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EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-8957. April 29, 1957.]


THE PEOPLE OF
THE
O. FERRER,defendant-appellee.
Jacinto Calanta for appellee.

PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant, vs.

ANDRES

Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Solicitor Pacifico P. de Castro for appellant.
SYLLABUS
1. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; INFORMATION; CHARGING TWO OR MORE OFFENSES, MAKES
INFORMATION DEFECTIVE. The information is defective when it charges two or more offenses. The
rule enjoining the charging of two or more offenses in an information has for its aim to give the
defendant the necessary knowledge of the charge to enable him to prepare his defense. The State
should not heap upon the defendant two or more charges which might confuse him in his defense.
2. REVISED ELECTION LAW; DISTRIBUTION OF THINGS OF VALUE DISTINGUISHED FROM
ELECTIONEERING; WHO MAY COMMIT THE VIOLATIONS. Causing cigarettes which are things of
value to be distributed, made unlawful by section 51 and punished by section 183 of the Revised
Election Code, cannot be deemed a necessary means to commit the lesser violation of section 64 of
the same law were the penalty attached to it taken into consideration. The rule in the case
ofPeople vs. Buenviaje, 47 Phil. 536, has no application to the case, because there the defendant, who
was not a duly licensed physician, gave medical assistance and treatment to a certain person and
advertised himself and offered services as a physician by means of cards and letterheads and
advertisements in the newspapers, the latter being a means to commit the former, and both
violations are punishable with the same penalty, whereas in the present case causing cigarettesor
things of value to be distributed by the defendant to the people who attended a political meeting is a
violation distinct from that of electioneering committed by a classified civil service officer or
employee. The former has no connection with the latter. A violation of Section 51 may be committed
by any candidate, political committee, voter or any other person, whereas a violation of Section 54
may only be committed by a justice, judge, fiscal, treasurer or assessor of any province, officer or
employee of the Army, member of the national, provincial, city, municipal or rural police force, and
classified civil service officer or employee.
DECISION
PADILLA, J p:
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, the dispositive part
of which states:
Five (5) days after receipt of a copy of this Order by the prosecution, the
information in this case shall be deemed quashed and the bond for the provisional
release of the accused deemed cancelled and released, unless in the meantime the
prosecution amends the information so as to allege sufficient facts constituting an
offense under section 51 of ourRevised Election Code.
The information held defective by the trial court reads as follows:
The undersigned Provincial Fiscal of Pangasinan and the Provincial Fiscals of
Nueva Ecija and Batanes, on special detail in Pangasinan by Administrative Orders Nos. 6

and 13, dated January 12 and 27, 1954, respectively, of the Secretary of Justice, accuse
Andres G.Ferrer of the offense of violation of Sections 51 and 54 in relation to Sections
183, 184 and 185 of the Revised Election Code, committed as follows:
That on or about the 10th day of November, 1953, (Election Day), and for
sometime prior thereto, in the municipality of Binmaley, province of Pangasinan,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, Andres G. Ferrer, being then and there a Foreign Affairs Officer, Class III,
Department of Foreign Affairs, and a classified civil service officer, duly qualified and
appointed as such, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly, in
utter disregard and defiance of the specific and several legal prohibitions on the subject,
and in disregard of the civil service rules and regulations, induce, influence, sway and
make the electors vote in favor of the candidates of the Liberal Party in the following
manner, to wit: (1) that sometime before the elections on November 10, 1953, the said
accused, Andres G. Ferrer, delivered a speech during a political rally of the Liberal Party
in Barrio Caloocan Norte, Binmaley, Pangasinan, inducing the electors to vote for the
candidates of the Liberal Party but more particularly for President Quirino and Speaker
Perez; that during said political meeting the said accused caused to be distributed to
the people who attended said meeting cigarettes and pamphlets concerning the Liberal
Party; and (2) that the said accused, Andres G. Ferrer, sometime prior to the last
elections campaigned in the Barrio of Caloocan Norte, of the said municipality of
Binmaley, going from house to house and induced the electors to whom he distributed
sample ballots of the Liberal Party to vote for the candidates of said Party.
Contrary to sections 51 and 54 in relation to Sections 183, 184 and 185 of
Republic Act No. 180, as amended. (Crim. Case No. 20320.).
The defendant moved to quash the information on the ground that it charges more than one
offense and that the facts alleged in the information do not constitute a violation of either section 51
or section 54 of the Revised Election Code.
The trial court is of the opinion that causing cigarettes or pamphlets concerning the Liberal
Party to be distributed to the people who attended a political meeting, charged against the defendant,
does not constitute a violation of section 51 of the Revised Election Code, because it is not giving
"food" for tobacco is not food; nor does it constitute a violation of that part of section 51 which makes
unlawful the contributing or giving, directly or indirectly, of money or things of value, because the
information merely charges the defendant with having caused cigarettes, etc. to be distributed, and it
does not state that the cigarettes belonged to the defendant and were being given away by him as
his contribution for electioneering purposes. True, cigarettes are not food, but they have and are of
value and the charge that the defendant caused cigarettes and pamphlets concerning the Liberal
Party to be distributed to the people who attended a political meeting mentioned in the information is
a sufficient allegation that he gave or contributed things of value for electioneering purposes. If
the cigarettes did not belong to him, that is a matter of defense. The trial court is also of the opinion
that the defendant is not a classified civil service officer or employee, because to be such it is
necessary that he be assigned in the Department of Foreign Affairs under section 6, Republic Act. No.
708 and if and when thus assigned he will for purposes of civil service law and regulations, be
considered as first grade civil service eligible," and that even if the prosecution could establish that
the defendant at the time of the commission of the violation charged was assigned in the Department
of Foreign Affairs under the section just mentioned, still such assignment would not make him a
classified civil service officer embraced within the provisions of section 54 of the Revised Election
Code, for, according to the trial court, section 670 of the Revised Administrative Code provides that

the classified civil service embraces all persons not expressly declared to be in the unclassified civil
service and section 671 enumerates the persons embraced in the unclassified civil service, and
concludes that the defendant is in the unclassified civil service under section 671, paragraph b, of the
Revised Administrative Code, because the defendant was appointed by the President first as Foreign
Affairs Officer, Class III, Department of Foreign Affairs, and later on as Vice-Consul, the last
appointment having been duly confirmed by the Commission on Appointments, and that the
assignment or detail in the Department of Foreign Affairs would make him by mere legal fiction a first
grade civil service eligible under section 6, Republic Act No. 708.
The reason advanced by the trial court are defense matters. The allegation in the information
that the defendant is "a classified civil service officer, duly qualified and appointed as such," for
purposes of the motion to quash, is deemed admitted. The trial court cannot go beyond the
allegations of the information.
Nevertheless, the information is defective, because it charges two violations of the Revised
Election Code, to wit: section 51 to which a heavier penalty is attached, and section 54 for which a
lighter penalty is provided. And the prosecuting attorneys had that in mind when at the end of the
information filed by them they stated: "Contrary to Sections 51 and 54 in relation to Sections 183,
184 and 185 of Republic Act No. 180, as amended." Causing cigarettes which are things of value to be
distributed, made unlawful by section 51 and punished by section 183, cannot be deemed a
necessary means to commit the lesser violation of section 54 were the penalty attached to it taken
into consideration. The rule in the case of People vs. Buenviaje, 47 Phil., 536, cited and invoked by
the State, has no application to the case, because there the defendant, who was not a duly licensed
physician, gave medical assistance and treatment to a certain person and advertised himself and
offered services as a physician by means of cards and letterheads and advertisements in the
newspapers, the latter being a means to commit the former, and both violations are punishable with
the same penalty, whereas in the present case causing cigarettesor things of value to be distributed
by the defendant to the people who attended a political meeting is a violation distinct from that of
electioneering committed by a classified civil service officer or employee. The former has no
connection with the latter.
If the penalty provided for violation of sections 51 and 54 were the same as in the case of the
violation of the Medical Law, the rule in the case of People vs. Buenviaje, supra, might be invoked and
applied.
That a violation of section 51 is distinct from that of section 54 is further shown by the fact
that a violation of the former may be committed by any candidate, political committee, voter or any
other person, whereas a violation of the latter may only be committed by a justice, judge, fiscal,
treasurer or assessor of any province, officer or employee of the Army, member of the national,
provincial, city, municipal or rural police force, and classified civil service officer or employee.
Under the information in question, if the charges be proved, the defendant may be convicted
and sentenced under either section or both. The rule enjoining the charging of two or more offenses
in an information has for aim to give the defendant the necessary knowledge of the charge to enable
him to prepare his defense. The State should not heap upon the defendant two or more charges which
might confuse him in his defense.
The order appealed from is affirmed, not upon the grounds relied upon by the trial court, but
on the ground that the information charges two different violations, without pronouncement as to
costs.
Bengzon, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L.,
Endencia and Felix, JJ., concur.

||| (People v. Ferrer, G.R. No. L-8957, [April 29, 1957], 101 PHIL 234-239)
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 192474. June 26, 2012.]
ROMEO M. JALOSJOS, JR., petitioner, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and
DAN ERASMO, SR., respondents.
[G.R. No. 192704. June 26, 2012.]
DAN ERASMO, SR., petitioner, vs. ROMEO M. JALOSJOS, JR. and HON.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondents.
[G.R. No. 193566. June 26, 2012.]
DAN ERASMO, SR., petitioner, vs. ROMEO M. JALOSJOS, JR., respondent.
DECISION
ABAD, J p:
These cases reiterate the demarcation line between the jurisdiction of the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).
The Facts and the Case
In May 2007 Romeo M. Jalosjos, Jr., petitioner in G.R. 192474, ran for Mayor of Tampilisan, Zamboanga del
Norte, and won. While serving as Tampilisan Mayor, he bought a residential house and lot in Barangay
Veterans Village, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay and renovated and furnished the same. In September 2008 he
began occupying the house.
After eight months or on May 6, 2009 Jalosjos applied with the Election Registration Board (ERB) of Ipil,
Zamboanga Sibugay, for the transfer of his voter's registration record to Precinct 0051F of Barangay
Veterans Village. Dan Erasmo, Sr., respondent in G.R. 192474, opposed the application. 1After due
proceedings, the ERB approved Jalosjos' application and denied Erasmo's opposition. 2
Undeterred, Erasmo filed a petition to exclude Jalosjos from the list of registered voters of Precinct 0051F
before the 1st Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Ipil-Tungawan-R.T. Lim (MCTC). 3 After hearing, the MCTC
rendered judgment on August 14, 2009, excluding Jalosjos from the list of registered voters in question.
The MCTC found that Jalosjos did not abandon his domicile in Tampilisan since he continued even then to
serve as its Mayor. Jalosjos appealed 4 his case to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pagadian City 5 which
affirmed the MCTC Decision on September 11, 2009.
Jalosjos elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals (CA) through a petition for certiorari with an
application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. 6 On November 26, 2009 the CA granted
his application and enjoined the courts below from enforcing their decisions, with the result that his name
was reinstated in the Barangay Veterans Village's voters list pending the resolution of the
petition. cSIHCA
On November 28, 2009 Jalosjos filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the position of Representative
of the Second District of Zamboanga Sibugay for the May 10, 2010 National Elections. This prompted
Erasmo to file a petition to deny due course to or cancel his COC before the COMELEC, 7 claiming that
Jalosjos made material misrepresentations in that COC when he indicated in it that he resided in Ipil,
Zamboanga Sibugay. But the Second Division of the COMELEC issued a joint resolution, dismissing
Erasmo's petitions for insufficiency in form and substance. 8

