This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
FACTS: Consolidated cases regarding the Right to Suffrage. Petitioners are asking the COMELEC to hold a special registration before the May 14, 2001 General Election. After hearings, meetings and consultations, the COMELEC denied the request for special registration on the grounds (1) it is against the law, and (2) impossibility. The case was elevated to SC. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing COMELEC Resolution dated February 8, 2001 in not allowing another extension for
The right of suffrage is not at all absolute. It is subject to existing substantive and procedural requirements. As to the procedural limitation, the right of a citizen to vote is necessarily conditioned upon the process of registration. The act of registration is an indispensable precondition to the right of suffrage. The State, undoubtedly then, in the exercise of its inherent police power, may then enact laws to safeguard and regulate the act of voter’s registration. The period barring any registration before the general elections has its purpose. It is meant to complement the prohibitive period for filing petitions for exclusion of voters from the list. Stated otherwise, if a special registration is conducted on a later date, the period for filing petitions for exclusion must likewise be adjusted to a later date. If not, then there can be no challenge to the voter’s list. It will then open the registration process to abuse. Petitioners cannot also rely on the standby or residual powers of the COMELEC, under Sec 28, R.A. 8436 [which provides that if the COMELEC cannot observe the periods and dates prescribed by law for certain pre-election acts, it can fix another period]. Sec 28 relies on the sound premise that these certain preelection acts are still capable of being reasonably performed vis-à-vis the remaining period before the date of election and the conduct of other related pre-election activities required under the law. COMELEC has stressed that there is an operational impossibility in conducting the special registration such as the additional printing of the official ballots, election returns and other forms and paraphernalia. Undergoing the long process of preparing for the elections would result in the postponement of the elections to June 10. It is an accepted doctrine in administrative law that the determination of administrative agency as to the operation, implementation and application of a law would be accorded great weight considering that these specialized government bodies are, by their nature and functions, in the best position to know what they can possibly do or not do, under prevailing circumstances. The law does not require that the impossible be done. There is no obligation to do an impossible thing. COMELEC, in denying the request of petitioners to hold a special registration, acted within the bounds and confines of the applicable law on the matter. It merely exercised a prerogative that chiefly pertains to it and one which squarely falls within the proper sphere of it’s constitutionally –mandated powers.