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Marquez vs COMELEC GR No.

112889
243 SCRA 538
April 18, 1995
FACTS:Bienvenido Marquez, a defeated candidate in the Province of Quezon filed a petition for certiorari
praying for the reversal of the COMELEC Resolution which dismissed his petition for quo warranto
against Eduardo Rodriguez, for being allegedly a fugitive from justice.
It is averred that at the time private respondent filed his certificate of candidacy, a criminal charge against
him for ten (10) counts of insurance fraud or grand theft of personal property was still pending before the
Municipal Court of Los Angeles Judicial District, County of Los Angeles, State of California, U.S.A. A
warrant issued by said court for his arrest, it is claimed, has yet to be served on private respondent on
account of his alleged flight from that country.
Petitioners subsequent recourse (in G.R. No. 105310) from the COMELECs May 8, 1992 resolution was
dismissed without prejudice, however, to the filing in due time of a possible post-election quo warranto
proceeding against private respondent.
Before the 11th May 1992 elections, petitioner filed a petition with the COMELEC for cancellation of
respondents CoC on account of the candidates disqualification under Sec. 40 (e) of the LGC.
Private respondent was proclaimed Governor-elect of Quezon on 29 May 1992. Forthwith, petitioner
instituted quo warranto proceedings (EPC 92-28) against private respondent before the COMELEC.
ISSUE: Whether private respondent who, at the time of the filing of his certificate of candidacy (and to
date), is said to be facing a criminal charge before a foreign court and evading a warrant for his arrest
comes within the term fugitive from justice contemplated by Section 40(e) of the LGC and is, therefore,
disqualified from being a candidate for, and thereby ineligible from holding on to, an elective local office.
HELD: YES. Section 40(e) of the LGC (RA 7160) provide that a Fugitive from justice in criminal cases
here and abroad are disqualified from running for any elective local position.
It has been held that construction placed upon law by the officials in charge of its enforcement deserves
great and considerable weight (Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. vs. CA, 182 SCRA
166,181). However, when there clearly is no obscurity and ambiguity in an enabling law, it must merely be
made to apply as it is so written. An administrative rule or regulation can neither expand nor constrict the
law but must remain congruent to it.
The confinement of the term fugitive from justice in Article 73 of the Rules and Regulations
Implementing the LGC of 1991 to refer only to a person who has been convicted by final judgment is an
inordinate and undue circumscription of the law.
Unfortunately, the COMELEC did not make any definite finding on whether or not private respondent is in
fact a fugitive from justice as such term must be interpreted and applied in the light of the Courts
opinion. The omission is understandable since the COMELEC outrightly dismissed the petition for quo
warranto on the basis instead of Rule 73 of the Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Oversight
Committee. The Court, not being a trier of facts, is thus constrained to remand the case to the COMELEC
for a determination of this unresolved factual matter.

RODOLFO E. AGUINALDO vs. HON. LUIS SANTOS, as Secretary of the Department of Local
Government, and MELVIN VARGAS, as Acting Governor of Cagayan G.R. No. 94115 August 21,
1992
FACTS: Petitioner was the duly elected Governor of the province of Cagayan, having been elected to
said position during the local elections held on January 17, 1988, to serve a term of four (4) years
therefrom. He took his oath sometimes around March 1988.
Shortly after December 1989 coup d'etat was crushed, respondent Secretary of Local Government sent a
telegram and a letter, both dated December 4, 1989, to petitioner requiring him to show cause why should
not be suspended or remove from office for disloyalty to the Republic, within forty-eight (48) hours from
receipt thereof.
On December 7, 1989, a sworn complaint for disloyalty to the Republic and culpable violation of the
Constitution was filed against petitioner for acts the latter committed during the coup.
Thereafter, respondent Secretary rendered the questioned decision finding petitioner guilty as charged
and ordering his removal from office. Installed as Governor of Cagayan in the process was respondent
Melvin Vargas, who was then the Vice-Governor of Cagayan.
While this case was pending before this Court, petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for the position
of Governor of Cagayan for the May 11, 1992 elections.
The Court, in a resolution dated May 14, 1992, issued a temporary restraining order against the
Commission to cease and desist from enforcing its May 9, 1992 resolution pending the outcome of the
disqualification case, thereby allowing the canvassing of the votes and returns in Cagayan to proceed.
On June 9, 1992, a resolution was issued in the aforementioned case granting petition and annulling the
May 9, 1992 resolution of the Commission on the ground that the decision of respondent Secretary has
not yet attained finality and is still pending review with this Court. As petitioner won by a landslide margin
in the elections, the resolution paved the way for his eventual proclamation as Governor of Cagayan.
ISSUE: whether or not Aguinaldo may be dismissed as re-elected Governor of Cagayan on the ground
that he was previously removed from the same office by the Secretary of Local Government due to an
administrative charge?
HELD: NO. Petitioner's re-election to the position of Governor of Cagayan has rendered the
administration case pending before Us moot and academic. It appears that after the canvassing of votes,
petitioner garnered the most number of votes among the candidates for governor of Cagayan province.
Considering the fact narrated, the expiration of petitioner's term of office during which the acts charged
were allegedly committed, and his subsequent reelection, the petitioner must be dismissed for the reason
that the issue has become academic.
Offenses committed, or acts done, during a previous term are generally held not to furnish cause for
removal and this is especially true were the Constitution provides that the penalty in proceeding for
removal shall not extend beyond the removal from office, and disqualification from holding office for a
term for which the officer was elected or appointed.
The underlying theory is that each term is separate from other terms, and that the reelection to office
operates as a condonation of the officer's misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him
therefor.

The Court should ever remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do
otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When a people have elected
a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that
they disregarded or forgave his fault or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by
reason of such fault or misconduct, to practically overrule the will of the people.
Clear then, the rule is that a public official can not be removed for administrative misconduct committed
during a prior term, since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the officer's previous
misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. The foregoing rule, however, finds
no application to criminalcases pending against petitioner for acts he may have committed during the
failed coup.