1. Case Digest on Maruhom v. COMELEC G.R. NO. 139397 FACTS: Petitioner and private respondent were candidates for mayor.

Because of several irregularities, anomalies and electoral frauds, the petitioner was illegally proclaimed as the winner. Petitioner filed a case with the COMELEC to annul the proclamation, but later withdrew it. He also filed an election protest with the RTC. Petitioner orally moved for dismissal of the protest, but it was denied. The court ordered the Revision Committee to convene and start the revision of the ballots. Petitioner alleges that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in dismissing the petition. HELD: The SC held that the summary dismissal of petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss was not a grave abuse of discretion by the COMELEC. The filing of the motion to dismiss, in fact, appears to be part of a perfidious plot to prevent the early termination of the proceedings as evidenced by a confluence of events clearly showing a pattern of delay employed by petitioner to avert the revision ballots. Also, a motion to dismiss is not a prohibited pleading in an election contest filed before the regular courts. 2. PERALTA vs. COMELEC 82 SCRA 30

Facts: Section 4 of the 1978 Election Code provides that the election period shall be fixed by the Commission on Elections in accordance with Section 6, Article XII[C] of the Constitution. The period of campaign shall not be more than forty-five days immediately preceding the election, excluding the day before and the day of the election. Petitioners questioned the constitutionality of the 45-day campaign period because: (a) it was decreed by the President and not by the Commission on Elections as provided by Section 6 of Article XII-C and (b) the period should cover at least ninety days (90). They argue that Section 6 of Article XII-C of the Constitution provides that the election period shall commence ninety days before the day of election and shall end thirty days thereafter.” Issue: Whether or not the 45-day period is unconstitutional Held: The 45-day campaign period is constitutional. Although the campaign period prescribed in the 1978 Election Code for the election of the representatives to the interim Batasang Pambansa is less than 90 days and was decreed by the President and not by the Commission on Elections as provided by Section 6 of Article XII-C of the Constitution, the same does not violate the Constitution, because under Amendment 1, the manner of election of members of the interim Batasang Pambansa shall be prescribed and regulated by law, and the incumbent President under Amendment No. 5, shall continue to exercise legislative power until martial law shall have been lifted. Moreover, the election for members in the interim Batasang Pambansa is an election in a state of emergency requiring special rules, and only the incumbent President has the authority and means of obtaining information on the peace and order condition of the country within which an electoral campaign may be adequately conducted in all regions of the nation. But even assuming that it should be the Commission on Elections that should fix the period of campaign, the constitutional mandate is complied with by the fact that the Commission has adopted and is enforcing the period fixed in Section 4, Article 1, of the 1978 Election Code.
3. Benito v. COMELEC G.R. No. 134913 (Jan 19, 2001)

FACTS: Benito and private respondent Pagayawan were 2 of 8 candidates vying for the position of municipal mayor in Calanogas, Lanao del Sur during the May 11, 1998 elections. 5 precincts clustered in the Sultan Disimban Elementary School were met with violence when some 30 armed men appeared at the school premises and fired shots into the air. This sowed panic among the voters and elections officials, causing them to scatter in different directions. It happened before noon at the day of election. A spot report reported the incident. Both parties are contending contrary facts. Petitioner alleged that the voting never resumed even after the lawless elements left. On the other hand, private respondent alleged that voting resumed when the armed men left around 1 pm in the afternoon. Petitioner is only asking, however, a declaration of failure of elections on the first three precincts, not with the entire five precincts. During the counting, the ballots from the three precincts were excluded. Nevertheless, the winner was the private respondent. And even if the votes from the three excluded precincts were added, private respondent still emerged as the winner.

Petitioner then filed a petition to declare failure of election and to call a special election. COMELEC however denied the petition and affirmed the proclamation. HELD: Petition Dismissed. 1. Two preconditions must exist before a failure of election may be declared: (1) no voting has been held in any precinct due to force majeure, violence or terrorism; and (2) the votes not cast therein are sufficient to affect the results of the election. The cause of such failure may arise before or after the casting of votes or on the day of the election. 2. Whether there was a resumption of voting is essentially a question of fact. Such are not proper subjects of inquiry in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. 3. Voting in all five precincts resumed after peace and order was re-established in the Disimban Elementary School. There was no objection raised to the count of votes in the said two precincts during the counting of votes at the counting center. So why a selective objection to the three precincts herein? 4. Petitioner equates failure of elections to the low percentage of votes cast vis-à-vis the number of registered voters in the subject election precincts. However, there can be a failure of election in a political unit only if the will of the majority has been defiled and cannot be ascertained. But if it can be determined, it must be accorded respect. After all, there is no provision in our election laws which requires that a majority of registered voters must cast their votes. All the law requires is that a winning candidate must be elected by a plurality of valid votes, regardless of the actual number of ballots cast. 5. The power to throw out or annul an election should be exercised with the utmost care and only under circumstances which demonstrate beyond doubt either that the disregard of the law had been so fundamental or so persistent and continuous that it is impossible to distinguish what votes are lawful and what are unlawful, or to arrive at any certain result whatsoever, or that the great body of voters have been prevented by violence, intimidation and threats from exercising their franchise. 6. SAMBARANI V COMELEC, 438 SCRA 319 G.R. No. 160427, September 15, 2004
Carpio, J.:

Facts: A Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections were held on July 15, 2002 in Lanao del Sur. Sambarani, Miraato, Abubacar, Mascara and Dayondong ran for re-election as punong barangay in their respective barangay, namely: Occidental Linuk, Pindolonan Moriatao Sarip, Talub, New Lumbacaingud and Tatayawan South. The COMELEC subsequently issued Resolution No. 5479 which sets the date for special elections on August 13, 2002, due to failure of elections in eleven barangays including the five barangays mentioned. On August 14, 2002, Acting Election Officer Esmael Maulay issued a certification that there were no special elections held on August 13,2002. The petitioners filed a joint petition for holding of another special election. They also contend that the failure of election was due to the failure of Maulay to follow the directive of Commissioner Sadain to use the ARMM’s 2001 computerized voter’s list and voter’s registration records. Since Maulay failed to file a written explanation, the COMELEC moved for the resolution of the case. It directed the DILG to appoint Barangay Captains and Barangay Kagawads in the five barangays mentioned in pursuance to RA 7160. The petitioners filed an instant petition to hold another special election which the COMELEC subsequently denied on the ground that the 30-day period already lapsed. Issue: 1. Whether or not the COMELEC erred in its decision in denying the petition to hold another special election. 2. Whether the DILG can appoint barangay and SK officials as directed by the COMELEC. Held: 1. Yes. The COMELEC’s decision denying the petition for another special election is void. Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code which is the basis of the COMELEC’s denial of the petition is merely directive and not mandatory. Section 45 also provides that in case of postponement or failure of election the COMELEC shall set the elections within thirty days from the cessation of the causes for postponement. The elections may be held anytime within the thirty day period from the time the cause of the postponement ceased. 2. No. The DILG cannot appoint barangay and SK officials due to Section 5 of the RA 9164 which provides for a hold over period where an incumbent officer may remain in office until their successors have already been elected and qualified. Therefore, the petitioners can assume office in a hold-over capacity pending the assumption of a successor into office.

