You are on page 1of 4

ELENITA I. BALAJONDA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (FIRST DIVISION) and MARICEL S. FRANCISCO, respondents. DECISION TINGA, J.

: Whether or not the Commission on Elections has power to order the immediate execution of its jud ment or final order involvin a disputed !aran a" chairmanship is at the heart of the present Petition for Certiorari# under $ule %& of the #''( $ules of Civil )rocedure. On #% *ul" +,,+, petitioner Elenita I. -alajonda .-alajonda/ was proclaimed as the dul" elected -aran a" Chairman .Punong Barangay/, havin won the office in the !aran a" elections held the previous da".+ 0er mar in of victor" over private respondent 1aricel 2rancisco .2rancisco/ was four3 hundred twent" .4+,/ votes.5 2rancisco dul" filed a petition for election protest, within ten .#,/ da"s from the date of proclamation, lod ed with the 1etropolitan 6rial Court .1e6C/ of 7ue8on Cit", -ranch 5&.4 In answer to the protest, -alajonda alle ed that 2rancisco9s petition stated no cause of action and that the alle ations of electoral fraud and irre ularities were :!aseless, conjectural, flims", frivolous, preposterous and mere fi ments of the latter9s wild ima ination.: She also laid stress on the fact that althou h the rounds relied upon !" 2rancisco were violations of election laws, not a sin le person had !een prosecuted for violation of the same.&
1vvphi1.nt

;fter the issues were joined, the 1e6C ordered the revision of !allots in sixt"3nine .%'/ !allot !oxes, and eventuall", the !allots in thirt"3nine .5'/ precincts were revised. % ;fter trial, 1e6C dismissed the protest with its findin that -alajonda still led 2rancisco !" four hundred ei hteen .4#</ votes. ( 6he dispositive part of itsDecision reads as follows= W0E$E2O$E, the )rotest filed !" 1aricel Susano 2rancisco is here!" DENIED. 6he proclamation of Elenita I. -alajonda as the dul" proclaimed -aran a" Captain of -aran a" Sta. 1onica, 7ue8on Cit" durin the #& *ul" +,,+ -aran a" Election is here!" upheld. < 2rancisco appealed the 1e6C Decision to the Commission on Elections .CO1E>EC/. In a Resolution'promul ated on + 2e!ruar" +,,4, the CO1E>EC 2irst Division reversed the 1e6C, findin that 2rancisco won over -alajonda !" one hundred eleven .###/ votes. 6he CO1E>EC 2irst Division thus annulled the proclamation of ,-alajonda, and declared in her stead 2rancisco as the dul" elected -aran a" Chairman. 6he dispositive portion of the Resolution reads= W0E$E2O$E, in view of the fore oin , the Commission .2I$S6 DI?ISION/ @$;N6S the ;ppeal. 6he decision of the 1etropolitan 6rial Court of 7ue8on Cit", -ranch 5& is here!" SE6 ;SIDE. 6he proclamation of E>ENI6; -;>;*OND; as )unon -aran a" of said -aran a" is ;NNA>>ED. )rotestant 1;$ICE> 2$;NCISCO is here!" declared the dul" elected )unon -aran a" of -aran a" Sta. 1onica, Novaliches Cit". ;CCO$DIN@>B, the Commission .2I$S6 DI?ISION/ here!" O$DE$S= #. )rotestee E>ENI6; :-a!": -;>;*OND; to ?;C;6E the post of )unon -aran a" of Sta. 1onica, Novaliches Cit" in favor of 1;$ICE> SAS;NO 2$;NCISCO and to CE;SE and DESIS6 from performin the functions attached to said office.

