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G.R. No.

161265

February 24, 2004

LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO, represented by its Chairman EDGARDO J.
ANGARA
vs.
THE COMMISION ON ELECTIONS and AGAPITO A. AQUINO
DECISION
TINGA, J.:
The Bible tells the story of how two women came to King Solomon to decide who among them is
the baby’s true mother. King Solomon, in his legendary wisdom, awarded the baby to the woman
who gave up her claim after he threatened to split the baby into two.
It is fortunate that the two women did not ask the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to
decide the baby’s fate; otherwise, it would have cut the baby in half. For that is what the
COMELEC exactly did in this case.
On December 8, 2003, the General Counsel of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), a
registered political party, informed the COMELEC by way of Manifestation that only the Party
Chairman, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, or his authorized representative may endorse the
certificate of candidacy of the party’s official candidates. The same Manifestation stated that
Sen. Angara had placed the LDP Secretary General, Representative Agapito A. Aquino, on
"indefinite forced leave." In the meantime, Ambassador Enrique A. Zaldivar was designated
Acting Secretary General. The Manifestation concluded with this prayer:
A. The Honorable Commission recognizes [sic] only those Certificates of Candidacy to
which are attached Certificates of Nomination executed by LDP Party Chairman
Edgardo J. Angara or by such other officers of the LDP whom he may authorize in
writing, and whose written authorizations shall be deposited with the Honorable
Commission by the LDP General Counsel.
B. The Honorable Commission declares [sic] as a nullity, denies [sic] due course or
cancels [sic] all Certificates of Candidacy not endorsed by LDP Party Chairman
Angara or by such other LDP officials as may be authorized by him.
C. The Honorable Commission takes [sic] note of the designation of Ambassador
Enrique "Ike" A. Zaldivar as Acting Secretary General of the LDP, and for the
Honorable Commission to honor and recognize the official acts, to the exclusion of
everyone, of Ambassador Zaldivar for and in behalf of the LDP as Secretary General.1
On December 16, 2003, Rep. Aquino filed his Comment, contending that the Party Chairman
does not have the authority to impose disciplinary sanctions on the Secretary General. As the
Manifestation filed by the LDP General Counsel has no basis, Rep. Aquino asked the
COMELEC to disregard the same.
On December 17, 2003, the parties agreed to file a joint manifestation pending which the
proceedings were deemed suspended. On December 22, 2003, however, only the LDP General
Counsel filed an Urgent Manifestation reiterating the contents of the December 8,

2003 Manifestation. The COMELEC also received aLetter from Rep. Aquino stating that the
parties were unable to arrive at a joint manifestation.
The next day, the LDP General Counsel filed a Second Urgent Manifestation disputing
newspaper accounts that Rep. Aquino had suspended Sen. Angara as Party Chairman.
On December 26, 2003, the COMELEC issued an Order requiring the parties to file a verified
petition. It turned out that, two days before, Sen. Angara had submitted a verified Petition, in
essence, reiterating the contents of its previous Manifestations. Attached to the Petition was a
Resolution2 adopted by the LDP National Executive Council, stating:
WHEREAS, on September 25, 2003, the National Executive Council of the Laban ng
Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) convened and unanimously passed a resolution granting full
authority to Party Chairman Edgardo J. Angara to enter, negotiate and conclude a coalition
agreement with other like-minded opposition parties, aggrupations and interest groups with the
sole purpose of uniting the political opposition and fielding a unity ticket for the May 10, 2004
elections;
WHEREAS, on December 3, 2003, the LDP, together with the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino
(PMP) and the Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas - LABAN (PDP-LABAN) forged a coalition to
form the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino(KNP);
WHEREAS, the Executive Committee of the KNP subsequently adopted its resolution entitled:
"Resolution Choosing Mr. Fernando Poe, Jr. as the Standard Bearer of the Koalisyon ng
Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) for President of the Republic of the Philippines in the May 10, 2004
National Elections";
....
WHEREAS, the process of unification of the political opposition and the actions taken in
connection therewith by Chairman Angara and by other governing bodies of the LDP required
the taking of immediate and forceful action by them to preserve and protect the integrity,
credibility, unity and solidarity of the LDP, and ensure the attainment of unification of the political
opposition;
WHEREAS, such immediate and forceful action include those that have to do with pre-emptive
efforts to diffuse the chaos, confusion and disunity projected by the pronouncements and acts of
some officers and members to the general membership of the LDP and the electorate, such as
the one taken by the Regional Committee for Region VI (Western Visayas) on December 6,
2003; the enforcement of order in the LDP through the voice of a central leadership in command
in an otherwise extraordinary and emergency situation, such as the one taken by Party
Chairman Angara on December 6, 2003; the filing of the Manifestation with the COMELEC on
the matter of the authorized signatories for the nominations and, the adoption of resolutions by
the regional committees affirming their trust and confidence in Chairman Angara, and authorizing
him to choose the presidential standard bearer for the May 10, 2004 elections; NOW
THEREFORE, BE IT
RESOLVED, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, By the National Executive Council, to ratify and
confirm the Covenant of National Unity, the Declaration of Unity entered into by Party Chairman
Edgardo J. Angara, and all acts and decisions taken by him to enforce and implement the same;

RESOLVED, FURTHER, To ratify and confirm all other acts and decisions of Chairman Angara
and other governing bodies to preserve the integrity, credibility, unity and solidarity of the LDP;
and,
RESOLVED, FINALLY, To reiterate the vote of confidence of the National Executive Council in,
and support to, the continued efforts of Chairman Angara to unite the political opposition. 3

Javier. Chair Benjamin S. Abalos, Sr., joined by Commissioner Mehol K. Sadain, submitted
dissenting opinions.
Sen. Angara thus filed the present petition for Certiorari8 assailing the COMELEC Resolution for
having been issued with grave abuse of discretion.
Thereafter, Rep. Aquino filed his Comment.

Rep. Aquino filed his Answer to the Petition on December 30, 2003. The COMELEC heard the
parties on oral arguments on the same day, after which the case was submitted for resolution.
Pending resolution, a Certificate of Nomination of Sen. Panfilo Lacson as LDP candidate for
President was filed with the COMELEC. The Certificate of Nomination was signed by Rep.
Aquino as LDP Secretary General.
On January 6, 2004, the COMELEC came to a decision.
The Commission identified the sole issue as "who among the [LDP] officers [are] authorized to
authenticate before the Commission that the person filing the certificate of candidacy as party
nominee for a certain position is the official candidate of the party chosen in accordance with its
Constitution."4
The COMELEC recognized that it "has the authority to act on matters pertaining to ‘the
ascertainment of the identity of [a] political party and its legitimate officers….’"5 In the same
breath, however, it held that "internal party matters and wranglings [sic] are purely for the party
members to settle among themselves and any unsettled controversy should be brought to the
proper forum with jurisdiction." The "question of who was suspended by whom" was thus left for
such proper forum to resolve.6 Noting that "the intramurals in the LDP as an internal party matter
seems to be irreconcilable for the present when the filing of Certificate of Candidacy and
Certificate of Nomination are about to reach the deadline," the COMELEC disposed of the
Petition in the following fashion:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED with LEGAL EQUITY for both
Petitioner and Oppositor. The candidates for President down to the last Sangguniang Bayan
Kagawad nominated and endorsed by LDP Chairman Edgardo J. Angara are recognized by the
Commission as official candidates of LDP "Angara Wing". The candidates from President down
to the last Sangguniang Bayan Kagawad as nominated and endorsed by LDP Secretary General
Agapito "Butz" Aquino are recognized as official candidates of LDP "Aquino Wing".
Consequently, each faction or "Wing" is entitled to a representative to any election committee to
which it may be entitled as created by the Commission for the May 10, 2004 elections. For the
copies of the election returns, the "Angara Wing" will be entitled to the copies corresponding to
odd number of precincts, that is, Precinct Nos. 1, 3, 5, etc., and for the "Aquino Wing" to the
even number of precincts, that is Precinct Nos. 2, 4, 6, etc. This is on the assumption that the
LDP or as a party within a registered Political Coalition becomes a recognized and denominated
as a Dormant [sic] Minority Party under the Election Laws. The two LDP "Wings" are further
entitled to and be accorded the rights and privileges with corresponding legal obligations under
Election Laws.7
Commissioners Luzviminda G. Tancangco, Ralph C. Lantion, Resurreccion Z. Borra and
Florentino A. Tuason, Jr. concurred in the Resolution authored by Commissioner Rufino S.B.

The Office of the Solicitor General submitted a Manifestation and Motion praying for the granting
of the Petition. The COMELEC thus filed a separate Comment to the Petition.
The COMELEC correctly stated that "the ascertainment of the identity of [a] political party and its
legitimate officers" is a matter that is well within its authority. The source of this authority is no
other than the fundamental law itself, which vests upon the COMELEC the power and function to
enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election.9 In the
exercise of such power and in the discharge of such function, the Commission is endowed with
ample "wherewithal" and "considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that will ensure
the accomplishment of the great objectives for which it was created to promote free, orderly and
honest elections."10
Thus, in Kalaw v. Commission on Elections which involved the leadership fight in the Liberal
Party, 11 this Court held:
… that the respondent [COMELEC] has jurisdiction to hear and decide SP Case No. 85-021
[involving a petition to prohibit Eva Estrada Kalaw "from usurping or using the title or position of
President of the Liberal Party"] in view of its powers under Article IX-C, Section 2, of the
Constitution to, among others, enforce and administer all laws relative to the conduct of
elections, decide all questions affecting elections, register and regulate political parties, and
insure orderly elections. These powers include the determination of the conflicting claims made
in SP Case No. 85-021, which are likely to cause confusion among the electorate if not resolved.
Additionally, the COMELEC is mandated by the Election Code to inter alia require candidates to
specify their political party affiliation in their certificates of candidacy, allow political parties to
appoint watchers, limit the expenditures of each political party, determine whether or not a
political party shall retain its registration on the basis of its showing in the preceding elections,
etc. These matters include the ascertainment of the identity of the political party and its
legitimate officers responsible for its acts and the resolution of such controversies as the one
now before it where one party appears to be divided into two wings under separate leaders each
claiming to be the president of the entire party…. [Emphasis supplied.]
Likewise in Palmares v. Commission on Elections,12 to which the assailed Resolution made
reference and which involved the Nacionalista Party,13 this Court ruled
… that the COMELEC has jurisdiction over the issue of leadership in a political party. Under the
Constitution, the COMELEC is empowered to register political parties [Sec. 2(5), Article IX-C.]
Necessarily, the power to act on behalf of a party and the responsibility for the acts of such
political party must be fixed in certain persons acting as its officers. In the exercise of the power
to register political parties, the COMELEC must determine who these officers are. Consequently,
if there is any controversy as to leadership, the COMELEC may, in a proper case brought before
it, resolve the issue incidental to its power to register political parties.

This Court then proceeded to quote from Kalaw, supra.
The two cited decisions find support in Sumulong v. Commission on Elections14 and Sotto v.
Commission on Elections,15 where this Court, in resolving the issue as to who between the
factions of a political party was entitled to nominate election inspectors, necessarily settled
claims to the party’s leadership. Both cases were decided without question on the COMELEC’s
power to determine such claims. In conformity with jurisprudence, this Court did not identify the
COMELEC’s jurisdiction as an issue when this case was heard on oral argument.
There is no inconsistency between the above cases on the one hand and this Court’s more
recent ruling in Sinaca v. Mula16 on the other. In the latter case, this Court held:
A political party has the right to identify the people who constitute the association and to select a
standard bearer who best represents the party’s ideologies and preference. Political parties are
generally free to conduct their internal affairs free from judicial supervision; this common-law
principle of judicial restraint, rooted in the constitutionally protected right of free association,
serves the public interest by allowing the political processes to operate without undue
interference. Thus, the rule is that the determination of disputes as to party nominations rests
with the party, in the absence of statutes giving the court’s [sic] jurisdiction.
Quintessentially, where there is no controlling statute or clear legal right involved, the court
will not assume jurisdiction to determine factional controversies within a political party, but will
leave the matter for determination by the proper tribunals of the party itself or by the electors at
the polls. Similarly, in the absence of specific constitutional or legislative regulations defining
how nominations are to be made, or prohibiting nominations from being made in certain ways,
political parties may handle such affairs, including nominations, in such manner as party rules
may establish. [Emphasis supplied.]
Sinaca, unlike previous cases, did not involve the question of party identity or leadership; hence,
it was not necessary for the COMELEC to delve therein. None of the candidates involved in that
case were claiming to be the political party’s sole candidate.
In the case at bar, the Party Chairman, purporting to represent the LDP, contends that under the
Party Constitution only he or his representative, to the exclusion of the Secretary General, has
the authority to endorse and sign party nominations. The Secretary General vigorously disputes
this claim and maintains his own authority. Clearly, the question of party identity or leadership
has to be resolved if the COMELEC is to ascertain whether the candidates are legitimate party
standard bearers or not.
The repercussions of the question of party identity and leadership do not end at the validity of
the endorsement of the certificates of candidacy of persons claiming to be the party’s standard
bearer. The law grants a registered political party certain rights and privileges,17 which, naturally,
redound to the benefit of its candidates. It is also for this significant dimension that Sinaca is not
applicable in this case. As conceded in Sinaca itself, the Court will have to assume jurisdiction to
determine factional controversies within a political party where a controlling statute or clear legal
right is involved.18 Verily, there is more than one law, as well as a number of clear legal rights,
that are at stake in the case at bar.
The law accords special treatment to political parties. The dominant majority party, the dominant
minority party as determined by the COMELEC, for instance, is entitled to a copy of the election
returns.19 The six (6) accredited major political parties may nominate the principal watchers to be

designated by the Commission.20 The two principal watchers representing the ruling coalition
and the dominant opposition coalition in a precinct shall, if available, affix their signatures and
thumbmarks on the election returns for that precinct.21 Three (3) of the six accredited major
political parties are entitled to receive copies of the certificate of canvass.22 Registered political
parties whose candidates obtained at least ten percent (10%) of the total votes cast in the next
preceding senatorial election shall each have a watcher and/or representative in the
procurement and watermarking of papers to be used in the printing of election returns and
official ballots and in the printing, numbering, storage, and distribution thereof.23 Finally, a
candidate and his political party are authorized to spend more per voter than a candidate without
a political party.24
It is, therefore, in the interest of every political party not to allow persons it had not chosen to
hold themselves out as representatives of the party. Corollary to the right of a political party "to
identify the people who constitute the association and to select a standard bearer who best
represents the party’s ideologies and preference"25 is the right to exclude persons in its
association and to not lend its name and prestige to those which it deems undeserving to
represent its ideals. A certificate of candidacy makes known to the COMELEC that the person
therein mentioned has been nominated by a duly authorized political group empowered to act
and that it reflects accurately the sentiment of the nominating body.26 A candidate’s political party
affiliation is also printed followed by his or her name in the certified list of candidates.27 A
candidate misrepresenting himself or herself to be a party’s candidate, therefore, not only
misappropriates the party’s name and prestige but foists a deception upon the electorate, who
may unwittingly cast its ballot for him or her on the mistaken belief that he or she stands for the
party’s principles. To prevent this occurrence, the COMELEC has the power and the duty to step
in and enforce the law not only to protect the party but, more importantly, the electorate, in line
with the Commission’s broad constitutional mandate to ensure orderly elections.
Having revisited and clarified the jurisdiction of COMELEC to rule upon questions of party
identity and leadership as an incident to its enforcement powers, this Court cannot help but be
baffled by the COMELEC’s ruling declining to inquire into which party officer has the authority to
sign and endorse certificates of candidacy of the party’s nominees.
The only issue in this case, as defined by the COMELEC itself, is who as between the Party
Chairman and the Secretary General has the authority to sign certificates of candidacy of the
official candidates of the party. Indeed, the petitioners’ Manifestation and Petition before the
COMELEC merely asked the Commission to recognize only those certificates of candidacy
signed by petitioner Sen. Angara or his authorized representative, and no other.
To resolve this simple issue, the COMELEC need only to turn to the Party Constitution. It need
not go so far as to resolve the root of the conflict between the party officials. It need only resolve
such questions as may be necessary in the exercise of its enforcement powers.
The LDP has a set of national officers composed of, among others, the Party Chairman and the
Secretary General.28 The Party Chairman is the Chief Executive Officer of the Party, whose
powers and functions include:
(1) To represent the Party in all external affairs and concerns, sign documents for and on its
behalf, and call the meetings and be the presiding officer of the National Congress and the
National Executive Council….29

Aquino against Party Chairman Sen. neither does he have the power to enforce Party discipline or. This revocation has not been revoked or recalled by the National Congress of the LDP which is the one authorized to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President. 2003. Angara under preventive suspension effective immediately and directing him to refrain from performing acts in behalf of the party until the committee finishes its investigation and submits its final recommendations. however. oppositor Agapito "Butz’ Aquino. which originally pertains to the Party Chairman. just as Rep. Certificate of nomination of official candidates by political party. Rep.The Secretary General.35 Not only does Rep. however. not questioned by the LDP signed by its Secretary General. a copy of said Certificate of Nomination and a copy of the Certificate for Senator Edgardo J. In such case. On December 12. Angara. Angara’s Manifestations and Petition before the COMELEC. the same would not constitute material representation that is false. the spring has no source. Representative Rolex Suplico. 2004 duly signed and attested under oath by the party president. respectively. it appears that on November 28. respectively. was authorized by the LDP to sign for the Certificates of Nomination of the LDP Senatorial Candidates. Aquino to sign documents devolves upon Sen. the investigating committee issued a resolution placing Sen. Said Section 6 states: SEC. and other divisive acts inimical to the interest of the party and its members. who "shall henceforth exercise all the powers and functions of the Secretary General under the Constitution and By-Laws of the LDP. to create an investigating committee. 6. COMELEC Resolution No. which is January 2. Aquino’s authority to sign documents or to nominate candidates for the LDP would not result in the denial of due course to or the cancellation of the certificates of candidacy he may have signed on behalf of the LDP. Aquino was affixed either prior to. the challenged Resolution recognizing his authority to sign on behalf of the LDP. Aquino claims that he was authorized to exercise to sign the party candidates’ certificates of candidacy in the previous elections.37 Since the signature of Rep."32 As the prerogative to empower Rep. Rep. It seems. or whose nomination has not been submitted by a registered political party… shall be considered as an independent candidate. during the May 14. on the other hand. the COMELEC found that: In fact. as an incident thereto. and. which is the highest policy-making and governing body of the Party. as LDP Secretary General. the National Congress.31 Assuming that Rep. as Secretary General. including the Certificate of Nomination for Senatorial Candidate Edgardo J. this Court cannot share the COMELEC’s finding that the same "has not been revoked or recalled. which enumerates the powers and functions of the Secretary General: (4) With the concurrence of the Party Chairman. to nominate the official candidates for municipal city. assists the Party Chairman in overseeing the day-today operations of the Party. is only a delegated power. 7. Aquino insist on his power to sign Certificates of Candidacy on behalf of the LDP but he would also deny Sen. so he may choose. 30 The Secretary General’s authority to sign documents. congressional district. chairman or secretary-general has been "duly authorized" by the party to sign the certificate of candidacy. {Emphasis supplied. Angara are attached as Annexes A and B.36 The exclusive ground for the denial of due course to or the cancellation of a certificate of candidacy for any elective office is that any material representation contained therein as required by law is false. secretary-general or any other duly authorized officer and shall bear the acceptance of the nominee by affixing his signature in the space provided therein. lest such Resolution amount to a violation of the party’s freedom of association. Aquino’s had been placed on indefinite forced leave and that Ambassador Zaldivar has been designated Acting Secretary General. 2001 elections. Aquino and COMELEC also cited Section 6 of COMELEC Resolution No. created a committee composed of three (3) members of the LDP National Executive Council to investigate the complaint and recommend appropriate action thereon. The authority to create the investigating committee supposedly rests on Section 9 (4). Much less does the investigating committee so created have the power to place the Party Chairman under preventive suspension since its authority stems from a nullity. provincial and regional elective offices…. without the Party Chairman’s concurrence. Simply put. In any case. Indeed. Aquino previously had such authority. Aquino has no power to sign and nominate candidates in behalf of the LDP. Neither does the Party Secretary General have the power to nominate the official candidates of the LDP. Angara that power on account of the latter’s preventive suspension. Among his powers and functions is: (1) When empowered by the Party Chairman. [Emphasis and underscoring supplied. Aquino. . gross violation of the Party Constitution. and Senators. Article VI of the LDP Constitution. the candidates are simply deemed as not nominated by the LDP and are considered independent candidates pursuant to Section 7 of COMELEC Resolution No. at his discretion. chairman. 645333 as basis for the Party Secretary General’s authority to sign certificates of candidacy. – A candidate who has not been nominated by a registered political party or its duly authorized representative. – The certificate of nomination of registered political parties or coalitions of political parties of their official candidates shall be filed not later than the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy. This action by Secretary General Aquino is in accordance with the Constitution and By-laws of LDP. Effect of filing certificate of nomination. Angara.34 In particular. LDP Region VI Regional Chairman. to withhold or revoke such power. whenever the corresponding conventions fail to meet or to make the requisite nominations. 6453 cannot grant a party official greater authority than what the party itself grants. Vice President. therefore. Angara for disloyalty to the Party. Both respondents Rep. 2003. or on the basis of. That power resides in the governing bodies of the Party. that respondent has abandoned this tack by the silence of his Memorandum on the matter.] Evidently. filed a complaint with Rep. to sign documents for and on behalf of the Party…. through which he informed the Commission that Rep. has the power (6) To nominate the official candidates of the Party for President. the above provision presupposes that the party president. to enforce Party discipline…." No revocation of such authority can be more explicit than the totality of Sen. The lack of Rep. 6453: SEC.] Clearly.

38 From the foregoing. the COMELEC planted the seeds of confusion among the electorate. Angara or his duly authorized representative/s. and disunity and discord amongst members of a political party should not be allowed to create a mockery thereof. The practical purpose of furnishing a party with a copy of the election returns is to allow it to tally the results of the elections at the precinct level. election returns of odd-numbered precincts shall be furnished the Angara wing and those of even-numbered precincts. the COMELEC divided the LDP into "wings. the COMELEC need not have sailed far from the shore to arrive at the correct conclusion. supplement the law. This is predicated on the doctrine that government exists with the consent of the governed. By allowing each wing to nominate different candidates. resort to copies thereof may be had when the election returns are delayed. v.44 A split party without a complete set of election returns cannot successfully help preserve the sanctity of the ballot. the Aquino wing. as its Resolution facilitated. Government derives its strength from the support.COMELEC Commissioner Sadain referred to the above provision in his Dissenting Opinion."47 not one molded and whittled by the COMELEC. although it may. and this Court finds refreshing wisdom – so sorely wanting in the majority opinion – in his suggestion that: All other party members representing themselves to be candidates of the party shall not be deprived of their right to file their respective certificates of candidacy and run for office. in any case. As if to rationalize its folly. For all its conceded merits. the assailed COMELEC Resolution is ANNULLED and the Petition is GRANTED IN PART. In truth. Instead. equity is available only in the absence of law and not as its replacement. they attract or organize discontent and dissatisfaction sufficient to oust the government. on the contrary. ultimately. but that they shall not be accorded the rights and privileges reserved by election laws for official nominees of registered political parties. envisions a system that shall "evolve according to the free choice of the people. or. Ultimately.39 Equity is described as justice without legality. By according both wings representatives in the election committees. Thus. which simply means that it cannot supplant. the COMELEC effectively diffused the LDP’s strength and undeniably emasculated its chance of obtaining the Commission’s nod as the dominant minority party. on "unchartered" territories. as well as in the process of obtaining popular consent to the course of public policy. In either case they perform the function of the articulation of the interests and aspirations of a substantial segment of the citizenry. the administration party has always been unnecessarily and dangerously too big and the opposition party too small to be an effective check on the administration. The purpose of according dominant status and representation to a minority party is precisely to serve as an effective check on the majority. The COMELEC performed a disservice to the opposition and. holds equally true under the present government structure: … political parties constitute a basic element of the democratic institutional apparatus. as shown above. The admonition against mocking the electoral process not only applies to political parties but with greater force to the COMELEC.45which. WHEREFORE. they shall be treated as independent candidates. Both wings are also entitled to representatives in the election committees that the Commission may create. For doing just that. Worse. In the event that the LDP is accorded dominant minority party election status. supra. as often happens. Certiorari lies against it. The COMELEC has lost sight of the unique political situation of the Philippines where. these territories have long been charted by jurisprudence and. if so qualified. to the voting public. Commission on Elections. the COMELEC invokes the constitutional policy towards a free and open party system. In modern times the political party has become the instrument for the organization of societies. the COMELEC has fractured both wings. Commission on Elections. however. active or passive." The assailed COMELEC Resolution does not advance. it is plain that the COMELEC misapplied equity in the present case. When the Constitution speaks of a multi-party system. Political parties perform an "essential function in the management of succession to power. They amass sufficient support to buttress the authority of governments. By splitting copies of the election returns between the two factions. lost or destroyed. In Recabo. as respondent Aquino put it. By creating the two wings.41But. usually in ways contended to be promotive of the national weal. SO ORDERED. to paraphrase Justice Perfecto’s concurring opinion in Sotto. Respondent Commission on Elections is directed to recognize as official candidates of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino only those whose Certificates of Candidacy are signed by LDP Party Chairman Senator Edgardo J. this philosophy behind political parties. Jr. It chose not to because of its irrational fear of treading. . of a coalition of elements of society. the COMELEC has eroded the significance of political parties and effectively divided the opposition. It bears reminding respondent Commission of this Court’s pronouncement in Peralta v. indeed. the COMELEC Resolution is indecision in the guise of equity. the division of the minority party. this pretender to the throne of King Solomon acted whimsically and capriciously. rather than forestalled." each of which may nominate candidates for every elective position.46 This policy.40 The COMELEC should have decided the case on the basis of the party constitution and election laws. it does not contemplate the COMELEC splitting parties into two. it is a guard against fraud.42 this Court declared that the electoral process envisions one candidate from a political party for each position. who are apt to be confounded by two candidates from a single political party.43 or when they appear to be tampered or falsified. while made in the backdrop of a parliamentary form of government. but subverts.

the COMELEC denied Edwin Bautista's motion praying for the reconsideration of the April 30. the Regional Election Director of the National Capital Region. the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Navotas refused to canvass as part of the valid votes of petitioner the separate tallies of ballots on which were written "EFREN BAUTISTA". declared Edwin Bautista a nuisance candidate and consequently ordered the cancellation of his certificate of candidacy for the position of mayor. responding to a request made by Atty. the filing was done at the very last minute. 1998. The COMELEC saw merit in the petition and in a resolution dated April 30. In fact. the Election Officer of Navotas issued a directive to the BEI to include the name of Edwin Bautista in the certified list of candidates. . the votes for "EFREN BAUTISTA".midnight on March 27. 1998. Dupaya. on the afternoon of the same day. 1998. 98-10. on May 20. Said ballots were tallied by the BEI separately either on some portion of the election return not intended for votes for mayoralty candidates or in separate sheets of paper. petitioner. "E. counsel for petitioner. On May 8. "EFREN". 1998. Edwin Bautista filed a motion for reconsideration. the name of Edwin Bautista was not included in the list of candidates for the position of mayor for Navotas. Conversely. petitioner filed a petition praying that Edwin Bautista be declared a nuisance candidate. "E. hereinafter referred to as Edwin Bautista. vs. Said instructions were affirmed in a Memorandum of the then COMELEC Chairman. In view of this refusal. METRO MANILA and MIGUELITA DEL ROSARIO.R. MELO. the last day for such filing. petitioner filed with the COMELEC a Petition to Declare Illegal the Proceedings of the Municipal Board of Canvassers which was docketed as SPC No. respondents. on May 10. The assailed order resolving said petition reads in relevant part as follows: The issue before this Commission En Banc is whether or not of the Board of Canvassers not to include in the canvass the "Bautista stray votes" contained in the separate tally sheet constitutes an illegal proceeding thereof? We rule in the negative. As a result. Metro Manila in the elections of May 11. "EFREN". On April 1. also filed a certificate of candidacy for the same position of mayor. BAUTISTA" and "BAUTISTA". In view of the conflicting directives. J. MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF NAVOTAS. 1998 which dismissed the petition he filed seeking to declare illegal the proceeding of the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Navotas for failing to include in the canvass the Bautista stray votes contained in a separate tally sheet. 'Efren' and 'Efren Bautista' as stray but to segregate such stray votes into a separate improvised tally sheet in order to count the total stray votes. objections to the inclusion of the election returns were raised during the canvass. 1998 resolution declaring him a nuisance candidate. His certificate of candidacy was filed at On May 13.: Petitioner assails the order of the Commission on Elections dated May 28. 1998. 1998. and "BAUTISTA". directing the BEI to "proceed with the counting of the votes for local officials excluding the votes cast for 'Bautista'. Aside from said candidates. 1998. a certain Edwin "Efren" Bautista. Gauttier T. Copies of said list were distributed by the Office of the Election Officer of Navotas to the boards of election inspectors (BEI). the Election Officer issued another directive to the BEI recalling his earlier directive for the inclusion of Edwin Bautista pending resolution of his motion for reconsideration." G. Petitioner Cipriano "Efren" Bautista and private respondent were duly registered candidates for the position of Mayor of Navotas. When the canvass of the election returns was commenced. 133840 November 13. gave instructions to the BEI to tally separately either in some other portion of the same election return not intended for the tallying of votes for the candidates for mayor. Consequently. No. Accordingly. 1997. 1998 CIPRIANO "EFREN" BAUTISTA. or in a separate sheet of paper. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. BAUTISTA".

Sec. Rule 27. the COMELEC may rely on whatever pleading that may have been filed by the parties. 1998). NLRC (G. (2) What is the legal effect of the final declaration made by the COMELEC that Edwin Bautista was a nuisance candidate? Further. the COMELEC only has to give notice to the parties by issuing summons and by serving a copy of the petition. premises considered. Where opportunity to be heard is accorded either through oral arguments or pleadings. the ruling of respondent Board not to Include in the canvass the Bautista stay votes is correct. 1998. Hence. The instant petition posits the following grounds for nullification of the assailed COMELEC order: UTTER LACK AND DISREGARD OF DUE PROCESS IN THE ISSUANCE OF THE QUESTIONED ORDER. we held that the right to be heard does not only refer to the right to present verbal arguments in court. Hence. the stray votes in the separate tally sheet cannot be said to be entries in the election returns. Further. Thus. Let us first examine the due process issue as regards the issuance of the questioned order. the instant petition of Cipriano "Efren" Bautista is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. what are the implications of the final and conclusive ruling of this Court on the issue? and (3) Will there be a disenfranchisement of the voters' will if the "EFREN BAUTISTA" votes separately tallied are not counted as votes for petitioner? At the outset and initially setting aside all the ramifications of the substantive issue of the instant petition. WHEREFORE. in Navarro III vs. under the circumstances stray votes cannot be considered a vote for either party. A hearing wherein the parties engage in oral argument is not required. The petition resolved by COMELEC in the assailed resolution was lodged to declare illegal the proceedings of the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Navotas due to non-inclusion of votes which herein petitioner claims to be valid. 1998. 24-25. Comelec Rules of Procedure). petitioner was not denied due process. An examination of the foregoing incidents brings us to the following legal queries: (1) Did the "EFREN BAUTISTA" (or EFREN/E.R No. Plainly. where he assailed the actions of the COMELEC Second Division and of respondent COMELEC En Banc.The duty of the Board of Canvassers is only to canvass what is on the face of the election returns and not to go beyond it. BAUTISTA/BAUTISTA) votes which were tallied in separate sheets of paper categorically pertain to petitioner? Stated otherwise. On this score. A party may also be heard through his pleadings. of those votes that were separately tallied by the BEI and the Board of Canvassers. the essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard. When two or more words are written on the same line on the ballot all of which are the surnames of two or more candidates. The proceedings being summary. 123520. As reiterated inNational Semiconductor (HK) Distribution. We nevertheless find merit in petitioner's second argument. the Office of the Solicitor General opines that the improvised sheets of paper containing the tally of Bautista stray votes cannot be legally considered in the canvass. under the Omnibus Election Code. particularly a pre-proclamation controversy raising the issue of the illegality of the proceedings of the board of canvassers (Sec. the same shall not be counted for any of them. 2 of the above-stated Rule provides that all pre-proclamation controversies shall be heard summarily after due notice. filed a petition for certiorariwith the Court. TALLIED BY THE BOARDS OF ELECTION INSPECTORS AND THE RESPONDENT BOARD. Ltd. 1998. In Zaldivar vs. stating that the same cannot go beyond the election returns. did said separate tally reflect the intention of the voters?. 3. Edwin Bautista's motion for reconsideration of our resolution was denied with finality on July 7. or as applied to administrative proceedings. . docketed as G. (p. the disqualified nuisance candidate. the commission upheld the act of the Board of Canvassers. unless one is a surname of an incumbent who has served for at least one year in which case it shall be counted in favor of the latter. Meanwhile. Damaso (246 SCRA 260 [1995]). When petitioner raised the matter to the COMELEC. there is no denial of procedural due process. 133607. and RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED A GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO EXCESS OR LACK OF JURISDICTION IN DENYING THE INCLUSION AS PART OF PETITIONER'S VALID VOTES THE VOTES THAT WERE SEPARATELY The Municipal Board of Canvassers denied the inclusion. Part V.R. declaring him a nuisance candidate and ordering the cancellation of his certificate of candidacy. Thus. we agree with petitioner that the matter falls under the category of special cases. the primordial concern of the Court is to verify whether or not on the day of the election. June 26. Edwin "Efren" Bautista. Obviously. Section 211 (4) which provides: 4. No. vs. on May 18. we held that a formal or trial-type hearing is not at all times and not in all instances essential. as part of petitioner's valid votes. Sandiganbayan (166 SCRA 316 [1988]). an opportunity to explain one's side. In its Comment. ruling that there is no showing that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in declaring Edwin Bautista a nuisance candidate. The Court dismissed said petition on May 21.

it states clearly some tests.there was only one "Efren Bautista" as a validly registered candidate as far as the electorate was concerned. and "Bautista". Then on election day itself May 11. the Regional Election Director of the National Capital Region instructed the various boards of election inspectors to tally separately either in some other portion of the same election return not intended for the tallying of votes for the candidates for mayor. later shown in reality to be nuisance candidate. Nuisance candidates. BAUTISTA". "Edwin". "E. 1998 resolution disqualifying him from becoming final at that time. Technically. or in a separate sheet of paper. the ratio decidendi of which reads as follows: This Commission as the vanguard of the people in the determination of the chosen representative of the electorate in government will not be an instrument to subvert that choice. and this technicality created serious problems on election day. To remedy the situation which was bound to affect petitioner's candidacy. Later that same day. Edwin Bautista's name was again stricken off the list. refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. the name of Edwin Bautista was initially not included in the list of candidates for mayor of Navotas. Since the final resolution of said petition was delayed due to the filing of a motion for reconsideration. "Efren". Edwin Bautista moved for reconsideration on May 8. and "BAUTISTA"." and the requested separate tally sheet would "protect his substantial rights" as well as the will of the electorate. the votes for "EFREN BAUTISTA". Bautista". The request for the separate tally was said to have been necessitated by the pendency of the petition before the COMELEC to disqualify Edwin Bautista for being a nuisance candidate. In the present case. Such inclusion was brought about by technicality. — The Commission may motu proprio or upon a verified petition of an interested party. as mentioned above. 1998 decision was not yet final as of May 11. or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates. Elective public officials are respected (pp. Respondent has not demonstrated any accomplishment/achievement in his twenty-six (26) years of existence as a person that would surely attract the electorate to choose him as their representative in government. 69. or by other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy has been field and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate. Ideally. Its pendency on election day exposed petitioner to the evils brought about by the inclusion of a then potential. Edwin Bautista's name was included in the certified list of candidates. We find significant reference in the resolution of the COMELEC dated April 10. "E. Two "EFRENS" and two "BAUTISTAS" will necessarily confuse the voters and render worthless a vote for an "Efren" or "Bautista" during the appreciation of ballots. his counsel requested the COMELEC that a directive be issued to all members of the BEI of Navotas for the preparation of a separate tally for all votes in favor of: "Efren Bautista". leaders in the community. which prevented the April 30. 1998. the April 30. The circumstances in the case at bar warrant that respondent be declared a nuisance candidate. Consequently. thus preventing the determination of the choice and true will of the electorate. the matter should have been finally resolved prior to election day. however. We have ruled that a nuisance candidate is one whose certificate of candidacy is presented and filed to cause confusion among the electorate by the similarity of the names of the registered candidate or by other names which demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of . This only amplifies the fact that he has no bona fide intention to run for the position of municipal mayor of Navotas. While Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code does not explicitly provide for grounds to declare a nuisance candidate. An analysis of the foregoing incidents shows that the separate tallies were made to remedy any prejudice that may be caused by the inclusion of a potential nuisance candidate in the Navotas mayoralty race. counsel for petitioner stated that the basis must be laid down "for the ultimate appreciation of all Bautista votes in favor of petitioner. but "Boboy" or "Boboy Tarugo". "EFREN". As mentioned earlier. Respondent has not shown any. 28-29. 1998. a municipality with 104. specifically Edwin Bautista's filing of a motion for reconsideration. viz: Sec. "Edwin Bautista". if it shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute. Respondent's lack of financial means to support a campaign as an independent candidate is manifested by his inability to file his Income Tax Returns for calendar years 1995 and 1996. 1998. The then COMELEC Chairman affirmed said directive in a Memorandum to the Board of Canvassers of Navotas for the purpose of counting the total stray votes. it has been established that respondent's known appellation or nickname is not "Efren" as stated in his Certificate of Candidacy. Unfortunately said motion was not resolved as of election day. 1998 declaring Edwin Bautista a nuisance candidate.601 registered voters.

