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EN

BANC
[G.R. No. 86564. August 1, 1989.]
RAMON L. LABO, JR., petitioner, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC) EN BANC AND LUIS
LARDIZABAL, respondents.
Estelito P. Mendoza for petitioner.
Rillera and Quintana for private respondent.
SYLLABUS
1. SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION; QUO WARRANTO; PETITION FILED TIMELY. The Court has considered the arguments of the
parties and holds that the petition for quo warranto was filed on time. We agree with the respondents that the fee was paid
during the ten-day period as extended by the pendency of the petition when it was treated by the COMELEC as a pre-
proclamation proceeding which did not require the payment of a filing fee. At that, we reach this conclusion only on the
assumption that the requirement for the payment of the fees in quo warranto proceedings was already effective. There is no
record that Res. No. 1450 was even published; and as for Res. No. 1996, this took effect only on March 3, 1988, seven days after
its publication in the February 25, 1988 issues of the Manila Chronicle and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, or after the petition
was filed.
2. ID.; ID.; PAYMENT OF FILING FEES NECESSARY FOR CONFERMENT OF JURISDICTION; COURT MAY ALLOW PAYMENT
WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME. It is true that in the Manchester Case, we required the timely payment of the filing fee as a
precondition for the timeliness of the filing of the case itself. In Sun Insurance Office, Ltd. v. Asuncion, however, this Court,
taking into account the special circumstances of that case, reiterated the rule that the trial court acquires jurisdiction over a
case only upon the payment of the prescribed filing fee. However, this court may allow the payment of the said fee within a
reasonable time. In the event of non-compliance therewith, the case shall be dismissed. The same idea is expressed in Rule 42,
Section 18, of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure adopted on June 20, 1988.
3. CIVIL PROCEDURE; ACTION; RESOLUTION ON THE MERITS INSTEAD OF REMANDING THE CASE TO THE TRIAL COURT
FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS; AS DEMANDED BY THE DICTATES OF JUSTICE. Remand of the case to the lower court for
further reception of evidence is not necessary where the court is in a position to resolve the dispute based on the records
before it. On many occasions, the Court, in the public interest and the expeditious administration of justice, has resolved
actions on the merits instead of remanding them to the trial court for further proceedings, such as where the ends of justice
would not be subserved by the remand of the case or when public interest demands an early disposition of the case or where
the trial court had already received all the evidence of the parties.
4. ID.; ID.; DOCTRINE OF RES JUDICATA NOT APPLICABLE TO QUESTIONS OF CITIZENSHIP; DEFENSE TO BE SEASONABLY
INVOKED. There is also the claim that the decision can no longer be reversed because of the doctrine of res judicata, but this
too must be dismissed. This doctrine does not apply to questions of citizenship, as the Court has ruled in several cases.
Moreover, it does not appear that it was properly and seasonably pleaded, in a motion to dismiss or in the answer, having been
invoked only when the petitioner filed his reply to the private respondent's comment. Besides, one of the requisites ofres
judicata, to wit, identity of parties, is not present in this case.

5. POLITICAL LAW; NATURALIZATION; ACQUISITION OF CITIZENSHIP BY NATURALIZATION. The petitioner's contention


that his marriage to an Australian national in 1976 did not automatically divest him of Philippine citizenship is irrelevant.
There is no claim or finding that he automatically ceased to be a Filipino because of that marriage. He became a citizen of
Australia because he was naturalized as such through a formal and positive process, simplified in his case because he was
married to an Australian citizen. As a condition for such naturalization, he formally took the Oath of Allegiance and/or made
the Affirmation of Allegiance.
6. ID.; CITIZENSHIP; MODES OF LOSING PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP. CA No. 63 enumerates the modes by which Philippine
citizenship may be lost. Among these are: (1) naturalization in a foreign country; (2) express renunciation of citizenship; and
(3) subscribing to an oath of allegiance to support theConstitution or laws of a foreign country, all of which are applicable to
the petitioner. It is also worth mentioning in this connection that under Article IV, Section 5, of the present Constitution, "Dual
allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law."
7. ID.; ID.; ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE TO A FOREIGNER NOT AN AUTOMATIC RESTORATION OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP.
Even if it be assumed that, as the petitioner asserts, his naturalization in Australia was annulled after it was found that his
marriage to the Australian citizen was bigamous, that circumstance alone did not automatically restore his Philippine
citizenship. His divestiture of Australian citizenship does not concern us here. That is a matter between him and his adopted
country. What we must consider is the fact that he voluntarily and freely rejected Philippine citizenship and willingly and
knowingly embraced the citizenship of a foreign country. The possibility that he may have been subsequently rejected by
Australia, as he claims, does not mean that he has been automatically reinstated as a citizen of the Philippines.
8. ID.; ID.; MEANS OF REACQUIRING PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP. Under CA No. 63 as amended by PD No. 725, Philippine
citizenship may be reacquired by direct act of Congress, by naturalization, or by repatriation. It does not appear in the record,
nor does the petitioner claim, that he has reacquired Philippine citizenship by any of these methods.
9. ID.; ID.; LACK OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP ON THE DAY OF LOCAL ELECTIONS; GROUND FOR DISQUALIFICATION AS A
CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR. The petitioner is not now, nor was he on the day of the local elections on January 18, 1988, a
citizen of the Philippines. In fact, he was not even a qualified voter under the Constitution itself because of his alienage. He was
therefore ineligible as a candidate for mayor of Baguio City under Section 42 of the Local Government Code.
10. ID.; ELECTION; QUALIFICATIONS OF CANDIDATE FOR PUBLIC OFFICE, CONTENDING REQUIREMENTS. The probability
that many of those who voted for the petitioner may have done so in the belief that he was qualified only strengthens the
conclusion that the results of the election cannot nullify the qualifications for the office now held by him. These qualifications
are continuing requirements; once any of them is lost during incumbency, title to the office itself is deemed forfeited. In the
case at bar, the citizenship and voting requirements were not subsequently lost but were not possessed at all in the first place
on the day of the election. The petitioner was disqualified from running as mayor and, although elected, is not now qualified to
serve as such.
11. ID.; ELECTION; CANDIDATE OBTAINING THE SECOND HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTES; NOT QUALIFIED TO REPLACE THE
DISQUALIFIED CANDIDATE;SANTOS RULING REVERSED. Finally, there is the question of whether or not the private
respondent, who filed the quo warranto petition, can replace the petitioner as mayor. He cannot. The simple reason is that as
he obtained only the second highest number of votes in the election, he was obviously not the choice of the people of Baguio

City. Re-examining Santos v. Commission on Election, 137 SCRA 740 the Court finds, and so holds, that it should be reversed in
favor of the earlier case of Geronimo v. Ramos, which represents the more logical and democratic rule. There the Court held it
would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has
not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed a winner and imposed as the representative of a constituency, the
majority of which have positively declared through their ballots that they do not choose him.
D E C I S I O N
CRUZ, J p:
The petitioner asks this Court to restrain the Commission on Elections from looking into the question of his
citizenship as a qualification for his office as Mayor of Baguio City. The allegation that he is a foreigner, he says, is not the
issue. The issue is whether or not the public respondent has jurisdiction to conduct any inquiry into this matter,
considering that the petition for quo warranto against him was not filed on time. cdphil
It is noteworthy that this argument is based on the alleged tardiness not of the petition itself but of the payment of
the filing fee, which the petitioner contends was an indispensable requirement. The fee is, curiously enough, all of P300.00
only. This brings to mind the popular verse that for want of a horse the kingdom was lost. Still, if it is shown that the
petition was indeed filed beyond the reglementary' period, there is no question that this petition must be granted and the
challenge abated.
The petitioner's position is simple. He was proclaimed mayor-elect of Baguio City on January 20, 1988. The
petition for quo warranto was filed by the private respondent on January 26,1988, but no filing fee was paid on that date.
This fee was finally paid on February 10, 1988, or twenty-one days after his proclamation. As the petition by itself alone
was ineffectual without the filing fee, it should be deemed filed only when the fee was paid. This was done beyond the
reglementary period provided for under Section 253 of the Omnibus Election Code reading as follows:
SEC. 253. Petition for quo warranto. Any voter contesting the election of a Member of the Batasang
Pambansa, regional, provincial, or city officer on the ground of ineligibility or of disloyalty to the Republic
of the Philippines shall files sworn petition for quo warranto with the Commission within ten days after the
proclamation of the result of the election.

The petitioner adds that the payment of the filing fee is required under Rule 36, Section 5, of the Procedural Rules
of the COMELEC providing that
Sec. 5. No petition for quo warranto shall be given due course without the payment of a filing fee in the
amount of Three Hundred Pesos (P300.00) and the legal research fee as required by law.
and stresses that there is abundant jurisprudence holding that the payment of the filing fee is essential to the timeliness of
the filing of the petition itself. He cites many rulings of the Court to this effect, specifically Manchester v. Court of
Appeals. 1
For his part, the private respondent denies that the filing fee was paid out of time. In fact, he says, it was
filed ahead of time. His point is that when he filed his "Petition for Quo Warranto with Prayer for Immediate Annulment of
Proclamation and Restraining Order or Injunction" on January 26, 1988, the COMELEC treated it as a pre-proclamation

controversy and docketed it as SPC Case No. 88-288. No docket fee was collected although it was offered. It was only on
February 8, 1988, that the COMELEC decided to treat his petition as solely for quo warranto and re-docketed it as EPC
Case No. 88-19, serving him notice on February 10, 1988. He immediately paid the filing fee on that date.
The private respondent argues further that during the period when the COMELEC regarded his petition as a pre-
proclamation controversy, the time for filing an election protest or quo warranto proceeding was deemed suspended
under Section 248 of the Omnibus Election Code. 2 At any rate, he says, Rule 36, Section 5, of the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure cited by the petitioner, became effective only on November 15, 1988, seven days after publication of the said
Rules in the Official Gazette pursuant to Section 4, Rule 44 thereof. 3 These rules could not retroact to January 26,1988,
when he filed his petition with the COMELEC.
In his Reply, the petitioner argues that even if the Omnibus Election Code did not require it, the payment of filing
fees was still necessary under Res. No. 1996 and, before that, Res. No. 1450 of the respondent COMELEC, promulgated on
January 12, 1988, and February 26, 1980, respectively. To this, the private respondent counters that the latter resolution
was intended for the local elections held on January 30, 1980, and did not apply to the 1988 local elections, which were
supposed to be governed by the first-mentioned resolution. However, Res. No. 1996 took effect only on March 3, 1988,
following the lapse of seven days alter its publication as required by RA No. 6646, otherwise known as the Electoral
Reform Law of 1987, which became effective on January 5,1988. Its Section 30 provides in part:
Sec. 30. Effectivity of Regulations and Orders of the Commission. The rules and regulations promulgated
by the Commission shall take effect on the seventh day after their publication in the Official Gazette or in at
least (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.
The Court has considered the arguments of the parties and holds that the petition for quo warranto was filed on
time. We agree with the respondents that the fee was paid during the ten-day period as extended by the pendency of the
petition when it was treated by the COMELEC as a pre-proclamation proceeding which did not require the payment of a
filing fee. At that, we reach this conclusion only on the assumption that the requirement for the payment of the fees in quo
warranto proceedings was already effective. There is no record that Res. No. 1450 was even published; and as for Res. No.
1996, this took effect only on March 3, 1988, seven days after its publication in the February 25, 1988 issues of the Manila
Chronicle and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, or after the petition was filed. cdasia
The petitioner forgets Taada v. Tuvera 4 when he argues that the resolutions became effective "immediately
upon approval" simply because it was so provided therein. We held in that case that publication was still necessary under
the due process clause despite such effectivity clause.
In any event, what is important is that the filing fee was paid, and whatever delay there may have been is not
imputable to the private respondent's fault or neglect. It is true that in the Manchester Case, we required the timely
payment of the filing fee as a precondition for the timeliness of the filing of the case itself. In Sun Insurance Office, Ltd. v.
Asuncion, 5 however, this Court, taking into account the special circumstances of that case, declared:
This Court reiterates the rule that the trial court acquires jurisdiction over a case only upon the payment of
the prescribed filing fee. However, the court may allow the payment of the said fee within a reasonable
time. In the event of non-compliance therewith, the case shall be dismissed.

The same idea is expressed in Rule 42, Section 18, of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure adopted on June 20, 1988,
thus:
Sec. 18. Non-payment of prescribed fees. If the fees above prescribed are not paid, the Commission may
refuse to take action thereon until they are paid and may dismiss the action or the proceeding. (Emphasis
supplied.)
The Court notes that while arguing the technical point that the petition for quo warranto should be dismissed for
failure to pay the filing fee on time, the petitioner would at the same time minimize his alleged lack of citizenship as "a
futile technicality." It is regrettable, to say the least, that the requirement of citizenship as a qualification for public office
can be so demeaned. what is worse is that it is regarded as an even less important consideration than the reglementary
period the petitioner insists upon.
This matter should normally end here as the sole issue originally raised by the petitioner is the timeliness of
the quo warranto proceedings against him. However, as his citizenship is the subject of that proceeding, and considering
the necessity for an early resolution of that more important question clearly and urgently affecting the public interest, we
shall directly address it now in this same action.
The Court has similarly acted in a notable number of cases, thus:
From the foregoing brief statement of the nature of the instant case, it would appear that our sole function
in this proceeding should be to resolve the single issue of whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in
ruling that the motion for new trial of the GSIS in question should indeed be deemed pro forma. But going
over the extended pleadings of both parties, the Court is immediately impressed that substantial justice
may not be timely achieved, if we should decide this case upon such a technical ground alone. We have
carefully read all the allegations and arguments of the parties, very ably and comprehensively expounded
by evidently knowledgeable and unusually competent counsel, and we feel we can better serve the interests
of justice by broadening the scope of our inquiry, for as the record before us stands, we see that there is
enough basis for us to end the basic controversy between the parties here and now, dispensing, however,
with procedural steps which would not anyway affect substantially the merits of their respective claims. 6
xxx xxx xxx
While it is the fault of the petitioner for appealing to the wrong court and thereby allowing the period for
appeal to lapse, the more correct procedure was for the respondent court to forward the case to the proper
court which was the Court of Appeals for appropriate action. Considering, however, the length of time that
this case has been pending, we apply the rule in the case of Del Castillo v. Jaymalin, (112 SCRA 629) and
follow the principle enunciated in Alger Electric, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, (135 SCRA 37) which states:
". . . it is a cherished rule of procedure for this Court to always strive to settle the entire
controversy in a single proceeding leaving no root or branch to bear the seeds of future litigation.
No useful purpose will be served if this case is remanded to the trial court only to have its decision
raised again to the Intermediate Appellate Court and from there to this Court." (p. 43)

Only recently in the case of Beautifont, Inc., et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al. (G.R. No. 50141, January
29,1988), we stated that:
". . . But all those relevant facts are now before this Court. And those facts dictate the
rendition of a verdict in the petitioner's favor. There is therefore no point in referring the case back
to the Court of Appeals. The facts and the legal propositions involved will not change, nor should
the ultimate judgment. Considerable time has already elapsed and, to serve the ends of justice, it is
time that the controversy is finally laid to rest. (See Sotto v. Samson, 5 SCRA 733; Republic v.
Paredes, 108 Phil. 57; Lianga Lumber Co. v. Lianga Timber Co., Inc., 76 SCRA 197; Erico v. Heirs of
Chigas, 98 SCRA 575; Francisco v. City of Davao, 12 SCRA 628; Valencia v. Mabilangan, 105 Phil.
162). 'Sound practice seeks to accommodate the theory which avoids waste of time, effort and
expense, both to the parties and the government, not to speak of delay in the disposal of the case
(of: Fernandez v. Garcia, 92 Phil. 592, 597). A marked characteristic of our judicial set-up is that
where the dictates of justice so demand . . . the Supreme Court should act, and act with finality.' (Li
Siu Liat v. Republic, 21 SCRA 1039, 1046, citing Samal v. CA, 99 Phil. 230 and U.S. v. Gimenez, 34
Phil. 74). In this case, the dictates of justice do demand that this Court act, and act with finality." 7
xxx xxx xxx
Remand of the case to the lower court for further reception of evidence is not necessary where the court is
in a position to resolve the dispute based on the records before it. On many occasions, the Court, in the
public interest and the expeditious administration of justice, has resolved actions on the merits instead of
remanding them to the trial court for further proceedings, such as where the ends of justice would not be
subserved by the remand of the case or when public interest demands an early disposition of the case or
where the trial court had already received all the evidence of the parties. 8

This course of action becomes all the more justified in the present case where, to repeat for stress, it is claimed
that a foreigner is holding a public office.
We also note in his Reply, the petitioner says:
In adopting private respondent's comment, respondent COMELEC implicitly adopted as "its own" private
respondent's repeated assertion that petitioner is no longer a Filipino citizen. In so doing, has not
respondent COMELEC effectively disqualified itself, by reason of prejudgment, from resolving the petition
forquo warranto filed by private respondent still pending before it? 9
This is still another reason why the Court has seen fit to rule directly on the merits of this case.
Going over the record, we find that there are two administrative decisions on the question of the petitioner's
citizenship. The first was rendered by the Commission on Elections on May 12, 1982, and found the petitioner to be a
citizen of the Philippines. 10 The second was rendered by the Commission on Immigration and Deportation on September
13, 1988, and held that the petitioner was not a citizen of the Philippines. 11

The first decision was penned by then COMELEC Chairman Vicente Santiago, Jr., with Commissioners Pabalate,
Savellano and Opinion concurring in full and Commissioner Bacungan concurring in the dismissal of the petition "without
prejudice to the issue of the respondent's citizenship being raised a new in a proper case. "Commissioner Sagadraca
reserved his vote, while Commissioner Felipe was for deferring decision until representations shall have been made with
the Australian Embassy for official verification of the petitioner's alleged naturalization as an Australian.
The second decision was unanimously rendered by Chairman Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Commissioners
Alano and Geraldez of the Commission on Immigration and Deportation. prLL
It is important to observe that in the proceeding before the COMELEC, there was no direct proof that the herein
petitioner had been formally naturalized as a citizen of Australia. This conjecture, which was eventually rejected, was
merely inferred from the fact that he had married an Australian citizen, obtained an Australian passport, and registered as
en alien with the CID upon his return to this country in 1980.
On the other hand, the decision of the CID took into account the official statement of the Australian Government
dated August 12, 1984, through its Consul in the Philippines, that the petitioner was still an Australian citizen as of that
date by reason of his naturalization in 1976. That statement 12 is reproduced in full as follows:
I, GRAHAM COLIN WEST, Consul of Australia in the Philippines, by virtue of a certificate of appointment
signed and sealed by the Australian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on 19 October 1983, and
recognized as such by Letter of Patent signed and sealed by the Philippines Acting Minister of Foreign
Affairs on 23 November 1983, do hereby provide the following statement in response to the Subpoena
Testificandum dated 9 April 1984 in regard to the Petition for disqualification against RAMON LABO, JR. Y
LOZANO (SPC No. 84-73). and do hereby certify that the statement is true and correct.
STATEMENT
A) RAMON LABO, JR. Y LOZANO, date of birth 23 December 1934, was married in the Philippines to an
Australian citizen. As the spouse of an Australian citizen, he was not required to meet normal requirements
for the grant of citizenship and was granted Australian citizenship by Sydney on 28 July 1976.
B) Any person over the age of 16 years who is granted Australian citizenship must take an oath of allegiance
or make an affirmation of allegiance. The wording of the oath of affirmation is: "I. . . ., renouncing all other
allegiance . . . .," etc. This need not necessarily have any effect on his former nationality as this would
depend on the citizenship laws of his former country.
C) The marriage was declared void in the Australian Federal Court in Sydney on 27 June 1980 on the
ground that the marriage had been bigamous.
D) According to our records LABO is still an Australian citizen.
E) Should he return to Australia, LABO may face court action in respect of Section 50 of Australian
Citizenship Act 1948 which relates to the giving of false or misleading information of a material nature in
respect of an application for Australian citizenship. If such a prosecution was successful, he could be
deprived of Australian citizenship under Section 21 of the Act.
F) There are two further ways in which LABO could divest himself of Australian citizenship:

(i) He could make a declaration of Renunciation of Australian citizenship under Section 18


of the Australian Citizenship Act, or
(ii) If he acquired another nationality, (for example, Filipino) by a formal end voluntary act
other than marriage, then he would automatically lose his Australian citizenship under Section 17
of the Act.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I HAVE HEREUNTO SET MAY HAND AND SEAL OF THE AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY,
MANILA, THIS 12TH DAY OF APRIL 1984.
DONE AT MANILA IN THE PHILIPPINES.
(Signed)
GRAHAM C. WEST
Consul
This was affirmed later by the letter of February 1, 1988, addressed to the private respondent by the Department
of Foreign Affairs reading as follows: 13
Sir:
With reference to your letter dated 1 February 1988, I wish to inform you that inquiry made with the
Australian Government through the Embassy of the Philippines in Canberra has elicited the following
information:
1) That Mr. Ramon L. Labo, Jr. acquired Australian citizenship on 28 July 1976.
2) That prior to 17 July 1986, a candidate for Australian citizenship had to either swear an
oath of allegiance or make an affirmation of allegiance which carries a renunciation of "all other
allegiance."
Very truly yours,
For the Secretary of Foreign Affairs:
(SGD) RODOLFO SEVERINO, JR
Assistant Secretary
The decision also noted the oath of allegiance taken by every naturalized Australian reading as follows:
OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
I, A.B., renouncing all other allegiance, swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her
Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully
observe the laws of Australia and fulfill my duties as an Australian citizen. 14
and the Affirmation of Allegiance, which declares:
AFFIRMATION OF ALLEGIANCE
I, A.B., renouncing all other allegiance, solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will be faithful and
bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors
according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the Laws of Australia and fulfill my duties as an
Australian citizen. 15

The petitioner does not question the authenticity of the above evidence. Neither does he deny that he obtained
Australian Passport No. 754705, which he used in coming back to the Philippines in 1980, when he declared before the
immigration authorities that he was an alien and registered as such under Alien Certificate of Registration No. B-
323985. 16 He later asked for the change of his status from immigrant to a returning former Philippine citizen and was
granted Immigrant Certificate of Residence No. 223809. 17 He also categorically declared that he was a citizen of Australia
in a number of sworn statements voluntarily made by him and. even sought to avoid the jurisdiction of the barangay court
on the ground that he was a foreigner. 18
The decision of the COMELEC in 1982 quaintly dismisses all these acts as "mistakes" that did not divest the
petitioner of his citizenship, although, as earlier noted, not all the member joined in this finding. We reject this ruling as
totally baseless. The petitioner is not an unlettered person who was not aware of the consequences of his acts, let alone
the fact that he was assisted by counsel when he performed these acts.
The private respondent questions the motives of the COMELEC at that time and stresses Labo's political affiliation
with the party in power then, but we need not go into that now.
There is also the claim that the decision can no longer be reversed because of the doctrine of res judicata, but this
too must be dismissed. This doctrine does not apply to questions of citizenship, as the Court has ruled in several
cases. 19 Moreover, it does not appear that it was properly and seasonably pleaded, in a motion to dismiss or in the
answer, having been invoked only when the petitioner filed his reply 20 to the private respondent's comment. Besides,
one of the requisites of res judicata, to wit, identity of parties, is not present in this case.
The petitioner's contention that his marriage to an Australian national in 1976 did not automatically divest him of
Philippine citizenship is irrelevant. There is no claim or finding that he automatically ceased to be a Filipino because of
that marriage. He became a citizen of Australia because he was naturalized as such through a formal and positive process,
simplified in his case because he was married to an Australian citizen. As a condition for such naturalization, he formally
took the Oath of Allegiance and/or made the Affirmation of Allegiance, both quoted above. Renouncing all other allegiance,
he swore "to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia. . . . , and to fulfill
his duties as an Australian citizen."cdll
The petitioner now claims that his naturalization in Australia made him at worst only a dual national and did not
divest him of his Philippine citizenship. Such a specious argument cannot stand against the clear provisions of CA No. 63,
which enumerates the modes by which Philippine citizenship may be lost. Among these are: (1) naturalization in a foreign
country; (2) express renunciation of citizenship; and (3) subscribing to an oath of allegiance to support the Constitution or
laws of a foreign country, all of which are applicable to the petitioner. It is also worth mentioning in this connection that
under Article IV, Section 5, of the present Constitution, "Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and
shall be dealt with by law."

Even if it be assumed that, as the petitioner asserts, his naturalization in Australia was annulled after it was found
that his marriage to the Australian citizen was bigamous, that circumstance alone did not automatically restore his
Philippine citizenship. His divestiture of Australian citizenship does not concern us here. That is a matter between him and

his adopted country. What we must consider is the fact that he voluntarily and freely rejected Philippine citizenship and
willingly and knowingly embraced the citizenship of a foreign country. The possibility that he may have been
subsequently rejected by Australia, as he claims, does not mean that he has been automatically reinstated as a citizen of
the Philippines.
Under CA No. 63 as amended by PD No. 725, Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by direct act of Congress,
by naturalization, or by repatriation. It does not appear in the record, nor does the petitioner claim, that he has reacquired
Philippine citizenship by any of these methods. He does not point to any judicial decree of naturalization as to any statute
directly conferring Philippine citizenship upon him. Neither has he shown that he has complied withPD No. 725, providing
that:
. . . (2) natural-born Filipinos who have lost their Philippine citizenship may reacquire Philippine
citizenship through repatriation by applying with the Special Committee on Naturalization created by
Letter of Instruction No. 270, and, if their applications are approved, taking the necessary oath of allegiance
to the Republic of the Philippines, after which they shall be deemed to have reacquired Philippine
citizenship. The Commission on Immigration and Deportation shall thereupon cancel their certificate of
registration. (Emphasis supplied.)
That is why the Commission on Immigration and Deportation rejected his application for the cancellation of his
alien certificate of registration. And that is also the reason we must deny his present claim for recognition as a citizen of
the Philippines.
The petitioner is not now, nor was he on the day of the local elections on January 18, 1988, a citizen of the
Philippines. In fact, he was not even a qualified voter under the Constitution itself because of his alienage. 21 He was
therefore ineligible as a candidate for mayor of Baguio City under Section 42 of the Local Government Code providing in
material part as follows:
Sec. 42. Qualifications. (1) An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty-
three years of age on election day, a qualified voter registered as such in the barangay, municipality, city or
province where he proposes to be elected, a resident therein for at least one year at the time of the filing of
his certificate of candidacy, and able to read and write English, Pilipino, or any other local language or
dialect.
The petitioner argues that his alleged lack of citizenship is a "futile technicality" that should not frustrate the will
of the electorate of Baguio City who elected him by a "resonant and thunderous majority." To be accurate, it was not as
loud as all that, for his lead over the second-placer was only about 2,100 votes. In any event, the people of that locality
could not have, even unanimously, changed the requirements of the Local Government Code and theConstitution. The
electorate had no power to permit a foreigner owing his total allegiance to the Queen of Australia, or at least a stateless
individual owing no allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, to preside over them as mayor of their city. Only citizens
of the Philippines have that privilege over their countrymen.
The probability that many of those who voted for the petitioner may have done so in the belief that he was
qualified only strengthens the conclusion that the results of the election cannot nullify the qualifications for the office now

held by him. These qualifications are continuing requirements; once any of them is lost during incumbency, title to the
office itself is deemed forfeited. In the case at bar, the citizenship and voting requirements were not subsequently lost but
were not possessed at all in the first place on the day of the election. The petitioner was disqualified from running as
mayor and, although elected, is not now qualified to serve as such. LLpr
Finally, there is the question of whether or not the private respondent, who filed the quo warranto petition, can
replace the petitioner as mayor. He cannot. The simple reason is that as he obtained only the second highest number of
votes in the election, he was obviously not the choice of the people of Baguio City.
The latest ruling of the Court on this issue is Santos v. Commission on Elections, 22 decided in 1985. In that case,
the candidate who placed second was proclaimed elected after the votes for his winning rival, who was disqualified as a
turncoat and considered a non-candidate, were all disregarded as stray. In effect, the second placer won by default. That
decision was supported by eight members of the Court then, 23 with three dissenting 24 and another two reserving their
vote.25 One was on official leave. 26
Re-examining that decision, the Court finds, and so holds, that it should be reversed in favor of the earlier case of
Geronimo v. Ramos, 27 which represents the more logical and democratic rule. That case, which reiterated the doctrine
first announced in 1912 in Topacio vs. Paredes, 28 was supported by ten members of the Court, 29 without any dissent,
although one reserved his vote, 30 another took no part, 31 and two others were an leave. 32 There the Court held:
". . . it would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally guaranteed right to
suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed a winner and
imposed as the representative of a constituency, the majority of which have positively declared through
their ballots that they do not choose him.
Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who have received the highest number
of votes cast in the election for that office, and it is a fundamental idea in all republican forms of
government that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it
receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election. (20 Corpus Juris 2nd, S 243, p. 676.)
The fact that the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is later declared to be disqualified or
not eligible for the office to which he was elected does not necessarily entitle the candidate who obtained
the second highest number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective office. The votes cast for a
dead, disqualified, or non-eligible person may not be valid to vote the winner into office or maintain him
there. However, in the absence of a statute which clearly asserts a contrary political and legislative policy
on the matter, if the votes were cast in the sincere belief that the candidate was alive, qualified, or eligible,
they should not be treated as stray, void or meaningless.
It remains to stress that the citizen of the Philippines must take pride in his status as such and cherish this
priceless gift that, out of more than a hundred other nationalities, God has seen fit to grant him. Having been so endowed,
he must not lightly yield this precious advantage, rejecting it for another land that may offer him material and other
attractions that he may not find in his own country. To be sure, he has the right to renounce the Philippines if he sees fit
and transfer his allegiance to a state with more allurements for him. 33 But having done so, he cannot expect to be

welcomed back with open arms once his taste for his adopted country turns sour or he is himself disowned by it as an
undesirable alien.
Philippine citizenship is not a cheap commodity that can be easily recovered after its renunciation. It may be
restored only after the returning renegade makes a formal act of re-dedication to the country he has abjured and he
solemnly affirms once again his total and exclusive loyalty to the Republic of the Philippines. This may not be
accomplished by election to public office.
WHEREFORE, petitioner Ramon J. Labo, Jr. is hereby declared NOT a citizen of the Philippines and therefore
DISQUALIFIED from continuing to serve as Mayor of Baguio City. He is ordered to VACATE his office and surrender the
same to the Vice-Mayor of Baguio City once this decision becomes final and executory. The temporary restraining order
dated January 31, 1989, is LIFTED.
Fernan, C . J ., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Grio-Aquino,
Medialdea and Regalado, JJ ., concur.
Separate Opinions
GUTIERREZ, JR., J ., concurring:
As in the case of Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections (G. R. No. 87193, June 23, 1989) and inspite of what would
otherwise be insuperable procedural obstacles, I am constrained to concur in the Court's decision so forcefully and
felicitously written by Mr. Justice Isagani A. Cruz. I do so because I cannot see how the Court can countenance a citizen of a
foreign country or one who has renounced Filipino citizenship sitting as the mayor of one of the most important cities in
the Philippines. dctai
What was raised to the Court was only the issue of the COMELEC's jurisdiction to inquire into the citizenship of
the petitioner. Ordinarily, we would have limited ourselves to sustaining the jurisdiction of the COMELEC and remanding
the case for further proceedings and the rendition of a decision. Under Section 7, Article XI-A of the Constitution, a
decision, order, or ruling of the COMELEC may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party
within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof. No decision on the petitioner's citizenship has been rendered and no
decision can, as yet, be elevated to us for review. I, therefore, reiterate my statement in Frivaldo that my concurrence is
limited only to cases involving citizenship and disloyalty but not to any of the many other grounds for disqualification
cited in my concurring opinion.

Our decision to disqualify the petitioner is particularly distressing to me because I am impressed by the singular
achievements in the beautification of Baguio City, in the peace and order situation, and in the resurgence of civic pride so
visible to anyone who has gone up to Baguio since Mr. Labo assumed the mayorship. However, I see no other way this case
can be resolved except by adopting a pragmatic approach. It is beyond dispute that a non-citizen cannot be the mayor of




Baguio City. I join the rest of the Court.

Footnotes
1.149 SCRA 562.
2.Sec. 248.Effect of filing petition to annul or suspend the proclamation. The filing with the Commission of a petition to
annul or to suspend the proclamation of any candidate shall suspend the running of the period within which to
file an election protest or quo warranto proceedings.
3.Rule 44, Sec. 4. COMELEC Rules of Procedure, Effectivity. These Rules shall be published in the Official Gazette and shall
take effect on the seventh day following its publication.
Actually, the Rules became effective seven days after the official release of the Official Gazette dated June 27, 1988 on
November 8,1988.
4.146 SCRA 446.
5.G.R. Nos. 79937-38, February 13, 1989.
6.Velasco v. Court of Appeals, 95 SCRA 616. See also Ortigas v. Ruiz, 148 SCRA 326; First Asian Transport and Shipping
Agency, Inc. v. Ople, 142 SCRA 542; Quisumbing v. Court of Appeals, 122 SCRA 703; Del Castillo v. Jaymalin, 112
SCRA 629; Francisco v. City of Davao, 12 SCRA 628.
7.Tejones v. Gironella, 159 SCRA 100.
8.Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc. v. CA, 157 SCRA 357
9.Rollo, p. 159.
10.Ibid., pp. 182A-195.
11.Id., pp. 94-107.
12.Id. Emphasis supplied.
13.Id. Emphasis supplied.
14.Id. Emphasis supplied.
15.Id. Emphasis supplied.
16.Id.
17.Id
18.(i)Statement dated 25 November 1976 that he is an "Australian, made before Det. Abaya.
(ii) Statement affirming that he is an Australian citizen in the affidavit-complaint executed on 1 July 1988 and in the
complaint filed on 13 January 1982 with the City Court of Baguio: ". . . being an Australian citizen the subject of
this complaint is one of which the Barangay Court cannot take cognizance of."
19.Soria v. Commissioner of Immigration, 37 SCRA 213; Lee v. Commissioner of Immigration, 42 SCRA 561; Sia Reyes v.
Deportation Board, 122 SCRA 478.
20.Rollo, pp. 159-160.
21.Art. V, Sec. 1,1987 Constitution.
22.137 SCRA 740.
23.Cuevas, J., ponente, with Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Escolin, Relova, De la Fuente, Alampay and Aquino, JJ., concurring.
24.Teehankee, Acting C.J., Abad Santos and Melencio-Herrera, JJ.
25.Plana and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ.
26.Fernando, C.J.
27. 136 SCRA 435.
28.23 Phil. 238.
29.Gutierrez, Jr., J., ponente, with Teehankee, Abad Santos, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin, Relova, De la Fuente, Cuevas
and Alampay, JJ., concurring.
30.Makasiar, J.
31.Aquino, J.
32.Fernando, C.J. and Concepcion, Jr., J.
33.Except in times of war, under CA No. 63.
||| (Labo, Jr. v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 86564, [August 1, 1989], 257 PHIL 1-23)








EN BANC
[G.R. No. 151914. July 31, 2002.]
TEODULO M. COQUILLA, petitioner, vs. THE HON. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and MR. NEIL M.
ALVAREZ, respondents.
Franklin Delano M. Sacmar for petitioner.
The Solicitor General for public respondent.
Jonathan M. Agnes and Christoper L. Moscare for private respondent.
SYNOPSIS
Petitioner was born of Filipino parents in Oras, Eastern Samar. He joined the United States Navy and was subsequently
naturalized as U.S. citizen. Thereafter, he applied for repatriation and consequently took his oath as a citizen of the Philippines.
Petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy stating therein that he had been a resident of Oras, Eastern Samar for two years.
Respondent sought the cancellation of petitioner's certificate of candidacy on the ground that the latter had made a material
misrepresentation therein by stating that he had been a resident of Oras for two years when in truth he had resided therein for
only six months since he took his oath as a citizen of the Philippines. The Second Division of the COMELEC ordered the
cancellation of petitioner's certificate of candidacy.
The Supreme Court ruled that petitioner lacked the requisite residency to qualify him for the mayorship of Oras, Eastern
Samar. The term "residence" is to be understood not in its common acceptation as referring to "dwelling" of "habitation," but
rather to "domicile" or legal residence, that is "the place where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home,
where he, no matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain. A domicile of origin is
acquired by every person at birth. It is usually the place where the child's parents reside and continues until the same is
abandoned by acquisition of a new domicile. In the case at bar, petitioner lost his domicile of origin in Oras by becoming a U.S.
citizen after enlisting in the U.S. Navy. From then on and until the time when he acquired Philippine citizenship, petitioner was
an alien without any right to reside in the Philippines save as the immigration laws may have allowed him to stay as a visitor
or as a resident alien. HDATSI
SYLLABUS
1. POLITICAL LAW; ELECTION LAWS; COMELEC RULES OF PROCEDURE; MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION; REGLEMENTARY
PERIOD FOR FILING; CASE AT BAR. The five-day period for filing a motion for reconsideration under Rule 19, 2 should be
counted from the receipt of the decision, resolution, order, or ruling of the COMELEC Division. In this case, petitioner received
a copy of the resolution of July 19, 2001 of the COMELEC's Second Division on July 28, 2001. Five days later, on August 2, 2001,
he filed his motion for reconsideration. On February 6, 2002, he received a copy of the order, dated January 30, 2002, of the
COMELEC en banc denying his motion for reconsideration. Five days later, on February 11, 2002, he filed this petition
for certiorari. There is no question, therefore, that petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the resolution of the COMELEC
Second Division, as well as his petition for certiorari to set aside of the order of the COMELEC en banc, was filed within the
period provided for in Rule 19, 2 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure and in Art. IX(A), 7 of the Constitution.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SUSPENDS THE RUNNING OF THE PERIOD TO ELEVATE THE MATTER TO THE SUPREME COURT, IF
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION IS NOT PRO FORMA; CASE AT BAR. The motion for reconsideration was not pro

forma and its filing did suspend the period for filing the petition for certiorariin this case. The mere reiteration in a motion for
reconsideration of the issues raised by the parties and passed upon by the court does not make a motionpro forma; otherwise,
the movant's remedy would not be a reconsideration of the decision but a new trial or some other remedy.
3. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION; WHEN CONSIDERED PRO FORMA. [I]n the cases where a
motion for reconsideration was held to be pro forma, the motion was so held because (1) it was a second motion for
reconsideration, or (2) it did not comply with the rule that the motion must specify the findings and conclusions alleged to be
contrary to law or not supported by the evidence, or (3) it failed to substantiate the alleged errors, or (4) it merely alleged that
the decision in question was contrary to law, or (5) the adverse party was not given notice thereof. TcDIEH
4. POLITICAL LAW; ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE; ELECTIVE LOCAL OFFICIALS; QUALIFICATIONS;
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT; RESIDENCE, DEFINED. The term "residence" is to be understood not in its common
acceptation as referring to "dwelling" or "habitation," but rather to "domicile" or legal residence, that is, "the place where a
party actually or constructively has his permanent home, where he, no matter where he may be found at any given time,
eventually intends to return and remain (animus manendi)." A domicile of origin is acquired by every person at birth. It is
usually the place where the child's parents reside and continues until the same is abandoned by acquisition of new domicile
(domicile of choice).
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT ESTABLISHED IN CASE AT BAR. In the case at bar, petitioner lost his domicile of origin in
Oras by becoming a U.S. citizen after enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1965. From then on and until November 10, 2000, when he
reacquired Philippine citizenship, petitioner was an alien without any right to reside in the Philippines save as out
immigration laws may have allowed him to stay as a visitor or as a resident alien.
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENT; MAY BE POSSESSED EVEN ON THE DAY THE CANDIDATE ASSUMES
OFFICE. [C]itizenship may be possessed even on the day the candidate assumes office. But in the case of residency, as
already noted, 39(a) of the Local Government Code requires that the candidate must have been a resident of the municipality
"for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election."
D E C I S I O N
MENDOZA, J p:
This is a petition for certiorari to set aside the resolution, 1 dated July 19, 2001, of the Second Division of the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC), ordering the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of petitioner Teodulo M. Coquilla for the
position of mayor of Oras, Eastern Samar in the May 14, 2001 elections and the order, dated January 30, 2002, of the
COMELEC en banc denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. acHDTE
The facts are as follows:
Petitioner Coquilla was born on February 17, 1938 of Filipino parents in Oras, Eastern Samar. He grew up and resided there
until 1965, when he joined the United States Navy. He was subsequently naturalized as a U.S. citizen. 2 From 1970 to 1973,
petitioner thrice visited the Philippines while on leave from the U.S. Navy. 3 Otherwise, even after his retirement from the U.S.
Navy in 1985, he remained in the United States.
On October 15, 1998, petitioner came to the Philippines and took out a residence certificate, although he continued making
several trips to the United States, the last of which took place on July 6, 2000 and lasted until August 5, 2000. 4 Subsequently,

petitioner applied for repatriation under R.A. No. 8171 5 to the Special Committee on Naturalization. His application was
approved on November 7, 2000, and, on November 10, 2000, he took his oath as a citizen of the Philippines. Petitioner was
issued Certificate of Repatriation No. 000737 on November 10, 2000 and Bureau of Immigration Identification Certificate No.
115123 on November 13, 2000.
On November 21, 2000, petitioner applied for registration as a voter of Butnga, Oras, Eastern Samar. His application was
approved by the Election Registration Board on January 12, 2001. 6 On February 27, 2001, he filed his certificate of candidacy
stating therein that he had been a resident of Oras, Eastern Samar for "two (2) years." 7
On March 5, 2001, respondent Neil M. Alvarez, who was the incumbent mayor of Oras and who was running for reelection,
sought the cancellation of petitioner's certificate of candidacy on the ground that the latter had made a material
misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy by stating that he had been a resident of Oras for two years when in truth he
had resided therein for only about six months since November 10, 2000, when he took his oath as a citizen of the Philippines.
The COMELEC was unable to render judgment on the case before the elections on May 14, 2001. Meanwhile, petitioner was
voted for and received the highest number of votes (6,131) against private respondent's 5,752 votes, or a margin of 379 votes.
On May 17, 2001, petitioner was proclaimed mayor of Oras by the Municipal Board of Canvassers. 8 He subsequently took his
oath of office.
On July 19, 2001, the Second Division of the COMELEC granted private respondent's petition and ordered the cancellation of
petitioner's certificate of candidacy on the basis of the following findings:
Respondent's frequent or regular trips to the Philippines and stay in Oras, Eastern Samar after his
retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1985 cannot be considered as a waiver of his status as a permanent
resident or immigrant . . . of the U.S.A. prior to November 10, 2000 as would qualify him to acquire the
status of residency for purposes of compliance with the one-year residency requirement of Section 39(a) of
the Local Government Code of 1991 in relation to Sections 65 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code. The one
(1) year residency requirement contemplates of the actual residence of a Filipino citizen in the constituency
where he seeks to be elected.
All things considered, the number of years he claimed to have resided or stayed in Oras, Eastern Samar
since 1985 as an American citizen and permanent resident of the U.S.A. before November 10, 2000 when he
reacquired his Philippine citizenship by [repatriation] cannot be added to his actual residence thereat after
November 10, 2000 until May 14, 2001 to cure his deficiency in days, months, and year to allow or render
him eligible to run for an elective office in the Philippines. Under such circumstances, by whatever formula
of computation used, respondent is short of the one-year residence requirement before the May 14, 2001
elections. 9

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but his motion was denied by the COMELEC en banc on January 30, 2002. Hence
this petition.
I.

Two questions must first be resolved before considering the merits of this case: (a) whether the 30-day period for appealing
the resolution of the COMELEC was suspended by the filing of a motion for reconsideration by petitioner and (b) whether the
COMELEC retained jurisdiction to decide this case notwithstanding the proclamation of petitioner.
A. With respect to the first question, private respondent contends that the petition in this case should be dismissed because it
was filed late; that the COMELEC en banc had denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration for being pro forma; and that,
pursuant to Rule 19, 4 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, the said motion did not suspend the running of the 30-day period
for filing this petition. He points out that petitioner received a copy of the resolution, dated July 19, 2001, of the COMELEC's
Second Division on July 28, 2001, so that he had only until August 27, 2001 within which to file this petition. Since the petition
in this case was filed on February 11, 2002, the same should be considered as having been filed late and should be dismissed.
Private respondent's contention has no merit.
Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides in pertinent parts:
Sec. 2. Period for Filing Motions for Reconsideration. A motion to reconsider a decision, resolution, order,
or ruling of a Division shall be filed within five days from the promulgation thereof. Such motion, if not pro-
forma, suspends the execution for implementation of the decision, resolution, order, or ruling.
Sec. 4. Effect of Motion for Reconsideration on Period to Appeal. A motion to reconsider a decision,
resolution, order, or ruling, when not pro-forma, suspends the running of the period to elevate the matter
to the Supreme Court.
The five-day period for filing a motion for reconsideration under Rule 19, 2 should be counted from the receipt of the
decision, resolution, order, or ruling of the COMELEC Division. 10 In this case, petitioner received a copy of the resolution of
July 19, 2001 of the COMELEC's Second Division on July 28, 2001. Five days later, on August 2, 2001, he filed his motion for
reconsideration. On February 6, 2002, he received a copy of the order, dated January 30, 2002, of the COMELEC en
banc denying his motion for reconsideration. Five days later, on February 11, 2002, he filed this petition for certiorari. There is
no question, therefore, that petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the resolution of the COMELEC Second Division, as well
as his petition for certiorari to set aside of the order of the COMELEC en banc, was filed within the period provided for in Rule
19, 2 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure and in Art. IX (A), 7 of the Constitution. EAcTDH
It is contended, however, that petitioner's motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC en banc did not suspend the
running of the period for filing this petition because the motion was pro forma and, consequently, this petition should have
been filed on or before August 27, 2001. It was actually filed, however, only on February 11, 2002. Private respondent cites the
finding of the COMELEC en banc that
An incisive examination of the allegations in the Motion for Reconsideration shows that the same [are] a
mere rehash of his averments contained in hisVerified Answer and Memorandum. Neither did respondent
raise new matters that would sufficiently warrant a reversal of the assailed resolution of the Second
Division. This makes the said Motion pro forma. 11
We do not think this contention is correct. The motion for reconsideration was not pro forma and its filing did suspend the
period for filing the petition forcertiorari in this case. The mere reiteration in a motion for reconsideration of the issues raised

by the parties and passed upon by the court does not make a motion pro forma; otherwise, the movant's remedy would not be
a reconsideration of the decision but a new trial or some other remedy. 12 But, as we have held in another case: 13
Among the ends to which a motion for reconsideration is addressed, one is precisely to convince the court
that its ruling is erroneous and improper, contrary to the law or the evidence; and in doing so, the movant
has to dwell of necessity upon the issues passed upon by the court. If a motion for reconsideration may not
discuss these issues, the consequence would be that after a decision is rendered, the losing party would be
confined to filing only motions for reopening and new trial.
Indeed, in the cases where a motion for reconsideration was held to be pro forma, the motion was so held because (1) it was a
second motion for reconsideration, 14 or (2) it did not comply with the rule that the motion must specify the findings and
conclusions alleged to be contrary to law or not supported by the evidence, 15 or (3) it failed to substantiate the alleged
errors, 16 or (4) it merely alleged that the decision in question was contrary to law, 17 or (5) the adverse party was not given
notice thereof. 18 The 16-page motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner in the COMELEC en banc suffers from none of the
foregoing defects, and it was error for the COMELEC en banc to rule that petitioner's motion for reconsideration was pro forma
because the allegations raised therein are a mere "rehash" of his earlier pleadings or did not raise "new matters." Hence, the
filing of the motion suspended the running of the 30-day period to file the petition in this case, which, as earlier shown, was
done within the reglementary period provided by law.
B. As stated before, the COMELEC failed to resolve private respondent's petition for cancellation of petitioner's certificate of
candidacy before the elections on May 14, 2001. In the meantime, the votes were canvassed and petitioner was proclaimed
elected with a margin of 379 votes over private respondent. Did the COMELEC thereby lose authority to act on the petition
filed by private respondent?
R.A. No. 6646 provides:
SECTION 6. . Effect of Disqualification Case. Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be
disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. 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, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial
and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may
during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the
evidence of his guilt is strong. (Emphasis added)
SECTION 7 . Petition to Deny Due Course To or Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy. The procedure
hereinabove provided shall apply to petitions to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy as
provided in Section 78 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881.
The rule then is that candidates who are disqualified by final judgment before the election shall not be voted for and the votes
cast for them shall not be counted. But those against whom no final judgment of disqualification had been rendered may be
voted for and proclaimed, unless, on motion of the complainant, the COMELEC suspends their proclamation because the
grounds for their disqualification or cancellation of their certificates of candidacy are strong. Meanwhile, the proceedings for
disqualification of candidates or for the cancellation or denial of certificates of candidacy, which have been begun before the

elections, should continue even after such elections and proclamation of the winners. In Abella v. COMELEC 19 and Salcedo II v.
COMELEC, 20 the candidates whose certificates of candidacy were the subject of petitions for cancellation were voted for and,
having received the highest number of votes, were duly proclaimed winners. This Court, in the first case, affirmed and, in the
second, reversed the decisions of the COMELEC rendered after the proclamation of candidates, not on the ground that the
latter had been divested of jurisdiction upon the candidates' proclamation but on the merits.
II.
On the merits, the question is whether petitioner had been a resident of Oras, Eastern Samar at least one (1) year before the
elections held on May 14, 2001 as he represented in his certificate of candidacy. We find that he had not.
First, 39(a) of the Local Government Code (R.A No. 7160) provides:
Qualifications. (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in
the barangay, municipality, city, or province or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan,
sangguniang panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; a resident
therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election; and able to read and write
Filipino or any other local language or dialect. (Emphasis supplied)
The term "residence" is to be understood not in its common acceptation as referring to "dwelling" or "habitation," 21 but
rather to "domicile" or legal residence, 22 that is, "the place where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home,
where he, no matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain (animus
manendi)." 23 A domicile of origin is acquired by every person at birth. It is usually the place where the child's parents reside
and continues until the same is abandoned by acquisition of new domicile (domicile of choice). 24
In the case at bar, petitioner lost his domicile of origin in Oras by becoming a U.S. citizen after enlisting in the U.S. Navy in
1965. From then on and until November 10, 2000, when he reacquired Philippine citizenship, petitioner was an alien without
any right to reside in the Philippines save as our immigration laws may have allowed him to stay as a visitor or as a resident
alien.

