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13. PEOPLE VS BASILIA People v. Basilia, 179 SCRA 87 F: Three complaints were ile!

with the provincial iscal alle"in" violations o the #mni$%s &lection Co!e. A ter con!%ctin" preliminar' investi"ation, the iscal ile! the in ormation with the RTC. The (%!"e, motu proprio, !ismisse! the in ormation on the "ro%n! that the Comelec has the e)cl%sive a%thorit' to con!%ct preliminar' investi"ation an! prosec%te election o enses. *ence this review. +SS,&: -./ F+SCA0S 1A2 C#/3,CT PR&0+1+/AR2 +/4&ST+5AT+#/S A/3 PR#S&C,T&&0&CT+#/ #FF&/S&S6 *&03: 2&S, the' ma'. Altho%"h the Comelec is "rante! the e)cl%sive a%thorit' to con!%ct preliminar' investi"ation an! prosec%te election o enses, it is also a%thori7e! $' the #mni$%s &lection Co!e to avail itsel o the assistance o other prosec%tin" arms o "overnment. To ens%re cre!i$le elections, the Comelec ma' !ep%ti7e law en orcement a"encies an! instr%mentalities, whether $e ore or a ter elections. P%rs%ant to s%ch a%thorit' "rante! $' law, the Comelec iss%e! Resol%tion no 1889 pr ovi!in" that iscals ma' con!%ct preliminar' investi"ations an! prosec%te election o enses.

21. LAGUMBAY V. COMELEC 16 SCRA 175 FACTS: +n each precinct the n%m$er o re"istere! voters e:%ale! the n%m$er o $allots an! the n%m$er o votes reporte!l' cast an! tallie! or each an! ever' can!i!ate o the 0i$eral Part', the part' in power, whereas, all the /acionalista Part' "ot e)actl' 7ero. All the reporte! votes were or the can!i!ates o the 0i$eral Part', all whom were cre!ite! with e)actl' the same n%m$er o votes in each precinct, whereas all the can!i!ates o the /acionalista Part' were "iven e)actl' 7ero in all sai! precincts. +SS,&: -as the election res%lt in sai! precincts %tterl' impro$a$le an! clearl' incre!i$le6 *&03: The S%preme Co%rt answere! in the a irmative statin" that sai! ret%rns were o$vio%sl' alse or a$ricate! ; prima acie.

23. ESPIDOL VS COMELEC

DECISION CALLEJO, SR., J.: Be ore the Co%rt is the petition or certiorari an! prohi$ition ile! $' Ra'mon! P. &spi!ol see<in" to n%lli ' the Resol%tion =1> !ate! A%"%st ?@, 9@@A o the Commission on &lections BC#1&0&CC en banc in SPC /o. @A;18@. The sai! resol%tion a irme! the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision Resol%tion =9> !ate! D%l' 18, 9@@A ann%llin" the petitionerEs proclamation as the !%l';electe! m%nicipal ma'or o Ramon, +sa$ela, !%rin" the 1a' 1@, 9@@A elections. The A !e"e#e !$ Petitioner Ra'mon! P. &spi!ol an! private respon!ent -il re!o 0. Ta$a" were rival can!i!ates or 1a'or o the 1%nicipalit' o Ramon, +sa$ela, in the 1a' 1@, 9@@A s'nchroni7e! national an! local elections. =?> Petitioner &spi!ol, a re; electionist, was the o icial can!i!ate o the Lakas ng Bansa (Lakas);Christian 1%slim 3emocrats BC13C coalition,=A> while private respon!ent Ta$a" was the o icial can!i!ate o the Partidong Demokratiko ng Pilipinas;Laban BP3P;LabanC. =F> The m%nicipalit' ha! a total o 117 precincts.=8> At a$o%t 8:@@ p.m. o 1a' 1@, 9@@A, the 1%nicipal Boar! o Canvassers B1BCC o Ramon, consistin" o Chairman Att'. A"ripino A. 3e 5%7man, Dr., 4ice; Chairman Pe!ro 0. 5%eco an! 1em$er;Secretar' Rosalin!a B. 3oroni, convene! at the m%nicipalit'Es Barangay Trainin" Center to commence the canvassin".=7> Act%al canvassin" starte! at aro%n! ?:@@ a.m. o the ollowin" !a' or 1a' 11, 9@@A, an! ormall' a!(o%rne! at a$o%t 8:?@ p.m., with the 1BC sche!%lin" the res%mption o the canvass at 9:@@ a.m. o the ne)t !a'. =8> *owever, no canvassin" too< place on 1a' 19 an! 1?, 9@@A $eca%se 1BC Chairman 3e 5%7man aile! to report or wor< at the canvassin" center. =9> +n his GA ter;+nci!ent;ReportH 1emoran!%m or Commissioner 1ehol I. Sa!ain, Commissioner;in;Char"e or Re"ions ++ an! +++, 3e 5%7man reporte! that, in the evenin" o 1a' 11, 9@@A, (%st a ter the a!(o%rnment o the canvassin" procee!in"s, he an! his "ro%p o ta$%lators were harasse! an! intimi!ate! $' allies an! political s%pporters o petitioner &spi!ol. 3e 5%7man %rther averre! that on their wa' to Santia"o Cit' where the' were temporaril' $illete!, their car was taile! $' a vehicle $elon"in" to petitioner &spi!olEs camp. Fearin" or their sa et', 3e 5%7man imme!iatel' re:%este! protection rom the local police. This !i! not alla' the ears o his sta $eca%se the ne)t !a', his "ro%p o ta$%lators le! $ac< to 1anila.=1@>

To"ether with the GA ter;+nci!ent;Report,H 3e 5%7man s%$mitte! to Commissioner Sa!ain another 1emoran!%m =11> re:%estin" or a trans er o the canvassin" ven%e to 1anila citin" as reason the volatile peace an! or!er sit%ation in Ramon, +sa$ela. #n 1a' 1?, 9@@A, Commissioner Sa!ain !enie! 3e 5%7manEs re:%est or a chan"e o ven%e in view o the opposition o the other mem$ers o the 1BC who re %te! 3e 5%7manEs claims o intimi!ation an! harassment.=19> #n 1a' 1A, 9@@A, the 1BC reconvene! an! res%me! the canvassin" o the election ret%rns. The canvassin" contin%e! %ntil the evenin" o 1a' 1F, 9@@F. 3%rin" the sai! procee!in"s, private respon!ent Ta$a", thro%"h his law'ers, orall' so%"ht the e)cl%sion o several election ret%rns rom the ollowin" precincts, namel': Precinct /os. 9A, AA.7A, 1@A, A9A, F9A, F7A, 88A, 9?A, 9F.98A, 97A.98A, 1@?A, 119A, 1FA, 9AA, A7AJB, 8?A, 88A, 99A.9A, F@A, F8A, 8@A.89A, 7AA, 8?A, 191A, 19?A, 11AA. Private respon!ent Ta$a" o$(ecte! to the incl%sion o these election ret%rns on the ollowin" "ro%n!s: B1C that the sec%rit' envelopes containin" the election ret%rns !i! not have the proper seals as re:%ire! $' Section 919 o the #mni$%s &lection Co!e B#&CCK B9C that the election ret%rns !i! not $ear the si"nat%re o the chairman o the Boar! o &lection +nspectors BB&+C as re:%ire! $' the same lawK an! B?C that the election ret%rns !i! not have the th%m$prints o the mem$ers o the B&+ in the $o) provi!e! or the p%rpose, an! in some, the th%m$prints an! si"nat%res o the B&+ at the close o each entr' or at the en! o each tall'. taras o each can!i!ate were s%perimpose! on the sai! tall'. taras, there$' o$sc%rin" the n%m$er o votes o$taine! $' each at the en! o ever' entr'. =1?> 3espite these o$(ections, an! witho%t an' ormal or written r%lin" thereon, the 1BC incl%!e! the conteste! election ret%rns. The canvassin" was concl%!e! at a$o%t 9:?@ p.m. o 1a' 1F, 9@@A.=1A> +n the mornin" o 1a' 18, 9@@A, private respon!ent Ta$a", thro%"h co%nsel, ile! a petition with the 1BC vi"oro%sl' opposin" the impen!in" proclamation on the "ro%n! that the procee!in"s o the $oar! were irre"%lar. 3e 5%7man rea! the petition alo%!. /onetheless, at 9:@@ a.m. o the same !a', or $arel' twelve B19C ho%rs a ter the concl%sion o the canvassin" o votes, the 1BC procee!e! to proclaim petitioner &spi!ol as the winnin" can!i!ate or ma'or, alon" with the vice;ma'or an! ei"ht co%ncilors. =1F> Petitioner &spi!ol o$taine! 8,8A7 votes as a"ainst his closest rival, private respon!ent Ta$a", who o$taine! 8,8?F votes, or a mar"in o 9,@19 votes. =18> 1in%tes a ter the proclamation, the co%nsel o private respon!ent Ta$a" s%$mitte! to the 1BC his written o$(ections to the incl%sion in the canvass o the conteste! election ret%rns. The 1BC !i! not ma<e a ormal or written r%lin" thereon. =17> #n 1a' 9A, 9@@A, private respon!ent Ta$a" ile! with the C#1&0&C a petition or ann%lment o proclamation. =18> /ame! respon!ents therein were 1BC