40. FRIVALDO V COMELEC 174 SCRA 245 G.R. No. 87193 June 23, 1989

Facts: Petitioner Juan G. Frivaldo was proclaimed governor-elect and assume office in due time. The League of Municipalities filed with the COMELEC a petition for annulment of Frivaldo’s election and proclamation on the ground that he was not a Filipino citizen, having been naturalized in the United States. Frivaldo admitted the allegation but pleaded the special and affirmative defenses that his naturalization was merely forced upon himself as a means of survival against the unrelenting prosecution by the Martial Law Dictator’s agent abroad. Issue: Whether or not Frivaldo was a citizen of the Philippines at the time of his election. Held: No. Section 117 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that a qualified voter must be, among other qualifications, a citizen of the Philippines, this being an indispensable requirement for suffrage under Article V, Section 1, of the Constitution. Even if he did lose his naturalized American citizenship, such forfeiture did not and could not have the effect of automatically restoring his citizenship in the Philippines that he had earlier renounced. Qualifications for public office are continuing requirements and must be possessed not only at the time of appointment or election or assumption of office but during the officer’s entire tenure. Frivaldo declared not a citizen of the Philippines and therefore disqualified from serving as a Governor of the Province of Sorsogon.

39. REYES V COMELEC, 254 SCRA 514

G.R. No. 120905, March 7, 1996

Mendoza, J.:

Facts: This is a consolidated case of Reyes and of Garcia which involved same resolutions of the COMELEC. The case of Reyes is based on the resolution of the COMELEC declaring his disqualification from running for local office and on the resolution dated July 3, 1995 which denied his petition for reconsideration. An administrative complaint was filed against him for collecting money from each market stall holder and these were not reflected in the book of accounts of the municipality; and that he also took 27 heads of cattle from beneficiaries of a cattle dispersal program. He was held guilty as charged and was ordered to be removed from office. But before the Sanggunian rendered judgment, Reyes filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction with the RTC of Oriental Mindoro which alleged that he was not given a chance to be heard in the proceedings which was already terminated. After the expiration of the restraining order, an attempt was made to serve the judgment to the petition but he refused to accept the decision. On March 20, 1995, Reyes filed a certificate of candidacy. But even with a petition for disqualification as candidate for mayor on the basis of Art. 40 (b) of RA 7160, Reyes was still voted for in the May 1995 elections. Despite the resolution from the COMELEC which affirms the disqualification of Reyes, the Municipal Board of Canvassers who are unaware of the disqualification, proclaimed Reyes as the duly elected mayor. The July 3, 1995 Resolution of the COMELEC declared that Reyes is disqualified as a candidate and to set aside his proclamation. On the other hand, Garcia’s case is for the annulment of the July 3, 1995 resolution which denied his motion to be proclaimed as the elected mayor of Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro since Reyes was already deemed disqualified. Garcia contends that he obtained the second highest number of votes in the election and since Reyes was already disqualified, he should be proclaimed as the duly-elected mayor of Bongabong. Issue: 1. Whether or not Reyes is disqualified from running for reelection. 2. Whether or not Garcia should be proclaimed the duly-elected mayor due to Reyes’s disqualification. Held: 1. Yes. Reyes is disqualified to run for reelection. Article 40 (b) of RA 7160 provides that ―those removed from office as a result of an administrative case‖ is disqualified from running for any elective local position. And since Reyes was held guilty of an administrative case, he is therefore disqualified from running for office. 2. No. Although Garcia obtained the second highest number of votes in the election, it is a rule that the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes may not be proclaimed winner in case the winning candidate is disqualified. And that Garcia’s contention that Reyes’s votes should be invalidated was also denied for it is held by the Court that the finding that he is disqualified cannot retroact to the time of the elections.

XXIX. PAMATONG V COMELEC

G.R. No. 161872 April 13, 2004

TINGA, J.:

Rrev pamatong had his application for candidacy denied by the comelec. Upon motion for reconsideration filed to Comelec, said application was stil denied hence this petition for certiorari where pamatong petitioner seeks to reverse the resolutions which were allegedly rendered in violation of his right to "equal access to opportunities for public service" under Section 26, Article II of the 1987. Petitioner argues that the COMELEC indirectly amended the constitutional provisions on the electoral process and limited the power of the sovereign people to choose their leaders. The COMELEC supposedly erred in disqualifying him since he is the most qualified among all the presidential candidates, because he possesses all the constitutional and legal qualifications for the office of the president. W/N petitioner was denied of his right to run for public office NO. The provisions under the Article are generally considered not self-executing. The provision does not contain any judicially enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for legislative or executive action. Moreover, the phrase ensure equal access only amended the original wording which was BROADEN brought about by Hilario davide to clarify said provision for if you broaden, it would necessarily mean that the

government would be mandated to create as many offices as are possible to accommodate as many people as are also possible. The provision is not intended to compel the State to enact positive measures that would accommodate as many people as possible into public office. The rationale behind the prohibition against nuisance candidates is to assure the public that such candidates are qualified enough to serve our interests and needs. There is a need to limit the number of candidates especially in the case of candidates for national positions because the election process becomes a mockery even if those who cannot clearly wage a national campaign are allowed to run. The Omnibus Election Code and COMELEC Resolution No. 6452 are cognizant of the compelling State interest to ensure orderly and credible elections by excising impediments thereto, such as nuisance candidacies that distract and detract from the larger purpose the question of whether a candidate is a nuisance candidate or not is both legal and factual. The basis of the factual determination is not before this Court. Thus, the remand of this case for the reception of further evidence is in order.

