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Bren Z. Guiao vs.

COMELEC
137 SCRA 366

FACTS OF THE CASE:
Petitioner Guiao was a candidate for Assemblyman in the May, 1984 elections in
Pampanga. At seen o!cloc" in the eening, the Proincial #oard of $anassers met at the
$onference %all, Proincial $apitol in &an 'ernando, Pampanga, to canass the election
returns from the oting centers in the proince. #y 11()* o!cloc" in the eening of May 1+,
1984, the canass of all election returns from all the oting centers of Pampanga had been
completed without any ob,ection raised by anyone to any of the canassed returns.
Petitioner Guiao garnered -
th
place.
.t was only after the canass had been completed did Petitioner Guiao submit to the
#oard of $anassers his written ob,ections to the inclusion in the canass of election returns
from arious oting centers of di/erent municipalities, on grounds that the canassed
returns were incomplete0 that there was duress, intimidation, falsi1cation, and the
canassed returns were obiously manufactured0 that there were threats, coercion0 and that
$omelec!s copy was not authentic, statistically improbable0 and, that persons in &audi Arabia
were made to appear as if they had oted.
2otwithstanding delay in the submission of these written ob,ections, the #oard of
$anassers neertheless held a hearing on the same day. 3he $hairman of the #oard of
$anassers, Atty. Manuel 4ucero also sent to the $ommission on 5lections a memorandum,
stating and informing that the6
7b,ections were raised after the completion of the canass and re8uesting that the
Proincial #oard of $anassers in Pampanga be authori9ed to proclaim the winning
candidate based on the results of the completed canass without pre,udice to the outcome
of the hearing on the ob,ections.
.n a resolution dated May 1:, 1984, the $7M545$ granted the re8uest of the
$hairman of the Proincial #oard of $anassers. 3he petitioner!s ob,ections were later
dismissed by the #oard of $anassers for failure to substantiate the same. .t also appears
that at said hearing, there was presented to the #oard the re8uest of the petitioner, thru his
counsel Atty. &uare9, that subpoena be issued to the members of the $iti9ens 5lection
$ommittee from arious oting centers enumerated in the written ob,ections. &aid re8uest
was denied by the #oard on the grounds that said petitioner!s counsel should hae been
ready with his eidence to support his ob,ections, the hearing being summary in nature and
also to preclude further delay in the proclamation of the winning candidates. Petitioner
appealed the matter to the $7M545$.
5entually, the $7M545$ 1
st
;iision resoled to sustain the proclamation of
Assemblyman A#5< $A24A& made by the Proincial #oard of $anassers of Pampanga in
connection with the May 14, 1984 election as hereby A''.<M5; and the appeal of the
Petitioner=Appellant #<52 G>.A7 accordingly ;.&M.&&5;.

HELD:
&ection -4 of #atas Pambansa 2o. +9: states that any candidate, political party
coalition of political parties, contesting the e?clusion or inclusion in the canass of any
election returns shall submit their written ob,ections to the $hairman of $anassers. 'rom
the proision of said &ection -4 it can be inferred that these written ob,ections must be
submitted or manifested in order that it can be re@ected in the minutes of canass during
the actual canassing of the election returns, that is, during the second stage of the
proceedings as pointed aboe since it is only during this stage that the board determines the
inclusion or e?clusion of the returns by opening and e?amining the returns to erify the
authenticity and genuineness of the same.
3he summary nature of the proceedings re8uire that the written ob,ections be 1led
only during this stage because it is only during this stage of the canass when the inclusion
or e?clusion of any return is in issue and being passed upon by the board. .f during this
stage, after the board has e?amined the returns and ruled to include them to the canass
with the ac8uiescence or approal of the representaties of the political parties and without
any ob,ection representaties of the political parties and without any ob,ection written or
erbal, from any of the candidates or their representaties, they are included in the canass
and the parties are estopped from 8uestioning the inclusion of the returns in the canass
and from the denying the admissibility of said returns in the canass and from denying the
admissibility of said returns for purposes of the canass after the second stage of the
canass.
3his must be so since at the third stage of the canass, the inclusion or e?clusion of
any election return is no longer in issue. 3he issue in this third stage is the correctness or
incorrectness of the mathematical computation and tabulation of the total oters receied
by the candidates as a result of the canass.
7nce the correctness of the mathematical computation of the result of the canass
during this stage is determined and as established by the board of canassers, the fourth
stage remains to be a formality which should not be delayed by friolous, imaginary and
untimely unsubstantiated ob,ections to election returns, intended to preent or hinder the
proclamation of the winning candidates.
3hat these written ob,ections must be submitted during the second stage, that is
during the actual canassing of the election returns, becomes e?press when said &ection -4
states A3he #oard shall defer the canass of the contested returns and shall not ma"e any
ruling thereon until after all the uncontested election returns hae been canassed.
%ow can the board of canassers defer the canass of the contested returns if these
written ob,ections are submitted after the second stage, that is after the canassing of said
returnsB
3o allow these written ob,ections to prosper after the canassing would be re8uiring
the board of canassers to reopen the canass of election returns all oer again which
otherwise was regularly conducted without any ob,ection from the political party
representaties and the candidate or their representaties. 3his would not be in "eeping
with the summary nature of the canass proceedings.


