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Political Law

CASE 1
ELECTION LAW
Pre-proclamation controversies and manifest errors

FACTS
Petitioner and private respondent Fernando Cabitac were candidates for Vice-
Mayor of Taytay, Rizal during the May 2004 elections. Private respondent won
the election and was proclaimed as Vice-Mayor.
Petitioner after compiling all copies of election returns filed a petition for
correction of manifest errors in the election returns and for a nullification of
the proclamation of the private respondent as Vice-Mayor. The COMELEC First
Division dismissed the petition and was affirmed by the COMELEC En Banc.

ISSUE
Whether or not COMELEC is required to go beyond the face of election returns
and make the necessary correction in a petition for correction of manifest
errors in the election returns.

RULING
The COMELEC, in a petition for correction of manifest errors, is limited to an
examination of the election returns on their face and is without jurisdiction to
go beyond or behind the face of the returns.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition is DISMISSED for
lack of merit, and the Resolutions dated June 30, 2006 and October 16, 2006 of
the COMELEC First Division and En Banc, respectively, are AFFIRMED. Costs
against petitioner.

[ADELINA TAMAYO-REYES, M.D. vs. COMMISSION ON


ELECTIONS and FERNANDO R. CABITAC. G.R. No. 175121. June
8, 2007. Nachura, J.]

Digested By:
MARLON D. LEGURPA
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CASE 2
ELECTION LAW
Misinterpretation of profession or occupation in a certificate of candidacy

FACTS
Private respondent Ceasar Vicencio was a candidate for the post of punong
barangay in the July 2002 Synchronized Barangay Election. In his certificate
of candidacy, private respondent stated his profession as a certified public
accountant. Private respondent won in the elections and was proclaimed.
Petitioner charged him before the Law Department of the COMELEC of
misrepresenting himself as a CPA and evidences were attached to the
complaint.

ISSUE
Whether or not the respondent misrepresentation of profession or occupation
in the Certificate of Candidacy a valid ground for disqualification

RULING
Profession or occupation is not a qualification for elective office, and
therefore not a material fact in the certificate of candidacy. A
misrepresentation of a non-material fact is not a ground to deny due course
to or cancel a certificate of candidacy.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.


SO ORDERED.

[NELSON T. LLUZ and CATALINO C. ALDEOSA, COMMISSION ON


ELECTIONS and CAESAR O. VICENCIO. G.R. No. 172840. June 7,
2007. Carpio, J.]

Digested By:
MARLON D. LEGURPA
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CASE 3
ELECTION LAW
COMELEC exercise of grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or in excess of
jurisdiction

FACTS
Domiciano R. Laurena, Jr. and Nestor L. Alvarez were candidates for mayor in the
City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija in the May 10, 2004 elections. In the canvass of votes,
Laurena obtained 13,321 votes while Alvarez garnered 16,855 votes. With the
3,534 votes difference Alvarez was proclaimed mayor of Muñoz on May 14, 2004.
On May 22, 2004, Laurena, claiming that massive electoral fraud and
irregularities attended Alvarez’s victory, filed an election protest impugning the
results of the elections in all 175 precincts of Muñoz. In an Order, the Second
Division denied protestee’s call for the dismissal of the case. It recognized that
ballot revision is the most expeditious and the best means to determine the truth
or falsity of protestant’s allegations. It likewise laid down the guidelines for the
retrieval of the ballot boxes and directed the payment of the required cash
deposits to defray revision expenses. With the admission of the parties’
respective formal offer of evidence and the submission of their memoranda, the
Second Division issued the assailed Resolution dismissing the protest.

ISSUE
Whether or not COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion, amounting
to lack or in excess of jurisdiction.

RULING
Well-settled is the rule that the will of the voters is embodied in the ballots, and
to ascertain and carry out such will, the ballots must be read and appreciated
according to the rule that every ballot is presumed valid unless there is clear and
good reason to justify its rejection. On this matter, the findings of the COMELEC
are accorded great respect, if not finality, by the Court. Votes cannot be nullified
on the mere sweeping allegation of the petitioner that fraud and irregularity
attended the election. Ample and credible evidence is necessary to back up such
claim. This is especially true if the petitioner failed to make timely objections
during the canvass of the votes, as in this case.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The
Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc, affirming with modification the Resolution of
the COMELEC is AFFIRMED.

[DOMICIANO R. LAURENA, JR., vs. THE COMMISSION ON


ELECTIONS and NESTOR L. ALVAREZ G. R. No. 174499. June 29,
2007. Nachura, J]
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Digested By:
KRISTOFFER RAY Y. LAO

CASE 4
ELECTION LAW
Invalidation of valid ballots

FACTS
Cundangan and Chua were candidates for Punong Barangay for Barangay
Sumilang, Pasig City in the July 15, 2002 Synchronized Barangay and
Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. After the canvass of votes, Cundangan was
proclaimed as the duly elected Punong Barangay. On July 23, 2002, Chua filed an
election protest which impugned the results of the canvass in all the 19 precincts
of said barangay. After the revision proceedings were concluded, the trial court
rendered a Decision dated September 26, 2003, affirming the proclamation of
Cundangan.

Unsatisfied with the decision of the trial court, Chua filed on October 14, 2003, an
appeal with the COMELEC First Division. In its Resolution dated October 25, 2005,
the COMELEC First Division reversed the trial court's Decision dated September
26, 2003, and accordingly declared Chua as the duly elected Punong Barangay of
Barangay Sumilang, Pasig City.

On November 2, 2005, Cundangan moved for a reconsideration of the said


Resolution. However, the COMELEC En Banc, in its Resolution dated August 18,
2006, denied Cundangan's Motion for Reconsideration and affirmed the
challenged Resolution of the COMELEC First Division.

ISSUE
Whether or not the public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack and excess of jurisdiction in promulgating its assailed
resolution when the COMELEC invalidated valid ballots of Cundangan as follows:
a. Groups or sets of ballots totaling eighty seven (87) ballots of
Cundangan allegedly as written as one person
b. Single ballots totaling nineteen (19) valid ballots of Cundangan
allegedly written by two persons
c. Three (3) valid ballots of Cundangan allegedly as marked ballots

RULING
The Court holds that the COMELEC En Banc did not abuse its discretion in
invalidating all of the aforesaid contested ballots.

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In the present petition, the court has more reason to respect the findings of the
COMELEC En Banc with regard to the questioned ballots, considering that the
same is consistent not only with the findings of the COMELEC First Division, but
also those of the trial court. It must be stressed that the

appreciation of contested ballots and election documents involves a question of


fact best left to the determination of the COMELEC, a specialized agency tasked
with the supervision of elections all over the country.

It is the constitutional commission vested with the exclusive original jurisdiction


over election contests involving regional, provincial and city officials, as well as
appellate jurisdiction over election protests involving elective municipal and
barangay officials. Consequently, in the absence of grave abuse of discretion or
any jurisdictional infirmity or error of law, the factual findings, conclusions,
rulings and decisions rendered by the said Commission on matters falling within
its competence shall not be interfered with by this Court.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Resolutions of
the COMELEC are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

[NELSON CUNDANGAN, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


and CELESTINO V. CHUA. G.R. No. 174392. August 28, 2007.
Quisumbing, J.]

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Digested By:
MARTIN CRISOSTOMO Q. DENATE

CASE 5
ELECTION LAWS
Jurisdiction over an offense punishable under the Omnibus Election Code by
imprisonment of not less than 1 year but not more than 6 years

FACTS
That on or about July 15, 2002 Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang
Kabataan (SK) Elections, in the City of Caloocan, Metro Manila, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did,
then and there, willfully and unlawfully, cast her vote in substitution of another
person by misrepresenting herself to be Emely Genovia and voted in substitution
of said Emely Genovia, a registered voter in Precinct No. 779-A, Barangay 60,
Caloocan City. Under Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code, violation of any
election offense:
SECTION 264. Penalties. — Any person found guilty of any
election offense under this Code shall be punished with
imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years
and shall not be subject to probation.

By Order of September 21, 2005, Caloocan RTC dismissed the case for lack of
jurisdiction, it citing Section 32 (2) of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 129 (The
Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980) reading:
Sec. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal
Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Criminal Cases. —
Except in cases falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of Regional
Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial
Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
shall exercise:
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with
imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of
fine regardless of other imposable accessory penalties, including the civil
liability arising from such offenses
or predicated ther eon, irrespective of kind, nature, or value
amount thereof: Provided, however, That in offenses involving
damage to property through criminal negligence, they shall have
exclusive original jurisdiction thereof.

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The COMELEC moved to reconsider the trial court's dismissal order, inviting
attention to Section 268 of the Omnibus Election Code which reads:
SECTION 268. Jurisdiction of courts. — The regional trial court
shall have the exclusive original jurisdiction to try and decide any
criminal action or proceedings for violation of this Code, except
those relating to the offense of failure to register or failure to vote
which shall be under the jurisdiction of the metropolitan or
municipal trial courts. From the decision of the courts, appeal will
lie as in other criminal cases.

November 15, 2005, the trial court denied the COMELEC's motion for "lack of
merit." Hence, the present petition for certiorari.

ISSUE
Whether or not the RTC have jurisdiction to try and decide criminal action or
proceeding for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.

RULING
The petition is meritorious. The Court said, as correctly argued by the COMELEC,
Section 268 of the Omnibus Election Code specifically provides, regional trial
courts have exclusive jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or
proceedings for violation of the Code "except those relating to the offense of
failure to register or failure to vote."

It bears emphasis that Congress has the plenary power to define, prescribe and
apportion the jurisdictions of various courts. Hence, it may, by law, provide that a
certain class of cases should be exclusively heard and determined by a specific
court. Section 268 of Omnibus Election Code is one such and must thus be
construed as an exception to BP Blg. 129, the general law on jurisdiction of
courts.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Respondent judge is DIRECTED to


reinstate the case to the court docket and to conduct appropriate proceedings
thereon with reasonable dispatch.
SO ORDERED.

[THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, vs. HON. THELMA CANLAS


TRINIDAD-PE AGUIRRE,
and MA. LEONISA GENOVIA. G.R. No. 171208. September 7,
2007. Carpio-Morales, J.]

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Digested By:
R’JAY L. PESTANO

CASE 6
ELECTION LAW
Grave abuse of discretion to the lack of and excess of jurisdiction.

FACTS
Petitioner Sales and respondent Thelma Benemerito (Benemerito) were both
candidates for Mayor in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, in the 10 May 2004 local
elections. The Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed Sales as the duly
elected Mayor of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

Aggrieved, Benemerito filed an election protest before the RTC questioning the
results in 54 precincts in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, on the ground that literate
voters were allowed to vote as illiterates. In his answer to the protest, Sales
claimed that Benemerito's allegations were misplaced and unsubstantiated, and
he instituted a counter-protest also assailing the results of the 10 May 2004 local
elections.

ISSUE
Whether there is a grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction, on the part of the COMELEC in affirming the questionable Orders of
the RTC.

RULING
It is a rule of universal application, almost, that courts of justice constituted to
pass upon substantial rights will not consider questions in which no actual
interests are involved; they decline jurisdiction of moot cases. And where the
issue has become moot and academic, there is no justiciable controversy, so that
a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value.

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There is no actual substantial relief to which petitioners would be entitled and
which would be negated by the dismissal of the petition. Sales's term as mayor of
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, as a result of the 10 May 2004 elections expired on 30
June 2007, thus, the present Petition has been rendered moot and academic.
SO ORDERED.

[MARLON T. SALES vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.


September 12, 2007. Chico-Nazario, J.]

Digested by:
MARTIN CRISOSTOMO Q. DENATE

CASE 7
ELECTION LAW
A Government employee who has been separated from the civil service by
operation of law pursuant to Section 66 of the omnibus Election code may still be
administratively charged under civil service laws, rules and regulations

FACTS
While the petitioner was employed as Cashier IV of the Office of the Provincial
Treasurer of Benguet, it was discovered that in her accountabilities she had
incurred a shortage of P1,424,289.99. On January 12 1998, the Provincial
Treasurer wrote a letter directing petitioner to explain why no administrative
charge should be filed against her in connection with the cash shortage.

