Sanchez vs Comelec 153 scra 67 FACTS: Candidate Augusto Sanchez filed his petition on 28 May 1987 praying that

respondent Co elec after due hearing! "e directed to conduct a recount of the #otes cast three onths ago in the 11 May 1987 senatorial elections to deter ine the true nu "er of #otes to "e credited to hi and prayed further for a restraining order directing the Co elec to $ithhold the procla ation of the last % $inning candidates on the ground that the #otes intended for hi $ere declared as stray #otes "ecause of the sa eness of his surna e $ith that of dis&ualified candidate 'il Sanchez! $hose na e had not "een crossed out fro Co elec election for s( )SS*+: ,-. the petition for recount is a pre/procla ation contro#ersy congniza"le "y C0M+1+C 20 ni"us +lection Code3( 4+15: .o( Sanchez anchors his petition for recount and-or reappreciation on Section 2%6! paragraph 2"3 of the 0 ni"us +lection Code in relation to Section 26% thereof $ith regard to aterial defects in can#assed election returns( 4e contends that the can#assed returns discarding 7Sanchez7 #otes as stray $ere 7inco plete7 and therefore $arrant a recount or reappreciation of the "allots under Section 26%( A si ple reading of the "asic pro#isions of the cited Section sho$s readily its inapplica"ility( 8y legal definition and "y the #ery instructions of the Co elec 29es( .o( 18:;! Sec( :! pro ulgated on March 11! 19873! an election return is incomplete if there is 7o ission in the election returns of the na e of any candidate and-or his corresponding #otes7 2Sec( 26%3 or 7in case the nu "er of #otes for a candidate has "een o itted(7 2Sec( :! 9es( .o( 18:;3 4ere! the election returns are complete and indicate the na e of Sanchez as $ell as the total number of votes that $ere counted and appreciated as #otes in his fa#or "y the "oards of inspectors( The fact that so e #otes $ritten solely as 7Sanchez7 $ere declared stray #otes "ecause of the inspectors< erroneous "elief that 'il Sanchez had not "een dis&ualified as a candidate! in#ol#es an erroneous appreciation of the "allots( )t is esta"lished "y the la$ as $ell as =urisprudence that errors in the appreciation of "allots "y the "oard of inspectors are proper su"=ect for election protest and not for recount or reappreciation of the "allots( The appreciation of the "allots cast in the precincts is not a 7proceeding of the "oard of can#assers7 for purposes of pre/procla ation proceedings under section 2%1! 0 ni"us +lection Code! "ut of the "oards of election inspectors $ho are called upon to count and appreciate the #otes in accordance $ith the rules of appreciation

3 and-or contain discrepancies in the #otes credited to any candidate! the difference of $hich affects the results of the election2sec 26:3 $hich are the only instances $here a pre/procla ation recount ay "e resorted to! granted the preser#ation of the integrity of the "allot "o> and its contents! Sanchez petition ust fail( The co plete election returns those authenticity is not in &uestion is pri a facie considered #alid for the purpose of can#assing and procla ation of the $inning candidates( 0ther$ise! it $ill open floodgates to clai s "y the losing candidates and delay the can#ass and procla ation( The allegation of in#alidation of Sanchez?s #otes intended for hi "ears no relation to the correctness and authenticity and correctness of the election returns can#assed( Further ore! Co elec has no po$er to loo@ "eyond the face of the "allots once satisfied of their authenticity 2A"es #s Co elec3( .pro#ided in section 211! 0 ni"us +lection Code( 0ther$ise stated! the appreciation of "allots is not part of the proceedings of the "oard of can#assers( The function of "allots appreciation is perfor ed "y the "oards of election inspectors at the precinct le#el( )t does not present a proper issue for a su ary pre/procla ation contro#ersy( The scope of pre/procla ation contro#ersy is li ited to issues enu erated under sec 2%6 of the 0 ni"us +lection Code 20+C3( The enu eration is restricti#e and e>clusi#e( )n the a"sence of any clear sho$ing or proof that the election returns can#assed are inco plete or contain aterial defects2sec 26%3! appear to ha#e "een ta pered $ith! falsified or prepared under duress 2sec 26.

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