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Here are the cases that you have to work on:

1. Brillantes vs. Yorac, GR No. 93867, Dec. 18, 1990

2. ABS-CBN vs. COMELEC GR. No. 133486

3. Yson vs. COMELEC, 134 SCRA 371

4. Ututalum vs. COMELEC 14 SCRA 464

5. Abad vs. COMELEC 320 SCRA 507

6. Ramirez vs. COMELEC 270 SCRA 590

7. Bagatsing vs. COMELEC 320 SCRA 817

8. Caninosa vs. COMELEC 282 SCRA 512

9. Tan vs. COMELEC 237 vs. 353

10. Garvida vs. Sales 271 vs 767

11. Mercado vs. Manzano 307 vs 630

12. Romualdez-COMELEC vs. 248 SCRA 300

13. Lonzanida vs. COMELEC 311 vs. 602

14. Sinaca vs. Mula 315 vs. 266

15. Miranda vs. Abaya 311 SCRA 617

16. Aguinaldo vs. COMELEC 104 SCRA 576

17. Garcia vs. COMELEC 72 SCRA 214

18. Chavez vs. COMELEC 180 SCRA 509

19. Sandoval vs. COMELEC 323 SCRA 403

20. Chua vs. COMELEC 319 SCRA 482

Case digests.

Sixto Brillantes, Jr. vs Haydee Yorac


192 SCRA 358 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Constitutional Commissions – The
Commission on Elections – COMELEC’s Constitutional Independence
In December 1989, a coupattempt occurred prompting the president to create a fact finding
commission which would be chaired by Hilario Davide. Consequently he has to vacate his
chairmanship over the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Haydee Yorac, an associate
commissioner in the COMELEC, was appointed by then President Corazon Aquino as a
temporary substitute, in short, she was appointed in an acting capacity. Sixto Brillantes, Jr.
then questioned such appointment urging that under Art 10-C of the Constitution “in no case
shall any member of the COMELEC be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting
capacity”.
Brillantes further argued that the choice of the acting chairman should not come from the
President for such is an internal matter that should be resolved by the members themselves
and that the intrusion of the president violates the independence of the COMELEC as a
constitutional commission.
ISSUE: Whether or not the designation made by the president violates the constitutional
independence of the COMELEC.
HELD: Yes. Yorac’s designation as acting chairman is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court
ruled that although all constitutional commissions are essentially executive in nature, they are
not under the control of the president in the discharge of their functions. The designation
made by the president has dubious justification as it was merely grounded on the quote
“administrative expediency” to present the functions of the COMELEC. Aside from such
justification, it found no basis on existing rules on statutes. It is the members of the COMELEC
who should choose whom to sit temporarily as acting chairman in the absence of Davide
(they normally do that by choosing the most senior member).
But even though the president’s appointment of Yorac as acting president is void, the
members of COMELEC can choose to reinstate Yorac as their acting chairman – the point
here is that, it is the members who should elect their acting chairman pursuant to the principle
that constitutional commissions are independent bodies

A BS-CBN Broadcasting Corp v. COMELEC


ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp v. COMELEC
January 28, 2000

FACTS:

COMELEC issued a Resolution approving the issuance of a restraining order to stop ABS CBN or any
other groups, its agents or representatives from conducting exit surveys. The Resolution was issued by
the Comelec allegedly upon "information from a reliable source that ABS-CBN (Lopez Group) has prepared a
project, with PR groups, to conduct radio-TV coverage of the elections and to make an exit survey of the vote
during the elections for national officials particularly for President and Vice President, results of which shall
be broadcasted immediately.” The electoral body believed that such project might conflict with the official
Comelec count, as well as the unofficial quick count of the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel). It
also noted that it had not authorized or deputized ABS-CBN to undertake the exit survey.

Two days before the elections on May 11, 1998, the Court issued the Temporary Restraining Order
prayed for by petitioner ABS-CBN. The Comelec was directed to cease and desist, until further orders, from
implementing the assailed Resolution or the restraining order issued pursuant thereto, if any. In fact, the exit
polls were actually conducted and reported by media without any difficulty or problem.

ISSUE: W/N the Comelec, in the exercise of its powers, can absolutely ban exit polls

ABS-CBN: The holding of exit polls and the nationwide reporting of their results are
valid exercises of the freedoms of speech and of the press

COMELEC:

1)The issuance thereof was "pursuant to its constitutional and statutory powers to promote a clean,
honest, orderly and credible May 11, 1998 elections"; and "to protect, preserve and maintain the
secrecy and sanctity of the ballot."

2)It contends that "the conduct of exit surveys might unduly confuse and influence the voters," and
that the surveys were designed "to condition the minds of people and cause confusion as to who are
the winners and the losers in the election," which in turn may result in "violence and anarchy."

3)"exit surveys indirectly violate the constitutional principle to preserve the sanctity of the ballots,"
as the "voters are lured to reveal the contents of ballots," in violation of Section 2, Article V of the
Constitution and relevant provisions of the Omnibus Election Code. It submits that the
constitutionally protected freedoms invoked by petitioner "are not immune to regulation by the State
in the legitimate exercise of its police power," such as in the present case.

4) "[p]ress freedom may be curtailed if the exercise thereof creates a clear and present danger to the
community or it has a dangerous tendency." It then contends that "an exit poll has the tendency to
sow confusion considering the randomness of selecting interviewees, which further make[s] the exit
poll highly unreliable. The probability that the results of such exit poll may not be in harmony with
the official count made by the Comelec x x x is ever present. In other words, the exit poll has a clear
and present danger of destroying the credibility and integrity of the electoral process."
SUPREME COURT: The COMELEC Resolution on exit polls ban is nullified and set aside.

1) Clear and present danger of destroying the integrity of electoral processes

Speculative and Untenable. First, by the very nature of a survey, the interviewees or participants are
selected at random, so that the results will as much as possible be representative or reflective of the general
sentiment or view of the community or group polled. Second, the survey result is not meant to replace or be at
par with the official Comelec count. It consists merely of the opinion of the polling group as to who the
electorate in general has probably voted for, based on the limited data gathered from polled individuals.
Finally, not at stake here are the credibility and the integrity of the elections, which are exercises that are
separate and independent from the exit polls. The holding and the reporting of the results of exit polls cannot
undermine those of the elections, since the former is only part of the latter. If at all, the outcome of one can
only be indicative of the other.

2) Overbroad

The Comelec's concern with the possible noncommunicative effect of exit polls -- disorder and
confusion in the voting centers -- does not justify a total ban on them. Undoubtedly, the assailed Comelec
Resolution is too broad, since its application is without qualification as to whether the polling is disruptive or
not.[44] Concededly, the Omnibus Election Code prohibits disruptive behavior around the voting
centers.[45] There is no showing, however, that exit polls or the means to interview voters cause chaos in
voting centers. Neither has any evidence been presented proving that the presence of exit poll reporters near
an election precinct tends to create disorder or confuse the voters. Moreover, the prohibition incidentally
prevents the collection of exit poll data and their use for any purpose. The valuable information and ideas that
could be derived from them, based on the voters' answers to the survey questions will forever remain
unknown and unexplored. Unless the ban is restrained, candidates, researchers, social scientists and the
electorate in general would be deprived of studies on the impact of current events and of election-day and
other factors on voters' choices.

3) Violation of Ban Secrecy

The contention of public respondent that exit polls indirectly transgress the sanctity and the secrecy
of the ballot is off-tangent to the real issue. Petitioner does not seek access to the ballots cast by the voters.
The ballot system of voting is not at issue here.

The reason behind the principle of ballot secrecy is to avoid vote buying through voter identification.
Thus, voters are prohibited from exhibiting the contents of their official ballots to other persons, from making
copies thereof, or from putting distinguishing marks thereon so as to be identified. Also proscribed is finding
out the contents of the ballots cast by particular voters or disclosing those of disabled or illiterate voters who
have been assisted. Clearly, what is forbidden is the association of voters with their respective votes, for the
purpose of assuring that the votes have been cast in accordance with the instructions of a third party. This
result cannot, however, be achieved merely through the voters' verbal and confidential disclosure to a
pollster of whom they have voted for.

In exit polls, the contents of the official ballot are not actually exposed. Furthermore, the revelation of
whom an elector has voted for is not compulsory, but voluntary. Voters may also choose not to reveal their
identities. Indeed, narrowly tailored countermeasures may be prescribed by the Comelec, so as to minimize
or suppress incidental problems in the conduct of exit polls, without transgressing the fundamental rights of
our people.##

An exit poll is a species of electoral survey conducted by qualified individuals or groups of individuals for the purpose of
determining the probable result of an election by confidentially asking randomly selected voters whom they have voted for, immediately after
they have officially cast their ballots. The results of the survey are announced to the public, usually through the mass media, to give an
advance overview of how, in the opinion of the polling individuals or organizations, the electorate voted. In our electoral history, exit polls had
not been resorted to until the recent May 11, 1998 elections

G.R. No. L-52713 January 31, 1985


GELACIO I. YASON, petitioner,
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, THE MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF ROXAS,
ORIENTAL MINDORO, and LUCIO T. SUAREZ, JR., respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