Indeed, residence in the United States is a requirement for naturalization as a U.S. citizen. Title 8, 1427(a) of the United States
Code provides:
Requirements of naturalization. Residence
(a) No person, except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, shall be naturalized unless such
applicant, (1) immediately preceding the date of filing his application for naturalization has resided
continuously, after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, within the United States for at
least five years and during the five years immediately preceding the date of filing his petition has been
physically present therein for periods totaling at least half of that time, and who has resided within
the State or within the district of the Service in the United States in which the applicant filed the
application for at least three months, (2) has resided continuously within the United States from
the date of the application up to the time of admission to citizenship, and (3) during all the period
referred to in this subsection has been and still is a person of good moral character, attached to the

principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and
happiness of the United States. (Emphasis added)
In Caasi v. Court of Appeals, 25 this Court ruled that immigration to the United States by virtue of a "greencard," which
entitles one to reside permanently in that country, constitutes abandonment of domicile in the Philippines. With more
reason then does naturalization in a foreign country result in an abandonment of domicile in the Philippines.
Nor can petitioner contend that he was "compelled to adopt American citizenship" only by reason of his service in the U.S.
armed forces. 26 It is noteworthy that petitioner was repatriated not under R.A. No. 2630, which applies to the repatriation of
those who lost their Philippine citizenship by accepting commission in the Armed Forces of the United States, but under R.A.
No. 8171, which, as earlier mentioned, provides for the repatriation of, among others, natural-born Filipinos who lost their
citizenship on account of political or economic necessity. In any event, the fact is that, by having been naturalized abroad, he
lost his Philippine citizenship and with it his residence in the Philippines. Until his reacquisition of Philippine citizenship on
November 10, 2000, petitioner did not reacquire his legal residence in this country. cSEaDA
Second, it is not true, as petitioner contends, that he reestablished residence in this country in 1998 when he came back to
prepare for the mayoralty elections of Oras by securing a Community Tax Certificate in that year and by "constantly declaring"
to his townmates of his intention to seek repatriation and run for mayor in the May 14, 2001 elections. 27 The status of being
an alien and a non-resident can be waived either separately, when one acquires the status of a resident alien before acquiring
Philippine citizenship, or at the same time when one acquires Philippine citizenship. As an alien, an individual may obtain an
immigrant visa under 13 28 of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1948 and an Immigrant Certificate of Residence
(ICR) 29 and thus waive his status as a non-resident. On the other hand, he may acquire Philippine citizenship by
naturalization under C.A. No. 473, as amended, or, if he is a former Philippine national, he may reacquire Philippine citizenship
by repatriation or by an act of Congress, 30 in which case he waives not only his status as an alien but also his status as a non-
resident alien.
In the case at bar, the only evidence of petitioner's status when he entered the country on October 15, 1998, December 20,
1998, October 16, 1999, and June 23, 2000 is the statement "Philippine Immigration [-] Balikbayan" in his 1998-2008 U.S.
passport. As for his entry on August 5, 2000, the stamp bore the added inscription "good for one year stay." 31 Under 2 of R.A.
No. 6768 (An Act Instituting a Balikbayan Program), the term balikbayan includes a former Filipino citizen who had been
naturalized in a foreign country and comes or returns to the Philippines and, if so, he is entitled, among others, to a "visa-free
entry to the Philippines for a period of one (1) year" (3(c)). It would appear then that when petitioner entered the country on
the dates in question, he did so as a visa-free balikbayan visitor whose stay as such was valid for one year only. Hence,
petitioner can only be held to have waived his status as an alien and as a non-resident only on November 10, 2000 upon taking
his oath as a citizen of the Philippines under R.A. No. 8171. 32 He lacked the requisite residency to qualify him for the
mayorship of Oras, Eastern Samar.
Petitioner invokes the ruling in Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections 33 in support of his contention that the residency
requirement in 39(a) of the Local Government Code includes the residency of one who is not a citizen of the Philippines.
Residency, however, was not an issue in that case and this Court did not make any ruling on the issue now at bar. The question
in Frivaldo was whether petitioner, who took his oath of repatriation on the same day that his term as governor of Sorsogon

began on June 30, 1995, complied with the citizenship requirement under 39(a). It was held that he had, because citizenship
may be possessed even on the day the candidate assumes office. But in the case of residency, as already noted, 39(a) of the
Local Government Code requires that the candidate must have been a resident of the municipality "for at least one (1) year
immediately preceding the day of the election."
Nor can petitioner invoke this Court's ruling in Bengzon III v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. 34 What the Court
held in that case was that, upon repatriation, a former natural-born Filipino is deemed to have recovered his original status as
a natural-born citizen.
Third, petitioner nonetheless says that his registration as a voter of Butnga, Oras, Eastern Samar in January 2001 is conclusive
of his residency as a candidate because 117 of the Omnibus Election Code requires that a voter must have resided in the
Philippines for at least one year and in the city or municipality wherein he proposes to vote for at least six months
immediately preceding the election. As held in Nuval v. Guray, 35 however, registration as a voter does not bar the filing of a
subsequent case questioning a candidate's lack of residency.
Petitioner's invocation of the liberal interpretation of election laws cannot avail him any. As held in Aquino v. Commission on
Elections: 36
A democratic government is necessarily a government of laws. In a republican government those laws are
themselves ordained by the people. Through their representatives, they dictate the qualifications necessary
for service in government positions. And as petitioner clearly lacks one of the essential qualifications for
running for membership in the House of Representatives, not even the will of a majority or plurality of the
voters of the Second District of Makati City would substitute for a requirement mandated by the
fundamental law itself.
Fourth, petitioner was not denied due process because the COMELEC failed to act on his motion to be allowed to present
evidence. Under 5(d), in relation to7, of R.A. No. 6646 (Electoral Reforms Law of 1987), proceedings for denial or
cancellation of a certificate of candidacy are summary in nature. The holding of a formal hearing is thus not de rigeur. In any
event, petitioner cannot claim denial of the right to be heard since he filed a Verified Answer, a Memorandum and a
Manifestation, all dated March 19, 2001, before the COMELEC in which he submitted documents relied by him in this petition,
which, contrary to petitioner's claim, are complete and intact in the records. IaHDcT
III.
The statement in petitioner's certificate of candidacy that he had been a resident of Oras, Eastern Samar for "two years" at the
time he filed such certificate is not true. The question is whether the COMELEC was justified in ordering the cancellation of his
certificate of candidacy for this reason. We hold that it was. Petitioner made a false representation of a material fact in his
certificate of candidacy, thus rendering such certificate liable to cancellation. The Omnibus Election Code provides:
SEC. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. The certificate of candidacy shall state that the person filing
it is announcing his candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for said office; if for
Member of the Batasang Pambansa, the province, including its component cities, highly urbanized city or
district or sector which he seeks to represent; the political party to which he belongs; civil status; his date
of birth; residence; his post office address for all election purposes; his profession or occupation; that he

will support and defend the Constitution of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance
thereto; that he will obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted
authorities; that he is not a permanent resident or immigrant to a foreign country; that the obligation
imposed by his oath is assumed voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that the
facts stated in the certificate of candidacy are true to the best of his knowledge.
SEC. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. 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 representation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false. 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, after due notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the
election.

Indeed, it has been held that a candidate's statement in her certificate of candidacy for the position of governor of Leyte that
she was a resident of Kananga, Leyte when this was not so 37 or that the candidate was a "natural-born" Filipino when in fact
he had become an Australian citizen 38 constitutes a ground for the cancellation of a certificate of candidacy. On the other
hand, we held in Salcedo II v. COMELEC 39 that a candidate who used her husband's family name even though their marriage
was void was not guilty of misrepresentation concerning a material fact. In the case at bar, what is involved is a false statement
concerning a candidate's qualification for an office for which he filed the certificate of candidacy. This is a misrepresentation of
a material fact justifying the cancellation of petitioner's certificate of candidacy. The cancellation of petitioner's certificate of
candidacy in this case is thus fully justified.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the resolution of the Second Division of the Commission on Elections, dated July
19, 2001, and the order, dated January 30, 2002 of the Commission on Elections en banc are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-
Martinez and Corona, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.Per Presiding Commissioner Ralph C. Lantion and concurred in by Commissioners Mehol K. Sadain and Florentino A. Tuazon, Jr.
2.The records do not disclose when petitioner became a U.S. citizen.
3.Records, pp. 167-169.
4.Petitioner's U.S. passport for 1998-2008 shows the following dates of arrival in the Philippines and dates of departure for the United
States: arrival October 15, 1998, departure November 3, 1998; arrival December 20, 1998 (with no record of
corresponding departure); arrival October 16, 1999, departure November 1, 1999; arrival June 23, 2000, departure
July 6, 2000; arrival August 5, 2000 (Records, pp. 227-228).
5.This law, entitled AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE REPATRIATION OF FILIPINO WOMEN WHO HAVE LOST THEIR PHILIPPINE
CITIZENSHIP BY MARRIAGE TO ALIENS AND NATURAL-BORN FILIPINOS, applies to former natural-born Filipinos who have lost
their Philippine citizenship on account of economic or political necessity. It would appear that petitioner was repatriated under
this law on the ground that he lost his Philippine citizenship on account of economic necessity.
6.Petition, Annex O, p. 56.
7.Id., Annex C, p. 34.
8.Id., Annex H, p. 46.
9.Resolution, pp. 7-8; Rollo, pp. 30-31.
10.Bulaong v. COMELEC, 220 SCRA 745 (1993).
11.Order, pp. 1-2; Rollo, pp. 32-33.
12.Siy v. Court of Appeals, 138 SCRA 536 (1985); Continental Cement Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 184 SCRA 728 (1990).

13.Guerra Enterprises Company, Inc. v. Court of First Instance of Lanao del Sur, 32 SCRA 314, 317 (1970).
14.Manila Trading v. Enriquez, 1 SCRA 1056 (1961); City of Cebu v. Mendoza, 62 SCRA 440 (1975); Debuque v. Climaco, 99 SCRA 353
(1980); Garcia v. Echiverri, 132 SCRA 631 (1984); Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Island Garment Manufacturing Corporation,
153 SCRA 665 (1987); Vda. de Espina v. Abaya, 196 SCRA 312 (1991).
15.A similar rule is found in Rule 19, 3 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure.
16.Villarica v. Court of Appeals, 57 SCRA 24 (1974).
17.Jessena v. Hervas, 83 SCRA 799 (1978); Marikina Valley Development Corporation v. Flojo, 251 SCRA 87 (1995); Nieto v. De los Angeles,
109 SCRA 229 (1981).
18.Sembrano v. Ramirez, 166 SCRA 30 (1988); Pojas v. Gozo-Dadole, 192 SCRA 575 (1990); Bank of the Philippine Islands v. Far East
Molasses Corporation, 198 SCRA 689 (1991).
19.201 SCRA 253 (1991).
20.312 SCRA 447 (1999).
21.Uytengsu v. Republic, 95 Phil. 890, 894 (1954).
22.Nuval v. Guray, 52 Phil. 645 (1928); Gallego v. Verra, 73 Phil. 453 (1941); Romualdez v. RTC, Br. 7, Tacloban City, 226 SCRA 408 (1993).
23.Aquino v. COMELEC, 248 SCRA 400, 420 (1995).
24.25 Am. Jur. 2d, 11.
25.191 SCRA 229 (1990).
26.Petition, p. 6; Rollo, p. 8.
27.Id., pp. 9-11; id., pp. 11-13.
28.This provision states:
"Under the conditions set forth in this Act, there may be admitted in the Philippines immigrants, termed "quota
immigrants" not in excess of fifty (50) of any one nationality or without nationality for any one calendar year, except that the
following immigrants, termed "nonquota immigrants," may be admitted without regard to such numerical limitations.
The corresponding Philippine Consular representative abroad shall investigate and certify the eligibility of a quota
immigrant previous to his admission into the Philippines. Qualified and desirable aliens who are in the Philippines under
temporary stay may be admitted within the quota, subject to the provisions of the last paragraph of Section 9 of this Act.
(a) The wife or the husband or the unmarried child under twenty-one years of age of a Philippine citizen, if
accompanying or following to join such citizen;
(b) A child of alien parents born during the temporary visit abroad of the mother, the mother having been previously
lawfully admitted into the Philippine for permanent residence, if the child is accompanying or coming to join a parent and
applies for admission within five years from the date of its birth;
(c) A child born subsequent to the issuance of the immigration visa of the accompanying parent, the visa not having
expired;
(d) A woman who was citizen of the Philippines and who lost her citizenship because of her marriage to an alien or
by reason of the loss of Philippine citizenship by her husband, and her unmarried child under twenty-one years of age, if
accompanying or following to join her;
(e) A person previously lawfully admitted into the Philippines for permanent residence, who is returning from a
temporary visit abroad to an unrelinquished residence in the Philippines, (As amended by Sec. 5, Rep. Act No. 503.)
(f) The wife or the husband or the unmarried child under twenty-one years of age, of an alien lawfully admitted into
the Philippines for permanent residence prior to the date on which this Act becomes effective and who is resident therein, if
such wife, husband, or child applies for admission within a period of two years following the date on which this Act becomes
effective;
(g) A natural born citizen of the Philippines, who has been naturalized in a foreign country, and is returning to the
Philippines for permanent residence, including the spouse and minor children, shall be considered a non-quota immigrant for
purposes of entering the Philippines (As amended by Rep. Act No. 4376, approved June 19, 1965)."
29 . See R. Ledesma, An Outline of Philippine Immigration and Citizenship Laws, 135 (1999).
30 . C.A. No. 63, 2.
31 . Records, pp. 227-228.
32 . The COMELEC considered November 10, 2000 as the date of petitioner's repatriation. Section 2 of R.A. No. 8171 provides, however,
"Repatriation shall be effected by taking the necessary oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and registration in the
proper civil registry and in the Bureau of Immigration. The Bureau of Immigration shall thereupon cancel the pertinent alien
certificate of registration and issue the certificate of identification as Filipino citizen to the repatriated citizen."
33 . 257 SCRA 727 (1996).
34 . G.R. No. 142840, May 7, 2001.
35 . 54 Phil. 645 (1928).
36 . 248 SCRA 400, 429 (1995).
37 . Abella v. Larrazabal, 180 SCRA 509 (1989); Abella v. COMELEC, 201 SCRA 253 (1991).
38 . Labo, Jr. v. COMELEC, 211 SCRA 297 (1992).
39 . 312 SCRA 447 (1999).
||| (Coquilla v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 151914, [July 31, 2002])





EN BANC
[G.R. No. 121592. July 5, 1996.]
ROLANDO

P.

DELA

TORRE, petitioner, vs.

COMMISSION

ON

ELECTIONS

and

MARCIAL

VILLANUEVA, respondents.
Pete Quirino-Quadra for petitioner.
Leonardo G. Ragaza, Sr. for private respondent.
The Solicitor General for public respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE; DISQUALIFICATIONS FROM RUNNING FOR ANY ELECTIVE
POSITION; MORAL TURPITUDE AS A GROUND, DEFINED. The Court has consistently adopted the definition in Black's Law
Dictionary of "moral turpitude" as: ". . . an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man owes his
fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and woman or
conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals."
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; WHETHER OR NOT A CRIME INVOLVES MORAL TURPITUDE IS ULTIMATELY A QUESTION OF FACT AND
DEPENDS ON ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE VIOLATION OF THE STATUTE. Not every criminal act,
however, involves moral turpitude. It is for this reason that "as to what crime involves moral turpitude, is for the Supreme
Court to determine." In resolving the foregoing question, the Court is guided by one of the general rules that crimes mala in
se involve moral turpitude, while crimes mala prohibita do not, the rationale of which was set forth in "Zari v. Flores," to wit: "It
(moral turpitude) implies something immoral in itself, regardless of the fact that it is punishable by law or not. It must not be
merely mala prohibita, but the act itself must be inherently immoral. The doing of the act itself, and not its prohibition by
statute fixes the moral turpitude. Moral turpitude does not, however, include such acts as are not of themselves immoral but
whose illegality lies in their being positively prohibited." This guideline nonetheless proved short of providing a clear-cut
solution, for in "International Rice Research Institute v. NLRC," the Court admitted that it cannot always be ascertained whether
moral turpitude does or does not exist by merely classifying a crime as malum in se or as malum prohibitum. There are crimes
which are mala in se and yet but rarely involve moral turpitude and there are crimes which involve moral turpitude and
are mala prohibita only. In the final analysis, whether or not a crime involves moral turpitude is ultimately a question of fact
and frequently depends on all the circumstances surrounding the violation of the statute.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; CONVICTION FOR AN OFFENSE INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE STANDS EVEN IF THE CANDIDATE WAS
GRANTED PROBATION FOR THE SAME CRIME. Anent the second issue where petitioner contends that his probation had
the effect of suspending the applicability of Section 40 (a) of theLocal Government Code, suffice it to say that the legal effect of
probation is only to suspend the execution of the sentence. Petitioner's conviction of fencing which we have heretofore
declared as a crime of moral turpitude and thus falling squarely under the disqualification found in Section 40 (a), subsists and
remains totally unaffected notwithstanding the grant of probation. In fact, a judgment of conviction in a criminal case ipso
facto attains finality when the accused applies for probation, although it is not executory pending resolution of the application
for probation. Clearly then, petitioner's theory has no merit.

4. CRIMINAL LAW; ANTI-FENCING LAW (P.D. 1612); FENCING; DEFINED. Fencing is defined in Section 2 of P.D. 1612 (Anti-
Fencing Law) as: "a. . . . the act of any person who, with intent to gain for himself or for another, shall buy, receive, possess,
keep, acquire, conceal, sell or dispose of, or shall buy and sell, or in any manner deal in any article, item, object or anything of
value which he knows, or should be known to him, to have been derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft."
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ELEMENTS. From the foregoing definition may be gleaned the elements of the crime of fencing which are: "1.
A crime of robbery or theft has been committed; 2. The accused who is not a principal or accomplice in the crime of robbery or
theft, buys, receives, possesses, keeps, acquires, conceals, sells, or disposes, or buys and sells, or in any manner deals in any
article, item, object or anything of value, which have been derived from the proceeds of the said crime. 3. The accused knows or
should have known that the said article, item, object or anything of value has been derived from the proceeds of the crime of
robbery or theft; and 4. There is, on the part of the accused, intent to gain for himself or for another."
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; IS A CRIME INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE. Moral turpitude is deducible from the third element. Actual
knowledge by the "fence" of the fact that property received is stolen displays the same degree of malicious deprivation of one's
rightful property as that which animated the robbery or theft, which, by their very nature, are crimes of moral turpitude. And
although the participation of each felon in the unlawful taking differs in point in time and in degree, both the "fence" and the
actual perpetrator/s of the robbery or theft invaded one's peaceful dominion for gain thus deliberately reneging in the
process "private duties" they owe their "fellowmen" or "society" in the manner "contrary to . . . accepted and customary rule of
right and duty . . ., justice, honesty . . . or good morals." The same underlying reason holds even if the "fence" did not have actual
knowledge, but merely "should have known" the origin of the property received. In this regard, the Court held: "When
knowledge of the existence of a particular fact is an element of the offense, such knowledge is established if a person is aware
of the high probability of its existence unless he actually believes that it does not exist. On the other hand, the words 'should
know' denote the fact that a person of reasonable prudence and intelligence would ascertain the fact in the performance of his
duty to another or would govern his conduct upon assumption that such fact exists." Verily, circumstances normally exist to
forewarn, for instance, a reasonably vigilant buyer that the object of the same may have been derived from the proceeds of
robbery or theft. Such circumstances include the time and place of the sale, both of which may not be in accord with the usual
practices of commerce. The nature and condition of the goods sold, and the fact that the seller is not regularly engaged in the
business of selling goods may likewise suggest the illegality of their source, and therefore should caution the buyer. This
justifies the presumption found in Section 5 of P.D. No. 1612 that "mere possession of any goods, . . ., object or anything of value
which has been the subject of robbery or thievery shall be prima facie evidence of fencing" a presumption that is, according to
the Court, "reasonable for no other natural or logical inference can arise from the established fact of . . . possession of the proceeds
of the crime of robbery or theft."
R E S O L U T I O N
FRANCISCO, J p:
Petitioner Rolando P. Dela Torre via the instant petition for certiorari seeks the nullification of two resolutions issued by the
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) allegedly with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in SPA No. 95-
047, a case for disqualification filed against petitioner before the COMELEC. 1

The first assailed resolution dated May 6, 1995 declared the petitioner disqualified from running for the position of Mayor of
Cavinti, Laguna in the last May 8, 1995 elections, citing as the ground therefor, Section 40(a) of Republic Act No.
7160 (the Local Government Code of 1991) 2 provides as follows:
"Sec. 40. Disqualifications. The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective local
position:
"(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense
punishable by one (1) year or more of imprisonment within two (2) years after serving sentence;
"(b) . . .
In disqualifying the petitioner, the COMELEC held that:
"Documentary evidence . . . established that herein respondent (petitioner in this case) was found guilty by
the Municipal Trial Court, . . . in Criminal Case No. 14723 for violation of P.D. 1612, (otherwise known as the
Anti-Fencing Law) in a Decision dated June 1, 1990. Respondent appealed the said conviction with the
Regional Trial Court . . ., which however, affirmed respondent's conviction in a Decision dated November
14, 1990. Respondent's conviction became final on January 18, 1991.
"xxx xxx xxx
". . . , there exists legal grounds to disqualify respondent as candidate for Mayor of Cavinti, Laguna this
coming elections. Although there is 'dearth of jurisprudence involving violation of the Anti-Fencing Law of
1979 or P.D. 1612' . . . , the nature of the offense under P.D. 1612 with which respondent was convicted
certainly involves moral turpitude . . ." 3
The second assailed resolution, dated August 28, 1995, denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration. In said motion,
petitioner claimed that Section 40 (a) of the Local Government Code does not apply to his case inasmuch as the probation
granted him by the MTC on December 21, 1994 which suspended the execution of the judgment of conviction and all other
legal consequences flowing therefrom, rendered inapplicable Section 40 (a) as well. 4
The two (2) issues to be resolved are:
1. Whether or not the crime of fencing involves moral turpitude.
2. Whether or not a grant of probation affects Section 40 (a)'s applicability.
Particularly involved in the first issue is the first of two instances contemplated in Section 40 (a) when prior conviction of a
crime becomes a ground for disqualifications i.e., "when the conviction by final judgment is for an offense involving moral
turpitude." And in this connection, the Court has consistently adopted the definition in Black's Law Dictionary of "moral
turpitude" as:

". . . an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to
society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and woman
or conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals." 5
Not every criminal act, however, involves moral turpitude. It is for this reason that "as to what crime involves moral turpitude,
is for the Supreme Court to determine". 6 In resolving the foregoing question, the Court is guided by one of the general rules

that crimes mala in se involve moral turpitude, while crimesmala prohibita do not 7 , the rationale of which was set forth in
"Zari v. Flores," 8 to wit:
"It (moral turpitude) implies something immoral in itself, regardless of the fact that it is punishable by law
or not. It must not be merely mala prohibita, but the act itself must be inherently immoral. The doing of the
act itself, and not its prohibition by statute fixes the moral turpitude. Moral turpitude does not, however,
include such acts as are not of themselves immoral but whose illegality lies in their being positively
prohibited." 9
This guideline nonetheless proved short of providing a clear-cut solution, for in "International Rice Research Institute v.
NLRC," 10 the Court admitted that it cannot always be ascertained whether moral turpitude does or does not exist by merely
classifying a crime as malum in se or as malum prohibitum. There are crimes which are mala in se and yet but rarely involve
moral turpitude and there are crimes which involve moral turpitude and are mala prohibita only. In the final analysis, whether
or not a crime involves moral turpitude is ultimately a question of fact and frequently depends on all the circumstances
surrounding the violation of the statute. 11
The Court in this case shall nonetheless dispense with a review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the commission of
the crime, inasmuch as petitioner after all does not assail his conviction. Petitioner has in effect admitted all the elements of
the crime of fencing. At any rate, the determination of whether or not fencing involves moral turpitude can likewise be
achieved by analyzing the elements alone.
Fencing is defined in Section 2 of P.D. 1612 (Anti-Fencing Law) as:
"a. . . . the act of any person who, with intent to gain for himself or for another, shall buy, receive, possess,
keep, acquire, conceal, sell or dispose of, or shall buy and sell, or in any manner deal in any article, item,
object or anything of value which he knows, or should be known to him, to have been deprived from the
proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft." 12
From the foregoing definition may be gleaned the elements of the crime of fencing which are:
"1. A crime of robbery or theft has been committed;
"2. The accused who is not a principal or accomplice in the crime of robbery or theft, buys, receives,
possesses, keeps, acquires, conceals, sells or disposes, or buys and sells, or in any manner deals in any
article, item, object or anything of value, which have been deprived from the proceeds of the said crime;
"3. The accused knows or should have known that the said article, item, object or anything of value has been
derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft; and [Emphasis supplied.]
"4. There is, on the part of the accused, intent to gain for himself or for another." 13
Moral turpitude is deducible from the third element. Actual knowledge by the "fence" of the fact that property received is
stolen displays the same degree of malicious deprivation of one's rightful property as that which animated the robbery or theft
which, by their very nature, are crimes of moral turpitude. And although the participation of each felon in the unlawful taking
differs in point in time and in degree, both the "fence" and the actual perpetrator/s of the robbery or theft invaded one's
peaceful

dominion

for

gain

thus

deliberately

reneging

in

the

process "private

duties" they

owe

their "fellowmen" or"society" in a manner "contrary to . . . accepted and customary rule of right and duty . . ., justice, honesty . . . or

good morals." The duty not to appropriate, or to return, anything acquired either by mistake or with malice is so basic it finds
expression in some key provisions of the Civil Code on "Human Relations" and"Solutio Indebiti", to wit:
"Article 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his right and in the performance of his duties, act with
justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith."
"Article 20. Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall
indemnify the latter for the same."
"Article 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals,
good customs, or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage."
"Article 22. Every person who through an act of performance by another, or any other means, acquires or
comes into possession of something at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground, shall return
the same to him."
"Article 2154. If something is received when there is no right to demand it, and it was unduly delivered
through mistake, the obligation to return it arises."
The same underlying reason holds even if the "fence" did not have actual knowledge, but merely "should have known" the
origin of the property received. In this regard, the Court held:
"When knowledge of the existence of a particular fact is an element of the offense, such knowledge is
established if a person is aware of the high probability of its existence unless he actually believes that it
does not exist. On the other hand, the words 'should know' denote the fact that a person of reasonable
prudence and intelligence would ascertain the fact in the performance of his duty to another or would govern
his conduct upon assumption that such fact exists." 14 [Emphasis supplied.]
Verily, circumstances normally exist to forewarn, for instance, a reasonably vigilant buyer that the object of the sale may have
been derived from the proceeds of robbery or theft. Such circumstances include the time and place of the sale, both of which
may not be in accord with the usual practices of commerce. The nature and condition of the goods sold, and the fact that the
seller is not regularly engaged in the business of selling goods may likewise suggest the illegality of their source, and therefore
should caution the buyer. This justifies the presumption found in Section 5 of P.D. No 1612 that "mere possession of any goods, .
. ., object or anything of value which has been the subject of robbery or thievery shall be prima facie evidence of fencing" a
presumption that is, according to the Court," reasonable for no other natural or logical inference can arise from the established
fact of . . . possession of the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft." 15 All told, the COMELEC did not err in disqualifying the
petitioner on the ground that the offense of fencing of which he had been previously convicted by final judgment was one
involving moral turpitude.
Anent the second issue where petitioner contends that his probation had the effect of suspending the applicability of Section
40 (a) of the Local Government Code, suffice it to say that the legal effect of probation is only to suspend the execution of the
sentence. 16 Petitioner's conviction of fencing which we have heretofore declared as a crime of moral turpitude and thus
falling squarely under the disqualification found in Section 40 (a), subsists and remains totally unaffected notwithstanding the
grant of probation. In fact, a judgment of conviction in a criminal case ipso facto attains finality when the accused applies for

probation, although it is not executory pending resolution of the application for probation. 17 Clearly then, petitioner's theory
has no merit.
ACCORDINGLY, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED and the assailed resolutions of the COMELEC dated May
6, 1995 and August 28, 1995 are AFFIRMED in toto.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C . J ., Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Hermosisima, Jr.,
Panganiban and Torres, Jr., JJ .,concur.
Footnotes
1.Petition dated September 8, 1995, p. 1; Rollo, p. 3.
2.COMELEC Resolution dated May 6, 1995; Rollo, p. 18.
3.Resolution, id., pp. 1-2; Rollo, pp. 18-19.
4.Motion for Reconsideration dated May 16, 1995, p. 2; Rollo, p. 23.
5.Zari vs. Flores, 94 SCRA 317, 323 citing Tak Ng vs. Republic of the Phil. 41 Phil. 275; Court Administrator vs. San Andres, 197
SCRA 704; International Rice Research Institute vs. NLRC, 221 SCRA 760.
6.International Rice Research Institute vs. NLRC, id. at p. 767 citing In Re: Victorio Lanuevo, 66 SCRA 245.
7.Id.
8.Supra.
9.Id. at p. 323.
10.Supra.
11.Id. at p. 768.
12.Section 2(a) of P.D. 1612 (Anti-Fencing Law).
13.Dizon-Pamintuan vs. People, 234 SCRA 63, 72.
14.Id., at p. 73.
15.Id. at p. 74.
16.Section 4, P.D. No. 768.
"SEC. 4. Grant of Probation. Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the court may, after it shall have convicted and
sentenced the defendant but before he begins to serve his sentence and upon his application, suspend the execution
of said sentence and place the defendant on probation for such period and upon such terms and conditions as it may
deem best.
"xxx xxx xxx
17.Heirs of the Late Francisco Abueg vs. Court of Appeals, 219 SCRA 82; Palo vs. Militante, 184 SCRA 395.
||| (Dela Torre v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 121592 (Resolution), [July 5, 1996], 327 PHIL 1144-1156)




EN BANC
[G.R. No. 135083. May 26, 1999.]
ERNESTO S. MERCADO, petitioner, vs. EDUARDO BARRIOS MANZANO and the COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, respondents.
Balase, Tamase, Alampay Law Office for petitioner.
Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako for private respondent.
SYNOPSIS
Petitioner Mercado and private respondent Manzano were candidates for vice mayor of the City of Makati in the May 11, 1998
elections. The proclamation of private respondent was suspended in view of a pending petition for disqualification filed by a
certain Ernesto Mamaril who alleged that private respondent was not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States. The
Second Division of the COMELEC granted the petition of Mamaril and ordered the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of
private respondent on the ground that he is a dual citizen and under Sec. 40 of the Local Government Code, persons with dual
citizenship are disqualified from running for any elective position. Private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration. The
motion remained pending until after the election. The board of canvassers tabulated the votes but suspended the proclamation
of the winner. Petitioner sought to intervene in the case for disqualification. COMELEC en banc reversed the decision and
declared private respondent qualified to run for the position. Pursuant to the ruling of the COMELEC en banc, the board of
canvassers proclaimed private respondent as vice mayor. This petition sought the reversal of the resolution of the
COMELEC en banc and to declare the private respondent disqualified to hold the office of the vice mayor of Makati. cdasia
On the issue of whether the petitioner has personality to bring this suit considering that he was not the original party in the
disqualification case, the Supreme Court ruled that under Sec. 6 of R.A. No. 6646, otherwise known as the Electoral Reforms
Law of 1987, intervention may be allowed in proceedings for disqualification even after election if there has yet been no final
judgment rendered. As regards the issue of citizenship, the Court ruled that by filing a certificate of candidacy when he ran for
his present post, private respondent elected Philippine citizenship and in effect renounced his American citizenship.
SYLLABUS
1. POLITICAL LAW; ELECTORAL REFORMS LAW OF 1987 (R.A. No. 6646); INTERVENTION, ALLOWED IN PROCEEDINGS FOR
DISQUALIFICATION EVEN AFTER ELECTION IF THERE HAS BEEN NO FINAL JUDGMENT RENDERED; CASE AT BAR. Private
respondent argues that petitioner has neither legal interest in the matter in litigation nor an interest to protect because he is
"a defeated candidate for the vice-mayoralty post of Makati City [who] cannot be proclaimed as the Vice-Mayor of Makati City
even if the private respondent be ultimately disqualified by final and executory judgment." The flaw in this argument is it
assumes that, at the time petitioner sought to intervene in the proceedings before the COMELEC, there had already been a
proclamation of the results of the election for the vice mayoralty contest for Makati City, on the basis of which petitioner came
out only second to private respondent. The fact, however, is that there had been no proclamation at that time. Certainly,
petitioner had, and still has, an interest in ousting private respondent from the race at the time he sought to intervene. The
rule in Labo vs. COMELEC, reiterated in several cases, only applies to cases in which the election of the respondent is contested,
and the question is whether one who placed second to the disqualified candidate may be declared the winner. In the present
case, at the time petitioner filed a "Motion for leave to File Intervention" on May 20, 1998, there had been no proclamation of

the winner, and petitioner's purpose was precisely to have private respondent disqualified "from running for [an] elective
local position" under Section 40(d) of R.A. No. 7160. If Ernesto Mamaril (who originally instituted the disqualification
proceedings), a registered voter of Makati City, was competent to bring the action, so was petitioner since the latter was a rival
candidate for vice mayor of Makati City. Nor is petitioner's interest in the matter in litigation any less because he filed a motion
for intervention only on May 20, 1998, after private respondent had been shown to have garnered the highest number of votes
among the candidates for vice mayor. That petitioner had a right to intervene at that stage of the proceedings for the
disqualification against private respondent is clear from Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646, otherwise known as theElectoral Reforms
Law of 1987, which provides: Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for,
and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. 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, the Court or
Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or
any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the
evidence of guilt is strong. Under this provision, intervention may be allowed in proceedings for disqualification even after
election if there has yet been no final judgment rendered.
2. ID.; CITIZENSHIP; DUAL CITIZENSHIP; DISTINGUISHED FROM DUAL ALLEGIANCE. Dual citizenship is different from dual
allegiance. The former arises when, as a result of the concurrent application of the different laws of two or more states, a
person is simultaneously considered a national by the said states. For instance, such a situation may arise when a person
whose parents are citizens of a state which adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis is born in a state which follows the
doctrine of jus soli. Such a person, ipso facto and without any voluntary act on his part, is concurrently considered a citizen of
both states. Considering the citizenship clause (Art. IV) of our Constitution, it is possible for the following classes of citizens of
the Philippines to posses dual citizenship: (1) Those born of Filipino fathers and/or mothers in foreign countries which follow
the principle of jus soli; (2) Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien fathers if by the laws of their fathers'
country such children are citizens of that country; (3) Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latter's country the former
are considered citizens, unless by their act or omission they are deemed to have renounced Philippine citizenship. There may
be other situations in which a citizen of the Philippines may, without performing any act, be also a citizen of another state; but
the above cases are possible given the constitutional provisions on citizenship. Dual allegiance, on the other hand, refers to the
situation in which a person simultaneously owes, by some positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is
involuntary, dual allegiance is the result of an individual's volition. With respect to dual allegiance, Article IV, Section 5 of
the Constitution provides: "Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law."
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; RATIONALE. In including Section 5 in Article IV on citizenship, the concern of the Constitutional
Commission was not with dual citizensper se but with naturalized citizens who maintain their allegiance to their countries of
origin even after their naturalization. Hence, the phrase "dual citizenship" in R.A. No. 7160, Section 40(d) and in R.A. No. 7854,
Section 20 must be understood as referring to "dual allegiance." Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall
under this disqualification. Unlike those with dual allegiance, who must, therefore, be subject to strict process with respect to
the termination of their status, for candidates with dual citizenship, it should suffice if, upon the filing of their certificates of
candidacy, they elect Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as persons with dual citizenship considering that their

condition is the unavoidable consequence of conflicting laws of different states. As Joaquin G. Bernas, one of the most
perceptive members of the Constitutional Commission, pointed out: "[D]ual citizenship is just a reality imposed on us because
we have no control of the laws on citizenship of other countries. We recognize a child of a Filipino mother. But whether or not
she is considered a citizen of another country is something completely beyond our control." By electing Philippine citizenship,
such candidates at the same time forswear allegiance to the other country of which they are also citizens and thereby
terminate their status as dual citizens. It may be that, from the point of view of the foreign state and of its laws, such an
individual has not effectively renounced his foreign citizenship.
4. ID.; ID.; FILING OF THE CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY SUFFICED TO RENOUNCE AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP; CASE AT BAR.
By filing a certificate of candidacy when he ran for his present post, private respondent elected Philippine citizenship and in
effect renounced his American citizenship. The filing of such certificate of candidacy sufficed to renounce his American
citizenship, effectively removing any disqualification he might have as a dual citizen. Thus, inFrivaldo vs. COMELEC it was held:
It is not disputed that on January 20, 1983 Frivaldo became an American. Would the retroactivity of his repatriation not
effectively give him dual citizenship, which under Sec. 40 of the Local Government Code would disqualify him "from running
for any elective local position?" We answer this question in the negative, as there is cogent reason to hold that Frivaldo was
really STATELESS at the time he took said oath of allegiance and even before that, when he ran for governor in 1988. In his
Comment, Frivaldo wrote that he "had long renounced and had long abandoned his American citizenship long before May 8,
1995. At best, Frivaldo was stateless in the interim when he abandoned and renounced his US citizenship but before he was
repatriated to his Filipino citizenship." On this point, we quote from the assailed Resolution dated December 19, 1995: "By the
laws of the United States, petitioner Frivaldo lost his American citizenship when he took his oath of allegiance to the Philippine
Government when he ran for Governor in 1988, in 1992, and in 1995. Every certificate of candidacy contains an oath of
allegiance to the Philippine Government." These factual findings that Frivaldo has lost his foreign nationality long before the
elections of 1995 have not been effectively rebutted by Lee. Furthermore, it is basic that such findings of the Commission are
conclusive upon this Court, absent any showing of capriciousness or arbitrariness or abuse. Until the filing of his certificate of
candidacy on March 21, 1998, private respondent had dual citizenship. The acts attributed to him can be considered simply as
the assertion of his American nationality before the termination of his American citizenship. What this Court said in Aznar vs.
COMELEC applies mutatis mutandis to private respondent in the case at bar: . . . Considering the fact that admittedly Osmea
was both a Filipino and an American, the mere fact that he has a Certificate stating he is an American does not mean that he is
not still a Filipino. . . [T]he Certification that he is an American does not mean that he is not still a Filipino, possessed as he is, of
both nationalities or citizenships. Indeed, there is no express renunciation here of Philippine citizenship; truth to tell, there is
even no implied renunciation of said citizenship. When We consider that the renunciation needed to lose Philippine
citizenship must be "express," it stands to reason that there can be no such loss of Philippine citizenship when there is no
renunciation, either "express" or "implied." To recapitulate, by declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino
citizen; that he is not a permanent resident or immigrant of another country; that he will defend and support
the Constitution of the Philippines and bear true faith and allegiance thereto and that he does so without mental reservation,
private respondent has, as far as the laws of this country are concerned, effectively repudiated his American citizenship and
anything which he may have said before as a dual citizen. On the other hand, private respondent's oath of allegiance to the

Philippines, when considered with the fact that he has spent his youth and adulthood, received his education, practiced his
profession as an artist, and taken part in past elections in this country, leaves no doubt of his election of Philippine
citizenship. acCITS

D E C I S I O N
MENDOZA, J p:
Petitioner Ernesto S. Mercado and private respondent Eduardo B. Manzano were candidates for vice mayor of the
City of Makati in the May 11, 1998 elections. The other one was Gabriel V. Daza III. The results of the election were as
follows:
Eduardo B. Manzano 103,853
Ernesto S. Mercado 100,894
Gabriel V. Daza III 54,275 1
The proclamation of private respondent was suspended in view of a pending petition for disqualification filed by a
certain Ernesto Mamaril who alleged that private respondent was not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States.
In its resolution, dated May 7, 1998, 2 the Second Division of the COMELEC granted the petition of Mamaril and
ordered the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of private respondent on the ground that he is a dual citizen and,
under 40(d) of the Local Government Code, persons with dual citizenship are disqualified from running for any elective
position. The COMELEC's Second Division said:
What is presented before the Commission is a petition for disqualification of Eduardo Barrios
Manzano as candidate for the office of Vice-Mayor of Makati City in the May 11, 1998 elections. The petition
is based on the ground that the respondent is an American citizen based on the record of the Bureau of
Immigration and misrepresented himself as a natural-born Filipino citizen.
In his answer to the petition filed on April 27, 1998, the respondent admitted that he is registered
as a foreigner with the Bureau of Immigration under Alien Certificate of Registration No. B-31632 and
alleged that he is a Filipino citizen because he was born in 1955 of a Filipino father and a Filipino mother.
He was born in the United States, San Francisco, California, on September 14, 1955, and is considered an
American citizen under US Laws. But notwithstanding his registration as an American citizen, he did not
lose his Filipino citizenship.
Judging from the foregoing facts, it would appear that respondent Manzano is both a Filipino and a
US citizen. In other words, he holds dual citizenship.
The question presented is whether under our laws, he is disqualified from the position for which he filed
his certificate of candidacy. Is he eligible for the office he seeks to be elected?
Under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code, those holding dual citizenship are disqualified from
running for any elective local position.
WHEREFORE, the Commission hereby declares the respondent Eduardo Barrios Manzano DISQUALIFIED
as candidate for Vice-Mayor of Makati City.

On May 8, 1998, private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration. 3 The motion remained pending even until after the
election held on May 11, 1998.
Accordingly, pursuant to Omnibus Resolution No. 3044, dated May 10, 1998, of the COMELEC, the board of canvassers
tabulated the votes cast for vice mayor of Makati City but suspended the proclamation of the winner.
On May 19, 1998, petitioner sought to intervene in the case for disqualification. 4 Petitioner's motion was opposed by private
respondent.
The motion was not resolved. Instead, on August 31, 1998, the COMELEC en banc rendered its resolution. Voting 4 to 1, with
one commissioner abstaining, the COMELEC en banc reversed the ruling of its Second Division and declared private
respondent qualified to run for vice mayor of the City of Makati in the May 11, 1998 elections. 5 The pertinent portions of the
resolution of the COMELEC en banc read:
As aforesaid, respondent Eduardo Barrios Manzano was born in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. He
acquired US citizenship by operation of the United States Constitution and laws under the principle of jus
soli.
He was also a natural born Filipino citizen by operation of the 1935 Philippine Constitution, as his father
and mother were Filipinos at the time of his birth. At the age of six (6), his parents brought him to the
Philippines using an American passport as travel document. His parents also registered him as an alien
with the Philippine Bureau of Immigration. He was issued an alien certificate of registration. This, however,
did not result in the loss of his Philippine citizenship, as he did not renounce Philippine citizenship and did
not take an oath of allegiance to the United States.
It is an undisputed fact that when respondent attained the age of majority, he registered himself as a voter,
and voted in the elections of 1992, 1995 and 1998, which effectively renounced his citizenship under
American law. Under Philippine law, he no longer had U.S. citizenship.
At the time of the May 11, 1998 elections, the resolution of the Second Division, adopted on May 7, 1998,
was not yet final. Respondent Manzano obtained the highest number of votes among the candidates for
vice-mayor of Makati City, garnering one hundred three thousand eight hundred fifty-three (103,853) votes
over his closest rival, Ernesto S. Mercado, who obtained one hundred thousand eight hundred ninety-four
(100,894) votes, or a margin of two thousand nine hundred fifty-nine (2,959) votes. Gabriel Daza III
obtained third place with fifty four thousand two hundred seventy-five (54,275) votes. In applying election
laws, it would be far better to err in favor of the popular choice than be embroiled in complex legal issues
involving private international law which may well be settled before the highest court (Cf. Frivaldo vs.
Commission on Elections, 257 SCRA 727).
WHEREFORE, the Commission en banc hereby REVERSES the resolution of the Second Division, adopted on
May 7, 1998, ordering the cancellation of the respondent's certificate of candidacy.
We declare respondent Eduardo Luis Barrios Manzano to be QUALIFIED as a candidate for the position of
vice-mayor of Makati City in the May 11, 1998, elections.