While Erasmo's motion for reconsideration was pending before the COMELEC En Banc, the May 10, 2010
elections took place, resulting in Jalosjos' winning the elections for Representative of the Second District
of Zamboanga Sibugay. He was proclaimed winner on May 13, 2010. 9
Meantime, on June 2, 2010 the CA rendered judgment in the voter's exclusion case before it, 10holding
that the lower courts erred in excluding Jalosjos from the voters list of Barangay Veterans Village in Ipil
since he was qualified under the Constitution and Republic Act 8189 11 to vote in that place. Erasmo filed
a petition for review of the CA decision before this Court in G.R. 193566.
Back to the COMELEC, on June 3, 2010 the En Banc granted Erasmo's motion for reconsideration and
declared Jalosjos ineligible to seek election as Representative of the Second District of Zamboanga
Sibugay. It held that Jalosjos did not satisfy the residency requirement since, by continuing to hold the
position of Mayor of Tampilisan, Zamboanga Del Norte, he should be deemed not to have transferred his
residence from that place to Barangay Veterans Village in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Both Jalosjos and Erasmo came up to this Court on certiorari. In G.R. 192474, Jalosjos challenges the
COMELEC's finding that he did not meet the residency requirement and its denial of his right to due
process, citing Roces v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. 12 In G.R. 192704, Erasmo assails
the COMELEC En Banc's failure to annul Jalosjos' proclamation as elected Representative of the Second
District of Zamboanga Sibugay despite his declared ineligibility.
Subsequently, the Court ordered the consolidation of the three related petitions. 13 In its
comment,14 the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) sought the dismissal of Erasmo's petitions and the
grant of that of Jalosjos since all such petitions deal with the latter's qualifications as proclaimed
Representative of the district mentioned. The OSG claims that under Section 17, Article VI of the
1987 Constitution, jurisdiction over this issue lies with the HRET.
Threshold Issue Presented
The threshold issue presented is whether or not the Supreme Court has jurisdiction at this time to pass
upon the question of Jalosjos' residency qualification for running for the position of Representative of the
Second District of Zamboanga Sibugay considering that he has been proclaimed winner in the election
and has assumed the discharge of that office.
The Court's Ruling
While the Constitution vests in the COMELEC the power to decide all questi
ons affecting elections, 15such power is not without limitation. It does not extend to contests relating to
the election, returns, and qualifications of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The Constitutionvests the resolution of these contests solely upon the appropriate Electoral Tribunal of
the Senate or the House of Representatives. 16
The Court has already settled the question of when the jurisdiction of the COMELEC ends and when that
of the HRET begins. The proclamation of a congressional candidate following the election divests
COMELEC of jurisdiction over disputes relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the
proclaimed Representative in favor of the HRET. 17
Here, when the COMELEC En Banc issued its order dated June 3, 2010, Jalosjos had already been
proclaimed on May 13, 2010 as winner in the election. 18 Thus, the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction
when it still passed upon the issue of his qualification and declared him ineligible for the office of
Representative of the Second District of Zamboanga Sibugay. ISaCTE
It is of course argued, as the COMELEC law department insisted, that the proclamation of Jalosjos was an
exception to the above-stated rule. 19 Since the COMELEC declared him ineligible to run for that office,
necessarily, his proclamation was void following the ruling in Codilla, Sr. v. De Venecia. 20For Erasmo, the

COMELEC still has jurisdiction to issue its June 3, 2010 order based on Section 6 ofRepublic Act 6646.
Section 6 provides:
Section 6.Effects 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.
Here, however, the fact is that on election day of 2010 the COMELEC En Banc had as yet to resolve
Erasmo's appeal from the Second Division's dismissal of the disqualification case against Jalosjos. Thus,
there then existed no final judgment deleting Jalosjos' name from the list of candidates for the
congressional seat he sought. The last standing official action in his case before election day was the
ruling of the COMELEC's Second Division that allowed his name to stay on that list. Meantime, the
COMELEC En Banc did not issue any order suspending his proclamation pending its final resolution of his
case. With the fact of his proclamation and assumption of office, any issue regarding his qualification for
the same, like his alleged lack of the required residence, was solely for the HRET to consider and
decide. 21
Consequently, the Court holds in G.R. 192474 that the COMELEC En Banc exceeded its jurisdiction in
declaring Jalosjos ineligible for the position of representative for the Second District of Zamboanga
Sibugay, which he won in the elections, since it had ceased to have jurisdiction over his case.
Necessarily, Erasmo's petitions (G.R. 192704 and G.R. 193566) questioning the validity of the registration
of Jalosjos as a voter and the COMELEC's failure to annul his proclamation also fail. The Court cannot
usurp the power vested by the Constitution solely on the HRET. 22 SHTaID
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition in G.R. 192474, REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the
respondent Commission on Elections En Banc's order dated June 3, 2010, and REINSTATES the
Commission's Second Division resolution dated February 23, 2010 in SPA 09-114 (DC), entitled Dan
Erasmo, Sr. v. Romeo Jalosjos, Jr. Further, the Court DISMISSES the petitions in G.R. 192704 and G.R.
193566 for lack of jurisdiction over the issues they raise.
SO ORDERED.
Carpio, Velasco, Jr., Leonardo-de Castro, Brion, Peralta, Bersamin, Del Castillo, Villarama, Jr., Perez,
Sereno, Reyes and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur.
Mendoza, J., is on official leave.
Footnotes
1.Docketed as Case 0901.
2.Resolution dated July 31, 2009.
3.Docketed as Election Case 590.
4.Docketed as Election Case 0006-2K9.
5.Initially, the appeal was filed before the
Regional Trial Court of Ipil, Zamboanga
Sibugay, however, the appeal was
transferred to the RTC of Pagadian City
after the inhibition of the Presiding
Judge of RTC Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.
6.Docketed as CA-G.R. SP 03179-MIN.
7.Docketed as SPA 09-114 (DC).
8.Joint Resolution of the Second Division of
the COMELEC dated February 23, 2010.
9.Rollo (G.R. 192474), p. 436.
10.Decision dated June 2, 2010. Erasmo's
motion for reconsideration was also
denied by the CA in its Resolution dated
August 10, 2010.
11.The Voters Registration Act of 1996.

12.506 Phil. 654 (2005).


13.Resolutions dated July 20, 2010 and
December 13, 2010.
14.Comment dated October 11,
2010. Rollo (G.R. 192474), pp. 638-653.
15.CONSTITUTION (1987), Art. IX (B), Sec.
2, par. (3).
16.Id. at Art. VI, Sec. 17.
17.Planas v. Commission on Elections, 519
Phil. 506, 512 (2006). See also VinzonsChato v. Commission on Elections, G.R.
No. 172131, April 2, 2007, 520 SCRA
166, 178; Perez v. Commission on
Elections, 375 Phil. 1106, 1115-1116
(1999), cited in Agpalo, R., Philippine
Political Law, 2005 ed.
18.Rollo (G.R. 192474), p. 436.
19.In Mutuc v. Commission on Elections,
130 Phil. 663, 672 (1968), the Court
held that: It is indeed true that after

proclamation the usual remedy of any


party aggrieved in an election is to be
found in anelection protest. But that
is so only on the assumption that
there has been a valid
proclamation. Where as in the case
at bar the proclamation itself is
illegal, the assumption of office
cannot in any way affect the basic
issues. (Emphasis supplied)
20.442 Phil. 139 (2002).
21.Perez v. Commission on
Elections, supra note 17.
22.Id.
||| (Jalosjos, Jr. v. COMELEC, G.R. No.
192474, 192704, 193566, [June 26,
2012], 689 PHIL 192-200)

EN BANC
[G.R. Nos. 179431-32. June 22, 2010.]
LUIS K. LOKIN, JR., as the second nominee of CITIZENS BATTLE
AGAINST CORRUPTION (CIBAC), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS and the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,respondents.
[G.R. No. 180443. June 22, 2010.]
LUIS K. LOKIN, JR., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
(COMELEC), EMMANUEL JOEL J. VILLANUEVA, CINCHONA C.
GONZALES and ARMI JANE R. BORJE, respondents.
DECISION
BERSAMIN, J p:
The principal question posed in these consolidated special civil actions for certiorari and mandamus is
whether the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) can issue implementing rules and regulations (IRRs)
that provide a ground for the substitution of a party-list nominee not written in Republic Act (R.A.) No.
7941, 1 otherwise known as theParty-List System Act, the law that the COMELEC thereby
implements. HTSaEC
Common Antecedents
The Citizens' Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) was one of the organized groups duly registered under the
party-list system of representation that manifested their intent to participate in the May 14, 2007
synchronized national and local elections. Together with its manifestation of intent to
participate, 2 CIBAC, through its president, Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva, submitted a list of five nominees
from which its representatives would be chosen should CIBAC obtain the required number of qualifying
votes. The nominees, in the order that their names appeared in the certificate of nomination dated March
29, 2007, 3 were: (1) Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva; (2) herein petitioner Luis K. Lokin, Jr.; (3) Cinchona C.
Cruz-Gonzales; (4) Sherwin Tugna; and (5) Emil L. Galang. The nominees' certificates of acceptance were
attached to the certificate of nomination filed by CIBAC. The list of nominees was later published in two
newspapers of general circulation, The Philippine Star News 4 (sic) andThe Philippine Daily Inquirer. 5
Prior to the elections, however, CIBAC, still through Villanueva, filed a certificate of nomination,
substitution and amendment of the list of nominees dated May 7, 2007, 6whereby it withdrew the
nominations of Lokin, Tugna and Galang and substituted Armi Jane R. Borje as one of the nominees. The
amended list of nominees of CIBAC thus included: (1) Villanueva, (2) Cruz-Gonzales, and (3)
Borje.acEHCD
Following the close of the polls, or on June 20, 2007, Villanueva sent a letter to COMELEC Chairperson
Benjamin Abalos, 7 transmitting therewith the signed petitions of more than 81% of the CIBAC members,
in order to confirm the withdrawal of the nomination of Lokin, Tugna and Galang and the substitution of
Borje. In their petitions, the members of CIBAC averred that Lokin and Tugna were not among the
nominees presented and proclaimed by CIBAC in its proclamation rally held in May 2007; and that Galang
had signified his desire to focus on his family life.

