This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
: Petitioner Edgar Y. Santos and respondent Pedro Q. Panulaya were both candidates for Mayor of the Municipality of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental in the May 14, 2001 elections. On May 16, 2001, after the votes were counted and canvassed, the Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed respondent Panulaya as the duly elected Mayor. Petitioner filed an election protest before the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental, Branch 26, which was docketed as SPL Election Protest No. 1-M(2001). After trial and revision of the ballots, the trial court found that petitioner garnered 2,181 votes while respondent received only 2,105. Hence, on April 2, 2002, it rendered judgment as follows: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring and proclaiming protestant/petitioner Edgar Y. Santos as the duly elected Municipal Mayor of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, in the mayoralty elections held on May 14, 2001 with the plurality of Seventy Six (76) votes over and above his protagonist-protestee Pedro Q. Panulaya setting aside as null and void the proclamation of protestee made by the Municipal Board of Canvassers on May 16, 2001, ordering to pay protestant/petitioner the costs and expenses that the latter incurred in this protest in accordance with Section 259 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (B.P. 881) and Section 7 of the COMELEC Resolution 1566, to wit: xxx xxx xxx.
The Clerk of Court of this Court is hereby directed to furnish copy of the DECISION to the following: Office of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC); Office of the Commission on Audit; Office of the Department of Interior and Local Government; Office of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Misamis Oriental, in accordance with Section 15 of the COMELEC Resolution 1566. SO ORDERED.
Petitioner thereafter filed a motion for execution pending appeal. Meanwhile, before the trial court could act on petitioner¶s motion, respondent filed on April 22, 2002 with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) a petition for certiorari, docketed as SPR No. 202 2002, assailing the decision of the trial court. Likewise on April 22, 2002, respondent appealed the trial court¶s decision to the COMELEC, where it was docketed as EAC No. A-12-2002. The COMELEC, in SPR No. 20-2002, issued a Writ of Preliminary Injunction, which effectively enjoined the trial court from acting on petitioner¶s motion for execution pending appeal. Subsequently, on August 19, 2002, the COMELEC dismissed SPR No. 20-2002 after finding that the trial court did not commit grave abuse of discretion in rendering the assailed judgment. Moreover, the COMELEC held that the remedy from the decision of the court a quo was to file a notice of appeal, which respondent precisely did in EAC No. A-12-2002. Hence, it directed the trial court to dispose of all pending incidents in SPL Election Protest No. 1-M(2001) with dispatch, to wit: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission (First Division) RESOLVED as it hereby RESOLVES to DISMISS the instant petition for lack of merit. ACCORDINGLY, the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued on 16 May 2002, as well as the Order issued on 27 April 2002 by the Commission (First Division), are hereby set aside and lifted, respectively. The Court a quo is hereby directed to dispose with immediate dispatch all pending incidents in SPL Election Case No. 1-M (2001) entitled "Edgar Y. Santos, Petitioner/Protestant versus Pedro Q. Panulaya, Respondent/Protestee." No pronouncement as to cost. SO ORDERED. (italics ours)
Thus, on August 20, 2002, the trial court issued an Order as follows: WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court hereby upholds and approves the Motion for Execution Pending Appeal. Further, finding good reasons therefor, the Court hereby directs and orders the immediate execution of the Decision promulgated on April 18, 2002, and as prayed for install protestant/petitioner EDGAR Y. SANTOS as the duly elected Mayor of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, to take his oath of office and assume the functions and duties of Mayor after he shall have filed a bond of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00).
It is further prayed that in the event that the public respondent has carried out its Order of ousting petitioner [herein respondent] from his position as Mayor of Balingoan. that the same be nullified and considered of no legal effect. Misamis Oriental. Resolution dated 20 August 2002. Writ of execution dated 21 August 2002. Misamis Oriental. Declaring Resolution dated 20 August 2002. Pending trial and final judgment. the following Orders of the public respondent: 1. Accordingly. On August 21. 4 After petitioner posted the required bond. 3. restraining and/or enjoining the public respondent from further implementing the highly unjust. wherein he prayed: WHEREFORE. foregoing premises considered. . and while his motion for reconsideration and supplemental petition in SPR No. Be nullified and set aside. he filed a supplemental petition in SPR No. 206 7 2002. The petition contained the same prayer as that in the supplemental petition filed in SPR 20-2002. petitioner [herein respondent] respectfully prays unto this Honorable Commission that immediately upon the filing of the herein petition. 2. 20-2002. irregular and oppressive Orders above-quoted. Other reliefs. 8 5 Barely two days later. viz: WHEREFORE. 3. and soon after the issuance. just and equitable are likewise prayed for. It is likewise prayed that a STATUS QUO ANTE ORDER be issued by the Honorable Commission in order to reinstate the petitioner to his rightful position as Mayor of Balingoan. 2002. 20-2002 9 were pending. the trial court issued the Writ of Execution.SO ORDERED. irregular and oppressively prepared in utter violation of the Constitutional provisions on equal protection of the laws and due process. respondent filed another petition with the COMELEC. petitioner took his oath of office and thereafter assumed the duties and functions of his office. It is further prayed that in the event that the public respondent has carried out its Order of ousting petitioner [herein respondent] from his position as Mayor of Balingoan. respondent filed with the COMELEC a motion for reconsideration of the dismissal of his petition in SPR No. Making the Writ of Preliminary Prohibitory Injunction permanent. foregoing premises considered. 2. 2002. a Writ of Preliminary Injunction be issued prohibiting. 37-2002. or on August 26. After five days. It is likewise prayed that a STATUS QUO ANTE ORDER be issued by the Honorable Commission in order to reinstate the petitioner to his rightful position as Mayor of Balingoan. petitioner [herein respondent] respectfully prays unto this Honorable Commission that the following Orders of the public respondent: 1. as null and void for being highly unjust. 2. on August 28. thereby installing petitioner as Municipal Mayor of Balingoan. judgment be rendered in favor of the petitioner [herein respondent] and against the respondent [herein petitioner] as follows: 1. Order dated 20 August 2002. Writ of execution dated 21 August 2002. that the same be nullified and considered of no legal effect. 2002. Misamis Oriental. but during the effectivity of the Temporary Restraining Order. and Writ of Execution dated 21 August 2002. docketed as SPR No. Misamis Oriental. Order dated 20 August 2002. Resolution dated 20 August 2002. Be nullified and set aside. Upon due notice and hearing. Misamis Oriental. Order dated 20 August 2002. and for having been rendered with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
