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People of the Philippines, plaintiff and appellant, vs. Guillermo Manantan, defendant and appele

This is an appeal of the Solicitor General from the order of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan dismissing the information against the defendant. The defendant was charged with the violation of Section 54 of the Revised Election Code. A preliminary investigation conducted by said court resulted in the finding of a probable cause that the crime charged was committed by the defendant.

Both parties were submitting this case upon the dermination of this single question of law: Is a justice of the peace included in the prohibition of Section 54 of the Revised Election Code?

Section 54 of the Revised Election Code, provides:

No justice, fiscal, treasurer, assessor of any province, no officer or employee of the Army, no member of the national, provincial, city, municipal or rural police force, and no classified civil service officer or employee shall aid any candidate, or exert any influence in any manner in any election or take part therein, if he is a peace officer,

The defendant argued that the justice of the peace was not comprehended among the officers enumerated in Section 54 of the Revised Election Code. That the word justice of peace was omitted, and the omission revealed the intention of the legislature to exclude justice of the peace from its operation. Invoking the rule of casus omisus pro omisso habendus est, under the said rule, a person, object or thing omitted from an enumeration must be held to have been omitted intentionally.

Section 449 of the Revised Administrative Code, which provided the following:
Sec. 449- Persons prohibited from influencing elections.- No judge of the First Instance, justice of the peace, or treasurer, fiscal or assessor of any province and no officer of employee of the Phippine Constabulary, or any Bureau or employee of the classified civil service, shall aid any candidate or exert influence in any manner in any election or take part therein otherwise than exercising the right to vote.

The court of appeals and the trial court applied the rule of expression unius est exclusion alterius, which means, the express mention of one person, thing or consequence implies the exclusion of all the others, in arriving at the conclusion that the justices of the peace was covered by Section 54.

Whether or not the justice of peace was excluded in the provision of Section 54 of thte Revised Election Code ,thereby, the law was construed in the rule of casus omisus pro omisso habendus est?

The order of dismissal entered by the trial court should be set aside and the case was remanded for trial on the merits.

Reason for the decision:

The rule has no applicability to the case at bar. The maxim casus omisus can operate and apply only if and when the omission has been clearly established. In the case under consideration, it has already been shown that the legislature did not exclude or omit justices of the peace from the enumeration of officers precluded from engaging in partisan political activities, In the new law, or Section 54 or the Revised Election Code, justices of the peace were just called judge.