Compiled by: Hernandez, Frauline Camille R. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. Eliza Yamamoto G.R. No. 129040 November 17, 1997 NESTOR C.

LIM, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, HON. FELIMON C. ABELITA, III, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Masbate, Branch 44, and SALVADOR O. SANCHEZ, respondents. MENDOZA, J.: This is a petition for certiorari to annul the resolution dated April 17, 1997 of Commission on Election, sustaining the dismissal by the Regional Trial Court (Branch 44) of Masbate of petitioner's counterprotest against private respondent Salvadora O. Sanchez in connection with the mayoralty contest for Uson, Masbate. Petitioner Nestor C. Lim and private respondent Salvadora O. Sanchez were candidates for the office of mayor of the Municipality of Uson, Masbate in the May 8, 1995 elections. Petitioner was credited 7,532 votes against 7,193 votes for private respondent and declared winner by a margin of 339 votes. On May 11, 1995, he was proclaimed the duly-elected mayor of Uson, Masbate by the municipal board of canvassers. On May 22, 1995, private respondent filed an election protest alleging massive and rampant fraud committed by petitioner's camp in 32 polling precincts. Petitioner was required to answer. Summons and copies of the election protest were served on him on June 2, 1995. 1 On June 15, 1995, Atty. Renato M. Cervantes entered his appearance as counsel for petitioner and moved for an extension of 15 days from June 17, 1995 within which to file petitioner's answer. The trial court granted petitioner an extension of ten (10) days from June 16, 1995, i.e., until June 26, 1995, within which to file his answer. On June 22, 1995, petitioner instead filed a motion to dismiss the election protest on the ground that the protest was filed beyond the reglementary period of then (10) days counted from the proclamation of the results of the elections on May 11, 1995. On August 23, 1995, the trial court denied petitioner's motion to dismiss. Private respondent's protest, which was sent by registered mail on May 22, 1995, was held to have been filed on time, considering that May 21, 1995, the last day of the ten-day reglementary period, fell on a Sunday. A copy of the order of denial was received by the petitioner on August 31, 1995. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but the trial court denied his motion. He then questioned the orders in a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals. However, his petition was dismissed by the appellate court for want of jurisdiction. 2 Petitioner also filed a motion for a bill of particulars upon the denial of his motion to dismiss. Again, his motion was denied. Petitioner received a copy of the order of denial on November 8, 1995. On November 13, 1995, petitioner filed his answer with counterprotest by registered mail. The trial court thereafter ordered the parties to name their representatives to the revision committee. The revision of the ballots subject of private respondent's protest having been finished on June 10, 1996, petitioner, on June 13, 1996, moved for the revision of ballots subject of his counterprotest. But the trial court denied his motion in its order of August 7, 1996 on the ground that petitioner's answer with counterprotest was filed out of time. In its order dated September 9, 1996, it denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration. A copy of the order was received by the petitioner on September 21, 1996. Petitioner filed a petition for certiorari in the COMELEC which, in its resolution dated April 17, 1997, dismissed petitioner's petition for lack of merit. Petitioner received a copy of the resolution on the same day. On April 22, 1997, he filed a motion for reconsideration. Realizing that such motion was not allowed under Rule 13, §1(d) of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, he brought this petition on May 17, 1997. Meantime, on May 8, 1997, the trial court rendered a decision annulling the proclamation of petitioner as the duly-elected mayor of Uson, Masbate and declaring in his place private respondent as winner of the mayoralty contest by a margin of 111 votes. 3 Petitioner contends that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in upholding the trial court's order denying his counterprotest. He argues that the Rules of Court, rather than those of the COMELEC, govern the requirements and periods for pleading in election contests cognizable by the Regional Trial Courts. He argues that his pleadings were filed within the periods prescribed by the Rules of Court. He avers that he filed a motion to dismiss the protest on June 22, 1995, within the extension to file an answer granted by the trial court; that he had fifteen (15) days to file an answer from August 31, 1995, the date he received notice of denial of his motion to dismiss; that, in accordance with the Rules of Court, he had up to September 4, 1995 within which to file a motion for a bill of particulars; and that upon denial of his motion, he had five (5) days from receipt of the order on November 8, 1995 within which to file his answer, which he did on November 13, 1995, as provided in Rule 12, §1(b) of the Rules of Court. After due consideration of the petition, to which an answer (comment) was filed by private respondent, we think the petition should be dismissed for lack of merit. The COMELEC correctly found that petitioner's counterprotest was filed out of time. The basic flaw in petitioner's theory is his insistence that because the election protest is cognizable by the Regional Trial Court, the period for filing pleadings is governed by the Rules of Court. The Omnibus Election Code (B.P. No. 881) provides: §254. Procedure in election contests. — The Commission shall prescribe the rules to govern the procedure and other matters relating to the election contests pertaining to all national, regional, provincial, and city offices not later than thirty days before such elections. Such rules shall provide a simple and inexpensive procedure for the expeditious disposition of election contest and shall be published in at least two newspapers of general circulation. However, with respect to election contest involving municipal and barangay offices the following rules of procedure shall govern: (a) Notice of the protest contesting the election of a candidate for a municipal or barangay office shall be served upon the candidate by means of a summons at the postal address stated in his certificate of candidacy except when the protestee, without waiting for the summons, has made the court understand that he has been notified of the protest or has filed his answer hereto; (b) The protestee shall answer the protest within five days after receipt of the summons, or, in case there has been no summons from the date of his appearance and in all cases before the commencement of the hearing of the protest or contest. The answer shall deal only with the election in the polling places which are covered by the allegations of the contest; (c) Should the protestee desire to impugn the votes received by the protestant in other polling places, he shall file a counterprotest within the same period fixed for the answer serving a copy thereof upon the protestant by registered mail or by personal delivery of through the sheriff; (d) The protestant shall answer the counter-protest within five days after notices; (e) Within the period of five days counted from the filing of the protest any other candidate for the same office may intervene in
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Compiled by: Hernandez, Frauline Camille R. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. Eliza Yamamoto the case as other contestants and ask for affirmative relief in his favor by a petition in intervention, which shall be considered as another contest, except that it shall be substantiated within the same proceedings. The protestant or protestee shall answer the protest in intervention within five days after notice; (f) If no answer shall be filed to the contest, counter-protest, or to the protest in intervention, within the time limits respectively fixed, a general denial shall be deemed to have been entered; (g) In election contest proceedings, the permanent registry list of voters shall be conclusive in regard to the question as to who has the right to vote in said election. Conformably to these provision, the COMELEC Rules of Procedure likewise provides: PART VI PROVISIONS GOVERNING ELECTION CONTEST AND QUO WARRANTO CASES BEFORE TRIAL COURTS Rule 35 — Election Contest Before Courts of General Jurisdiction xxx xxx xxx §7. Answer, Reply, Counter-Protest and Protest in Intervention. — (a) Within five (5) days after receipt of notice of the filing of the petition and a copy of the petition, the respondent shall file his answer thereto specifying the nature of his defense, and serve a copy thereof upon the protestant. The answer shall deal only with the election in the precincts which are covered by the allegations of the protest. (b) Should the protestee desire to impugn the votes received by the protestant in other precincts, he shall file a counter-protest within the same period fixed for the filing of the answer, serving a copy thereof upon the protestant by registered mail or by personal delivery. In such a case, the counter-protest shall be verified. (c) The protestant shall answer the counter-protest within five (5) days after notice. (d) Within five (5) days from the filing of the protest, any other candidate for the same office may intervene in the case as other contestants and ask for affirmative relief in his favor by a verified petition in intervention, which shall be substantiated within the same proceeding. The protestant or protestee shall answer the protest-in-intervention within five (5) days after notice. (e) If no answer shall be filed to the protest, counter-protest, or protest-in-intervention within the time limits respectively fixed, a general denial shall be deemed to have been entered. It will thus be seen that Rule 35 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure merely reproduced the provisions of Art. XXI, §254 of the Omnibus Election Code. There is no basis for petitioner's contention that the COMELEC has no power to prescribe the procedure for election contests filed in the Regional Trial Courts and those filed in the Municipal Trial Courts. 4 The timeliness of petitioner's protest must therefore be determined in accordance with the rule of the COMELEC. As already noted, petitioner received summons and copies of the election protest on June 2, 1995. In accordance with Art XXI, § 254(b) of the Omnibus Election Code and Rule 35, §7(a) of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, his answer should have been filed within five (5) days, i.e., on or before June 7, 1995. But petitioner did not file his answer on or before that date. On June 15, 1995, eight (8) days after the expiration of the period for filing his answer, his counsel filed a motion for an extension of fifteen (15) days within which to file an answer or any responsive pleading to the election protest. His motion was thus filed late. In Maliwanag v. Herrera, 5 the Court held that the provisions of the Rules of Court are suppletory to the provisions of the Election Law. Hence a motion for extension of time to file answer to the election protest should be filed before the expiration of the five-day reglementary period to answer, otherwise a general denial shall be deemed to have been entered against the protestee. 6 Petitioner's answer with counterprotest, which was filed on November 13, 1995, was therefore filed more than five months late. In the case of Maliwanag v. Herrera, 7 the Court rule that a counterprotest is equivalent of a counterclaim in a civil action and, therefore, must be presented as part of the answer within the time the protestee is required to answer the protest. In Kho v. COMELEC, 8 this Court reiterated the longstanding rule 9 that the counterprotest must be filed within the period provided by law, otherwise, the court acquires no jurisdiction to entertain it. Conformably to these cases, we hold that the COMELEC did not commit a grave abuse of discretion in upholding the trial court's refusal to conduct a revision of the ballots subject of petitioner's counterprotest since the answer with counterprotest was clearly filed out of time. The trial court had no jurisdiction to entertain the counterprotest. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 109713 April 6, 1995 JOSE M. MERCADO, petitioner, vs. BOARD OF ELECTION SUPERVISORS OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF IBAAN, PROVINCE OF BATANGAS, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, CRISANTO P. PANGILINAN and HON. CONRADO R. ANTONA, respondents. DAVIDE, JR., J.: The novel issues presented in this petition may be reduced (1) the legality and constitutionality of Section 24, Resolution No. 2499 of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) creating, for purposes of the elections in the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), the Boards of Election Supervisors (BES) and making it the final arbiter of all election protests, and (2) the jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts over contests involving sangguniang kabataan elections. Petitioner Jose M. Mercado was proclaimed winner in the 4 December 1992 election for chairman of the SK of Barangay Mabalor, Ibaan, Batangas. The proclamation was made by the Board of Election Tellers (BET) acting as the Board of Canvassers, on the basis of its tally which showed Mercado winning by one vote(49 to 48) over his rival, private respondent Crisanto P. Pangilinan. 1 Mercado' s victory was, however, short-lived. Immediately after Mercado's proclamation as the winner by the BET, Pangilinan filed a formal protest with the BES questioning the results of the election. He alleged that the BET Chairman, drinking gin and Coke during the counting, had invalidated some votes without consulting the other board members. The BES ordered .the reopening of the ballot box and the recount of the votes for SK Chairman. The recount reversed the earlier tally to 51 to 49 in favor of Pangilinan, who was thereupon proclaimed the duly elected SK Chairman by the BES, which issued for that purpose its own Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation. Mercado then filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Batangas City a petition for certiorari and mandamuspraying for the annulment of Pangilinan's proclamation by the BES, and for the issuance of an order to compel the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to recognize him as the duly elected SK Chairman of Barangay Mabalor and to allow him to take his oath of office and discharge his duties as such. In his petition docketed as Civil Case No. 3565, Mercado assailed the jurisdiction of the BES to act on the protest filed by Pangilinan as the ground cited therein was allegedly in the nature of an election protest properly cognizable by the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Court in accordance with Section 252 of the Omnibus Election Code. He further claimed that, assuming that the BES has jurisdiction over the protest, the grounds raised
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2499 expressly provides: ARTICLE V BOARD OF ELECTION SUPERVISORS AND BOARD OF ELECTION TELLERS Sec. 24. Frauline Camille R. in his Consolidated Reply. 337. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. shall automatically become an exofficio member of the sangguniang barangay 6 Under subparagraph (5). on a more fundamental ground. otherwise known as the Local Government Code.P. 337 (The Local Government Code). moreover. It was initially organized by P. paragraph (e) Article 203. thereby contravening Section 2. Board of election supervisors. constituting instead the BES. 3 It remains as a youth organization in every barangay. the jurisdictional and due process issues raised therein being legal in nature. 5 The chairman. No. Hence. It ruled that the reopening of the ballot box for Barangay Mabalor and the recounting of the votes cast therein were perfectly within the ambit of the BES's authority. Subtitle C. Section 2. Mercado. b) city/municipal election officer as member. Unconvinced. 2499 is null and void because: (a) it prescribes a separate set of rules for the election of the SK Chairman different from and inconsistent with that set forth in the Omnibus Election Code. Mercado moved for a reconsideration of the dismissal order. 2499. In its Order dated 13 January 1993. Its affairs were administered by a barangay youth chairman together with six barangay youth leaders. Under R. 12 Metropolitan and municipal trial courts had exclusive original The jurisdiction over contests 3 . That law was B. Title I. and he reiterates the arguments he adduced in his motion for reconsideration regarding the jurisdiction of the RTC over Civil Case No. which is under COMELEC jurisdiction . as the final arbiter of all election controversies within its level. 2499 is illegal and unconstitutional because it makes the BES the final arbiter of election contests involving the SK in contravention of Section 252 of the Omnibus Election Code which vests in the proper metropolitan or municipal trial court original jurisdiction over such contests and. and that Mercado should have gone to the DILG which has direct control and supervision of the SK elections. and the elective barangay officials referred to were the punong barangay and the six sangguniang bayan members. 4 The katipunan ng kabataan is composed of all citizens of the Philippines actually residing in the barangay for at least six months who are 15 but not more than 21 and who are duly registered in the list of the SK or in the official barangay list in the custody of the barangay secretary.(b) under its Resolutions Nos. and the secretary and the treasurer to be appointed by the SK chairman with the concurrence of the SK. under said Resolution No. Article I of the said Code which explicitly provides that "it shall govern all elections of public officers".D. no appeal to a higher administrative level wash allowed from the action of the BES and (c) the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies did not apply to the case at bar. Eliza Yamamoto therein were deemed waived by Pangilinan's failure to invoke them at the level of the BET. Book V of the 1987 Administrative Code. in refutation of the Solicitor General's defense of the BES jurisdiction as conferred by COMELEC Resolution No. in its Order dated 2 March 1993. Article VIII of the Omnibus Election Code. 7160. the RTC dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction. 9 They were to be elected by those qualified to exercise the right of suffrage. Mercado's present petition under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court for the review on pure questions of law of the Orders of 13 January 1993 and 2 March 1993 of the Batangas RTC. the Pambansang Katipunan ng Kabataang Barangay ng Pilipinas was constituted as "a body corporate" with "the powers and attributes of a corporation" and placed directly under the Office of the President. Rule XXVII of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 7 the conduct and administration of the elections for sangguniang kabataan members shall be governed by the rules promulgated by the COMELEC. Its affairs were to be administered by the Executive Committee which was empowered to promulgate rules and regulations governing the KB. in contravention of Section 2. denied the motion for reconsideration for lack of merit. 8 This contention is without merit for it assumes that the SK election is an election involving elective barangay officials within the purview of the aforesaid statutory and constitutional provisions. Article IX-C of the Constitution on the COMELEC's exclusive appellate jurisdiction over contests involving elective barangay officials refer to the elective barangay officials under the pertinent laws in force at the time the Omnibus Election Code was enacted and upon the ratification of the Constitution. 3565 on the competency of the BES to take cognizance of Pangilinan' s protest and his right to due process. (b) it constitutes a total. and. Section 52. composed of a chairman and seven members to be elected by the katipunan ng kabataan. He initially raises the same issues he presented in Civil Case No.A. now contends that COMELEC Resolution No. the RTC. 7160 (The Local Government Code of 1991). No. Blg. 2499 which closely followed the pattern set in the Constitution of the Kabataang Barangay providing for a Board of Election Supervisors and Board of Election Tellers. 3565. Chapter 1. Blg. Pursuant to P. Article IX-C of the Constitution which lodges on.D. He argued that the RTC was competent to act on his petition because (a) one mode of seeking judicial review is through the writ of certiorari which may be issued by the RTC under B.P. This youth organization was recognized in B. The board shall have direct general supervision in the conduct of elections for sangguniang kabataan in the barangay and shall act as final arbiter in the resolution of all election protests. Article V of Resolution No. and c) city/municipal secretary as member. a youth organization composed of all barangay residents who were less than 18 years of age which aims to provide its members with the opportunity to express their views and opinions on issues of transcendental importance. The petitioner contends that COMELEC Resolution No. The issues presented require a flashback into the history of the SK.P. 684 (15 April 1975) as the Kabataang Barangay (KB). 2499 and 2520. — There shall be created aboard of election supervisors (BES) in every city or municipality composed of the following: a) city/municipal local government operations officer as chairman. upon assumption of office. and that the BES acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in denying the petitioner of due process when it ordered the reopening of the ballot box and the recounting of the votes without affording him the opportunity to be heard. 2499. Blg. 2499 of the COMELEC did not vest in the RTC jurisdiction over controversies affecting Sangguniang Kabataan elections. such courts exclusive original jurisdiction over contests involving elective barangay officials. 129. the Kabataang Barangay was changed to the Sangguniang Kabataan. Article IX-C of the Constitution. and Section 2. with the former having direct general supervision in the conduct of such election and as the final arbiter of all election protests.Compiled by: Hernandez. Section 252 of the Omnibus Election Code and that portion of paragraph (2). who should at least be 15 years of age or over but less than 18 The then Secretary of Local Government and Community Development was authorized to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations. absolute. the COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 1191 (1 September 1977).A. The trial court stated that it was not aware of any law by which it could act on the matters raised in Mercado's petition since Resolution No. Pursuant to such authority and for purposes of the SK election authorized under Section 532 of R. No pre-proclamation cases shall be allowed on matters relating to the election of sangguniang kabataan chairman and members. 10They are also the same officers referred to by the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines 11on election of barangay officials. No. No. However. and complete abdication by the COMELEC of its constitutionally and statutorily mandated duty to enforce and administer all election laws as provided for in Section 2 (1). the COMELEC was to provide only technical assistance in the conduct of the SK election and therefore could not grant any relief from the action of the BES. 2 which raised the maximum age requirement of the members from 18 to 21.