On June 26, 2007, CIBAC, supposedly through its counsel, filed with the COMELEC en banc sitting as the
National Board of Canvassers a motion seeking the proclamation of Lokin as its second nominee. 8 The
right of CIBAC to a second seat as well as the right of Lokin to be thus proclaimed were purportedly based
on Party-List Canvass Report No. 26, which showed CIBAC to have garnered a grand total of 744,674
votes. Using all relevant formulas, the motion asserted that CIBAC was clearly entitled to a second seat
and Lokin to a proclamation. aTcIEH
The motion was opposed by Villanueva and Cruz-Gonzales.
Notwithstanding Villanueva's filing of the certificate of nomination, substitution and amendment of the
list of nominees and the petitions of more than 81% of CIBAC members, the COMELEC failed to act on the
matter, prompting Villanueva to file a petition to confirm the certificate of nomination, substitution and
amendment of the list of nominees of CIBAC on June 28, 2007. 9
On July 6, 2007, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 8219,10 whereby it resolved to set the matter
pertaining to the validity of the withdrawal of the nominations of Lokin, Tugna and Galang and
the substitution of Borje for proper disposition and hearing. The case was docketed as E.M. No. 07054. CaTSEA
In the meantime, the COMELEC en banc, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, issued National
Board of Canvassers (NBC) Resolution No. 07-60 dated July 9, 200711 to partially proclaim the following
parties, organizations and coalitions participating under the Party-List System as having won in the May
14, 2007 elections, namely: Buhay Hayaan Yumabong, Bayan Muna, CIBAC, Gabriela Women's Party,
Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives, Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Through Action,
Cooperation and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms, Inc., Akbayan! Citizen's Action Party, Alagad,
Luzon Farmers Party, Cooperative-Natco Network Party, Anak Pawis, Alliance of Rural Concerns and
Abono; and to defer the proclamation of the nominees of the parties, organizations and coalitions with
pending disputes until final resolution of their respective cases.
The COMELEC en banc issued another resolution, NBC Resolution No. 07-72 dated July 18,
2007, 12 proclaiming Buhay Hayaan Yumabong as entitled to 2 additional seats and Bayan Muna, CIBAC,
Gabriela Women's Party, and Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives to an additional seat each;
and holding in abeyance the proclamation of the nominees of said parties, organizations and coalitions
with pending disputes until the final resolution of their respective cases. DCASEc
With the formal declaration that CIBAC was entitled to an additional seat, Ricardo de los Santos,
purportedly as secretary general of CIBAC, informed Roberto P. Nazareno, Secretary General of the House
of Representatives, of the promulgation of NBC Resolution No. 07-72 and requested that Lokin be formally
sworn in by Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. to enable him to assume office. Nazareno replied, however, that
the request of Delos Santos could not be granted because COMELEC Law Director Alioden D. Dalaig had
notified him of the pendency of E.M. 07-054.
On September 14, 2007, the COMELEC en banc resolved E.M. No. 07-054 13 thuswise:
WHEREFORE, considering the above discussion, the Commission hereby
approves the withdrawal of the nomination of Atty. Luis K. Lokin, Sherwin
N. Tugna and Emil Galang as second, third and fourth nominees
respectively and the substitution thereby with Atty. Cinchona C. CruzGonzales as second nominee and Atty. Armi Jane R. Borje as third
nominee for the party list CIBAC. The new order of CIBAC's nominees
therefore shall be: TDcAIH
1.Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva
2.Cinchona C. Cruz-Gonzales
3.Armi Jane R. Borje
SO ORDERED.

The COMELEC en banc explained that the actions of Villanueva in his capacity as the president of CIBAC
were presumed to be within the scope of his authority as such; that the president was charged by Section
1 of Article IV of the CIBAC By-Laws to oversee and direct the corporate activities, which included the act
of submitting the party's manifestation of intent to participate in the May 14, 2007 elections as well as its
certificate of nominees; that from all indications, Villanueva as the president of CIBAC had always been
provided the leeway to act as the party's representative and that his actions had always been considered
as valid; that the act of withdrawal, although done without any written Board approval, was accomplished
with the Board's acquiescence or at least understanding; and that the intent of the party should be given
paramount consideration in the selection of the nominees. cSTDIC
As a result, the COMELEC en banc proclaimed Cruz-Gonzales as the official second nominee of
CIBAC. 14 Cruz-Gonzales took her oath of office as a Party-List Representative of CIBAC on September 17,
2007. 15
Precs of the Consolidated Cases
In G.R. No. 179431 and G.R. No. 179432, Lokin seeks through mandamus to compel respondent COMELEC
to proclaim him as the official second nominee of CIBAC. SEHDIC
In G.R. No. 180443, Lokin assails Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 promulgated on January 12,
2007; 16 and the resolution dated September 14, 2007 issued in E.M. No. 07-054 (approving CIBAC's
withdrawal of the nominations of Lokin, Tugna and Galang as CIBAC's second, third and fourth nominees,
respectively, and the substitution by Cruz-Gonzales and Borje in their stead, based on the right of CIBAC
to change its nominees under Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804). 17 He alleges that Section 13 of
Resolution No. 7804 expanded Section 8 of R.A. No. 7941.18 the law that the COMELEC seeks to thereby
implement.
In its comment, the COMELEC asserts that a petition forcertiorari is an inappropriate recourse in law due
to the proclamation of Cruz-Gonzales as Representative and her assumption of that office; that Lokin's
proper recourse was an electoral protest filed in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET);
and that, therefore, the Court has no jurisdiction over the matter being raised by Lokin. IcaHCS
For its part, CIBAC posits that Lokin is guilty of forum shopping for filing a petition for mandamus and a
petition forcertiorari, considering that both petitions ultimately seek to have him proclaimed as the
second nominee of CIBAC.
Issues
The issues are the following:
(a)Whether
or
not
the
Court
has
jurisdiction
over
the
controversy; TDAcCa
(b)Whether or not Lokin is guilty of forum shopping;
(c)Whether or not Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 is unconstitutional
and violates theParty-List System Act; and
(d)Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in approving the
withdrawal of the nominees of CIBAC and allowing the
amendment of the list of nominees of CIBAC without any basis in
fact or law and after the close of the polls, and in ruling on
matters that were intra-corporate in nature.
Ruling

The petitions are granted.


A
The Court has jurisdiction over the case
The COMELEC posits that once the proclamation of the winning party-list organization has been done and
its nominee has assumed office, any question relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the
candidates to the House of Representatives falls under the jurisdiction of the HRET pursuant to Section
17, Article VI of the 1987Constitution. Thus, Lokin should raise the question he poses herein either in an
election protest or in a special civil action for quo warranto in the HRET, not in a special civil action for
certiorari in this Court. ICTHDE
We do not agree.
An election protest proposes to oust the winning candidate from office. It is strictly a contest between the
defeated and the winning candidates, based on the grounds of electoral frauds and irregularities, to
determine who between them has actually obtained the majority of the legal votes cast and is entitled to
hold the office. It can only be filed by a candidate who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and has
been voted for in the preceding elections.
A special civil action for quo warranto refers to questions of disloyalty to the State, or of ineligibility of the
winning candidate. The objective of the action is to unseat the ineligible person from the office, but not to
install the petitioner in his place. Any voter may initiate the action, which is, strictly speaking, not a
contest where the parties strive for supremacy because the petitioner will not be seated even if the
respondent may be unseated. IcEACH
The controversy involving Lokin is neither an election protest nor an action for quo warranto, for it
concerns a very peculiar situation in which Lokin is seeking to be seated as the second nominee of CIBAC.
Although an election protest may properly be available to one party-list organization seeking to unseat
another party-list organization to determine which between the defeated and the winning party-list
organizations actually obtained the majority of the legal votes, Lokin's case is not one in which a nominee
of a particular party-list organization thereby wants to unseat another nominee of the same party-list
organization. Neither does an action for quo warranto lie, considering that the case does not involve the
ineligibility and disloyalty of Cruz-Gonzales to the Republic of the Philippines, or some other cause of
disqualification for her.
Lokin has correctly brought this special civil action forcertiorari against the COMELEC to seek the review
of the September 14, 2007 resolution of the COMELEC in accordance with Section 7 of Article IX-A of the
1987Constitution, notwithstanding the oath and assumption of office by Cruz-Gonzales. The
constitutional mandate is now implemented by Rule 64 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which
provides for the review of the judgments, final orders or resolutions of the COMELEC and the Commission
on Audit. As Rule 64 states, the mode of review is by a petition for certiorari in accordance with Rule 65
to be filed in the Supreme Court within a limited period of 30 days. Undoubtedly, the Court has original
and exclusive jurisdiction over Lokin's petitions for certiorari and formandamus against the
COMELEC. SIcEHD
B
Petitioner is not guilty of forum shopping
Forum shopping consists of the filing of multiple suits involving the same parties for the same cause of
action, either simultaneously or successively, for the purpose of obtaining a favorable judgment. Thus,
forum shopping may arise: (a) whenever as a result of an adverse decision in one forum, a party seeks a
favorable decision (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another; or (b) if, after having filed a petition in

the Supreme Court, a party files another petition in the Court of Appeals, because he thereby deliberately
splits appeals "in the hope that even as one case in which a particular remedy is sought is dismissed,
another case (offering a similar remedy) would still be open"; or (c) where a party attempts to obtain a
writ of preliminary injunction from a court after failing to obtain the writ from another court.19
What is truly important to consider in determining whether forum shopping exists or not is the vexation
caused to the courts and the litigants by a party who accesses different courts and administrative
agencies to rule on the same or related causes or to grant the same or substantially the same reliefs, in
the process creating the possibility of conflicting decisions being rendered by the different fora upon the
same issue. 20
The filing of identical petitions in different courts is prohibited, because such act constitutes forum
shopping, a malpractice that is proscribed and condemned as trifling with the courts and as abusing their
processes. Forum shopping is an improper conduct that degrades the administration of
justice. 21 TIDHCc
Nonetheless, the mere filing of several cases based on the same incident does not necessarily constitute
forum shopping. The test is whether the several actions filed involve the same transactions and the same
essential facts and circumstances. 22 The actions must also raise identical causes of action, subject
matter, and issues. 23 Elsewise stated, forum shopping exists where the elements of litis pendentia are
present, or where a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in the other. 24
Lokin has filed the petition for mandamus to compel the COMELEC to proclaim him as the second
nominee of CIBAC upon the issuance of NBC Resolution No. 07-72 (announcing CIBAC's entitlement to an
additional seat in the House of Representatives), and to strike down the provision in NBC Resolution No.
07-60 and NBC Resolution No. 07-72 holding in abeyance "all proclamation of the nominees of concerned
parties, organizations and coalitions with pending disputes shall likewise be held in abeyance until final
resolution of their respective cases." He has insisted that the COMELEC had the ministerial duty to
proclaim him due to his being CIBAC's second nominee; and that the COMELEC had no authority to
exercise discretion and to suspend or defer the proclamation of winning party-list organizations with
pending disputes.
On the other hand, Lokin has resorted to the petition forcertiorari to assail the September 14, 2007
resolution of the COMELEC (approving the withdrawal of the nomination of Lokin, Tugna and Galang and
the substitution by Cruz-Gonzales as the second nominee and Borje as the third nominee); and to
challenge the validity of Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804, the COMELEC's basis for allowing CIBAC's
withdrawal of Lokin's nomination.
Applying the test for forum shopping, the consecutive filing of the action for certiorari and the action
for mandamus did not violate the rule against forum shopping even if the actions involved the same
parties, because they were based on different causes of action and the reliefs they sought were
different. TEHDIA
C
Invalidity of Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804
The legislative power of the Government is vested exclusively in the Legislature in accordance with the
doctrine of separation of powers. As a general rule, the Legislature cannot surrender or abdicate its
legislative power, for doing so will be unconstitutional. Although the power to make laws cannot be
delegated by the Legislature to any other authority, a power that is not legislative in character may be
delegated. 25
Under certain circumstances, the Legislature can delegate to executive officers and administrative boards
the authority to adopt and promulgate IRRs. To render such delegation lawful, the Legislature must

