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Limkaichong vs. COMELEC (GR Nos.

178831-32, July 30, 2009)
Political Law – Jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunals
Limkaichong ran as a representative in the 1
st
District of Negros Oriental. A disqualification case WAS
FILED against her on the ground that she is allegedly not a natural born citizen of the Philippines
because when she was born her father was still a Chinese and that her mom, though Filipino lost her
citizenship by virtue of her marriage to Limkaichong’s dad. During the pendency of the case against her
before the COMELEC, Election day came and votes were cast. Results came in and she won over her
rival Paras. COMELEC after due hearing declared her as disqualified. About 2 days after the counting of
votes, COMELEC declared Limkaichong as a disqualified candidate. On the following days however,
notwithstanding their proclamation disqualifying her, in compliance with Resolution No. 8062 adopting
the policy-guidelines of not suspending the proclamation of winning candidates with pending
disqualification cases which shall be without prejudice to the continuation of the hearing and resolution
of the involved cases, the COMELEC issued a proclamation announcing Limkaichong as the winner.
Paras countered the proclamation and she filed a petition before the COMELEC. Limkaichong asailed
Paras’ petitioned arguing that since she is now the proclaimed winner, the COMELEC can no longer
exercise jurisdiction over the matter. It should be the HRET which should exercise jurisdiction from then
on.
ISSUES:
1.Whether or not the proclamation done by the COMELEC is valid.
2.Whether or not COMELEC should still exercise jurisdiction over the matter.
HELD: The proclamation of Limkaichong was valid. The COMELEC Second Division rendered its
Joint Resolution dated May 17, 2007. On May 20, 2007, Limkaichong timely filed with the COMELEC
En Banc her motion for reconsideration as well as for the lifting of the incorporated directive suspending
her proclamation. The filing of the motion for reconsideration effectively suspended the execution
of the May 17, 2007 Joint Resolution. Since the execution of the May 17, 2007 Joint Resolution was
suspended, there was no impediment to the valid proclamation of Limkaichong as the winner. Section 2,
Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides:
Sec. 2. Period for Filing Motions for Reconsideration. – A motion to reconsider a decision, resolution,
order or ruling of a Division shall be filed within five (5) days from the promulgation thereof. Such
motion, if not pro forma, suspends the execution for implementation of the decision, resolution,
order and ruling.
The HRET must exercise jurisdiction after Limkaichong’s proclamation. The SC has invariably held that
once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office as a Member of the
HOR, the COMELEC’s jurisdiction over election contests relating to his election, returns, and
qualifications ends, and the HRET’s own jurisdiction begins. It follows then that the proclamation of
a winning candidate divests the COMELEC of its jurisdiction over matters pending before it at the time of
the proclamation. The party questioning his qualification should now present his case in a proper
proceeding before the HRET, the constitutionally mandated tribunal to hear and decide a case involving a
Member of the House of Representatives with respect to the latter’s election, returns and qualifications.
The use of the word “sole” in Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution and in Section 250 of the OEC
underscores the exclusivity of the Electoral Tribunals’ jurisdiction over election contests relating to its
members.