Fetalino concur with the Second Division's resolution. He declared that he had a monthly income of P10. However. It seems obvious to us that the votes separately tallied are not really stray votes. which reads: WHEREFORE. 36 SCRA 1 [1970]). refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy if the following situations are extant: (1) if it is shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute. He did not file his income tax return for the years 1995 and 1996 and when asked why. (3) or if there are other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy has been filed and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate. which is. He merely depended on friends whose names he did not submit to the COMELEC. 1998 decision. and "Efren Bautista". and no accomplishments which may be noted and considered by the public. "Efren". in accordance with Section 69. Then COMELEC Chairman Bernardo P. rather than frustrate. herein petitioner. This denial is final. "Efren" Bautista." In contrast. Further. final position on the issue of whether or not Edwin Bautista is a nuisance candidate. First and foremost. Thus. the Commission. Bautista" into a separate improvised tally. when it had been established that he was really known as "Boboy" or "Boboy Tarugo". for the purpose of later counting the votes. 19 SCRA 521 [1967]).00. and "E. maintains its resolution. no personal funds that could have supported this own campaign. and much less to valid votes. but has no license therefor. and Vice-Mayor of Navotas in 1980. the situation that our election laws are enacted to prevent. in his May 14.000 electors. we now refer to the dispositive portion of COMELEC's April 30. IN VIEW WHEREOF. doubts are resolved in favor of their validity (Silverio vs. and satisfactorily and finally shown as a candidate with no political line-up. he said he did not have any net income and that he was only earning enough to defray household expenses. as against a known former public officer who had served the people of Navotas as barangay official. He is a duly registered Naval Architect and Marine Engineer. Deliberating on the motion for reconsideration of respondent Edwin "Efren" Bautista on the grounds therein stated. Gorospe. his CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY for the position of Municipal Mayor of Navotas. Pardo himself.Rollo This important detail only shows that as of May 14. namely: Barangay Captain of Navotas in 1962. He does not own any real property. 1998 Memorandum. we upheld such declaration. (pp. he was running under the name of Edwin "Efren" Bautista.000. Edwin Bautista was found to be a nuisance candidate. Castro. the will of the voter. a cancelled certificate cannot give rise to a valid candidacy. (p. And as straightforwardly found by the COMELEC. as we mentioned. They give effect to. Sec. and a member of various civic organizations such as the Rotary Club of Navotas and the Philippine Jaycees. Strictly speaking. Second. extreme caution should be observed before any ballot is invalidated. To rule other wise will definitely result in the disenfranchisement of the will of the electorate. What remained unsaid by the COMELEC Chairman was the fact that as early as May 13. various elective positions. the COMELEC had already spoken and stated its SO ORDERED. (2) or if said certificate was filed to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidate. How then can we consider valid the votes for Edwin Bautista whom we finally ruled as disqualified from the 1998 Navotas mayoralty race? That is like saying one thing and doing another. he "has not demonstrated any accomplishment/achievement in his twenty-six (26) years of existence as a person that would surely attract the electorate to choose him as their representative in government. which represent the voice of approximately 21. These separate tallies actually made the will of the electorate determinable despite the apparent confusion caused by a potential nuisance candidate. Municipal Councilor of Navotas in 1970. Second Division.000. Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores and Evalyn I. This is precisely what election laws are trying to protect. And when Edwin Bautista elevated the matter to this Court. now a respected member of the Court. in the appreciation of ballots. . 29-30. could not have been intended for Edwin Bautista. 69 of the Omnibus Election Code sets forth that the COMELEC may motu proprio or upon a verified petition of an interested party. 1998 resolution. Metro Manila is hereby ordered CANCELLED. Edwin Bautista had already been finally declared as a nuisance candidate by the COMELEC. Commissioners Manolo B. 54. Such votes. it was shown that petitioner had previously held under his name Cipriano and appellation. when Chairman Pardo issued the aforestated Memorandum. but with expenses totalling P9. the following circumstances saliently demonstrate that he had no bona fide intention of running for the office for which he filed his certificate of candidacy: He is said to be engaged in a "buy and sell" business. councilor. He even violated COMELEC rules since he failed to submit the names of individuals who paid for his campaign materials as well as the printing press he dealt with. 1998. 1998 Order which reads: It must be emphasized that the instant case involves a ground for disqualification which clearly affects the voters' will and causes confusion that frustrates the same. and as vicemayor. how then do we determine the will of the electorate? Factual circumstances and logic dictate that the "Bautista" and "Efren" votes which were mistakenly deemed as "stray votes" refer to only one candidate. He did not have a political line-up and had no funds to support his campaign expenses. respondent EDWIN "EFREN" BAUTISTA is hereby declared a NUISANCE CANDIDATE. a drug addict. As discussed in the COMELEC's April 30. allegedly known in Navotas as a mere tricycle driver and worse. since the aforestated ruling was not yet final on election day. In fine.candidacy has been filed and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate (Fernandez vs. in view of the foregoing. In this light. the COMELEC itself validated the separate tallies since they were meant to be used in the canvassing later on to the actual number of votes cast. 1998.00. the motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED. It had already denied Edwin's motion for reconsideration in its May 13. Fernandez. and consequently. These are two incompatible acts the contrariety and inconsistency of which are all too obvious. allowed the segregation of the votes for "Bautista".

the instant petition is laden with an issue which involves several ramifications. These Bautista votes which total 21. Matters tend to get complicated when technical rules are strictly applied. This is.034 Bautista votes which have been tallied but not credited to petitioner. the following votes that were separately tallied by the boards of election inspectors: "EFREN BAUTISTA". Edwin Bautista got only 29 votes. From another angle. As we said earlier. it is likewise improper and strained to limit petitioner's votes to the ballots which only indicate the name "Cipriano" when it is of public knowledge that petitioner is also known by the appellation and nickname "Efren" which he in fact registered as his nickname. while petitioner under the very restrictive name Cipriano "Efren" Bautista got 17. premises considered.997 votes. "EFREN". as part of the valid votes of petitioner.Verily. SO ORDERED. BAUTISTA" and "BAUTISTA". To be sure. True it is. Significantly. the disqualification of Edwin Bautista was not yet final on election day. "E.981 votes he got as Cipriano "Efren" Bautista would give him a grand aggregate of 38. The voters had constructive as well as actual knowledge of the action of the COMELEC delisting Edwin Bautista as a candidate for mayor. not the situation in the case at bar. there are 12. Respondent COMELEC is likewise directed to order the inclusion. however. WHEREFORE. it has also been established that by virtue of newspaper releases and other forms of notification. the petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed order of respondent COMELEC dated May 28. A stray vote is invalidated because there is no way of determining the real intention of the voter. the voters were informed of the COMELEC's decision to declare Edwin Bautista a nuisance candidate. it is also true that the electorate of Navotas was informed of such disqualification. 1998 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Technicalities should not be permitted to defeat the intention of the voter. However.016 could only have been meant for petitioner and which added to the 17. especially so if that intention is discoverable from the ballot itself as in this case. however.981 votes. .982 Bautista votes which were not tallied and credited to petitioner. and there are 8.

1. 1998. ANTONIO M. 98-288. 254-265. 98-288 motu proprio (pp. The Court required petitioner to file a consolidated reply within 10 days from notice.002 votes. AMEND and RECTIFY the dispositive portion of the Resolution of the Commission (First Division) in SPA No. Rollo). DIRECT the Clerk of Court of the Commission to furnish copies of this Decision to the Office of the President of the Philippines. 1998. 1998 election. 26-33. resolving to GRANT the motion for reconsideration. which was docketed as SPA No. On December 8. On December 9. and On May 16. the issues in the present case may be summarized as follows: . thus nullifying the substitution by petitioner Joel G. On May 13. which was docketed as SPA No. through its counsel. 98-288 which disposed: ACCORDINGLY. had already been cancelled and denied due course. ANNUL the election and proclamation of respondent JOEL G. 5761. judgment is hereby rendered to: 1. MIRANDA as mayor of Santiago City in the May 11. DIRECT THE City board of Canvassers of Santiago City to RECONVENE. 98-019 promulgated on May 5.336 votes. Rollo) and on February 16. private respondent filed his Comment (pp. 98019. but petitioner twice asked for an extension of the period. Miranda filed his certificate of candidacy for the mayoralty post. Isabela. the Department of Interior and Local Government. 2. to read as follows: WHEREFORE. in view of the foregoing. dismissing private respondent's petition to declare the substitution of Jose "Pempe" Miranda by petitioner as candidate for the City of Santiago's mayoralty post void. Respondent JOSE "PEMPE" MIRANDA's certificate of candidacy for the position of mayor of Santiago City in the May 11. way beyond the deadline for filing a certificate of candidacy. MELO. the Comelec En Banc rendered the assailed decision aforequoted. 1998 reversed and set aside the earlier resolution of the First Division of the Comelec dated May 16. petitioner and private respondent vied for the mayoralty seat. the Department of Finance. On March 27. private respondent Antonio M. the Court decided to resolve the controversy in favor of petitioner. He prayed for the nullification of petitioner's certificate of candidacy for being void ab initio because the certificate of candidacy of Jose "Pempe" Miranda. 140-187 and 188-234. 1998 elections. Comelec's First Division dismissed SPA No. the Solicitor General. petitioner sought this Court's intercession via a petition for certiorari.(pp. private respondent filed a Petition to Declare Null and Void Substitution with Prayer for Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order. PREPARE a new certificate of canvass & proclamation and PROCLAIM the winning candidate among those voted upon as the duly elected mayor of Santiago City in the May 11. On December 11. Briefly. 1998 in SPA Case No. the pertinent factual backdrop is summarized as follows: EN BANC On March 24. with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction.R. On December 14. The Comelec further ruled to DISQUALIFY Jose "Pempe" Miranda. 1998.: Before us is a petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction questioning the resolution of the Comelec En Banc dated December 8. form 25) issued therefor. filed its Comment (pp. 1998. 62-72. the Commission (First Division) GRANTS the Petition. respondents. During the May 11. SO ORDERED. ABAYA and the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. petitioner. 1998. Jose "Pempe" Miranda. petitioner Joel G. G. Rollo). 3. 1998 (pp. The aforementioned resolution dated December 8. 1998 elections. Rollo). J. 1998. 1999. The petition was GRANTED by the Comelec in its resolution dated May 5. the Comelec. 4. 1998. 1998 election and CANCEL the Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation (C. the Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order and to require respondents to comment on the petition. with petitioner garnering 22. On May 6. 90-91. 1999 JOEL G. Rollo). Private respondent moved for reconsideration (pp. then incumbent mayor of Santiago City. Miranda of his father as candidate for the mayoralty post of Santiago City. 1998 national and local elections is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE AND/OR CANCELLED. 136351 July 28. 3643. Jose "Pempe" Miranda.E. MIRANDA. Rollo). 1998. No. vs. SO ORDERED. whom petitioner was supposed to substitute. filed his certificate of candidacy for the same mayoralty post for the synchronized May 11. 1998. supposedly as a substitute for his father. Abaya filed a Petition to Deny Due Course to and/or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy (pp.666 more votes than private respondent who got only 20. Without granting the motions for extension of time to file consolidated reply. Tersely. and the Secretary of the Sangguniang Panglunsod of Santiago City. 1998. 1998.

While there is no dispute as to whether or not a nominee of a registered or accredited political party may substitute for a candidate of the same party who had been disqualified for any cause. In Bautista vs. there is no mention of the case where a candidate is excluded not only by disqualification but also by denial and cancellation of his certificate of candidacy. is not a candidate at all. (p. Certificate of candidacy — No person shall be eligible for any elective public office unless he files a sworn certificate of candidacy within the period fixed herein. and votes might be cast even for unknown or fictitious persons as a mark to identify the votes in favor of a candidate for another office in the same election. as we have said before. there is no question that the case at hand is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Comelec. 1998 resolution and he heavily relies upon the above-quoted provision allowing substitution of a candidate who has been disqualified for any cause. under the express provisions of Section 77 of the Code. 98-288. If the intent of the lawmakers were otherwise. Barretto (25 Phil. The substitute candidate nominated by the political party concerned may file his certificate of candidacy for the office affected in accordance with the preceding sections not later than mid-day of the day of the election. the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died. For if the law did not confine the choice or election by the voters to the duly registered candidates. Candidates in case of death. this does not include those cases where the certificate of candidacy of the person to be substituted had been denied due course and cancelled under Section 78 of the Code. Isabela is proper and legally sound. (Monsale vs. Much in the same manner as a person who filed no certificate of candidacy at all and a person who filed it out of time. at least sixty days before the regular election. or. 245 [1913]). the candidates among whom they are to make the choice. . withdrew or was disqualified. If the death. the Court held that a certificate of candidacy filed beyond the period fixed by law is void. and not the decision rendered therein. by any stretch of the imagination. As early as in Herrera vs. The law clearly provides: Sec. In Gador vs. Comelec (95 SCRA 431 [1980]). 83 Phil.1. there can be no valid substitution for the latter case. not just any person. The authority to decide a cause at all. The Court finds neither lack of jurisdiction nor grave abuse of discretion attended the annulment of the substitution and proclamation of petitioner. and the person who filed it is not. November 13. The evident purposes of the law in requiring the filing of certificates of candidacy and in fixing the time limit therefor are: (a) to enable the voters to know. No. they could have so easily and conveniently included those persons whose certificates of candidacy have been denied due course and/or cancelled under the provisions of Section 78 of the Code. this Court had occasion to apply the following principles: Jurisdiction is the authority to hear and determine a cause — the right to act in a case. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius. the foregoing provision of law is absolutely mandatory. By its express language. 73. and (b) to avoid confusion and inconvenience in the tabulation of the votes cast. 133840. No amount of votes should entitle him to the elective office aspired for. and Petitioner capitalizes on the fact that the Comelec ruled to disqualify Jose "Pempe" Miranda in the May 5. 77. the decision of all other questions arising in the case is but an exercise of that jurisdiction. Comelec (G.13). 758 [1949]). While the law enumerated the occasions where a candidate may be validly substituted. On the matter of jurisdiction. in the case of candidates to be voted for by the entire electorate of the country. a person whose certificate of candidacy is cancelled or denied due course is no candidate at all. there might be as many persons voted for as there are voters. Jurisdiction should therefore be distinguished from the exercise of jurisdiction. it does not depend either upon the regularity of the exercise of that power or upon the rightfulness of the decision made. only a person belonging to. Since it is the power to hear and determine. disqualification or withdrawal. 1998) this Court explicitly ruled that "a cancelled certificate does not give rise to a valid candidacy" (p.R. but only "an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party" may be substituted. an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies. a candidate. Where there is jurisdiction over the subject matter. is what makes up jurisdiction. 251) On the issue of soundness of the disposition in SPA No. More importantly. said certificate may be filed with any board of election inspectors in the political subdivision where he is a candidate. much in the same way that a nuisance candidate whose certificate of candidacy is denied due course and/or cancelled may not be substituted. — If after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy. withdrawal or disqualification should occur between the day before the election and midday of election day. with the Commission. and certified by. A person without a valid certificate of candidacy cannot be considered a candidate in much the same way as any person who has not filed any certificate of candidacy at all can not. Whether the order of the Comelec directing the proclamation of the private respondent was issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. be a candidate at all. withdraws or is disqualified for any cause. Petitioner insists that the substitution at bar is allowed under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides: Sec. in law. Nice. the Court finds that the Comelec's action nullifying the substitution by and proclamation of petitioner for the mayoralty post of Santiago City. It is but logical to say that any person who attempts to run for an elective office but does not file a certificate of candidacy. Under the foregoing rule. 2. Whether the annulment of petitioner's substitution and proclamation was issued without jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. No amount of votes would catapult him into office.

there being no qualification on the matter whatsoever. The Court has no other choice but to rule that in all the instances enumerated in Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code. To include those disqualified candidates whose certificate of candidacy had likewise been denied due course and/or cancelled among those who may be substituted under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code. 1998 resolution. or of the same kind or class as those specifically mentioned (see: Vera vs. such interpretation as will avoid inconvenience and absurdity shall in all cases be adopted. a third candidate may be qualified but. as they were also . From the foregoing discussion it is evident that the controversy at hand is not a simple case of hair-splitting. (p.43. The question to settle next is whether or not aside from Joel "Pempe" Miranda being disqualified by the Comelec in its May 5. for how can a person take the place of somebody who does not exist or who never was. it is readily understood that the concept of a substitute presupposes the existence of the person to be substituted. things or cases akin to. otherwise his political party would not be allowed to field a substitute candidate in his stead under Section 77 of the Code. A candidate may not be qualified to run for election but may have filed a valid certificate of candidacy. 98-019 by consolidating it with SPA No. Cuevas. The disqualification was simply ruled over and above the granting of the specific prayer for denial of due course and cancellation of the certificate of candidacy. were rather particularly defined and "limited" by the 1987 Constitution. meaning. an act abhorred by our Constitution. his certificate of candidacy had likewise been denied due course and cancelled. 90 SCRA 379 [1979]). for which reason. this explains why the law provides for grounds for the cancellation and denial of due course to certificates of candidacy. Private respondent's petition in SPA No. where there is ambiguity.. Another candidate may likewise be not qualified and at the same time not have a valid certificate of candidacy. Or. (Rollo. he cannot be substituted under Section 77 of the Code. the following considerations are also in point: It may be relevantly stressed that the review powers of the Supreme Court over decisions of the Constitutional Commissions. if the disqualified candidate did not have a valid and seasonably filed certificate of candidacy. Nemo dat quod non habet. 1998 in SPA No. Besides. in particular. 3 In resolving the petition filed by private respondent specifying a very particular relief. A deceased candidate is required to have duly filed a valid certificate of candidacy. leads to the absurdity where a substitute is allowed to take the place of somebody who had not been a candidate in the first place — a person who did not have a valid certificate of candidacy prior to substitution. This is possible because the grounds for disqualification (see: Omnibus Election Code. if we were to allow the so-called "substitute" to file a "new" and "original" certificate of candidacy beyond the period for the filing thereof. 98-288 in its December 8. and Section 78 — material misrepresentation). where a general word or phrase (such as "disqualification for any cause" in this case) follows an enumeration of particular and specific words of the same class (such as the words "dies" and "withdraws" in the instant case) or where the latter follow the former. The Court rules that it was. If a person was not a candidate. In the case of withdrawal of candidacy. Applying this principle to the case at bar and considering that Section 77 of the Code is clear and unequivocal that only an official candidate of a registered or accredited party may be substituted. Only the candidate who had a valid certificate of candidacy may be substituted. he is and was not a candidate at all. a disqualified candidate may only be substituted if he had a valid certificate of candidacy in the first place because. or to be restricted to persons. After having considered the importance of a certificate of candidacy. 98-019. As regards the procedural matter in the present petition for certiorari. Verily. his certificate of candidacy may be denied due course and/or cancelled. Other reliefs just and equitable in the premises are likewise prayed for. the existence of a valid certificate of candidacy seasonably filed is a requisite sine qua non. Most reasonable it is then. under the foregoing rule. the Comelec ruled favorably in the following manner: SO ORDERED. What right can a non-candidate pass on to his substitute? Clearly. it can be readily understood why in Bautistawe ruled that a person with a cancelled certificate is no candidate at all. interpretatio talis in ambiguis semper freinda est. Also. 1998 resolution. just as it is in the two previous instances. 98-019 specifically prayed for the following: WHEREFORE. there is none because no one can give what he does not have. and the Commission on Elections. p.It is at once evident that the importance of a valid certificate of candidacy rests at the very core of the electoral process. Even on the most basic and fundamental principles. ut euiatur inconveniens et absurdum. it is respectfully prayed that the Certificate of Candidacy filed by respondent for the position of Mayor for the City of Santiago be not given due course and/or cancelled. resembling. 1998 resolution are independent of the issue of whether or not the Comelec was correct in reviving SPA No. it is sufficiently clear that the prayer specifically and particularly sought in the petition was GRANTED. in general. under ejusdem generis rule. Section 68 — Disqualifications) are totally separate and distinct from the grounds for cancellation and/or denying due course to a certificate of candidacy (Ibid. it would be a crystalline case of unequal protection of the law. lest there be anarchy and chaos. the general word or phrase is to be construed to include. the withdrawing candidate is required to have duly filed a valid certificate of candidacy in order to allow his political party to field a substitute candidate in his stead. there demonstrably cannot be any possible substitution of a person whose certificate of candidacy has been cancelled and denied due course. said certificate of candidacy is also cancelled and/or denied due course. Rollo From a plain reading of the dispositive portion of the Comelec resolution of May 5. Furthermore. to hold that a valid certificate of candidacy is likewise an indispensable requisite in the case of a substitution of a disqualified candidate under the provisions of Section 77 of the Code. Section 69 — nuisance candidates. All told. It cannot be taken lightly. It may be stressed at this instance that the legal consequences of this May 5.

The only issue that may be taken cognizance of in the present case is whether or not the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in rendering the assailed decision. An error of judgment committed in the exercise of its legitimate jurisdiction is not the same as "grave abuse of discretion". 171 SCRA 284 [1989])." which in turn suggests an appeal by review by petition for review under Rule 45. 539. Litton Mills vs. 1996 Edition. the Court held: MR. now. it ordained that the Commission's actuations be instead "brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari". Generally. To emphasize this procedural point. but it transcended the same or acted without any statutory authority. peaceful and honest elections." And since instead of maintaining that provision intact. An abuse of discretion is not sufficient by itself to justify the issuance of a writ of certiorari. certiorarilies where a court has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. "excess of jurisdiction" refers to the case where the court has jurisdiction. Evidently. complaints that justify certiorari under Rule 65. 98-019. It is well-settled that an act of a court or tribunal may only be considered to have been done in grave abuse of discretion when the same was performed in a capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment which is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. and not SPA No. In Dario vs. 1998 election. 98-288. It should also be noted that under the new Constitution. the same having already attained finality by then. p. 98-019.circumscribed in the 1973 Constitution. later to become a distinguished Member of this Court. which was not elevated to it on review. Miranda. The framers of the new Constitution must be presumed to have definite knowledge of what it means to make the decisions. We cannot insist that there was no intent to change the nature of the remedy. Petitioner posits that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion when it annulled the substitution by and proclamation of petitioner. such is not within the province of certiorari. . xxx xxx xxx . Mr. So. . Intermediate Appellate Court. BERNAS. and it must be shown that the discretion was exercised arbitrarily and despotically (Soriano vs. . Galleon Traders. REGALADO. vs. . Therefore. then Commissioner. The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary. 163 SCRA 489 [1988]. 111-112) Petitioner further faults the Comelec for amending the dispositive portion of its resolution in SPA No. 88 SCRA 251 [1979]) — as regards recourse to this Court with respect to rulings of the Civil Service Commission — which is that judgments of the Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court through certiorari alone. Even assuming for the sake of argument that the Comelec committed an error in the exercise of its jurisdiction in the present case. what is under review before us in this certiorari proceedings is SPA No. our jurisdiction over cases emanating from the Civil Service Commission is limited to complaints of lack or excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction. to a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 65. Commission of Elections. or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari. as cited in Bernas.J. considering that the limited scope of certiorari. (I RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION. "any decision. Justice Florenz Regalado responded to Commissioner Bernas' query during the deliberations of the 1987 Constitution thusly: FR. 170 SCRA 246 [1989]. . The Committee refers specifically to a technical term of review by certiorari would be relying on the provision of Rule XLV [Should be LXV] of the Rules of Court that laid down the three grounds. who under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code. compared to a review. 98-019. "Without jurisdiction" refers to an absolute want of jurisdiction. Mison (176 SCRA 84 [1989]). as a remedial measure. we have to be guided by jurisprudence relating to review by certiorari under Rule 65. we declared: It is at once evident from these constitutional and statutory modifications that there is a definite tendency to enhance and invigorate the role of the Commission on Elections as the independent constitutional body charged with the safeguarding of free. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. asAratuc tells us.) In Aratuc." which. orders and rulings of the Commission "subject to review by the Supreme Court. order. The abuse must be grave and patent. 97 SCRA 297 [1980]). was allowed to substitute for disqualified the candidate Jose "Pempe" Miranda. . what is the intention of the Committee? What are the grounds for certiorari? Thus. as under the 1973 Charter. (pp. Court of Appeals. 903. "technically connotes something less than saying that the same "shall be subject to review by the Supreme Court. as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility (Intestate Estate of Carmen de Luna vs. the decision in which was by then already final. under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Atienza. S. Petitioner also contends that it was an act of grave abuse of discretion for the Comelec to direct the proclamation of private respondent as the winning candidate in the May 11. p. to correct. it does not necessarily follow that the Comelec also committed grave abuse of discretion in resolving to grant private respondent's motion for reconsideration by nullifying the substitution of petitioner Joel G. "grave abuse of discretion" implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. We affirm the teaching of Aratuc vs. is well known in remedial law. for purposes of the record. Butuan Bay Export Co. While it may be conceded that the Comelec stepped overboard and acted in excess of its jurisdiction when it motu proprio took cognizance of SPA No.

where shall order and justice lie? Without the least intention to degrade. 98-288 may. 1998 resolution. And. The fact that the certificate of candidacy of Joel "Pempe" Miranda was denied due course and cancelled did not depend on the en banc resolution dated December 8.The question to answer is: will the Comelec's act which may constitute an excess of jurisdiction in SPA No. SPA No. the conditions would have substantially changed. The Court cannot accede to the reasoning that this Court should now acquiesce and submit to the sovereign will of the electorate. and not under the shadow of SPA No. In fact. Besides. cannot be proclaimed winner in case the winning candidate is disqualified. If this judgment. the result in the dispositive portion of the December 8. we reiterated the rule in the fairly recent case of Reyes v. therefore. This Court in the present certiorari proceedings cannot substitute its judgment for that of the Comelec without violating the Constitution and the Rules of Court on the matter. in resolving SPA No. viz. The doctrinal instability caused by see-sawing rulings has since been removed. 98-019 be tantamount to an act of grave abuse of discretion in its judgment in the separate and distinct case of SPA No. 98-288 should be judged on its own accord. the crux of the Comelec's disposition in SPA No. It stems from the fact that the May 5. Also. and where shall "law and justice" begin? Would the apparent results of the canvassing of votes justify this Court in refusing to apply the law instead? The answers to the foregoing are obvious. and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law. her legal opinion failed to convince the majority of the collegiate body and was not adopted by the Commission en banc. The subsequent finding that he is disqualified cannot retroact to the date of the elections as to invalidate the votes cast for him. In the latest ruling on the question. Comelec committed no grave abuse of discretion. at all. there is clear basis to find that there indeed was a blatant misrepresentation in the instant case and that it was a valid ground for the granting of the petition in SPA No. the fact remains that the said petition was granted and that the certificate of candidacy of Jose "Pempe" Miranda was denied due course and cancelled. this blemish would only constitute an error of judgment and definitely not grave abuse of discretion. where shall "people power" end. as expressed by their votes. He was repudiated by either a majority or plurality of voters. 98-019 should be treated as a mere surplusage. of course. this Court said: To simplistically assume that the second placer would have received the other votes would be to substitute our judgment for the mind of the voter. As earlier elucidated too. still. 1998 resolution GRANTED private respondent's Petition to Deny Due Course to and/or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy. 93-99. Ergo. 98-019 is one to deny due course and to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Jose "Pempe" Miranda (Rollo. the Comelec's motu proprio act of resurrecting SPA No. non sequitur. 98-288 in favor of private respondent. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service. this supposed error does not constitute grave abuse of discretion which may be annulled and reversed in the present petition for certiorari. 98-288 is correct insofar as it annulled the election and proclamation of Joel G. Garcia's plea that the votes case for Reyes be invalidated is without merit. He could not be considered the first among qualified candidates because in a field which excludes the disqualified candidate. a second placer. in this case Alarilla. 98-019 by disqualifying the candidate. There is no dispute that the complaint or petition filed by private respondent in SPA No. 26-31). In this regard. 98-019. that whether or not the Comelec granted any further relief in SPA No. However. We may only strike out a Comelec decision if it was rendered without jurisdiction. or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Garcia's petition to be proclaimed mayor in view of the disqualification of Renato U. Commission on Elections (275 SCRA 763 [1997]) may be recalled: Our case law is now settled that in a mayoralty election. Miranda. it was not even necessary for the Comelec to reiterate this in its December 8. 98-288 as well? Clearly. (Article II. 98-019. The votes cast for Reyes are presumed to have been cast in the belief that Reyes was qualified and for that reason can be treated as stray. Rollo). At best. there appears to be sound basis to rule that a certificate of candidacy which has been denied due course on account of misrepresentation is. There is likewise no question that the said petition was GRANTED without any qualification whatsoever. It is rather clear. . But even assuming for the sake of argument that it is not. 98-288 is the fact that former candidate Jose "Pempe" Miranda's certificate of candidacy was denied due course and cancelled. void and meaningless. errors of judgment may not be corrected by certiorari. The Court cannot choose otherwise but to exercise its sacred duty to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the Republic for and under which it exists. the candidate who obtained the second highest number of votes. Reyes. pp. be considered flawed. It may be noted that Commissioner Flores raised this supposed error in her dissenting opinion (pp. The second placer is just that. there is nothing to substitute. He lost the elections. Verily. That the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes may not be proclaimed winner in case the winning candidate is disqualified is now settled. in every legal contemplation. 1998 of the Comelec. If this Court should fold its arms and refuse to apply the law at every "clamor" of the majority of the supposed constituency. only history will discern whether Jose "Pempe" Miranda's filing of a certificate of candidacy for a 4th term and the intended substitution by his son was a ploy to perpetrate the Mirandas in power by way of a political dynasty disdained and abhorred by our Constitution which declared: Sec. no certificate at all. The Comelec's decision is not subject to appeal to this Court. what was said in Nolasco vs.: xxx xxx xxx We likewise find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Comelec in denying petitioner Julius O. rendered in the Comelec's rightful exercise of its jurisdiction in SPA No. We should always be reminded that ours is a government of laws not of men. Comelec(254 SCRA 514 [1996]). Thus. 26. in excess thereof. We are not prepared to extrapolate the results under the circumstances. As earlier pointed out. 1998 resolution pertaining to the issues involved in SPA No. 1 Constitutio The invalidation of petitioner's supposed substitution of Jose "Pempe" Miranda brings about the disqualification of petitioner in the mayoralty race.

the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion insofar as it failed to follow the abovecited settled ruling consistently applied by this Court since the case of Labo vs. For purposes of succession as provided in this Chapter. nevertheless. or vice mayor. the restraining order issued in this case is forthwith LIFTED. xxx xxx xxx For purposes of this Chapter. is removed from office. 1998 elections. Comelec (176 SCRA 1[1989]). — (a) If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the governor or mayor. dies. . The law on succession under section 44 of Republic Act 7160. WHEREFORE. The petition is. shall become governor. the second highest ranking sanggunian member. insofar as the Comelec ruling to ANNUL the election and proclamation of petitioner is being AFFIRMED. and Nolasco vs. we should now close our eyes to the pertinent provisions of the Omnibus Election Code on the matter. refuses to assume office. in case of his permanent disability. If a permanent vacancy occurs in the offices of the governor. 44. fails to qualify. the highest ranking sanggunian member. or. Mayor. vice governor. voluntarily resigns. however. ranking in the sanggunian shall be determined on the basis of the proportion of votes obtained by each winning candidate to the total number of registered voters in each district in the immediately preceding local election. The law on succession should be enforced. This Court has no authority under any law to impose upon and compel the people of Santiago City to accept private respondent as their mayor. Even as the Court cannot accede to the contention that. 98-288 by DELETING the portion directing the city board of canvassers to reconvene and proclaim the winning candidate from among those voted upon during the May 11. the petition is hereby partly DENIED. Aquino vs. 782-783) Thus. Comelec (275 SCRA 763 [1997]). 248 SCRA 400 [1995]. Subsequent vacancies in the said office shall be filled automatically by the other sanggunian members according to their ranking as defined herein. and Vice Mayor. Accordingly. in view of the election results pointing to petitioner as the electors' choice for the mayoralty post. Comelec. mayor. would then apply. Said provision relevantly states: Sec. the Court duly notes that the said election results point to the fact that private respondent was not then the choice of the people of Santiago City. the vice-governor or vice-mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor. Permanent Vacancies in the Offices of the Governor. as the case may be. Comelec (176 SCRA 1 [1989]). ViceGovernor. hereby GRANTED so as to MODIFY the resolution of the Comelec in SPA No. mayor or vice mayor. respondent Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion insofar as it failed to follow the above doctrine. a permanent vacancy arises when an elective local official fills a higher vacant office.Consequently. a descendant of our ruling in Labo v. Isabela. Comelec (254 SCRA 514 [1996]). vice governor. (pp. SO ORDERED. or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office. Reyes vs. otherwise known as the Local Government Code.