Chairman 3e 5%7man, an! petitioner &spi!ol. The petition was !oc<ete! as SPC @A;18@ an! ra le! to the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision. +n s%pport o his petition, private respon!ent Ta$a" alle"e! that: 1. The 1B#C acte! in violation o RA 7188 an! Comelec Resol%tion /o. 9989 B8889C an! with "rave a$%se o !iscretion amo%ntin" to lac< o (%ris!iction, in proclaimin" private respon!ent B&spi!olC as winner !espite the pen!in" an! %nresolve! appeals $e ore it, the railroa!in" o petitions or e)cl%sion witho%t an' hearin" an! written r%lin"s thereon, an! the petitions or e)cl%sion which were not acte! an! r%le! %pon $' it, consi!erin" that the conteste! ret%rns will a!versel' a ect the res%lts o the election. 9. The proclamation $' the $oar! o private respon!ent as winner, is vitiate! $' !%ress, coercion, intimi!ation an! threats an! the mo$ r%le, an! the preparation o the election ret%rns in certain barangays o the m%nicipalit' is li<ewise vitiate! $' intimi!ation an! threats res%ltin" to alsi ie! an! materiall' !e ective ret%rns an! ail%re o elections an!, there ore, not ma!e reel' an! vol%ntaril' as the tr%e will o the electorate, consi!erin" that the conteste! ret%rns will a ect the res%lts o the election. ?. The inte"rit', "en%ineness an! sanctit' o the conteste! election ret%rns have $een violate! $eca%se the sec%rit' envelopes containin" the election ret%rns !o not have the proper seals provi!e! $' the commission or the p%rpose when prepare! $' the B&+ %ntil the same were s%$se:%entl' transmitte! to an! canvasse! $' the 1B#C, the election ret%rns !i! not $ear the si"nat%re o the chairman o the B&+s, the election ret%rns !o not have the th%m$mar<s.th%m$prints o the mem$ers o the B&+ in the $o)es provi!e! or the p%rpose, an! in some, the th%m$mar<s an! si"nat%res o the B&+ at the close o each entr' or at the en! o each tall'.taras o each can!i!ate were s%perimpose! on the sai! tall'.taras there$' o$sc%rin" the n%m$er o votes o$taine! $' each at the en! o ever' entr'. A. 3iscrepanc' in the statement o votes $' precinct o the 1B#C where the s%m total o the n%m$er o votes o$taine! $' the three B?C ma'oralt' can!i!ates is "reater than the n%m$er o those who act%all' vote! in all the 117 precincts o the m%nicipalit' o Ramon, +sa$ela.=19>

#n D%ne 9, 9@@A, the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision iss%e! s%mmonses with notice o hearin" on D%ne 17, 9@@A. 3%rin" the sai! hearin", the parties ma!e their respective mani estations. S%$se:%entl', petitioner &spi!ol was "iven ive BFC !a's to ile his Answer;1emoran!%m, while private respon!ent Ta$a" an! 3e 5%7man were also "iven the same perio! to ile their respective memoran!a. #n D%ne 91, 9@@A, private respon!ent Ta$a" ile! his 1emoran!%m, while petitioner &spi!ol an! 3e 5%7man ile! their respective Answer;1emoran!a on D%ne 99, 9@@A.=9@> +n his Answer;1emoran!%m,=91> petitioner &spi!ol conten!e! that the "ro%n!s raise! $' private respon!ent Ta$a" were not proper or a pre; proclamation controvers'. 1oreover, the latter !i! not raise his o$(ections properl'. Petitioner &spi!ol also re %te! private respon!ent Ta$a"Es alle"ations o massive vote $%'in", threats an! intimi!ation. For his part, 1BC Chairman 3e 5%7man, in his Answer;1emoran!%m, a!mitte! that the $oar! !i! not ma<e an' ormal or written r%lin"s on the o$(ections raise! $' private respon!ent Ta$a". 3e 5%7man averre! that there were persistent threats an! intimi!ation which constraine! him to hastil' inish the canvassin". +n act, two o the ta$%lators with him B3e 5%7manC who were rom 1anila went home witho%t inishin" their tas< o ta$%latin" $eca%se o ear or their sa et'. These ta$%lators rom 1anila, were replace! with local m%nicipal emplo'ees.
=99>

Actin" on the plea!in"s ile! $' the parties, the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision iss%e! the #r!er=9?> !ate! D%ne 9?, 9@@A s%spen!in" the e ects o petitioner &spi!olEs proclamation: 3%e to the serio%sness o the alle"ation that the Boar! o Canvassers iss%e! the proclamation even $e ore :%estions involvin" the vali!it' o ret%rns which will a ect the res%lt o the election are resolve! $' the Commission, which is clearl' in violation o the a$ove man!ate! proce!%re, an!, %rther, that the proclamation o private respon!ent =re errin" to &spi!ol> as the 1a'or;elect o the 1%nicipalit' o Ramon, +sa$ela was alle"e!l' iss%e! %n!er !%ress, an! with intimi!ation, coercion an! threats, the Commission BSecon! 3ivisionC here$' or!ers that the e ect o the proclamation o private respon!ent Ra'mon! P. &spi!ol $e s%spen!e! %ntil the iss%es raise! on the irre"%larities an! alle"e! !%ress in the iss%ance o the proclamation $e resolve! on the merit. -*&R&F#R&, premises consi!ere!, the Secon! 3ivision o the Commission here$' S,SP&/3S T*& &FF&CT #F T*& PR#C0A1AT+#/ o private respon!ent Ra'mon! P. &spi!ol, with

the note that the instant petition shall $e resolve! on the merit with !ispatch. S# #R3&R&3.=9A>