ACCORDINGLY, the Commission directs the Makati City Board of Canvassers, upon proper notice to the
parties, to reconvene and proclaim the respondent Eduardo Luis Barrios Manzano as the winning candidate
for vice-mayor of Makati City.
Pursuant to the resolution of the COMELEC en banc, the board of canvassers, on the evening of August 31, 1998,
proclaimed private respondent as vice mayor of the City of Makati. cdasia
This is a petition for certiorari seeking to set aside the aforesaid resolution of the COMELEC en banc and to declare
private respondent disqualified to hold the office of vice mayor of Makati City. Petitioner contends that
[T]he COMELEC en banc ERRED in holding that:
A. Under Philippine law, Manzano was no longer a U.S. citizen when he:
1. He renounced his U.S. citizenship when he attained the age of majority when he was already 37
years old; and,
2. He renounced his U.S. citizenship when he (merely) registered himself as a voter and voted in
the elections of 1992, 1995 and 1998.
B. Manzano is qualified to run for and or hold the elective office of Vice-Mayor of the City of Makati;
C. At the time of the May 11, 1998 elections, the resolution of the Second Division adopted on 7
May 1998 was not yet final so that, effectively, petitioner may not be declared the winner even assuming
that Manzano is disqualified to run for and hold the elective office of Vice-Mayor of the City of Makati.
We first consider the threshold procedural issue raised by private respondent Manzano whether petitioner
Mercado has personality to bring this suit considering that he was not an original party in the case for disqualification filed
by Ernesto Mamaril nor was petitioner's motion for leave to intervene granted.
I. PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO BRING THIS SUIT
Private respondent cites the following provisions of Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure of the COMELEC in support
of his claim that petitioner has no right to intervene and, therefore, cannot bring this suit to set aside the ruling denying
his motion for intervention:
SECTION 1. When proper and when may be permitted to intervene. Any person allowed to initiate
an action or proceeding may, before or during the trial of an action or proceeding, be permitted by the
Commission, in its discretion to intervene in such action or proceeding, if he has legal interest in the matter
in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or when he is so situated as
to be adversely affected by such action or proceeding.
xxx xxx xxx
SECTION 3. Discretion of Commission. In allowing or disallowing a motion for intervention, the
Commission or the Division, in the exercise of its discretion, shall consider whether or not the intervention
will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties and whether or not the
intervenor's rights may be fully protected in a separate action or proceeding.

Private respondent argues that petitioner has neither legal interest in the matter in litigation nor an interest to protect
because he is "a defeated candidate for the vice-mayoralty post of Makati City [who] cannot be proclaimed as the Vice-
Mayor of Makati City even if the private respondent be ultimately disqualified by final and executory judgment."
The flaw in this argument is it assumes that, at the time petitioner sought to intervene in the proceedings before
the COMELEC, there had already been a proclamation of the results of the election for the vice mayoralty contest for
Makati City, on the basis of which petitioner came out only second to private respondent. The fact, however, is that there
had been no proclamation at that time. Certainly, petitioner had, and still has, an interest in ousting private respondent
from the race at the time he sought to intervene. The rule in Labo v. COMELEC, 6 reiterated in several cases, 7 only applies
to cases in which the election of the respondent is contested, and the question is whether one who placed second to the
disqualified candidate may be declared the winner. In the present case, at the time petitioner filed a "Motion for Leave to
File Intervention" on May 20, 1998, there had been no proclamation of the winner, and petitioner's purpose was precisely
to have private respondent disqualified "from running for [an] elective local position" under 40(d) of R.A. No. 7160. If
Ernesto Mamaril (who originally instituted the disqualification proceedings), a registered voter of Makati City, was
competent to bring the action, so was petitioner since the latter was a rival candidate for vice mayor of Makati City.

Nor is petitioner's interest in the matter in litigation any less because he filed a motion for intervention only on
May 20, 1998, after private respondent had been shown to have garnered the highest number of votes among the
candidates for vice mayor. That petitioner had a right to intervene at that stage of the proceedings for the disqualification
against private respondent is clear from 6 of R.A. No. 6646, otherwise known as the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987,
which provides:
Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for,
and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. 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, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or
protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the
suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of guilt is strong.
Under this provision, intervention may be allowed in proceedings for disqualification even after election if there
has yet been no final judgment rendered.
The failure of the COMELEC en banc to resolve petitioner's motion for intervention was tantamount to a denial of
the motion, justifying petitioner in filing the instant petition for certiorari. As the COMELEC en banc instead decided the
merits of the case, the present petition properly deals not only with the denial of petitioner's motion for intervention but
also with the substantive issues respecting private respondent's alleged disqualification on the ground of dual citizenship.
This brings us to the next question, namely, whether private respondent Manzano possesses dual citizenship and,
if so, whether he is disqualified from being a candidate for vice mayor of Makati City.
II. DUAL CITIZENSHIP AS A GROUND FOR DISQUALIFICATION

The disqualification of private respondent Manzano is being sought under 40 of the Local Government Code of
1991 (R.A. No. 7160), which declares as "disqualified from running for any elective local position: . . . (d) Those with dual
citizenship." This provision is incorporated in the Charter of the City of Makati. 8
Invoking the maxim dura lex sed lex, petitioner, as well as the Solicitor General, who sides with him in this case,
contends that through 40(d) of theLocal Government Code, Congress has "command[ed] in explicit terms the ineligibility
of persons possessing dual allegiance to hold local elective office."
To begin with, dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. The former arises when, as a result of the
concurrent application of the different laws of two or more states, a person is simultaneously considered a national by the
said states. 9 For instance, such a situation may arise when a person whose parents are citizens of a state which adheres to
the principle of jus sanguinis is born in a state which follows the doctrine of jus soli. Such a person,ipso facto and without
any voluntary act on his part, is concurrently considered a citizen of both states. Considering the citizenship clause (Art.
IV) of ourConstitution, it is possible for the following classes of citizens of the Philippines to possess dual citizenship:
(1) Those born of Filipino fathers and/or mothers in foreign countries which follow the principle of jus soli;
(2) Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien fathers if by the laws of their fathers'
country such children are citizens of that country;
(3) Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latter's country the former are considered citizens, unless
by their act or omission they are deemed to have renounced Philippine citizenship.
There may be other situations in which a citizen of the Philippines may, without performing any act, be also a
citizen of another state; but the above cases are clearly possible given the constitutional provisions on citizenship.
Dual allegiance, on the other hand, refers to the situation in which a person simultaneously owes, by some
positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is involuntary, dual allegiance is the result of an
individual's volition.
With respect to dual allegiance, Article IV, 5 of the Constitution provides: "Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical
to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law." This provision was included in the 1987 Constitution at the
instance of Commissioner Blas F. Ople who explained its necessity as follows: 10
. . . I want to draw attention to the fact that dual allegiance is not dual citizenship. I have circulated
a memorandum to the Bernas Committee according to which a dual allegiance and I reiterate a dual
allegiance is larger and more threatening than that of mere double citizenship which is seldom
intentional and, perhaps, never insidious. That is often a function of the accident of mixed marriages or of
birth on foreign soil. And so, I do not question double citizenship at all.
What we would like the Committee to consider is to take constitutional cognizance of the problem
of dual allegiance. For example, we all know what happens in the triennial elections of the Federation of
Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce which consists of about 600 chapters all over the country. There is
a Peking ticket, as well as a Taipei ticket. Not widely known is the fact that the Filipino-Chinese community
is represented in the Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China in Taiwan. And until recently, the sponsor
might recall, in Mainland China in the People's Republic of China, they have the Associated Legislative

Council for overseas Chinese wherein all of Southeast Asia including some European and Latin countries
were represented, which was dissolved after several years because of diplomatic friction. At that time, the
Filipino-Chinese were also represented in that Overseas Council.
When I speak of double allegiance, therefore, I speak of this unsettled kind of allegiance of
Filipinos, of citizens who are already Filipinos but who, by their acts, may be said to be bound by a second
allegiance, either to Peking or Taiwan. I also took close note of the concern expressed by some
Commissioners yesterday, including Commissioner Villacorta, who were concerned about the lack of
guarantees of thorough assimilation, and especially Commissioner Concepcion who has always been
worried about minority claims on our natural resources.
Dual allegiance can actually siphon scarce national capital to Taiwan, Singapore, China or Malaysia,
and this is already happening. Some of the great commercial places in downtown Taipei are Filipino-owned,
owned by Filipino-Chinese it is of common knowledge in Manila. It can mean a tragic capital outflow
when we have to endure a capital famine which also means economic stagnation, worsening
unemployment and social unrest.
And so, this is exactly what we ask that the Committee kindly consider incorporating a new
section, probably Section 5, in the article on Citizenship which will read as follows: DUAL ALLEGIANCE IS
INIMICAL TO CITIZENSHIP AND SHALL BE DEALT WITH ACCORDING TO LAW.
In another session of the Commission, Ople spoke on the problem of these citizens with dual allegiance, thus: 11
. . . A significant number of Commissioners expressed their concern about dual citizenship in the
sense that it implies a double allegiance under a double sovereignty which some of us who spoke then in a
freewheeling debate thought would be repugnant to the sovereignty which pervades theConstitution and to
citizenship itself which implies a uniqueness and which elsewhere in the Constitution is defined in terms of
rights and obligations exclusive to that citizenship including, of course, the obligation to rise to the defense
of the State when it is threatened, and back of this, Commissioner Bernas, is, of course, the concern for
national security. In the course of those debates, I think some noted the fact that as a result of the wave of
naturalizations since the decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China was
made in 1975, a good number of these naturalized Filipinos still routinely go to Taipei every October 10;
and it is asserted that some of them do renew their oath of allegiance to a foreign government maybe just to
enter into the spirit of the occasion when the anniversary of the Sun Yat-Sen Republic is commemorated.
And so, I have detected a genuine and deep concern about double citizenship, with its attendant risk of
double allegiance which is repugnant to our sovereignty and national security. I appreciate what the
Committee said that this could be left to the determination of a future legislature. But considering the scale
of the problem, the real impact on the security of this country, arising from, let us say, potentially great
numbers of double citizens professing double allegiance, will the Committee entertain a proposed
amendment at the proper time that will prohibit, in effect, or regulate double citizenship?

Clearly, in including 5 in Article IV on citizenship, the concern of the Constitutional Commission was not with
dual citizens per se but with naturalized citizens who maintain their allegiance to their countries of origin even after their
naturalization. Hence, the phrase "dual citizenship" in R.A. No. 7160, 40(d) and in R.A. No. 7854, 20 must be understood
as referring to "dual allegiance." Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall under this disqualification.
Unlike those with dual allegiance, who must, therefore, be subject to strict process with respect to the termination of their
status, for candidates with dual citizenship, it should suffice if, upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy, they elect
Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as persons with dual citizenship considering that their condition is the
unavoidable consequence of conflicting laws of different states. As Joaquin G. Bernas, one of the most perceptive members
of the Constitutional Commission, pointed out: "[D]ual citizenship is just a reality imposed on us because we have no
control of the laws on citizenship of other countries. We recognize a child of a Filipino mother. But whether or not she is
considered a citizen of another country is something completely beyond our control." 12

By electing Philippine citizenship, such candidates at the same time forswear allegiance to the other country of
which they are also citizens and thereby terminate their status as dual citizens. It may be that, from the point of view of
the foreign state and of its laws, such an individual has not effectively renounced his foreign citizenship. That is of no
moment as the following discussion on 40(d) between Senators Enrile and Pimentel clearly shows: 13
SENATOR ENRILE. Mr. President, I would like to ask clarification of line 41, page 17: "Any person
with dual citizenship" is disqualified to run for any elective local position. Under the present Constitution,
Mr. President, someone whose mother is a citizen of the Philippines but his father is a foreigner is a natural-
born citizen of the Republic. There is no requirement that such a natural born citizen, upon reaching the age
of majority, must elect or give up Philippine citizenship.
On the assumption that this person would carry two passports, one belonging to the country of his
or her father and one belonging to the Republic of the Philippines, may such a situation disqualify the
person to run for a local government position?
SENATOR PIMENTEL. To my mind, Mr. President, it only means that at the moment when he would
want to run for public office, he has to repudiate one of his citizenships.
SENATOR ENRILE. Suppose he carries only a Philippine passport but the country of origin or the
country of the father claims that person, nevertheless, as a citizen? No one can renounce. There are such
countries in the world.
SENATOR PIMENTEL. Well, the very fact that he is running for public office would, in effect, be an
election for him of his desire to be considered as a Filipino citizen.
SENATOR ENRILE. But, precisely, Mr. President, the Constitution does not require an election.
Under the Constitution, a person whose mother is a citizen of the Philippines is, at birth, a citizen without
any overt act to claim the citizenship.
SENATOR PIMENTEL. Yes. What we are saying, Mr. President, is: Under the Gentleman's example, if
he does not renounce his other citizenship, then he is opening himself to question. So, if he is really

interested to run, the first thing he should do is to say in the Certificate of Candidacy that: "I am a Filipino
citizen, and I have only one citizenship."
SENATOR ENRILE. But we are talking from the viewpoint of Philippine law, Mr. President. He will
always have one citizenship, and that is the citizenship invested upon him or her in the Constitution of the
Republic.
SENATOR PIMENTEL. That is true, Mr. President. But if he exercises acts that will prove that he
also acknowledges other citizenships, then he will probably fall under this disqualification.
This is similar to the requirement that an applicant for naturalization must renounce "all allegiance and fidelity to
any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty" 14 of which at the time he is a subject or citizen before he can be
issued a certificate of naturalization as a citizen of the Philippines. InParado v. Republic, 15 it was held:
[W]hen a person applying for citizenship by naturalization takes an oath that he renounces his loyalty to
any other country or government and solemnly declares that he owes his allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines, the condition imposed by law is satisfied and complied with. The determination whether such
renunciation is valid or fully complies with the provisions of our Naturalization Law lies within the
province and is an exclusive prerogative of our courts. The latter should apply the law duly enacted by the
legislative department of the Republic. No foreign law may or should interfere with its operation and
application. If the requirement of the Chinese Law of Nationality were to be read into our Naturalization
Law, we would be applying not what our legislative department has deemed it wise to require, but what a
foreign government has thought or intended to exact. That, of course, is absurd. It must be resisted by all
means and at all cost. It would be a brazen encroachment upon the sovereign will and power of the people
of this Republic.
III. PETITIONER'S ELECTION OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP
The record shows that private respondent was born in San Francisco, California on September 4, 1955, of Filipino
parents. Since the Philippines adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis, while the United States follows the doctrine of jus
soli, the parties agree that, at birth at least, he was a national both of the Philippines and of the United States. However, the
COMELEC en banc held that, by participating in Philippine elections in 1992, 1995, and 1998, private respondent
"effectively renounced his U.S. citizenship under American law," so that now he is solely a Philippine national.
Petitioner challenges this ruling. He argues that merely taking part in Philippine elections is not sufficient
evidence of renunciation and that, in any event, as the alleged renunciation was made when private respondent was
already 37 years old, it was ineffective as it should have been made when he reached the age of majority.
In holding that by voting in Philippine elections private respondent renounced his American citizenship, the
COMELEC must have in mind 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of the United States, which provided that "A
person who is a national of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by: . . . (e) Voting
in a political election in a foreign state or participating in an election or plebiscite to determine the sovereignty over
foreign territory." To be sure this provision was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Afroyim
v. Rusk 16 as beyond the power given to the U.S. Congress to regulate foreign relations. However, by filing a certificate of

candidacy when he ran for his present post, private respondent elected Philippine citizenship and in effect renounced his
American citizenship. Private respondent's certificate of candidacy, filed on March 27, 1998, contained the following
statements made under oath:
6. I AM A FILIPINO CITIZEN (STATE IF "NATURAL-BORN" OR "NATURALIZED") NATURAL-BORN
xxx xxx xxx
10. I AM A REGISTERED VOTER OF PRECINCT NO. 747-A, BARANGAY SAN LORENZO, CITY/MUNICIPALITY
OF MAKATI, PROVINCE OF NCR.
11. I AM NOT A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF, OR IMMIGRANT TO, A FOREIGN COUNTRY.
12. I AM ELIGIBLE FOR THE OFFICE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED. I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES AND WILL MAINTAIN TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE
THERETO; THAT I WILL OBEY THE LAWS, LEGAL ORDERS AND DECREES PROMULGATED BY THE
DULY CONSTITUTED AUTHORITIES OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES; AND THAT I IMPOSE
THIS OBLIGATION UPON MYSELF VOLUNTARILY, WITHOUT MENTAL RESERVATION OR
PURPOSE OF EVASION. I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT THE FACTS STATED HEREIN ARE TRUE AND
CORRECT OF MY OWN PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE.
The filing of such certificate of candidacy sufficed to renounce his American citizenship, effectively removing any
disqualification he might have as a dual citizen. Thus, in Frivaldo v. COMELEC it was held: 17
It is not disputed that on January 20, 1983 Frivaldo became an American. Would the retroactivity of
his repatriation not effectively give him dual citizenship, which under Sec. 40 of the Local Government
Code would disqualify him "from running for any elective local position?" We answer this question in the
negative, as there is cogent reason to hold that Frivaldo was really STATELESS at the time he took said oath
of allegiance and even before that, when he ran for governor in 1988. In his Comment, Frivaldo wrote that
he "had long renounced and had long abandoned his American citizenship-long before May 8, 1995. At best,
Frivaldo was stateless in the interim-when he abandoned and renounced his US citizenship but before he
was repatriated to his Filipino citizenship."
On this point, we quote from the assailed Resolution dated December 19, 1995:
"By the laws of the United States, petitioner Frivaldo lost his American citizenship when he took his
oath of allegiance to the Philippine Government when he ran for Governor in 1988, in 1992, and in
1995. Every certificate of candidacy contains an oath of allegiance to the Philippine Government."
These factual findings that Frivaldo has lost his foreign nationality long before the elections of
1995 have not been effectively rebutted by Lee. Furthermore, it is basic that such findings of the
Commission are conclusive upon this Court, absent any showing of capriciousness or arbitrariness or
abuse.
There is, therefore, no merit in petitioner's contention that the oath of allegiance contained in private
respondent's certificate of candidacy is insufficient to constitute renunciation of his American citizenship. Equally without

merit is petitioner's contention that, to be effective, such renunciation should have been made upon private respondent
reaching the age of majority since no law requires the election of Philippine citizenship to be made upon majority age.
Finally, much is made of the fact that private respondent admitted that he is registered as an American citizen in
the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation and that he holds an American passport which he used in his last travel to the
United States on April 22, 1997. There is no merit in this. Until the filing of his certificate of candidacy on March 21, 1998,
he had dual citizenship. The acts attributed to him can be considered simply as the assertion of his American nationality
before the termination of his American citizenship. What this Court said in Aznar vs. COMELEC 18 applies mutatis
mutandis to private respondent in the case at bar:
. . . Considering the fact that admittedly Osmea was both a Filipino and an American, the mere fact
that he has a Certificate stating he is an American does not mean that he is not still a Filipino. . . . [T]he
Certification that he is an American does not mean that he is not still a Filipino, possessed as he is, of both
nationalities or citizenships. Indeed, there is no express renunciation here of Philippine citizenship; truth to
tell, there is even no implied renunciation of said citizenship. When We consider that the renunciation
needed to lose Philippine citizenship must be "express," it stands to reason that there can be no such loss of
Philippine citizenship when there is no renunciation, either "express" or "implied."

To recapitulate, by declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino citizen; that he is not a permanent
resident or immigrant of another country; that he will defend and support the Constitution of the Philippines and bear
true faith and allegiance thereto and that he does so without mental reservation, private respondent has, as far as the laws
of this country are concerned, effectively repudiated his American citizenship and anything which he may have said before
as a dual citizen.
On the other hand, private respondent's oath of allegiance to the Philippines, when considered with the fact that
he has spent his youth and adulthood, received his education, practiced his profession as an artist, and taken part in past
elections in this country, leaves no doubt of his election of Philippine citizenship.
His declarations will be taken upon the faith that he will fulfill his undertaking made under oath. Should he betray
that trust, there are enough sanctions for declaring the loss of his Philippine citizenship through expatriation in
appropriate proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, 19 we sustained the denial of entry into the country of petitioner on
the ground that, after taking his oath as a naturalized citizen, he applied for the renewal of his Portuguese passport and
declared in commercial documents executed abroad that he was a Portuguese national. A similar sanction can be taken
against any one who, in electing Philippine citizenship, renounces his foreign nationality, but subsequently does some act
constituting renunciation of his Philippine citizenship. cdasia
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Quisumbing, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and Ynares-
Santiago, JJ., concur. Panganiban and Purisima, JJ., are on leave.
Pardo, J., took no part.

Footnotes
1.Petition, Rollo, p. 5.
2.Per Commissioner Amado M. Calderon and concurred in by Commissioners Julio F. Desamito and Japal M. Guiani.
3.Id., Annex E, Rollo, pp. 50-63.
4.Rollo, pp. 78-83.
5.Per Chairman Bernardo P. Pardo and concurred in by Commissioners Manolo B. Gorospe, Teresita Dy-Liaco Flores, Japal M.
Guiani, and Luzviminda G. Tancangco. Commissioner Julio F. Desamito dissented.
6.176 SCRA 1 (1989).
7.Abella v. COMELEC, 201 SCRA 253 (1991); Benito v. COMELEC, 235 SCRA 436 (1994); Aquino v. COMELEC, 248 SCRA 400
(1995); Frivaldo v. COMELEC, 257 SCRA 727 (1996).
8.R.A. No. 7854, the Charter of the City of Makati, provides: "Sec. 20 The following are disqualified from running for any
elective position in the city: . . . (d) Those with dual citizenship."
9.JOVITO R. SALONGA, PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW 166 (1995).
10.Id., at 361 (Session of July 8, 1986).
11.Id., at 233-234 (Session of June 25, 1986).
12.1 RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 203 (Session of June 23, 1986).
13.Transcript, pp. 5-6, Session of Nov. 27, 1990.
14.C.A. No. 473, 12.
15.86 Phil. 340, 343 (1950).
16.387 U.S. 253, 18 L. Ed. 2d 757 (1967), overruling Perez v. Brownell, 356 U.S. 2 L. Ed. 2d 603 (1958).
17.257 SCRA 727, 759-760 (1996).
18.185 SCRA 703, 711 (1990). See also Kawakita v. United States, 343 U.S. 717, 96 L. Ed. 1249 (1952).
19.169 SCRA 364 (1989).
||| (Mercado v. Manzano, G.R. No. 135083, [May 26, 1999], 367 PHIL 132-153)











EN BANC
[G.R. No. 120099. July 24, 1996.]
EDUARDO T. RODRIGUEZ, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, BIENVENIDO O. MARQUEZ,
JR., respondents.
Marcial O.T. Balgos for petitioner.
Estelito P. Mendoza for private respondent.
SYLLABUS
1. POLITICAL LAW; ELECTIONS; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE (R.A. 7160); DISQUALIFICATION; "FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE",
DEFINED. The instant petition dwells on that nagging issue of whether Rodriguez is a "fugitive from justice," the
determination of which, as we have directed the COMELEC on two (2) occasions (in the MARQUEZ Decision and in the Court's
October 24, 1995 Resolution), must conform to how such term has been defined by the Court in the MARQUEZ Decision. To
reiterate, a "fugitive from justice" includes not only those who flee after conviction to avoid punishment but likewise who, after
being charged, flee to avoid prosecution." The definition thus indicates that the intent to evade is the compelling factor that
animates one's flight from a particular jurisdiction. And obviously, there can only be an intent to evade prosecution or
punishment when there is knowledge by the fleeing subject of an already instituted indictment, or of a promulgated judgment
of conviction.
2. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; LAW OF THE CASE; COURT CANNOT CRAFT AN EXPANDED DEFINITION OF A "FUGITIVE FROM
JUSTICE" DEFINED IN ITS EARLIER DECISION. Marquez and the COMELEC (in its "COMMISSION'S EVALUATION" as earlier
quoted) seem to urge the Court to re-define "fugitive from justice." They espouse the broader concept of the term as culled
from foreign authorities (mainly of U.S. vintage) cited in the MARQUEZ Decision itself, i.e. that one becomes a "fugitive from
justice" by the mere fact that he leaves the jurisdiction where a charge is pending against him, regardless of whether or not the
charge has already been filed at the time of his flight. Suffice it to say that the "law of the case" doctrine forbids the Court to
craft an expanded re-definition of "fugitive from justice" (which is at variance with the MARQUEZ Decision) and proceed
therefrom in resolving the instant petition. To elaborate, the same parties (Rodriguez and Marquez) and issue (whether or not
Rodriguez is a "fugitive from justice") are involved in the MARQUEZ Decision and the instant petition. The MARQUEZ
Decision was an appeal from EPC No. 92-28 (the Marquez' quo warranto petition before the COMELEC). The instant petition is
also an appeal from EPC No. 92-28 although the COMELEC resolved the latter jointly with SPA No. 95-089 (Marquez' petition
for the disqualification of Rodriguez). Therefore, what was irrevocably established as the controlling legal rule in
the MARQUEZ Decision must govern the instant petition. And we specifically refer to the concept of "fugitive from justice" as
defined in the main opinion in the MARQUEZ Decision which highlights the significance of an intent to evade but which
Marquez and the COMELEC, with their proposed expanded definition, seem to trivialize. Besides, to re-define "fugitive from
justice"would only foment instability in our jurisprudence when hardly has the ink dried in the MARQUEZ Decision.
3. POLITICAL LAW; ELECTIONS; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE (R.A. 7160); DISQUALIFICATION; "FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE";
FILING OF CHARGES AT THE TIME OF FLIGHT, INDISPENSABLE. To summarize, the term "fugitive from justice" as a ground
for the disqualification or ineligibility of a person seeking to run for any elective local position under Section 40(e) of the Local
Government Code, should be understood according to the definition given in the MARQUEZ Decision, to wit: "A 'fugitive from

justice' includes not only those who flee after conviction to avoid punishment but likewise those who, after being charged, flee to
avoid prosecution." Intent to evade on the part of a candidate must therefore be established by proof that there has already
been a conviction or at least, a charge has already been filed, at the time of flight. Not being a "fugitive from justice" under this
definition, Rodriguez cannot be denied the Quezon Province gubernatorial post.
TORRES, JR., J., concurring opinion:
1. POLITICAL LAW; ELECTION; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE (R.A. 7160); DISQUALIFICATION; CANDIDATE WHO RETURNED
TO THE PHILIPPINES FIVE MONTHS BEFORE THE FILING OF CRIMINAL CHARGES IN THE UNITED STATES, NOT A "FUGITIVE
FROM JUSTICE." Petitioner should not be considered disqualified or ineligible from assuming and performing the functions
of Governor of Quezon Province. Petitioner returned to the Philippines from the United States on June 25, 1985 while the
criminal complaint against him for fraudulent insurance claims, grand theft and attempted grand theft of personal property
before the Municipal Court of Los Angles, California was filed almost 5 months later, or on November 12, 1985. Verily, it cannot
be said that he fled to avoid prosecution for at the time he left the United States, there was yet no case or prosecution to avoid.
2. ID.; ID.; WHERE A CANDIDATE HAS RECEIVED POPULAR MANDATE, ALL POSSIBLE DOUBTS SHOULD BE RESOLVED IN
FAVOR OF CANDIDATES' ELIGIBILITY. Petitioner appears to have garnered 285,202 votes. According to the election results,
petitioner won over private respondent by a majority of 140,000 votes more or less. As it is, to disqualify petitioner on the
shaky ground of being a "fugitive from justice" would amount to disenfranchising the electorate in whom sovereignty resides.
Thus, where a candidate has received popular mandate, overwhelmingly and clearly expressed, all possible doubts should be
resolved in favor of the candidate's eligibility, for the rule otherwise is to defeat the will of the people. Above and beyond all,
the determination of the true will of the electorate should be paramount. It is their voice, not ours or of anyone else, that must
prevail. This, in essence, is the democracy we continue to hold sacred.
VITUG, J., dissenting opinion:
1. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; FORUM-SHOPPING; ACTIONS ARE OF THE SAME NATURE AND INVOLVE IDENTICAL ISSUES
BETWEEN THE PARTIES; DOES NOT APPLY WHERE A PARTY FILES DISQUALIFICATION CASES FOR TWO DIFFERENT
GUBERNATORIAL TERMS; CASE AT BAR. Rodriguez contends that the COMELEC should not have entertained
the disqualification case (SPA NO. 95-089) for being an act of "forum-shopping" on the part of Marquez. Clearly, there is no
merit in this submission. The general statement of the prohibition against forum-shopping is that a party should not be
allowed to pursue on the same subject matter simultaneous remedies in two or more different fora that can tend to degrade
the administration of justice by thusly trifling with the courts and abusing their processes. Forum-shopping exists where the
action are the same nature and involve identical transactions, circumstances, and issues between the same parties. While there
is identity in many respect between SPA No. 95-089 and EPC No. 92-28, the two cases, however, greatly differ in their main
aspects. EPC No. 92-28 (subject case of G.R. No. 112889) is a quo warranto case and involves petitioner's gubernatorial
incumbency for the term 1992-1995 while SPA No. 95-089 is disqualification case involving his candidacy for the 1995 local
elections.
2. POLITICAL LAW; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF 1991; SEC. 40(E) THEREOF, NOT AN EX POST FACTO LAW OR A BILL OF
ATTAINDER. Rodriguez argues that should Section 40(e) of the Local Government Code of 1991 be applied to him, it would
partake the nature of an ex post facto law or a bill of attainder. These terms have settled meanings in criminal law

jurisprudence that clearly have no relevance to the case before us. Besides the Local Government Codetook effect 01 January
1992, and thus its application to Rodriguez in his gubernatorial incumbency that started in mid-1992 and his candidacy for the
1995 elections cannot be deemed to be retrospective in character.
3. ID.; ELECTIONS; OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE; SEVEN (7)-DAY PERIOD TO RESOLVE DISQUALIFICATION CASES, MERELY
DIRECTORY. Petitioner claims that the COMELEC did not have jurisdiction to issue the questioned resolution on the eve of
the election because the Omnibus Election Code requires that final decisions in disqualification cases should be rendered not
later than seven (7) days before the election. In any case, the "seven days" stated in the law, being evidently intended for
administrative feasibility, should be construed as a mere directory rather than as a mandatory, provision of the Omnibus
Election Code. A provision should be deemed to be directory only when to have it enforced strictly may cause more harm than
by disregarding it.
4. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; DENIAL BY COMELEC OF MOTION TO SUSPEND HEARING IN
DISQUALIFICATION CASE DUE TO PENDENCY OF QUO WARRANTO CASES, NOT A GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. The next
question posed was whether or not the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when, in the scheduled hearing of 26 April
1995, it refused to grant the motion of Rodriguez for a suspension of hearing. Far from it, the denial by COMELEC would
appear to have been both prudent and legally warranted. The motion was grounded on the pendency of G.R. No. 112889
(the quo warranto case), whereas, the 26th April 1995 hearing related to the disqualification case (SPA 95-089) for the 1995
election that undoubtedly had to be resolved quickly. The COMELEC hardly had any choice but to proceed with the hearing
and, when Rodriguez thereupon walked out, Marquez was naturally allowed to present his evidence ex-parte. Perhaps
realizing that the COMELEC had acted correctly, petitioner would question the holding of the 26th April 1995 hearing by only
one member (Commissioner Teresita Flores) of the Second Division. Not only was this matter not timely brought up before the
COMELEC, but that there would appear to be no problem in the delegation by the COMELEC of the mere reception of evidence
to any one of its members. All the assailed resolutions of COMELEC would indicate that the required concurrence of the
Commissioners was given. The subsequent consolidation of thequo warranto case with that of the disqualification case
(following our 18th April 1995 decision remanding the case to COMELEC), and the promulgation of the 07th May 1995
consolidated resolution, would also seem to be in conformity with Rule 3, Section 9, of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure,
which reads: "Sec. 9. Consolidation of cases. When an action or proceedings involves a question of law and fact which is
similar to or common with that of another action or proceeding, the same may be consolidated with the action or proceeding
bearing the lower docket number." Moreover, a further hearing on thequo warranto case so involving, as it does, petitioner's
now expired incumbency, would be unnecessary and a futile effort.

5. POLITICAL LAW; ELECTIONS; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE (R.A. 7160); DISQUALIFICATION; "FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE";
CONGRESS, IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR LEGISLATIVE INTENT, MUST HAVE INTENDED THE ORDINARY CONNOTATION OF
THE TERM TO PREVAIL; TERM REFERS TO ONE WHO, HAVING COMMITTED OR BEING ACCUSED OF HAVING COMMITTED A
CRIME IN ONE JURISDICTION CAN NOT BE FOUND THEREIN, OR IS ABSENT FOR ANY REASON FROM THAT JURISDICTION.
There is a dearth of authorities on the proper and legal connotation of the phrase "fugitive from justice." Neither the law
(Republic Act No. 7160, also known as the Local Government Code) here in question nor the deliberations in Congress give

much clue to the legislative intent. The phrase has been used in various contexts although it is in extradition cases where it
appears to have acquired a prevalent usage. It is evident enough though, in my view, that Congress, not having provided
otherwise, must have intended the ordinary connotation of the term to prevail. So taken, it might be understood as referring to
one who, having committed or being accused of having committed a crime in one jurisdiction, cannot be found therein or
isabsent for any reason from the jurisdiction that thereby forestalls criminal justice from taking its due course. The issue is
largely a factual matter and in that determination, the motive or reason for his plight need not be inquired into. Animus
fugere may be significant but it is not essential and what matters is notwhy he leaves but the fact that he leaves, for it should
not be unreasonable to assume that he was not unaware of his own prior deeds or misdeeds. As so conceptualized, the import
of the term is more congruent than variant with what has heretofore been essayed to be, in fact, its common usage. Indeed,
unlike the U.S. courts which are yet detained by the conditions expressed in both their fundamental and statutory laws, the
pertinent provision of our ownLocal Government Code contains no further circumscription other than by its bare and simple
mandate that a "fugitive from justice in criminal or non-political cases here or abroad" shall be "disqualified from running for
any elective local position." The law has provided no further provisos and no saving clauses. When there is no obscurity or
ambiguity in an enabling law, it must, we have said in the related case of Marquez vs. Comelec, be merely made to apply as it is
so written. This Court is not at liberty either to question the wisdom of the law, let alone to detract from it, or to itself legislate
material parameters when there are none that statutorily exist.
6. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; FINDINGS OF FACTS OF THE COMELEC SUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE, UPHELD
ON APPEAL; CASE AT BAR. I now come to the final question of whether or not substantial evidence has been adduced to
support the factual findings of the COMELEC and, corollarily, whether or not petitioner has been duly accorded full
opportunity to present before the COMELEC his own evidence to disprove the assertions of private respondent. It may be
recalled that, following the denial of the motion of Rodriguez to postpone the scheduled 26th April 1995 hearing, the
COMELEC continued, because of the proximity of the May 1995 elections, with its reception of the evidence (despite the walk-
out thereupon staged by Rodriguez and his counsel). Duly received in evidence included an authenticated copy of the warrant
of arrest, dated 12 November 1985, on respondent (Exh. A-2) issued by the Municipal Court of the County of Los Angeles, State
of California, U.S.A., in connection with a criminal complaint filed against him in Criminal Case No. A774567, entitled "People of
the State vs. Imelda O. Rodriguez and Eduardo T. Rodriguez for the crimes of presenting Fraudulent Insurance Claims, Grand
Theft of Personal Property and Attempted Grand Theft of Personal Property, " and an authenticated copy of the felony
complaint (Exh. A-10 to A-15 inclusive), showing that the respondent was charged criminally on ten (10) counts. The
petitioner and his counsel walked out from the proceedings. Certainly, the thesis that petitioner was denied due process would
be totally unacceptable; he himself brushed it aside.
7. ID.; COURTS; FREE TO LOOK INTO AND RECEIVE EVIDENCE ON REGULARITY OF PROCEEDINGS IN FOREIGN JURISDICTION
AFFECTING FILIPINOS. While it may generally be said that the possible outcome or truth of an indictment need not
necessarily be an issue in ascertaining whether or not one is afugitive from justice, when, however, the accusation is lodged
with and an arrest is ordered by a foreign court or agency we might also assure ourselves as a matter of principle that, in the
process of sanctioning in effect an act of a foreign government, we do not thereby abandon our own basic sense of equity and

fair play. There cannot thus be any serious doubt that, when assailed or in doubt, the courts are free to look into, and receive
evidence on, the legitimacy and regularity of the proceedings in that foreign jurisdiction.

D E C I S I O N
FRANCISCO, J p:
Petitioner Eduardo T. Rodriguez and private respondent Bienvenido O. Marquez, Jr. (Rodriguez and Marquez, for brevity)
were protagonists for the gubernatorial post of Quezon Province in the May 1992 elections. Rodriguez won and was
proclaimed duly-elected governor.
Marquez challenged Rodriguez' victory via petition for quo warranto before the COMELEC (EPC No. 92-28). Marquez revealed
that Rodriguez left the United States where a charge, filed on November 12, 1985, is pending against the latter before the Los
Angeles Municipal Court for fraudulent insurance claims, grand theft and attempted grand theft of personal property.
Rodriguez is therefore a "fugitive from justice" which is a ground for his disqualification/ineligibility under Section 40(e) of
the Local Government Code (R.A. 7160), so argued Marquez.
The COMELEC dismissed Marquez' quo warranto petition (EPC No. 92-28) in a resolution of February 2, 1993, and likewise
denied a reconsideration thereof.
Marquez challenged the COMELEC dismissal of EPC No. 92-28 before this Court via petition for certiorari, docketed as G.R. No.
112889. The crux of said petition is whether Rodriguez is a "fugitive from justice" as contemplated by Section 40(e) of the Local
Government Code based on the alleged pendency of a criminal charge against him (as previously mentioned).
In resolving that Marquez petition (112889), the Court in "Marquez, Jr. vs. COMELEC" promulgated on April 18, 1995, now
appearing in Volume 243, page 538 of the SCRA and hereinafter referred to as the MARQUEZ Decision, declared that:
". . . ,'fugitive from justice' includes not only those who flee after conviction to avoid punishment but
likewise those who, after being charged, flee to avoid prosecution. This definition truly finds support from
jurisprudence (. . .), and it may be so conceded as expressing the general and ordinary connotation of the
term." 1
Whether or not Rodriguez is a "fugitive from justice" under the definition thus given was not passed upon by the Court. That
task was to devolve on the COMELEC upon remand of the case to it, with the directive to proceed therewith with dispatch
conformably with the MARQUEZ Decision. Rodriguez sought a reconsideration thereof. He also filed an "Urgent Motion to
Admit Additional Argument in Support of the Motion for Reconsideration" to which was attached a certification from the
Commission on Immigration showing that Rodriguez left the US on June 25, 1985 roughly five (5) months prior to the
institution of the criminal complaint filed against him before the Los Angeles court. The Court however denied a
reconsideration of the MARQUEZ Decision.
In the May 8, 1995 election, Rodriguez and Marquez renewed their rivalry for the same position of governor. This
time, Marquez challenged Rodriguez' candidacy via petition for disqualification before the COMELEC, based principally on
the same allegation that Rodriguez is a "fugitive from justice." This petition for disqualification (SPA No. 95-089) was filed
by Marquez on April 11, 1995 when Rodriguez' petition for certiorari (112889) from where the April 18,
1995 MARQUEZ Decision sprung was still then pending before the Court.

On May 7, 1995 and after the promulgation of the MARQUEZ Decision, the COMELEC promulgated a Consolidated Resolution
for EPC No. 92-28 (quo warranto case) and SPA No. 95-089 (disqualification case). In justifying a joint resolution of these two
(2) cases, the COMELEC explained that:
1. EPC No. 92-28 and SPA No. 95-089 are inherently related cases;
2. the parties, facts and issue involved are identical in both cases;
3. the same evidence is to be utilized in both cases in determining the common issue of whether Rodriguez
is a "fugitive from justice";
4. on consultation with the Commission En Banc, the Commissioners unanimously agreed that a
consolidated resolution of the two (2) cases is not procedurally flawed.
Going now into the meat of that Consolidated Resolution, the COMELEC, allegedly having kept in mind the MARQUEZ
Decision definition of "fugitive from justice", found Rodriguez to be one. Such finding was essentially based on Marquez'
documentary evidence consisting of
1. an authenticated copy of the November 12, 1995 warrant of arrest issued by the Los Angeles municipal
court against Rodriguez, and
2. an authenticated copy of the felony complaint
which the COMELEC allowed to be presented ex-parte after Rodriguez walked-out of the hearing of the case on April 26, 1995
following the COMELEC's denial of Rodriguez' motion for postponement. With the walk-out, the COMELEC considered
Rodriguez as having waived his right to disprove the authenticity of Marquez' aforementioned documentary evidence. The
COMELEC thus made the following analysis:
"The authenticated documents submitted by petitioner (Marquez) to show the pendency of a criminal
complaint against the respondent (Rodriguez) in the Municipal Court of Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., and
the fact that there is an outstanding warrant against him amply proves petitioner's contention that the
respondent is a fugitive from justice. The Commission cannot look with favor on respondent's defense that
long before the felony complaint was allegedly filed, respondent was already in the Philippines and he did
not know of the filing of the same nor was he aware that he was being proceeded against criminally. In a
sense, thru this defense, respondent implicitly contends that he cannot be deemed a fugitive from justice,
because to be so, one must be aware of the filing of the criminal complaint, and his disappearance in the
place where the long arm of the law, thru the warrant of arrest, may reach him is predicated on a clear
desire to avoid and evade the warrant. This allegation in the Answer, however, was not even fortified with
any attached document to show when he left the United States and when he returned to this country, facts
upon which the conclusion of absence of knowledge about the criminal complaint may be derived. On the
contrary, the fact of arrest of respondent's wife on November 6, 1985 in the United States by the Fraud
Bureau investigators in an apartment paid for respondent in that country can hardly rebut whatever
presumption of knowledge there is against the respondent." 2

And proceeding therefrom, the COMELEC, in the dispositive portion, declared:

"WHEREFORE, considering that respondent has been proven to be fugitive from justice, he is hereby
ordered disqualified or ineligible from assuming and performing the functions of Governor of Quezon
Province. Respondent is ordered to immediately vacate said office. Further, he is hereby disqualified from
running for Governor for Quezon Province in the May 8, 1995 elections. Lastly, his certificate of candidacy
for the May 8, 1995 elections is hereby set aside."
At any rate, Rodriguez again emerged as the victorious candidate in the May 8, 1995 election for the position of governor.
On May 10 and 11, 1995, Marquez filed urgent motions to suspend Rodriguez' proclamation which the COMELEC granted on
May 11, 1995. The Provincial Board of Canvassers nonetheless proclaimed Rodriguez on May 12, 1995.
The COMELEC Consolidated Resolution in EPC No. 92-28 and SPA No. 95-089 and the May 11, 1995 Resolution suspending
Rodriguez' proclamation thus gave rise to the filing of the instant petition for certiorari (G.R. No. 120099) on May 16, 1995.
On May 22, 1995, Marquez filed an "Omnibus Motion To Annul The Proclamation Of Rodriguez, To Proclaim Marquez And To
Cite The Provincial Board of Canvassers in Contempt" before the COMELEC (in EPC No. 92-28 and SPA No. 95-089).
Acting on Marquez' omnibus motion, the COMELEC, in its Resolution of June 23, 1995, nullified Rodriguez' proclamation and
ordered certain members of the Quezon Province Provincial Board of Canvassers to explain why they should not be cited in
contempt for disobeying the poll body's May 11, 1995 Resolution suspending Rodriguez' proclamation. But with respect to
Marquez' motion for his proclamation, the COMELEC deferred action until after this Court has resolved the instant petition
(G.R. No. 120099).
Rodriguez filed a motion to admit supplemental petition to include the aforesaid COMELEC June 23, 1995 Resolution, apart
from the May 7 and May 11, 1995 Resolutions (Consolidated Resolution and Order to suspend Rodriguez' proclamation,
respectively).
As directed by the Court, oral arguments were had in relation to the instant petition (G.R. No. 120099) on July 13, 1995.
Marquez, on August 3, 1995, filed an "Urgent Motion For Temporary Restraining Order Or Preliminary Injunction" which
sought to restrain and enjoin Rodriguez "from exercising the powers, functions and prerogatives of Governor of Quezon . . ."
Acting favorably thereon, the Court in a Resolution dated August 8, 1995 issued a temporary restraining order. Rodriguez'
"Urgent Motion To Lift Temporary Restraining Order And/Or For Reconsideration" was denied by the Court in an August 15,
1995 Resolution. Another similar urgent motion was later on filed by Rodriguez which the Court also denied.
In a Resolution dated October 24, 1995, the Court
". . . RESOLVED to DIRECT the Chairman of the Commission on Elections ('COMELEC') to designate a
Commissioner or a ranking official of the COMELEC to RECEIVE AND EVALUATE such legally admissible
evidence as herein petitioner Eduardo Rodriguez may be minded to present by way of refuting the evidence
heretofore submitted by private respondent Bienvenido Marquez, Sr., or that which can tend to establish
petitioner's contention that he does not fall within the legal concept of a 'fugitive from justice.' Private
respondent Marquez may likewise, if he so desires, introduce additional and admissible evidence in support
of his own position. The provisions of Sections 3 to 10, Rule 33, of the Rules of Court may be applied in the
reception of the evidence. The Chairman of the COMELEC shall have the proceedings completed and the
corresponding report submitted to this Court within thirty (30) days from notice hereof."

The COMELEC complied therewith by filing before the Court, on December 26, 1995, a report entitled "EVIDENCE OF THE
PARTIES and COMMISSION'S EVALUATION" wherein the COMELEC, after calibrating the parties' evidence, declared that
Rodriguez is NOT a "fugitive from justice" as defined in the main opinion of the MARQUEZ Decision, thus making a 180-degree
turnaround from its finding in the Consolidated Resolution. In arriving at this new conclusion, the COMELEC opined that intent
to evade is a material element of the MARQUEZ Decision definition. Such intent to evade is absent in Rodriguez' case because
evidence has established that Rodriguez arrived in the Philippines (June 25, 1985) long before the criminal charge was
instituted in the Los Angeles Court (November 12, 1985).
But the COMELEC report did not end there. The poll body expressed what it describes as its "persistent discomfort" on whether
it read and applied correctly the MARQUEZ Decision definition of "fugitive from justice". So as not to miss anything, we quote
the COMELEC's observations in full:
". . . The main opinion's definition of a 'fugitive from justice 'includes not only those who flee after conviction
to avoid punishment but also those who, after being charged, flee to avoid prosecution.' It proceeded to
state that:
This definition truly finds support from jurisprudence (Philippine Law Dictionary Third Edition, p.
399 by F.B. Moreno; Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, p. 671; King v. Noe, 244 SC 344; 137 SE
2d 102, 103; Hughes v. Pflanz, 138 Federal Reporter 980; Tobin v. Casaus, 275 Pacific Reporter 2d p.
792), and it may be so conceded as expressing the general and ordinary connotation of the term.
But in the majority of the cases cited, the definition of the term 'fugitive from justice' contemplates other
instances not explicitly mentioned in the main opinion. Black's Law Dictionary begins the definition of the
term by referring to a 'fugitive from justice' as:
(A) person, who, having committed a crime, flees from jurisdiction of the court where crime was committed or departs from
his usual place of abode and conceals himself within the district. . . .
Then, citing King v. Noe, the definition continues and conceptualizes a 'fugitive from justice' as:
. . . a person who, having committed or been charged with a crime in one state, has left its jurisdiction and is found within the
territory of another when it is sought to subject him to the criminal process of the former state. (our emphasis)
In Hughes v. Pflanz, the term was defined as:
a person who, having committed within a state a crime, when sought for, to be subjected to criminal process, is found within
the territory of another state.
Moreno's Philippine Law Dictionary, 5th Ed. considers the term as an:
expression which refers to one having committed, or being accused, of a crime in one jurisdiction
and is absent for any reason from that jurisdiction.
Specifically, one who flees to avoid punishment . . . (Emphasis ours)
From the above rulings, it can be gleaned that the objective facts sufficient to constitute flight from justice
are: (a) a person committed a 'crime' or has been charged for the commission thereof; and (b) thereafter,
leaves the jurisdiction of the court where said crime was committed or his usual place of abode.