SANTOS is hereby ordered to cease and desist from assuming the duties and functions of the office of Mayor of Balingoan. praying for the nullification of the trial court¶s order for the execution of its decision pending appeal. (b) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for. SANTOS versus PEDRO Q. 2002 are hereby set aside. 2002 Resolution of the respondent judge granting the Motion for Execution Pending Appeal as well as his Order also dated August 20. both of which were at his own instance. 2002. 20-2002. In doing so. Two days after filing the supplemental petition. respondent obtained an adverse decision when his petition in SPR No. It may also be the institution of two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. Such other reliefs and remedies. 1-M (2001) entitled "EDGAR Y. And (2) To Refer This Motion To The Commission 13 En Banc Under Section 2. on September 9. it adversely affects the efficient administration of justice since it clogs the court 16 dockets. The . 2002. are likewise prayed for. Private Respondent Edgar Y. PANULAYA. brought the instant special civil action for certiorari with this Court. ELECTION CASE NO. the Commission (First Division) hereby directs the parties to maintain the status quo ante. He filed the second petition on the supposition that the COMELEC might look with favor upon his reliefs. Pertinent portion of the Order reads: In the interest of justice and so as not to render moot and academic the issues raised in the petition. the August 20. In the case at bar. and while the same was very much pending before the COMELEC. For it to exist. He thereafter filed a motion for reconsideration and a supplemental petition. as shown above. and 4.3. SO ORDERED. 2002 and the Writ of Execution issued pursuant thereto dated August 21. the COMELEC issued the assailed Order directing the parties to maintain the status quo ante and enjoining petitioner from assuming the functions of Mayor." Accordingly. the relief being founded on the same facts. and (c) identity of the two preceding particulars such that any judgment rendered in the other action will. unduly burdens the financial and human resources of the judiciary. Meanwhile. Misamis Oriental until the final determination of the election appeal case. citing our ruling in Kho v. The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is hereby requested to assist in the peaceful and orderly implementation of this Resolution. the COMELEC issued a Resolution in SPR No. Misamis Oriental 11 until further orders from this Commission. wherein he pleaded the same reliefs prayed for in the supplemental petition. there should be (a) identity of parties. However. private respondent EDGAR Y. in SPL. irregular and oppressive Orders above-mentioned are concerned (sic). premises considered. 2002. sought to increase his chances of securing a favorable decision in another petition. before allowing the COMELEC to fully resolve the incidents in SPR No. that respondent was guilty of forum-shopping when he instituted SPR No. 37-2002 with the COMELEC. docketed as SPR No. the COMELEC First Division did not refer the said motion 12 to the COMELEC En Banc. 20-2002 was dismissed by the COMELEC. as are just and equitable in the premises. the Petition is hereby GRANTED. 37-2002. 10 On September 3. he filed a wholly separate petition for certiorari. 15 regardless of which party is successful. Ordering the respondents to pay the costs of suit. COMELEC. Forum-shopping is an act of a party against whom an adverse judgment or order has been rendered in one forum of seeking and possibly getting a favorable opinion in another forum. and trifles with and mocks judicial processes. Accordingly. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the above Order. 2002. Santos is enjoined from assuming the function of mayor of Balingoan. respondent. petitioner filed an "Omnibus Motion (1) To Dissolve The Status Quo Order As It Was Based On An Unverified And Dismissed Petition With Pending Motion For Reconsideration. 14 The petition is impressed with merit. effective immediately. This resolution shall be immediately executory. Rule 3 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure." On October 14. Forum-shopping is considered a pernicious evil. 2002 directing the issuance of the Writ of Execution and his Writ of Execution dated August 21. Hence. 37-2002. amount to res judicata in the action under consideration. A writ of Prohibition be issued specifically commanding public respondent to cease and desist from further implementing the highly unjust. which is the condition prevailing before the issuance and implementation of the questioned Order of the court a quo dated August 20. other than by appeal or special civil action for certiorari. or at least such parties as would represent the same interest in both actions. It is at once apparent from the records. petitioner. This is plainly evident from the respective prayers in the supplemental petition and the petition for certiorari as reproduced hereinabove. the dispositive portion of which states: WHEREFORE.
i. Respondent appealed the said decision to the COMELEC. 20 Mere abuse of discretion is not enough. his petition should have been 18 dismissed outright by the COMELEC. as determined by the trial court in the election protest. apart from his being allowed ample time for conscientious study and mature deliberation before rendering judgment. it held: It is of judicial notice that for the public official elected last May 14. had to be respected and given meaning. good reasons therefor. Misamis Oriental. it must first be proved that the trial court gravely abused its discretion. needed the services of a mayor even while the election protest was pending. one cannot but perceive the wisdom of allowing the immediate execution of decisions in election cases adverse to the protestees. "to give as much recognition to the worth of a trial judge¶s decision as that which is initially ascribed by the law to the proclamation by the board of canvassers. as long as there are. apart from their being more apt to yield to extraneous considerations. 2001 elections only a short period is left. Considering that respondent was indubitably guilty of forum-shopping when he filed SPR No." The following constitute "good reasons" and a combination of two or more of them will suffice to grant execution pending appeal: (1. . on the other hand. He should show not merely a reversible error committed by the trial court. the three-year term of the Office of the Mayor continued to run. notwithstanding the perfection and pendency of appeals therefrom. COMELEC. the judge has benefit of all the evidence the parties can offer and of admittedly better technical preparation and background. The decision of the trial court in Election Protest No.) the length of time that the election contest has been pending 23 (italics supplied). the COMELEC set aside the aforesaid order. "Grave abuse of discretion" implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. it is the court¶s decision that should prevail. The petition for certiorari in SPR No. This was sufficiently explained in the case of Ramas v. However. the settled rule that the mere filing of the notice of appeal does not divest the trial court of its jurisdiction over the case and to resolve pending incidents.e.most important factor in determining the existence of forum shopping is the vexation caused the courts and parties-litigants by a 17 party who asks different courts to rule on the same or related causes or grant the same or substantially the same reliefs. as stated in Gahol v. The Municipality of Balingoan. We disagree. and not the decision of a court of justice? Indeed. In its order granting execution pending appeal. (2." Thus: Why should the proclamation by the board of canvassers suffice as basis of the right to assume office. In the meantime. and that the board must act summarily. or after almost one year of trial and revision of the questioned ballots. COMELEC that: A valid exercise of the discretion to allow execution pending appeal requires that it should be based "upon good reasons to be stated in a special order. Willful and deliberate forum-shopping is a ground for summary dismissal of the case. saying that shortness of term alone is not a good reason for execution of a judgment pending appeal. 37-2002 assailed the trial court¶s orders for the execution of its decision pending appeal. While it was indeed held that shortness of the remaining term of office and posting a bond are not good reasons. The grant of execution pending appeal was well within the discretionary powers of the trial court. subject to future contingencies attendant to a protest.. To deprive trial courts of their discretion to grant execution pending appeal would. The will of the electorate. Relative to this Court¶s jurisdiction over the instant case. Riodique. and it had to be the candidate judicially determined to have been chosen by the people. 37-2002.) the shortness of the remaining portion of the term of the contested office. or where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility which must be so patent and gross as to amount to an invasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. in the sound discretion of the court. when it is considered that the board of canvassers is composed of persons who are less technically prepared to make an accurate appreciation of the ballots. and (3. It found petitioner as the candidate with the plurality of votes. We find that no grave abuse of discretion was committed by the trial court. while. In order to obtain the annulment of said orders in a petition for certiorari. 2002. we clearly stated in 22 Fermo v. and 19 constitutes direct contempt of court. 26 COMELEC." The rationale why such execution is 25 allowed in election cases is. 289 SCRA 745) need not be overemphasized. 24 COMELEC in this wise: All that was required for a valid exercise of the discretion to allow execution pending appeal was that the immediate execution should be based "upon good reasons to be stated in a special order.) public interest involved or will of the electorate. practically racing against time. Between the determination by the trial court of who of the candidates won the elections and the finding of the Board of Canvassers as to whom to proclaim. motion for execution pending appeal 21 (Asmala vs. in the words of Tobon Uy v. 1-M(2001) was rendered on April 2. but a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