37. CODILLA V COMELEC G.R. No. 150605 December 10, 2002

PUNO, J:

Facts: Petitioner and respondent Locsin were candidates for the position of Representative of the 4 th legislative district of Leyte during the May 14, 2001 elections. Josephine de la Cruz, a registered voter of Kananga, Leyte, filed directly with the COMELEC main office a Petition for Disqualification1 against the petitioner for indirectly soliciting votes from the registered voters of Kananga and Matagob, Leyte. It was alleged that the petitioner used the equipments and vehicles owned by the City Government of Ormoc to extract, haul and distribute gravel and sand to the residents of Kananga and Matag-ob, Leyte. On May 11, 2001, the COMELEC Second Division sent a telegram informing the petitioner that a disqualification case was filed against him and that the petition was remanded to the Regional Election Director for investigation. At the time of the elections on May 14, 2001, the Regional Election Director had yet to hear the disqualification case. Consequently, petitioner was included in the list of candidates for district representative and was voted for. The initial results showed that petitioner was the winning candidate. Pursuant to a Second Most Urgent Motion to Suspend Proclamation filed by Locsin, the COMELEC Second Division issued an Ex-Parte Order directing the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte to suspend the proclamation of petitioner in case he obtains the highest number of votes by reason of "the seriousness of the allegations in the petition for disqualification. As a result, petitioner was not proclaimed as winner even though the final election results showed that he garnered 71,350 votes as against respondent Locsin's 53,447 votes. On June 14, 2001, the COMELEC Second Division promulgated its Resolution in SPA No. 01- 208 which found the petitioner guilty of indirect solicitation of votes and ordered his disqualification. It directed the "immediate proclamation of the candidate who garnered the highest number of votes xxx." On June 20, 2001, petitioner seasonably filed with the COMELEC en banc a Motion for Reconsideration. On June 21, 2001, petitioner filed with the COMELEC en banc a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Proclamation docketed as SPC No. 01-324, assailing the validity of the proclamation of respondent Locsin who garnered only the second highest number of votes. On August 29, 2001, then COMELEC Chairman Alfredo L. Benipayo issued a "Vote and Opinion and Summary of Votes" reversing the resolution of the Second Division and declaring the proclamation of respondent Locsin as null and void. Respondent Locsin did not appeal from this decision annulling her proclamation. Instead, she filed a "Comment and Manifestation with the COMELEC en banc questioning the procedure and the manner by which the decision was issued. Locsin, through the opinion by House of Representatives Executive Director and Chief Legal Counsel averred that COMELEC has no jurisdiction to nullify the proclamation of respondent Locsin after she had taken her oath and assumed office since it is the HRET which is the sole judge of election, returns and qualifications of Members of the House. On September 12, 2001, acting upon an order issued by COMELEC en banc, petitioner Codilla was proclaimed by the Provincial Board of Canvassers as the duly-elected Representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte, having obtained a total of 71,350 votes representing the highest number of votes cast in the district. On September 14, 2001, petitioner wrote the House of Representatives, thru respondent Speaker De Venecia, informing the House of the August 29, 2001 COMELEC en banc resolution annulling the proclamation of respondent Locsin, and proclaiming him as the duly elected Representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte. These notwithstanding, and despite receipt by the House of Representatives of a copy of the COMELEC en banc resolution on September 20, 2001, no action was taken by the House on the letter-appeal of petitioner. Issue: 1. Whether the proclamation of respondent Locsin by the COMELEC Second Division is valid 2.Whether said proclamation divested the COMELEC en banc of jurisdiction to review its validity

Held: 1. No. The petitioner was denied due process during the entire proceedings leading to the proclamation of respondent Locsin, by relying on the findings gathered in an ex-parte study of the case and failure to notify the petitioner of the petition for his disqualification through the service of summons nor of the Motions to suspend his proclamation The COMELEC Second Division also did not give ample opportunity to the petitioner to adduce evidence in support of his defense in the petition for his disqualification. More importantly, the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division disqualifying the petitioner is not based on substantial evidence, it erred in deciding for the disqualification based on Section 261 and not on Sec 68 of the Omnibus Election Code. Most of all, the proclamation of respondent Locsin violates the settled doctrine that the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes may not be proclaimed winner in case the winning candidate is disqualified. In every election, the people's choice is the paramount consideration and their expressed will must at all times be given effect. 2. No. The fact that the Petition for Nullity of Proclamation was filed directly with the COMELEC en banc is of no moment. Even without said Petition, the COMELEC en banc could still rule on the nullity of respondent's proclamation because it was properly raised in the Motion for Reconsideration. Clearly, the validity of respondent Locsin's proclamation was made a central issue in the Motion for Reconsideration seasonably filed by the petitioner. Without doubt, the COMELEC en banc has the jurisdiction to rule on the issue. Moreover, it was in fact the HRET that did not have jurisdiction. At the time of the proclamation of respondent Locsin, the validity of the Resolution of the COMELEC Second Division was seasonably challenged by the petitioner in his Motion for Reconsideration. The issue was still within the exclusive jurisdiction of the COMELEC en banc to resolve. Hence, the HRET cannot assume jurisdiction over the matter.

G.R. No. 149380 July 3, 2002 8. FEDERICO S. SANDOVAL II, vs. HRET and AURORA ROSARIO A. ORETA, Facts: Petitioner Sandoval and respondent Oreta were candidates for the lone congressional district of Malabon-Navotas during the 14 May 2001 national elections. The canvass of the election returns yielded ninety two thousand and sixty-two (92,062) votes for petitioner while respondent obtained seventy two thousand eight hundred sixty-two (72,862) votes,1 or a difference of nineteen thousand two hundred (19,200) votes. On 22 May 2001 petitioner was proclaimed duly elected representative by the District Board of Canvassers of Malabon-Navotas. After taking his oath of office, he assumed the post at noon of 30 June 2001. On 1 June 2001 respondent Oreta filed with HRET an election protest against petitioner, docketed as HRET Case No. 01- 027. The protest assailed the alleged electoral frauds and anomalies in one thousand three hundred eight (1,308) precincts of the Malabon-Navotas District.3
Issue: WON the SC has jurisdiction over the election protest case?

Ruling: Yes, the SC has jurisdiction. . While the Constitution provides that the HRET shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of members of Congress,16 this regime however does not bar this Court from entertaining petitions where the threshold of legitimate review is breached. Indeed, it is well-settled that judicial guidance is appropriate where jurisdictional issues are involved or charges of grave abuse of discretion are presented in order that we may vindicate established claims of denial of due process or correct veritable abuses of discretion so grave or glaring that no less than the Constitution itself calls for remedial action.17 That this Court may very well inquire into jurisdictional issues concerning the HRET may be inferred from Sec. 1, Art. VIII, of the Constitution which has expanded judicial power to include the determination of "whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government". Previously, we have taken cognizance of certiorari proceedings where the rules of procedure of the HRET, as in the instant case, were involved. Garcia v. Ang Ping18 involved the requirement of cash deposit in addition to filing fees under Rule 32 of the 1998 HRET Rules. In Loyola v. HRET19 we explained the import of a general denial under Rule 27 of the Revised Rules of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. Lazatin v. HRET20 affirmed the power of the HRET to set its own prescriptive periods for filing election protests. We explored in Arroyo v. HRET21 the suppletory applicability of the rules of evidence to the HRET rules to adjudge the correct number of votes for each of the two (2) competing congressional candidates.