Filing of charges prior to flight is not always an antecedent requirement to label one a 'fugitive from justice'.
Mere commission of a 'crime' without charges having been filed for the same and flight subsequent thereto
sufficiently meet the definition. Attention is directed at the use of the word 'crime' which is not employed to
connote guilt or conviction for the commission thereof. Justice Davide's separate opinion in G.R. No. 112889
elucidates that the disqualification for being a fugitive does not involve the issue of the presumption of
innocence, the reason for disqualification being that a person 'was not brought within the jurisdiction of the
court because he had successfully evaded arrest; or if he was brought within the jurisdiction of the court
and was tried and convicted, he has successfully evaded service of sentence because he had jumped bail or
escaped. The disqualification then is based on his 'flight from justice'.
Other rulings of the United States Supreme Court further amplify the view that intent and purpose for
departure is inconsequential to the inquiry. The texts, which are persuasive in our jurisdiction, are more
unequivocal in their pronouncements. In King v. US (144 F. 2nd 729), citing Roberts v. Reilly (116 US 80) the
United States Supreme Court held:
. . . it is not necessary that the party should have left the state or the judicial district where the
crime is alleged to have been committed, after an indictment found, or for the purpose of avoiding
an anticipated prosecution, but that, having committed a crime within a state or district, he has left
and is found in another jurisdiction (emphasis supplied)
Citing State v. Richter (37 Minn. 436), the Court further ruled in unmistakable language:
The simple fact that they (person who have committed crime within a state) are not within the state to
answer its criminal process when required renders them, in legal intendment, fugitives from justice.
THEREFORE, IT APPEARS THAT GIVEN THE AUTHORITIES CITED IN G.R. NO. 112889, THE MERE FACT
THAT THERE ARE PENDING CHARGES IN THE UNITED STATES AND THAT PETITIONER RODRIGUEZ IS IN
THE PHILIPPINES MAKE PETITIONER A 'FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE.'
From the foregoing discussions, the determination of whether or not Rodriguez is a fugitive from
justice hinges on whether or not Rodriguez' evidence shall be measured against the two instances
mentioned in the main opinion, or is to be expanded as to include other situations alluded to by the foreign
jurisprudence cited by the Court. In fact, the spirited legal fray between the parties in this case focused on
each camp's attempt to construe the Court's definition so as to fit or to exclude petitioner within the
definition of a 'fugitive from justice'. Considering, therefore, the equally valid yet different interpretations
resulting from the Supreme Court decision in G.R. No. 112889, the Commission deems it most conformable
to said decision to evaluate the evidence in light of the varied constructions open to it and to respectfully
submit the final determination of the case to the Honorable Supreme Court as the final interpreter of the
law."

The instant petition dwells on that nagging issue of whether Rodriguez is a "fugitive from justice", the determination of which,
as we have directed the COMELEC on two (2) occasions (in the MARQUEZ Decision and in the Court's October 24, 1995

Resolution), must conform to how such term has been defined by the Court in the MARQUEZ Decision. To reiterate, a "fugitive
from justice":
". . . includes not only those who flee after conviction to avoid punishment but likewise who, after being
charged, flee to avoid prosecution."
The definition thus indicates that the intent to evade is the compelling factor that animates one's flight from a particular
jurisdiction. And obviously, there can only be an intent to evade prosecution or punishment when there is knowledge by
the fleeing subject of an already instituted indictment, or of a promulgated judgment of conviction.
Rodriguez' case just cannot fit in this concept. There is no dispute that his arrival in the Philippines from the US on June 25,
1985, as per certifications issued by the Bureau of Immigration dated April 27 3 and June 26 of 1995, 4 preceded the filing of
the felony complaint in the Los Angeles Court on November 12, 1985 and of the issuance on even date of the arrest warrant by
that same foreign court, by almost five (5) months. It was clearly impossible for Rodriguez to have known about such felony
complaint and arrest warrant at the time he left the US, as there was in fact no complaint and arrest warrant much less
conviction to speak of yet at such time. What prosecution or punishment then was Rodriguez deliberately running away
from with his departure from the US? The very essence of being a "fugitive from justice" under the MARQUEZ
Decision definition, is just nowhere to be found in the circumstances of Rodriguez.
With that, the Court gives due credit to the COMELEC in having made the. same analysis in its ". . . COMMISSION'S
EVALUATION". There are, in fact, other observations consistent with such analysis made by the poll body that are equally
formidable so as to merit their adoption as part of this decision, to wit:
"It is acknowledged that there was an attempt by private respondent to show Rodriguez' intent to evade
the law. This was done by offering for admission a voluminous copy of an investigation report (Exhibits I to
I-17 and J to J-87 inclusive) on the alleged crimes committed which led to the filing of the charges against
petitioner. It was offered for the sole purpose of establishing the fact that it was impossible for petitioner
not to have known of said investigation due to its magnitude. Unfortunately, such conclusion misleads
because investigations of this nature, no matter how extensive or prolonged, are shrouded with utmost
secrecy to afford law enforcers the advantage of surprise and effect the arrest of those who would be
charged. Otherwise, the indiscreet conduct of the investigation would be nothing short of a well-publicized
announcement to the perpetrators of the imminent filing of charges against them. And having been
forewarned, every effort to sabotage the investigation may be resorted to by its intended objects. But if
private respondent's attempt to show Rodriguez' intent to evade the law at the time he left the United
States has any legal consequence at all, it will be nothing more than proof that even private respondent
accepts that intent to evade the law is a material element in the definition of a fugitive.
"The circumstantial fact that it was seventeen (17) days after Rodriguez' departure that charges against
him were filed cannot overturn the presumption of good faith in his favor. The same suggests nothing more
than the sequence of events which transpired. A subjective fact as that of petitioner's purpose cannot be
inferred from the objective data at hand in the absence of further proof to substantiate such claim. In fact,
the evidence of petitioner Rodriguez sufficiently proves that his compulsion to return to the Philippines

was due to his desire to join and participate vigorously in the political campaigns against former President
Ferdinand E. Marcos. For indeed, not long after petitioner's arrival in the country, the upheaval wrought by
the political forces and the avalanche of events which occurred resulted in one of the more colorful events
in Philippine history. The EDSA Revolution led to the ouster of former Pres. Marcos and precipitated
changes in the political climate. And being a figure in these developments, petitioner Rodriguez began
serving his home province as OIC-Board Member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Quezon in 1986.
Then, he was elected Governor in 1988 and continues to be involved in politics in the same capacity as re-
elected Governor in 1992 and the disputed re-election in 1995. Altogether, these landmark dates hem in for
petitioner a period of relentless, intensive and extensive activity of varied political campaigns first
against the Marcos government, then for the governorship. And serving the people of Quezon province as
such, the position entails absolute dedication of one's time to the demands of the office.
"Having established petitioner's lack of knowledge of the charges to be filed against him at the time he left
the United States, it becomes immaterial under such construction to determine the exact time when he was
made aware thereof. While the law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, does not countenance flight from
justice in the instance that a person flees the jurisdiction of another state after charges against him or a
warrant for his arrest was issued or even in view of the imminent filing and issuance of the same,
petitioner's plight is altogether a different situation. When, in good faith, a person leaves the territory of a
state not his own, homeward bound, and learns subsequently of charges filed against him while in the
relative peace and service of his own country, the fact that he does not subject himself to the jurisdiction of
the former state does not qualify him outright as a fugitive from justice.
"The severity of the law construed in the manner as to require of a person that he subject himself to the
jurisdiction of another state while already in his country or else be disqualified from office, is more
apparent when applied in petitioner's case. The criminal process of the United States extends only within
its territorial jurisdiction. That petitioner has already left said country when the latter sought to subject
him to its criminal process is hardly petitioner's fault. In the absence of an intent to evade the laws of the
United States, petitioner had every right to depart therefrom at the precise time that he did and to return to
the Philippines. No justifiable reason existed to curtail or fetter petitioner's exercise of his right to leave the
United States and return home. Hence, sustaining the contrary proposition would be to unduly burden and
punish petitioner for exercising a right as he cannot be faulted for the circumstances that brought him
within Philippine territory at the time he was sought to be placed under arrest and to answer for charges
filed against him.
"Granting, as the evidence warrants, that petitioner Rodriguez came to know of the charges only later, and
under his circumstances, is there a law that requires petitioner to travel to the United States and subject
himself to the monetary burden and tedious process of defending himself before the country's courts?
"It must be noted that moral uprightness is not a standard too far-reaching as to demand of political
candidate the performance of duties and obligations that are supererogatory in nature. We do not dispute

that an alleged 'fugitive from justice' must perform acts in order not to be so categorized. Clearly, a person
who is aware of the imminent filing of charges against him or of the same already filed in connection with
acts he committed in the jurisdiction of a particular state, is under an obligation not to flee said place of
commission. However, as in petitioner's case, his departure from the United States may not place him under
a similar obligation. His subsequent knowledge while in the Philippines and non-submission to the
jurisdiction of the former country does not operate to label petitioner automatically a fugitive from justice.
As he was a public officer appointed and elected immediately after his return to the country, petitioner
Rodriguez had every reason to devote utmost priority to the service of his office. He could not have gone
back to the United States in the middle of his term nor could he have traveled intermittently thereto
without jeopardizing the interest of the public he serves. To require that of petitioner would be to put him
in a paradoxical quandary where he is compelled to violate the very functions of his office."
However, Marquez and the COMELEC (in its "COMMISSION'S EVALUATION" as earlier quoted) seem to urge the Court to re-
define "fugitive from justice". They espouse the broader concept of the term as culled from foreign authorities (mainly of U.S.
vintage) cited in the MARQUEZ Decision itself, i.e., that one becomes a "fugitive from justice" by the mere fact that he leaves the
jurisdiction where a charge is pending against him, regardless of whether or not the charge has already been filed at the time
of his flight.
Suffice it to say that the "law of the case" doctrine forbids the Court to craft an expanded re-definition of "fugitive from
justice" (which is at variance with theMARQUEZ Decision) and proceed therefrom in resolving the instant petition. The various
definitions of that doctrine have been laid down in People v. Pinuila, 103 Phil. 992, 999, to wit:
"'Law of the case' has been defined as the opinion delivered on a former appeal. More specifically, it means
that whatever is once irrevocably established as the controlling legal rule of decision between the same
parties in the same case continues to be the law of the case, whether correct on general principles or not, so
long as the facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the
court." (21 C.J.S. 330)

"It may be stated as a rule of general application that, where the evidence on a second or succeeding appeal
is substantially the same as that on the first or preceding appeal, all matters, questions, points, or issues
adjudicated on the prior appeal are the law of the case on all subsequent appeals and will not be considered
or readjudicated therein." (5 C.J.S. 1267)
"In accordance with the general rule stated in Section 1821, where, after a definite determination, the court
has remanded the cause for further action below, it will refuse to examine question other than those arising
subsequently to such determination and remand, or other than the propriety of the compliance with its
mandate; and if the court below has proceeded in substantial conformity to the directions of the appellate
court, its action will not be questioned on a second appeal.

"As a general rule a decision on a prior appeal of the same case is held to be the law of the case whether that
decision is right or wrong, the remedy of the party deeming himself aggrieved being to seek a rehearing." (5
C.J.S. 1276-77).
"Questions necessarily involved in the decision on a former appeal will be regarded as the law of the case on
a subsequent appeal, although the questions are not expressly treated in the opinion of the court, as the
presumption is that all the facts in the case bearing on the point decided have received due consideration
whether all or none of them are mentioned in the opinion." (5 C.J.S. 1286-87).
To elaborate, the same parties (Rodriguez and Marquez) and issue (whether or not Rodriguez is a "fugitive from justice")
are involved in the MARQUEZ Decision and the instant petition. The MARQUEZ Decision was an appeal from EPC No. 92-28
(the Marquez' quo warranto petition before the COMELEC). The instant petition is also an appeal from EPC No. 92-28
although the COMELEC resolved the latter jointly with SPA No. 95-089 (Marquez' petition for the disqualification of
Rodriguez). Therefore, what was irrevocably established as the controlling legal rule in the MARQUEZ Decision must
govern the instant petition. And we specifically refer to the concept of "fugitive from justice" as defined in the main opinion
in the MARQUEZ Decision which highlights the significance of an intent to evade but which Marquez and the COMELEC,
with their proposed expanded definition, seem to trivialize.
Besides, to re-define "fugitive from justice" would only foment instability in our jurisprudence when hardly has the ink dried in
the MARQUEZ Decision.
To summarize, the term "fugitive from justice" as a ground for the disqualification or ineligibility of a person seeking to run for
any elective local position under Section 40(e) of the Local Government Code, should be understood according to the definition
given in the MARQUEZ Decision, to wit:
"A 'fugitive from justice' includes not only those who flee after conviction to avoid punishment but likewise
those who, after being charged, flee to avoid prosecution." (Emphasis ours.)"
Intent to evade on the part of a candidate must therefore be established by proof that there has already been a conviction
or at least, a charge has already been filed, at the time of flight. Not being a "fugitive from justice" under this definition,
Rodriguez cannot be denied the Quezon Province gubernatorial post.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed Resolutions of the COMELEC
dated May 7, 1995 (Consolidated Resolution), May 11, 1995 (Resolution suspending Rodriguez' proclamation) and June 23,
1995 (Resolution nullifying Rodriguez' proclamation and ordering the Quezon Province Provincial Board of Canvassers to
explain why they should not be cited in contempt) are SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.
Romero, Melo, Puno, Kapunan, Hermosisima, Jr., and Panganiban, JJ ., concur.
Bellosillo, J ., is on leave.
Separate Opinions
TORRES, JR., J ., concurring:
Although I entertain no illusion of absolute certainty, as to whether or not the petitioner in the above-entitled case is
a "fugitive from justice" within the purview of Section 40 paragraph (e) of Republic Act No. 7160 of the Local Government

Code of 1991, and which would result to a disqualification for any elective local position, I, however, share the view of my
distinguished colleague, Mr. Justice Ricardo J. Francisco, that petitioner Eduardo T. Rodriguez, is not a"fugitive from justice."
Petitioner should not be considered disqualified or ineligible from assuming and performing the functions of Governor of
Quezon Province.
Petitioner returned to the Philippines from the United States on June 25, 1985 while the criminal complaint against him for
fraudulent insurance claims, grand theft and attempted grand theft of personal property before the Municipal Court of Los
Angeles, California was filed almost 5 months later, or on November 12, 1985. Verily, it cannot be said that he fled to avoid
prosecution for at the time he left the United States, there was yet no case or prosecution to avoid. It would not be reasonable
to assume that he returned to the Philippines aware that he has committed some transgressions of law or that he was
anticipating the filing of the complaint. To assume that he was not unaware of his own prior misdeeds is tantamount to
presuming his guilt.
That petitioner did not know of the imminent filing of charges against him and that he did not flee to avoid prosecution are
bolstered by the facts that: 1.) he returned to the United States twice: on August 14 and October 7 of the same year but arrived
in the Philippines on October 26 likewise in the same year; 2.) he left his wife in the United States; and 3.) his wife was later on
arrested for the same charges. Had petitioner been aware of the imminent filing of charges against him, he would never have
returned to the United States and he would not have left his wife in there.
Petitioner is a citizen of this country. Why should he not come home? Coming home to the Philippines was the most natural act
of the petitioner, who happens to maintain his residence in the country. The fact that he remains here even after he was
formally accused cannot be construed as an indication of an intent to flee, there being no compelling reason for him to go to
the United States and face his accusers. On the contrary, it is his official duty, as an incumbent Governor of Quezon, to remain
in the country and perform his duties as the duly elected public official.
In her report entitled "Evidence of the Parties and Commission's Evaluation," Commissioner Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores aptly
pointed out:
". . . When, in good faith, a person leaves the territory of a state not his own, homeward bound, and learns
subsequently of charges filed against him while in the relative peace and service of his own country, the fact
that he does not subject himself to the jurisdiction of the former state does not qualify him outright as
a fugitive from justice.
"The severity of the law construed in the manner as to require of a person that he subject himself to the
jurisdiction of another state while already in his country or else be disqualified from office, is more
apparent when applied in petitioner's case. The criminal process of the United States extends only within
its territorial jurisdiction. That petitioner has already left said country when the latter sought to subject
him to its criminal process is hardly petitioner's fault. In the absence of an intent to evade the laws of the
United Sates, petitioner had every right to depart therefrom at the precise time that he did and to return to
the Philippines. No justifiable reason existed to curtail or fetter petitioner's exercise of his right to leave the
United States and return home. Hence, sustaining the contrary proposition would be to unduly burden and
punish petitioner for exercising a right as he cannot be faulted for the circumstances that brought him

within Philippine territory at the time he was sought to be placed under arrest and to answer for charges
against him.
Granting, as the evidence warrants, that petitioner Rodriguez came to know of the charges only later, and
under his circumstances, is there a law that requires petitioner to travel to the United States and subject
himself to the monetary burden and tedious process of defending himself before the country's courts?" 1
This Court cannot be oblivious of the fact that the provision disqualifying fugitives from justice in criminal or non-political
cases here or abroad was allegedly tailored to affect petitioner. The provision is short of saying that Eduardo Rodriguez is
disqualified. As I trace the legislative history of the subject provision, I find that the principal sponsor of the Local Government
Code, Aquilino O. Pimentel, Jr., then a Senator and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government commented on
this, in his book "The Local Government Code of 1991," thus:
"5. Fugitives Disqualified. Persons fleeing from local or foreign justice in criminal or non-political cases are
likewise disqualified from local government elective positions. This particular disqualification was a House
of Representatives innovation. This was a 'camaraderie' provision proposed by the House because a
congressman of a southern Tagalog province had intended to run for governor against an incumbent who
had reportedly fled from U.S. justice".2 (Emphasis supplied)
To borrow the language of former Chief Justice Moran in his dissent in Torres vs. Tan Chim, 69 Phil. 518, 535:
". . . when this Court continues to uphold a ruling known to be erroneous, with no plausible excuse therefor
but public acquiescence therein, it may soon find itself compelled to make more mistakes in an effort to
justify the previous ones. We may thus be building one error upon another until, by their accumulation, we
shall come to a point when going further would be perilous and turning backward impossible."
To rule in favor of private respondent is to license a wrongdoing to succeed and injustice to prevail In applying a law, the facts
and circumstances obtaining in the particular case must be taken into consideration. In the case at bar, the following
circumstances must be taken into consideration: that petitioner was not aware of the imminent filing of charges against him;
the same was filed after he has returned home; it is impractical and unjust to require petitioner to subject himself to the
jurisdiction of the United States while already in this country or else be disqualified from office; and that the subject provision
appears to have been a 'camaraderie provision' proposed by the House for the sake of private respondent who was then a
Congressman.

In Marquez vs. COMELEC (243 SCRA 538), this court held that: Art. 73 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local
Government Code of 1991 is an inordinate and undue circumscription of the law, to the extent that it confines the
term "fugitive from justice" to refer only to a person (the fugitive) "who has been convicted by final judgment." Said ruling
notwithstanding, the court must not insist that petitioner is still a fugitive by the mere fact that there are pending charges
against the petitioner in the United States and that petitioner Rodriguez is in the Philippines.
It was Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes who said that
"A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly
in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used." 3

"Fugitive from justice" must be given a meaning in the instant case having regard to "the circumstances and the time it is used."
Philosophers and jurists have tried unsuccessfully at an exact definition of such an abstruse term as justice. Unfortunately,
whether in the metaphysical sense or otherwise, the question of justice is still unanswered as it was albeit characterized by
secular skepticism. If the question is asked: What standard of justice should we enforce? The American sense of justice or the
Philippine sense of justice? Undoubtedly, the forum in which it is raised should be controlling. By way only of hypothesis, if an
American flees to escape from Philippine Laws to the United States, may we enforce in the United States our standard of justice
based on Philippine Law? I am tempted to ask these questions considering our zealousness to solve legal problems in the light
of laws obtaining in the United States.
At any rate, an accused charged with a crime in the Philippines cannot be a candidate and at the same time flee from
prosecution. Once he goes campaigning his opponent would have him arrested. For this and the reasons above discussed, the
provision on disqualification of fugitive from justice, being unnecessary and serving only to undermine one's constitutional
right to equal access to opportunities for public service, 4 should even be scantily considered.
Finally, petitioner appears to have garnered 285,202 votes. According to the election results, petitioner won over private
respondent by a majority of 140, 000 votes more or less. As it is, to disqualify petitioner on the shaky ground of being
a "fugitive from justice" would amount to disenfranchising the electorate in whom sovereignty resides. 5
Learned Hand, had this to say:
"Hand preached that the security of liberty was too important to be left entirely to the judges: '(I)t is the
voters, speaking through their delegates, who have the final word and the final responsibility; and . . . in the
end it is they and they alone who can and will preserve our liberties, if preserved they are to be.'" 6
This is a populist judicial response.
Thus, where a candidate has received popular mandate, overwhelmingly and clearly expressed, all possible doubts should be
resolved in favor of the candidate's eligibility, for to rule otherwise is to defeat the will of the people. 7 Above and beyond all,
the determination of the true will of the electorate should be paramount. It is their voice, not ours or of anyone else, that must
prevail. This, in essence, is the democracy we continue to hold sacred. 8
I vote to grant the petition.
VITUG, J ., dissenting:
Let me not, in writing this dissenting opinion, be so misunderstood as stating that I am opposed to the doctrine of stare decisis
et non quieta movere or to the consequences of the rule on the "law of the case," let alone to create, to borrow the phrase used
by the majority, "instability in our jurisprudence." But what I would really dread is when I might, wittingly or unwittingly,
misconceive the pronouncements made by the Court or, worse, be completely out of context therefrom. I should also like to
point out that the dissent in no way necessarily implies an acceptance on the sapience of the law here in question; I realize that
the Court has no prerogative to either sustain or reject a law on that basis alone.
I find it helpful to first narrate the antecedents of the case now before us.
For some time now, Eduardo Rodriguez and Bienvenido Marquez, Jr., have been at loggerheads on the issue of whether or not
Rodriguez is a "fugitive from justice" and thereby disqualified under the law to run for, or to hold on to, an elective local office.
The contenders have for the fourth time 1 pleaded for the intervention of this Court.

This time, in a special civil action for certiorari, with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory/prohibitory
injunction, Rodriguez seeks the annulment of the 07th and 11th May 1995 resolutions (infra) of the Commission on Elections
("COMELEC"). There being other matters that have come up during the pendency of this petition, Rodriguez has now also
moved for the admission of his supplemental petition and a second supplemental petition to call attention to certain
developments, including a 23rd June 1995 resolution of the COMELEC which he now likewise assails.
The various settings that led to the promulgation by the COMELEC of its assailed resolutions might be condensed thusly:
Rodriguez, the proclaimed Governor of Quezon Province after the May 1992 elections, was named respondent by Marquez, a
defeated candidate for the same post, in a quo warranto petition, docketed EPC No. 92-28 (hereinafter so referred to as the quo
warranto case), instituted before the COMELEC. Rodriguez was said to be a fugitive from justice and thereby disqualified
under Section 40(e) of the Local Government Code from holding on to the elective local office. The COMELEC dismissed the
petition for quo warranto on the ground that petitioner had not been convicted by final judgment. Private respondent
thereupon filed a petition for certiorari with this Court (docketed G.R. No. 112889). 2
On 15 March 1995 (while G.R. No. 112889 was still then pending consideration by the Court), Marquez and Rodriguez filed
their respective certificates of candidacy, this time for the May 1995 elections, for the governorship of Quezon. Upon learning
of the re-election bid of Rodriguez, Marquez lost no time in filing (on 11 April 1995) with the COMELEC a petition to disqualify
Rodriguez and for the cancellation of the latter's certificate of candidacy. Docketed SPA No. 95-089 (hereinafter so referred to
as the disqualification case), the petition was assigned to the Second Division of the COMELEC. Marquez disclosed to the
COMELEC the pendency of G.R. No. 112889 but explained that the two cases were different in that G.R. No. 112889 had sought
to oust petitioner from office for the term 1992-1995 while SPA No. 95-089 was aimed at disqualifying petitioner from
running for a new term (1995-1998). Rodriguez was summoned by the Second Division of the COMELEC and required to file
his answer to the petition. The disqualification case was set for hearing on 25 April 1995.
Meanwhile, on 18 April 1995, this Court rendered a decision in G.R. No. 112889 reversing and setting aside the resolution of
the COMELEC which dismissed the petition for quo warranto and directed the COMELEC "to proceed and resolve the case with
dispatch." On even date, Rodriguez filed with this Court in G.R. No. 112889 an "Urgent Manifestation and Motion" for the
dismissal G.R. No. 112889 asseverating that the filing of SPA No. 95-089 meant forum-shopping on the part of Marquez.
Unaware (presumably) of the 18th April 1995 decision of this Court, Rodriguez filed, on 21 April 1995, with the COMELEC
(Second Division) in the disqualification case (SPA No. 95-089) a "Motion to Nullify Summons and to Reconsider Notice of
Hearing" praying for the dismissal of the case in view of the pendency with this Court of G.R. No. 112889. He filed an
"Answer Ex-Abundante Cautela" claiming, among other things, that he was already in the Philippines at the time the complaint
was filed against him in Los Angeles, California. In three separate pleadings, Rodriguez insisted on the nullification of the
summons, the reconsideration of the notice of hearing and the dismissal of SPA No. 95-089.
The scheduled 25th April 1995 hearing on the disqualification case was re-set to 26 April 1995. Still claiming to be in
cognizant of this Court's decision in G.R. No. 112889, Rodriguez filed, on 25 April 1995, an urgent motion for the issuance of a
writ of preliminary injunction to restrain the COMELEC from hearing SPA No. 95-089, arguing that, since SPA No. 95-089 was
also based on the facts as those that related to G.R. No. 112889, its filing constituted forum-shopping and could pre-empt G.R.
No. 112889.

The hearing on the disqualification case (SPA No. 95-089), re-scheduled for 26 April 1995 by the Second Division of the
COMELEC, 3 went through. Rodriguez moved to suspend the proceedings so citing, as the ground therefor, his urgent motion
for preliminary injunction in G.R. No. 112889. The COMELEC (Second Division), however, denied his motion, as well as his
subsequent motion for time to file a motion for reconsideration, because of the proximity of the elections. Failing to have the
proceedings held in abeyance, Rodriguez walked out of the hearing. Marquez then submitted and offered in evidence the
authenticated copies of the felony complaint and warrant of arrest against Rodriguez issued on 12 November 1985, by the
Municipal Court of Los Angeles Judicial District, County of Los Angeles, State of California, U.S.A., and some other records of
said court.
On 27 April 1995, it might be mentioned parenthetically, Rodriguez moved for the reconsideration of this Court's decision of
18 April 1995 in G.R. No. 112889.
It was now the turn of Rodriguez to file with this Court a petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus. The petition,
entitled "Eduardo T. Rodriguez vs. Commission on Elections, et al.," and docketed G.R. No. 119807, asked the Court to enjoin
the COMELEC from proceeding with SPA No. 95-089. The petition was dismissed by the Court, in its 04 May 1995 minute
resolution, since it found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the COMELEC.

Meanwhile, in G.R. No. 112889, Rodriguez filed an "Urgent Motion to Admit Additional Argument in Support of the Motion for
Reconsideration" attaching thereto a certification from the Commission on Immigration purporting to show that he had left
the United States on 25 June 1985 before the felony complaint against him was instituted before the Los Angeles court. The
following day, or on 03 May 1995, he also filed with the COMELEC (Second Division), a "Motion to Admit Position Paper Ex
Abundante Cautela Showing that Respondent is Not a Fugitive From Justice As Defined in the Supreme Court Decision of April
18, 1995 in G.R. No. 112889," arguing that the decision in G.R. No. 112889 would not apply to him because he arrived in the
Philippines five (5) months before the filing of the felony charges against him. The COMELEC (Second Division), in its 06 May
1995 resolution, denied the motion.
On 07 May 1995, or one day before the scheduled 1995 elections, the COMELEC promulgated its first assailed consolidated
resolution in EPC No. 92-28 and SPA No. 95-089 which read:
"WHEREFORE, considering that respondent (Eduardo Rodriguez) has been proven to be fugitive from
justice, he is hereby ordered disqualified or ineligible from assuming and performing the functions of
Governor of Quezon Province. Respondent is ordered to immediately vacate said office. Further, he is
hereby disqualified from running for Governor for Quezon Province in the May 8, 1995 elections. Lastly, his
certificate of candidacy for the May 8, 1995 elections is hereby set aside." 4 (Emphasis supplied)
On 10 and 11 May 1995, Marquez filed urgent motions to suspend the proclamation of Rodriguez. The COMELEC favorably
acted on the motions as it so issued, on 11 May 1995, a resolution where it ruled to suspend, among other candidates, the
proclamation of Rodriguez who was ordered disqualified in SPA No. 95-089. Notwithstanding the 11th May 1995 resolution,
however, Rodriguez, who would appear to have garnered 285,202 votes, was proclaimed winner on 12 May 1995 by the
Provincial Board of Canvassers of Quezon. On 22 May 1995, Marquez went to the COMELEC and filed in SPA No. 95-089 and

EPC No. 92-28 an "Omnibus Motion to Annul the Proclamation of Rodriguez, to Proclaim Marquez and to cite the Provincial
Board of Canvassers in Contempt."
On 16 May 1995, Rodriguez filed the present petition for certiorari captioned: "For: REVIEW OF EPC No. 92-28 and SPA No.
95-089 of the Commission on Elections and for NULLIFICATION OF COMELEC Resolution dated 11 May 1995 with a prayer for
the issuance of a WRIT OF PRELIMINARY MANDATORY/PROHIBITORY INJUNCTION." An urgent motion to admit a
supplemental petition was filed on 18 May 1995 by petitioner stating that he had been furnished with a copy of a certificate of
canvass of votes and of his proclamation by the Provincial Board of Canvassers. On 29 May 1995, Rodriguez thereupon
renewed his prayer, through a motion, for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and to declare the COMELEC and
Marquez in contempt of court.
Back to the omnibus motion of Marquez in SPA No. 95-089 and EPC No. 92-28, the COMELEC, in its 23rd June 1995 resolution,
annulled and set aside the proclamation of Rodriguez for being null and void ab initio. It also gave the Vice-Chairman and
Member-Secretary of the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Quezon Province ten (10) days within which to explain why they
should not be cited in contempt for disobedience or resistance to the lawful order of the COMELEC particularly its "order to
suspend proclamation." On the motion seeking the proclamation of Marquez, the COMELEC chose to have the matter
considered by it only "once the Supreme Court (would have) resolved the case of Eduardo T. Rodriguez v. COMELEC (in), G.R.
No. 120099" (the instant petition). This action by the COMELEC prompted Rodriguez to file his motion to admit a second
supplemental petition in order to include the 23rd June 1995 resolution, in addition to the 07th and 11th May resolutions, of
the COMELEC, among the disputed issuances.
Petitioner submits several reasons for the allowance and grant of his petition.
Rodriguez contends that the COMELEC should not have entertained the disqualification case (SPA No. 95-089) for being an act
of 'forum-shopping' on the part of Marquez. Clearly, there is no merit in this submission. The general statement of the
prohibition against forum-shopping is that a party should not be allowed to pursue on the same subject matter simultaneous
remedies in two or more different fora 5 that can tend to degrade the administration of justice by thusly trifling with the
courts and abusing their processes. 6 Forum-shopping exists where the actions are of the same nature and involve identical
transactions, circumstances, and issues between the same parties. 7 While there is identity in many respects between SPA No.
95-089 and EPC No. 92-28, the two cases, however, greatly differ in their main aspects. EPC No. 92-28 (subject case of G.R. No.
112889) is a quo warranto case and involves petitioner's gubernatorial incumbency for the term 1992-1995 while SPA No. 95-
089 is a disqualification case involving his candidacy for the 1995 local elections.
Rodriguez argues that should Section 40(e) of the Local Government Code of 1991 be applied to him, it would partake the
nature of an ex post facto 8 law or a bill of attainder. 9 These terms have settled meanings in criminal law jurisprudence that
clearly have no relevance to the case before us. Besides, the Local Government Code took effect on 01 January 1992, and thus
its application to Rodriguez in his gubernatorial incumbency that started in mid-1992 and his candidacy for the 1995 elections
cannot be deemed to be retrospective in character.
Petitioner claims that the COMELEC did not have jurisdiction to issue the questioned resolution on the eve of the election
because the Omnibus Election Code requires that final decisions in disqualification cases should be rendered not later than
seven (7) days before the election. Section 72 of the Omnibus Election Code, that petitioner refers to, provides:

"SEC. 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority. The Commission and the courts shall give priority
to cases of disqualification by reason of violation of this Act to the end that a final decision shall be rendered
not later than seven days before the election in which the disqualification is sought." (Emphasis supplied).
The instant case calls for the governance not of the Omnibus Election Code but of the Local Government Code (specifically
Section 40[e] thereof). In any case, the "seven days" stated in the law, being evidently intended for administrative
feasibility, should be construed as a mere directory, rather than as a mandatory, provision of the Omnibus Election Code. A
provision should be deemed to be directory only when to have it enforced strictly may cause more harm than by
disregarding it. 10
The next question posed was whether or not the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when, in the scheduled hearing of 26
April 1995, it refused to grant the motion of Rodriguez for a suspension of hearing. Far from it, the denial by COMELEC would
appear to have been both prudent and legally warranted. The motion was grounded on the pendency of G.R. No. 112889
(the quo warranto case), whereas, the 26th April 1995 hearing related to the disqualification case (SPA 95-089) for the 1995
election that undoubtedly had to be resolved quickly. The COMELEC hardly had any choice but to proceed with the hearing
and, when Rodriguez thereupon walked out, Marquez was naturally allowed to present his evidence ex-parte. Perhaps
realizing that the COMELEC had acted correctly, petitioner would question the holding of the 26th April 1995 hearing by only
one member (Commissioner Teresita Flores) of the Second Division. 11Not only was this matter not timely brought up before
the COMELEC, but that there would appear to be no problem in the delegation by the COMELEC of the mere reception of
evidence to any one of its members. All the assailed resolutions of COMELEC would indicate that the required concurrence of
the Commissioners was given.
The subsequent consolidation of the quo warranto case with that of the disqualification case (following our 18th April 1995
decision remanding the case to COMELEC), and the promulgation of the 07th May 1995 consolidated resolution, would also
seem to be in conformity with Rule 3, Section 9, of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, which reads:
"Sec. 9. Consolidation of cases. When an action or proceeding involves a question of law and fact which is
similar to or common with that of another action or proceeding, the same may be consolidated with the
action or proceeding bearing the lower docket number."
Moreover, a further hearing on the quo warranto case so involving, as it does, petitioner's now expired incumbency, would
be unnecessary and a futile effort.
The pivotal issue then is whether or not petitioner falls under the term "fugitive from justice" but, unlike its precursor case in
G.R. No. 112889 which has been confined to the question of whether or not a conviction by final judgment of a person at large
is essential before he can be considered a "fugitive from justice," 12 this time, however, the Court is asked to pass upon
petitioner's assertion that he cannot be considered a "fugitive from justice" since he already has been in the Philippines months
prior to the filing of the charges against him before the United States court in November 1985. He cites a certification from the
Commission of Immigration of his arrival in the country on 25 June 1985.
The Solicitor-General, on his part, maintains that the evidence presented by Marquez is still wanting. He states that the
evidence thus far submitted would only show

"(1) that ten (10) charges of presenting fraudulent insurance claims, grand theft of personal property, and
attempted grand theft of personal property were filed against petitioner before the Municipal Court of the
County of Los Angeles, State of California, U.S.A., in November, 1985;

"(2) that on November 12, 1985, a warrant of arrest was issued against petitioner; and
"(3) that petitioner's wife, Imelda Gener Rodriguez, was arrested for the same charges on November 6,
1985." 13
which, collectively, would appear to be "too insubstantial" and inadequate to establish that Rodriguez has, in fact, fled to
avoid prosecution. He opines that
". . . The COMELEC can not simply ignore the fact that the then Bureau of Immigration had issued a
certification that on June 25, 1985, petitioner returned to the Philippines from the United States. This
certification is already on record, having been submitted by petitioner ex abundante cautela following
COMELEC's refusal to consider the same because of petitioner's walkout from the hearing on April 26,
1995. According to the election results, petitioner won over private respondent by a majority of 140,000
votes more or less. This manifestation of the People's will can not just be ignored without conducting a
thorough hearing to determine whether the person they had overwhelmingly voted for is really disqualified
from presenting himself to them for election."14
I thus perceive the Solicitor General as now also saying that an intention to evade punishment or prosecution is an element
of the term "fugitive from justice."
Verily, there is a dearth of authorities on the proper and legal connotation of the phrase "fugitive from justice." Neither the law
(Republic Act No. 7160, also known as the Local Government Code) 15 here in question nor the deliberations in Congress give
much clue to the legislative intent. The phrase has been used in various contexts although it is in extradition cases where it
appears to have acquired a prevalent usage. One leading situation was that of Roberts vs. Reilly, 16 decided by the United
States Supreme Court, which involved the application of Article 4, Section 2, of the United States Constitution 17 and Section
5278 18 of the Revised Statutes of the United States implementing the Constitutional provision. William Roberts was indicted
for grand larceny in the first degree in the State of New York. He was subsequently held in the State of Georgia by Philip Reilly,
who claimed to be an agent of the State of New York and acting by virtue of an executive warrant issued by the Governor of
Georgia on a requisition from the Governor of New York, reciting that Roberts had been indicted in the State of New York and
was a fugitive from justice of the latter State. In considering the specific question on whether or not the person demanded was
a fugitive from justice, the tribunal held:
"To be (regarded) a fugitive from justice, . . . , it is not necessary that the party charged should have left the
State in which the crime is alleged to have been committed, after an indictment found, or for the purpose of
avoiding a prosecution anticipated or begun, but simply that, having within a State committed that which
by its laws constitutes a crime, when he is sought to be subjected to its criminal process to answer for his
offense, he has left its jurisdiction and is found within the territory of another."

The ruling was repeated in Appleyard v. Massachusetts, 19 itself to be later reiterated in a number of other cases, 20 where
Arthur Appleyard was indicted for the crime of grand larceny, first degree, alleged to have been committed in the county of
Erie, New York. Although a warrant for his arrest was issued, Appleyard was not apprehended because he had moved out from
that State. He was eventually arrested by virtue of a warrant issued by the Governor of Massachusetts. Appleyard then applied
for a writ of habeas corpus to the supreme judicial council of Massachusetts which, after hearing, denied the application. He,
again, applied to the Circuit Court of the United States for a writ of habeas corpus which effort likewise proved futile.
Appleyard interposed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He restated his previous contention before the lower courts that he
could not be deemed to be a fugitive from justice because he was unaware when leaving New York that he had at any time
violated its criminal laws. That Court held:
". . . This contention cannot be sustained; indeed, it could not be sustained without materially impairing the
efficacy of the constitutional and statutory provisions relating to fugitives from justice. An alleged fugitive
may believe that he has not committed any crime against the laws of the state in which he is indicted, and
yet, according to the laws of such state, as administered by its judicial tribunals, he may have done so, and
his belief or want of belief may be without foundation in law. It is the province of the courts of New York to
declare what its laws are, and to determine whether particular acts on the part of an alleged offender
constitute a crime under such laws. The constitutional provision that a person charged with crime against
the laws of a state, and who flees from its justice, must be delivered up on proper demand, is sufficiently
comprehensive to embrace any offense, whatever its nature, which the state, consistently with
the Constitution and laws of the United States, may have made a crime against its laws. Kentucky v.
Dennison, 24 How. 66, 69, 16 L. ed. 717; Ex parte Reggel, 114 U.S. 642, 650, 29 L. ed. 250, 252, 5 Sup. Ct. Rep.
1148. So that the simple inquiry must be whether the person whose surrender is demanded is in fact a fugitive
from justice, not whether he consciously fled from justice in order to avoid prosecution for the crime with
which he is charged by the demanding state. A person charged by indictment or by affidavit before a
magistrate with the commission within a state of a crime covered by its laws, and who, after the date of the
commission of such crime, leaves the state, no matter for what purpose or with what motive, nor under
what belief, becomes, from the time of such leaving, and within the meaning of the Constitution and the
laws of the United States, a fugitive from justice, . . ."
Most U.S. State courts would appear to be similarly minded. 21 21a
The rulings heretofore cited cannot be here controlling, of course, and divergent views can still be expressed on the precise
import of the phrase "fugitive from justice." It is evident enough though, in my view, that Congress, not having provided
otherwise, must have intended the ordinary connotation of the term to prevail. So taken, it might be understood as referring to
one who, having committed or being accused of having committed a crime in one jurisdiction, cannot be found therein 22 or
is absent for any reason from that jurisdiction 23 that thereby forestalls criminal justice from taking its due course. The issue is
largely a factual matter and in that determination, the motive or reason for his plight need not be inquired into. Animus
fugere may be significant but it is not essential and what matters is not why he leaves but the fact that he leaves, for it should
not be unreasonable to assume that he was not unaware of his own prior deeds or misdeeds. As so conceptualized, the import

of the term is more congruent than variant with what has heretofore been essayed to be, in fact, its common usage. Indeed,
unlike the U.S. courts which are yet detained by the conditions expressed in both their fundamental and statutory laws, the
pertinent provision of our own Local Government Code contains no further circumscription other than by its bare and simple
mandate that a "fugitive from justice in criminal or non-political cases here or abroad" shall be "disqualified from running for
any elective local position." 24 The law has provided no further provisos and no saving clauses. When there is no obscurity or
ambiguity in an enabling law, it must, we have said in the related case ofMarquez vs. Comelec, 25 be merely made to apply as it
is so written. This Court is not at liberty either to question the wisdom of the law, let alone to detract from it, or to itself
legislate material parameters when there are none that statutorily exist.
I now come to the final question of whether or not substantial evidence has been adduced to support the factual findings of the
COMELEC and, corollarily, whether or not petitioner has been duly accorded full opportunity to present before the COMELEC
his own evidence to disprove the assertions of private respondent.
It may be recalled that, following the denial of the motion of Rodriguez to postpone the scheduled 26th April 1995 hearing, the
COMELEC continued, because of the proximity of the May 1995 elections, with its reception of the evidence (despite the walk-
out thereupon staged by Rodriguez and his counsel). Duly received in evidence included an authenticated copy of the warrant
of arrest, dated 12 November 1985, on respondent (Exh. A-2) issued by the Municipal Court of the County of Los Angeles, State
of California, U.S.A., in connection with a criminal complaint filed against him in Criminal Case No. A774567, entitled "People of
the State vs. Imelda O. Rodriguez and Eduardo T. Rodriguez for the crimes of presenting Fraudulent Insurance Claims, Grand
Theft of Personal Property and Attempted Grand Theft of Personal Property," and an authenticated copy of the felony
complaint (Exh. A-10 to A-15 inclusive), showing that the respondent was charged criminally on ten (10) counts. Concluding
on the documentary evidence adduced before it, the COMELEC said:
"The authenticated documents submitted by petitioner to show the pendency of a criminal complaint
against the respondent in the Municipal Court of Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., and the fact that there is an
outstanding warrant against him amply proves petitioner's contention that the respondent is afugitive from
justice." 26
The petitioner and his counsel walked out from the proceedings. Certainly, the thesis that petitioner was denied due process
would be totally unacceptable; he himself brushed it aside. But while there might be no sympathy for his action that ordinarily
should have prevented him from any further opportunity, the Court, nevertheless, aptly recognized that the controversy was
solely not between the private parties herein, but one imbued with public interest, involving no less than the highest office in
the province of Quezon and so, inevitably, a concern also of its people. Accordingly, the Court, besides having set the case for
the reception of oral argument on 13 July 1995, likewise passed, on 24 October 1995, the following resolution; thus

"Deliberating on the special civil action for certiorari with prayer for preliminary injunction and restraining
order, along with the comment thereon filed by the Solicitor General, as well as the other subsequent
pleadings submitted by the parties in support of their respective submissions, and considering, further, the
oral arguments of the parties during the 13th July 1995 hearing of this case, the Court RESOLVED to
DIRECT the Chairman of the Commission on Elections ('COMELEC') to designate a Commissioner or a

ranking official of the COMELEC to RECEIVE AND EVALUATE such legally admissible evidence as herein
petitioner Eduardo Rodriguez may be minded to present by way of refuting the evidence heretofore
submitted by private respondent Bienvenido Marquez, Sr., or that which can tend to establish petitioner's
contention that he does not fall within the legal concept of a 'fugitive from justice.' Private respondent
Marquez may likewise, if he so desires, introduce additional and admissible evidence in support of his own
position. The provisions of Sections 3 to 10, Rule 33, of the Rules of Court may be applied in the reception of
the evidence. The Chairman of the COMELEC shall have the proceedings completed and the corresponding
report submitted to this Court within thirty (30) days from notice hereof." 27
While it may generally be said that the possible outcome or truth of an indictment need not necessarily be an issue in
ascertaining whether or not one is afugitive from justice, when, however, the accusation is lodged with and an arrest is ordered
by a foreign court or agency we might also assure ourselves as a matter of principle that, in the process of sanctioning in effect
an act of a foreign government, we do not thereby abandon our own basic sense of equity and fair play. There cannot thus be
any serious doubt that, when assailed or in doubt, the courts are free to look into, and receive evidence on, the legitimacy and
regularity of the proceedings in that foreign jurisdiction.
In the report submitted by the Commission on Elections, 28 entitled "Evidence of the Parties and Commission's Evaluation,"
received by the Court on 26 December 1995, the matters adduced by petitioner focused on what had already been asseverated
in his petition, i.e., that he was already in the Philippines prior to the filing of the charges against him before the United States
court in November of 1985 and that his return to the country was not intended to avoid prosecution. Neither party brought up
any question on the legitimacy and regularity of the proceedings before the foreign court that led to the issuance of the
warrants of arrest. I quote the pertinent portions of the report:
"EVIDENCE
"Petitioner Rodriguez presented the following witnesses:
"1. Atty. Cipriano Farrales
Legal Officer of the Bureau of Immigration and
Deportation
"2. Menardo Manglo
"3. Former Supreme Court Justice Abraham Sarmiento
"4. Ex-Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.
"5. Ex-Senator Agapito Aquino
"6. Atty. Geronimo Reyes, Jr.
"7. Atty. Roberto Avio
"8. Mr. Heberto Buenafe
"9. Former Senate President Jovito Salonga
"10. Former Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment Augusto Sanchez
"11. Mr. Euclides Abcede and
"12. Eduardo Rodriguez.