declare the policy of the law and fix the legal principles that are to control in given cases. The Legislature
should set a definite or primary standard to guide those empowered to execute the law. For as long as
the policy is laid down and a proper standard is established by statute, there can be no unconstitutional
delegation of legislative power when the Legislature leaves to selected instrumentalities the duty of
making subordinate rules within the prescribed limits, although there is conferred upon the executive
officer or administrative board a large measure of discretion. There is a distinction between the
delegation of power to make a law and the conferment of an authority or a discretion to be exercised
under and in pursuance of the law, for the power to make laws necessarily involves a discretion as to
what it shall be. 26
The authority to make IRRs in order to carry out an express legislative purpose, or to effect the operation
and enforcement of a law is not a power exclusively legislative in character, but is rather administrative
in nature. The rules and regulations adopted and promulgated must not, however, subvert or be contrary
to existing statutes. The function of promulgating IRRs may be legitimately exercised only for the purpose
of carrying out the provisions of a law. The power of administrative agencies is confined to implementing
the law or putting it into effect. Corollary to this is that administrative regulation cannot extend the law
and amend a legislative enactment. It is axiomatic that the clear letter of the law is controlling and
cannot be amended by a mere administrative rule issued for its implementation. Indeed, administrative
or executive acts shall be valid only when they are not contrary to the laws or the Constitution. 27
To be valid, therefore, the administrative IRRs must comply with the following requisites to be valid: 28
1.Its promulgation must be authorized by the Legislature; CHEIcS
2.It must be within the scope of the authority given by the Legislature;
3.It must be promulgated in accordance with the prescribed procedure;
and
4.It must be reasonable.
The COMELEC is constitutionally mandated to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to
the conduct of an election, a plebiscite, an initiative, a referendum, and a recall. 29 In addition to the
powers and functions conferred upon it by the Constitution, the COMELEC is also charged to promulgate
IRRs implementing the provisions of theOmnibus Election Code or other laws that the COMELEC enforces
and administers. 30
The COMELEC issued Resolution No. 7804 pursuant to its powers under the Constitution, Batas Pambansa
Blg. 881, and the Party-List System Act. 31 Hence, the COMELEC met the first requisite.
The COMELEC also met the third requisite. There is no question that Resolution No. 7804 underwent the
procedural necessities of publication and dissemination in accordance with the procedure prescribed in
the resolution itself.
Whether Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 was valid or not is thus to be tested on the basis of whether
the second and fourth requisites were met. It is in this respect that the challenge of Lokin against Section
13 succeeds.
As earlier said, the delegated authority must be properly exercised. This simply means that the resulting
IRRs must not be ultra vires as to be issued beyond the limits of the authority conferred. It is basic that
an administrative agency cannot amend an act of Congress, 32 for administrative IRRs are solely
intended to carry out, not to supplant or to modify, the law. The administrative agency issuing the IRRs
may not enlarge, alter, or restrict the provisions of the law it administers and enforces, and cannot
engraft additional non-contradictory requirements not contemplated by the Legislature. 33 HScaCT
Section 8 of R.A. No. 7941 reads:
Section 8.Nomination of Party-List Representatives. Each registered
party, organization or coalition shall submit to the COMELEC not later
that forty-five (45) days before the election a list of names, not less than

five (5), from which party-list representatives shall be chosen in case it


obtains the required number of votes.
A person may be nominated in one (1) list only. Only persons who have
given their consent in writing may be named in the list. The list shall not
include any candidate of any elective office or a person who has lost his
bid for an elective office in the immediately preceding election. No
change of names or alteration of the order of nominees shall be allowed
after the same shall have been submitted to the COMELEC except in
cases where the nominee dies, or withdraws in writing his nomination,
becomes incapacitated in which case the name of the substitute
nominee shall be placed last in the list. Incumbent sectoral
representatives in the House of Representatives who are nominated in
the party-list system shall not be considered resigned.
The provision is daylight clear. The Legislature thereby deprived the party-list organization of the right to
change its nominees or to alter the order of nominees once the list is submitted to the COMELEC, except
when: (a) the nominee dies; (b) the nominee withdraws in writing his nomination; or(c) the nominee
becomes incapacitated. The provision must be read literally because its language is plain and free from
ambiguity, and expresses a single, definite, and sensible meaning. Such meaning is conclusively
presumed to be the meaning that the Legislature has intended to convey. Even where the courts should
be convinced that the Legislature really intended some other meaning, and even where the literal
interpretation should defeat the very purposes of the enactment, the explicit declaration of the
Legislature is still the law, from which the courts must not depart. 34 When the law speaks in clear and
categorical language, there is no reason for interpretation or construction, but only for
application. 35 Accordingly, an administrative agency tasked to implement a statute may not construe it
by expanding its meaning where its provisions are clear and unambiguous. 36
The legislative intent to deprive the party-list organization of the right to change the nominees or to alter
the order of the nominees was also expressed during the deliberations of the Congress, viz.: AHcaDC
MR. LAGMAN:
And again on Section 5, on the nomination of party list representatives, I
do not see any provision here which prohibits or for that matter
allows the nominating party to change the nominees or to alter
the order of prioritization of names of nominees. Is the implication
correct that at any time after submission the names could still be
changed or the listing altered?
MR. ABUEG:
Mr. Speaker, that is a good issue brought out by the distinguished
Gentleman from Albay and perhaps a perfecting amendment may
be introduced therein. The sponsoring committee will gladly
consider the same.
MR. LAGMAN:
In other words, what I would like to see is that after the list is submitted
to the COMELEC officially, no more changes should be made in
the names or in the order of listing.
MR. ABUEG:
Mr. Speaker, there may be a situation wherein the name of a particular
nominee has been submitted to the Commission on Elections but
before election day the nominee changed his political party

affiliation. The nominee is therefore no longer qualified to be


included in the party list and the political party has a perfect right
to change the name of that nominee who changed his political
party affiliation.
MR. LAGMAN:
Yes of course. In that particular case, the change can be effected but will
be the exception rather than the rule. Another exception most
probably is the nominee dies, then there has to be a change but
any change for that matter should always be at the last part of
the list so that the prioritization made by the party will not be
adversely affected.37 ACcHIa
The usage of "No" in Section 8 "No change of names or alteration of the order of nominees shall be
allowed after the same shall have been submitted to the COMELEC except in cases where the nominee
dies, or withdraws in writing his nomination, or becomes incapacitated, in which case the name of the
substitute nominee shall be placed last in the list" renders Section 8 a negative law, and is indicative of
the legislative intent to make the statute mandatory. Prohibitive or negative words can rarely, if ever, be
directory, for there is but one way to obey the command "thou shall not," and that is to completely
refrain from doing the forbidden act, 38 subject to certain exceptions stated in the law itself, like in this
case.
Section 8 does not unduly deprive the party-list organization of its right to choose its nominees, but
merely divests it of the right to change its nominees or to alter the order in the list of its nominees'
names after submission of the list to the COMELEC.
The prohibition is not arbitrary or capricious; neither is it without reason on the part of lawmakers. The
COMELEC can rightly presume from the submission of the list that the list reflects the true will of the
party-list organization. The COMELEC will not concern itself with whether or not the list contains the real
intended nominees of the party-list organization, but will only determine whether the nominees pass all
the requirements prescribed by the law and whether or not the nominees possess all the qualifications
and none of the disqualifications. Thereafter, the names of the nominees will be published in newspapers
of general circulation. Although the people vote for the party-list organization itself in a party-list system
of election, not for the individual nominees, they still have the right to know who the nominees of any
particular party-list organization are. The publication of the list of the party-list nominees in newspapers
of general circulation serves that right of the people, enabling the voters to make intelligent and informed
choices. In contrast, allowing the party-list organization to change its nominees through withdrawal of
their nominations, or to alter the order of the nominations after the submission of the list of nominees
circumvents the voters' demand for transparency. The lawmakers' exclusion of such arbitrary withdrawal
has eliminated the possibility of such circumvention.
D
Exceptions in Section 8 of R.A. 7941 are exclusive
Section 8 of R.A. No. 7941 enumerates only three instances in which the party-list organization can
substitute another person in place of the nominee whose name has been submitted to the COMELEC,
namely: (a) when the nominee dies; (b) when the nominee withdraws in writing his nomination;
and (c) when the nominee becomes incapacitated.
The enumeration is exclusive, for, necessarily, the general rule applies to all cases not falling under any
of the three exceptions.

When the statute itself enumerates the exceptions to the application of the general rule, the exceptions
are strictly but reasonably construed. The exceptions extend only as far as their language fairly warrants,
and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general provision rather than the exceptions. Where the
general rule is established by a statute with exceptions, none but the enacting authority can curtail the
former. Not even the courts may add to the latter by implication, and it is a rule that an express
exception excludes all others, although it is always proper in determining the applicability of the rule to
inquire whether, in a particular case, it accords with reason and justice. 39 ADCEcI
The appropriate and natural office of the exception is to exempt something from the scope of the general
words of a statute, which is otherwise within the scope and meaning of such general
words. Consequently, the existence of an exception in a statute clarifies the intent that the statute shall
apply to all cases not excepted. Exceptions are subject to the rule of strict construction; hence, any doubt
will be resolved in favor of the general provision and against the exception. Indeed, the liberal
construction of a statute will seem to require in many circumstances that the exception, by which the
operation of the statute is limited or abridged, should receive a restricted construction.
E
Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 expanded the exceptions under Section 8
of R.A. No. 7941
Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 states:
Section 13.Substitution of nominees. A party-list nominee may be
substituted only when he dies, or his nomination is withdrawn
by the party, or he becomes incapacitated to continue as such,
or he withdraws his acceptance to a nomination. In any of these
cases, the name of the substitute nominee shall be placed last in the list
of nominees.
No substitution shall be allowed by reason of withdrawal after the polls.
Unlike Section 8 of R.A. No. 7941, the foregoing regulation provides four instances, the fourth being when
the "nomination is withdrawn by the party."
Lokin insists that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in expanding to four the three statutory
grounds for substituting a nominee.
We agree with Lokin. aSIETH
The COMELEC, despite its role as the implementing arm of the Government in the enforcement and
administration of all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, 40has neither the
authority nor the license to expand, extend, or add anything to the law it seeks to implement thereby.
The IRRs the COMELEC issues for that purpose should always accord with the law to be implemented, and
should not override, supplant, or modify the law. It is basic that the IRRs should remain consistent with
the law they intend to carry out. 41
Indeed, administrative IRRs adopted by a particular department of the Government under legislative
authority must be in harmony with the provisions of the law, and should be for the sole purpose of
carrying the law's general provisions into effect. The law itself cannot be expanded by such IRRs, because
an administrative agency cannot amend an act of Congress. 42
The COMELEC explains that Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 has added nothing to Section 8 of R.A. No.
7941, 43because it has merely reworded and rephrased the statutory provision's phraseology.
The explanation does not persuade.
To reword means to alter the wording of or to restate in other words; to rephrase is to phrase anew or in a
new form. 44Both terms signify that the meaning of the original word or phrase is not altered.