(2) The assailed provisions do not violate the equal protection clause when they accord differential treatment to elective and appointive officials. or an interest against both.J. C. Petitioners.(1) The assailed Decision is contrary to.. vs. i.1 The assailed Decision granted the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition filed by Eleazar P. It was filed on December 14. or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof may. Tolentino. 2009 to file a Motion for Reconsideration. Propriety of the Motions for Reconsideration-in-Intervention Section 1. Jr. 2009. and (4) There is a compelling need to reverse the assailed Decision. 2009. 189698 February 22. 2009. 8678. The Motion for Reconsideration of COMELEC was timely filed. respondent COMELEC and movantsintervenors submit the following arguments: First. and declared as unconstitutional the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act No.: Upon a careful review of the case at bar. this Court resolves to grant the respondent Commission on Elections’ (COMELEC) motion for reconsideration. hence. the constitutional proscription against the participation of public appointive officials and members of the military in partisan political activity. prerogatives and functions of their office notwithstanding their entry into the political arena. No. 2009 – still within the reglementary period. as public safety and interest demand such reversal. JR. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. 2009 Decision (Decision). and/or violative of.R. Rule 52 of the same rules. with leave of court. . We find the foregoing arguments meritorious.6COMELEC had a period of fifteen days from receipt of notice of the assailed Decision within which to move for its reconsideration. because such differential treatment rests on material and substantial distinctions and is germane to the purposes of the law. I. and the movants-intervenors’ motions for reconsideration-in-intervention. 2010 ELEAZAR P. we shall resolve the procedural issues on the timeliness of the COMELEC’s motion for reconsideration which was filed on December 15. Timeliness of COMELEC’s Motion for Reconsideration Pursuant to Section 2. Procedural Issues G.5 in relation to Section 1.2 Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code3 and Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. Quinto and Gerino A. The assailed Decision thus paved the way for public appointive officials to continue discharging the powers. 2009 Decision. (3) The assailed provisions do not suffer from the infirmity of overbreadth. Respondent. COMELEC received notice of the assailed Decision on December 2. 9369. Rule 56-A of the 1997 Rules of Court. RESOLUTION PUNO. be allowed to intervene in the action. had until December 17.4mainly on the ground that they violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution and suffer from overbreadth. The court shall consider whether or not the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties. TOLENTINO. 2009) was subsequently filed on December 17. Rule 19 of the Rules of Court provides: A person who has legal interest in the matter in litigation or in the success of either of the parties. of this Court’s December 1. QUINTO and GERINO A. as well as the propriety of the motions for reconsideration-in-intervention which were filed after the Court had rendered its December 1. and whether or not the intervenor’s rights may be fully protected in a separate proceeding. ii. In support of their respective motions for reconsideration. The corresponding Affidavit of Service (in substitution of the one originally submitted on December 14.

and officers and employees in government-owned or -controlled corporations.Pursuant to the foregoing rule. SECTION 2. in view of the December 1. (italics supplied) We now turn to the substantive issues. We now rule that Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678. the rights or interests of said movants-intervenors cannot be adequately pursued and protected in another proceeding. As a Senator of the Republic. or whether they be in the national. 2009 Decision. and (2) such right or interest cannot be adequately pursued and protected in another proceeding. Section 2.– The motion for intervention may be filed at any time before rendition of judgment by the trial court. They stand to be directly injured by the assailed Decision. it anchors its standing on the assertion that "this case involves the constitutionality of elections laws for this coming 2010 National Elections. the right to be heard even after a decision has been rendered by the trial court. Apacible are candidates in the May 2010 elections running against appointive officials who. all the movants-intervenors may properly intervene in the case at bar. Its invoked interest is."16 Upon the other hand. We grant the motions for reconsideration. former Senator Franklin M.15 We rule that. in character. have not yet resigned from their posts and are not likely to resign from their posts. (2) They are overbroad insofar as they prohibit the candidacy of all civil servants holding appointive posts: (a) without distinction as to whether or not they occupy high/influential positions in the government. which nullifies a long established law. too indistinguishable to justify its intervention. their rights will be foreclosed if this Court’s Decision attains finality and forms part of the laws of the land. Rule 19 of the Rules of Court provides the time within which a motion for intervention may be filed.8 when the petition for review of the judgment has already been submitted for decision before the Supreme Court. and (3) Congress has not shown a compelling state interest to restrict the fundamental right of these public appointive officials. including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. unless it is reversed. 2009 Decision. With regard to the IBP – Cebu City Chapter. and accordingly reverse our December 1. 9 and even where the assailed order has already become final and executory. which reiterates Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code. Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code. but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice. Interventions have also been granted to afford indispensable parties. On the other hand. when demanded by the higher interest of justice. First. Moreover. . 2009 Decision. the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act (RA) 9369. is not inflexible. Pacquing. and Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code. with the exception of the IBP – Cebu City Chapter.Under Section 13 of RA 9369.7 that "there is a need for it to be allowed to intervene xxx so that the voice of its members in the legal profession would also be heard before this Highest Tribunal as it resolves issues of transcendental importance. the allowance or disallowance of a motion for intervention rests on the sound discretion of the court12 after consideration of the appropriate circumstances. and as a public officer. viz. Substantive Issues The assailed Decision struck down Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678. shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy. on the following grounds: (1) They violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution because of the differential treatment of persons holding appointive offices and those holding elective positions. Drilon and Tom V. III. and (b) they limit these civil servants’ activity regardless of whether they be partisan or nonpartisan in character. municipal or barangay level. Interventions have been allowed even beyond the period prescribed in the Rule. Roxas has a right to challenge the December 1. we find that the IBP-Cebu City Chapter has failed to present a specific and substantial interest sufficient to clothe it with standing to intervene in the case at bar. Senator Manuel A. he has a right to intervene in a matter that involves the electoral process. Clearly. as a voter. . A copy of the pleading-in-intervention shall be attached to the motion and served on the original parties.11 the motion for intervention filed by the Republic of the Philippines was allowed by this Court to avoid grave injustice and injury and to settle once and for all the substantive issues raised by the parties.: Prescinding from our rule and ruling case law. II. the movants-intervenors have each sufficiently established a substantial right or interest in the case. and the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of RA 9369 are not unconstitutional.10 In Lim v. This rule. In fine. however. viz. he has a personal interest in maintaining the trust and confidence of the public in its system of government. this Court has held that a motion for intervention shall be entertained when the following requisites are satisfied: (1) the would-be intervenor shows that he has a substantial right or interest in the case.13 We stress again that Rule 19 of the Rules of Court is a rule of procedure whose object is to make the powers of the court fully and completely available for justice. any person holding a public appointive office or position." and Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution 8678 Compliant with Law Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution 8678 is a faithful reflection of the present state of the law and jurisprudence on the matter. Time to intervene.: Incumbent Appointive Official. who have not been impleaded.14 Its purpose is not to hinder or delay.

in any partisan political activity. — The following shall be guilty of an election offense: xxxx (i) Intervention of public officers and employees. is the Committee willing to include certain clauses that would make this provision more strict. QUESADA. x x x 20 (italics supplied) To emphasize its importance. directly or indirectly. employee. or from mentioning the names of his candidates for public office whom he supports: Provided. except those holding political offices. we in the government service have actually experienced how this provision has been violated by the direct or indirect partisan political activities of many government officials. Stated differently. or member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. directly or indirectly. The intent of both Congress and the framers of our Constitution to limit the participation of civil service officers and employees in partisan political activities is too plain to be mistaken. — No officer or employee in the Civil Service including members of the Armed Forces. as well as express their views on political issues. the existing Civil Service Law and the implementing rules on the matter are more than exhaustive enough to really prevent officers and employees in the public service from engaging in any form of partisan political activity. Discipline: General Provisions: xxxx (b) The following shall be grounds for disciplinary action: Section 261(i) of Batas Pambansa Blg. — Any officer or employee in the civil service. shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity or take part in any election except to vote nor shall he use his official authority or influence to coerce the political activity of any other person or body.A. and which would deter its violation? MR. intervenes in any election campaign or engages in any partisan political activity. Section 46(b)(26). The intention to impose a strict limitation on the participation of civil service officers and employees in partisan political campaigns is unmistakable.23 The prohibition notwithstanding. So.: SECTION 261. I would like to address the issue here as provided in Section 1 (4). Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution. These laws and regulations implement Section 2(4). home defense forces. FOZ. including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters. Political Activity.: . or mention the names of certain candidates for public office whom they support. MS. But Section 2(4). Title I. However. viz. Chapter 8 – both of Subtitle A. The exchange between Commissioner Quesada and Commissioner Foz during the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission is instructive: xxxx (26) Engaging directly or indirectly in partisan political activities by one holding a non-political office. and even the superior officers of offices and agencies of government will themselves violate the constitutional injunction against partisan political activity. any officer. That public officers and employees holding political offices may take part in political and electoral activities but it shall be unlawful for them to solicit contributions from their subordinates or subject them to any of the acts involving subordinates prohibited in the Election Code. Madam President.19 an elected official is not deemed to have resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy for the same or any other elected office or position. pursuant to Section 14 of RA 9006 or the Fair Election Act. This is crystal clear from the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission. Prohibited Acts.17which repealed Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code18 and rendered ineffective Section 11 of R. 8436 insofar as it considered an elected official as resigned only upon the start of the campaign period corresponding to the positions for which they are running.22 Political partisanship is the inevitable essence of a political office. which prohibits civil service officers and employees from engaging in any electioneering or partisan political campaign. subdivisions. and agencies of the Government. except to vote or to preserve public order. But the problem really lies in implementation because. elective positions included. special forces. In fine. then no string of words that we may add to what is now here in this draft will really implement the constitutional intent against partisan political activity. if he is a peace officer. notwithstanding the fact that "[t]he civil service embraces all branches. the constitutional ban does not cover elected officials. viz. line 12. instrumentalities. Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 – respectively provide in relevant part: Section 44. xxxx Secondly." This is almost the same provision as in the 1973 Constitution. Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution and the implementing statutes apply only to civil servants holding apolitical offices. by the very nature of their office. and I quote: "No officer or employee in the civil service shall engage. even outside of the campaign period. Nothing herein provided shall be understood to prevent any officer or employee from expressing his views on current political problems or issues. – Upon the other hand. barangay self-defense units and all other para-military units that now exist or which may hereafter be organized who. Chapter 7 and Section 55. an elected official may run for another position without forfeiting his seat. xxxx Section 55. 881 (the Omnibus Election Code) further makes intervention by civil service officers and employees in partisan political activities an election offense."21 This is because elected public officials.Incumbent Elected Official. civil service officers and employees are allowed to vote. if the head of a ministry. engage in partisan political activities almost all year round. or any police force. this constitutional ban on civil service officers and employees is presently reflected and implemented by a number of statutes.

delete the word "activity" and in lieu thereof substitute the word CAMPAIGN. 292). MR. Voting is a partisan political activity. but please understand that there was no intention on the part of the Committee to disenfranchise any government official or employee. Executive Secretary. appointive officials hold their office by virtue of their designation thereto by an appointing authority. We ruled: THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Some appointive officials hold their office in a permanent capacity and are entitled to security of tenure while others serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. I would only like to reinstate the qualification by specifying the prohibited acts so that those who may want to vote but who are likewise prohibited from participating in partisan political campaigns or electioneering may vote. Again. Title I. The former occupy their office by virtue of the mandate of the electorate.MS. are no longer considered ipso facto resigned from their respective offices upon their filing of certificates of candidacy. it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike. If the groupings are characterized by substantial distinctions that make real differences. the constitutionality of Section 14 of the Fair Election Act. Fariñas. They are still free to express their views although the intention is not really to allow them to take part actively in a political campaign. between the words "any" and "partisan. AQUINO: The draft as presented by the Committee deleted the phrase "except to vote" which was adopted in both the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions. or officers or employees holding political offices. FOZ: There is really no quarrel over this point. . et al. as officers and employees in the civil service. the deemedresigned provision in respect of elected officials) of the Omnibus Election Code. the legislators deemed it proper to treat these two classes of officials differently with respect to the effect on their tenure in the office of the filing of the certificates of candidacy for any position other than those occupied by them. the contention that Section 14 of the Fair Election Act. May I be allowed to explain my proposed amendment? The petitioners in Fariñas thus brought an equal protection challenge against Section 14. Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678. Chapter 8. is not an unconditional right.25 In Fariñas. was assailed on the ground. On line 13. it will amount to disenfranchisement. that the legal dichotomy created by the Legislature is a reasonable classification. but is subject to reasonable classification. however. The Court has explained the nature of the equal protection guarantee in this manner: The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and individual or class privilege. Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code. Unless it is explicitly provided for as an exception to this prohibition. Presiding Officer. appointive officials. that the repeal of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code pertaining to elective officials gives undue benefit to such officials as against the appointive ones and violates the equal protection clause of the constitution. and Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code Do Not Violate the Equal Protection Clause We now hold that Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678. in relation to Sections 66 and 67 of the Omnibus Election Code. It does not demand absolute equality among residents. In contrast. In other words. AQUINO: Mr. Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. Under the same provision. in relation to Sections 66 and 67 of the Omnibus Election Code. v. as there are material and significant distinctions between the two classes of officials. are strictly prohibited from engaging in any partisan political activity or take (sic) part in any election except to vote. failed muster. Section 13 of RA 9369. The phrase "except to vote" was not intended as a guarantee to the right to vote but as a qualification of the general prohibition against taking part in elections. the Legislature can always pass a statute which can withhold from any class the right to vote in an election. which is not the case. are obviously expressly allowed to take part in political and electoral activities. The last phrase or clause might have given the impression that a government employee or worker has no right whatsoever in an election campaign except to vote. is Controlling In truth. and the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of RA 9369 are not violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Substantial distinctions clearly exist between elective officials and appointive officials.. that it unduly discriminates against appointive officials. The equal protection of the law clause in the Constitution is not absolute. since Section 66 was not repealed. et al. They are elected to an office for a definite term and may be removed therefrom only upon stringent conditions. Treñas): Commissioner Aquino may proceed. this Court has already ruled squarely on whether these deemed-resigned provisions challenged in the case at bar violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution in Fariñas.e. By repealing Section 67 but retaining Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code. Executive Secretary. i. elected officials The petitioners' contention. with the end in view of having the deemed-resigned provisions "apply equally" to both elected and appointive officials. On the other hand. Section 1. v. it is not within the power of the Court to pass upon or look into the wisdom of this classification. et al. We know that suffrage. We held. if public interest so required. is tenuous. under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. as well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality. Consequently. my proposed amendment is on page 2. infringed on the equal protection clause of the Constitution. one class may be treated and regulated differently from the other. lines 13 and 14. 24 IV. elective officials. As Section 14 repealed Section 67 (i. although plenary. subparagraph 4. Civil Service Commission. and on line 14." add the phrase ELECTIONEERING AND OTHER. The equal protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class. The elimination of the last clause of this provision was precisely intended to protect the members of the civil service in the sense that they are not being deprived of the freedom of expression in a political contest. among others. Subsection A. the limitation on appointive officials continues to be operative – they are deemed resigned when they file their certificates of candidacy. and reasonable grounds exist for making a distinction between those who fall within such class and those who do not. It is not intended to prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by territory within which it is to operate. MS. Another substantial distinction between the two sets of officials is that under Section 55. et al. if it applies alike to all persons within such class.

of my rights. nor does a decision on one proposition make statements of the court regarding other propositions dicta. Our assailed Decision was likewise silent as a sphinx on this point even while we submitted the following thesis: .31 As we held in Villanueva. any one of which is sufficient to determine the ultimate issue.Since the classification justifying Section 14 of Rep. owing to the disposal of the contention. Act No. elected Vice-Presidents were appointed to take charge of national housing. otherwise than it did. Classification Germane to the Purposes of the Law The Fariñas ruling on the equal protection challenge stands on solid ground even if reexamined.30 For that reason. "If a group of cases involves the same point. which is really "adherence to precedents.42 Stated differently.. is anchored upon material and significant distinctions and all the persons belonging under the same classification are similarly treated."39 In addressing a societal concern. Court of Appeals. et al.: … For example. If a case was decided against me yesterday when I was a defendant.44 that the Legislature must be held rigidly to the choice of regulating all or none.29 This rule applies to all pertinent questions that are presented and resolved in the regular course of the consideration of the case and lead up to the final conclusion. [I]t is not sufficient grounds for invalidation that we may find that the statute’s distinction is unfair.46 such that the constitutionality of the law must be sustained even if the reasonableness of the classification is "fairly debatable. the equal protection clause does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or things without distinction. as long as "the bounds of reasonable choice" are not exceeded. the courts must defer to the legislative judgment. I shall look for the same judgment today if I am plaintiff. Under the present state of our law. where a case presents two (2) or more points. however. We ought to be guided by the doctrine of stare decisis et non quieta movere. it must invariably draw lines and make choices.. made on some other ground." mandates that once a case has been decided one way. and (4) It applies equally to all members of the same class. is underinclusive will not render it unconstitutionally arbitrary or invidious. in the example. unwise.40 Nevertheless. the Executive Secretary. thereby creating some inequity as to those included or excluded. there is no valid justification to treat them differently when both file their [Certificates of Candidacy] for the elections. or might have been. and none of such points can be regarded as having the status of a dictum. nor can an additional reason in a decision. proffers the dubious conclusion that the differential treatment of appointive officials vis-à-vis elected officials is not germane to the purpose of the law. be regarded as dicta. elected officials vis-à-vis appointive officials.43 There is no constitutional requirement that regulation must reach each and every class to which it might be applied. this conclusion conveniently ignores the long-standing rule that to remedy an injustice.33 (italics supplied) ii. To start with. This doctrine. whether or not the Legislature cited those bases as reasons for the enactment. or not the best solution from a public-policy standpoint. social welfare development.38 Sad to state. the evils sought to be prevented by the measure remain.34 What it simply requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification." viz. brought forward after the case has been disposed of on one ground. the case as an authoritative precedent as to every point decided.41 We may not strike down a law merely because the legislative aim would have been more fully achieved by expanding the class.:32 … A decision which the case could have turned on is not regarded as obiter dictum merely because. let us say. we must find that there is no reasonably rational reason for the differing treatment. the fact that a legislative classification. It is trite to state that an adjudication on any point within the issues presented by the case cannot be considered as obiter dictum.48 .28 Our Fariñas ruling on the equal protection implications of the deemed-resigned provisions cannot be minimalized as mere obiter dictum. and foreign affairs). the equal protection clause of the Constitution is. on the particular point. Jr. Thus. i. it would be an infringement.27 This doctrine is one of policy grounded on the necessity for securing certainty and stability of judicial decisions. interior and local government. thus. also. could wield the same influence as the Vice-President who at the same time is appointed to a Cabinet post (in the recent past. running this time. a point expressly decided does not lose its value as a precedent because the disposition of the case is. or even though. As the renowned jurist Benjamin Cardozo stated in his treatise The Nature of the Judicial Process: It will not do to decide the same question one way between one set of litigants and the opposite way between another. then another case involving exactly the same point at issue should be decided in the same manner. for President. the petitioners failed – and in fact did not even attempt – to discharge this heavy burden." Adherence to precedent must then be the rule rather than the exception if litigants are to have faith in the even-handed administration of justice in the courts. retains his position during the entire election period and can still use the resources of his office to support his campaign. It would be a gross injustice to decide alternate cases on opposite principles. it was necessary to consider another question." 45 He must refute all possible rational bases for the differing treatment. and one point should not be denied authority merely because another point was more dwelt on and more fully argued and considered. (2) It is germane to the purposes of the law. (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only. To decide differently would raise a feeling of resentment and wrong in my breast. but the court actually decides all such points.36 which has four requisites: (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions. third and fourth requisites of reasonableness. and to any statement as to the matter on which the decision is predicated."47 In the case at bar. underinclusive.e.26 The case at bar is a crass attempt to resurrect a dead issue. by itself. rather.. because "whether one holds an appointive office or an elective one. the parties expect the same decision. by reason of other points in the case.37 Our assailed Decision readily acknowledged that these deemed-resigned provisions satisfy the first. the Legislature need not address every manifestation of the evil at once. The miracle is that our assailed Decision gave it new life. material and moral. not infringed. It. With the fact that they both head executive offices. 9006.35 The test developed by jurisprudence here and yonder is that of reasonableness. or any Member of the Cabinet for that matter. the result reached might have been the same if the court had held. any person who poses an equal protection challenge must convincingly show that the law creates a classification that is "palpably arbitrary or capricious. v. it may proceed "one step at a time. So. the Vice-President.

complete deference is accorded to the will of the electorate that they be served by such officials until the end of the term for which they were elected. et al. the Legislature. Violation of these provisions results in dismissal from employment and possible criminal sanctions. Mr. Nor do they seek to control political opinions or beliefs.] it is high-time that we. existing at the behest of both appointive and elected officials. and (iv) the Legislature is to be given some flexibility or latitude in ascertaining which positions are to be covered by any statutory restrictions. and extensively cited." Our assailed Decision’s reliance on Mancuso is completely misplaced. as the Court held in Pickering v. yet equally compelling. from whom we copied the provision in question. An election is the embodiment of the popular will. (ii) the courts must therefore balance the legitimate interest of employee free expression against the interests of the employer in promoting efficiency of public services. the assailed Decision would have us "equalize the playing field" by invalidating provisions of law that seek to restrain the evils from running riot. it would favor a situation in which the evils are unconfined and vagrant. It held that (i) in regulating the speech of its employees. Board of Education. The problem in any case is to arrive at a balance between the interests of the (employee). in commenting upon matters of public concern and the interest of the (government). and discipline of the public service. the correct standard of review is an interest-balancing approach. . et al..59 the government has an interest in regulating the conduct and ‘the speech of its employees that differ(s) significantly from those it possesses in connection with regulation of the speech of the citizenry in general. perhaps the purest expression of the sovereign power of the people. there is no such expectation insofar as appointed officials are concerned. in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees. in his dissent. We cannot blink away the fact that the United States Supreme Court effectively overruled Mancuso three months after its promulgation by the United States Court of Appeals. or points of view. also thought it wise to balance this with the competing. insofar as government employees are concerned. This Court cannot and should not arrogate unto itself the power to ascertain and impose on the people the best state of affairs from a public policy standpoint. groups. It is certainly within the Legislature’s power to make the deemed-resigned provisions applicable to elected officials. to say the least. the state as employer has interests that differ significantly from those it possesses in regulating the speech of the citizenry in general.’ Although Congress is free to strike a different balance than it has.51 (emphasis in the original) In fine. For the law was made not merely to preserve the integrity. Suffice it to say that the remedy lies with the Legislature.54 the United States Supreme Court was faced with the issue of whether statutory provisions prohibiting federal55 and state56 employees from taking an active part in political management or in political campaigns were unconstitutional as to warrant facial invalidation. In contrast. or religious minorities. (2) Any legislative classification that significantly burdens this fundamental right must be subjected to strict equal protection review. our assailed Decision. the judgment of Congress. The dichotomized treatment of appointive and elective officials is therefore germane to the purposes of the law. But. is indeed a matter worth exploring – but not by this Court.49 It involves the choice or selection of candidates to public office by popular vote. the limitation on speech is not unconstitutional. Taft. as an employer. et al. v. Under the pretext of equal protection. v. as follows: Until now. or to interfere with or influence anyone's vote at the polls. claimed: (1) The right to run for public office is "inextricably linked" with two fundamental freedoms – freedom of expression and association. the Executive. The restrictions so far imposed on federal employees are not aimed at particular parties. the deemed-resigned provisions pursue their objective in a far too heavy-handed manner as to render them unconstitutional. They discriminate against no racial. and (3) While the state has a compelling interest in maintaining the honesty and impartiality of its public work force. iii. In United States Civil Service Commission. under our constitutional system. and the country appears to have been that partisan political activities by federal employees must be limited if the Government is to operate effectively and fairly. and employees themselves are to be sufficiently free from improper influences. In other words.50 Considering that elected officials are put in office by their constituents for a definite term.In the instant case. but apply equally to all partisan activities of the type described. should follow suit. elections are to play their proper part in representative government. whose wisdom is outside the rubric of judicial scrutiny. that elected officials (vis-à-vis appointive officials) have greater political clout over the electorate. ethnic. State of Oklahoma. Mancuso v. as a citizen. our assailed Decision adverted to. relying on Mancuso. National Association of Letter Carriers AFL-CIO. et al. is there a rational justification for excluding elected officials from the operation of the deemed resigned provisions? I submit that there is. Justice Nachura. it may justifiably be said that they were excluded from the ambit of the deemed resigned provisions in utmost respect for the mandate of the sovereign will. which struck down as unconstitutional a similar statutory provision. too. (iii) if the employees’ expression interferes with the maintenance of efficient and regularly functioning services. 58 Letter Carriers elucidated on these principles. over another in which a significant portion thereof is contained. a means-end scrutiny that examines the closeness of fit between the governmental interests and the prohibitions in question. had already stricken down a similar measure for being unconstitutional[. The concern.57 Therefore. Pathetically. to balance competing interests and thereafter make policy choices responsive to the exigencies of the times. It is the Legislature that is given the authority.52 This was a decision of the First Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals promulgated in March 1973. should it later decide that the evils sought to be prevented are of such frequency and magnitude as to tilt the balance in favor of expanding the class. interest of deferring to the sovereign will. efficiency.53 and Broadrick. voiced by our esteemed colleague. The absurdity of that position is self-evident. It then concluded with the exhortation that since "the Americans. we think the balance it has so far struck is sustainable by the obviously important interests sought to be served by the limitations on partisan political activities now contained in the Hatch Act. Taft Has Been Overruled Finding no Philippine jurisprudence to prop up its equal protection ruling. The Court declared these provisions compliant with the equal protection clause. if it so chooses. Mancuso v.

the goals of s 818 may be.: xxxx [Appellants] nevertheless maintain that the statute is overbroad and purports to reach protected. appellants assert that the sixth and seventh paragraphs of s 818 are void in toto and cannot be enforced against them or anyone else. A major thesis of the Hatch Act is that to serve this great end of Government-the impartial execution of the laws-it is essential that federal employees. Appellants freely concede that such restrictions serve valid and important state interests. strong medicine. candidacy or other political purpose’ and taking part ‘in the management or affairs of any political party or in any political campaign.. it is all but frivolous to suggest that the section fails to give adequate warning of what activities it proscribes or fails to set out ‘explicit standards' for those who must apply it. It may be urged that prohibitions against coercion are sufficient protection. and this remains as important as any other. In the plainest language.’ Words inevitably contain germs of uncertainty and. not undertake to play substantial roles in partisan political campaigns. at the very least. We have held today that the Hatch Act is not impermissibly vague. as well as unprotected conduct. Forbidding activities like these will reduce the hazards to fair and effective government. and must therefore be struck down on its face and held to be incapable of any constitutional application.' x x x Another major concern of the restriction against partisan activities by federal employees was perhaps the immediate occasion for enactment of the Hatch Act in 1939. x x x x x x But the plain import of our cases is.’ or ‘take part in. a limited one at the outset.’ Rather. Although such laws.61 We have little doubt that s 818 is similarly not so vague that ‘men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning.’ It forbids solicitation of contributions ‘for any political organization. Neither the right to associate nor the right to participate in political activities is absolute in any event. if too broadly worded. paid for at public expense.60 x x x xxxx As we see it. as with the Hatch Act. manifestly. without sacrifice to the public interest. We do not believe that the overbreadth doctrine may appropriately be invoked in this manner here. rather than in accordance with their own or the will of a political party. its language is unconstitutionally vague and its prohibitions too broad in their sweep. it prohibits any state classified employee from being ‘an officer or member’ of a ‘partisan political club’ or a candidate for ‘any paid public office. appellants maintain that however permissible. if confidence in the system of representative Government is not to be eroded to a disastrous extent. attenuates as the otherwise unprotected behavior that it forbids the State to sanction moves from ‘pure speech’ toward conduct and that conduct-even if expressive-falls within the scope of otherwise valid criminal laws that reflect legitimate state interests in maintaining comprehensive controls over harmful. They are expected to enforce the law and execute the programs of the Government without bias or favoritism for or against any political party or group or the members thereof. to man its political structure and political campaigns. Application of the overbreadth doctrine in this manner is. A related concern. That was the conviction that the rapidly expanding Government work force should not be employed to build a powerful.’ or ‘affairs of’ political parties. does the Constitution forbid it. and not run for office on partisan political tickets. not take formal positions in political parties. . viz. there comes a point where that effect-at best a prediction-cannot. for example. that facial over-breadth adjudication is an exception to our traditional rules of practice and that its function. even commendable. Nor. and at the same time to make sure that Government employees would be free from pressure and from express or tacit invitation to vote in a certain way or perform political chores in order to curry favor with their superiors rather than to act out their own beliefs. should administer the law in accordance with the will of Congress. but it is also critical that they appear to the public to be avoiding it.’62 Whatever other problems there are with s 818. so as to comport with constitutional limitations. is applicable here: ‘there are limitations in the English language with respect to being both specific and manageably brief. For these and other reasons. For example. The experience of the 1936 and 1938 campaigns convinced Congress that these dangers were sufficiently real that substantial barriers should be raised against the party in power-or the party out of power. and we are not now in any position to dispute it. and it seems to us that although the prohibitions may not satisfy those intent on finding fault at any cost. (italics supplied) Broadrick likewise definitively stated that the assailed statutory provision is constitutionally permissible.’ Perhaps Congress at some time will come to a different view of the realities of political life and Government service. may deter protected speech to some unknown extent. they are set out in terms that the ordinary person exercising ordinary common sense can sufficiently understand and comply with. But what was said in Letter Carriers. and by protecting them from ‘political extortion. There is another consideration in this judgment: it is not only important that the Government and its employees in fact avoid practicing political justice. there may be disputes over the meaning of such terms in s 818 as ‘partisan. for that matter-using the thousands or hundreds of thousands of federal employees. justify invalidating a statute on its face and so . but to construe it. invincible. was to further serve the goal that employment and advancement in the Government service not depend on political performance. our task is not to destroy the Act if we can. particularly with respect to attracting greater numbers of qualified people by insuring their job security. xxxx The consequence of our departure from traditional rules of standing in the First Amendment area is that any enforcement of a statute thus placed at issue is totally forbidden until and unless a limiting construction or partial invalidation so narrows it as to remove the seeming threat or deterrence to constitutionally protected expression. if consistent with the will of Congress.It seems fundamental in the first place that employees in the Executive Branch of the Government. failing to distinguish between conduct that may be proscribed and conduct that must be permitted. Appellants do not question Oklahoma's right to place even-handed restrictions on the partisan political conduct of state employees. and perhaps corrupt political machine. but that is its current view of the matter. constitutionally unprotected conduct. at the hearings in 1972 on proposed legislation for liberalizing the prohibition against political activity. in our view. free from the vicissitudes of the elective process. or those working for any of its agencies. the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission stated that ‘the prohibitions against active participation in partisan political management and partisan political campaigns constitute the most significant safeguards against coercion . It has been employed by the Court sparingly and only as a last resort. but for many years the joint judgment of the Executive and Congress has been that to protect the rights of federal employees with respect to their jobs and their political acts and beliefs it is not enough merely to forbid one employee to attempt to influence or coerce another. . with confidence.

taking part in the management or affairs of any political party's partisan political campaign. Clearly. the appellants sought the invalidation for being vague and overbroad a provision in the (sic) Oklahoma’s Merit System of Personnel Administration Act restricting the political activities of the State’s classified civil servants. the fact remains that s 818 regulates a substantial spectrum of conduct that is as manifestly subject to state regulation as the public peace or criminal trespass." (2) Letter Carriers involved plaintiffs who alleged that the Civil Service Commission was enforcing. (italics supplied) It bears stressing that. Prior to the commencement of the action. which prohibits "continuing in the classified service of the city after becoming a candidate for nomination or election to any public office. Under the decision in Letter Carriers. and for receiving and distributing campaign posters in bulk. political parties. filed as a candidate for nomination as representative to the Rhode Island General Assembly. however. initiating or circulating partisan nominating petitions. that his position is belied by a plain reading of these cases. Indiana. city council member or mayor. in his Dissenting Opinion. to participate as delegates in party conventions. a full time police officer and classified civil service employee of the City of Cranston. or candidates for any paid public office. Mr. becoming members of national. (b) Plaintiff Gee. Contrary to his claim. s 818 is not a censorial statute. and that he would do so except for fear of losing his job by reason of violation of the Hatch Act. the Hatch Act’s prohibition against "active participation in political management or political campaigns. The fact that candidacy. seeks to regulate political activity in an even-handed and neutral manner. It is our view that s 818 is not substantially overbroad and that whatever overbreadth may exist should be cured through caseby-case analysis of the fact situations to which its sanctions. to encourage and get federal employees to run for state and local offices. or local committees of political parties. if an employee acquiesces in the efforts of friends in furtherance of such candidacy such . involves. an automatic resignation provision. as presently construed. is merely passive is immaterial. judged in relation to the statute's plainly legitimate sweep. therefore. viz. As indicted. Justice Nachura does not deny the principles enunciated in Letter Carriers and Broadrick." The plaintiffs desired to campaign for candidates for public office. Mitchell. soliciting votes or assisting voters at the polls or helping in a partisan effort to get voters to the polls. there is no question that s 818 is valid at least insofar as it forbids classified employees from: soliciting contributions for partisan candidates. serving as delegates or alternates to caucuses or conventions of political parties. Mancuso. or municipal office is not permissible. which alleged that its members were desirous of. running in local elections for offices such as school board member.prohibiting a State from enforcing the statute against conduct that is admittedly within its power to proscribe. or riding in caravans for any political party or partisan political candidate. or other partisan political purposes. on the other hand. the plaintiffs alleged that the Civil Service Commission was enforcing. He assailed the constitutionality of §14." viz. unconstitutional on its face. x x x (italics in the original) We hold. Kenneth Mancuso. s 818 is directed. State. we do not believe that s 818 must be discarded in toto because some persons’ arguably protected conduct may or may not be caught or chilled by the statute. and were administratively charged for asking other Corporation Commission employees to do campaign work or to give referrals to persons who might help in the campaign. but did not. and (c) Plaintiff Myers. or threatening to enforce. Letter Carriers and Broadrick cannot be interpreted to mean a reversal of Mancuso. as the above-cited US cases pertain to different types of laws and were decided based on a different set of facts. directed at particular groups or viewpoints. assertedly. Section 818 is not substantially overbroad and it not. by its terms. Letter Carriers. among others. we believe that the overbreadth of a statute must not only be real. who alleged that he desired to. The Mayor of Cranston then began the process of enforcing the resign-to-run provision of the City Home Rule Charter. The Hatch Act defines "active participation in political management or political campaigns" by cross-referring to the rules made by the Civil Service Commission. But at the same time. In Broadrick. as aforesaid.: In Letter Carriers. rather. that these cases cannot be interpreted to mean a reversal of Mancuso. Candidacy for local office: Candidacy for a nomination or for election to any National. county. The plaintiffs relevant to this discussion are: (a) The National Association of Letter Carriers. To put the matter another way.09(c) of the City Home Rule Charter. the Hatch Act’s prohibition against "active participation in political management or political campaigns" 63 with respect to certain defined activities in which they desired to engage. since they "pertain to different types of laws and were decided based on a different set of facts. The prohibition against political activity extends not merely to formal announcement of candidacy but also to the preliminaries leading to such announcement and to canvassing or soliciting support or doing or permitting to be done any act in furtherance of candidacy. participating in the distribution of partisan campaign literature. in much the same manner as the Hatch Act proscribed partisan political activities of federal employees. particularly where conduct and not merely speech is involved. This much was established in United Public Workers v. who alleged that he desired to run as a Republican candidate in the 1971 partisan election for the mayor of West Lafayette. or threatening to enforce. The statute. but substantial as well. Broadrick and Mancuso all concerned the constitutionality of resign-to-run laws. the appellants actively participated in the 1970 reelection campaign of their superior. file as a candidate for the office of Borough Councilman in his local community for fear that his participation in a partisan election would endanger his job. But. and to hold office in a political club. Moreover. state. such statutes have in the past been subject to a less exacting overbreadth scrutiny. for soliciting money for the campaign. The rule pertinent to our inquiry states: 30. and has been unhesitatingly reaffirmed today in Letter Carriers. at political expression which if engaged in by private persons would plainly be protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.: (1) Mancuso involved a civil service employee who filed as a candidate for nomination as representative to the Rhode Island General Assembly. x x x It may be that such restrictions are impermissible and that s 818 may be susceptible of some other improper applications. nonetheless. may not be applied. or officers or committee members in partisan political clubs. Unlike ordinary breach-of-the peace statutes or other broad regulatory acts. He would hold. addressing or taking an active part in partisan political rallies or meetings.