And in the case of provincial or city officials. would be the COMELEC. MAAMBONG: Yes we would rather insist on that because that is a constitutional mandate. Section 2. municipal. the original jurisdiction is vested in the regional trial courts. whereas in the case of city and provincial officials. During such debates. If we will allow the COMELEC to have executive [sic] jurisdiction over cases involving barangay and municipal officials. the municipal trial court or the metropolitan trial court should have jurisdiction first. they will be given the proper consideration by the court. insofar as election contests involving barangay officials are concerned. MR. 13 These were the laws on elective barangay officials which the Constitutional Commission took into account when it debated on that portion of paragraph (2). when it comes to appeals from the municipal trial court to the regional trial court. then it is appealable to the COMELEC. the jurisdiction of the COMELEC has been diluted. 14 xxx xxx xxx MR. and the decision is appealable to the Commission on Elections. I wonder if the Committee would take that into consideration considering these facts. it is still preseved despite the fact that it involves barangay. the original jurisdiction is with the Regional Trial Court. REGALADO: The Commissioner's proposal is only with respect to the original jurisdiction. subject to appeal to the Regional Trial Court whose decision is final. In the case of contest involving municipal officials. REGALADO: Thank you. when it comes to contests involving barangay and municipal officials. considering that we have thousands of barangay and municipal officials. MR. The decisions of these courts were appealable to the Regional Trial Courts. we are thinking that the regional trial court should have jurisdiction. Madam President. however. That is just my suggestion. Frauline Camille R. which is also a court. insofar as the appellate jurisdiction of the Commission on Elections is concerned. MAAMBONG: No. MR. they will all have to go to the Commission on Elections eventually. REGALADO: But altogether. and then it is appealable to the COMELEC. MAAMBONG: That is correctly put. the regional trial court. I understand from the sponsorship speech that in matters of contests of barangay. under the present law. I do not know if the Committee could respond to it so that we could perhaps present some amendments. city or provincial officials. cases involving election contests of barangay officials are initiated in the municipal trial court or metropolitan trial court. REGALADO: In other words. provincial or city officials. not the hearing officers of the COMELEC. when it comes to barangay officials. one can just imagine the difficulty of the COMELEC. Eliza Yamamoto relating to their election . 15 MR. And we do not like that. MR. Yes. REGALADO: Is it his concern that we vest in the municipal trial courts the matter of election contests for barangay officials and in the regional trial courts election contests involving municipal officials thereby requiring a judicial officer to handle these cases. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. MAAMBONG: MR. these become final and executory. that is. the original and exclusive jurisdiction should be with the Commission on Elections. MR. the Omnibus Election Code. Madam President.Compiled by: Hernandez. the COMELEC has nothing to do at all with the election contest. In the case. should have jurisdiction. They will still be the sole judge of all election contests. whereas if we will allow the municipal trial court and the metropolitan trial court to have jurisdiction over these cases. MAAMBONG: Under the present law. then it will be the regional trial courts which will exercise original jurisdiction. And as I understand from my private conversation with the Chairman of the COMELEC. the sole authority should be the Commission on Elections — that there should be a two-tiered resolution of cases in the sense that when it comes to barangay officials. REGALADO: In the case of municipal officials. MR. MR. heightened by the fact that the decisions of the municipal trial court or the regional trial court in those election contests involving barangay and municipal officials are final and immediately executory? MR. the COMELEC may have to send hearing officers. and we feel that in this regard. We are suggesting — and we would like the Committee to take note of this that while we admit that in all contests. Madam President. In other words. MAAMBONG: Madam President and members of the Committee. So we have a two-tiered situation here which we lawyers think would be the best remedy considering again my allusion to the fact that there are so many barangays and municipalities all over the country. whether it be barangay. Article IX-C of the Constitution relating to contests involving elective barangay officials. municipal. the following discussions took place: MR. In the case of municipal officials. in the ultimate analysis on appellate jurisdiction. the jurisdiction is all exclusive to the Commission on Elections. MAAMBONG: Yes. Madam President. Madam President. Under the present law that we have. the Honorable Ramon Felipe. which is exclusive. MR. municipal and provincial officials. the municipal trial courts have the original jurisdiction. the first jurisdiction. REGALADO: May I ask Commissioner Maambong a question? xxx xxx xxx 4 . of municipal officials. In the case of provincial and city officials.

YNARES-SANTIAGO. After the word "city. Article IX-C of the Constitution and that no law in effect prior to the ratification of the Constitution had made the SK chairman an elective barangay official. delete the words "Be the sole judge of" and in its instead insert the words EXERCISE EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION OVER." insert the word REGIONAL and a comma (. REGALADO: Yes. J. It is generally understood that as to administrative agencies exercising quasi-judicial or legislative power there is an underlying power in the courts to scrutinize the acts of such agencies on questions of law and jurisdiction even though no right of review is given by statute. MAAMBONG: On line 9. MAAMBONG: Yes. Judge Conrado R. we hold that the Regional Trial Court is competent to review the decision of the BES in election controversies within its level. vs. 2499 under the operative fact doctrine. 19 also alleges deprivation of due process. line 9 and 11? (Silence) The Chair hears none. namely Butig Lumbayabague Kapatagan Sultan Dumalondong Maguing Sultan Gumander Masiu Marawi City 5 . 1998. 3565 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. this is an amendment jointly submitted by Commissioners Rodrigo.). PROVINCIAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF LANAO DEL SUR. The purpose of judicial review is to keep the administrative agency within its jurisdiction and protect substantial rights of parties affected by its decisions. Civil Case No. Branch 4. Batangas. RESPECTIVELY . respondents. Frauline Camille R. the petitioner's cause falls within the exception to the rule in that his petition in Civil Case No. His being an exofficio member of the sangguniang barangay does not make him one for the law specifically provides who are its elective members. because Section 24 of COMELEC Resolution No. THE PRESIDENT: What is the amendment? MA. Challenged in this petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction is the Omnibus Order of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc dated July 14. the amendment is approved. ALEEM. THE PRESIDENT: Is this amendment accepted by the Committee? MR. MAAMBONG: In that case. 18 The Court further holds that there was no need for the petitioner to exhaust administrative remedies. Madam President. and secondly. it is part of the system of checks and balances which restricts the separation of powers and forestalls arbitrary and unjust adjudications. 1999 LININDING PANGANDAMAN." place a comma (. the punong barangay and the seven regular sangguniang barangay members 17 who are elected at large by those who are qualified to exercise the right of suffrage under Article V of the Constitution and who are duly registered voters of the barangay. it is not enough for this Court to make a statement but it should do everything to have that sovereignty obeyed by all. to conduct a recount of the ballots to determine once and for all the true winner in the 4 December 1992 Sangguniang Kabataan Elections in Barangay Mabalor. SO ORDERED. No. aside from raising pure questions of law and jurisdiction. thus. As correctly stated by the petitioner." 1 Corollarily. THE PRESIDENT: So. 16 In the light of the foregoing. Section 2(2)." delete the comma (.. petitioner. 20 proceed with the case with deliberate dispatch. it is a basic principle in administrative law that the absence of a provision for the review of an administrative action does not preclude recourse to the courts. laws and statutes governing election contests especially the appreciation of ballots must be liberally construed to the end that the will of the electorate in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by technical infirmities. Madam President. THE PRESIDENT: WHEREFORE. 134340 November 25. G. Section 2. before the word "provincial. it is indisputable that contests involving elections of SK (formerly KB) officials do not fall within Section 252 of the Omnibus Election Code and paragraph 2. MR.: Recently. 2499 did not provide for recourse to a higher administrative body. Eliza Yamamoto MR. may I proceed to propose this amendment in collaboration and with the advice and consent of Commissioner de los Reyes and Commissioner Rodrigo.Compiled by: Hernandez. Madam President. The Court recognizes the consequences of the quasi-judicial acts performed by the BES pursuant to Section 24 of COMELEC Resolution No. Ibaan. Maambong and de los Reyes. in Civil Case No.R. Well done is always better than well said.) and insert the following: AND OF ALL CONTESTS INVOLVING MUNICIPAL AND BARANGAY OFFICIALS ON APPEAL FROM THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS AND FROM THE METROPOLITAN OR MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS. 2 These standards will be the legal matrix within which this controversy will be adjudged. 3565 is REINSTATED for further proceedings The Hon. this Court emphatically stated that "[U]pholding the sovereignty of the people is what democracy is all about. firstly. No pronouncement as to cost. Antona is directed to Is there any objection to the amendment on Section 2(2). AMERRODIN SARANGANI and NARRA ABDUL JABBAR JIALIL. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. the instant petition is GRANTED The assailed orders of the Regional Trial Court of Batangas City. On line 11. premises considered. This decision is immediately executory. When the sovereignty of the people expressed thru the ballot is at stake. 3565. 3 the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. and if necessary. MAHED MUTILAN. Madam President. After the word "provincial" on line 11." After the word "official. insert the word AND.) and the words "municipal and barangay. I move for the approval of the amendment. special elections for the municipalities. viz.