The instant petition is intricately related to the election protest filed by respondent Oreta with the HRET where the integrity of the election proceedings in one thousand three hundred and eight (1,308) precincts of the Malabon-Navotas congressional district is attacked as having been grossly manipulated to distort the people's will. This is a serious charge which if true would taint the assumption of petitioner as congressman of this district. In view of the delicate nature and the gravity of the charge, the observance of the HRET Rules of Procedure, in conjunction with our own Rules of Court, must be taken seriously. Indubitably these rules affect not only the inherent fairness of the proceedings below, a matter of due process, but equally important, influence the speedy and orderly determination of the true will of the electorate, our democratic ideal. II. Brillantes vs. Yorac Facts: Petitioner Sixto Brillantes questioned before the SC the designation of then President Cory Aquino to then Associate Commissioner Haydee Yorac as Acting Chairman of the Comelec in lieu of the appointment of Chairman Hilario Davide being the Chairman of the fact-finding commission to investigate the 1989 coup de etat attempts. Brillantes, anchored his petition on Art. IX Sec. 1 of the Constitution, which states that ―In no case shall any member of the Comelec be appointed or designated in temporary or acting capacity. He also alleged that Yorac is not even a senior member of the Comelec. The Solicitor General, however, contended that the designation made by the President should therefore be sustained for reasons of administrative expediency to prevent disruption of the functions of the Comelec. Issue: WON the President may appoint an acting or temporary Comelec chairman? Ruling: No, the President may not appoint an acting or temporary Comelec chairman. The SC emphasized that the members of the Constitutional Commissions are independent, thus, they are not under the control of the President in the discharge of their respective functions. The choice of a temporary chairman is not within the discretion and cannot be exercised even by the President. The Court further noted that the situation of having no Acting Chairman in the Commission can be handled by the members themselves without the participation of the President. Also, in choosing the Acting Chairman, members of the Comelec would most likely have been guided by the seniority rule, as they themselves would have appreciated it. In any event, the choice and the basis thereof were for them and not for the President to make.
23. Coquilla vs. COMELEC

FACTS: This is a petition for certiorari to set aside the resolution of COMELEC ordering the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of petitioner Teodulo M. Coquilla for the position of mayor of Oras, Eastern Samar in the May 14, 2001 elections and the order of the COMELEC en banc denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Petitioner Teodoro Coquilla was being complained by his contender Neil M. Alvarez seeking to cancel his certificate of candidacy stating that he had been a resident of Oras for two years when in truth he had resided therein for only about six months since November 10, 2000, when he took his oath as a citizen of the Philippines. The COMELEC was unable to render judgment on the case before the elections on May 14, 2001. Petitioner was voted for and received the highest number of votes against private respondent. On May 17, 2001, petitioner was proclaimed mayor of Oras by the Municipal Board of Canvassers. He subsequently took his oath of office. The COMELEC granted the private respondent’s petition and ordered the cancellation of petitioner’s certificate of candidacy to the wit: Respondent’s frequent or regular trips to the Philippines and stay in Oras, Eastern Samar after his retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1985 cannot be considered as a waiver of his status as a permanent resident or immigrant . . . of the U.S.A. prior to November 10, 2000 as would qualify him to acquire the status of residency for purposes of compliance with the one-year residency requirement of Section 39(a) of the Local Government Code of 1991 in relation to Sections 65 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code. The one (1) year residency requirement contemplates of the actual residence of a Filipino citizen in the constituency where he seeks to be elected. All things considered, the number of years he claimed to have resided or stayed in Oras, Eastern Samar since 1985 as an American citizen and permanent resident of the U.S.A. before November 10, 2000 when he reacquired his Philippine citizenship by [repatriation] cannot be added to his actual residence thereat after November 10, 2000 until May 14, 2001 to cure his deficiency in days, months, and year

to allow or render him eligible to run for an elective office in the Philippines. Under such circumstances, by whatever formula of computation used, respondent is short of the one-year residence requirement before the May 14, 2001 elections.9 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but his motion was denied by the COMELEC en banc on January 30, 2002. Hence this petition. ISSUES: A) Whether or not the 30-day period for appealing the resolution of the COMELEC was suspended by the filing of a motion for reconsideration by petitioner and (b) whether the COMELEC retained jurisdiction to decide this case notwithstanding the proclamation of petitioner. RATIONALE: With respect to the first question, private respondent contends that the petition in this case should be dismissed because it was filed late; that the COMELEC en banc had denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration for being pro forma; and that, pursuant to Rule 19, Sec. 4 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, the said motion did not suspend the running of the 30-day period for filing this petition. He points out that petitioner received a copy of the resolution, of the COMELEC’s Second Division on July 28, 2001, so that he had only until August 27, 2001 within which to file this petition. Since the petition in this case was filed on February 11, 2002, the same should be considered as having been filed late and should be dismissed. But private respondent’s contention has no merit. As to the second issue, as stated before, the COMELEC failed to resolve private respondent’s petition for cancellation of petitioner’s certificate of candidacy before the elections on May 14, 2001. In the meantime, the votes were canvassed and petitioner was proclaimed elected with a margin of 379 votes over private respondent.
The rule then is that candidates who are disqualified by final judgment before the election shall not be voted for and the votes cast for them shall not be counted. But those against whom no final judgment of disqualification had been rendered may be voted for and proclaimed, unless, on motion of the complainant, the COMELEC suspends their proclamation because the grounds for their disqualification or cancellation of their certificates of candidacy are strong. Meanwhile, the proceedings for disqualification of candidates or for the cancellation or denial of certificates of candidacy, which have been begun before the elections, should continue even after such elections and proclamation of the winners. In the case at bar, what is involved is a false statement concerning a candidate’s qualification for an office for which he filed the certificate of candidacy. This is a misrepresentation of a material fact justifying the cancellation of petitioner’s certificate of candidacy. The cancellation of petitioner’s certificate of candidacy in this case is thus fully justified.