Where. Nat'l Ass'n of Letter Carriers and Broadrick v. the small size of the electorate and the limited powers . as the district court recognized. As we priorly explained: Magill involved Pawtucket. the Magill court detailed the major governmental interests discussed in Letter Carriers and applied them to the Pawtucket provision as follows: In Letter Carriers[. In Mancuso v. as here. under the circumstances of that case. While this approach may still be viable for citizens who are not government employees. The issue compels us to extrapolate two recent Supreme Court decisions. Mitchell "unhesitatingly" reaffirmed. possible criminal sanctions and limited state employment ineligibility. was a position which was no longer viable. but into the particulars of administration favoritism in minute decisions affecting welfare. By no stretch of the imagination could Mancuso still be held operative. Pawtucket’s "Little Hatch Act" prohibits city employees from engaging in a broad range of political activities. Taft. we assumed that proscriptions of candidacy in nonpartisan elections would not be constitutional. But a different kind of possible political intrusion into efficient administration could be thought to threaten municipal government: not into broad policy decisions. fully cognizant of Letter Carriers and Broadrick. The firemen brought an action against the city officials on the ground that that the provision of the city charter was unconstitutional.acquiescence constitutes an infraction of the prohibitions against political activity. Just as the Court in Letter Carriers identified a second governmental interest in the avoidance of the appearance of "political justice" as to policy. reasoning that candidates in a local election would not likely be committed to a state or national platform. It was thus not surprising for the First Circuit Court of Appeals – the same court that decided Mancuso – to hold categorically and emphatically in Magill v. limiting its holding to Oklahoma's construction that the Act barred only activity in partisan politics.68 It appears that the government may place limits on campaigning by public employees if the limits substantially serve government interests that are "important" enough to outweigh the employees' First Amendment rights. the city might reasonably fear that politically active bureaucrats would use their official power to help political friends and hurt political foes. and inspections. is to apply the Court’s interest balancing approach to the kind of nonpartisan election revealed in this record. We cannot be more precise than the Third Circuit in characterizing the Court's approach as "some sort of 'balancing' process".64 (3) Broadrick was a class action brought by certain Oklahoma state employees seeking a declaration of unconstitutionality of two sub-paragraphs of Section 818 of Oklahoma’s Merit System of Personnel Administration Act. Not only was United Public Workers v. Rhode Island firemen who ran for city office in 1975. Taft than remains after Letter Carriers. hiring. The appearance (or reality) of favoritism that the charter's authors evidently feared is not exorcised by the nonpartisan character of the formal election process. if parties are not heavily involved in a campaign. states that "[n]o employee in the classified service shall be … a candidate for nomination or election to any paid public office…" Violation of Section 818 results in dismissal from employment. Ruled the court: The question before us is whether Pawtucket's charter provision. It observed that the view that political candidacy was a fundamental interest which could be infringed upon only if less restrictive alternatives were not available. but the Court gave little weight to the argument that prohibitions against the coercion of government employees were a less drastic means to the same end. The district court discounted this interest. (italics supplied) Section 9(b) requires the immediate removal of violators and forbids the use of appropriated funds thereafter to pay compensation to these persons. known party affiliation and support were highly significant factors in Pawtucket elections. which bars a city employee's candidacy in even a nonpartisan city election. Letter Carriers and Broadrick compel new analysis. it cannot be denied that Letter Carriers and Broadrick effectively overruled Mancuso. the danger of favoritism is less. the court. The district court felt this was only a minor threat since parties had no control over nominations. zoning. the paragraph relevant to this discussion. the Court in Letter Carriers recognized that the government's interest in regulating both the conduct and speech of its employees differs significantly from its interest in regulating those of the citizenry in general. and party rivalry is the norm. A second major governmental interest identified in Letter Carriers was avoiding the danger of a powerful political machine. Lynch65 that Mancuso is no longer good law. for neither friend nor foe is as easily identified. Mitchell.67 It must be noted that the Court of Appeals ruled in this manner even though the election in Magill was characterized as nonpartisan. and party endorsements proved to be highly effective both in determining who would emerge from the primary election and who would be elected in the final election. concessions. xxxx What we are obligated to do in this case. so there is an equivalent interest in avoiding the appearance of political preferment in privileges. Broadrick sustained Oklahoma's "Little Hatch Act" against constitutional attack. In municipal elections especially. municipal contracts and purchasing.] the first interest identified by the Court was that of an efficient government. x x x (italics supplied) Upholding thus the constitutionality of the law in question. However. We have particular reference to our view that political candidacy was a fundamental interest which could be trenched upon only if less restrictive alternatives were not available. Letter Carriers reaffirmed United Public Workers v. deferring to the judgment of the Congress. Section 818 (7). and applying a "balancing" test to determine whether limits on political activity by public employees substantially served government interests which were "important" enough to outweigh the employees’ First Amendment rights. upholding the constitutionality of the Hatch Act as to federal employees. and benefits. and (ii) were decided by a superior court. an unbreakable grasp on the reins of power. The Court had in mind the large and growing federal bureaucracy and its partisan potential. and the incumbent workers. The charter's authors might reasonably have feared that a politically active public work force would give the incumbent party. deferring to the judgment of Congress. the United States Supreme Court. as it was reasonable for the city to fear. faithful to the Congress rather than to party. This observation undoubtedly has substance insofar as allegiance to broad policy positions is concerned. tax assessments. Both dealt with laws barring civil servants from partisan political activity. that politically active bureaucrats might use their official power to help political friends and hurt political foes. Becoming a candidate for any city office is specifically proscribed. This is not to say that the city's interest in visibly fair and effective administration necessarily justifies a blanket prohibition of all employee campaigning. Oklahoma. is constitutional. took the position that Mancuso had since lost considerable vitality. Civil Service Comm'n v. licensing.66 the violation being punished by removal from office or immediate dismissal. party support is a key to successful campaigning. Consequently. as Letter Carriers and Broadrick (i) concerned virtually identical resign-to-run laws. Under the prevailing customs. But in fact candidates sought party endorsements. We believe that the district court found more residual vigor in our opinion in Mancuso v. since the Supreme Court (finding that the government’s interest in regulating both the conduct and speech of its employees differed significantly from its interest in regulating those of the citizenry in general) had given little weight to the argument that prohibitions against the coercion of government employees were a less drastic means to the same end.

74 Moreover. absent any allegation that. remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings in respect of the petitioners’ overbreadth charge. the ponencia’s exhortation that "[since] the Americans. But we think that the possibility of coercion of employees by superiors remains as strong a factor in municipal elections as it was in Letter Carriers. The facts of this case are so similar that we may reach the same result without worrying unduly about the sometimes opaque distinction between speech and conduct. by itself. a carefully orchestrated use of city employees in support of the incumbent party's candidates is possible. The Court found that this combination required a substantial overbreadth approach. but without party officials looking over their shoulders most supervisors will prefer to let employees go their own ways. Some superiors may be inclined to ride herd on the politics of their employees even in a nonpartisan context. and Magill demonstrate beyond doubt that Mancuso v. was on the constitutionality of the statute as applied. Some sensitivity to reality is needed. too. School committee candidates. but substantial as well. Accordingly. an interest that looms larger in the context of municipal elections than it does in the national elections considered in Letter Carriers. it will never be possible to say that a ratio of one invalid to nine valid applications makes a law substantially overbroad. The second difficulty is not so easily disposed of. including soliciting contributions for political candidates and becoming a candidate. by running for an elective position. especially because the political views of individual employees may balance each other out. should follow suit" is misplaced and unwarranted. one cannot bring one’s action under the rubric of freedom of association. our assailed Decision’s submission that the right to run for public office is "inextricably linked" with two fundamental freedoms – those of expression and association – lies on barren ground. and held this to be no more of a threat than in the most nonpartisan of elections. But party discipline eliminates this diversity and tends to make abuse systematic. Still." Two major uncertainties attend the doctrine: how to distinguish speech from conduct. in the short period before the election was held.70 Accordingly. Broadrick. it is the systematic and coordinated exploitation of public servants for political ends that a legislature is most likely to see as the primary threat of employees' rights. Even when nonpartisan issues and candidacies are at stake. "the overbreadth of a statute must not only be real. Noting that invalidating a statute for being overbroad is "not to be taken lightly. but looked only to the possibility of a civil servant using his position to influence voters. simply reading the statute in the light of common experience or litigated cases will suggest a number of probable invalid applications. many employee campaigns might be thought to endanger at least one strong public interest. are endorsed by the local Democratic committee. a rough balancing of the number of valid applications compared to the number of potentially invalid applications. American case law has in fact never recognized a fundamental right to express one’s political views through candidacy. is not entitled to constitutional protection. Political oppression of public employees will be rare in an entirely nonpartisan system.] it is high-time that we. an overbreadth challenger has a duty to provide the court with some idea of the number of potentially invalid applications the statute permits. citations omitted) Clearly. the entire focus below. we remand for consideration of plaintiffs' overbreadth claim. Taft. the entire government work force may be expected to turn out for many candidates in every election. In the absence of substantial party involvement. the government may constitutionally restrict its employees' participation in nominally nonpartisan elections if political parties play a large role in the campaigns. Telford73 pointedly stated that "[t]he First Amendment does not in terms confer a right to run for public office. and how to define "substantial" overbreadth. In short. The third area of proper governmental interest in Letter Carriers was ensuring that employees achieve advancement on their merits and that they be free from both coercion and the prospect of favor from political activity. The possibilities of internal discussion. from whom we copied the provision in question. should an employee gather substantial political support. but a more real danger is that a central party structure will mass the scattered powers of government workers behind a single party platform or slate. one’s interest in seeking office. are considerable. we do not suggest that they would always do so. had already stricken down a similar measure for being unconstitutional[. For all the record shows.75 . Plaintiffs may very well feel that further efforts are not justified. Instead of a handful of employees pressured into advancing their immediate superior's political ambitions. (citations omitted) The court. inter alia. Letter Carriers. and this court has held that it does not do so by implication either.72 Bart v. however." Thus. Often. deems significant. While the employees' First Amendment rights would normally outbalance these diminished interests. on the other hand. Occasional misuse of the public trust to pursue private political ends is tolerable. cliques. and political bargaining. Certainly the record suggests that parties play a major role even in campaigns that often are entirely nonpartisan in other cities. Under Broadrick. We are spared the first inquiry by Broadrick itself. Once again. or federal elections in Pawtucket is actively contested by political parties. isolated government employees may seek to influence voters or their co-workers improperly. Broadrick found no substantial overbreadth in a statute restricting partisan campaigning. one is advancing the political ideas of a particular set of voters." the court held: The governing case is Broadrick. The question is a matter of degree. judged in relation to the statute's plainly legitimate sweep. The danger is scarcely lessened by the openness of Pawtucket's nominating procedure or the lack of party labels on its ballots. An employee of a federal agency who seeks a Congressional seat poses less of a direct challenge to the command and discipline of his agency than a fireman or policeman who runs for mayor or city council. an invalid application that is far-fetched does not deserve as much weight as one that is probable. Pawtucket has gone further. heavily relied upon by the ponencia.71 as to invoke a rigorous standard of review. Whether the statute is overbroad depends in large part on the number of elections that are insulated from party rivalry yet closed to Pawtucket employees. the candidacy for which by municipal employees would not pose the possible threats to government efficiency and integrity which Letter Carriers. The city could reasonably fear the prospect of a subordinate running directly against his superior or running for a position that confers great power over his superior. banning participation in nonpartisan campaigns as well. On the other hand. Measuring the substantiality of a statute's overbreadth apparently requires. but they should be afforded the opportunity to demonstrate that the charter forecloses access to a significant number of offices. In Pawtucket.of local government may inhibit the growth of interest groups powerful enough to outbalance the weight of a partisan work force. much less to be taken in the dark. as we have interpreted it. has effectively been overruled. The plaintiffs in that case had solicited support for a candidate. when one who challenges a law has engaged in constitutionally unprotected conduct (rather than unprotected speech) and when the challenged law is aimed at unprotected conduct. indeed such a step is not to be taken lightly. which introduced the doctrine of "substantial" overbreadth in a closely analogous case. state. where parties are a continuing presence in political campaigns. Even when parties are absent. and they were subject to discipline under a law proscribing a wide range of activities. the interests identified by the Letter Carriers Court lose much of their force. (italics supplied. The district court did not address this factor. The state of the record does not permit us to find overbreadth. But this case is different.69 As it is no longer good law. every one of the city. for example. much less to be taken in the dark.

That the State did not go further in applying the automatic resignation provision to those officeholders whose terms were not extended by § 11 or § 65. the second requisite for a valid classification. it is crystal clear that the provisions challenged in the case at bar. however. et al. to particular officials. et al. of the Texas Constitution provides that the holders of certain offices automatically resign their positions if they become candidates for any other elected office. Section 65 was enacted in 1954 as a transitional provision applying only to the 1954 election. because Texas has failed to explain sufficiently why some elected public officials are subject to § 65 and why others are not. are not violative of the equal protection clause. and (iv) ensuring that employees achieve advancement on their merits and that they be free from both coercion and the prospect of favor from political activity).S. The history behind § 65 shows that it may be upheld consistent with the "one step at a time" approach that this Court has undertaken with regard to state regulation not subject to more vigorous scrutiny than that sanctioned by the traditional principles. Such a requirement offends neither the first amendment's guarantees of free expression and association nor the fourteenth amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws. they were not overly encompassing as to be overbroad. (italics supplied) Indeed. Section 13 of RA 9369. absent an invidious purpose. A requirement that a state judge resign his office prior to becoming a candidate for non-judicial office bears a reasonably necessary relation to the achievement of the state's interest in preventing the actuality or appearance of judicial impropriety. unless the unexpired portion of the current term is one year or less. (iii) avoidance of the danger of a powerful political machine. not because of the nature or extent of the provision's restriction on candidacy. In that year. is not the sort of malfunctioning of the State's lawmaking process forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause. The Equal Protection Clause does not forbid Texas to restrict one elected officeholder's candidacy for another elected office unless and until it places similar restrictions on other officeholders. XI. v. Directed. The Court held: The interests of public employees in free expression and political association are unquestionably entitled to the protection of the first and fourteenth amendments. As with the case of § 19. a similar automatic resignation provision was added in Art. we find it quite ironic that Mr. the classification system cannot survive equal protection scrutiny. According to the District Court. as each equal protection challenge would necessarily have to involve weighing governmental interests vis-à-vis the specific prohibition assailed. The two provisions. Section 13 of RA 9369. These are interests that are important enough to outweigh the non-fundamental right of appointive officials and employees to seek elective office. the automatic resignation provision in Texas is a creature of the State's electoral reforms of 1958.1avvphi1 En passant. Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678. Section 65 extended the terms of those offices enumerated in the provision from two to four years. which applies to officeholders in home rule cities who serve terms longer than two years. he explains: …U. Maintaining that resign-to-run provisions are valid only when made applicable to specified officials. there is no blanket approval of restrictions on the right of public employees to become candidates for public office. it is unfortunate that the dissenters took the Morial line that "there is no blanket approval of restrictions on the right of public employees to become candidates for public office" out of context. The provision's language and its history belie any notion that § 65 serves the invidious purpose of denying access to the political process to identifiable classes of potential candidates. The deemed-resigned provisions substantially serve governmental interests (i. Judiciary Commission of the State of Louisiana. In fact. of course.: . § 65.Prescinding from these premises.78 under a classification that is germane to the purposes of the law. The resign-to-run provisions in these cases were upheld not because they referred to specified or particular officials (vis-à-vis a general class). the Morial court even quoted Broadrick and stated that: In any event. the questioned provisions were found valid precisely because the Court deferred to legislative judgment and found that a regulation is not devoid of a rational predicate simply because it happens to be incomplete. (emphasis in the original) This reading is a regrettable misrepresentation of Clements and Morial. (citations omitted) V. (ii) avoidance of the appearance of "political justice" as to policy. as they were. Section 11 allows home rule cities the option of extending the terms of municipal offices from two to up to four years.77 to buttress his dissent. These resign-to-run legislations were not expressed in a general and sweeping provision. A correct reading of that line readily shows that the Court only meant to confine its ruling to the facts of that case. The provision also staggered the terms of other offices so that at least some county and local offices would be contested at each election. sustained the constitutionality of resign-to-run provisions when applied to specified or particular officials. but because of the manner in which the offices are classified. Ruled the United States Supreme Court: Article XVI.. (citations omitted and italics supplied) Furthermore. Nor do we approve any general restrictions on the political and civil rights of judges in particular. and Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code Do Not Suffer from Overbreadth Apart from nullifying Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678. viz. as distinguished from all others. Justice Nachura cites Clements v. courts. serve essentially the same state interests. while others are not. The burdens that § 65 imposes on candidacy are even less substantial than those imposed by § 19. A regulation is not devoid of a rational predicate simply because it happens to be incomplete. we conclude that § 65 survives a challenge under the Equal Protection Clause unless appellees can show that there is no rational predicate to the classification scheme. Our holding is necessarily narrowed by the methodology employed to reach it. Nothing in today's decision should be taken to imply that public employees may be prohibited from expressing their private views on controversial topics in a manner that does not interfere with the proper performance of their public duties. (i) efficient civil service faithful to the government and the people rather than to party. And a State can hardly be faulted for attempting to limit the positions upon which such restrictions are placed. Fashing76 and Morial. § 11. The District Court found § 65 deficient. in subsequent cases. the legislature must have some leeway in determining which of its employment positions require restrictions on partisan political activities and which may be left unregulated. and Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code on equal protection ground. the equal protection challenge in Clements revolved around the claim that the State of Texas failed to explain why some public officials are subject to the resign-to-run provisions.e. In today's decision. Thus. The automatic resignation proviso to § 65 was not added until 1958. our assailed Decision struck them down for being overbroad in two respects. and thus did not violate the test of being germane to the purpose of the law.

2010 National and Local Elections. Thus. This erroneous ruling is premised on the assumption that "the concerns of a truly partisan office and the temptations it fosters are sufficiently different from those involved in an office removed from regular party politics [so as] to warrant distinctive treatment. in conjunction with other related laws on the matter. or in the national. we have to revise our assailed Decision."80 As elucidated in our prior exposition:81 Attempts by government employees to wield influence over others or to make use of their respective positions (apparently) to promote their own candidacy may seem tolerable – even innocuous – particularly when viewed in isolation from other similar attempts by other government employees."82 so that restrictions on candidacy akin to those imposed by the challenged provisions can validly apply only to situations in which the elective office sought is partisan in character. …[T]he avoidance of such a "politically active public work force" which could give an emerging political machine an "unbreakable grasp on the reins of power" is reason enough to impose a restriction on the candidacies of all appointive public officials without further distinction as to the type of positions being held by such employees or the degree of influence that may be attendant thereto. it is clear that the restriction in Section 4(a) of RA 8678 applies only to the candidacies of appointive officials vying for partisan elective posts in the May 10. the overbreadth challenge .: A perusal of Resolution 8678 will immediately disclose that the rules and guidelines set forth therein refer to the filing of certificates of candidacy and nomination of official candidates of registered political parties. the challenged restrictions are to be considered as overbroad. To the extent. xxxx Any elective or appointive municipal. i. 2010 National and Local Elections. a careful study of the challenged provisions and related laws on the matter will show that the alleged overbreadth is more apparent than real. whether it be partisan or nonpartisan in character. since these are the only elections in this country which involve nonpartisan public offices. Certificate of Candidacy. municipal or barangay level. or in the national. For this reason. the overbreadth challenge leveled against Section 4(a) is clearly unsustainable. these rules and guidelines. including the restriction in Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678. Said provision states: Section 39. (citations omitted) ii. including those in government-owned or-controlled corporations. the challenged provisions of law are overly broad because they apply indiscriminately to all civil servants holding appointive posts. it must be noted. 79 and (2) The assailed provisions limit the candidacy of any and all civil servants holding appointive positions without due regard for the type of office being sought. threat to the government posed by the partisan potential of a large and growing bureaucracy: the danger of systematic abuse perpetuated by a "powerful political machine" that has amassed "the scattered powers of government workers" so as to give itself and its incumbent workers an "unbreakable grasp on the reins of power. to any election other than a partisan one. Again. Limitation on Candidacy Regardless of Incumbent Appointive Official’s Position. therefore. it is well to note that from as far back as the enactment of the Omnibus Election Code in 1985.(1) The assailed provisions limit the candidacy of all civil servants holding appointive posts without due regard for the type of position being held by the employee seeking an elective post and the degree of influence that may be attendant thereto. there would be no occasion to apply the restriction on candidacy found in Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code. yet equally plausible. Again. or those in the civil or military service. under the present state of law. without due regard for the type of elective office being sought. Limitation on Candidacy Regardless of Type of Office Sought. a considered review of Section 13 of RA 9369 and Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code. are decidedly partisan in character. Valid According to the assailed Decision. Our exposition on this issue has not been repudiated. city.83 Obviously. Its underlying assumption appears to be that the evils sought to be prevented are extant only when the incumbent appointive official running for elective office holds an influential post. in connection with the May 10. were issued specifically for purposes of the May 10. Since barangay elections are governed by a separate deemed resignation rule. will confirm that these provisions are likewise not intended to apply to elections for nonpartisan public offices. viz. The only elections which are relevant to the present inquiry are the elections for barangay offices. Valid The assailed Decision also held that the challenged provisions of law are overly broad because they are made to apply indiscriminately to all civil servants holding appointive offices. without due regard for the type of position being held by the employee running for elective office and the degree of influence that may be attendant thereto. municipal or barangay level. on second look.84 In this regard. Similarly. constitute a veiled effort on the part of an emerging central party structure to advance its own agenda through a "carefully orchestrated use of [appointive and/or elective] officials" coming from various levels of the bureaucracy. provincial or national official or employee. Such a myopic view obviously fails to consider a different. when taken together. whether it be partisan or nonpartisan in character. that such restrictions are said to preclude even candidacies for nonpartisan elective offices. 2010 National and Local Elections. On this score. including a separate rule on deemed resignations which is found in Section 39 of the Omnibus Election Code. Yet it would be decidedly foolhardy to discount the equally (if not more) realistic and dangerous possibility that such seemingly disjointed attempts. shall be considered automatically resigned upon the filing of certificate of candidacy for a barangay office. which. The candidate shall state the barangay office for which he is a candidate. and later reiterated in the proviso of Section 13 of RA 9369. – No person shall be elected punong barangay or kagawad ng sangguniang barangay unless he files a sworn certificate of candidacy in triplicate on any day from the commencement of the election period but not later than the day before the beginning of the campaign period in a form to be prescribed by the Commission. Congress has intended that these nonpartisan barangay elections be governed by special rules.

88In this regard. the possibility that protected speech of others may be muted and perceived grievances left to fester (due to the possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes) outweighs the possible harm to society in allowing some unprotected speech or conduct to go unpunished. intervenor Drilon stated that a number of high-ranking Cabinet members had already filed their Certificates of Candidacy without relinquishing their posts. 85 In any event.raised against Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code and the pertinent proviso in Section 13 of RA 9369 must also fail. IN VIEW WHEREOF. the anomalies spawned by our assailed Decision have taken place. as in this case.’93 This Court would do well to proceed with tiptoe caution. even if we were to assume. in the judgment of the court. the number of elections that were insulated from party rivalry but were nevertheless closed to appointive employees) that may in all probability result from the enforcement of the statute. Respondent. the alleged overbreadth of the statute.86 Moreover. we explained: In the first place. the Court RESOLVES to GRANT the respondent’s and the intervenors’ Motions for Reconsideration.91 The state of the record. much less to be taken in the dark.94 In the United States. bold predictions – cannot justify invalidating these statutes in toto and prohibiting the State from enforcing them against conduct that is. and (3) Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code.a1f In this light. among other things. For the foregoing reasons. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. which merely reiterate Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code.90 Thus. judged in relation to the statute’s plainly legitimate sweep. REVERSE and SET ASIDE this Court’s December 1. act as Vice-Chairmen of the respective Boards of Canvassers.100 Even the Secretary of Justice had filed her certificate of substitution for representative of the first district of Quezon province last December 14. particularly when it comes to the application of the overbreadth doctrine in the analysis of statutes that purportedly attempt to restrict or burden the exercise of the right to freedom of speech.R.103 The Judiciary has not been spared. In his Motion for Reconsideration. are not unconstitutionally overbroad. 8678. DECISION NACHURA. claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained only where. in order to have a statute declared as unconstitutional or void on its face for being overly broad. JR. 2009 ELEAZAR P. for such approach is manifestly strong medicine that must be used sparingly. J. the overbreadth challenge would still be futile. some sensitivity to reality is needed. "conduct" and not "pure speech" is involved. for a Regional Trial Court Judge in the South has thrown his hat into the political arena. 2009101 – even as her position as Justice Secretary includes supervision over the City and Provincial Prosecutors. does not permit us to find overbreadth. SO ORDERED. that Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code and the corresponding provision in Section 13 of RA 9369 are general rules that apply also to elections for nonpartisan public offices. but substantial as well. indeed.87 In operational terms. particularly where. Petitioners.89 The question is a matter of degree. Lynch. the more prudent approach would be to deal with these conceivably impermissible applications through case-by-case adjudication rather than through a total invalidation of the statute itself.. 189698 December 1. and only as a last resort. however.96 In the case at bar. (2) the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act No. the probable harm to society in permitting incumbent appointive officials to remain in office. for the sake of argument. 9369. the overbreadth must not only be real. the conceivably impermissible applications of the challenged statutes – which are. DISMISS the Petition.95 Facial overbreadth has likewise not been invoked where a limiting construction could be placed on the challenged statute. we now rule that Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678 and Section 13 of RA 9369. measuring the substantiality of a statute’s overbreadth would entail. G. or at least substantially reduce. a rough balancing of the number of valid applications compared to the number of potentially invalid applications. the view that Congress is limited to controlling only partisan behavior has not received judicial imprimatur. far outweighs the less likely evil of having arguably protected candidacies blocked by the possible inhibitory effect of a potentially overly broad statute. 2009 Decision.92 especially since an overbreadth finding in this case would effectively prohibit the State from ‘enforcing an otherwise valid measure against conduct that is admittedly within its power to proscribe.e. unquestionably within its power and interest to proscribe.: . the overbreadth challenge presently mounted must demonstrate or provide this Court with some idea of the number of potentially invalid elections (i. We cannot allow the tilting of our electoral playing field in their favor.102 who. even as they actively pursue elective posts. vs. an invalid application that is far-fetched does not deserve as much weight as one that is probable. in turn. No. such a step is not to be taken lightly. assuming for the sake of argument that the partisannonpartisan distinction is valid and necessary such that a statute which fails to make this distinction is susceptible to an overbreadth attack. at best. because the general proposition of the relevant US cases on the matter is simply that the government has an interest in regulating the conduct and speech of its employees that differs significantly from those it possesses in connection with regulation of the speech of the citizenry in general.98 Indeed. TOLENTINO. QUINTO and GERINO A. and has for more than 100 years been. and ISSUE this Resolution declaring as not UNCONSTITUTIONAL (1) Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No.99 Several COMELEC election officers had likewise filed their Certificates of Candidacy in their respective provinces. Again. Borrowing from the words of Magill v. and where there are readily apparent constructions that would cure.97 Instead.

Section 11 of Republic Act No. 8436. No. entitled "AN ACT AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT NO. the Commission shall set the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition of registration/manifestation to participate in the election. unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period: Provided. On December 22. Under each position to be filled. Where practicable. for purposes of the May 11. and to ensure that the voter sees all of the ballot options on all pages before completing his or her vote and to allow the voter to review and change all ballot choices prior to completing and casting his or her ballot. 1998 NATIONAL OR LOCAL ELECTIONS AND IN SUBSEQUENT NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTORAL EXERCISES. .A. 11. The official ballots shall be printed and distributed to each city/municipality at the rate of one (1) ballot for every registered voter with a provision of additional four (4) ballots per precinct. 1998 elections. Congress amended the law on January 23. electronic displays must be constructed to present the names of all candidates for the same position in the same page or screen. 13." Section 13 of the amendatory law modified Section 11 of R. 881. shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his/her office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of his/her certificate of candidacy. including active members of the armed forces." Section 11 thereof reads: SEC. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follows: Section 15. That. Both sides of the ballots may be used when necessary. FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY OF ELECTIONS. Any person who files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided. finally.A. Political parties may hold political conventions to nominate their official candidates within thirty (30) days before the start of the period for filing a certificate of candidacy. PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. shall be deemed resigned only upon the start of the campaign period corresponding to the position for which he/she is running: Provided. Congress enacted Republic Act (R. Under each position. whether national or local. REPUBLIC ACT NO. 1997. AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE BATAS PAMPANSA BLG. Accredited political parties and deputized citizens' arms of the Commission may assign watchers in the printing. For this purpose. AS AMEMDED. 1998. referendum or plebiscite. That. Senators and candidates under the Party-List System as well as petitions for registration and/or manifestation to participate in the Party-List System shall be on February 9. the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition for registration/manifestation to participate in the election shall not be later than one hundred twenty (120) days before the elections: .Provided. Almost a decade thereafter. No. the statute may already be out of tune and irrelevant to our day. referendum or plebiscite.The Commission shall prescribe the format of the electronic display and/or the size and form of the official ballot. Official Ballot. The official ballots shall be printed by the National Printing Office and/or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas at the price comparable with that of private printers under proper security measures which the Commission shall adopt. which shall contain the titles of the position to be filled and/or the propositions to be voted upon in an initiative. That.1 It is in this light that we should address the instant case. unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period: Provided. as preferred by the female candidate. thus: SEC. 8678 of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). are provided on the ballot. 1998 while the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy for other positions shall be on March 27. further. magnetic strips.A. in a series of sequential pages. The Commission may contract the services of private printers upon certification by the National Printing Office/Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas that it cannot meet the printing requirements. Little do we realize that statutes or even constitutions are bundles of compromises thrown our way by their framers. 9369. courts become the unfeeling pillars of the status quo. 2007 by enacting R. That. That any person holding a public appointive office or position. the electronic displays must be constructed to present the entire ballot to the voter. 2 The Antecedents This controversy actually stems from the law authorizing the COMELEC to use an automated election system (AES). PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. 1998 NATIONAL OR LOCAL ELECTIONS AND IN SUBSEQUENT NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTORAL EXERCISES. Vice President. the names of candidates shall be arranged alphabetically by surname and uniformly indicated using the same type size. 7166 AND OTHER RELATED ELECTION LAWS.. the deadline for filing of the certificate of candidacy for the positions of President. TO ENCOURAGE TRANSPARENCY.. To prevent the use of fake ballots. the Commission through the Committee shall ensure that the serial number on the ballot stub shall be printed in magnetic ink that shall be easily detectable by inexpensive hardware and shall be impossible to reproduce on a photocopying machine and that identification marks. Before the Court is a petition for prohibition and certiorari. A fixed space where the chairman of the board of election inspectors shall affix his/her signature to authenticate the official ballot shall be provided. the petition begs for immediate resolution. A fixed space where the chairman of the Board of Election inspectors shall affix his/her signature to authenticate the official ballot shall be provided.In our predisposition to discover the "original intent" of a statute. finally. with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction. and officers and employees in government-owned or -controlled corporations. ENTITLED "AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS TO USE AN AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM IN THE MAY 11. otherwise. except for president and vice president. bar codes and other technical and security markings. For this purpose. The maiden or married name shall be listed in the official ballot. Under each proposition to be vote upon. Official Ballot. Unless we exercise vigilance. CREDIBILITY. 8436. running for any office other than the one which he/she is holding in a permanent capacity. assailing Section 4(a) of Resolution No.) No. In view of pressing contemporary events. entitled "AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS TO USE AN AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM IN THE MAY 11. storage and distribution of official ballots.The Commission shall prescribe the size and form of the official ballot which shall contain the titles of the positions to be filled and/or the propositions to be voted upon in an initiative. 8436. any elective official. the names of candidates shall be arranged alphabetically by surname and uniformly printed using the same type size. the choices should be uniformly indicated using the same font and size.

Alarmed that they will be deemed ipso facto resigned from their offices the moment they file their CoCs. Sections 4 and 5 of Resolution No. 9369 that should be resolved. microprinting. COMELEC issued Resolution No. Given this scenario. Tolentino." Petitioners have admitted that they are merely planning to file their CoCs for the coming 2010 elections.5 filed the instant petition for prohibition and certiorari. by law. agrees with petitioners that there is a conflict in Section 13 of R. In fact.P.7 Petitioners further posit that the provision considering them as ipso facto resigned from office upon the filing of their CoCs is discriminatory and violates the equal protection clause in the Constitution. the Court may step in and resolve the instant petition.deemed resigned. the basis of the assailed COMELEC resolution.The certificate of candidacy shall be filed on regular days.A. . this .. 9369. These must be harmonized or reconciled to give effect to both and to arrive at a declaration that they are not ipso facto resigned from their positions upon the filing of their CoCs. The Commission may contract the services of private printers upon certification by the National Printing Office/Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas that it cannot meet the printing requirements. the OSG maintains that the COMELEC did not gravely abuse its discretion in phrasing Section 4(a) of Resolution No. holograms.9 On the substantive aspect. The OSG.) 881. cannot be availed of. which shall be until midnight. because at such time they are not yet treated by law as candidates. hence. already considered as candidates.. petitioners raise a challenge on the constitutionality of the questioned provisions of both the COMELEC resolution and the law. color shifting ink.provision existed in Batas Pambansa Bilang (B. except on the last day. The official ballots shall be printed and distributed to each city/municipality at the rate of one ballot for every registered voter with a provision of additional three ballots per precinct. in relation to Rule 64. are provided on the ballot. 8678 for it merely copied what is in the law. Blg.3 Pursuant to its constitutional mandate to enforce and administer election laws. who hold appointive positions in the government and who intend to run in the coming elections.a) Any person holding a public appointive office or position including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). They are questioning an issuance of the COMELEC made in the exercise of the latter's rule-making power.With respect to a paper-based election system. they should not be deemed ipso facto resigned from their government offices when they file their CoCs. they are not yet affected by the assailed provision in the COMELEC resolution. 2010 National and Local Elections. 8678. storage and distribution of official ballots. because they are not yet considered as candidates at that time. seeking the declaration of the afore-quoted Section 4(a) of Resolution No. Accredited political parties and deputized citizens' arms of the Commission shall assign watchers in the printing. such as. Such advance filing does not automatically make the person who filed the CoC a candidate at the moment of filing. 8678 as null and void. 5. shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy. representing respondent COMELEC.8 The Respondent's Arguments On the procedural aspect of the petition. Jr. 2009. Petitioners then assert that this being so. Obviously. the official ballots shall be printed by the National Printing Office and/or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas at the price comparable with that of private printers under proper security measures which the Commission shall adopt.12 over which this Court does not exercise original jurisdiction. bar codes. and other officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations. The Petitioners' Contention Petitioners contend that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when it issued the assailed Resolution. Period for filing Certificate of Candidacy. the Commission through the Committee shall ensure that the necessary safeguards. No.6 Petitioners also contend that Section 13 of R. No. during office hours. What petitioners assail in their petition is a resolution issued by the COMELEC in the exercise of its quasi-legislative power. They aver that the advance filing of CoCs for the 2010 elections is intended merely for the purpose of early printing of the official ballots in order to cope with time limitations. their petition is one for declaratory relief. there seems to be no basis to consider appointive officials as ipso facto resigned and to require them to vacate their positions on the same day that they file their CoCs. the law considers him a candidate only at the start of the campaign period. Their interest in the present controversy is thus merely speculative and contingent upon the filing of the same. b) Any person holding an elective office or position shall not be considered resigned upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy for the same or any other elective office or position. resolutions and issuances made in the exercise of a judicial or quasi-judicial function. The OSG further claims that the petition is premature or unripe for judicial determination. At first glance. because what petitioners actually seek from the Court is a determination of the proper construction of a statute and a declaration of their rights thereunder..4 the Guidelines on the Filing of Certificates of Candidacy (CoC) and Nomination of Official Candidates of Registered Political Parties in Connection with the May 10. They should be considered resigned from their respective offices only at the start of the campaign period when they are. Certiorari under Rule 65. from November 20 to 30. Quinto and Gerino A. Further. 8678 provide: SEC. the petition suffers from an incipient procedural defect. 4.A. SEC. and no longer finds a place in our present election laws with the innovations brought about by the automated system. To prevent the use of fake ballots. According to the OSG. petitioners Eleazar P. Effects of Filing Certificates of Candidacy.10 Our Ruling I." Petitioners have not yet filed their CoCs. contains two conflicting provisions.13 However. because it is a remedy to question decisions. Certiorari under Rule 65 is then an improper remedy. however.11 Prohibition is also an inappropriate remedy. argues that petitioners have no legal standing to institute the suit. The OSG likewise contends that petitioners availed of the wrong remedy. but not limited to.