On January 16, 1998, petitioner filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the position
of Councilor in Baguio City. The Office of the Provincial Governor of Benguet
found the existence of a prima facie case for dishonesty, grave misconduct and
malversation of public funds through falsification of official documents and
directed the petitioner to file an answer. The Provincial Governor also issued
Executive Order No. 98-02, creating an ad hoc committee composed of herein
respondents to investigate and submit findings relative to the administrative
charges against petitioner. On February 10, 1998, petitioner filed her Answer
before the Office of the Provincial Governor. Petitioner alleged that she had
merely acted under the express direction of her supervisor.

On February 19, 1998, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the administrative


case on the ground that the committee created to investigate her case had no
jurisdiction over the subject of the action and over her person. In its Decision on
January 4, 1999, the trial court ruled in favor of the petitioner. It noted that the
most severe penalty which may be imposed on the petitioner is removal from

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service, and that under Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code, petitioner was
already deemed resigned when she filed her Certificate of Candidacy on 16
January 1998.

Thus, it declared that even if the committee created by the Provincial Governor
had the jurisdiction to hear the administrative case against the petitioner, such
case was now moot and academic.

ISSUE
Whether or not a government employee who has been separated from the civil
service by operation of law pursuant to Section 66 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 881
(The Omnibus Election Code) may still be administratively charged under Civil
Service laws, rules and regulations.

RULING
Petitioner argues that a government employee who has been separated from
service, whether by voluntary resignation or by operation of law, can no longer
be administratively charged. Such

argument is devoid of merit. A case becomes moot and academic only when
there is no more actual controversy between the parties or no useful purpose can
be served in passing upon the merits of the case. The instant case is not moot
and academic, despite the petitioner's separation from government service.

Clearly, the act of filing a Certificate of Candidacy while one is employed in the
civil service constitutes a just cause for termination of employment for appointive
officials. Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code, in considering an appointive
official ipso facto resigned, merely provides for the immediate implementation of
the penalty for the prohibited act of engaging in partisan political activity. This
provision was not intended, and should not be used, as a defense against an
administrative case for acts committed during government service.

Thus, the Provincial Governor acted in accordance with law when it ordered the
creation of an independent body to investigate the administrative complaint filed
against petitioner for dishonesty, grave misconduct and malversation of public
funds through falsification of official documents in connection with acts
committed while petitioner was employed as Cashier IV in the Office of the
Provincial Treasurer of Benguet.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is


AFFIRMED. The Office of the Provincial Governor of Benguet is DIRECTED to
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proceed with Administrative Case No. 98-01 against the petitioner, Esther S.
Pagano, for dishonesty, grave misconduct and malversation of public funds
through falsification of official documents. Costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

[ESTHER S. PAGANO vs. JUAN NAZARRO, Jr., ROSALINE Q.


ELAYDA, RODRIGO P. KITO and ERNESTO M. CELINO. G.R. No.
149072. September 21, 2007. Chico-Nazario, J.]

Digested By:
R’JAY L. PESTANO

CASE 8
ELECTION LAW
Correctness in the number of votes and the tribunal jurisdiction exercising
ministerial functions

FACTS
On June 23, 2004, Congress sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBC)
proclaimed protestee Noli L. de Castro the duly elected Vice-President of the
Republic of the Philippines.

On July 23, 2004, the protestant filed this protest with this Tribunal praying for
the annulment of the protestee's proclamation as the duly elected Vice-President
of the Republic of the Philippines.

The protest has two main parts. The First Aspect originally covered all the
erroneous, and falsified results. The Second Aspect required revision of ballots in
124,404 precincts specified in the protest.

It is the protestant herself who admits that she was able to adduce evidence only
in Taraka and Balindong, for lack of time. The protestant has been afforded
ample opportunity to adduce evidence in her behalf for the First Aspect of the
protest but the evidence presented is simply insufficient to convince the Tribunal.

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ISSUE
1. Are the number of votes correct in which that the process of correcting the
manifest errors in the certificates of canvass or election returns is a function
of the canvassing bodies?
2. Whether or not the authority of the Tribunal to exercise of judicial power in
determining the facts based on the evidence presented and its application to
the law based on the established facts also covers the performance of the
ministerial function of canvassing election returns.

RULING
On the matter of sufficiency of the protest, protestee failed to adduce new
substantial arguments to reverse our ruling. In the instant protest, protestant
enumerated all the provinces, municipalities and cities where she questions all
the results in all the precincts therein. The protest here is sufficient in form and
substantively, serious enough on its face to pose a challenge to protestee's title
to his office. In our view, the instant protest consists of alleged ultimate facts, not
mere conclusions of law, that need to be proven in due time.

The protest is only sufficient for the Tribunal to proceed and give the protestant
the opportunity to prove her case pursuant to Rule 61 of the PET Rules. Although
said rule only pertains to revision of ballots, nothing herein prevents the Tribunal
from allowing or including the correction of manifest errors, pursuant to the
Tribunal's rule-making power under Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution.

The court DISMISSES the First Aspect of the protest for lack of legal and factual
basis, as the pilot-tested revision of ballots or re-tabulation of the certificates of
canvass would not affect the winning margin of the protestee in the final canvass
of the returns, in addition to the ground of abandonment or withdrawal by reason
of protestant's candidacy for, election to and assumption of the office of Senator
of the Philippines. The Second Aspect, having been already DISMISSED, pursuant
to Rule 33 of this Tribunal, the entire Protest is now deemed DISMISSED and
TERMINATED. SO ORDERED.

[LOREN B. LEGARDA vs. NOLI L. DE CASTRO. P.E.T. Case No.


003. January 18, 2008. Quisumbing, J.]

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Digested By:
DONDI M. BANARES

CASE 9
ELECTION LAW
Jurisdiction of COMELEC jurisdiction over pre-proclamation controversies in the
first instance

FACTS
Petitioner Randy C. Cambe contends that the COMELEC en banc gravely abused
its discretion in dismissing petitioner's appeal from the May 22, 2007 Ruling of
public respondent Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) of Lasam, Cagayan,
which granted herein private respondent Dominador M. Go's petition to exclude
from the canvass Election Return No. 9601666 (for clustered precinct numbers
66 and 68, Barangay Nabannagan East), resulting in the proclamation on even
date of Go as the duly elected eighth (8th) Member of the Sangguniang Bayan of
Lasam, Cagayan.

Petitioner and Go were candidates during the May 14, 2007 elections for
Sangguniang Bayan members of the municipality of Lasam, Cagayan.

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Go orally moved for its exclusion on the ground that said return was allegedly
manufactured. He alleged that the integrity of said return is questionable as the
total number of votes cast for the vice-mayoralty candidates exceeded the
number of registered voters.

MBC proclaimed the winners for the position of mayor, vice-mayor, and 7
Sangguniang Bayan Members, leaving the canvassing of the questioned return
for the 8th slot pending. MBC issued a ruling excluding Election Return No.
9601666 on the ground of "fraud, material defect, tamper[ing], and statistical
improbability.

MBC proclaimed Go as the 8th duly elected member of the Sangguniang Bayan
of the Municipality of Lasam, Cagayan. Petitioner contends that the COMELEC
gravely abused its discretion in excluding Election Return No. 9601666 in the
canvas of votes which led to the proclamation of Go as the 8th elected member
of the Sangguniang Bayan

ISSUES
1. Whether the COMELEC en banc had jurisdiction over pre-proclamation
controversies in the first instance;
2. Whether the proclamation of Go is valid.
3. Whether the COMELEC acted properly in sustaining the ruling of the MBC
which out rightly excluded the questioned election return.

RULING
The court GRANTED the petition. Resolution No. 8212 of the Commission on
Elections en banc dated June 28, 2007 is SET ASIDE insofar as SPC Case No. 07-
212 is concerned. The Commission is ordered

to raffle said case to one of its divisions, which is hereby directed to resolve the
same with deliberate dispatch. In the meantime, the position for the eighth (8th)
Member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Lasam, Cagayan is DECLARED VACANT.
SO ORDERED.

[RANDY C. CAMBE, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; THE


MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF LASAM, CAGAYAN; and
DOMINADOR M. GO. G.R. No. 178456. January 30, 2008. Ynares-
Santiago, J.]

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Digested By:
MARIAN C. SALDANA

CASE 10
ELECTION LAW
Contention on the COMELEC’s grave abuse of its discretion in issuing the
challenged resolutions

FACTS
In the May 14, 2007 national and local elections, petitioners ran for the local
positions (mayor, vice-mayor and councilor) in Lapu-Lapu City. At the start of and
during the canvassing, petitioners questioned the composition of the Board of
Canvassers (BOC), and objected to the inclusion of several election returns (ERs).
As the BOC ruled against them, petitioners filed their notices of appeal, and
initiated with the COMELEC a Pre-Proclamation Petition seeking the declaration of
the composition and the proceedings of the BOC as illegal. Petitioners also filed
an Appeal with the COMELEC, praying for the non-inclusion in the canvass of 182
ERs.

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On May 25, 2007, the COMELEC issued the first assailed Order directing the BOC
to proclaim the winning candidates in the official canvass. On the following day,
the BOC proclaimed private respondents as the duly elected officials of Lapu-
Lapu City. Dissatisfied, petitioners moved for the recall and/or nullification of the
said proclamation on May 29, 2007.

On June 4, 2007, the COMELEC First Division rendered the second assailed
Resolution dismissing the said case. Then petitioners moved for the
reconsideration of the said Resolution. On June 28, 2007, the COMELEC en banc
issued the third assailed Resolution No. 8212 or the Omnibus Resolution on
Pending Cases.

Discontented with the said COMELEC issuances, petitioners, on July 26, 2007,
instituted the instant petition for certiorari under Rule 65. Respondents
countered, that COMELEC Resolution No. 8212 could not be questioned via a
petition for certiorari because it was not issued in the COMELEC’s exercise of
quasi-judicial functions but was issued in the exercise of its power to enforce and
administer all laws relative to the conduct of elections as enunciated in Section
52 of the OEC. Furthermore, the petition was filed beyond the 30-day
reglementary period for questioning via certiorari final orders and resolutions of
the COMELEC.

ISSUE
Whether petitioners have sufficiently shown that the COMELEC gravely abused its
discretion in issuing the challenged resolutions.

RULING
In the present case, petitioners have not sufficiently shown that the COMELEC
gravely abused its discretion in excluding their cases from the list of those that
shall continue.

The court cited following guidelines on the appropriate recourse to assail


COMELEC resolutions issued pursuant to Section 16 of R.A. No. 7166.
1. if a pre-proclamation case is excluded from the list of those
(annexed to the Omnibus Resolution on Pending Cases) that shall
continue after the beginning of the term of the office involved,
the remedy of the aggrieved party is to timely file a certiorari
petition assailing the Omnibus Resolution before the Court under
Rules 64 and 65, regardless of whether a COMELEC division is
yet to issue a definitive ruling in the main case or the COMELEC

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en banc is yet to act on a motion for reconsideration filed if there
is any.
2. if a pre-proclamation case is dismissed by a COMELEC division
and, on the same date of dismissal or within the period to file a
motion for reconsideration, the COMELEC en banc excluded the
said case from the list annexed to the Omnibus
3. if a pre-proclamation case is dismissed by a COMELEC division
but, on the same date of dismissal or within the period to file a
motion for reconsideration, the COMELEC en banc included the
case in the list annexed to the Omnibus Resolution, the remedy
of the aggrieved party is to timely file a motion for
reconsideration with the COMELEC en banc. The reason for this is
that the challenge to the ruling of the COMELEC division will have
to be resolved definitively by the entire body.
The Court notes that with the proclamation of the winning candidates for the
positions contested, the question of whether the petition raised issues proper for
a pre-proclamation controversy is already of no consequence, since the well-
entrenched rule in such situation is that a pre-proclamation case before the
COMELEC is no longer viable, the more appropriate remedy being a regular
election protest or a petition for quo warranto.