+n !e iance o the sai! or!er, petitioner &spi!ol too< his oath o o ice as 1a'or o Ramon, +sa$ela on D%ne 9F, 9@@A. =9F> Conse:%entl', on D%ne 98, 9@@A, private respon!ent Ta$a" ile! with the C#1&0&C an %r"ent motion to ann%l the oath o petitioner &spi!ol an! to restrain him rom ass%min" the !%ties an! %nctions o the 1%nicipal 1a'or o Ramon, +sa$ela. Private respon!ent Ta$a" also pra'e! that petitioner &spi!ol $e cite! or contempt or $latantl' !isre"ar!in" the D%ne 9?, 9@@A #r!er.=98> #n D%ne 99, 9@@A, the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision, actin" on the %r"ent motion, iss%e! an #r!er, the fallo o which state! th%s ; -*&R&F#R&, premises consi!ere!, respon!ent =re errin" to petitioner &spi!ol> is here$' !irecte! to s%$mit his comment to the a$ove motion within ive BFC !a's rom notice. A stern warnin" is %rther !irecte! %pon respon!ent to re rain rom committin" acts which are in contravention o the CommissionEs D%ne 9?, 9@@A #r!er an! which ten! to o$str%ct the proper resol%tion $' the Commission o the present controvers', lest a severe sanction shall $e impose! %pon the same. S# #R3&R&3.=97> /otwithstan!in" the two or!ers, on D%ne ?@, 9@@A L the $e"innin" o the term o o ice o all elective o icials L &spi!ol ass%me! o ice as 1a'or o Ramon, +sa$ela an! has since $een !ischar"in" its %nctions an! !%ties. #n D%l' 18, 9@@A, the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision prom%l"ate! the Resol%tion=98> !eclarin" petitioner &spi!olEs proclamation ille"al. +t hel! that the 1BC aile! to "ive private respon!ent Ta$a" 9A ho%rs rom the time o his oral o$(ections to s%$mit his evi!ence in s%pport thereo , in "ross violation o Section 9@ BcC o Rep%$lic Act BR.A.C /o. 7188. -orse, the 1BC acte! witho%t a%thorit' when it proclaime! petitioner &spi!ol as the !%l' electe! 1a'or o Ramon, +sa$ela, witho%t ma<in" an' written r%lin"s on the o$(ections raise! $' private respon!ent Ta$a", in "ross violation o para"raph BiC o the same provision. +t %rther r%le! that 1BC was press%re!, coerce!, threatene! an! intimi!ate! $' petitioner &spi!ol in or!er to proclaim him. F%rther, the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision opine! that since the n%m$er o the votes cast or the ma'oralt' position e)cee!e! the n%m$er o re"istere! voters who act%all' vote! $' 8F8 as re lecte! in the Statement o 4otes BS#4C, there was eno%"h $asis to ann%l petitioner &spi!olEs proclamation. The !ispositive portion o the resol%tion rea!s: -*&R&F#R&, premises consi!ere!, the Petition to Ann%l the Proclamation o Respon!ent Ra'mon! P. &spi!ol, as 1a'or o Ramon, +sa$ela, is here$' 5RA/T&3K conse:%entl', the proclamation o Respon!ent Ra'mon! P. &spi!ol is here$' !eclare! /,00 an! 4#+3. A 1%nicipal Boar! o Canvassers shall

$e reconstit%te! to con!%ct a re;canvassin" o the election ret%rns strictl' a!herin" to the prescri$e! proce!%res or canvassin" an! in han!lin" conteste! election ret%rnsK meanwhile, the 4ice;1a'or elect shall temporaril' ass%me the ma'oralt' post as Actin" 1a'or, %ntil %rther noticeK %rthermore, the Provincial Comman!in" # icer o the Philippine /ational Police in the Province o +sa$ela is here$' !ep%ti7e!, to"ether with the Chie o Police o the 1%nicipalit' o Ramon, +sa$ela, to assist the &lection # icer o the same m%nicipalit', in ens%rin" that this resol%tion $e imme!iatel' en orce!. 0et a cop' o this resol%tion $e %rnishe! to the 3epartment o +nterior an! 0ocal 5overnment or their in ormation an! "%i!ance in implementin" the provision on temporar' s%ccession in the local "overnment as provi!e! in the 0ocal 5overnment Co!e. The char"e o in!irect contempt a"ainst respon!ent Ra'mon! P. &spi!ol shall $e treate! as a separate case an! s%$(ecte! to a hearin" in compliance with the re:%irements o !%e process. Petitioner is %rther a!vise! that the appropriate complaint or election o ense a"ainst the alle"e! o en!ers $e ile! with the Commission. S# #R3&R&3.=99> #n D%l' 91, 9@@A, petitioner &spi!ol ile! a motion or reconsi!eration with the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision.=?@> #n A%"%st ?@, 9@@A, the C#1&0&C en banc prom%l"ate! its Resol%tion=?1> a irmin" in toto the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivisionEs Resol%tion o D%l' 18, 9@@A. The !ispositive portion o the C#1&0&C en bancEs resol%tion rea!s: -*&R&F#R&, premises consi!ere!, the Commission &n Banc here$' 3&/+&S the 1otion or Reconsi!eration o Private Respon!ent or lac< o merit an! AFF+R1S the Resol%tion o the Secon! 3ivision o the Commission A//,00+/5 T*& PR#C0A1AT+#/ o Private Respon!ent Ra'mon! &spi!ol. -e %rther AFF+R1 the Secon! 3ivisionEs iss%ance o the interloc%tor' or!er S,SP&/3+/5 T*& &FF&CT #F T*& PR#C0A1AT+#/ o Private Respon!ent Ra'mon! &spi!ol. -e %rther emphasi7e that private respon!ent Ra'mon! &spi!ol has no a%thorit' to ass%me the # ice o the 1a'or rom the ver' $e"innin" or on D%ne ?@, 9@@A, his proclamation $ein" n%ll an! voi! ab initio. Private respon!ent Ra'mon! &spi!ol is here$' !irecte! to ph'sicall' vacate the # ice o the 1a'or or havin" no a%thorit' to ass%me

an! remain therein. Accor!in"l', as provi!e! in the 0ocal 5overnment Co!e, the 4ice;1a'or is here$' !irecte! to ass%me the # ice o the 1a'or temporaril' %ntil the controvers' as to who shall ass%me the post shall have $een resolve!. 0et a cop' o this resol%tion $e iss%e! to the 3epartment o +nterior an! 0ocal 5overnment an! the Philippine /ational Police or their in ormation an! "%i!ance. F%rthermore, the Provincial Comman!er o the Philippine /ational Police o the Province o +sa$ela, as assiste! $' the 1%nicipal Chie o Police o Ramon, +sa$ela is here$' 3&P,T+M&3 T# ASS+ST the &lection # icer o Ramon, +sa$ela or an' a%thori7e! representative o the Commission on &lections, an! &/S,R& that this resol%tion $e &/F#RC&3. S# #R3&R&3.=?9> The C#1&0&C en banc a irme! the in!in"s o the Secon! 3ivision as it hel! that Gthe proclamation o petitioner &spi!ol is n%ll an! voi! or havin" $een ma!e ami!st :%estiona$le circ%mstances, partic%larl' $' railroa!in" the proclamation, as a!mitte! $' the Chairman o the 1BC, when he aile! or re %se! to ollow the canvassin" proce!%re, especiall' the iss%ance o written r%lin"s in the !isposition o o$(ecte! election ret%rns.H This act, accor!in" to the C#1&0&C en banc, is also reveale! $' the min%tes o the $oar! o canvassers when no report was ma!e that written r%lin"s were iss%e! in the !isposition o the o$(ections to the election ret%rns. The C#1&0&C en banc th%s r%le! that the Secon! 3ivision was correct in preliminaril' s%spen!in" the e ects o petitioner &spi!olEs proclamation an! event%all' ann%llin" the same. The C#1&0&C en banc opine! that while it is tr%e that a ter a winnin" can!i!ate has $een proclaime!, the reme!' o a losin" can!i!ate is to ile an election protest, s%ch r%le is applica$le onl' when there has $een a vali! proclamation. +t li<ewise !e$%n<e! petitioner &spi!olEs interpretation o Section 9@BcC o R.A. /o. 7188 that oral an! written o$(ections on election ret%rns m%st $e Gsim%ltaneo%sl',H i.e., witho%t interval o time, s%$mitte! to the $oar!. +t characteri7e! this interpretation as too constrictin". Rather, the C#1&0&C en banc ratiocinate!, an o$(ectin" can!i!ate ma' still s%$mit his written o$(ection an! evi!ence in s%pport thereo within 9A ho%rs rom ma<in" the oral o$(ection. +t concl%!e! that election cases are im$%e! with p%$lic interest an! laws "overnin" election contests m%st $e li$erall' constr%e! to the en! that the tr%e wishes o the electorate prevail. Commissioner 4ir"ilio #. 5arcillano !issente! rom the C#1&0&C en bancEs Resol%tion o A%"%st ?@, 9@@A as he vote! to reconsi!er the Resol%tion o the Secon! 3ivision. Commissioner 5arcillano was o the