Gelacio I. Yason filed this petition for certiorari andmandamus — (1) to set aside the resolution of
respondent Comelec mission on Elections (COMELEC) which denied due course to his candidacy
for Mayor of Roxas, Oriental Mindoro for having changed his party affiliation; (2) to set aside the
resolution of COMELEC which declared Lucio T. Suarez, Jr. as the duly elected Mayor after it had
ordered all votes cast for Yason to be considered stray votes; and (3) to order COMELEC or the
Municipal Board of Canvassers to proclaim petitioner Yason, who had obtained the highest number
of votes, as the duly elected Mayor.
On January 4, 1980 at 2:45 in the afternoon, petitioner Yason filed his certificate of candidacy for
Mayor of Roxas, Oriental Mindoro with the Municipal Election Registrar. On the blank space in Item
No. 4 indicating "Political Party/Group or Aggrupation," he stated "Nationalists, (NP)." Shortly
afterwards, Yason had a change of mind. A few minutes before midnight of the same day, he went
back to the municipal election registrar, asked for the certified of candidacy he had filed that
afternoon, and erased the words and letters, "Nationalista, (NP)." Over the erased items, he typed
"Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL)." The same thing was done for Item No. 5, "state if nominated by
Political Party/Group or Aggrupation" where the word "Yes" was erased and "Kilusang Bagong
Lipunan (KBL)" typed clearly as the answer. Both changes in Items 4 and 5 were initialed by Mr.
Yason.
Around January 10, 1980, the chairman of the Nationalista Party for the province of Oriental Mindoro
submitted the NP candidates for local positions. Allegedly unknown to the petitioner, his name was
included in the complete NP line-up of candidates for his municipality.
On the morning of election day on January 30, 1980, after the petitioner came to know from the
Certified List of Candidates furnished by the COMELEC for posting in election booths and guidance
of citizens' election committees that COMELEC had listed him in the official line-up of NP
candidates, he immediately disclaimed knowledge of his having been nominated by the NP
provincial chapter. He sent a telegram to COMELEC, attention Law Department, which reads:
SIR:
THIS IS IN CONNECTION WITH THE PARTY AFFILIATION IN WHICH ALL
CANDIDATES UNDER MY FACTION WERE LISTED OFFICIALLY UNDER THE
NATIONALISTA PARTY.
RECORDS WOULD SHOW THAT MY CANDIDACY AND THAT OF THE VICE-
MAYOR AND EIGHT COUNCILORS FILED THEIR CERTIFICATES OF
CANDIDACY UNDER THE KILUSANG BAGONG LIPUNAN (KBL).
WE WANT TO PUT ON RECORD THAT WE HAVE NOT CHANGED OR
AUTHORIZED ANY REPRESENTATIVE TO CHANGE OFFICIALLY OUR PARTY
FROM KBL TO NATIONALISTA PARTY.
THANK YOU.

VERY
TRULY
YOUR
S,

ENGR.
GELAC
IO I.
YASO
N
CANDI
DATE
FOR
MAYO
R
ROXA
S OR
MINDO
RO
Yason also sent a formal letter to COMELEC, copy furnished the Roxas Election Registrar,
embodying the same protest.
After the canvass of election returns was completed on February 1, 1980, the respondent Board of
Canvassers certified that the number of votes obtained by the candidates were:
Yason . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 933
Suarez . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,568
thus indicating that Yason won by 365 votes over Suarez. Incidentally, only Yason and one councilor
in his line-up won. The winning candidate for vice-mayor, Oscar C. Sison, and seven of the eight
councilors who won were in the ticket of respondent Suarez. Councilor Venancio Yap, the sole
candidate who won with petitioner Yason placed fifth among the elected councilors.
A day later, on February 2, 1980, Suarez filed with COMELEC a petition for disqualification of Yason
as candidate for mayor. Notice of the petition or a copy thereof was not furnished the petitioner. Two
days later, on February 4, 1980, without the petitioner having been given an opportunity to
controvert, comment upon, or answer the petition, the COMELEC issued the questioned resolution
which denied due course to the candidacy of Yason. Having secured a copy of the resolution on his
own initiative, Yason filed on February 11, 1980 a motion for reconsideration followed by a motion to
suspend proclamation of the mayor of Roxas, Oriental Mindoro.
On February 13, 1980, the COMELEC ordered the citizens' election committee and the election
registrar of Roxas to consider all votes cast for Yason as stray and to declare Lucio T. Suarez as
duly elected mayor.

The petitioner contends that respondent COMELEC acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion in issuing the questioned resolutions.
On February 26, 1980, this Court restrained the respondents from enforcing the questioned
resolutions. The restraining order was later modified to enjoin respondent Suarez from assuming the
office of mayor and from discharging the duties of the mayorship.
On March 18, 1980, respondent Suarez filed a comment and counter-petition with this Court. In this
counter-petition, Suarez stated that the municipal board of canvassers proclaimed Yason as mayor-
elect on March 2, 1980. He also asks that this proclamation be set aside.
In this petition, Yason raises the following issues for consideration:

I. THE COMELEC, AFTER THE ELECTION AND ALL THE VOTES WERE
PROPERLY CANVASSED (AND WINNER PROCLAIMED) HAVE NO MORE
POWER OR JURISDICTION TO CANCEL A CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY OR
DISQUALIFY PETITIONER AS A CANDIDATE;

II. THE COMELEC HAS NO JURISDICTION TO ENTERTAIN THE PETITION FOR


DISQUALIFICATION, THE SAME HAVING BEEN FILED OUT OF TIME; and
III. PETITIONER, BEFORE THE COMELEC WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS OF
LAW.
Under the facts of this case, may petitioner Yason be denied the mayorship of Roxas, Oriental
Mindoro on the ground of turncoatism?
There is no question from the records that Yason received 3,933 votes against the 3,568 votes cast
for Suarez. The elections were clean and orderly. As a matter of fact, only Yason and Councilor
Venancio Yap managed to win. The vice-mayoral candidate and seven out of eight candidates for
councilor who emerged winners all belonged to the Suarez camp. There is no indication of any
frauds and malpractices as would indicate a tampering with the people's choice. The only issue
raised against the petitioner is "turncoatism."
The provision applicable to the case of petitioner Yason is Section 10, Article XII-C of the
Constitution as it was worded during the 1980 local elections. At that time, it read:
SEC. 10. No elective public officer may change his political party affiliation during his
term of office, and no candidate for any elective public office may change his political
party affiliation within six months immediately preceding or following an election.
On April 7, 1981, the above provision was amended by the addition of the phrase "unless otherwise
provided by law" at its end after the word "election."
In Luna v. Rodriguez (39 Phil. 208) decided on November 29, 1918, this Court stressed the basic
principle which has governed all elections in our country from the early years of democratic
government up to the present. This Court stated:
... The purpose of an election is to give the voters a direct participation in the affairs
of their government, either in determining who shall be their public officials or in
deciding some question of public interest; and for this purpose, all of the legal voters
should be permitted, unhampered and unmolested, to cast their ballots. When that is
done, and no frauds have been committed, the ballot should be counted and the
election should not be declared null Innocent voters should not be deprived of their
participation in the affairs of their government for mere irregularities on the part of
election officers for which they are in no way responsible. A different rule would make
the manner and method of performing a public duty of greater importance than the
duty itself.
In elections, the first consideration of every democratic polity is to give effect to the expressed will of
the majority. It is true that constitutional and statutory provisions requiring compliance with measures
intended to enhance the quality of our democratic institutions must be obeyed. The restriction
against turncoatism is one such measure. However, even as there should be compliance with the
provision on turncoatism, an interpretation in particular cases which respects the free and
untrammelled expression of the voters' choice must be followed in its enforcement.
The various and numerous provisions of the Election Law were adopted to assist the voters in their
participation in the affairs of the Government and not to defeat that object. (Villavert v. Former, 84
Phil. 756, 763). Election cases involve 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 offices within their gift.
They are imbued with public interest. (Vda. de Mesa v. Mencias, 18 SCRA 533, 538) The
disenfranchisement of electors is not favored. (Lloren v. Court of Appeals, et al., 19 SCRA 110). This
is especially true where the majority of voters are sought to be disenfranchised.
Applying the above rules to the interpretation of the turncoatism provision in the light of the facts of
this case, we find merit in the petition.
The records are not precise and definite about petitioner Yason's being a turncoat as defined by the
Constitution. Up to the day he filed his certificate of candidacy, Yason's choice as to whether he
would remain with the KBL as an independent KBL candidate or move over to the welcoming
Nationalista Party was marked by vacillation.
Yason's final decision was, however, clear and beyond doubt. Notwithstanding the unholy hour
before midnight, on January 4, 1980, Yason withdrew the certificate of candidacy he had earlier filed
that afternoon, erased "Nationalists (NP)" from the space denoting party affiliation, typed "Kilusang
Bagong Lipunan (KBL)" thereon and initialed the change. And to remove any doubts about his
choice, he erased the word "Yes" from the query whether he was nominated by a political party and
instead typed "Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL)" followed by his initials.
There is no provision of law forbidding the withdrawal of candidacy at any time before election. As a
matter of fact, the law does not require that the withdrawal of a certificate so as to validate a second
filing of another certificate of candidacy must be made on or before the deadline for filing
candidacies. (Montinola v. Commission on Elections, 98 Phil. 220). By the same token, once entries
in a certificate of candidacy are corrected, it is the corrected version which is considered filed and
not the earlier one.
The records do not show that Yason ever affiliated with the Nationalists Party or that he signed any
NP membership form or took his oath as an NP member. The only records available show him as
still belonging to the KBL. The petitioner has submitted campaign leaflets which indicate that he was
running as a KBL candidate and that his campaign motto was "Umunlad sa Bagong Lipunan — Boy
Yason ang ating Kailangan."

The private respondent has introduced affidavits to show that the local Nacionalista Party of Roxas,
Oriental Mindoro campaigned for Yason as its own candidate for mayor. Apart from protesting his
inclusion in the NP line-up of the provincial chapter and formally disowning such support in a
telegram and letter to COMELEC, the petitioner has not shown what other measures he took.
Nevertheless, we cannot categorically tag Yason as a "turncoat" under the law simply because he
did not reject more strongly the support which another party voluntarily gave to him.

There are other reasons for granting this petition.