in relation to Rule 65. 0052A. and intimidation. on July 17. 1-M(2001). HIPE. and in setting aside the trial court¶s order granting execution pending appeal. granting the execution pending appeal of its decision in Election Protest No. petitioner Hipe filed a Motion for Reconsideration. the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in giving due course. The Order dated August 20. Northern Samar (MBOC). of the Rules of Court seeking to nullify and 1 enjoin the implementation of the January 30. intimidation or coercion. Hipe and respondent Ma. 2007. Vicencio. and that the grounds used to exclude the questioned returns were not proper for a pre-proclamation controversy. the Second Division of COMELEC dismissed the appeal for being filed out of time. SO ORDERED. are REINSTATED. in view of the foregoing. were not supported by credible evidence. CRISTINA L. the petition in SPR No. VICENCIO. lay to 27 waste the will of the electorate. the COMELEC En Banc resolved to deny petitioner Hipe¶s Motion for 10 Reconsideration. 2008 Resolution issued by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) En Banc.bring back the ghost of the "grab-the-proclamation-prolong the protest" techniques so often resorted to by devious politicians in the past in their efforts to perpetuate their hold to an elective office. 0080A. 0058A. 2008. petitioner Hipe filed his Verified Appeal with the COMELEC. 2007 elections. on May 29. HECTOR T. Thus. The full enforcement of the said Writ must forthwith be made. docketed as SPC No.: The Case Before us is a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 64. 2007 Resolution. 2007. and the Writ of Execution dated August 21. Respondents. respondent Vicencio was 9 proclaimed as the mayor. 07-206 entitled "In the Matter of the Petitions to Exclude Election Returns. and the Commission on Elections shall dispose of the appeal in EAC No. Petitioner. 0037B. On January 30. 2002. 2007 Resolution issued by its Second Division. In the challenged Resolution." arguing that the written petition to exclude the election returns was filed out of time. Hipe vs. and that the election was marred by massive vote buying. Cristina L. 2002 of the Commission on Elections in SPR No. the MBOC ruled in favor of Vicencio and excluded the seven election returns adverted to. Vicencio petitioned for the exclusion of seven election returns of Precinct Nos. J. The court of origin shall transmit immediately to the Commission on Elections the records of SPL Election Case No. In a July 11. Hector T. 2007. On the same day. threats. Thereafter. During the canvass proceedings of the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Catubig. 0053A. 37-2002 despite the clear showing that respondent was guilty of forum-shopping. threats. Vicencio were candidates for the mayoralty post in Catubig. WHEREFORE. vs. A-12-2002 with deliberate dispatch. 7 6 Subsequently. Ma. The Order dated September 3. Vicencio 4 presented affidavits of some of the members of the Board of Election Inspectors. 2002 and the Resolution dated October 14. Cristina L. petitioner Hipe filed a notice of appeal. As stated in the dispositive portion of the said Resolution: WHEREFORE. This Decision shall be immediately executory. 37-2002 are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE and the said case is ordered DISMISSED on the ground of forum-shopping. terrorism. 2002 of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental. preventing voters from 3 voting. The Facts Petitioner Hector T. 0081A and 0082A on the grounds that they were prepared under duress. DECISION VELASCO. which 2 affirmed the July 11. widespread coercion. On even date. the COMELEC En Banc held that the ruling of the MBOC had already attained finality considering that the filing of the Verified Appeal with the COMELEC was five days late. the instant Verified Appeal is hereby dismissed for being filed out of time. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and MA. and were 5 beyond the jurisdiction of the MBOC. so that the said returns did not reflect the will of the electorate.. JR. It stated that the filing of the Verified Appeal should have 11 8 . 1-M(2001). On May 19. In support of the said petition for exclusion. premises considered. Northern Samar in the May 14. the instant petition is GRANTED. as a consequence. a sample ballot and an ISO Assessment. instead of dismissing outright. This would. Branch 26.
Desales. In fact. the COMELEC held that the ruling of the MBOC had already become final and executory. The Issue Whether or not the COMELEC En Banc acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing its challenged Resolution dated January 30. He even categorically denied 17 in his Affidavit that he was the counsel of petitioner Hipe. has denied under oath that he ever received a copy of the alleged written ruling. the MBOC has regularly performed its official duty of issuing a written ruling on the prescribed form. its Second Division had not acquired appellate jurisdiction to act on Hipe¶s verified appeal. as well as through an examination of the election returns themselves. there is a disputable presumption that official duty has been regularly performed. 2007. Appeal Should Be Given Due Course In its En Banc Resolution. it is presumed that in its disposition of the contested election returns. Northern Samar. which affirmed the Resolution dated July 11. but should rather be ventilated in an election protest. 12 Aggrieved. and that the MBOC retained sufficient discretion to avail itself of all available means to ascertain the results of the elections through witnesses. the Commission (En Banc) RESOLVED as it hereby RESOLVES. with which petitioner Hipe failed to comply. the COMELEC En Banc opined that when petitioner Hipe filed the Verified Appeal on May 29. the Municipal COMELEC Office still did not have the 20 prescribed form of the ruling. corollary thereto. the counsel who was supposedly furnished the alleged written 16 ruling of the MBOC. reveal that Atty. authenticated by the signatures of its members as required under Section 20(d) of Republic 15 Act No.been made within the inextendible period of five days from the filing of the written and verified notice of appeal with the MBOC. 2007 at the provincial Election Supervisor¶s Office. We disagree. the COMELEC En Banc relied on the Certification issued by Renato I. issued by the Second Division of the Commission on Elections for the exclusion of seven (7) election returns in favor of the appellee. and that. 2007 that a written ruling on the petition for exclusion has been rendered by the MBOC or received by petitioner Hipe. Madronio. SO ORDERED. Maria Cristina L. Venerando B. premises considered. This militates against Madronio¶s statement in his Certification that hard or printed copies of the ruling of the MBOC were furnished to Atty. and the means of proving the fact are equally within the 21 control of each party.m. nothing in the Status of Canvass Report or in the Minutes of the Proceedings of the MBOC on May 19. therefore. as of that time. 18 19 14 showed On the contrary. 7166.B. The records would. The dispositive portion of the January 30. at 10:37 p. In support of its ruling. 2007 issued by its Second Division dismissing petitioner Hipe¶s appeal for being filed out of time. and that they would still have to get the prescribed forms in Catarman. 2007 would reveal that Election Officer Madronio even notified the counsels of petitioner Hipe that. the COMELEC En Banc stated that the ruling of the MBOC was amply supported by the affidavits of the Members of the Board of Election Inspectors. then the burden of proof is upon the party averring the negative fact. Vicencio. V. 2008 Resolution reads: WHEREFORE. In addition. a perusal of the Minutes of the Proceedings of the MBOC on May 19. On this basis. the COMELEC En Banc held that it was already deprived of proper jurisdiction to entertain the instant case since the case should no longer be considered as a pre-proclamation controversy. Our Ruling The petition is partly meritorious. the alleged issuance and service upon the supposed counsel of petitioner Hipe of the written ruling of MBOC was even supported by the aforementioned Certification of the Chairperson of the MBOC. stands and remains valid. 2009. Further. Indeed. attesting that hard or printed copies of the MBOC¶s ruling to exclude the seven contested election returns were received by Atty. When a plaintiff¶s case depends upon the establishment of a negative fact. to deny the instant Motion for Reconsideration filed by Appellant-Movant Hector Hipe. however. Catubig. said filing was already five days late and should no longer be entertained. Desales. and thus. 2008. The questioned Resolution dated July 11. on May 19. Desales on that same day. Acting Election Officer II. Notably. . Hipe filed this petition. counsel 13 for the KAMPI-Liberal Party Coalition.