) No.A. or the 1978 Election Code. . also provided that SECTION 26. Significantly. likewise stated in its Section 23 the following: SECTION 23. In any event. or the Election Code approved on August 22. 1947. the last paragraph of Section 29 of which reads: It may be recalled-in inverse chronology-that earlier. especially the constitutional. Presidential Decree No. entitled "AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE NEXT ELECTION FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES. 666. Candidates holding appointive office or position. or the Election Code of 1971. and officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations. 180. 8678 is a reproduction of the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of R.A.Every person holding a public appointive office or position. UNDER THE CONSTITUTION AND THE AMENDMENTS THEREOF. crippling the government's manpowerfurther dictate that the Court must. AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Every person holding a public appointive office or position shall ipso facto cease in his office or position on the date he files his certificate of candidacy. finally. shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his/her office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of his/her certificate of candidacy.. which reads: Sec. and no judge of the Court of First Instance. C. 725. The earliest recorded Philippine law on the subject is Act No." approved on January 5. 881 or the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) of the Philippines.The transcendental nature and paramount importance of the issues raised and the compelling state interest involved in their early resolution the period for the filing of CoCs for the 2010 elections has already started and hundreds of civil servants intending to run for elective offices are to lose their employment. contained. That the filing of a certificate of candidacy shall not affect whatever civil. had. criminal or administrative liabilities which he may have incurred. entitled "AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE FIRST ELECTION FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES. including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. except for reelection to the position which he may be holding. but not appointive. which for ready reference is quoted as follows: For this purpose. No. the precursor of C. shall ipso facto cease in his office or position on the date he files his certificate of candidacy: Provided. provincial or Assembly election. No. provincial fiscal. including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and every officer or employee in government-owned or controlled corporations. or the Revised Election Code approved on June 21. SENATORS AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 6388. whether such office by appointive or elective. issues. in its Section 22. 180. Candidates holding appointive office or position. however. only provided for automatic resignation of elective. or officer or employee of the Bureau of Constabulary or of the Bureau of Education shall aid any candidate or influence in any manner or take any part in any municipal. the same verbatim provision as Section 26 of R. 1938. No. thus' Sec.x x x. To put things in their proper perspective.A. provincial. Nevertheless. subject to the pleasure of the President of the Philippines.A. Any person who files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided. SENATORS. deprived of their judicial discretion. SECTION 29. No. not to shackle the hand that dispenses it. 9369. . in the last paragraph of its Section 2.A. officials. During the Commonwealth era. the following: A person occupying any civil office by appointment in the government or any of its political subdivisions or agencies or government-owned or controlled corporations. justice of the peace.Any person holding a public appointive office or position. Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. That any person holding a public appointive office or position. unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period: Provided. Automatic cessation of appointive officers and employees who are candidates. Candidates Holding Appointive Office or Position. 9369. 725. Much earlier. contained a similar provision. Members of the Cabinet shall continue in the offices they presently hold notwithstanding the filing of certificate of candidacy.15 Notably. shall be considered to have resigned from such office from the moment of the filing of such certificate of candidacy. entertain the petition so as to expedite the adjudication of all. at any municipal. Repeatedly stressed in our prior decisions is the principle that the Rules were promulgated to provide guidelines for the orderly administration of justice. 8436. Blg. nor shall he be eligible during the time that he holds said public office to election. for propriety.14 II. No. No.A. 1941. No." enacted without executive approval on June 22. 1296. Penalties upon officers. R. and officers and employees in government-owned or -controlled corporations.A. AND APPROPRIATING THE NECESSARY FUNDS THEREFOR. shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy. the courts would be consigned to being mere slaves to technical rules. That. No public officer shall offer himself as a candidate for election. Going further back in history. Commonwealth Act (C. the Court has ample authority to set aside errors of practice or technicalities of procedure and resolve the merits of a case. 357. if only from a sense of obligation. shall ipso facto cease in his office or position on the date he files his certificate of candidacy. 1582. 1946.Every person holding a public appointive office or position. R.A. or the Election Law enacted by the Philippine Commission in 1907. or Assembly election under penalty of being deprived of his office and being disqualified to hold any public office whatever for a term of five . No. thereby causing imminent and irreparable damage to their means of livelihood and.. it is imperative that we trace the brief history of the assailed provision. the Commission shall set the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition for registration/manifestation to participate in the election. The proviso was lifted from Section 66 of B. Otherwise. the law amended by R.P. and officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations.A. No. 29. C. this proviso is not present in Section 11 of R. 66.A. at the same time. including active members of the armed forces.

This is a prohibition. That is my proposed amendment. Senator Richard Gordon. it is self-serving for the Senate. for me. no valid reason for exempting elective officials from this inhibition or disqualification imposed by the law. or the Fair Election Act. President." 18 The said proviso seems to mitigate the situation of disadvantage afflicting appointive officials by considering persons who filed their CoCs as candidates only at the start of the campaign period. 9369.. acknowledged that the said proviso in the proposed legislative measure is an old provision which was merely copied from earlier existing legislation.. created a situation of obvious discrimination against appointive officials who were deemed ipso facto resigned from their offices upon the filing of their CoCs.. the reason why we are special is that we are elected. Senator Gordon.16 In that Senate deliberation. i This situation was incidentally addressed by the Court in Fari v. I think the suggestion is well-thought of. it is the better part of delicadeza to inhibit ourselves as well. That the foregoing provisions shall not be construed to deprive any person otherwise qualified of the right to vote at any election. 5352 and enacted as R.This is really an old provision.that any person holding a public appointive office or position. or for the Congress in general. Senator Osmeña. Mr.This means if one is chairman of SSS or PDIC. THAT ANY PERSON HOLDING A PUBLIC APPOINTIVE OFFICE . "ANY PERSON HOLDING [means currently] A PUBLIC APPOINTIVE POSITION" SHALL BE CONSIDERED IPSO FACTO RESIGNED. President. Mr. thereby.. Senator Osmeña. In fact.SHALL BE CONSIDERED IPSO FACTO RESIGNED FROM HIS/HER OFFICE.A. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES". No. President. it will be upheld by the majority. Parenthetically. it has always been there.I guess the intention is not to give them undue advantage. There was. But if we want to run for some other elective office during our term.traces its roots to the period of the American occupation.No.. and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations. No. 9006 I am referring to page 15. however. thus..A. Senator Osmeña. and officers. line 31. he is deemed ipso facto resigned when he files his certificate of candidacy. this is something that is already in the old law which was upheld by the Supreme court in a recent case that the rider was not upheld and that it was valid. so that if we want to stay as senators. including active members of the armed forces. 9369. with the enactment of R. Act No.. No. even senators and congressmen are members of the civil service as well Further.It is in bold letters. line 21. because of sensitivity to the convictions of the rest of our colleagues... No. it may be gleaned that the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of R. Senator Gordon. this provision was repealed by Section 1420 of the said act. the principal author of the bill.May I just opine here and perhaps obtain the opinion of the good Sponsor. why should it not apply to the elective sector for. it may be remembered that Section 67 of the OEC and Section 11 of R. however..On page 15. we wait until our term expires. But if it is unacceptable to the distinguished Sponsor. Section 14 of Rep.17 The obvious inequality brought about by the provision on automatic resignation of appointive civil servants must have been the reason why Senator Recto proposed the inclusion of the following during the period of amendments: "ANY PERSON WHO FILES HIS CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY WITHIN THIS PERIOD SHALL ONLY BE CONSIDERED AS A CANDIDATE AT THE START OF THE CAMPAIGN PERIOD FOR WHICH HE FILED HIS COC. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago expressed her concern over the inclusion of the said provision in the new law.The proviso begins: "PROVIDED FINALLY. shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his/her office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of his/her certificate of candidacy. the answer is. thus' The point that I made during the appropriate debate in the past in this Hall is that there is. 8436 contained a similar provision on automatic resignation of elective officials upon the filing of their CoCs for any office other than that which they hold in a permanent capacity or for President or Vice-President. conveying the tacit intent that persons holding appointive positions will only be considered as resigned at the start of the campaign period when they are already treated by law as candidates. I know that this is a losing cause. then we have to be considered resigned just like everybody else. including AFP members and officers of government-owned and controlled corporations.A. after all.. I think. while it grants a consequent preferential treatment to elective officials. during the deliberations of Senate Bill No. 2231.[which means that the prohibition extends only to appointive officials] "INCLUDING ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES.This reads like. given that the same would be disadvantageous and unfair to potential candidates holding appointive positions. or any other member of the appointive sector of the civil service. Mr. 19 in 2001. so I think it was a Committee amendment.However. thus' Senator Osmeña. Senator Gordon." Protection Clause of the Constitution Is Not Violative of the Equal .If we are going to consider appointive officers of the government.years: Provided.It is a good policy. I will understand. 9006.All right. Since we are imposing a disqualification on all other government officials except ourselves. Of course. especially certain people. while elective officials were not. the bill later to be consolidated with House Bill No. so I make this point more as a matter of record than of any feasible hope that it can possibly be either accepted or if we come to a division of the House.A... to give an exception to itself which is not available to other similarly situated officials of government. The Executive Secretary21 when it ruled that Senator Santiago. However. From this brief historical excursion.I see.Is that the intention Senator Gordon.

grounds. petitioners allege that they will be directly affected by COMELEC Resolution No. or officers or employees holding political offices. it must be remembered that the Court. Another substantial distinction between the two sets of officials is that under Section 55. The equal protection of the law clause in the Constitution is not absolute. as shown above. on constitutional The instant case presents a rare opportunity for the Court. but is subject to reasonable classification.. was intently focused on the main issue of whether the repealing clause in the Fair Election Act was a constitutionally proscribed rider..It does not demand absolute equality among residents. which. it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike. such as the challenged measure herein. they are not yet candidates. the legislators deemed it proper to treat these two classes of officials differently with respect to the effect on their tenure in the office of the filing of the certificates of candidacy for any position other than those occupied by them. the Court's vision in Farii/i> was i shrouded by the fact that petitioners therein. on grounds of equal protection. and they all have the qualifications. laws that affect candidates always have at least some theoretical. Civil Service Commission. Fari et al. in Farii/i>... we shall first address the issues on legal standing and on the existence of an actual controversy. rather merely questioned. is violative of the equal protection clause. to run in the 2010 elections. was based on provisions dating back to the American occupation. 8678 for they intend. to settle the issue of whether the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of R. members of Congress.It is not intended to prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by territory within which it is to operate. They are elected to an office for a definite term and may be removed therefrom only upon stringent conditions. thus. hence.. if it applies alike to all persons within such class.. elected officials vis-a-vis appointive officials. is anchored upon material and significant distinctions and all the persons belonging under the same classification are similarly treated.If the groupings are characterized by substantial distinctions that make real differences.25 In any event. under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. and reasonable grounds exist for making a distinction between those who fall within such class and those who do not. finds that an actual case or controversy exists between the petitioners and the COMELEC.28 IV. appointive officials. The Court has explained the nature of the equal protection guarantee in this manner: The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and individual or class privilege. the assailed measure because of its impact on voting rights. in recent cases. Subsection A. Title I. Given that the assailed provision provides for ipso facto resignation upon the filing of the CoC.e.Moreover. not infringed. .23 In this case.Under the same provision. this Court has relaxed the stringent direct injury test and has observed a liberal policy allowing ordinary citizens. regulations and rulings.Some appointive officials hold their office in a permanent capacity and are entitled to security of tenure while others serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. contends that since petitioners have not yet filed their CoCs. as well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality. Having hurdled what the OSG posed as obstacles to judicial review.. correlative effect on voters. No.. By repealing Section 67 but retaining Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code. III. that the repeal of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code pertaining to elective officials gives undue benefit to such officials as against the appointive ones and violates the equal protection clause of the constitution. are obviously expressly allowed to take part in political and electoral activities. elective officials. affects the rights of voters to choose their public officials. for its part. one class may be treated and regulated differently from the other. the Court now delves into the constitutional challenge.. 9006. The Court. it cannot be said that it presents only a speculative or hypothetical obstacle to petitioners' candidacy. they are not yet directly affected by the assailed provision in the COMELEC resolution. Fari et al.Again. in this case. Act No. is tenuous. as officers and employees in the civil service. Since the classification justifying Section 14 of Rep.27 The Court. 9369.24 The Court believes that both candidates and voters may challenge. i. once and for all. or Section 14 of the Fair Election Act. Central to the determination of locus standi is the question of whether a party has alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. The rights of voters and the rights of candidates do not lend themselves to neat separation. On the other hand. nevertheless. the body charged with the enforcement and administration of all election laws. in that it unwittingly failed to ascertain with stricter scrutiny the impact of the retention of the provision on automatic resignation of persons holding appointive positions (Section 66) in the OEC. The former occupy their office by virtue of the mandate of the electorate. finds that. and civil organizations to prosecute actions involving the constitutionality or validity of laws. Substantial distinctions clearly exist between elective officials and appointive officials. Petitioners have alleged in a precise manner that they would engage in the very acts that would trigger the enforcement of the provisionthey would file their CoCs and run in the 2010 elections. a reproduction of Section 66 of the OEC. Chapter 8. vis-୶ is the equal protection clause. in view of the constitutional challenge advanced by petitioners. while petitioners are not yet candidates. the repealing clause.26 We have also stressed in our prior decisions that the exercise by this Court of judicial power is limited to the determination and resolution of actual cases and controversies. But before delving into the constitutional issue. Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. appointive officials hold their office by virtue of their designation thereto by an appointing authority.The equal protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class. they have the standing to raise the constitutional challenge. the equal protection clause of the Constitution is.A. simply because they are qualified voters..22 However. A restriction on candidacy. are strictly prohibited from engaging in any partisan political activity or take part in any election except to vote.The petitioners' contention. The OSG. never posed a direct challenge to the i constitutionality of Section 66 of the OEC. The Court's afore-quoted declaration in Farii/i> may then very well be considered as an obiter dictum. 292). it is not within the power of the Court to pass upon or look into the wisdom of this classification.

the classification would still be invalid if it does not comply with the second requirement if it is not germane to the purpose of the law. the means of effective expression changes. No. even if based on substantial distinctions. But interest and commitment are evolving phenomena. And at some juncture his supporters and fellow party members may decide that he is the ideal person to carry the group's standard into the electoral fray. In considering persons holding appointive positions as ipso facto resigned from their posts upon the filing of their CoCs. The Cranston charter provision before us also affects associational rights. He may seek to become a candidate by filing in a general election as an independent or by seeking the nomination of a political party. that running for public office is not an interest protected by the First Amendment. wide opportunities exist for the individual who seeks public office. by means of concrete public action. Not all motorized vehicles are created equal a two-wheeled vehicle is less stable and more easily overturned than a four-wheel vehicle. In short. This premise is best explained in Mancuso v. In Williams v.A. the law unduly discriminates against the first class. As his commitment increases. the fact of candidacy opens up a variety of communicative possibilities that are not available to even the most diligent of picketers or the most loyal of party followers. does not justify such differential treatment.). Consequently we hold that candidacy is both a protected First Amendment right and a fundamental interest. explains. is breached by the proviso in Section 13 of R. He may even form a new group to forward his ideas. And in the latter instance. (3) It must not be limited to existing conditions only. the public employee.31 a real and substantial distinction exists between a motorcycle and other motor vehicles sufficient to justify its classification among those prohibited from plying the toll ways. may not become a candidate and may not engage in any campaign activity that promotes himself as a candidate for public office. specifically the elective ones. speak out in a public park. or picket an official building to seek redress of grievances. He may decide to lead the picket line. Hence any legislative classification that significantly burdens that interest must be subjected to strict equal protection review. the newspapers may cover his candidacy. Whether the right to run for office is looked at from the point of view of individual expression or associational effectiveness. were he to be selected by the voters. On the basis of this same classification. an interest protected by Sections 4 and 8 of Article III of the Constitution. but their difference in origin is no justification for treating them differently when it comes to punishing violations of traffic regulations. To thus restrict the options available to political organization as the Cranston charter provision has done is to limit the effectiveness of association. those of expression and of association. the law cannot provide for a lower passing average for women in the bar examinations because physical strength is not the test for admission to the legal profession. will still be invalid if it is not germane to the purpose of the law. he is also attempting to become a spokesman for a political party whose substantive program extends beyond the particular office in question. albeit in a slightly different way.: Freedom of expression guarantees to the individual the opportunity to write a letter to the local newspaper.32 . A view today. Nevertheless. Cruz (Ret. namely: (1) It must be based upon substantial distinctions. however. Thus the city has stifled what may be the most important expression an individual can summon.It is noteworthy to point out that the right to run for public office touches on two fundamental freedoms. The first requirement means that there must be real and substantial differences between the classes treated differently. distribute handbills advocating radical reform. Rhodes. The classification. in his treatise on constitutional law. To illustrate. But Cranston has said that a certain type of its citizenry. The candidate may be invited to discuss his views on radio talk shows. Imported cars may be taxed at a higher rate than locally assembled automobiles for the protection of the national economy. The fact alone that there is substantial distinction between those who hold appointive positions and those occupying elective posts. or to publish the newspaper. The fact of candidacy alone may open previously closed doors of the media. An individual may decide to join or participate in an organization or political party that shares his beliefs. The dilettante who participates in a picket line may decide to devote additional time and resources to his expressive activity. What is an effective means for protest at one point in time may not seem so effective at a later date. (2) It must be germane to the purposes of the law. petitioners' interest in running for public office. but not considering as resigned all other civil servants. Department of Public Works and Highways. It is impossible to ignore the additional fact that the right to run for office also affects the freedom to associate. The choice of means will likely depend on the amount of time and energy the individual wishes to expend and on his perception as to the most effective method of projecting his message to the public. Taft. he may be invited to debate before various groups that had theretofore never heard of him or his views. supra.30 Here. and the freedom to associate is intimately related with the concept of making expression effective. the Court used strict review to invalidate an Ohio election system that made it virtually impossible for third parties to secure a place on the ballot. In order that there can be valid classification so that a discriminatory governmental act may pass the constitutional norm of equal protection. it is necessary that the four (4) requisites of valid classification be complied with. The source of the vehicle has no relation to the observance of these rules. Justice Isagani A. All of these activities are protected by the First Amendment if done in a manner consistent with a narrowly defined concept of public order and safety. 9369. The Court found that the First Amendment protected the freedom to associate by forming and promoting a political party and that that freedom was infringed when the state effectively denied a party access to its electoral machinery. he may be able to secure equal time on television to elaborate his campaign program. As illustrated in the fairly recent Mirasol v. At one point in time he may decide that the most effective way to give expression to his views and to get the attention of an appropriate audience is to become a candidate for public office-means generally considered among the most appropriate for those desiring to effect change in our governmental systems. the individual's expressive activity has two dimensions: besides urging that his views be the views of the elected public official. and (4) It must apply equally to all members of the class. Party access to the ballot becomes less meaningful if some of those selected by party machinery to carry the party's programs to the people are precluded from doing so because those nominees are civil servants. the accepted difference in physical stamina between men and women will justify the prohibition of the latter from employment as miners or stevedores or in other heavy and strenuous work.29 viz. seems to us an outlook stemming from an earlier era when public office was the preserve of the professional and the wealthy. It is now the opportune time for the Court to strike down the said proviso for being violative of the equal protection clause and for being overbroad. namely that which he would be willing to effectuate. but the expressive quality remains constant.

subject only to the qualification standards prescribed in the Constitution and in the laws. Under the present state of our law. members of the public. explains that the measure on automatic resignation. Second. First. V. Broadrick. For three sets of reasons we conclude that the Cranston charter provision pursues its objective in a far too heavy-handed manner and hence must fall under the equal protection clause. As to the danger of neglect. the possibility of their occurrence might seriously erode the public's confidence in its public employees. The classification simply fails to meet the test that it should be germane to the purposes of the law. fellow-employees.34 The restriction is also justified by the proposition that the entry of civil servants to the electoral arena. integrity. municipal or barangay level.A. the civil service would be done irreparable injury. indeed. both as to rights conferred and obligations imposed. even granting some sort of prophylactic rule may be required. elected Vice-Presidents were appointed to take charge of national housing. laws cannot be legislated for them alone. Blumstein. whether they be in the national. the Executive Secretary. we do see some contemporary relevance of the Mitchell decision. With the fact that they both head executive offices. Glaringly absent is the requisite that the classification must be germane to the purposes of the law. As Justice Marshall pointed out in Dunn v. The measure encapsulated in the second proviso of the third paragraph of Section 13 of R. the provision here prohibits candidacies for all types of public office. Such is the essence of democracy. social welfare development. Thus. If we accept these as the underlying objectives of the law. Second. however. including many which would pose none of the problems at which the law is aimed. Even if none of these abuses actually materialize. the provision is directed to the activity of seeking any and all public offices. government at all levels has a substantial interest in protecting the integrity of its civil service. interior and local government. While it may be admitted that most appointive officials who seek public elective office are those who occupy relatively high positions in government. supra. No. For all of these reasons we find that the state indeed has a compelling interest in maintaining the honesty and impartiality of its public work force. And.33 Applying the four requisites to the instant case. without any attempt to limit exclusion to those employees whose positions make them vulnerable to corruption and conflicts of interest. and foreign affairs). [s]tatutes affecting constitutional rights must be drawn with precision. it is unimaginable how he can use his position in the government to wield influence in the political world. And. under the last requirement. the knowledge that a clerk in the assessor's office who is running for the local zoning board has access to confidential files which could provide pressure points for furthering his campaign is destructive regardless of whether the clerk actually takes advantage of his opportunities. then the assailed provision cannot be constitutionally rescued on the ground of valid classification. It is obviously conceivable that the impartial character of the civil service would be seriously jeopardized if people in positions of authority used their discretion to forward their electoral ambitions rather than the public welfare. see Wisconsin State Employees. or any Member of the Cabinet for that matter. or with them alone in mind. the classification would be regarded as invalid if all the members of the class are not treated similarly. supra. as we all know. Congress has not shown a compelling state interest to restrict the fundamental right involved on such a sweeping scale. The public officer who files his certificate of candidacy would be driven by a greater impetus for excellent performance to show his fitness for the position aspired for. Certainly.The third requirement means that the classification must be enforced not only for the present but as long as the problem sought to be corrected continues to exist. inefficiency or partisanship in the discharge of the functions of his appointive office. running this time. the provision pertains to all civil servants holding appointive posts without distinction as to whether they occupy high positions in government or not. consider the exclusionary measure taken by Cranston-a flat prohibition on office-seeking of all kinds by all kinds of public employees-as even reasonably necessary to satisfaction of this state interest. These qualifications are. National Ass'n of Letter Carriers.35 cited above. we think the nature of the regulation-a broad prophylactic rule-may be unnecessary to fulfillment of the city's objective. The challenged provision also suffers from the infirmity of being overbroad. There is thus no valid justification to treat appointive officials differently from the elective ones. in striking down a similar measure in the United States. Taft. could result in neglect or inefficiency in the performance of duty because they would be attending to their campaign rather than to their office work. as stated in Mitchell and other cases dealing with similar statutes. Similarly if a public employee pressured other fellow employees to engage in corrupt practices in return for promises of post-election reward. the inverse could be just as true and compelling. For example. 9369 and in Section 66 of the OEC violates the equal protection clause.36 . a utility worker in the government will also be considered as ipso facto resigned once he files his CoC for the 2010 elections. and discipline of the public service by eliminating the danger that the discharge of official duty would be motivated by political considerations rather than the welfare of the public. First. whether one holds an appointive office or an elective one. in the example. For the reputation of impartiality is probably as crucial as the impartiality itself. Mancuso v. In order for the Cranston charter provision to withstand strict scrutiny. Mancuso succinctly declares' In proceeding to the second stage of active equal protection review. The measure is further aimed at promoting the efficiency. the provision excludes the candidacies of all types of public employees. however. let us say. the Vice-President. the Court finds that the differential treatment of persons holding appointive offices as opposed to those holding elective ones is not germane to the purposes of the law. This scenario is absurd for. which restricts the rights of civil servants to run for officea right inextricably linked to their freedom of expression and association. could wield the same influence as the Vice-President who at the same time is appointed to a Cabinet post (in the recent past. For the right to seek public elective office is universal. The obvious reason for the challenged provision is to prevent the use of a governmental position to promote one's candidacy. general and basic so as to allow the widest participation of the citizenry and to give free rein for the pursuit of one's highest aspirations to public office. while still in office. supra. or even to wield a dangerous or coercive influence on the electorate. Indeed. Third. whether they be partisan or nonpartisan in character. or if an employee invoked the power of the office he was seeking to extract special favors from his superiors. the evils sought to be prevented by the measure remain. open and unrestrained. is not reasonably necessary to the satisfaction of the state interest. the city must show that the exclusion of all government employees from candidacy is necessary to achieve a compelling state interest. We do not. retains his position during the entire election period and can still use the resources of his office to support his campaign. for President. Conversely. there is no valid justification to treat them differently when both file their CoCs for the elections. or supervisors might themselves request favors from the candidate or might improperly adjust their own official behavior towards him.

Thus. 9369. restrictions on administrative employees who either participate in decision-making or at least have some access to information concerning policy matters are much more justifiable than restrictions on industrial employees. there exists the device of the leave of absence. Finally. had already stricken down a similar measure for being unconstitutional. Presumably the city could fire the individual if he clearly shirks his employment responsibilities or disrupts the work of others. On a final note. Not. supra. the candidate would feel no conflict between his desire for election and his publicly entrusted discretion. The statute reviewed inMitchell was limited to partisan political activity.37 on this point. most probably his town of residence. bribery. County Attorneys. and hence where the potential for various abuses was greater. inter alia. that Tennessee had available a number of criminal statutes that could be used to punish voter fraud without unnecessary infringement on the newcomer's right to vote. under a classification that is germane to the purposes of the law. merits the stamp of approval from American courts. too. the connection between after-hours campaigning and the state interest seems tenuous. Inspectors of Hides and Animals. supra. but barren. supra. the charter does not limit its prohibition to partisan office-seeking. After all. 67 S. not through overly broad measures that unduly restrict guaranteed freedoms of the citizenry. Although it is indisputable that the city has a compelling interest in the performance of official work. While the line between nonpartisan and partisan can often be blurred by systems whose true characters are disguised by the names given them by their architects. sovereignty resides in the people. Finally. Also. it appears from the record in this case that the Cranston charter contains some provisions that might be used against opportunistic public employees. and Constables if they announce their candidacy or if they become candidates in any general. and since that time other courts have found the partisan-nonpartisan distinction a material one. and all governmental power emanates from them. It is high-time that we.38 Incidentally. Justices of the Peace. It is difficult for us to see that a public employee running for the United States Congress poses quite the same threat to the civil service as would the same employee if he were running for a local office where the contacts and information provided by his job related directly to the position he was seeking. anywhere. should follow suit and. a general and sweeping provision. District Attorneys. rules or statutes that treat conflict of interests. restrictions to such freedoms. we cannot say that Cranston has put much effort into tailoring a narrow provision that attempts to match the prohibition with the problem. We also do not find convincing the arguments that after-hours campaigning will drain the energy of the public employee to the extent that he is incapable of performing his job effectively and that inevitable on-the-job campaigning and discussion of his candidacy will disrupt the work of others. the exclusion is not well-tailored to effectuate that interest. however. it may be readily observed that a provision treating differently particular officials. as distinguished from all others. supra. It applies equally well to a number of non-political.S. The courts in both cases felt that the no-candidacy laws in question were much too broad and indicated that perhaps the only situation sensitive enough to justify a flat rule was one in which an inferior in a public office electorally challenged his immediate superior. Last term in Dunn v. Given all these considerations.Specific evils require specific treatments. special or primary election. who. but sterilizes also those public employees who would seek nonpartisan elective office. County Treasurers. a worker in the Philadelphia mint could be distinguished from a secretary in an office of the Department of Agriculture. County Clerks. it may not be amiss to state that the Americans. and more so one violative of the second requisite for a valid classification. but rather extends to statewide offices and even to national offices. The city might also promote its interest in the integrity of the civil service by enforcing. Sheriffs. Taft. The prohibition is not limited to the local offices of Cranston. Fashing39 sustained as constitutional a provision on the automatic resignation of District Clerks. nor any conflict between his efforts to persuade the public and his access to confidential documents. Mancuso v. but to the type of employee seeking the office. so also could a janitor in the public schools of Cranston be distinguished from an assistant comptroller of the same city. Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. are. Here again the charter precludes candidacies which can pose only a remote threat to the civil service. Some system of leaves of absence would permit the public employee to take time off to pursue his candidacy while assuring him his old job should his candidacy be unsuccessful. The charter forbids a Cranston public employee from running for any office. County Surveyors. the petition is GRANTED. or other forms of official corruption. Nor does the Cranston charter except the public employee who works in Cranston but aspires to office in another local jurisdiction. Even if some sort of prophylactic rule is necessary.Ct. which is on its face unconstitutional. the efficiency rationale common to both arguments is significantly underinclusive. discipline. County Judges. See Kinnear. or criminal prosecution. instructs As to approaches less restrictive than a prophylactic rule. at 120-126. instead of using a broad prophylactic rule. Toledo. identically situated to all other industrial workers. in many cases a public employee would be able to campaign aggressively and still continue to do his job well. WHEREFORE. 8678 are declared as UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Gray v. Cranston has chosen a provision that makes the public employee cast off the security of hard-won public employment should he desire to compete for elected office. a leave of absence policy would eliminate many of the opportunities for engaging in the questionable practices that the statute is designed to prevent. premises considered. In Clements. Blumstein. through dismissal. it seems clear that the concerns of a truly partisan office and the temptations it fosters are sufficiently different from those involved in an office removed from regular party politics to warrant distinctive treatment in a charter of this sort. . The third and last area of excessive and overinclusive coverage of the Cranston charter relates not to the type of office sought. By thus attacking the problem directly. Clements v. Moreover. In both of these cases a civil service deputy decided to run for the elected office of sheriff. Similarly. Criminal District Attorneys. Justice Marshall stated. extracurricular activities that are not prohibited by the Cranston charter. 330 U. A second line of distinction that focuses on the type of employee is illustrated by the cases of Kinnear andMinielly. County Commissioners. the Supreme Court faced an analogous question when the State of Tennessee asserted that the interest of ballot box purity justified its imposition of one year and three month residency requirements before a citizen could vote. Wisconsin State Employees. from whom we copied the provision in question. Public Weighers. Assessors and Collectors of Taxes. But instead of adopting a reasonable leave of absence policy. but for the fact that the government owns the plant they work in. we think Cranston has not given adequate attention to the problem of narrowing the terms of its charter to deal with the specific kinds of conflict-of-interest problems it seeks to avoid. As Justice Douglas pointed out in his dissent inMitchell. the city could pursue its objective without unduly burdening the First Amendment rights of its employees and the voting rights of its citizens. for purposes of access to official information. 556. thus. While campaigning. uphold fundamental liberties over age-old. The second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act No.

6646. DECISION (j) Juvic Deslate – Member of the SB1 On June 23. the petitioners and private respondents ran for the positions of Mayor. during the May 14. Capiz. 2001. KATHERINE BELO. The case was docketed as Election Offense Case No. The petitioners aver that the public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed resolutions.R. RODOLFO DEOCAMPO AND LORENCITO B. VICENTE DURAN. SR. Vice-Mayor and Members of the Sangguniang Bayan in the Municipality of Panitan. The private respondents prayed that the petitioners be charged of the said crimes and disqualified from holding office under Section 684 of the said Code. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. 2001 elections. 2004. dated October 21. 2002.. 6648. It. BELO. On May 18. the private respondents filed a complaint against the petitioners with the COMELEC Law Department. and the Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc dated May 5. First Division. J. 2001 elections.respondents. Capiz. alleging that the latter committed acts of terrorism punishable by Section 261(e)2 of the Omnibus Election Code. and Section 65 of Republic Act No. The Law Department of the COMELEC found a prima facie case and issued a Resolution on January 15. recommended the disqualification of all the petitioners from further holding . likewise. LILIA ARANAS. 2004 (i) Ernesto Bito-on – Member of the SB ROBERTO ALBAÑA. GABRIEL ARANAS. MERLINDA DEGALA. vs. 2001. 2003 annulling the proclamation of the petitioners as the duly-elected municipal officials of Panitan. DIAZ. denying their motion for reconsideration.SO ORDERED. ERNESTO BITO-ON AND JUVIC DESLATE. punishable under Section 261(a)3 of the Omnibus Election Code. PIO JUDE S. in relation to Section 28 of Republic Act No. No. 01-111. RICARDO ARAQUE.petitioners. 163302 July 23. the petitioners were duly elected and proclaimed winners to the following positions: (a) Roberto Albaña – Mayor (b) Katherine Belo – Vice-Mayor (c) Generoso Derramas – Member of the Sang[g]uniang Bayan (SB) (d) Vicente Duran – Member of the SB (e) Ricardo Araque – Member of the SB (f) Lilia Aranas – Member of the SB (g) Merlinda Degala – Member of the SB (h) Gabriel Aranas – Member of the SB G. CALLEJO. GENEROSO DERRAMAS. The Antecedents During the May 14. and engaged in vote-buying.: Before us is a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition for the nullification of the Resolution of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). recommending the filing of an Information against the petitioners for violation of Section 261(e) of the Omnibus Election Code.

