(pre-proclamation cases for House of representative not under jurisdiction of COMELEC)

Petitioner Pangilinan and Private respondent Belmonte were both candidates for congressman in the 4

legislative district of Quezon Cit. However respondent was alleged to have violated the Omnibus
Election Code by giving money and other material considerations to influence, induce or corrupt the
voters (giving sacks of rice, ticket to Hong Kong, etc). Petitioner filed an Urgent Motion to Suspend the
Canvass and Proclamation of Belmonte but COMELEC ignored the said motion.

COMELEC argued that they are not able to judge on pre-proclamation cases involving members o f
House of Representatives under Section 15 of R.A. 7166 and COMELEC Resolution 2413 stating that no
pre-proclamation cases for election of President, Vice-President, Senator and Members of House of
Representatives shall be allowed on matters relating to preparation, transmission, receipt, custody, and
appreciation of the election returns or certificate of canvass except for manifest errors.

However, petitioner said that the said Section 15 is unconstitutional for violating Section 3, Article IX-C
of the Constitution which provides that COMELEC en banc shall hear and decide pre-proclamation
controversies without further distinction as to whether it is an election for Congress or local electives.

Court ruled that Section 3, Article IX-C should be read in relation to Section 2, Article IX-C which states
that COMELEC has jurisdiction only on election contest of all elective regional, provincial, and city
officials. At the same time, Section 17, Article VI provides that election contests among Members of
the Congress shall be heard and decided by HRET.

Further, since Belmonte was already a member of the Congress, petitioner should file any other issues
to the HRET.


This special civil action sought to set aside the resolution of the COMELEC for various special cases
because Supreme Court, sitting en banc, took cognizance of and decided the appeals without first
referring them to any division. Such is in violation of Section 3, Article IX-C which provides that

The COMELEC may sit en banc or in two divisions, and shall promulgate its rules of procedures in order to expedite
disposition of election cases, including pre-proclamation controversies. All such election cases shall be heard and
decided in division, provided that motion for reconsideration of decisions shall be decided by the Commission en

Therefore, all cases must first be heard and decided by a Division of the Commission. The COMELEC en
banc does not have authority to hear and decide cases at the first instance. COMELEC en banc take
cognizance of the cases only upon motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioner. Such is also
provided in Section 9 of Rule 27 of COMELEC.


Petitioner Canicosa and Severino Lajara were candidates for mayor in Calamba, Laguna for the 1995
elections. Lajara was declared the winner. After which, Canicosa filed a Petition to Declare Failure of
Election and to Declare Null and Void the Canvass of Proclamation because of widespread frauds and
anomalies such as vote buying, delay in delivery of election documents, unregistered voters voting and
the like. However respondent COMELEC, sitting en banc, dismissed the said petition because the
grounds cited by Canicosa are do not warrant for a failure of election.

Petitioner insists that it was an error on the part of COMELEC en banc to rule on the said petition as it
should have been first be heard by a division of COMELEC as provided in Section 3, Article IX-C.

Court ruled that COMELEC’s act was constitutional as Section 3, Article IX-C only applies when the
COMELEC acts in exercise of its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial function functions and not when merely
exercises purely administrative functions such as those assailed by the petitioner.

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