A petition to disqualify a candidate, as would validly cancel any votes cast for him as "stray votes" if
granted, should be filed before the day of elections. This will enable a substitute candidacy to be
filed thus giving the electorate a choice of alternative candidates. (See Section 28, P.D. No. 1296,
Election Code of 1978).
For the 1980 local elections, the COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 8434 which mandated that
the exact deadline for the filing of petitions for disqualification was "5:00 o'clock P.M., Friday,
January 25, 1980." The mandatory nature of the deadline is explicit from the statement of an exact
hour, day and date.
Respondent Suarez filed his petition for the disqualification of Yason on February 2, 1980 after the
results of the elections were already known. Suarez has submitted a copy of a letter he allegedly
wrote to COMELEC dated January 25, 1980 protesting the turncoatism of Yason and stating that a
formal petition would follow. The authenticity of this letter is doubtful because it is dated January 25,
1980 and yet, it was supposed to have been received that same day in Manila. Suarez was
campaigning for the January 30 elections in the distant town of Roxas, Oriental Mindoro. It is not
shown what he was doing in Manila five days before a hotly contested election. To reach Roxas, one
has to take a car or bus ride from Manila to Batangas City, a ferry ride of several hours to Calapan,
and at least six hours ride over rough roads to reach Roxas. At any rate, even if filed on January 25,
1980, whoever initialed its receipt by the COMELEC Law Division was careful to extricate himself or
herself from a potentially difficult situation by pointedly entering "6:00 P.M." as the time of receipt or
one hour after the official deadline. Moreover, COMELEC was completely unaware of the letter
because it acted only after the February 2, 1980 petition was filed. There is absolutely no mention in
the petition that an informal letter had earlier been filed.
We rule that the petition to disqualify the petitioner was filed long after the deadline for filing had
lapsed. Moreover, considering its lack of merit it may not be validated on equitable grounds.
The provision on turncoatism was incorporated in the 1973 Constitution to bring about disciplined
political parties with dedicated party followers. The shift to a parliamentary system at this time was
clear. The President was a nominal Head of State while executive power was exercised by the
Prime Minister and his Cabinet. The Prime Minister under the 1973 Constitution, as Chief of State,
was elected by the National Assembly, remained a member of the Parliament during Ms tenure as
Chief Executive, and could be removed by a no confidence majority vote of the legislature. The
Constitution has since been amended to have a President elected nationwide for a fixed term who
can be removed by the legislature only through impeachment. However, whether the government is
pure parliamentary, modified parliamentary, pure presidential, or modified presidential, it cannot be
denied that the turncoatism provision represents an Ideal objective. The opposition party should be
strong, organized, and united in its challenge. It should be more or less permanent, not broken up
into squabbling factions after being defeated in an election. It should present a viable alternative
program of government so that when elected to political power, the people can exact strict
compliance with its promises and platforms.
Unfortunately, the 1980 experience showed that perhaps disciplined political parties with faithful and
dedicated members cannot be organized through unduly strict and peremptory legislation. Perhaps,
voluntary action through evolutionary processes helped along by carefully crafted legislation would
have been preferable. At any rate, the Constitution was amended in 1981 such that the provision on
"turncoatism" would be enforced, "unless otherwise provided by law."
Batas Pambansa Blg. 697 governing the 1984 elections for Batasan members provided otherwise —
"any person, including an elective official, may change his party affiliation for purposes of the
election herein provided for." Thus, a candidate for the Batasan may change his party affiliation even
within the proscribed term or period.
True, the same Section 14 of Batas Pambansa Big. 697 provides that pending disqualification cases
before the COMELEC or the Supreme Court based on "turncoatism" shall not be affected by the
provisions of the section. Nonetheless, the spirit behind the enactment of Section 14, B.P. Blg. 697
as an exception to the turncoatism provision of the Constitution constrains us to adopt a liberal view
in applying the law to the facts of the case before us to insure that the win of the people of Roxas,
Negros Oriental expressed through their ballots shall be respected.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The questioned resolutions of respondent


Commission on Elections are SET ASIDE. The proclamation of petitioner Gelacio I. Yason as duly
elected Mayor of Roxas, Oriental Mindoro is AFFIRMED. The temporary restraining order dated
February 26, 1980 as subsequently modified is made PERMANENT.

SO ORDERED

Friday, September 28, 2012

UTUTALUM vs. COMELEC Case Digest


UTUTALUM vs. COMELEC
181 SCRA 335
Facts: Petitioner Untalum obtained 482 votes while respondent Anni received 35,581 votes out of the
39,801 voters. If the returns of Siasi were excluded, petitioner would have lead of 5,301 votes.
Petitioner filed written objections to the returns from Siasi on the ground that they “appear to be
tampered with or falsified” owing to the “great excess of votes” appearing in the said returns.

COMELEC issued annulling the Siasi List of Voters “on the ground of massive irregularities committed
in the preparation and being statistically improbable”, and ordering a new registration of voters for the
local elections.

Petitioner contends that the issue he raised referred to “obvious manufactured returns,” a proper
subject matter for a pre-proclamation controversy and therefore cognizable by the COMELEC; that
election returns from Siasi should be excluded from the canvass of the results since its original List of
Voters had already been finally annulled.

Issue: Whether or not the election returns from Siasi should be excluded from the canvass of the
results since the original List of Voters had been finally annulled.

Held: The Siasi returns, however, do not show prima facie that on the basis of the old List of Voters,
there is actually a great excess of votes over what could have been legally cast considering that only
36,000 persons actually voted out of the 39,801 voters.

Petitioner’s cause of action is not a listed ground for a pre-proclamation controversy. To allow the
COMELEC to do so retroactively would be to empower it to annul a previous election because of the
subsequent annulment of a questioned registry. The list must then be considered conclusive evidence
of persons who could exercise the right of suffrage in a particular election. The preparation of a voter’s
list is not a proceeding before the Board of Canvassers. A pre-proclamation controversy is limited to
challenges directed against the Board of Canvassers, not the Board of Election Inspectors and such
challenge should relate to specified election returns against which the petitioner should have made
verbal elections.

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 128877. December 10, 1999]

ROLANDO ABAD, JR., petitioner, vs.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; HON. OCTAVIO


A. FERNANDEZ, JR., Presiding Judge, Second Metropolitan Circuit Trial
Court, General Natividad, Nueva Ecija; and SUSANITO SARENAS,
JR., respondents.

RESOLUTION
QUISUMBING, J.:

This special civil action for certiorari seeks to annul the COMELEC En
Banc Resolution in SPR No. 45-96, dated April 29, 1997. Petitioner ABAD had sought
COMELECs review of respondent Judges orders issued in the election protest filed
against private respondent SARENAS. In said Resolution, the COMELEC denied review,
decreeing thus:
WHEREFORE, considering that the June 3, 1996 Order of the Court a quo had already attained finality at
the time of the filing of this Petition, thus, must remain undisturbed, and there being no showing that
the drawing of lots mandated by the Courts Order dated October 3, 1996, was attended by fraud or
irregularities, the Commission En Banc RESOLVED to DISMISS the Petition for lack of merit.[1]

The factual antecedents are as follows:


Petitioner Abad and private respondent Sarenas were both candidates for
Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairman of Barangay Sta. Barbara, Llanera, Nueva Ecija,
during the May 6, 1996, SK elections.
Petitioner emerged as winner with 66 votes as against private respondents 62
votes. Petitioner was thus proclaimed SK chairman of Sta. Barbara.[2]
Private respondent soon thereafter filed an election protest alleging fraud on the
part of petitioner through the registration of four unqualified voters.Three voters
were allegedly underaged while one lacked the required residency in the
barangay.Private respondent asked for a recount of the votes cast.[3]
The election protest was filed before the Second Municipal Circuit Trial Court
(MCTC) of Gen. Natividad, Nueva Ecija, presided over by respondent Judge.
In his answer, petitioner claimed that private respondent was barred from
questioning the qualifications of the four voters because he failed to ask for their
exclusion from the voters list as provided for under Section 22 of COMELEC Resolution
No. 2824, the Rules and Regulations Governing the May 6, 1996 Elections of the SK;
and Section 2 of COMELEC Resolution No. 2832, the Instructions for the Registration
of Voters in connection with the SK elections. Petitioner contended that the
permanent registry list of voters is conclusive on the question of who has the right to
vote in an election under the Omnibus Election Code.Petitioner also claimed that a
recount is not justified under the provisions of the same Code.
In addition, petitioner charged private respondent with vote-buying. He further
alleged error on the part of the Board of Election Tellers in the appreciation of votes.
In an Order dated June 3, 1996, respondent MCTC Judge Fernandez ruled in favor
of private respondent.According to Judge Fernandez, while the registry list of voters is
indeed conclusive as to who can vote, this must be disregarded if justice were to
prevail.Moreover, said Judge Fernandez, a recount of the votes would not be
determinative of who actually won the SK chairmanship. Instead, he ordered that four
votes, representing the votes of those persons whose qualification as voters were
questioned, be deducted from petitioner.[4]
As this resulted in a 62-62 tie between petitioner and private respondent, Judge
Fernandez ordered that the winner be determined via drawing of lots or toss of a
coin.[5]
Petitioner appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 26
which, however, dismissed his appeal, since under COMELEC Resolution No. 2824, the
decision of the MCTC insofar as the SK election is concerned can only be elevated to
the COMELEC en banc through a petition for review and only in meritorious cases. The
RTC through Acting Presiding Judge Johnson L. Ballutay ordered remand of the case to
the court of origin.[6]
The drawing of lots ordered by the MCTC proceeded on October 3,
1996. Petitioner was absent although he was duly notified of the proceeding.[7] Private
respondent Sarenas emerged as winner in the drawing of lots. In an order issued on
the same day, the MCTC directed him to take his oath of office and to assume his
duties as SK chairman.
Thus petitioner Abad then filed a petition for review with the COMELEC en banc.
In its Resolution dismissing the petition, the COMELEC said:
On the basis of the facts presented the Commission En Banc holds that the June 3, 1996 Order of the
Municipal Trial Court had, as of the filing of the Petition for Review already become final. In short, the
Petition as regards said Order had prescribed.Records show that the decision of the Trial Court annulling
the proclamation of Abad and declaring a tie between him and Sarenas, to be broken by a drawing of
lots, was received by Abad on June 5, 1996. Though he appealed said Order to the Regional Trial Court,
the remedy availed of was not the one obtaining under COMELEC Resolution 2824, Section 49 of which
provides:
Finality of Proclamation. The proclamation of the winning candidates shall be
final. However, the Metropolitan Trial Courts/Municipal Trial Courts/Municipal Circuit
Trial Courts shall have original jurisdiction over all election protest cases, whose
decision shall be final. The Commission En Banc in meritorious cases may entertain a
petition for review of the decision of the MeTC/MTC/MCTC in accordance with the
COMELEC Rules of Procedure. An appeal bond of P2,000.00 shall be required which
shall be refundable if the appeal is found meritorious.
More properly, and conformably with said provision, Petitioner should have directed his Petition to the
Commission En Banc within thirty days from June 5, 1996, the date the decision was served upon
him.Even if we assume that his procedural lapse was justifiable thus permit his appeal to the RTC to stay
the running of the prescriptive period, he should have rectified his error upon receipt of the Order of the
RTC dismissing his Appeal on July 10, 1996.Petitioner had several opportunities to avail of the correct
remedy. Yet, he procrastinated and acted only when he lost the drawing of lots to
respondent.Considering therefore that Petitioner failed to question the propriety of the Order of the
Court a quo dated June 3, 1996, the same had become final and executory.