view that the G=$>oar! correctl' incl%!e! the conteste! election ret%rns in the canvass as the' !i! not s% er an' serio%s in irmities a ectin" their inte"rit'.H=??> A""rieve!, petitioner &spi!ol so%"ht reco%rse to the Co%rt $' ilin" the present Petition or Certiorari an! Prohi$ition with Pra'er or Temporar' Restrainin" #r!er, 1aintenance o Status quo an!.or -rit o Preliminar' +n(%nction. +n the Resol%tion=?A> !ate! Septem$er 7, 9@@A, the Co%rt !irecte! the parties to o$serve the status quo prevailin" $e ore the ilin" o the petition. Petitioner &spi!ol pro ers the ollowin" iss%es or the Co%rtEs resol%tion: + 3i! respon!ent C#1&0&C commit "rave a$%se o !iscretion amo%ntin" to lac< or e)cess o (%ris!iction when it resolve! to a irm the 18 D%l' 9@@A Resol%tion o the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision which erroneo%sl' hel! that the 1BC o Ramon, +sa$ela !i! not ollow the prescri$e! proce!%re in !isposin" the private respon!ents o$(ection to certain &Rs=6> ++ 3i! respon!ent C#1&0&C commit "rave a$%se o !iscretion amo%ntin" to lac< or e)cess o (%ris!iction when it hel! that the petitionerEs proclamation was vitiate! $' threat, intimi!ation, coercion an! !%ress=6> +++ 3i! respon!ent C#1&0&C commit "rave a$%se o !iscretion =a>mo%ntin" to lac< or e)cess o (%ris!iction when it s%spen!e! the e ects o the petitionerEs proclamation=6>=?F> Petitioner &spi!ol conten!s that 3e 5%7manEs tale o threats an! intimi!ation sho%l! have $een ta<en $' the C#1&0&C with a "rain o salt. +t $ein" Gpatentl' $aseless an! totall' a$ricate!,H the C#1&0&C "ravel' a$%se! its !iscretion in swallowin" the same Ghoo<, line an! sin<er.H Petitioner &spi!ol also assails the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivisionEs interloc%tor' or!er s%spen!in" the e ects o his proclamation, claimin" that the same was iss%e! witho%t the re:%ire! notice an! hearin". Petitioner &spi!ol %rther ar"%es that the "ro%n!s invo<e! $' private respon!ent Ta$a", i.e., lac< o inner paper seals, lac< o si"nat%re o B&+ chairman, a$sence o th%m$mar<s on the election ret%rns, amon" others, are merel' !e ects in orm an! not proper s%$(ects o a pre;proclamation controvers'. Citin" (%rispr%!ence, petitioner &spi!ol emphaticall' asserts that the

en%meration in Section 9A? o the #mni$%s &lection Co!e B#&CC o the iss%es that ma' $e raise! in a pre;proclamation controvers' is restrictive an! e)cl%sive. *e maintains that even ass%min" that the "ro%n!s relie! %pon $' private respon!ent Ta$a" were proper iss%es in a pre;proclamation controvers', the 1BC, nonetheless, correctl' incl%!e! the orall' o$(ecte! election ret%rns in the canvassin" since the latterEs oral o$(ections were not re!%ce! into writin" an! sim%ltaneo%sl' ile! with the $oar! as re:%ire! $' Section 9@ o R.A. /o. 7188. Petitioner &spi!ol posits that Section 9AF o the #&C, which allows the ilin" o the written o$(ection within 9A ho%rs rom the time the oral o$(ection was ma!e, has $een amen!e! $' Section 9@ o R.A. /o. 7188 which now re:%ires $oth oral an! written o$(ections to $e Gsim%ltaneo%sl'H ile! with the 1BC. Th%s, there was alle"e!l' no nee! or the 1BC to ma<e an' written r%lin"s on the o$(ections ma!e $' private respon!ent Ta$a" $eca%se these were not raise! properl' or in the manner prescri$e! $' Section 9@ o R.A. /o. 7188. Petitioner &spi!ol points o%t that private respon!ent Ta$a"Es reme!' is not the e)cl%sion o the conteste! election ret%rns, $%t that provi!e! %n!er Section 9?A o the #&C, th%s L Section 9?A. Material defects in t e election returns. L + it sho%l! clearl' appear that some re:%isites in orm or !ata ha! $een omitte! in the election ret%rns, the $oar! o canvassers shall call or all mem$ers o the $oar! o election inspectors concerne! $' the most e)pe!itio%s means, or the same $oar! to e ect the correction. Provi!e!, That in case o the omission in the election ret%rns o the name o an' can!i!ate an!.or his correspon!in" votes, the $oar! o canvassers shall re:%ire the $oar! o election inspectors concerne! to complete the necessar' !ata in the election ret%rns an! a i) therein their initials: Provi!e!, %rther, That i the votes omitte! in the ret%rns cannot $e ascertaine! $' other means e)cept $' reco%ntin" the $allots, the Commission, a ter satis 'in" itsel that the i!entit' an! inte"rit' o the $allot $o) have not $een violate!, shall or!er the $oar! o election inspectors to open the $allot $o), an!, also a ter satis 'in" itsel that the inte"rit' o the $allots therein has $een !%l' preserve!, or!er the $oar! o election inspectors to co%nt the votes or the can!i!ate whose votes have $een omitte! with notice thereo to all can!i!ates or the position involve! an! therea ter complete the ret%rns. The ri"ht o a can!i!ate to avail o this provision shall not $e lost or a ecte! $' the act that an election protest is s%$se:%entl' ile! $' an' o the can!i!ates.