However, the COMELEC did not merely reword or rephrase the text of Section 8 of R.A. No. 7941, because
it established an entirely new ground not found in the text of the provision. The new ground granted to
the party-list organization the unilateral right to withdraw its nomination already submitted to the
COMELEC, which Section 8 of R.A. No. 7941 did not allow to be done. Neither was the grant of the
unilateral right contemplated by the drafters of the law, who precisely denied the right to withdraw the
nomination (as the quoted record of the deliberations of the House of Representatives has indicated). The
grant thus conflicted with the statutory intent to save the nominee from falling under the whim of the
party-list organization once his name has been submitted to the COMELEC, and to spare the electorate
from the capriciousness of the party-list organizations.
We further note that the new ground would not secure the object of R.A. No. 7941 of developing and
guaranteeing a full, free and open party-list electoral system. The success of the system could only be
ensured by avoiding any arbitrariness on the part of the party-list organizations, by seeing to the
transparency of the system, and by guaranteeing that the electorate would be afforded the chance of
making intelligent and informed choices of their party-list representatives. SaICcT
The insertion of the new ground was invalid. An axiom in administrative law postulates that
administrative authorities should not act arbitrarily and capriciously in the issuance of their IRRs, but
must ensure that their IRRs are reasonable and fairly adapted to secure the end in view. If the IRRs are
shown to bear no reasonable relation to the purposes for which they were authorized to be issued, they
must be held to be invalid and should be struck down. 45
F
Effect of partial nullity of Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804
An IRR adopted pursuant to the law is itself law. 46 In case of conflict between the law and the IRR, the
law prevails. There can be no question that an IRR or any of its parts not adopted pursuant to the law is
no law at all and has neither the force nor the effect of law. 47 The invalid rule, regulation, or part thereof
cannot be a valid source of any right, obligation, or power.
Considering that Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 to the extent that it allows the party-list
organization to withdraw its nomination already submitted to the COMELEC was invalid, CIBAC's
withdrawal of its nomination of Lokin and the others and its substitution of them with new nominees were
also invalid and ineffectual. It is clear enough that any substitution of Lokin and the others could only be
for any of the grounds expressly stated in Section 8 of R.A. No. 7941. Resultantly, the COMELEC's
approval of CIBAC's petition of withdrawal of the nominations and its recognition of CIBAC's substitution,
both through its assailed September 14, 2007 resolution, should be struck down for lack of legal basis.
Thereby, the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction, having relied on the invalidly issued Section 13 of
Resolution No. 7804 to support its action.
WHEREFORE, we grant the petitions for certiorari andmandamus.
We declare Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 invalid and of no effect to the extent that it authorizes a
party-list organization to withdraw its nomination of a nominee once it has submitted the nomination to
the Commission on Elections. AETcSa
Accordingly, we annul and set aside:
(a)The resolution dated September 14, 2007 issued in E. M. No. 07-054
approving Citizens' Battle Against Corruption's withdrawal of the
nominations of Luis K. Lokin, Jr., Sherwin N. Tugna, and Emil
Galang as its second, third, and fourth nominees, respectively,
and ordering their substitution by Cinchona C. Cruz-Gonzales as
second nominee and Armi Jane R. Borje as third nominee; and

(b)The proclamation by the Commission on Elections of Cinchona C.


Cruz-Gonzales as a Party-List Representative representing
Citizens' Battle Against Corruption in the House of
Representatives.
We order the Commission on Elections to forthwith proclaim petitioner Luis K. Lokin, Jr. as a Party-List
Representative representing Citizens' Battle Against Corruption in the House of Representatives.
We make no pronouncements on costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
Corona, C.J., Carpio, Carpio Morales, Velasco, Jr., Nachura, Leonardo de Castro, Brion, Del Castillo, Abad,
Villarama, Jr.and Perez, JJ., concur.
Mendoza, J., is on leave.
Footnotes
1.Entitled An Act Providing for the Election of Party-List Representatives through the Party-List System, and
Appropriating Funds Therefor.
2.Rollo, G.R. No. 179431 and No. 179432, pp. 74-75.
3.Id., p. 76.
4.Id., p. 90.
5.Id., p. 89.
6.Id., pp. 91-92.
7.Id., pp. 93-196.
8.Id., pp. 51-55.
9.Id., pp. 197-200.
10.Id., pp. 68-71.
11.Id., pp. 37-42.
12.Id., pp. 43-47.
13.Id., pp. 243-260.
14.Id., p. 324.
15.Id., p. 325.
16.Entitled Rules and Regulations Governing the Filing of Manifestation of Intent to Participate, and Submission of
Names of Nominees Under the Party-List System of Representation, in Connection with the 14 May 2007
Synchronized National and Local Elections.
17.Rollo, G.R. No. 180443, pp. 65-82.
18.Entitled An Act Providing for the Election of Party-List Representatives through the Party-List System, and
Appropriating Funds Therefor.
19.Executive Secretary v. Gordon, G.R. No. 134171, November 18, 1998, 298 SCRA 736.
20.First Philippine International Bank v. Court of Appeals,G.R. No. 115849, January 24, 1996, 252 SCRA 259.
21.Bugnay Construction and Development Corporation v. Laron, G.R. No. 79983, August 10, 1989, 176 SCRA 240.
22.Paredes, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, Second Division, G.R. No. 108251, January 31, 1996, 252 SCRA 641.
23.International Container Terminal Services, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 116910, October 18, 1995, 249 SCRA
389.
24.Buan v. Lopez, Jr., G.R. No. L-75349, October 13, 1986, 145 SCRA 34.
25.Crawford, Earl. T., The Construction of Statutes,Thomas Law Book Company, St. Louis, Missouri, pp. 24-25 (1940).
26.Id., pp. 29-30.
27.Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, Inc. v. National Wages and Productivity Commission, G.R. No. 144322,
February 6, 2007, 514 SCRA 346, 349-350.
28.Cruz, Philippine Administrative Law, pp. 50-51 (2007).
29.1987 Constitution, Article IX-C, Section 2(1).
30.Batas Pambansa Bilang 881, Article VII, Section 52(c).
31.The Party-List System Act (R.A. No. 7941) provides:
Section 18. Rules and Regulations. The COMELEC shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations as may be
necessary to carry out the purposes of this act.
32.Boie-Takeda Chemicals, Inc. v. De la Serna, G.R. Nos. 92174 and 102552, December 10, 1993, 228 SCRA 329.
33.Pilipinas Kao, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 105014, December 18, 2001, 372 SCRA 548, 551552;Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Central Luzon Drug Corporation, G.R. No. 159647, April 15, 2005, 456
SCRA 414, 441.
34.Black, Construction and Interpretation of Laws, 2nd Edition, p. 45.
35.Land Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 118712 and 118745, July 5, 1996, 258 SCRA 404.
36.Agpalo, Statutory Construction, p. 65 (5th ed., 2003).
37.Record of the Deliberations of the House of Representatives, 3rd Regular Session (1994-1995), Volume III,
November 22, 1994, p. 336.
38.McGee v. Republic, 94 Phil. 820 (1954).

39.Salaysay v. Castro, 98 Phil. 364 (1956).


40.Section 2(1) of Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution.
41.Romulo, Mabanta, Buenaventura, Sayoc and De los Angeles v. Home Development Mutual Fund, G.R. No. 131082,
June 19, 2000, 333 SCRA 777.
42.Cebu Oxygen & Acetylene Co., Inc. v. Drilon, G.R. No. 82849, August 2, 1989, 176 SCRA 24, 29.
43.Rollo, p. 509.
44.Webster's Third New International Dictionary.
45.Lupangco v. Court of Appeals, No. L-77372, April 29, 1988, 160 SCRA 848, 858-859.
46.Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank v. Navarro,No. L-46591, July 28, 1987, 152 SCRA 346.
47.Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Central Luzon Drug Corporation, supra, note 33.
||| (Lokin, Jr. v. Commission on Elections, G.R. Nos. 179431-32, 180443, [June 22, 2010], 635 PHIL 372-402)

EN BANC
[G.R. Nos. 141952-53. April 20, 2001.]
RODOLFO DUMAYAS, JR., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, THE
MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF CARLES,
PROVINCE OF ILOILO and FELIPE BERNAL, JR., respondent.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J p:
In this special civil action, petitioner Rodolfo Dumayas, Jr., seeks to nullify the Resolution promulgated
March 2, 2000 by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc, reversing that of the Second Division
dated August 4, 1998, which annulled the petitioner's proclamation as Municipal Mayor of Carles,
Iloilo. TSIEAD
The antecedent facts of the case, as found by the COMELEC en banc, are as follows:
Petitioner Dumayas, Jr. and respondent Bernal, Jr. were rival candidates for the position of
mayor in Carles, Iloilo last 11 May 1998 synchronized elections.
During the canvassing on 13 May 1998, election returns for precincts nos. 61A, 62A, and
63A/64A all of Barangay Pantalan were protested for inclusion in the canvass before the
Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC for brevity) by petitioner-appellant Dumayas Jr. The
grounds relied upon for their exclusion are all the same that is, "violation of Secs. 234,
235, 236 of the Omnibus Election Code and other election laws; acts of terrorism,
intimidation, coercion, and similar acts prohibited by law." Appellant Dumayas, Jr.
submitted his evidence to the Board of Canvassers on 14 May 1998 which consist of (a)
the joint affidavits executed by LAMMP watchers for precinct 61A: Teresita Oblido,
Reyland de la Rosa, and Armando Flores [signed by Oblido and Flores only]; (b) affidavit
of petitioner's supporter Virgilisa Capao; (c) joint affidavit of precinct 63A watcher
Nona Dichosa and precinct 62A watcher Daniel Carmona; (d) blotter report dated 12
May 1998 of Carles PNP, Iloilo; and (d) corroborating affidavit of LAMMP supporter
Honorato Gallardo.
All the affidavits submitted by petitioner contain similar attestations such as: certain local
baranggay (sic) officials were inside the polling place during the casting and counting of

votes, or acted as watcher of respondent; SPO3 Gilbert Sorongon who was in shorts and
t-shirt armed with an armalite roamed around and inside the polling places; a CVO in
uniform was roaming precinct 63A; the presence of the public officials posed threat and
intimidation driving most of the watchers of other political parties away; the BEIs were so
intimidated and coerced that no election return was prepared simultaneous with the
tallying; the election returns were prepared under duress; the voters were coerced to
vote for certain favored candidates especially herein respondent; petitioner's watchers
were made to sign or affix their thumbmarks on the already prepared election returns; in
precinct 63A/64A, the voting ended at almost 9:00 P.M. without the BEI members writing
the names of such voters.
Petitioner also submitted a certification issued by PO3 Tito Billones, Desk Officer of PNP
Carles representing the blotter report (extracted from the police log book) which states
that on 12 May 1998, Virgilisa Capao reported to the Police Station of Carles, Iloilo that
PO3 Sorongon and Brgy. Capt. Mahilum entered Precinct 63A with (sic) the company of
other CVO and Brgy. Kagawad during election. And that these people gravely intimidated
the voters by telling them the names of the candidates they should vote for. It also states
that PO3 Sorongon was not in his prescribed uniform when seen with hand grenades
hanging on his neck and carrying an armalite roaming inside and outside the polling
place.
On the other hand, respondent Bernal, Jr. in vehemently denying the allegations of
petitioner, submitted joint affidavits of the members of the different Boards of Election
Inspectors for precinct nos. 61A, 62A and 63A/64A.
xxx xxx xxx
All the supplemental affidavits of the different BEIs categorically declared that the
elections in their respective precincts "starting from the start of the voting to its closing,
to the counting of votes and to the preparation and submission of election returns" were
peaceful, clean, orderly and no acts of terrorism, intimidation, coercion and similar acts
prohibited by law was (sic) exerted on anybody including the voters and members of the
BEIs. They all attested that the incidents alleged by petitioner's watchers did not happen.
The alleged terrorism, coercion, or violation of election laws like the opening of ballots
and reading the votes allegedly done by certain public officials like SPO3 Sorongon, Nody
Mahilum, Anonia Barrios, Telesforo Gallardo and others are not true, the truth being that
these people were only inside the polling place to exercise their right of suffrage. They
also vehemently denied that the election returns were not simultaneously prepared with
the tallying and counting of votes. They stressed that as public school teachers, they
cannot risk their future and career and will not allow or tolerate anybody to make a
mockery of the electoral process to (sic) which they were duly sworn to uphold.
Nody Mahilum and PO3 Gilbert Sorongon also executed a joint affidavit denying the
accusations of Dumayas, Jr. and his watchers stating therein that they only entered their
respective precinct-polling place in order to exercise their right of suffrage and that the
election in the three precincts of Barangay Pantalan was orderly, peaceful, and honest
which (sic) truly reflects the will of the electorate. LLphil
xxx xxx xxx 1
In the afternoon of May 14, 1998, the Municipal Board of Canvassers denied petitioner's objection to the
inclusion of the contested returns and proceeded with the canvass. The results of the voting were as
follows:
DUMAYAS BERNAL