The court DISMISSED the petition for certiorari.


SO ORDERED.

[NORMA PATALINGHUG, EUGENE ESPEDIDO, REYNALDO


BERDIN, NORMAN CODILLA,BOBIE CUENCA, EFREN HERRERA,
LORENZO IGOT, JR., ALBERTINO MATA, JR., MICHAEL CZAR
OUANO, RAMON PATALINGHUG, FRANCISCO SENERPIDA and
CHARLES VAILOCES, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ARTURO
RADAZA, MARIO AMORES, QUEENIE AMMANN, JUNARD CHAN,
EDUARDO CUIZON, ALEXANDER GESTOPA, JR., DAMIAN GOMEZ,
JR., CORNELIO PAHAYAG, RODOLFO POTOT, FLORITO POZON,
MELISSA VIDAL, MARCIAL YCONG, ATTY. ANN JANETTE CHUA-
HU LAMBAN, CITY ELECTION OFFICER, LEONILO OLIVA, ATTY.
EVANGELINE GICALE, AND THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CITY
BOARD OF CANVASSERS. G.R. No. 178767. January 30, 2008.
Nachura, J]

Digested By:
DONDI M. BANARES

CASE 11
ELECTION LAW
Administrative complaint for gross ignorance of the law, abuse of authority and
disobedience to a superior order

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FACTS
The controversy started when the questioned Order dated June 5, 2002 was
issued in Election Case (EC) No. 19, directing the resumption of revision of ballots
on June 10, 2002, which Order was merely stamped “Original Signed” by
respondent Clerk of Court upon the alleged instruction of respondent Judge.

Prior to the issuance of the Order dated June 5, 2002, the following facts, as
narrated in complainant’s position paper, are undisputed:
1. Complainant was the incumbent Mayor of the Municipality of
Paluan, Occidental Mindoro, having been elected in the local election of
May 2001;
2. Sometime in May 2001, the losing mayoralty candidate Pablo T. De
Ocampo, filed an election protest against Pangilinan, before the Regional
Trial Court – Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.
3. That the Revision Committee was created with respondent Atty.
Cirilo Q. Tejoso, as the Head Revisor;
4. That sometime July 25, 2002, complainant Shirley Pangilinan filed a
Petition for Certiorari before the COMELEC.
5. That conformably with the Petition for Certiorari, the COMELEC
issued an Order dated November 13, 2001.
6. That in the said Order, the COMELEC directed the parties to
maintain the status quo until further notice from the Second Division
considering that the twenty (20) day restraining order issued in the case
on November 13, 2001would soon expire and in order not to render the
case moot and academic;
7. That conformably with the said Order, the Presiding Judge on
December 11, 2001, issued an Order, the dispositive portion of which
reads:
“ACCORDINGLY, the Court has nothing to do but to
defer the revision of ballots in the remaining precincts
of the above-entitled case, and instead let this case
be held in abeyance until receipt of the Order from
the Second Division, Commission on Election.”

From the time that the questioned Order dated June 5, 2002 was issued by
respondent Judge directing the revision of ballots in ECC No. 19, the
parties presented their respective versions, as follows:

COMPLAINANT’S VERSION
June 5, 2002, the Presiding Judge issued an Order directing the revision of the
ballot for the remaining precincts to commence on June 10, 2002 at 9:00 o’clock
Section 1-D
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Political Law
in the morning and 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon, pursuant to the Order of the
Commission on Elections dated May 24, 2002 thru Commissioner Mehol K.
Sadain issued in Comelec Case entitled “Ricardo Quintos, protestee vs. Jose
Villarosa, protestant.

That on June 10, 2002, complainant filed an Urgent motion for Postponement
with Clarification and Manifestation; despite the said Urgent Motion for
Postponement with Manifestation and Clarification, it proceeded with the
revision, in clear defiance of the status quo Order dated November 13, 2001.
Respondent’s Order dated June 5, 2002 directing the resumption of the revision
on June 10, 2002, was not in accordance with the Order, dated May 24, 2002 of
the COMELEC.

That the COMELEC issued an Order dated 11 June 2002 which effectively
restrained the Presiding Judge in hearing the case. That it was only on account of
the issuance of the said Order that the respondents stopped the revision of the
ballot boxes.

RESPONDENT’S VERSION
On June 05, 2002, the respondent judge, while holding trial of several cases
pending before his sala, received an important and urgent call asking him to
come to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, which is more or less 173 kilometers far
from Mamburao, his official station, on the same date to attend to some
important official business, i.e. dialogue with IBP-Occidental Mindoro Chapter, but
taking into account the Order dated May 24, 2002 issued by the Commission on
Elections and the policy of preferential disposition of election cases because the
term of local officials is only three (3) years, he immediately instructed
respondent Clerk of Court to prepare for him and issue an Order for the
resumption of revision of ballots commencing on June 10, 2002, giving the latter
an authority to do the signing by using the stamped “original signed” since the
respondent judge had to leave and could not wait to sign the Order by virtue of
the above-mentioned important calling;
The Revision Committee resumed their duties in the revision of
ballots on June 10, 2002 despite the “Urgent Motion for
Postponement with Clarification and Manifestation” filed by
Protestee, Shirley Pangilinan, thru counsel, on the same date at
8:45 in the morning;
When respondent judge reported back to office on June 11, 2002,
he signed the challenged order while the Revision Committee was
conducting revision of ballots in the Session Hall of the Court.
The revision of ballots lasted until June 11, 2002. To formally
suspended the revision of ballots, the Court issued an Order on June

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13, 2002 ordering the Revision Committee to cease and desist from
opening the ballot boxes involved in the protest,

ISSUES
1. Whether or not the order date June 5, 2002 of respondent judge directing
revision of ballots to commence on June 10, 2002 was issued with gross
ignorance of the law tantamount to gross inefficiency.
2. Whether or not the various COMELEC orders were inconsistent or ambiguous
which provided reasonable basis for the issuance of the June 5, 2002 order.

RULING
The Order dated June 5, 2002 directing, without qualification, the revision of
ballots for the remaining precincts to commence on June 10, 2002 pursuant to
the Comelec Order of May 24, 2002, is erroneous, for it failed to take into
account that said Comelec Order covered only certain ballot boxes in specified
precincts, not all the ballot boxes protested in EC No. 19 before respondent
Judge. While the erroneous interpretation by respondent Judge of the Comelec
Order dated May 24, 2002 may not be considered gross ignorance of the law, his
failure to rectify his Order dated June 5, 2002 when complainant filed an urgent
motion for postponement with manifestation and clarification, constitutes gross
inefficiency.

WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Inocencio M. Jaurigue is found GUILTY of gross


inefficiency, serious misconduct and gross neglect of duty and is hereby
SUSPENDED from office, without pay, for six (6) months. Respondent Clerk of
Court Atty. Cirilo Q. Tejoso, Jr. is hereby REPRIMANDED for failure to exercise
reasonable diligence in the performance of his duty with a warning that a
repetition of the same will be more severely dealt with.

[MAYOR SHIRLEY PANGILINAN vs. JUDGE INOCENCIO M.


JAURIGUE, and ATTY. CIRILO Q. TEJOSO, JR. A.M. No. RTJ-08-
2100. January 31, 2008. Azcuna, J]

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Political Law
Digested By:
MARIAN C. SALDANA

CASE 12
ELECTION LAW
Base on Resolution No. 8073, which party is the proper party at interest to
take the seat

FACTS
Petitioner Imelda Dimaporo and private respondent Vicente Belmonte were
both candidates for Representative of the 1st Congressional District of Lanao
del Norte during the May 14, 2007 elections.

The said legislative district is composed of seven (7) towns and one (1) city.
PBOC issued a Certification showing respondent Belmonte in the lead, with
52,783 votes, followed by candidate Badelles with 39,315 votes, and
petitioner Dimaporo in third place with only 35,150 votes.

In the NBI report dated May 24, 2007, the culprit(s) managed to enter the
room of the Vice-Governor which he/she used as a staging and hiding place
while persons are still allowed to enter the building during the canvassing. On
the night of May 19, 2007 the culprit(s) hide (sic) in the said room and waited
until there were no persons allowed inside the building except the provincial
guard on duty who was manning the ground floor at the area near the
entrance door. The culprit(s) then entered the Session Hall by using some
hard ID Card or any similar object which was inserted in between the door
and door-lock, and once inside specifically destroyed the padlocks of the
ballot boxes for the Municipalities of Bacolod, Maigo and Kauswagan.
Thereafter, on May 25, 2007, COMELEC issued Resolution No. 8073
promulgated on May 25, 2007 directing the PBOC of Lanao del Norte to
immediately reconvene solely for the purpose of retrieving the three
envelopes supposedly containing the COCs from the municipalities of
Kauswagan, Bacolod and Maigo and to œopen the same in the presence of all
watchers, counsels, and representatives of all contending parties and the
accredited Citizens Arm of the Commission and right there and then to direct
the representatives of the dominant majority and minority parties to present
their respective copies of the COCs for comparison with the COCs intended
for the COMELEC and with the COCs inside the envelope just opened.

On June 1, 2007, the new SPBOC convened and opened the ballot boxes for
the towns of Kauswagan, Maigo and Bacolod. Private respondent Belmonte
objected to the inclusion of the COCs of the concerned municipalities.
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The SPBOC denied Belmonte objections due to lack of jurisdiction. The House
of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), with jurisdiction over the case
as Belmonte has, with the taking of his oath, declared as the winner.

ISSUE
Who among Dimaporo and Belmonte will take a seat as a representative of 1st
Congressional District of Lanao del Norte as Resolution No. 8073 was
amended?

RULING
The petition is DISMISSED. Section 15 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7166. Pre-
proclamation Cases in Elections for President, Vice-President, Senator, and
Member of the House of Representatives. — For purpose of the elections for
president, vice-president, senator, and member of the House of
Representatives, no pre-proclamation cases shall be allowed on matters
relating to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of
election returns or the certificates of canvass, as the case may be, except as
provided for in Sec. 30 hereof. However, this does not preclude the authority
of the appropriate canvassing body motu proprio or upon written complaint of
an interested person to correct manifest errors in the certificate of canvass or
election returns before it.

[IMELDA Q. DIMAPORO vs. COMELEC and VICENTE BELMONTE.


G.R. No. 179285. February 11, 2008. Reyes, R.T., J.]

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Digested by:
RENEFRID T. TEJERO

CASE 13
ELECTION LAW
Disqualification and Cancellation of the Certificate of Candidacy

FACTS
Petitioner Florante Quizon and private respondent Roberto V. Puno were
congressional candidates during the May 14, 2007 national and local
elections.

On April 17, 2007, Quizon filed a Petition for Disqualification and Cancellation
of Certificate of Candidacy against Puno to disqualified him to run as
candidate in Antipolo City for failure to meet the residency requirement prior
to the day of election. Puno claimed in his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) that
he is a resident Antipolo City for four years and six months before May 14,
2007 constitutes a material misrepresentation since he was in fact a resident
of Quezon City.

On June 5, 2007, Quizon filed this Petition for Mandamus alleging that the
COMELEC had not rendered a judgment on the above-mentioned petitions
and that the unreasonable delay in rendering judgment deprived him of his
right to be declared as the winner and assume the position of member of the
House of Representatives.

Puno argues that the petition for mandamus was mooted by the July 31, 2007
Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division. He also alleged that the petition
must be dismissed for the act sought to be performed is a discretionary and
not a ministerial duty.

The Office of the Solicitor General agrees that the petition for mandamus was
mooted by the July 31, 2007 Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division. Any
question regarding Puno qualifications now pertains to the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).

ISSUE
Is Petition for Disqualification and Cancellation of the Certificate of Candidacy
of Roberto V. Puno valid?

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RULING
The instant Petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.