X. FILIPINAS ENGINEERING AND MACHINE SHOP v. FERRER
Facts: In preparation for the national elections, the Commissioners of the COMELEC issued an INVITATION TO BID CALL No. 127 calling for the submission of sealed proposals for the manufacture and delivery of 11,000 units of voting booths with specifications and descriptions. Among the seventeen bidders who submitted proposals in response to the said INVITATION were the petitioner, Filipinos Engineering and Machine Shop, (Filipinas for short) and the private respondent, Acme Steel Manufacturing Company, (Acme for short). The respondent COMELEC Bidding Committee Chairman and Members submitted their Memorandum on the proceedings taken pursuant to the said Invitation to Bid which stated that Acme's bid had to be rejected because the sample it submitted was "made of black iron sheets, painted, and therefore not rust proof or rust resistant," and that, "it is also heavy — 51 kilos in weight. The Committee instead “recommended” that Filipinas be awarded the contract to manufacture and supply the voting booths, but that an "ocular inspection be made by all members of the Commission of all the samples before the final award be made." Ocular inspection of all the samples submitted was conducted by the COMELEC Commissioners, and after that, the Commissioners noted that Acme submitted the lowest bid, the COMELEC issued a Resolution awarding the contract to Acme. Filipinas filed an Injunction suit with the then Court of First Instance of Manila, and also applied for a writ of preliminary injunction. After hearing petitioner's said application, the respondent Judge in an order denied the writ prayed for. Public respondents filed a motion to Dismiss on the grounds that the lower court has no jurisdiction over the nature of suit, and that the complaint states no cause of action. The Judge dismissed the case and denied motion for reconsideration of Filipinas. Issue: 1. Whether or not the lower court has jurisdiction to take cognizance of a suit involving an order of the COMELEC dealing with an award of contract arising from its invitation to bid; and 2. Whether or not Filipinas, the losing bidder, has a cause of action under the premises against the COMELEC and Acme to enjoin them from complying with their contract

Held:

1. Yes, the lower court has jurisdiction to take cognizance of the suit involving the award of contract of COMELEC. 2. No, Filipinas has no cause of action against the COMELEC and Acme to enjoin them from complying with their contract.
Ratio: The COMELEC resolution awarding the contract in favor of Acme was not issued pursuant to its quasi-judicial functions but merely as an incident of its inherent administrative functions over the conduct of elections, and hence, the said resolution may not be deemed as a "final order" reviewable by certiorari by the Supreme Court. Being non-judicial in character, no contempt may be imposed by the COMELEC from said order, and no direct and exclusive appeal by certiorari to this Tribunal lie from such order. Any question arising from said order may be well taken in an ordinary civil action before the trial courts. The COMELEC's Invitation to Bid No. 127, dated September 16, 1969, expressly stipulates —THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REJECT ANY OR ALL BIDS; TO WAIVE ANY INFORMATION THEREIN; OR TO ACCEPT SUCH BID AS MAY IN ITS DISCRETION BE CONSIDERED MOST REASONABLE AND ADVANTAGEOUS 14. THIS CALL FORBIDS IS NO MORE THAN AN INVITATION TO MAKE PROPOSALS AND THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS IS NOT BOUND TO ACCEPT ANY BID, NOR SHALL THIS CALL FOR BIDS BY ITSELF CONFER A RIGHT TO ANY BIDDER TO ACTION FOR DAMAGES OR UNREALIZED OR EXPECTED PROFITS UNLESS THE BID IS DULY ACCEPTED BY THERE SOLUTION OF THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. Pursuant to COMELEC's Invitation to Bid No. 127, a bidder may have the right to demand damages, or unrealized or expected profits, only when his bid was accepted by resolution of the COMELEC. Filipinas' bid, although recommended for award of contract by the bidding committee, was not the winning bid. No resolution to that effect appeared to have been issued by the COMELEC. Decidedly then, Filipinas has no cause of action.

9. Montebon vs Comelec
Municipality of Tuburan, Cebu for the May 14, 2007 Elections. Petitioners and other candidates filed a petition for disqualification against respondent with the COMELEC alleging that respondent had been elected and served three consecutive terms as municipal councilor in 1998-2001, 2001-2004, and 2004-2007. Thus, he is proscribed from running for the same position in the 2007elections as it would be his fourth consecutive term. Respondent admitted having been elected, but claimed that the service of his second term in 2001-2004 was interrupted on January 12, 2004when he succeeded as vice mayor of Tuburan due to the retirement of Vice Mayor Petronilo L.Mendoza. Consequently, he is not disqualified from vying for the position of municipal councilor in the 2007 elections. Petitioners, on the other hand contended that voluntary renunciation of the office shall not be considered an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the official concerned was elected. The comelec denied the petition for disqualification. On appeal, the Comelec en banc affirmed and ruled that there was no voluntary renunciation of office, but rather, an effective disruption in the full service of his second term as councilor.

Issue: WON respondent's assumption of office as vice-mayor in January 2004 interrupted his 20012004 term as municipal councilor. H e l d : Y e s R a t i o : I n Lonzanida v. Commission on Elections the Court held that the two conditions for the application of the disqualification must concur: 1) that the official concerned has been elected for three consecutive terms in the same local government post; and 2) that he has fully served three consecutive terms. In Borja, Jr. v. Commission on Elections, the Court emphasized that the term limit for elective officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as well as the right to serve in the same elective position. Thus, for the disqualification to apply, it is not enough that the official has been elected three consecutive times; he must also have served three consecutive terms in the same position. While it is undisputed that respondent was elected municipal councilor for three consecutive terms, the issue lies on whether he is deemed to have fully served his second term in view of his assumption of office as vice-mayor of Tuburan on January 12, 2004.Succession in local government offices is by operation of law. Section 44 of Republic Act No.7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, provides that if a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the vice mayor, the highest ranking sanggunian member shall become vice mayor.In this case, a permanent vacancy occurred in the office of the vice mayor due to the retirement of Vice Mayor Mendoza. Respondent, being the highest ranking municipal councilor, succeeded him in accordance with law. It is clear therefore that his assumption of office as vice-mayor can in no way be considered a voluntary renunciation of his office as municipal councilor. In Lonzanida v. Commission on Elections, the Court explained the concept of voluntary renunciation as follows: The second sentence of the constitutional provision under scrutiny states, 'Voluntary renunciation of office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which he was elected.'

The clear intent of the framers of the constitution to bar any attempt to circumvent the three-term limit by a voluntary renunciation of office and at the same time respect the people's choice and grant their elected official full service of a term is evident in this provision. Voluntary renunciation of a term does not cancel the renounced term in the computation of the three term limit; conversely, involuntary severance from office for any length of time short of the full term provided by law amounts to an interruption of continuity of service. Thus, respondent's assumption of office as vice-mayor in January 2004 was an involuntary severance from his office as municipal councilor, resulting in an interruption in the service of his2001-2004 term. It cannot be deemed to have been by reason of voluntary renunciation because it was by operation of law. Succession by law to a vacated government office is characteristically not voluntary since it involves the performance of a public duty by a government official, the non-performance of which exposes said official to possible administrative and criminal charges of dereliction of duty and neglect in the performance of public functions. It is therefore more compulsory and obligatory rather than voluntary.