CASTROMAOR vs. COMELEC !"#$ SCRA"%&'
CPre=Proclamation $ontroersy, ;. ProcedureD
Fa()s:
Petitioner $astromayor was a candidate for a seat in the eight=member &angguniang #ayan
of the municipality of $alinog, .loilo in the elections held in May 199-. 3he winners were
proclaimed on the basis of the canass which showed that petitioner receied otes for the
eighth place. Ehen Alice Garin, $hairman of the M#$, rechec"ed the totals in the &tatement
of Fotes the following day, she discoered that the number of otes cast for 2ilda ;emorito,
as member of the &anguniang #ayan, was +G more than that credited to her. As Garin later
e?plained to the Proincial 5lection &uperisor, the returns from one precinct had been
oerloo"ed in the computation of the totals, therefore, the total number of otes cast for
;emorito was -1 otes more than the otes cast for petitioner. Garin reported the matter to
the <egional 5lection ;irector, who adised her to re8uest authority from the $7M545$ to
reconene for the purpose of correcting the error. A fa? letter was sent to the 4aw
;epartment of the $7M545$ in Manila e?plaining the problem and as"ing for the authority
to reconene and correct the error, to annul the proclamation of petitioner and proclaim
;emorito as the eighth member of the &angguniang #ayan. A formal letter was later sent to
the $7M545$ and the same issued a resolution annulling the proclamation of $astromayor
and proclaimed ;emorito as the duly elected eighth member. Petitioner protested the
proposed action and 8uestioned the legality of the actuations of Garin.
*ssue:
Ehether or not the $7M545$ acted with grae abuse of discretion when he was not a/orded
with right to refute the resolution of the $7M545$B
He+,:
2o. M#$ proclamations may be raised directly to the $7M545$ en banc in the e?ercise of its
constitutional function to decide 8uestions a/ecting elections. Ehat has ,ust been said also
disposes of petitionerHs other contention that because his proclamation has already been
made, any remedy of the losing party is an election protest. Ehere a proclamation is null
and oid, the proclamation is no proclamation at all and the proclaimed candidateHs
assumption of oIce cannot deprie the $7M545$ of the power to declare such nullity and
annul the proclamation.
3he M#$Hs action to reconene for purposes of correction of errors is alid under <ule G:
&ec. : of the $7M545$ <ules of Procedure. 3hough it pertains to pre=proclamation
proceedings and here proclamation of petitioner has been made, there is nothing to suggest
the it cannot be applied to the case at bar, in which the alidity of the proclamation is
precisely in 8uestion.

