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COMELEC [95 SCRA 392; L-52245; 22 JAN 1980] Monday, February 02, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: Petitioner questions the constitutionality of section 4 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 52 as discriminatory and contrary to the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Constitution. Section 4 provided that any retired municipal or provincial city official that already received retirement benefits and is 65 years of age shall not be qualified to run for the same local elective office from which he has retired.

Issue: Whether or Not Sec. 4 of BP.52 is unconstitutional being contrary to the equal protection and due process rights.

Held: No. The guarantee of equal protection is subject to rational classification based on reasonable and real differentiations. In the present case, employees 65 years of age have been classified differently from younger employees. The former are subject to compulsory retirement while the latter are not. Retirement is not a reasonable disqualification for elective local officials because there can be retirees who are even younger and a 65 year old retiree could be as good as a 65 year old official who is not a retiree. But there is reason to disqualify a 65 year old elective official who is trying to run for office because there is the need for new blood to assume relevance. When an official has retired he has already declared himself tired and unavailable for the same government work. WHEREFORE, the first paragraph of section 4 of Batas pambansa Bilang 52 is hereby declared valid. Dumlao v COMELEC G.R. No. L-52245. January 22, 1980

Preliminary Injunction and/or Restraining Order J. Melencio-Herrera

Facts: Petitioner Dumlao is a former Governor of Nueva Vizcaya, who has filed his certificate of candidacy for said position of Governor in the forthcoming elections of January 30, 1980.

He specifically questions the constitutionality of section 4 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 52 as discriminatory and contrary to the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Constitution.

S4 -Any retired elective provincial, city of municipal official who has received payment of the retirement benefits to which he is entitled under the law and who shall have been 65 years of age at the commencement of the term of office to which he seeks to be elecOted, shall not be qualified to run for the same elective local office from which he has retired.

He claimed that the aforecited provision was directed insidiously against him, and that the classification provided therein is based on "purely arbitrary grounds and, therefore, class legislation.

His colleague Igot, assailed the same law for the prohibition for candidcay of a person who was convicted of a crime given that there was judgment for conviction and the prima facie nature of the filing of charges for the commission of such crimes.

He also questioned the accreditation of some political parties by respondent COMELEC, as authorized by Batas Pambansa Blg. 53, on the ground that it is contrary to section 9(1), Art. XII(C) of the Constitution, which provides that a "bona fide candidate for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination." Apart form this, hey also attacked the term of office and the election period. These were Sec 7 of BP 51, Sec 4; Sec 6, and Sec 1 of BP 52.

Issue: 1. Did petitioners have standing 2. Are the statutory provisions violative of the Constitution?

Held: 1. No 2. Dumlao's petition dismissed. Igot's petition partially granted. Petition granted

Ratio: 1. Dumalo sued as a candidate while Igot sued as a taxpayer. In order to determine judicial review, three requisites are present: a. actual case and controversy b. proper party c. existence of a constitutional question

a. Dumlao has not yet been affected by the statute. No petition has yet been filed for his disqualification. It was only a hypothetical question. b. Did they sustain direct injury as a result of the enforcement? No one has yet been adversely affected by the operation of the statutes. c. They are actually without cause of action. It follows that the necessity for resolving the issue of constitutionality is absent, and procedural regularity would require that his suit be dismissed.

However, they relaxed the procedural standard due to the public interest involved and the imminent elections.

2. Section 4 of BP Blg. 52 is not contrary to equal protection. The constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws is subject to rational classification.

If the groupings are based on reasonable and real differentiations, one class can be treated and regulated differently from another class. For purposes of public service, employees 65 years of age, have been validly classified differently from younger employees. Employees attaining that age are subject to compulsory retirement, while those of younger ages are not so compulsorily retirable.

The requirement to retire government employees at 65 may or may not be a reasonable classification. Young blood can be encouraged to come in to politics.

But, in the case of a 65-year old elective local official who has already retired, there is reason to disqualify him from running for the same office, as provided for in the challenged provision. The need for new blood assumes relevance.

The tiredness of the retiree for government work is present, and what is emphatically significant is that the retired employee has already declared himself tired an unavailable for the same government work, but, which, by virtue of a change of mind, he would like to assume again.

It is for the very reason that inequality will neither result from the application of the challenged provision. Just as that provision does not deny equal protection, neither does it permit such denial.

In fine, it bears reiteration that the equal protection clause does not forbid all legal classification. What is proscribes is a classification which is arbitrary and unreasonable. hat constitutional guarantee is not violated by a reasonable classification is germane to the purpose of the law and applies to all those belonging to the same class.

The purpose of the law is to allow the emergence of younger blood in local governments. The classification in question being pursuant to that purpose, it cannot be considered invalid "even if at times, it may be susceptible to the objection that it is marred by theoretical inconsistencies.