Respondent is a resident of the 1st District of Antipolo City, and is thus


qualified to run as a Member of the House of Representatives of the same
district.

Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code 11 provides that


petitions to deny due course or cancel a certificate of candidacy
should be resolved, after due notice and hearing, not later than
fifteen days before the election. In construing this provision
together with Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 or The Electoral
Reforms Law of 1987, 12 this Court declared in Salcedo II v.
COMELEC 13 that the fifteen-day period in Section 78 is merely
directory.

Thus:
If the petition is filed within the statutory period and the
candidate is subsequently declared by final judgment to be
disqualified before the election, he shall not be voted for, and
the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a
candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to
be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning
number of votes in such election, the Court or the Comelec shall
continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or
protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor,
may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the
proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his
guilt is strong. The fifteen-day period in section 78 for deciding
the petition is merely directory.

[FLORANTE S. QUIZON, vs. HON. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


(SECOND DIVISION), MANILA, ATTY. ARNULFO H. PIOQUINTO
(ELECTION OFFICER, ANTIPOLO CITY) and ROBERTO
VILLANUEVA PUNO. G.R. No. 177927. February 15, 2008. ]

Section 1-D
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Digested By:
RENEFRID T. TEJERO

CASE 14
ELECTION LAW
Alleged manipulation of votes as evidenced by a tape known as the Graci tapein
violation of he wiretapping law

FACTS
The case originates in 2004 local and national elections. Pres. Sec. Ignacio Bunye
informed reporters that opposition plan to destabilize the administration by
releasing an audiotape of a mobile phone conversation allegedly between Pres.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and a high ranking officials of the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC). Alleging that the President had instructed the COMELEC
official to manipulate the election results in favor of the President.

On June 07, 2005, former counsel of deposed President Joseph Estrada through
Atty. Alan Paguia, released an alleged authentic tape recording of the wiretap.

On June 09, 2005, Secretary Gonzales ordered the National Bureau of


Investigation (NBI) to go after media organization who alleged Pres. Arroyo
about fixing votes in 2004 national elections. Rel;ative thereto, it has come to the
attention of the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) that certain
personalities are in possession of alleged tape conversation which they claim
involved the President of the Philippines and a commissioner of the COMELEC
regarding supposed violation of election laws.

On June 24, 2004, Congress acts as the national board of canvassers proclaimed
President Arroyo winner of the 2004 presidential election with the total number
of votes 12, 905, 808 votes, 1, 123, 576 more than the votes of her nearest rival
Fernando Poe, Jr. Sometime before June 06, 2005, DZMM a radio station aired the
Garci Tapes where the parties to the conversation discussed “rigging” the results
of the 2004 election to favor President Arroyo.

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Political Law
Thus the publication of election surveys cannot be subject to prior restraint , 28
but an aggrieved person can sue for redress of injury if the survey turns out to be
fabricated.

The content of the Garci Tapes affect the sanctity of the ballot that cannot be
subject to prior restraint. Public discussion of the credibility of electoral process is
one of the highest political expressions of any electorate, and thus deserves the
utmost protection.

ISSUE
Whether or not the alleged manipulation of votes during the 2004 Presidential
Election be subjected throught the Garci Tape.

RULING
The petition is GRANTED. The writs of certiorari and prohibition are hereby
issued, nullifying the official statements made by respondents on June 8, and 11,
2005 warning the media on airing the alleged wiretapped conversation between
the President and other personalities, for constituting unconstitutional prior
restraint on the exercise of freedom of speech and of the press.

It was ruled that not every violation of a law will justify straitjacketing the
exercise of freedom of speech and of the press. Our laws are of different kinds
and doubtless, some of them provide norms of conduct which even if violated
have only an adverse effect on a person's private comfort but does not endanger
national security. There are laws of great significance but their violation, by itself
and without more, cannot support suppression of free speech and free press. In
fine, violation of law is just a factor, a vital one to be sure, which should be
weighed in adjudging whether to restrain freedom of speech and of the press.

There is enough evidence of chilling effect of the complained acts on record. The
warnings given to media came from no less the NTC, a regulatory agency that
can cancel the Certificate of Authority of the radio and broadcast media. They
also came from the Secretary of Justice, the alter ego of the Executive, who
wields the awesome power to prosecute those perceived to be violating the laws
of the land.

After the warnings, the KBP inexplicably joined the NTC in issuing an ambivalent
Joint Press Statement. After the warnings, petitioner Chavez was left alone to
fight this battle for freedom of speech and of the press.

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This silence on the sidelines on the part of some media practitioners is too
deafening to be the subject of misinterpretation.

[FRANCISCO CHAVEZ, vs. RAUL M. GONZALES and NATIONAL


TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (NTC). G. R. No. 168338.
February 15, 2008. Puno, C.J.]

Digested By:
RENEFRID T. TEJERO

CASE 15
ELECTION LAW
Commission on Elections gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction

FACTS
On June 25, 2002 petitioner complained, addressed to the COMELEC
Commissioner-in-charge for ARMM Mejol K. Sadain, about the merger of Bangco,
alleged to be a barangay, with Barangay Basak on the ground that “Barangay
Bangco is not and never was a part of Barangay Basak.” For several elections,
the COMELEC registered the voters from Bangco together with the voters of
Barangay Basak under Precinct No. 68A, Municipality of Madalum, Lanao del Sur.

Petitioner submitted in evidence the Oath of Office of barangay officials of


Barangay Bangco in the 1994 barangay elections and the Certificate of Canvas
and Proclamation of Winning Candidates of Barangay Bangco in the 1997
Barangay Elections to show that Bangco was considered a separate barangay in
the 1994 and 1997 barangay elections. Petitioner prayed that an Order be issued
directing Municipal Election Officer Abbas Asira or his successor to separate the
voters of Bangco from the certified list of registered voters of Barangay Basak
and to prevent the registered voters of Bangco from running for elective office in
Basak.

The barangay election in Barangay Basak/Bangco scheduled on July 15, 2002 was
declared a failure. On August 5, 2002, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 5479
setting the special barangay election in Barangay Basak/Bangco on August 10,
2002, which was later reset to August 13, 2002. On August 9, 2002, the
Section 1-D
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Political Law
COMELEC issued Resolution No. 5503 amending Resolution No. 5479, and
declaring that the special barangay election in Barangay Basak/Bangco
scheduled on August 13, 2002 was held in abeyance pending the investigation on
the merger of Bangco with Barangay Basak.

However, on August 13, 2002, respondent Election Officer Abbas Asira ordered
the holding of the special barangay election in Barangay Basak/Bangco because
he did not receive a copy of Resolution No. 5503. Petitioner and his counsel
reported the incident to the COMELEC Commissioner-in-charge for ARMM, who
was in a conference at the Marawi Resort Hotel, Marawi City. The Commissioner
summoned Election Officer Asira to see him in Marawi City, and he informed
Asira to stop the barangay election pursuant to Resolution No. 5503. Upon Asira’s
return to Barangay Basak/Bangco, the casting of votes had been completed.

The COMELEC en banc issued Minute Resolution No. 03-0062 favorably acting on
the petition for immediate counting and proclamation of winning candidates in
Barangay Basak/Bangco after the COMELEC Law Department found that Basak
and Bangco had been considered to comprise one barangay and recommended
the proclamation of winning candidates for Barangay and SK.

On February 19, 2003, petitioner, a losing candidate for Punong Barangay in the
August 13, 2002 Special Barangay Elections, filed a petition to annul the
proclamation of private respondents as the winning candidates of Barangay
Basak, Madalum, Lanao del Sur and to affirm the nullity of the August 13, 2002
Special Barangay Elections in Barangay Basak/Bangco, docketed as SPC No. 03-
001. In a Resolution, the COMELEC, Second Division, denied the petition for lack
of merit, and affirmed the proclamation of private respondents as the duly
elected officials of Barangay Basak/Bangco.

ISSUE
Whether or not the respondent Commission gravely abused its discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it authorized the merger of
Barangay Basak and Barangay Bangco treating it as one barangay

RULING
Petition is DISMISSED. Cost against petitioner.

In its Resolution dated May 12, 2005, the COMELEC, Second Division, stated that
the special barangay election of August 13, 2002 “was never rendered annulled
by the [COMELEC] en banc, which has the sole discretion to annul elections.”
Resolution No. 5503 only ordered that the subject special barangay election of
August 13, 2002 be held in abeyance pending the ongoing investigation of the
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Political Law
validity of the merger of Barangay Basak and Bangco. However, the said order
was not implemented because Election Officer Asira only learned about it for the
first time from the Commissioner-in-charge for ARMM in Marawi City while the
election proceedings were ongoing. Although Election Officer Asira was told to
stop the said barangay election, the casting of votes had been completed when
he arrived in Barangay Basak.

The COMELEC stated that the order to hold the subject election in abeyance was
not implemented because it “came to the knowledge of the voters only after the
casting of votes.” It also held that the Election Officer acted appropriately when
he proceeded with the election in the absence of any official document directing
him to hold the election in abeyance.

ALIZAMAN S. SANGCOPAN, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS,


GREENSTAR BOCAY MANGAN-DINGAN, NAIFA BUCAY
MANGANDINGAN, AGAKHAN GUINAL MACALUPANG, ABOLKHAIR
TAGORANAO ALAWI, SAIDOMAR ABDULNASSER ALI, SAMSODEN
GUINAL MACADATO, NORAIN ANGNI MACMOD, MACAPUNDAG
GUINAL MACMOD (BASAK/BANGCO). G.R. No. 170216. March
12, 2008. Azcuna, J.]

Digested by:
MARIE ZOL B. SANDOY

CASE 16
ELECTION LAW
Pre-proclamation Controversy

FACTS
On 4 July 2007 Petitioner Aquilino Pimentel III filed the present for the petition for
certiorari and mandamus with urgent prayer for temporary restraining order and
or status quo Ante order.

The petition stemmed from the 14 May 2007 national election for the national
senatorial post. At the time of the petition eleven candidates with the highest
number of votes had already been officially proclaim and had taken their oath of
office as senators. The only remaining candidate for the twelve and final
senatorial post were Pimentel and private respondent Zubiri

Public respondent COMELEC EN BANC acting as the national board of canvassers


continued to canvass proceeding so as to determine the twelve and the last
senatorial post in the national 2007 election.

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Pimentel assailed the proceeding of the NBC and its constituted SPBOC relative
to the canvass of the provincial and municipal certificate of canvass from the
municipality of maguindanao on the ground that the original proceeding of PBOC
chaired by PES Lintang Bedol were marked by irregularities and other related
electoral documents submitted by PBOC were tainted with fraud and statistically
improbable.

Pimentel further maintain that despite of the repeated question of his counsel
regarding the due execution and authenticity of maguindanao MCOCs the SPOBC
simply noted without specific action thereon. Pimentel further averred said
canvass proceeding were conducted by NBC and SPBOC in violation of his
constitutional right to have substantial due process when the respondent SPBOC
and NBC adopted an unconstitutional proceeding when they disallow the
petitioner to have an opportunity to raise question on the COCs. The petitioner
allege denial of his right to equal protection of law, at the same time, the
National Board of Canvasser acted with manifest grave abuse of discretion when
it refuse to exercise its broad plenary power in fully or accurately ascertaining
due execution, authenticity and fitness for the canvass of MCOCs collected by the
COMELEC.

Thus, petition seek from this court are the following;


1. issue a temporary restraining order enjoining the respondent
COMELEC EN BANC setting as NBC for senators from proceeding
with any proclamation of the twelve and the last members of
the may 14 2007 election for senators based on

2. the on-going senatorial canvass which include the new/second


provincial certificate of canvass of maguindanao until further
order from this court or in the alternative in the event that the
proclamation of respondent zubiri is made before the
application for the TRO is acted upon issue a status quo ante
order requiring the parties to observe the status quo at the time
of filling of the petition.
3. After proceeding render judgment annulling and setting aside
for being unconstitutional and illegal the proceeding of the
respondent COMELEC EN BANC setting as the NBC of may 14
2007 senatorial election by including on june 29 2007 in the
canvass of votes for senator the result from the province of
maguinadanoa as reflected in it new/ second provincial
certificate of canvass.