"The testimonies of Former Supreme Court Justice Abraham Sarmiento, former Senator Aquilino Pimentel,
Jr., former Senator Agapito Aquino, Former Labor Secretary Augusto Sanchez and former Senator Jovito
Salonga collectively emphasized that petitioner Eduardo Rodriguez was one of the active participants in the
political movement against the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. They went to Hongkong on August 9,
1985 as a group, together with petitioner Eduardo Rodriguez, in order to meet a political exile, Raul Daza,
who had then a pending warrant of arrest issued by a Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. The purpose of
the trip was to provide Mr. Raul Daza, another prominent opposition figure during the Marcos regime,
some form of protective company during his return to the country on August 12, 1985. To the political
opposition then, it was a big event that enjoyed media bash particularly in the August 12, 1985 issue of the
Bulletin Today and in the August 19, 1985 issue of the Mr. and Ms. Magazine.
"Mr. Geronimo Reyes testified that he knows petitioner Rodriguez as a co-exile from the Marcos regime in
Los Angeles, USA. Reyes was the organizer and president of Wilshire Walking Corp. composed of Filipino
residents in Los Angeles. Petitioner Rodriguez became a member thereof. Rodriguez returned to the
Philippines about July 1985 and returned to Los Angeles in August of the same year. That was the last time
they saw each other in the US. Either on November 11 or 12, 1985, a certain Johnny Reveche, brother-in-
law of petitioner Rodriguez, called him to the former's home at Beard Ave., Northridge, California to discuss
the matter of the arrest and detention of Mrs. Imelda Rodriguez, wife of petitioner Rodriguez, who had just
been bailed out. His assistance was requested because he had been practicing law in California. While Mr.
Reyes, Imelda Rodriguez and Mr. Reveche were discussing the case, Mr. Reveche called Mr. Reyes to the
phone where the latter found out that Rodriguez was on the other end calling him from the Philippines. The
caller requested Mr. Reyes to render all the necessary assistance to Mrs. Rodriguez because petitioner was
unable to be with her as he was then in the Philippines and deep in the political campaign.
"Atty. Roberto Avio, resident of Macalelon, Quezon and former chairman of the United Nationalists
Democratic Organization (UNIDO), Macalelon Chapter, testified that sometime in May 1985, former Mayor
Eduardo T. Rodriguez returned from the United States and sent his personal driver to witness' residence to
inform the latter that Rodriguez would be meeting him in the first week of June 1985 at Macalelon, Quezon.
In the meeting held as scheduled, Rodriguez intimated that he (Rodriguez) was tasked by Ex-Senator
Salonga to reactivate and reorganize the Liberal Party in the Bondoc Peninsula area. However, Atty. Avio
declined Rodriguez's invitation to join the reorganization as he was then already committed to the UNIDO
as the local chairman. Rodriguez requested another meeting after consulting with other former Liberal
Party stalwarts. Said meeting transpired on the last week of July 1985 where Rodriguez, made aware of the
improbability of reactivating the Liberal Party due to the affiliation of most of the party's former members
with the UNIDO, expressed willingness to join the UNIDO. Rodriguez took his oath of allegiance on October
1985. Thereafter, he actively participated in the political campaigns of the UNIDO candidates in the
presidential snap elections and congressional elections resulting in his appointment as OIC-Board Member

of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Quezon in 1986 and his election as Provincial Governor of Quezon in
1988.
"Heberto Buenafe's testimony corroborated these allegations, specifically stating that sometime in July and
August of 1985, Buenafe had occasion to meet Rodriguez and that in matters of party dispute regarding the
leadership of the UNIDO in Lucena City, the latter was often consulted as he (Rodriguez) was then
designated as party representative of the Liberal Party by Senator Salonga immediately after his arrival in
the Philippines in May 1985. Likewise, Mr. Euclides Abcede's testimony attested to the fact that in line with
his activities as an active opposition campaigner, Abcede met Rodriguez in Macalelon, Quezon sometime in
June 1985.
"Mr. Menardo Manglo is the arrival and departure verifier of the Bureau of Immigration. He certified the
authenticity of the Bureau of Immigration Arrival and Departure Reports of June 1985, August 1985,
August 1986, September 1986, July 1987, June 1988, July 1989 and August 1990 (Exhibits 5 to 5-G,
inclusive) wherein the name Eduardo T. Rodriguez appears. On cross-examination, witness testified that
said exhibits were computer print-outs supplied to the Bureau of Immigration by the PAL Computer Center.
"Atty. Cipriano Farrales, legal officer of the Bureau of Immigration, testified that the certification issued by
the Bureau relative to the departure and arrival of Rodriguez in the Philippines issued by Commissioner
Lopez was genuine and authentic (Exhibits 1 and 2).
"Herein petitioner Rodriguez' testimony denied the allegation that he falls within the Supreme Court's
definition of a 'fugitive from justice' which includes 'those who, after being charged, flee to avoid
prosecution.' Specifically, Rodriguez averred:
"b) I arrived in the Philippines from the United States of America on June 25, 1985, 5 months prior
the filing of the alleged charges against me on November 12, 1985. Obviously, I did not flee from
the United States of America to avoid prosecution. At the time that I left the United States, there
were no charges against me. No warrant of arrest has been issued against my person. Under the
facts, it could not be said that I fled from the United States to avoid prosecution. . . .
"On the query as to whether or not he returned to the United States between June 25, 1985 and November
12, 1985, petitioner Rodriguez responded that he went back twice, viz, on August 14, 1985 and October 7,
1985 (see also passport, Exhibit 14). He testified that he left Los Angeles on October 26, 1985 and, as per
certification issued by the Bureau of Immigration (Exhibit 2), arrived in the Philippines on the same date.
From that time, Rodriguez never returned to Los Angeles. After the conclusion of the oral testimonies, the
following documentary evidence were offered by petitioner Rodriguez and were admitted.
"1. Civil Service Commission Form No. 1, Job Description of Cipriano Farrales (Exhibit 1)
"2. Certification from the Bureau of Immigration (Exhibit 2)
"3. Affidavit of Abraham Sarmiento (Exhibit 3 with Annexes A and B, Bulletin Today and Mr. and
Ms. Magazine news reports)

"4. Affidavit of Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. (Exhibit 4 with Annexes A and B, Bulletin Today and Mr. and
Ms. Magazine news reports)
"5. Arrival and Departure Report of the Bureau of Immigration (Exhibit 5 to 5-D, inclusive)
"6. Affidavit of Agapito Aquino (Exhibit 6 with Annexes A and B, Bulletin Today and Mr. and Ms.
Magazine news reports)
"7. Affidavit of Geronimo Reyes, Jr. (Exhibit 7)
"8. Affidavit of Roberto Avio (Exhibit 8)
"9. Affidavit of Heberto Buenafe (Exhibit 9)
"10. Affidavit of Jovito Salonga (Exhibit 10)
"11. Affidavit of Augusto Sanchez (Exhibit 11)
"12. Affidavit of Euclides Abcede (Exhibit 12)
"13. Affidavit of Eduardo T. Rodriguez (Exhibit 13)
"14. Xerox copy of Rodriguez's passport (Exhibit 14 with submarkings, 14-A to 14-D, inclusive)
"Respondent Marquez submitted the following documentary evidence:
"1. Affidavit of Bienvenido Marquez (Exhibit E)
"2. Affidavit of Mr. Casiano Pasumbal (Exhibit F)
"3. Certificate of Death of Gloria Magayanes Gener, mother-in-law of petitioner (Exhibit G) with the
alleged signature of Rodriguez as informant (Exhibit G-1)
"4. Certificate of Death of Imelda Gener Rodriguez, spouse of petitioner (Exhibit H) with the alleged
signature of Rodriguez as informant (Exhibit H-1)
"As regards other documentary evidence offered, the investigation report consisting of Exhibits I to I-17
and J to J-87 which was sought admission by respondent Marquez, was excluded by the presiding
Commissioner because of irrelevancy to the purpose for which it was offered. The undersigned so ruled due
to respondent's failure to identify the nexus between the documents sought to be admitted and the
inference that in view of the same, petitioner would have known of the imminent filing of charges against
him." 29
From the "Discussion" portion of its report, it would appear to me that the COMELEC, like the majority of my colleagues,
proceeded under the impression that the Court in G.R. No. 112889 had considered intent to evade the law to be a material
element in the definition of "fugitive from justice." The COMELEC understandably thereby felt compelled to conclude that
petitioner, there being no clear evidence of any intention on his part to evade the law at the time he left the United States, was
not a fugitive from justice. However, as heretofore so pointed out, the sole and basic issue in G.R. No. 112889 was whether or
not a conviction by final judgment of the person at large was essential before he could be considered a fugitive from justice.
That question clearly arose when theOversight Committee which was convened by the President, conformably with Section
533 of Republic Act 7160, to formulate the appropriate rules and regulations necessary for the efficient and effective
implementation of the provisions of the Local Government Code, came out with its Article 73 that provided:

"Art. 73. Disqualifications. The following persons shall be disqualified from running for any elective local
position;
"(a) . . .
"(e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or non-political cases here or abroad. Fugitive from justice refers to a
person who has been convicted by final judgment." (Emphasis supplied.)
The court in G.R. No. 112889 naturally opined that the above provision "to the extent that it confine(d) the term fugitive from
justice to refer only to a person (the fugitive) . . . convicted by final judgment (was) an inordinate and undue circumscription of
the law." The Court had to likewise concede to the Solicitor General when he then said that the term "includes not only those
who flee after conviction to avoid punishment but likewise those who, after being charged, flee to avoid prosecution" for,
certainly, the statement was not incorrect. But what indeed, could be perplexing was how it could be possible for the Court's
ruling in G.R. No. 112889 to be so misconstrued as to supposedly convey any idea of exclusivity or preclusivity that, to begin
with, was not even considered at the time.
There should be nothing erroneous, in my view, when COMELEC did ultimately come up with its own concluding
observation that "the mere fact that there are pending charges in the United States and that petitioner Rodriguez is in the
Philippines make petitioner a fugitive from justice."
And so I hold, in resume, as follows: That
1. The filing with the COMELEC of the disqualification case in SPA No. 95-089 was not an act of forum
shopping on the part of herein private respondent Marquez.
2. Section 40(e) of the Local Government Code of 1991 did not partake of an ex post facto law or a bill of
attainder.
3. Section 40(e) of the Local Government Code, not Section 72 of the Omnibus Election Code, should govern.
4. The COMELEC did not abuse its discretion in denying herein petitioner's motion for a suspension of
hearing in SPA Case No. 95-089 and in allowing herein private respondent to present his
evidence ex-parte, considering its close proximity to the 1995 elections.
5. In consolidating EPC No. 92-28 (the quo warranto case) and SPA No. 95-089 (the disqualification case),
the COMELEC acted in conformity with its Rules of Procedure.
6. Given the factual settings and the circumstances, I must conclude that petitioner is a "fugitive from
justice" within the intent and meaning of Section 40(e) of the Local Government Code of 1991.
WHEREFORE, I vote for the DISMISSAL of the petition.
Narvasa C . J ., Padilla, Regalado, Davide Jr., and Mendoza, JJ ., concur.

Footnotes
1.243 SCRA 538, 542.
2.COMELEC Consolidated Resolution, Rollo, pp. 95-96.
3.Rollo, p. 164.
4.Rollo, p. 476.
TORRES, JR., J., concurring:
1.Report of the Commission, p. 12.
2.Commissioner Maambong's Concurring Opinion that petitioner is not fugitive from justice, p. 9.
3.Towne vs. Eismer, 245 U.S. 418.
4.Art. II, Sec. 26 (State Policies) of the 1987 Constitution provides: "The state shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political
dynasties as may be defined by law."
5.Labo vs. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 105384, July 3, 1992.
6.Learned Hand, A Plea for the Open Mind and Free Discussion, in True Spirit of Liberty, 274.

7.Avelino vs. Rosales, CA-G.R. No. 88-R, September 5, 1952, 48, O.G. 5308; The Law on Elections by Jaime Opinion and Ruben Agpalo, 1987 ed., p. 57.).
8.Mentang vs. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 110347, February 4, 1994.
VITUG, J., dissenting:
1.The first case was G.R. No. 105310, entitled, "Bienvenido Marquez, Jr. vs. Eduardo Rodriguez," the second case was G.R. No. 112889 entitled, "Bienvenido Marquez, Jr.
v. Eduardo Rodriguez," the third case was G.R. No. 119807 entitled, "Eduardo Rodriguez v. COMELEC, et al.," and now, the case at bench, G.R. No. 120099.
2.In its decision, dated 18 April 1995, the Court sustained Marquez in contending that conviction was not a requirement of the disqualifying law and thereby
remanded the case for further proceedings.
3.Rodriguez alleged that when SPA No. 95-089 was called for hearing by the Second Division of the respondent Commission on 26 April 1995 at two o'clock in the
afternoon, there was no quorum. Only Commissioner Teresita D.L. Flores was present. He alleged that since Presiding Commissioner of the Second
Division, Remedios Salazar-Fernando and Manolo Gorospe were not present, how was it possible for a single Commissioner to constitute a quorum for the
transaction of the business of the Second Division.
4.Rollo, p. 97.
5.People vs. Court of Appeals, 101 SCRA 450.
6.Victronics Computer, Inc. vs. Regional Trial Court, Branch 63, Makati, 217 SCRA 517.
7.R. Transport Corporation vs. Laguesma, 227 SCRA 826.
8.To be ex post facto, the law must: (1) refer to criminal matters; (2) be retroactive in its application; and (3) to the prejudice of the accused. (Isagani A. Cruz,
Constitutional Law, 1989 ed., p. 244)
9.A bill of attainder is a legislative fiat that inflicts punishment without trial (People vs. Carlos, 78 Phil. 535), its essence being the substitution of legislative fiat for a
judicial determination of guilt (Cruz, supra, pp. 246-247).
10.See Marcelino vs. Cruz, 121 SCRA 51.
11.The two other members were Commissioners Remedios Fernando and Manolo Gorospe.
12.The Court, in response, said in its decision of 18 April 1995 that conviction was not indispensable, albeit some reservations expressed by the ponente.
13.Rollo, p. 413.
14.Rollo, p. 466.
15.Sec. 40.Disqualifications. The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective local position:
xxx xxx xxx
(e) Fugitive from justice in criminal or non-political cases here or abroad(.)
16.116 U.S. 80, 29 Led. 544.
17.A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice and be found in another state, shall on demand of the executive
authority of the state from with he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime (Art. 4, Sec. 2).
18.Whenever the executive authority of any state or territory demands any person as a fugitive from justice, of the executive authority of any state or territory to
which such person has fled, and produces a copy of an indictment found or an affidavit made before a magistrate of any state or territory, charging the
person demanded with having committed treason, felony, or other crime, certified as authentic by the governor or chief magistrate of the state or territory
from whence the person so charged has fled, it shall be the duty of the executive authority of the state or territory to which such person has fled to cause
him to be arrested and secured, and to cause notice of the arrest to be given to the executive authority making such demand, or to the agent of such
authority appointed to receive the fugitive, and to cause the fugitive to be delivered to such agent when he shall appear. (See U.S. Comp. St. 1901, P. 3597).
19.203 U.S. 222, 51 Led. 161.
20.Illinois ex rel. McNichols v. Pease, 207 U.S. 100, 52, L. ed. 121; Biddinger v. Police Commissioners, 245 U.S. 128, 62, L ed. 193; Hogan v. O'neill, 255 U.S. 52, 65 L ed.
497.

21.The U.S. Supreme Court in Appleyard went cursorily through a number of such cases (hereunder re-arranged for convenience) thusly:
"In Kingsbury's Case, 106 Mass. 223, 227, 228, the contention of the fugitive from justice was that, as she went into the demanding state and returned to her home in
the other state before the alleged crime was known, she could not be deemed to have fled from justice. But the court said: 'The material facts are, that the
prisoner is charged with a crime in the manner prescribed, and has gone beyond the jurisdiction of the state, so that there has been no reasonable
opportunity to prosecute him after the facts were known. The fact in this case, that she returned to her permanent home, cannot be material . . . It is
sufficient that the crime of larceny has been properly charged, and that the prisoner is a fugitive, and a requisition has been properly made.'
"In State ex rel. Burner v. Richter, 37 Minn, 436, 438, 35 N.W. 9, the contention was that to constitute a fugitive from justice a person must have left the state where
the crime was committed for the purpose of escaping the legal consequences of his crime. Referring to Roberts v. Reilly, above cited, as authoritative and
binding, and as in accordance with is own views, the supreme court of Minnesota well said: 'The sole purpose of this statute, and of the constitutional
provision which it was designed to carry into effect, was to secure the return of persons who had committed crime within one state, and had left it before
answering the demands of justice. The important thing is not their purpose in leaving, but the fact that they had left, and hence were beyond the reach of
the process of the state where the crime was committed. Whether the motive for leaving was to escape prosecution or something else, their return to
answer the charges against them is equally within the spirit and purpose of the statute; and the simple fact that they are not within the state to answer its
criminal process, when required, renders them, in legal intendment, fugitives from justice, regardless of their purpose in leaving.'
"In re Voorhees, 32 N.J.L. 141, 150, the Court said: 'A person who commits a crime within a state, and withdraws himself from such jurisdiction without waiting to
abide the consequences of such act, must be regarded as a fugitive from the justice of the state whose laws he has infringed. Any other construction would
not only be inconsistent with good sense and with the obvious import of the word to be interpreted in the context in which it stands, but would likewise
destroy, for most practical purposes, the efficacy of the entire constitutional provision.'
"In ex parte Swearingen, 13 S.C. 74, 80, the court held that the terms 'fugitive from justice' were intended to embrace not only a case where a party, after committing a
crime, actually flees, in the literal sense of that term, from the state where such crime was committed, but also a case where a citizen of one state, who,
within the territorial limits of another state, commits a crime, and then simply returns to his own home. The object of the Constitution was to enable a
state whose laws had been violated, to secure the arrest of the person charged with such violation, even though such person might be beyond the reach of
the ordinary process of such state.
"In re Mohr, 73 Ala. 503, 512, 49 Am. Rep. 63, the court, referring to the words in the Constitution, 'who shall flee from justice and be found in another state,' said:
'There is a difference of opinion as to what must be the exact nature of this flight on the part of the criminal, but the better view, perhaps, is that any
person is a fugitive within the purview of the Constitution, 'who goes into a state, commits a crime, and then returns home.'
"In Hibler v. State, 43 Tex. 197, 201, the court said: 'The words 'fugitive from justice' as used in this connection, must not be understood in a literal sense, but in
reference to the subject-matter, considering the general object of the Constitution and laws of the United States in relation thereto. A person who commits
a crime in one state, for which he is indicted, and departs therefrom, and is found in another state, may well be regarded as a fugitive from justice in the
sense in which it is here used."
22.See Black's Law Dictionary.
23.See Webster's Third New International Dictionary.
24.Sec. 40(e), R.A. 7160.
25.G.R. No. 112889, 18 April 1995.
26.Rollo, pp. 95-96.
27.Rollo, pp. 536-537.
28.Signed by Hon. Teresita Dy-Liaco Flores, writing for the Commission, concurred in by Hon. Bernardo P. Pardo, Chairman. Hon. Julio F. Desamito, Commissioner,
Hon. Graduacion A. Reyes-Claravall, Commissioner, Hon. Manolo B. Gorospe, Commissioner, and separately concurred in by Hon. Regalado E. Maambong,
Commissioner, and Hon. Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando, Commissioner.
29.Evidence of the Parties and Commission's Evaluation, pp. 4-9.
||| (Rodriguez v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 120099, [July 24, 1996], 328 PHIL 624-682)



EN BANC
[G.R. No. 154512. November 12, 2002.]
VICTORINO DENNIS M. SOCRATES, Mayor of Puerto Princesa City, petitioner, vs. THE COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, THE PREPARATORY RECALL ASSEMBLY (PRA) of Puerto Princesa City, PRA Interim
Chairman Punong Bgy. MARK DAVID HAGEDORN, PRA Interim Secretary Punong Bgy. BENJAMIN
JARILLA, PRA Chairman and Presiding Officer Punong Bgy. EARL S. BUENVIAJE and PRA Secretary
Punong Bgy. CARLOS ABALLA, JR., respondents.
[G.R. No. 154683. November 12, 2002.]
VICENTE S. SANDOVAL, JR., petitioner, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. Nos. 155083-84. November 12, 2002.]
MA. FLORES P. ADOVO, MERCY E. GILO and BIENVENIDO OLLAVE, SR., petitioners, vs. THE
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, and EDWARD S. HAGEDORN, respondents.
Stephen V. Jaromay for petitioners.
George Erwin M. Garcia, Dela Cruz Albano & Associates and M.M. Lazaro & Associates for E.S. Hagedorn.
The Solicitor General for public respondent.
Edwin B. Gastanes for petitioner in G.R. No. 154512.
Aristotle Q. Sarmiento for petitioner in G.R. No. 154683.
SYNOPSIS
Out of the 528 members of the then incumbent barangay officials of Puerto Princesa, 312 convened themselves into a
Preparatory Recall Assembly (PRA) to initiate the recall of then Puerto Princesa Mayor Victorino Dennis Socrates. The PRA
passed Resolution No. 01-02, which declared their loss of confidence inSocrates and called for his recall. Thereafter, the
COMELEC scheduled the campaign period and the recall election. Mr. Edward M. Hagedorn filed his certificate of candidacy
and eventually won the recall election. The issues involved in these consolidated petitions are: (1) whether the COMELEC
committed grave abuse of discretion in giving due course to the recall resolution and in scheduling the recall election for
mayor in Puerto Princesa; and (2) whether Hagedorn was qualified to run for mayor despite serving three consecutive full
terms immediately prior to recall election.
The Supreme Court ruled that it is bound by the findings of fact of the COMELEC on matters within its competence and
expertise unless the findings were patently erroneous, which was not present in the case at bar. Therefore, there was no grave
abuse of discretion committed by the COMELEC in upholding the validity of the Recall Resolution and in scheduling the recall
election. The Court lifted the temporary restraining order enjoining the proclamation of the winning candidate for mayor in
the recall election in Puerto Princesa. According to the Court, what the Constitution prohibits is an immediate reelection for a
fourth term following three consecutive terms. A recall election mid-way in a term following the third consecutive term is a
subsequent election but not an immediate re-election after the third term.
SYLLABUS

1. POLITICAL LAW; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE; ELECTIVE LOCAL OFFICIALS; THREE-TERM LIMIT; CONSTRUED. The
three-term limit rule for elective local officials is found in Section 8, Article X of the Constitution. This three-term limit rule is
reiterated in Section 43 (b) of RA No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code. These constitutional and
statutory provisions have two parts. The first part provides that an elective local official cannot serve for more than three
consecutive terms. The clear intent is that only consecutive terms count in determining the three-term limit rule. The second
part states that voluntary renunciation of office for any length of time does not interrupt the continuity of service. The clear
intent is that involuntary severance from office for any length of time interrupts continuity of service and prevents the service
before and after the interruption from being joined together to form a continuous service or consecutive terms. After three
consecutive terms, an elective local official cannot seek immediate reelection for a fourth term. The prohibited election refers
to the next regular election for the same office following the end of the third consecutive term. Any subsequent election, like a
recall election, is no longer covered by the prohibition for two reasons. First, a subsequent election like a recall election is no
longer an immediate reelection after three consecutive terms. Second, the intervening period constitutes an involuntary
interruption in the continuity of service. Clearly, what theConstitution prohibits is an immediate reelection for a fourth term
following three consecutive terms. The Constitution, however, does not prohibit a subsequent reelection for a fourth term as
long as the reelection is not immediately after the end of the third consecutive term. A recall election mid-way in the term
following the third consecutive term is a subsequent election but not an immediate reelection after the third term. Neither
does the Constitutionprohibit one barred from seeking immediate reelection to run in any other subsequent election involving
the same term of office. What the Constitutionprohibits is a consecutive fourth term. The debates in the Constitutional
Commission evidently show that the prohibited election referred to by the framers of the Constitution is the immediate
reelection after the third term, not any other subsequent election. DHTECc
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; INTERRUPTION IN THE CONTINUITY OF SERVICE MUST BE INVOLUNTARY; APPLICATION IN CASE AT BAR.
In Lonzanida v. Comelec, the Court had occasion to explain interruption of continuity of service in this manner: ". . . The
second sentence of the constitutional provision under scrutiny states, "Voluntary renunciation of office for any length of
time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which he was elected." The clear
intent of the framers of the constitution to bar any attempt to circumvent the three-term limit by a voluntary renunciation of
office and at the same time respect the people's choice and grant their elected official full service of a term is evident in this
provision. Voluntary renunciation of a term does not cancel the renounced term in the computation of the three-term
limit; conversely, involuntary severance from office for any length of time short of the full term provided by law amounts to an
interruption of continuity of service. . . . ." In Hagedorn's case, the nearly 15-month period he was out of office, although short of
a full term of three years, constituted an interruption in the continuity of his service as mayor. The Constitution does not
require the interruption or hiatus to be a full term of three years. The clear intent is that interruption "for any length of
time," as long as the cause is involuntary, is sufficient to break an elective local official's continuity of service.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; RECALL ELECTION; WINNER THEREOF COULD NOT BE CREDITED WITH FULL TERM FOR THE PURPOSE
OF COUNTING CONSECUTIVENESS OF THE ELECTIVE OFFICIAL'S TERM OF OFFICE. We held in Adormeo that the period an
elective local official is out of office interrupts the continuity of his service and prevents his recall term from being stitched
together as a seamless continuation of his previous two consecutive terms. In the instant case, we likewise hold that the nearly

15 months Hagedorn was out of office interrupted his continuity of service and prevents his recall term from being stitched
together as a seamless continuation of his previous three consecutive terms. The only difference between Adormeo and the
instant case is the time of the interruption. In Adormeo, the interruption occurred after the first two consecutive terms. In the
instant case, the interruption happened after the first three consecutive terms. In both cases, the respondents were seeking
election for a fourth term. In Adormeo, the recall term of Talaga began only from the date he assumed office after winning the
recall election. Talaga's recall term did not retroact to include the tenure in office of his predecessor. If Talaga's recall term was
made to so retroact, then he would have been disqualified to run in the 2001 elections because he would already have served
three consecutive terms prior to the 2001 elections. One who wins and serves a recall term does not serve the full term of his
predecessor but only the unexpired term. The period of time prior to the recall term, when another elective official holds
office, constitutes an interruption in continuity of service. Clearly, Adormeo established the rule that the winner in the recall
election cannot be charged or credited with the full term of three years for purposes of counting the consecutiveness of an elective
official's terms in office.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; THE UNEXPIRED TERM IS IN ITSELF ONE TERM FOR PURPOSE OF THREE-TERM LIMIT. The concept
of term limits is in derogation of the sovereign will of the people to elect the leaders of their own choosing. Term limits must
be construed strictly to give the fullest possible effect to the sovereign will of the people. As this Court aptly stated in Borja, Jr.
v. Comelec: "Thus, a consideration of the historical background of Art. X, 8 of theConstitution reveals that the members of the
Constitutional Commission were as much concerned with preserving the freedom of choice of the people as they were with
preventing the monopolization of political power. Indeed, they rejected a proposal put forth by Commissioner Edmundo F.
Garcia that after serving three consecutive terms or nine years there should be no further reelection for local and legislative
officials. Instead, they adopted the alternative proposal of Commissioner Christian Monsod that such officials be simply barred
from running for the same position in the succeeding election following the expiration of the third consecutive term. Monsod
warned against 'prescreening candidates [from] whom the people will choose' as a result of the proposed, absolute
disqualification, considering that the draft constitution contained provisions 'recognizing people's power.'" A necessary
consequence of the interruption of continuity of service is the start of a new term following the interruption. An official elected
in recall election serves the unexpired term of the recalled official. This unexpired term is in itself one term for purposes of
counting the three-term limit.

PUNO, J., concurring opinion:
1. POLITICAL LAW; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE; ELECTIVE LOCAL OFFICIALS; THREE-TERM LIMIT; CONDITIONS FOR
DISQUALIFICATIONS AS A RESULT THEREOF. In the recent case of Adormeo vs. COMELEC, et al., we ruled that a mayor who
assumed office via a recall election and served the unexpired portion of the mayoralty term is not considered to have served a
full term for purposes of applying the three-term limit. . . . Citing the Borja and Lonzanida rulings, we ruled that Talaga, Jr. was
not disqualified as the two conditions for disqualifications, namely (1) the elective official concerned was elected for three
consecutive terms in the same post and (2) he has fully served three consecutive terms, were not met. We did not consider
Talaga Jr.'s service of the unexpired portion of Tagarao's term as service of a full term for purposes of the three term limit. We

also ruled that he did not serve for three consecutiveterms as there was a break in his service when he lost to Tagarao in the
1998 elections. EHTISC
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PRINCIPAL REASONS FOR THE ENACTMENT THEREOF, CONSTRUED. The deliberations of the ConCom
and the ruling case law of Borja, Lonzanida and Adormeo show that there are two principal reasons for the three term limit for
elective local officials: (1) to prevent political dynasties perpetuated by the undue advantage of the incumbent and (2) to
broaden the choice of the people by allowing candidates other than the incumbent to serve the people. Likewise evident in the
deliberations is the effort to balance between two interests, namely, the prevention of political dynasties and broadening the
choice of the people on the one hand, and respecting the freedom of choice and voice of the people, on the other; thus, the
calibration between perpetual disqualification after three consecutive terms as proposed by Commissioner Garcia, and setting
a limit on immediate reelection and providing for a hibernation period. In all three cases Borja, Lonzanida and Adormeo
we ruled that the "term" referred to in the three term limit is service of a full term of three years for elective local officials. This
ruling furthers the intent of the ConCom to prevent political dynasties as it is the service of consecutive full terms that makes
service continuous and which opens the gates to political dynasties limiting the people's choice of leaders. In the words of
Commissioner Ople, ". . . we want to prevent future situations where, as a result of continuous service and frequent reelections,
officials from the President down to the municipal mayor tend to develop a proprietary interest in their positions and to
accumulate those powers and perquisites that permit them to stay on indefinitely or to transfer these posts to members of
their families in a subsequent election. I think that is taken care of because we put a gap on the continuity or unbroken service of
all of these officials." Thus, ConCom set the limit on consecutive full terms to no more than three. Otherwise stated, it is afourth
consecutive full term that is prohibited.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; WHAT IS PROHIBITED IS THE SERVICE OF A FOURTH CONSECUTIVE FULL TERM AS CONTEMPLATED BY LAW.
Even a textual analysis of Art. X, Sec. 8 will yield the interpretation that what is prohibited is the service of a fourth
consecutive full term. Petitioners are correct in foisting the view that "term" is a fixed and definite period of time prescribed by
law or the Constitution during which the public officer may claim to hold office as a right. It is a fixed and definite period of
time to hold office, perform its functions, and enjoy its privileges and emoluments until the expiration of the period. In
ascertaining what "term" means for elective local officials, the Constitution itself provides in Art. X, Sec. 8 that it means a fixed,
definite, and full period of three, years, viz: "Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which
shall be determined by law, shall be three years. . . " Although one or more persons may discharge the duties of the office
during this fixed three-year period, the term is not divided into smaller terms by the number of incumbents who may fill the
office. It is one and indivisible, and term follows term in successive cycles of three years each. If the incumbent or the one
elected to the office fills a higher vacant office, refuses to assume office, fails to qualify, dies, is removed from office, voluntary
resigns or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office, thereby creating a permanent
vacancy, the term would remain unbroken until the recurring election for the office. The provisions on voluntary renunciation
under Art. X, Sec. 8 and other articles of the Constitution bolster the interpretation that for purposes of applying the three term
limit, service of a full term of three years is contemplated. Likewise, because "term" is understood to be a fixed, definite, and
full-period, the Constitution, in Art. VI, Sec. 9, uses the qualifier "unexpired term" to refer to only a portion of a term. Similarly,
Sec. 44 of theLocal Government Code of 1991 uses the phrase "unexpired term" to mean the remainder of the term. Thus,

when Art. X, Sec. 8 of the Constitution states that ". . . no such (local elective) official shall serve for more than three
consecutive terms," it consistently means that it allows service of a maximum of three consecutive full terms and prohibits
service of a minimum fourth consecutive full term.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ASSUMPTION OF OFFICE THROUGH A RECALL ELECTION IS NOT IN REALITY A SERVICE OF FULL TERM;
RATIONALE. It is my respectful submission that the Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991 proscribe a local
official who has been thrice consecutively elected in regular elections and has served three full terms in the same position,
from running in the regular election succeeding his third consecutive term. It is this situation that is prohibited because it
makes possible service of more than three consecutive and continuous full terms, i.e., service of a fourth consecutive full term. We
cannot overstress that it is this continuousness that the ConCom feared would open the gates to the two evils sought to be
avoided: the incumbent's use of his undue advantage to put up a political dynasty and limiting the people's choice of leaders. It
is in this context of regular elections that our obiter dictumin the Lonzanida case, which petitioners harp on, should be
understood. In that case, we opined that "[a]s finally voted upon, it was agreed that an elective local government official should
be barred from running for the same post after three consecutive terms. After a hiatus of at least one term, he may again run
for the same office." Indeed, insofar as regular local elections are concerned, which were the elections involved in that case,
there should be a hiatus of at least one full term of three years. On the other hand, in the case of a local official who assumes
office through a recall election whether after his first, second, or third consecutive term there is a break in his service
caused by the election of the incumbent who was recalled. Even in the case of a local official who initially assumes
office via recall election, then wins the two succeeding regular elections and serves two full terms in the same post, he is not
prohibited from seeking another reelection and serving another full term. This is so because his service of the remainder of the
incumbent's term via recall election is not, in reality and in law, a full term continuing on to his three succeeding full terms.
Local officials who assume office via recall election serve only the unexpired portion of the incumbent's term and this service
is not counted as a full term, despite the Constitutional mandate that the term of office of elective local officials is three years.
Such is the design because Art. XVIII, Secs. 2 and 5 of the Constitution also prescribe synchronization of regular national and
local elections beginning on the second Monday of May 1992, which is accomplished if the local official who assumes office
through recall election serves only the incumbent's unexpired term. As we ruled in the Adormeo case, service of an unexpired
term is considered service of a full term only with respect to Representatives (and Senators) because unlike local government
officials, Representatives cannot be recalled. It is continuous prolonged stay in office that breeds political dynasties.
Understandable therefore, insofar as Representatives who cannot be recalled are concerned, service of an unexpired term is
strictly counted as service of a full term because the purpose of the ConCom was to limit the right to run and be elected in
Congress.
MENDOZA, J., separate opinion:
1. POLITICAL LAW; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE; ELECTIVE LOCAL OFFICIALS; THREE-TERM LIMIT; TERM DURING WHICH A
RECALL ELECTION WAS HELD SHOULD NOT BE COUNTED IN THE COMPUTATION THEREOF; RATIONALE. I submit with
respect that the term during which a recall election is held should not be counted in computing the three-term limit not only
when the recall election occurs within three consecutive terms, as this Court has already held, but also when such election is
held during the fourth term immediately following three consecutive terms. The reason for this is that the elective local official

cannot be said to have served "for more than three consecutive terms" because of the break in his service. What prevents the
fourth term from being counted in determining the three-term limit is the lack of continuity, or the break, in the "service of the
full term." I must stress that the Constitution does not say "service for more than three terms" but "service for more than
three consecutive terms." acCTIS
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PURPOSE THEREOF. As the discussion of the Constitutional Commission on Art. X. Sec. 8 shows, the three-
term limit is aimed at preventing the monopolization or aggrandizement of political power and the perpetration of the
incumbent in office. This abuse is likely to arise from a prolonged stay in power. It is not likely to arise if the service is broken,
albeit it is for more than three terms.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; REQUIREMENTS; CONSTRUED. Hence, the application of the constitutional ban on the holding of elective
local office for three consecutive terms requires in my view (1) election in a regular election for three consecutive terms and
(2) service for the full terms, each consisting of three years, for which the official is elected. The first requirement is intended
to give the electorate the freedom to reelect a candidate for a local elective position as part of their sovereign right (the right of
suffrage) to choose those whom they believe can best serve them. This is the reason the framers of ourConstitution rejected
Scheme No. 1, which was to ban reelection after three successive terms, and adopted Scheme No. 2, which is about "no
immediate reelection after three successive terms." On the other hand, the second requirement is intended to prevent the
accumulation of power resulting from too long a stay in office.
DAVIDE, JR., C.J., concurring and dissenting opinion:
1. POLITICAL LAW; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE; ELECTIVE LOCAL OFFICIALS; THREE-TERM LIMIT; FOURTH TERM
PROHIBITION COVERS THE PERIOD PERTAINING TO IT; CASE AT BAR. The ponencia is then correct when it holds that the
three-term limit bars an immediate reelection for a fourth term. But I disagree when it rules that in the case of Hagedorn he
did not seek an immediate reelection for a fourth term because he was not a candidate for reelection in the May 2001 election.
It forgets that what would have been his fourth term by virtue of the May 2001 election was for the period from 30 June 2001
to 30 June 2004.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; INVOLUNTARY SEVERANCE FROM OFFICE; NOT APPLICABLE IN CASE AT BAR. The flaw in the ruling
results from an apparent confusion between term and election, the root cause of which is the attempt to distinguish "voluntary
renunciation" of office from "involuntary severance" from office and the term to which it relates. . . . The dichotomy made in
the ponencia between "voluntary renunciation of the office" as used in Section 8 of Article V of the Constitution and Section
43(b) of R.A. No. 7160 and "involuntary severance from office" is unnecessary, if not misplaced. From the discussion in
the ponencia, the latter is made to apply to the banned term, i.e., the fourth term immediately following three consecutive
terms. Speaking now of Hagedorn, he cannot have suffered "involuntary severance from office" because there was nothing to
be severed; he was not a holder of an office either in ade jure or de facto capacity. He knew he was disqualified from seeking a
third reelection to office. Disqualification is, definitely, not synonymous withinvoluntary severance. Even if we concede
that involuntary severance is an act which interrupts the continuity of a term for purposes of applying the three-term principle
the rule laid down in Lonzanida vs. COMELEC (311 SCRA 609 [1999]), cited in the ponencia, page 17, is not applicable in the
case of Hagedorn. The involuntary severance referred to in that case was one that took place during any of the three terms;

hence, the term during which it occurred should be excluded in the computation. In the case of Hagedorn, no such involuntary
severance took place during any of his three terms brought about by his election in 1992 and reelections in 1995 and
1998. ITcCaS
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; VOLUNTARY RENUNCIATION, NOT CONSIDERED AS AN INTERRUPTION IN THE CONTINUITY OF SERVICE;
PURPOSE THEREOF. More importantly, the voluntary renunciation referred to in Section 8, Article X of the Constitution and
Section 43(b) of R.A. No. 7160 its one that takes place at any time during either the first, second, or third term of the three
consecutive terms. This is very clear from the last clause of Section 8, Article X of theConstitution, which reads: "shall not be
considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected." The purpose of the
provision is to prevent an elective local official from voluntary resigning from office for the purpose of circumventing the rule
on the belief that the term during which he resigned would be excluded in the counting of the three-term rule. In short, the
provision excluded is intended to impose a penalty on one who flouts the rule or make a mockery of it by the simple act of
resigning.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; THREE-TERM LIMIT CANNOT BE SUBVERTED IN A RECALL ELECTION; CASE AT BAR. A declaration that
Hagedorn is qualified to seek reelection in a recall election to remove the Mayor who was elected for a term for which
Hagedorn was constitutionally and statutorily disqualified to be reelected to or to hold is to subvert the rationale of the three-
consecutive-term rule and make a mockery of it. Worse, it abets destructive endless partisan politics and unsound governance.
An elective local official who is disqualified to seek a fourth term because of the three-term limit but obsessed to hold on to
power would spend the first year of the fourth term campaigning for the recall of the incumbent in the second year of said
term. This would not be a problem if the disqualified official has a solid following and a strong political machinery.
Interestingly, in this case, as stated on page 3 of the ponencia, the President of the Association of Barangay Captains of Puerto
Princesa City is one Mark David M. Hagedorn and he was designated by the Preparatory Recall Assembly as Interim Chairman.

D E C I S I O N
CARPIO, J p:
The Case
Before us are consolidated petitions for certiorari 1 seeking the reversal of the resolutions issued by the Commission on
Elections ("COMELEC" for brevity) in relation to the recall election for mayor of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
The Antecedents
On July 2, 2002, 312 out of 528 members of the then incumbent barangay officials of the Puerto Princesa convened themselves
into a Preparatory Recall Assembly ("PRA" for brevity) at the Gymnasium of Barangay San Jose from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
The PRA was convened to initiate the recall 2 of Victorino Dennis M. Socrates ("Socrates" for brevity) who assumed office as
Puerto Princesa's mayor on June 30, 2001. The members of the PRA designated Mark David M. Hagedorn, president of the
Association of Barangay Captains, as interim chair of the PRA.
On the same date, the PRA passed Resolution No. 01-02 ("Recall Resolution" for brevity) which declared its loss of confidence
in Socrates and called for his recall. The PRA requested the COMELEC to schedule the recall election for mayor within 30 days
from receipt of the Recall Resolution.

On July 16, 2002, Socrates filed with the COMELEC a petition, docketed as E.M. No. 02-010 (RC), to nullify and deny due course
to the Recall Resolution.
On August 14, 2002, the COMELEC en banc 3 promulgated a resolution dismissing for lack of merit Socrates' petition. The
COMELEC gave due course to the Recall Resolution and scheduled the recall election on September 7, 2002.
On August 21, 2002, the COMELEC en banc promulgated Resolution No. 5673 prescribing the calendar of activities and periods
of certain prohibited acts in connection with the recall election. The COMELEC fixed the campaign period from August 27,
2002 to September 5, 2002 or a period of 10 days.
On August 23, 2002, Edward M. Hagedorn ("Hagedorn" for brevity) filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor in the recall
election.
On August 17, 2002, Ma. Flores F. Adovo ("Adovo" for brevity) and Merly E. Gilo ("Gilo" for brevity) filed a petition before the
COMELEC, docketed as SPA No. 02-492, to disqualify Hagedorn from running in the recall election and to cancel his certificate
of candidacy. On August 30, 2002, a certain Bienvenido Ollave, Sr. ("Ollave" for brevity) filed a petition-in-intervention in SPA
No. 02-492 also seeking to disqualify Hagedorn. On the same date, a certain Genaro V. Manaay filed another petition, docketed
as SPA No. 02-539, against Hagedorn alleging substantially the same facts and involving the same issues. The petitions were all
anchored on the ground that "Hagedorn is disqualified from running for a fourth consecutive term, having been elected and
having served as mayor of the city for three (3) consecutive full terms immediately prior to the instant recall election for the
same post." Subsequently, SPA Nos. 02-492 and 02-539 were consolidated.
In a resolution promulgated on September 20, 2002, the COMELEC's First Division 4 dismissed for lack of merit SPA Nos. 02-
492 and 02-539. The COMELEC declared Hagedorn qualified to run in the recall election. The COMELEC also reset the recall
election from September 7, 2002 to September 24, 2002.
On September 23, 2002, the COMELEC en banc promulgated a resolution denying the motion for reconsideration of Adovo and
Gilo. The COMELEC affirmed the resolution declaring Hagedorn qualified to run in the recall election.
Hence, the instant consolidated petitions.
G.R. No. 154512
Petitioner Socrates seeks to nullify the COMELEC en banc resolution dated August 14, 2002 in E.M. No. 02-010 (RC) which gave
due course to the Recall Resolution and scheduled the recall election on September 7, 2002.
Socrates alleges that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in upholding the Recall Resolution. Socrates cites the
following circumstances as legal infirmities attending the convening of the PRA and its issuance of the Recall Resolution: (1)
not all members of the PRA were notified of the meeting to adopt the resolution; (2) the proof of service of notice was palpably
and legally deficient; (3) the members of the PRA were themselves seeking a new electoral mandate from their respective
constituents; (4) the adoption of the resolution was exercised with grave abuse of authority; and (5) the PRA proceedings
were conducted in a manner that violated his and the public's constitutional right to information.
G.R. No. 154683
Petitioner Vicente S. Sandoval, Jr. seeks to annul COMELEC Resolution No. 5673 dated August 21, 2002 insofar as it fixed the
recall election on September 7, 2002, giving the candidates only a ten-day campaign period. He prayed that the COMELEC be

enjoined from holding the recall election on September 7, 2002 and that a new date be fixed giving the candidates at least an
additional 15 days to campaign. AEDcIH

In a resolution dated September 3, 2002, the Court en banc enjoined the COMELEC from implementing Resolution No. 5673
insofar as it fixed the date of the recall election on September 7, 2002. The Court directed the COMELEC to give the candidates
an additional fifteen 15 days from September 7, 2002 within which to campaign.
Accordingly, on September 9, 2002, the COMELEC en banc issued Resolution No. 5708 giving the candidates an additional 15
days from September 7, 2002 within which to campaign. Thus, the COMELEC reset the recall election to September 24, 2002.
G.R. Nos. 155083-84
Petitioners Adovo, Gilo and Ollave assail the COMELEC's resolutions dated September 20, 2002 and September 23, 2002 in
SPA Nos. 02-492 and 02-539 declaring Hagedorn qualified to run for mayor in the recall election. They likewise prayed for the
issuance of a temporary restraining order to enjoin the proclamation of the winning candidate in the recall election.
Petitioners argue that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in upholding Hagedorn's qualification to run for mayor in
the recall election despite the constitutional and statutory prohibitions against a fourth consecutive term for elective local
officials.
In a resolution dated September 24, 2002, the Court ordered the COMELEC to desist from proclaiming any winning candidate
in the recall election until further orders from the Court. Petitioners were required to post a P20,000 bond.
On September 27, 2002, Socrates filed a motion for leave to file an attached petition for intervention seeking the same reliefs
as those sought by Adovo, Gilo and Ollave.
In the meantime, Hagedorn garnered the highest number of votes in the recall election with 20,238 votes. Rival
candidates Socrates and Sandoval obtained 17,220 votes and 13,241 votes.
Hagedorn filed motions to lift the order restraining the COMELEC from proclaiming the winning candidate and to allow him to
assume office to give effect to the will of the electorate.
On October 1, 2002, the Court granted Socrates' motion for leave to file a petition for intervention.
The Issues
The issues for resolution of the Court are:
1. In G.R. No. 154512, whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in giving due course to
the Recall Resolution and scheduling the recall election for mayor of Puerto Princesa.
2. In G.R. Nos. 155083-84, whether Hagedorn is qualified to run for mayor in the recall election of Puerto
Princesa on September 24, 2002.
In G.R. No. 154683, the issue of whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in fixing a campaign period of only
10 days has become moot. Our Resolution of September 3, 2002 and COMELEC Resolution No. 5708 granted an additional 15
days for the campaign period as prayed for by petitioner.
First Issue: Validity of the Recall Resolution.