No pronouncement as to costs. SO O$DE$ED.#, -alajonda seasona!l" filed a Motion for Reconsideration## of the CO1E>EC 2irst Division9s Resolution.#+ In the meantime, 2rancisco filed a Motion for Execution#5 dated & 2e!ruar" +,,4, pra"in for a writ of execution in accordance with Section +.a/ of $ule 5' of the $evised $ules of Court CSec. +.a/, $ule 5'D, which allows discretionar" execution of jud ment upon ood reasons to !e stated in the order.#4 -alajonda dul" opposed#& the Motion for Execution, ar uin in the main that under Sec. +.a/, $ule 5', onl" the jud ment or final order of a trial court ma" !e the su!ject of discretionar" execution pendin appeal. 0owever, in its rder#% dated +% Novem!er +,,4, the CO1E>EC 2irst Division after due hearin ranted the motion and directed the issuance of a !rit of Execution,#( orderin -alajonda to cease and desist from dischar in her functions as -aran a" Chairman and relinEuish said office to 2rancisco. 6he rder states in part= W0E$E2O$E, the 1otion is here!" @$;N6ED. In order to implement the $esolution of the Commission .2irst Division/ in the a!ove entitled case, the ClerF of Commission .Director I?, EC;D/ is here!" DI$EC6ED to issue a W$I6 O2 EGECA6ION orderin E>ENI6; I. -;>;*OND; to CE;SE and DESIS6 from dischar in the powers and duties of -aran a" Captain of Sta. 1onica, Novaliches, 7ue8on Cit" and to relinEuish the same to and in favor of 1;$ICE> S. 2$;NCISCO who was declared dul" elected to the post in the $esolution pendin final disposition of the 1otion for $econsideration filed !" )rotestee in the a!ove3entitled case. )rotestant however is ordered to post a !ond in the amount of 2I26B 60OAS;ND )ESOS .)&,,,,,.,,/ which shall answer for whatever dama e protestee will sustain !" reason of this execution if the final resolution of the protest would decide that the protestant is not entitled thereto. 6his Order is immediatel" executor".
1a"phi1.nt

SO O$DE$ED. #< 6his rder is the su!ject of the present petition.

In support of her thesis that the CO1E>EC 2irst Division committed rave a!use of discretion in rantin execution pendin appeal, -alajonda in essence su!mits the followin rounds, thus= .#/ that the CO1E>EC ma" order the immediate execution onl" of the decision of the trial court !ut not its own decisionH .+/ that the order of execution which the CO1E>EC 2irst Division issued is not founded on ood reasons as it is a mere pro for#areproduction of the reasons enumerated in Ra#as v. C ME$EC H#' and .5/ the CO1E>EC exhi!ited manifest partialit" and !ias in favor of 2rancisco when it trans ressed its own rule.+, -alajonda invoFed onl" the first round in her opposition to the Motion %or Execution, !ut definitel" not the second and third. In an" event, all the rounds are !ereft of merit.
l&vvphi1.net

Earl" last "ear, the Court, throu h 1r. *ustice ;ntonio 6. Carpio in Batul v. Bayron,+# affirmed a similar order of the CO1E>EC 2irst Division directin the immediate execution of its own jud ment. Despite the silence of the CO1E>EC $ules of )rocedure as to the procedure of the issuance of a writ of execution pendin appeal, there is no reason to dispute the CO1E>EC9s authorit" to do so, considerin that the suppletor" application of the $ules of Court is expressl" authori8ed !" Section #, $ule 4# of the CO1E>EC $ules of )rocedure which provides that a!sent an" applica!le provisions therein the pertinent provisions of the $ules of Court shall !e applica!le !" analo " or in a suppletor" character and effect.