+n his Comment,=?8> private respon!ent Ta$a" s%pports the in!in"s o the C#1&0&C. +n a!!ition, he avers that the petition is !e ective since it aile! to implea! 4ice;1a'or 1erce!e7 1. 4i7carra, who is now the Actin" 1a'or o Ramon, +sa$ela. *e ar"%es that 4ice;1a'or 4i7carra is an in!ispensa$le part' witho%t whom no inal !etermination o the action ma' $e ha!. The petition is $ere t o merit. Section 9@ o R.A. /o. 7188 o%tlines the proce!%re or the !isposition o conteste! election ret%rns, th%s: S&CT+#/ 9@. Proce!%re in 3isposition o Conteste! &lection Ret%rns. L BaC An' can!i!ate, political part' or coalition o political parties contestin" the incl%sion or e)cl%sion in the canvass o an' election ret%rns on an' o the "ro%n!s a%thori7e! %n!er Article NN or Section 9?A, 9?F an! 9?8 o Article N+N o the #mni$%s &lection Co!e shall s%$mit their oral o$(ection to the chairman o the $oar! o canvassers at the time the :%estione! ret%rn is presente! or incl%sion in the canvass. S%ch o$(ection shall $e recor!e! in the min%tes o the canvass. B$C ,pon receipt o an' s%ch o$(ection, the $oar! o canvassers shall a%tomaticall' !e er the canvass o the conteste! ret%rns an! shall procee! to canvass the ret%rns which are not conteste! $' an' part'. BcC Sim%ltaneo%s with the oral o$(ection, the o$(ectin" part' shall also enter his o$(ection in the orm or written o$(ections to $e prescri$e! $' the Commission. -ithin twent'; o%r B9AC ho%rs rom an! a ter the presentation o s%ch an o$(ection, the o$(ectin" part' shall s%$mit the evi!ence in s%pport o the o$(ection, which shall $e attache! to the orm or written o$(ections. -ithin the same perio! o twent'; o%r B9AC ho%rs a ter presentation o the o$(ection, an' part' ma' ile a written an! veri ie! opposition to the o$(ection in the orm also to $e prescri$e! $' the Commission, attachin" thereto s%pportin" evi!ence, i an'. The $oar! shall not entertain an' o$(ection or opposition %nless re!%ce! to writin" in the prescri$e! orms. The evi!ence attache! to the o$(ection or opposition s%$mitte! $' the parties, shall $e imme!iatel' an! ormall' a!mitte! into the recor!s o the $oar! $' the chairman a i)in" his si"nat%re at the $ac< o each an! ever' pa"e thereo .

B!C ,pon receipt o the evi!ence, the $oar! shall ta<e %p the conteste! ret%rns, consi!er the written o$(ections thereto an! opposition, i an', an! s%mmaril' an! imme!iatel' r%le thereon. The %&'(# $h')) e !e( *!$ (+)* , & !he -(e$"(*%e# .&(/ ' # '+!he !*"'!e !he $'/e %0 !he $*, '!+(e$ &. *!$ /e/%e($. BeC An' part' a!versel' a ecte! $' the r%lin" o the $oar! shall imme!iatel' in orm the $oar! i he inten!s to appeal sai! r%lin". The $oar! shall enter sai! in ormation in the min%tes o the canvass, set asi!e the ret%rns an! procee! to consi!er the other ret%rns. B C A ter all the %nconteste! ret%rns have $een canvasse! an! the conteste! ret%rns r%le! %pon $' it, the $oar! shall s%spen! the canvass. -ithin ort';ei"ht BA8C ho%rs there rom, an' part' a!versel' a ecte! $' the r%lin" ma' ile with the $oar! a written an! veri ie! notice o appealK an! within an %ne)ten!i$le perio! o ive BFC !a's therea ter, an appeal ma' $e ta<en to the Commission. B"C +mme!iatel' %pon receipt o the notice o appeal, the $oar! shall ma<e an appropriate report to the Commission, elevatin" therewith the complete recor!s an! evi!ence s%$mitte! in the canvass, an! %rnishin" the parties with copies o the report. BhC #n the $asis o the recor!s an! evi!ence elevate! to it $' the $oar!, the Commission shall !eci!e s%mmaril' the appeal within seven B7C !a's rom receipt o the sai! recor!s an! evi!ence. An' appeal $ro%"ht $e ore the Commission on the r%lin" o the $oar!, witho%t the accomplishe! orms an! the evi!ence appen!e! thereto, shall $e s%mmaril' !ismisse!. The !ecision o the Commission shall $e e)ec%tor' a ter the lapse o seven B7C !a's rom receipt thereo $' the losin" part'. BiC The $oar! o canvassers shall not proclaim an' can!i!ate as winner %nless a%thori7e! $' the Commission a ter the latter has r%le! on the o$(ections $ro%"ht to it on appeal $' the losin" part'. An' proclamation ma!e in violation hereo shall $e voi! ab initio, %nless the conteste! ret%rns will not a!versel' a ect the res%lts o the election.=?7>

+n the present case, private respon!ent Ta$a", thro%"h his law'ers, so%"ht !%rin" the canvassin" the e)cl%sion o several election ret%rns on vario%s "ro%n!s, amon" them: lac< o inner paper seals, lac< o si"nat%re o the

Chairman o the B&+, a$sence o th%m$mar<s o the mem$ers o the B&+, etc. These o$(ections were ta$%late!=?8> as ollows: Precinct /%m$er o /%m$er 4otes Cast 9A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t 1F1 incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& . AA.7A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t 17A incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& . 1@A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t 1?8 incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& . A9A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t 1?F incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& . F9A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t 1?8 incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& . F7A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t 1A8 incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& . 88A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t 1?7 incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& . 9?A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t 188 incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& .

; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& . 97A.98A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& . 1@?A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& . 119A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K ver$all' appeale! while written /otice o Appeal was &! '"!e# +-& . 1FA ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K no appeal rom private respon!ent. 9AA ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K no appeal rom private respon!ent. A7A J B ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K no appeal rom private respon!ent. 8?A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K no appeal rom private respon!ent. 88A ; petition or e)cl%sion ile! $' petitioner $%t incl%sion was or!ere! $' 1B#C 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* ,K no appeal rom private respon!ent. 99A.9A ;canvass was !e erre! $' 1B#C or lac< o s%mmation on the irst pa"e o the &R $%t the incl%sion therea ter was ma!e 1*!h&+! 1(*!!e (+)* , o the 1B#C. F@A ; petition or e)cl%sion with o er o evi!ence

9F.98A

198

178

18A

1A1

1AF

1?9O

9A9O

1?8O

18AO

188O

1F8

in writin" was s%$mitte! in the mornin" $%t was not acte! an! not r%le! %pon, therea ter, 1B#C proclaime! the respon!ent. F8A ; petition or e)cl%sion with o er o evi!ence in writin" was s%$mitte! in the mornin" $%t was not acte! an! not r%le! %pon, therea ter, 1B#C proclaime! the respon!ent. 8@A.89A ; petition or e)cl%sion with o er o evi!ence in writin" was s%$mitte! in the mornin" $%t was not acte! an! not r%le! %pon, therea ter, 1B#C proclaime! the respon!ent. 7AA ; petition or e)cl%sion with o er o evi!ence in writin" was s%$mitte! in the mornin" $%t was not acte! an! not r%le! %pon, therea ter, 1B#C proclaime! the respon!ent. 8?A ; petition or e)cl%sion with o er o evi!ence in writin" was s%$mitte! in the mornin" $%t was not acte! an! not r%le! %pon, therea ter, 1B#C proclaime! the respon!ent. 191A ; petition or e)cl%sion with o er o evi!ence in writin" was s%$mitte! in the mornin" $%t was not acte! an! not r%le! %pon, therea ter, 1B#C proclaime! the respon!ent. 19?A ; petition or e)cl%sion with o er o evi!ence in writin" was s%$mitte! in the mornin" $%t was not acte! an! not r%le! %pon, therea ter, 1B#C proclaime! the respon!ent. 11AA ; petition or e)cl%sion with o er o evi!ence in writin" was s%$mitte! in the mornin" $%t was not acte! an! not r%le! %pon, therea ter, 1B#C proclaime! the respon!ent. T&!') V&!e$ C'$! & C& !e$!e# P(e"* "!$ 2,163

