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MARGARITO C.

SULIGUIN, Petitioner,
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, THE MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF
NAGCARLAN, LAGUNA, and ECELSON C. SUMAGUE, Respondents.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
This is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court seeking to
reverse the Resolution1 of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) En Banc in SPC No. 04209 dated November 18, 2004 which denied petitioner Margarito Suliguins motion for
reconsideration of the July 21, 2004 Resolution2 of the Comelecs First Division. The
Comelec nullified his proclamation as the 8th Sangguniang Bayan member of Nagcarlan,
Laguna.
The antecedents are as follows:
Petitioner Margarito Suliguin was one of the candidates for the Sangguniang Bayan of
Nagcarlan, Laguna during the May 10, 2004 elections. At around 6:00 p.m. on said date,
respondent Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC) convened to canvass the votes for all
the candidates. Petitioner received 6,605 votes while respondent Ecelson Sumague received
6,647 votes. However, in the Statement of Votes (SOV) covering Precincts 1A to 19A,
Sumague appears to have received only 644 votes when, in fact, he received 844 votes. The
MBOC failed to notice the discrepancy and proclaimed the winning candidates at around
7:00 p.m. of May 13, 2004. Petitioner was proclaimed as the 8th Sangguniang Bayan
member of Nagcarlan, Laguna, garnering a total of 6,605 votes.3
Thereafter, Sumague requested for a recomputation of the votes received by him and
Suliguin in a Letter4 dated May 15, 2004, it appearing that there was a mistake in adding the
figures in the Certificate of Canvass of votes. He pointed out that he officially garnered 6,647
votes, as against petitioners 6,605 votes.
The MBOC summoned petitioner and respondent Sumague to a conference. Upon review,
the MBOC discovered that it had, indeed, failed to credit respondent Sumague his 200 votes
from Precincts 1A to 19A, and that with his 6,647 votes, he should have been proclaimed as
the 8th Sangguniang Bayan member of Nagcarlan, Laguna, instead of petitioner Suliguin.
On May 26, 2004, the MBOC filed before the Comelec a "Petition to Correct Entries Made in
the Statement of Votes" for Councilor. The error was attributed to extreme physical and
mental fatigue which the members of the board experienced during the election and the
canvassing of votes.
In the meantime, on June 9, 2004, petitioner took his oath of office before Judge Renato B.
Bercades.5
On July 21, 2004, the Comelec (First Division) issued a Resolution6 granting the petition of
the MBOC. The Commission nullified the proclamation of petitioner Suliguin as the 8th
Sangguniang Bayan member of Nagcarlan, Laguna during the May 10, 2004 National and
Local Elections "for being based on an erroneous computation of votes." It then ordered the
MBOC of Nagcarlan, Laguna to reconvene and effect the necessary corrections in the SOV,

and forthwith proclaim Sumague as the 8th duly elected Sangguniang Bayan member of
Nagcarlan, Laguna.7
Petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the resolution but the Comelec En Banc denied
the motion on November 18, 2004; hence, this petition. Petitioner alleges that respondent
Commission committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
in ruling against him. In support of his petition, he alleges that:
4.1 THE "PETITION TO CORRECT ENTRIES MADE IN THE STATEMENT OF VOTES FOR
COUNCILOR, NAGCARLAN, LAGUNA" WAS UNDISPUTEDLY FILED OUT OF TIME, and
4.2 "THE PETITION TO CORRECT ENTRIES MADE IN THE STATEMENT OF VOTES FOR
COUNCILOR, NAGCARLAN, LAGUNA" WAS FILED BY THE MUNICIPAL BOARD OF
CANVASSERS IN DEFIANCE OF EXISTING COMELEC RULES AND REGULATIONS AND
WAS OBVIOUSLY BIAS IN FAVOR OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT CANDICATE ECELSON
C. SUMAGUE.8
Petitioner argues that pursuant to Sections 35,9 36(c) and (f)10 of Comelec Resolution No.
6669 (General Instructions for Municipal/City/Provincial and District Boards of Canvassers in
Connection with the May 10, 2004 Elections), the MBOC should not have entertained the
letter-request of respondent Sumague as it was filed only on May 17, 2004, or four (4) days
after the canvassing of votes was terminated and after he (petitioner) was proclaimed winner
as the 8th Sangguniang Bayan member of Nagcarlan, Laguna. Furthermore, respondent
Sumague never entered any objection during the proceedings of the canvassing of votes.
The MBOC itself filed the "Petition to Correct Entries Made in the Statement of Votes" before
the Comelec only on May 26, 2004, 13 days after the canvassing of votes was terminated.
Petitioner maintains that the Comelec should have denied the petition, since according to the
Revised Comelec Rules, it should have been filed not later than five (5) days following the
date of the proclamation.
Petitioner likewise questions the personality of the MBOC itself to file the petition before the
Comelec. He further argues that upon the proclamation of the winning candidates in the
election, the MBOC adjourns sine die and becomes functus officio.
The issue is whether or not respondent Comelec erred in granting the petition of the MBOC
to nullify petitioners proclamation as the 8th member of the Sangguniang Bayan in
Nagcarlan, Laguna.
The petition is bereft of merit.
In an election case, the Comelec is mandated to ascertain by all means within its command
who the real candidate elected by the electorate is. The Court frowns upon any interpretation
of the law or the rules that would hinder in any way not only the free and intelligent casting of
the votes in an election but also the correct ascertainment of the results. 11 In the case at bar,
the simple mathematical procedure of adding the total number of votes garnered by
respondent Sumague as appearing in the Statement of Votes submitted to the Comelec
would readily reveal the result that he has forty-two (42) votes more than petitioner. Such
result would, in effect, dislodge petitioner from said post, and entitle respondent Sumague to
occupy the eighth and last seat of the Sangguniang Bayan of Nagcarlan, Laguna. Petitioner
himself never disputed the discrepancy in the total number of votes garnered by respondent
Sumague, and instead questioned the personality of the MBOC to file the petition and
insisted that such petition was not filed on time.