If indeed such written ruling exists and was indeed furnished to petitioner Hipe or his alleged counsel. Chairman of the BEI for precinct No. we do not agree that the exclusion of the seven (7) election returns in question were not supported by any iota of evidence. the COMELEC should have not dismissed the appeal filed by petitioner Hipe on the ground of belated filing. . 1007 elections only out of fear due to threats upon her person. at the same time. as the framers of the Constitution intended to place the COMELEC²created and explicitly 27 made independent by the Constitution itself²on a level higher than statutory administrative organs.1avvph!1 Furthermore. This spells doom to the appellant¶s cause as it even impacts on the veracity and truthfulness of the other affidavits that the appellant submitted. Falsus in Omnibus" and would now be more inclined to believe the assertions made by the appellee instead 30 of those presented by the appellant. suspend the rules or any of their 23 24 portions in the interest of justice. it then becomes incumbent upon respondent Vicencio to prove otherwise. Such contention is not persuasive. Hence. As aptly stated by Commissioner Rene V. This is amply supported by the affidavits of the Members of the Board of Election Inspectors. Laws governing such disputes must be liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by mere technicalities. later on recanted her testimony. A careful re-examination of the evidence on record reveals that there is sufficient justification to uphold the MBOC ruling to exclude the subject election returns. Disputes in the outcome of elections involve public interest. after a judicious evaluation of the documents on record. The MBOC retains sufficient discretion to avail itself of all available means to ascertain the results of the elections through witnesses as well as examination of the election returns themselves. As correctly observed by the COMELEC En Banc: We also note that even one of the witnesses presented by the appellant. This is especially true in the instant case considering that. it would have been very easy for respondent Vicencio to produce a copy of the written ruling with the signature of petitioner Hipe or his counsel. As found by the COMELEC En Banc: Besides. it is submitted that there is a need to suspend the procedural rules and resolve the merits of the case to promote justice and safeguard the will of the electorate of Catubig. 0037B. petitioner Hipe has the burden of proof to show that he was not furnished with a copy of the written ruling of the MBOC. the Court still rules in favor of respondent Vicencio. they were all made in clear and unequivocal language by public officers who are presumed to have performed such duties in the ordinary and regular execution thereof. Petitioner Hipe claims that no proof was presented nor was there any showing that the seven election returns in question were 25 defective. 26 are beyond this Court¶s scrutiny. binding on the Court. The courts frown upon any interpretation that would hinder in any way not only the free and intelligent casting of votes in any election but also the correct ascertainment of the results thereof. Northern Samar. one of the witnesses petitioner Hipe previously presented later on recanted her testimony and admitted that she had made her previous 29 statement as to the regularity of the conduct of the May 14. which she failed to do in the instant case. which he was able to successfully prove in the instant case. Where there is no abuse of 28 discretion the MBOC is presumed to have acted within its powers and its decision should be treated with some amount of respect. the COMELEC has the discretion to construe its rules liberally and. even if we entertain petitioner Hipe¶s appeal from the decision of the MBOC on the questioned election returns. therefore. as noted by the COMELEC En Banc in its questioned Resolution. "Falsus in Onum. who has now been unmasked to have been less than truthful at one time or another. Desales on May 19. The rule that factual findings of administrative bodies will not be disturbed by courts of justice except when there is absolutely no evidence or no substantial evidence in support of such findings should be applied with greater force when it concerns the COMELEC. Technicalities and procedural barriers should not be allowed to stand if they constitute an obstacle to the determination of the true will of the electorate in the choice of their elective officials. Significantly. 2007. Sarmiento in his Dissenting Opinion: It is well settled that election laws should be reasonably and liberally construed to achieve their purpose ± to effectuate and safeguard the will of the electorate in the choice of their representatives. What exactly these documents and evidence are upon which the COMELEC based its resolution. other than Madronio¶s statement in his Certification that hard or printed copies of the ruling of the MBOC were furnished to Atty. no other evidence was adduced by respondent Vicencio to support her claim. Accordingly. We are reminded of the legal principle that a falsity in one is a falsity in all. and how they have been appreciated in respect of their sufficiency. The COMELEC. The factual finding of the COMELEC is. Be that as it may. that is.In the case at bar. upheld the findings of the MBOC to exclude the subject election returns on the basis of the affidavits of the members of the Board of Election Inspectors. This is because the burden of evidence is shifted if the party upon whom it is lodged was 22 able to adduce preponderant evidence to prove its claim. petitioner Hipe asserted the negative fact. that no copy of the written ruling of the MBOC was sent to him or his counsel. Melanie Robion. The Exclusion of the Seven Election Returns Was Amply Supported by Evidence Nevertheless. Thus.
MIGUEL P.m. correct±±nay. The contention of petitioner Hipe that said election returns were excluded from the canvass merely on the basis of pure procedural technicalities is. 2008 COMELEC En Banc Resolution and the July 11. by 36 seeing to it that the canvass is based on the election returns as actually certified by the members of the board of inspectors. REY L. 2007 at around 7:00 p. 0052A. the relaxation of the rules becomes all the more necessary in the instant case. In order that the result of the canvass would reflect the true expression of the people¶s will in the choice of their elective 35 officials. the canvass must be based on true. only on the following day. the Court is guided by two principles particular to election cases: the recognition of the COMELEC¶s specialized role in the supervision of elections. JR. AFFIRMED insofar as it declared the exclusion of the seven election returns of Precinct Nos. 2007 COMELEC Second Division Resolution are hereby SET ASIDE insofar as they dismissed petitioner Hipe¶s appeal. The January 30. petitioners. It is in these proceedings that the COMELEC exercises its supervisory and administrative power in the enforcement of laws relative to the conduct of elections. BOLLOZOS. 0037B.: An election protest was filed by three unsuccessful candidates for seats in the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Gingoog City. J. there is ample evidence to support the findings of the COMELEC that the seven election returns in question should be excluded. While the records reveal that respondent Vicencio manifested her oral objections on May 15. unfounded. Respondent Vicencio Substantially Complied with the Requirement that Objections Be Made in Writing Petitioner Hipe contends that the written petition to exclude the election returns was filed beyond the prescribed time or almost 24 hours after the oral petition to exclude was manifested by the counsels of respondent Vicencio. this should suffice in upholding the latter¶s proclamation. including the evidence itself. 0058A. and submitted the documentary evidence in support of the protest at 2:45 p.m. and soon thereafter. the Court nevertheless considers the foregoing acts of Vicencio as substantial compliance with the requirement that objections be reduced into writing. The January 30. In Marabur v. Notably. PADERANGA. MORTIZ. genuine. This contention is without merit. Technicalities and procedural barriers should not be allowed to stand in the way if they constitute an obstacle to the determination of 34 the electorate¶s true will in the choice of its elective officials. Private respondents 33 32 .. 0081A and 0082A to be valid. and the liberal construction of election laws to the end that the will of the people may not be defeated by mere technical objections. respondent¶s submission of his formal offer of evidence. RESOLUTION TINGA. however. absent a finding of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the COMELEC En Banc. ISIDRO IDULZA and GODOFREDO CABANA. the documentary evidence in support of the written objections. directed at three proclaimed candidates. filed the written objections on May 16. within the prescribed period constituted substantial compliance with the requirement that objections be reduced into writing. COMELEC.m. 2008 COMELEC En Banc Resolution is. we held that while respondent failed to submit his written objections. hence. 0080A. WHEREFORE.Considering the foregoing discussion.. The COMELEC found merit in the protest and ordered the protestees to vacate their posts. therefore. GARCIA. In reviewing the COMELEC¶s actions. in order not to frustrate the electorate¶s will.. 2007 at 6:40 p. the petition is PARTLY GRANTED. considering that respondent Vicencio has even filed his written objections within the prescribed period. the latter¶s objections were 31 raised out of time. ASUNCION and CIFERINO L. JOJAC Q. respondents. petitioners Isidro Idulza ("Idulza") and Godofredo Cabana ("Cabana") were proclaimed as the seventh (7th) and eighth (8th) winning candidates for the office of members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Gingoog City. It should be borne in mind that the object of the canvass is to determine the result of the elections based on the official election returns. 0053A. untampered±±election returns. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and TERESITA A. Taking into consideration the findings of the COMELEC En Banc that there was ample evidence to support the exclusion of the seven election returns in question based on the grounds raised by respondent Vicencio. vs. On 17 May 2001.