1A9

91@

1AA

1AF

189

1A9

181

As shown a$ove, in no sin"le instance !i! the 1BC ma<e an' written r%lin" on the n%mero%s petitions or e)cl%sion ile! $' private respon!ent Ta$a". &ven those o$(ections ma!e in writin" $' private respon!ent Ta$a" were not acte! an! r%le! %pon $' the 1BCK neither !i! it act on the several written notices o appeal ile! $' private respon!ent Ta$a". Clearl', the 1BC violate! its !%t' %n!er para"raph B!C o Section 9@ o R.A. /o. 7188 to enter its r%lin"s, partic%larl' on those o$(ections that have $een re!%ce! to writin", on the prescri$e! orm an! a%thenticate the same $' the si"nat%res o its mem$ers. 3e 5%7man, the Chairman o the 1BC, in his answer;memoran!%m ile! with the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision, a!mitte! that the 1BC !i! not ma<e an' written r%lin" !is"#"!is private respon!ent Ta$a"Es o$(ections, even those ma!e in writin". Petitioner &spi!ol maintains that the 1BC co%l! not $e a%lte! or not ma<in" an' written r%lin"s on private respon!ent Ta$a"Es o$(ections $eca%se most were not re!%ce! to writin" as re:%ire! $' para"raph BcC o Section 9@ o R.A. /o. 7188. F%rther, those o$(ections ma!e in writin" were not alle"e!l' sim%ltaneo%sl' s%$mitte! with the oral o$(ections. Accor!in" to petitioner &spi!ol, the wor! Gsim%ltaneo%sH in Section 9@ BcC o R.A. /o. 7188 sho%l! $e constr%e! strictl' in view o its man!ator' nat%re. This pro ere! constr%ction ails to pers%a!e. As correctl' r%le! $' the C#1&0&C en banc an! the Secon! 3ivision, the wor! Gsim%ltaneo%sH m%st not $e "iven a strict an! constrictin" meanin". S%$mission o the written o$(ection within 9A ho%rs rom when the oral o$(ection was ma!e is s%$stantial compliance with the law. The C#1&0&C en bancEs ratiocination on this point is :%ote! with approval: There is no !e$ate that an oral o$(ection m%st $e re!%ce! into writin". &ven the case laws cite! $' private respon!ent =re errin" to &spi!ol> assert the same re:%irement. *owever, there was never an' !isc%ssion that the same shall $e s%$mitte! at the same moment as the oral o$(ection. The re:%irement there ore that written o$(ections m%st $e s%$mitte! sim%ltaneo%sl' is (%st limite! to the provision itsel . To a!vance, there ore, the technical interpretation o the wor! sim%ltaneo%s, is to re:%ire that written o$(ections sho%l! $e s%$mitte! at the same time with the oral o$(ection. The act that the r%le spea<s o an oral o$(ection separate rom the written contemplates that $oth orms ma' $e s%$mitte! at !i erent moments, as lon" as this is !one within reasona$le time. *ence, i a co%nsel s%$mits his written o$(ection an ho%r later, the same ma' $e consi!ere! compliance with the r%le. The same ma' $e the

sit%ation i co%nsel ma' s%$mit written o$(ections at the en! o the canvassin" or the !a'. The :%estion, there ore, is %p to when Greasona$le timeH $e in the s%$mission o written o$(ections. The interpretation m%st $e p%t in the conte)t o the whole process o !isposin" o$(ecte! ret%rns. Consi!erin" that the o$(ections have to $e r%le! %pon $' the $oar! o canvassers $ase! on the evi!ence which are re:%ire! to $e s%$mitte! within twent'; o%r B9AC ho%rs, the $oar!, there ore, has to wait or at least twent'; o%r B9AC ho%rs, $e ore the' co%l! r%le on the o$(ection. *ence, even i the $oar! alrea!' has written o$(ections with them, the' still cannot r%le on the same %ntil the evi!ence has $een s%$mitte! within twent'; o%r B9AC ho%rs. +t is there ore, the consi!eration o this Commission that the $oar! o canvassers sho%l! not r%le on the o$(ections o the parties %ntil the twent'; o%r;ho%r B9AC perio! has lapse!, %nless the' alrea!' have with them the written o$(ections as well as the evi!ence. +n that case, s%$mission o written o$(ections within twent'; o%r B9AC ho%rs to"ether with the evi!ence, ma' $e consi!ere! s%$stantial compliance with the r%le. =?9> Petitioner &spi!ol li<ewise (%sti ies the 1BCEs ail%re to r%le on the o$(ections o private respon!ent Ta$a" $' statin" that these were not proper or pre;proclamation controvers'K hence, the !ismissal thereo $' the 1BC was proper. This contention !eserves scant consi!eration. A pre;proclamation controvers' is !e ine! as re errin" Gto an' :%estion pertainin" to or a ectin" the procee!in"s o the $oar! o canvassers which ma' $e raise! $' an' can!i!ate or $' an' re"istere! political part' or coalition o political parties $e ore the $oar! or !irectl' with the Commission, or any matter raised under Sections $%%, $%&, $%' and $%( in relation to t e preparation) transmission) receipt) custody and appreciation of t e election returns .H=A@> +ss%es that ma' $e raise! in a pre;proclamation controvers' are as ollows: BaC +lle"al composition or procee!in"s o the $oar! o canvassersK

B$C * e can!assed election returns are incomplete) contain material defects) appear to be tampered +it or falsified) or contain discrepancies in t e same returns or in anot er aut entic copies t ereof as mentioned in Sections $%%) $%&) $%' and $%( of t is Code, BcC The election ret%rns were prepare! %n!er !%ress, threats, coercion or intimi!ation, or the' are o$vio%sl' man% act%re! or not a%thenticK an!

B!C -hen s%$stit%te or ra%!%lent ret%rns in controvers' pollin" places were canvasse!, the res%lts o which materiall' a ecte! the stan!in" o the a""rieve! can!i!ate or can!i!ates. =A1> A!mitte!l', the Co%rt ha! the occasion to state that lac< o inner paper seals in the election ret%rns !oes not (%sti ' their e)cl%sion rom canvassin" an! that s%ch is not proper s%$(ect o a pre;proclamation controvers'. =A9> *owever, in the present case, asi!e rom the lac< o inner paper seals, private respon!ent Ta$a" raise! other "ro%n!s or the e)cl%sion o certain election ret%rns, incl%!in" lac< o si"nat%re o the Chairman o the B&+ an! a$sence o th%m$mar<s o the mem$ers o the B&+. The si"nat%res an! th%m$mar<s o the B&+ mem$ers are re:%ire! to $e a i)e! on the election ret%rns %n!er Section 919 o the #&C, which states in part: Sec. 919. -lection returns. L The $oar! o election inspectors shall prepare the election ret%rns sim%ltaneo%sl' with the co%ntin" o the votes in the pollin" place as prescri$e! in Section 91@ hereo . The ret%rn shall $e prepare! in se)t%plicate. The recor!in" o votes shall $e ma!e as prescri$e! in sai! section. * e entry of !otes in +ords and figures for eac candidate s all be closed +it t e signature and t e clear imprint of t e t umbmark of t e rig t and of all t e members) like+ise to be affi.ed in full !ie+ of t e public, imme!iatel' a ter the last vote recor!e! or imme!iatel' a ter the name o the can!i!ate who !i! not receive an' vote. P + the si"nat%res an!.or th%m$mar<s o the mem$ers o the $oar! o election inspectors or some as re:%ire! in this provision are missin" in the election ret%rns, the $oar! o canvassers ma' s%mmon the mem$ers o the $oar! o election inspectors concerne! to complete the ret%rns. +n relation thereto, the pertinent proviso o Section 9?A o the #&C is :%ote! anew: Sec. 9?A. Material defects in t e election returns . L + it sho%l! appear that some re:%isites in orm or !ata ha! $een omitte! in the election ret%rns, the $oar! o canvassers shall call or all the mem$ers o the $oar! o election inspectors concerne! $' the most e)pe!itio%s means, or the same $oar! to e ect the correctionP

