides: Arnado being a non-candidate, the votes cast in his favor should not have been counted. This
leaves Maquiling as the qualified candidate who obtained the highest number of votes.
Therefore, the rule on succession under the Local Government Code will not apply.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is GRANTED. The Resolution of the
COMELEC En Bane dated 2 February 2011 is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Respondent
ROMMEL ARNADO y CAGOCO is disqualified from running for any local elective position.
CASAN MACODE MAQUILING is hereby DECLARED the duly elected Mayor of Kauswagan,
Lanao del Norte in the 10 May 2010 elections.

This Decision is immediately executory.

Let a copy of this Decision be served personally upon the parties and the Commission on
Elections.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.