Sections 312 and 413 of Rule 1 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure explicitly provide that such
rules may be "liberally construed" in the interest of justice. Indeed, the Comelec has the
discretion to liberally construe its rules and, at the same time, suspend the rules or any
portion thereof in the interest of justice.14 Disputes in the outcome of elections involve public
interest; as such, technicalities and procedural barriers should not be allowed to stand if they
constitute an obstacle to the determination of the true will of the electorate in the choice of
their elective officials. Laws governing such disputes must be liberally construed to the end
that the will of the people in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by mere
technical objections.15
What is involved in the present petition is the correction of a manifest error in reflecting the
actual total number of votes for a particular candidate. Section 32, subparagraph 5 of
Comelec Resolution No. 6669 includes mistake in the addition of the votes of any candidate
as a manifest error.16 As correctly cited by the Comelec,17 a manifest clerical error is "one that
is visible to the eye or obvious to the understanding and is apparent from the papers to the
eye of the appraiser and collector, and does not include an error which may, by evidence
dehors the record be shown to have been committed."
The MBOC sought relief from the Comelec to reflect the true winner elected by the voting
public, to occupy the eighth position as member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Nagcarlan,
Laguna. In Carlos v. Angeles,18 the Court had the occasion to declare:
In this jurisdiction, an election means "the choice or selection of candidates to public office
by popular vote" through the use of the ballot, and the elected officials of which are
determined through the will of the electorate. "An election is the embodiment of the popular
will, the expression of the sovereign power of the people." "Specifically, the term election, in
the context of the Constitution, may refer to the conduct of the polls, including the listing of
voters, the holding of the electoral campaign, and the casting and counting of votes." The
winner is the candidate who has obtained a majority or plurality of valid votes cast in the
election. "Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who receive the
highest number of votes cast in the election for that office. For, in all republican forms of
government the basic idea is that no one can be declared elected and no measure can de
declared carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the
election."19
We quote, with approval, the ruling of the Comelec (First Division) granting the petition of the
MBOC:
A careful perusal of the records show that there was, indeed, an honest error committed by
petitioner MBOC in the computation of votes for candidate Ecelson Sumague which resulted
in the erroneous proclamation of respondent as one of the winners for the said office.
"A manifest clerical error is one that is visible to the eye or obvious to the understanding and
is apparent from the papers to the eye of the appraiser and collector, and does not include
an error which may, by evidence dehors the record be shown to have been committed."
The contention of respondent that the instant petition should be dismissed for being filed out
of time cannot be given merit because his proclamation was flawed. It must be stressed that
"a proclamation based on faulty tabulation of votes is flawed, and a petition to correct errors
in tabulation under Section 7, Rule 27 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, even if filed out
of time, may be considered, so as not to thwart the proper determination and resolution of

the case on substantial grounds and to prevent a stamp of validity on a palpably void
proclamation based on an erroneous tabulation of votes."
Furthermore, "where the proclamation is flawed because it was based on a clerical error or
mathematical mistake in the addition of votes and not through the legitimate will of the
electorate, there can be no valid proclamation to speak of and the same can be challenged
even after the candidate has assumed office."
There is no showing that petitioner MBOC acted with manifest bias and committed a grave
abuse of discretion. "Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical
exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or where the power is exercised
in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility which must be
so patent and gross as to amount to an invasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to
perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law." Petitioner MBOC is merely
doing its function that is mandated by law to canvass votes in the election returns
submitted to it in due form, adding or compiling the votes cast for each candidate as shown
in the face of such returns and eventually proclaim the winning candidates. Respondent
miserably failed to prove that petitioner exhibited manifest bias thereby thwarting his
chances of winning the last slot for Sangguniang Bayan Member. "Absent a strong showing
to the contrary, the court must accept the presumption of regularity in the performance of
official duty and strong evidence is necessary to rebut this presumption."
Likewise, it cannot be said that petitioner MBOC violated the sanctity of the ballots. Unlike
the Board of Election Inspectors which counts the votes from the precinct levels, the MBOC
computes the votes as appeared in the election returns.
Finally, a subsequent annulment of the proclamation of the respondent does not constitute a
clear violation of his right. In the first place, there is no valid proclamation to speak of. He
was not elected by a majority or plurality of voters. His alleged right was based on an
erroneous proclamation. By any mathematical formulation, the respondent cannot be
construed to have obtained such plurality of votes; otherwise, it would be sheer absurdity to
proclaim a repudiated candidate as the choice of the voters. "Where a proclamation is null
and void, the proclamation is no proclamation at all and the proclaimed candidates
assumption of office cannot deprive the COMELEC of the power to make such declaration a
nullity." Respondent also cannot claim that he was denied of his right to due process of law
since he was given the opportunity to be heard. He was duly notified by petitioner MBOC of
the erroneous computation which resulted in his proclamation and was afforded the
opportunity to be heard by this Commission.
"The COMELEC exercises immediate supervision and control over the members of the
Boards of Election Inspectors and Canvassers. Its statutory power of supervision and control
includes the power to revise, reverse or set aside the action of the boards, as well as to do
what boards should have done, even if questions relative thereto have not been elevated to
it by an aggrieved party, for such power includes the authority to initiate motu proprio or by
itself steps or actions that may be required pursuant to law." 20
Petitioner posits that the Comelecs reliance in the ruling of this Court in Bince, Jr. v.
Commission on Elections21 is misplaced since, unlike the present petition, petitioner therein
was an affected candidate who filed his petition on time.
The argument of petitioner does not persuade. The Court, in Bince, Jr. v. Commission on
Elections,22 declared that:

Assuming for the sake of argument that the petition was filed out of time, this incident alone
will not thwart the proper determination and resolution of the instant case on substantial
grounds. Adherence to a technicality that would put a stamp of validity on a palpably void
proclamation, with the inevitable result of frustrating the peoples will cannot be
countenanced. In Benito v. COMELEC, we categorically declared that:
x x x Adjudication of cases on substantive merits and not on technicalities has been
consistently observed by this Court. In the case of Juliano vs. Court of Appeals (20 SCRA
808) cited in Duremdes v. Commission on Elections (178 SCRA 746), this Court had the
occasion to declare that:
Well-settled is the doctrine that election contests involve public interest, and technicalities
and procedural barriers should not be allowed to stand if they constitute an obstacle to the
determination of the true will of the electorate in the choice of their elective officials. And also
settled is the rule that laws governing election contests must be liberally construed to the end
that the will of the people in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by mere
technical objections (Gardiner v. Romulo, 26 Phil. 521; Galang v. Miranda, 35 Phil. 269;
Jalandoni v. Sarcon, G.R. No. L-6496, January 27, 1962; Macasunding v. Macalaang, G.R.
No. L-22779, March 31, 1965; Cauton v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. L-25467, April
27, 1967). In an election case, the court has an imperative duty to ascertain by all means
within its command who is the real candidate elected by the electorate. (Ibasco v. Ilao, G.R.
No. L-17512, December 29, 1960). x x x (Juliano vs. Court of Appeals, supra, pp. 818-819).
(Italics ours)
In the later case of Rodriguez v. Commission on Elections (119 SCRA 465), this doctrine was
reiterated and the Court went on to state that:
Since the early case of Gardiner v. Romulo (26 Phil. 521), this Court has made it clear that it
frowns upon any interpretation of the law or the rules that would hinder in any way not only
the free and intelligent casting of the votes in an election but also the correct ascertainment
of the results. This bent or disposition continues to the present. (Id., at p. 474).
The same principle still holds true today. Technicalities of the legal rules enunciated in the
election laws should not frustrate the determination of the popular will.
Undoubtedly therefore, the only issue that remains unresolved is the allowance of the
correction of what are purely mathematical and/or mechanical errors in the addition of the
votes received by both candidates. It does not involve the opening of ballot boxes; neither
does it involve the examination and/or appreciation of ballots. The correction sought by
private respondent and respondent MBCs of Tayug and San Manuel is correction of manifest
mistakes in mathematical addition. Certainly, this only calls for a mere clerical act of
reflecting the true and correct votes received by the candidates by the MBCs involved. In this
case, the manifest errors sought to be corrected involve the proper and diligent addition of
the votes in the municipalities of Tayug and San Manuel, Pangasinan. 23
The Court made a similar pronouncement in Tatlonghari v. Commission on Elections, 24 to wit:
The argument is devoid of merit. For one thing, records indicate that respondents
assumption of office was effected by a clerical error or simple mathematical mistake in the
addition of votes and not through the legitimate will of the electorate. Thus, respondents
proclamation was flawed right from the very beginning. Having been based on a faulty

tabulation, there can be no valid proclamation to speak of insofar as respondent Castillo is


concerned. As this Court once said:
"x x x Time and again, this Court has given its imprimatur on the principle that Comelec is
with authority to annul any canvass and proclamation which was illegally made. The fact that
a candidate proclaimed has assumed office, we have said, is no bar to the exercise of such
power. It, of course, may not be availed of where there has been a valid proclamation. Since
private respondents petition before the Comelec is precisely directed at the annulment of the
canvass and proclamation, we perceive that inquiry into this issue is within the area allocated
by the Constitution and law to Comelec.
xxx
"We have but to reiterate the oft-cited rule that the validity of a proclamation may be
challenged even after the irregularly proclaimed candidate has assumed office.
xxx
"It is, indeed, true that, after proclamation, the usual remedy of any party aggrieved in an
election is to be found in an election protest. But that is so only on the assumption that there
has been a valid proclamation. Where as in the case at bar the proclamation itself is illegal,
the assumption of office cannot in any way affect the basic issues." (Aguam v. Commission
on Elections, 23 SCRA 883 [1968]; cited in Agbayani v. Commission on Elections, 186 SCRA
484 [1990]).25
Thus, the Comelec was correct in annulling the proclamation of petitioner for being based on
an erroneous computation of votes. As the Court declared in Espidol v. Commission on
Elections,26 where the proclamation is null and void, the proclaimed candidates assumption
of office cannot deprive the Commission the power to declare such proclamation a nullity. We
emphasized that a defeated candidate cannot be deemed elected to the office. 27
In fine, the Comelec did not commit grave abuse of discretion in annulling the proclamation
of petitioner. In a special civil action for certiorari, the burden is on the part of petitioner to
prove not merely reversible error, but grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction on the part of the public respondent issuing the impugned order. Grave abuse
of discretion means a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack
of jurisdiction. Mere abuse of discretion is not enough, it must be so grave as when the
power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal
hostility, and must be so patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or
to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.28
To the credit of the MBOC, when it realized that it made a mistake in computing the total
number of votes for respondent Sumague, it took swift action and called the attention of the
Comelec by filing the Petition to Correct Entries Made in the Statement of Votes for
Councilor.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Resolutions of the Commission on Elections in
SPC No. 04-209 dated July 21, 2004 and November 18, 2004 are AFFIRMED. The Status
Quo Order issued by the Court dated January 11, 2005 is LIFTED.
SO ORDERED.

