Digested Election cases

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JAMIL VS. COMELEC Facts The petitioner and private respondent are both candidates for the Mayorship of the Municipality of Sultan Gumander. The private respondent objected the inclusion of a certain election returns of several precincts due to election irregularities such as no signature of ER and the like. The first MBC (municipal board of canvassers) took cognizance of the objection and thereby ordered the exclusion of the contested precincts pending further investigations. However, when the new MBC was constituted, the said objections were denied and proceeded to the proclamation of the petitioner as the Mayor-elect of the said Municipality. The private respondent appealed before the 2nd Division of the COMELEC which in turn overruled the former previous proclamation using the pertinent provisions of the Omnibus Election Code regarding the pending cases herein. Again, a new MBC was formed which proclaimed on the other hand the private respondent as such. The petitioner appeal to the COMELEC en banc which cannot make the required votes for proper disposition of the case, dismisses the same in accordance with their own rules and regulations. Issue Whether or not the said proclamation was valid. Ruling The court held, that both proclamations were invalid. It is readily observed that the May 23, 1995 issuances cannot be considered as "rulings" within the contemplation of law; they are not definitive rulings of exclusion by the MBC because they merely deferred the inclusion of the election returns pending "further investigation." Hence, they are not "rulings" of the board of canvassers that are deemed affirmed within the purview of Comelec's Omnibus Resolution on pending cases dated June 29, 1995. The proclamation of the petitioner is invalid due to the provisions of the said code which prohibits the MBC to proclaim a candidate with a pending case thereof unless authorized by the COMELEC, there was none based on the facts. On the other hand, the proclamation of the private respondent was also invalid it was not predicated on a complete and valid canvass, but on supposed "rulings" of the Sansarona MBC which merely "set aside for further investigation" the three challenged election returns from Precinct Nos. 5, 10-1 and 20-1. Said proclamation had clearly no basis in fact and in law. It is a settled rule that an incomplete canvass of votes is illegal and cannot be the basis of a valid proclamation. Furthermore, the SC ordered the COMELEC to proclaim and conduct investigations to fill the txicab.

Loong vs. COMELEC Facts On 15 January 1990, petitioner filed with the respondent Commission his certificate of candidacy for the position of ViceGovernor of the Mindanao Autonomous Region in the election held on 17 February 1990 (15 January 1990 being the last day for filing said certificate); herein two (2) private respondents (Ututalum and Edris) were also candidates for the same position. On 5 March 1990 (or 16 days after the election), respondent Ututalum filed before the respondent Commission (Second Division) a petition (docketed as SPA Case No. 90-0.06) seeking to disqualify petitioner for the office of Regional Vice-Governor, on the ground that the latter made a false representation in his certificate of candidacy as to his age. In his answer, the petitioner alleged that it is not customary in their Muslim culture to register their birth before the Civil Registrar and that his age indicated in the certificate was adduced after thorough consultation before his parents. The petitioner also alleged that the respondent COMELEC has no jurisdiction to hear this case. The respondent COMELEC issued its resolution finding the said disqualification case meritorious using the Frivaldo case that was previously held by the Supreme Court regarding disqualification as to citizenship. The petitioner alleged in this present petition the disqualification case was filed out of the reglemantary period to file thereof. The respondents alleged that the said filing of disqualification should be filed after the filing until the proclamation date citing certain rules of the code. Issue Whether or not petitioner must be disqualified. Ruling The court held that the application of the Frivaldo case in the present case was improper. The petition filed by private respondent Ututalum with the respondent Comelec to disqualify petitioner Loong on the ground that the latter made a false representation in his certificate of candidacy as to his age, clearly does not fall under the grounds of disqualification as provided for in Rule 25 but is expressly covered by Rule 23 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure governing petitions to cancel certificate of candidacy. Moreover, Section 3, Rule 25 which allows the filing of the petition at any time after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy but not later than the date of proclamation, is merely a procedural rule issued by respondent Commission which, although a constitutional body, has no legislative powers. Thus, it can not supersede Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code which is a legislative enactment. We are aware that in Frivaldo vs. Comelec, this Court held that a petition to disqualify an elective official, on the ground that he is not a Filipino citizen, may be filed at anytime, even beyond the period prescribed by law, and even if he had already been

proclaimed elected to the office and in fact had long been discharging the duties of said office. But we disagree with respondent Commission that the Frivaldo ruling applies to the case at bar in all its connotations and implications. For one, the ground for which disqualification is sought in the present case is misrepresentation as to the required age of the candidate, whereas, in Frivaldo the ground for disqualification was lack of Philippine citizenship. This is an overriding and fundamental desideratum matched perhaps only by disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines.

