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ANG LADLAD LGBT PARTY vs. COMELEC G.R. No.

190582, April 8, 2010 Facts: - The case has its roots in the COMELEC’s refusal to accredit Ang Ladlad as a party -list organization under Republic Act (RA) No. 7941, otherwise known as the Party-List System Act. - Ang Ladlad is an organization composed of men and women who identify themselves as lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or transgendered individuals (LGBTs). Incorporated in 2003, Ang Ladlad first applied for registration with the COMELEC in 2006. The application for accreditation was denied on the ground that the organization had no substantial membership base. On August 17, 2009, Ang Ladlad again filed a Petition for registration with the COMELEC. Ang Ladlad’s Arguments: 1. That the LGBT community is a marginalized and under-represented sector that is particularly disadvantaged because of their sexual orientation and gender identity; 2. That Ang Ladlad complied with the 8-point guidelines enunciated by this Court in Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. Commission on Elections. Ang Ladlad argued that the denial of accreditation, insofar as it justified the exclusion by using religious dogma, violated the constitutional guarantees against the establishment of religion. Petitioner also claimed that the Assailed COMELEC Resolutions contravened its constitutional rights to privacy, freedom of speech and assembly, and equal protection of laws, as well as constituted violations of the Philippines’ international obligations against discrimination based on sexual orientatio n. The OSG concurred with Ang Ladlad’s petition and argued that the COMELEC erred in denying petitioner’s application for registration since there was no basis for COMELEC’s allegations of immorality. It also opined that LGBTs have their own speci al interests and concerns which should have been recognized by the COMELEC as a separate classification. However, insofar as the purported violations of petitioner’s freedom of speech, expression, and assembly were concerned, the OSG maintained that there had been no restrictions on these rights. The COMELEC reiterated that: 1. Petitioner does not have a concrete and genuine national political agenda to benefit the nation and 2. That the petition was validly dismissed on moral grounds 3. That the LGBT sector is not among the sectors enumerated by the Constitution and RA 7941 4. That petitioner made untruthful statements in its petition when it alleged its national existence contrary to actual verification reports by COMELEC’s field personnel. Issue: W/N Ang Ladlad is qualified to register as a party-list organization Held: - Yes. As held in the case of Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. Commission on Elections, “the enumeration of marginalized and under-represented sectors is not exclusive”. The crucial element is not whether a sector is specifically enumerated, but whether a particular organization complies with the requirements of the Constitution and RA 7941. As to the argument that “petitioner made untruthful statements in its petition when it alleged its national existence” , the Court find that there has been no misrepresentation. A cursory perusal of Ang Ladlad’s initial petition shows that it never claimed to exist in each province of the Philippines. Rather, petitioner alleged that the LGBT community in the Philippines was estimated to constitute at least 670,000 persons; that it had 16,100 affiliates and members around the country, and 4,044 members in its electronic discussion group. Ang Ladlad also represented itself to be “a national LGBT umbrella organization with affiliates around the Philippines composed of several LGBT networks. Since the COMELEC only searched for the names ANG LADLAD LGBT or LADLADLGBT, it is no surprise that they found that petitioner had no presence in any of these regions. [LGBT networks have their own names in each region, not ‘Ang Ladlad’] As to Public Morals as a Ground to Deny Ang Ladlad’s Petition for Registration : The Assailed Resolutions have not identified any specific overt immoral act performed by Ang Ladlad. Even the OSG agrees that “there should have been a finding by the COMELEC that the group’s members have committed or are committing immoral acts.” The COMELEC has failed to explain what societal ills are sought to be prevented, or why special protection is required for the youth. Neither has the COMELEC condescended to justify its position that petitioner’s admission into the party -list system would be so harmful as to irreparably damage the moral fabric of society. The Court held that moral disapproval, without more, is not a sufficient governmental interest to justify exclusion of homosexuals from participation in the party-list system. The denial of Ang Ladlad’s registration on purely moral grounds amounts more to a statement of dislike and disapproval of homosexuals, rather than a tool to further any substantial public interest.