The Education and Information Department. thru the Criminal Investigation Group in Region XII is similarly directed to initiate an investigation on the conduct of Camad Benito in contributing to the failure of election[s] in Kapatagan. Eliza Yamamoto Lumbabayabao shall be held on 18 July 1998. there were only twenty two (22) public school teachers who were available as BEIs and eighteen (18) of them were disqualified to act due to relationship to candidates within the prohibited degree. KAPATAGAN — allegedly. and cancel all Voters Registration Records with serial numbers 3676001 to 3676500 after finding that said VRRs were received only on December 15. within the prohibited degree. + All election paraphernalia for 39 precincts are intact and available. Sultan Dumalondong Malabang Pagayawan 4. and its order having become final. Lumbatan 9. 6. Special elections shall also be held on July 25 . 2. SO ORDERED. BUTIG — armed confrontation of opposing political groups and vehement disagreement on the clustering of precincts. A copy of said order was received on 10 May 1998 by the Election Officer. Schedule for special elections in the municipalities of Madalum and Tugaya is temporarily withheldpending unresolved issues before the Commission. In Election Case No. Let the Executive Director for Operation[s] of the Commission execute this order with dispatch. Pursuant to said order. 6 . Muslemin Tahir. the Acting PES of Lanao del Sur and the Election Officers in these municipalities are hereby directed to cause the immediate publication of this Omnibus Order in their respective municipality ( sic). Frauline Camille R. Lumba Bayabao 10. LUMBATAN — all the members of the different Board of Inspectors are disqualified to act as such by reason of relationship either by consanguinity or affinity. Malabang 3.Compiled by: Hernandez. The COMELEC's challenged Omnibus Order summarizes the relevant facts of the controversy thus: The instant cases were filed by petitioners praying that the Commission declare [a] failure of elections in their respective municipalities and to hold special elections thereafter. 3. it was shown and admitted by the parties that total failure of election[s] took place in the following municipalities: 1. Madalum 12. this Commission in compliance with said court order hereby orders the Election Officer of Kapatagan to delete from the records said VRRs with serial nos. Butig 7. the Law Department is directed to conduct a joint investigation — administrative and preliminary investigation for election offenses — against Camal Calandada and Muslemin Tahir to determine their criminal and administrative liability and to submit to the Commission its findings and recommendation within sixty (60) days from receipt of this Order. The petitions were reinforced by reports received by the Commission from its field officers and deputies. and the election officers of concerned municipalities appeared. Pagayawan 5. Lanao del Sur to delete. 1998 ordering the Election Officer of Kapatagan. 571. During the pre-trial of the above cases. Marawi City The PNP. Similarly. And yet. erase. Tubaran There shall be machine counting and consolidation of votes for all municipalities except Maguing and those precincts where ballots for manual count will be used. Kapatagan 8. husband of mayoralty candidate Bailo Benito. Ganassi 2. A pre-trial for all cases in Lanao del Sur involving failure of elections was set and parties. + Acting election officer reported that all election paraphernalia are available except for 200 ballots for precinct 5A. used and dated 14 December 1997. Masiu Ganassi Lumbatan 3. 1998 for the municipalities of TOTAL FAILURE OF ELECTIONS It was found that the cause of failure of election[s] in the twelve municipalities where there was total failure of election[s] as follows: 1. Tugaya No precinct in the above towns was able to function on election day. Sultan Gumander Marantao Tubaran 5. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. The court having found by implication that said VRRs were irregularly/unlawfully issued. Lanao del Sur issued an order dated April 30. said VRRs appeared to be filled up. from 36767001 to 3676500. Maguing 2. their counsels. Marantao 4. terrorized the Acting Municipal Treasurer Okuo Macaumbas thus preventing the distribution of ballots and other election paraphernalia to the members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs for brevity). the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Kapatagan. 1998 by EA Camal Calandada from Atty. + All election paraphernalia are available. Camad Benito. It was also shown and admitted by the parties that in the following municipalities. partial failure of election[s] took place as follows: 1. Lumbayanague 11.

MADALUM — the twenty (20) appointed teachers to act as members of the different BEIs did not arrive on election day. In precinct 2A in Brgy. it is the desire of the Commission that the issue on ghost precincts be resolved first before a special election in Madalum shall be scheduled. 10. GANASSI — members of the BEIs for nine precincts as herein below enumerated did not appear thus election supplies were not distributed on election day for the following precincts: Barangay Name Precinct No. The issue being factual and the findings determinative of a clean. After the controversy is put to rest. 5. will be the subject of a petition to declare its nullity to be filed by the Law Department of the Commission before the Regional Trial Court in Marawi City. failure of election is declared and special election shall be held considering that the ballot box. Macaguiling 18A 18A1 18A2 There was also failure of election in precinct 1A1 and 17A1 due to ballot box snatching. and 32A2 in Barangay Taliogan. . SULTAN DUMALONDONG — Municipal Treasurer did not appear on May 10 & 11. The order of inclusion by the Municipal Court of Tugaya. the Election Officer of Ganassi is directed to inform the Commission of the identity of the BEIs for precinct 2A for possible prosecution. Baya 8A 3. the remaining 12 who are not disqualified also did not appear. Eliza Yamamoto 4. Ganassi and that they were allegedly aided by the Barangay Chairman therein. 9. within the prohibitive degree. 11. of election day thus preventing the distribution of election paraphernalia from her office. EA Cayansalam Benaning. + All election supplies are intact and available. 12. Linuk 14A 14A1 14A2 4. Neither could the Municipal Treasurer be located on election day. + There is a need to print new ballots for all forty-nine (49) precincts and other election forms due to the inadvertent non inclusion of a candidate's name in the original ballots. the Acting Election Officer. said 7 PARTIAL FAILURE OF ELECTION In the following municipalities and City of Marawi. 6. + All election paraphernalia for eighty (80) precincts are available. arrived only at 7:00 A. Bagoingud. 7. then the special election shall be scheduled.075 voters. The acts complained of against Ex-Mayor Maning Diangka shall be referred to the Provincial Prosecutor of Lanao del Sur for possible prosecution. + All election paraphernalia are available. TUGAYA — widespread terrorism causing intimidation of the electorate to cast their vote. Considering the charge of Maimona Diangka in SPA 98-404 that Baguio Macapodi. covering 4. 32A1. The ballot box containing official ballots and other election paraphernalia for precinct 17A1. It is the desire of the Commission to put to rest the issue on the controversy surrounding the 4. The issue on the existence of alleged ghost barangays/precincts is not yet resolved by the Commission considering that the alleged ghost precincts are being investigated and an ocular inspection is being made by an investigating team.Compiled by: Hernandez. on her admission during the pre-trial hearing on June 25. LUMBAYANAGUE — there was non-completion of the composition of the BEIs in all precincts because almost all appointed members of [the] BEI are disqualified by reason of relationship either by affinity or consanguinity. 1998. Brgy. + All election paraphernalia for fifty nine (59) precincts are available. Some parties claim in fact that she was only seen at noontime of election day while she was in the house of the incumbent mayor of Masiu.M. honest and credible elections. LUMBABAYABAO — candidates could not agree on the venue of the distribution of the election supplies and there was vehement disagreement on the clustering of precincts. + All election paraphernalia for 16 precincts are available. + All election paraphernalia for 51 precincts are available. Frauline Camille R. there was nothing to distribute to the BEIs on election day. 1998 at the office of the Provincial Treasurer to receive the ballots and other election paraphernalia for distribution to the BEIs so there was no election supplies for distribution on election day.075 voters to allow honest election in this municipality. Macabao whose polling place was at Ganassi Central Elementary School was snatched allegedly by the incumbent mayor of Ganassi. MAGUING — no members of the different Boards of Election Inspectors arrived in all precincts. official ballots and other election paraphernalia were illegally brought to a private dwelling in said barangay and voting irregularly took place therein despite the fact that the designated polling place was Gadungan Elementary School at Gadungan. TUBARAN — non-appearance of all the members of the different BEIs due to intense rivalry among the opposing candidates. Similarly. Maning Diangka and his armed escorts. 8. there was also disagreement on the venue of distribution of election supplies. there was partial failure of election in the specified precincts due to the following reasons: 1. candidate for Vice Mayor of the Ompia Party and his cohort Bai Sa Ganassi terrorized registered voters in Precincts 32. Similarly. Poblacion 1A2 1A3/1A4 2. 32A. 1. SULTAN GUMANDER — no BEIs appeared on election day because most of them are disqualified by law to act as such. Hence. This could not take place unless the BEIs assigned in Precinct 2A cooperated in these acts. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. MASIU — the Municipal Treasurer did not get the election paraphernalia from the Provincial Treasurer. + All election paraphernalia for the 35 precincts are available.

34A). eight (8) precincts lost to armed groups their ballot boxes.Compiled by: Hernandez. Macabao). -do. -do.000 ballots and other election forms for five precincts (8A1. -do. These eight are: Name of Barangay Precinct No. -do. There being no proof that the integrity of the ballots had been violated in these precincts. -do. + All election paraphemalia for the nine (9) precincts where there was non-appearance of BEIs are available. Chinatown 13A 8.13A4 9. However. and 2A (Brgy. Curahab 14A 10. 2. ballots and other election paraphernalia. Tacub < 34A 19. MARANTAO — thirty-five (35) precincts failed to function due to terrorism in the area. Diamaru 15A 11. 24A and 24A-1. some commotion took place. Campo Muslim < 12A2 7. Daana Ingud Proper 3A 2. Brgy. 17A1 (Brgy. Tiongcop 36A 20. Out of these 35. 26A. Bagoingud) for use in the special election since the snatched ballot box were not recovered.15A1 12. -do. Sumbagarogong 33A 17. In Precincts No.6A3 3. BPS Billage 7A2/7A3 4. Inudaran Campong 29A 7. + All election paraphernalia are available. 1. -do.29A1 15. Tuca Kialdan 7A 4. until further orders from this Commission. 12A2. Brgy.37A5 23. Brgy.36A1/36A2 21. Ballot boxes containing election paraphernalia for five precincts out of these 23 precincts were snatched and never recovered. 12A. 1. -do. Mapantao Goo 34A-2 Ballots are to be printed for these precincts by the Commission. namely — Name of Barangay Precinct No. -do. Banday 4A2 2. The following are the precincts that failed to function on election day or whose ballot boxes were snatched: Barangay Name Precinct No. Betayan 5A/5A1 3. South Madaya 85A 8 . Canvassing forms and other paraphernalia shall also be provided. During the special election. 4. PAGAYAWAN — casting of votes was aborted due to widespread terrorism. Marawi City — there was partial failure of election in sixteen precincts (16).7A1 5. Bunkhouse < 8A1 5. Tubok 37A2 22. Eleven voters out of two hundred and sixty-eight (268) have already cast their votes at the time but only one ballot was found inside the ballot box after the commotion. Fifteen (15) precincts failed to function. -do. Banggolo 6A2 2. The Commission shall cause the printing of ballots and other election forms for precincts 1A1 (Poblacion). Pasir < 29A 14. -do. MALABANG — twenty three (23) precincts failed to function due to shooting incidents. Lilod Madaya 42A-4 4. if winning. 1. Eliza Yamamoto acts shall be referred immediately to the office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Lanao del Sur for investigation. ballots were cast but were not yet counted due to complaints that their integrity had been violated.29A2 16.3A1/3A2 3. Election Laws – set 1 Atty.33A1 18.37A6 < ballot box snatched + All election paraphernalia for eighteen precincts are intact and available. Matampay < 26A 13. the members of the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Marantao are directed to include the same in the canvass. 5. -do. The Commission will cause the printing of 1. the members of the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Ganassi are hereby directed to suspend the proclamation of Baguio Macapodi for vice mayor.29A-2 8. The Commission deems it proper that the casting of votes by the eleven voters be annulled and a special election shall be conducted therein. Frauline Camille R. in precinct 5A/5A1. 3. Calumbog 11A/11A1 6. Banga Pantar 22A/22A-1 6.