Regarding Igot's petition, the court held that explicit is the constitutional provision that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel. An accusation, according to the fundamental law, is not synonymous with guilt. The challenged proviso contravenes the constitutional presumption of innocence, as a candidate is disqualified from running from public office on the ground alone that charges have been filed against him before a civil or military tribunal. It condemns before one is fully heard. In ultimate effect, except as to the degree of proof, no distinction is made between a person convicted of acts of disloyalty and one against whom charges have been filed for such acts, as both of them would be ineligible to run for public office.

A person disqualified to run for public office on the ground that charges have been filed against him is virtually placed in the same category as a person already convicted of a crime with the penalty of arresto, which carries with it the accessory penalty of suspension of the right to hold office during the term of the sentence.

And although the filing of charges is considered as but prima facie evidence, and therefore, may be rebutted, yet, there is "clear and present danger" that because the proximity of the elections, time constraints will prevent one charged with acts of disloyalty from offering contrary proof to overcome the prima facie evidence against him.

A legislative/administrative determination of guilt should not be allowed to be substituted for a judicial determination. Igot's petition was meritorious. Marquez vs. COMELEC Post under case digests, Political Law at Wednesday, February 22, 2012 Posted by Schizophrenic Mind Facts: It is averred that at the time respondent Rodriguez filed his certificate of candidacy, a criminal charge against him for ten counts of insurance fraud or grand theft of personal property was still pending before the Municipal Court of Los Angeles, USA. A warrant issued by said court for his arrest, it is claimed, has yet to be served on private respondent on account of his alleged flight from that country. Before the May 1992 elections, a petition for cancellation of respondents certificate of candidacy on the ground of the candidates disqualification under section 40 of the Local Government Code [Section 40. Disqualification. The following persons are disqualified from running for any local elective position... (e) Fugitive from justice in criminal or non-political cases here or abroad.] was filed by petitioner, but COMELEC dismissed the petition. Private respondent was proclaimed Governor-elect of Quezon. Petitioner instituted quo warranto proceedings against private respondent before the COMELEC but the latter dismissed the petition.

Issue: Whether private respondent, who at the time of the filing of his certificate of candidacy is said to be facing a criminal charge before a foreign court and evading a warrant of arrest comes within the term fugitive from justice.

Held: The Supreme Court ruled that Article 73 of the Rules and Regulations implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 provides:

Article 73. Disqualifications The following persons shall be disqualified from running for any elective local position:

xxxx(e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or non-political cases here or abroad. Fugitive from justice refers to a person who has been convicted by final judgment.

It is clear from this provision that fugitives from justice refer only to persons who has been convicted by final judgment. However, COMELEC did not make any definite finding on whether or not private respondent is a fugitive from justice when it outrightly denied the petition for quo warranto. The Court opted to remand the case to COMELEC to resolve and proceed with the case.

The Oversight Committee evidently entertained serious apprehensions on the possible constitutional infirmity of Section 40(e) of RA 7160 if the disqualification therein meant were to be so taken as to embrace those who merely were facing criminal charges. A similar concern was expressed by Senator R. A. V. Saguisag who, during the bicameral conference committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives, made this reservation: de ipa-refine lang natin 'yung language especially 'yung, the scope of fugitive. Medyo bothered ako doon, a.

The Oversight Committee finally came out with Article 73 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991. It provided:

Art. 73. Disqualifications. The following persons shall be disqualified from running for any elective local position: (e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or non-political cases here or abroad. Fugitive from justice refers to a person who has been convicted by final judgment. It includes those who after being charged flee to avoid prosecution. The COMELEC is directed to proceed and settle the case in conformity of the given clarification with the term fugitive from justice. RODRIGUEZ vs. COMELEC Case Digest RODRIGUEZ vs. COMELEC 259 SCRA 296, 1996

Facts: The petitioner Eduardo T. Rodriguez was a candidate for Governor in the Province of Quezon in the May 8, 1995 elections. His rival candidate for the said position was Bienvenido O. Marquez, Jr., herein private respondent. Private respondent filed a petition for disqualification before the COMELEC based principally on the allegation that Rodriguez is a fugitive from justice. Private respondent revealed that a charge for fraudulent insurance claims, grand theft and attempted grand theft of personal property is pending against the petitioner before the Los Angeles Municipal Court. Rodriguez is

therefore a fugitive from justice which is a ground for his disqualification/ ineligibility under Section 40 (e) of the Local Government Code according to Marquez.

Rodriguez, however, submitted a certification from the Commission of Immigration showing that Rodriguez left the US on June 25, 1985- roughly five (5) months prior to the institution of the criminal complaint filed against him before the Los Angeles Court.

