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Torres v.

Abundo and COMELEC AUTHOR: Tiglao

[G.R. No. 174263 // January 24, 2007] NOTES:
PONENTE: J. Ynares-Santiago
Torres and Abundo were candidates for the mayoral seat in Viga, Catanduanes in the May 2004 elections. After the
elections, the Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed Torres as the duly elected Mayor.
Abundo filed an election protest claiming several irregularities in the canvassing of ballots in 17 prescints. Torres also
claimed canvassing irregularities which prejudiced him.
The RTC ruled in favor of Abundo ruling that Abundo obtained 4,230 votes over Torres 4,121. Hence, the RTC
declared Abundo as the mayor and annulled the earlier proclamation.
Torres appealed to the COMELEC. Abundo filed for a motion of execution of the judgment pending appeal. RTC
granted such motion.
Torres then, without filing an MR, filed a petition for certiorari with prayer for preliminary injunction before the
COMELEC. COMELEC granted Torres TRO prayer. However, COMELEC dismissed his petition for certiorari.
COMELEC raised two points justifying the dismissal of the petition for certiorari:
o Torres failed to fulfill an important procedural pre-requisite, which is the filing of a motion for
reconsideration of the assailed order. Under the law, it requires that the resort to a petition for
certiorari can be made if there is no appeal or any plan, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary
course of law. An MR is a condition sine qua non for the filing of a petition for certiorari. Without
said motion, the petition cannot simply prosper.
However, there are exceptions to this rule such as if: 1) the question is purely legal, 2)
judicial intervention is urgent, 3) its application may cause great and irreparable damage, and
4) the controversial acts violate due process. Torres did not invoke any of these exceptions.
o Torres failed to attach a certified true copy of the order sought to be reversed or set aside or even a
copy of the order granting execution of the decision pending appeal, which is ought to be set aside or
nullified. COMELEC raises that in a long line of cases, the SC ruled that where the petitioner failed
to attach to his petition for certiorari true copies of the assailed judgment or order, the said petition
should be dismissed.
Torres filed a motion for reconsidered but was denied by the COMELEC en banc. Hence this petition.
ISSUE(S): Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction?

HELD: No, COMELEC did not exercise grave abuse of discretion. Petition has no merit.

Petitioner Torres claim of extreme urgency is untenable. When respondent, armed with a writ of execution pending
appeal duly issued by the trial court and accompanied by a Sheriff served the same to petitioner, respondent was
merely asserting his right as the duly elected Mayor of Viga pursuant to the trial courts Decision. The winning
protestant, bolstered by the Decision of the trial court declaring him the rightful occupant of the contested position
will certainly be vigilant in reclaiming the same from his rival. He cannot be expected to slumber on his hard-won
right to assume the position he fought for. Petitioner must have felt a deep sense of urgency when faced with eminent
eviction from the post that he worked hard to obtain. However, such sense of urgency is not the same as that
contemplated by prevailing jurisprudence as one of the recognized exceptions to the general rule with respect to the
filing of a motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner is likewise mistaken in averring that, since the COMELEC granted his motion for issuance of TRO and
Injunction, it cannot thereafter dismiss his petition. A preliminary injunction is a provisional remedy, an adjunct to
the main case subject to the latters outcome. Its sole objective is to preserve the status quo until the trial court hears
fully the merits of the case. Its primary purpose is not to correct a wrong already consummated, or to redress an
injury already sustained, or to punish wrongful acts already committed, but to preserve and protect the rights of the
litigant during the pendency of the case.
To grant execution pending appeal in election protest cases, the following requisites must concur: (1) there must be
a motion by the prevailing party with notice to the adverse party; (2) there must be "good reasons" for the execution
pending appeal; and (3) the order granting execution pending appeal must state the "good reasons."22
In Santos v. Commission on Elections,23 the Court summarized the circumstances qualifying as "good reasons," and
thereby justifying execution pending appeal, thus:
The following constitute "good reasons," and a combination of two or more of them will suffice to grant execution
pending appeal: (1) the public interest involved or the will of the electorate; (2) the shortness of the remaining portion
of the term of the contested office; and (3) the length of time that the election contest has been pending.
Finding the rulings of the COMELEC consistent with prevailing jurisprudence, we hold that the COMELEC did not
commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the petition for certiorari for being procedurally and substantially
infirm. Grave abuse of discretion implies capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment amounting to lack of
jurisdiction, or arbitrary and despotic exercise of power because of passion or personal hostility. The grave abuse of
discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion or refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. 27
This does not obtain in the instant case.