Brgy. in contravention of the clear and explicit provisions of Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code. It is a basic precept in statutory construction that a statute should be interpreted in harmony with the Constitution and that the spirit. 175 and 176 of the Omnibus Election Code. Suharto Ambolodto. 4. The PNP. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. in contravention of Sections 166. b. the same shall be replaced with a new Provincial Board of Canvassers whose members shall be designated by the Commission.] By insisting on holding special elections on July 18 and 25. The Acting Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) of Lanao del Sur. Lanao del Sur will be covered by a different resolution. call for the holding or continuation of the election not held. Bangco 5A-5A-1 15. 6. violence. Raya Madaya I 74A-6 7. Guimba 38A 12.88A-1/88A-2 due to non-appearance of the BEIs.] By ordering only elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police who are not assigned to the affected areas as members of the Board of Election Inspectors. the Commission shall.38A-1/38A-2 13. a complaint that is common in many areas in Lanao del Sur. Atty. while the regular election officers in Lanao del Sur shall perform such duties as directed by the Acting PES. the following changes shall be undertaken: a. Brgy. Lolod Saduc 73A-5 14. the BEIs are given explicit authority to prevent from voting all those registered voters who are visibly under-aged and shall reflect their names and VRR numbers in the Minutes of Voting for future prosecution. Petitioner argues that the above-quoted provision is mandatory because of the word "shall". The special election in the municipality of Tugaya shall be scheduled after the controversy on the four thousand and seventyfive (4. Brgy. Petitioner asserts that the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Omnibus Order — 1. suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect on a date reasonably close to the date of the election not held. in certain municipalities.3A-2 10. Timbangalan 88A 16. Election officers from areas outside of Lanao del Sur shall be tapped to act as Election Officers. the power to call for a special election after the 30th day now resides in Congress. Sangkai Dansalan 83A-3 6. He further asserts that the prescribed time frame actually "delimits" COMELEC's authority to call for a special election and that instead. shall ensure that said BEIs are given adequate briefing for this task. Brgy. on the basis of a verified petition by any interested party and after due notice and hearing. 170. Considering the complaints received by the Commission against certain actuations of the Provincial Board of Canvassers. Frauline Camille R. e. of the Philippines and Congress so that the necessary legislation may be enacted for the holding of a special election. The provision invoked can not be construed in the manner as argued by petitioner for it would defeat the purpose and spirit for which the law was enacted. thru the Criminal Investigation Group in Region XII and the Prosecution Offices in Lanao del Sur shall actively help in the filing of criminal complaint for election offenses committed during the election period. . In support of his cause. and in any of such cases the failure or suspension of election would affect the result of the election. -do. -do. Bacolod Chico 3A 8. Brgy. petitioner insists on a strict compliance with the holding of special elections not later than thirty (30) days after failure to elect pursuant to Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides that: Sec. All election paraphernalia are in order and available except for one ballot box intended for Precinct 5A/5A-1 in Brgy. Brgy. The special election in the municipality of Madalum shall be scheduled only after the Investigating Team aforementioned has finished its investigation of alleged ghost precincts therein and the Commission has acted on their findings of facts and recommendation(s). -do.Compiled by: Hernandez.3A-1 9. such election results in a failure to elect. fraud or other analogous causes the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed. 2. Failure of elections. -do. 1998 more than thirty (30) days after the failure to elect.] By insisting on machine counting despite the proven unreliability and undependability of the counting of votes with use of computer machines. terrorism. 3. or after the voting and during the preparation and transmission of the election returns or in the custody or canvass thereof. c. — If. Raya Saduc 76A 11. For this purpose. all poll watchers are encouraged to provide themselves with camera and provide indubitable proof of underaged voters. d. Brgy. f. The petition for declaration of failure of election in the municipality of Calanogas. Banco which is missing or undelivered or without ballots contained therein. or had been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting.] By failing to declare a total failure of elections in the entire province of Lanao del Sur and to certify the same to the President Considering that under-aged persons succeeded in registering voters. Eliza Yamamoto 5.075) voters shall have been settled. Brgy. Only elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police who are assigned to the affected areas shall serve as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs). rather than 9 To avoid the risk of another failure of elections and to encourage public trust in the process and results of the special elections. suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect but not later than thirty days after the cessation of the cause of such postponement or suspension of the election or failure to elect. on account of force majeure.

are binding on the Court. 1998. If the COMELEC saw it fit to order a machine counting of votes in the municipalities enumerated. The insistence of petitioner that the COMELEC violated Sections 166. . The choice of means taken by the Commission on Elections. Too often. these were "dates reasonably close" thereto. No. a statute must be read according to its spirit and intent. We cannot. Frauline Camille R. 12 Petitioner's argument that respondent COMELEC gravely abused its discretion by failing to declare a total failure of elections in the entire province of Lanao del Sur and to certify the same to the President and Congress so that the necessary legislation may be enacted for the holding of a special election. There are no ready made formulas for solving public problems." 11 In this case. this Court has been liberal in defining the parameters of the COMELEC's powers in conducting elections. by itself. may even be debatable.. indeed. suspended or which resulted in the failure to elect. the actions of COMELEC may not be impeccable. 8436 could be implemented without the interference of the claimed "unreliability. In running for public offices. orderly. In the performance of its duties. is in a peculiarly advantageous position to decide complex political questions . 1998. the arguments proffered by the petitioner to seek the annulment of the challenged Omnibus Order rings hollow.COMELEC: 6 Politics is a practical matter. we must not by any excessive zeal take away from the Commission on Elections that initiative which by constitutional and legal mandates properly belongs to it. honest. the letter or the spirit. Furthermore. it seeks to enjoin the holding of special elections scheduled for July 18 and 25. Absent any showing of grave abuse of discretion. Be that as it may. engage in a swivel chair criticism of these actions often taken under very difficult circumstances. and political questions must be dealt with realistically — not from the standpoint of pure theory. the question really boils down to a choice of philosophy and perception of how to interpret and apply laws relating to elections. However. the findings of fact of the COMELEC or any administrative agency exercising particular expertise in its field of endeavor. No less than petitioner himself concedes that there was total failure of elections in twelve (12) municipalities and partial failure in eleven (11). Eliza Yamamoto the letter of the law determines its construction. The Commission on Elections. [a]dmonish against a too-literal reading of the law as this is apt to constrict rather than fulfill its purpose and defeat the intention of its authors. . That intention is usually found not in "the letter that killeth but in the spirit that vivifieth" ." The purpose of the governing statutes on the conduct of elections — ." There can hardly be any doubt that the text and intent of this constitutional provision is to give COMELEC all the necessary and incidental powers for it to achieve the objective of holding free. by constitutional mandate. which date fell on July 14. For one. 7 that "[O]ur elections are not conducted under laboratory conditions. and honest elections. and. it could only mean that the decree of R." 9 In fixing the date for special elections the COMELEC should see to it that: 1. COMELEC has to make snap judgments to meet unforeseen circumstances that threaten to subvert the will of our voters. candidates do not follow the rules of Emily Post. 8 Guided by the above-quoted pronouncement. this Court recently stated in Tupay Loong v. .A. The second must be determined in the light of the peculiar circumstances of a case. Yet he now insists a total failure of elections should have been declared in the entire province of Lanao del Sur. likewise fails to persuade. In the matter of the administration of laws relative to the conduct of election . Pursuant to this intent. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. however. 1998. the legal compass from which the COMELEC should take its bearings in acting upon election controversies is the principle that "clean elections control the appropriateness of the remedy. given the prevailing facts herein. The absence of any satisfactory proof to support petitioner's allegations to the contrary reduces them to mere self-serving claims. 170. . unless they are clearly illegal or constitute grave abuse of discretion. invokes the answer. for that reason. the dates chosen by the COMELEC for the holding of special elections were only a few days away from the time a total/partial failure of elections was declared and. 4 Thus. Verily — At balance. 1998. the naked provision or its ultimate purpose.] it should be reasonably close to the date of the election not held. Time and experience are necessary to evolve patterns that will serve the ends of good government. and its knowledge derived from actual experience in dealing with political controversies. referendum and recall. COMELEC. is in the best position to assess the actual conditions prevailing in that area. The Commission on Elections. 18 and 25. thus. 2. . the petition questions the membership of the Board of Election Inspectors for being composed of elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police as well as the machine counting of the votes when these events have been superseded by the recent issuance of the Certificates Of Canvass Of Votes And Proclamation Of The Winning Candidates For Provincial Offices dated August 7. 13 There is no cogent reason to depart from the general rule in this case. it bears stressing that in the exercise of the plenitude of its powers to protect the integrity of elections.Compiled by: Hernandez. More pointedly. . Needless to state. The first involves a question of fact. . peaceful and credible elections. [i]s to protect the integrity of elections to suppress all evils that may violate its purity and defeat the will of the voters. we agree with the Solicitor General that the petition has been rendered moot by supervening events. a too literal interpretation of the law that would lead to absurdity prompted this Court to — . The dates set for the special elections were actually the nearest dates from the time total/partial failure of elections was determined. 175 and 176 of the Omnibus Election Code when it ordered elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) who are not assigned to the affected areas as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) is likewise unconvincing vis-à-vis the underlying reason of the public respondent to have an effective and impartial military presence "to avoid the risk of another failure of election. . Suffice it to state that the propriety of declaring whether or not there has been a total failure of elections in the entire province of Lanao del Sur is a factual issue which this Court will not delve into considering that the COMELEC. As stated in the old but nevertheless still very much applicable case of Sumulong v. 10 Thus. the Commission must be given a considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of the great objective for which it was created — to promote free. its contacts with political strategists. 2 (1) of Article IX (C) of the Constitution gives the COMELEC the broad power to "enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. . July 18 and 25. the COMELEC should not and must not be straitjacketed by procedural rules in the exercise of its discretion to resolve election disputes. should not be interfered with. . 5 Sec. through its deputized officials in the field.14 For another.] it should not be later than thirty (30) days after the cessation of the cause of the postponement or suspension of the election or the failure to elect. plebiscite initiative. literal or liberal. orderly. 15 In face of these supervening events. In the process. the date of promulgation of the challenged Omnibus Order. legal syllogism or 10 ." So too must fall the argument that machine counting being allegedly "undependable and unreliable" should not be resorted to as the reasoning of petitioner. inaccuracy and undependability" of the computer sets. must do everything in its power to secure a fair and honest canvass of the votes cast in the elections. et al. the COMELEC can hardly be faulted for tardiness. . The purity of the elections is one of the most fundamental requisites of popular government. the holding of elections within the next few months from the cessation of the cause of the postponement. petitioner himself admits that special elections were "conducted on a staggered basis" on July 4. because of its fact-finding facilities. suspension or failure to elect may still be considered "reasonably close to the date of the election not held.