Abella vs. Larrazabal Facts Petitioner Benjamin P. Abella was the official candidate of the Liberal Party for provincial governor of Leyte in the local election held on February 1, 1988. The private respondent is the wife of Emeterio V. Larrazabal, the original candidate of the Lakas ng Bansa-PDP-Laban who was disqualified by the Commission on Elections on January 18, 1988, for lack of residence. On January 31, 1988, the day before the election, she filed her own certificate of candidacy in substitution of her husband. The following day, at about 9:30 o'clock in the morning, Silvestre de la Cruz, a registered voter of Tacloban City, filed a petition with the provincial election supervisor of Leyte to disqualify her for alleged false statements in her certificate of candidacy regarding her residence. This was immediately transmitted to the main office of the Commission on Elections, which could not function, however, because all but one of its members had not yet been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. De la Cruz then came to this Court, which issued a temporary restraining order on February 4, 1988, enjoining the provincial board of canvassers of Leyte "from proclaiming Adelina Larrazabal as the winning candidate for the Office of the Governor in the province of Leyte, in the event that she obtains the winning margin of votes in the canvass of election returns of said province." On March 1, 1988, the Commission on Elections having been fully constituted, we remanded the petition thereto "for appropriate action, including maintenance or lifting of the Court's temporary restraining order of February 4, 1988. Issue Whether or not the private respondent is qualified thereof. Ruling Pre-proclamation controversies are summary in nature. The policy of the election law is that preproclamation controversies should be summarily decided, consistent with the law's desire that the canvass and proclamation be delayed as little as possible." That is why such questions as those involving the appreciation of the votes and the conduct of the campaign and the balloting, which require more deliberate and

necessarily longer consideration, are left for examination in the corresponding election protest. The purpose of a pre-proclamation controversy is to ascertain the winner or winners in the elections on the basis of the election returns duly authenticated by the boards of inspectors and admitted by the board of canvassers. The purpose of a disqualification proceeding is to prevent the candidate from running or, if elected, from serving, or to prosecute him for violation of the election laws. Obviously, the mere fact that a candidate has been proclaimed elected does not signify that his disqualification is deemed condoned and may no longer be the subject of a separate investigation.

Hassan vs. COMELEC Facts Petitioner, Hadji Nor Basher L. Hassan, and private respondent, Mangondaya P. Hassan Buatan were candidates for the Office of the Vice-Mayor while the other private respondents were candidates for councilors in Madalum, Lanao del Sur in the last regular local elections of May 8, 1995. However, due to threats of violence and terrorism in the area there was failure of elections in six out of twentyfour precincts in Madalum. The ballot boxes were burned and there were threats by unidentified persons in Precinct No. 7-A. In Precinct Nos. 9, 9-A, 10, 13, and 14, elections did not take place because the members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) failed to report to their respective polling places. Thus, the Monitoring Supervising Team (COMELEC Team) headed by Regional Election Director Virgilio O. Garcillano recommended to the COMELEC the holding of special elections in said precincts. The special elections were thereby set on May 27, 1995. On said date, however, the members of the BEI again failed to report for duty in their respective polling places. In an Order dated May 28, 1995, the COMELEC Team rescheduled the elections in these precincts for May 29, 1995 at Liangan Elementary (Arabic) School, which is 15 kilometers away from the designated polling places, On May 29, 1995, the members of the Board did not again report for duty. Hence, the COMELEC Team was constrained to appoint police/military personnel to act as substitute members so as to push through with the elections. The herein private respondent filed a petition for her immediate proclamation, on the other hand the petitioner filed the present case due to the same ground of terrorism. Issue Whether or not failure of election shall be declared. Ruling The court held that there was actually failure of election. The re-scheduling of the special elections from May 27 to May 29, was done in uncommon haste and

unreasonably too close for all voters to be notified of the changes, not only as to the date but as to the designated polling place. We must agree with the dissenting opinion that even in highly urbanized areas, the dissemination of notices poses to be a problem. In the absence of proof that actual notice of the special elections has reached a great number of voters, we are constrained to consider the May 29 elections as invalid. If only to ascertain the will of the people and to prevent that will from being muted, it is necessary that a special election be held in view of the failure of elections in Madalum, Lanao del Sur. the Court has ruled that the preconditions for declaring a failure of election are: (1) that no voting has been held in any precinct or precincts because of force majeure, violence or terrorism, and (2) that the votes not cast therein suffice to affect the results of the elections. The concurrence of these two (2) circumstances are required to justify the calling of a special election. However, due to the insufficiency of the information the court was constrained to ascertain the votes to be counted thereof.

De Jesus vs. People Facts The accused-petitioner herein was prosecuted by the Tanodbayan and thereby tried before the Sandiganbayan in violation of an election rules in connection with his official duties as public officer. The said accused was the election registrar of Casiguran, Sorsogon who intentionally tampered the number of the registered voters. Issue Whether or not the Sandiganbayan has the jurisdiction over the case. Ruling The jurisdiction is vested to the COMELEC, the Constitution empowers the said body to take cognizance of all contests and cases regarding elections.

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