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Salva v.

G.R. No. 132603
September 18, 2000

In 1998, the Sangguinang Panlalawigan of Batangas

enacted Ordinance 05, which abolished Brgy. San Rafael
and ordered its merger with Brgy. Dacanlao.

The Governer of Batangas vetoed the ordinance as it was

not shown that it complied with the requisites in Sections 7
& 9 of the LGC. The governors veto was overridden by
Resolution 345.

Consequently, the COMELEC promulgated Resolution

2987 to govern the conduct of the needed plebiscite.

The petitioners, officials and residents of Brgy. San Rafael,

filed for the issuance of a TRO against the plebiscite with
the trial court. The trial court denied their petition, claiming
that it had no jurisdiction over acts, resolutions, or
decisions of the COMELEC. The trial court directed the
petitioners to bring the case to the Supreme Court.

Apparently, the plebiscite was conducted during the

pendency of the case.

The petitioners maintain that since their action is based on

the validity of Ordinance 05 and Resolution 345 (basis of
COMELEC Res. 2987) the trial court had jurisdiction.

They further maintained that the SC only had exclusive

jurisdiction when COMELEC exercises its quasijudicial
functions. However, when the COMELEC acts in a purely
ministerial manner, the case may be subject to the RTC.
WON the RTC has jurisdiction over the case. YES
COMELEC Resolutions on the conduct of plebiscites are
administrative in nature and subject to RTC
Section 7, Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution provides in part
SEC.7. xxx. Unless otherwise provided by this
Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling of
each Commission may be brought to the Supreme
Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty
days from receipt of a copy thereof.
In the case of Filipinas Engineering v. Ferrer, it was held that
what is contemplated by the term final orders, rulings and
decisions of the COMELEC reviewable by certiorari by the
Supreme Court are those rendered in actions or
proceedings before the COMELEC and taken cognizance
of by the said body in the exercise of its adjudicatory or
quasi-judicial powers. In this case, Resolution 2987 was only
issued after the COMELEC took cognizance of Ordinance 05
and Resolution 345.
Resolution No. 2987 is thus a ministerial duty of the
COMELEC that is enjoined by law and is part and parcel of
its administrative functions. It involves no exercise of
discretionary authority on the part of the respondent
COMELEC; let alone an exercise of its adjudicatory or quasi-

judicial power to hear and resolve controversies defining the

rights and duties of party litigants, relative to the conduct of
elections of public officers and the enforcement of the election
COMELEC Resolution No. 2987 which provides for the rules
and regulations governing the conduct of the required
plebiscite, was not issued pursuant to the COMELECs quasijudicial functions but merely as an incident of its inherent
administrative functions over the conduct of plebiscites, thus,
Resolution 2987 may not be deemed as a final order
reviewable by certiorari by this court. Any question
pertaining to the validity of said resolution may be well taken
in an ordinary civil action before the trial courts.

Bulaong v. COMELEC
220 SCRA 745
G.R. No. 107987
March31, 1993

Petitioner Dr. Jose Bulaong, and private respondent Luis

Villafuerte were both candidates for the office of the
Provincial Governor of Camarines Sur in the May 1992

Bulaong was proclaimed by the PBC as the duly elected

governor. Accordingly, Bulaong took his oath of office.

On July 9, 1992, Villafuerte filed an election protest

questioning the precinct results of ten (10) Municipalities
and the City of Iriga. Subsequently, on August 21, 1992,
Villafuerte filed an Omnibus Motion praying that the venue
for the ballot revision proceedings be conducted at the
main office of the Comelec in Intramuros, Manila. Bulaong
opposed citing the ballot revision proceedings need not be
held in Manila since there was no untoward incident that
happened during the canvassing of votes in Naga City.

In an Order dated September 9, 1992, the First Division

of the COMELEC granted Villafuertes prayer for a
revision of ballots to be held in Manila. This Order was
received by Bulaong on September 16. On September 22,
Bulaong filed his MR dated September 21.

On October 19, COMELEC thru its First Division denied

his MR. On the same day, Bulaong also filed an Omnibus
Motion praying that his 2 MRs (1st MR on the order
granting Villafuertes prayer, 2nd MR denying Bulaongs
urgent motion for 1 day extension) be certified to the
Comelec en banc pursuant to Section 5 of Rule 19 of the
Comelec Rules of Procedure.