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4. Compelling or ordering respondent NBC and its deputy the
SPBOC to perform their ministerial constitutional duty of fully
determining the due execution and authenticity of the MCOCs
including but not limited to allowing the petitioner to
substantiate his claim of manufactured result and profound
question to the other officer concerned.

Zubiri filed with this court a manifestation with motion to dismiss on the ground
that his proclamation pursuant to resolution no NBC no. 07-67 and his formal
assumption of office controversies involving his election and qualification as
senator are now within the exclusive jurisdiction of the senate electoral tribunal.

Pimentel filed before this court his comment/opposition to the private respondent
manifestation with motion to dismiss citing the case of AGGABAO VS COMELEC to
be not applicable in the instance case because therein the petitioner Aggabaon
filed hid petition before this court after the proclamation of therein respondent
Miranda while in the present case Pimentel filed his petition before the court prior
to the proclamation of Zubiri as senator.

Moreover, Pimentel asserted that his petition question not Zubiri proclamation
but the conduct of the canvass proceeding before the NBC and SPBOC
Maguindanao.

ISSUE
1. Is the continued proceeding of the COMELEC en banc setting as the
NBC for senators is violations of Pimentel’s right of due process and equal
protection of law enshrine in the Constitution?
2. Is the exception under Sec. 15 and 30 of RA 7166 as amended by RA
9369 authorized the local board of canvassers to decide pre-proclamation
controversy affecting the election of the senators?
3. Is the continued proceeding of the COMELEC en banc without
consideration of the questions of the petitioner regarding the irregularities in
the canvass of votes in the provincial board of

canvassers unconstitutional?
4. Is Certiorari and mandamus lies against the continued proceeding of
the COMELEC en banc setting as the NBC for the election of the senators?

RULING
The petition for certiorari and mandamus is DISMISSED for lack of legal basis
because of the following reason to wit:

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Political Law
Pimentel’s objection to the maguindanao MCOC delve into matters
relating to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and
appreciation of the said tampering
MCOC’s and the SPBOC and maguindanao. He is raising an issue
related to tampering with falsification of or discrepancies in
maguindanao MCOC, which are supposedly subject of a pre-
proclamation controversy.

Under section 15 and 30 of RA 7166 as amended by RA 9369 pre-


proclamation controversy affecting the election of the president,
vice president and senators are strictly prohibited.

This provides authority of congress and COMELEC en banc setting


as NBC for the president, vice president and senators relative to the
determination of the composition and proceeding of the board of
canvassers, issue relative to manifest error in the certificate of
canvass and election return including the determination of the
authenticity and due execution of certificate of canvass.
Well settled is the rule, that once the candidates has already declared as the
winner in the congressional election, the remedy open to the petitioner was to
filed an electoral protest with electoral tribunal of the house of representative.

As to due process of law, the court find of deprivation of due process of law as
Pimentel argument problematic sense he has not established what he is being
deprive of life, liberty and property. He is not assailing any, which arbitrarily or
without sufficient justification supposedly deprive him of life, liberty and
property.

AQUILINO L. PIMENTEL III, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


EN BANC SITTING AS THE NATIONAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS,
THE SPECIAL PROVINCIAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS FOR
MAGUINDANAO CHAIRED BY ATTY. EMILIO S. SANTOS, and
JUAN MIGUEL F. ZUBIRI. G.R. No. 178413. March 13, 2008.
Chico-Nazario, J.

Digested by:
MARIE ZOL B. SANDOY

CASE 17
ELECTION LAW
Interruption in the continuity of public office

FACTS

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Political Law
Petitioners Montebon and Ondy and respondent Potencioso, Jr. were candidates
for municipal councilor of the Municipality of Tuburan, Cebu for the May 14, 2007
Synchronized National and Local Elections. On April 30, 2007, petitioners and
other candidates for municipal councilor filed a petition for disqualification
against respondent with the COMELEC alleging that respondent had been elected
and served three consecutive terms as municipal councilor in 1998-2001, 2001-
2004, and 2004-2007. Thus, he is proscribed from running for the same position
in the 2007 elections as it would be his fourth consecutive term.

Private respondent claimed that the service of his second term in 2001-2004 was
interrupted on January 12, 2004 when he succeeded as vice mayor of Tuburan
due to the retirement of Vice Mayor Petronilo L. Mendoza. Consequently, he is
not disqualified from vying for the position of municipal councilor in the 2007
elections.

COMELEC First Division denied the petition for disqualification ruling that
respondent's assumption of office as vice-mayor should be considered an
interruption in the continuity of his service. His second term having been
involuntarily interrupted, respondent should thus not be disqualified to seek
reelection as municipal councilor.

On appeal, the COMELEC En Banc upheld the ruling of the First Division.

ISSUE
Whether or not COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that respondent's assumption of office as vice-
mayor in January 2004 interrupted his 2001-2004 term as municipal councilor.

RULING
The petition for certiorari lacks merit. While it is undisputed that respondent
was elected municipal councilor for three consecutive terms, the issue lies on
whether he is deemed to have fully served his second term in view of his
assumption of office as vice-mayor of Tuburan on January 12, 2004.

Succession in local government offices is by operation of law. Section 44 of


Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, provides
that if a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the vice mayor, the highest
ranking sanggunian member shall become vice mayor.

In this case, a permanent vacancy occurred in the office of the vice mayor due to
the retirement of Vice Mayor Mendoza. Respondent, being the highest ranking
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municipal councilor, succeeded him in accordance with law. It is clear therefore
that his assumption of office as vice-mayor can in no way be considered a
voluntary renunciation of his office as municipal councilor.

The legal successor is not given any option under the law on whether to accept
the vacated post or not. Section 44 of the Local Government Code makes no
exception. Only if the highest-ranking councilor is permanently unable to succeed
to the post does the law speak of alternate succession. It is therefore more
compulsory and obligatory rather than voluntary.

[FEDERICO T. MONTEBON and, ELEANOR M. ONDOY vs.


COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and SESINANDO F. POTENCIOSO,
JR. G.R. No. 180444. April 9, 2008. Ynares-Santiago, J.]

Digested By:
MA. ANGELA D. MASACOTE

CASE 18
ELECTION LAW
Cancellation of the Certificate of Candidacy based on material
misrepresentation.
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FACTS
Ugdoracion and private respondent, Ephraim Tungol, were rival mayoralty
candidates in the Municipality of Albuquerque, Province of Bohol in the May 14,
2007 elections. Both filed their respective Certificates of Candidacy (COC).

On April 11, 2007, Tungol filed a Petition to Deny Due Course or Cancel the
Certificate of Candidacy of Jose Ugdoracion, Jr., contending that Ugdoracion's
declaration of eligibility for Mayor constituted material misrepresentation
because Ugdoracion is actually a "green card" holder or a permanent resident of
the United States of America (USA). Specifically, Ugdoracion stated in his COC
that he had resided in Albuquerque, Bohol, Philippines for forty-one years before
May 14, 2007 and he is not a permanent resident or an immigrant to a foreign
country.

It appears that Ugdoracion became a permanent resident of the USA on


September 26, 2001. Accordingly, the United States Immigration and
Naturalization Services (USINS) issued him Alien Number 047-894-254.

Ugdoracion contented he retained his domicile of origin (Albuquerque, Bohol)


notwithstanding his ostensible acquisition of permanent residency in the USA.
Ugdoracion then pointed to the following documents as proof of his substantial
compliance with the residency requirement: (1) a residence certificate dated May
5, 2006; (2) an application for a new voter's registration dated October 12, 2006;
and (3) a photocopy of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status dated
October 18, 2006.

Commission on Election (COMELEC) First Division cancelled Ugdoracion's COC


and removing his name from the certified list of candidates for the position of
Mayor of Albuquerque, Bohol.

In his Motion for Reconsideration, he argued that his status as a "green card"
holder was not of his own making but a mere offshoot of a petition filed by his
sister. He admitted his intermittent travels to the USA, but only to visit his
siblings, and short working stint thereat to cover his subsistence for the duration
of his stay.

Motion was denied by COMELEC En Banc and affirmed the decision of the First
Division.

ISSUE

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Whether or not COMELEC committed a grave of abuse of discretion or lack of or
excess in

jurisdiction; contending is involuntary acquisition of permanent resident status


and his domicile, Albuquerque, Bohol.

RULING
Premises considered the contentions are not tenable.

COMELEC’s cancellation of Ugdoracion’s COC is in accordance to law. Section 74,


in relation to Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code, in unmistakable terms,
requires that the facts stated in the COC must be true, and any false
representation therein of a material fact shall be a ground for cancellation
thereof.

Ugdoracion's assertions miss the mark completely. The dust had long settled
over the implications of a "green card" holder status on an elective official's
qualification for public office. A Filipino citizen's acquisition of a permanent
resident status abroad constitutes an abandonment of his domicile and residence
in the Philippines. In short, the "green card" status in the USA is a renunciation of
one's status as a resident of the Philippines.

His contention on involuntary acquisition of “green card” as a result of his sister’s


beneficence does not persuade. Although immigration to the USA through a
petition filed by a family member (sponsor) is allowed by USA immigration laws,
the petitioned party is very much free to accept or reject the grant of resident
status. Permanent residency in the USA is not conferred upon the unwilling;
unlike citizenship, it is not bestowed by operation of law.

[JOSE UGDORACION, JR. vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, and


EPHRAIM M. TUNGOL. G.R. No. 179851. April 18, 2008.
Nachura, J.]

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Digested By:
MA. ANGELA D. MASACOTE

CASE 19
ELECTION LAW
Violation of Section 10 (g) and (j) in relation to Section 45 (j) of Republic
Act No. 8189, otherwise known as The Voter's Registration Act of 1996 and
exercise of Commission on Electionsprosecutorial power

FACTS
On 9 May 2000 and 11 May 2000, petitioners Carlos S. Romualdez and Erlinda R.
Romualdez, applied for registration as new voters with the Office of the Election
Officer of Burauen, Leyte, as evidenced by Voter Registration Record Nos.
42454095 and 07902952, respectively.

On 12 July 2000, private respondent Dennis Garay, along with Angelino Apostol
filed a Complaint-Affidavit with the COMELEC thru the Office of the Election
Officer in Burauen, Leyte, charging petitioners with violation of Section 261 (y)
(2) and Section 261 (y) (5) of the Omnibus Election Code, similarly referred to as
Batas Pambansa Blg. 881; and Section 12 of Republic Act No. 8189.

Respondent alleged petitioners made false and untruthful representations in


violation of Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8189, by indicating therein that they
are residents of 935 San Jose Street, Burauen, Leyte, when in truth and in fact,
they were and still are residents of 113 Mariposa Loop, Mariposa Street, Bagong
Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City, and registered voters of Barangay Bagong
Lipunan ng Crame, District IV, Quezon City, Precinct No. 4419-A, as evidenced by
Voter Registration Record Nos. 26195824 and 26195823; and that petitioners,
knowing fully well said truth, intentionally and willfully, did not fill the blank
spaces in said applications corresponding to the length of time which they have
resided in Burauen, Leyte.

ISSUES
Petitioners come via the instant Petition, submitted the following arguments:
1. Respondent COMELEC gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack of or
in excess of its jurisdiction; and
2. Vagueness of Section 45 (j) of the Voter's Registration Act as it does not refer
to a definite provision of the law, the violation of which would constitute an
election offense; hence, it runs contrary to Section 14 (1) 25 and Section 14
(2), 26 Article III of the 1987 Constitution.

RULING
REMISES CONSIDERED, the instant petition is lack of merit.
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The constitutional grant of prosecutorial power in the COMELEC finds statutory


expression under Section 265 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as
the Omnibus Election Code. The task of the COMELEC whenever any election
offense charge is filed before it is to conduct the preliminary investigation of the
case, and make a determination of probable cause. Under Section 8 (b), Rule 34
of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, the investigating officer makes a
determination of whether there is a reasonable ground to believe that a crime
has been committed.