The October 3, 1996 Order of the MTC, is issued in implementation of the June 3, 1996 Order, declaring
a tie between Petitioner and Respondent Sarenas and directing a drawing of lots to break it. Having
become executory as of October 3, 1996, its implementation become mandatory. Records show that
Petitioner was duly notified of the proceedings. He did not appear despite notice. He can not invoke his
non-appearance as an excuse for questioning the proceedings. The same was conducted in public. No
irregularity or anomaly attending the proceeding was proven by Petitioner. There is therefore no cogent
reason to warrant the setting aside of the result thereof.[8]

Hence, this petition. While petitioner raises principally the issue of grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the COMELEC for not declaring as null and void the challenged
orders of the trial court, the more fundamental issue here, in our view, involves the
COMELECs own jurisdiction. The Court cannot proceed further in this case without
resolving that issue.
Note that from the trial court, petitioner proceeded directly to the COMELEC en
banc. Apparently, he was proceeding pursuant to Section 49 of COMELEC Resolution
No. 2824, which provides:
xxx The Commission en banc in meritorious cases may entertain a petition for review of the decision of
the MetC/MTC/MCTC in accordance with the Comelec Rules of Procedure. xxx

But we find this rule not in accord but in conflict with Article IX-C, Section 3 of the
Constitution, which states that:
Sec. 3. The Commission on Elections may sit en bancor in two divisions, and shall promulgate its rules of
procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, including pre-proclamation
controversies. All such election cases shall be heard and decided in division, provided that motions for
reconsideration of decisions shall be decided by the Commission en banc. (Emphasis supplied.)

In Sarmiento v. Commission on Elections,[9] we ruled that the COMELEC, sitting en


banc, does not have the requisite authority to hear and decide election cases in the
first instance. This power pertains to the divisions of the Commission. Any decision by
the Commission en banc as regards election cases decided by it in the first instance is
null and void.
In the recent case of Zarate v. COMELEC,[10] this rule has been reiterated. We
nullified the decision of the COMELEC en banc in Zarate, which incidentally also
concerns a 1996 SK election case appealed directly from the MTC. We remanded the
case and ordered it assigned to an appropriate division of the COMELEC.
Thus, consistent with the rulings in Zarate and Sarmiento cases, we are now
constrained to declare as null and void the questioned resolution of the COMELEC en
banc in this case of Abad (SPR No. 45-96).
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The decision of the COMELEC en
banc in SPR No. 45-96 is SET ASIDE and the Commission is ordered to assign the case
to one of its Divisions for prompt resolution.
SO ORDERED.

RAMIREZ vs. COMELEC Case Digest


RAMIREZ vs. COMELEC
270 SCRA 590, 1997

Facts: The Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) of Gipolos, Eastern Samar proclaimed petitioner
Ramirez winner in the vice-mayoralty race over another candidate, private respondent Go based on
the results showing that Ramirez obtained more votes than Go.

Go petitioned COMELEC for correction of manifest error claiming that owing to error in addition, he
was credited with lesser votes. The COMELEC en banc issued a Resolution directing the MBC to
reconvene and recompute the votes in the Statement of Votes and proclaim the winning candidate.
Acting on separate motions filed by Ramirez and Go, the COMELEC en banc affirmed its earlier
resolution.
Ramirez petitioned the Supreme Court to annul the 2 COMELEC en banc resolutions and to reinstate
his proclamation as the duly elected vice-mayor. He alleged that the COMELEC en banc had no
jurisdiction over the controversy since it was not yet acted upon by a division of the COMELEC.

Issue: Whether the COMELEC en banc has jurisdiction to act directly on the petition for correction of
manifest error filed by private respondent Go?

Held: The Supreme Court ruled in the affirmative, citing Rule 27, Section 5 of the 1993 COMELEC
Rules which provides correction of manifest errors in the tabulation or tallying of results during the
canvassing as one of the pre-proclamation controversies which maybe filed directly with the
COMELEC en banc.

The Supreme Court annulled the COMELEC resolutions but directed COMELEC to reconvene the
MBC or if this is not feasible, to constitute a new MBC in Gipolos, Eastern Samar and to order it to
promptly revise the Statement of Votes based on the election returns from all the precincts of the
Municipality and thereafter, proclaim the winning candidate.

[G.R. No. 134047. December 15, 1999]

AMADO S. BAGATSING, ERNESTO M. MACEDA, and JAIME LOPEZ, petitioners, vs.


COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JOSE L. ATIENZA, respondents.

AMENDEDDECISION
KAPUNAN, J.:

In this petition for certiorari petitioners seek to annul and set aside the Resolution
dated June 4, 1998 of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) First Division directing
the proclamation of private respondent as Mayor of the City of Manila for having been
issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack, or excess, of jurisdiction.
The backdrop of the instant case reveals the following antecedent facts:
Petitioners Amado S. Bagatsing, Ernesto M. Maceda and Jaime Lopez and herein
private respondent Jose L. Atienza were candidates for the position of Mayor of Manila
in the May 11, 1998 elections.
On May 18, 1998, seven (7) days after the elections, petitioners filed with the
COMELEC a complaint for disqualification against private respondent, docketed as SPA
No. 98-319, on the ground that the latter allegedly caused the disbursement of public
funds in the amount of Three Million Three Hundred Seventy-Five Thousand
(P3,375,000.00) Pesos, more or less, within the prohibited forty-five-day period before
the elections in violation of Article 22, Section 261 (g) (2)[1] of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881,
otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines. The alleged
disbursement was intended to be distributed in the form of financial assistance to the
public school teachers of the City of Manila who manned the precinct polls in that city
during the elections.
On May 20, 1998, the COMELEC (First Division)*issued an order suspending the
proclamation of private respondent, the dispositive portion of which reads:
PREMISES CONSIDERED, it appearing that the evidence presented consisting of disbursement voucher
and the general payroll evidencing payment to the teachers in the form of financial assistance dated
May 5, 1998, in violation of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, which provides:

SEC. 68 Disqualifications. - Any candidate who in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by
final decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a) given money or
other material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing
electoral functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy, (c) spent in his election
campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any
contribution prohibited under Section 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated any Section 80, 83, 85, 86
and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v and cc, sub-paragraph 6, shall be disqualified from continuing as a
candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of
or an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to run for any elective office under this Code,
unless said person has waived hi (sic) statues (sic) as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign
country in accordance with the residence requirement provided for in the election laws (Sec. 25, 1971
EC) (underscoring ours).

show a probable cause of commission of election offenses which are grounds for disqualification, and
the evidence in support of disqualification is strong, the City Board of Canvassers of Manila is hereby
directed to complete the canvassing of election returns of the City of Manila, but to suspend
proclamation of respondent Jose L. Atienza, Jr. should he obtain the winning number of votes for the
position of City Mayor of Manila, until such time when the petition for disqualification against him shall
have been resolved.

The Executive Director of this Commission is directed to cause the immediate implementation of this
Order.
SO ORDERED.[2]

On May 21, 1998, private respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration and
sought to set aside the afore-quoted order directing the suspension of his
proclamation as mayor.
On June 4, 1998, the COMELEC (First Division)*handed down a resolution granting
the motion for reconsideration, ratiocinating thusly:
The Commission En Banc finds correct respondent's reliance on COMELEC Resolution No. 2050 for his
cause. The Resolution, promulgated by the Commission in order to formulate the rules governing the
disposition of cases of disqualification filed by virtue of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code in
relation to Section 6 of Republic Act 6646 otherwise known as the Electoral Reform Law of 1987,
pertinently provides:

2. Any complaint for disqualification based on Section 68 of the Omnibus Election


Code, filed after the elections against a candidate who has already been proclaimed
as winner shall be dismissed as a disqualification case. However, the complaint shall
be referred for preliminary investigation to the Law Department of the Commission.
Where a similar complaint is filed after the elections but before proclamation of the respondent
candidate, the complaint shall nevertheless, be dismissed as a disqualification case. However, the
complaint shall be referred for preliminary investigation to the Law Department. If, before proclamation,
the Law Department makes a prima facie finding of guilt and the corresponding information has been
filed with the appropriate trial court, the complainant may file a petition for suspension of the
proclamation of the respondent with the Court before which the criminal case is pending and the said
Court may order the suspension of the proclamation, if the evidence of guilt is strong.

The applicability of COMELEC Resolution No. 2050 on cases of such nature as the one at bench, had
been upheld by the Supreme Court in Lozano vs. Commission on Elections, G.R. 94628, October 28,
1991, when it declared:

Resolution No. 2050 specifically mandates a definite policy and procedure for disqualification cases. The
COMELEC Rules of Procedure speak of special actions, which include disqualification cases, in
general. Hence, as between a specific and a general rule, the former shall necessarily prevail.

It is thus, a good law which could govern this case.

Considering therefore, that the petition for disqualification was filed after the election but before
respondent's proclamation, the Commission En Banc, conformably with Resolution No. 2050, hereby
dismisses the same as a disqualification case but refers Petitioners' charges of election offense against
respondent to the Law Department for appropriate action.[3]

The decretal portion of the resolution reads:


WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Commission FIRST DIVISION hereby GRANTS the Motion to lift
the order of suspension of respondent's proclamation. The Order of the First Division suspending
respondent's proclamation as City Mayor of Manila is SET ASIDE. The City Board of Canvassers of Manila
is hereby DIRECTED to CONVENE, COMPLETE the CANVASS and PROCLAIM the candidate obtaining the
highest number of votes for said position. Petitioners' complaints against respondent for violation of the
Omnibus Election Code is hereby referred to the Law Department for preliminary investigation.