Batul also clearl" shows that the jud ments which ma" !e executed pendin appeal need not !e onl" those rendered !" the trial court, !ut !" the CO1E>EC as well. It stated, thus= It is true that present election laws are silent on the remed" of execution pendin appeal in election contests. 0owever, neither Ra#as nor 'antos declared that such remed" is exclusive to election contests involvin elective !aran a" and municipal officials as ar ued !" -atul. Section + allowin execution pendin appeal in the discretion of the court applies in a suppletor" manner to election cases, includin those involvin cit" and provincial officials. ++ Batul is different from this case in that in Batul the decision su!ject of the order of immediate execution was rendered !" the poll !od" in the exercise of its ori inal jurisdiction +5 while the decision in this case was promul ated in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. Still, there is no reason to dispose of this petition in a manner different from Batul. 6he pu!lic polic" underl"in the suppletor" application of Sec. +.a/, $ule 5' is to o!viate a hollow victor" for the dul" elected candidate as determined !" either the courts or the CO1E>EC. +46owards that end, we have consistentl" emplo"ed li!eral construction of procedural rules in election cases to the end that the will of the people in the choice of pu!lic officers ma" not !e defeated !" mere technical o!jections.+&-alajonda9s ar ument is anchored on a simplistic, literalist readin of Sec. +.a/, $ule 5' that !arel" maFes sense, especiall" in the li ht of the CO1E>EC9s speciali8ed and expansive role in relation to election cases. ;nent the second round, we find that the CO1E>EC 2irst Division committed no rave a!use of discretion in rulin that= In the instant case, the protestant cited the ood reasons enunciated in $amas v. Comelec .+<% SC$; #<'/, to wit= .#/ the pu!lic interest involved or the will of the electorateH .+/ the shortness of the remainin period, and .5/ the len th of time that the election contest has !een pendin . ;fter evaluatin the case, we rule that the reasons cited are indeed o!tainin . )u!lic interest is !est served if the herein )rotestant who actuall" received the hi hest num!er of votes should !e immediatel" !e installed. It is liFewise true that the remainin period or the unexpired term is too short that to further prolon the tenure of the protestee is a virtual denial of the ri ht of the protestant, the dul" elected !aran a" captain, to assume office. Considerin that there are ood reasons for the issuance of an Order of Execution, to wit= dictates of pu!lic polic" and the shortness of the remainin period, we have to rant the 1otion. +% ;ll that -alajonda musters in the main to de!unF the poll !od"9s rulin is that it is just a pro for#a reproduction of the reasons enunciated in pertinent jurisprudence for the rant of execution pendin appeal.+( 6he ar ument suffers from a discerni!le fallac". 6he reasons relied upon !" the CO1E>EC 2irst Division are either self3evident or !orne out !" the law. With respect to the first reason, it cannot !e disputed with success that pu!lic interest demands that the winner on the !asis of a full and incisive recount and new appreciation of votes should !e installed in office without dela". Indeed, :CIDt is neither fair nor just to Feep in office for an uncertain period one whose ri ht is under suspicion.:+< -alajonda9s corollar" ar ument that the pu!lic interest involved or the will of the electorate is full" determined onl" after the election contest !ecomes final +' would, if sustained, ne ate alto ether the purpose of allowin executions pendin appeal in the first place. Indeed, the ar ument !e s the Euestion. In this re ard, -alajonda9s filin of a Motion for Reconsideration of the decision liFewise did not divest the CO1E>EC 2irst Division of jurisdiction to rule on the Motion %or Execution. Once

more, Batul5, instructs us that the filin of a motion for reconsideration of the CO1E>EC 2irst Division9s resolution with the CO1E>EC en (anc does not suspend the execution thereof. ;s re ards the second reason, it is provided in $epu!lic ;ct No. '#%4 5# that !aran a" officials elected in the !aran a" elections of *ul" +,,+ shall serve up to Novem!er +,,&. 6hus when the poll !od"9s 2irst Division promul ated the challen ed rder on +% Novem!er +,,4, directin immediate execution of its Decision pendin final disposition of -alajonda9s motion for reconsideration !" the CO1E>EC en (anc, the expir" of the term of the disputed position was a scant twelve .#+/ months awa". ;t this point, the Court cannot taFe judicial notice of what -alajonda calls :the consensus to extend the terms of !aran a" captains: purportedl" soon to !e enacted into law !" Con ress. 5+ 6he Court lacFs the powers of pro nostication to ascertain whether there is such a :consensus: and, more so, whether it would actuall" ripen to realit" in the future. In a !id to ascri!e partialit" and !ias in favor of 2rancisco to the CO1E>EC itself, -alajonda alle es that the poll !od" failed to o!serve its own $ules of )rocedure 55 directin the ClerF of Court, within twent"3four .+4/ hours followin the filin of a motion for reconsideration, to notif" the )residin Commissioner and therefore to set the motion for hearin , and the )residin Commissioner in turn thereafter to certif" the case to the Commission en (anc.54 0owever, the record does not !ear out -alajonda9s char e. 6he case was not forwarded to the CO1E>EC en (anc ri ht awa" precisel" !ecause of the pendenc" of 2rancisco9s motion for immediate execution and -alajonda9s motions. ;ccordin to the CO1E>EC $ecords, -alajonda filed with the 2irst Division on ,5 1arch +,,4 a Manifestation "ith Motion for $eave to )erox Contested Ballots ,5& and on ,5 1arch +,,4 a Manifestation "ith Motion for Partial Reconsideration .5% It is noteworth" that the CO1E>EC 2irst Division did not maFe use of the third reason invoFed !" 2rancisco which refers to the len th of time that the election contest has !een pendin .5( ConseEuentl", it is pointless to address -alajonda9s accusation that the dela" in the disposition of the election protest is attri!uta!le to 2rancisco. 5< WHEREFORE, the Petition is here!" DIS1ISSED for failure of petitioner Elenita I. -alajonda to show that respondent CO1E>EC acted with rave a!use of discretion in promul atin the challen ed rder dated +4 Novem!er +,,4. Costs a ainst petitioner. SO O$DE$ED.