Garcia. all losing candidates for the same office.16. the protestees. ("Garcia"). 8 and 9 in the City Council. She therefore asserted that she should have been proclaimed as the ninth (9th) winning candidate in lieu of Asuncion.502 PROTESTEES: Idulsa Maquiso Cabana . wins the seventh (7th) rank in the City Council. Bollozos ("Bollozos"). Consequently.16. filed an election protest with the COMELEC on 25 May 2001. the instant protest is hereby GRANTED.16. Rey Y. Asuncion 3. Jr. with her Motion for Intervention appended thereto. Gingoog City. Paderanga 2. the petitioners also specifically questioned the proclamation of Mortiz. who garnered more votes than the three Protestants herein. it was argued. and Asuncion was elected. and Godofredo Cabana are hereby ordered to vacate their positions as Councilors No. in the following order: 1. who should have placed tenth (10th) instead. Protestees Isidro Idulsa.17. Besben Maquiso.260 . .16. It determined that the parties garnered the following number of votes: PROTESTANTS: Paderanga Asuncion Garcia . yet her vote total according to the records had surpassed the number of votes ascribed to Asuncion and Garcia. the Second Division determined that one Rey Y. Mortiz ("Mortiz"). who was not a party to the election protest. who was not a party to the election protest. who had placed ninth (9th) in the canvass results. On 17 February 2003. The election protest was docketed as COMELEC Case No.16.Miguel Paderanga ("Paderanga"). 9th place ± Jojac Q. private respondent Teresita A. Petitioners also noted therein that Asuncion and Garcia had filed certificates of candidacy for Punong Barangay and Barangay Kagawad respectively in the 15 July 2002 barangay elections. EPC 2001-3. As a result. 8th place ± Miguel P. Apparently. After conducting the revision of ballots. 3 Obviously aggrieved. 10th place ± Ceferino (sic) L. the Second Division disposed of the election protest in this wise: WHEREFORE.266 1 At the same time. Asuncion and Garcia are hereby declared winners and councilors-elect of Gingoog City. Aside from contesting the Second Division¶s appreciation of the contested ballots. Mortiz.266 . and Ciferino L. though he had not been impleaded in the protest as he was a party-mate of the protestants. EPC 2001-3. the COMELEC Second Division ("Second Division") on 16 January 2003 promulgated a Resolution that settled the election protest at that point. filed a Motion for Reconsideration before the COMELEC En Banc on 21 January 2003.013 . Jr. against the two petitioners therein and Besben Maquiso ("Maquiso"). Jojac Asuncion ("Asuncion"). had garnered more votes than the three protestants. filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene in `COMELEC Case No. Mortiz had placed tenth (10th) in the city 2 council election. As a consequence of the final numerical results of the votes obtained by the winning candidates vis-à-vis the number of those authorized to be elected. SO ORDERED. who was not a party to the election protest. before the COMELEC En Banc had resolved the Motion for Reconsideration. 7. She alleged therein that she too was a losing candidate for the Gingoog 5 City Sanggunian.567 . Garcia. per the Certificate of Canvass. Asuncion and Garcia should be deemed to have abandoned their election 4 protest. Protestants Paderanga.
Presumptively. They also question the 8 manner of appreciation by the COMELEC of the contested ballots. It would be patently ridiculous for the Court or the COMELEC to hold that he should still be deemed as the tenth (10th) placer when the amended vote totals reveal that he had garnered more votes than the new eighth (8th) placer. credible elections and a just outcome centered around the proper proclamation of a candidate whom the voters have chosen to serve as their councilor.567 votes and [Garcia¶s] 16. a specialized agency tasked with the supervision of elections all over the country.023) votes«. At the same time. Petitioners are unable to point out why the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of the contested ballots. the Rules of Court provides that a motion to intervene be filed at any time before rendition of judgment of the trial court. the suppletory role of the Rules of Court in this case must be dispensed with if its application would frustrate the electoral 15 .502 votes. and Bollozos was proclaimed as the ninth (9th) place candidate. He was not a losing candidate elevated into victory. Election protests are guided by an extra-ordinary rule of interpretation that statutes providing for election contests are to be liberally 12 construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice of public officers may not be defeated by mere technical objections. in allowing the Bollozos Intervention.On 18 September 2003. orderly. even if Mortiz had not been a party to the election protest. clearly outnumbering [Asuncion¶s] 6 16. Notwithstanding the dissenting opinion. the thirty (30)-page majority opinion is just as detailed in providing for the general principles applicable in appreciating the ballots. assailing the Resolutions of the COMELEC. Statutory prescription on the right to intervene in an election protest is provided only by the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. The findings of fact of the COMELEC 10 when supported by substantial evidence are final and non-reviewable. peaceful and credible elections and to achieve just. Finally. Petitioners now come before this Court on a Petition for Certiorari. without particularly explaining why we should substitute the findings of one commissioner in lieu of those of the COMELEC speaking as a collegial body. the COMELEC En Banc issued a Resolution partially affirming the Second Division¶s Resolution. the COMELEC Rules of Procedure are to be construed liberally "in order to promote the effective and efficient implementation of the objectives of ensuring the holding of free. as he has been deemed to have abandoned his protest due to his successful candidacy for Punong Barangay in the 15 July 2002 elections. and the elevation of councilor Mortiz from tenth (10th) to seventh (7th) place is in consonance with the electoral mandate. However. Mortiz¶s vote total remained unchanged despite the protest. Accordingly. too detailed to the point of being pernickety. the former having no participation in the 7 election protest. We are unable to see how such declaration by the COMELEC could constitute grave abuse of discretion. considering that her uncontested vote total had exceeded that of Asuncion. are supported by substantial evidence and thus beyond the ken of review by the Court." Bollozos¶ Motion for Intervention was thus granted. Admittedly. Besides. The people of Gingoog City had chosen Bollozos to serve as their councilor. The appreciation of contested ballots and election documents involves a question of fact best left to the determination of the 9 COMELEC. and it was but proper for the COMELEC to recognize that electoral will and accordingly amend the Second Division¶s Resolution. has become the seventh (7th) placer. For that reason. It held that the Second Division committed no reversible error as to the appreciation of the contested ballots. honest. the COMELEC did not stretch itself by applying an overarching equitable principle that would have disturbed the judicially sedate. the COMELEC also considered Bollozos¶ claim as meritorious. while the latter having filed her motion for intervention beyond the period provided by law. His disagreement with the majority is purely factual in basis. considering that the Court is not a trier of facts. the ninth (9th) placer according to the Second Division. which the Court has not granted. It would have been explicitly anomalous had Bollozos not been seated in the City Council. Thus. The aforementioned rule does state that the motion for 13 intervention be filed before or during the trial of an action or proceeding. Section 1. the COMELEC En Banc also ruled that Asuncion should not be proclaimed. The petitioners