Sadain and Florentino A. 1988. 2004.11 Commissioners Mehol K. the COMELEC issued a Resolution denying the said motion for lack of merit and for having been filed out of time. (b) if in the negative. 2004. 2003 and May 5.18 In this case.17 Nonetheless. the Municipal Election Officer issued a Notice to the Members of the Municipal Board of Canvassers informing them that the Board shall convene on June 8. we agree with the COMELEC that the petition for the nullification of its October 21.10 The petitioners' motion for reconsideration and supplement to the motion for reconsideration were denied by the COMELEC En Banc in the Resolution of May 5. and. 2003. 2003. 2050. We DIRECT the LAW DEPARTMENT to FILE THE NECESSARY INFORMATION against ROBERTO ALBAÑA. Generoso Derramas. the private respondents moved for the execution pending appeal of the assailed resolutions on the ground that decisions on election contests rendered by the COMELEC may be executed pending appeal for good reasons. GABRIEL ARANAS. Rodolfo Deocampo as ViceMayor and Lorencito B.7 8 The petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration thereon. more than a month after such proclamation.16 Where the issues have become moot and academic. 2003. the Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed the private respondents as the winners in the May 14. thus. in light of Section 2 of COMELEC Resolution No. the COMELEC should have dismissed the complaint for their disqualification which the private respondents filed only on June 23. a Resolution directing its Law Department to file the appropriate Information against the petitioners for violation of Section 261(e) of the Omnibus Election Code and directing the Clerk of the Commission to docket the electoral aspect of the complaint as a disqualification case. and directing the election officer of Panitan to constitute a new municipal board of canvassers. For this reason. declaring that the disqualification case was the result of the findings of the Commission En Banc. RICARDO ARAQUE. 2003 and May 5. Omnibus Election Code. 03-006 annulling the petitioners' proclamation on the ground that they violated Section 261(a) and (e) of the Omnibus Election Code. Gabriel Aranas. are hereby annulled on the ground that they committed election offenses as provided for under Section 261 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 28 of RA 6646 and Section 261 (e) of the same Code in relation to Section 68 thereof. 2004 was mooted by the election and proclamation of a new set of municipal officials after the May 10.12 The Present Petition On May 13. It also held that as an aftermath of petitioners' violation of Section 261(e) in relation to Section 68 of the On the first issue. Since the Court did not issue a temporary restraining order. alleging that the COMELEC did not make any findings of fact in its resolution. and petitioners Ricardo Araque and Ernesto Bito-on as members of the Sangguniang Bayan. the COMELEC En Banc issued. 2001.13 On June 1. Vice-Mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Panitan.office. KATHERINE BELO. we resolve to grant the petition. the votes they received are deemed stray votes. the COMELEC First Division rendered the assailed resolution in SPA No. Tuason. orderly. SO ORDERED. with Pio Jude S. filed separate dissenting opinions. the COMELEC declared the assailed Resolutions as final and executory and directed the Regional Election Director to implement the same in an Order dated May 27. in view of the foregoing. 9 On June 3. Ricardo Araque. Ernesto Bito-on and Juvic Deslate as Mayor. which reads: . enhance free.15 The threshold issues raised by the parties in this case are the following: (a) whether the petition was mooted by the election and proclamation of the new set of municipal officials after the May 10. Belo as Mayor. On the second issue. whether the COMELEC committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed resolutions. 2001 elections. thus: WHEREFORE. yet evading review. LILIA ARANAS. the proclamation of respondents Roberto Albaña. on February 28. In fact. 2050. The Election Officer of the municipality of Panitan is hereby directed to constitute a new Municipal Board of Canvassers which shall disregard the votes garnered by the respondents. GENEROSO DERRAMAS. 2004. The Ruling of the Court On October 21. 2004. prepare a new Certificate of Canvass on the basis of the votes of the candidates for the position held by the respondents to the exclusion of the latter and immediately. the records show that petitioner Katherine Belo was elected as Mayor. Katherine Belo. 2004 Resolutions and the proclamation of the private respondents on June 10. The Clerk of the Commission is likewise directed to docket the electoral aspect of the complaint as a disqualification case and immediately assign the same to a division which shall resolve the case on the basis of the recommendation of the Law Department. there is no justiciable controversy. The expiration of the challenged term of the offices renders the corresponding petition moot and academic. we find it necessary to resolve the issues raised in the petition in order to prevent a repetition thereof and. 2004 elections. The petitioners also alleged that the COMELEC erred in ordering the docketing of the electoral aspect of the complaint. and the reconvening of the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) in order to proclaim the qualified candidates who obtained the highest number of votes. ERNESTO BITO-ON and JUVIC DESLATE before a court of competent jurisdiction. On the same day. and that there was even no disquisition as to the merits of the affidavits of their witnesses and the evidence presented by them. Jr. proclaim the winners. 2004 elections. Diaz as a Member of the Sangguniang Bayan. Lilia Aranas. 2004. considering that their terms of office were about to expire. 2004. Vicente Duran. 03-006. thereby rendering the resolution of the same of no practical use or value. The dispositive portion reads: IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. the petitioners filed this Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction seeking to nullify the two Resolutions dated October 21. MERLINDA DEGALA. courts will decide a question otherwise moot and academic if it is capable of repetition. Merlinda Degala. They aver that such dismissal was mandated by Section 2 of COMELEC Resolution No. Capiz. 2001. the petitioners aver that since they were already proclaimed the dulyelected municipal officials of Panitan. 2004. therefore. The Clerk of the Commission docketed the disqualification case against the petitioners as SPA No. VICENTE DURAN. they are considered disqualified candidates and. petitioner Generoso Derramas as Vice-Mayor. on May 18.14 On June 10.6 Acting on the said resolution. They contended that a good reason existed in this case. adopted on November 3. Capiz. and peaceful elections.

Act No. However. the complainant may file a petition for suspension of the proclamation of the respondent with the court before which the criminal case is pending and the said court may order the suspension of the proclamation if the evidence of guilt is strong. their supposed disqualification should be adjudged by the latter court and not by the COMELEC. the complaint shall be referred for preliminary investigation to the Law Department. the COMELEC preempted the decision of the trial court. In this case. … It bears stressing that Resolution No. Patently then.21 this Court ruled that a complaint for disqualification filed after the election against a candidate before or after his proclamation as winner shall be dismissed by the COMELEC.000. COMELEC. the Law Department makes a prima facie finding of guilt and the corresponding information has been filed with the appropriate trial court. if a complaint is filed with the COMELEC against a candidate who has already been proclaimed winner. was designed to eschew criminal prosecution for violation of Section 261(a)(e) of the Omnibus Election Code. it shall also order his disqualification pursuant to Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code. 2050 was approved precisely because of the variance in opinions of the members of the respondent COMELEC on matters of procedure in dealing with and evaluating cases for disqualification filed under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 6 of Rep.00). In fact. 2003 to file the appropriate Informations against the petitioners for violations of Section 261(a) and (e) of the Omnibus Election Code. but shall. it is mandated to dismiss the complaint for the disqualification of the candidate. In both cases. If he is a foreigner. it should have refrained from making a finding of disqualification before the petitioners' conviction by final judgment.20 hence.2. It is well-settled that the ineligibility of a candidate receiving majority votes does not entitle the eligible candidate receiving the next highest number of votes to be declared elected. Pursuant to paragraph 2 of Resolution No. before proclamation. 6646 filed after the election against a candidate who has already been proclaimed as winner shall be dismissed as a disqualification case. 6646 and 8436. the petitioners were proclaimed winners on May 18. (Emphasis supplied) The petitioners cite the ruling of this Court in Bagatsing vs. The Office of the Solicitor General." … In sharp contrast. 2050 specifically mandates a definite policy and procedure for disqualification cases. or (b) who has already been proclaimed as winner. considering the petitioners' plea for a writ of preliminary injunction. The private respondents filed their complaint for violation of Section 216(a) and (e) of the Omnibus Election Code and for the disqualification of the petitioners only on June 23. be dismissed as a disqualification case. the COMELEC committed a grave abuse of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in issuing its assailed resolutions disqualifying the petitioners from the positions they were respectively elected. the complaint shall be dismissed as a disqualification case and shall be referred for preliminary investigation to the Law Department of the COMELEC. as amended by Section 46 of Rep. since by so doing. Any complaint for disqualification based on Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 6 of Rep. However. The votes intended for the disqualified candidate should not be considered null and void. that the petitioners filed their petition merely and solely to eschew criminal prosecution for violation of Section 216(a) and (e) of the Omnibus Election Code. likewise. 2050. should be applied and given effect. the complaint for disqualification is filed after the election which may be either before or after the proclamation of the respondent candidate. for its part. 8189 which reads: SEC. The plaint of the Office of the Solicitor General. However. as laid down in paragraph 2. if the COMELEC finds no probable cause. Act No. the petitioners stated in their petition that "inasmuch as the COMELEC had already directed the prosecution of the herein petitioners in a criminal case which is now pending in the Regional Trial Court of Capiz. 1998 or seven (7) days after the 1998 elections. In Bagatsing vs. as amended. In addition. the COMELEC shall determine the existence of probable cause 24 for the filing of an Information against the candidate for the election offense charged. the complaint for disqualification against private respondent in the case at bar was lodged on May 18. the complaint shall be dismissed as a disqualification case but shall be referred to the Law Department of the COMELEC for preliminary investigation. order the dismissal of the complaint for disqualification. We rule for the petitioners. Penalties. has no factual basis. Act Nos.000. charging an election offense under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code. A minority or defeated candidate cannot be deemed elected to the office. he shall be deported after the prison term has been served.22 The COMELEC. If the COMELEC finds that there is probable cause.19 and the dissenting opinion of Commissioner Mehol Sadain. 2001. as it would amount to . the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage. Act No. as amended by Rep. The COMELEC found probable cause against the respondents for the offense charged and directed its Law Department to file the appropriate Information against the petitioners. 2001. Section 2 of COMELEC Resolution No. without prejudice to the outcome of the criminal case. that after the COMELEC directed its Law Department on February 28. committed a grave abuse of its discretion when it ordered the Municipal Election Officers to convene a new Board of Canvassers and proclaim the winners after the petitioners were declared disqualified. the complainant shall be referred for preliminary investigation to the Law Department of the commission. it shall order its Law Department to file the appropriate Information with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) which has territorial jurisdiction over the offense. nonetheless. nevertheless.— Any person found guilty of any Election offense under this Act shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one (1) year but not more than six (6) years and shall not be subject to probation. 2050 is as clear as day: the COMELEC is mandated to dismiss a complaint for the disqualification of a candidate who has been charged with an election offense but who has already been proclaimed as winner by the Municipal Board of Canvassers. viz: Second. COMELEC Resolution No. and praying for the disqualification of the said candidate. a complaint for disqualification filed after the election against a candidate (a) who has not yet been proclaimed as winner.00) but not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500. Where a similar complaint is filed after election but before proclamation of the respondent candidate. 6646. 46. If the trial court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense charged. Under this scenario. in defiance of Resolution No. 2050. Commission on Election.23 Under the said resolution. If. asserts that the petition at bar. the complaint shall. Any political party found guilty shall be sentenced to pay a fine not less One hundred thousand pesos (P100.

: Implicit in the petitioner’s invocation of the constitutional provision ensuring "equal access to opportunities for public office" is the claim that there is a constitutional right to run for or hold public office and. In so doing. and he has a platform of government. the conditions would have substantially changed.. 27 WHEREFORE. Petitioner claims that the form does not provide clear and reasonable guidelines for determining the qualifications of candidates since it does not ask for the candidate’s bio-data and his program of government. He could not be considered the first among qualified candidates because in a field which excludes the disqualified candidate. By then. respondent. 6604 dated February 11. There is nothing in the plain language of the provision which suggests such a thrust or justifies an interpretation of the sort. There is none. petitioner seeks to reverse the resolutions which were allegedly rendered in violation of his right to "equal access to opportunities for public service" under Section 26. 2003 and May 5. What is recognized is merely a privilege subject to limitations imposed by law.e. NULLIFIED AND SET ASIDE. the petition is GRANTED. He was repudiated by either a majority or plurality of voters. The COMELEC.1 by limiting the number of qualified candidates only to those who can afford to wage a nationwide campaign and/or are nominated by political parties. ESQUIRE. petitioner argues that the COMELEC indirectly amended the constitutional provisions on the electoral process and limited the power of the sovereign people to choose their leaders. As a necessary consequence. the constitutional and legal dimensions involved. 04-001. SO ORDERED. The second placer is just that. Article II of the Constitution neither bestows such a right nor elevates the privilege to the level of an enforceable right. Section 26.R. entitled "Declaration of Principles and State Policies. Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration was docketed as SPP (MP) No. 6558. 2004." The provisions under the Article are generally considered not self-executing.4 . Commission on Elections:26 To simplistically assume that the second placer would have received the other votes would be to substitute our judgment for the mind of the voter. No costs. 2004 REV. 2004. 2004. ELLY CHAVEZ PAMATONG. The "equal access" provision is a subsumed part of Article II of the Constitution. J. The COMELEC supposedly erred in disqualifying him since he is the most qualified among all the presidential candidates. the provision does not contain any judicially enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for legislative or executive action. however. G. he also has the capacity to wage an international campaign since he has practiced law in other countries. denied the same under the aegis of Omnibus Resolution No. Commissioner Sadain maintained his vote for petitioner. Commissioner Tancangco had retired. a second placer. to seek the presidency. particularly in his case. The decision. i. is. he is capable of waging a national campaign since he has numerous national organizations under his leadership. Article II of the 1987 Constitution. 25 As we held in Reyes vs. petitioner.disenfranchising the electorate in whom sovereignty resides. Petitioner likewise attacks the validity of the form for theCertificate of Candidacy prepared by the COMELEC. 2004 are hereby NULLIFIED AND SET ASIDE. Vice-Mayor and Members of the Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipality of Panitan. Respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) refused to give due course to petitioner’s Certificate of Candidacy in its Resolution No. 6558 dated January 17. vs. RESOLUTION TINGA. 2004 by the Municipal Board of Canvassers as the elected Mayor. acting on petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration and on similar motions filed by other aspirants for national elective positions. In this Petition For Writ of Certiorari. the proclamation of the private respondents on June 10. The COMELEC declared petitioner and thirty-five (35) others nuisance candidates who could not wage a nationwide campaign and/or are not nominated by a political party or are not supported by a registered political party with a national constituency. The COMELEC Resolutions dated October 21. respectively. Capiz. he possesses all the constitutional and legal qualifications for the office of the president. Petitioner Rev. Like the rest of the policies enumerated in Article II. was not unanimous since Commissioners Luzviminda G.2 and there is no plausible reason for according a different treatment to the "equal access" provision. First. On January 15.3 The disregard of the provision does not give rise to any cause of action before the courts. Sadain voted to include petitioner as they believed he had parties or movements to back up his candidacy. 161872 April 13. petitioner moved for reconsideration of Resolution No. No. likewise. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. He lost the elections. 2003. Tancangco and Mehol K. Elly Velez Pamatong filed his Certificate of Candidacy for President on December 17. We are not prepared to extrapolate the results under the circumstances.

Some valid limitations specifically on the privilege to seek elective office are found in the provisions9 of the Omnibus Election Code on "Nuisance Candidates" and COMELEC Resolution No. These practical difficulties should. Significantly. Certainly. 645210 dated December 10. most probably posed at the instance of these nuisance candidates. Inevitably. As long as the limitations apply to everybody equally without discrimination. the provision is not intended to compel the State to enact positive measures that would accommodate as many people as possible into public office. The poll body would be bogged by irrelevant minutiae covering every step of the electoral process. I change the word "broaden. it was not the intention of the framers to inflict on the people an operative but amorphous foundation from which innately unenforceable rights may be sourced. These would entail additional costs to the government. That is the meaning of broadening opportunities to public service."7 (emphasis supplied) Obviously. The approval of the "Davide amendment" indicates the design of the framers to cast the provision as simply enunciatory of a desired policy objective and not reflective of the imposition of a clear State burden.8 Words and phrases such as "equal access. This is not to mention the candidacies which are palpably ridiculous so as to constitute a one-note joke. If you broaden. The rationale behind the prohibition against nuisance candidates and the disqualification of candidates who have not evinced a bona fide intention to run for office is easy to divine. there are election rules and regulations the formulations of which are dependent on the number of candidates in a given election. whenever necessary and proper. Equality is not sacrificed as long as the burdens engendered by the limitations are meant to be borne by any one who is minded to file a certificate of candidacy. the myriad of claims that can be subsumed under this rubric appear to be entirely open-ended. Their names would have to be printed in the Certified List of Candidates. petitioner’s reliance on the equal access clause in Section 26. Towards this end. deception and even frustration of the democratic [process]. however." and the substitution of the word "office" to "service. such as watchers in every polling place.12 The preparation of ballots is but one aspect that would be affected by allowance of "nuisance candidates" to run in the elections. but a rot that erodes faith in our democratic institutions. It is difficult to interpret the clause as operative in the absence of legislation since its effective means and reach are not properly defined. The State has a compelling interest to ensure that its electoral exercises are rational. therefore." He explained his proposal in this wise: I changed the word "broaden" to "ENSURE EQUAL ACCESS TO" because what is important would be equal access to the opportunity. 2002 outlining the instances wherein the COMELEC may motu proprio refuse to give due course to or cancel aCertificate of Candidacy. their presumed validity stands and has to be accorded due weight. The original wording of the present Section 26. Ultimately. . As the United States Supreme Court held: [T]here is surely an important state interest in requiring some preliminary showing of a significant modicum of support before printing the name of a political organization and its candidates on the ballot – the interest. So." 6 Commissioner (now Chief Justice) Hilario Davide. the ignominious nature of a nuisance candidacy becomes even more galling. there is no showing that any person is exempt from the limitations or the burdens which they create. not to mention the increased allocation of time and resources in preparation for the election.11 The COMELEC itself recognized these practical considerations when it promulgated Resolution No. Moreover.00).000. "The State shall broaden opportunities to public office and prohibit public dynasties. Thus." "opportunities. if no other. Article II had read. adopting the study Memorandum of its Law Department dated 11 January 2004. Article II of the Constitution is misplaced. in order that we should not mandate the State to make the government the number one employer and to limit offices only to what may be necessary and expedient yet offering equal opportunities to access to it." and "public service" are susceptible to countless interpretations owing to their inherent impreciseness. Jr. xxx[I]t serves no practical purpose to allow those candidates to continue if they cannot wage a decent campaign enough to project the prospect of winning. of course. the equal access clause is not violated. To add into the mix candidates with no serious intentions or capabilities to run a viable campaign would actually impair the electoral process. As observed in the COMELEC’s Comment: There is a need to limit the number of candidates especially in the case of candidates for national positions because the election process becomes a mockery even if those who cannot clearly wage a national campaign are allowed to run. and orderly. the greater the opportunities for logistical confusion. 6558 on 17 January 2004. no matter how slim. a disorderly election is not merely a textbook example of inefficiency. the greater the number of candidates. Our election laws provide various entitlements for candidates for public office.14 or even the receipt of electoral contributions.13 watchers in the board of canvassers. it would necessarily mean that the government would be mandated to create as many offices as are possible to accommodate as many people as are also possible. successfully brought forth an amendment that changed the word "broaden" to the phrase "ensure equal access. Voters Information Sheet and the Official Ballots. objective. 6452 dated 10 December 2003. never exempt the State from the conduct of a mandated electoral exercise. The organization of an election with bona fide candidates standing is onerous enough. an additional page would amount to more or less FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY MILLION PESOS (P450. Broadly written. the State takes into account the practical considerations in conducting elections. In the case at bar. the provision as written leaves much to be desired if it is to be regarded as the source of positive rights. Given these considerations.An inquiry into the intent of the framers5 produces the same determination that the provision is not self-executory. Clearly. petitioner does not challenge the constitutionality or validity of Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code and COMELEC Resolution No. At the same time.15Moreover. remedial actions should be available to alleviate these logistical hardships. As earlier noted. It would be a senseless sacrifice on the part of the State. the privilege of equal access to opportunities to public office may be subjected to limitations.000. For the official ballots in automated counting and canvassing of votes. in avoiding confusion.

VILLAROSA and QUINTOS were the only candidates for the office of Representative of the Lone Legislative District of Occidental Mindoro in the 11 May 1998 synchronized national and local elections..17 Moreover. as the song goes. It deserves not a cursory treatment but a hearing which conforms to the requirements of due process." The Omnibus Election Code and COMELEC Resolution No.. SO ORDERED.[1] an election protest case filed by private respondent Ricardo V. A word of caution is in order. vs. The assailed resolutions of the COMELEC do not direct the Court to the evidence which it considered in determining that petitioner was a nuisance candidate.032 votes. SPP (MP) No. the Constitution guarantees that only bona fide candidates for public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination. since such a review would necessarily take into account the matters which the COMELEC considered in arriving at its decisions. 1998 elections. not being a trier of facts. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL and RICARDO V. "their trips to the moon on gossamer wings. QUINTOS. [G. However valid the law and the COMELEC issuance involved are. 144129. 4) previously prepared ballots for the protestee were deposited in the ballot boxes. after canvass of returns. orderly and honest elections. AMELITA C. persons other than the registered voters voted. During the preliminary conference conducted by the HRET on 6 August 1998. Quintos (hereafter QUINTOS) against petitioner Amelita C. On 4 June 1998 QUINTOS filed an election protest against VILLAROSA [2] contesting the results of the election in all the 882 precincts in the eleven municipalities of Occidental Mindoro on the following grounds: (1) the ballots were misread and counted in favor of protestee. Yet this Court. 6452 are cognizant of the compelling State interest to ensure orderly and credible elections by excising impediments thereto. who wrote “JTV” on the ballots contrary to the instruction of said illiterate voters. 1998. This precludes the Court from reviewing at this instance whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying petitioner. No. or a margin of three thousand . Neither the COMELEC nor the Solicitor General appended any document to their respective Comments. their proper application in the case of the petitioner cannot be tested and reviewed by this Court on the basis of what is now before it.R. AMELITA C. DAVIDE. VILLAROSA.18 The determination of bona fidecandidates is governed by the statutes. i. Protestant and Protestee were registered candidates for and voted as Representatives. Petitioner has submitted to this Court mere photocopies of various documents purportedly evincing his credentials as an eligible candidate for the presidency. As to petitioner’s attacks on the validity of the form for the certificate of candidacy. such as nuisance candidacies that distract and detract from the larger purpose. September 14. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL and RICARDO V. 04-001 is hereby remanded to the COMELEC for the reception of further evidence. petitioner. (3) violence and intimidation were committed by protestee and her followers against known supporters of protestant to enhance protestee’s candidacy. DECISION Now. 1.: These cases. The COMELEC is mandated by the Constitution with the administration of elections16 and endowed with considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that will ensure the promotion of free. [G. with the required information tending to show that the candidate possesses the minimum qualifications for the position aspired for as established by the Constitution and other election laws. 2000] MA. 98-030. QUINTOS and VILLAROSA agreed on the following facts: IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. vs. COMELEC Case No. have their genesis in HRET Case No. suffice it to say that the form strictly complies with Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code.Owing to the superior interest in ensuring a credible and orderly election.respondents.400) votes. On May 27. satisfactorily defined in the Omnibus Election Code. and the concept. 2000] MA.e.R. She counter-protested the results of the election in 497 precincts. 2. to determine the question on whether petitioner Elly Velez Lao Pamatong is a nuisance candidate as contemplated in Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code. 143351. C. the remand of this case for the reception of further evidence is in order. VILLAROSA. QUINTOS.J. [3] On 6 July 1998 VILLAROSA filed her Answer with Counter-Protest and Counterclaim. September 14. This provision specifically enumerates what a certificate of candidacy should contain. On 27 May 1998 the Provincial Board of Canvassers proclaimed VILLAROSA as the winning candidate with a margin of 3. the needed factual premises. which were ordered consolidated on 15 August 2000. and (5) illiterate Mangyan voters voting for protestant were assisted by self-appointed assistors of protestee. the Provincial Board of Canvassers proclaimed Protestee Villarosa as the winning candidate for having obtained fifty-five thousand four hundred (55. The question of whether a candidate is a nuisance candidate or not is both legal and factual. No.respondents. What is at stake is petitioner’s aspiration and offer to serve in the government. JR. the State could exclude nuisance candidates and need not indulge in. to our mind is. Lone Legislative District of Occidental Mindoro in the May 11. Thus. The basis of the factual determination is not before this Court. (2) there was rampant substitute voting. can not properly pass upon the reproductions as evidence at this level. petitioner. The COMELEC is directed to hold and complete the reception of evidence and report its findings to this Court with deliberate dispatch. Villarosa (hereafter VILLAROSA) before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (hereafter HRET).

the HRET promulgated Resolution No. … should be counted in her favor. In her affidavit dated April 16. Protestee counter-protests the results of the elections in four hundred ninety-seven (497) precints. in the appreciation of official ballots. which was docketed as G. VILLAROSA. 3. as indicated in prayer for “other relief. Recount and appreciation of ballots.”[5] The HRET thereafter required the parties to designate 25% of the protested and counterprotested precincts as their respective pilot precincts pursuant to Rule 68 of the HRET Rules of Procedure.” “Jitivi. 1998 sent by Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) Arsenio Guste of Occidental Mindoro to Director Jose B. and according to Protestant. for all intents and purposes.m. During the revision. upon the other hand.” 6. Likewise. Protestee is wife of JOSE T. 4. attorney’s fees and litigation expenses as alleged and prayed for by Protestee. [4] The parties further agreed and stipulated on the following issues: 1. Law Department. 2. Whether or not the votes JTV should be counted in favor of Protestee.” “JTB. both Protestant and Protestee were not made formal parties thereto. the COMELEC en banc unanimously granted the petition in Election Matter No. 1998. Damages. 3.” This resolution prompted VILLAROSA to file an Omnibus Motion[10] praying for (1) the suspension of the revision of the ballots pursuant to HRET . 98-044 was received by PES Guste at around 4:00 p. 12. Protestee wrote “JTV” as her “nickname/stage name.” “Gitivi. who was Representative of the District in question for two terms. AMELITA “Girlie” C. 1995.. and DIRECT the Secretariat to continue with the revision. Protestant contests the results of the elections in all the precints of the eleven (11) municipalities comprising the Lone Legislative District of Occidental Mindoro. 5. VILLAROSA wrote as his “nickname or stage name: JOE-JTV. Michelle Vizcarra and Mrs. VILLAROSA On 9 December 1999 the HRET conducted an oral argument and heard QUINTOS and VILLAROSA on the aforestated issue. Occidental Mindoro.” “GTV. had filed with the COMELEC a petition to invalidate/cancel “JTV” as the official nickname of the protestee. the petition was docketed as Election Matter No. PES Guste informed them that “JTV” is the authorized nickname or stage name of protestee and that “henceforth JTV.”[6] On 7 October 1999. One Atty. 13. Protestee asked that she be allowed to insert in her certificate of candidacy the name GIRLIE such that her name should read in full as MA. 133927. after granting this motion. the last of which ended on June 30. which was docke[te]d therein as SPA No. ballots bearing “Girlie” on the line for Representative were classified as votes for VILLAROSA. On 5 August 1999. on the grounds that protestee had “given money or material consideration to influence. 1998.” 10. ballots bearing “JTV. Balbuena.” The case is still pending. 1998 to all Election Officers. No.[8] On 18 May 2000. QUINTOS filed a “Motion to Withdraw Remaining Non-Pilot Protested Precincts. 98-044. In a letter dated March 27. just and equitable. 11. VILLAROSA as “in every barangays [sic] of the Province of Occidental Mindoro” she is known as “Girlie Villarosa”. Occidental Mindoro. In his Memorandum dated May 10. it ruled that the Protestee “cannot use the nickname “JTV” considering that the same is not her nickname to which she is popularly known. All the precints in the Lone Legislative District of Occidental Mindoro functioned in the elections. 1998 sent to the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor. of May 11.m. but were seen by him at 4:20 p. Protestee thereafter filed with the Supreme Court a Special Civil Action for Certiorari to challenge the resolution and order. JOSE T.” “Jitibi” and “Gitibi” on the line for Representative were classified as ballots for VILLAROSA. Carmen Antonio (Annex “D” of Petition) a copy of the COMELEC Resolution of May 11. Dan Restor of San Jose. which is still pending therein. induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions and committed acts of terrorism to enhance her candidacy.” Protestee’s motion to reconsider the resolution was denied by the COMELEC in its Order of May 13. 1998 in Election Matter No. 98-044. 00-65 [9] wherein it resolved to “PROCEED with the revision of the ballots in the remaining 75%. the HRET promulgated a resolution [7]stating that with QUINTOS’ withdrawal of the remaining non-pilot protested precincts. In its Resolution of May 11. 98-342.” 7. 1998. Protestant filed with the COMELEC a petition to disqualify Protestee.R. 1998. which the revisors of QUINTOS objected to. 9. the former notified the latter that the nickname of protestee in her certificate of candidacy is JTV. COMELEC. in his certificate of candidacy for the election of May 8. 8. Before the filing of this protest. QUINTOS impliedly limited the issue to WHETHER OR NOT THE “JTV” VOTES SHOULD BE COUNTED IN FAVOR OF PROTESTEE AMELITA C.032) votes over Protestant Quintos who was credited fifty-two thousand three hundred sixty-eight (52.368) votes.” “GTB. In her certificate of candidacy.thirty-two (3. Per joint affidavit of Ms.

if accompanied by the first name or surname of the candidate. however. In other cases the COMELEC en banc in its Resolution No. Moreover. nor are they acts which may be reviewed by certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.Because of the ruling that “JTV” votes or votes consisting of variations of “JTV” are stray votes. handbills and other election propaganda throughout the campaign period. Under this Article. by a vote of 5-4. Provided. VILLAROSA’s use of such nickname was attended by bad faith. Sergio Osmeña III. Finally. The Office of the Solicitor General submitted a Manifestation in Lieu of Comment and took the position that “JTV” votes should be declared valid and counted in favor of VILLAROSA.” In fact. 143351 is premature because the HRET had not yet rendered a decision on the election protest. not to count ‘JTV’ and its variations as valid votes for Protestee Amelita C. [and that it] directed that the revision of ballots proceed with respect to the 75% counter-protest precincts. should set out the facts and the law on which they are based. She alleged therein that the HRET gravely abused its discretion in (a) issuing the above-mentioned resolutions of 18 May and 8 June 2000 in that it violated her right to due process when it disposed by a 5-4 ruling a vital election incident without stating therein the findings of fact and law on which the resolutions were based..842 votes in the 75% counter-protested precincts and 4. Rodolfo Biazon. by [a] vote of 5-4 of its members. who submitted the nickname “General. First. does not annul such vote. QUINTOS alleged that the petition in G.” which would be in violation of the second paragraph of Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code allowing candidates to use only one nickname or stage name by which they are generally or popularly known in the locality. which provides that “any vote containing initials only… or which does not sufficiently identify the candidate for whom it is intended shall be considered stray vote. 3. she urged the voters who might have found her full name difficult to write to simply vote “JTV. the HRET invoked Rule 14 of Section 211 of the Omnibus Election Code. As to the use of “JTV” as VILLAROSA’s nickname. did not issue a TRO but required the HRET and QUINTOS to file a comment on the petition. 95-0707 of 9 February 1995 required the following senatorial candidates in the 8 May 1995 elections to submit other names considering that the nicknames or stage names they submitted were not acceptable under the law for purposes of their candidacy: 1. and (3) the dismissal of the protest. the name shall be counted in favor of said candidate. No. in her affidavit asking for the insertion of “GIRLIE” between her given name and surname she stated that she was known as GIRLIE in every barangay of the Province of Occidental Mindoro. fraud and misrepresentation.” as she had decided to use that nickname as a shortcut of her name as a married woman under Article 370 of the Civil Code. a married woman may use (1) her maiden first name and surname and add her husband’s surname.848 votes over VILLAROSA. indeed. votes cast for “GIRLIE” were credited in her favor. Hence. except when they were used as a means to identify the voter. while VILLAROSA garnered 48. (2) declared QUINTOS as the duly elected Representative of the Lone District of Occidental Mindoro. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. if there is no other candidate for the same office with the same nickname.” which is a title of a recent movie and not a general or popular nickname of Osmeña. in its decision promulgated on 27 July 2000. That if the nickname used is unaccompanied by the name or surname of a candidate and it is the one by which he is generally or popularly known in the locality. The Court.” which cannot refer to Rodolfo Biazon only. having obtained the highest number of votes with a margin of 2.” which is more associated with Channel 7. 00-82 [11] informing the parties that “the Tribunal ruled on May 18. who was the Congressman of Occidental Mindoro for two terms and the incumbent Congressman at the time of the elections on 11 May 1998. as mandated by the Constitution. 143351 to enjoin the HRET from resuming the revision of the remaining ballots in HRET Case No.R. the counting in her favor of ballots bearing “JTV” votes on the line for Representative would be tantamount to injustice because that would allow VILLAROSA to use two nicknames. and (b) treating “JTV” votes as stray and invalid. and could have been for no other purpose than to make voters believe that they are voting for her husband. who submitted the nickname “Let’s DOH it. it was the nickname she used in her posters. Rule 13. the same being considered stray ballots. Moreover.R. No. The HRET thus agreed with the COMELEC in its resolution [13] that disallowed VILLAROSA to use “JTV” as a nickname because the same was not her nickname with which she was popularly known. or (3) her husband’s full name. VILLAROSA lost 1.Resolution No. 98-030. (2) her maiden first name and her husband’s surname. No TRO having been issued by this Court.R. (2) a categorical ruling that all ballots cast for “JTV” are valid votes for VILLAROSA. and (3) ordered VILLAROSA to vacate her office at the House of Representatives. Villarosa..336 votes in the 25% pilot precincts. VILLAROSA then prayed that this Court issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a writ of preliminary injunction in G.465 votes. Accordingly. This is an admission that.” The letters “JTV” and its . such as Mrs. in which case the whole ballot is invalid.[12] the HRET. On 8 June 2000 the HRET issued Resolution No. and to declare otherwise would frustrate the sovereign will of the people of Occidental Mindoro. 00-65. The HRET held against VILLAROSA for various reasons.” On 14 June 2000. Section 211 of the Omnibus Election Code on appreciation of ballots provides: The use of nicknames and appellations of affection and friendship. who submitted the nickname “GMA. 2.” which is a slogan of the Department of Health and not the nickname of a person. 2000. QUINTOS claims that the HRET’s ruling on the matter should be maintained because under Section 211 of the Omnibus Election Code any vote containing initials only shall be considered a stray vote. but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife. resulting in the disenfranchisement of the voters of Occidental Mindoro. Juan Flavier. (1) ruled that QUINTOS obtained 51. In his Comment. and 4. her nickname is not “JTV” but “GIRLIE. “GIRLIE” and “JTV. In her speeches during the rallies.617 votes. She argued that “JTV” was her designated nickname in the official list of candidates submitted by the provincial election supervisor to the COMELEC in Manila. 143351. No. The assailed resolutions of the HRET are not decisions or formal resolutions which. who submitted the nickname “OK Eskapo. VILLAROSA filed with this Court a petition for certiorari docketed as G. The HRET maintained that the issue of whether to count in favor of VILLAROSA votes for “JTV” or its variations necessitated a determination of whether VILLAROSA was in fact generally or popularly known as such in the locality of Occidental Mindoro. the revision of the ballots of the remaining 75% of the counter-protested precincts went on and was completed on 28 June 2000.

the Court resolved to dismiss the petitions in these cases. Atty.J. I have no more case (Ibid. (2) reiterating the issue of the validity of the “JTV” votes. We also ordered the immediate lifting of the status quo order issued on 15 August 2000. Panganiban.. Felizmeña: x x x if this Tribunal will validate “JTV” ballots. that if this Honorable Tribunal will consider as stray “JTV” ballots. and (3) charging the HRET with grave abuse of discretion in dispensing with the hearings and appreciation of ballots in the remaining 75% counter-protested precincts. 143351 a Supplemental Manifestation with Urgent Motion to Act on a Pending Prayer and pleaded that this Court issue a temporary restraining order or a status quo order pending deliberation on. the petition. Jr. p. C. in the remaining non-pilot counter-protested [precincts] will not anymore recover what she had lost here in the pilot precincts because the pilot precincts are supposedly the precincts where the anomaly is more notorious. At the oral argument on 15 August 2000. and resolution of. I already withdrew the balance of our protest. at the oral argument before the HRET on 9 December 1999. Kapunan. but instead concurred with. Later. (Ibid. there were 865 ballots containing “JTV” and its derivatives so it will increase even the lead of the protestant should the Hon. 10) xxx QUINTOS filed his Comment on the Supplemental Manifestation in G. she sought no reconsideration of the pronouncement of the HRET in its 7 October 1999 Resolution that “[w]ith Protestant’s withdrawal of the remaining non-pilot protested precincts. (Ibid. 10) xxx (3) Whether or not this Court can still sustain the enforcement of the decision of the HRET considering its rules on finality of judgment and the fact that QUINTOS has taken his oath of office. the last of which ended on 30 June 1998.derivatives do not adequately describe the identity of VILLAROSA considering that they are part of the “JOE-JTV” nickname of Jose Tapales Villarosa who had been the representative of the district in question for two terms. he took his oath of office as Representative of the Lone Legislative District of Occidental Mindoro. Purisima. No. 14335 be dismissed for having been rendered moot and academic. dissenting. ibid.. Part III. QUINTOS’ submission that the case would rise or fall on how the Tribunal would rule on the “JTV” votes.. Reyes and De Leon. As to the limitation of the issue. by a vote of 7-4. the Court resolved to issue a Status Quo Order allowing VILLAROSA to continue holding her office until 29 August 2000. I have no case. First. So. p. Her motion for the reconsideration of the decision having been denied. (2) Whether or not the HRET committed grave abuse of discretion in not counting in favor of VILLAROSA the votes for “JTV” or derivatives thereof. with Davide. He then prayed that the petition in G. No. the parties argued on the following issues: (1) Whether or not due process was observed by the HRET in rendering the decision in question. Bellosillo. VILLAROSA’s counsel did not object to.R. Villarosa. even in the pilot precincts of the protestee. and Atty. Felizmeña: x x x Our case will rise or fall on “JTV” on whether or not it is valid or not x x x (TSN of December 9. However.R. VILLAROSA filed in G. thereby depriving her of the right to due process. And the protestee. No. which was docketed as G. counsel for VILLAROSA. We hold that VILLAROSA was not denied due process in this regard.. Part I. and with Puno. without prejudice to an extended opinion. The assailed decision of the HRET quotes the statements of Atty. Tribunal rule[ ] that “JTV” is null and void. Protestant impliedly limited the issue to whether or not ‘JTV’ votes should be counted in favor of protestee Amelita C.” Second. 14) xxx Atty. JJ. Felizmeña. during the oral argument. in his Addendum to Comment he informed the Court that on 12 August 2000. On 11 August 2000 VILLAROSA filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Buena and Santiago. and I will only submit for resolution on the precincts so revised. No. JJ.800). Felizmeña: x x x And finally. Felizmeña: x x x as I said earlier. (1) assailing the HRET decision. The letters “JTV” could not definitely impress upon the voters that the person running for election was indeed petitioner VILLAROSA. and set the case for oral argument on 15 August 2000. VILLAROSA has herself to blame. On 29 August 2000. 144129. Now. Your Honor. referring to the pilot precincts of both parties. On 8 August 2000 this Court required QUINTOS to comment on the Supplemental Manifestation. 1999. Makalintal. This ponencia is an extended opinion. there are sufficient ballots containing “JTV” and its derivatives including “Girlie” which will offset the winning margin of the protestee by more than one thousand eight hundred (1. The first two issues revolve on the ruling of the HRET limiting the issue to the validity of the votes for “JTV” or derivatives thereof and in dispensing with the hearings and appreciation of ballots in the remaining 75% of the counter-protested precincts. counsel for QUINTOS. Your Honors.R. thus: Atty. By a vote of 7-4. Quisumbing. 23) xxx Atty.R. we will sufficiently overcome . there is no more chance for the protestee to recover what she had lost if “JTV” ballots are considered stray. Your Honors. p. What is now left for the Tribunal is to decide whether or not it will continue the revision of the non-pilot counter-protested precincts x x x We submit. Atty. Felizmeña: x x x we already withdrew our remaining non-pilot protested precincts. Part II. p. Your Honor. following the denial by the HRET of VILLAROSA’s motion for reconsideration. if the rule is valid. 143351. voting in favor of the dismissal of these petitions.