CONSTANCIO D. PACANAN, JR., Petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and FRANCISCO M. LANGI, SR., Respondents.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
Before the Court is a petition for certiorari which seeks to set aside 1) the Order 1 dated
March 17, 2008 of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division and 2) the
Resolution2 dated January 21, 2009 of the Comelec En Banc dismissing petitioner
Constancio D. Pacanan, Jr.s appeal from the Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 27, Catbalogan, Samar, in Election Case No. 07-1, which declared private
respondent Francisco M. Langi, Sr. as the winning Mayor of Motiong, Samar.
In the Order of March 17, 2008, the Comelec First Division dismissed the appeal for failure to
pay the correct appeal fee as prescribed by the Comelec Rules of Procedure within the fiveday reglementary period.
In the assailed Resolution dated January 21, 2009, the Comelec En Banc denied petitioners
motion for reconsideration, declaring that the Comelec did not acquire jurisdiction over the
appeal because of the non-payment of the appeal fee on time, and that the Comelec First
Division was correct in dismissing the said appeal.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
Petitioner Constancio D. Pacanan, Jr. and private respondent Francisco M. Langi, Sr. were
candidates for mayor in the municipality of Motiong, Samar during the May 14, 2007
elections. After the canvassing of votes, the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) of
Motiong, Samar proclaimed petitioner as the duly elected mayor, having garnered a total of
3,069 votes against private respondents 3,066 votes.
Thereafter, private respondent filed with the RTC a Protest4 dated May 25, 2007 which was
docketed as Election Case No. 07-1, contesting the results of the elections in ten (10) of the
forty-nine (49) precincts in Motiong, Samar, and alleging acts of violence and intimidation
and other election irregularities in the appreciation of the votes by the MBC. Thereafter,
petitioner filed his Verified Answer with Counter-Protest5 dated June 4, 2007, asserting that
private respondents allegations of threat and intimidation, fraud and other irregularities in the
conduct of elections were mere allegations unsupported by any documentary evidence.
Petitioner also disputed the election results with respect to seven (7) precincts.
On January 7, 2008, the RTC rendered a decision6 in Election Case 07-1, which declared
private respondent as the winner in the May 14, 2007 mayoralty race for Motiong, Samar
with a plurality of six (6) votes, viz:
Wherefore, in view of the foregoing Protestant Francisco M. Langi, Sr. having obtained the
over all total votes of 3,074 and the Protestees 3,068 total and final votes is declared the
winner in the Mayoralty contest in Motiong, Samar with a plurality of (6) votes. Therefore the
proclamation on May 17, 2007 is hereby annulled and declared Francisco Langi, Sr. y
Maceren as the duly elected Mayor of Motiong, Samar. The winner is awarded the amount of

P 32,510 as actual damages and no evidence aliunde for damages for the court to award.
xxx
On January 10, 2008, petitioner filed a notice of appeal and paid P3,000.00 appeal fee per
Official Receipt No. 6822663 before the RTC, Branch 27, Catbalogan, Samar. He also
appealed the RTC decision dated January 7, 2008 to the Comelec which docketed the case
as EAC No. A-13-2008. Out of the P3,000.00 appeal fee required by Section 3, Rule 40 of
the Comelec Rules of Procedure, petitioner only paid the amount of P1,000.00 (plus P200.00
to cover the legal research/bailiff fees) to the Cash Division of the Comelec, per Official
Receipt No. 0510287. The said payment was made on February 14, 2008. 7
On March 17, 2008, the Comelec First Division issued an Order 8 dismissing the appeal, viz.:
Pursuant to Sections 3 and 4, Rule 40 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure which provide
for the payment of appeal fee in the amount of P3,000.00 within the period to file the notice
of appeal, and Section 9 (a), Rule 22 of the same Rules which provides that failure to pay
the correct appeal fee is a ground for the dismissal of the appeal, the Commission (First
Division) RESOLVED as it hereby RESOLVES to DISMISS the instant case for ProtesteeAppellants failure to pay the correct appeal fee as prescribed by the Comelec Rules of
Procedure within the five-(5)-day reglementary period.
SO ORDERED.
On March 28, 2008, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration9 which the Comelec En
Banc denied in the Resolution10 dated January 21, 2009, declaring that the appeal was not
perfected on time for non-payment of the complete amount of appeal fee and for late
payment as well. The Comelec En Banc held that the Comelec did not acquire jurisdiction
over the appeal because of the non-payment of the appeal fee on time. Thus, the Comelec
First Division correctly dismissed the appeal.
Hence, the instant petition for certiorari raising the following grounds:
The respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction in holding that the correct appeal fee was not paid on time.
The respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction in failing to consider that assuming that the correct appeal fee was not
paid on time, the alleged non-payment of the correct appeal fee is not in anyway attributable
to herein petitioner.
The respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction in failing to consider that assuming that the correct appeal fee was not
paid on time, there are highly justifiable and compelling reasons to resolve the subject case
on the merits in the interest of justice and public interest.
Petitioner further claims that he paid a total of P4,215.00 for his appeal, as follows:
a. To RTC on January 10, 2008 ------

P3,000.00
10.00

5.00
TOTAL
b. To Comelec on February 14, 2008 --

P3,015.00
P1,000.00
50.00
150.00

TOTAL

P1,200.00

Petitioner submits that it is incumbent upon the RTC to transmit to the Comelec the
entire P3,000.00 appeal fee that he paid on January 10, 2008. Petitioner also advances
another interpretation of the Comelec Rules that the RTC is under obligation to remit to the
Comelec the P2,000.00 representing the excess amount of the P1,000.00 appeal fee. Thus,
petitioner claims that he must be deemed to have complied, in full or at least substantially,
with the Comelec Rules on the payment of appeal fees.
Petitioner maintains that the alleged non-payment of the correct appeal fee is not due to his
own fault or negligence. He claims that the laws on appeals in election protest cases are not
yet well-established, thus, he must not be made to suffer for an oversight made in good faith.
The Resolution No. 8486 of July 15, 2008 adopted by the Comelec to clarify the rules on
compliance with the required appeal fees in election cases should not be applied
retroactively to the subject election protest.
Lastly, petitioner invokes liberality in the application of the election law. He asserts that the
popular will of the people expressed in the election of public officers should not be defeated
by reason of sheer technicalities. Petitioner argues that the true will of the people of Motiong
in the May 14, 2007 elections should be determined by ordering the Comelec to give due
course to his appeal and to resolve the same on the merits.
In his Comment, respondent Langi, Sr. states that the petition was just a mere rehash of the
Motion for Reconsideration that petitioner filed with the Comelec En Banc. Respondent
maintains that for the Comelec to exercise its authority to administer proceedings, grant
leniency, issue orders, and pass judgment on issues presented, it must first be shown that it
has acquired the requisite jurisdiction over the subject matter pursuant to the initiatory acts
and procedural compliance set as conditions precedent.
Respondent also argues that the negligence and mistakes of petitioners counsel bind
petitioner. He then reiterates the cases where this Court held that the non-payment or
insufficiency of payment of filing fees is a valid ground for the dismissal of the appeal and
that the subsequent full payment thereof does not cure the jurisdictional defect.
We grant the petition.
Section 3, Rule 22 (Appeals from Decisions of Courts in Election Protest Cases) of the
Comelec Rules of Procedure mandates that the notice of appeal must be filed within five (5)
days after promulgation of the decision, thus:

SEC. 3. Notice of Appeal. Within five (5) days after promulgation of the decision of the
court, the aggrieved party may file with said court a notice of appeal, and serve a copy
thereof upon the attorney of record of the adverse party.
Moreover, Sections 3 and 4, Rule 40 of the Comelec rules require the payment of appeal
fees in appealed election protest cases, the amended amount of which was set at P3,200.00
in Comelec Minute Resolution No. 02-0130,11 to wit:
SEC. 3. Appeal Fees. The appellant in election cases shall pay an appeal fee as follows:
(a) For election cases appealed from Regional Trial Courts.P3,000.00 (per
appellant)
(b) For election cases appealed from courts of limited jurisdiction..P3,000.00 (per
appellant)
SEC. 4. Where and When to Pay. The fees prescribed in Sections 1, 2 and 3 hereof shall
be paid to, and deposited with, the Cash Division of the Commission within a period to file
the notice of appeal.
Sections 8 and 9, Rule 14 of A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC12 also provide the procedure for instituting
an appeal and the required appeal fees to be paid for the appeal to be given due course, to
wit:
SEC. 8. Appeal. An aggrieved party may appeal the decision to the Commission on
Elections, within five days after promulgation, by filing a notice of appeal with the court that
rendered the decision, with copy served on the adverse counsel or party if not represented
by counsel.
SEC. 9. Appeal fee. The appellant in an election contest shall pay to the court that
rendered the decision an appeal fee of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00), simultaneously
with the filing of the notice of appeal.
A reading of the foregoing provisions reveals that two different tribunals (the trial court that
rendered the decision and the Comelec) require the payment of two different appeal fees for
the perfection of appeals of election cases. This requirement in the payment of appeal fees
had caused much confusion, which the Comelec addressed through the issuance of
Comelec Resolution No. 8486.13 Thus, to provide clarity and to erase any ambiguity in the
implementation of the procedural rules on the payment of appeal fees for the perfection of
appeals of election cases, the resolution provides:
WHEREAS, the Commission on Elections is vested with appellate jurisdiction over all
contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction,
and those involving elective barangay officials, decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction;
WHEREAS, Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 07-4-15 (Rules of Procedure in
Election Contests Before the Courts Involving Elective Municipal and Barangay Officials)
promulgated on May 15, 2007 provides in Sections 8 and 9, Rule 14 thereof the procedure in
instituting the appeal and the required appeal fees to be paid for the appeal to be given due
course, to wit:

Section 8. Appeal. An aggrieved party may appeal the decision to the Commission on
Elections, within five days after promulgation, by filing a notice of appeal with the court that
rendered the decision, with copy served on the adverse counsel or party if not represented
by counsel.
Section 9. Appeal Fee. The appellant in an election contest shall pay to the court that
rendered the decision an appeal fee of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00), simultaneously
with the filing of the notice of appeal.
WHEREAS, payment of appeal fees in appealed election protest cases is also required in
Section 3, Rule 40 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure the amended amount of which was
set at P3,200.00 in COMELEC Minute Resolution No. 02-0130 made effective on September
18, 2002.
WHEREAS, the requirement of these two appeal fees by two different jurisdictions had
caused confusion in the implementation by the Commission on Elections of its procedural
rules on payment of appeal fees for the perfection of appeals of cases brought before it from
the Courts of General and Limited Jurisdictions.
WHEREAS, there is a need to clarify the rules on compliance with the required appeal fees
for the proper and judicious exercise of the Commissions appellate jurisdiction over election
protest cases.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Commission hereby RESOLVES to DIRECT as
follows:
1. That if the appellant had already paid the amount of P1,000.00 before the Regional Trial
Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court or lower courts within the five-day
period, pursuant to Section 9, Rule 14 of the Rules of Procedure in Election Cases Before
the Courts Involving Elective Municipal and Barangay Officials (Supreme Court
Administrative Order No. 07-4-15) and his Appeal was given due course by the Court, said
appellant is required to pay the Comelec appeal fee of P3,200.00 at the Commissions Cash
Division through the Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD) or by postal money
order payable to the Commission on Elections through ECAD, within a period of fifteen days
(15) from the time of the filing of the Notice of Appeal with the lower court. If no payment is
made within the prescribed period, the appeal shall be dismissed pursuant to Section 9(a) of
Rule 22 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, which provides:
Sec. 9. Grounds for Dismissal of Appeal. The appeal may be dismissed upon motion of
either party or at the instance of the Commission on any of the following grounds:
(a) Failure of the appellant to pay the correct appeal fee; xxx
2. That if the appellant failed to pay the P1,000.00 appeal fee with the lower court within
the five (5) day period as prescribed by the Supreme Court New Rules of Procedure but the
case was nonetheless elevated to the Commission, the appeal shall be dismissed outright by
the Commission, in accordance with the aforestated Section 9(a) of Rule 22 of the Comelec
Rules of Procedure.
The Education and Information Department is directed to cause the publication of this
resolution in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

