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Atienza v. COMELEC GR No. 108533, 20 Dec 1994 Kapunan, J. Facts: Sia was elected mayor.

Following his proclamation, his closest rival, Atienza, filed an election protest with the RTC. Consequently, in the revision ordered by the lower court, petitioner Atienza obtained a plurality of 12 votes over private respondent Sia. The RTC rendered its decision declaring petitioner the winner of the municipal elections & ordering private respondent to reimburse petitioner the amount representing his expenses in the election protest. Sia appealed the decision to the Comelec. Meanwhile, the RTC granted petitioners motion for execution pending appeal. However, the Comelec issued a preliminary injunction stopping the enforcement of the order of execution upon Sias filing of a petition for certiorari & mandamus. The Comelec, en banc, issued an Order setting aside the preliminary injunction & thereby allowing petitioner to assume as mayor pending resolution of his appeal. However, following the synchronized elections, the Comelecs 2nd Division issued an order dismissing petitioners appeal for being moot & academic pursuant to the Comelec Resolution declaring the election protest & appeal cases arising out of the earlier elections dismissed & terminated as of the following month after the synchronized elections. Upon clarification, said division stated that the election protest cases mentioned in the order are those protest cases over which the Commission has original jurisdiction. Hence, it is only the appeal case that was dismissed for being moot & academic. On Sias appeal to the Comelec En banc, wherein he pointed out that the appeal could not be simply dismissed because it would result to the affirmance of the monetary judgment of the trial court considering its merits on appeal, Comelec issued an order certifying the case to the Commission en banc. The Comelec en banc resolved that the dismissal of the appeal by the 2nd Division for being moot & academic did not thereby revive the vacated judgment of the RTC. Said appealed judgment remained vacated, not having been resolved on the merits by the Commission for or against any of the parties. The judgment directing Sia to reimburse Atienza the expenses in the election protest was reversed for not being in accordance w/ law in the absence of any evidence of any wrongful, or negligent act or omission on the part of the Sia to justify the award. Issue: 1) Whether the dismissal of the appeal for being moot & academic had the effect as if no appeal had ever been taken & that the trial courts decision (awarding damages) remained valid & subsisting 2) Whether the Comelec acted w/ GAD when it reversed the lower courts judgment awarding damages to petitioner Atienza after it had earlier dismissed Sias appeal (from the judgment ordering him to pay damages) for being moot & academic

Held: 1) No. The protest cases dismissed for being moot & academic included only those cases in which the Comelec possessed original jurisdiction. Hence, it was only the appeal case which was dismissed for being moot & academic. The dismissal of the appeal obviously referred only to that part of the appealed judgment which was affected by the synchronized elections --- the portion w/c adjudged Atienza as the winner in the election protest. Since the question relating to the RTCs award of damages could not have been rendered moot & academic by the synchronized elections, the second part of the lower courts decision was a matter which had nothing to do w/ the expiration of the term of office & could not have been dismissed by the said body. 2) No. The Omnibus Election Code provides that actual or compensatory damages may be granted in all election contests or in quo warranto proceedings in accordance w/ law. In addition to specific provisions of law allowing actual or compensatory damages in certain situations, the Civil Code elaborates that the proper setting for allowance of actual or compensatory damages occurs in breaches of obligations where the defendant may be held liable for all damages which are the natural & probable consequences of the act or omission complained of. Given this setting, it would appear virtually impossible for a party in an election protest case to recover actual or compensatory damages in the absence of the conditions specified under the Civil Code or in the absence of a law expressly providing for situations allowing for the recovery of the same. It follows, naturally, that in most election protest cases where the monetary claim does not hinge on either a contract or quasi-contract or a tortious act or omission, the claimant must be able to point out to a specific provision of law authorizing a money claim for election protest expenses against the losing party. This, petitioner has been unable to do. A wrong without damage or damage without wrong neither constitutes a cause of action nor creates a civil obligation.