were dislodged from their respective seats because the private respondents garnered more votes than them. as he apparently was already proclaimed a duly elected city 11 councilor in May of 2001. the tenth (10th) place was declared vacant. Petitioners want this Court to review the specific appreciation by the Second Division of ballots cast in forty-eight (48) precincts in Gingoog City. they applied for a Temporary Restraining Order. but on the specific application of principles of election law vis-à-vis particular ballots. particularly Rule 8. "[r]ecords reveal that Bollozos garnered a total of seventeen thousand twenty-three (17. and in declaring Mortiz as the seventh (7th) place councilor. At the same time. and in explaining why each particular contested ballot was interpreted in the particular way that it was. However. The bar for this manner of review is quite high. petitioners merely direct us to examine the contrary conclusions made by Commissioner Florentino Tuason in his dissenting opinion. They assert that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in proclaiming Mortiz and Bollozos. An examination of the Tuason dissent reveals that it is predicated not on any broad question of law. the Court sustains the allowance by the COMELEC of Bollozos Intervention. Yet before this Court. the Court is bound by the findings of the COMELEC as to how many votes the parties had obtained in the city council election. On the other hand. as according to it. who had originally placed tenth (10th). the vote totals as amended after the revision more accurately reflect the true will of the voters of Gingoog City. as affirmed by the COMELEC En Banc. expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition 14 of every action and proceeding" before the COMELEC. His elevation to seventh (7th) place is but a necessary consequence of the finding of the COMELEC that the petitioners had actually obtained less number of votes than as reflected in the first canvass results. considering that his original vote total still surpassed that of the protestants. The COMELEC had also noted that Mortiz. the Second Division¶s factual findings. The allowance of the motion for intervention was clearly geared towards fostering honest.
J. (47 Phil. been a legal candidate for the office in question. (b) that the court had no jurisdiction over the persons of the defendant members of the extinguished provincial board of canvassers of La Union. allowed intervention notwithstanding the rendition of judgment by the trial court . Section 41 of Act No. the Court has. LUCERO. as required by law. Yet election cases are of such an exceptional character that the supervening State interest is to ensure that the true results of its elections are given efficacy. a certified copy of which is Exhibit A. TOMAS DE GUZMAN. Lucero did not file a certificate of candidacy duly sworn to. was prepared and filed in accordance with the requirements of the law. none of the parties question the COMELEC En Banc¶s declaration of vacancy of the tenth (10th) seat in the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Gingoog City on the premise that the tenth (10th) placer Asuncion¶s subsequent active candidacy and election as Punong Barangay should be deemed an abandonment of his protest. on account of broad claims of equity. to proclaim and certify the petitioner elected for the office of provincial governor of La Union in accordance with law. We find that the COMELEC¶s grant of the Bollozos Intervention is in accord with this superior principle which is grounded on the imperative to seek and make the sovereign will of the people prevail. while the certificate of candidacy of the petitioner Tomas de Guzman. . that the original of the certificate of candidacy of the respondent Juan T. The meaning of the phrase "a certificate of candidacy duly verified. Gregorio Talavera for respondents. in exceptional 16 cases. VILLAMOR. And said section 404. 19 for the simple reason that the electorate of Gingoog City did not elect him as one of the ten (10) city councilors. Lucero has not.: This proceedings is for the purpose of having this court issue a mandamus addressed to the provincial board of canvassers of the Province of La Union. that in view of these facts the respondent Juan T. as the Solicitor General points out in his Comment filed in behalf of the COMELEC. unless within the time fixed by the law. he shall file a certificate of candidacy duly verified. the original of which is Exhibit B. Lucero. 3030. At the same time. Lucero filed his certificate of candidacy in the office of the secretary of the provincial board of La Union on April 15. whether the writ applied for should be issued. and could not have been certified elected for the office of provincial governor.771 votes. and filed their certificates of candidacy in accordance with the provisions of section 404 of this law. the COMELEC En Banc cited the Court¶s 18 majority opinion in the case of Defensor-Santiago v. de Guzman for petitioner. The Court is not ordinarily predisposed. to disregard infractions of procedural rules. Lucero. or even after the case had become final 17 and executory. As ground of the petition. Lucero. . WHEREFORE. the provincial secretary having issued the proper receipt for the filing of said certificate. together with a statement of the expenses attached thereto (Exhibit 2). shall certify elected for the offices of senator or member of the House of Representatives and for provincial officers only those who shall have obtained the highest number of votes. Further. therefore. it is alleged that the respondent provincial board of canvassers met on June 22. seems clear that the respondent filed his certificate in accordance with the Spanish text of section 404 of the Election Law. vs. . the respondent provincial board of canvassers willfully and illegally adjudicated the 8. amending section 471 of the Election Law. Finally. representative or any provincial office. and could not have. to the effect that ". 3030. To this complaint the respondent filed a demurrer on the ground: (a) That the court had no jurisdiction over the subject-matter in litigation. 849).will. was not duly sworn to." is explained by this court in Viola vs.. it found that the petitioner had obtained 7. Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur and Adolfo. Ramos. and afterwards illegally proclaimed and certified him as governor-elect of the Province of La Union. 1925. PROVINCIAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF LA UNION and JUAN T. provides that no person shall be eligible for the office of senator. according to the allegations of the petitioner the respondent Juan T. provides that the provincial board of canvassers or the Governor-General. for the purpose of counting the votes cast in the election for provincial officers and certifying the result of the count. ordering it to meet and reject and annul all the votes adjudicated to the respondent Juan T. 1925." In the instant case. 8. the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. respondents. as amended by section 3 of the same Act No. as the case may be. and after correcting the election return. as amended by section 3 of act No. and after gathering all the election returns. The question to be decided in this proceeding is whether or not the respondent has filed a certificate of candidacy in accordance with the law. the eleventh (11th) placer Garcia cannot be elevated to the tenth (10th) spot. and in case he has not. only when the corresponding receipt has been issued and the certificate filed can it be presumed that it has been duly verified and filed. The parties adduced no compelling reason for the Court to disturb this conclusion of the COMELEC. petitioner. as provided in section 404 of the Election Law. and (c) that the facts alleged in the complaint did not constitute a cause of action.771 votes to the respondent.662 votes and the respondent Juan T. A. 3030. that notwithstanding that Juan T. In so holding. It.