Petitioner Socrates argues that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in upholding the Recall Resolution despite
the absence of notice to 130 PRA members and the defective service of notice to other PRA members. The COMELEC, however,
found that
"On various dates, in the month of June 2002, the proponents for the Recall of incumbent City Mayor
Victorino Dennis M. Socrates sent notices of the convening of the PRA to the members thereof pursuant to
Section 70 of the Local Government Code. Copies of the said notice are in Volumes I and II entitled Notices
to PRA. Likewise, Proof of Service for each of the said notices were attached to the Petition and marked as
Annex "G" of Volumes II and III of the Petition.
Notices were likewise posted in conspicuous places particularly at the Barangay Hall. Photos establishing
the same were attached to the Petition and marked as Annex "H". The proponents likewise utilized the
broadcast mass media in the dissemination of the convening of the PRA.
Notices of the convening of the Puerto Princesa PRA were also sent to the following: [a list of 25 names of
provincial elective officials, print and broadcast media practitioners, PNP officials, COMELEC city, regional
and national officials, and DILG officials].
xxx xxx xxx
The City Election Officer of Puerto Princesa City in her Certification dated 10 July 2002 certified that upon a
'thorough and careful verification of the signatures appearing in PRA Resolution 01-02, . . . the majority of
all members of the PRA concerned approved said resolution.' She likewise certified 'that not a single
member/signatory of the PRA complained or objected as to the veracity and authenticity of their
signatures.'
The Provincial Election Supervisor of Palawan, Atty. Urbano Arlando, in his Indorsement dated 10 July
2002, stated, 'upon proper review, all documents submitted are found in order.'
The Acting Director IV, Region IV, in his study dated 30 July 2002 submitted the following
recommendations:
'This Office, after evaluating the documents filed, finds the instant Petition sufficient in form and
substance. That the PRA was validly constituted and that the majority of all members thereof
approved Resolution No. 01-02 calling for the recall of Mayor Victorino Dennis M. Socrates.'
xxx xxx xxx
This Court is bound by the findings of fact of the COMELEC on matters within the competence and expertise of the COMELEC,
unless the findings are patently erroneous. In Malonzo v. COMELEC, 5 which also dealt with alleged defective service of notice
to PRA members, we ruled that
"Needless to state, the issue of propriety of the notices sent to the PRA members is factual in nature, and the
determination of the same is therefore a function of the COMELEC. In the absence of patent error, or serious
inconsistencies in the findings, the Court should not disturb the same. The factual findings of the COMELEC,
based on its own assessments and duly supported by gathered evidence, are conclusive upon the court,
more so, in the absence of a substantiated attack on the validity of the same."

In the instant case, we do not find any valid reason to hold that the COMELEC's findings of fact are patently erroneous.
Socrates also claims that the PRA members had no authority to adopt the Recall Resolution on July 2, 2002 because a majority
of PRA members were seeking a new electoral mandate in the barangay elections scheduled on July 15, 2002. This argument
deserves scant consideration considering that when the PRA members adopted the Recall Resolution their terms of office had
not yet expired. They were all de jure sangguniang barangay members with no legal disqualification to participate in the recall
assembly under Section 70 of the Local Government Code.
Socrates bewails that the manner private respondents conducted the PRA proceedings violated his constitutional right to
information on matters of public concern. Socrates, however, admits receiving notice of the PRA meeting and of even sending
his representative and counsel who were present during the entire PRA proceedings. Proponents of the recall election
submitted to the COMELEC the Recall Resolution, minutes of the PRA proceedings, the journal of the PRA assembly, attendance
sheets, notices sent to PRA members, and authenticated master list of barangay officials in Puerto Princesa. Socrates had the
right to examine and copy all these public records in the official custody of the COMELEC. Socrates, however, does not claim
that the COMELEC denied him this right. There is no legal basis in Socrates' claim that respondents violated his constitutional
right to information on matters of public concern.
Thus, we rule that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in upholding the validity of the Recall Resolution
and in scheduling the recall election on September 24, 2002.
Second Issue: Hagedorn's qualification to run for mayor
in the recall election of September 24, 2002.
The three-term limit rule for elective local officials is found in Section 8, Article X of the Constitution, which states: EHaCTA
"Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined
by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.
Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the
continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected."
This three-term limit rule is reiterated in Section 43 (b) of RA No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code,
which provides:
"Section 43. Term of Office. (a) . . .
(b) No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position.
Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the
continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official was elected."
These constitutional and statutory provisions have two parts. The first part provides that an elective local official cannot serve
for more than three consecutive terms. The clear intent is that only consecutive terms count in determining the three-term
limit rule. The second part states that voluntary renunciation of office for any length of time does not interrupt the continuity
of service. The clear intent is that involuntary severance from office for any length of time interrupts continuity of service and
prevents the service before and after the interruption from being joined together to form a continuous service or consecutive
terms.

After three consecutive terms, an elective local official cannot seek immediate reelection for a fourth term. The prohibited
election refers to the next regular election for the same office following the end of the third consecutive term. Any subsequent
election, like a recall election, is no longer covered by the prohibition for two reasons. First, a subsequent election like a recall
election is no longer an immediate reelection after three consecutive terms. Second, the intervening period constitutes an
involuntary interruption in the continuity of service.

When the framers of the Constitution debated on the term limit of elective local officials, the question asked was whether there
would be no further election after three terms, or whether there would be "no immediate reelection" after three terms. This is
clear from the following deliberations of the Constitutional Commission:
"THE PRESIDENT:
The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.
MR. ROMULO: 6
We are now ready to discuss the two issues, as indicated on the blackboard, and these are Alternative No. 1
where there is no further election after a total of three terms and Alternative No. 2 where there is
no immediate reelection after three successive terms." 7
The Journal of the Constitutional Commission reports the following manifestation on the term of elective local officials:
"MANIFESTATION OF MR. ROMULO
Upon resumption of session, Mr. Romulo manifested that the Body would proceed to the consideration of
two issues on the term of Representatives andlocal officials, namely: 1) Alternative No. 1 (no further
reelection after a total of three terms), and 2) Alternative No. 2 (no immediate reelection after three
successive terms)." 8
The framers of the Constitution used the same "no immediate reelection" question in voting for the term limits of
Senators 9 and Representatives of the House. 10
Clearly, what the Constitution prohibits is an immediate reelection for a fourth term following three consecutive terms.
The Constitution, however, does not prohibit a subsequent reelection for a fourth term as long as the reelection is not
immediately after the end of the third consecutive term. A recall election mid-way in the term following the third consecutive
term is a subsequent election but not an immediate reelection after the third term.
Neither does the Constitution prohibit one barred from seeking immediate reelection to run in any other subsequent election
involving the same term of office. What the Constitution prohibits is a consecutive fourth term. The debates in the
Constitutional Commission evidently show that the prohibited election referred to by the framers of the Constitution is
the immediate reelection after the third term, not any other subsequent election.
If the prohibition on elective local officials is applied to any election within the three-year full term following the three-term
limit, then Senators should also be prohibited from running in any election within the six-year full term following their two-
term limit. The constitutional provision on the term limit of Senators is worded exactly like the term limit of elective local
officials, thus:

"No Senator shall serve for more than two consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any
length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for
which he was elected." 11
In the debates on the term limit of Senators, the following exchange in the Constitutional Convention is instructive:
"GASCON: 12
I would like to ask a question with regard to the issue after the second term. We will allow the Senator to
rest for a period of time before he can run again?
DAVIDE: 13
That is correct.
GASCON:
And the question that we left behind before if the Gentleman will remember was: How long will that
period of rest be? Will it be one election which is three years or one term which is six years?
DAVIDE:
If the Gentleman will remember, Commissioner Rodrigo expressed the view that during the election
following the expiration of the first 12 years, whether such election will be on the third or on the
sixth year thereafter, this particular member of the Senate can run. So, it is not really a period of
hibernation for six years. That was the Committee's stand.
GASCON:
So, effectively, the period of rest would be three years at the least." 14 (Emphasis supplied)
The framers of the Constitution thus clarified that a Senator can run after only three years 15 following his completion of
two terms. The framers expressly acknowledged that the prohibited election refers only to the immediate reelection, and
not to any subsequent election, during the six-year period following the two term limit. The framers of
the Constitution did not intend "the period of rest" of an elective official who has reached his term limit to be the full
extent of the succeeding term.
In the case of Hagedorn, his candidacy in the recall election on September 24, 2002 is not an immediate reelection after his
third consecutive term which ended on June 30, 2001. The immediate reelection that the Constitution barred Hagedorn from
seeking referred to the regular elections in 2001. Hagedorn did not seek reelection in the 2001 elections.
Hagedorn was elected for three consecutive terms in the 1992, 1995 and 1998 elections and served in full his three
consecutive terms as mayor of Puerto Princesa. Under the Constitution and the Local Government Code, Hagedorn could no
longer run for mayor in the 2001 elections. The Constitution and theLocal Government Code disqualified Hagedorn, who had
reached the maximum three-term limit, from running for a fourth consecutive term as mayor. Thus, Hagedorn did not run for
mayor in the 2001 elections. 16 Socrates ran and won as mayor of Puerto Princesa in the 2001 elections. After Hagedorn
ceased to be mayor on June 30, 2001, he became a private citizen until the recall election of September 24, 2002 when he won
by 3,018 votes over his closest opponent,Socrates.
From June 30, 2001 until the recall election on September 24, 2002, the mayor of Puerto Princesa was Socrates. During the
same period, Hagedorn was simply a private citizen. This period is clearly an interruption in the continuity of Hagedorn's

service as mayor, not because of his voluntary renunciation, but because of a legal prohibition. Hagedorn's three consecutive
terms ended on June 30, 2001. Hagedorn's new recall term from September 24, 2002 to June 30, 2004 is not a seamless
continuation of his previous three consecutive terms as mayor. One cannot stitch together Hagedorn's previous three-terms
with his new recall term to make the recall term a fourth consecutive term because factually it is not. An involuntary
interruption occurred from June 30, 2001 to September 24, 2002 which broke the continuity or consecutive character of
Hagedorn's service as mayor.
In Lonzanida v. Comelec, 17 the Court had occasion to explain interruption of continuity of service in this manner:
". . . The second sentence of the constitutional provision under scrutiny states, "Voluntary renunciation of
office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full
term for which he was elected." The clear intent of the framers of the constitution to bar any attempt to
circumvent the three-term limit by a voluntary renunciation of office and at the same time respect the
people's choice and grant their elected official full service of a term is evident in this provision. Voluntary
renunciation of a term does not cancel the renounced term in the computation of the three-term
limit; conversely, involuntary severance from office for any length of time short of the full term provided by
law amounts to an interruption of continuity of service. . . " (Emphasis supplied)
In Hagedorn's case, the nearly 15-month period he was out of office, although short of a full term of three years,
constituted an interruption in the continuity of his service as mayor. The Constitution does not require the interruption or
hiatus to be a full term of three years. The clear intent is that interruption "for any length of time," as long as the cause is
involuntary, is sufficient to break an elective local official's continuity of service.
In the recent case of Adormeo v. Comelec and Talaga, 18 a unanimous Court reiterated the rule that an interruption consisting
of a portion of a term of office breaks the continuity of service of an elective local official. In Adormeo, Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. had
served two consecutive full terms as mayor of Lucena City. In his third bid for election as mayor in 1998, Talaga lost to
Bernard G. Tagarao. However, in the recall election of May 12, 2000, Talaga won and served the unexpired term of Tagarao
from May 12, 2000 to June 30, 2001. When Talaga ran again for mayor in the 2001 elections, Raymundo Adormeo, the other
candidate for mayor, petitioned for Talaga's disqualification on the ground that Talaga had already served three consecutive
terms as mayor. TAaEIc
Thus, the issue in Adormeo was whether Talaga's recall term was a continuation of his previous two terms so that he was
deemed to have already served three consecutive terms as mayor. The Court ruled that Talaga was qualified to run in the 2001
elections, stating that the period from June 30, 1998 to May 12, 2000 when Talaga was out of office interrupted the continuity
of his service as mayor. Talaga's recall term as mayor was not consecutive to his previous two terms because of this
interruption, there having been a break of almost two years during which time Tagarao was the mayor.
We held in Adormeo that the period an elective local official is out of office interrupts the continuity of his service and prevents
his recall term from being stitched together as a seamless continuation of his previous two consecutive terms. In the instant
case, we likewise hold that the nearly 15 months Hagedorn was out of office interrupted his continuity of service and prevents
his recall term from being stitched together as a seamless continuation of his previous three consecutive terms. The only
difference between Adormeo and the instant case is the time of the interruption. In Adormeo, the interruption occurred after

the first two consecutive terms. In the instant case, the interruption happened after the first three consecutive terms. In both
cases, the respondents were seeking election for a fourth term.

In Adormeo, the recall term of Talaga began only from the date he assumed office after winning the recall election. Talaga's
recall term did not retroact to include the tenure in office of his predecessor. If Talaga's recall term was made to so retroact,
then he would have been disqualified to run in the 2001 elections because he would already have served three consecutive
terms prior to the 2001 elections. One who wins and serves a recall term does not serve the full term of his predecessor but
only the unexpired term. The period of time prior to the recall term, when another elective official holds office, constitutes an
interruption in continuity of service. Clearly, Adormeo established the rule that the winner in the recall election cannot be
charged or credited with the full term of three years for purposes of counting the consecutiveness of an elective official's terms in
office.
In the same manner, Hagedorn's recall term does not retroact to include the tenure in office of Socrates. Hagedorn can only be
disqualified to run in the September 24, 2002 recall election if the recall term is made to retroact to June 30, 2001, for only
then can the recall term constitute a fourth consecutive term. But to consider Hagedorn's recall term as a full term of three
years, retroacting to June 30, 2001, despite the fact that he won his recall term only last September 24, 2002, is to ignore
reality. This Court cannot declare as consecutive or successive terms of office which historically and factually are not.
Worse, to make Hagedorn's recall term retroact to June 30, 2001 creates a legal fiction that unduly curtails the freedom of the
people to choose their leaders through popular elections. The concept of term limits is in derogation of the sovereign will of
the people to elect the leaders of their own choosing. Term limits must be construed strictly to give the fullest possible effect to
the sovereign will of the people. As this Court aptly stated in Borja, Jr. v. Comelec:
"Thus, a consideration of the historical background of Art. X, 8 of the Constitution reveals that the
members of the Constitutional Commission were as much concerned with preserving the freedom of choice
of the people as they were with preventing the monopolization of political power. Indeed, they rejected a
proposal put forth by Commissioner Edmundo F. Garcia that after serving three consecutive terms or nine
years there should be no further reelection for local and legislative officials. Instead, they adopted the
alternative proposal of Commissioner Christian Monsod that such officials be simply barred from running for
the same position in the succeeding election following the expiration of the third consecutive term. Monsod
warned against 'prescreening candidates [from] whom the people will choose' as a result of the proposed
absolute disqualification, considering that the draft constitutioncontained provisions 'recognizing people's
power.''' 19 (Emphasis supplied)
A necessary consequence of the interruption of continuity of service is the start of a new term following the interruption. An
official elected in recall election serves the unexpired term of the recalled official. This unexpired term is in itself one term for
purposes of counting the three-term limit. This is clear from the following discussion in the Constitutional Commission:
"SUAREZ: 20
For example, a special election is called for a Senator, and the Senator newly elected would have to serve
the unexpired portion of the term. Would that mean that serving the unexpired portion of the term

is already considered one term? So, half a term, which is actually the correct statement, plus one
term would disqualify the Senator concerned from running? Is that the meaning of this provision
on disqualification, Madam President?
DAVIDE:
Yes, because we speak of 'term,' and if there is a special election, he will serve only for the unexpired
portion of that particular term plus one more term for the Senator and two more terms for the
Members of the Lower House." 21
Although the discussion referred to special elections for Senators and Representatives of the House, the same principle applies
to a recall election of local officials. Otherwise, an elective local official who serves a recall term can serve for more than nine
consecutive years comprising of the recall term plus the regular three full terms. A local official who serves a recall term
should know that the recall term is in itself one term although less than three years. This is the inherent limitation he takes by
running and winning in the recall election.
In summary, we hold that Hagedorn is qualified to run in the September 24, 2002 recall election for mayor of Puerto Princesa
because:
1. Hagedorn is not running for immediate reelection following his three consecutive terms as mayor which
ended on June 30, 2001; HCITDc
2. Hagedorn's continuity of service as mayor was involuntarily interrupted from June 30, 2001 to
September 24, 2002 during which time he was a private citizen;
3. Hagedorn's recall term from September 24, 2002 to June 30, 2004 cannot be made to retroact to June 30,
2001 to make a fourth consecutive term because factually the recall term is not a fourth
consecutive term; and
4. Term limits should be construed strictly to give the fullest possible effect to the right of the electorate to
choose their leaders.
WHEREFORE, the petitions in G.R. Nos. 154512, 154683 and 155083-84 are DISMISSED. The temporary restraining order
issued by this Court on September 24, 2002 enjoining the proclamation of the winning candidate for mayor of Puerto Princesa
in the recall election of September 24, 2002 is lifted. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio-Morales and Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., see concurring and dissenting opinion.
Puno, J., see concurring opinion.
Vitug, J., in the result.
Mendoza, J., in the result, without prejudice to the filing of separate opinion.
Azcuna, J., I join the Chief Justice in his separate opinion.
Austria-Martinez, J., on leave.
Corona, J., no part, prior consultation.
Separate Opinions

DAVIDE, JR., C.J., concurring and dissenting:


I concur with the opinion and conclusion of Mr. Justice Antonio T. Carpio in G.R. No. 154512 and G.R. No. 154683. The
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) committed no grave abuse of discretion in giving due course to the Recall Resolution.
Dismissal then of G.R. No. 154512 is inevitable. This notwithstanding, I still hold on to my dissenting view in G.R. No. 111511
(Garcia, et al. vs. COMELEC, et al., 227 SCRA 100, 121 [1993]) that the provision on the preparatory recall assembly in Section
70 of the Local Government Code of 1991 is unconstitutional.
Our issuance of the Resolution of 3 September 2002 in G.R. No. 154683 enjoining the COMELEC from implementing its
Resolution No. 5673 insofar as it fixed the recall election on 7 September 2002, and the subsequent Resolution of the
COMELEC giving the candidates an additional campaign period of fifteen days from 7 September 2002 rendered moot and
academic the principal issue in G.R. No. 154683. The dismissal of the petition therein is also in order.
However, I regret I cannot concur with the argument and conclusion relative to G.R. Nos. 155083-84. I respectfully submit that
private respondent Edward S. Hagedorn is disqualified from running for the position of Mayor of Puerto Princesa City in the
recall election in question.
Section 8 of Article X of the Constitution expressly provides:
SEC. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by
law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary
renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity
of his service for the full term for which he was elected.
Paragraph (b), Section 43 of R.A. No. 7160 (The Local Government Code) restates this constitutional restriction, thus:
SEC. 43. Term of office.
xxx xxx xxx
(b) No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position.
Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the
continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official was elected.
Section 8 of Article X of the Constitution was not found in the Report of the Committee on Local Governments of the
Constitutional Commission of 1986. It was introduced at the plenary session by Commissioner Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
Commenting thereon in his book entitled "The Intent of 1986 ConstitutionWriters" (1995 ed., p. 699), Commissioner Joaquin
Bernas states:
This provision was not found among the Committee's proposals but came as an amendment proposed by
Commissioner Davide. It was readily accepted without much discussion and formally approved.
Section 8 sets the duration of a term at three years, and prohibits elective local officials from serving for more than three
consecutive terms.
Pursuant to the second paragraph of Section 1 of Article XVIII (The Transitory Provision) of the Constitution, and Executive
Order No. 270, as amended by R.A. No. 6636, the first local election, that is, the election for the first term under
the Constitution for elective local officials, was on 18 January 1988. By express provision of Section 5 of R.A. No. 6636, in
relation to Section 2 of Article XVIII of the Constitution, that term expired at noon of 30 June 1992. The second election, i.e., the

election for the second term of elective local officials which expired at noon of 30 June 1995, for elective local officials, was on
the second Monday of May 1992 pursuant to R.A. No. 7166 (An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections
and for Electoral Reforms). The third election,i.e., for the third term which expired at noon of 30 June 1998, was on the second
Monday of May 1995, pursuant to Section 2 of R.A. No. 7166. The fourth election, or for the fourth term which expired at noon
of 30 June 2001, was on the second Monday of May 1998. The fifth election, i.e., for the fifth term which would expire at noon
of 30 June 2004, was on the second Monday of May 2001.

Conformably with Section 8 of Article X of the Constitution and Section 43 (b) of R.A. No. 7160, a local official elected in the
first local election of 18 January 1988 may be reelected in the synchronized elections in May 1992 and in May 1995. He could
not seek another reelection in the May 1998 election because that would have been his fourth term. Similarly, a local official
who was elected in the May 1992 election could be reelected in the May 1995 and May 1998 elections.
Private respondent Hagedorn was first elected as City Mayor of Puerto Princesa City in the May 1992 election. He was
reelected in the May 1995 and May 1998 elections. His third term, by virtue of his election in the May 1998 election, expired
on 30 June 2001. Therefore, he was constitutionally and statutorily barred from seeking reelection in the May 2001 election,
which would have been his fourth term.
The term of office covered by the May 2001 election is up to 30 June 2004. Section 8 of Article X of the Constitution and Section
43(b) of R.A. No. 7160 are clear in what is prohibited, which is the fourth term. Nothing can be clearer from the wordings
thereof: "the term of office of elective local officials . . . shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three
consecutive terms." In short, an elective local official who has served three consecutive terms, like Hagedorn, is disqualified
from seeking re-election for the succeeding fourth term. The provision bars the holding of four consecutive terms.
The ponencia is then correct when it holds that the three-term limit bars an immediate reelection for a fourth term. But I
disagree when it rules that in the case of Hagedorn he did not seek an immediate reelection for a fourth term because he was
not a candidate for reelection in the May 2001 election. It forgets that what would have been his fourth term by virtue of the
May 2001 election was for the period from 30 June 2001 to 30 June 2004. The flaw in the ruling results from an apparent
confusion between term and election, the root cause of which is the attempt to distinguish "voluntary renunciation" of office
from "involuntary severance" from office and the term of office to which it relates.
Let me first discuss the matter of whether the Constitutional Commission did approve the rule of "no immediate reelection
after three consecutive terms." In support of its affirmative conclusion the ponencia quotes the Manifestation of Commissioner
Romulo as entered in the Journal of the Constitutional Commission, thus:
MANIFESTATION OF MR. ROMULO
Upon resumption of session, Mr. Romulo manifested that the Body would proceed to the consideration of
two issues on the term of Representatives andlocal officials, namely: a) Alternative No. 1 (no further
reelection after a total of three terms), and 2) Alternative No. 2 (no immediate reelection after three
successive terms).
This is inaccurate. What actually happened was that the issue was originally for elective national and local officials. However,
the Commission decided to consider first the term of the members of Congress; and to defer the discussion on the term of

elective local officials until the Commission would consider the report of the Committee on Local Governments. On this point I
quote the pertinent portions of Volume Two, pages 238-245 of the Record of the Constitutional Commission of its proceedings
on 25 July 1986:
THE PRESIDENT.
Maybe it will be of help we just remind ourselves that what we have before us now is the report of the
Committee on the Legislative. Therefore, maybe we should confine ourselves first to what is
covered by the report which is the term of office of the Senators and the Representatives.
And with respect to the local officials, let us await the report of the Committee on Local Governments as to
its recommendation on this matter.
MR. RODRIGO.
As a matter of fact, I will go further than that. It is my belief, as regards local officials, that we should leave
this matter to the legislative.
THE PRESIDENT.
So what is the pleasure now of the Acting Floor Leader or of the Chairman of the Committee on the
Legislative?
MR. RODRIGO.
I wonder if the two proponents, Madam President, will agree that we first talk about the term of office of
the Representatives because we are now discussing the legislative department.
MR DAVIDE.
Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT.
Commissioner Davide is recognized.
MR. DAVIDE.
I will agree really that this matter should relate only to the term of office of the Representatives.
THE PRESIDENT.
But are we agreed on these two proposals the one of Commissioner Garcia where there is no further
election after a total of three terms and the other where there is no immediate reelection after
three successive terms? TaCDIc
MR. OPLE.
Madam President, originally if I remember right, the Commission decided to consider the synchronization
of elections. And from that original commitment, we proceeded to fix the terms and decided related
questions within the context of synchronization. Are we now abandoning the original task of
synchronization which could only be fully settled in terms of delimitations on the proposed terms
of the President and the Vice-President, the Members of Congress and the local officials, or do we
want to postpone the synchronization task to a later time after we hear from the Committee on
Local Governments and the other concerned committees?

THE PRESIDENT.
What does the Acting Floor Leader say to this particular question of Commissioner Ople?
MR. ROMULO.
In a way, Madam President, we have settled the synchronization task, because we have decided on the
officials' absolute terms. All we are really talking about now is whether or not they are eligible for
reelection, and I think those are separable issues.
MR. OPLE.
If they are separable, and we have already settled the synchronization task, then I think that is something
to be thankful about. But considering the immediate business at hand, is it the wish of the Acting
Floor Leader that the election of the local officials should be eliminated from the consideration of
those two choices?
MR. ROMULO.
Yes. I think the sense of the body now is to limit this choice to the Members of the House of
Representatives.
MR. OPLE.
And do the manifestations of both Commissioners Garcia and Monsod still stand after the elimination of the
election of the local officials?
MR. ROMULO.
Yes, I think so.
xxx xxx xxx
THE PRESIDENT.
Commissioner Davide is recognized.
MR. DAVIDE.
Madam President, as worded, it is a personal disqualification.
MR. ROMULO.
We are now ready to vote, Madam President.
SUSPENSION OF SESSION
THE PRESIDENT.
We are now ready to vote by ballot. Let us distribute the ballots. Anyway the voting would take only about
10 minutes.
The session is suspended.
It was 3:40 p.m.
At this juncture, pieces of paper were distributed, and the Commissioners wrote down their votes.
RESUMPTION OF SESSION
At 3:50 p.m., the session was resumed.
THE PRESIDENT.

The session is resumed.


MR. GASCON.
Madam President, may I have a clarification before we count the ballots. The voting now is just for
Representatives. We are not speaking of the term of office of the Senators yet. Is that correct?
THE PRESIDENT.
The term of office of the Senators was disposed of this morning.
This voting now is only for Representatives.
MR. GASCON.
I think the issue of whether the Senators could run again for election after their two consecutive terms or
12 years after a lapse of a period of time has not yet been finalized.
THE PRESIDENT.
I beg the Commissioner's pardon.
MR. GASCON.
Is this voting just for Congressmen?
THE PRESIDENT.
Yes.
The Secretary-General will now please proceed to count the votes.
COUNTING OF BALLOTS
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL.
Madam President, we have here 43 ballots cast. We will now start the counting.
Alternative No. 1 no further election after a total of three terms: /////-/////-/////-//
Alternative No. 2 no immediate reelection after three successive terms: /////-/////-/////-/////-/////-
/
THE PRESIDENT.
The results show 17 votes for Alternative No. 1 and 26 votes for Alternative No. 2; Alternative No. 2 is
approved.
What does the Acting Floor Leader say?
MR. ROMULO.
Alternative No. 2 has won, Madam President. It seems there are some doubts as to the term of office of the
Senators, so I propose that we similarly vote on that to end any doubt. It was my understanding
this morning that when we voted for the term of office of the Senators, they would not be
perpetually disqualified.
THE PRESIDENT.
From the transcripts, it appears here that with respect to Senators, 22 votes went to Scheme No. II; that is,
with one reelection. This is already a majority. So, does the Acting Floor Leader propose that we
vote again?

MR. ROMULO.
The question is whether or not that will be perpetual, Madam President, or after resting for six years they
can run again. That is the question that is not answered. I am talking of the Senators.
THE PRESIDENT.
This morning, Scheme No. 1, without reelection, has 3 votes; Scheme No. II, with one reelection 22 votes;
Scheme No. III, no limit on reelection 17 votes.
MR. REGALADO.
Madam President.
MR. RODRIGO.
Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT.
May we first clarify this from the Secretary-General?
MR. ROMULO.
The question is whether or not in voting for the term of six years with one reelection, the Senator is
perpetually disqualified, so that is a similar question to what we had posed with regard to the
House of Representatives.
THE PRESIDENT.
In other words, after serving with one reelection, whether or not he is perpetually disqualified after
serving 12 years?
MR. ROMULO.
Yes, Madam President.
MR. RODRIGO.
Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT.
Yes, Commissioner Rodrigo is recognized.
MR. RODRIGO.
Or, if after one reelection, he is perpetually disqualified or he can hibernate the very word used for
six years and then run again for reelection but not consecutive, not immediate. In other words, he
is entitled to one immediate reelection.

REV. RIGOS.
Another point, Madam President.
MR. RODRIGO.
And then, after that, if there is a gap, when he is not a Senator, then he can run for the same office.
REV. RIGOS.
Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT.
Yes, Commissioner Rigos is recognized.
REV. RIGOS.
In relation to that, if he will be allowed to run again as Senator after a period of hibernation; we have to
clarify how long that should be. It could be three years, because in the proposed scheme, every
three years we can elect the Senators.
MR. RODRIGO.
Yes, Madam President, it can be three years.
SUSPENSION OF SESSION
THE PRESIDENT.
I will suspend the session again so as to allow the parties to compare with the Acting Floor Leader so that
we will know what we are going to vote on.
The session is suspended
It was 3:58 p.m.
RESUMPTION OF SESSION
At 4:05 p.m., the session was resumed.
THE PRESIDENT.
The session is resumed.
The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.
MR. ROMULO.
Madam President, we are now ready to vote on the question of the Senators, and the schemes are as
follows: The first scheme is, no further election after two terms; the second scheme is, no
immediate reelection after two successive terms.
Madam President, inasmuch as the principles applicable here are the same as those for the House of
Representatives, I move that we go directly to the voting and forego any further discussions.
THE PRESIDENT.
Please distribute the ballots for this particular item for Senators.
Are we ready now?
The Secretary-General will please count the ballots.
COUNTING OF BALLOTS
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL.
We have 43 ballots here, Madam President. We shall now begin to count.
THE PRESIDENT.
Please proceed.
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, reading:
Scheme No. I /////-/////-//

Scheme No. II /////-/////-/////-/////-/////-/////-//


THE PRESIDENT.
The results show 12 votes for Scheme No. I and 32 votes for Scheme No. II; Scheme No. II is approved.
All the results will be considered by the Committee on the Legislative in preparation of their report.
So can we leave this matter now?
The corresponding proposal on the three-term limit for elective local officials without immediate reelection was taken up by
the Constitutional Commission much later or specifically on 16 August 1986. On this point, the pertinent portions of Vol.
Three, pages 406-408, Record of the Constitutional Commission, read as follows:
MR. RAMA.
Madam President, I ask that Commissioner Davide be recognized.
THE PRESIDENT.
Commissioner Davide is recognized.
MR. DAVIDE.
Thank you, Madam President.
After Section 4, I propose to insert a new section to be denominated later as Section 5. It provides as
follows: THE TERM OF OFFICE OF ELECTIVE LOCAL OFFICIALS, EXCEPT BARANGAY OFFICIALS,
WHICH SHALL BE DETERMINED BY LAW, SHALL BE THREE YEARS AND NO SUCH OFFICIAL
SHALL SERVE FOR MORE THAN THREE CONSECUTIVE TERMS. VOLUNTARY RENUNCIATION OF
THE OFFICE FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED AS AN INTERRUPTION IN
THE CONTINUITY OF HIS SERVICE FOR THE FULL TERM FOR WHICH HE WAS ELECTED. This is in
accordance with the mandate of the Commission when we voted on the terms of officials up to local
officials, excluding the term of barangay officials which was a very specific exception.
MR. NOLLEDO.
One clarificatory question, Madam President. What will be the term of the office of barangay officials as
provided for?
MR. DAVIDE.
As may be determined by law.
MR. NOLLEDO.
As provided for in the Local Government Code.
MR. DAVIDE.
Yes.
MR. NOLLEDO.
We accept the amendment. The Committee accepts the amendment.
xxx xxx xxx
THE PRESIDENT.
May we have the reaction of the Committee?

MR. NOLLEDO.
The Committee accepts the amendment, as amended, Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT.
Is there any other comment?
MR. OPLE.
Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT.
Commissioner Ople is recognized.
MR. OPLE.
May we ask the Committee to read the proposed amendment now.
MR. NOLLEDO.
May we ask Commissioner Davide to read the new section.
MR. DAVIDE.
THE TERM OF OFFICE OF ELECTIVE LOCAL OFFICIALS, EXCEPT BARANGAY OFFICIALS, WHICH SHALL BE
DETERMINED BY LAW, SHALL BE THREE YEARS AND NO SUCH OFFICIAL SHALL SERVE FOR
MORE THAN THREE CONSECUTIVE TERMS. VOLUNTARY RENUNCIATION OF THE OFFICE FOR
ANY LENGTH OF TIME SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED AS AN INTERRUPTION IN THE CONTINUITY
OF HIS SERVICE FOR THE FULL TERM FOR WHICH HE WAS ELECTED.
xxx xxx xxx
THE PRESIDENT.
Then let us vote first on the Davide amendment.
Is there any objection to this new section proposed by Commissioner Davide which has been read to the
body? (Silence) The Chair hears none; the proposed section is approved.
I wish to add that the Constitutional Commission debates on the issue of "no immediate reelection" after three consecutive
terms for members of Congress clearly indicated that the "no immediate reelection" after the 3-term limit would equally apply
to the elective local officials. This accounted for the immediate acceptance by the Committee on Local Governments of the
aforementioned Amendment of Commissioner Davide, which is now Section 8 of Article X of theConstitution. These debates
clearly showed the intent of the Commission that the ban against an immediate reelection after three consecutive terms
applies to the fourth term, i.e., the term immediately following the three consecutive terms, to be filled up by the regular
election for such fourth term. For one to be able to run again after three consecutive terms, he has to rest for the entire
immediately succeeding fourth term. On the next fifth term he can run again to start a new series of three consecutive terms.
We quote these pertinent portions of the debates, recorded in Volume Two, pages 232-233 of the Record of the Constitutional
Commission:
MR. ROMULO.
Madam President, the following are the various alternatives:

Scheme No. I is without reelection; Scheme No. II is with one reelection; and Scheme No. III is reelection
without limit. This is for the Senators.
At this juncture, pieces of paper were distributed and the Commissioners wrote down their votes.
THE PRESIDENT.
The Chair asks the Chairman, Commissioner Davide, to please consolidate the results of the voting for
President and Vice-President.
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL.
Madam President, we are ready.
THE PRESIDENT.
The Secretary-General will please proceed.
COUNTING OF BALLOTS
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, reading:
Scheme No. I ///
Scheme No. II /////-/////-/////-/////-//
Scheme No. III /////-/////-/////-//
THE PRESIDENT.
The results show 3 votes for Scheme No. I; 22 votes for Scheme No. II; and 17 votes for Scheme No. III;
Scheme No. II is approved.
MR. ROMULO.
Madam President, the next position is for the House of Representatives, the Congressmen. I would assume
we can use the same choices. Does any one want any variation?
MR. RODRIGO.
Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT.
Commissioner Rodrigo is recognized.
MR. RODRIGO.
For the record, I would like to ask Commissioner Romulo some questions.
MR. ROMULO.
Yes.
MR. RODRIGO.
Scheme No. II says "the Vice-President with one reelection."
THE PRESIDENT.
No, that is for Senators.
MR. GUINGONA.
Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT.

Yes, Commissioner Guingona is recognized.


MR. GUINGONA.
May I suggest one more scheme with two reelections for the Members of the House of Representatives?
THE PRESIDENT.
So, we shall distribute ballots again.
MR. ROMULO.
While the ballots are being distributed, may I read the following four propositions for Congressmen:
Scheme No. I, without reelection.
Scheme No. II, with one reelection.
Scheme No. III, with two reelections.
Scheme No. IV, no limit on reelection.
MR. DE LOS REYES.
Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT.
Commissioner de los Reyes is recognized.
MR. DE LOS REYES.
The term of the Members of the House of Representatives will be three years, according to the first voting;
the term of the Senators, if they are entitled to one reelection, will be 12 years. So, in order for a
Member of the House of Representatives to have also 12 years, he must be entitled to three
reelections. I propose another scheme with three reelections to make it equal.
MR. RODRIGO.
Will the Gentleman maintain the number there and add that as No. V. I filled up my ballot already and if I
erase, this might be disqualified as a marked ballot.
THE PRESIDENT.
Commissioner Rodrigo may change his ballot.
MR. DE CASTRO.
Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT.
Commissioner de Castro is recognized.
MR. DE CASTRO.
The situation stated by Commissioner de los Reyes is apparently covered by Scheme No. II which we
agreed upon earlier. The situation will not happen, because both the Senators and the
Congressmen will have five (5) years on the first election. So, the possibility that the Senators will
have a longer term than the Congressmen is remote.
MR. MONSOD.
Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT.
Commissioner Monsod is recognized.
MR. MONSOD.
Madam President, it occurred to us that the three alternatives are not really mutually exclusive. Can we
have only these three: without reelection, with reelection and with unlimited reelection? We are
asking here for plurality only, Madam President. Can we eliminate?
THE PRESIDENT.
In other words, we shall have the same schemes as those for Senators; without reelection, with one
reelection and unlimited reelection.
REV. RIGOS.
Madam President, besides we have already submitted our ballots.
MR. MONSOD.
I withdraw my proposal, Madam President.
MR. GARCIA.
Madam President, I would suggest that the two schemes with the highest votes be voted upon to get the
key majority. For example, if the schemes with two reelections and no limit to election get the
highest number of votes, then we vote again to get the key majority.
THE PRESIDENT.
We will do that. Are all the votes in?
COUNTING OF BALLOTS
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL.
Madam President, we have 43 ballots.
THE PRESIDENT.
The Secretary-General will please proceed.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, reading:
Scheme No. I 0
Scheme No. II //
Scheme No. III /////-/////-/////-/////-/
Scheme No. IV /////-/////-////
Scheme No. V /////-/
THE PRESIDENT.
The results show no vote for Scheme No. I; 2 votes for Scheme No. II; 21 votes for Scheme No. III; 14 votes
for Scheme No. IV; and 6 votes for Scheme No. V; Scheme No. III is approved.
MR. RODRIGO.
Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT.
Commissioner Rodrigo is recognized.
MR. RODRIGO.
I would like to ask a question for clarification.
THE PRESIDENT.
Please proceed.
MR. RODRIGO.
If the Members of the Lower House can have two reelections, does this mean two immediate reelections, or
a term of nine consecutive years? Let us say that a Member of the Lower House has been reelected
twice; that means he will serve for nine years. Can he let three years elapse and then run
again? IaDcTC
THE PRESIDENT.
We will ask the Chairman of the Committee on the Legislative to answer the question.
MR. DAVIDE.
That is correct, Madam President, because two reelections mean two successive reelections. So he cannot
serve beyond nine consecutive years.
MR. RODRIGO.
Consecutively?
MR. DAVIDE.
Consecutively.
MR. RODRIGO.
But after nine years he can let one . . .
MR. DAVIDE.
He can rest. He can hibernate for three years.
MR. RODRIGO.
And run again.
MR. DAVIDE.
He can run again.
MR. RODRIGO.
And again have nine years as a maximum.
MR. DAVIDE.
I do not know if that is also the thinking of Commissioner Garcia who is the main proponent of this
proposal on two reelections. I would seek the opinion of Commissioner Garcia for the record.
(italics supplied for emphasis.)
xxx xxx xxx

The dichotomy made in the ponencia between "voluntary renunciation of the office" as used in Section 8 of Article X of
the Constitution and Section 43 (b) ofR.A. No. 7160 and "involuntary severance from office" is unnecessary, if not misplaced.
From the discussion in the ponencia, the latter is made to apply to the banned term, i.e., the fourth term immediately following
three consecutive terms. Speaking now of Hagedorn, he cannot have suffered "involuntary severance from office" because
there was nothing to be severed; he was not a holder of an office either in a de jure or de facto capacity. He knew he was
disqualified from seeking a third reelection to office. Disqualification is, definitely, not synonymous with involuntary severance.
Even if we concede thatinvoluntary severance is an act which interrupts the continuity of a term for purposes of applying the
three-term principle the rule laid down in Lonzanida vs. COMELEC (311 SCRA 609 [1999]), cited in the ponencia, page 17, is not
applicable in the case of Hagedorn. The involuntary severance referred to in that case was one that took place during any of
the three terms; hence, the term during which it occurred should be excluded in the computation. In the case of Hagedorn, no
such involuntary severance took place during any of his three terms brought about by his election in 1992 and reelections in
1995 and 1998.
More importantly, the voluntary renunciation referred to in Section 8, Article X of the Constitution and Section 43 (b) of R.A.
No. 7160 is one that takes place at any time during either the first, second, or third term of the three consecutive terms. This is
very clear from the last clause of Section 8, Article X of theConstitution, which reads: "shall not be considered as an interruption
in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected." The purpose of the provision is to prevent an elective
local official from voluntarily resigning from office for the purpose of circumventing the rule on the belief that the term during
which he resigned would be excluded in the counting of the three-term rule. In short, the provision excluded is intended to
impose a penalty on one who flouts the rule or make a mockery of it by the simple act of resigning. Thus, applying it in the case
of Hagedorn, even if he voluntarily resigned on his third term, he would still be barred from seeking reelection in the May
2001 election.
Hagedorn cannot likewise avail of the ruling in Adormeo vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 147927, 4 February 2002) because in that
case Talaga did not win in his second reelection bid, or for a third term, in the May 1998 elections. He won in the recall
election of 12 May 2000. Hagedorn, as earlier stated, fully served three successive terms.
Neither can we allow Hagedorn to take refuge under the exchange between Commissioner Suarez and Commissioner Davide
found on page 592, Vol. II of the Record of the Constitutional Commission and quoted on pages 19-20 of the ponencia:
SUAREZ:
For example, a special election is called for a Senator, and the Senator newly elected would have to serve
the unexpired portion of the term. Would that mean that serving the unexpired portion of the term
is already considered one term? So, half a term, which is actually the correct statement, plus one
term would disqualify the Senator concerned from running? Is that the meaning of this provision
on disqualification, Madam President?
DAVIDE:
Yes, because we speak of "term." And if there is a special election, he will serve only for the unexpired
portion of that particular term plus one more term for the Senator and two more terms for the
Members of the Lower House.

On the contrary, it is clear from the views of Commissioners Suarez and Davide that the term of office of one who is elected in a
special election is considered one term for purposes of determining the three consecutive terms.
A declaration that Hagedorn is qualified to seek reelection in a recall election to remove the Mayor who was elected for a term
for which Hagedorn was constitutionally and statutorily disqualified to be reelected to or to hold is to subvert the rationale of
the three-consecutive-term rule and make a mockery of it. Worse, it abets destructive endless partisan politics and unsound
governance. An elective local official who is disqualified to seek a fourth term because of the three-term limit but obsessed to
hold on to power would spend the first year of the fourth term campaigning for the recall of the incumbent in the second year
of said term. This would not be a problem if the disqualified official has a solid following and a strong political machinery.
Interestingly, in this case, as stated on page 3 of the ponencia, the President of the Association of Barangay Captains of Puerto
Princesa City is one Mark David M. Hagedorn and he was designated by the Preparatory Recall Assembly as Interim Chairman.
I therefore vote to grant the petition in G.R. Nos. 155083-84, to set aside the resolution of the COMELEC holding private
respondent Edward Hagedorn a qualified candidate for the position of Mayor of Puerto Princesa City in the recall election, and
to declare him DISQUALIFIED from seeking reelection for a fourth term or from being a candidate for Mayor in the recall
election in question.
PUNO, J., concurring:
The correctness of the decision so ably written by Mr. Justice Carpio speaks for itself. Nonetheless, the complex constitutional
dimensions of the issue for resolution compels this humble concurring opinion. The issue is whether private respondent
Hagedorn is disqualified from running in the September 24, 2002 recall election for mayor of Puerto Princesa City and from
serving the unexpired portion of the 2001-2004 mayoralty term considering that he has thrice been consecutively elected and
has served three full terms as Puerto Princesa City mayor from 1992-1998. In illuminating the gray interstices of this election
case, prudence dictates that ". . . where the sovereignty of the people is at stake, we must not only be legally right but also
politically correct." 1
Private respondent Hagedorn was elected mayor of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan in 1992, 1995 and 1998 and served three
full terms. In the May 14, 2001 national and local elections, he ran for governor for the Province of Palawan and lost.
Petitioner-intervenor Victorino Dennis M. Socrates was elected mayor of Puerto Princesa City.
On July 2, 2002, three hundred twelve (312) out of five hundred twenty-eight (528) members of the Barangay Officials of
Puerto Princesa City convened themselves into a Preparatory Recall Assembly to initiate the recall of Mayor Socrates. On
August 21, 2002, COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 5673 prescribing a calendar of activities for the recall election. Two
days after, Hagedorn filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor in said election.
On August 27, 2002, petitioners Adovo and Gilo sought for Hagedorn's immediate disqualification on the ground that he had
served three consecutive full terms as mayor of Puerto Princesa City immediately prior to the recall election and was thus
proscribed by the Constitution from running in said election. On August 30, 2002, petitioner Ollave, Sr. intervened to disqualify
Hagedorn on the same ground.
The recall election was set on September 24, 2002. On September 20, 2002, public respondent COMELEC's First Division
denied the petitions for Hagedorn's disqualification. The following day, petitioners Adovo, Gilo and Ollave, Sr. filed a motion

for reconsideration imploring the COMELEC en banc to reverse the September 20 resolution. On September 23, 2002, the
COMELEC en banc affirmed the resolution of the First Division holding Hagedorn qualified to run in the recall election.
On September 24, 2002, petitioners Adovo, Gilo and Ollave, Sr. sought recourse in this Court with a Very Urgent Petition
for Certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction and Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order. On the same date,
Mayor Socrates filed a petition-in-intervention to nullify the September 23 resolution of the COMELEC.
The petitions before us raise the following issues:
"I
THE COMELEC GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENT HAGEDORN IS
NOT DISQUALIFIED FROM RUNNING FOR THE POSITION OF MAYOR OF PUERTO PRINCESA CITY IN THE
SCHEDULED RECALL ELECTION, THE CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY
PROHIBITION AGAINST A FOURTH CONSECUTIVE TERM FOR LOCAL ELECTIVE OFFICIALS
NOTWITHSTANDING.