SO ORDERED.[4]

That same day at around eleven oclock in the morning, petitioners filed a Motion
to Suspend Immediate Intended Proclamation of Respondent. In the afternoon of the
same day, petitioners likewise filed a Motion for Reconsideration and a Second Motion
to Suspend Immediate Intended Proclamation of Respondent before COMELEC en
banc.
Meanwhile, the City Board of Canvassers of Manila reconvened at three oclock in
the afternoon of the same day, June 4, 1998, and proclaimed private respondent as
the duly elected Mayor of the City of Manila.[5]
On June 25, 1999, without waiting for the resolution of their motion for
reconsideration pending before the COMELEC en banc, petitioners filed the instant
petition to set aside the June 4, 1998 resolution of the COMELEC's First Division.
Records reveal, however, that said motion for reconsideration pending before the
COMELEC en bancwas denied in its Order of July 2, 1998 at the instance of herein
petitioners themselves for the reason that they had already filed a petition before this
Court docketed as G.R. No. 134047.[6]
The instant petition seeks to strike down as having been issued with grave abuse
of discretion COMELEC First Division Resolution dated June 4, 1998 dismissing the
petition for disqualification and referring the case to the COMELECs Law Department
for preliminary investigation, based on COMELEC Resolution No. 2050. Petitioners
contend that Resolution No. 2050 had already been nullified by the decision of this
Court in Sunga vs. Comelec.[7] Such being the case, petitioners argue that the COMELEC
should be compelled by mandamus to assume jurisdiction and continue to hear and
decide the disqualification case.
COMELEC Resolution No. 2050, adopted on November 3, 1988, reads:
WHEREAS, there remain pending before the Commission, a number of cases of disqualification filed by
virtue of the provisions of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 6 of R.A. 6646,
otherwise known as the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987;

WHEREAS, opinions of the members of the Commission on matters of procedure in dealing with cases of
this nature and the manner of disposing of the same have not been uniform;
WHEREAS, in order to avoid conflicts of opinion in the disposition or disqualification cases contemplated
under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 6 of Rep. Act 6646, there is a
strongly felt need to lay down a definite policy in the disposition of this specific class of disqualification
cases;

NOW, THEREFORE, on motion duly seconded, the Commission en banc:

RESOLVED, as it hereby resolves, to formulate the following rules governing the disposition of cases of
disqualification filed by virtue of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 6 of R.A.
No. 6646, otherwise known as the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987:

1. Any complaint for the disqualification of a duly registered candidate based upon any of the grounds
specifically enumerated under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, filed directly with the
Commission before an election in which the respondent is a candidate, shall be inquired into by the
Commission for the purpose of determining whether the acts complained of have in fact been
committed. Where the inquiry by the Commission results in a finding before election, that the
respondent candidate did in fact commit the acts complained, the Commission shall order the
disqualification of the respondent candidate from continuing as such candidate.

In case such complaint was not resolved before the election, the Commission may motu proprio, or an
(sic) motion of any of the parties, refer the complaint to the law Department of the Commission as the
instrument of the latter in the exercise of its exclusive power to conduct a preliminary investigation of
all cases involving criminal infractions of the election laws. Such recourse may be availed of irrespective
of whether the respondent has been elected or has lost in the election.

2. Any complaint for disqualification based on Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to
Section 6 of Rep. Act No. 6646 filed after the election against a candidate who has already been
proclaimed as winner shall be dismissed as a disqualification case.However, the complaint shall be
referred for preliminary investigation to the Law Department of the Commission.

Where a similar complaint is filed after election but before proclamation of the respondent candidate,
the complaint shall, nevertheless, be dismissed as a disqualification case. However, the complaint shall
be referred for preliminary investigation to the Law Department. If, before proclamation, the Law
Department makes a prima facie finding of guilt and the corresponding information has been filed with
the appropriate trial court, the complainant may file a petition for suspension of the proclamation of the
respondent with the court before which the criminal case is pending and the said court may order the
suspension of the proclamation if the evidence of guilt is strong.

3. The Law Department shall terminate the preliminary investigation within thirty (30) days from receipt
of the referral and shall submit its study, report and recommendation to the Commission enbanc within
five (5) days from the conclusion of the preliminary investigation. If it makes a prima faciefinding of guilt,
it shall submit with such study the Information for filing with the appropriate court.

The above-quoted resolution covers two (2) different aspects:


First, as contemplated in paragraph 1, a complaint for disqualification filed before
the election whichmust be inquired into by the COMELEC for the purpose of
determining whether the acts complained of have in fact been committed. Where the
inquiry results in a finding before the election, the COMELEC shall order the
candidate's disqualification. In case the complaint was not resolved before the
election, the COMELEC may motu propio or on motion of any of the parties, refer the
said complaint to the Law Department of the COMELEC for preliminary investigation.
Second, as laid down in paragraph 2, a complaint for disqualification filed after the
election against a candidate (a) who has not yet been proclaimed as winner, or (b)
who has already been proclaimed as winner. In both cases, the complaint shall be
dismissed as a disqualification case but shall be referred to the Law Department of the
COMELEC for preliminary investigation. However, if before proclamation, the Law
Department makes a prima facie finding of guilt and the corresponding information
has been filed with the appropriate trial court, the complainant may file a petition for
suspension of the proclamation of the respondent with the court before which the
criminal case is pending and the said court may order the suspension of the
proclamation if the evidence of guilt is strong.
Petitioners contend that Resolution No. 2050, upon which the COMELEC anchored
its dismissal of the disqualification case, is no longer a good law since it has been
nullified in toto by this Court in Sunga v. COMELEC.[8]
Contrary to petitioners' contention, nowhere did the Court strike down COMELEC
Resolution No. 2050 in Sunga. There, we held that:
xxx We discern nothing in COMELEC Resolution No. 2050 declaring, ordering or directing the dismissal of
a disqualification case filed before the election but which remained unresolved after the election. What
the Resolution mandates in such a case is for the Commission to refer the complaint to its Law
Department for investigation to determine whether the acts complained of have in fact been committed
by the candidate sought to be disqualified. The findings of the Law Department then become the basis
for disqualifying the erring candidate. This is totally different from the other two situations
contemplated by Resolution No. 2050, i.e., a disqualification case filed after the election but before the
proclamation of winners and that filed after the election and the proclamation of winners, wherein it
was specifically directed by the same Resolution to be dismissed as a disqualification case.

Moreover, Resolution No. 2050 as interpreted in Silvestre v. Duavit infringes on Sec. 6 of RA No. 6646,
which provides:

SEC. 6. Effects of Disqualification Case.--Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be
disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a
candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and
receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the
trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or protestand, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor,
may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever
the evidence of his guilt is strong (italics supplied).

Clearly, the legislative intent is that the COMELEC should continue the trial and hearing of the
disqualification case to its conclusion, i.e., until judgment is rendered thereon. The word 'shall' signifies
that this requirement of the law is mandatory, operating to impose a positive duty which must be
enforced. The implication is that the COMELEC is left with no discretion but to proceed with the
disqualification case even after the election.Thus, in providing for the outright dismissal of the
disqualification case which remains unresolved after the election, Silvestre v. Duavit in effect disallows
what RA No. 6646 imperatively requires. xxx[9]

The ruling in Sunga is not applicable to the case at bar. There, the complaint for
disqualification was filed prior to the May 8, 1995 elections. Under Section 6 of R.A.
6646, where the complaint was filed before the election but for any reason, a
candidate is not declared by final judgment before the election to be disqualified and
he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the
COMELEC shall continue with the trial and hearing of the case. Thus, the facts
in Sunga fall under the contemplation of Section 6, namely: (1) the complaint for
disqualification was filed before the election; (2) for any reason, the issue of
disqualification was not finally resolved before the election; and (3) the candidate
sought to be disqualified is voted for and received the winning number of
votes. Consequently, the COMELEC should have continued with the hearing and
decided the case on the merits. Instead, COMELEC erroneously dismissed the
disqualification case and referred the matter to the Law Department for preliminary
investigation of the criminal aspect of the case. The deleterious effect of the
premature and precipitate dismissal was pointed out by this Court, thus:
xxx A candidate guilty of election offenses would be undeservedly rewarded, instead of punished, by the
dismissal of the disqualification case against him simply because the investigating body was unable, for
any reason caused upon it, to determine before the election if the offenses were indeed committed by
the candidate sought to be disqualified. All that the erring aspirant would need to do is to employ
delaying tactics so that the disqualification case based on the commission of election offenses would not
be decided before the election. This scenario is productive of more fraud which certainly is not the main
intent and purpose of the law.[10]