10. ALDOVINO VS COMELEC AND ASILO

FACTS: Is the preventive suspension of an elected public official an interruption of his term of office for purposes of the three-term limit rule under Section 8, Article X of the Constitution andSection 43(b) of Republic Act No. 7160 (RA 7160, or the Local Government Code)?The respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) ruled that preventive suspension is an effective interruption because it renders the suspended public official unable to provide complete service for the full term; thus, such term should not be counted for the purpose of the three-term limit rule. The present petition seeks to annul and set aside this COMELEC ruling for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Wilfredo F. Asilo (Asilo) was elected councilor of Lucena City for three consecutive terms: for the1998-2001, 2001-2004, and 2004-2007 terms, respectively. In September 2005 or during his2004-2007 term of office, the Sandiganbayan preventively suspended him for 90 days in relation with a criminal case he then faced. This Court, however, subsequently lifted the Sandiganbayan’s suspension order; hence, he resumed performing the functions of his office and finished his term. In the 2007 election, Asilo filed his certificate of candidacy for the same position. The petitioners Simon B. Aldovino, Jr., Danilo B. Faller, and Ferdinand N. Talabong (the petitioners) sought to deny due course to Asilo’s certificate of candidacy or to cancel it on the ground that he had been elected and had served for three terms; his candidacy for a fourth term therefore violated the three-term limit rule under Section 8, Article X of the Constitution and Section 43(b) of RA 7160.The COMELEC’s Second Division ruled against the petitioners and in Asilo’s favour in its Resolution of November 28, 2007. It reasoned out that the three-term limit rule did not apply, asAsilo failed to render complete service for the 2004-2007 term because of the suspension the Sandiganbayan had ordered. ISSUE: Whether preventive suspension of an elected local official is an interruption of the three-term limit rule; and. Whether preventive suspension is considered involuntary renunciation as contemplated in Section 43(b) of RA 7160 HELD: NEGATIVE. Petition is meritorious. As worded, the constitutional provision fixes the term of a local elective office and limits an elective official’s stay in office to no more than three consecutive terms. This is the first branch of the rule embodied in Section 8, Article X. Significantly, this provision refers to a "term" as a period of time –three years– during which an official has title to office and can serve. The word "term" in a legal sense means a fixed and definite period of time which the law describes that an officer may hold an office., preventive suspension is not a qualified interruption… Lonzanida v. Commission on Elections… presented the question of whether the disqualification on the basis of the three-term limit applies if the election of the public official (to be strictly accurate the proclamation as winner of the public official) for his supposedly third term had been declared invalid in a final and executory judgment. We ruled that the two requisites for the application of the disqualification (viz., 1. that the official concerned has been elected for three consecutive terms in the same local government post; and 2. that he has fully served three consecutive terms…… The petitioner vacated his post a few months before the next mayoral elections, not by voluntary renunciation but in compliance with the legal process of writ of execution issued by the COMELEC to that effect. Such involuntary severance from office is an interruption of continuity of service and thus, the petitioner did not fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term.(EXCEPTION)

"Interruption" of a term exempting an elective official from the three-term limit rule is one that involves no less than the involuntary loss of title to office. The elective official must have involuntarily left his office for a length of time, however short, for an effective interruption to occur. This has to be the case if the thrust of Section 8, Article X and its strict intent are to be faithfully served, i.e., to limit an elective official’s continuous stay in office to no more than three consecutive terms, using "voluntary renunciation" as an example and standard of what does not constitute an interruption. Strict adherence to the intent of the three-term limit rule demands that preventive suspension should not be considered an interruption that allows an elective official’s stay in office beyond three terms. A preventive suspension cannot simply be a term interruption because the suspended official continues to stay in office although he is barred from exercising the functions and prerogatives of the office within the suspension period. The best indicator of the suspended official’s continuity in office is the absence of a permanent replacement and the lack of the authority to appoint one since no vacancy exists.

Q: Can independent candidates be substituted in any of the instances mentioned above? A: While the law specifically mentions that candidates who are party members may be substituted, the law nevertheless does not expressly prohibit the substitution of independent candidates. The law being silent on the matter, this cannot be perceived as a prohibition. Substitution is allowed in barangay elections 11. Rulloda vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 154198 Jan 20, 2003)
The purpose of election laws which is to give effect to rather than frustrate t h e w i l l o f t h e v o t e r s . I t i s a s o l e m n d u t y t o u p h o l d t h e c l e a r a n d unmistakable mandate of the people. It is well-settled that in case of doubt, political laws must be so construed as to give life and spirit to the popular mandate freely expressed through the ballot. R o m e o N . R u l l o d a a n d R e m e g i o L . P l a c i d o w e r e t h e contending candidates for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas, San Jacinto, Pangasinan. On June 22, 2002, Romeo suffered he a r t a t t a c k a n d p a s s e d a w a y . H i s w i d o w , p e t i t i o n e r Petronila "Betty" Rulloda, wrote a letter to the Commission on Elections seeki ng permission to run as candidate for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas in lieu of her late husband. BoC proclaimed Placido winner despite garn ering only 290 votes which is lesser than Rulloda’s 516. Petitioner later f o u n d o u t t h a t C O M E L E C d e n i e d h e r a p p l i c a t i o n t o b e substitute candidate of her late husband. COMELEC based its decision on its Resolution No. 4801 declaring there shall be no substitution for barangay and SK elections. Petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari, seeking to annul Section 9of Resolution No. 4801 and Resolution No. 5217, both of the COMELEC, insofar as they prohibited petitioner from running as substitute candidate in lieu of her deceased husband; to nullify the proclamation of respondent; and to proclaim her as the duly elected Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas, San Jacinto, Pangasinan. I s s u e : Whether or not substitution of candidate in Barangay Election is allowed.
Ruling: Private respondent contended that under Sec. 77 of the Omnibus Elections Code, substitution of candidates is not allowed; that inasmuch as the barangay election is non-partisan, there can be no substitution because there is no political party from which to designate the substitute. The Court ruled that such interpretation, aside from being nonsequitur , ignored the purpose of election laws which is to give effect to the will of the voters. The absence of a specific provision governing substitution of candidates in barangay elections cannot be inferred as a prohibition against said substitution. F urther, technicalities and procedural niceties in election cases should not be made to stand in the way of the true will of the electorate. Petitioner should be proclaimed as the duly elected Barangay Chairman. 14. CAYETANO VS, COMELEC 166388 & 166652