CONTESTED PRECINCTS
Prec. 61A 44 117
Prec. 62A 43 114
Prec. 63A/64A (clustered) 54 159
Uncontested prec[incts] total 7,636 7,514

Over all total 7,777 7,904 2
Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal before the MBC on May 15, 1998.
The appeal was given due course by the COMELEC Second Division 3 which rendered a resolution dated
August 4, 1998, disposing as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding the preparation of the contested election returns to be tainted with
irregularities, this Commission (SECOND DIVISION) RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to
EXCLUDE Election Return No. 3000976 from Precinct No. 61-A; Election Return No.
3000977 from Precinct No. 62-A; and Election return No. 3000978 from Precinct Nos. 63A/64-A (clustered).
Respondent Mun(i)cipal Board of Canvassers is hereby directed to RECONVENE and
FINISH the canvass of the remaining or uncontested returns and thereafter, PROCLAIM
the winning mayoralty candidate of Carles, Iloilo.
SO ORDERED. 4
On August 10, 1998, private respondent Felipe Bernal, Jr., filed a motion for reconsideration of the abovecited resolution with the COMELEC en banc.
On August 12, 1998, an order certifying that the motion for reconsideration and records of the case were
elevated to the COMELEC en banc was signed by Commissioner Julio F. Desamito and issued by the Clerk
of the Commission.
Pending resolution of the motion for reconsideration and pursuant to the resolution of the COMELEC
Second Division, Election Officer Rolando Dalen set the reconvening of the MBC on August 13, 1998, for
the continuation of canvass proceedings and proclamation of winning candidates for Vice-Mayor and
Municipal Councilors of Carles, Iloilo. No winner for the position of Mayor was proclaimed since private
respondent was able to present a copy of his motion for reconsideration before the MBC. The MBC then
reset the date for reconvening of the board on August 17, 1998, after confirming by phone with
COMELEC-Manila that a motion for reconsideration was indeed filed by private respondent. Thereafter,
the MBC ruled that proclamation of the winning candidate for Mayor would proceed on August 17, 1998
unless private respondent could present a certification from the COMELEC that the motion for
reconsideration was elevated to the COMELEC en banc.
On August 17, 1998, despite presentation of the August 12, 1998 order, petitioner was proclaimed winner
of the election after excluding from the canvass the election returns from the three contested precincts in
accordance with the COMELEC Second Division Resolution. The MBC, with its Vice-Chairman dissenting,
justified its act by reasoning that it did not receive an official copy of the order directing the elevation of
the case to the banc.
The following day, private respondent immediately filed an urgent motion to declare void ab initiothe
proclamation of petitioner on the ground that the resolution of the COMELEC Second Division was not yet
final and executory. For his part, petitioner opposed both the motion for reconsideration and motion to
declare void ab initio his proclamation as Mayor of Carles, asserting that private respondent failed to
show palpable errors to warrant reconsideration of said resolution and maintaining, at the same time,
that his proclamation was legal since respondent failed to produce the certification required by the
MBC. TDAHCS

Meanwhile, on August 25, 1998, the duly-proclaimed Vice-Mayor Arnold Betita filed an action forquo
warranto 5 against petitioner before the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Branch 66. Docketed as Spl. Civil
Action No. 98-141, said petition included respondent Bernal as one of the petitioners together with ViceMayor Betita.
On September 18, 1998, petitioner filed before the COMELEC en banc a motion to expunge respondent
Bernal's motion for reconsideration and motion to declare petitioner's proclamation void ab initio, on the
ground that respondent Bernal should be deemed to have abandoned said motions by the filing of Spl.
Civil Action No. 98-141 which, according to petitioner, is a formal election protest via quo
warranto brought before the regular courts.
In a resolution dated August 24, 1999 but promulgated on March 2, 2000, the COMELEC en bancdenied
petitioner's motion to expunge, thus:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Resolution of the Second Division is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the proclamation of Rodolfo Dumayas, Jr. is hereby
ANNULLED. A new Municipal Board of Canvassers of Carles, Iloilo is hereby constituted
with the following members: Atty. Nelia Aureus, Chairman; Atty. Rosel Abad, ViceChairman; and Atty. Manuel Lucero, Third Member all of Election Contests and
Adjudication Department of the Commission. They are directed to convene at Session
Hall of the COMELEC Main Office, Manila on the tenth (10th) day from the date of
promulgation of this Resolution with notice to the parties. The new board of canvassers
shall complete the canvassing of all the returns and proceed with the proclamation of the
true winner for the position of mayor of Carles, Iloilo. Petitioner Rodolfo Dumayas, Jr. is
hereby directed to cease and desist from performing the functions of the office of mayor
of Carles, Iloilo. Election Officer Rolando Dalen is hereby directed to bring to the
Commission's Main Office the election returns of Carles, Iloilo which need to be
canvassed and the other election documents necessary for the canvassing and
proclamation and turn them over to the new board of canvassers.
The Law Department is directed to investigate the election offense allegedly committed
by PO3 Gilbert Sorongon on election day.
Let the Deputy Executive Director for Operations of the Commission implement this
Resolution with dispatch giving a copy thereof to the Secretary of the Department of
Interior and Local Government.
SO ORDERED. 6
On March 13, 2000, respondent Bernal, Jr. was proclaimed by the newly-constituted Municipal Board of
Canvassers as the duly-elected Mayor of the Municipality of Carles, thereby unseating
petitionerDumayas.
Hence, this instant special civil action where he alleges that:
A. RESPONDENT COMMISSION ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT, PRIVATE RESPONDENT
FELIPE BERNAL JR. IS DEEMED TO HAVE ABANDONED HIS MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION BEFORE THE COMMISSION ON ELECTION EN BANC
CONSIDERING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT, TOGETHER WITH ARNOLD BETITA
FILED AN ELECTION CASE THRU A QUO WARRANTO, BEFORE THE REGIONAL TRIAL
COURT OF ILOILO BRANCH 66, DOCKETED AS CASE NO. 98-141.
B. RESPONDENT COMMISSION ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE INCLUSION FOR CANVASS THE
THREE ELECTION RETURNS FOR PRECINCT NOS. 61-A, 62-A, and 63-A/64-A
(CLUSTERED) BY THE MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF CARLES, ILOILO
NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THERE IS CLEAR AND SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE

TO SHOW THAT THE ELECTION RETURNS FOR THESE THREE PRECINCT(S) WERE
PREPARED UNDER DURESS AND NOT PREPARED SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH THE
COUNTING OF VOTES.
C. THE RESOLUTION PROMULGATED ON MARCH 2, 2000 IS ILLEGAL AS IT WAS VIOLATIVE
OF ARTICLE IX (A) SECTION 7 OF THE CONSTITUTION CONSIDERING THAT ONLY
FOUR COMMISSIONERS VOTED TO REVERSE THE RESOLUTION DATED AUGUST 4,
1998 OF THE SECOND DIVISION COMMISSION ON ELECTION AND THAT, TWO
COMMISSIONER(S) HAVE ALREADY RETIRED, AT THE TIME OF THE
PROMULGATION. 7
The following are the issues to be resolved: (1) Should respondent Bernal, who was named as petitioner
in the quo warranto proceedings commenced before the regular court, be deemed to have abandoned
the motions he had filed with respondent Commission? (2) Did the COMELEC err in ordering the inclusion
of the contested election returns in the canvassing of ballots? (3) In view of the retirement of
Commissioners Gorospe and Guiani before the date of the promulgation of the assailed resolution on
March 2, 2000, should said resolution be deemed null and void for being violative of Article IX-A, Section 7
of the 1987 Constitution? ATcEDS
We shall first discuss the third issue. Petitioner claims that March 2, 2000 Resolution of the COMELEC is
void because Commissioners Manolo Gorospe and Japal Guiani have already retired on the date of its
promulgation, even if they had participated earlier in the deliberations of the case and signed the
resolution dated August 24, 1999. Petitioner submits that this defect invalidated the entire decision of the
Commission and that accordingly, a new vote should be taken to settle the matter.
In Jamil vs. Commission on Elections, 8 we held that a decision becomes binding only after its
promulgation. If at the time it is promulgated, a judge or member of the collegiate court who had earlier
signed or registered his vote has vacated office, his vote on the decision must automatically be
withdrawn or cancelled. Accordingly, the votes of Commissioners Gorospe and Guiani should merely be
considered as withdrawn for the reason that their retirement preceded the resolution's promulgation. The
effect of the withdrawal of their votes would be as if they had not signed the resolution at all and only the
votes of the remaining commissioners would be properly considered for the purpose of deciding the
controversy.
However, unless the withdrawal of the votes would materially affect the result insofar as votes for or
against a party is concerned, we find no reason for declaring the decision a nullity. In the present case,
with the cancellation of the votes of retired Commissioners Gorospe and Guiani, the remaining votes
among the four incumbent commissioners at the time of the resolution's promulgation would still be 3 to
1 in favor of respondent. Noteworthy, these remaining Commissioners still constituted a quorum. In our
view, the defect cited by petitioner does not affect the substance or validity of respondent Commission's
disposition of the controversy. The nullification of the challenged resolution, in our view, would merely
prolong the proceedings unnecessarily.
Now, regarding the first issue raised by petitioner. Did respondent Bernal effectively abandon his pending
motions before the COMELEC en banc by the filing of Spl. Civil Action No. 98-141? Petitioner's contention
that Bernal did appears to us untenable.
As a general rule, the filing of an election protest or a petition for quo warranto precludes the subsequent
filing of a pre-proclamation controversy or amounts to the abandonment of one earlier filed, thus
depriving the COMELEC of the authority to inquire into and pass upon the title of the protestee or the
validity of his proclamation. The reason for this rule is that once the competent tribunal has acquired
jurisdiction of an election protest or a petition for quo warranto, all questions relative thereto will have to
be decided in the case itself and not in another proceeding, so as to prevent confusion and conflict of
authority. 9

