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COMELEC- kring zamora group 3
Jan 21 2004 Parties: - Petitioners: Arturo Tolentino, Arturo Mojica - Respondents: COMELEC, Ralph Recto, Gregorio Honasan - Ponente: Carpio
Background: This is a petition for prohibition to set aside the COMELEC’s Resolutions which proclaimed official and final the 13 candidates elected as Senators in the May 14 2001 elections. Facts of the Case In Feb 2001, a Senate seat for a term expiring on June 30 2004 was vacated w/ the appointment of then Sen. Guingona as VP of the PI. The Senate then adopted Resolution #84 wc: 1) certified the existence of a vacancy in the Senate & 2) called the COMELEC to fill up the said vacancy through a special election to be held simultaneously w/ the regular election on May 14 2001, and 3) declared the senatorial candidate garnering the 13th highest number of votes shall serve only for the unexpired term of former Sen. Guingona. Accdg to the Senate, this Resolutn is for the “guidance” & “implementatn” of the COMELEC, &that it had NO discretion to alter the said procedure. Nobody filed a certificate of candidacy to fill the position of senator to serve the unexpired 3yr term in the special electn. All the senatorial candidates filed the certificates of candidacy for the 12 regular Senate seats w/ a 6yr term each. COMELEC distributed nationwide official documents (eg Voter Info Sheet, List of Candidates, Sample Ballot). The List of Candidates DID NOT provide 2 different categories of Senate seats to be voted, namely the 12 regular 6year term seats & the single 3-year term seat. Nor did the ballots provide a separate space for the candidate to be voted in the special election & instead provided 13 spaces for 13 senatorial seats. Without any COMELEC resolution/notice on the time, place & manner of the special election, the special election was held on the scheduled May 14 2001 regular elections. A single canvassing of votes for a single list of senatorial candidates was also done. Petitioners assailed the manner by which the special election was conducted for violating the precedents set by the 1951 & 1955 special elections, both of wc were held simultaneously & yet distinctly w/ the regular general elections. Thus, they pray that the Court declare that 1) NO special elections were held & that 2) Comelec’s Resolutions that proclaim the Senatorial candidate who obtained the 13th highest # of votes as a duly elected be declared NULL&VOID Issue/s Procedural Issues: 1) WON the Court has no jurisdiction over the matter bec respondents say it is a quo warranto proceeding (a proceeding wc determines the right of a public officer in the exercise of his office & to oust him from it if his claim is not well-founded), where only the Senate Electoral Tribunal can serve as judge. 2) WON the petition is MOOT 3) WON the petitioner have locus standi Substantive Issue: WON a special election to fill a vacant 3-yr term Senate seat was validly held on May 14 2001, despite the lack of a “call” for such an election & for lack of notice from COMELEC Ratio Decidendi The petition HAS NO MERIT. Procedural Issues: 1) YES, the Court can properly exercise jurisdiction bec what the petitioners are questioning here is the validity of the special election in wc Honasan was elected, NOT his right in the exercise of his office as Senator. His election is merely incidental to the petitioner’s case of action. 2) Although the petition may be moot, it is no bar for the Court to decide on its resolution bec the question of the validity of a special election is likely to be repeated 3) YES, the Court shall be liberal in applying its rule of locus standi bec the issues raised are of transcendental significance & paramount importance to the people, for it involves the people’s right for suffrage.