On April 25, 1998, the COMELEC conducted a plebiscite in Taguig, Metro Manila on the conversion of this municipality into a highly urbanized city as mandated by Republic Act No. 8487.[2] The residents of Taguig were asked this question: “Do you approve the conversion of the Municipality of Taguig, Metro Manila into a highly urbanized city to be known as the City of Taguig, as provided for in Republic Act No. 8487? ” On April 26, 1998, the Plebiscite Board of Canvassers (PBOC), without completing the canvass of sixty-four (64) other election returns, declared that the “No” votes won, indicating that the people rejected the conversion of Taguig into a city. However, upon order of the COMELEC en banc, the PBOC reconvened and completed the canvass of the plebiscite returns, eventually proclaiming that the negative votes still prevailed. Alleging that fraud and irregularities attended the casting and counting of votes, private respondents, filed with the COMELEC a petition seeking the annulment of the announced results of the plebiscite with a prayer for revision and recount of the ballots. The COMELEC treated the petition as an election protest, docketed as EPC No. 98-102. It was raffled to the Second Division.

Petitioner intervened in the case. He then filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction over an action involving the conduct of a plebiscite. He alleged that a plebiscite cannot be the subject of an election protest. HELD: The above factual findings of the COMELEC supported by evidence, are accorded, not only respect, but finality.[13] This is so because “the conduct of plebiscite and determination of its result have always been the business of the COMELEC and not the regular courts. Such a case involves the appreciation of ballots which is best left to the COMELEC. As an independent constitutional body exclusively charged with the power of enforcement and administration of all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall, the COMELEC has the indisputable expertise in the field of election and related laws.”[14] Its acts, therefore, enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties.[15] 15. G.R. No. 148334. January 21, 2004 ARTURO M. TOLENTINO and ARTURO C. MOJICA vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, SENATOR RALPH G. RECTO and SENATOR GREGORIO B. HONASAN FACTS: Petitioners assailed the manner by which the simultaneous regular and special elections of 2001 were conducted by the COMELEC. Petitioners contend that, if held simultaneously, a special and a regular election must be distinguished in the documentation as well as in the canvassing of their results. Thirteen senators were proclaimed from the said election with the 13th placer to serve that of the remaining term of Sen. Guingona, who vacated a seat in the senate. Petitioners sought for the nullification of the special election and, consequently, the declaration of the 13th elected senator. Issue: 1Whether or not Court had jurisdiction. 2Whether or not the petition was moot. 3Whether or not petioners had locus standi. 4Whether a Special Election for a Single, Three-Year Term Senatorial Seat was Validly Held on 14 May 2001 RULING: On the issue of jurisdiction, Court had jurisdiction because what petitioners were questioning was the validity of the special election on 14 May 2001 in which Honasan was elected and not to determine Honasan’s right in the exercise of his office as Senator proper under a quo warranto. On the issue of mootness, it was held that courts will decide a question otherwise moot if it is capable of repetition yet evading review. On the issue of locus standi, the court had relaxed the requirement on standing and exercised our discretion to give due course to voters’ suits involving the right of suffrage, considering that the issue raised in this petition is likely to arise again On the Validity of the Election, the Court held that the May 14, 2001 Election was valid. The Court held that COMELEC’s Failure to Give Notice of the Time of the Special Election as required under RA 6645, as amended, did Not Negate the Calling of such Election. Section 2 of R.A. No. 6645 itself provides that in case of vacancy in the Senate, the special election to fill such vacancy shall be held simultaneously with the next succeeding regular election. The law charges the voters with knowledge of this statutory notice and COMELEC’s failure to give the additional notice did not negate the calling of such special election, much less invalidate it. Further, there was No Proof that COMELEC’s Failure to Give Notice of the Office to be Filled and the Manner of Determining the Winner in the Special Election Misled Voters. IT could not be said that the voters were not informed since there had been other accessible information resources. Finally, the Court held that unless there had been a patent showing of grave abuse of discretion, the Court will not interfere with the affairs and conduct of the Comelec.
16. MIKE A. FERMIN vs. COMELEC

and UMBRA RAMIL BAYAM DILANGALEN G.R. No. 182369 & 179695

12-18-2008

After the creation of Shariff Kabunsuan,6 the Regional Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), on November 22, 2006, passed Autonomy Act No. 205 7 creating the Municipality of Northern Kabuntalan in Shariff Kabunsuan. This new municipality was constituted by separating Barangays Balong, Damatog, Gayonga, Guiawa, Indatuan, Kapinpilan, P. Labio, Libungan, Montay, Sabaken and Tumaguinting from the Municipality of Kabuntalan.8

Mike A. Fermin, the petitioner in both cases, was a registered voter of Barangay Payan, Kabuntalan. On December 13, 2006, claiming that he had been a resident of Barangay Indatuan for 1 year and 6 months, petitioner applied with the COMELEC for the transfer of his registration record to the said barangay.9 In the meantime, the creation of North Kabuntalan was ratified in a plebiscite on December 30, 2006, 10 formally making Barangay Indatuan a component of Northern Kabuntalan. Thereafter, on January 8, 2007, the COMELEC approved petitioner's application for the transfer of his voting record and registration as a voter to Precinct 21A of Barangay Indatuan, Northern Kabuntalan.11 On March 29, 2007, Fermin filed his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) for mayor of Northern Kabuntalan in the May 14, 2007 National and Local Elections.12 On April 20, 2007, private respondent Umbra Ramil Bayam Dilangalen, another mayoralty candidate, filed a Petition13 for Disqualification [the Dilangalen petition] against Fermin, docketed as SPA (PES) No. A07-003 [redocketed as SPA No. 07-372 before the COMELEC] with the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor of Shariff Kabunsuan. The petition alleged that the petitioner did not possess the period of residency required for candidacy and that he perjured himself in his CoC and in his application for transfer of voting record. The Issues The primordial issues in these consolidated cases may be encapsulated, as follows: (1) Whether or not the Dilangalen petition is one under Section 68 or Section 78 of the OEC; (2) Whether or not it was filed on time; (3) Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abuse its discretion when it declared petitioner as not a resident of the locality for at least one year prior to the May 14, 2007 elections; and (4) Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abuse its discretion when it ordered the dismissal of Election Case No. 07-022 on the ground that Fermin had no legal standing to file the protest. Our Ruling The denial of due course to or the cancellation of the CoC is not based on the lack of qualifications but on a finding that the candidate made a material representation that is false, which may relate to the qualifications required of the public office he/she is running for. It is noted that the candidate states in his/her CoC that he/she is eligible for the office 35 36 he/she seeks. Section 78 of the OEC, therefore, is to be read in relation to the constitutional and statutory provisions on qualifications or eligibility for public office. If the candidate subsequently states a material representation in the CoC that is false, the COMELEC, following the law, is empowered to deny due course to or cancel 37 such certificate. Indeed, the Court has already likened a proceeding under Section 78 to a quo warranto proceeding 38 39 under Section 253 of the OEC since they both deal with the eligibility or qualification of a candidate, with the distinction mainly in the fact that a "Section 78" petition is filed before proclamation, while a petition for quo warranto is filed after proclamation of the wining candidate.
iii