Conse:%entl', the a$sence o these si"nat%res an! th%m$mar<s ren!ere! the sai! election ret%rns materiall' !e ective an!, there ore, proper s%$(ect o a pre;proclamation controvers' partic%larl' allin" %n!er para"raph B$C o Section 9A? o the #&C which is :%ote! anew: B$C The canvasse! election ret%rns are incomplete, contain material defects, appear to $e tampere! with or alsi ie!, or contain !iscrepancies in the same ret%rns or in another a%thentic copies thereo as mentione! in Sections 9??, $%&, 9?F an! 9?8 o this Co!eK 5rantin" arguendo that the o$(ections interpose! $' private respon!ent Ta$a" were not proper or a pre;proclamation controvers', nonetheless, the 1BC sho%l! have ma!e written r%lin"s thereon. ,n!er Section 9@ o R.A. /o. 7188, the $oar! o canvassers is man!ate! to "rant an o$(ectin" part' 9A ho%rs rom the time o the presentation o the oral o$(ection to s%$mit its evi!ence. Therea ter, the other part' is also "iven 9A ho%rs to s%$mit its opposition. + no opposition has $een ile!, the $oar! shall r%le on the o$(ections an! enter its r%lin" in the prescri$e! orm an! a%thenticate the same with the si"nat%res o the mem$ers o the $oar!. As earlier opine!, 3e 5%7man, as Chairman o the 1BC, a!mitte! in his Answer;1emoran!%m that the $oar! !i! not ma<e an' written r%lin"s on the o$(ections interpose! $' private respon!ent Ta$a", incl%!in" those re!%ce! to writin". The re:%irement that the $oar! o canvassers re!%ce to writin" its r%lin"s is man!ator': +t is clear rom this provision that the $oar! o canvassers is %n!er the o$li"ation to ma<e a written r%lin" on the ormal o$(ections ma!e $' an' o the parties, who ma' then appeal the same to the C#1&0&C. +t is e:%all' clear that the ail%re or re %sal o the $oar! o canvassers to !ischar"e this o$li"ation sho%l! not in an' wa' pre(%!ice the o$(ectin" part'Es ri"ht to elevate the matter to the C#1&0&C or proper review. #therwise, all that a $oar! o canvassers partial to one o the can!i!ates has to !o to avor him wo%l! $e to re %se to ma<e a written r%lin" on his opponentEs o$(ections an! there$' prevent their review $' the C#1&0&C. =A?> The Co%rt notes that !%rin" the inal !a' o the canvassin", or on 1a' 1F, 9@@A, private respon!ent Ta$a" ma!e oral o$(ections to the incl%sion o several election ret%rns. The canvassin" concl%!e! at a$o%t 9:?@ p.m. o the sai! !a'. Barel' 19 ho%rs therea ter, or at 9:@@ a.m. o 1a' 18, 9@@A, the 1BC proclaime! petitioner &spi!ol as the ma'or;elect o Ramon, +sa$ela. B' so !oin", the 1BC e ectivel' !eprive! private respon!ent Ta$a" o the opport%nit' to seasona$l' s%$stantiate his oral o$(ections with evi!ence an! s%$mit the correspon!in" written o$(ections. The proclamation o petitioner &spi!ol was clearl' ma!e with

%n!%e haste, consi!erin" that it was ma!e even $e ore the lapse o the 9A;ho%r perio! "iven to private respon!ent Ta$a" %n!er Section 9@BcC o R.A. /o. 7188 to s%$mit the evi!ence an! written o$(ections in s%pport o his oral o$(ections. +n other wor!s, the 1BC, witho%t awaitin" or or consi!erin" private respon!ent Ta$a"Es evi!ence an! written o$(ections to s%pport his oral o$(ections an!, conse:%entl', witho%t an' law %l r%lin" thereon, proclaime! petitioner &spi!ol. +n the process, the 1BC not onl' !eprive! private respon!ent Ta$a" o the ri"ht to appeal its r%lin" to the C#1&0&C, it li<ewise !eprive! the latter $o!' to r%le on the o$(ections o private respon!ent Ta$a". S%ch act o the 1BC violate! Section 9@ BiC o R.A. /o. 7188, :%ote! a"ain $elow: BiC The $oar! o canvassers shall not proclaim an' can!i!ate as winner %nless a%thori7e! $' the Commission a ter the latter has r%le! on the o$(ections $ro%"ht to it on appeal $' the losin" part'. An' proclamation ma!e in violation hereo shall $e voi! a$ initio, %nless the conteste! ret%rns will not a!versel' a ect the res%lts o the election. The ollowin" prono%ncement in /amil !. Comelec=AA> is li<ewise instr%ctive: +t is o%r consi!ere! view that $oth proclamations o petitioner an! private respon!ent are invali!. Clear it is that petitioner Damil was proclaime! on D%ne 98, 199F a ter Casan 1aca!ato, chairman o the secon! 1BC, con!%cte! an investi"ation with respect to the incl%sion or e)cl%sion o the ret%rns rom Precinct /os. F, 1@;1 an! 9@;1 an! a ter he s%$mitte! his investi"ation report, which he alone si"ne!, to the C#1&0&C on D%ne F, 199F merel' recommen!in" the incl%sion o the three B?C ret%rns in the canvass. As we have mentione! a$ove, sai! investi"ation report was not in orm or s%$stance a r%lin" o the 1BC $eca%se it !i! not ma<e a !e initive prono%ncement or !isposition resolvin" the iss%es re"ar!in" the :%estione! ret%rns $%t onl' a recommen!ation to the C#1&0&C. The(e %e* , & (+)* , & !he * ")+$*& &( e4")+$*& &. !he #*$-+!e# (e!+( $, !he(e "&+)# h'5e %ee & "&/-)e!e ' # 5')*# "' 5'$$ 1h*"h *$ ' -(e(e6+*$*!e !& ' 5')*# -(&")'/'!*& .=AF> +n a!!ition, it is si"ni icant to note that the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision o%n! a !iscrepanc' $etween the n%m$er o votes cast or the ma'oralt' can!i!ates an! the n%m$er o re"istere! voters who act%all' vote!. ,pon veri ication o the S#4, the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision !iscovere! that the total n%m$er o those who act%all' vote! was 17,9@7K on the other han!, the