Mayorga. Third District to five (5) municipalities with a total population of 145. In applying election laws.868 10. Matagob. at bottom.067 as per the 1990 census. Cabucgayan. 1992.183 4.F. Maripipi. Biliran.036 4. and Villaba. San Miguel.033 22. and Palompon. Biliran. 2736 where. and Tunga.497 7. 46. As a consequence of the conversion. Palo. 2736 of the COMELEC. representing the Second District. respondent. the composition of the five (5) legislative districts appeared as follows: favor of popular sovereignty than to be right in complex but little understood legalisms. respondent COMELEC held consultation meetings with the incumbent representatives of the province and other interested parties.679 2. 14. 17. 5. The province of Leyte with the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc is composed of five (5) legislative districts. SO ORDERED. representing the First District of Leyte. Kawayan. San Isidro. pleads for the annulment of section 1 of Resolution No. Carigara. Dagami. 1992. Inopacan. It provides: Existing sub-provinces are hereby converted into regular provinces upon approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite to be held in the sub-provinces and the original provinces directly affected. Apostol. Cabucgayan. Hindang. Carigara 38.196 8. To remedy the resulting inequality in the distribution of inhabitants. 12. petitioner.606 16. Culaba. was made its sub-province by virtue of Republic Act No. The plebiscite shall be conducted by the COMELEC simultaneously with the national elections following the effectivity of this code. the Local Government Code took effect. 118702 March 16. Caibiran. Tabontabon.029 23. Kananga.R. Maripipi. San Miguel. voters and municipalities in the province of Leyte. 13. on the ground that it violates the principle of equality of representation. J. and Matalom. Frauline Camille R. it involves the validity of the unprecedented exercise by the COMELEC of the legislative power of redistricting and reapportionment.307 3. 1995 CIRILO ROY G.139 7. 1994. harshly against or gently in favor of the voter's obvious choice. Petitioner Cirilo Roy G. Jaro. The fifth district 6 is composed of the municipalities of Abuyog. Intervenor Sergio A. Merida.. Baybay. To remedy the alleged inequity. Kawayan. Almeria. redistricting certain municipalities in Leyte. Cabucgayan.349 178. Pursuant to its Section 462.311 9. SERGIO A. No. Barauen. WHEREFORE. Hilongos. Caibiran. Fe. 38.817 13.F. 13. Tanauan and Tolosa. La Pat. 16 Indeed.628 11. 2141 Section 1 of the law spelled out enacted on April 8.530 5.700 ———— ———— TOTAL 303. Dulag. Second District: Population Registered Voters (1990) (1994) The conversion of Biliran into a regular province was approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite held on May 11. 7 G. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. in view of all the foregoing.462 11 .020 19.816 5. Julita. 1 Section 1 of the law spelled out the municipalities comprising the subprovince.727 17. 33. The third district 4 is composed of the municipalities of Almeria.944 6. First District: Population Registered Voters (1990) (1994) 1.348 12. 137. Pastrana. Dagami. We gave due course to the petition considering that. it promulgated Resolution No. Leyte. Kawayan.: "Almeria. Caibiran. intervenor.e.003 9. and 7.863 22.100 20.357 8.387 ———— ———— TOTAL 272." On January 1. A further consequence was to reduce the 1. Tabontabon. vigorously opposed the inclusion of Tolosa in his district. to embark upon the costly electoral exercise insisted upon by petitioner in terms of time and taxpayer's money is an unwarranted imposition on the people of the affected areas and is an unacceptable option to the judicial conscience. petitioner seeks to transfer the municipality of Tolosa from his district to the Second District of the province. i. PUNO. Barauen. Babatngon. Calubian. viz. located in the third district of Leyte . Tunga. The new legislative districts created as a result of such conversion shall continue to be represented in Congress by the duly-elected representatives of the original districts out of which said new provinces or districts were created until their own representatives shall have been elected in the next regular congressional elections and qualified. The composition of the First District which includes the municipality of Tolosaand the composition of the Fifth District were not disturbed.119 7. Tolosa. 10. Palo. Eliza Yamamoto substantial justice. Javier. MacArthur.929 4. the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. 9. among others.565 7.795 9. After the movement of municipalities. Naval.413 3.419 13. 13. 12.438 8.375 20. the sub-province of Biliran became a regular province.159 8. Bate. 38. Pastrana. Culaba. 25. Montejo.167 6. APOSTOL. Jaro. The fourth district 5 is composed of Ormoc City and the municipalities of Albuera. MONTEJO.519 5. Sta. Tacloban City. vs. Julita. Maripipi and Naval and all the territories comprised therein. it transferred the municipality of Capoocan of the Second District and the municipality of Palompon of the Fourth District to the Third District of Leyte. The second district 3 is composed of the municipalities of Barugo.: More than political fortunes are at stake in the case at bench. 23.237 2. Dulag.190 81.299 7. Mac Arthur. Fe. 33. and Naval.Compiled by: Hernandez. Alangalang.167 156. in isolation or in the context of social conditions. Mayorga. 31. On December 29. Sta. Isabel.375 6. Culaba. Capoocan. 1959. eight (8) municipalities of the Third District composed the new province of Biliran.688 Biliran. La Paz. Tabango.543 3. Barugo. Mahaplag. Babatngon. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. Biliran. it would be far better to err in The first district 2 covers Tacloban City and the municipalities of Alangalang. Tanauan and.

In this petition. Javier. (2) empower the COMELEC to make the apportionment. 129. 32. Abuyog. or by legislative districts on the other. 2. Albuera. 2736 void.227 6. I think I have filed a very simple motion by way of amendment by substitution and this was. The basic powers of respondent COMELEC.F. 82. 28. The records reveal that the Constitutional Commission had to resolve several prejudicial issues before authorizing the first congressional elections under the 1987 Constitution.345 12. Among the vital issues were: whether the members of the House of Representatives would be elected by district or by province.281 47. Leyte.226 registered voters.688 registered voters while the Second District has 156." Its substantive sections state: Sec. said Resolution is in accord with the Constitution. 15. 36.595 7. He alleged that the First District has 178.616 9. Section 5 of Article VI of the Constitution. 1. Frauline Camille R.499 125. viz. Jr. 32.415 3. PADILLA.Compiled by: Hernandez. whose population has so increased. Also.242 Petitioner Montejo filed a motion for reconsideration calling the attention of respondent COMELEC. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. 14Commissioner Davide. Hilongos. Tabango. 11 She then exercised legislative powers under the Provisional Constitution. 16.713 8. 3.395 17. and 23.347 155. however.474 9. Jr. Sergio A. 29. Merida. contiguous. 24.673 13.. Ople. The intervenor. 15 The different dimensions of the options were discussed by Commissioners Davide. 47. Aquino.658 11. Election Laws – set 1 Atty.493 3. The Ordinance is entitled "Apportioning the Seats of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the Philippines to the Different Legislative Districts in Provinces and Cities and the Metropolitan Manila Area. Mr. Any province that may hereafter be created. Kananga.871 5.474 ———— ———— TOTAL 269. are spelled out in black and white in section 2(c). Sec.923 4. offered three (3) options for the Commission to consider: (1) allow President Aquino to do the apportionment by law. 2736 violates the principle of equality of representation ordained in the Constitution. in his Comment. 48. compact and adjacent territory. Baybay. he proposed that the municipality of Tolosa with 7. and. Article IX of the Constitution.617 26.291 16.659 6. Jamir). Matalom 28. Palompon. Villaba.140 2.456 75. We quote the debates inextenso. Felicitas S. and 22. is geographically located shall be correspondingly adjusted by the Commission on Elections but such adjustment shall not be made within one hundred and twenty days before the election. petitioner insists that Section I of Resolution No. For purposes of the election of Members of the House of Representatives of the First Congress of the Philippines under the Constitution proposed by the 1986 Constitutional Commission and subsequent elections. concurred with the views of the petitioner. 2736.442 14. Isabel. ordaining the Provisional Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. Mahaplag. and the Metropolitan Manila Area as follows: xxx xxx xxx Sec. Davide. PADILLA.889 4.916 4.48 5. to the inequitable distribution of inhabitants and voters between the First and Second Districts.339 21. and 22.745 27. how the apportionment should be made. 32.462 registered voters or a difference of 22. and (2) assuming it has jurisdiction. Respondent COMELEC filed its own Comment alleging that it acted within the parameters of the Constitution. Rightly.407 6.682 2. Eliza Yamamoto Third District: Population Registered Voters (1990) (1994) 1. respondent COMELEC does not invoke this provision but relies on the Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution as the source of itspower of redistricting which is traditionally regarded as part of the power to make laws. So I propose this simple formulation which reads: "FOR THE FIRST ELECTION 12 Fourth District: Population Registered Voters (1990) (1994) 1. San Isidro. Sanders. 3 10 of President Corazon C.474 ———— ———— TOTAL 214. I believe.148 181. cities. Calubian.265 28. among others. Hindang.7000 registered voters be transferred from the First to the Second District.13 3. We find section 1 of Resolution No. To .649 2. who shall undertake the apportionment of the legislative districts. 8 he argues that respondent COMELEC violated "the constitutional precept that as much as practicable one man's vote in a congressional election is to be worth as much as another's. The number of Members apportioned to the province out of which such new province was created or where the city.575 16. 45. Presiding Officer.: 16 xxx xxx xxx MR. as enforcer and administrator of our election laws. MR. opposed the petition on two (2) grounds: (1) COMELEC has no jurisdiction to promulgate Resolution No.687 13. Apostol.197 116. 18. Bato.743 15. 25. The Commission on Elections is hereby empowered to make minor adjustments of the reapportionment herein made. Inopacan. the Members thereof shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces. a prior or a proposed amendment. or any city whose population may hereafter increase to more than two hundred fifty thousand shall be entitled in the immediately following election to at least one Member or such number of Members as it may be entitled to on the basis of the number of its inhabitants and according to the standards set forth in paragraph (3).389 21. the chairman of the Committee on the Legislative said that he was proposing a vote first by the Chamber on the concept of whether the election is by province and cities on the one hand." The Solicitor General. Aquino and Blas F. our first inquiry will relate to the constitutional power of the respondent COMELEC 9 to transfer municipalities from one legislative district to another legislative district in the province of Leyte. abolished the Batasang Pambansa. Capoocan. 16. Ormoc City.995 Fifth District: Population Registered Voters (1990) (1994) 1. While the petition at bench presents a significant issue.247 ———— ———— TOTAL 309. and (2) said adjustment complied with the constitutional requirement that each legislative district shall comprise. 12 The Ordinance was the principal handiwork of then Commissioner Hilario G. Respondent Commission denied the motion ruling that: (1) its adjustment of municipalities involved the least disruption of the territorial composition of each district.968 16.272 9.401 7. or (3) let the Commission exercise the power by way of an Ordinance appended to the Constitution.763 diminish the difference.288 19. (Emphasis supplied) The Ordinance was made necessary because Proclamation No. 33. Commissioner Padilla is recognized. Citing Wesberry v.894 10. as far as practicable.873 5. 13 now a distinguished member of this Court. The motion was opposed by intervenor. Matagob. and until otherwise provided by law.

THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SHALL BE ELECTED FROM LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS APPORTIONED AMONG THE PROVINCES. MS. Should it be the Commission or should it be the COMELEC? And the Committee on the Legislative will act accordingly on the basis of the decision. Jamir).m. The session is resumed. SUSPENSION OF SESSION MR. So they are ready with the list and if this body would wish to apportion the whole country by district itself. MR. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. And what will follow will be the allocation of seats to Metropolitan Manila Area. DAVIDE. So if this body is ready to accept the work of the Committee on the Legislative we would have no problem. Jamir). in other words. Mr. So that in paragraph (5). but the Bernas-Sarmiento et al. what would be left would only be the following: "Within three years following the return of every census. I would like to inform the body that I believe the Committee on the Legislative has precisely worked on this matter and they are ready with a list of apportionment. Presiding Officer. Presiding Officer. Commissioner Ople is recognized. And I would feel very uncertain about delegating this to a quasi-judicial body even if it is one of the constitutional offices created under this Constitution. a nonpolitical deliberative body. I would like to support the position taken by Commissioner Aquino in this respect." But we shall have an ordinance appended to the new Constitution indicating specifically the following: "FOR PURPOSES OF THE ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE RATIFICATION OF THIS CONSTITUTION PROPOSED BY THE 1986 CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION AND SUBSEQUENT ELECTIONS AND UNTIL OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY . meaning after the first election. AQUINO. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. MR. the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section. AQUINO." So. under Section 2. OPLE. Redistricting is vitally linked to the baneful practices of cutting up areas or spheres of influence. Gladly. Presiding Officer. We are not wanting in expertise and in time because in the first place. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Mr. the same insofar as the apportionment is concerned. DAVIDE. Jamir) Commissioner Rodrigo is recognized. The effect is. Jamir). MR.Compiled by: Hernandez. MR. I have to object to the provision which will give mandate to COMELEC to do the redistricting. RODRIGO. so that all the proponents can work together. 13 It was 3:33 p. The issue now is whether this body will make the apportionment itself or whether we will leave it to the COMELEC. MR. the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section. RESUMPTION OF SESSION At 3:40 p. I think. DAVIDE. and the most workable approach that is available to this Commission. I just would like to ask Commissioner Davide some questions. we will mandate the COMELEC to make the actual apportionment on the basis of the number of seats provided for and allocated to each province by us. a prejudicial question for the body to decide. Then. LAW. the session was resumed . I support the position taken by Commissioner Aquino." So. I wonder if the Commission will allow this. Commissioner Davide may yield if he so desires. reading as follows: "Within three years following the return of every census.m. They have. proposal would also provide for a mandate for the apportionment later. Commissioner Davide is recognized. may I request for a suspension of the session. Commissioner Aquino is recognized. without indicating the municipalities comprising each of the districts. Jamir). The session is suspended. Commissioner Bengzon is recognized. the most reasonable. gerrymandering. MR. as chairman of the Committee on the Legislative. I would propose that the Commission should now decide what body should make the apportionment. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. which will in effect embody what the Commission had approved. This Commission. Mr. Presiding Officer. the Committee on the Legislative has prepared the report on the basis of the recommendation of the COMELEC. Jamir). therefore." I hope the chairman will accept the proposed amendment. We have the assurance of Commissioner Davide. Presiding Officer.. in fact. to the provinces and to the cities. apportioned the whole country into various districts based on the recommendation of the COMELEC. there is no reason why we cannot complete the work of reapportionment on the basis of the COMELEC plan which the committee has already thoroughly studied and which remains available to the Constitutional Commission. is in the best possible situation under the circumstances to undertake that responsibility. MR. OPLE. being a nonpartisan. So. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. We know that the reapportionment of provinces and cities for the purpose of redistricting is generally inherent in the constituent power or in the legislative power. DAVIDE. Mr. Eliza Yamamoto UNDER THIS CONSTITUTION THE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS SHALL BE APPORTIONED BY THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. it is the safest. then I believe we have the time to do it because the Committee on the Legislative is ready with that particular report which need only to be appended to the Constitution. Apropos of that. What does Commissioner Davide say: MR. Jamir). that even given the very short time remaining in the life of this Commission. BENGZON. as a compromise. I just would like to give that information so that the people here would be guided accordingly when they vote. MR. Mr. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Frauline Camille R. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Presiding Officer. more or less. there arises. Mr. RODRIGO. We will just delete the proposed subparagraph (4) and all the capitalized words in paragraph (5). THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Mr. Presiding Officer. MS. CITIES AND THE METROPOLITAN MANILA AREA AS FOLLOWS. BENGZON. Jamir). THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr.