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three billboards were set up along the Balintawak Interchange of the North Expressway. print media or television station shall be presumed to have conducted premature campaigning in violation of Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code. therefore. and credible elections. . 2004. dated February 27. Such supervision or regulation shall aim to ensure equal opportunity. . petitioner Chavez asks this Court that the COMELEC be enjoined from enforcing the assailed provision. 2004. however. honest. and the other two showed petitioner endorsing the clothes of 96° North. 6520. 2003. all grants. G-Box. while they exhibit his name and image. and space. special privileges. 1. during the election period. orderly. 2003. peaceful. These last two agreements were entered into on October 14. or concessions granted by the Government or any subdivision. time. The COMELEC was acting well within its scope of powers when it required petitioner to discontinue the display of the subject billboards. They are. equal rates therefor. (4) contrary to the Fair Elections Act.Yes. . 2004. he and said radio station. candidates for public office whose name and image are used to advertise commercial products would have more opportunity to make themselves known to the electorate. All propaganda materials such as posters. . he claims. August 18. . respondent COMELEC issued Resolution No. entered into formal agreements with certain establishments to endorse their products. on various dates. petitioner was directed to comply with the said pr ovision by the COMELEC’s Law Department. time. wherein it ordered the petitioner to remove or cause the removal of the billboards. otherwise. August 31. 6520.Feeling aggrieved.The COMELEC issued another letter. including reasonable. 2003. Pursuant to these agreements. and the right to reply. a tripartite alliance of three political parties: PROMDI. stickers or paintings on walls and other materials showing the picture.Petition for Prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction .Petitioner Chavez. On January 21.R. 4. Petitioner’s Arguments: The billboards. 2004. Issue: W/N the assailed COMELEC resolution is valid and within its scope of powers Held: . All these are aimed at the holding of free.On January 6. (3) in the nature of an ex-post facto law. . If the subject billboards were to be allowed. respectively. dated January 6. who subsequent to the placement or display thereof becomes a candidate for public office shall be immediately removed by said candidate and radio station. or instrumentality thereof. He urges this Court to declare the assailed provision unconstitutional as the same is allegedly (1) a gross violation of the nonimpairment clause. orderly. Article IX (C) (4) of the Constitution provides: Sec. and Aksyon Demokratiko. (2) an invalid exercise of police power. he authorized a certain Andrew So to use his name and image for 96° North. REPORMA. Chavez stands as a taxpayer and a citizen asking the Court to enjoin the COMELEC from enforcing Section 32 of its Resolution No. One more billboard was set up along Roxas Boulevard showing petitioner promoting the game and amusement parlors of G-Box. as follows: Section 32. their exhibition to the public is not within the scope of the powers of the COMELEC. agency. for public information campaigns and forums among candidates in connection with the objective of holding free. The Commission may.Under the Constitution the COMELEC is expressly authorized to supervise or regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all media communication or information to ensure equal opportunity. petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of Senator under Alyansa ng Pagasa. and credible elections. 162777. COMELEC G.Francisco I. . including any government-owned or controlled corporation or its subsidiary. streamers. or name of a person. the provision assailed herein. peaceful.On December 30. 2003 and November 10. and space. media of communication or information.The assailed provision is. supervise or regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation of transportation and other public utilities. do not at all announce his candidacy for any public office nor solicit support for such candidacy from the electorate. mere product endorsements and not election propaganda. 2004 Facts: . print media or television station within 3 days after the effectivity of these implementing rules. No. in radio or on television showing the image or mentioning the name of a person. a clothing company 2. Petitioner also signed Endorsement Agreements with Konka International Plastics Manufacturing Corporation and another corporation involved in the amusement and video games business.CHAVEZ vs. which contained Section 32. and (5) invalid due to overbreadth. and all advertisements on print. honest. Prohibiting. image. or to cover them from public view. . One billboard showed petitioner promoting the plastic products of Konka International Plastics Manufacturing Corporation. to the disadvantage of other candidates who do not have the same chance of lending their faces and names to endorse popular commercial products as image models.