This resolution shall take effect on the seventh day following its publication.
SO ORDERED.
Our ruling in the very recent case of Aguilar v. Comelec,14 quoted hereunder, squarely applies
to the instant case:
Sections 8 and 9, Rule 14 of A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC provide for the following procedure in the
appeal to the COMELEC of trial court decisions in election protests involving elective
municipal and barangay officials:
SEC. 8. Appeal. An aggrieved party may appeal the decision to the Commission on
Elections, within five days after promulgation, by filing a notice of appeal with the court that
rendered the decision, with copy served on the adverse counsel or party if not represented
by counsel.
SEC. 9. Appeal fee. The appellant in an election contest shall pay to the court that
rendered the decision an appeal fee of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00), simultaneously
with the filing of the notice of appeal.
Section 8 was derived from Article IX-C, Section 2(2) of the Constitution and Rule 40,
Section 3, par. 1 and Rule 41, Section 2(a) of the Rules of Court. Section 9 was taken from
Rule 141, Sections 7(1) and 8(f) of the Rules of Court.
It should be noted from the afore-quoted sections of the Rule that the appeal fee
of P1,000.00 is paid not to the COMELEC but to the trial court that rendered the decision.
Thus, the filing of the notice of appeal and the payment of the P1,000.00 appeal fee perfect
the appeal, consonant with Sections 10 and 11 of the same Rule. Upon the perfection of the
appeal, the records have to be transmitted to the Electoral Contests Adjudication Department
of the COMELEC within 15 days. The trial court may only exercise its residual jurisdiction to
resolve pending incidents if the records have not yet been transmitted and before the
expiration of the period to appeal.
With the promulgation of A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC, the previous rule that the appeal is perfected
only upon the full payment of the appeal fee, now pegged at P3,200.00, to the COMELEC
Cash Division within the period to appeal, as stated in the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, as
amended, no longer applies.
It thus became necessary for the COMELEC to clarify the procedural rules on the payment of
appeal fees. For this purpose, the COMELEC issued on July 15, 2008, Resolution No. 8486,
which the Court takes judicial notice of. The resolution pertinently reads:
xxx

xxx

xxx

The foregoing resolution is consistent with A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC and the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure, as amended. The appeal to the COMELEC of the trial courts decision in election
contests involving municipal and barangay officials is perfected upon the filing of the notice
of appeal and the payment of the P1,000.00 appeal fee to the court that rendered the
decision within the five-day reglementary period. The non-payment or the insufficient
payment of the additional appeal fee of P3,200.00 to the COMELEC Cash Division, in
accordance with Rule 40, Section 3 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, as amended,

does not affect the perfection of the appeal and does not result in outright or ipso facto
dismissal of the appeal. Following, Rule 22, Section 9 (a) of the COMELEC Rules, the
appeal may be dismissed. And pursuant to Rule 40, Section 18 of the same rules, if the fees
are not paid, the COMELEC may refuse to take action thereon until they are paid and may
dismiss the action or the proceeding. In such a situation, the COMELEC is merely given the
discretion to dismiss the appeal or not.
Accordingly, in the instant case, the COMELEC First Division, may dismiss petitioners
appeal, as it in fact did, for petitioners failure to pay the P3,200.00 appeal fee.
Be that as it may, the Court finds that the COMELEC First Division gravely abused its
discretion in issuing the order dismissing petitioners appeal. The Court notes that the notice
of appeal and the P1,000.00 appeal fee were, respectively, filed and paid with the MTC of
Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte on April 21, 2008. On that date, the petitioners appeal was
deemed perfected. COMELEC issued Resolution No. 8486 clarifying the rule on the payment
of appeal fees only on July 15, 2008, or almost three months after the appeal was perfected.
Yet, on July 31, 2008, or barely two weeks after the issuance of Resolution No. 8486, the
COMELEC First Division dismissed petitioners appeal for non-payment to the COMELEC
Cash Division of the additional P3,200.00 appeal fee.
1avvphi1

Considering that petitioner filed his appeal months before the clarificatory resolution on
appeal fees, petitioners appeal should not be unjustly prejudiced by COMELEC Resolution
No. 8486. Fairness and prudence dictate that the COMELEC First Division should have first
directed petitioner to pay the additional appeal fee in accordance with the clarificatory
resolution, and if the latter should refuse to comply, then, and only then, dismiss the appeal.
Instead, the COMELEC First Division hastily dismissed the appeal on the strength of the
recently promulgated clarificatory resolution which had taken effect only a few days earlier.
This unseemly haste is an invitation to outrage.
The COMELEC First Division should have been more cautious in dismissing petitioners
appeal on the mere technicality of non-payment of the additional P3,200.00 appeal fee given
the public interest involved in election cases. This is especially true in this case where only
one vote separates the contending parties. The Court stresses once more that election law
and rules are to be interpreted and applied in a liberal manner so as to give effect, not to
frustrate, the will of the electorate.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for certiorari is GRANTED. The July 31,
September 4 and October 6, 2008 Orders and the October 16 2008 Entry of Judgment
issued by the COMELEC First Division in EAC (BRGY) No. 211-2008 are ANNULLED and
SET ASIDE. The case is REMANDED to the COMELEC First Division for disposition in
accordance with this Decision.
SO ORDERED. (Emphasis supplied)
From the foregoing discussion, it is clear that the appeal from the trial court decision to the
Comelec is perfected upon the filing of the notice of appeal and the payment of
the P1,000.00 appeal fee to the trial court that rendered the decision. With the promulgation
of A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC, the perfection of the appeal no longer depends solely on the full
payment of the appeal fee to the Comelec.
In the instant case, when petitioner filed his Notice of Appeal and paid the appeal fee
of P3,015.00 to the RTC on January 10, 2008, his appeal was deemed perfected. However,