C-ave. vs. COMELEC "11 SCRA 31#
CPre=Proclamation $ontroersy, A. ;e1nedD
Fa()s:
7n May -, 199G, this $ourt issued a <esolution in G< 2o. 1*4:*4, dis8ualifying Melchor
$hae9, priate respondent therein, from running for the 7Ice of &enator in the May 11,
199G elections. Petitioner 1led an urgent motion with the $omelec praying that it J1K
disseminate through the fastest aailable means this $ourtHs <esolution dated May -, 199G
to all regional election directors, proincial election superisors, city and municipal election
registrars, boards of election inspectors, the si? J+K accredited political parties and the
general public0 and JGK order said election oIcials to delete the name of Melchor $hae9 as
printed in the certi1ed list of candidates tally sheets, election returns and to count all otes
cast for the dis8uali1ed Melchor, $hae9 in faor of 'rancisco .. $hae9. 7n May 8, 199G, the
$omelec issued <es. 2o. 9G=1)GG which resoled to delete the name of Melchor $hae9 from
the list of 8uali1ed candidates. %oweer, it failed to order the crediting of all C$hae9D otes
in faor of petitioner as well as the cancellation of Melchor $hae9H name in the list of
8uali1ed candidates.
*ssue:
Ehether or not the law allows pre=proclamation controersy inoling the election of the
members of the &enate.
He+,:
A simple reading of the petition would readily show that petitioner has no cause of action,
the controersy presented being one in the nature of a pre=proclamation.
Ehile the $ommission has e?clusie ,urisdiction oer pre=proclamation controersies
inoling local electie oIcials J&ec. G4G, 7mnibus 5lection $odeK, neertheless, pre=
proclamation cases are not allowed in elections for President, Fice=President, &enator and
Member of the %ouse of <epresentaties. &ec. 1- of <epublic Act :1++ proides( C'or
purposes of the elections for President, Fice=President, &enator and Member of the %ouse of
<epresentaties, no pre=proclamation cases shall be allowed on matters relating to the
preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of the election returns or the
certi1cate of canass, as the case may be. %oweer, this does not preclude the authority of
the appropriate canassing body motu propio or upon written complaint of an interested
person to correct manifest errors in the certi1cate of canass or election returns before it.


Lee vs. COMELEC GR /o. 1#7$$01 2u+3 01 "$$3

FACTS OF THE CASE
&ally A. 4ee JpetitionerK and 4eoic <. ;ioneda Jpriate respondentK were candidates
for mayor of &orsogon $ity, &orsogon in the May 14, G**1 elections.
;uring the canassing of the election returns, counsel for priate respondent
ob,ected to the inclusion of 5lection <eturn 2o. 411-*G++ for Precinct 2o. G8AG in barangay
#ucalbucalan, &orsogon $ity on the grounds that 1K no entries were made for the position of
congressman, and GK 4aban ng ;emo"rati"ong Pilipino J4;PK watchers were utili9ed to 1ll up
election returns.
.n her opposition to priate respondentHs ob,ection, petitioner alleged that 1K the
omitted entry in the election return pertains to the position of congressman which cannot be
a sub,ect of pre=proclamation controersy, GK the utili9ation of the watchers, who were under
the direct superision of the #oard of 5lection .nspectors J#5.K, was limited only to the 1lling
up of the entries a/ecting the party=list and ,usti1ed by the seere lac" of personnel to
perform the tas", and )K the alleged defect does not a/ect the integrity of the election
return.
7n May 18, G**1, the #oard of $anassers J#7$K, 1nding that the 1K 8uestioned
election return was clear and regular on its face, GK there was no pre=proclamation for
members of the %ouse of <epresentaties and party list, and )K the grounds relied upon by
priate respondent are all directed against the proceedings of the #5. and not the #7$, ruled
for the inclusion of the return. Priate respondent thereupon 1led on the same day a notice
of appeal of the #7$ ruling.
.n the meantime, or on May 19, G**1, the #7$ proclaimed the winning candidates,
including petitioner as city mayor.
Priate respondent thus 1led on May G), G**1 before the $7M545$ a petition
assailing the ruling of the #7$ and praying for the e?clusion of the 8uestioned election
return and the annulment of petitionerHs proclamation.
Petitioner 1led her answer to the $7M545$ petition, praying for its dismissal. #y
<esolution of Lanuary 1*, G**), the $7M545$ &econd ;iision granted the petition of priate
respondent and accordingly e?cluded the 8uestioned return from the canass and nulli1ed
the proclamation of petitioner.
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PetitionerHs argument is bereft of merit.
&ection G4) of the 7mnibus 5lection $ode proides(
Section 243. Issues that may be raised in a pre-proclamation controversy. = 3he following
shall be proper issues that may be raised in a pre=proclamation controersy(
JaK .llegal composition or proceeding of the board of canassers0
JbK 3he canassed election returns are incomplete, contain material defects, appear to be
tampered with or falsi1ed, or contain discrepancies in the same returns or in other authentic
copies thereof as mentioned in &ections G)), G)4, G)-, and G)+ of this $ode0