II.
THE HONORABLE COMELEC GRAVELY ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT PROCEEDED TO
DIVIDE A SINGLE TERM OF OFFICE INTO TWO.
III.
THE HONORABLE COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND VIOLATED THE INTENT
AND PURPOSE FOR HOLDING THE SCHEDULED RECALL ELECTIONS FOR THE POSITION OF MAYOR OF
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY AND THE CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY BAR AGAINST A FOURTH
CONSECUTIVE TERM.
IV.
THE HONORABLE COMELEC GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENT
HAGEDORN IS NOT DISQUALIFIED FROM RUNNING IN THE UPCOMING RECALL ELECTIONS AS HIS
INELIGIBILITY IS NOT APPARENT UNDER SECTIONS 65 AND 68 OF THE OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE,
SECTIONS 39 AND 40 OF RA 7160 (LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE), AND RULES 23 AND 25 OF THE
COMELEC RULES OF PROCEDURE.
V.
THE HONORABLE COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED THAT
RESPONDENT HAGEDORN IS QUALIFIED TO RUN IN THE RECALL ELECTION EVEN IF HE STANDS
DISQUALIFIED FROM SERVING UNDER A FOURTH CONSECUTIVE TERM AS SUCH IS ALLEGEDLY NOT THE
PROVINCE OF THE INSTANT DISQUALIFICATION PROCEEDINGS.
VI.
THE HONORABLE COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT ISSUED A DEFECTIVE
AND CLEARLY VOID RESOLUTION." 2

The foregoing issues may be reduced to the singular issue of whether or not private respondent Hagedorn is disqualified from
running in the September 24, 2002 recall election and serving as mayor of Puerto Princesa City considering that he has been
thrice consecutively elected and has served three full terms in that position from 1992 to 2001.
I find the petitions devoid of merit.
Art. X, Sec. 8 of the Constitution provides:
"Sec. 8 The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by
law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary
renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity
of his service for the full term for which he was elected."
This constitutional provision is restated in the Local Government Code of 1991, to wit: HcSDIE
"Sec. 43. Term of Office. . . . (b) No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive
terms in the same position. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be
considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official
concerned was elected."
We have not interpreted Art. X, Sec. 8 of the Constitution in the recall election context of the cases at bar. It is imperative to
distill the intent of the framers of the Constitution and the people who ratified it. 3 Mere reliance on the surface meaning of the
words of the above provision, however, will not suffice to capture this elusive intent. Thus, we turn to the proceedings and
debates of the Constitutional Commission (ConCom) as an extrinsic aid to interpretation. 4The Record of the Constitutional
Commission shows that Art. X, Sec. 8 was readily accepted by the Commissioners without much discussion; 5 nonetheless,
their debates on setting the term limit for Representatives show that the rationale for the limit applies to both Representatives
and elective local officials. We quote at length the relevant portions of the debates, to wit:
"MR. GARCIA. I would like to advocate the proposition that no further election for local and legislative
officials be allowed after a total of three terms or nine years. I have four reasons why I would like to
advocate this proposal, which are as follows: (1) to prevent monopoly of political power; (2) to broaden the
choice of the people; (3) so that no one is indispensable in running the affairs of the country; (4) to create a
reserve of statesmen both in the national and local levels. May I explain briefly these four reasons.
First: To prevent monopoly of political power Our history has shown that prolonged stay in public office can
lead to the creation of entrenched preserves of political dynasties. In this regard, I would also like to advocate
that immediate members of the families of public officials be barred from occupying the same position being
vacated.
Second: To broaden the choice of the people Although individuals have the right to present themselves for
public office, our times demand that we create structures that will enable more aspirants to offer to serve and
to provide the people a broader choice so that more and more people can be enlisted to the cause of public
service, not just limited only to those who may have the reason or the advantage due to their position.
Third: No one is indispensable in running the affairs of the country After the official's more than a
decade or nearly a decade of occupying the same public office, I think we should try to encourage a more

team-oriented consensual approach to governance favored by a proposal that will limit public servants to
occupy the same office for three terms. And this would also favor not relying on personalities no matter
how heroic, some of whom, in fact, are now in our midst.
Lastly, the fact that we will not reelect people after three terms would also favor the creation of a reserve of
statesmen both in the national and local levels.
Turnovers in public office after nine years will ensure that new ideas and new approaches will be welcome.
Public office will no longer be a preserve of conservatism and tradition. At the same time, we will create a
reserve of statesmen, both in the national and local levels, since we will not deprive the community of the
wealth of experience and advice that could come from those who have served for nine years in public office.
Finally, the concept of public service, if political dynasty symbolized by prolonged stay in particular public
offices is barred, will have fuller meaning. It will not be limited only to those who directly hold public office,
but also to consultative bodies organized by the people, among whom could be counted those who have
served in public office with accomplishment and distinction, for public service must no longer be limited
only to public office.
xxx xxx xxx
MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I was reflecting on this issue earlier and I asked to speak because in this
draft Constitution, we are recognizing people power. We have said that now there is a new awareness, a
new kind of voter, a new kind of Filipino. And yet at the same time, we are prescreening candidates among
whom they will choose. We are saying that this 48-member Constitutional Commission has decreed that
those who have served for a period of nine years are barred from running for the same position.
The argument is that there may be other positions. But there are some people who are very skilled and good at
legislation, and yet are not of a national stature to be Senators. They may be perfectly honest, perfectly
competent and with integrity. They get voted into office at the age of 25, which is the age we provide for
Congressmen. And at 34 years old we put them to pasture.
Second, we say that we want to broaden the choices of the people. We are talking here only of congressional
or senatorial seats. We want to broaden the people's choice but we are making a prejudgment today because
we exclude a certain number of people. We are, in effect, putting an additional qualification for office that
the officials must not have served a total of more than a number of years in their lifetime.
Third, we are saying that by putting people to pasture, we are creating a reserve of statesmen, but the future
participation of these statesmen is limited. Their skills may only be in some areas, but we are saying that they
are going to be barred from running for the same position.
Madam President, the ability and capacity of a statesman depend as well on the day-to-day honing of his
skills and competence, in intellectual combat, in concern and contact with the people, and here we are
saying that he is going to be barred from the same kind of public service.

I do not think it is in our place today to make such a very important and momentous decision with respect to
many of our countrymen in the future who may have a lot more years ahead of them in the service of their
country.
If we agree that we will make sure that these people do not set up structures that will perpetuate them, then
let us give them this rest period of three years or whatever it is. Maybe during that time, we would even agree
that their fathers or mothers or relatives of the second degree should not run. But let us not bar them for
life after serving the public for a number of years.
xxx xxx xxx
MR. OPLE. . . . The principle involved is really whether this Commission shall impose a temporary or a
perpetual disqualification on those who have served their terms in accordance with the limits on
consecutive service as decided by the Constitutional Commission. I would be very wary about the
Commission exercising a sort of omnipotent power in order to disqualify those who will already have served
their terms from perpetuating themselves in office. I think the Commission achieves its purpose in establishing
safeguards against the excessive accumulation of power as a result of consecutive terms. We do put a gap on
consecutive service in the case of the President, six years; in the case of the Vice-President, unlimited; and in
the case of the Senators, one reelection. In the case of the Members of Congress, both from the legislative
districts and from the party list and sectoral representation, this is now under discussion and later on the
policy concerning local officials will be taken up by the Committee on Local Governments. The principle
remains the same. I think we want to prevent future situations where, as a result of continuous service and
frequent reelections, officials from the President down to the municipal mayor tend to develop a proprietary
interest in their positions and to accumulate those powers and perquisites that permit them to stay on
indefinitely or to transfer these posts to members of their families in a subsequent election. I think that is taken
care of because we put a gap on the continuity or unbroken service of all of these officials. But were we now
(to) decide to put these prospective servants of the people or politicians, if we want to use the coarser term,
under a perpetual disqualification, I have a feeling that we are taking away too much from the people,
whereas we should be giving as much to the people as we can in terms of their own freedom of choice.

I think the veterans of the Senate and of the House of Representatives here will say that simply getting
nominated on a party ticket is a very poor assurance that the people will return them to the Senate or to the
House of Representatives. There are many casualties along the way of those who want to return to their
office, and it is the people's decision that matters. They judge whether or not a Soc Rodrigo, a Sumulong, a
Padilla, an Alonto and a Rosales, after a first and second term, should go back to the Senate. That is a
prerogative of the people that we should not take away from them the right to judge those who have
served. In any case, we already take away from the people the freedom to vote for the third termers
because we say that a Senator, say, Mr. Rodrigo, is only good for twelve years. But if he wants to be like
Cincinnatus, if he is called back by his people to serve again, let us say for a period of six years which

Commissioner Davide called a period of hibernation which is spent at his fishpond in Bulacan, Bulacan
because there is a new situation in the country that fairly impels the people to summon him back, like
Cincinnatus in the past, then there will no longer be any Cincinnatus.
That is not perhaps a very important point, but I think we already have succeeded in striking a balance of
policies, so that the structures, about which Commissioner Garcia expressed a very legitimate concern,
could henceforth develop to redistribute opportunities, both in terms of political and economic power, to
the great majority of the people, because very soon, we will also discuss the multiparty system. We have
unshackled the Philippine politics from the two-party system, which really was the most critical support for
the perpetuation of political dynasties in the Philippines. That is quite a victory, but at the same time, let us
not despise the role of political parties. The strength of democracy will depend a lot on how strong our
democratic parties are, and a splintering of all these parties so that we fall back on, let us say,
nontraditional parties entirely will mean a great loss to the vitality and resiliency of our democracy . . .
xxx xxx xxx
BISHOP BACANI . . . I think when we voted on the provision that the illiterate be allowed to vote and when
we proposed in this Constitutional Commission for initiative as a way also of empowering our people to
engage in the legislative exercise; we are really presupposing the political maturity of our people. Why is it
that that political maturity seems now to be denied by asking that we should put a constitutional bar to a
further election of any Representative after a term of three years? Why should we not leave that to the
premise accepted by practically everybody here that our people are politically mature? Should we use this
assumption only when it is convenient for us, and not when it may also lead to a freedom of choice for the
people and for politicians who may aspire to serve longer?
xxx xxx xxx
MR. GARCIA. I would like to answer Commissioner Bacani. We put a constitutional bar to reelection of any
Representative basically because of the undue advantage of the incumbent. It is not because of lack of trust in
the people. We realize from history that Mexico fought a revolution simply because of the issue of
reelection. No reeleccion, sufragio universal. Basically, it is because of the undue advantage of the incumbent
that he accumulates power, money, party machine or patronage. As regards what Commissioner Aquino has
said, politics is not won by ideals alone; it is won by solid organizing work by organizations that have the
capacity to do so; and normally the incumbent has all the advantages. . .
xxx xxx xxx
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL. Madam President, we have here 43 ballots cast. We will now start the
counting.
Alternative No. 1 no further election after a total of three terms: /////-/////-/////-//
Alternative No. 2 no immediate reelection after three successive terms: /////-/////-/////-/////-/////-
/" 6 (emphasis supplied)

In several cases, this Court was guided by the proceedings of the ConCom in construing Art. X, Sec. 8 of the Constitution in
relation to Section 43 (b) of theLocal Government Code of 1991. Different from the issue presented by the cases at bar,
however, the question in those cases was what constitutes a "term" for purposes of counting the three consecutive terms
allowed under Art. X, Sec. 8. It is apropos to revisit these cases to aid us in extracting the intent behind said Constitutional
provision and properly apply it to the unique case of private respondent Hagedorn.
The maiden case was Borja, Jr. v. Commission on Elections and Jose T. Capco 7 which involved the 1998 mayoralty election in
Pateros. In 1989, private respondent Capco became mayor by operation of law upon the death of the incumbent, Cesar Borja.
In 1992, he was elected mayor for a term ending in 1995. In 1995, he was reelected mayor for another term of three years
ending in June 1998. In March 1998, he filed his certificate of candidacy for the May 1998 mayoralty election of Pateros.
Petitioner Borja, Jr., another candidate for mayor, sought Capco's disqualification on the ground that by June 30, 1998, Capco
would have already served as mayor for three consecutive terms and would therefore be ineligible to serve for another term.
The COMELEC en bancdeclared Capco eligible to run for mayor, thus Borja, Jr. sought recourse in this Court. In dismissing the
petition, we considered the historical background of Art. X, Sec. 8 of the Constitution, viz:
" . . . a consideration of the historical background of Article X, 8 of the Constitution reveals that the
members of the Constitutional Commission were as much concerned with preserving the freedom of choice
of the people as they were with preventing the monopolization of political power. Indeed, they rejected a
proposal put forth by Commissioner Edmundo F. Garcia that after serving three consecutive terms or nine
years there should be no further reelection for local and legislative officials. Instead, they adopted the
alternative proposal of Commissioner Christian Monsod that such officials be simplybarred from running
for the same position in the succeeding election following the expiration of the third consecutive term (2
RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 236-243 [Session of July 25, 1986] . . . ). Monsod warned
against `prescreening candidates [from] whom the people will choose' as a result of the proposed absolute
disqualification, considering that the draft constitution contained provisions `recognizing people's power.'
xxx xxx xxx
Two ideas thus emerge from a consideration of the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission. The first
is the notion of service of term, derived from the concern about the accumulation of power as a result of a
prolonged stay in office. The second is the idea of election, derived from the concern that the right of the
people to choose whom they wish to govern them be preserved. (emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx
To recapitulate, the term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as
well as the right to serve in the same elective position. Consequently, it is not enough that an individual has
served three consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must also have been elected to the same
position for the same number of times before the disqualification can apply. This point can be made clearer
by considering the following cases or situations:

Case No. 1. Suppose A is a vice-mayor who becomes mayor by reason of the death of the incumbent. Six
months before the next election, he resigns and is twice elected thereafter. Can he run again for mayor in
the next election?
Yes, because although he has already first served as mayor by succession and subsequently resigned from
office before the full term expired, he has not actually served three full terms in all for the purpose of
applying the term limit. Under Art. X, 8, voluntary renunciation of the office is not considered as an
interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term only if the term is one "for which he was
elected." Since A is only completing the service of the term for which the deceased and not he was
elected, A cannot be considered to have completed one term. His resignation constitutes an interruption of
the full term.
xxx xxx xxx
. . . the mayor is entitled to run for reelection because the two conditions for the application of the
disqualification provisions have not concurred, namely,that the local official concerned has been elected
three consecutive times and that he has fully served three consecutive terms. In the first case, even if the local
official is considered to have served three full terms notwithstanding his resignation before the end of the
first term, the fact remains that he has not been elected three times. . .
Case No. 3. The case of vice-mayor C who becomes mayor by succession involves a total failure of the two
conditions to concur for the purpose of applying Art. X, 8. Suppose he is twice elected after that term, is he
qualified to run again in the next election?
Yes, because he was not elected to the office of mayor in the first term but simply found himself thrust into
it by operation of law. Neither had he served the full term because he only continued the service,
interrupted by the death, of the deceased mayor.
To consider C in the third case to have served the first term in full and therefore ineligible to run a third
time for reelection would be not only to falsify reality but also to unduly restrict the right of the people to
choose whom they wish to govern them. If the vice-mayor turns out to be a bad mayor, the people can
remedy the situation by simply not reelecting him for another term. But if, on the other hand, he proves to
be a good mayor, there will be no way the people can return him to office (even if it is just the third time he
is standing for reelection) if his service of the first term is counted as one for the purpose of applying the
term limit.

To consider C as eligible for reelection would be in accord with the understanding of the Constitutional
Commission that while the people should be protected from the evils that a monopoly of political power may
bring about, care should be taken that their freedom of choice is not unduly curtailed." 8 (emphasis supplied)
We reiterated the Borja ruling in Lonzanida v. Commission on Elections, et al. 9 which involved the election for mayor of San
Antonio, Zambales. Prior to the May 8, 1995 elections, petitioner Romeo Lonzanida served two consecutive terms as municipal
mayor of San Antonio, Zambales. In the May 1995 elections, he ran for mayor, was proclaimed winner, and assumed office. His

proclamation was, however, contested by his opponent Juan Alvez in an election protest filed before the Regional Trial Court
of Zambales which rendered a decision declaring a failure of elections. Upon appeal of the decision to the COMELEC, Alvez was
declared the duly elected mayor of San Antonio. In February 1998, the COMELEC issued a writ of execution ordering
Lonzanida to vacate the post, and Alvez served the remainder of the term.
Lonzanida filed his certificate of candidacy for the May 11, 1998 election for mayor of San Antonio. His opponent Eufemio Muli
filed with the COMELEC a petition to disqualify Lonzanida on the ground that he had already served three consecutive terms in
the same office and was thus prohibited from running in the upcoming election. On May 13, 1998, Lonzanida was proclaimed
winner. COMELEC ruled that Lonzanida was disqualified as his assumption to office in 1995, although he was unseated before
the expiration of the term, was considered one full term for purposes of counting the three term limit under
theConstitution and the Local Government Code of 1991.
On appeal to this Court, we ruled, viz:
"It is not disputed that the petitioner was previously elected and served two consecutive terms as mayor of
San Antonio, Zambales prior to the May 1995 mayoral elections. In the May 1995 elections he again ran for
mayor of San Antonio, Zambales and was proclaimed winner. He assumed office and discharged the rights
and duties of mayor until March 1998 when he was ordered to vacate the post by reason of the COMELEC
decision dated November 13, 1997 on the election protest against the petitioner which declared his
opponent Juan Alvez, the duly elected mayor of San Antonio. Alvez served the remaining portion of the
1995-1998 mayoral term.
The two requisites for the application of the three term rule are absent. First, the petitioner cannot be
considered as having been duly elected to the post in the May 1995 elections, and second, the petitioner did not
fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term by reason of voluntary relinquishment of office. After a reappreciation
and revision of the contested ballots the COMELEC itself declared by final judgment that petitioner
Lonzanida lost in the May 1995 mayoral elections and his previous proclamation as a winner was declared
null and void. His assumption of office as mayor cannot be deemed to have been by reason of a valid
election but by reason of a void proclamation. . .
Second, the petitioner cannot be deemed to have served the May 1995 to 1998 term because he was
ordered to vacate his post before the expiration of the term. The respondents' contention that the
petitioner should be deemed to have served one full term from May 1995-1998 because he served the
greater portion of that term has no legal basis to support it; it disregards the second requisite for the
application of the disqualification, i.e., that he has fully served three consecutive terms.
In sum, the petitioner was not the duly elected mayor and he did not hold office for the full term; hence, his
assumption of office from May 1995 to March 1998 cannot be counted as a term for purposes of computing
the three term limit." 10 (emphasis supplied)
Finally, in the recent case of Adormeo v. COMELEC, et al., 11 we ruled that a mayor who assumed office via a recall election and
served the unexpired portion of the mayoralty term is not considered to have served a full term for purposes of applying the
three term limit. In this case, therein private respondent Ramon Talaga, Jr. was elected mayor in May 1992 and served the full

term. In 1995, he was reelected and again served the full term. In 1998, he lost to Bernard G. Tagarao. About two years later, a
recall election was held where Talaga, Jr. ran against Tagarao. He (Talaga, Jr.) won and served the remainder of Tagarao's
term.
In view of the upcoming May 2001 mayoralty election, Talaga, Jr. filed his certificate of candidacy. On March 2, 2001, therein
petitioner Adormeo sought the cancellation of Talaga, Jr.'s certificate of candidacy and/or his disqualification on the ground
that he had been thrice elected and had served three consecutive terms as city mayor. Talaga, Jr., however, was declared
qualified for the position of city mayor. Adormeo thus sought recourse before this Court.
Citing the Borja and Lonzanida rulings, we ruled that Talaga, Jr. was not disqualified as the two conditions for disqualification,
namely (1) the elective official concerned was elected for three consecutive terms in the same post and (2) he has fully served
three consecutive terms, were not met. We did not consider Talaga, Jr.'s service of the unexpired portion of Tagarao's term as
service of a full term for purposes of the three term limit. We also ruled that he did not serve for three consecutive terms as
there was a break in his service when he lost to Tagarao in the 1998 elections. We held, viz:
"COMELEC's ruling that private respondent was not elected for three (3) consecutive terms should be
upheld. For nearly two years, he was a private citizen.The continuity of his mayorship was disrupted by his
defeat in the 1998 elections.
Patently untenable is petitioner's contention that COMELEC in allowing respondent Talaga, Jr. to run in the
May 1998 election violates Article X, Section 8 of the 1987 Constitution. (footnote omitted) To bolster his
case, respondent adverts to the comment of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, a Constitutional Commission member,
stating that in interpreting said provision that 'if one is elected representative to serve the unexpired term
of another, that unexpired (term), no matter how short, will be considered one term for the purpose of
computing the number of successive terms allowed.'
As pointed out by the COMELEC en banc, Fr. Bernas' comment is pertinent only to members of the House of
Representatives. Unlike local government officials, there is no recall election provided for members of
Congress. (Rollo, pp. 83-84)" 12 (emphasis supplied)
The deliberations of the ConCom and the ruling case law of Borja, Lonzanida and Adormeo show that there are two principal
reasons for the three term limit for elective local officials: (1) to prevent political dynasties perpetuated by the undue
advantage of the incumbent and (2) to broaden the choice of the people by allowing candidates other than the incumbent to
serve the people. Likewise evident in the deliberations is the effort to balance between two interests, namely, the prevention
of political dynasties and broadening the choice of the people on the one hand, and respecting the freedom of choice and voice
of the people, on the other; thus, the calibration between perpetual disqualification after three consecutive terms as proposed
by Commissioner Garcia, and setting a limit on immediate reelection and providing for a hibernation period.
In all three cases Borja, Lonzanida and Adormeo we ruled that the "term" referred to in the three term limit is service of
a full term of three years for elective local officials. This ruling furthers the intent of the ConCom to prevent political dynasties
as it is the service of consecutive full terms that makes service continuous and which opens the gates to political dynasties
limiting the people's choice of leaders. In the words of Commissioner Ople, ". . . we want to prevent future situations where, as
a result of continuous service and frequent reelections, officials from the President down to the municipal mayor tend to develop

a proprietary interest in their positions and to accumulate those powers and perquisites that permit them to stay on
indefinitely or to transfer these posts to members of their families in a subsequent election. I think that is taken care of
because we put a gap on the continuity or unbroken service of all of these officials. (emphasis supplied)" Thus, ConCom set the
limit on consecutive full terms to no more than three. Otherwise stated, it is a fourthconsecutive full term that is prohibited.
In the cases at bar, however, private respondent Hagedorn will not serve a prohibited fourth consecutive full term as he will be
serving only the unexpired portion of the 2001-2004 mayoralty term. Similar to Talaga, Jr. in the Adormeo case, Hagedorn's
service as mayor will not be continuous from the third to a fourth consecutive full term as it was broken when Socrates was
elected in the 2001 regular mayoralty election and served for one year. In the same vein that Talaga, Jr. was elected into office by
recall election and his service of the unexpired portion of the incumbent's term was not considered a consecutive full term for
purposes of applying the three term limit, Hagedorn's service of the unexpired portion of Socrates' term should not also be
counted as a prohibited fourth consecutive full term. It should not make a difference whether the recall election came after the
second consecutive full term as in the Adormeo caseor after the third consecutive term as in the cases at bar because the intent
to create a hiatus in service is satisfied in both instances.
Even a textual analysis of Art. X, Sec. 8 will yield the interpretation that what is prohibited is the service of a fourth
consecutive full term. Petitioners are correct in foisting the view that "term" is a fixed and definite period of time prescribed by
law or the Constitution during which the public officer may claim to hold the office as a right. It is a fixed and definite period of
time to hold office, perform its functions, and enjoy its privileges and emoluments until the expiration of the period. 13 In
ascertaining what "term" means for elective local officials, the Constitution itself provides in Art. X, Sec. 8 that it means a fixed,
definite, and full period of three years, viz: "Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which
shall be determined by law, shall be three years . . . " Although one or more persons may discharge the duties of the office
during this fixed three-year period, the term is not divided into smaller terms by the number of incumbents who may fill the
office. It is one and indivisible, and term follows term in successive cycles of three years each. If the incumbent or the one
elected to the office fills a higher vacant office, refuses to assume office, fails to qualify, dies, is removed from office, voluntarily
resigns or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office, thereby creating a permanent
vacancy, 14 the term would remain unbroken until the recurring election for the office. 15

The provisions on voluntary renunciation under Art. X, Sec. 8 and other articles of the Constitution bolster the interpretation
that for purposes of applying the three term limit, service of a full term of three years is contemplated, viz:
"Art. X, Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be
determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive
terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption
in the continuity of the service for the full term for which he was elected."
"Art. VI, Sec. 4. . . . No Senator shall serve for more than two consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of
the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for
the full term for which he was elected.
xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 7. . . . No Member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.
Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the
continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.
xxx xxx xxx
Art. VII, Sec. 4. . . . No Vice-President shall serve more than two successive terms. Voluntary renunciation of
the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of the service
for the full term for which he was elected." (emphasis supplied)
Similarly, the Local Government Code of 1991 provides in Sec. 43 (b), viz:
"Sec. 43(b) . . . No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same
position. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an
interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official concerned was
elected." (emphasis supplied)
Likewise, because "term" is understood to be a fixed, definite, and full period, the Constitution, in Art. VI, Sec. 9, uses the
qualifier "unexpired term" to refer to only a portion of a term, viz:
"Art. VI, Sec. 9. In case of vacancy in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, a special election may be
called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law, but the Senator or Member of the House of
Representatives thus elected shall serve only for the unexpired term." (emphasis supplied)
Similarly, Sec. 44 of the Local Government Code of 1991 uses the phrase "unexpired term" to mean the remainder of the
term, viz:
"Sec. 44(d). The successors as defined herein shall serve only the unexpired terms of his predecessors. . ."
(emphasis supplied)
Thus, when Art. X, Sec. 8 of the Constitution states that ". . . no such (local elective) official shall serve for more than three
consecutive terms," it consistently means that it allows service of a maximum of three consecutive full terms and prohibits
service of a minimum fourth consecutive full term.
In putting a cap on the number of consecutive full terms an elective local official can serve, the ConCom sought to curb the
undue advantage of the incumbent over other aspirants, which advantage makes it easier to found a political dynasty. At the
time of the September 24, 2002 recall election, however, Hagedorn was not the incumbent favored with this feared "undue
advantage of the incumbent." On the contrary, he ran against the incumbent MayorSocrates who alone could be the subject of
recall election and who, by law, was automatically a candidate in the election. 16 Hagedorn did not run in the 2001 regular
mayoralty election of Puerto Princesa City which Socrates won, precisely because he was aware of the three term limit.
It is my respectful submission that the Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991 proscribe a local official who has
been thrice consecutively elected in regular elections and has served three full terms in the same position, from running in
the regular election succeeding his third consecutive term. It is this situation that is prohibited because it makes
possible service of more than three consecutive and continuous full terms, i.e., service of a fourth consecutive full term. We cannot
overstress that it is this continuousness that the ConCom feared would open the gates to the two evils sought to be avoided:
the incumbent's use of his undue advantage to put up a political dynasty and limiting the people's choice of leaders. It is in this

context of regular elections that our obiter dictum in the Lonzanida case, which petitioners harp on, should be understood. In
that case, we opined that "[a]s finally voted upon, it was agreed that an elective local government official should be barred
from running for the same post after three consecutive terms. After a hiatus of at least one term, he may again run for the same
office." 17 Indeed, insofar as regular local elections are concerned, which were the elections involved in that case, there should
be a hiatus of at least one full term of three years.
On the other hand, in the case of a local official who assumes office through a recall election whether after his first, second,
or third consecutive term there is a break in his service caused by the election of the incumbent who was recalled. Even in
the case of a local official who initially assumes office viarecall election, then wins the two succeeding regular elections and
serves two full terms in the same post, he is not prohibited from seeking another reelection and serving another full term. This
is so because his service of the remainder of the incumbent's term via recall election is not, in reality and in law, a full term
continuing on to his three succeeding full terms. Local officials who assume office via recall election serve only the unexpired
portion of the incumbent's term and this service is not counted as a full term, despite the Constitutional mandate that the term
of office of elective local officials is three years. Such is the design because Art. XVIII, Secs. 2 and 5 of the Constitution also
prescribe synchronization of regular national and local elections beginning on the second Monday of May 1992, 18 which is
accomplished if the local official who assumes office through recall election serves only the incumbent's unexpired term.
It is only in the case of Representatives (and Senators) that "if one is elected Representative to serve the unexpired term of
another, that unexpired term will be considered one term for purposes of computing the number of successive terms
allowed." 19 The election herein contemplated is a special election thus this Constitutional intent does not apply to a recall
election which involves only elective local officials. The Record bear this out, viz:
"MR. SUAREZ.
. . . May we ask a clarificatory question regarding the interpretation of the provisions in Sections 3 and 6 in
relation to Section 9 regarding the disqualification on the part of the Senator to run for two
consecutive terms, and in the case of the Members of the House of Representatives, for three
consecutive terms. For example, a special election is called for a Senator, and the Senator newly
elected would have to serve the unexpired portion of the term. Would that mean that serving the
unexpired portion of the term is already considered one term? So, half a term, which is actually the
correct statement, plus one term would disqualify the Senator concerned from running? Is that the
meaning of this provision on disqualification, Madam President?
MR. DAVIDE.
Yes, because we speak of "term" and if there is a special election, he will serve only for the unexpired
portion of that particular term plus one more term for the Senator and two terms for the Members
of the Lower House." 20
As we ruled in the Adormeo case, service of an unexpired term is considered service of a full term only with respect to
Representatives (and Senators) because unlike local government officials, Representatives cannot be recalled. It is
continuous prolonged stay in office that breeds political dynasties. Understandably therefore, insofar as Representatives

who cannot be recalled are concerned, service of an unexpired term is strictly counted as service of a full term because the
purpose of the ConCom was to limit the right to run and be elected in Congress. 21
In allowing Hagedorn to participate in the September 24 recall election, we are not unmindful of the intent of the ConCom to
broaden the people's choice of leaders. The three term limit was adopted to allow the electorate to choose from other
candidates in the regular election succeeding the incumbent's third consecutive term. This is clear in the Commissioners'
alternatives for voting on the term limit for Representatives and the outcome of their voting where 17 voted for "no further
election after a total of three terms" and 26 voted for "no immediate reelection after three successive terms." A reelection is
immediate if a local official wins in the election succeeding the third consecutive term. 22 This is not the case with Hagedorn
who did not run in the 2001 regular mayoralty election and left that political arena to other contenders, thereby upholding the
intent of the ConCom to broaden the choice of the electorate. TIcEDC
The intent of the ConCom to create a hiatus in the service of elective local officials after three consecutive full terms cannot be
undermined through abuse of the power of recall. The Local Government Code of 1991 provides limitations on recall in Section
74, viz:
"Section 74. Limitations on Recall. (a) any elective local official may be the subject of a recall election only
once during his term of office for loss of confidence.
(b) No recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the official's assumption to office or one (1)
year immediately preceding a regular local election." (emphasis supplied)

Thus, an elective local official cannot perpetually hold on to his office through the mechanism of recall as at the very least,
there will be a hiatus of one year after an unbroken service of three terms. He could not simply create, in the words of
Commissioner Monsod, "structures that will perpetuate him (them)" in power with the assurance that they will not be
exposed because after serving three consecutive full terms, he will certainly be replaced. Within the one-year period under
Sec. 74, his successor could discover and begin to dismantle these manipulative structures. This one year period also
provides a reasonable basis for the electorate to judge the performance of the incumbent successor, thus obviating fear of
political maneuvering through initiation of recall proceedings by a Preparatory Recall Assembly dominated by minions of
the previous local official. 23 In Claudio v. COMELEC, et al., 24 we held, viz:
"In the Bower case (In re Bower 41 Ill. 777, 242 N.E. 2d 252 [1968]) cited by this Court in Angobung v.
COMELEC (269 SCRA 245, 256 [1997]), it was held that 'The only logical reason which we can ascribe for
requiring the electors to wait one year before petitioning for recall election is to prevent premature action
on their part in voting to remove a newly elected official before having had sufficient time to evaluate the
soundness of his policies and decisions."' 25
If, after one year in office, the incumbent proves himself to be worthy of his position, then his constituents will confirm
this should a recall election be called, as in the case of Mayor Reynaldo Malonzo of Caloocan City. If, on the other hand, the
incumbent turns out to be an ineffective leader, there is no reason why the electorate should not be allowed to make a
Cincinnatus of their past leader.

The imagined fear of abuse of the power of recall does not suffice to disqualify private respondent Hagedorn and should not
prevail over the resounding voice of the people of Puerto Princesa City. They have spoken and there is no mistaking that
Hagedorn is their overwhelming choice. We cannot subscribe to the petitioners' position and allow an overly literal reading of
the law to mute the electorate's cry and curtail their freedom to choose their leaders. This freedom was as much a concern of
the ConCom as was the prevention of political dynasties and broadening the choice of the people. This Court has not just once
admonished against a too literal reading of the law as this is apt to constrict rather than fulfill its purpose and defeat the
intention of the authors. 26
In sum, private respondent Hagedorn is not disqualified from running in the September 24, 2002 recall election as the
disqualification under Art. X, Sec. 8 of the Constitution applies to the regular mayoralty election succeeding the third
consecutive term served. Nor is he precluded from serving the unexpired portion of the 2001-2004 mayoralty term as this is
not service of a prohibited fourth consecutive full term.
I vote to deny the petition, giving due consideration to the tenet of representative democracy that the people should be
allowed to choose whom they wish to govern them. 27 In the end, ". . . more than judgments of courts of law, the judgment of
the tribunal of the people is final for 'sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.
'" 28
MENDOZA, J., concurring in the judgment:
There is no dispute in this case that respondent Edward S. Hagedorn had served for three consecutive terms as Mayor of
Puerto Princesa City prior to his election to the same position in the recall election held on September 24, 2002. The question
is whether his election was for a fourth consecutive term in violation of Art. X, 8 of the Constitution, which bars elective local
officials, with the exception of barangay officers, from "serv[ing] for more than three consecutive terms." 1
The majority hold that it does not because "what the Constitution prohibits is an immediate reelection for a fourth term
following three consecutive terms." (p. 15) They argue that
. . . Hagedorn's recall term does not retroact to include the tenure in office of Socrates. Hagedorn can only be
disqualified to run in the September 24, 2002 recall election if the recall term is made to retroact to June 30,
2001, for only then can the recall term constitute a fourth consecutive term. But to consider Hagedorn's
recall term as a full term of three years, retroacting to June 30, 2001, despite the fact that he won his recall
term only last September 24, 2002, is to ignore reality. This Court cannot declare as consecutive or
successive terms of office which historically and factually are not. (p. 22)
On the other hand, the dissenters argue that "what is prohibited is [a] fourth term" (p. 4) and that the only way an elective
local official, who has served for three consecutive terms, may again be elected to the same position is for him to allow the
fourth term to expire before doing so.
Both the majority and the dissenters are thus agreed that the term following the three consecutive terms must be counted.
Their disagreement is in considering whether or not to count the term during which a recall election is held as part of the
three consecutive terms preceding it. The majority consider the term as a consecutive term of the term following but not of
the third term preceding which has just ended because of the interruption between the beginning of the fourth term and the
date of the recall election. Thus, the majority state:

A necessary consequence of the interruption of continuity of service is the start of a new term following the
interruption. An official elected in recall election serves the unexpired term of the recalled official. This
unexpired term is in itself one term for purposes of counting the three-term limit. (p. 23)
In contending that the unexpired term served by the winner in a recall election "is in itself one term for purposes of counting
the three term limit," the majority take contradictory positions because they also argue that "Hagedorn's recall term does not
retroact" to the beginning of that term and that "to consider Hagedorn's recall term as a full term of three years, retroacting to
June 30, 2001, despite the fact that he won his recall term only last September 24, 2002, is to ignore reality." The majority are
thus riding two unruly horses contending on the one hand in holding that the term during which a recall election takes place is
a fourth term, and on the other that it is not a fourth term for purposes of determining whether an elective local official has
served for more than three consecutive terms.
On the other hand, the dissenters say that the only way an elective local official can run again for the same position after
serving three consecutive terms is for him to allow the succeeding full term of three years to pass before doing so. They
contend:
. . . For one to be able to run again after three consecutive terms, he has to rest for the entire immediately
succeeding fourth term. On the next fifth term he can run again to start a new series of three consecutive
terms. (p. 11)
Hagedorn may not have "rested" for one full term before running in the recall election on September 24, 2002, but neither will
he be serving a fourth term because a term consists of three years. Not to have "rested" for one full term requires that he
should also serve for one full term. This is not, however, possible because, under Art. X, 8 of the Constitution, "the term of
office of elective officials . . . shall be three years." Less than three years is not a term.
The flaw in the theories of both the majority and the dissenters is that both agree that if there is an interruption in the
continuity of service of an elective local official during the three consecutive terms, not caused by the voluntary renunciation
of office, the term during which the interruption occurs should not be counted in determining the three-term limit. This is in
accordance with the ruling in Lonzanida v. COMELEC 2 that if the election of a mayor for the third consecutive term is annulled,
he can run again in the next election because the term during which his election was invalidated is not to be counted. Similarly,
in Adormeo v. COMELEC, 3 it was held that if after serving for two consecutive terms, a mayor loses in his bid for reelection but,
in a recall election subsequently held during that term, he wins he can still run in the next regular election because the term
during which he lost is not to be counted for applying the three-term limit. However, the majority and the dissenters also say
that if the interruption takes place in the term following three consecutive terms, the term should be counted in applying the
three-term limit. For the majority, such term should be included in determining the next consecutive terms, while the
dissenters say it should be considered in determining the consecutive terms preceding it. Both majority and the dissenters are
thus inconsistent.
Moreover, both erroneously assume that the election in a recall election is a reelection. Both cite the records of the
Constitutional Commission that what is prohibited after a service for more than three consecutive terms is not reelection per
se but "immediate reelection." They note that the three-term limit, originally adopted for Senators and members of the House

of Representatives, was later applied to elective local officials as well. 4 Hence, they focus their discussion on whether a
reelection is "immediate."
To the majority a recall election is a reelection but it is not an "immediate" one because a recall election does not immediately
follow the end of the third term. On the other hand, to the dissenters, such election is "immediate" because it takes place
during the fourth term which "immediately follows" three consecutive terms. Consequently, the election during that term of a
local elective official is prohibited if he has served in the previous three consecutive terms. To quote the minority:

These debates [in the Constitutional Commission] clearly show the intent of the Commission that the ban
against an immediate reelection after three consecutive terms applies to the fourth term, i.e., the term
immediately following the three consecutive terms, to be filled up by the regular election for such term. (p.
11)
The question is not whether an election during a recall is an "immediate reelection." The question is whether it is a reelection
at all. The dictionary meaning of "reelect" is "to elect for another term." 5 On the other hand, as already pointed out,
the Constitution provides that the term of an elective local official is three years. Therefore, the period during which one
serves by virtue of a recall election is not a term because it cannot be for three years. It is only a tenure.
I submit with respect that the term during which a recall election is held should not be counted in computing the three-term
limit not only when the recall election occurs within three consecutive terms, as this Court has already held, 6 but also when
such election is held during the fourth term immediately following three consecutive terms. The reason for this is that the
elective local official cannot be said to have served "for more than three consecutive terms" because of the break in his service.
What prevents the fourth term from being counted in determining the three-term limit is the lack of continuity, or the break, in
the "service of the full term." I must stress that the Constitution does not say "service for more than three terms" but "service
for more than three consecutive terms."
As the discussion of the Constitutional Commission on Art. X, 8 shows, the three-term limit is aimed at preventing the
monopolization or aggrandizement of political power and the perpetration of the incumbent in office. This abuse is likely to
arise from a prolonged stay in power. It is not likely to arise if the service is broken, albeit it is for more than three terms.
Hence, the application of the constitutional ban on the holding of elective local office for three consecutive terms requires in
my view (1) election in a regular election for three consecutive terms and (2) service for the full terms, each consisting of three
years, for which the official is elected. The first requirement is intended to give the electorate the freedom to reelect a
candidate for a local elective position as part of their sovereign right (the right of suffrage) to choose those whom they believe
can best serve them. This is the reason the framers of ourConstitution rejected Scheme No. 1, which was to ban reelection after
three successive terms, and adopted Scheme No. 2, which is about "no immediate reelection after three successive terms." On
the other hand, the second requirement is intended to prevent the accumulation of power resulting from too long a stay in
office. 7
To repeat, the term during which a recall election is held is not a fourth term in relation to the three consecutive terms
preceding it. Nor is the unexpired portion of such term a new one. Much less is the election a reelection. This can be made clear
by the following example: If A is thrice elected mayor of a municipality for three consecutive terms and, during his third term,

is made to face a recall election in an off-year election and is elected over his rivals, it would be absurd to contend that he
cannot continue in office because his election will actually be his fourth election and the service of the remainder of the third
term will actually be service for the fourth consecutive term. In this case, for lack of the second element, i.e., service for more
than three consecutive terms, the three-term limit rule cannot be applied to the election of Hagedorn in the recall election of
September 24, 2002. HaAISC
Finally, the dissenters argue that, unless the three-term limit is applied to a recall election taking place after three consecutive
terms, a popular elective local official, unable to run for a fourth term, may be tempted to plot the recall of his successor so that
he can return to power in the ensuing election. I appreciate the point of the dissenters. But the danger is equally great for a
vice-mayor plotting against the mayor and by succession ascending into power and from thence forward seeking three more
successive terms. And yet we have held that service for the unexpired term, by reason of succession, is not to be counted. 8 In
any event, it is familiar learning that "the possibility of abuse is not an argument against the concession of power as there is no
power that is not susceptible of abuse." 9
Thus, while I do not subscribe to the majority reasoning by which the decision in this case is justified, I reach the same result
as they do in holding that Hagedorn was not disqualified because of prior service for more than three consecutive terms to run
for Mayor of Puerto Princesa City in the recall election held on September 24, 2002. The result reached upholds the right of a
candidate to seek a popular mandate and vindicates the sovereign judgment of the electorate of Puerto Princesa City.
FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, I vote to dismiss the petition in G.R. Nos. 155083-84 as well as those in G.R. Nos. 154512 and
154683 and to declare respondent Edward S. Hagedorn qualified to run in the last recall election for Mayor of Puerto Princesa
City.
Footnotes
1.Filed under Rule 65 in relation to Rule 64 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure with prayers for preliminary injunction and
temporary restraining orders.
2.Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, Chapter 5, Section 69 to 75.
3.Composed of Benjamin S. Abalos, Sr. as Chairman with Commissioners Luzviminda G. Tancangco, Rufino S.B. Javier, Ralph
C. Lantion, Mehol K. Sadain, Resurreccion Z. Borra and Florentino A. Tuason, Jr.
4.With Mehol K. Sadain as Presiding Commissioner and Luzviminda G. Tancangco and Resurreccion Z. Borra as
Commissioners.
5.269 SCRA 380 (1997).
6.Ricardo J. Romulo, Commissioner of the 1986 Constitutional Convention.
7.Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. 2, p. 236.
8.Journal of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. I, p. 420.
9."MR. ROMULO:Madam President, we are now ready to vote on the question of the Senators, and the schemes are as
follows: The first scheme is, no further election after two terms; the second scheme is, no immediate reelection after
two successive terms. Madam President, inasmuch as the principles applicable here are the same as those for the
House of Representatives, I move that we go directly to the voting and forego any further discussions.

THE PRESIDENT: Please distribute the ballots for this particular item for Senators. Are we ready now? The Secretary-
General will please count the ballots.
COUNTING OF BALLOTS
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: We have 43 ballots here, Madam President. We shall now begin to count.
THE PRESIDENT: Please proceed.
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, reading:
Scheme No. I /////-/////-//
Scheme No. II /////-/////-/////-/////-/////-/////-//
THE PRESIDENT: The results show 12 votes for Scheme No. 1 and 32 votes for Scheme No. II; Scheme No. II is approved."
(Emphasis supplied) Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. 2, pp. 244-245.
10.MR. GASCON:Is this voting just for Congressmen?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
The Secretary-General will now please proceed to count the votes.
COUNTING OF BALLOTS
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: Madam President, we have here 43 ballots cast. We will now start the counting.
Alternative No. 1 no further election after a total of three tern: /////-/////-/////-//
Alternative No. 2 no immediate reelection after three successive terms: /////-/////-/////-/////-/////-/
THE PRESIDENT: The result show 17 votes for Alternative No. 1 and 26 votes for Alternative No. 2; Alternative No. 2 is
approved." (Emphasis supplied) Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. 2, pp. 243-244.
11.Second paragraph of Section 4, Article VI of the Constitution.
12.Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon Commissioner of the 1986 Constitutional Commission.
13.Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Commissioner of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, and now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
14.Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. II, p. 590.
15.Bernas, The Intent of the 1986 Constitutional Writers, p. 341 (1995).
16.Hagedorn instead ran for Governor of Palawan in the 2001 elections but lost.
17.311 SCRA 602 (1999).
18.G.R. No. 147927, February 4, 2002.
19.295 SCRA 157 (1998).
20.Jose E. Suarez, Commissioner of the 1986 Constitutional Commission.
21.Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. II, p. 592.
Puno, J., concurring:
1.Frivaldo v. COMELEC, 257 SCRA 727 (1996).
2.Very Urgent Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction and Prayer for Temporary Restraining
Order (Petition), pp. 9-10. The Petition-in-Intervention of Mayor Socrates raises similar issues.
3.1 L. Taada and F. Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines 95-96 (1961).
4.R. Martin, Philippine Political Law 27 (New ed. 1998).

5.J. Bernas, The Intent of the 1986 Constitution Writers 699 (1995); Record of the Constitutional Commission ("Record"), Vol.
III, pp. 406-408, 451.
6.Record, Vol. II, pp. 236-237, 239-240, 243.
7.295 SCRA 157 (1998).
8.Id., pp. 163, 165.
9.311 SCRA 602 (1999).
10.Lonzanida v. COMELEC, et al., 311 SCRA 602 (1999), pp. 612-613.
11.G.R. No. 147927, February 4, 2002.
12.Adormeo v. COMELEC, et al., supra, p. 6.
13.Petition, p. 23, citing Martin and Martin, Administrative Law, Law of Public Officers and Election Law, Revised Edition, p.
173.
14.Local Government Code of 1991, Sec. 44(d).
15.See Schardein v. Harrison, et al., 18 S. W. 2d 316 (1929).
16.Section 71 of the Local Government Code of 1991 provides in relevant part, viz:
"Section 71. . . . The official or officials sought to be recalled shall automatically be considered as duly registered candidate
or candidates to the pertinent positions and, like other candidates, shall be entitled to be voted upon."