In sharp contrast, the complaint for disqualification against private respondent in


the case at bar was lodged on May 18, 1998 or seven (7) days after the 1998
elections. Pursuant to paragraph 2 of Resolution No. 2050, the complaint shall be
dismissed as a disqualification case and shall be referred for preliminary investigation
to the Law Department of the COMELEC. Under this scenario, the complaint for
disqualification is filed after the election which may be either before or after the
proclamation of the respondent candidate.
The COMELEC in Sunga obviously misapplied Resolution No. 2050 in dismissing
the disqualification case therein simply because it remained unresolved before the
election and, in lieu thereof, referring it to its Law Department for possible criminal
prosecution of the respondent for violation of the election laws.Notably, there is
nothing in paragraph 1 of Resolution No. 2050 which directs the dismissal of the
disqualification case not resolved before the election.It says the COMELEC may motu
propio or on motion of any of the parties, refer the complaint to the Law Department
of the Commission as an instrument of the latter in the exercise of its exclusive power
to conduct a preliminary investigation of all cases involving criminal infractions of the
election laws. The referral to the Law Department is discretionary on the part of the
COMELEC and in no way may it be interpreted that the COMELEC will dismiss the
disqualification case or will no longer continue with the hearing of the same. The
reason for this is that a disqualification case may have two (2) aspects, the
administrative, which requires only a preponderance of evidence to prove
disqualification, and the criminal, which necessitates proof beyond reasonable doubt
to convict. Where in the opinion of the COMELEC, the acts which are grounds for
disqualification also constitute a criminal offense or offenses, referral of the case to
the Law Department is proper.
Petitioners argue that the COMELEC should have proceeded and continued with
the trial of SPA No. 98-319 and rendered judgment as the law and evidence would
warrant, invoking Section 6 of R.A. 6646.
We do not agree. Section 6 explicitly applies only to any candidate who has been
declared by final judgment to be disqualified before an election. The section provides
further that if for any reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an
election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of
votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and
hearing of the action, inquiry or protest xxx. There is no provision in R.A. 6646 that
treats of a situation where the complaint for disqualification is filed after the
election. If the intention of the law is for the COMELEC to hear and decide
disqualification cases filed after the election, it would not have made a distinction
between cases filed before and after the election. Section 6 would not have used the
word before preceding an election. Thus, the need for implementing rules as
embodied in Comelec Resolution No. 2050 which provide that any complaint for
disqualification based on Section 6 of R.A. 6646 is filed after the election against a
candidate who has already been proclaimed as winner shall be dismissed as a
disqualification case, but the complaint shall be referred for preliminary investigation
to the Law Department of COMELEC.
The applicability of Resolution No. 2050 on disqualification cases was in fact
upheld by this Court in Lozano vs. Yorac,[11] the Court said:
xxx Resolution No. 2050 was passed by reason of the variance in opinions of the members of respondent
commission on matters of procedure in dealing with cases of disqualification filed pursuant to Section
68 of the Omnibus Election code in relation to Section 6 of Republic Act No. 6646, or the Electoral
Reforms Law of 1987, and the manner of disposing of the same had not been uniform. Hence, the
COMELEC decided to lay down a definite policy in the disposition of these disqualification cases. With
this purpose in mind, the commission en banc adopted Resolution No. 2050. xxx

xxx
xxx Resolution No. 2050 specifically mandates a definite policy and procedure for disqualification
cases. The COMELEC Rules of Procedure speak of special actions, which include disqualification cases, in
general. Hence, as between a specific and a general rule, the former shall necessarily prevail.

xxx[12]
It bears stressing that the Court in Sunga recognized the difference between a
disqualification case filed before and after an election when, as earlier mentioned, it
stated that the referral of the complaint for disqualification where the case is filed
before election is totally different from the other two situations contemplated by
Resolution No. 2050, i.e., a disqualification case filed after the election but before the
proclamation of winners and that filed after the election and the proclamation
winners, wherein it was specifically directed by the same Resolution to be dismissed
as a disqualification case.
Why there is a difference between a petition for disqualification
filed before and after the election proceeds from the fact that before the election,
thequestion of disqualification is raised as an issue before the electorate and those
who vote for the candidate assume the risk that should said candidate be disqualified
after the election, their votes would be declared stray or invalid votes. Such would not
be true in the case of one filed after the electorate has already voted.[13]
Petitioners further postulate that the proclamation of private respondent on June
4, 1998 is void because it was made without awaiting for the lapse of the five-day
period for the finality of decisions rendered by a division in special actions," citing
Sec. 13 (c) Rule 18 of the COMELEC Rules of procedure providing that unless a motion
for reconsideration is seasonably filed, a decision or resolution of a Division shall
become final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days in Special actions and
Special cases. xxx
We find this contention without merit.
The mere filing of a petition for disqualification is not a ground to suspend the
proclamation of the winning candidate. In the absence of an order suspending
proclamation, the winning candidate who is sought to be disqualified is entitled to be
proclaimed as a matter of law. This is clear from Section 6 of R.A. 6646 providing that
the proclamation of the candidate sought to be disqualified is suspended only if there
is an order of the COMELEC suspending proclamation. Here, there was no order
suspending private respondents proclamation.Consequently, private respondent was
legally proclaimed on June 4, 1998.
Neither did the COMELEC err in not ordering the suspension of private
respondent's proclamation. The second paragraph of paragraph 2 of Resolution No.
2050 provides that where a complaint is filed after the elections but before
proclamation, as in this case, the complaint must be dismissed as a disqualification
case but shall be referred to the Law Department for preliminary investigation. If
before the proclamation, the Law Department makes a prima facie finding of guilt and
the corresponding information has been filed with the appropriate trial court, the
complainant may file a petition for suspension of the proclamation of respondent with
the court before which the criminal case is pending and that court may order the
suspension of the proclamation if the evidence of guilt is strong.[14] It appearing that
none of the foregoing circumstances obtain herein as there is no prima facie finding
of guilt yet, a suspension of private respondent's proclamation is not warranted.The
mere pendency of a disqualification case against a candidate, and a winning candidate
at that, does not justify the suspension of his proclamation after winning in the
election. To hold otherwise would unduly encourage the filing of baseless and
malicious petitions for disqualification if only to effect the suspension of the
proclamation of the winning candidate, not only to his damage and prejudice but also
to the defeat of the sovereign will of the electorate, and for the undue benefit of
undeserving third parties.[15]
Before we end, we take note that when petitioners filed the instant petition on
June 25, 1999, they had before the COMELEC en banc a pending motion for
reconsideration of the June 4, 1998 resolution of the First Division. The Court does not
look with favor the practice of seeking remedy from this Court without waiting for the
resolution of the pending action before the tribunal below, absent extraordinary
circumstances warranting appropriate action by this Court. This makes a short shrift
of established rules of procedure intended for orderly administration of justice.
The COMELEC (First Division) in its June 4, 1998 resolution correctly referred
petitioners complaint for disqualification to its Law Division for appropriate
action. There being no temporary restraining order from this Court, that body as an
instrument of the COMELEC should have continued with its task of determining
whether or not there exists probable cause to warrant the criminal prosecution of
those who may be liable for the alleged election offenses.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. The respondent
Commission on Elections is hereby directed to RESOLVE with great dispatch the
pending incident relative to the preliminary investigation being conducted by its Law
Department.
SO ORDERED.

CANICOSA V. COMELEC

G.R. No. 120318 | December 5, 1997

Petitioner Canicosa and private respondent Lajara were candidates for mayor in Calamba, Laguna during
the May 1995 elections. After the canvassing, Lajara was proclaimed winner by the Municipal Board of
Canvasser. Thereafter, Canicosa filed with the COMELEC a petition to declare failure of election and to
declare null and void the canvass and proclamation because of alleged widespread frauds and anomalies
in casting and accounting of votes, preparation of election returns, violence, threats, intimidation, vote
buying, unregistered voters voting and delay in the delivery of election documents and paraphernalia from
the precincts to the office of the Municipal Treasurer. In its decision, the COMELEC en banc dismissed the
petition on the ground that the allegations therein did not justify a declaration of failure of election.

HELD:

(1) There are only three (3) instances where a failure of election may be declared, namely:
i) The election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed on account of force majeure, violence,
terrorism, fraud, or other analogous causes;
ii) The election in any polling place had been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the
voting on account of force majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud, or other analogous causes; or
iii) After the voting and during the preparation and transmission of the election returns or in the custody or
canvass thereof, such election results in a failure to elect on account of force majeure, violence, terrorism,
fraud, or other analogous causes.

(2) Averment that more than one-half of the legitimate voters were not able to vote is not a ground which
warrants a declaration of failure of election.

(3) The grounds cited by Canicosa in his petition do not fall under any of the instances enumerated in Sec.
6 of the Omnibus Election Code. Before COMELEC can act on a verified petition seeking to declare a
failure of election, at least two (2) conditions must concur:
i) No voting has taken place in the precincts on the date fixed by law, or even if there was voting, the
election nevertheless resulted in failure to elect; and
ii) The votes that were not cast would affect the result of the election. From the face of the instant petition,
it is readily apparent that an election took place and that it did not result in a failure to elect.

(4) The question of inclusion or exclusion from the list of voters involves the right to vote which is a
justiciable issue properly recognized by the regular courts. — Fifteen (15) days before the regular
elections, the final list of voters was posted in each precinct. Based on the lists thus posted Canicosa
could have filed a petition for inclusion of registered voters with the regular courts.

(5) The correction of the manifest mistake in mathematical addition calls for a mere clerical task of the
board of canvassers. The remedy invoked was purely administrative. The issue concerning registration
of voters, which Canicosa cited as a ground in his petition for declaration of failure of election, is an
administrative question. Likewise, questions as to whether elections have been held or whether certain
returns were falsified or manufactured and therefore should be excluded from the canvass do not
involve the right to vote. Such questions are properly within the administrative jurisdiction of
COMELEC, hence, may be acted upon directly by the COMELEC en banc without having to pass
through any of its divisions. The provision in the constitution mandating the COMELEC to hear and
decide cases first by division and then, upon motion for reconsideration, by COMELEC en banc, not
applicable if the case about to be resolved is purely administrative in nature.

Tan vs. COMELEC, 237 SCRA 353, October 4,


1994
digested by Ms. Iola Vianka M. Pi non

Facts: On May 10, 1992, the petitioner, as an incumbent City Prosecutor of Davao City, was
designated by the COMELEC as Vice-Chairman of the City Board of Canvassers in the said area
for the May 11, 1992, synchronized national and local elections conformably with the provisions
of Section 20 (a) of Republic Act 6646 and Section 221 (b) of the Omnibus Election Code. Manuel
Garcia was proclaimed the winning candidate for a Congressional seat to represent the 2nd
District of Davao City. Alterado, the private respondent, filed a number of cases questioning the
validity of the proclamation. The cases filed in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
and the Office of the Ombudsman was dismissed. What is still pending is an administrative
charge, against the Board of Canvassers and herein petitioner for “Misconduct, Neglect of Duty,
Gross Incompetence, and Acts Inimical to the Service”, instituted in the COMELEC.

Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC has the jurisdiction to take action on the
administrative case when in fact the petitioner as a City prosecutor is under the Administrative
jurisdiction.

