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October 23, 2003


Flora Benzonan and COMELEC instituted a pre-proclamation controversy.

Flora Benzonan who was a mayoralty candidate in the Municipality of Glan, Sarangani
during 2001 sought to declare null and void the canvass conducted by the Municipal
Board of Canvassers of Glan and to recall the proclamation of petitioners respectively.
Respondent argued here pre-proclamation case on the ground that:
1. After the original and second Municipal Board of Canvassers had resigned, the third
Municipal Board of Canvassers was illegally constituted as it as its Chairman, Vice
Chairman and Secretary which are not qualified over Omnibus Code.
2. The canvassing proceeding with more initially held in the Session Hall of Sangunian
Bayan were latter transferred to the Provincial Capitol at Danao contrary to COMELEC
3. The Secretary of Municipal Board of Canvassers failed to record the minutes of the
4. Neither Benzonan nor her representatives were the last three days of the canvassing
5. A sustancial number of election returns had been tampered with of falsificated.
6. Municipal Board of Canvassers falsificated the Certificate of Canvass Vote.
The COMELEC en banc issued a resolution finding the based on the evidence presented
the proclamation of the winning candidates were declared null and void. And a recanvass
of the election returns was ordered. Arising from the said decision was a petition
for Certiorari filed to review the COMELEC en banc resolution and praying that a
Temporary Restraining Order be given for the reason that COMELEC was not in the
proper jurisdiction to render such resolution.

ISSUE : Whether or not the COMELEC en banc has a jurisdiction over the case.

Held: Not all cases relating to election laws filed before the COMELEC are required to
be first heard by a division, under the constitution the COMELEC exercise both the
administrative and quasi-judicial powers. The COMELEC en banc can act directly on
matters falling with in its administrative powers. It is only when the exercise of quasijudicial
powers are involved that the COMELEC is mandated to decide cases first in
division. It is clear that this case is one that involves a preproclamation controversy that
requires the exercise of the COMELEC quasi-judicial powers as the illegality of the
composition and proceedings of the Municipal Board of Canvassers. Also, Benzonan
filed her pre proclamation case directly with the COMELEC en banc. Since COMELEC
en banc is without jurisdiction to decide cases involving such, the procedure taken by
Benzonan resulted in a resolution in her favor thus declared null and void.