Later, Bulaong filed with the Comelec en banc a

manifestation and motion praying that his MRs and his
Omnibus motion filed with the First Division be ordered
certified to it for resolution. The First Division denied
Bulaongs manifestation that its MRs be certified to the En
Banc because the Order directing the Provincial Election
Supervisor of Camarines Sur to immediately send the 649
ballot boxes to Manila is merely interlocutory.

Hence, Bulaong filed a petition for certiorati and

mandamus with prayer for a TRO to enjoin the order to
the First Division dated September 9, 1992. While Bulaong
concedes that the order of the Comelec designating
Manila as the venue of the revision proceedings is
interlocutory, he nonetheless contends that a reading of
Section 2 of Rule 3 in conjunction with Section 5 (c) of the
same Rule would reveal that it is the duty of the First
Division to refer his MR to the En Banc, since the matter
concerning the venue of the revision of ballots is a
substantial issue which the latter should review.

Bulaong prays that a writ of mandamus be issued directing

the First Division to certify and elevate his MRs to the En
WON the First Division of the COMELEC committed GAOD
when it refused to refer Bulaongs MRs to the En Banc

notwithstanding the mandate of Section 5, Rule 19 of the

SC dismissed the petition. It is not mandatory on the part
of a division of the COMELEC to refer all pending MRs to
the En Banc.
Section 5, Rule 19 provides:
How motion for reconsideration disposed of
Upon the filing of a motion to reconsider a decision,
resolution, order or ruling of a Division, the Clerk of
Court concerned shall within twenty-four (24) hours
from the filing thereof, notify the Presiding
Commissioner. The latter shall within two (2) days
thereafter, certify the case to the Commission en
For said the motion to be referred to the en banc, it
requires the unanimous vote of the Members of the Division as
mandated by Section 2, Rule 3 of the COMELEC Rules. In the
case at bar, there was an absence of such vote.
COMELEC did not commit GAoD in refusing to refer
petitioner's MR to the COMELEC en banc because it
exercised its discretionary power under Sec 6 Rule 20 of
the Comelec Rules.
Instead of withholding its decision on such
interlocutory matter, the First Division decided to exercise its
power under Section 6, Rule 20 which states:
When the allegations in a protest or counter-protest
so warrant, or whenever in the opinion of the
Commission or Division the interest of justice so
demands, it shall immediately order the ballot boxes
containing ballots and their keys, list of voters with
voting records, book of voters and other documents
used in the election to be brought before the
Commission, and shall order the revision of the
The revision of ballots shall be made in the office of
the Clerk of Court concerned or at such places as the
Commission or Division shall designate, and shall be
completed within 3 months from the date of the order,
unless otherwise directed by the Commission.
COMELEC cannot be compelled thru mandamus where it
exercises its discretionary power
A mandamus proceeding involving a discretionary
power of the COMELEC does not lie. A perusal of the
aforecited section impliedly reveals the discretionary power of
the Division or the En Banc to order a revision of ballots. This
can be gleamed from the use of the phrase, whenever in the
opinion of the Commission or Division the interest of
justice so demands.
Although in most instances the revision of ballots takes place
in the office of the Clerk of Court concerned, revision of ballots
may also be held in such places, as the Commission or

Division shall designate. Bulaong is to be reminded that

mandamus, as a remedy, is available to compel the doing of an
act specifically enjoined by law as a duty. It cannot compel the
doing of an act involving the exercise of discretion one way or
the other. Undoubtedly, the First Division was within its powers
in designating Manila as the venue of the revision of ballots.

Soller v. COMELEC
339 SCRA 685
G.R. No. 139853,
September 5, 2000

pre-proclamation controversies. All such election cases shall

be heard and decided in division, provided that motions for
reconsideration of decision shall be decided by the
Commission en banc.


Ferdinand Thoms Soller and Angel Saulong were both

candidates for mayor of the municipality of Bansud,
Oriental Mindoro in the May 1998 elections. On May 14,
1998, the Municipal BOC proclaimed Soller duly elected

On May 19, Saulong filed with the COMELEC a petition

for annulment of the proclamation/ exclusion of election
return. On May 25, Saulong filed with the RTC of
Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro an election protest against

Soller filed his answer with counter-protest. He also

moved to dismiss Saulongs protest on the ground of lack
of jurisdiction, forum-shopping, and failure to state cause
of action.