17.Petition, p. 18, citing Lonzanida v. Comelec, supra, p. 609.
18.Osmena, et al. v. Del Mar, et al., 199 SCRA 750 (1991).
19.II J. Bernas, The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary 96 (First ed. 1988).
20.Record, Vol. II, p. 592.
21.Borja, Jr. v. COMELEC, et al., supra. p. 167.
22.Id., p. 163.
23.Section 70 of the Local Government Code provides, viz:
"Section 70. Initiation of the Recall Process. (a) Recall may be initiated by a preparatory recall assembly or by the
registered voters of the local government unit to which the local elective official subject to such recall belongs.
(b) There shall be a preparatory recall assembly in every province, city, district, and municipality which shall be composed
of the following:
(1) Provincial level. All mayors, vice-mayors, and sanggunian members of the municipalities and component cities;
(2) City level. All punong barangay and sanggunian barangay members in the city;
(3) Legislative district level. In cases where sangguniang panlalawigan members are elected by district, all elective
municipal officials in the district; and in cases where sangguniang panglungsod members are elected by district, all
elective barangay officials in the district; and
(4) Municipal level. All punong barangay and sangguniang barangay members in the municipality.
(c) A majority of all the preparatory recall assembly members may convene in session in a public place and initiate a recall
proceeding against any elective official in the local government unit concerned. Recall of provincial, city, or

municipal officials shall be validly initiated through a resolution adopted by a majority of all the members of the
preparatory recall assembly concerned during its session called for the purpose."
24.331 SCRA 388 (2000).
25.Claudio v. COMELEC, et al., supra, p. 406.
26.Paras v. COMELEC, 264 SCRA 491 (1996).
27.U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779, 131 L. Ed. 2d 881 (1995).
28.Garcia v. COMELEC, et al., 227 SCRA 100 (1993).
Mendoza, J., concurring in the judgment:
1.CONST., ART. X, 8: "The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by
law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary
renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his
service for the full term for which he was elected."
2.311 SCRA 602 (1999).
3.G.R. No. 147927, Feb. 4, 2002.
4.2 RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 243-245 (Session of July 25, 1986) (hereafter referred to as RECORD);
3 RECORD 406-408 (Session of August 16, 1986).
5.WEBSTER'S THIRD INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE (Unabridged) p. 731 (1993).
6.Adormeo v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 147927, Feb. 4, 2002.
7.See Borja v. COMELEC, 295 SCRA 157 (1998); Arcos v. COMELEC (res.), G.R. No. 133639, Oct. 6, 1998.
8.Borja v. COMELEC, supra; Arcos v. COMELEC, supra.
9.Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139, 177 (1936); Nava v. Gatmaitan, 90 Phil. 172, 200 (1951); Vera v. Avelino, 77
Phil. 192 (1946); Aquino v. Enrile, Jr., 59 SCRA 183, 417 (1974).
||| (Socrates v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 154512, 154683, 155083-84, [November 12, 2002])

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 134293. June 21, 1999.]
KAISER B. RECABO, JR., petitioner, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and FRANCISCO R. REYES,
JR., respondents.
Enrique Y. Tandan for petitioner.
Rene O. Median for private respondent.
SYNOPSIS
Candelaria B. Recabo, mother of herein petitioner, filed her certificate of candidacy for vice-mayor of the municipality of
Mainit, Surigao del Norte of the political party LAKAS NUCD-UMDP on March 25, 1995 and later withdrew the same on March
31, 1998. On March 27, 1998 private respondent filed his certificate of candidacy for the same position and of the same
political party while herein petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy on April 2, 1998, in substitution of his mother who had
withdrawn earlier. Thereafter, private respondent filed before the respondent Commission a petition for the cancellation of

petitioner's certificate of candidacy theorizing that Candelaria B. Recabo was not validly nominated by the political party since
the certificate of nomination and acceptance in her favor was signed only by one authorized officer of the party. Therefore, not
having been validly nominated, she should be deemed an independent candidate only. And since she is an independent
candidate, she cannot be validly substituted because under Sec. 11 of Comelec Resolution No. 2977 promulgated on January
15, 1998, "no substitution shall be allowed for an independent candidate." On the other hand, petitioner maintained that his
certificate of candidacy and that of his mother who he substituted substantially complied with the requirements of being
official candidates of the political party. Petitioner further assailed the jurisdiction of the respondent Commission to rule on
the issue. Based on the foregoing, the respondent Commission issued a resolution canceling petitioner's certificate of
candidacy and ruling that private respondent's certificate of candidacy be given due course. Petitioner moved for
reconsideration but the respondent Commission denied the same. Hence, petitioner filed this present petition imputing grave
abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent Commission in canceling his certificate of candidacy. Private respondent, on
the other hand, moved that in the event of the Supreme Court affirmed the non-qualification of petitioner, he should be
proclaimed the winner and allowed to assume the position of vice-mayor of the municipality of Mainit, Surigao del
Norte. aDcETC
The Supreme Court affirmed the resolution of the respondent Commission. The Court found that the findings and conclusions
reached by the respondent Commission were not whimsical nor capricious. The respondent Commission acted within its
powers and jurisdiction in canceling petitioner's certificate of candidacy and there is no justification for the Court to interfere
with its action.
The disqualification or non-qualification of the winner in a vice-mayoralty race does not justify the proclamation of the
defeated candidate who obtained the second highest number of votes. Hence, in the event that herein petitioner obtained the
plurality of votes in the May 11, 1998 elections for Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Mainit, Surigao del Norte, the vacancy due
to his ineligibility should be filled up in accordance with Section 44 of the Local Government Code of 1991 which provides that
the highest ranking sanggunian member shall become the vice-mayor.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION; CERTIORARI; COMELEC ACTED WITHIN ITS JURISDICTION WHEN IT CANCELLED
PETITIONER'S CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY. Preliminarily, it must be stated that in special civil actions for certiorari, the
main issue is one of jurisdiction lack of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction. In the
case at bar, we find that the findings and conclusions reached by the respondent Commission were not whimsical nor
capricious. The respondent Commission acted within its powers and jurisdiction in canceling the certificate of candidacy of
petitioner and there is no justification for this Court to interfere with the actions taken by the Comelec. The findings of the
respondent Commission are supported by documentary evidence.
2. POLITICAL LAW; ELECTIONS; THE ELECTORAL REFORM LAW OF 1987; DOCTRINE THAT A MERE TECHNICALITY CANNOT
BE USED TO FRUSTRATE THE PEOPLE'S WILL, NOT APPLICABLE WHEN RESULTS OF THE ELECTION HAVE NOT BEEN DULY
ESTABLISHED. In Garay vs. Commission on Elections we had occasion to rule that: ". . . According to Section 17, a certificate
of votes can only be "evidence to prove tampering, alteration, falsification or any other anomaly committed in the election
returns concerned, when duly authenticated . . ." A certificate of votes does not constitute sufficient evidence of the true and

genuine results of the election; only election returns are, pursuant to Sections 231, 233-236, and 238 of B.P. Blg. 881." In like
manner, neither is the certified list of winning candidates signed by the said Election Officer II and OIC sufficient evidence of
the real results of the election. Moreover, we find that the certificate of votes does not conform with Section 16 of R.A. 6646.
The certificate of votes submitted by petitioner does not state the number of votes obtained in words; it does not state the
number of the precinct, the total number of voters who voted in the precinct and the time issued. Most importantly, it was
merely certified true and correct by a certain Lydia P. Mahinay as acting election officer. As aforequoted, Section 16 of R.A.
6646 requires that the certificate of votes be signed and thumbmarked by each member of the board of election inspectors.
Thus, the doctrine that a mere technicality cannot be used to frustrate the people's will finds no application in the case at bar
considering that the results of the election have not been duly established.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY; CANCELLATION THEREOF, CONSIDERED PROPER IN CASE AT BAR. Pursuant
to Section 5 of Comelec Resolution No. 2977 the political party of LAKAS NUCD-UMDP issued an 'Authorization' designating
two (2) Party officers to nominate, sign, attest under oath and issue the Official Certificates of Nomination, namely, Francisco
T. Matugas and Robert Ace S. Barbers. Consistent with the foregoing, the certificate of nomination and acceptance, as pointed
out by the respondent Commission, requires the joint signing of the two party officers. The fact that only Francisco T. Matugas
signed the certificate of nomination of petitioner Recabo, Jr. leaves the same open to question. On the other hand, the
certificate of nomination of private respondent Reyes, Jr. was signed by no less than Fidel V. Ramos and Jose De Venecia, Jr. as
the National Chairman and Secretary General, respectively of the LAKAS NUCD-UMDP party. By and large, the best authority to
interpret a rule is the source itself of the rule, in this case the COMELEC. Moreover, the chronology of events would still call for
the cancellation of petitioner's certificate of candidacy to curb the evil that the respondent Commission sought to abate
pursuant to its mandate to hold free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections. As the respondent Commission stated,
"to allow respondent to run under the circumstances adverted to herein would put the election process in mockery and
disrepute for we would in effect be allowing an anomalous situation where a single political party may field-in multiple
candidates for a single election position."
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; DISUNITY AMONG MEMBERS OF A POLITICAL PARTY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO CREATE A MOCKERY OF
THE ELECTORAL PROCESS. Assuming all three candidates were fielded-in by the same political party, at the time petitioner
Recabo, Jr. filed his certificate of candidacy there was no more void to fill in as respondent Reyes, Jr. had already filed his
certificate of candidacy as official candidate of LAKAS NUCD-UMDP. Verily, there was no more vacancy to be substituted for.
Disunity and discord amongst members of a political party should not be allowed to create a mockery of our electoral process,
which envisions one candidate from a political party for each position.
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; INDEPENDENT CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY; FILED BEYOND THE DEADLINE IS NOT VALID; CASE AT BAR.
This issue was not raised in this petition, nevertheless, we deem it necessary to clarify respondent Commission's declaration
that petitioner's mother is an independent candidate on account of the invalidity of her certificate of nomination and
acceptance to forestall any confusion that may arise on account of the said declaration. For the same reason, that his certificate
of nomination was invalid because it was signed only by one authorized party officer, may petitioner be likewise deemed an
independent candidate and pave the way for his candidacy in the said elections? The answer would still be in the negative.
Were we to treat him as an independent candidate, his certificate of candidacy would still be cancelled and denied due course

on the ground that it was filed out of time. It is well-settled that a certificate filed beyond the deadline is not valid. Petitioner
filed his certificate of candidacy on April 2, 1998, well within the prescriptive period for filing a substitute certificate of
candidacy, but way beyond the period for filing an independent certificate of candidacy. Section 4 of COMELEC Resolution No.
2977 requires that "the certificate of candidacy for municipal positions in areas other than the ARMM should be filed starting
January 11, 1998 to midnight of March 27, 1998." On the other hand, Section 11 thereof provides that "the substitute
candidate nominated by the political party concerned may file his certificate of candidacy as herein provided for the office
affected not later than mid-day of the day of the election." acTDCI
6. ID.; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE; ELECTIVE OFFICIALS; VACANCIES AND SUCCESSION; DISQUALIFICATION OR NON-
QUALIFICATION OF THE WINNER IN A VICE MAYORALTY RACE DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE PROCLAMATION OF THE DEFEATED
CANDIDATE WHO OBTAINED THE SECOND HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTES. Private respondent Reyes, Jr. has filed a motion
in this Court to the effect that in the event this Court affirms the non-qualification of petitioner Recabo, Jr., he should be
proclaimed the winner and assume the position of vice-mayor of the municipality of Mainit, Surigao del Norte. Apparently,
respondent Reyes, Jr. is counting on the certificate of votes to establish that he is the second highest winning candidate. As we
have pointed out earlier, a certificate of votes is not sufficient to establish the true and genuine results of the election. A
certificate of canvass issued on the basis of the election returns is required to proclaim the elected candidate. Moreover, it is
settled that the disqualification or non-qualification of the winner in a vice-mayoralty race does not justify the proclamation of
the defeated candidate who obtained the second highest number of votes. Hence, in the event that herein petitioner Kaiser
Recabo, Jr. obtained the plurality of votes in the May 11, 1998 elections for Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Mainit, Surigao
del Norte, the vacancy due to the ineligibility of herein petitioner should be filled up in accordance with Section 44 of the Local
Government Code of 1991 which provides that the highest rankingsanggunian member shall become the vice-mayor. In sum,
we find that the respondent Commission did not act without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in canceling and
denying due course to petitioner Recabo, Jr.'s certificate of candidacy.

D E C I S I O N
GONZAGA-REYES, J p:
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure seeking to annul the resolution dated May
8, 1998 of the First Division of the Commission on Elections 1 ("the Commission"), cancelling the certificate of candidacy of
petitioner Kaiser B. Recabo, Jr., and the resolution dated July 1, 1998 of the Commission en banc, denying petitioner's motion
for reconsideration. cdphil
The antecedents as found by the Commission in the resolution dated May 8, 1998 are:
"It appears that on March 27, 1998, petitioner Francisco R. Reyes, Jr. filed his certificate of candidacy
(Annex A, Petition) as the official candidate (for vice-mayor of the municipality of Mainit, Surigao del Norte)
of the political party LAKAS NUCD-UMDP. His nomination by said political party is evidenced by the
certificate of nomination and acceptance dated March 27, 1998 signed by Fidel V. Ramos and Jose de
Venecia, National Chairman and Secretary General, respectively, of said political party. This certificate of
nomination and acceptance is petitioner's Annex A-1.

However, on April 2, 1998, another person, respondent Kaiser B. Recabo, Jr., claiming to be the official
candidate of LAKAS NUCD-UMDP as vice-mayor of the municipality of Mainit, Surigao del Norte also filed
his certificate of candidacy (Annex E, Petition). Petitioner submitted to this Commission a copy of the
certificate of nomination and acceptance in favor of Kaiser B. Recabo, Jr. dated March 30, 1998 (Annex F)
signed only by one representative of LAKAS NUCD-UMDP, Francisco T. Matugas. The space of the other
representative (Robert Z. Barbers) is blank.
Petitioner in par. II-2 of the petition alleges:
II-2. The respondent KAISER B. RECABO, JR., is a SUBSTITUTE candidate for the office of VICE-MAYOR of
the Municipality of Mainit, Surigao del Norte. He filed his Certificate of Candidacy on April 02, 1998. He
claims to be a substitute of MRS. CANDELARIA B. RECABO who filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the
position of VICE-MAYOR of Mainit, Surigao del Norte on March 25, 1998. cdphil
The allegations in this paragraph are admitted by respondent as he has not specifically denied the same. Further, respondent
emphasizes that he admits this in par. 1 of his Answer where he states:
1. Except those that may be specifically denied in the following paragraphs of this answer, he admits the
material allegations of the petition.
Petitioner submits the theory that since the certificate of nomination and acceptance (Annex C) in favor of
Candelaria B. Recabo is not signed by Robert Barbers, there is no valid nomination by LAKAS NUCD-UMDP
in favor of Candelaria Recabo. Therefore, Candelaria B. Recabo not having been validly nominated, should
be deemed an independent candidate only. And since Candelaria B. Recabo is an independent candidate,
she cannot be validly substituted because under Sec. 11 of Comelec Res. No. 2977 promulgated on January
15, 1998, "no substitution shall be allowed for an independent candidate."
On the other hand, respondent argues that the certificate of nomination and acceptance signed only by
representative Matugas (and without the joint signature of representative Barbers) substantially complied
with the party requirements and are, therefore, valid as far as the party is concerned. Respondent
maintains that his nomination is valid. Respondent further argues that the Commission has no jurisdiction
to rule on who between petitioner and respondent has a valid certificate of candidacy. cdrep
Respondent likewise claims that the certificate of nomination in favor of petitioner (Annex A-1). is falsified
because it was notarized in Mainit, Surigao del Norte at a time when the signatories therein (Fidel Ramos
and Jose de Venecia, Jr.) were not in said place. Respondent however has not presented any evidence to this
effect." 2
Based on the foregoing, the respondent Commission cancelled the certificate of candidacy of petitioner Kaiser B. Recabo, Jr. On
May 14, 1998, petitioner Recabo, Jr. filed a motion for reconsideration and a supplement thereto on May 22, 1998. Francisco R.
Reyes, Jr. filed his opposition. On July 1, 1998, the Commission en banc issued a resolution denying the motion for
reconsideration for lack of merit.
Hence, the instant petition on the following grounds:

"1. The certificate of candidacy of petitioner and that of his mother whom he substituted as candidate for
Vice-Mayor substantially complied with the requirements of being official candidate of the LAKAS-NUCD-
UMDP party.
2. The people of Mainit, Surigao del Norte have spoken loud and clear in favor of petitioner by giving him a
resounding majority of 1,102 votes or 12% of the votes cast for both of them. cda
3. By canceling the certificate of candidacy of petitioner, public respondent acted without or in excess of
jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion, and there is no appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law available to petitioner, except this present petition." 3
The respondent Commission rationalized the cancellation of petitioner's certificate of candidacy thus:
"It appears from the very wording of the certificate of nomination and acceptance of LAKAS NUCD-UMDP
that joint signing of the certificate is required for validity. The body of the certificate begins by . . . "WE,
GOV. FRANCISCO T. MATUGAS and ROBERTO Z. BARBERS . . . as its Provincial Chairman and District
Chairman, respectively, hereby nominate.
The certificate continues . . ."WITNESS OUR HANDS this 18th day of March 1998" etc.
From the way the document is worded, the intent is that there should be two complete signatures on the
certificate for the certificate to be valid.
The mischief in respondent's assertion to the effect that this Commission has no jurisdiction to rule on
whose certificate of candidacy should be given due course is that if such a position is taken, it would give
rise to a scenario whereby one single political party may make multiple nominations for a single elective
position. Such is not the intent of our election laws and neither is such a situation the intent of the rules and
regulations issued by this Commission.llcd
We, therefore, rule that petitioner's certificate of candidacy be given due course and that respondent's
certificate of candidacy be denied due course. First, because petitioner filed it much earlier than respondent
and second, because the certificate of nomination and acceptance upon which respondent's certificate of
candidacy is premised appears to be invalid. We find the theory of petitioner, that at best Candelaria
Recabo is only an independent candidate, logical and valid. Consequently, she cannot be substituted by
respondent. (Sec. 11, Comelec Res. 2977).
Furthermore, under Sec. 69 of the Omnibus Election Code, the Commission may motu propio, or upon valid
petition, refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy if it is shown that said certificate
has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or by other circumstances or acts which
clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for office for which the certificate
of candidacy has been filed and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate. To
allow respondent to run under the circumstances adverted to herein would put the election process in
mockery or disrepute for we would in effect be allowing an anomalous situation where a single political
party may field-in multiple candidates for a single elective position." 4

To put matters in the proper perspective, we shall resolve the second issue first that the "electorate has spoken loud and clear
in favor of petitioner by giving him a resounding majority of 1,102 votes or 12% of the votes cast for both of them." Petitioner,
in effect, argues that the "popular will as clearly expressed in votes cast and counted should prevail, such that the election of a
candidate cannot be annulled because of formal defects in his certificate." 5 Petitioner cites a number of cases to advance this
position. 6
According to petitioner, on May 11, 1998, election day, he garnered 4,835 votes as against private respondent's votes of 3,733.
As proof, petitioner Recabo, Jr. submitted a 'Certified List of Candidates with their Votes Obtained' dated May 14, 1998 and an
undated 'Certified List of Winning Candidates' both signed by a certain Lydia P. Mahinay as Acting Election Officer, and,
Election Officer-OIC, respectively. 7
In Garay vs. Commission on Elections 8 we had occasion to rule that:
". . . . According to Section 17, 9 a certificate of votes can only be "evidence to prove tampering, alteration, falsification or any
other anomaly committed in the election returns concerned, when duly authenticated . . . ." A certificate of votes does not
constitute sufficient evidence of the true and genuine results of the election; only election returns are, pursuant to Sections
231, 233-236, and 238 of B.P. Blg. 881." 10
In like manner, neither is the certified list of winning candidates signed by the said Election Officer II and OIC sufficient
evidence of the real results of the election. Moreover, we find that the certificate of votes does not conform with Section 16
of R.A. 6646 which reads:
"SECTION 16. Certificate of Votes. After the counting of the votes cast in the precinct and announcement
of the results of the election, and before leaving the polling place, the board of election inspectors shall
issue a certificate of votes upon request of the duly accredited watchers. The certificate shall contain the
number of votes obtained by each candidate written in words and figures, the number of the precinct, the
name of the city or municipality, province, the total number of voters who voted in the precinct and the
date and time issued, and shall be signed and thumbmarked by each member of the board. LLjur

The certificate of votes submitted by petitioner does not state the number of votes obtained in words; it does not state the
number of the precinct, the total number of voters who voted in the precinct and the time issued. Most importantly, it was
merely certified true and correct by a certain Lydia P. Mahinay as acting election officer. As aforequoted, Section 16 of R.A.
6646 requires that the certificate of votes be signed and thumbmarked by each member of the board of election inspectors.
Thus, the doctrine that a mere technicality cannot be used to frustrate the people's will finds no application in the case at bar
considering that the results of the election have not been duly established. prLL
This brings us to the first issue of whether "the certificate of candidacy of petitioner and that of his mother who he substituted
as candidate for Vice-Mayor substantially complied with the requirements of being official candidates of the LAKAS-NUCD-
UMDP Party". The issue boils down to the validity of the certificate of nomination of petitioner by LAKAS NUCD-UMDP which is
required to be attached and filed with the certificate of candidacy, for apparently, petitioner possesses all the qualifications
and none of the disqualifications provided by law and the contents of petitioner's certificate of candidacy are otherwise in
order.

Preliminarily, it must be stated that in special civil actions for certiorari, the main issue is one of jurisdiction lack of
jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction. 11 In the case at bar, we find that the findings and
conclusions reached by the respondent Commission were not whimsical nor capricious. The respondent Commission acted
within its powers and jurisdiction in canceling the certificate of candidacy of petitioner and there is no justification for this
Court to interfere with the actions taken by the Comelec. The findings of the respondent Commission are supported by
documentary evidence. cdtai
COMELEC Resolution No. 2977 which prescribes the rules and regulations governing the filing of certificates of candidacy in
connection with the May 11, 1998 elections provides under Section 5 thereof:
SECTION 5. Certificate of nomination of official candidates by political party, . . . . The certificates of
nomination by registered political parties, organizations or coalitions of their official candidates shall be
filed with the certificates of candidacy not later than the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy as
specified in Section 4 hereof, duly signed and attested under oath by the party president, chairman,
secretary-general or any other party officer duly authorized in writing to do so.
xxx xxx xxx."
Pursuant to said resolution, the political party of LAKAS NUCD-UMDP issued an 'Authorization' designating two (2) Party
officers to nominate, sign, attest under oath and issue the Official Certificates of Nomination, namely, Francisco T. Matugas and
Robert Ace S. Barbers. Consistent with the foregoing, the certificate of nomination and acceptance, as pointed out by the
respondent Commission, requires the joint signing of the two party officers. The fact that only Francisco T. Matugas signed the
certificate of nomination of petitioner Recabo, Jr. leaves the same open to question. On the other hand, the certificate of
nomination of private respondent Reyes, Jr. was signed by no less than Fidel V. Ramos and Jose De Venecia, Jr. as the National
Chairman and Secretary General, respectively of the LAKAS NUCD-UMDP party. By and large, the best authority to interpret a
rule is the source itself of the rule, in this case the COMELEC. 12
Moreover, the chronology of events would still call for the cancellation of petitioner's certificate of candidacy to curb the evil
that the respondent Commission sought to abate pursuant to its mandate to hold free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible
elections. 13 As the respondent Commission stated, "to allow respondent to run under the circumstances adverted to herein
would put the election process in mockery and disrepute for we would in effect be allowing an anomalous situation where a
single political party may field-in multiple candidates for a single election position."
It will be recalled that the mother of herein petitioner filed her certificate of candidacy on March 25, 1998 and later withdrew
the same on March 31, 1998. In the meantime, private respondent Reyes, Jr. filed his certificate of candidacy on March 27,
1998. Thereafter, herein petitioner Recabo, Jr. filed his certificate of candidacy on April 2, 1998, in substitution of his mother
who had withdrawn earlier. cdtai
Assuming all three candidates were fielded-in by the same political party, at the time petitioner Recabo, Jr. filed his certificate
of candidacy there was no more void to fill in as respondent Reyes, Jr. had already filed his certificate of candidacy as official
candidate of LAKAS NUCD-UMDP. Verily, there was no more vacancy to be substituted for. Disunity and discord amongst
members of a political party should not be allowed to create a mockery of our electoral process, which envisions one candidate
from a political party of each position.

This issue was not raised in this petition, nevertheless, we deem it necessary to clarify respondent Commission's declaration
that petitioner's mother is an independent candidate on account of the invalidity of her certificate of nomination and
acceptance to forestall any confusion that may arise on account of the said declaration. For the same reason, that his certificate
of nomination was invalid because it was signed only by one authorized party officer, may petitioner be likewise deemed an
independent candidate and pave the way for his candidacy in the said elections? The answer would still be in the negative.
Were we to treat him as an independent candidate, his certificate of candidacy would still be cancelled and denied due course
on the ground that it was filed out of time. It is well-settled that a certificate filed beyond the deadline is not valid. 14
Petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy on April 2, 1998, well within the prescriptive period for filing a substitute certificate
of candidacy, but way beyond the period for filing an independent certificate of candidacy. Section 4 of COMELEC Resolution
No. 2977 requires that "the certificate of candidacy for municipal positions in areas other than the ARMM should be filed
starting January 11, 1998 to midnight of March 27, 1998." 15 On the other hand, Section 11 thereof provides that "the
substitute candidate nominated by the political party concerned may file his certificate of candidacy as herein provided for the
office affected not later than mid-day of the day of the election." 16
Finally, private respondent Reyes, Jr. has filed a motion in this Court to the effect that in the event this Court affirms the non-
qualification of petitioner Recabo, Jr., he should be proclaimed the winner and assume the position of vice-mayor of the
municipality of Mainit, Surigao del Norte. Apparently, respondent Reyes, Jr. is counting on the certificate of votes to establish
that he is the second highest winning candidate. As we have pointed out earlier, a certificate of votes is not sufficient to
establish the true and genuine results of the election. A certificate of canvas issued on the basis of the election returns is
required to proclaim the elected candidate. 17 Moreover, it is settled that the disqualification or non-qualification of the
winner in a vice mayoralty race does not justify the proclamation of the defeated candidate who obtained the second highest
number of votes. Thus, in the recent case of Reyes vs. Commission on Elections, 18 it was stated:
"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. The doctrinal instability caused by see-sawing rulings
has since been removed. In the latest ruling on the question, 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. The second placer is just that, a second placer. He lost the elections.
He was repudiated by either a majority or plurality of voters. He could not be considered the first among
qualified candidates because in a field which excludes the disqualified candidate, the conditions would have
substantially changed. We are not prepared to extrapolate the results under the circumstances." (at p. 529)
Hence in the event that herein petitioner Kaiser Recabo, Jr. obtained the plurality of votes in the May 11, 1998 elections for
Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Mainit, Surigao del Norte, the vacancy due to the ineligibility of herein petitioner should be
filled up in accordance with Section 44 of the Local Government Code of 1991 19 which provides that the highest
ranking sanggunian member shall become the vice-mayor.
In sum, we find that the respondent Commission did not act without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in cancelling
and denying due course to petitioner Recabo, Jr.'s certificate of candidacy. cdrep

WHEREOF, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The assailed resolutions of respondent
Commission dated May 8, 1998 and July 1, 1998 are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Purisima, Buena and Santiago, JJ., concur.
Puno, J., is abroad on official leave.
Panganiban, J., is on leave.
Pardo, J., took no part.
Footnotes
1.Composed of Commissioner Manolo B. Gorospe (as Presiding Commissioner), Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores and Evalyn I. Fetalino.
2.Rollo, pp. 39-41.
3.Ibid., pp. 10-11.
4.Id., pp. 41-42.
5.De Guzman vs. Board of Canvassers, 48 Phil. 211.

6.Alcala vs. COMELEC, 133 SCRA 352, citing Lino Luna vs. Rodriguez, 39 Phil. 208; Benito vs. COMELEC, 235 SCRA 436; Rodriguez vs.
COMELEC, 119 SCRA 465; Bince, Jr., vs. COMELEC, 242 SCRA 273.
7.Annexes "A" and "B" to the supplement to the motion for reconsideration, Rollo, pp. 54-55.
8.261 SCRA 224 (1996).
9.Section 17 of R.A. 6646 (The Electoral Reform Law of 1987):
SEC. 17. Certificate of Votes as Evidence. The provisions of Sections 235 and 236 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 notwithstanding, the
certificate of votes shall be admissible in evidence to prove tampering, alteration, falsification or any anomaly committed in the
election returns concerned, when duly authenticated by testimonial or documentary evidence presented to the board of
canvassers by at least two members of the board of election inspectors who issued the certificate: Provided, That failure to
present any certificate of votes shall not be a bar to the presentation of other evidence to impugn the authenticity of the election
returns.
10.SEC. 231.Canvass by the board The board of canvassers shall meet not later than six o'clock in the afternoon of election day at the
place designated by the Commission to receive the election returns and to immediately canvass those that may have already
been received. It shall meet continuously from day to day until the canvass is completed, and may adjourn but only for the
purpose of awaiting the other election returns from other polling places within its jurisdiction. Each time the board adjourns, it
shall make a total of all the votes canvassed so far for each candidate for each office, furnishing the Commission in Manila by the
fastest means of communication a certified copy thereof, and making available the data contained therein to the mass media and
other interested parties. As soon as the other election returns are delivered, the board shall immediately resume canvassing until
all the returns have been canvassed.
The respective board of canvassers shall prepare a certificate of canvass duly signed and affixed with the imprint of the thumb of the
right hand of each member, supported by a statement of the votes and received by each candidate in each polling place and, on
the basis thereof, shall proclaim as elected the candidates who obtained the highest number of votes cast in the province, city,
municipality or barangay. Failure to comply with this requirement shall constitute an election offense.
Subject to reasonable exceptions the board of canvassers must complete their canvass within thirty-six hours in municipalities, forty-
eight hours in cities and seventy-two hours in provinces. Violation hereof shall be an election offense punishable under Section
264 hereof.
With respect to the election for President and Vice-President the provincial and city boards of canvassers shall prepare in quintuplicate a
certificate of canvass supported by a statement of votes received by each candidate in each polling place and transmit the first
copy thereof to the Speaker of the Batasang Pambansa. The second copy shall be transmitted to the Commission, the third copy
shall be kept by the provincial election supervisor or city election registrar; the fourth and the fifth copies of each of the two
accredited political parties. (Sec. 169, 1978 EC)
SEC. 233. When the election returns are delayed, lost or destroyed.In case its copy of the election returns is missing, the board of
canvassers shall, by messenger or otherwise, obtain such missing election returns from the board of election inspectors
concerned, or if said returns have been lost or destroyed, the board of canvassers, upon prior authority of the Commission, may
use any of the authentic copies of said election returns or a certified copy of said election returns issued by the Commission, and
forthwith direct its representative to investigate the case and immediately report the matter to the Commission.
The board of canvassers notwithstanding the fact that not all the election returns have been received by it, may terminate the canvass
and proclaim the candidates elected on the basis of the available election returns if the missing election returns will not affect the
result of the election. (Sec. 171, 1978 EC)
SEC 234. Material defects in the election returns. If it should clearly appear that some requisites in form or date have been omitted in
the election returns, the board of canvassers shall call for all the members of the board of election inspectors concerned by the
most expeditious means, for the same board to effect the correction: Provided, That in case of the omission in the election
returns of the name of any candidate and/or his corresponding votes, the board of canvassers shall require the board of election
inspectors concerned to complete the necessary data in the election returns and affix therein their initials: Provided, further, that
if the votes omitted in the returns can not be ascertained by other means except by recounting the ballots, the Commission, after
satisfying itself that the identity and integrity of the ballot box have not been violated, shall order the board of election inspectors
to open the ballot box, and, also after satisfying itself that the integrity of the ballots therein has been duly preserved, order the

board of election inspectors to count the votes for the candidate whose votes have been omitted with notice thereof to all
candidates for the position involved and thereafter complete the returns.
The right of a candidate to avail of this provision shall not be lost or affected by the fact that an election protest is subsequently filed by
any of the candidates. (Sec. 172, 1978 EC)
SEC. 235. When election returns appear to be tampered with or falsified. If the election returns submitted to the board of canvassers
appear to be tampered with, altered or falsified after they have left the hands of the board of election inspectors, or otherwise
not authentic, or were prepared by the board of election inspectors under duress, force, intimidation, or prepared by persons
other than the member of the board of election inspectors, the board of canvassers shall use the other copies of said election
returns and, if necessary, the copy inside the ballot box which upon previous authority given by the Commission may be
retrieved in accordance with Section 220 hereof. If the other copies of the returns are likewise tampered with, altered, falsified,
not authentic, prepared under duress, force, intimidation, or prepared by persons other than the members of the board of
election inspectors, the board of canvassers or any candidate affected shall bring the matter to the attention of the Commission.
The Commission shall then, after giving notice to all candidates concerned and after satisfying itself that nothing in the ballot box
indicate that its identity and integrity have been violated, order the opening of the ballot box and, likewise after satisfying itself
that the integrity of the ballots therein has been duly preserved shall order the board of election inspectors to recount the votes
of the candidates affected and prepare a new return which shall then be used by the board of canvassers as basis of the canvass.
(Sec. 173, 1978 EC)
SEC. 236. Discrepancies in election returns. In case it appears to the board of canvassers that there exists discrepancies in the other
authentic copies of the election returns from a polling place or discrepancies in the votes of any candidate in words and figures in
the same return, and in either case the difference affects the results of the election, the Commission, upon motion of the board of
canvassers or any candidate affected and after due notice to all candidate concerned, shall proceed summarily to determine
whether the integrity of the ballot box had been preserved, and once satisfied thereof shall order the opening of the ballot box to
recount the votes cast in the polling place solely for the purpose of determining the true result of the count of votes of the
candidates concerned. (Sec. 174, 1978 EC)
SEC. 238. Canvass of remaining or unquestioned returns to continue. In cases under Sections 233, 234, 235, and 236 hereof, the board of
canvassers shall continue the canvass of the remaining or unquestioned election returns. If, after the canvass of all the said
returns, it should be determined that the returns which have been set aside will affect the result of the election, no proclamation
shall be made except upon orders of the Commission after due notice and hearing. Any proclamation made in violation hereof
shall be null and void. (New)
11.Bashier vs. Commission on Election, 43 SCRA 238.
12.Bocobo vs. COMELEC, 191 SCRA 576.
13.Section 4, Article IX-C, 1987 Constitution.
14.Gador vs. Commission on Elections, 95 SCRA 431.
15.Section 4. Periods for filing certificate of candidacy and petition for registration and/or manifestation to participate under the party-list
system. The certificate of candidacy and petition for registration and/or manifestation to participate under the party-list
system shall be filed as follows:
(a) . . . .
(b) For Member of the House of Representatives, provincial, city or Municipal positions in areas other than the ARMM, starting January
11, 1998 up to midnight of March 27, 1998.
(c) . . .
16.Section 11. Substitute candidate in case of death, disqualification or withdrawal of another. If after the last day for the filing of
certificates of candidacy, an official candidate of a registered political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, he
may be substituted by a candidate belonging to, and nominated by, the same political party. No substitution shall be allowed for
an independent candidate, nor for an official party candidate who withdraws his candidacy on April 04, 1998, and thereafter
(thirty-seven calendar days before the elections). The substitute candidate nominated by the political party concerned may file
his certificate of candidacy as herein provided for the office affected not later than mid-day of the day of the election. If the death
or disqualification should occur between the day before the election and mid-day of election day, the substitute candidate may
file the certificate with any board of election inspectors in the political subdivision where he is a candidate, or in the case of
candidates for President, Vice-President or Senator with the Law Department of the Commission on Elections in Manila.

No person who has Withdrawn his candidacy for a position shall be eligible as substitute for any other position.
17.See note 10.
18.254 SCRA 514.
19.SEC. 44. Permanent Vacancies in the Offices of the Governor, Vice-Governor, Mayor, and Vice-Mayor. (a) If a permanent vacancy occurs
in the office of the governor or mayor, the vice-governor or vice-mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor. If a
permanent vacancy occurs in the offices of the governor, vice-governor, mayor or vice-mayor, the highest
ranking sanggunian member or, in case of his permanent inability, the second highest ranking sanggunianmember, shall become
the governor, vice-governor, mayor or vice-mayor, as the case may be. Subsequent vacancies in the said office shall be filled
automatically by the other sanggunian members according to their ranking as defined herein.
(b) . . .
(c) . . .
(d) . . .
xxx xxx xxx."
||| (Recabo, Jr. v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 134293, [June 21, 1999], 368 PHIL 277-296)

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 96817. June 25, 1991.]
AGUSTIN B. DOCENA, petitioner, vs. THE SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN OF EASTERN SAMAR,
GOVERNOR LUTGARDO B. BARBO, VICE GOVERNOR CAMILO A. CAMENFORTE, BOARD MEMBERS
MARCOS ALIDO, NONATO GERNA, ISMAEL KHO, MARCELINO C. LIBANAN, NICOLAS PIMENTEL,
GENEROSO YU and ATTY. SOCRATES B. ALAR, respondents.
Zaldy B. Docena for petitioner.
D E C I S I O N
CRUZ, J p:
Two persons are claiming the same position in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar by virtue of separate
appointments thereto extended to them by the same authority. The first appointment was replaced by the second
appointment, which was subsequently withdrawn to reinstate the first appointment, but this was later itself recalled in favor
of the second appointment. To add to the confusion, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has joined the fray and taken it upon itself
to decide who as between the two claimants is entitled to the office.
The case arose when Luis B. Capito, who had been elected to and was serving as a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of
Eastern Samar (SPES), died in office and petitioner Agustin B. Docena was appointed to succeed him.
The appointment was issued on November 19, 1990, 1 by Secretary Luis T. Santos of the Department of Local Government and
read in full as follows:
Republic of the Philippines
Department of Local Government
PNCC Bldg., EDSA Corner Reliance St.,
Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
November 19, 1990
S i r:
Pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, you are hereby appointed MEMBER OF THE SANGGUNIANG
PANLALAWIGAN, PROVINCE OF EASTERN SAMAR.
By virtue hereof, you may qualify and enter upon the performance of the duties of the office, furnishing this
Office and the Civil Service Commission copies of your oath of office.
Very truly yours,
By Authority of the President.
LUIS T. SANTOS
Secretary
Mr. AGUSTIN B. DOCENA
Thru: The Honorable Governor
Province of Eastern Samar

Pursuant thereto, the petitioner took his oath of office before Speaker Ramon V. Mitra of the House of Representatives on
November 22, 1990, 2 and assumed office as member of the SPES on November 26, 1990. 3
The record does not show why, but on November 27, 1990, private respondent Socrates B. Alar was appointed, also by
Secretary Luis T. Santos, to the position already occupied by Docena. 4 The appointment read in full as follows:
Republic of the Philippines
Department of Local Government
PNCC Bldg., EDSA Corner Reliance St.,
Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY.
November 27, 1990
Sir:
Pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, you are hereby appointed MEMBER OF THE SANGGUNIANG
PANLALAWIGAN, PROVINCE OF EASTERN SAMAR.
By virtue hereof, you may qualify and enter upon the performance of the duties of the office, furnishing this
Office and the Civil Service Commission with copies of your oath of office.
Very truly yours,
By Authority of the President.
LUIS T. SANTOS
Secretary
Atty. SOCRATES ALAR
Thru: The Honorable Governor
Eastern Samar
On December 18, 1990, the SPES passed Resolution No. 75 5 recognizing Alar rather than Docena as the legitimate successor
of the late Board Member Capito.
The following day, the SPES was in effect reversed by Secretary Santos when he addressed the following letter to Alar: 6
Republic of the Philippines
Department of Local Government
PNCC Bldg., EDSA Corner Reliance St.,
Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
December 19, 1990
Mr. Socrates Alar
Borongan, Eastern Samar
Dear Mr. Alar:
It appearing from perusal of records that an appointment dated November 19, 1990 was already issued to
Mr. AGUSTIN DOCENA as member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar, vice: Luis Capito, the

appointment issued to you dated November 27, 1990 as member of the same sanggunian, is hereby recalled
effective the date of issue.
Please be guided accordingly.
Very truly yours,
LUIS T. SANTOS
Secretary
cc: The Honorable Governor
Borongan, Eastern Samar.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan
Borongan, Eastern Samar.
Mr. Agustin Docena
Borongan, Eastern Samar
This action was affirmed in a First Indorsement dated January 4, 1991, signed by Head Executive Assistant Arturo V. Agundo of
the Department of Local Government, 7 in which he declared "by authority of the Secretary" that:
1. Records show that the Secretary has appointed Mr. Agustin B. Docena as Sangguniang Panlalawigan
Member as of November 19, 1990; the Secretary has extended another appointment to the same post in
favor of Atty. Socrates Alar on November 27, 1990; the Secretary, on December 19, 1990, has recalled the
appointment of Atty. Socrates Alar on the basis of the earlier appointment extended in favor of Mr.
Docena. cdll
In view of the foregoing, the appointment of Mr. Agustin Docena stands and should be recognized.
The reaction of the SPES was to pass Resolution No. 1 dated January 8, 1991, 8 where it reiterated its previous recognition of
Alar and declared that "the recall order issued by Secretary Santos, dated December 19, 1990, recalling the appointment of
Atty. Alar has no legal basis in fact and in law and issued to fit his whimsical, capricious and wishy-washy desires to the
detriment of decency and due process of law."
On the same date, Provincial Prosecutor Dario S. Labrador had rendered an opinion that the recall order of Secretary Santos
was "void ab initio" because Alar's right to the office "had become vested." 9
It is not clear if Secretary Santos agreed with these views, but at any rate he issued on February 20, 1991, another recall order,
10 this time addressed to Docena, reading in full as follows:
Republic of the Philippines
Department of Local Government
PNCC Bldg., EDSA Corner Reliance St.,
Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
February 20, 1991

MEMORANDUM
TO: MR.

AGUSTIN

DOCENA

Borongan, Eastern Samar


SUBJECT: RECALL OF APPOINTMENT
Please be informed that the appointment extended to you as Member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of
Eastern Samar, last November 19, 1990 is hereby recalled effective immediately. cda
You are hereby directed to turn-over the office to Mr. Socrates Alar who was appointed by this Department
on November 27, 1990, immediately upon receipt hereof.
For compliance.
LUIS T. SANTOS
Secretary
cc: The Honorable Governor
Province of Eastern Samar
Mr. Socrates Alar
Borongan, Eastern Samar
Docena then came to this Court in a petition for mandamus to compel the respondents to recognize and admit him as a lawfully
appointed member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar. He also seeks to hold them officially and personally
liable in damages for their refusal to do so in spite of his clear title to the disputed office.
Pending resolution of this case, we issued a temporary restraining order on January 31, 1991, enjoining both Docena and Alar
from assuming the office of member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar.
The pertinent legal provision is Section 50 of the Local Government Code reading as follows: prcd
SEC. 50. Permanent Vacancies in Local Sanggunians. In case of permanent vacancy in the sangguniang
panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, sangguniang bayan, or sangguniang barangay, the President of the
Philippines, upon recommendation of the Minister of Local Government, shall appoint a qualified person to
fill the vacancy in the sangguniang panlalawigan and the sangguniang panlungsod; the governor, in the case
of sangguniang bayan members or the city or municipal mayor, in the case of sangguniang barangay
members. Except for the sangguniang barangay, the appointee shall come from the political party of the
sanggunian member who caused the vacancy, and shall serve the unexpired term of the vacant office. LLpr
The petitioner makes the point, and it has not been disputed by the respondents, that both he and Capito ran for the provincial
board in the 1988 elections under the banner of Lakas ng Bansa. Later, they both joined the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino
under the leadership of Speaker Mitra, who administered the oath of office to him when he was appointed to the SPES on
November 19, 1990. Docena argues that he has a preferential right to the disputed office even on equitable grounds because he
placed ninth in the election, next to Capito, compared to Alar who did not even run for the office.
The respondents do not challenge the qualifications of the petitioner. But they contend that the appointment in his favor on
November 19, 1990, had been superseded by the appointment in favor of Alar on November 27, 1990, and that the recall of the

second appointment on December 19, 1990, was null and void ab initio for lack of previous hearing. Curiously, they do not
have the same view of the recall of Docena's appointment on February 20, 1991, which was also issued without hearing.
From the tenor of the appointment extended to Docena on November 19, 1990, there is no question that it was intended to
be permanent, to fill the permanent vacancy caused by Capito's death. As such, it was to be valid for the unexpired portion of
the term of the deceased member, who was entitled to serve "until noon of June 30,1992," in accordance with Article XVIII,
Section 2, of the Constitution.
The said appointment had been accepted by Docena, who had in fact already assumed office as member of the SPES, as per
certification of the Provincial Secretary. 11 For all legal intents and purposes, the petitioner's appointment had already
become complete and enforceable at the time it was supposed to have been "superseded" by the appointment in favor of Alar.
The respondents are ambivalent about the power of the Secretary of Local Government to recall his appointments. They
described the appointment as "whimsical, capricious and wishy-washy" but they had no similar complaints about the recall of
Docena's appointment although also apparently indecisive. On the contrary, they maintained a deep silence about this other
recall and insisted simply that the subsequent appointment of Alar had invalidated the earlier appointment of Docena.

It is noteworthy that absolutely no reason was given for the recall of Docena's appointment (or for that matter, the recall of
Alar's appointment). It appears that after appointing Docena and later twice sustaining his title to the office, Secretary Santos
simply had a change of heart and decided to award the position to Alar. LLpr
This is not the way things are done in a democracy.
Docena's appointment having been issued and accepted earlier, and the petitioner having already assumed office, he could not
thereafter be just recalled and replaced to accommodate Alar. The appointment was permanent in nature, and for the
unexpired portion of the deceased predecessor's term. Docena had already acquired security of tenure in the position and
could be removed therefrom only for any of the causes, and conformably to the procedure, prescribed by the Local
Government Code. 12 These requirements could not be circumvented by the simple process of recalling his appointment.
Whatever gave the SPES the impression that the questioned appointments were revocable at will can only be left to
conjecture; what is certain is that it was not based on careful legal study. The Provincial Prosecutor's opinion that the office
had "become vested" in Alar suffers from the same flaw and a lack of understanding of the nature of a public office. Political
rather than legal considerations seem to have influenced the action of the provincial government in rejecting the petitioner's
claim despite its obvious merit.
The respondents also argue that the petitioner should have sought to enforce his claimed right in a petition not
for mandamus but for quo warranto, as his purpose is to challenge Alar's title to the disputed office. That is only secondary in
this case. The real purpose of the present petition is to compel the respondent SPES to recognize and admit Docena as a
member of the body by virtue of a valid appointment extended to him by the Secretary of Local Government.
Mandamus is employed to compel the performance of a ministerial duty to which the petitioner is entitled. In arguing that the
recognition and admission of the petitioner is not a ministerial duty, the respondents are asserting the discretion to review,
and if they so decide, reject, the Secretary's appointment. They have no such authority. Faced with a strictly legal question,
they had no right and competence to resolve it in their discretion. What they should have done was reserve their judgment on

the matter, leaving it to the courts of justice to decide which of the conflicting claims should be upheld. As a local legislative
body subject to the general supervision of the President of the Philippines, the SPES had no discretion to rule on the validity of
the decisions of the Secretary of Local Government acting as her alter ego. dctai
Even assuming that the proper remedy is a petition for quo warranto, the Court may in its own discretion consider the present
petition as such and deal with it accordingly. We find that as a petition for quo warranto, it complies with the prescribed
requirements, to wit, that it be filed on time and by a proper party asserting title to the office also claimed by the respondent.
Acting thereon, we hold that Docena has proved his right to the disputed office and could not be legally replaced by Alar.
The Court will make no award of damages, there being no sufficient proof to overcome the presumption that the respondents
have acted in good faith albeit erroneously. Nevertheless, the petitioner is entitled to the payment of the salaries and other
benefits appurtenant to the office of a Member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar, from the time of his
assumption of office and until he is actually admitted or reinstated. LLpr
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The petitioner is DECLARED the lawfully appointed member of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar, which is hereby DIRECTED to admit or reinstate him as such. The temporary restraining order
dated January 31, 1991, is LIFTED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea,
Regalado and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.
Sarmiento, J., is on leave.
Footnotes
1.Rollo, p. 10.
2.Ibid., p. 11.
3.Id., p. 11.
4.id., p. 12.
5.id., p. 14.
6.id., p. 15.
7.id., p. 16.
8.id., p. 17.
9.Comment of Private Respondent, Annex 2.
10.Ibid., Annex 1.
11.Rollo, p. 12.
12.Sections 60, 61, 61, B.P. 337.
||| (Docena v. Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar, G.R. No. 96817, [June 25, 1991])