MR. SARMIENTO. May I move that this Commission do the reapportionment legislative districts. MS. DAVIDE. Presiding Officer. Yes. we cannot exercise that authority until after the ratification of the new Constitution. Presiding Officer. may I move for the approval of this proposed amendment. It will come out to be one for every 350 to 400. RODRIGO. May we move for the approval of this proposed amendment which we substitute for paragraphs 4 and 5. DAVIDE. Thank you. Presiding Officer. So. Jamir). The motion is for this Commission to undertake the apportionment of the legislative districts instead of the proposal that COMELEC be given the mandate to undertake the responsibility. Jamir). May I be clarified. And that would be within the standard that we refer. MS. Frauline Camille R. So. AQUINO. On the other hand. Jamir). Jamir) The Gentleman may proceed. MR. As a matter of fact. Jamir) Commissioner Regalado is recognized. SARMIENTO. REGALADO. DAVIDE. AQUINO. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. The parliamentary situation is that there was a motion by Commissioner Sarmiento to mandate COMELEC to do the redistricting. That will require a twothirds vote. AQUINO. Presiding Officer. What does Commissioner Sarmiento say? MR. REGALADO. MS. May I address a clarificatory question to Commissioner Davide? THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. The proposed amendment. it will appear very ugly in the Constitution where we mandate a Commission that will become functus officioto have the authority. therefore. So. RODRIGO. RODRIGO. it will be for the first election. on the basis of the Sarmiento proposal. Mr. Will this apportionment which we are considering apply only to the first election after the enactment of the Constitution? MR. This was also almost the same motion by Commissioner Padilla and I think we have had some kind of meeting of minds. DAVIDE. DAVIDE. MR. an amendment to the amendment as suggested by Commissioner Aquino. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. May I restate the motion. On the basis of the Padilla proposal. Is Commissioner Sarmiento. Mr. MR. MR. Presiding Officer. to please formulate it into a motion so we can vote on that first as an amendment to the amendment. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. adopting my motion? Would it not be right for him to move that the COMELEC be mandated? MR. if she insists on that idea. None at all. that instead of the COMELEC. MR. Mr. SARMIENTO. otherwise. xxx xxx xxx THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. xxx xxx xxx MR. 14 MR. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Mr. we accepted the amendment. Would that require a two-thirds vote or a simple plurality to adopt that motion? THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. And after that. MR.Commissioner Aquino is recognized. AQUINO. MS. Jamir). Mr. Presiding Officer. MS . Commissioner Aquino is recognized. SARMIENTO. SARMIENTO. the Gentlemen has accepted the amendment the amendment. Gentleman will please proceed. MS. Mr. It is already the Commission that will be mandated. Jamir). So may I ask Commissioner Aquino. Mr. Presiding Officer. RAMA. Jamir). AQUINO. May I be clarified again on the motion. MR. MR. would there be instances representation of under non-representation? MR. What is the pleasure of Commissioner Aquino? MS. Congress will have the power to reapportion. Jamir). if we attach this to the Constitution — the reapportionment based on the COMELEC study and between the approval of the Constitution and the first election — the COMELEC no longer has the power to change that even a bit. REGALADO. MR. May I request that it should be treated merely as a motion to be followed by a deletion of paragraph 4 because that should not really appear as a paragraph in Section 5. Is it the motion or the proposed amendment? THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. SARMIENTO.Compiled by: Hernandez. there seems to be a prejudicial question. Thank you. AQUINO. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. I can assure the Commission that there will be no case of inequitable distribution. REGALADO. Mr.000 inhabitants. Presiding Officer. I am voting that this Commission do the reapportionment. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. MR. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. It is accepted. On the basis of the Commissioner's proposed apportionment and considering the fact that there will be a corresponding reduction to 183 seats. it will only apply to the first election. Presiding Officer. RAMA. Yes. MR. . MR. AQUINO. No. Mr. it should be this Commission that shall make the redistricting. The Floor Leader is recognized. Jamir). SARMIENTO. MR. Eliza Yamamoto MR. Thank you.

Mr. J.18 we ruled that the validity of a legislative apportionment is a justiciable question. Jamir). (a) the 18 September 1992 1 joint Resolution of the First Division of respondent Commission on Election (COMELEC) in SPC No. MR. Yes. is annulled and set aside. Let us proceed to vote. Clearly then. JR. DAVIDE. In Section 2. the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section. for example. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and MAHID MUTILAN.: In this special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. G. in relation to Section 7.) The results show 30 votes in favor and none against. and SPC NO. DE CASTRO. MR. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. DAVIDE. it may happen that we have forgotten a municipality in between which is still in the territory of one assigned district. my municipality is in the First District of Laguna. This imbalance. viz. Mr. 107435-36 December 11. MR. but still actually these are within the geographical district area. we hold that respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it . Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution.) As many as are against. Consistent with the limits of its power to make minor adjustments. SO ORDERED. Nos. Presiding Officer." In Macias v. MR. xxx xxx xxx THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. please raise their hand. 92-378-379. We also deny the Petition praying for the transfer of the municipality of Tolosafrom the First District to the Second District of the province of Leyte. DE CASTRO. 92-349. and (b) the 23 October 1992 2 en banc Resolution of the 15 meaning. For instance. That we shall consider a minor amendment. Eliza Yamamoto VOTING THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. DAVIDE. That cannot be done. MR. they cannot put that in any other district . Mr. DE CASTRO.Compiled by: Hernandez. Be that as it may. vs. PAGARUNGAN. 1992 SAIDAMEN B. It may well be that the conversion of Biliran from a sub-province to a regular province brought about an imbalance in the distribution of voters and inhabitants in the five (5) legislative districts of the province of Leyte. IN VIEW WHEREOF. meaning. the minor adjustment may be made only if one of the municipalities is not mentioned in the ordinance appended to. MR. Thank you. 92-387." The meaning of the phrase "minor adjustments was again clarified in the debates 17 of the Commission. respondents. thus: "Within three (3) years following the return of every census. 2736 insofar as it transferred the municipality of Capoocan of the Second District and the municipality of Palompon of the Fourth District to the Third District of the province of Leyte. GUINGONA. It is a substantive one. Thank you. The power granted by Section 3 to the respondent COMELEC is to adjust the number of members (not municipalities) "apportioned to the province out of which such new province was created. Presiding Officer. Frauline Camille R. promulgated section 1 of its Resolution No. DAVIDE. DAVIDE. Can it be possible that one municipality in a district be transferred to another district and call it a minor adjustment ? MR. meaning to say. This is just clarificatory. MR.: xxx xxx xxx MR. that we may have forgotten an intervening municipality in the enumeration. Presiding Officer. if. or there may be an error in the correct name of a particular municipality because of changes made by the interim Batasang Pambansa and the Regular Batasang Pambansa. The authority conferred MR. COMELEC. . Thank you. Section 2 of the Ordinance only empowered the COMELEC "to make minoradjustments of the reapportionment herein made. Minor. Section 5(4). please raise their hand. the Constitutional Commission denied to the COMELEC the major power of legislative apportionment as it itself exercised the power. could devalue a citizen's vote in violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. GUINGONA. But while this Court can strike down an unconstitutional reapportionment. would be on minor corrections or amendments.R. and it will be up for the COMELEC now to adjust or to put such municipality to a certain district. the Commission on Elections is empowered to make minor adjustments on the apportionment made here. So. MR. However. Article VI of the Constitution categorically gives Congress the power to reapportion. We have not set any time limit for this. . Yes. it is not proper at this time for petitioner to raise this issue using the case at bench as his legal vehicle. MR. DAVIDE. No costs. for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion or lack of jurisdiction. petitioner would have this Court set aside and annul. Presiding Officer. Romulo). which ought to be included in one district. There were many batas pambansa enacted by both the interim and the Regular Batasang Pambansa changing the names of municipalities. . (No Member raised his hand. a mother municipality and the new municipality. section 1 of Resolution No. 92-391. So the minor adjustment which the COMELEC cannot do is that. depending on its degree. Section 3 of the Ordinance did not also give the respondent COMELEC any authority to transfer municipalities from one legislative district to another district. I was about to ask the committee the meaning of minor adjustment. SPC No. Mr. petitioner." Prescinding from these premises. The issue involves a problem of reapportionment of legislative districts and petitioner's remedy lies with Congress. 2736 transferring the municipality of Capoocan of the Second District and the municipality of Palompon of the Fourth District to the Third District of Leyte. the motion is approved. it cannot itself make the reapportionment as petitioner would want us to do by directing respondent COMELEC to transfer the municipality of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District of the province of Leyte. (Several Members raised their hand. As many as are in favor. SPC No. DE CASTRO. We should not set a time limit unless during the period of amendments a proposal is made. that there should be no change in the allocations per district. we may not have the data regarding a division of a municipality by the interim Batasang Pambansa or the Regular Batasang Pambansa into two municipalities.. for instance. Commissioner de Castro is recognized. That is not even a minor correction. GUINGONA.