Jc K3he election returns were prepared under duress, threats, coercion, or intimidation, or
they are obiously manufactured or not authentic0 and
JdK Ehen substitute or fraudulent returns in controerted polling places were canassed, the
results of which materially a/ected the standing of the aggrieed candidate or candidates.
3he doctrine cited by petitioner presupposes that the returns Aappear to be authentic
and duly accomplished on their face.A Ehere, as in the case at bar, there is a prima facie
showing that the return is not genuine, seeral entries haing been omitted in the
8uestioned election return, the doctrine does not apply. 3he $7M545$ is thus not powerless
to determine if there is basis for the e?clusion of the 8uestioned election return.
As to the second error raised by petitioner, she claims that contrary to the 1ndings of
the $7M545$, there is no eidence on record that an 4;P watcher participated in the
preparation of the 8uestioned election return. &he posits that the omission of entries was not
done with malice or bad faith nor meant to subert the true will of the people, and that the
election return in 8uestion is clear and regular on its face, duly authenticated by the
signatures and thumbmar"s of the si? watchers and all the members of the #5.. 'inally, she
posits that an incomplete election return is not necessarily spurious, manufactured or
fraudulent to necessitate its e?clusion.
As to the third error raised by petitioner, she argues that the Lanuary 1*, G**)
<esolution of the $7M545$ &econd ;iision was promulgated without giing her notice, and
that were it not for her counselHs AaccidentalA isit to the $7M545$ on Lanuary 1), G**), said
counsel would not hae "nown that said resolution was already promulgated and the -=day
period from the date of promulgation to 1le a motion for reconsideration, as proided under
the following proision of <ule 19 of the 199) $7M545$ <ules of Procedure, would hae
lapsed(
Section 2. Period for Filing Motions for econsideration. = A motion to reconsider a decision,
resolution, order or ruling of a ;iision shall be 1led within 1e J-K days from the
promulgation thereof. &uch motion, if not pro=forma, suspend the e?ecution or
implementation of the decision, resolution, order and ruling.
.n 4indo . $ommission on 5lections, this $ourt held that the -=day period for the
1ling of an appeal commences from the date of receipt of copy of the decision. As correctly
ruled by the $7M545$(
3he petitioner misinterpreted the proision of &ection G, <ule 19 of the 199) $omelec <ules
of Procedure when she stated that A>nli"e other cases, the reglamentary period within which
a party can hae the decision or resolution reiewed on motion for reconsideration runs from
the date of promulgation.A Ehen not promulgated in open hearing, a simple procedural
sense would dictate that the period to 1le a Motion for <econsideration must hae to be
tolled from the date of receipt of the decisionOresolution inoled.

'urther, the doctrine laid down in the case of 4indo . $omelec J194 &$<A G-K would
hae supported the proposition that the additional re8uirement imposed by the $7M545$
<ules on adance notice of promulgation does not form part of the process of promulgation
and that the failure to sere such notice in adance did not pre,udice the rights of the
parties and did not itiate the alidity of the decision nor of the promulgation, as the period
for the unsatis1ed party to moe for reconsideration can be e?ercised = not from the date of
promulgation, as misconstrued by petitioner, but from her actual receipt of a copy of the
resolution in 8uestion.
As to the non=indication of the ponente of the $7M545$ 5n #anc <esolution,
petitioner merely pro/ers a possibility of iolation of the $7M545$ <ules. .t is presumed,
howeer, that an oIcial duty has been regularly performed.
3he lac" of merit of petitionerHs arguments notwithstanding, the $7M545$, in
ordering the e?clusion of the 8uestioned return, should hae determined the integrity of the
ballot bo?, the ballot=contents of which were tallied and re@ected in the return, and if it was
intact, it should hae ordered its opening for a recounting of the ballots if their integrity was
similarly intact. &o instructs &ection G)4 of the 7mnibus 5lection $ode which reads(

Section 234. Material defects in the election returns. = .f it should clearly appear that some
re8uisites in form or data had been omitted in the election returns, the board of canassers
shall call for all members of the board of election inspectors concerned by the most
e?peditious means, for the same board to e/ect the correction.