” Sarmiento posited that Sect ion 15 of R. aboard trucks festooned with balloons and banners bearing their names and pictures and the municipal positions for which they were seeking election. The Supreme Court En Banc dismissed Penera’s Petition and affirmed her disqualification becaus e: (1) Penera raised a question of fact. Surigao del Norte.R. No. 181613. and does not include a review of the tribunal’s ev aluation of the evidence. It only regulates their use to prevent premature campaigning and to equalize. the COMELEC is merely doing its duty under the law. Penera could not be disqualified for premature campaigning because the motorcade took place outside the campaign period – when Penera was not yet a “candidate. November 25. waived their hands to the public. thus. the situation of all candidates by preventing popular and rich candidates from gaining undue advantage in exposure and publicity on account of their resources and popularity. She maintained that the motorcade was spontaneous and unplanned. . 9369.Yes. motorcades are undertaken for no other purpose than to promote the election of a particular candidate or candidates. 8436. Monica and threw candies to onlookers. Held: . and canvassing/consolidating the results of the national and local elections). meetings. Evidence presented to the COMELEC. for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate[. COMELEC G. to which they seek to be elected. there can be no election campaign or partisan political activity because there is no candidate to speak of.A. Issue: W/N Penera should be disqualified for engaging in election campaign or partisan political activity outside the campaign period. parades. and has. in violation of Section 80 of Batas Pambansa 881 (the Omnibus Election Code). partic ipated in a motorcade which passed through the different barangays of Sta. Monica. “The conduct of a motorcade is a form of election campaign or partisan political activity. effectively repealed Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code. from engaging in any election campaign or partisan political activity outside the campaign period (except that political parties may hold political conventions or meetings to nominate their official candidates within 30 days before the campaign period and 45 days for Presidential and Vice-Presidential election). as amended by R. falling squarely within the ambit of Section 79(b)(2) of the Omnibus Election Code.Penera filed a Petition for Certiorari before the Supreme Court to nullify the disqualification. rallies. He emphasized that under Section 15 of Republic Act 8436 (the law authorizing the COMELEC to use an automated election system for the process of voting. Penera (Penera) as a candidate for Mayor of the Municipality of Sta. as amended by Republic Act No. has practically made it impossible to commit premature campaigning at any time. one of which trucks had a sound system that broadcast their intent to run in the 2007 elections. (2) The COMELEC did not gravely abuse its discretion. 2009 Facts: . 9369. all election propaganda are subject to the supervision and regulation by the COMELEC. by regulating the use of such election propaganda materials. Under Sections 3 and 13 of the Fair Elections Act. . and threw candies to the onlookers. or to make them more visible so as to facilitate the recognition and recollection of their names in the minds of the voters come election time. Unmistakably.The COMELEC disqualified petitioner Rosalinda A. . whether a voter. and the supporters merely joined her and the other candidates.” With vehicles. after filing their Certificates of Candidacy (CoCs).- The Solicitor General rightly points out that the assailed provision does not prohibit billboards as lawful election propaganda. conferences. for unlawfully engaging in election campaign before the start of the campaign period for the 2007 Synchronized National and Local Elections. Monica. counting of votes.Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code prohibits any person. after filing their COCs x x. or other similar assemblies. No. and even candies on hand. Sarmiento dissented. one is now considered a candidate only at the start of the campaign period. before the start of the campaign period. Moreover. . including Penera’s own evidence and admissions. a candidate or a party.]’ x x The obvious purpose of the conduct of motorcades is to introduce the candidates an d the positions.” . on holding political caucuses. The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts.COMELEC Commissioner Rene V. as much as practicable. Accordingly. and the sole function of a writ of certiorari is to address issues of want of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion. She argued that the evidence was grossly insufficient to warrant the COMELEC’s ruling. PENERA vs. sufficiently established that “Penera and her partymates.A. Penera can hardly persuade the Court that the motorcade was spontaneous and unplanned.The COMELEC found that Penera and her party-mates. Thus. balloons. to the voting public. conducted a motorcade through Sta.