Held: The COMELEC’s authority under Section 2 (6-8), Article 9 of the Constitution is
virtually all-encompassing when it comes to election matters, also Section 52, Article 7 of the
Omnibus Election Code. It should be stressed that the administrative case against petitioner is in
relation to the performance of his duties as an Election canvasser and not as a City Prosecutor.
The COMELEC’s mandate includes its authority to exercise direct and immediate suspension and
control over national and local officials or employees, including members of any national and local
law enforcement agency and instrumentality of the government, required by law to perform duties
relative to the conduct of elections. To say that the COMELEC is without jurisdiction to look into
charges of election offenses committed by officials and employees of government outside the
regular employ of the COMELEC would be to unduly deny to it the proper and sound exercise of
such recommendatory power and, perhaps more than that, even a possible denial of the process
to the official or employee concerned.

Lynette Garvida vs Florencio Sales, Jr.

271 SCRA 767 – Law on Public Officers – Ineligibility – SK Chairman – “Labo Doctrine”
Applied
In 1996, Lynette Garvida filed her candidacy to the position of Chairman of the Sangguniang
Kabataan (SK) of a barangay in Bangui, Ilocos Norte. Her candidacy was opposed by her
rival Florencio Sales, Jr. on the ground that she is over 21 years old (21 years old, 9 months
at the time of the filing). Nevertheless, the trial court ordered that she be admitted as a
candidate and the SK elections went on. Sales, in the meantiume, filed a petition to cancel
the certificate of candidacy of Garvida. When the elections results came in, Garvida won with
a vote of 78, while Sales got 76. Garvida was eventually proclaimed as winner but had to face
the petition filed by Sales.
Garvida, in her defense, averred that Section 424 of the Local Government Code (LGC)
provides that candidates for the SK must be at least 15 years of age and a maximum age of
21 years. Garvida states that the LGC does not specify that the maximum age requirement
is exactly 21 years hence said provision must be construed as 21 years and a fraction of a
year but still less than 22 years – so long as she does not exceed 22 she is still eligible
because she is still, technically, 21 years of age (although she exceeds it by 9 months).
ISSUE: Whether or not Garvida met the age requirement.
HELD: No. Section 424 of the Local Government Code provides that candidates for SK must
be:

(6) Filipino citizen;


(7) an actual resident of the barangay for at least six months;
(8) 15 but not more than 21 years of age; and
(9) duly registered in the list of the Sangguniang Kabataan or in the official barangay list.

The provision is clear. Must not be more than 21 years of age. The said phrase is not
equivalent to “less than 22 years old.” The law does not state that the candidate be less than
22 years on election day. If such was the intention of Congress in framing the LGC, then they
should have expressly provided such.
Sales claims that he obtained the second highest number of vote, hence he should be
declared as the SK Chairman, is this a valid contention?
No. Applying the ruling in Labo vs COMELEC, a defeated candidate, though obtaining the
second highest number of vote, is not deemed to have been elected by reason of the winner’s
eventual disqualification/ineligibility. He cannot be declared as successor simply because he
did not get the majority or the plurality of votes – the electorate did not choose him. It would
have been different if Sales was able to prove that the voters still voted for Garvida despite
knowing her ineligibility, this would have rendered her votes “stray”.
Under Section 435 of the LGC, the SK Chairman should be succeeded by the SK
member who obtained the highest number of votes, should the SK member obtaining such
vote succeed Garvida?**
(**Not to be confused with Sales’ situation – Sales was a candidate for SK chairmanship not
SK membership.)
The above argument can’t be considered in this case because Section 435 only applies when
the SK Chairman “refuses to assume office, fails to qualify, is convicted of a felony, voluntarily
resigns, dies, is permanently incapacitated, is removed from office, or has been absent
without leave for more than three (3) consecutive months.” Garvida’s case is not what Section
435 contemplates. Her removal from office by reason of her age is a question of eligibility.
Being “eligible” means being “legally qualified; capable of being legally chosen.” Ineligibility,
on the other hand, refers to the lack of the qualifications prescribed in the Constitution or the
statutes for holding public office. Ineligibility is not one of the grounds enumerated in Section
435 for succession of the SK Chairman
Mercado v. Manzano Case Digest [G.R. No.
135083. May 26, 1999]
FACTS:

Petitioner Ernesto Mercado and Eduardo Manzano were both candidates for Vice-Mayor of
Makati in the May 11, 1998 elections.

Based on the results of the election, Manzano garnered the highest number of votes. However,
his proclamation was suspended due to the pending petition for disqualification filed by Ernesto
Mercado on the ground that he was not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States.

From the facts presented, it appears that Manzano is both a Filipino and a US citizen.

The Commission on Elections declared Manzano disqualified as candidate for said elective
position.

However, in a subsequent resolution of the COMELEC en banc, the disqualification of the


respondent was reversed. Respondent was held to have renounced his US citizenship when he
attained the age of majority and registered himself as a voter in the elections of 1992, 1995 and
1998.

Manzano was eventually proclaimed as the Vice-Mayor of Makati City on August 31, 1998.

Thus the present petition.

ISSUE:

Whether or not a dual citizen is disqualified to hold public elective office in the philippines.

RULING:

The court ruled that the phrase "dual citizenship" in R.A. 7160 Sec. 40 (d) and R.A. 7854 Sec.
20 must be understood as referring to dual allegiance. Dual citizenship is different from dual
allegiance. The former arises when, as a result of the application of the different laws of two or
more states, a person is simultaneously considered a national by the said states. Dual
allegiance on the other hand, refers to a situation in which a person simultaneously owes, by
some positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is involuntary, dual
allegiance is a result of an individual's volition. Article IV Sec. 5 of the Constitution provides
"Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law."

Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall under this disqualification. Unlike
those with dual allegiance, who must, therefore, be subject to strict process with respect to the
termination of their status, for candidates with dual citizenship, it should suffice if, upon the filing
of their certificates of candidacy, they elect Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as
persons with dual citizenship considering that their condition is the unavoidable consequence of
conflicting laws of different states.

By electing Philippine citizenship, such candidates at the same time forswear allegiance to the
other country of which they are also citizens and thereby terminate their status as dual
citizens. It may be that, from the point of view of the foreign state and of its laws, such an
individual has not effectively renounced his foreign citizenship. That is of no moment.

When a person applying for citizenship by naturalization takes an oath that he renounces his
loyalty to any other country or government and solemnly declares that he owes his allegiance to
the Republic of the Philippines, the condition imposed by law is satisfied and complied
with. The determination whether such renunciation is valid or fully complies with the provisions
of our Naturalization Law lies within the province and is an exclusive prerogative of our
courts. The latter should apply the law duly enacted by the legislative department of the
Republic. No foreign law may or should interfere with its operation and application.

The court ruled that the filing of certificate of candidacy of respondent sufficed to renounce his
American citizenship, effectively removing any disqualification he might have as a dual citizen.
By declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino citizen; that he is not a permanent
resident or immigrant of another country; that he will defend and support the Constitution of the
Philippines and bear true faith and allegiance thereto and that he does so without mental
reservation, private respondent has, as far as the laws of this country are concerned, effectively
repudiated his American citizenship and anything which he may have said before as a dual
citizen.

On the other hand, private respondent’s oath of allegiance to the Philippines, when considered
with the fact that he has spent his youth and adulthood, received his education, practiced his
profession as an artist, and taken part in past elections in this country, leaves no doubt of his
election of Philippine citizenship.

His declarations will be taken upon the faith that he will fulfill his undertaking made under oath.
Should he betray that trust, there are enough sanctions for declaring the loss of his Philippine
citizenship through expatriation in appropriate proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, the
court sustained the denial of entry into the country of petitioner on the ground that, after taking
his oath as a naturalized citizen, he applied for the renewal of his Portuguese passport and
declared in commercial documents executed abroad that he was a Portuguese national. A
similar sanction can be taken against any one who, in electing Philippine citizenship, renounces
his foreign nationality, but subsequently does some act constituting renunciation of his
Philippine citizenship.

The petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit


April 10, 2011

Romualdez-Marcos vs COMELEC
TITLE: Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC
CITATION: 248 SCRA 300

FACTS:

Imelda, a little over 8 years old, in or about 1938, established her domicile in Tacloban, Leyte
where she studied and graduated high school in the Holy Infant Academy from 1938 to
1949. She then pursued her college degree, education, in St. Paul’s College now Divine Word
University also in Tacloban. Subsequently, she taught in Leyte Chinese School still in
Tacloban. She went to manila during 1952 to work with her cousin, the late speaker Daniel
Romualdez in his office in the House of Representatives. In 1954, she married late President
Ferdinand Marcos when he was still a Congressman of Ilocos Norte and was registered there as
a voter. When Pres. Marcos was elected as Senator in 1959, they lived together in San Juan,
Rizal where she registered as a voter. In 1965, when Marcos won presidency, they lived in
Malacanang Palace and registered as a voter in San Miguel Manila. She served as member of the
Batasang Pambansa and Governor of Metro Manila during 1978.

Imelda Romualdez-Marcos was running for the position of Representative of the First District of
Leyte for the 1995 Elections. Cirilo Roy Montejo, the incumbent Representative of the First
District of Leyte and also a candidate for the same position, filed a “Petition for Cancellation and
Disqualification" with the Commission on Elections alleging that petitioner did not meet the
constitutional requirement for residency. The petitioner, in an honest misrepresentation, wrote
seven months under residency, which she sought to rectify by adding the words "since
childhood" in her Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy filed on March 29, 1995 and that
"she has always maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or residence. She arrived at the seven
months residency due to the fact that she became a resident of the Municipality of Tolosa in said
months.

ISSUE: Whether petitioner has satisfied the 1year residency requirement to be eligible in
running as representative of the First District of Leyte.

HELD:

Residence is used synonymously with domicile for election purposes. The court are in favor of a
conclusion supporting petitoner’s claim of legal residence or domicile in the First District of
Leyte despite her own declaration of 7 months residency in the district for the following reasons:
1. A minor follows domicile of her parents. Tacloban became Imelda’s domicile of origin by
operation of law when her father brought them to Leyte;

2. Domicile of origin is only lost when there is actual removal or change of domicile, a bona fide
intention of abandoning the former residence and establishing a new one, and acts which
correspond with the purpose. In the absence and concurrence of all these, domicile of origin
should be deemed to continue.