total n%m$er o votes cast or the ma'oralt' can!i!ates a!!e! %p to 18,@8F, hence, e)cee!in" the total n%m$er o those who act%all' vote! $' 8F8. This in!in" was a irme! $' the C#1&0&C en banc. Pertinentl', in Duremdes !. C0M-L-C,=A8> cite! $' the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision, the Co%rt a irme! the C#1&0&CEs n%lli ication o the proclamation o a can!i!ate or the 4ice;5overnor as there e)iste! !iscrepancies $etween the n%m$er o votes appearin" in the S#4 an! that in the election ret%rns. Accor!in" to the Co%rt in the sai! case, Gan' error in the Statement o 4otes wo%l! a ect the proclamation ma!e on the $asis thereo . The tr%e will o the electorate ma' th%s $e not %ll' an! aith %ll' re lecte! $' the proclamationH =A7> &:%all' !ama"in" to petitioner &spi!olEs ca%se is the a!mission ma!e $' 3e 5%7man in his Answer;1emoran!%m o the presence o threats an! intimi!ation that constraine! him to hastil' inish the canvassin" an! proclamation.=A8> The ollowin" !is:%isition o the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision with respect to the !iscrepanc' in the S#4 an! the presence o threats an! intimi!ation is apropos: The a$ove !iscrepanc' ma' not overt%rn the alle"e! lea! o respon!ent =re errin" to &spi!ol> rom petitioner =re errin" to Ta$a"> $%t s%ch i"%re tells o the act that a !eli$erate attempt to pa! oneEs votes ma' have transpire!, an! the Commission cannot (%st close its e'es to this travest' o the inte"rit' o the electoral process. +n a!!ition to this, when -e consi!er all the other circ%mstances s%rro%n!in" the canvassin" o the ret%rns in Ramon, +sa$ela, incl%!in" the a!mission o the 1B#C Chairman o the presence o threats an! intimi!ation, as well as the irre"%larities in the accomplishment o the election ret%rns as o%n! !%rin" the canvassin", -e are lea! to concl%!e that the procee!in"s o the 1B#C in Ramon, +sa$ela has $een irre"%lar an! that the same has $een vitiate! with threats an! intimi!ation, hence, ann%lment o Respon!entEs proclamation is in or!er.=A9> ,n!er the ore"oin" circ%mstances, the C#1&0&C !i! not commit "rave a$%se o !iscretion when it n%lli ie! the proclamation o petitioner &spi!ol. +n a lon" line o cases, the Co%rt has a irme! the power o the C#1&0&C to ann%l an ille"al canvass an! proclamation.=F@> 0astl', petitioner &spi!ol !ecries that he was !eprive! o !%e process when the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision iss%e! the #r!er !ate! D%ne 9?, 9@@A s%spen!in" the e ects o his proclamation. The recor!s, however, $elie this claim, as it has $een shown that on D%ne 9, 9@@A, the C#1&0&C iss%e! s%mmonses with notice o the hearin" set on D%ne 17, 9@@AK on the sai! !ate,

respective co%nsel o petitioner &spi!ol an! private respon!ent Ta$a" atten!e! the hearin"K a ter ma<in" their respective mani estations, petitioner &spi!olEs co%nsel was "iven ive BFC !a's to ile his answer;memoran!%mK an! on D%ne 99, 9@@A, petitioner ile! his Answer;1emoran!%m. The act that the or!er o the C#1&0&C Secon! 3ivision s%spen!in" the e ects o petitioner &spi!olEs proclamation was iss%e! a !a' a ter he ile! his Answer;1emoran!%m !oes not mean that the or!er was tainte! with irre"%larit'. As the C#1&0&C en banc e)plaine! L The or!er to s%spen! the e ect o private respon!entEs =re errin" to petitioner &spi!ol> proclamation is an interloc%tor' or!er $ase! on a prima acie in!in" that the alle"ations raise! $' the petitioner have merits. +t is also inten!e! to prevent private respon!ent rom havin" the a!vanta"e o inc%m$enc', hence, !eprivin" him o the possi$ilit' o !ela'in" the resol%tion o this case an! o a possi$le election protest. + , on the other han!, private respon!ent is con i!ent that he is the tr%e winner o the election then s%ch act will come o%t !%rin" the re;canvassin" o the election ret%rns. *owever, i he has somethin" to hi!e then his $est strate"', in!ee!, is to "ra$ the proclamation, ass%me the o ice an! !ela' an' controvers' or protest ile! a"ainst him %ntil the en! o the term o the s%$(ect o ice. S%ch interloc%tor' or!er was event%all' (%sti ie! $' the act%ation o private respon!ent o ta<in" his oath o o ice an! in act%all' ass%min" the post o 1a'or !espite the or!er s%spen!in" the e ect o his proclamation. *is co%nsel sho%l! have a!vise! him to ollow the or!er o the Commission an! p%sh or the imme!iate resol%tion o the controvers' so that an' !o%$t as re"ar!s his proclamation will imme!iatel' $e erase!, %nless, s%ch !o%$t is corro$orate! !%rin" the re;canvassin" o the election ret%rns. =F1> +n a!ministrative procee!in"s, the essence o !%e process is simpl' an opport%nit' to $e hear!, or an opport%nit' to e)plain oneEs si!e or opport%nit' to see< a reconsi!eration o the action or r%lin" complaine! o . =F9> Clearl', petitioner &spi!ol was "iven %ll opport%nit' to present his si!e on the petition or ann%lment ile! $' private respon!ent Ta$a". +t $ears reiteratin", at this point, that the Co%rt has "iven its imprimat%r on the principle that the C#1&0&C is with a%thorit' to ann%l an' canvass an! proclamation ille"all' ma!e.=F?> The act that a can!i!ate ille"all' proclaime! has ass%me! o ice is not a $ar to the e)ercise o s%ch power. =FA> +t is also tr%e that as a "eneral r%le, the proper reme!' a ter the proclamation o the winnin" can!i!ate or the position conteste! wo%l! $e to ile a re"%lar election protest or quo

+arranto.=FF> This r%le, however, a!mits o e)ceptions an! one o those is where the proclamation was n%ll an! voi!. =F8> +n s%ch a case, i.e., where the proclamation is n%ll an! voi!, the proclaime! can!i!ateEs ass%mption o o ice cannot !eprive the C#1&0&C o the power to !eclare s%ch proclamation a n%llit'.=F7> The rationale there or is aptl' el%ci!ate! th%s: -e !raw rom past e)perience. A pattern o con!%ct o$serve! in past elections has $een the Gpernicio%s "ra$;the; proclamation;prolon";the;protest;slo"anH o some can!i!ates or parties.H Reall', were a victim o a proclamation to $e precl%!e! rom challen"in" the vali!it' thereo a ter that proclamation an! the ass%mption o o ice there%n!er, $ane %l e ects ma' easil' s%pervene. +t ma' not $e o%t o place to state that in the lon" histor' o election contests in this co%ntr', as serve! in Lagumbay !. Climaco, s%ccess %l contestant in an election protest o ten wins $%t Ga mere p'rrhic victor', i.e., a vin!ication when the term o o ice is a$o%t to e)pire or has e)pire!.H Protests, co%nter;protests, revisions o $allots, appeals, !ilator' tactics, ma' well r%strate the will o the electorate. An! what i the protestant ma' not have the reso%rces an! an %nwaverin" !etermination with which to s%stain a lon" !rawn;o%t election contest6 +n this conte)t there ore all e orts sho%l! $e straine! L as ar as is h%manl' possi$le L to ta<e election ret%rns o%t o the reach o the %nscr%p%lo%sK an! to prevent ille"al or ra%!%lent proclamation rom ripenin" into ille"al ass%mption o o ice.=F8> All tol!, the C#1&0&C en banc !i! not commit "rave a$%se o !iscretion in a irmin" in toto the resol%tion o the Secon! 3ivision ann%llin" the proclamation o petitioner &spi!ol. 78ERE9ORE, the petition is 3+S1+SS&3. The Resol%tion !ate! A%"%st ?@, 9@@A o the C#1&0&C en banc in SPC /o. @A;18@ is AFF+R1&3 in toto. The status quo or!er iss%e! on Septem$er 7, 9@@A is here$' set asi!e.

Related Interests