it may be laid down with certainty that the requirement of due process is satisfied if the following conditions are present. It should not be forgotten that under the Constitution the HRET is “the sole judge of all contests relating to the election. 3. pursuant to our duty under Section 1 of Article VIII of the Constitution. courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and offices of the government as well as those of its offices. there is no denial of due process. 5. The husband of petitioner is Jose Tapales Villarosa. Your Honors. In other words. and (4) judgment must be rendered upon the lawful hearing.[14] (underscoring supplied for emphasis) Finally. 2. Where opportunity to be heard. Per admission of VILLAROSA’s counsel during the oral argument on 15 August 2000. thereby serving two full terms. Here are the facts: 1.[17] Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.the winning margin. stated: Briefly stated. the only issue that can justify our taking cognizance of these cases is to determine. pp. To be heard does not only mean verbal arguments in court. Concretely then. And the protestee cannot overcome our winning margin in the non-pilot counter-protested precincts. the HRET did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in ruling that “JTV” votes should not be counted in favor of VILLAROSA. whether the HRET committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in declaring the “JTV” votes as stray votes. former Chief Justice. there is no need anymore to go though [sic] and this case could be decided without anymore revising. 24-25) xxx Atty. In its resolution of 8 June 2000 the HRET ruled by a 5-4 vote “not to count JTV and its variations as valid votes for” VILLAROSA. however. The essence of due process is the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit evidence in support of one’s defense. returns and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives. That is why we withdrew. either through oral arguments or pleadings. (2) jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired over the person of the defendant or over the property which is the subject of the proceeding. then the aggrieved party may come to us for redress by way of a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure even if by the HRET Rules of Procedure the assailed judgment has become final and the prevailing party has taken his oath of office or assumed his position. the judiciary is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature. and the public was publicly informed thereof. because I think the only issue here is whether we could validate the use[ ] of initials. where the power is exercised in an arbitrary manner by reason of passion or personal hostility. in other words. “JTV” was used by Jose Tapales Villarosa as his nickname in both the 1992 and 1995 elections. (Ibid. JOE and “JTV” are two nicknames of Jose Tapales Villarosa. In the 1918 case of Banco Español-Filipino v. it is too plain and obvious that not only was VILLAROSA heard on the issue. All that was to be done was to segregate therefrom ballots bearing “JTV” or variations thereof. strengthened by the admission of the parties at the preliminary conference conducted by the HRET on 6 August 1998 and during the oral argument before the Court on 15 August 2000. ibid. Jose Tapales Villarosa was elected Representative of the Lone Legislative District of Occidental Mindoro in the 1992 and 1995 elections. Part IV. one may be heard also through pleadings. namely. then Commissioner Roberto R. she even moved that the HRET make a categorical ruling that all ballots cast for “JTV” are valid ballots for her. as we stated earlier. therefore. I have nothing more to discuss. after the HRET promulgated its resolution of 18 May 2000 directing the revision of the ballots in the remaining 75% precincts. as indicated in her Certificate of Candidacy.[19] The facts established in this case. They are stray votes. Explaining this duty of the courts. was a clever ruse or ploy to make a mockery of the election process. With the ruling that the only issue left for determination was whether to count in favor of VILLAROSA votes cast for JTV or variations thereof.[18] If the HRET had committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The HRET rule on finality of its judgment cannot divest the Supreme Court of its power and duty under Section 1 of Article VIII of the Constitution to determine in a proper case whether there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of HRET. is accorded. (1) there must be a court or tribunal clothed with judicial power to hear and determine the matter before it. praying for.” As stated by counsel for VILLAROSA during the 15 August 2000 oral argument.[16] From the foregoing. Macalintal: x x x Well. Your Honors. Palanca[15] this Court held: As applied to a judicial proceeding. Therefore. our case will rise and fall on “JTV. p. a categorical ruling that all ballots cast for “JTV” are valid votes for her. It must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. inter alia. VILLAROSA filed an Omnibus Motion. During the election and campaign periods for the 11 May 1998 elections Jose Tapales Villarosa was the incumbent Representative of the Lone Legislative District of Occidental Mindoro. or. In his certificate of candidacy for the May 1995 elections Jose Tapales Villarosa entered as his nickname “JOE-JTV.” x x x (Ibid. or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. (3) the defendant must be given an opportunity to be heard. VILLAROSA cannot now be heard to complain that she was denied due process. it logically follows that a hearing or appreciation of ballots other than those cast for “JTV” or variations thereof in the remaining 75% counter-protested precincts was unnecessary. 25).[20] . So that. Concepcion. lead us to no other conclusion than that the use by VILLAROSA of “JTV” as her nickname or stage name. 4. Your Honors.

6. “JTV” refers actually to the initials of Jose Tapales Villarosa.
7. Before VILLAROSA filed her certificate of candidacy on 27 March 1998 for the 11
May 1998 elections, VILLAROSA never used “JTV” as her nickname or stage
name. Her nickname was “GIRLIE.” In her affidavit dated 16 April 1998 which
she filed with the Provincial Election Supervisor, she requested that she be
allowed to insert in her Certificate of Candidacy the name “GIRLIE” between her
given name Amelita and the initial of her maiden surname C so that her name
would read in full as follows: “MA. AMELITA “Girlie” C. VILLAROSA.”
8. In said affidavit of 16 April 1998, VILLAROSA solemnly declared under oath that
she was known as “GIRLIE” Villarosa in every barangay of the Province of
Occidental Mindoro.
9. During the campaign period for the 11 May 1998 elections, VILLAROSA’s
campaign streamers (e.g., Annex “P-1” of Petition in G.R. No. 144129) and
handbills (e.g., Annex “P-2,” id.) did not at all show that “JTV” was her
nickname. She earlier wanted her real nickname “GIRLIE” to be placed between
AMELITA and VILLAROSA per the request in her affidavit of 16 April 1998,
which request was not acted upon.
From the foregoing, the following conclusions are beyond dispute:

Since “JTV” undoubtedly refers to the initials or nickname of VILLAROSA’s husband, Jose
Tapales Villarosa, who was, let it be stressed again, the incumbent Representative of the district
in question at the time of the election for his successor, neither reason nor rhyme can support or
justify a claim that “JTV” votes were intended for petitioner VILLAROSA.
Article 370 of the Civil Code, which VILLAROSA invokes, provides no relief for her. The
article enumerates the names which a married woman may use. One of them is “her husband’s
full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as Mrs.” If VILLAROSA had
availed herself of this, as she suggested in her petition and during the oral argument, then
her name would be “MRS. JOSE TAPALES VILLAROSA.” If for expediency and convenience
she would use the initials of her husband, then her name, in initials would be “MRS. JTV.” Yet,
on this point, VILLAROSA even attempted to confuse us. During the oral argument on 15 August
2000 she tried to convince us that “MRS. JTV” is also her nickname, thus:
CHIEF JUSTICE:
And before 1995 can you inform the Court if Mrs. Villarosa the petitioner here had ever used
the nickname JTV?
ATTY. DE LIMA BOHOL:
As Mrs. JTV, yes, but not purely as JTV. I am not aware of any instance where she used
purely as JTV but as Mrs. JTV.

First, “JTV” represents either the initials or the nickname of Jose Tapales Villarosa.
CHIEF JUSTICE:
Second, VILLAROSA was never generally or popularly known as “JTV.” She was generally or
popularly known as “GIRLIE.” Clearly then, since “JTV” remains to be either the initials or
nickname of Jose Tapales Villarosa, who was the incumbent Congressman during the election
and campaign periods for the 11 May 1998 elections, votes entered or written as “JTV” cannot
be considered as votes for petitioner. The votes “JTV” or any variations thereof are, therefore,
stray votes.

Do you have evidence to show that before 1995 elections JTV was the nickname of Mrs.
Villarosa or the petitioner now?
ATTY. DE LIMA BOHOL:

It would be the height of naivety to believe that, indeed, “JTV” is petitioner’s nickname, or
that she used it for any other purpose than to ride on the popularity of her husband to mislead
the voters, especially the less informed.

We don’t have evidence, Your Honor.

The plea that the voters’ intention must prevail is misplaced. It assumes that those who
wrote “JTV” actually intended to vote for petitioner. This could be true only if the person who
actually owns the nickname or the initials “JTV” were not (a) VILLAROSA’s husband, (b) the
incumbent Representative who had won as such in both the 1992 and 1995 elections, (c)
generally and popularly known as “JTV” when he ran and campaigned for Representative in
both elections in the same legislative district where VILLAROSA ran in the May 1998
elections. But since these were the immutable facts, the voters who wrote “JTV” or variations
thereof had no other person in mind except the then incumbent Representative, Jose Tapales
Villarosa, or the very person whom they have known for a long time as “JTV.”

Can you tell the Court if at any time before the filing of the certificate of candidacy of the
petitioner before the May 11, 1998 election she ever used the nickname JTV?

The foregoing facts distinguish these cases from those relied upon by VILLAROSA and in
the concurring and dissenting opinion of Mme. Justice Gonzaga-Reyes.

CHIEF JUSTICE:

ATTY. DE LIMA BOHOL:
As Mrs. JTV, yes.
CHIEF JUSTICE:
So, before the filing of the certificate of candidacy for the May 11, 1998 election the
petitioner here used the nickname Mrs. JTV?

ATTY. DE LIMA BOHOL:
Yes, Your Honor.
CHIEF JUSTICE:
Meaning, I stress Mrs. JTV?
ATTY. DE LIMA BOHOL:
Yes, your Honor.[21] (Emphasis supplied)
This attempt further proves beyond doubt that, indeed, “JTV” had never been VILLAROSA’s
nickname.
Even if VILLAROSA decided to use “JTV” as her nickname for purposes of the 11 May
1998 elections, one must never forget that she never used it as a nickname before she filed her
certificate of candidacy. The nickname which the second paragraph of Section 74 of the
Omnibus Election Code allows to be included in the certificate of candidacy is that “by which [the
candidate] is generally or popularly known.” This clearly means the nickname by which one
has been generally or popularly known BEFORE the filing of the certificate of candidacy, but
NOT what the candidate wants to THEREAFTER use. By her own statement under oath in her
affidavit of 16 April 1998, VILLAROSA solemnly declared that she was generally and popularly
known in every barangay in Occidental Mindoro as “GIRLIE” BEFORE and AFTER she filed her
certificate of candidacy. And, as asserted by her counsel during the oral argument on 15 August
2000, her other nickname before she filed her certificate of candidacy was “MRS. JTV,” not
“JTV.”
Rule 13 of Section 211 of the Omnibus Election Code cannot be applied in favor of
VILLAROSA. That rule allows the use of (a) a nickname and appellation of affection and
friendship, provided that it is accompanied by the first name or surname of the candidate, unless
the nickname or appellation is used to identify the voter; and (b) a nickname, which is not
accompanied by the name or surname of a candidate, provided that it is the one by which the
candidate is generally or popularly known in the locality. In both instances, the vote cast for the
nickname is a valid vote for the candidate concerned. The “JTV” votes are unaccompanied by
her first name or surname; and “JTV” is not, to repeat, a nickname by which VILLAROSA was
generally and popularly known in the Legislative District of Occidental Mindoro. The HRET then
committed no error in not applying in favor of VILLAROSA Rule 13, Section 211 of the Omnibus
Election Code.
Significantly, VILLAROSA’s original counsel admitted during the oral argument on 9
December 1999 that “JTV” are mere initials, thus:
Atty. Macalintal: xxx Well, I have nothing more to discuss, Your Honors, because I think the
very issue here is whether, we could validate the used [sic] of initials, Your Honors.
The HRET was thus correct in applying Rule 14 of Section 211 of the Omnibus Election
Code, which provides:

14. Any vote containing initials only or which is illegible or which does not sufficiently identify the
candidate for whom it is intended shall be considered as a stray vote but shall not invalidate the
whole ballot.
Under this rule three kinds of votes are considered stray: (1) a vote containing initials only,
(2) a vote which is illegible, and (3) a vote which does not sufficiently identify the candidate for
whom it is intended. The only error of the HRET is its ruling that if the votes are in initials only,
they are to be considered stray votes if they do not sufficiently identify the candidate for whom
the votes are intended. The first category of stray votes under this rule is not to be qualified by
the third category in the sense that votes in initials only may be counted for a candidate provided
that the initials would sufficiently identify the candidate voted for. Such construction of the rule
fails to give meaning to the disjunctive conjunction ORseparating the first category from the
second, and the second from the third.
Furthermore, since votes for “GIRLIE” written in the space for Representative were in fact
claimed by VILLAROSA and credited in her favor, then the HRET correctly ruled that “JTV” votes
or variations thereof, under the idem sonans rule, cannot be counted for VILLAROSA because
only one nickname or stage name is allowed.
From all the foregoing, bad faith or malice on the part of VILLAROSA was evident when, in
her certificate of candidacy and campaign materials, she appropriated the initials or nickname of
her husband, the incumbent Representative of the district in question whom she wanted to
succeed in office. She tried to make a mockery of a process whose credibility is essential in
preserving democracy. Nullus commodum potest de injuria sua propia. No one should be
allowed to take advantage of his own wrong.
Howsoever viewed, public respondent HRET did not commit any abuse of discretion in
holding that the only issue for its determination was whether “JTV” votes or variations thereof
should be counted in favor of VILLAROSA and in ruling that such votes are stray votes.
WHEREFORE, the petitions in these cases are DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 133927. November 29, 1999]

MA. AMELITA C. VILLAROSA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, and ATTY.
DAN RESTOR, respondents.
RICARDO QUINTOS, necessary respondent.
DECISION
GONZAGA_REYES, J.:
For the Court’s resolution is the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition assailing
Resolution dated May 11, 1998 of the Commission on Elections (hereafter, “COMELEC” or “the
Commission”)[1]on Election Matter No. 98-044, disallowing the use by petitioner of the nickname
“JTV” for the purpose of her candidacy in the May 11, 1998 elections, and the COMELEC
Resolution, dated May 13, 1998,[2] denying reconsideration of the earlier Resolution.
Petitioner was a candidate for Representative of the lone district of Occidental Mindoro in
the May 11, 1998 elections and was proclaimed duly elected thereto on May 27, 1998. On
March 27, 1998, she filed her certificate of candidacy in which she stated, among others, that
her nickname is “JTV”. On April 20, 1998, private respondent Restor filed a letterpetition[3] addressed to COMELEC Chairman Bernardo Pardo through Atty. Jose Balbuena,
Director of the COMELEC Law Department, asking for the invalidation or cancellation of “JTV”
as the official nickname of petitioner as declared in her certificate of candidacy, and the
nullification of all votes cast in the said nickname, on the ground that petitioner is not publicly
known by that name. The letter-petition further averred that petitioner is publicly known in
Occidental Mindoro as “Girlie” and that the appellation “JTV” actually pertains to the initials of
her husband and former Congressman of Occidental Mindoro, Jose Tapales Villarosa.
On election day, May 11, 1998, the Commission, sitting en banc, issued a Resolution
granting private respondent Restor’s letter-petition on the ground that the nickname “JTV” is not
one by which petitioner is popularly known. [4] Petitioner received a fax copy of this Resolution at
5:32 in the afternoon of May 11, 1998, at which time voting has ceased and canvassing of votes
in some precincts has already gone underway.
On May 12, 1998, petitioner filed with the Commission an Urgent Manifestation and
Motion to reconsider the aforesaid Resolution. Finding that no new matter has been raised
therein, the Commissionen banc issued another Resolution the next day, May 13, 1998, denying
the above motion.

Article IX(C) of the Constitution [11] as requiring all election cases to be first heard and decided by a division of the Commission. [6] Evidently. Due process dictates that before any decision can be validly rendered in a case. considering the obvious due process issues brought about by the May 11. 10 SCRA 46.as to stand to sustain any form of injury by petitioner’s use of the nickname “JTV”. (4) disallowing petitioner’s use of the nickname “JTV” and ordering the election officers of Occidental Mindoro to consider invalid all votes cast in that appellation. it called for the Commission’s exercise of its adjudicatory powers and . To the above rule. there is no misrepresentation. and which fact is denied by the affected party. directing or superintending. the Office of the Solicitor General observed that even if the letter-petition was treated as an “election matter” which may be properly heard firsthand by the Commission en banc. which interpreted Section 3. who was not impleaded in private respondent Restor’s letter-petition. Martinez.. 1998.[5] In its Manifestation In Lieu of Comment. that “JTV” is not a nickname by which petitioner is generally or popularly known. to “administration. Interminably. On the issue of the validity of the use of “JTV” as petitioner’s nickname. but to have the Commission seasonably reconsider the May 11. or a representative of a registered political party or coalition. we find the foregoing rule inapplicable to the circumstances of the case at bench. The COMELEC Rules of Procedure require that all actions filed with the Commission be prosecuted and defended in the name of the real party in interest. the making of such finding of fact by respondent administrative agency is a function partaking of a quasi-judicial character. and. it is believed that the judicious thing for the Commission to have done. the twin requirements of notice and hearing must be observed. was drawn purely from the allegations of the letter-petition and for this reason. and hence. By its own designation. 1998. Even as it seeks reconsideration of the said resolution by invoking due process. petitioner filed an “Urgent Manifestation and Motion” with the Commission on May 12. it is clear that the Commission passed upon the letter-petition without affording petitioner the opportunity to explain her side and to counter the allegations of private respondent Restor’s letter-petition. Inc. Moreover. he noted that (t)he term “administrative” connotes. herein private respondent Restor. COMELEC[10]. thus rendering its May 11. etc. it enters appearance of petitioner. The argument is tenable. it is obvious that petitioner’s immediate concern for doing so was not mainly to exercise her right to be heard. (3) resolving the letter-petition en banc. clearly necessitates a determination of whether petitioner is in fact not generally or popularly known as such in the locality of Occidental Mindoro. Public Service Commission. as a basis for their official action and to exercise discretion of a judicial nature. hold hearings. Absent such essential allegation. Private respondents validated this allegation when they declared that private respondent Quintos has in fact filed such an election protest case. or pertains. Indubitably. was to afford petitioner a chance to explain why she should be allowed to use the nickname “JTV”. and a decision or resolution thereon. Under these circumstances. thus. in Vigan Electric Light Co.Thus. The petition also impleads as a necessary respondent Ricardo Quintos. 1998 elections. it states that “(petitioner) reserve(s) all rights and waive(s) none. As earlier narrated. [7] However. [8] In filing this “Urgent Manifestation and Motion” on the second day of canvassing of votes. or ascertain the existence of facts. or conduct of persons or things. especially management. who ran opposite petitioner for the lone congressional post of Occidental Mindoro in the May 11. the Commission acted in excess of its jurisdiction. it does not purport to embody petitioner’s grounds and arguments for reconsideration. 2977 [14]. it opined that petitioner may validly use the same as she is in fact Mrs. application. and draw conclusions from them. the letter-petition stood defective and should have been dismissed outright for failure to state a cause of action. A directive by the Commission to disallow petitioner’s use of the nickname “JTV” for purposes of her candidacy. 98-030. this petition raises the question of whether the Commission gravely abused its discretion in: (1) ruling on private respondent Restor’s letter-petition without according notice and hearing to petitioner. 1998 Resolution. a registered voter in the lone district of Occidental Mindoro --. or at the very least. The petition is impressed with merit. Anent the second issue. is a candidate for any position in the May 11. and in summarily dismissing the same. and immediately after receipt of the contested resolution. 56 SCRA 148. which are to apply exclusively to a particular party. who are required to investigate facts. Thus. and communicates receipt of the May 11. is based upon a report of the General Auditing Office. We consider this more in consonance with our rulings in Salonga and Rodriguez on opportunity to be heard on reconsideration. pending retaining additional counsel” as the lawyer representing petitioner at the time was saddled with other commitments. no one among the other candidates had the same initials as to be prejudiced by her use of the same. instead of first referring it to one of its Divisions. While a “quasi-judicial function” is a term which applies to the action. Conformably. including filing a supplemental motion for reconsideration. the production and weighing of evidence. (2) taking cognizance of the letter-petition which was not filed by a real party in interest. of public administrative officers or bodies. The question of whether the Commission may decide cases en banc without first referring them to any of its divisions has been consistently answered in the negative since Sarmiento vs. Jose Tapales Villarosa. the two-page pleading filed by petitioner is one part manifestation and one part motion. which she received by fax at 5:32 in the afternoon of the same day. [9] The letter-petition does not allege that the protestant. since it involved the application of law or rules to an ascertained set of facts. discretion. 1998 Resolution. While the filing of a supplemental motion for reconsideration is not a matter of right. 1998 Resolution while canvassing was still at the precinct or municipal level. especially since the petitioner stands to be adversely affected should the petition be granted. On the main. which the Commission promptly denied the following day. on the basis of Resolution No. petitioner contends that the Commission gravely abused its discretion when it took cognizance of the petition below. 1998.” It does not entail an opportunity to be heard. in view of “confirmed reports” that he will file an election protest before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (“HRET”) invoking the questioned resolutions. the conclusion of the Commission in the assailed Resolution dated May 11. Rather.. vs. In the concurring opinion of Justice Antonio in University of Nueva Caceres vs. not subject to the requirement of referral to division which applies only in the Commission’s exercise of its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial functions. we have declared that deprivation of due process cannot be successfully invoked where a party was given the chance to be heard on his motion for reconsideration.[12] Thus. we find that respondent COMELEC acted imprudently and in excess of its jurisdiction in treating the “Urgent Manifestation and Motion” as petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the May 11. It stands uncontested that petitioner came to know of the letter-petition lodged against her by private respondent Restor only upon receipt of a copy of the COMELEC Resolution issued on May 11. private respondents take exception by stating that the subject letterpetition posed issues which were administrative in character.[13] we held that where the fixing of power rates. 1998 Resolution void. docketed as HRET Case No. we hold that the Commission exceeded the bounds of its jurisdiction when it took cognizance of private respondent Restor’s letter-petition at the first instance. 1998 Resolution. there being no showing that it was filed in the name of a real party in interest. as by managing or conducting. 1998 elections. and finally. the execution. such as by requiring her to submit a supplemental motion for reconsideration. the Commission should have given notice to petitioner before resolving the issue therein. before being brought to the Commission en bancon reconsideration.

2 Two days later. Iloilo in the May 11. returns and qualifications of its members.[16] We are hard put to treat the issue as administrative when petitioner stands to be so adversely affected by the relief asked for. No.[17] WHEREFORE. Ermelita Cacao contracted another marriage with a certain Jesus Aguirre. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and ERMELITA CACAO SALCEDO.4 However. J. GONZAGA-REYES. 1998.1 Without his first marriage having been dissolved. G. Neptali P.R.: This is a petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Court of the en banc Resolution of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dated October 6. the following uncontroverted facts have been established — On February 18. No pronouncement as to costs." Petitioner contended that private respondent had no right to use said surname because she was not legally married to Neptali Salcedo.” The remaining issue pertains to the validity of votes cast in the name “JTV”. vs. SO ORDERED. From the pleadings and the annexes. private respondent claimed that she had no information or knowledge at the time she married Neptali Salcedo that he was in fact already married. the petition is GRANTED and the COMELEC Resolutions dated May 11. 1986.6 In her answer. on April 17. Private respondent Restor’s letter-petition clearly asks. 1998. respondents.falls within the concept of an “election contest” in the sense contemplated by Section 3. “(t)o sustain the ruling of the COMELEC is to open venues for commission of fraud. 1999 VICTORINO SALCEDO II. 1998. both of them having filed their respective certificates of candidacy on March 27.3 Petitioner Victorino Salcedo II and private respondent Ermelita Cacao Salcedo both ran for the position of mayor of the municipality of Sara. 1968. upon learning of his existing marriage. we resolve to leave this matter to the resolution of the said body as the sole judge of all contests respecting the election. on September 23. Salcedo married Agnes Celiz. that. which reversed the earlier Resolution issued by its Second Division on August 12. she encouraged her husband to take steps to annul his marriage with Agnes Celiz because the latter had abandoned their marital home since 1972 and has not been heard from since that time. which marriage is evidenced by a certified true copy of the marriage contract issued by the Municipal Civil Registrar of Ajuy. 1998. Iloilo. as one simply needs to write a letter to the COMELEC asking that votes for a candidate be nullified on the ground that the nickname used is inappropriate or not valid. respectively. As opined by the Office of the Solicitor General in its Manifestation in Lieu of Comment. Article IX(C) of the Constitution. 1998 elections. petitioner filed with the Comelec a petition5 seeking the cancellation of private respondent's certificate of candidacy on the ground that she had made a false representation therein by stating that her surname was "Salcedo. That the petition below was in the form of a letter does not make the issues posed therein less substantial. 1986. petitioner. are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Neptali Salcedo filed a petition for declaration of . 135886 August 16. 1998. 1998 and May 13. In view of the fact that the election protest of private respondent Quintos is presently pending in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. 1998. 1998. Iloilo. Salcedo married private respondent Ermelita Cacao in a civil ceremony held on September 21. not only for the invalidation of “JTV” as petitioner’s authorized nickname. We cannot agree with the view advanced by private respondents that because the petition below cannot be classified as a case falling under Rules 20 to 33 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure[15]. it is not a quasi-judicial matter and may thus be dealt with firsthand by the Commission en banc. as shown by a marriage certificate filed with the Office of the Civil Registrar. Neptali P. but also the nullification of all votes cast in that name. private respondent was proclaimed as the duly elected mayor of Sara. that on February 16. On May 13.

commercial and public transactions.presumptive death before Branch 66 of the Regional Trial Court of Barotac Viejo.8 that since there is an existing valid marriage between Neptali Salcedo and Agnes Celiz. On the other hand. Hence. Respondent cannot seek refuge in her bare assumption that since Agnes Celiz was declared as presumptively dead by the Regional Trial Court of Barotac Viejo. WHEREFORE.10 This last resolution of the Comelec prompted petitioner to repair to this Court by way of a petition for certiorariunder Rule 65. the Comelec's Second Division ruled. For the petitioner. Under Article 370 of the Civil Code. The proclamation of Ermelita C. as the duly elect mayor of the municipality of Sara. remains valid. there is no material misrepresentation nor usurpation of another's name. Salcedo. the use by private respondent of the surname "Salcedo" constitutes material misrepresentation and is a ground for the cancellation of her certificate of candidacy. by a vote of 2 to 1. Consequently. This Commission. 1986. 1986. This rule is in consonance with the policy announced in many decisions that "the rules and regulations. the Comelec is authorized to deny due course to or cancel such certificate upon the filing of a petition by any person pursuant to section 78 of the Code which states that — . the subsequent marriage of the former with private respondent is null and void. she was free to marry Neptali Salcedo. Tero. 1968 and attached to the petition as Annex "E". holds the view that regardless of whether Neptali Salcedo and Jesus Aguirre are the same persons. It disposed of the case in this manner — The record shows that respondent Ermelita C. its has been said that the "filing of a certificate of candidacy is a technicality that should be enforced before the election. Gleaned from the records. in its en banc Resolution dated October 6. we are of the opinion that the main issue in this case is not whether or not private respondent is entitled to use a specific surname in her certificate of candidacy. this admission is supported by a marriage contract (attached as Annex "C" of the Petition) and a certificate of marriage (attached as Annex "D" of the petition) where the contracting parties are "Jesus Aguirre" and "Ermelita Cacao". the subsequent marriage of the former with the respondent is null and void. but can be disregarded after the electorate has made the choosing" (Collado vs. that Neptali Salcedo and Jesus Aguirre are one and the same person. From all indications. which was granted by the court in its April 8.13 In case there is a material misrepresentation in the certificate of candidacy. after due notice and hearing. as mayor of Sara. the fact remains irrefutable is that at the time respondent contracted marriage with Neptali Salcedo. 15 SCRA 716). the municipal board of canvassers proclaimed the respondent last May 13. ruling that private respondent's certificate of candidacy did not contain any material misrepresentation. for the conduct of elections. A candidate's name or surname contained in the certificate of candidacy is required under Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code and is a material misrepresentation. At any rate. 1998.7 On August 12. respondent admitted that she married Neptali Salcedo on September 21. but when it is sought to enforce them after the elections. Province of Iloilo. Salcedo. the Comelec overturned its previous resolution. it is to be fairly assumed that since there is an existing valid marriage between Neptali Salcedo and Agnes Celiz.1âwphi1. not later than fifteen days before the election. 1986 in a civil ceremony held in Sara. this Commission (SECOND DIVISION) RESOLVED. Alonzo. The pertinent portion of the Resolution reads as follows — The only issue to be resolved is whether or not the use by respondent of the surname "Salcedo" in her certificate of candidacy constitutes material misrepresentation under Section 78 in relation to Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided. the use by the respondent of the surname "Salcedo" constitutes material misrepresentation and is a ground for the cancellation of her certificate of candidacy. as it hereby RESOLVES. there was considerably NO pronouncement to the effect that the marriage of Neptali Salcedo and Agnes Celiz was annulled by the court and that Salcedo became free to marry respondent. Sec. Iloilo. Iloilo in the May 11. Iloilo. Contrary to petitioner's contention. Furthermore. Salcedo married Neptali Salcedo on September 21. Iloilo. 1998. We hold that it does not. Consequently. 1998. are mandatory before the elections. Iloilo and that she married Jesus Aguirre on September 23. the COMMISSION resolves to GRANT the instant Motion for Reconsideration. claiming that public respondent's ruling was issued in grave abuse of its discretion. cancelling the certificate of candidacy of the respondent Ermelita C. 1998 elections.11 but whether the use of such surname constitutes a material misrepresentation under section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code (the "Code") so as to justify the cancellation of her certificate of candidacy. however. Any defect in the respondent's certificate of candidacy should give way to the will of the electorate. Every person aspiring to hold any elective public office must file a sworn certificate of candidacy. 1998 decision. the respondent may use her husband's surname.9 However. We REVERSE the resolution (Second Division) promulgated on August 12.12 One of the things which should be stated therein is that the candidate is eligible for the office. 15 SCRA 526). 1998. In point of fact and law. respondent tries to create the impression that "Neptali Salcedo" and "Jesus Aguirre" are one and the same persons. and that since 1986 up to the present she has been using the surname "Salcedo" in all her personal. the latter has a valid existing marriage with Agnes Celiz and this was sufficiently established by a marriage contract executed on February 18. there being no legal ground to set it aside.nêt WHEREFORE. they are held to be directory only" (Lambonao vs. 78 of the of the (sic) Omnibus Election Code reads: A verified petition seeking to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any material misrepresentation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false. to CANCEL the Certificate of Candidacy of respondent for the position of Municipal Mayor of Sara.

after due notice and hearing. is not a Filipino citizen and respondent Comelec did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in cancelling his certificate of candidacy. held that Labo. in Labo vs. In Abella vs.21 and he is disqualified if he lacks any of the qualifications for elective office. the qualifications for elective office are misrepresented in the certificate of candidacy and the proceedings must be initiated before the elections. pursuant to Section 78 thereof which provides that: Sec. Under section 253."22 Therefore. may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong. who ran for mayor of Baguio City in the last May 11.15 As stated in the law.17 the disqualification proceeding filed by respondent pursuant to section 78 of the Code sought to cancel the certificate of candidacy filed by petitioner Ramon Labo.14 The fifteen-day period in section 78 for deciding the petition is merely directory. the elections laws do not leave him completely helpless as he has another chance to raise the disqualification of the candidate by filing a petition for quo warranto within ten (10) days from the proclamation of the results of the election. Lee. . Commission on Elections. — A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any material misrepresentation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twentyfive days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided. provincial. he shall not be voted for. a candidate is ineligible if he is disqualified to be elected to office. The Court held that Frivaldo had reacquired Philippine citizenship by virtue of his repatriation under P. the Court said — There are two instances where a petition questioning the qualifications of a registered candidate to run for the office for which his certificate of candidacy was filed can be raised under the Omnibus Election Code (B. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided. whereas a petition for quo warranto under section 253 may be brought on the basis of two grounds — (1) ineligibility or (2) disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines. The Court held that the challenge made against private respondent's claimed residence was properly classified as a proceeding under section 78. Commission on Elections. 725 and was qualified to hold the position of governor of Sorsogon. to wit: (1) Before election. Commission on Elections cases18 wherein Frivaldo's qualification for public office was questioned in a petition filed by petitioner Paul R. Petition to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy. or protest and. supra. where the petition to disqualify petitioner was based upon an alleged false representation in the certificate of candidacy as to the candidate's age.19 wherein a petition was filed asking the Comelec to disqualify private respondent Emilio Osmena on the ground that he does not possess the requisite Filipino citizenship. . based on the ground that Labo made a false representation when he stated therein that he is natural-born citizen of the Philippines. upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor. may not be dispensed with by the fact of having won the elections for it "strikes at the very core of petitioner Labo's qualification to assume the contested office. The Court went on to say that the possession of citizenship. pursuant to Section 253 thereof.P. being an indispensable requirement for holding public office. — Any voter contesting the election of any Member of the Batasang Pambansa20. Larrazabal. Petition for quo warranto. In the case of Aznar vs. 1992 elections. it may be concluded that the material misrepresentation contemplated by section 78 of the Code refer to qualifications for elective office. Although the law does not specify what would be considered as a "material representation.: Sec.16 Meanwhile. not later than fifteen days before the election.D. and must be initiated within ten days after the proclamation of the election results." A similar issue was dealt with in the Frivaldo vs. This conclusion is strengthened by the fact . if a person qualified to file a petition to disqualify a certain candidate fails to file the petition within the 25-day period prescribed by Section 78 of the Code for whatever reasons. (emphasis supplied) The only difference between the two proceedings is that. regional. having failed to submit any evidence to prove his reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. or city officer on the ground of ineligibility or of disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines shall file a sworn petition for quo warranto with the Commissionwithin ten days after the proclamation of the results of the election. inquiry. in order to justify the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy under section 78. as provided under Section 253 of the Code." the Court has interpreted this phrase in a line of decisions applying section 78 of the Code. viz. under section 78. In still another case. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election. Bidin. despite the fact that it was filed only on the very day of the election. speaking through Justice Abdulwahid A. a petition was filed with the Comelec seeking the disqualification of private respondent Larrazabal for alleged false statements in her certificate of candidacy regarding residence. the Court or the Comelec shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action. 881). If the petition is filed within the statutory period and the candidate is subsequently declared by final judgment to be disqualified before the election. not later than fifteen days before the election. 253. and (2) After election. the Court once again drew a parallel between a petition forquo warranto and a petition to cancel a certificate of candidacy when it stated that ". The Court. Blg. praying that Frivaldo be disqualified from seeking or holding any public office or position and that his certificate of candidacy be cancelled by reason of his not yet being a citizen of the Philippines. after due notice and hearing.A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any material misrepresentation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false. The Court has likened a proceeding under section 78 to a quo warranto proceeding under section 253 since they both deal with the qualifications of a candidate. 78. and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. it is essential that the false representation mentioned therein pertain to a material matter for the sanction imposed by this provision would affect the substantive rights of a candidate — the right to run for the elective post for which he filed the certificate of candidacy.