3. A wife does not automatically gain the husband’s domicile because the term “residence” in
Civil Law does not mean the same thing in Political Law. When Imelda married late President
Marcos in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new home and not
domicilium necessarium.

4. Assuming that Imelda gained a new domicile after her marriage and acquired right to choose
a new one only after the death of Pres. Marcos, her actions upon returning to the country clearly
indicated that she chose Tacloban, her domicile of origin, as her domicile of choice. To add,
petitioner even obtained her residence certificate in 1992 in Tacloban, Leyte while living in her
brother’s house, an act, which supports the domiciliary intention clearly manifested. She even
kept close ties by establishing residences in Tacloban, celebrating her birthdays and other
important milestones.

WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the necessary residence


qualifications to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in the First District of Leyte, the
COMELEC's questioned Resolutions dated April 24, May 7, May 11, and May 25, 1995 are hereby
SET ASIDE. Respondent COMELEC is hereby directed to order the Provincial Board of
Canvassers to proclaim petitioner as the duly elected Representative of the First District of Leyte.

Lonzanida vs. Comelec

Facts:

Romeo Lonzanida was elected and had served as municipal mayor of San Antonio, Zambales in
terms 1989-1992, 1992-1995 and 1995-1998. However, his proclamation relative to the 1995
election was protested and was eventually declared by the RTC and then by COMELEC null and
void on the ground of failure of elections.
On February 27, 1998, or about three months before the May 1998 elections, Lonzanida vacated
the mayoralty post in light of a COMELEC order and writ of execution it issued. Juan Alvez,
Lonzanida’s opponent assumed office for the remainder of the term.

In the May 1998 elections, Lonzanida again filed his certificate of candidacy. His opponent,
Efren Muli, filed a petition for disqualification on the ground that Lonzanida had already served
three consecutive terms in the same post. On May 13, 1998, petitioner Lonzanida was
proclaimed winner.

The COMELEC granted the petition for disqualification.

Petitioner Lonzanida challenged the validity of the COMELEC resolution maintaining that he was
duly elected mayor for only two consecutive terms and that his assumption of office in 1995
cannot be counted as service of a term for the purpose of applying the three term limit for
local government officials, because he was not the duly elected mayor of San Antonio in the
May 1995 elections. He also argued that the COMELEC ceased to have jurisdiction over the
petition for disqualification after he was proclaimed winner in the 1998 mayoral elections as
the proper remedy is a petition for quo warranto with the appropriate regional trial court under
Rule 36 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure.

The private respondent maintained that the petitioner’s assumption of office in 1995 should be
considered as service of one full term because he discharged the duties of mayor for almost
three years until March 1, 1998 or barely a few months before the next mayoral elections.

Issues:

1. WON petitioner’s assumption of office as mayor of San Antonio Zambales from May 1995 to
1998 may be considered as service of one full term for the purpose of applying the three-term
limit for elective local government officials.

2. WON COMELEC ceased to have jurisdiction over the petition for disqualification after
petitioner was proclaimed winner.

Held:

1. NO. Two conditions for the application of the disqualification must concur: 1) that the
official concerned has been elected for three consecutive terms in the same local government
post and 2) that he has fully served three consecutive terms.
“To recapitulate, the term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer
to the right to be elected as well as the right to serve in the same elective
position. Consequently, it is not enough that an individual has served three
consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must also have been elected to
the same position for the same number of times before the disqualification can
apply.”
The two requisites for the application of the three term rule are absent. First, the petitioner
cannot be considered as having been duly elected to the post in the May 1995 elections, and
second, the petitioner did not fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term by reason of involuntary
relinquishment of office.

After a re-appreciation and revision of the contested ballots the COMELEC itself declared by
final judgment that petitioner Lonzanida lost in the May 1995 mayoral elections and his previous
proclamation as winner was declared null and void. His assumption of office as mayor cannot
be deemed to have been by reason of a valid election but by reason of a void proclamation. It
has been repeatedly held by this court that a proclamation subsequently declared void is no
proclamation at all and while a proclaimed candidate may assume office on the strength of the
proclamation of the Board of Canvassers he is only a presumptive winner who assumes office
subject to the final outcome of the election protest. Lonzanida did not serve a term as mayor
of San Antonio, Zambales from May 1995 to March 1998 because he was not duly elected to the
post; he merely assumed office as presumptive winner, which presumption was later overturned
by the COMELEC when it decided with finality that Lonzanida lost in the May 1995 mayoral
elections.

Second, the petitioner cannot be deemed to have served the May 1995 to 1998 term because
he was ordered to vacate his post before the expiration of the term. The respondents’
contention that the petitioner should be deemed to have served one full term from May 1995-
1998 because he served the greater portion of that term has no legal basis to support it; it
disregards the second requisite for the application of the disqualification, i.e., that he has fully
served three consecutive terms. The second sentence of the constitutional provision under
scrutiny states, “Voluntary renunciation of office for any length of time shall not be considered
as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which he was elected. “The
clear intent of the framers of the constitution to bar any attempt to circumvent the three-term
limit by a voluntary renunciation of office and at the same time respect the people’s choice
and grant their elected official full service of a term is evident in this provision. Voluntary
renunciation of a term does not cancel the renounced term in the computation of the three
term limit; conversely, involuntary severance from office for any length of time short of the
full term provided by law amounts to an interruption of continuity of service. The petitioner
vacated his post a few months before the next mayoral elections, not by voluntary renunciation
but in compliance with the legal process of writ of execution issued by the COMELEC to that
effect. Such involuntary severance from office is an interruption of continuity of service and
thus, the petitioner did not fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term.

In sum, the petitioner was not the duly elected mayor and that he did not hold office for the
full term; hence, his assumption of office from May 1995 to March 1998 cannot be counted as
a term for purposes of computing the three term limit. The Resolution of the COMELEC finding
him disqualified on this ground to run in the May 1998 mayoral elections should therefore be
set aside.
2. NO. It was held in the case of Sunga vs. COMELEC that the proclamation or the assumption
of office of a candidate against whom a petition for disqualification is pending before the
COMELEC does not divest the COMELEC of jurisdiction to continue hearing the case and to
resolve it on the merits.

Section 6 of RA 6646 specifically mandates that:


“Sec. 6. Effects of disqualification Case.- any candidate who has been declared
by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast
for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by
final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and
receives the winning number of votes in such election, the court or commission
shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and,
upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency
thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever
the evidence of his guilt is strong.”
The clear legislative intent is that the COMELEC should continue the trial and hearing of the
disqualification case to its conclusion i.e., until judgment is rendered. The outright dismissal
of the petition for disqualification filed before the election but which remained unresolved
after the proclamation of the candidate sought to be disqualified will unduly reward the said
candidate and may encourage him to employ delaying tactics to impede the resolution of the
petition until after he has been proclaimed.

It must be emphasized that the purpose of a disqualification proceeding is to prevent the


candidate from running or, if elected, from serving, or to prosecute him for violation of the
election laws. Obviously, the fact that a candidate has been proclaimed elected does not signify
that his disqualification is deemed condoned and may no longer be the subject of a separate
investigation.” (Lonzanida vs. Comelec, G.R. No. 135150. July 28, 1999)

Sinica v. Mula, G.R. No. 135691. Sept. 27, 1999


digested by: Ms. Joie Manuel

In this case, assailed was the COMELEC Resolution on Oct. 6, 1998 in SPA No. 98-292, declaring the
substitution of mayoralty candidate Teodoro Sinaca, Jr. by petitioner Emmanuel D. Sinaca as invalid.

Facts:

In the May 1998 elections, petitioner Emmanuel Sinica was a substitute candidate for the mayoral post of
the Matugas Wing after their original candidate, Teodoro Sinica, Jr., was disqualified for being convicted of
bigamy. He was proclaimed winner after the canvassing.
(Matugas Wing was a faction in the LAKAS-NUCD-UMPD party, as well as the Barbers Wing. Each faction
has separate candidates for the mayoral post in the Municipality of Malimono , Surigao del Norte.)

Respondent Mula (who got Sinica, Jr. disqualified) filed a disqualification case against Emmanuel Sinica
before the COMELEC. He alleged that said substitution was invalid because:

a) Sinica was not member of the LAKAS party when he was nominated as a substitute; and

b) it lacks approval of Sen. Barbers as a joint signatory of the substitution.

The COMELEC Second Division dismissed the disqualification case. However, when respondent Mula filed a
Motion for Reconsideration, COMELEC en banc set aside the resolution of the Second Division and
disqualified EMMANUEL asserting that the substitution violated the provisions of Sec. 77 of the Omnibus
Election Code that the substitute must belong to the same political party as the substituted candidate.
Emmanuel D. Sinaca was not valid because he was an independent candidate for councilor prior to his
nomination as substitute candidate in place of the withdrawing candidate who was a Lakas party member.

Therefore, this case before the Supreme Court.

Issue:

WON the substitution of Emmanuel Sinica was against the provisions of Section 77 of the Omnibus Election
Code.

Decision:

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed resolution of 6 October 1998 of the COMELEC en banc
is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and another one rendered declaring EMMANUEL SINACA as having
been duly elected mayor of the Municipality of Malimono , Surigao del Norte.

Ratio Decidendi:

NO. Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code only mandates that a substitute candidate should be a person
belonging to and certified by the same political party as the candidate to be replaced.

Petitioner Emmanuel Sinaca, an independent candidate, had first withdrawn his certificate of candidacy for
Sangguniang Bayan Member before he joined the LAKAS party and nominated by the LAKAS MATUGAS
Wing as the substitute candidate. He had filed his certificate of candidacy and his certificate of nomination
as LAKAS mayoralty candidate signed by Gov. Matugas with his written acceptance of the party's
nomination. Therefore, he is a bona fide LAKAS member.

There is nothing in the Constitution or the statute which requires as a condition precedent that a substitute
candidate must have been a member of the party concerned for a certain period of time before he can be
nominated as such.