It is also well-settled that the finding of probable cause in the prosecution of


election offenses rests in the COMELEC's sound discretion.(Emphasis supplied)
The COMELEC exercises the constitutional authority to investigate and, where
appropriate, prosecute cases for violation of election laws, including acts or
omissions constituting election frauds, offense and malpractices. Generally, the
Court will not interfere with such finding of the COMELEC absent a clear showing
of grave abuse of discretion. This principle emanates from the COMELEC's
exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses
punishable under the election laws and to prosecute the same, except as may
otherwise be provided by law.

As structured, Section 45 of Republic Act No. 8189 makes a recital of election


offenses under the same Act. Section 45 (j) is, without doubt, crystal in its
specification that a violation of any of the provisions of Republic Act No. 8189 is
an election offense. The language of Section 45 (j) is precise. The challenged
provision renders itself to no other interpretation. A reading of the challenged
provision involves no guesswork.

The evident intent of the legislature is clear; violation of any provisions of the
Republic Act No.8189 is punishable. The law articulates the policy of the State to
systematize the present method of registration in order to establish a clean,
complete, permanent and updated list of voters. A reading of Section 45 (j)
conjointly with the provisions upon which petitioners are charged, i.e., Sections
10 (g) and (j) would reveal that the matters that are required to be set forth
under the aforesaid sections are crucial to the achievement of a clean, complete,
permanent and updated list of voters. The factual information required by the
law is sought not for mere embellishment.

[SPOUSES CARLOS S. ROMUALDEZ and ERLINDA R.


ROMUALDEZ, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and DENNIS
GARAY. G.R. No. 1670. April 30, 2008. Chico-Nazario, J.]

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Digested By:
MA. ANGELA D. MASACOTE

CASE 20
ELECTION LAWS
Qualification to run into public office without any given presidential pardon,
amnesty or any form of executive clemency

FACTS
Petitioner Florentino P. Blanco was the mayor of Meycauayan, Bulacan from 1987
up to 1992. During the May 8, 1995 elections, petition ran as a candidate for the
same mayoralty position and won during the canvassing by more than 6,000
votes over private respondent Eduardo A. Alarilla. Private respondent filed a
petition for the disqualification of petitioner on the ground of vote-buying which
resulted in the suspension of petitioner's proclamation.

On August 15, 1995, public respondent issued a resolution disqualifying


petitioner as candidate for the said position due to violation of Sec. 261 (a) of the
Omnibus Election Code. This Court affirmed the disqualification under Sec. 68 of
the Omnibus Election Code in Blanco v. COMELEC, 2 G.R. No. 122258, which was
promulgated on July 21, 1997.

During the 1998 elections, petitioner again ran as a mayoralty candidate.


Domiciano G. Ruiz, a voter of Meycauayan, Bulacan, sought to disqualify him on
the basis of the Court's ruling in G.R. No. 122258. But the Comelec dismissed the
said petition on the ground that petitioner was not disqualified under Sec 68 of
the Omnibus Election Code.

During the May 14, 2001 elections, petitioner again ran for a mayoralty position,
but private respondent sought petitioner's disqualification based on the Court's
ruling in G.R. No. 122258. This time disqualifying petitioner from running for a
mayoralty position in the May 14, 2001 elections under Sec. 40 (b) of the Local
Government Code for having been removed from office through an
administrative case. It denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration for having
been filed beyond the 5-day reglementary period.

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During the May 10, 2004 elections, petitioner again ran as a mayoralty
candidate, but private respondent sought to disqualify him based on the Court's
ruling in G.R. No. 122258. Petitioner withdrew his certificate of candidacy, so the
petition for disqualification was dismissed for being moot. In a Decision dated
November 6, 2005, the RTC declared petitioner eligible to run for an elective
office.

During the May 14, 2007 elections, petitioner ran anew for a mayoralty position.
Again, private respondent sought the disqualification of petitioner based on the
Court's ruling in G.R. No. 122258 and the COMELEC Resolution dated May 11,
2001 in SPA No. 01-050.

On August 28, 2007, the COMELEC, disqualifying petitioner from running in the
May 14, 2007 elections on the ground that Blanco v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 122258.
Hence, the petition praying that the COMELEC Resolution dated August 28, 2007
be reversed and set aside, and that petitioner be declared as eligible to run for
public office.

ISSUE
Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in ruling that
petitioner is disqualified to run for an elective office by reason of the courts ruling
in Blanco vs COMELEC and the resolution of the COMELEC, contending that the
petitioner was not bestowed with presidential pardon, amnesty or any form of
executive clemency.

RULING
In this case, petitioner contends that in Blanco v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 122258, he
was found only administratively liable for vote-buying in the 1995 elections and
was disqualified under Sec. 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, and that he was
not disqualified under Sec. 261 (a) and Sec. 264 of the Omnibus Election Code
since no criminal action was filed against him. He submits that his disqualification
was limited only to the 1995 elections and that it did not bar him from running
for public office.

Petitioner's contention is meritorious. In fine, therefore, the COMELEC, Second


Division, committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying petitioner from
running for an elective position under Sec. 40 (b) of the Local Government Code
in its Resolutions in SPA No. 01-050 dated May 11, 2001 and in SPA No. 07-410
dated August 28, 2007. The grave abuse of discretion attending the Resolution in
this case is tantamount to lack of jurisdiction and thus renders it a nullity,
thereby allowing this Court to grant this petition directly against the Resolution of
the COMELEC's Second Division.
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WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolution of the COMELEC, Second


Division, in SPA Case No. 07-410, promulgated on August 28, 2007, is declared
NULL and SET ASIDE, and petitioner Florentino P. Blanco is held eligible to run for
an elective office.
No costs. SO ORDERED.

[FLORENTINO P. BLANCO, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


and EDUARDO A. ALARILLA,. G.R. No. 180164. June 17, 2008.
Azcuna, J]

Digested by:
RUSSELL MEDHURST O. TABANG

CASE 21
ELECTION LAW
Residency requirement and rules on succession

FACTS
Petitioner Norlainie Mitmug Limbona (Norlainie), her husband, Mohammad G.
Limbona (Mohammad), and respondent Malik "Bobby" T. Alingan (Malik) were
mayoralty candidates in

Pantar, Lanao del Norte during the 2007 Synchronized National and Local
Elections. Mohammad and Norlainie filed their certificates of candidacy with
Acting Election Officer, Alauya S. Tago, on January 22, 2007 and March 29, 2007,
respectively; while Malik filed his certificate of candidacy with the Office of the
Election Officer on March 26, 2007.

On April 2, 2007, Malik filed a petition to disqualify Mohammad for failure to


comply with the residency requirement. On April 12, 2007, Malik filed another
petition to disqualify Norlainie also on the ground of lack of the one-year
residency requirement.

On April 21, 2007, Norlainie filed an Affidavit of Withdrawal of Certificate of


Candidacy. 4 Thereafter, or on May 2, 2007, she filed before the Office of the
Provincial Election Supervisor a Motion to Dismiss the petition for disqualification
on the ground that the petition had become moot in view of the withdrawal of her
certificate of candidacy. Mohammed disqualified to run in the said office on the
ground of lack of 1 year residency requirement. Upon his disqualifications,
Norlaine (who has previously withdrawn) filed a certificate of candidacy to run as
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mayor of Pantar Lanao, Del Sur. The latter won the said election. Malik garnered
the second highest votes.

ISSUES
1. Whether or not Norlaine qualifies to seat as the mayor despite of lack of 1year
residency?
2. If Norlaine is disqualified, who will assume the said position?

RULING
For failure to comply with the residency requirement, petitioner is disqualified to
run for the office of mayor of Pantar, Lanao del Norte. However, petitioner's
disqualification would not result in Malik's proclamation who came in second
during the special election. The rules on succession under the Local Government
Code shall apply, to wit: SECTION 44. Permanent Vacancies in the Offices of
the Governor, Vice-Governor, Mayor, and Vice-Mayor. — If a permanent vacancy
occurs in the office of the . . mayor, the . . . vice-mayor concerned shall become
the . . . mayor.

A permanent vacancy arises when an elective local official fills a higher vacant
office, refuses to

assume office, fails to qualify or is removed from office, voluntarily resigns, or is


otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office.
Considering the disqualification of petitioner to run as mayor of Pantar, the
proclaimed Vice-Mayor shall succeed as mayor.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED. The September 4, 2007


Resolution of the Commission on Elections in disqualifying petitioner Norlainie
Mitmug Limbona from running for office of the Mayor of Pantar, Lanao del Norte,
and the January 9, 2008 Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration, are
AFFIRMED. In view of the permanent vacancy in the Office of the Mayor, the
proclaimed Vice-Mayor shall SUCCEED as Mayor.
SO ORDERED.

[NORLAINIE MITMUG LIMBONA, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


and MALIK "BOBBY" T. ALINGAN. G.R. No. 181097. June 25,
2008. Ynares-Santiago, J.]

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Digested by:
RUSSELL MEDHURST O. TABANG

CASE 22
ELECTION LAW
Jurisdiction of the COMELEC to decide on matters involving elective barangay
officials decided by trial courts with limited jurisdiction

FACTS
In the July 15, 2002 SK elections of Barangay Pandan del Sur, Pandan,
Catanduanes, respondent Rodriguez won as SK chairman over petitioner
Fernandez. Fernandez filed a protest in the MCTC of Pandan. On January 12,
2004, MCTC declared Fernandez as the winner and ordered her proclamation.

Adversely affected, respondent Rodriquez appealed the case to the COMELEC. On


December 4, 2006, the COMELEC First Division rendered the assailed Resolution
6 nullifying the MCTC's decision. It ruled that 3 ballots marked as Exhibits "1", "4"
and "5" should not have been credited to the Fernandez, given that they were
tampered to show that they represented votes for Fernandez, when in truth they
were for Rodriguez.

It ruled that where a person other than the voter crossed out the originally
written name of a candidate and replaced it with that of another, the vote should
be admitted for the original candidate and rejected for the second. Thus,
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deducting the 3 votes from the 29 votes of the petitioner and adding the same to
the 24 votes of the respondent, the result would be 26 for Fernandez and 27 for
Rodriquez, with the latter winning by a single vote. Thus, then COMELEC
reversed the MCTC decision.

Fernandez filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but it was denied. So Fernandez


went to the Supreme Court arguing that that the COMELEC has no appellate
jurisdiction over contests involving SK officials decided by trial courts of limited
jurisdiction.

ISSUE
Whether or not the COMELEC has jurisdiction over the decision rendered by the
trial courts of limited jurisdiction?

RULING
The court ruled that the COMELEC has jurisdiction.

The Constitution stated in Article IX-C, Sec. 2(2) so provides that it vests in the
COMELEC appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective barangay
officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction.

Construed in relation to the provision in RA 7160 or otherwise known as the Local


Government Code, it is said that includes in the enumeration of barangay
officials the SK chairman under Sec. 387(a), the constitutional provision indeed
sanctions the appellate review by the COMELEC of election protests involving the
position of SK chairman, as in the instant case.

Hence, the court ruled that they found nothing improper in the COMELEC’s
assumption of jurisdiction over respondent’s appeal. The petitioner’s reliance on
the ruling in Mercado vs. Board of Election Supervisors (1995) that contests
involving the SK chairman does not fall within Section 252 of the Omnibus
Election Code and paragraph 2, Section 2, Article IX-C of the Constitution, is
misplaced. The doctrine therein, as explained in the much later Marquez vs.
Commission on Elections (1999), is no longer controlling.

Thus, the present rule is that trial courts of limited jurisdiction have exclusive
original jurisdiction over election protests involving barangay officials, which
include the SK chairman, and that the COMELEC has the exclusive appellate
jurisdiction over such protests.