Finally. Thus. belie the latter's claims that private respondent merely adopted the surname "Salcedo" for purposes of improving her chances of winning in the local elections by riding on the popularity of her husband. misinform. and “Bautista” were made by the Board of Election Inspectors. In her application for registration of her rice and corn milling business filed with the Department of Trade and Industry in 1993. we hold that private respondent did not commit any material misrepresentation by the use of the surname "Salcedo" in her certificate of candidacy. Petitioner does not allege that the electorate did not know who they were voting for when they cast their ballots in favor of "Ermelita Cacao Salcedo" or that they were fooled into voting for someone else by the use of such name. 1998 en banc Resolution of the Comelec. Bautista”. the fact that the decision was promulgated on the day Chairman Pardo. 1998 denying the petition to cancel private respondent's certificate of candidacy. age."31 Since there appears to be no dispute as to private respondent's qualifications to hold the office of municipal mayor. and Commissioner Guiani. several years before the elections. since 1970 and the latter has held her out to the public as his wife. Petitioner does not indicate what legal provision or equitable principle the Comelec transgressed by the commission of these acts. 1998 elections. expressed through the ballot. No pronouncement as to costs. A certain Edwin “Efren” Bautista also filed a certificate of candidacy for the same position. and (3) the en banc Resolution was promulgated on the very same day that Chairman Pardo took his oath of office as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. In any challenge having the effect of reversing a democratic voice.24 Thus. . deciding anew a question previously raised. is not within the scope of the provision. the ineligibility ought to be so noxious to the Constitution that giving effect to the apparent will of the people would ultimately do harm to our democratic institutions. We find nothing legally assailable with the Comelec's adoption in its en banc Resolution of the reasoning contained in the dissenting opinion of Commissioner Desamito. WHEREFORE. merely duplicated the dissenting opinion of Commissioner Desamito of the Second Division in the August 12. Aside from his contention that she made a misrepresentation in the use of the surname "Salcedo. DIGESTS BAUTISTA vs. the date of promulgation is not necessarily the date of signing. “Efren”. or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible. Metro Manila in the May 11. Comelec. The use of a surname.27 Also arguing against petitioner's claim that private respondent intended to deceive the electorate is the fact that private respondent started using the surname "Salcedo" since 1986. declared Edwin Bautista as a nuisance candidate and accordingly. Iloilo were deceived by the use of such surname by private respondent.30 There is no legal proscription imposed upon the deciding body against adopting a position contrary to one previously taken. Edwin Bautista filed a motion for reconsideration. reversed their positions in the en banc resolution. It may safely be assumed that the electorate knew who private respondent was. private respondent used the name "Ermelita Cacao Salcedo. There is absolutely no showing that the inhabitants of Sara. When a challenge to a winning candidate's qualifications however becomes inevitable. 1998. The municipal board of canvassers refused to canvass as part of the valid votes of petitioner theses separate tallies. 1998 Resolution.26 Bolstering this assumption is the fact that she has been living with Neptali Salcedo. which has remained uncontested by petitioner. the purpose of a motion for reconsideration is allow the adjudicator a second opportunity to review the case and to grapple with the issues therein. citizenship or any other legal qualification necessary to run for a local elective office as provided for in the Local Government Code.that the consequences imposed upon a candidate guilty of having made a false representation in his certificate of candidacy are grave — to prevent the candidate from running or. During the counting of votes. we will now proceed to tackle the secondary issues raised in the petition. Precisely."25 In other words. 1998 Resolution. petitioner has failed to discharge the burden of proving that the misrepresentation allegedly made by private respondent in her certificate of candidacy pertains to a material matter. which was still pending at the date of election. Petitioner has made no allegations concerning private respondent's qualifications to run for the office of mayor.23 It could not have been the intention of the law to deprive a person of such a basic and substantive political right to be voted for a public office upon just any innocuous mistake. when not intended to mislead or deceive the public as to one's identity. Aside from the requirement of materiality. if elected. it must be made with an intention to deceive the electorate as to one's qualifications for public office. this Court should be ever so vigilant in finding solutions which would give effect to the will of the majority. 1998 Facts: Petitioner Cipriano “Efren” Bautista was a duly registered candidate for the position of Mayor of Navotas."28 From 1987 to 1997. Iloilo since at least 1986. Having disposed of the major issues. “E. but also by face and may have even been personally acquainted with her since she has been residing in the municipality of Sara. At any rate. Petitioner filed a petitioner praying that Edwin Bautista be declared nuisance candidate. In upholding the validity of private respondent's certificate of candidacy. the Court hereby AFFIRMS the en banc Resolution of the Commission on Elections dated October 6. she also used the surname "Salcedo" in the income tax returns filed by herself and by Neptali Salcedo. sustaining the validity of private respondent's certificate of candidacy. (2) Chairman Pardo. separate tallies of ballots on which were written “Efren Bautista”. Petitioner claims that the following circumstances constitute grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Comelec: (1) the October 6. the will of the electorate must prevail. COMELEC 296 SCRA 480. from serving. not only by name. we reiterate that "[t]he sanctity of the people's will must be observed at all times if our nascent democracy is to be preserved. the ponente of the en banc Resolution. Issue: Whether or not these votes should have been included to those cast for petitioner. in a resolution dated April 30." petitioner does not claim that private respondent lacks the requisite residency. a presumption which petitioner has failed to rebut. both members of the Second Division who ruled in favor of petitioner in the August 12. a false representation under section 78 must consist of a "deliberate attempt to mislead.29 The evidence presented by private respondent on this point. for sound public policy dictates that all elective offices are filled by those who have received the highest number of votes cast in an election. or to prosecute him for violation of the election laws. nor is the en banc Resolution rendered infirm by the mere change of position adopted by Chairman Pardo and Guiani of the Second Division. took his oath of office as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court does not give ground to question the Comelec decision for then Chairman Pardo enjoys the presumption of regularity in the performance of his official duties. the mayor of Sara for three consecutive terms. his name was not included in the list of candidates for mayor. the ponente of the en bancResolution.

doubts are resolved in favor of their validity. RESOLUTION YUNG ASSIGNED CASE SA ATIN Facts: Pursuant to its constitutional mandate to enforce and administer election laws. 8678.—a) Any person holding a public appointive office or position including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy. the classification would be regarded as invalid if all the members of the class are not treated similarly. The obvious reason for the challenged provision is to prevent the use of a governmental position to promote one’s candidacy.A. The restriction is also justified by the proposition that the entry of civil servants to the electoral arena. 8678 as null and void.  G. filed the instant petition for prohibition and certiorari. the law unduly discriminates against the first class. Petitioners also contend that Section 13 of R. The first requirement means that there must be real and substantial differences between the classes treated differently. COMELEC issued Resolution No. Department of Public Works and Highways. Jr. Respondent. QUINTO and GERINO A. Applying the four requisites to the instant case. The fact alone that there is substantial distinction between those who hold appointive positions and those occupying elective posts.A. the classification would still be invalid if it does not comply with the second requirement—if it is not germane to the purpose of the law. the will of the voter. Glaringly absent is the requisite that the classification must be germane to the purposes of the law.: ETO DIGEST NG CASE PRIOR TO THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION.J. does not justify such differential treatment. who hold appointive positions in the government and who intend to run in the coming elections. RESOLUTION PUNO. while still in office. contains two conflicting provisions. however. but not considering as resigned all other civil servants. could result in neglect or inefficiency in the performance of duty because they would be attending to their campaign rather than to their office work. whether one holds an . the basis of the assailed COMELEC resolution. TOLENTINO. Petitioners. This is. 8678 are violative of the equal protection clause Held: Yes. 2010 National and Local Elections. a real and substantial distinction exists between a motorcycle and other motor vehicles sufficient to justify its classification among those prohibited from plying the toll ways. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. namely: (1) It must be based upon substantial distinctions. Tolentino. the Guidelines on the Filing of Certificates of Candidacy (CoC) and Nomination of Official Candidates of Registered Political Parties in Connection with the May 10. 8678 provide: SEC. and other officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations. (3) It must not be limited to existing conditions only. in the appreciation of ballots. extreme caution should be observed before any ballot is invalidated. (2) It must be germane to the purposes of the law. Significantly. In considering persons holding appointive positions as ipso facto resigned from their posts upon the filing of their CoCs.. C.Held: It must be emphasized that the instant case involves a ground for disqualification which clearly affects the voters’ will and causes confusion that frustrates the same. Nevertheless. As illustrated in the fairly recent Mirasol v. And. No. rather than frustrate. seeking the declaration of the afore-quoted Section 4(a) of Resolution No. The measure is further aimed at promoting the efficiency. JR. Not all motorized vehicles are created equal—a two-wheeled vehicle is less stable and more easily overturned than a four-wheel vehicle. Quinto and Gerino A. both as to rights conferred and obligations imposed. Indeed. A stray vote is invalidated because there is no way of determining the real intention of the voter. 2010 ELEAZAR P. These must be harmonized or reconciled to give effect to both and to arrive at a declaration that they are not ipso facto resigned from their positions upon the filing of their CoCs. and (4) It must apply equally to all members of the class. It is improper and strained to limit petitioner’s votes to the ballots which only indicate the name “Cipriano” when it is of public knowledge that petitioner is also known by the appellation and nickname “Efren” which he in fact registered as his nickname. Further. Thus. or even to wield a dangerous or coercive influence on the electorate. No..R. then the assailed provision cannot be constitutionally rescued on the ground of valid classification. Issue: whether the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of R. b) Any person holding an elective office or position shall not be considered resigned upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy for the same or any other elective office or position. specifically the elective ones. it is necessary that the four (4) requisites of valid classification be complied with. Effects of Filing Certificates of Candidacy. In order that there can be valid classification so that a discriminatory governmental act may pass the constitutional norm of equal protection. petitioners Eleazar P. No. 4. 189698 February 22. Alarmed that they will be deemed ipso facto resigned from their offices the moment they file their CoCs. under the last requirement. the Court finds that the differential treatment of persons holding appointive offices as opposed to those holding elective ones is not germane to the purposes of the law. the voters were informed of the Comelec’s decision to declare Edwin Bautista as a nuisance candidate. not the situation in the case at bar. They give effect to. and discipline of the public service by eliminating the danger that the discharge of official duty would be motivated by political considerations rather than the welfare of the public. it has also been established that by virtue of newspaper releases and other forms of notifications. Sections 4 and 5 of Resolution No. If we accept these as the underlying objectives of the law. The third requirement means that the classification must be enforced not only for the present but as long as the problem sought to be corrected continues to exist. This is precisely what election laws are trying to protect. 9369. 9369 and Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. vs. integrity.

the evils sought to be prevented by the measure remain. complete deference is accorded to the will of the electorate that they be served by such officials until the end of the term for which they were elected. 8678 are violative of the equal protection clause Held: No To start with. whose wisdom is outside the rubric of judicial scrutiny. the petition is GRANTED. yet equally compelling. REVERSE and SET ASIDE this Court’s December 1. The public officer who files his certificate of candidacy would be driven by a greater impetus for excellent performance to show his fitness for the position aspired for. That any person holding a public appointive office or position. 9369 and Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. and foreign affairs). No. also thought it wise to balance this with the competing. premises considered. The measure encapsulated in the second proviso of the third paragraph of Section 13 of R. for President. let us say. There is thus no valid justification to treat appointive officials differently from the elective ones. elected Vice-Presidents were appointed to take charge of national housing. perhaps the purest expression of the sovereign power of the people. 2009 .A." In the instant case. No. which has four requisites: (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions. inefficiency or partisanship in the discharge of the functions of his appointive office. the Legislature. there is no such expectation insofar as appointed officials are concerned. 9369 and in Section 66 of the OEC violates the equal protection clause. With the fact that facto resigned from his/her office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of his/her certificate of candidacy. the equal protection clause does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or things without distinction. is there a rational justification for excluding elected officials from the operation of the deemed resigned provisions? There is. That. The dichotomized treatment of appointive and elective officials is therefore germane to the purposes of the law. interior and local government. retains his position during the entire election period and can still use the resources of his office to support his campaign. they both head executive offices. and (4) It applies equally to all members of the same class.A. It. For example. WHEREFORE. (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only. or any Member of the Cabinet for that matter. however. In other words. and other officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations. The classification simply fails to meet the test that it should be germane to the purposes of the law. the Commission shall set the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition of registration/manifestation to participate in the election. proffers the dubious conclusion that the differential treatment of appointive officials vis-à-vis elected officials is not germane to the purpose of the law.” RA 9369 provides that “For this purpose. unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period: Provided. and Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. the basis of the COMELEC resolution. “Any person holding a public appointive office or position including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Any person who files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided. Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. (2) It is germane to the purposes of the law. and therefore unconstitutional As to the danger of neglect. 8678 unconstitutional. social welfare development. interest of deferring to the sovereign will. For the law was made not merely to preserve the integrity. It involves the choice or selection of candidates to public office by popular vote.appointive office or an elective one. efficiency. including active members of the armed forces. 8678 are declared as UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Our assailed Decision readily acknowledged that these deemed-resigned provisions satisfy the first. The test developed by jurisprudence here and yonder is that of reasonableness. shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy. there is no valid justification to treat them differently when both file their CoCs for the elections. An election is the embodiment of the popular will. IN VIEW WHEREOF. the Court RESOLVES to GRANT the respondent’s and the intervenors’ Motions for Reconsideration. 9369. 9369. the inverse could be just as true and compelling. running this time. In contrast. Under the present state of our law. and officers and employees in government-owned or -controlled corporations. the Vice-President. The second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act No. could wield the same influence as the Vice-President who at the same time is appointed to a Cabinet post (in the recent past. finally.A. the Executive Secretary. Considering that elected officials are put in office by their constituents for a definite term. it may justifiably be said that they were excluded from the ambit of the deemed resigned provisions in utmost respect for the mandate of the sovereign will. MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION Facts: This is a motion for reconsideration filed by the Commission on Elections. the evils sought to be prevented by the measure remain. in the example. The resolution provides that. No. shall be considered ipso Issue: Issue: whether the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of R. and discipline of the public service. The latter moved to question an earlier decision of the Supreme Court declaring the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of R. because "whether one holds an appointive office or an elective one. What it simply requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification. third and fourth requisites of reasonableness.

9369 pertains to all civil servants holding appointive posts without distinction as to whether they occupy high positions in government or not. Jr. On May 18. the private respondents filed a complaint against the petitioners with the COMELEC Law Department. 13 of RA. This scenario is absurd for. indeed. Vice-Mayor and Members of the Sangguniang Bayan in the Municipality of Panitan. provincial or national official or employee. The provision s directed to the activity any and all public offices. Since barangay elections are governed by a separate deemed resignation rule.A. 2001 elections. 13 of R. Quinto V. 66. (2) the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of Republic Act No. and ISSUE this Resolution declaring as not UNCONSTITUTIONAL (1) Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 9369. filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition against the COMELEC for issuing a resolution declaring appointive officials who filed their certificate of candidacy as ipso facto resigned from their positions. the overbreadth challenge raised against Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code and the pertinent proviso in Section 13 of RA 9369 must also fail. whether they be in the national. under the present state of law. could result in neglect or inefficiency in the performance of duty because they would be attending to their campaign rather than to their office work. Quinto and Gerino A. the petitioners and private respondents ran for the positions of Mayor. However in the present case. whether they be partisan or non partisan in character. the proviso does not comply with the second requirement – that it must be germane to the purpose of the law. It didn’t squarely challenge Sec. 2001. the petitioners challenged Sec. DISMISS the Petition. 66 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) for giving undue benefit to elective officials in comparison with appointive officials. a utility worker in the government will also be considered as ipso facto resigned once he files his certificate of candidacy for the election. and discipline of the public service by eliminating the danger that the discharge of official duty would be motivated by political considerations rather than the welfare of the public. No. the petitioners were duly elected and proclaimed winners. the Court held that the discussion on the equal protection clause was an obiter dictum since the issue raised therein was against the repealing clause. Congress has not shown a compelling state interest to restrict the fundamental right involved on such a sweeping scale. The obvious reason for the challenged provision is to prevent the use of a governmental position to promote one’s candidacy. On June 23. COMELEC COMELEC issued a resolution declaring appointive officials who filed their certificate of candidacy as ipso facto resigned from their positions. Sec. The measure is further aimed at promoting the efficiency. Applying the 4 requisites of a valid classification. including those in government-owned or-controlled corporations. the Court upheld the substantial distinctions between the two and pronounced that there was no violation of the equal protection clause. and (3) Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code. or those in the civil or military service. Commission on Elections) G. 13 of RA. . ISSUE: Whether or not the said COMELEC resolution was valid. ============== Note: Not applicable sa barangay office: Any elective or appointive municipal. Albana vs. 2004 Facts: During the May 14. there would be no occasion to apply the restriction on candidacy found in Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code. Sec. Capiz. while still in office. to any election other than a partisan one. city. Incidentally. FACTS: Petitioners Eleazar P. 9369. municipal or brgy.R. The Law Department found a prima facie case and recommended the filing of an Information against the Petitioners. Certainly. HELD: NO. In this defense. the COMELEC avers that it only copied the provision from Sec. COMELEC (Albaña v. 9369 unduly discriminated appointive and elective officials. or even to wield a dangerous or coercive influence of the electorate. level. integrity. and later reiterated in the proviso of Section 13 of RA 9369. 14 of RA.Decision. 9006 repealing Sec. In the Fariñas case. 2001. 8678. it is unimaginable how he can use his position in the government to wield influence in the political world. For this reason. shall be considered automatically resigned upon the filing of certificate of candidacy for a barangay office. The restriction is also justified by the proposition that the entry of civil servants to the electorate arena. alleging that the latter committed acts of terrorism and engaged in vote-buying. Tolentino. 163302 July 23.

To simplistically assume that the second placer would have received the other votes would be to substitute our judgment for the mind of the voter. April 13.. COMELEC. they are considered disqualified candidates and. In both cases. then it shall order the disqualification pursuant to Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code. the votes they received are deemed stray votes Hence the present Petition. and directing the election officer of Panitan to constitute a new municipal board of canvassers COMELEC. but shall order the Law Department to file the appropriate Information with the RTC which has territorial jurisdiction. The COMELEC supposedly erred in disqualifying him since he is the most qualified among all the presidential candidates. Section 2 of COMELEC Resolution No. No. the COMELEC committed a grave abuse of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in issuing its assailed resolutions disqualifying the petitioners from the positions they were respectively elected. The COMELEC. COMELEC. this Court ruled that a complaint for disqualification filed after the election against a candidate before or after his proclamation as winner shall be dismissed by the COMELEC. the disqualification case should have been dismissed and instead referred for preliminary investigation to the Law Department. Respondent COMELEC declared petitioner and 35 others as nuisance candidates who could not wage a nationwide campaign and/or are not nominated by a political party or are not supported by a registered political party with a national constituency. the COMELEC En Banc issued. If the RTC finds the accused guilty. 2050 is as clear: COMELEC is mandated to dismiss a complaint for the disqualification of a candidate who has been charged with an election offense but who has already been proclaimed as winner by the Municipal Board of Canvassers In Bagatsing v. he possesses all the constitutional and legal qualifications for the office of the president. In the case at bar. Commission on Elections G. 2050. likewise. If the COMELEC finds probable cause. a second placer. Issues: W/N the COMELEC acted with GADLEJ in issuing the Resolutions Held: Yes. the complaint shall be dismissed as a disqualification case but shall be referred to the Law Department of the COMELEC for preliminary investigation. Rev. it is mandated to dismiss the complaint for disqualification. Thus. Therefore. Second. a complaint for disqualification filed after the election against a candidate (a) who has not yet been proclaimed as winner.e. Article II of the 1987 Constitution. committed a grave abuse of its discretion when it ordered the Municipal Election Officers to convene a new Board of Canvassers and proclaim the winners after the petitioners were declared disqualified.      COMELEC: Denied Petitioners’ MR Lack of merit and for having been filed out of time Patently then. he also has the capacity to wage an international . in defiance of Resolution No. 2004 FACTS: Petitioner Pamatong filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for President. 161872.Acting on the said Resolution. as laid down in paragraph 2. if the COMELEC finds no probable cause. a Resolution directing its Law Department to file the appropriate Information against the petitioners and directing the Clerk of the Commission to docket the electoral aspect of the complaint as a disqualification case. The Clerk of the Commission is likewise directed to docket the electoral aspect of the complaint as a disqualification case and immediately assign the same to a division which shall resolve the case on the basis of the recommendation of the Law Department.R. he is capable of waging a national campaign since he has numerous national organizations under his leadership. En Banc: Denied the MR As an aftermath of petitioners’ violation of Section 261(e) in relation to Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code. the complaint for disqualification was filed 7 days after the elections. on February 28. by limiting the number of qualified candidates only to those who can afford to wage a nationwide campaign and/or are nominated by political parties. i. it shall still dismiss the complaint for disqualification without prejudice to the outcome of the dismissal case. therefore. Petition is GRANTED. The second placer is just that. 1st Division: Annulled petitioners’ proclamation on the ground that they violated Section 261(a) and (e) of the Omnibus Election Code. Ely Velez Pamatong Vs. Pamatong filed a Petition For Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court claiming that the COMELEC violated his right to "equal access to opportunities for public service" under Section 26. 2003. or (b) who has already been proclaimed as winner.

2000] VILLAROSA vs. There is nothing in the plain language of the provision which suggests such a thrust or justifies an interpretation of the sort. The rationale behind the prohibition against nuisance candidates and the disqualification of candidates who have not evinced a bona fide intention to run for office is easy to divine. Section 2). the provision does not contain any judicially enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for legislative or executive action. The Provincial Board of Canvassers proclaimed VILLAROSA as the winning candidate with a margin of 3. Pamatong was eventually declared a nuisance candidate and was disqualified. The poll body would be bogged by irrelevant minutiae covering every step of the electoral process. the greater the opportunities for logistical confusion. Under the Constitution (Article VII. Certainly. 143351 & 144129 September 14. The disregard of the provision does not give rise to any cause of action before the courts. Broadly written. (3) able to read and write. however. not to mention the increased allocation of time and resources in preparation for the election. the only requirements are the following: (1) natural-born citizen of the Philippines. The privilege of equal access to opportunities to public office may be subjected to limitations. In the case at bar. The SC remanded to the COMELEC for the reception of further evidence.032 votes. objective.R. The "equal access" provision is a subsumed part of Article II of the Constitution. the remand of this case for the reception of further evidence is in order. the myriad of claims that can be subsumed under this rubric appear to be entirely open-ended. the greater the number of candidates. (2) registered voter. and he has a platform of government. Inevitably. it was not the intention of the framers to inflict on the people an operative but amorphous foundation from which innately unenforceable rights may be sourced. and there is no plausible reason for according a different treatment to the "equal access" provision. (4) at least forty years of age on the day of the election. Like the rest of the policies enumerated in Article II. It would be a senseless sacrifice on the part of the State. At any rate." The provisions under the Article are generally considered not self-executing. entitled "Declaration of Principles and State Policies. who was only a high school dropout. the provision is not intended to compel the State to enact positive measures that would accommodate as many people as possible into public office. most probably posed at the instance of these nuisance candidates. What is recognized in Section 26. Pamatong is a nuisance candidate as contemplated in Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code. HRET FACTS: Petitioner VILLAROSA and Private respondent QUINTOS were the only candidates for the office of Representative of the Lone Legislative District of Occidental Mindoro in the 11 May 1998 synchronized national and local elections." "opportunities. The State has a compelling interest to ensure that its electoral exercises are rational. and (5) resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election. It neither bestows such a right nor elevates the privilege to the level of an enforceable right. Some valid limitations specifically on the privilege to seek elective office are found in the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code on "Nuisance Candidates. Obviously. to determine the question on whether petitioner Elly Velez Lao [G. Equality is not sacrificed as long as the burdens engendered by the limitations are meant to be borne by any one who is minded to file a certificate of candidacy. the State takes into account the practical considerations in conducting elections. there is no showing that any person is exempt from the limitations or the burdens which they create. . Thus. ISSUE: Is there a constitutional right to run for or hold public office? RULING: No. The organization of an election with bona fide candidates standing is onerous enough. It is difficult to interpret the clause as operative in the absence of legislation since its effective means and reach are not properly defined. the provision as written leaves much to be desired if it is to be regarded as the source of positive rights." and "public service" are susceptible to countless interpretations owing to their inherent impreciseness. The basis of the factual determination is not before this Court. No. Article II of the Constitution is merely a privilege subject to limitations imposed by law. The question of whether a candidate is a nuisance candidate or not is both legal and factual. To add into the mix candidates with no serious intentions or capabilities to run a viable campaign would actually impair the electoral process.campaign since he has practiced law in other countries. Moreover. Towards this end. Obiter Dictum: One of Pamatong's contentions was that he was an international lawyer and is thus more qualified compared to the likes of Erap.” As long as the limitations apply to everybody equally without discrimination. and orderly. This is not to mention the candidacies which are palpably ridiculous so as to constitute a one-note joke. Words and phrases such as "equal access. the equal access clause is not violated.

then her name would be “MRS. One of them is “her husband’s full name. It should not be forgotten that under the Constitution the HRET is “the sole judge of all contests relating to the election. Article 370 of the Civil Code.QUINTOS filed an election protest against VILLAROSA contesting the results of the election in all the 882 precincts in the eleven municipalities of Occidental Mindoro. one may be heard also through pleadings. at the oral argument before the HRET on 9 December 1999. in initials would be “MRS. The essence of due process is the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit evidence in support of one’s defense. As to the limitation of the issue. where the power is exercised in an arbitrary manner by reason of passion or personal hostility. namely.” HRET promulgated a resolutionstating that with QUINTOS’ withdrawal of the remaining non-pilot protested precincts. VILLAROSA. the incumbent Representative of the district in question at the time of the election for his successor.” If VILLAROSA had availed herself of this. as she suggested in her petition and during the oral argument. strengthened by the admission of the parties at the preliminary conference conducted by the HRET on 6 August 1998 and during the oral argument before the Court on 15 August 2000. or. VILLAROSA has herself to blame.” Second. 1995. Therefore. VILLAROSA’s counsel did not object to. The facts established in this case. RULING: We hold that VILLAROSA was not denied due process in this regard. provides no relief for her. let it be stressed again. To be heard does not only mean verbal arguments in court. lead us to no other conclusion than that the use by VILLAROSA of “JTV” as her nickname or stage name. but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife. pursuant to our duty under Section 1 of Article VIII of the Constitution. VILLAROSA wrote as his “nickname or stage name: JOE-JTV. who was. As applied to a judicial proceeding. in other words. either through oral arguments or pleadings. the HRET did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in ruling that “JTV” votes should not be counted in favor of VILLAROSA. resulting in the disenfranchisement of the voters of Occidental Mindoro. the last of which ended on June 30. which provides: . Protestant impliedly limited the issue to whether or not ‘JTV’ votes should be counted in favor of protestee Amelita C.” The HRET was thus correct in applying Rule 14 of Section 211 of the Omnibus Election Code. (2) jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired over the person of the defendant or over the property which is the subject of the proceeding. and (b) treating “JTV” votes as stray and invalid. the only issue that can justify our taking cognizance of these cases is to determine. by [a] vote of 5-4 of its members. They are stray votes. such as Mrs . but instead concurred with. VILLAROSA. neither reason nor rhyme can support or justify a claim that “JTV” votes were intended for petitioner VILLAROSA. it may be laid down with certainty that the requirement of due process is satisfied if the following conditions are present. who was Representative of the District in question for two terms. the same being considered stray ballots. handbills and other election propaganda throughout the campaign period. which VILLAROSA invokes. Since “JTV” undoubtedly refers to the initials or nickname of VILLAROSA’s husband. Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. JTV. (1) there must be a court or tribunal clothed with judicial power to hear and determine the matter before it. she sought no reconsideration of the pronouncement of the HRET in its 7 October 1999 Resolution that “[w]ith Protestant’s withdrawal of the remaining non-pilot protested precincts.” If for expediency and convenience she would use the initials of her husband. as indicated in her Certificate of Candidacy. JOSE TAPALES VILLAROSA. however. it was the nickname she used in her posters. Petitioner is the wife of JOSE T. 1998. returns and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives. not to count ‘JTV’ and its variations as valid votes for Protestee Amelita C. was a clever ruse or ploy to make a mockery of the election process. She alleged therein that the HRET gravely abused its discretion in (a) issuing the above-mentioned resolutions that it violated her right to due process when it disposed by a 5-4 ruling a vital election incident without stating therein the findings of fact and law on which the resolutions were based. It must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. she urged the voters who might have found her full name difficult to write to simply vote “JTV. Concretely then. Where opportunity to be heard. Villarosa. (3) the defendant must be given an opportunity to be heard. whether the HRET committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in declaring the “JTV” votes as stray votes. and (4) judgment must be rendered upon the lawful hearing. HRET issued Resolution informing the parties that “the Tribunal ruled.” as she had decided to use that nickname as a shortcut of her name as a married woman under Article 370 of the Civil Code. Protestee wrote “JTV” as her “nickname/stage name. She argued that “JTV” was her designated nickname in the official list of candidates submitted by the provincial election supervisor to the COMELEC in Manila. QUINTOS impliedly limited the issue to WHETHER OR NOT THE “JTV” VOTES SHOULD BE COUNTED IN FAVOR OF PROTESTEE AMELITA C. there is no denial of due process. is accorded. in his certificate of candidacy for the election of May 8. then her name.” VILLAROSA filed with this Court a petition for certiorari. The article enumerates the names which a married woman may use. Villarosa. Jose Tapales Villarosa.” In her certificate of candidacy. QUINTOS’ submission that the case would rise or fall on how the Tribunal would rule on the “JTV” votes. JOSE T. In her speeches during the rallies. First.

cannot be counted for VILLAROSA because only one nickname or stage name is allowed. the petitions in these cases are DISMISSED for lack of merit. Salcedo married private respondent Ermelita Cacao in a civil ceremony. Without his first marriage having been dissolved. misinform. she encouraged her husband to take steps to annul his marriage with Agnes Celiz because the latter had abandoned their marital home. 1998. Consequently. There is absolutely no showing that the inhabitants of Sara. private respondent claimed that she had no information or knowledge at the time she married Neptali Salcedo that he was in fact already married. Neptali P. ruling that private respondent's certificate of candidacy did not contain any material misrepresentation. Petitioner does not allege that the electorate did not know who they were voting for when they cast their ballots in favor of . WHEREFORE. From all the foregoing. and the second from the third. in its en banc Resolution. the Comelec overturned its previous resolution. Any vote containing initials only or which is illegible or which does not sufficiently identify the candidate for whom it is intended shall be considered as a stray vote but shall not invalidate the whole ballot. Two days later. under the idem sonans rule. both of them having filed their respective certificates of candidacy However. 1999 Facts: A false representation under section 78 must consist of a "deliberate attempt to mislead. they are to be considered stray votes if they do not sufficiently identify the candidate for whom the votes are intended. 1. then the HRET correctly ruled that “JTV” votes or variations thereof. and (3) a vote which does not sufficiently identify the candidate for whom it is intended. Neptali Salcedo filed a petition for declaration of presumptive death which was granted by the court that Neptali Salcedo and Jesus Aguirre are one and the same person." It must be made with an intention to deceive the electorate as to one's qualifications for public office. commercial and public transactions. when not intended to mislead or deceive the public as to one's identity. Petitioner Victorino Salcedo II and private respondent Ermelita Cacao Salcedo both ran for the position of mayor of the municipality of Sara. Issue: Public respondent HRET did not commit any abuse of discretion in holding that the only issue for its determination was whether “JTV” votes or variations thereof should be counted in favor of VILLAROSA and in ruling that such votes are stray votes.This is a petition for Certiorari filed by petitioner Victorino Salcedo II seeking to reverse the earlier Resolution issued by its Second Division on August 12. upon learning of his existing marriage.Whether or not the use by respondent of the surname "Salcedo" in her certificate of candidacy constitutes material misrepresentation under Section 78 in relation to Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code. Furthermore. The first category of stray votes under this rule is not to be qualified by the third category in the sense that votes in initials only may be counted for a candidate provided that the initials would sufficiently identify the candidate voted for. The only error of the HRET is its ruling that if the votes are in initials only. petitioner filed with the Comelec a petition seeking the cancellation of private respondent's certificate of candidacy on the ground that she had made a false representation therein by stating that her surname was "Salcedo. and that since 1986 up to the present she has been using the surname "Salcedo" in all her personal. Iloilo in the May 11. Such construction of the rule fails to give meaning to the disjunctive conjunction OR separating the first category from the second. She tried to make a mockery of a process whose credibility is essential in preserving democracy. 1998 elections. However. Iloilo. Held: Private respondent did not commit any material misrepresentation by the use of the surname "Salcedo" in her certificate of candidacy. the subsequent marriage of the former with private respondent is null and void. Comelec's Second Division ruled that since there is an existing valid marriage between Neptali Salcedo and Agnes Celiz. A Motion for Reconsideration filed by the petitioner was affirmed by the division which gives rise to the petition to review such promulgation. Neptali P. that. Iloilo were deceived by the use of such surname by private respondent. Under this rule three kinds of votes are considered stray: (1) a vote containing initials only. Salcedo married Agnes Celiz. Nullus commodum potest de injuria sua propia. in her certificate of candidacy and campaign materials. or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible. is not within the scope of the provision. bad faith or malice on the part of VILLAROSA was evident when. the use by private respondent of the surname "Salcedo" constitutes material misrepresentation and is a ground for the cancellation of her certificate of candidacy. since votes for “GIRLIE” written in the space for Representative were in fact claimed by VILLAROSA and credited in her favor. Private respondent was proclaimed as the duly elected mayor of Sara. (2) a vote which is illegible. she appropriated the initials or nickname of her husband." Petitioner contended that private respondent had no right to use said surname because she was not legally married to Neptali Salcedo. Iloilo. VICTORINO SALCEDO II vs. Ermelita Cacao contracted another marriage with a certain Jesus Aguirre. In her answer. as shown by a marriage certificate filed with the Office of the Civil Registrar. which marriage was evidenced by a certified true copy of the marriage contract issued by the Municipal Civil Registrar of Ajuy. No one should be allowed to take advantage of his own wrong. The use of a surname. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and ERMELITA CACAO SALCEDO August 16. the incumbent Representative of the district in question whom she wanted to succeed in office.

"Ermelita Cacao Salcedo" or that they were fooled into voting for someone else by the use of such name. . The Court AFFIRMS the en banc Resolution of the Commission on Elections denying the petition to cancel private respondent's certificate of candidacy.