whether or not a voter or candidate” from engaging in election campaign or partisan political activity outside the campaign period. undermine the conduct of fair and credible elections. Implied repeals are disfavored. Monica before the COMELEC rendered its decision.Thus.” this does not mean that the acts constituting premature campaigning can only be committed during the campaign period. thus. courts should endeavor to reconcile the same instead of declaring outright the invalidity of one as against the other. When the campaign period starts and he proceeds with his candidacy. provides that “any unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period.Under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code. 9369. Only after said person officially becomes a candidate. as amended. saying that Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code remains relevant and applicable despite Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8436. Nowhere in the said proviso was it stated that campaigning before the start of the campaign period is lawful. 8436. “not only will the prohibited act of premature campaigning be officially decriminalized. can already commit the acts described under Section 79(b) of the Omnibus Election Code as election campaign or partisan political activity. The Court gave the following reasons: (1) Republic Act No. Our lawmakers could not have intended to cause such an absurd situation. can his/her disqualification be sought for acts constituting premature campaigning. to wit: a) Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code prohibits “any person. . which prohibits premature campaigning. his act can no longer be viewed as for the promotion of his election. However. at the start of the campaign period. 8436. even after the filing of his CoC.” is erroneous. Said candidate may also face criminal prosecution for an election offense under Section 262 of the same Code. which he may have committed after filing his CoC and before the campaign period. If the Court were to rule otherwise. at the beginning of the campaign period. if he withdraws his CoC before the campaign period. constituting premature campaigning. Thus. as amended. The proclaimed Vice-Mayor was declared her rightful successor pursuant to Section 44 of the Local Government Code which provides that if the mayor fails to qualify or is removed from office. 8436. give effect to both. from holding the office. etc. When confronted with apparently conflicting statutes. Accordingly. (c) While a proviso in Section 15 of Republic Act No. the significance of having a campaign period before the elections would also be negated. or if he has been elected. it is only after said person officially becomes a candidate. thus.. as amended. COMELEC that “(w)hat Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code prohibits is ‘an election campaign or partisan political activity’ by a ‘candidate’ ‘outside’ of the campaign period. premature campaigning may be committed even by a person who is not a candidate. which amended Republic Act No. It is possible to harmonize and reconcile these two provisions and. a person. a candidate declared by final decision to have engaged in premature campaigning shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate. such person already explicitly declares his intention to run as a candidate. as amended. was disqualified from holding the said office. Penera. Conversely. after filing his/her COC but prior to his becoming a candidate (prior to the start of the campaign period).” . for which he may be disqualified.The Supreme Court disagreed with COMELEC Commissioner Sarmiento. . Such is the very evil that the law seeks to prevent. a person is not yet officially considered a candidate before the start of the campaign period.). 4 b) It is true that under Section 15 of Republic Act No. Nonetheless. Any unscrupulous individual with the deepest of campaign war chests could then afford to spend his/her resources to promote his/her candidacy well ahead of everyone else. can already be considered as the promotion of his election as a candidate. the declaration in Lanot vs. who had been elected Mayor of Sta. can said acts be given effect as premature campaigning under Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code. the vice-mayor shall become the mayor. upon the filing of his COC. absent a showing of repugnance clear and convincing in character. act/s constituting election campaign or partisan activity under Section 79(b) of the Omnibus Election Code (holding rallies or parades. his intent turning into actuality. making speeches. An express repeal may not be presumed. (2) There is no absolute and irreconcilable incompatibility between Section 15 of Republic Act No. and there can be no premature campaigning as there is no candidate to begin with. did not expressly repeal Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code. Thus. 8436. and Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code.