Considering the allegations and issues raised and the arguments adduced by the parties in the petition and the subsequent pleadings indicated above. 1992 excluding COC No. Commission on Elections. BY PASSING ( sic) THE COMELEC DIVISIONS IN VIOLATION OF ART. and the joint affidavit. which was docketed as SPC No. through their respective counsel. WHETHER THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE MBC COULD BE LEGALLY SET ASIDE OR ANNULED AFTER IT BECAME FUNCTUS OFFICIO? C. 92-387. During the canvassing of the certificates of canvass for provincial offices by the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBC) of Lanao de Sur. SPC No. In the Resolution of 29 October 1992. the PBC handed down a unanimous ruling 8 the dispositive portion of which reads: The Provincial Board of Canvassers of Lanao del Sur. this Court required the respondents to Comment on the Petition within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days. 667635 AND THE SUPPORTING SOV? D. the petitioner filed a Comment. 92-387. The first is an appeal of the herein petitioner. it is most respectfully prayed of the Honorable Commission En Banc that: 1. 92-349 and SPC No. 92-378/379 and SPC No. On 6 November 1992. Petitioner does not deny the allegation of the private respondent that he (petitioner) enclosed. 13 Taking heed of Our Resolution of 6 August 1992 in Sarmiento vs. filed its Comment to the petition. G. 92-391. The (sic) above case be assigned to a DIVISION in conformity with the constitution and the duly promulgated ( sic) Rules of Procedure (sic) of the Commission. Although this Court granted the petitioner's motion to file a Reply to the public respondent's Comment on or before 22 November 1992. none has been filed as of the writing of this Decision. Private respondent relied on the Investigation Report of Atty. 3. 11 On 8 August 1992. in his appeal. 667635 of the Municipality of Madamba. So far as is relevant to this case. On 9 November 1992. 667635 BY THE PBC? E. which was docketed as SPC No. 667635 of Madamba. 92-349 filed by petitioners Dimaporo and Mutilan be dismissed for clear lack of merit and legal basis. 667635 AND THE SUPPORTING SOV? F. the COMELEC raffled off SPC No. as a result thereof the First Division got the case. WHETHER THE PBC ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN EXCLUDING COC NO. The REPORT/RULING ON THE MADAMBA CASE dated June 20. (G. in SPC No. through the Office of the Solicitor General.R. Petitioner then formally offered documentary exhibits consisting of the Minutes of the PBC proceedings of 6 June 1992. The PBC be ordered to reconvene and to include in the canvass COC No. two (2) appeals assailing the said ruling were interposed before the COMELEC. Clarita Callar. that the same be discontinued immediately. WHETHER THE PERSONAL PERCEPTION OR BELIEF OF THE MEMBERS OF THE PBC COULD BE A VALID BASIS FOR THE EXCLUSION MOTU PROPIO OF COC NO. both parties submitted their evidence to the PBC. IX (C) SECTION 3 OF THE CONSTITUTION. 92-349. 92-387. 10 the COMELEC en banc took cognizance thereof and set the case for hearing on 6 August 1992. At the said hearing. agreed to submit their respective Position Papers. and to decide this case on its merits. this Court hereby resolves to consider the private respondent's Urgent Motion To Lift the Temporary Restraining Order as his Comment and Answer. Abdul Aguam. the joint affidavit of Attys. all his documentary evidence and affidavits of his witnesses and that all the records and evidence submitted to the PBC were elevated to the COMELEC. 4. 667635 of Madamba from the canvass be set aside. No. 105628) and companion cases. respondent COMELEC. 7 On 20 June 1992. WHETHER OR NOT THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE MBC LEADING TO THE PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION OF COC NO. upon order of this Court. also dated 6 June 1992. 92-387 raising the following issues: A. et al. more particularly the portion thereof which directs the Provincial Board of Canvassers to reconvene and prepare a new set of certificate of canvass on the basis of the results taken from the COMELEC's copies of the Election Returns for the uncontested 5 Provincial Elective Positions. Marohombsar and Datu Dacula and other affidavits. upon suggestion of the COMELEC en banc. Lanao del Sur. This ruling is based primarily on the Investigation Report of Atty. Petitioner and the private respondent were candidates for the Office of the Provincial Governor of Lanao del Sur in the synchronized elections of 11 May 1992. 5. WHETHER THE COMMISSION EN BANC CAN EXERCISE ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OVER THE APPEALS. Consequently. revoked or annuled. private respondent filed an Urgent Motion To Lift the Temporary Restraining Order to which. WHETHER PBC IS CLOTHE (sic) WITH AUTHORITY TO EXCLUDE MOTU PROPIO COC NO.Compiled by: Hernandez. WHETHER THE COMMISSION ACTED PROPERLY IN OPENING AND EXAMINING THE ELECTION RETURNS OF MADAMBA WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF THE CONCERNED PARTIES? 12 and praying for the following reliefs: WHEREFORE. 6 private respondent objected to the inclusion of Certificate of Canvass (COC) No. It consolidated this case with SPC NO. and issued a temporary restraining order directing the respondent COMELEC to cease and desist from enforcing the questioned resolutions. 92-349 3 and SPC No. Eliza Yamamoto COMELEC affirming. while the second is the appeal of Pala Dipatuan. These facts are not disputed. 92-387 and the related cases to a Division pursuant to pertinent provisions of its Rules. petitioner opposed this move. 16 . absent the parties. 667635 AND THE SUPPORTING SOV ARE VALID AND BINDING? B. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. 4 the abovementioned 18 September 1992 Resolution of the First Division. and the Comment of respondent COMELEC as its Answer thereto. That if true that the election returns are being inspected privately. Frauline Camille R. of Alexander Dimaporo and Pendatun Panguinaguina — members of the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) of Madamba — to support his opposition to the objection. the parties. petitioner's counsel submitted a Consolidated Position Paper in SPC No. 2. SPC Nos. 92-391. unanimously decided not to include in the count/canvass the Certificate of Canvass of Madamba said having ( sic) been substituted and spurious (sic). Clarita Callar who was directed by the Chairman of the PBC to investigate the Madamba incident. 9 Instead of assigning SPC No.

Since the Commission has the power to direct that only genuine election returns and certificates of canvass be considered (Ong vs. and 17 The Callar report. THE WHY AND THE WHEN OF THE NUMEROUS INCIDENTS CONCERNING THE CONTROVERSY OF MADAMBA INVOLVING THE PREPARATION OF THE MUNICIPAL CERTIFICATE OF CANVASS OF MADAMBA. CE 9223696 previously submitted on June 5. 3. 22 SCRA 241). DIRECTS the Provincial Board to Consolidated the COC of Madamba with all other uncontested COC's and thereafter Proclaim the Winning Candidates as the records warrant. accepted the Report of Atty. and then and there in the presence of said military personnels (sic) of the 39th IB said Municipal Treasurer took out the Statement of Votes from the forcibly opened ballot box and handed it to one of his soldier companion ( sic) and when some of the watchers present tried to stop him. Purisima and Sgt. entered the gymnasium looking for Sgt. On 23 September 1992. both of Madamba.m. November 13. That such an examination would not be in disregard of the summary nature of a pre-proclamation proceeding nor (sic) the provisions of Sec. BY EXAMINING AND INSPECTING ONLY ONE "SELECTED" COPY OF ITS CHOICE AND WITHOUT EVEN NOTIFYING AND ALLOWING THE PARTIES TO PARTICIPATE IN THE OPENING AND EXAMINATION THEREOF. the Municipal Treasurer. The following day. Francisco of the 5th IB on the pretext that their Commanding Officer has an order for him and since. the group was able to enter the said gymnasium and once inside. Alexander Dimaporo went directly to where the ballot boxes are (sic) piled and forcibly opened one of them destroying the lid in the process which later turned out to be the ballot box with Serial No. into the election returns of the Municipality of Madamba.Compiled by: Hernandez. Eliza Yamamoto On 18 September 1992. 9223696 was already submitted for the municipality of Madama. June 5. ALL IN CLEAR CONTRAVENTION OF EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE AND IN VIOLATION OF THE EXPRESS PROVISION OF LAW. Comelec. WITHOUT EVEN VERIFYING FOR ITSELF THE WHO. 8903946 whom ( sic) they attempted to mix with the other ballot boxes but which the military security placed apart to identify it from those previously received. May (June) 6.R. CALLAR. Callar without conducting any hearing to afford the petitioner the right or opportunity to confront the latter. in the company of 5 military personnels (sic) whom the affiants were able to identify as elements of the 39th IB because of the presence of M/Sgt. Comelec. 2. Commissioner Magdara Dimaampao pointed out that there was a violation of due process when the First Division. this Division hereby RESOLVES the following: 1. 1992. premises considered.m. AND THE SUBSEQUENT "RULING" OF THE PROVINCIAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF LANAO DEL SUR. 15 of RA 7166 with respect to the Congressional race as the COMELEC has been given ample power "to decide all questions affecting election returns including the verification of the number of votes received by opposing candidates in the election returns as compared to the statement of votes in order that the true will of the people is known. 79646-67. 2. THE HOW. Rule 27 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure which requires summary hearing after due notice. Alexander Dimaporo Municipal Treasurer and Pendatun Punginagina. 14 The decretal portion of the Resolution reads: WHEREFORE. Dimaampao further stressed that the election returns should be resorted to only if it is established through a hearing that the COC in question is indeed spurious. (Villamoyo vs. DECS Supervisor. Lanao del Sur. Frauline Camille R. THAT THE FIRST DIVISION COMMITTED A VERY GRAVE ERROR WHEN IT RELIED SOLELY AND COMPLETELY ON THE "REPORT" OF A CERTAIN ATTY. it made the following observations and conclusions: The above attendant circumstances. it is the duty of the COMELEC to see to it that the matter should be verified from the election returns as a pre-proclamation controversy. Fernando Canes. 16 This decision was not unanimous. petitioner filed under the caption of SPC No. Nacionalist . It cannot wash its hands by asking the candidates to bring the matter to the electoral tribunal as an election protest. CE 8903946 was brought to the MSU gymnasium only in the morning of June 6. DIRECTS the Provincial Board of Canvassers to reconvene and prepare a new set of certificate of canvass on the basis of the results taken from the COMELEC's copy of the Election Returns for the uncontested Provincial Elective Positions. the Commission may look. In view of the foregoing. 1992." If there is clear evidence of discrepancy between the number of votes for a precinct as compared to the number of votes the candidates actually received during the counting at the precinct. the First Division promulgated a joint Resolution in these consolidated cases affirming the PBC's ruling which excluded COC No. who feared a ( sic) shootout may result in the hitting of innocent civilians who were inside the gymnasium at that time. as such the same could not be made as a sound basis indetermining the true and genuine results of the votes casts ( sic) for the municipal and provincial candidates in Madama. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. G. 92-349 and SPC No. WHICH IT RULED TO BE DIRSREGARDED DESPITE ITS HAVING NO DEFECT WHATSOEVER. the soldiers with him got mad and one of then (sic) even hit one of the watchers while the others pointed their guns at the other watchers and party representatives to include (sic) the elements of the 15th IB which action almost ended in a shootout except for the intervention to (sic) the Commanding Officer of the 5th IB as well as of the Platoon leader 2nd Lt. Amatorio whom they personally know to belong to the said IB. Looking at the ballot box with Serial No. Lanao del Sur. 1992 which the Receiving Committee refused to receive under proper receipt since ballot (sic) box with Serial No. the physical examination of the Comelec's copy of the determine its genuineness and authenticity. No. 667635 of Madamba from the canvass and ordering the PBC to prepare a new set of certificate of canvass based on the COMELEC copies of the Election Returns for the uncontested (later changed to contested) Provincial Elective Positions. 1987). in the exercise of its constitutional power. a Motion For Reconsideration Ex Abundante Cautela 17 Alleging therein: 1. reads as follows: At about 10:30 p. This is the most speedy and inexpensive remedy to settle this controversy. it is very evident that it was really forcibly opened as shown by the destroyed cover and ballot ( sic) box with Serial No. as quoted in the Resolution. CE 9223696 containing the Statement of Votes and Certificate of Canvass of the municipality of Madamba. 91-387 only. In his dissent thereto. With respect to the latter. 1992 at about 9:30 a. per affidavit executed by Ibrahim Max Digadong. 15 representative. AFFIRMS the Proclamation of the wining Mayoralty candidate in the Municipality of Madama. THAT THE FIRST DIVISION WAS LIKEWISE IN GRAVE ERROR WHEN IT CASUALLY RESORTED TO THE ALLEGED RESULTS OF THE "COMELEC COPY" OF THE ELECTION RETURNS OF ALL PRECINCTS OF MADAMBA. But when the group however sensed that the elements of the 5th IB were ready to fight them by deploying themselves the group left hurriedly but only after bringing with them all the contents of the forcibly opened ballot box. contrary to Section 2. SO ORDERED. the 5th IB is under the operational control of the 39th IB. tend to establish the fact that the COC and SOV have not been regularly prepared. Lanao de Sur. the above-named Municipal Treasurer and DECS Supervisor returned to the MSU gymnasium bring ( sic) with them another ballot box with Serial No.