orderly&honest election is predicated upon an informed electorate. a special election to fill a vacant 3-yr term Senate seat was validly held on May 14 2001. comply strictly w/ all the requirements of the law regarding both regular & special elections. & it is thus indispensable in a democratic society like ours. the special election to fill such vacancy shall be held simultaneously w/ the next succeeding regular election. the special election to fill such vacancy shall be held simultaneously w/ the next succeeding regular election. the number of votes cast for the special election cannot be ascertained as the ballot did not indicate separately the votes for special election. The cases of Tolentino. note: the Senate (through Roco’s suggestion). it does NOT invalidate the special election. as proven by the voting of a significant percentage of the electorate. However. as amended by RA 7166 already provides that in case of vacancy in the Senate. the Court is loathe to annul elections despite certain irregularities unless it is impossible to distinguish wc laws are lawful & wc are not. the voter was deprived of his right to make an informed judgment based on his own reasons&valuations. Likewise. ***REMINDER to COMELEC*** : the Court however. After all. to include a 13th space. The law already charges the voters w/ knowledge of this statutory notice & COMELEC’s failure to give additional notice did not negate the calling of such special election. COMELEC reminded to next time. in Resolution 84 felt that giving the 3year term to the candidate w/ the 13th highest number of votes was being practical & economical) In fine. WHY? A) Bec although no calls for special election were made by COMELEC. We cannot bargain the electorate’s fundamental right to vote intelligently w/ of the coin of convenience. In not allowing the voter to separately indicate the candidate he voted for the 3yr senatorial term. In Duquette. it was held that in the absence of an official notice of the special election mandated by law to be held simultaneously w/ the regular election. the voters can be duly notified through other sources such as media reports & election propaganda during the campaign. C) Our election laws DO NOT require that a separate documentation or canvassing of votes be made for a special election. either strictly or substantially. Sec 2 of RA 6645. The ponencia likewise cites the Duquette case to lend support to its thesis that statutory notice suffices. The Senate’s observation that the procedure for the special election that it adopted would be lost costly for the govt as the ballots need not be printed separately does not justify the manner of the May 14 2001 special election. Thus. This is to acknowledge the fact that suffrage is one form of people’s direct participation in government.Substantive Issue: YES. there is neither official notice nor proof of actual notice. even w/ the Senate observation. his true will in the special election was not ascertained. Besides. Although COMELEC DID NOT COMPLY w/ the requirements of RA 6645. B) Moreover. for they still require that the COMELEC issue an official notice of call of special elections. The Omnibus Election Code is clear that a candidate can run for only 1 position in an election. as amended by RA 7166 already provides that in case of vacancy in the Senate. Vitug. there is no proof that the COMELEC’s failure to give a formal notice of the Office to be filled & the manner of determining the winner in the special election actually misled voters & thereby changed the results of the election. It is the ponencia’s argument that RA 6645. place & manner of conduct of the May 14 2001 special election for the single senatorial seat for the unexpired term of VP Guingona. neither RA 6645 nor RA 7166 contemplates the integration of the special election into the regular election whereby candidates who filed certificates of candidacy for the regular elections also automatically stand as candidates in the special election. much less invalidate it. Guingona. Blo Umpar Adiong & Hassan all deepened the doctrine that a meaningful exercise of the right of suffrage in a genuinely free. reminded the COMELEC to not take chances anymore in future elections. the regular ballot had to be modified anyway. In the case at bar however. Thus. Appendix: 1) Puno’s Dissenting Opinion (joined by Davide. Ynares-Santiage & Tinga) The electorate should have been informed of the time. there should be actual notice of the electorate. . The cases of Bince & Benito also teach us that correct ascertainment of the will of the people is equally necessary. The Court shall not interfere. the unexpired Senate term of Sen. UNIDO. this is NOT the intention of the said laws. COMELEC acted w/in its constitutional powers when it chose to abandon the precedents of the 1951 &1955 special elections & instead adopted the Senate’s Resolution 84 wc shall award to the senatorial candidate garnering the 13th highest number of votes.
Free elections does not only mean that the voter is not physically restrained from going to the polling booth but also that the voter is unrestrained by the bondage of ignorance. In fine. the ponencia’s ruling will not only be a step back in time but also constitute a fall in the nation’s rise to democracy. . c) tallying & canvassing were separated for the regular&special elections. b) candidates for the single Senate term of 2 yrs filed separate & distinct certificates of candidacy. 2) 1951 & 1955 elections: In the 1951 & 1955 elections. The Senate has NO POWER to impose on the COMELEC the procedure for the special election. for under it. wc were supposed to serve as models for special elections: a) a separate space was provided in the official ballot for senatorial candidates running for the 2yr term.Reliance on RA 6645 as amended by RA 7166 is ERRONEOUS. it is the COMELEC and NOT the Senate wc is supposed to call & hold special elections in case of vacancy.
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