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It is also noted that the Supreme Court dismissed the case as moot and
academic. By the time the case reached the Supreme Court, the term of office of
the SK chair already expired. The discussion on COMELEC jurisdiction is for the
guidance of the bench and bar.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is


DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

[INDIRA R. FERNANDEZ, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND


MARK ANTHONY B. RODRIGUEZ. G.R. No. 176296. June 30,
2008. Nachura, J.]

Digested By:
LADY JULIE GRACE L. BARONDA

CASE 23
ELECTION LAW
A contention on failure of election and exercise of grave abuse of discretion by
COMELEC

FACTS
The MCTC Valladolid-San Enrique-Pulupandan, Negros Occidental ordered the
Municipal Election Officer (EO) of Valladolid to include the names of 946
individuals in the list of qualified voters of the said municipality for the May 2007
elections.

Prompted by the advice of COMELEC Manila that decisions of trial courts of


limited jurisdiction in inclusion/exclusion cases attain finality only after the lapse
of five days from receipt of notice sans any appeal there from, the acting
provincial election supervisor (PES), directed the Election Officer on May 13, 2007
not to comply with the MCTC order. Thus, the said 946 were disallowed by the
board of election inspectors to vote. These 946 moved for the issuance of a
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Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to prevent the Municipal Board of Canvassers
from canvassing the election returns & from proclaiming the winning candidates
for the local positions in the municipality. Such was granted.

However, the Municipal Board of Canvassers continued canvassing and


proclaimed the winning candidates. Presbitero and others thus filed before the
COMELEC a petition for declaration of failure of election and the holding of a
special election because 946 voters were disenfranchised, the Election Officer of
the municipality (also the Ex-officio Chair of the Municipal Board of Canvassers)
was abruptly replaced, the number of voters was unusually low, no less than
2,000 supporters of petitioners failed to vote as their names were missing from
the list of voters. To the contrary, petitioners admitted that elections were held,
that 70% of the registered voters were able to cast their votes, and that the
respondents emerged as winners.

The Municipal Board of Canvassers defied the TRO, and the acting provincial
election supervisor and acting election officer threatened & coerced the vice-
chair and member-secretary of the Municipal Board of Canvassers to continue
with the canvassing and the proclamation.

ISSUE
Whether or not there was a failure of election and contending that the COMELEC
gravely abused its discretion in the issuance of the said resolution?

RULING
The court ruled in favor of the COMELEC and that there was no failure of
elections. A failure of election may be declared only in the three instances stated
in Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code:

1. the election has not been held


2. the election has been suspended before the hour fixed by law
3. and the preparation and the transmission of the election returns
have given rise to the consequent failure to elect, meaning
nobody emerged as the winner.

Furthermore, the reason for such failure of election should be force majeure,
violence, terrorism, fraud or other analogous causes. Finally, before the
COMELEC can grant a verified petition seeking to declare a failure of election, the
concurrence of 2 conditions must be established, namely:
1. no voting has taken place in the precincts concerned on the
date fixed by law or, even if there was voting, the election
nevertheless resulted in a failure to elect
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2. the votes cast would affect the result of the election.

In the instant case, it is admitted by the petitioners that elections were held in
the subject locality. Also, the private respondents and four of the petitioners won
in the elections and were proclaimed as the duly elected municipal officials.
There is nothing in the records from which the Court can make even a slim
deduction that there has been a failure to elect. Absent any proof that the voting
did not take place, the alleged disenfranchisement of the 946 individuals and
2,000 more supporters of the petitioners cannot even be considered as a basis
for the declaration of a failure of election.

Had petitioners been aggrieved by the allegedly illegal composition and


proceedings of the Municipal Board of Canvassers, then they should have filed
the appropriate pre-proclamation case contesting the aforesaid composition or
proceedings of the board, rather than erroneously raising the same as grounds
for the declaration of failure of election. On the Temporary Restraining Order
issued by the MCTC and the subsequent defiance thereof by the Municipal Board
of Canvassers, suffice it to state that the propriety of suspending the canvass of
returns or the proclamation of candidates is a pre-proclamation issue that is
solely within the cognizance of the COMELEC. In sum, petitioners have not
adduced any ground which will warrant a declaration of failure of election.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is


DISMISSED.

[RICARDO P. PRESBITERO, JR., JANET PALACIOS, CIRILO G.


ABRASIA, ARMANDO G. ALVAREZ, NENITO A. ARMAS, RENE L.
CORRAL, JOEMARIE A. DE JUAN, ENRILICE C. GENOBIS, WILLIAM
A. PRESBITERO and REYNO N. SOBERANO, vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, ROMMEL YOGORE, GLORY GOMEZ, DAN YANSON,
JOENITO DURAN, SR.,
LUCIUS BODIOS and REY SUMUGAT. G.R. No. 178884. June 30,
2008. Nachura, J.]

Digested By:
LADY JULIE GRACE L. BARONDA

CASE 24
ELECTION LAW
A province entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives
without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such province

FACTS
These consolidated petitions seek to annul Resolution No. 7902, dated 10 May

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2007, of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) treating Cotabato City as part
of the legislative district of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. The Ordinance
appended to the 1987 Constitution apportioned two legislative districts for the
Province of Maguindanao. The first legislative district consists of Cotabato City
and eight municipalities. Maguindanao forms part of the Autonomous Region in
Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), created under its Organic Act, Republic Act No. 6734
(R.A. 6734), as amended by Republic Act No. 9054 (R.A. 9054). Although under
the Ordinance, Cotabato City forms part of Maguindanao's first legislative district,
it is not part of the ARMM but of Region XII, having voted against its inclusion in
the ARMM in the plebiscite held in November 1989.

On 28 August 2006, the ARMM's legislature, the ARMM Regional Assembly,


exercising its power to create provinces under Section 19, Article VI of R.A. 9054,
enacted Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 201 (MMA Act 201) creating the
Province of Shariff Kabunsuan composed of the eight municipalities in the first
district of Maguindanao. MMA Act 201 provides:
Section 1. The Municipalities of Barira, Buldon, Datu Odin Sinsuat,
Kabuntalan, Matanog, Parang, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, and
Upi are hereby separated from the Province of Maguindanao and
constituted into a distinct and independent province, which is
hereby created, to be known as the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan.
Sec. 5.The corporate existence of this province shall commence
upon the appointment by the Regional Governor or election of the
governor and majority of the regular members of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan.

The incumbent elective provincial officials of the Province of Maguindanao shall


continue to serve their unexpired terms in the province that they will choose or
where they are residents: Provided, that where an elective position in both
provinces becomes vacant as a consequence of the creation of the Province of
Shariff Kabunsuan, all incumbent elective provincial officials shall have
preference for appointment to a higher elective vacant position and for the time
being be appointed by the Regional Governor, and shall hold office until their
successors shall have been elected and qualified in the next local elections;
Provided, further, that they shall continue to receive the salaries they are
receiving at the time of the approval of this Act until the new readjustment of
salaries in accordance with law. Provided, furthermore, that there shall be no
diminution in the number of the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of
the mother province. Noting also that, except as may be provided

by national law, the existing legislative district, which includes Cotabato as a part

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thereof, shall remain.

Later, three new municipalities were carved out of the original nine municipalities
constituting Shariff Kabunsuan, bringing its total number of municipalities to 11.
Thus, what was left of Maguindanao were the municipalities constituting its
second legislative district. Cotabato City, although part of Maguindanao's first
legislative district, is not part of the Province of Maguindanao.

The voters of Maguindanao ratified Shariff Kabunsuan's creation in a plebiscite


held on 29 October 2006.On 6 February 2007, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of
Cotabato City passed Resolution No. 3999 requesting the COMELEC to "clarify the
status of Cotabato City in view of the conversion of the First District of
Maguindanao into a regular province" under MMA Act 201.

In answer to Cotabato City's query, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 07-0407
on March 2007 "maintaining the status quo with Cotabato City as part of Shariff
Kabunsuan in the First Legislative District of Maguindanao". Resolution No. 07-
0407, has adopted the recommendation of the COMELEC's Law Department
under a Memorandum dated 27 February 2007.

On 10 May 2007, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 7902, subject of these
petitions, amending Resolution No. 07-0407 by renaming the legislative district in
question as "Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City (formerly First
District of Maguindanao with Cotabato City)."

In G.R. No. 177597, Sema, who was a candidate in the 14 May 2007 elections for
Representative of "Shariff Kabunsuan with Cotabato City", prayed for the
nullification of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 and the exclusion from canvassing
of the votes cast in Cotabato City for that office. Sema contended that Shariff
Kabunsuan is entitled to one representative in Congress under Section 5 (3),
Article VI of the Constitution 10 and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the
Constitution. Thus, Sema asserted that the COMELEC acted without or in excess
of its jurisdiction in issuing Resolution No. 7902 which maintained the status quo
in Maguindanao's first legislative district despite the COMELEC's earlier directive
in Resolution No. 7845 designating Cotabato City as the lone component of
Maguindanao's reapportioned first legislative district. Sema further claimed that
in issuing Resolution No. 7902, the COMELEC usurped Congress' power to create
or reapportion legislative districts.

In its Comment, the COMELEC, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG),
chose not to reach the merits of the case and merely contended that (1) Sema
wrongly availed of the writ of certiorari to nullify COMELEC Resolution No. 7902

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because the COMELEC issued the same in the exercise of its administrative, not
quasi-judicial, power and (2) Sema's prayer for the writ of prohibition in G.R. No.
177597 became moot with the proclamation of respondent Didagen P. Dilangalen
(respondent

Dilangalen) on 1 June 2007 as representative of the legislative district of Shariff


Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City.

In his Comment, respondent Dilangalen countered that Sema is estopped from


questioning COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 because in her certificate of
candidacy filed on 29 March 2007, Sema indicated that she was seeking election
as representative of "Shariff Kabunsuan including Cotabato City". Respondent
Dilangalen added that COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 is constitutional because it
did not apportion a legislative district for Shariff Kabunsuan or reapportion the
legislative districts in Maguindanao but merely renamed Maguindanao's first
legislative district. Respondent Dilangalen

further claimed that the COMELEC could not reapportion Maguindanao's first
legislative district to make Cotabato City its sole component unit as the power to
reapportion legislative districts lies exclusively with Congress, not to mention
that Cotabato City does not meet the minimum population requirement under
Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution for the creation of a legislative district
within a city.

Sema filed a Consolidated Reply controverting the matters raised in respondents'


Comments and reiterating her claim that the COMELEC acted ultra vires in
issuing Resolution No. 7902.

In the Resolution of 4 September 2007, the Court required the parties in G.R. No.
177597 to comment on the issue of whether a province created by the ARMM
Regional Assembly under Section 19, Article VI of R.A. 9054 is entitled to one
representative in the House of Representatives without need of a national law
creating a legislative district for such new province.

On the question of whether a province created under Section 19, Article VI of R.A.
9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives without
need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new province, Sema
and respondent Dilangalen reiterated in their Memoranda the positions they
adopted in their Compliance with the Resolution of 4 September 2007. The
COMELEC deemed it unnecessary to submit its position on this issue considering
its stance that Section 19, Article VI of R.A. 9054 is unconstitutional.

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The pendency of the petition in G.R. No. 178628 was disclosed during the oral
arguments on 27 November 2007. Thus, in the Resolution of 19 February 2008,
the Court ordered G.R. No. 178628 consolidated with G.R. No. 177597. The
petition in G.R. No. 178628 echoed Sema's contention that the COMELEC acted
ultra vires in issuing Resolution No. 7902 depriving the voters of Cotabato City of
a representative in the House of Representatives. In its Comment to the petition
in G.R. No. 178628, the COMELEC, through the OSG, maintained the validity of
COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 as a temporary measure pending the enactment
by Congress of the "appropriate law".