II As the law stands, the petition to deny due course to or cancel a CoC "may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy." Accordingly, it is necessary to determine when Fermin filed his CoC in order to ascertain whether the Dilangalen petition filed on April 20, 2007 was well within the restrictive 25-day period. If it was not, then the COMELEC should have, as discussed above, dismissed the petition outright. The record in these cases reveals that Fermin filed his CoC for mayor of Northern Kabuntalan for the May 14, 2007 National and Local Elections on March 29, 2007.58 It is clear therefore that the petition to deny due course to or cancel Fermin’s CoC was filed by Dilangalen well within the 25-day reglementary period. The COMELEC therefore did not abuse its discretion, much more gravely, when it did not dismiss the petition outright. III. However, the Court finds the COMELEC to have gravely abused its discretion when it precipitately declared that Fermin was not a resident of Northern Kabuntalan for at least one year prior to the said elections. Obviously, the COMELEC relied on a single piece of evidence to support its finding that petitioner was not a resident of Barangay Indatuan, Northern Kabuntalan, i.e., the oath of office subscribed and sworn to before Governor Datu Andal Ampatuan, in which petitioner indicated that he was a resident of Barangay Payan, Kabuntalan as of April 27, 2006. However, this single piece of evidence does not necessarily support a finding that petitioner was not a resident of Northern Kabuntalan as of May 14, 2006, or one year prior to the May 14, 2007 elections.61 Petitioner merely admitted that he was a resident of another locality as of April 27, 2006, which was more than a year before the elections. It is not inconsistent with his subsequent claim that he complied with the residency requirement for the elective office, as petitioner could have transferred to Barangay Indatuan after April 27, 2006, on or before May 14, 2006. Neither does this evidence support the allegation that petitioner failed to comply with the residency requirement for the transfer of his voting record from Barangay Payan to Barangay Indatuan. Given that a voter is required to reside in the place wherein he proposes to vote only for six months immediately preceding the election, 62

petitioner’s application for transfer on December 13, 2006 does not contradict his earlier admission that he was a resident of Barangay Payan as of April 27, 2006. Be that as it may, the issue involved in the Dilangalen petition is whether or not petitioner made a material representation that is false in his CoC, and not in his application for the transfer of his registration and voting record. The foregoing considered, the Court finds that the Dilangalen petition does not make out a prima facie case. Its dismissal is therefore warranted. We emphasize that the mere filing of a petition and the convenient allegation therein that a candidate does not reside in the locality where he seeks to be elected is insufficient to effect the cancellation of his CoC. Convincing evidence must substantiate every allegation.63 A litigating party is said to have a prima facie case when the evidence in his favor is sufficiently strong for his opponent to be called on to answer it. A prima facie case, then, is one which is established by sufficient evidence and can be overthrown only by rebutting evidence adduced on the other side.6 IV. In light of the foregoing disquisition, the COMELEC’s order for the dismissal of Fermin’s election protest is tainted with grave abuse of discretion, considering that the same is premised on Fermin’s alleged lack of legal standing to file the protest, which, in turn, is based on Fermin’s alleged lack of residency qualification. With our disposition herein that the Dilangalen petition should be dismissed, a disquisition that Fermin has no standing as a candidate would be reckless and improper. 17. G.R. No. 161434 March 3, 2004 MARIA JEANETTE C. TECSON and FELIX B. DESIDERIO, JR. vs.COMELEC, FPJ and VICTORINO X. FORNIER, G.R. No. 161634 March 3, 2004 ZOILO ANTONIO VELEZ vs.FPJ G. R. No. 161824 March 3, 2004 VICTORINO X. FORNIER, vs. HON. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and FPJ Facts: Petitioners sought for respondent Poe’s disqualification in the presidential elections for having allegedly misrepresented material facts in his (Poe’s) certificate of candidacy by claiming that he is a natural Filipino citizen despite his parents both being foreigners. Comelec dismissed the petition, holding that Poe was a Filipino Citizen. Petitioners assail the jurisdiction of the Comelec, contending that only the Supreme Court may resolve the basic issue on the case under Article VII, Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution. Issue: Whether or not it is the Supreme Court which had jurisdiction. Whether or not Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that Poe was a Filipino citizen. Ruling: 1.) The Supreme Court had no jurisdiction on questions regarding “qualification of a candidate” for the presidency or vice-presidency before the elections are held. "Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal" in connection with Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution, refers to “contests” relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the "President" or "VicePresident", of the Philippines which the Supreme Court may take cognizance, and not of "candidates" for President or Vice-President before the elections. 2.) Comelec committed no grave abuse of discretion in holding Poe as a Filipino Citizen. The 1935 Constitution on Citizenship, the prevailing fundamental law on respondent’s birth, provided that among the citizens of the Philippines are "those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines." Tracing respondent’s paternal lineage, his grandfather Lorenzo, as evidenced by the latter’s death certificate was identified as a Filipino Citizen. His citizenship was also drawn from the presumption that having died in 1954 at the age of 84, Lorenzo would have been born in 1980. In the absence of any other evidence, Lorenzo’s place of residence upon his death in 1954 was presumed to be the place of residence prior his death, such that Lorenzo Pou would have benefited from the "en masse Filipinization" that the Philippine Bill had effected in 1902. Being so, Lorenzo’s citizenship would have extended to his son, Allan---respondent’s father. Respondent, having been acknowledged as Allan’s son to Bessie, though an American citizen, was a Filipino citizen by virtue of paternal filiation as evidenced by the respondent’s birth certificate. The 1935 Constitution on citizenship did not make a distinction on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the child, thus, the allegation of bigamous marriage and the allegation that respondent was born only before the assailed marriage had no bearing on respondent’s citizenship in view of the established paternal filiation evidenced by the public documents presented. But while the totality of the evidence may not establish conclusively that respondent FPJ is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, the evidence on hand still would preponderate in his favor enough to hold that he cannot be held guilty of having made a material misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy in violation of Section 78, in relation to Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Cod

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