Issue: Whether or not Rodriguez is a fugitive from justice.

Held: No. The Supreme Court reiterated that a fugitive from justice includes not only those who flee after conviction to avoid punishment but likewise who, being charged, flee to avoid prosecution. The definition thus indicates that the intent to evade is the compelling factor that animates ones flight from a particular jurisdiction. And obviously, there can only be an intent to evade prosecution or punishment when there is knowledge by the fleeing subject of an already instituted indictment or of a promulgated judgement of conviction. PEOPLE VS. HOLGADO [85 PHIL 752; G.R.L-2809; 22 MAR 1950] Sunday, February 15, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: Appellant Frisco Holgado was charged in the court of First Instance of Romblon with slight illegal detention because according to the information, being a private person, he did "feloniously and without justifiable motive, kidnap and detain one Artemia Fabreag in the house of Antero Holgado for about eight hours thereby depriving said Artemia Fabreag of her personal liberty. He pleaded guilty (without a counsel) and said that he was just instructed by Mr. Ocampo, which no evidence was presented to indict the latter.

Issue: Whether or Not there was any irregularity in the proceedings in the trial court.

Held: Yes. Rule 112, section 3 of ROC that : If the defendant appears without attorney, he must be informed by the court that it is his right to have attorney being arraigned., and must be asked if he desires the aid of attorney, the Court must assign attorney de oficio to defend him. A reasonable time must be allowed for procuring attorney. This was violated. Moreso the guarantees of our Constitution that "no person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law", and that all accused "shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel." In criminal cases there can be no fair

hearing unless the accused be given the opportunity to be heard by counsel. The trial court failed to inquire as to the true import of the qualified plea of accused. The record does not show whether the supposed instructions of Mr. Ocampo was real and whether it had reference to the commission of the offense or to the making of the plea guilty. No investigation was opened by the court on this matter in the presence of the accused and there is now no way of determining whether the supposed instruction is a good defense or may vitiate the voluntariness of the confession. Apparently the court became satisfied with the fiscal's information that he had investigated Mr. Ocampo and found that the same had nothing to do with this case. Such attitude of the court was wrong for the simple reason that a mere statement of the fiscal was not sufficient to overcome a qualified plea of the accused. But above all, the court should have seen to it that the accused be assisted by counsel especially because of the qualified plea given by him and the seriousness of the offense found to be capital by the court.


SORIANO VS. SANDIGANBAYAN [131 SCRA 184; G.R. NO.L-65952; 31 JUL 1984] Sunday, February 15, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: Tan was accused of qualified theft. The petitioner, who was an Asst. Fiscal, was assigned to investigate. In the course of the investigation, petitioner demanded Php.4000 from Tan as price for dismissing the case. Tan reported it to the NBI which set up an entrapment. Tan was given a Php.2000, marked bill, and he had supplied the other half. The entrapment succeeded and an information was filed with the Sandiganbayan. After trial, the Sandiganbayan rendered a decision finding the petitioner guilty as a principal in violating the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A.3019). A motion for reconsideration was denied by the Sandiganbayan, hence this instant petition.

Issue: Whether or Not the investigation conducted by the petitioner can be regarded as contract or transaction within the purview of .RA.3019.

Held: R.A. 3019 Sec.3. Corrupt practices of public officers - In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing laws, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: xxx b. Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share percentage or benefit, for himself or for other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Govt. and any other party wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law. The petitioner stated that the facts make out a case of direct bribery under Art.210 of the RPC and not a violation of R.A. 3019 sec.3 (b). The offense of direct bribery is not the offense charged and is not included in the offense charged which is violation of R.A.3019 sec.3 (b). The respondent claimed that, transaction as used hereof, is not limited to commercial or business transaction, but includes all kinds of transaction whether commercial, civil, or administrative in nature. The court agrees with the petitioner. It is obvious that the investigation conducted by the petitioner was neither a contract nor transaction. A transaction like a contract is one which involves some consideration as in credit transactions. And this element is absent in the investigation conducted by the petitioner.

Judgment modified. Petitioner is guilty of direct bribery under Art.210 of the RPC. BORJA VS. MENDOZA [77 SCRA 422; G.R. NO.L-45667; 20 JUN 1977] Sunday, February 15, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: Borja was accused of slight physical injuries in the City of Cebu. However, he was not arraigned. That not withstanding, respondent Judge Senining proceeded with the trial in absentia and rendered a decision finding petitioner guilty of the crime charged. The case was appealed to the Court o First Instance in Cebu presided by respondent Judge Mendoza. It was alleged that the failure to arraign him is a violation of his constitutional rights. It was also alleged that without any notice to petitioner and without requiring him to submit his memorandum, a decision on the appealed case was rendered The Solicitor General commented that the decision should be annulled because there was no arraignment.