ISSUES
1. In G.R. No. 177597:
a. Preliminarily
a1. Whether or not the writs of Certiorari, Prohibition, and Mandamus are
proper to test the constitutionality of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902?
a2. Whether or not the proclamation of respondent Dilangalen as
representative of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City
mooted the petition in G.R. No. 177597?
b. On the merits
b1. Whether or not Section 19, Article VI of R.A. 9054, delegating to the
ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces, cities,
municipalities and barangays, is constitutional?
b2. If in the affirmative, whether or not a province created by the ARMM
Regional Assembly under MMA Act 201 pursuant to Section 19, Article
VI of R.A. 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of
Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative
district for such province.
2. In G.R. No. 177597 and G.R. No. 178628, whether COMELEC Resolution No.
7902 is valid for maintaining the status quo in the first legislative district of
Maguindanao (as "Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City [formerly
First District of Maguindanao with Cotabato City]"), despite the creation of the
Province of Shariff Kabunsuan out of such district (excluding Cotabato City).

RULING
The petitions have no merit. The court ruled that (1) Section 19, Article VI of R.A.
9054 is unconstitutional insofar as it grants to the ARMM Regional Assembly the
power to create provinces and cities; (2) MMA Act 201 creating the Province of
Shariff Kabunsuan is void; and (3) COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 is valid.

In summary, the court ruled that Section 19, Article VI of R.A. 9054, insofar as it
grants to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces and cities,
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is void for being contrary to Section 5 of Article VI and Section 20 of Article X of
the Constitution, as well as Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the
Constitution. Only Congress can create provinces and cities because the creation
of provinces and cities necessarily includes the creation of legislative districts, a
power only Congress can exercise under Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution
and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. The ARMM Regional
Assembly cannot create a province without a legislative district because the
Constitution mandates that every province shall have a legislative district.
Moreover, the ARMM Regional Assembly cannot enact a law creating a national
office like the office of a district representative of Congress because the
legislative powers of the ARMM Regional Assembly operate only within its
territorial jurisdiction as provided in Section 20, Article X of the

Constitution. Thus, we rule that MMA Act 201, enacted by the ARMM Regional
Assembly and creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan, is void.

Resolution No. 7902 Complies with the Constitution. Consequently, the court held
that COMELEC Resolution No. 7902, preserving the geographic and legislative
district of the First District of Maguindanao with Cotabato City, is valid as it
merely complies with Section 5 of Article VI and Section 20 of Article X of the
Constitution, as well as Section 1 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution.

WHEREFORE, the court declared Section 19, Article VI of Republic Act No. 9054
UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it grants to the Regional Assembly of the
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao the power to create provinces and cities.
Thus, declaring VOID Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 201 creating the
Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. Consequently, ruling that COMELEC Resolution No.
7902 is VALID.

SO ORDERED.

[BAI SANDRA S. A. SEMA, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and


DIDAGEN P. DILANGALEN. G.R. No. 177597. July 16, 2008] AND
[PERFECTO F. MARQUEZ, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. G.R.
No. 178628. July 16, 2008. Carpio, J.]

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Digested by:
KRISTOFFER RAY Y. LAO

CASE 25
ELECTION LAW
The interpretation the term the “legal disqualification” in Article 244 of the
Revised penal Code

FACTS
During the May 11, 1998 elections, Villapando ran for Municipal Mayor of San
Vicente, Palawan. Orlando M. Tiape (now deceased), a relative of Villapando's
wife, ran for Municipal Mayor of Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte. Villapando won
while Tiape lost. Thereafter, on July 1, 1998, Villapando designated Tiape as
Municipal Administrator of the Municipality of San Vicente, Palawan. A Contract of
Consultancy 5 dated February 8, 1999 was executed between the Municipality of
San Vicente, Palawan and Tiape whereby the former employed the services of
Tiape as Municipal Administrative and Development Planning Consultant in the
Office of the Municipal Mayor for a period of six months from January 1, 1999 to
June 30, 1999 for a monthly salary of P26,953.80.

ISSUE
Whether or not the respondent court acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of or excess of jurisdiction in interpreting that the “legal
disqualification” in Article 244 of the Revised penal Code does not include the
one year prohibition imposed in losing candidates as enunciated in the
constitution and the local government code.

RULING
On February 4, 2000, Solomon B. Maagad and Renato M. Fernandez charged
Villapando and Tiape for violation of Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code before
the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon. The complaint was resolved
against Villapando and Tiape on March 19, 2002 charging the two with violation
of Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code that was filed with the Sandiganbayan as
the court found Villapando's Demurrer to Evidence meritorious, as follows:
The Court found the "Demurrer to Evidence" impressed with merit.
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Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code provides:


Unlawful appointments. — Any public officer who shall knowingly
nominate or appoint to any public office any person lacking the
legal qualifications therefore, shall suffer the penalty of arresto
mayor and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos.

A dissection of the above-cited provision [yields] the following elements, to wit:


1. the offender was a public officer;
2. accused nominated or appointed a person to a public office;
3. such person did not have the legal qualifications [therefore;]
and,
4. the offender knew that his nominee or appointee did not have
the legal
qualifications at the time he made the nomination or
appointment.

Afore-cited elements are hereunder discussed.


1. Mayor Villapando was the duly elected Municipal Mayor of San
Vicente, Palawan when the alleged crime was committed.
2. Accused appointed Orlando Tiape as Municipal Administrator of
the Municipality of San Vicente, Palawan.
3. There appears to be a dispute. This Court is now called upon to
determine whether Orlando Tiape, at the time of [his]
designation as Municipal Administrator, was lacking in legal
qualification. Stated differently, does "legal qualification"
contemplate the one (1) year prohibition on appointment as
provided for in Sec. 6, Art. IX-B of the Constitution and Sec. 94
(b) of the Local Government Code, mandating that a candidate
who lost in any election shall not, within one year after such
election, be appointed to any office in the Government?

The Court answers in the negative. In ascertaining the legal qualifications of a


particular appointee to a public office, "there must be a law providing for the
qualifications of a person to be nominated or appointed" therein. To illuminate
further, Justice Rodolfo Palattao succinctly discussed in his book that the
qualification of a public officer to hold a particular position in the government is
provided for by law, which may refer to educational attainment, civil service
eligibility or experience.

The purpose of the law is to ensure that the person appointed is competent to
perform the duties of the office, thereby promoting efficiency in rendering public

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service.

In this case, Orlando Tiape was allegedly appointed to the position of Municipal
Administrator. As such, the law that provides for the legal qualification for the
position of municipal administrator is Section 480, Article X of the Local
Government Code, to wit:
"Section 480. Qualifications, Terms, Powers and Duties. — (a) No
person shall be appointed administrator unless he is a citizen of the
Philippines, a resident of the local government unit concerned, of
good moral character, a holder of a college degree preferably in
public administration, law, or any other related course from a
recognized college or university, and a first grade civil service
eligible or its equivalent. He must have acquired experience in
management and administration work for at least five (5) years in
the case of the provincial or city administrator, and three (3) years
in the case of the municipal administrator.

It is noteworthy to mention that the prosecution did not allege much less prove
that Mayor Villapando's appointee, Orlando Tiape, lacked any of the qualifications
imposed by law on the position of Municipal Administrator. Prosecution's
argument rested on the assertion that since Tiape lost in the May 11, 1998
election, he necessarily lacked the required legal qualifications.

It bears stressing that temporary prohibition is not synonymous with absence or


lack of legal qualification. A person who possessed the required legal
qualifications for a position may be temporarily disqualified for appointment to a
public position by reason of the one year prohibition imposed on losing
candidates. Upon the other hand, one may not be temporarily disqualified for
appointment, but could not be appointed as he lacked any or all of the required
legal qualifications imposed by law.

4. Anent the last element, this Court deems it unnecessary to


discuss the same provided as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding the "Demurrer to Evidence" filed by
Mayor Villapando with merit, the same is hereby GRANTED.
Mayor Villapando is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime charged.
SO ORDERED.

Further, the Sandiganbayan, Fourth Division denied Villapando's Motion for Leave
to File Demurrer to Evidence yet accommodated Villapando by giving him five
days within which to inform it in writing whether he will submit his demurrer to
evidence for resolution without leave of court.

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Notably, a judgment rendered with grave abuse of discretion or without due


process is void, does not exist in legal contemplation and, thus, cannot be the
source of an acquittal.
The Sandiganbayan, Fourth Division having acted with grave abuse of discretion
in disregarding the basic rules of statutory construction resulting in its decision
granting Villapando's Demurrer to Evidence and acquitting the latter, we can do
no less but declare its decision null and void.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated May 20, 2004 of the
Sandiganbayan, Fourth Division, in Criminal Case No. 27465, granting private
respondent Alejandro A. Villapando's Demurrer to Evidence and acquitting him of
the crime of unlawful appointment under Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code is
hereby declared NULL and VOID. Let the records of this case be remanded to the
Sandiganbayan, Fourth Division, for further proceedings.
SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, vs. THE SANDIGANBAYAN FOURTH


DIVISION) and ALEJANDRO A. VILLAPANDO. G.R. No. 164185.
July 23, 2008. Quisumbing, J.]

Digested By:
ANDREA V. GORRICETA

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CASE 26
ELECTION LAW
A person with dual citizenship to run in a public position

FACTS
Petitioner Eusebio Eugenio K. Lopez was a candidate for the position of Chairman
of Barangay Bagacay, San Dionisio, Iloilo City in the synchronized Barangay and
Sangguniang Kabataan Elections held on October 29, 2007.

On October 25, 2007, respondent Tessie P. Villanueva filed a petition 3 before the
Provincial Election Supervisor of the Province of Iloilo, praying for the
disqualification of petitioner on the ground that he is an American citizen, hence,
ineligible from running for any public office. In his Answer, 4 petitioner argued
that he is a dual citizen, a Filipino and at the same time an American, by virtue of
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225, otherwise known as the Citizenship Retention and
Re-acquisition Act of 2003. He returned to the Philippines and resided in
Barangay Bagacay. Thus, he said, he possessed all the qualifications to run for
Barangay Chairman.

After the votes for Barangay Chairman were canvassed, petitioner emerged as
the winner.

ISSUE
Whether or not a Filipino-American or any dual citizen can run for any elective
public position in the Philippines?

RULING
On February 6, 2008, COMELEC issued the assailed Resolution granting the
petition for disqualification, disposing as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for
Disqualification is GRANTED and respondent Eusebio Eugenio K.
Lopez is DISQUALIFIED from running as Barangay Chairman of
Barangay Bagacay, San Dionisio, Iloilo.

In ruling against petitioner, the COMELEC found that he was not able to regain his
Filipino citizenship in the manner provided by law. According to the poll body, to
be able to qualify as a candidate in the elections, petitioner should have made a
personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship. This,
petitioner failed to do.

His motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioner resorted to the
present petition, imputing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the COMELEC
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for disqualifying him from running and assuming the office of Barangay
Chairman.

The court dismissed the petition. Petitioner was born a Filipino but he deliberately
sought American citizenship and renounced his Filipino citizenship. He later on
became a dual citizen by re-acquiring Filipino citizenship.

While it is true that petitioner won the elections, took his oath and began to
discharge the functions of Barangay Chairman, his victory can not cure the defect
of his candidacy. Garnering the most number of votes does not validate the
election of a disqualified candidate because the application of the constitutional
and statutory provisions on disqualification is not a matter of popularity.
In sum, the COMELEC committed no grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying
petitioner as candidate for Chairman in the Barangay elections of 2007.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.


SO ORDERED.

EUSEBIO EUGENIO K. LOPEZ, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


and TESSIE P. VILLANUEVA. G.R. No. 182701. July 23, 2008.
Reyes, R.T., J.]

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Digested By:
ANDREA V. GORRICETA

A Student's Prayer
Creator of all things, true source of Light and Wisdom,
lofty source of all Being, graciously let a ray of Your Brilliance
penetrate into the darkness of my understanding
and take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, sin
and ignorance.
Give me a sharp sense of understanding ,
a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and
fundamentally.
Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations,
and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm.
Point out the beginning, direct the progress,
help in the completion.
Through Christ our Lord.

----St. Thomas Aquinas

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