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Election Law Case Digest 3

Election Law Case Digest 3

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Published by: Icylove Genio on Jul 25, 2012
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(Libanan v. HRET, G.R. No. 129783, December 22, 1997) 
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tan 
Facts : This is a petition to review the decision of the HRET declaringRamirez the winner of the 1995 congressional election of the lone districtof Samar against the petitioner where Ramirez led as much as 600+votes. Libanan filed a petition with the HRET to annul the election andproclamation of Ramirez alleging that the election was marred by massive election irregularities, specifically that some of the ballots werenot signed by the BEI chairman and hence invalid. Ramirez counteredthat Libanan also committed election offenses but later on withdrew hiscountercharge. The evidence and the issues submitted by the parties forconsideration by the HRET related mainly to the proper appreciation of the ballots objected to, or claimed by, the parties during the revision. Noevidence was presented in support of the other allegations of the protestso the HRET concentrated on the appreciation of ballots. The HRET recounted the votes cast on the valid ballots and declared Ramirez as thewinner of the election in Eastern Samar.Issue : WON the absence of the signature of the BEI chairman makes theballot invalid.Held : "No spurious ballot was found in this case. For a ballot to berejected for being spurious, the ballot must have any of the followingauthenticating marks: a) the COMELEC watermark; b) the signatures orinitial of the BEI Chairman at the back of the ballot; and c) red and bluefibers. In the present case, all the ballots examined by the Tribunal hadCOMELEC watermarks. "Fraud is not presumed. It must be sufficiently established. Moreover, Section 211 of the Omnibus Election Codeprovides in part that 'in the reading and appreciation of ballots, every ballot shall be presumed to be valid unless there is clear and good reasonto justify its rejection.' In the instant case, there is no evidence tosupport protestant's allegation that the ballots he enumerated in hisMotion for Reconsideration are substitute ballots. The absence of the BEIChairman's signature at the back of the ballot cannot be an indication of ballot switching or substitution. At best, such absence of BEI Chairman'ssignature is a prima facie evidence that the BEI Chairmen concernedwere derelict in their duty of authenticating the ballots. Such omission,as stated in the Decision, is not fatal to the validity of the ballots.
 
Castromayor v. COMELEC, 250 SCRA 298
Facts: Castromayor was declared and proclaimed winner in an election contest held in1995 in Calinog, Iloilo, taking the 8
th
Sangguniang Bayan seat. When the chairman of theMunicipal Board of Canvassers rechecked the totals of the Statement of Votes, there wassome disparity and it appeared that another candidate, Demorito has more votes thanCastromayor and the reason was that votes from one (1) precinct was overlooked. Shethereafter sent a fax to the COMELEC requesting that the MBC be reconvened forpurposes of rectifying the error and annulling the proclamation of Castromayor andproclaim Demorito as the 8
th
member of the Saggunian. The COMELEC then issued aresolution based on the request. Petitioner then assailed the resolution of the COMELEC.Petitioner contends that he was denied due process since the issue involves apreproclamation controversy and he should be entitled to notice and hearing so that hecan be afforded an opportunity to refute the allegations. Petitioner contests the Resolutionof the COMELEC which was based on a fax letter sent by Garin.Issue: WON the resolution is valid and that the proclamation of petitioner is valid.Ruling : what the COMELEC resolution contemplates is a hearing before the MBC atwhich petitioner will be heard on his objection and that only if warranted will the MBCbe authorized to set aside the proclamation of petitioner previously made. In its notice tothe candidates, the MBC did not state that it was going to reconvene to annul petitioner'sproclamation and make a new one but only that it was going to do so "for the correctionof the errors noted in the Statement of Votes per Precinct/Municipality.The Statement of Votes forms the basis of the Certificate of Canvass and of theproclamation, any error in the statement ultimately affects the validity of theproclamation. It begs the question, therefore, to say that this is not a pre-proclamationcontroversy and the procedure for pre-proclamation controversies cannot be applied tothe correction in the computation of the totals in the Statement of Votes.What is involved here is a simple problem of arithmetic. The Statement of Votes ismerely a tabulation per precinct of the votes obtained by the candidates as reflected in theelection returns. In making the correction in computation, the MBC will be acting in anadministrative capacity, under the control and supervision of the COMELEC. Hence anyquestion pertaining to the proceedings of the MBC may be raised directly to theCOMELEC en banc in the exercise of its constitutional function to decide questionsaffecting elections.
 
Sanchez v. COMELEC, 153 SCRA 67
Facts : In the mayoral contest in Pampanga, Biliwang was proclaimed winner. Sanchezfiled an action to annul the proclamation with the COMELEC and to declare that therewas a failure of election and to call for a special election. This was based on the groundthat massive terrorism was made by the incumbent mayor in ordering armed men to holdat gunpoint teachers who were counting the ballots and replacing the ballots with pre-prepared ones in favor of Baliwag. Baliwag denied the allegations. The COMELECissued a resolution declaring that there was failure of elections in San FernardoPampanga and referred the same to the President and Batasang Pambansa so that thenecessary law would be passed for holding a special election. Biliwag contends that theground of terrorism cannot be invoked in pre-proclamation controversy.Issue: WON fraud and terrorism is considered a pre-proclamation controversy to justifythe resolution of declaring that there was a failure of election in San Fernando Pampanga.Held: Election is not complete until all the essential acts thereof are concluded. In thiscase, election is not complete unless there is a proclaimed winner. The matter involves afailure to elect based on the ground that the election was marred by massive terrorism.The 1973 Constitution vests power to the COMELEC to be the sole judge of all electioncontest and controversy and that it had the power to declare a failure of election and callfor a special election.

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