Comelec Resolution No. 8486 also provides that if the appellant had already paid the
amount of P1,000.00 before the trial court that rendered the decision, and his appeal was
given due course by the court, said appellant is required to pay the Comelec appeal fee
of P3,200.00 to the Comelecs Cash Division through the Electoral Contests Adjudication
Department (ECAD) or by postal money order payable to the Comelec, within a period of
fifteen (15) days from the time of the filing of the Notice of Appeal with the lower court.
However, if no payment is made within the prescribed period, the appeal shall be dismissed
pursuant to Section 9 (a), Rule 22 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, which provides:
SEC. 9. Grounds for Dismissal of Appeal. The appeal may be dismissed upon motion of
either party or at the instance of the Commission on any of the following grounds:
(a) Failure of the appellant to pay the correct appeal fee; xxx
Thus, when petitioners appeal was perfected on January 10, 2008, within five (5) days from
promulgation, his non-payment or insufficient payment of the appeal fee to the Comelec
Cash Division should not have resulted in the outright dismissal of his appeal. The Comelec
Rules provide in Section 9 (a), Rule 22, that for failure to pay the correct appeal fee, the
appeal may be dismissed upon motion of either party or at the instance of the Comelec.
Likewise, Section 18, Rule 4015 thereof also prescribes that if the fees are not paid, the
Comelec may refuse to take action on the appeal until the said fees are paid and may
dismiss the action or the proceeding.
Here, petitioner paid P1,200.00 to the Comelec on February 14, 2008. Unfortunately, the
Comelec First Division dismissed the appeal on March 17, 2008 due to petitioners failure to
pay the correct appeal fee within the five-day reglementary period. In denying petitioners
motion for reconsideration, the Comelec En Banc, in the Resolution dated January 21, 2009,
declared that the Comelec did not acquire jurisdiction over the appeal because of the nonpayment of the appeal fee on time.
However, during the pendency of petitioners Motion for Reconsideration dated March 27,
2008, the Comelec promulgated Resolution No. 8486 to clarify the implementation of the
Comelec Rules regarding the payment of filing fees. Thus, applying the mandated liberal
construction of election laws,16 the Comelec should have initially directed the petitioner to pay
the correct appeal fee with the Comelec Cash Division, and should not have dismissed
outright petitioners appeal. This would have been more in consonance with the intent of the
said resolution which sought to clarify the rules on compliance with the required appeal fees.
In Barroso v. Ampig, Jr.,17 we ruled, thus:
xxx An election contest, unlike an ordinary civil action, is clothed with a public interest. The
purpose of an election protest is to ascertain whether the candidate proclaimed by the board
of canvassers is the lawful choice of the people. What is sought is the correction of the
canvass of votes, which was the basis of proclamation of the winning candidate. An election
contest therefore involves not only the adjudication of private and pecuniary interests of rival
candidates but paramount to their claims is the deep public concern involved and the need of
dispelling the uncertainty over the real choice of the electorate. And the court has the
corresponding duty to ascertain by all means within its command who is the real candidate
elected by the people.
Moreover, the Comelec Rules of Procedure are subject to a liberal construction. This
liberality is for the purpose of promoting the effective and efficient implementation of the

objectives of ensuring the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections
and for achieving just, expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition of every
action and proceeding brought before the Comelec. Thus we have declared:
It has been frequently decided, and it may be stated as a general rule recognized by all
courts, that statutes providing for election contests are to be liberally construed to the end
that the will of the people in the choice of public officers may not be defeated by mere
technical objections. An election contest, unlike an ordinary action, is imbued with public
interest since it involves not only the adjudication of the private interests of rival candidates
but also the paramount need of dispelling the uncertainty which beclouds the real choice of
the electorate with respect to who shall discharge the prerogatives of the office within their
gift. Moreover, it is neither fair nor just to keep in office for an uncertain period one whose
right to it is under suspicion. It is imperative that his claim be immediately cleared not only for
the benefit of the winner but for the sake of public interest, which can only be achieved by
brushing aside technicalities of procedure which protract and delay the trial of an ordinary
action.
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted. The Order dated March 17, 2008 of the Comelec First
Division and the Resolution dated January 21, 2009 of the Comelec En Banc in EAC No. A13-2008 are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, let the case be REMANDED to the
Comelec First Division for further proceedings, in accordance with the rules and with this
disposition. The Regional Trial Court, Branch 27 of Catbalogan, Samar is DIRECTED to
refund to petitioner Constancio D. Pacanan, Jr., the amount of Two Thousand Pesos
(P2,000.00) as the excess of the appeal fee per Official Receipt No. 6822663 paid on
January 10, 2008.
SO ORDERED.

ONAS TAGUIAM, Petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and ANTHONY C. TUDDAO, Respondents.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This petition for certiorari with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order and writ of
preliminary injunction1assails the December 20, 2007 Resolution2 of the Second Division of
the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in SPC No. 07-171 which granted private
respondent Anthony C. Tuddaos Petition for Correction of Manifest Error and Annulment of
Proclamation of petitioner Jonas Taguiam as the 12th winning candidate for
the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. Also assailed is the October 9,
2008 Resolution3 of the COMELEC En Banc denying petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration.4
Petitioner and private respondent were candidates for the position of Sangguniang
Panglungsod of Tuguegarao City in Cagayan during the 2007 National and Local Elections.
On May 19, 2007, petitioner was proclaimed by the City Board of Canvassers (CBOC) as the
12th ranking and winning candidate for the said position with 10,981 votes. 5Private
respondent obtained 10,971 votes6 and was ranked no. 13.

On May 25, 2007, private respondent filed with the COMELEC a petition for correction of
manifest errors in the Election Returns and Statement of Votes for 27 clustered
precincts7 and for the annulment of the proclamation of the affected winning candidate in
Tuguegarao City. He alleged that he was credited with less votes in several Statements of
Votes by Precincts (SOVP) as compared with the tally of his votes in the election returns
ERs), whereas petitioner was credited with more votes. Private respondent offered evidence
in the following nine precincts: 0035A/0036A, 0061A/0063A, 69A/69B, 87A/87B, 192A/192B,
264A/265A, 324A/325B, 326A, and 328B.
Petitioner denied the allegations of private respondent and argued that the petition should be
dismissed for having been filed late or six days after the proclamation of the winning
candidates.8 Meanwhile, the members of the CBOC of Tuguegarao City denied private
respondents allegations of manifest errors in the SOVP; maintained that petitioner garnered
more votes than those obtained by private respondent; and that they have properly
performed their duties and functions.9
On December 20, 2007, the Second Division of the COMELEC issued the assailed
Resolution, to wit:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the instant Petition filed by Anthony Tuddao for Correction
of Manifest Error and Annulment of Proclamation of Jonas Taguiam is hereby GRANTED.
ACCORDINGLY, the City Board of Canvassers of Tuguegarao, Cagayan is hereby
DIRECTED to (i) RECONVENE after giving due notice to the concerned parties, (ii)
CORRECT the errors in the Statement of Votes by Precinct (SOVP), and thereafter proclaim
the 12th winning candidate for the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Tuguegarao, Cagayan.
1avvphi1

Let the City Board of Canvassers of Tuguegarao, Cagayan implement this Resolution with
dispatch.
SO ORDERED.10
The COMELEC held that the belated filing of private respondents petition cannot deter its
authority to ascertain the true will of the electorate and thereafter affirm such will. Thus, after
due proceedings, the COMELEC found private respondents allegations duly substantiated
with material evidence and confirmed the following:
A. With regard to the votes of private respondent:
Precinct No.