Proided, 3hat in case of the omission in the election returns of the name of any
candidate andOor his corresponding otes, the board of canassers shall re8uire the board of
election inspectors concerned to complete the necessary data in the election returns and
aI? therein their initials( Proided, further, 3hat if the otes omitted in the returns cannot
be ascertained by other means e?cept by recounting the ballots, the $ommission, after
satisfying itself that the identity and integrity of the ballot bo? hae not been iolated, shall
order the board of election inspectors to open the ballot bo?, and, also after satisfying itself
that the integrity of the ballots therein has been duly presered, order the board of election
inspectors to count the otes for the candidate whose otes hae been omitted with notice
thereof to all candidates for the position inoled and thereafter complete the returns. 3he
right of a candidate to aail of this proision shall not be lost or a/ected by the fact that an
election protest is subse8uently 1led by any of the candidates.
And so does &ection G)- of the same $ode which proides(
Section 23!. "hen election returns appear to be tampered #ith or falsi$ed. = .f the election
returns submitted to the board of canassers appear to be tampered with, altered or falsi1ed
after they hae left the hands of the board of election inspectors under duress, force,
intimidation, or prepared by persons other than the members of the board of election
inspectors, the board of canassers shall use other copies of said election returns and if
necessary, the copy inside the ballot bo? which upon preious authority gien by the
$ommission may be retrieed in accordance with &ection GG* hereof. .f the other copies of
the returns are li"ewise tampered with, altered, falsi1ed, not authentic, prepared under
duress, force, intimidation, or prepared by persons other than the board of election
inspectors, the board of canassers or any candidate a/ected shall bring the matter to the
attention of the $ommission. 3he $ommission shall then, after giing notice to all candidates
concerned and after satisfying itself that the integrity of the ballot bo? and, li"ewise after
satisfying itself that the integrity of the ballots therein has been duly presered shall order
the board of election inspectors to recount the otes of the candidates a/ected and prepare
a new return which shall then be used by the board of canassers as basis of the canass.
3hus, this $ourt in Patoray . $ommission on 5lectionsPG-Q held(
? ? ?
As to the election return for Precinct 2o. G*=A, we ruled that the $7M545$ erred in resorting
to the $erti1cate of Fotes in e?cluding the return in said precinct. &ince the return was
incomplete for it lac"ed the data as to proincial and congressional candidates, the
applicable proision would be &ection G)4 of the 7mnibus 5lection $ode which deals with
material defects in election returns. 3hus, we ruled that the $7M545$ should hae 1rst
determined the integrity of the ballot bo?, ordered the opening thereof and recounted the
ballots therein after satisfying itself that the integrity of the ballots is intact. Ee then
directed the $7M545$ to issue another 7rder in accordance with said ;ecision.
? ? ?
.f the integrity of the ballot bo? had been iolated, then there would be no need to
open it. .f not, and upon opening it there is eidence that the integrity of the ballots had
been iolated, there would be no recounting thereof, and the $7M545$ would then seal the
bo? and order its safe"eeping. 3hus &ection G): of the 7mnibus 5lection $ode proides(
Sec. 23%. "hen integrity of ballots is violated. = .f upon the opening of the ballot bo? as
ordered by the $ommission under &ections G)4, G)- and G)+, hereof, it should appear that
there are eidence or signs of replacement, tampering or iolation of the integrity of the
ballots, the $ommission shall not recount the ballots but shall forthwith seal the ballot bo?
and order its safe"eeping.

E%5<5'7<5, the $7M545$ is, in accordance with the foregoing discussion, hereby
;.<5$35; to determine within twenty days whether the integrity of the ballot bo?, the
ballot=contents of which were tallied and re@ected in the 8uestioned return, is intact and, if
in the aIrmatie and the integrity of the ballots is li"ewise intact, to order the &orsogon $ity
#oard of 5lection .nspectors to recount the otes cast in Precinct 2o. G8AG in #arangay
#ucalbucalan, &orsogon $ity and prepare a new return to sere as basis of canass by said
board0 otherwise the ballot bo? should no longer be opened or the ballots should no longer
be recounted as the case may be, in which case an order for the safe"eeping of the ballot
bo? should be issued. 3he &tatus Ruo Ante 7rder issued on 'ebruary 18, G**) is hereby
;.&&74F5;.