Issue: Whether or Not petitioners constitutional right was violated when he was not arraigned.

Held: Yes. Procedural due process requires that the accused be arraigned so that he may be informed as to why he was indicted and what penal offense he has to face, to be convicted only on a showing that his guilt is shown beyond reasonable doubt with full opportunity to disprove the evidence against him. It is also not just due process that requires an arraignment. It is required in the Rules that an accused, for the first time, is granted the opportunity to know the precise charge that confronts him. It is imperative that he is thus made fully aware of possible loss of freedom, even of his life, depending on the nature of the crime imputed to him. At the very least then, he must be fully informed of why the prosecuting arm of the state is mobilized against him. Being arraigned is thus a vital aspect of the constitutional rights guaranteed him. Also, respondent Judge Senining convicted petitioner notwithstanding the absence of an arraignment. With the violation of the constitutional right to be heard by himself and counsel being thus manifest, it is correct that the Solicitor General agreed with petitioner that the sentence imposed on him should be set aside for being null. The absence of an arraignment can be invoked at anytime in view of the requirements of due process to ensure a fair and impartial trial. Wherefore, the petition for certiorari is granted. The decision of respondent Judge Romulo R. Senining dated December 28, 1973, finding the accused guilty of the crime of slight physical injuries, is nullified and set aside. Likewise, the decision of respondent Judge Rafael T. Mendoza dated November 16, 1976, affirming the aforesaid decision of Judge Senining, is nullified and set aside. The case is remanded to the City Court of Cebu for the prosecution of the offense of slight physical injuries, with due respect and observance of the provisions of the Rules of Court, starting with the arraignment of petitioner.


People v Tee GR No. 140546-47 (January 20, 2003) Posted by Evelyn "rights of the accused to speedy trial"

Facts The case involves an automatic review of judgment made against Tee who was convicted for illegal possession of marijuana and sentenced to death. The defense assailed the decision of the court for taking admissible as evidence the marijuana seized from the accused by virtue of allegedly general search warrant. They further contend that the accused was deprived of his right to speedy trial by failure of the prosecution to produce their witness who failed to appear during the 20 hearing dates thereby slowing down the trial procedure.

Issue Whether or not the substantive right of the accused for a speedy trial prejudiced during the hearing of the case.

Held The court ruled that the substantive right of the accused for a fair and speedy trial was not violated. It held that the Speedy Trial Act of 1998 provides that the trial period for the criminal cases should be in general 180 days. However, in determining the right of an accused to speedy trial, courts should do more than a mathematical computation of the number of postponements of the scheduled hearings of the case.The right to a speedy trial is deemed violated only when: (1) the proceedings are attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or (2) when unjustified postponements are asked for and secured; or (3) when without cause or justifiable motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried. It was shown by the records that the prosecution exerted efforts in obtaining a warrant to compel the witness to testify. The concept of speedy trial is necessarily relative where several factors are weighed such as the length of time of delay, the reason of such delay, and conduct of prosecution and the accused and the prejudice and damaged caused to the accused of such delay. The court did not find the 20 days of delayed hearing unreasonable length of time as to constitute deprivation of the constitutional rights of the accused for a speedy trial in addition to the fact that court trial may be always subjected to postponement for reasonable cause of delay. In the absence of showing that the reason for delay was

capricious or oppressive, the State must not be deprived of reasonable opportunity in prosecuting the accused. CONDE VS. RIVERA [45 PHIL 650; G.R. NO. 21741; 25 JAN 1924] Sunday, February 15, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: Aurelia Conde, formerly a municipal midwife in Lucena, Tayabas, has been forced to respond to no less the five information for various crimes and misdemeanors, has appeared with her witnesses and counsel at hearings no less than on eight different occasions only to see the cause postponed, has twice been required to come to the Supreme Court for protection, and now, after the passage of more than one year from the time when the first information was filed, seems as far away from a definite resolution of her troubles as she was when originally charged.

Issue: Whether or Not petitioner has been denied her right to a speedy and impartial trial.

Held: Philippine organic and statutory law expressly guarantee that in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to have a speedy trial. Aurelia Conde, like all other accused persons, has a right to a speedy trial in order that if innocent she may go free, and she has been deprived of that right in defiance of law. We lay down the legal proposition that, where a prosecuting officer, without good cause, secures postponements of the trial of a defendant against his protest beyond a reasonable period of time, as in this instance for more than a year, the accused is entitled to relief by a proceeding in mandamus to compel a dismissal of the information, or if he be restrained of his liberty, by habeas corpus to obtain his freedom.