SOVP No.

ER No.

Votes in SOVP

Votes in ER

69A/69B

15327

9602679

27

27

87A/87B

10543

9602699

13

13

192A/192B

10531

9602801

20

19

326A

10532

9602921

43

53

TOTAL

B. With regard to the votes of petitioner:


Precinct No.

SOVP No.

ER No.

Votes in SOVP

Votes in ER

35A/36A

10543

9602647

40

33

61A/63A

10539

9602672

55

50

264A/265A

10528

9602871

39

29

324A/325A

10533

9602920

62

61

328B

10527

9602924

33

32

TOTAL
The COMELEC concluded that nine votes should be added to the total number of votes
garnered by private respondent; while 24 votes should be deducted from the total number of
votes obtained by petitioner. Thus, the total number of votes obtained by private respondent
was 10,980, while the total number of votes received by petitioner was 10,957. As such,
private respondent was rightfully the 12th winning candidate for the Sangguniang
Panglungsod of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the COMELEC En Banc on
October 9, 2008.
Hence, this Petition for Certiorari11 raising the issue of whether or not the COMELEC
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it took
cognizance of private respondents petition for correction of manifest errors in the Election
Returns and Statement of Votes despite its late filing.
Petitioner avers that private respondents petition for correction of manifest errors should
have been dismissed outright for failure to show any justification for its late filing; that, if the
petition had been properly dismissed, private respondent had other remedies available, such
as an election protest.
Rule 27, Section 5 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure expressly states that:
Pre-proclamation Controversies Which May Be Filed Directly with the Commission
(a) The following pre-proclamation controversies may be filed directly with the Commission:
xxxx
2) When the issue involves the correction of manifest errors in the tabulation or tallying of the
results during the canvassing as where (1) a copy of the election returns or certificate of
canvass was tabulated more than once, (2) two or more copies of the election returns of one
precinct, or two or more copies of certificate of canvass were tabulated separately, (3) there
has been a mistake in the copying of the figures into the statement of votes or into the
certificate of canvass, or (4) so-called returns from non-existent precincts were included in
the canvass, and such errors could not have been discovered during the canvassing despite

the exercise of due diligence and proclamation of the winning candidates had already been
made.
xxxx
If the petition is for correction, it must be filed not later than five (5) days following the date of
proclamation and must implead all candidates who may be adversely affected thereby.
While the petition was indeed filed beyond the 5-day reglementary period, the COMELEC
however has the discretion to suspend its rules of procedure or any portion thereof. Sections
3 and 4 of Rule 1 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure state, to wit:
Sec. 3. Construction. These rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote the
effective and efficient implementation of the objectives of ensuring the holding of free,
orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections and to achieve just, expeditious and
inexpensive determination and disposition of every action and proceeding brought before the
Commission.
Sec. 4. Suspension of the Rules. In the interest of justice and in order to obtain speedy
disposition of all matters pending before the Commission, these rules or any portion thereof
may be suspended by the Commission.
Certainly, such rule of suspension is in accordance with the spirit of Section 6, Article IX-A of
the Constitution which bestows upon the COMELEC the power to "promulgate its own rules
concerning pleadings and practice before it or before any of its offices" to attain justice and
the noble purpose of determining the true will of the electorate. 12
In Jaramilla v. Commission on Elections13 and Dela Llana v. Commission on Elections,14 the
Court affirmed the COMELECs suspension of its rules of procedure regarding the late filing
of a petition for correction of manifest error and annulment of proclamation in view of its
paramount duty to determine the real will of the electorate. We have consistently employed
liberal construction of procedural rules in election cases to the end that the will of the people
in the choice of public officers may not be defeated by mere technical objections. 15
In the instant case, records show that petitioner was declared the 12th winning candidate
based on SOVPs containing mathematical and clerical errors. The total number of votes in
the SOVPs of the identified precincts are markedly different from the votes tabulated in their
respective ERs, i.e., petitioner was given additional votes, while private respondents votes
were reduced, which altered the outcome of the election. Petitioner was declared the last
winning candidate for the position of Sangguniang Panglungsod of Tuguegarao City, instead
of private respondent.
In Torres v. Commission on Elections,16 the Court reiterated that while the remedy of the
losing party is an election protest after his opponent has already been proclaimed as winning
candidate, such recourse is on the assumption, however, that there has been a valid
proclamation. Where a proclamation is null and void, the proclamation is no proclamation at
all and the proclaimed candidate's assumption of office cannot deprive the COMELEC of the
power to declare such nullity and annul the proclamation.17

It is significant to note that petitioner did not assail the factual findings of the COMELEC of
manifest error in the tabulation of votes but only raised issues on the foregoing technicalities.
Hence, the COMELECs unrebutted findings of fact are therefore sustained.
Grave abuse of discretion arises when a lower court or tribunal violates the Constitution, the
law or existing jurisprudence. Grave abuse of discretion means such capricious and
whimsical exercise of judgment as would amount to lack of jurisdiction; it contemplates a
situation where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of
passion or personal hostility, so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty
or a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined by, or to act at all in contemplation of law. In
a certiorari proceeding, as in the instant case, it is imperative for petitioner to show caprice
and arbitrariness on the part of the court or agency whose exercise of discretion is being
assailed.18
For acting pursuant to its Constitutional mandate of determining the true will of the electorate
with substantiated evidence, the Court finds no grave abuse of discretion on the part of
COMELEC in annulling the proclamation of petitioner. Said proclamation is flawed from the
beginning because it did not reflect the true and legitimate will of the electorate. Having been
based on a faulty tabulation, there can be no valid proclamation to speak of. 19
WHEREFORE, this petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The December 20,
2007 Resolution of the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and
the October 9, 2008 Resolution of the COMELECEn Banc are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.