"An order to this effect does not affect the right to vote or the validity of any vote cast. clear. should not be allowed to hamper the Commission on Elections in the performance of its duties (Cauton vs. 73 Phil. As to the report of Atty. 19 Before the latter could resolve the same. without the accomplished forms and the evidence appended thereto. Section 9. On 23 October 1992. the COMELEC en banc stated: When the First Division resorted to the Comelec's copy of the Election Returns of Madamba as contained in the ballot box No. authentic. so that it is perfectly within the power of the COMMISSION to issue such an order in the exercise of its exclusive power to administer and enforce the laws relative to the conduct of elections. and by the COMELEC en banc when it likewise resolved petitioner's motion for reconsideration without a hearing. clear. Perusal of the resolution of the First Division as to the proclamation of the winning candidates show ( sic) that is it not absolute as shown by the phrase "as the records warrant. Petitioner extensively discussed in his position paper the issues raised and the evidence to support the latter's thesis that the COC in question is clean. rejected and disregarded the clean. Callar. No violation of due process. (2) the total disregard by the COMELEC en banc of its own Rules when it resolved the motion for reconsideration without any hearing as mandated by Section 6. was committed by the COMELEC's First Division when it promulgated the Resolution of 18 September 1992 without any hearing. Section 20 of R. authentic and duly signed and executed. He stresses that in the case of Madamba." So much so that if there are still pending cases before the other division (sic) regarding the election of provincial elective positions in Lanao del Sur. it merely performed its mandated duty under the Constitution to enforce and administer laws and regulations relative to the conduct of elections. it is clearly and convincingly established that the applicant was deprived of due process by the board of canvassers. when the First Division issued the challenged Resolution. unless they are clearly illegal or constitute grave abuse of discretion. pursuant to Section 2. the COMELEC held that the same was prepared in the performance of official duty. 18 . Comelec. orderly and honest elections. the Acting Provincial Election Supervisor of North Cotabato. the Commission shall decide summarily the appeal within seven (7) days from receipt of said records and evidence. the records do not warrant the same. THAT THE FIRST DIVISION GRIEVOUSLY ERRED WHEN IT DIRECTED THE PROCLAMATION OF WINNING CANDIDATES. but in (sic) the contrary may defeat the will of the sovereign people as expressed in their votes. inter alia. as petitioner claims. 18 Pursuant to the Constitution and the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. accompanied by the supporting Statement of Votes. duly signed and executed Municipal Certificate of Canvass for Madamba. Eliza Yamamoto 3. that "No member of a Constitutional Commission shall. WITHOUT AWAITING THE RESULTS OF OTHER MUNICIPALITIES WHICH ARE STILL PENDING BEFORE THE OTHER COMELEC DIVISION. which are not conductive to free. Comelec. and is therefore presumed to have been performed with regularity. the COMELEC en banc promulgated the challenged Resolution 20 affirming the 18 September 1992 Resolution of the First Division and finding the errors imputed to the latter to be without merit. agreed to submit the appeals on the basis of their position papers. 19 SCRA 911). inter alia. questioned or interrogated by the COMELEC. Rule 27 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Comelec.Compiled by: Hernandez. Technicalities. she has been projected to the public as the Chairperson of the National Unification Committee (NUC). per instruction of COMELEC Regional Director Teresita Llaban. which provides: (e) At the hearing. Article IX-A of the present Constitution which provided. and paragraph (h). (Cauton vs. 23 which provides: (h) On the basis of the records and evidence elevated to it by the board. should not be interferred with. Frauline Camille R. hold any other office or employment. CE-92 375697. the parties. thus should not have been excluded. This Commission is well aware of the foregoing rule. it is duty bound to take the necessary steps in order that the proper basis for the canvass is made available. 7166. is no longer a member of the Commission. But the mere fact that the same appears to be clean an ( sic) untampered is not also proof enough that they are genuine. that this public position or office is constitutionally incompatible with her present position as a Commissioner of the COMELEC. Hence. Callar which herein petitionerappellant also failed to prove that it is fabricated and or baseless. The COMELEC further stated that it "would be so absurd for this Commission to have its field personnel perform their task and at the same time question their actuation." Citing Cauton vs. the motion for reconsideration had to be resolved by the COMELEC en banc. then it follows that it cannot proclaim any winning candidates yet for definitely. 21 it asserted that if the Commission is convinced that the election returns in the hands of the board of canvassers do not constitute the proper basis in ascertaining the true result of the elections. upon the suggestion of the COMELECen banc. the petitioner filed on 21 October 1992 a Motion for the disqualification of Commissioner Haydee B. Thus. during his tenure. shall be summarily dismissed. The decision of the Commission shall be executory after the lapse of seven (7) days from receipt thereof by the losing party. Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure.22 Petitioner then filed the instant petition raising therein the following issues: (1) the total lack or absence of due process in the proceedings before the COMELEC's First Division when it. this Commission would have completed relied on the alleged clean and untampered COC as allegedly reported by the Municipal Board of Madamba. Petitioner-Appellant contents that the basic election document provided for by law and the Comelec's own promulgated resolutions in proclaiming the winning candidates for provincial offices is none other than the Municipal Certificate of Canvass. 288). bearing in mind the report of Atty. its object was to determine the result of the elections based on the official election returns. both the COC and the SOV are clean and untampered in (sic) their faces. No.A. Before the subject cases were raffled off to the First Division. however. it would be absurd to say that the Commission has a legal duty to perform that duty. "The choice of means taken by the Commission on Elections. Any appeal brought before the Commission on the ruling of the board. resolved the appeal from the ruling of the PBC of Lanao del Sur without any semblance of a hearing to assess the factual findings of said PBC and merely on the basis of the report of Atty. unless for good reasons shown. Election Laws – set 1 Atty. Thus. and ruled to use and avail of selected copies of the election returns without any notice to and without the presence and participation of the parties. no new evidence shall be received. (Sumulong vs. Had there been no reported incident of ballot box switching. Yorac on the ground that for the past several weeks. the factual issue raised at that point was whether the questioned COC is spurious or not — a question which must be resolved on the basis of the evidence adduced by the parties before the PBC pursuant to paragraph (e). she has also presented herself to the public as such. Callar who was never interviewed. amounting to grave abuse of discretion or lack of jurisdiction." she is deemed resigned from her present position. We find no merit in the petition. As to the First Division's ruling on the matter of the COMELEC copies of the election returns being made the basis for the preparation of a new COC. and (3) the participation and vote of Commissioner Yorac who. Comelec 19 SCRA 911) To sustain the petitioner-appellant in the present Motion for Reconsideration is to deny this Commission the power to retrieve the Comelec copies of the election returns in order that the true number of votes cast for a candidate may be known and thus permit a canvass on the basis of Certificate of Canvass that are reportedly falsified.

Neither did the COMELEC en banc commit any abuse of discretion. by the parties' compliance with the aforesaid paragraph (e). Election Laws – set 1 Atty. In every case. Rule 27 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. capricious or arbitrary. the wisdom of using such copies is beyond question. Report to the COMELEC copies of the election returns of all the precincts of Madamba did not. Section 8. through the First Division. petitioner was estopped from objecting to the admission in evidence of the Callar report. 32 which may equally apply to the findings of fact of the COMELEC. then the law would have required a condition which could be easily rendered impossible to comply with. As stated earlier. among the copies of the election returns readily available to the Commission. are not present in this case. In the first place. 7166. he could not have done that because the PBC had in fact allowed him to present his evidence. In any case. for one reason or another. COMELEC and companion cases. the findings of which are not even disturbed by courts of justice except when there is absolutely no evidence or no substantial evidence to support the same. however. Petitioner. More pertinently. No. and any other available copy of the election returns from all precincts in Madamba. the Callar report falls under Section 44. This is obvious because the former constitutes a mere summary of the latter an errors. the election returns are to be prepared in six (6) copies. The COMELEC's First Division opted to resort directly to its copies of the election returns and ordered the whimsical. 27 Such reasoning does not impress Us. as in fact it did." 28 This is a clear message of the irreversibility of his adherence to the agreement to submit the appeal for resolution on the basis of the evidence and records elevated by the PBC and the position papers submitted by the parties. We have said. Senators. he only asks that the cases "be assigned to a DIVISION in conformity with the constitution and the duly promulgated ( sic) Rules of Procedure (sic) of the Commission. If this is the interpretation to be followed. any of the remaining five (5) copies could not be obtained by the board. much less grave abuse thereof amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. 31 that this Court cannot review rulings or findings of fact of the Commission on Elections as there is no reason to believe that the framers of the Constitution intended to place the Commission. The COMELEC's judgment on this matter cannot be overturned by this Court unless it is clearly tainted with grave abuse of discretion. the emotions of the moment and the distracting atmosphere. The PBC faithfully complied with the mandate of this provision. Section 8. tries to mock the solemnity and depreciate the value of this agreement by stating that the proceedings before the COMELEC en banc at the first instance were void because of Section 3. a formal hearing may not adequately achieve such purpose because of the time constraints. petitioner voluntarily submitted his Position Paper in accordance with the agreement he freely entered into. on the basis of the evidence and the records elevated to it by the PBC. That he was not allowed to cross-examine Atty." The documents which could logically be the basis therefor are any of the other available copies of the COC with the supporting Statement of Votes (SOV). may be used or included in the canvass. in effect leaving to the PBC — and then the First Division of the COMELEC on appeal — the determination of the factual issue concerning the validity of the COC in question. said section does not require that all the other copies of the election returns be taken into account and compared with one another before one of them. he did not question the validity of the agreement in the issues he raised and in the reliefs he prayed for therein. Rule 130 of the Rules of Court which provides for an exception to the hearsay rule. be thereafter assigned to a Division to set the appeal for hearing. to determine what must be done to ascertain the elusive "true and genuine results of the votes casts ( sic) for provincial and municipal candidates in Madama. In the third place. insists that the First Division should have complied with Section 235 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides for the use of "the other copies of said election returns and. following his view. foreclose the right of the petitioner to object. Besides. The COC for President. It thus enjoys the presumption of regularity. the latter could provided a more accurate basis for the determination of the true and genuine results of the votes cast. 25 The Rules of Court applies suppletorily to proceedings before the COMELEC. that the petitioner carefully avoided characterizing the Callar report as "hearsay". Petitioner. through then Chief Justice Concepcion in Lucman vs. he wants that all other copies of the election returns should be considered. the unpreparedness of counsel. Vice-President. the agreement to submit position papers dispensed with the formal hearing of the motion for reconsideration. Article IX-C of the Constitution and Our ruling in Sarmiento vs. In the election of returns are prepared in six (6) copies to be distributed in the manner provided for in Section 27(a) of the said law. Eliza Yamamoto The records do not disclose that the petitioner had moved before either the COMELEC en banc or its First Division that he be allowed to present new evidence on the ground that the was deprived of due process by the PBC. following the interpretation and logic of petitioner. city or district board of canvassers' copy. 19 . Callar did not in any way whittle down the validity of the proceedings of the PBC for paragraph (e). As earlier adverted to. The First Division affirmed the PBC's ruling that the questioned COC is spurious. The evidence adduced shall form part of the proceedings of the Board." In short. in effect. Between another copy of the COC and the election returns. however. Thus. reception thereof shall be done summarily. This betrays an incorrect interpretation of the section. It could have already properly and validly resolved it. and found for itself that the attendant circumstances in this case "tend to established the fact that the COC and the SOV have not been regularly prepared. may be committed in entering therein the figures obtained from the election returns. Having thus made such findings. Members of the House of Representatives and elective provincial officials are prepared in seven (7) copies to be distributed in the manner provided for in Section 27 of R. as such the same could not be made as a sound basis in determining the true and genuine results of the votes casts ( sic) for the municipal and provincial candidates in Madamba. however. just as any other in respect to the rule on conclusiveness of findings of fact of the Court of Appeals." 30 These are findings on a factual issue which this Court accords the highest respect. the parties voluntarily and unconditionally observed the same by submitting their evidence which included the affidavits of their respective witnesses. it was well within the power of the Commission. 26 By agreeing to submit his position paper for the resolution of the appeal. If. petitioner effectively agreed to dispense with with the formality of a hearing. Oral testimonies shall be dispensed with and the parties shall be required to present their affidavits or counteraffidavits within twenty-four (24) hours from the presentation of the written objection. when it promulgated its Resolution of 23 October 1992 affirming the Resolution of 18 September 1992 of the first Division. the procedure laid down in Section 235 may no longer be availed of. deliberate or otherwise. even if it would. and his awareness of the legal consequences thereof. on a lower level than ordinary administrative organs. Indeed. Secondly.A. created and explicitly made independent by the Constitution itself. the purpose or objective of which was better subserved by the submission of the position papers where the parties could incorporate all that they wanted to place on record. The binding force of the agreement was not tainted by the fact that it was made before the COMELEC en banc before such body acquired jurisdiction over the cases. to the inclusion in the canvass of the PBC of any of said returns pursuant to the pertinent paragraphs of Section 243 of the Omnibus Election code. These exceptions. More importantly. determined to be authentic. The first copy is the municipal. Frauline Camille R. It is reasonable and impressed with wisdom. It is precisely for this reason. 29and the position paper of the parties. Rule 27 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides that: (e) Where evidence is to be offered. Nowhere in his pleadings are We to find any objections to the Callar report on that ground. at the appropriate time.Compiled by: Hernandez. the copy inside the ballot box. Petitioner purposely omitted such argument because he knew only too well that the Callar report is an official act of an officer of the COMELEC made after an investigation conducted in the performance of a lawful official duty. the law would be practically meaningless or useless. moreover. the COMELEC is provided with a copy. 24 Besides. nowhere in his petition did the petitioner allege that his position paper was deemed withdrawn or at least rendered ineffective by the subsequent assignment of the appeal to the Division. He knew all along that the agreement would be binding until the resolution of the appeal. those intended specifically for it are the least likely to be tampered with after leaving the hands of the board of election inspectors. This quoted portion of the section he stresses clearly shows that even one of the copies — that inside the ballot box — is sufficient. if necessary. Dimaporo .

notice of a motion shall be served by the movant to all parties concerned at least three (3) days before the hearing thereof. SO ORDERED. WHEREFORE. Frauline Camille R. the motion is nothing more than a mere scrap of paper. petitioner did not implead Commissioner Yorac as a respondent in this case. to which the motion for disqualification is addressed. the party sought to be disqualified. The Temporary Restraining Order issued on 29 October 1992 is hereby lifted. Under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. 33 Finally. the instant Petition is DISMISSED with costs against petitioner. has resolved it. the motion itself reveals that neither a copy thereof nor a notice of its hearing was furnished Commissioner Yorac. No motion shall be acted upon by the Commission or a Division without proof of service of notice except when it is satisfied that the rights of the adverse party are not affected. for his own benefit. Moreover. the issue against her cannot be resolved in this case without infringing due process — the Constitutional guaranty which petitioner himself insists upon. from the beginning to the end of his petition.Compiled by: Hernandez. for lack of merit. together with a copy of a motion. The notice shall be directed to the parties concerned and shall state the time and place of the hearing of the motion. As the respondent in the motion for disqualification. For this alone. the records do not show that the COMELEC. 20 . Election Laws – set 1 Atty. Hence. she is an indispensable party whose personality in that respect is distinct and separate from that of the COMELEC of which she is a Member. Eliza Yamamoto As to the disqualification of Commissioner Yorac. This Decision is immediately executory.

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