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AMELITO R. MUTUC vs.

COMELEC

FACTS:
 Petitioner Mutuc was a candidate for delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
 He filed a special civil action against the respondent COMELEC when the latter informed
him through a telegram that his certificate of candidacy was given due course but he was
prohibited from using jingles in his mobile units equipped with sound systems and loud
speakers.
 The petitioner accorded the order to be violative of his constitutional right to freedom of
speech.
 COMELEC justified its prohibition on the premise that the Constitutional Convention act
provided that it is unlawful for the candidates
“to purchase, produce, request or distribute sample ballots, or electoral propaganda gadgets
such as pens, lighters, fans (of whatever nature), flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets,
bandanas, shirts, hats, matches, cigarettes, and the like, whether of domestic or foreign origin.”

 COMELEC contended that the jingle or the recorded or taped voice of the singer used by
petitioner was a tangible propaganda material and was, under the above statute, subject
to confiscation.

ISSUE:
WON the usage of the jingle by the petitioner form part of the prohibition invoked by the
COMELEC.

HELD:
 The Court held that “the general words following any enumeration being applicable only
to things of the same kind or class as those specifically referred to”.
 The COMELEC’s contention that a candidate’s jingle form part of the prohibition,
categorized under the phrase “and the like”, could not merit the court’s approval by
principle of Ejusdem Generis.
 It is quite apparent that what was contemplated in the Act was the distribution of gadgets
of the kind referred to as a means of inducement to obtain a favorable vote for the
candidate responsible for its distribution.
Furthermore, the COMELEC failed to observe construction of the statute which should be in
consonance to the express terms of the constitution.

The intent of the COMELEC for the prohibition may be laudable but it should not be sought at the
cost of the candidate’s constitutional rights

****shorter***

36 SCRA 228 – Statutory Construction – Ejusdem Generis


Political Law – Bill of Rights – Freedom of Expression
 Amelito Mutuc was a candidate for delegate to the Constitutional Convention (1970).
 His candidacy was given due course by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) but he
was prohibited from playing his campaign jingle on his mobile units because that was an
apparent violation of COMELEC’s ban (via a COMELEC resolution)
“to purchase, produce, request or distribute sample ballots, or electoral propaganda gadgets
such as pens, lighters, fans (of whatever nature), flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets,
bandanas, shirts, hats, matches, cigarettes, and the like, whether of domestic or foreign
origin.” It was COMELEC’s contention that the jingle proposed to be used by Mutuc is a recorded
or taped voice of a singer and therefore a tangible propaganda material (falling under and the
like’scategory), and under the above COMELEC rule, the same is subject to confiscation.
ISSUE:
1. Whether or not COMELEC’s contention is correct.
2. Whether or not the COMELEC ban is valid.
HELD:
 No. By virtue of Ejusdem Generis, general words following any enumeration must be of
the same class as those specifically referred to. COMELEC contended that the ban makes
unlawful the distribution of electoral propaganda gadgets, mention being made of pens,
lighters, fans, flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets, bandanas, shirts, hats,
matches, and cigarettes, and concluding with the words “and the like.”
For COMELEC, the last three words sufficed to justify such an order. The Supreme Court did not
agree. It is quite apparent that what was contemplated in the said law violated by Mutuc was the
distribution of gadgets of the kind referred to as a means of inducement to obtain a favorable
vote for the candidate responsible for its distribution. It does not include campaign jingles for
they are not gadgets as contemplated by the law.
 No. This is a curtailment of Freedom of Expression. The Constitution prohibits the
abridgment of the freedom of speech.