affecting the vote. So ordered. 1991 . When the voters have honestly cast their ballots. Lucero was defective. and such departure has not been used as a means for fraudulent practices or for the intimidation of voters. Lucero was illegal. Lucero had obtained the majority of the legal votes. The law provides a remedy. vs. for it may be seen that they are clearly untenable. Granting that the English text of the law in this case makes clear the Spanish text "Certificado de candidatura debidamente acreditado" (certificate of candidacy duly verified). ACLAN and NOEL A.. which have been considered by this court as of a mandatory character until the ballot is placed in the ballot box. petitioner. and the will of the honest voter. Of course the conclusion which we have arrived at tends to sustain the third ground of the demurrer of the respondent. Lucero as candidate. should be protected and upheld. and considering that in view of our ruling upon the only legal question raised in this proceeding. respondent herein. or when the purpose and spirit of the law would be plainly defeated by a substantial departure from the prescribed method. G. if that is possible. but we have held that the validity of the count cannot be questioned.. public interest must be made to prevail over that of the defeated candidate. and after the result of the election was published by the provincial board of canvassers. There are certain requirements of the law. 521). COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. This irregularity might have justified the elimination of the name of Juan T. The situation is somewhat like that of a voter placing his ballot in the box. In the case before us the certificate of the respondent Juan T. but which cannot be cured after its termination. by criminal action. and it is clear that there has been a free and honest expression of the popular will. are mandatory. 208). the will of the people cannot be frustrated by a technicality consisting in that his certificate of candidacy had not been properly sworn to. the law will be held directory and such departure will be considered a harmless irregularity. as amended by section 3 of Act No. When the Election Law does not provide that a departure from a prescribed form will be fatal and such departure has been due to an honest mistake or misinterpretation of the Election Law on the part of him who was obligated to observe it. lawph!1. nor the vote stricken out after the ballots had been placed in the ballot boxes. innocent voters will be deprived of their votes without any fault on their part. They should be prosecuted criminally. ALEXANDER APELADO. and therefore must be complied with the provincial board. this case is definitely adjudicated. We hold that the legal provision here in question is mandatory and non-compliance therewith before the election would have been fatal to the recognition of the status of Juan T. it will be seen that said section 3 of Act No. and that he should quit the office for which he was elected. they are held to be directory only. 95063 December 2." indicating by these two words that the certificate of candidacy must be sworn to. No. the same should not be nullified simply because the officers appointed under the law to direct the election and guard the purity of the ballot have not done their duty. FELIPE EVARDONE. Yet we are of the opinion that this irregularity does not invalidate the election for the fundamental reason that after it was proven by the count of the votes that Juan T. and we cannot declare that the election of the respondent Juan T. This court in the case of Gardiner vs. said: The provisions of the Election Law declaring that a certain irregularity in an election procedure is fatal to the validity of the ballot or of the returns.But the petitioner argues that section 404 of the Election Law. After the termination of the election. as expressed through his ballot. Romulo (26 Phil. the result of the election cannot be defeated by the fact that the respondent who was certified by the provincial secretary to be a legal candidate for the office of provincial governor. is mandatory in its terms. against them. The demurrer of the respondent is therefore sustained upon the third ground. and the writ of mandamus applied for is denied with the costs against the petitioner. especially where. which defect could have been corrected before the election. has not sworn to his certificate of candidacy. which establish rules of interpretation of election laws. for the conduct of elections. But after the people have expressed their will honestly. 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. NIVAL. Lucero as a legal candidate for the office of provincial governor. respondents. respondents herein. the complaint cannot be amended. following authoritative decisions of the United States. 3030. if an objection on the part of the petitioner Tomas de Guzman had been made in due time.net And in Lino Luna vs. lacking the formality of the oath.R. if they are held to be mandatory. but when it is sought to enforce them after the election. VICTORINO E. this court laid down the following doctrine: It has been announced in many decisions that the rules and regulations. We will not enter upon the discussion of the two first grounds of said demurrer. are mandatory before the election. Rodriguez. 3030 requires the candidate to file a "certificate of candidacy duly verified. simply for non-compliance with such provisions. simply by reason of a defect in his certificate of candidacy. (39 Phil.
Evardone filed before this Court a petition for prohibition with urgent prayer for immediate issuance of restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. He assumed office immediately after proclamation. Vedasto B. In an en banc resolution (No.R. On 14 February 1990. the Commission on Election. the respondent COMELEC denied said motion holding that: . 2272 dated 23 May 1990. this Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO). Eastern Samar. et al. APELADO. 1 Hence. Election Registrar of Sulat. No. 90-0557 issued by the respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) dated 20 June 1990 which approved the recommendation of the Election Registrar of Sulat.R. .R. Municipality of Sulat. 95063 which seeks to set aside en banc Resolution No. effective immediately and continuing until further orders from the Court. On the same day (12 July 1990). the respondent COMELEC issued Resolution No. respondents. petitioners. On 10 July 1990. Eastern Samar for being violative of the order (the TRO) of this Court in G. Sumbilla. on 14 July 1990. No. Felipe Evardone (hereinafter referred to as Evardone) is the mayor of the Municipality of Sulat.R.ALEXANDER R. the notice of TRO was received by the Central Office of the respondent COMELEC. Aclan and Noel A. et al. 90-0777 denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration. No. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and MAYOR FELIPE EVARDONE. In G. J.) filed a petition for the recall of Evardone with the Office of the Local Election Registrar. 90-0660 of respondent COMELEC. on the basis of the temporary restraining order issued by this Court on 12 July 1990 in G. The critical date to consider is the service or notice of the Restraining Order on 12 July 1990 upon the principal i. the respondent COMELEC nullified the signing process held in Sulat. No. 90-0557. to hold on 14 July 1990 the signing of the petition for recall against incumbent Mayor Evardone of the said Municipality. 94010. vs. which was docketed as G.R. having been elected to the position during the 1988 local elections. approving the recommendation of Mr. 94010 is a petition for prohibition with an urgent prayer for immediate issuance of a restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction to restrain the holding of the signing of the petition for recall on 14 July 1990. 95063. The COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in approving the recommendation of the Election Registrar of Sulat. Eastern Samar. PADILLA. Victozino E. 94010. 90-0660) dated 26 July 1990. 94010. and not upon its agent in the field.R. VICTORINO E. Eastern Samar for the recall of Mayor Evardone of said municipality and en banc Resolution No. the present petition for review on certiorari in G. G. . No. Evardone contends that: I. On 12 July 1990. pursuant to respondent COMELEC's Resolution No. 95063 is a petition for review on certiorari which seeks to set aside en banc Resolution No.:p These two (2) consolidated petitions have their origin in en banc Resolution No. But it was only on 15 July 1990 that the field agent of the respondent COMELEC received the telegraphic notice of the TRO²a day after the completion of the signing process sought to be temporarily stopped by the TRO. Apelado. 94010. ordering the respondents to cease and desist from holding the signing of the petition for recall on 14 July 1990. Nival (hereinafter referred to as Apelado. Eastern Samar to hold and conduct the signing of the petition for recall of the incumbent Mayor of Sulat. No. No. G. Zosimo G.R.R.e. Eastern Samar to hold the signing of the petition for recall without giving petitioner his day in court. Elmer C. Apelado. No. Solidon for petitioners in G. NIVAL. filed a motion for reconsideration and on 29 August 1990. Alegre for Felipe Evardone. Alexander R. In a meeting held on 20 June 1990. 90-0660 of the respondent COMELEC nullifying the signing process held on 14 July 1990 in Sulat. ACLAN and NOEL A. .. Eastern Samar.