COMELEC dismissed the pre-proclamation case filed by


On October 1, 1998, RTC denied Sollers motion to

dismiss. Soller moved for reconsideration but said motion
was again denied. He then filed with the Comelec a
petition for certiorari contending that the RTC acted with
GAOD in not dismissing Saulongs election protest.

On August 31, 1999, the COMELEC en banc dismissed

Sollers suit. The election tribunal held that Saulong paid
the required filing fee. It also declared that the defect in
the verification is a mere technical defect which should not
bar the determination of the merits of the case. The
election tribunal stated that there was no forum shopping
to speak of.

Thus, in Sarmiento v. COMELEC and in subsequent

cases, SC ruled that the COMELEC, sitting en banc, does
not have the requisite authority to hear and decide
election cases including pre-proclamation controversies
in the first instance. This power pertains to the divisions of
the Commission. Any decision by the Commission en banc as
regards election cases decided by it in the first instance is null
and void.

1. WON Soller properly filed the petition for certiorari before
the SC. YES
2. WON the COMELEC committed GAOD in not ordering the
dismissal of Saulongs election protest. YES

Note: SC also ruled in this case that the RTC erred and
committed GAOD in failing to dismiss Saulongs election
protest against Soller. SC reiterated that COMELEC en banc
has no jurisdiction to affirm the refusal of RTC to dismiss
Saulongs election protest.

Procedure: MR of En Banc decision is a prohibited
pleading, unless relating to election offenses.
Under the COMELEC Rules, an MR of its en banc
ruling is prohibited except in a case involving an election
offense. Since the present controversy involves no election
offense, reconsideration is not possible and Soller has no
appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of law. Accordingly, Soller properly filed the
instant petition for certiorari with the SC.
COMELEC en banc does not have authority to hear and
decide election cases in the first instance. This power
pertains to the Divisions of the Comelec.
Section 3 (c), Art. IX of the Constitution reads:
The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in
two divisions, and shall promulgate its rules of procedure in
order to expedite the disposition of election cases, including

Sollers petition with the COMELEC was not referred to a

division but was instead submitted directly to the en banc. The
petition for certiorari assails the trial courts order denying the
motion to dismiss Saulongs election protest. The questioned
order of the trial court is interlocutory because it does not end
the trial courts task of adjudicating the parties contentions and
determining their rights and liabilities as regards each other. In
SCs view, the authority to resolve the petition for certiorari
involving incidental issues of election protest, like the
questioned order of the trial court, falls within the division
and not the en banc.
Note that the order denying the motion to dismiss is
but an incident of the election protest. If the principal case,
once decided on its merits, is cognizable on appeal by the
division of the Comelec, then there is no reason why petitions
for certiorari relating to incidents of election protest should not
be referred first to a division for resolution. Clearly, the
COMELEC en banc acted without jurisdiction in taking
cognizance of Sollers petition in the first instance.

Sahali v. COMELEC
G.R. No. 201796
January 15, 2013

Sadikul Sahali and Matba were gubernatorial candidates

in Tawi-tawi during the 2010 elections; while Ruby Sahali
and Usman ran for Vice Governor. Both Sahalis were
declared the winners by the PBOC.

Alleging that the Sahalis rigged the election, Matba and

Usman both filed separate Election Protests Ad Cautelam
with the COMELEC, wherein they contested the results in
39 out of the 282 precincts.

Both their protests were raffled off to the COMELEC 1 st

Div, who consolidated their petitions. It then ordered the
retrieval of all ballot boxes and election documents of the
39 precincts.

Soon after, Matba and Usman filed a Manifestation and

Ex-parte Motion wherein they prayed that instead of a
mere recounting of the ballots, the COMELEC should
order the technical examination of the ballots, the Election
Day Computerized Voters List (EDCVL), the Voters
Registration Record (VRR) and the Book of Voters.
Technical examination: comparing the signatures and
thumb marks on the EDCVL vs. the VRRs/Books of
Voters, etc.

The 1st Div. granted the motion and ordered the conduct of
the technical examination.
Note: this Order is interlocutory.