Title Four of said Act. Sections 54 to 59 of Batas Pambansa No. the effectiveness of B. no local government code enacted by Congress after the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution nor any law for that matter on the subject of recall of elected government officials.. city and municipal officials. and referendum. 337 provides for the mechanism for recall of local elective officials. Hence. Prior to the enactment of the new Local Government Code. they are operative.R. 2272 on 23 May 1990. election. 337 shall continue to be effective until repealed by the Congress of the Philippines.P. promulgate the necessary rules and regulations. 337 was expressly recognized in the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. Said Section 3 provides: Sec. 337 as provided in Sec. 94010) avers that: The constitutional provision does not refer only to a local government code which is in futurum but also in esse. during the period material to this case. No. Thus² MR. Consequently. It merely sets forth the guidelines which Congress will consider in amending the provisions of the present Local Government Code. 2 In G. the former Local Government Code.II. 337.P. No. 1990 which is null and void for being unconstitutional. 534. term. Any such election shall be conducted in the manner and under the rules on special elections. responsibilities and resources. . NOLLEDO. Apelado. But the Local Government Code of 1991 will take effect only on 1 January 1992 and therefore the old Local Government Code (B. in its Comment (G. and provide for the qualifications. powers and functions and duties local officials. 2272 promulgated by respondent COMELEC on 23 May 1990 by virtue of its powers under the Constitution and Batas Pambansa Blg. Article XVIII. salaries. the existing Local Government Code remains operative. The Congress shall enact a local government code shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall. 2272 promulgated by respondent COMELEC is valid and constitutional. 4 Chapter 3 (Sections 54 to 59) of B. The principal issue for resolution by the Court is the constitutionality of Resolution No. appointment and removal. specifically repeals B. Since there was. allocate among the different local government units their powers. Evardone contends that there is no basis for COMELEC Resolution No. approved by the President on 10 October 1991. 337 (Local Government Code). unless otherwise provided by law or rule of the COMELEC. Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution repealed Batas Pambansa Blg. 337 are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution. it promulgated Resolution No. et al. repealed or revoked. 337) is still the law applicable to the present case. 95063. Section 59 expressly authorizes the respondent COMELEC to conduct and supervise the process of and election on recall and in the exercise of such powers. Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution express provides that all existing laws not inconsistent with the 1987 Constitution shall remain operative.P. The resolution embodies the general rules and regulations on the recall of elective provincial.P. The next issue for resolution is whether or not the TRO issued by this Court rendered nugatory the signing process of the petition for recall held pursuant to Resolution No. and all other matters relating to the organization operation of the local units. In this case. pursuant to the rule-making power vested in respondent COMELEC. No. 3. The respondent COMELEC. 3 We find the contention of the respondent COMELEC meritorious. The COMELEC likewise committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in promulgating Resolution No. Besides. 2272. 2272 and that the recall proceedings in the case at bar is premature. Blg. 2272 on May 22. Evardone maintains that Article X. 337 in favor of one to be enacted by Congress. Republic Act No. pending the enactment of a new Local Government Code under the report of the Committee on Amendments and Transitory Provisions. until amended. Blg. raises the issue of whether or not the signing process of the petition for recall held on 14 July 1990 has been rendered nugatory by the TRO issued by this court in G. which is Batas Pambansa Blg. The adoption of the 1987 Constitution did not abrogate the provisions of BP No. Blg. 94010 dated 12 July 1990 but received by the COMELEC field agent only on 15 July 1990. The Election Code contains no special provisions on the manner of conducting elections for the recall of a local official. initiative. 5 Thus. Blg. 7160 providing for the Local Government Code of 1991. We therefore rule that Resolution No.R. Pending the enactment of the amendatory law. the respondent COMELEC had the authority to approve the petition for recall and set the date for the signing of said petition. unless a certain provision thereof is clearly irreconciliable with the provisions of the 1987 Constitution.R.
there was no time even to consider such a plea. . There is no turning back the clock. Ground for Recall. 55. Blg. as provided for in Article XVIII. 1980 had been issued as far as back as November 11.P.368 votes were cast in favor of the creation of the new municipality. attributable solely to petitioners. The moot and academic character of this petition is thus apparent. the records show that Evardone knew of the Notice of Recall filed by Apelado. As a result. It is included in the right of suffrage. on or about 21 February 1990 as evidenced by the Registry Return Receipt. vs. specifically "from conducting. . 2034 fixing the date for such plebiscite on December 6. Due this delay in to this suit. he was not vigilant in following up and determining the outcome of such notice. Thus. 9 "Loss of confidence is the formal withdrawal by an electorate of their trust in a person's ability to discharge his office previously bestowed on him by the same electorate. et al.090 registered voters of Sulat.In Governor Zosimo J. 1980.P. Evardone of said municipality is valid and has legal effect. 337. Evardone filed the petition for prohibition only on 10 July 1990. Indeed." The petition was filed on December 5. Eastern Samar. There were only 40 votes cast against. 337) ACCORDINGLY.² . The plebiscite was duly held. recall at this time is no longer possible because of the limitation provided in Sec. Paredes. . . for the recall of Mayor Felipe P. et al. However. 6 this Court held: .. Sec. which. As held in Parades vs. 1992. What is sought in this suit is to enjoin respondents particularly respondent Commission from implementing Batas Pambansa Blg. It is based on the theory that the electorate must maintain a direct and elastic control over public functionaries. both petitions are DISMISSED for having become moot and academic. The right to recall is complementary to the right to elect or appoint. et al. 2. Executive Secretary to the President of the Philippines. When Recall May not be Held. Executive Secretary 7 there is no turning back the clock. Eastern Samar or about 34% signed the petition for recall. Evardone alleges that it was only on or about 3 July 1990 that he came to know about the Resolution of respondent COMELEC setting the signing of the petition for recall on 14 July 1990. according to the statute. which states: Sec. et al. The Constitution has mandated a synchronized national and local election prior to 30 June 1992.050 of the 6. the signing process held last 14 July 1990 in Sulat. holding and undertaking the plebiscite provided for in said act. this Court issued a TRO on 12 July 1990 but the signing of the petition for recall took place just the same on the scheduled date through no fault of the respondent COMELEC and Apelado. The certificate of canvass and proclamation of the result disclosed that out of 2. 86. (2) No recall shall take place within two years from the date of the official's assumption of office or one year immediately preceding a regular local election. but Proclamation No. 5 ² on the second Monday of May. It belongs to the realm of politics where only the people are the judge. But despite his urgent prayer for the issuance of a TRO. such municipality was created. There was a plea for a restraining order. . 1980. 55 (2) of B. 11 Thus. to hold an election on recall approximately seven (7) months before the regular local election will be violative of the above provisions of the applicable Local Government Code (B. will be named municipality of Aguinaldo. yet. Blg. 10 The constituents have made a judgment and their will to recall the incumbent mayor (Evardone) has already been ascertained and must be afforded the highest respect. The signing process was undertaken by the constituents of the Municipality of Sulat and its Election Registrar in good faith and without knowledge of the TRO earlier issued by this Court. about 2. It is also predicated upon the idea that a public office is "burdened" with public interests and that the representatives of the people holding public offices are simply agents or servants of the people with definite powers and specific duties to perform and to follow if they wish to remain in their respective offices.409 total votes cast in such plebiscite. 8 Whether or not the electorate of the Municipality of Sulat has lost confidence in the incumbent mayor is a political question. or more specifically. As attested by Election Registrar Sumbilla. In the present case. Who May Be Recalled.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.