Sadikul and Ruby filed with the 1st Div. a Strong

Manifestation of Grave Concern and MFR, stating that
such order by the COMELEC was issued without due
process; that the 1st Div. cannot just order a technical
examination in the absence of published Rules.

The COMELEC averred that it can order a technical

examination as per Section 1, Rule 18 of COMELEC Res.

Sadikul and Ruby filed the present petition for certiorari

before the SC, alleging that the COMELEC 1st Div.
committed GAOD in promulgating the said order.
1. WON the petition for certiorari is proper. NO
2. WON the COMELEC can order the technical examination
of ballot boxes. YES
The COMELECs Order was interlocutory, and therefore
not subject to review for certiorari.
Sadikul and Ruby cannot resort to the extraordinary
remedy of certiorari to assail an interlocutory order issued by
the COMELEC First Division.
A party aggrieved by an interlocutory order issued by a Division
of the COMELEC in an election protest may not directly assail
the order in this Court through a special civil action for
certiorari. The remedy is to seek the review of the
interlocutory order during the appeal of the decision of the
Division in due course.

Under the Constitution, the power of this Court to review

election cases falling within the original exclusive jurisdiction of
the COMELEC only extends to final decisions or resolutions of
the COMELEC en banc, certainly not to interlocutory orders
issued by a Division thereof.
Here, the Orders dated March 5, 2012 and May 3, 2012 issued
by the First Division of the COMELEC were merely
interlocutory orders since they only disposed of an incident in
the main case i.e. the propriety of the technical examination of
the said election paraphernalia. Thus, the proper recourse for
the petitioners is to await the decision of the COMELEC First
Division in the election protests filed by Matba and Usman, and
should they be aggrieved thereby, to appeal the same to the
COMELEC en banc by filing a motion for reconsideration.
Exceptions when SC can review interlocutory orders:
Exceptionally, this Court may take cognizance of a
certiorari action directed against an interlocutory order issued
by a Division of the COMELEC when the following
circumstances are present:
1. First, the order was issued without jurisdiction or in
excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion
tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction
2. Second, under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure,
the subject of the controversy is a matter which:
a. The COMELEC en banc may not sit and
b. A Division is not authorized to act
c. The members of the Division unanimously vote
to refer to the COMELEC en banc

Procedure: In election disputes, COMELEC not duty

bound to notify and direct a party to file an opposition to a
motion filed by the other party; Sahalis right to due
process not violated.
The COMELEC, in election disputes, is not dutybound to notify and direct a party therein to file an opposition to
a motion filed by the other party. It is incumbent upon the party
concerned, if he/she deems it necessary, to file an opposition
to a motion within five days from receipt of a copy of the same
without awaiting for the COMELECs directive to do so.
It should be stressed that one of the factors that
should be considered in election protests is expediency.
Proceedings in election protests are special and expeditious
and the early resolution of such cases should not be hampered
by any unnecessary observance of procedural rules. "The
proceedings should not be encumbered by delays.
Here, the Sahalis did not file an opposition to the said
motion for technical examination that was filed by Matba and
Usman on February 24, 2012. It was only after the COMELEC
First Division issued its March 5, 2012 Order that the
petitioners decided to register their opposition to the intended
technical examination, albeit in the form of a motion for
reconsideration of the said Order.

Procedure: the COMELEC has power to order technical

examinations even in the absence Of published rules to
the effect; exercise of quasijudicial powers
While Section 1, Rule 18 of COMELEC Resolution
No. 8804 does not explicitly provide for the rule on the
technical examination of election paraphernalia, it does not
mean, however, that the COMELEC First Division does not
have the power to order the conduct of such technical
The power of the COMELEC First Division to order
the technical examination election paraphernalia in election
protest cases stems from its "exclusive original jurisdiction over

all contest relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of

all elective regional, provincial and city officials".
Otherwise stated, the express grant of power to the
COMELEC to resolve election protests carries with it the grant
of all other powers necessary, proper, or incidental to the
effective and efficient exercise of the power expressly granted.
Verily, the exclusive original jurisdiction conferred by the
constitution to the COMELEC to settle said election protests
includes the authority to order a technical examination of
relevant election paraphernalia, election returns and
ballots in order to determine whether fraud and
irregularities attended the canvass of the votes.