Nevertheless, the general rule is not absolute. It admits of certain exceptions, as where: (a) the board of
canvassers was improperly constituted; (b) quo warranto was not the proper remedy; (c)what was filed
was not really a petition for quo warranto or an election protest but a petition to annul a proclamation;
(d) the filing of a quo warranto petition or an election protest was expressly made without prejudice to
the pre-proclamation controversy or was made ad cautelam; and (e) the proclamation was null and
void. 10
An examination of the petition filed primarily by Vice-Mayor Betita with the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo
City reveals that it is neither a quo warranto petition under the Omnibus Election Code nor an election
protest. In Samad vs. COMELEC 11 , we explained that a petition for quo warranto under the Omnibus
Election Code raises in issue the disloyalty or ineligibility of the winning candidate. It is a proceeding to
unseat the respondent from office but not necessarily to install the petitioner in his place. An election
protest is a contest between the defeated and winning candidates on the ground of frauds or
irregularities in the casting and counting of the ballots, or in the preparation of the returns. It raises the
question of who actually obtained the plurality of the legal votes and therefore is entitled to hold the
office.
The allegations contained in Betita's petition before the regular court do not present any proper issue for
either an election protest or a quo warranto case under the Omnibus Election Code. Spl. Civil Action No.
98-141 appears to be in the nature of an action for usurpation of public office brought by Betita to assert
his right to the position of Mayor pursuant to the rules on succession of local government officials
contained in the Local Government Code. 12 Although said petition is also denominated as a quo
warranto petition under Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, it is different in nature from the quo
warranto provided for in the Omnibus Election Code where the only issue proper for determination is
either disloyalty or ineligibility of respondent therein. Neither can it be considered as an election protest
since what was put forth as an issue in said petition was petitioner's alleged unlawful assumption of the
office of Mayor by virtue of his alleged illegal proclamation as the winning candidate in the
election. aHDTAI
A closer look at the specific allegations in the petition disclose that Spl. Civil Action No. 98-141 is actually
an action for the annulment of petitioner's proclamation on the ground of illegality and prematurity. This
conclusion is consistent with the rule that the nature of the action is determined by the averments in the
complaint or petition 13 and not the title or caption thereof. The material stipulations of the petition
substantially state:
13. That when the Board of Canvassers convened in the afternoon and despite the
submission of the copy of the order certifying the Motion for Reconsideration to
the COMELEC En Banc and in violation of the Comelec Rules and Procedure and
due to the threat received by the Board, Mr. Dalen, the Chairman of the Board and
Mr. Serafin Provido, Jr. signed the Certificate of Proclamation proclaiming
respondent as winner of the elections for Mayor. Mr. Deony Cabaobao did not
signed (sic) the said Certificate of Proclamation as he dissented to (sic) the
decision to proclaim respondent;
14. The proclamation, therefore, of respondent is illegal and null and void from the very
beginning for it was done in violation of law and under duress. The affidavit of Mr.
Serafin Provido, Jr. a member of the Board of Canvassers showing duress is hereto
attached as Annex "C";
15. On account of the illegal proclamation of the respondent said proclamation does not
vest any right or authority for him to sit as Mayor of the town of Carles thus when

he sits as such Mayor he usurps, intrudes into, and unlawfully holds and
exercise(s) a public office without authority;
16. The authority to act as mayor for and in the absence of the duly proclaimed mayor is
vested on petitioner Betita pursuant to law;
17. That the continued unlawful exercise by the respondent of the position of mayor of
the town of Carles will cause great and irreparable damage to the
petitioners,particularly petitioner Betita, who pursuant to law is entitled to act as
Mayor of the town of Carles and the people of Carles who pays his salaries unless
he be restrained or enjoined from sitiing (sic) as such Mayor;
xxx xxx xxx 14
Thus, respondent Commission did not err, much less abuse its discretion, when it refused to consider as
abandoned Bernal's motion for reconsideration and urgent motion to declare petitioner's proclamation as
void ab initio. Note that under the allegations cited above, the determination of Betita's right would
ultimately hinge on the validity of petitioner's proclamation in the first place. To repeat, the " quo
warranto" petition brought by Vice-Mayor Betita is a petition to annul petitioner's proclamation over
which COMELEC exercises original exclusive jurisdiction. Consequently, it could not be deemed as a
proper remedy in favor of respondent Bernal, Jr. even if his name was included in the title of said petition.
We now consider whether the MBC's proclamation of petitioner Dumayas as the winning candidate in the
1998 mayoralty election is null and void. For where a proclamation is null and void, it is no proclamation
at all such that the proclaimed candidate's assumption of office cannot deprive the COMELEC of the
power to declare such nullity and annul the proclamation. 15
Although petitioner's proclamation was undertaken pursuant to the resolution of the COMELEC's Second
Division, it appears plain to us that the latter grievously erred in ordering the exclusion of the contested
returns from Precincts 61A, 62A and 63A/64A (clustered). On this score, the Comelecen banc correctly
reversed the Second Division by holding that petitioner Dumayas failed to justify the exclusion of said
returns on the ground of duress, intimidation, threat or coercion. We note that the only evidence
submitted by petitioner to prove said irregularities were self-serving affidavits executed by his watchers
and supporters. Aside from the fact that these allegations were countered by opposing affidavits made by
the members of the Boards of Election Inspectors who are presumed to have regularly performed their
duties 16 and who categorically denied the allegations, the election returns were also observed to be
genuine, clean, signed and/or thumbmarked by the proper officials and watchers. 17
Well-entrenched is the rule that findings of fact by the COMELEC, or any other administrative agency
exercising particular expertise in its field of endeavor, are binding on this Court. 18 In a pre-proclamation
controversy, the board of canvassers and the COMELEC are not required to look beyond or behind the
election returns which are on their face regular and authentic. Where a party seeks to raise issues the
resolution of which would necessitate the COMELEC to pierce the veil of election returns which are prima
facie regular, the proper remedy is a regular election protest, not a pre-proclamation controversy. 19
In the present case, petitioner barely alleged that the preparation of said returns was attended by
threats, duress, intimidation or coercion without offering any proof, other than the affidavits mentioned
above, that these had affected the regularity or genuineness of the contested returns. Absent any
evidence appearing on the face of the returns that they are indeed spurious, manufactured or tampered
with, the election irregularities cited by petitioner would require the reception of evidence aliunde which
cannot be done in a pre-proclamation controversy such as the one initiated by petitioner. Returns can not
be excluded on mere allegation that the returns are manufactured or fictitious when the returns, on their
face, appear regular and without any physical signs of tampering, alteration or other similar vice. If there
had been sham voting or minimal voting which was made to appear as normal through falsification of the

election returns, such grounds are properly cognizable in an election protest and not in a preproclamation controversy. 20
In sum, we hold that the COMELEC en banc did not commit grave abuse of discretion in reversing the
ruling of its Second Division. The appeal brought by petitioner from the order of inclusion issued by the
MBC should have been dismissed by that Division right away, since the grounds for exclusion relied upon
by petitioner are not proper in a pre-proclamation case, which is summary in nature. ITScHa
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit, public respondent having committed no
grave abuse of discretion. Its challenged resolution dated August 24, 1999 is AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes,
Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr. and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.Rollo, pp. 83-87.
2.Id. at 127.
3.Composed of Commissioners Japal Guiani (Ponente), Julio
Desamito (Dissenting) and then COMELEC Chairman (now
SC Associate Justice) Bernardo Pardo (Concurring and
Sitting with the Division under Rule 3, Sec. 2 [2nd par.]
Comelec Rules of Procedure.
4.Supra, note 1 at 56.
5.Id. at 67-72.
6.Id. at 91.
7.Id. at 17.
8.283 SCRA 349, 371 (1997).
9.Samad vs. COMELEC, 224 SCRA 631, 638 (1993)
citing: Sevilleja
vs. COMELEC,
107
SCRA
141
(1981);Mogueis,
Jr. vs. COMELEC,
104
SCRA
576
(1981); Filart vs. COMELEC, 53 SCRA 457 (1973); Reyes
vs.Reyes, 22 SCRA 485 (1968); Agpalo, Comments on the
Omnibus Election Code, 1992 Ed, p. 337; Acain & Malimit
vs. Board of Canvassers of Carmen, Agusan, et. al., 108
Phil. 165 (1960); Salvacion vs.COMELEC, 170 SCRA 513
(1989); and Padilla vs. COMELEC, 137 SCRA 424 (1985).
10.Laodenio vs. COMELEC, 276 SCRA 705, 713-714 (1997).

11.Supra, note 9 citing: Sec. 253, Omnibus Election Code


and Topacio vs. Paredes, 23 Phil. 238 (1912).
12.Supra, note 1 at 90.
13.Remedial Law Compendium, 1997 Ed., Justice F. D.
Regalado, pp. 126 & 139-140.
14.Supra, note 1 at 69-70.
15.Torres vs. COMELEC, 270 SCRA 583, 588-589 (1997)
citing: Aguam vs. COMELEC, 23 SCRA 883 (1968).
16.Matalam vs. COMELEC, 271 SCRA 733, 756 (1997).
17.Supra, note 12.
18.Cordero vs. COMELEC, 310 SCRA 118, 126 (1999)
citing: Grego
vs. COMELEC,
274
SCRA
481
(1997);Phil. Savings Bank vs. NLRC, 261 SCRA 409 (1996)
and Navarro vs. COMELEC, 228 SCRA 596 (1993).
19.Chu
vs. COMELEC,
319
SCRA
482,
492
(1999)
citing: Matalam vs. COMELEC, supra.; Loong vs.COMELEC,
257 SCRA 1 (1996); Dimaporo vs. COMELEC, 186 SCRA 769
(1990); Dipatuan vs. COMELEC, 185 SCRA 86 (1990).
20.Salih vs. COMELEC, 279 SCRA 19, 32 (1997).
||| (Dumayas, Jr. v. COMELEC, G.R. Nos. 141952-53, [April 20,
2001], 409 PHIL 407-424)

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 165983. April 24, 2007.]
JOY
CHRISMA
B. LUNA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS,
TOMAS
LAYAO, SOLOMON LALUGAN III, NELIA LAZAGA, ANTHONY LAYAO, CIPRIANO
LAPEZ, JR., VICTORIA LAYAO, MODERNO LAPEZ, RODRIGO PARIAS, and
EUGENIO CABER DONATO, respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO, J p:
The Case
Before this Court is a petition for certiorari 1 with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining
order, writ of preliminary injunction or status quo order questioning the 4 June 2004 Resolution of
the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) First Division and the 22 November 2004 Resolution of the
COMELEC En Banc in SPA Case No. 04-306. The 4 June 2004 Resolution denied due course to the

substitution of petitioner Joy Chrisma B. Luna (Luna) for Hans Roger Luna (Hans Roger) and declared the
substitution invalid. The 22 November 2004 Resolution denied Luna's motion for reconsideration.
The Facts
On 15 January 2004, Luna filed her certificate of candidacy for the position of vice-mayor of Lagayan,
Abra as a substitute for Hans Roger, who withdrew his certificate of candidacy on the same date. Ruperto
Blanco, Election Officer of Lagayan, Abra removed the name of Hans Roger from the list of candidates
and placed the name of Luna. aCASEH
On 20 April 2004, private respondents Tomas Layao, Solomon Lalugan III, Nelia Lazaga, Anthony Layao,
Cipriano Lapez, Jr., Victoria Layao, Moderno Lapez, Rodrigo Parias, and Eugenio Caber Donato (private
respondents) filed a petition for the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy or disqualification of Luna.
Private respondents alleged that Luna made a false material representation in her certificate of candidacy
because Luna is not a registered voter of Lagayan, Abra but a registered voter of Bangued, Abra. Private
respondents also claimed that Luna's certificate of candidacy was not validly filed because the
substitution by Luna for Hans Roger was invalid. Private respondents alleged that Hans Roger was only 20
years old on election day and, therefore, he was disqualified to run for vice-mayor and cannot be
substituted by Luna. 2
The COMELEC's Ruling
In the 4 June 2004 Resolution, the COMELEC First Division granted the petition and denied due course to
the substitution of Luna for Hans Roger. The COMELEC First Division ruled that, while Lunacomplied with
the procedural requirements for substitution, Hans Roger was not a valid candidate for vice-mayor. The
COMELEC First Division pointed out that Hans Roger, being underage, 3 did not file a valid certificate of
candidacy and, thus, Hans Roger was not a valid candidate for vice-mayor who could be substituted
by Luna. The COMELEC First Division also ruled that Luna was not a registered voter of Lagayan, Abra and
that this was sufficient to disqualify Luna from running as vice-mayor. HICSTa
On 28 June 2004, Luna filed a motion for reconsideration with the COMELEC En Banc. Luna added that the
4 June 2004 Resolution was issued in violation of her right to due process because she was not given the
opportunity to present evidence on her behalf with the COMELEC First Division.
In the 22 November 2004 Resolution, the COMELEC En Banc denied the motion for reconsideration and
affirmed with modification the 4 June 2004 Resolution. The COMELEC En Banc affirmed the finding that
Hans Roger, being underage, may not be validly substituted by Luna. The COMELEC En Banc also ruled
that Luna's right to due process was not violated because Luna was notified of the petition and was given
the opportunity to be heard. However, the COMELEC En Banc ruled that Lunawas a registered voter of
Lagayan, Abra.
Hence, this petition.
In a Resolution dated 11 January 2005, we required the parties to maintain the status quo prevailing
before the issuance of the assailed COMELEC resolutions pending the resolution of this petition. 4
The Issues
Luna raised the following issues:
1. Whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion when it ruled that there
was no violation of Luna's right to due process; and

2. Whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion when it ruled that there
was no valid substitution by Luna for Hans Roger.
The Court's Ruling
The petition is partly meritorious.
Luna's Right to Due Process was not Violated
Luna contends that her right to due process was violated because she was not given the opportunity to
present her evidence before the COMELEC First Division. ACcaET
Under Rule 23 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure, a petition to deny due course to or cancel a
certificate of candidacy shall be heard summarily after due notice. The law mandates that the candidates
must be notified of the petition against them and should be given the opportunity to present evidence on
their behalf. 5 This is the essence of due process.
In this case, the COMELEC En Banc stated that the records showed that three days after the petition was
filed, the Provincial Election Supervisor, as hearing officer, with the assistance of the Philippine National
Police Provincial Command, tried to personally serve a copy of the petition to Luna. ButLuna refused to
formally receive the petition. On 26 April 2004, the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor sent the
notice via registered mail and still Luna did not file an answer.
The Court finds that Luna's right to due process was not violated. The COMELEC notified Luna of the
petition filed against her and Luna was given the opportunity to present evidence on her behalf. This
constitutes compliance with the requirements of due process. aHATDI
Substitution of Luna for Hans Roger was Valid
Luna contends that Hans Roger filed a valid certificate of candidacy and, subsequently, upon Hans
Roger's withdrawal of his certificate of candidacy, there was a valid substitution by Luna.
On the other hand, the COMELEC ruled that Hans Roger, being under age, could not be considered to
have filed a valid certificate of candidacy and, therefore, is not a valid candidate who could be
substituted by Luna.
When a candidate files his certificate of candidacy, the COMELEC has a ministerial duty to receive and
acknowledge its receipt. Section 76 of the Omnibus Election Code (Election Code) provides:
Sec. 76. Ministerial duty of receiving and acknowledging receipt. The Commission,
provincial election supervisor, election registrar or officer designated by the Commission
or the board of election inspectors under the succeeding section shall have the
ministerial duty to receive and acknowledge receipt of the certificate of
candidacy. CSDTac
In this case, when Hans Roger filed his certificate of candidacy on 5 January 2004, 6 the COMELEC had
the ministerial duty to receive and acknowledge receipt of Hans Roger's certificate of candidacy. Thus,
the COMELEC had the ministerial duty to give due course to Hans Roger's certificate of candidacy. 7
On 15 January 2004, Hans Roger withdrew his certificate of candidacy. The Election Code allows a person
who has filed a certificate of candidacy to withdraw the same prior to the election by submitting a written
declaration under oath. 8 There is no provision of law which prevents a candidate from withdrawing his
certificate of candidacy before the election. 9
On the same date, Luna filed her certificate of candidacy as substitute for Hans Roger. Section 77 of the
Election Code prescribes the rules on substitution of an official candidate of a registered political party

who dies, withdraws, or is disqualified for any cause after the last day for the filing of certificate of
candidacy. Section 77 of the Election Code provides:
Sec. 77. Candidates 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 or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause,
only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a certificate
of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified. The
substitute candidate nominated by the political party concerned may file his certificate of
candidacy for the office affected in accordance with the preceding sections not later than
mid-day of election day of the election. If the death, withdrawal or disqualification should
occur between the day before the election and mid-day of election day, said certificate
may be filed with any board of election inspectors in the political subdivision where he is
a candidate, or, in the case of candidates to be voted for by the entire electorate of the
country, with the Commission. TEHDIA
Since Hans Roger withdrew his certificate of candidacy and the COMELEC found that Lunacomplied
with all the procedural requirements for a valid substitution, 10 Luna can validly substitute for Hans
Roger.
The COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
declaring that Hans Roger, being under age, could not be considered to have filed a valid certificate of
candidacy and, thus, could not be validly substituted by Luna. The COMELEC may not, by itself, without
the proper proceedings, deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy filed in due
form. 11 In Sanchez v. Del Rosario, 12 the Court ruled that the question of eligibility or ineligibility of a
candidate for non-age is beyond the usual and proper cognizance of the COMELEC.
Section 74 13 of the Election Code provides that the certificate of candidacy shall state, among others,
the date of birth of the person filing the certificate. Section 78 14 of the Election Code provides that in
case a person filing a certificate of candidacy has committed false material representation, a verified
petition to deny due course to or cancel the certificate of candidacy of said person may be filed at any
time not later than 25 days from the time of filing of the certificate of candidacy. AHSaTI
If Hans Roger made a material misrepresentation as to his date of birth or age in his certificate of
candidacy, his eligibility may only be impugned through a verified petition to deny due course to or
cancel such certificate of candidacy under Section 78 of the Election Code.
In this case, there was no petition to deny due course to or cancel the certificate of candidacy of Hans
Roger. The COMELEC only declared that Hans Roger did not file a valid certificate of candidacy and, thus,
was not a valid candidate in the petition to deny due course to or cancel Luna's certificate of candidacy.
In effect, the COMELEC, without the proper proceedings, cancelled Hans Roger's certificate of candidacy
and declared the substitution by Luna invalid.
It would have been different if there was a petition to deny due course to or cancel Hans Roger's
certificate of candidacy. For if the COMELEC cancelled Hans Roger's certificate of candidacy after the
proper proceedings, then he is no candidate at all and there can be no substitution of a person whose
certificate of candidacy has been cancelled and denied due course. 15 However, Hans Roger's certificate
of candidacy was never cancelled or denied due course by the COMELEC. SAHIaD
Moreover, Hans Roger already withdrew his certificate of candidacy before the COMELEC declared that he
was not a valid candidate. Therefore, unless Hans Roger's certificate of candidacy was denied due course
or cancelled in accordance with Section 78 of the Election Code, Hans Roger's certificate of candidacy
was valid and he may be validly substituted by Luna.

WHEREFORE, we PARTLY GRANT the petition. We AFFIRM the ruling of the COMELEC En Banc that there
was no violation of petitioner Joy Chrisma B. Luna's right to due process. We SET ASIDE the ruling of the
COMELEC En Banc that the substitution by petitioner Joy Chrisma B. Luna for Hans Roger Luna was
invalid. Petitioner Joy Chrisma B. Luna validly substituted for Hans Roger Luna. SHTcDE
SO ORDERED.
Puno, C.J., Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales,
Callejo, Sr., Azcuna, Tinga, Chico-Nazario, Garcia, Velasco, Jr. and Nachura, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.Under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
2.Under Section 39 (c) of Republic Act No. 7160, also
known as the "Local Government Code of
1991," candidates for the position of vicemayor of independent component cities,
component cities, or municipalities must be
at least twenty-one (21) years of age on
election day.
3.The COMELEC First Division stated that Hans
Roger was born on 1 January 1984 and that
on election day, 10 May 2004, Hans Roger
was only 20 years of age.
4.Rollo, p. 56.
5.Cipriano v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 158830, 10 August
2004, 436 SCRA 45.
6.Under COMELEC Resolution No. 6479 (In the
Matter of Further Extending the Deadline for
the Filing of the Certificates of Candidacy for
all Positions in the May 2004 National and
Local Elections and the Extension of the
Deadline to File Manifestations to Participate
in the Party List Elections), the deadline for
the filing of certificates of candidacy for all
positions in the May 2004 National and Local
Elections was extended from 2 January 2004
to 5 January 2004.
7.Cipriano v. COMELEC, supra note 5.
8.Section 73, OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE.
9.Monsale v. Nico, 83 Phil. 758 (1949).
10.Rollo, p. 49.
11.Cipriano v. COMELEC, supra note 5.
12.111 Phil. 733 (1961).
13.Section 74 of the 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. . . . . (Emphasis supplied)
14.Section 78 of the Election Code provides:
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 elections.
15.Miranda v. Abaya, 370 Phil. 642 (1999).
||| (Luna v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 165983, [April 24,
2007], 550 PHIL 284-294)

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 147741. May 10, 2001.]
REP. MA. CATALINA L. GO, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, FELIPE V.
MONTEJO and ARVIN V. ANTONI, respondents.
DECISION
PARDO, J p:
The Case

In her petition for certiorari, 1 petitioner seeks to nullify the resolution of the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) en banc declaring her disqualified to run for the office of governor of Leyte and mayor of
Baybay, Leyte, because she filed certificates of candidacy for both positions and the withdrawal of her
certificate of candidacy for mayor was filed late by twenty eight minutes from the deadline. SCHcaT
Forthwith, we issued an order 2 to maintain the status quo ante, in effect allowing petitioner's certificate
of candidacy for governor in the meantime.
In its Comment, 3 the COMELEC justified its resolution on the ground that petitioner's affidavit of
withdrawal of her certificate of candidacy for mayor of Baybay, Leyte was ineffectual because it was
submitted twenty eight (28) minutes late at the office of the municipal election officer at Baybay. The
facsimile copy thereof was filed with said office at 12:28 a.m., 1 March 2001, and the original copy
thereof was actually received by the office of the municipal election officer of Baybay at 1:15 p.m., the
same day. The provincial election supervisor of Leyte, with office at Tacloban City, to whom petitioner
filed her certificate of candidacy for governor at 11:47 p.m., 28 February 2001, refused to accept the
affidavit of withdrawal tendered simultaneously therewith because, as he claimed, the affidavit must be
filed with the office of the municipal election officer of Baybay, Leyte where petitioner filed her certificate
of candidacy for mayor.
The Facts
Petitioner is the incumbent representative of the Fifth District, province of Leyte, whose term of office will
expire at noon on 30 June 2001.
On 27 February 2001, petitioner filed with the municipal election officer of the municipality of Baybay,
Leyte, a certificate of candidacy for mayor of Baybay, Leyte.
On 28 February 2001, at 11:47 p.m., petitioner filed with the provincial election supervisor of Leyte, with
office at Tacloban City, another certificate of candidacy for governor of the province of Leyte.
Simultaneously therewith, she attempted to file with the provincial election supervisor an affidavit of
withdrawal of her candidacy for mayor of the municipality of Baybay, Leyte. However, the provincial
election supervisor of Leyte refused to accept the affidavit of withdrawal and suggested that, pursuant to
a COMELEC resolution, she should file it with the municipal election officer of Baybay, Leyte where she
filed her certificate of candidacy for mayor.
At that late hour, with only minutes left to midnight, the deadline for filing certificates of candidacy or
withdrawal thereof, and considering that the travel time from Tacloban to Baybay was two (2)
hours, petitioner decided to send her affidavit of withdrawal by fax 4 to her father at Baybay, Leyte and
the latter submitted the same to the office of the election officer of Baybay, Leyte at 12:28 a.m., 01
March 2001. 5 On the same day, at 1:15 p.m., the election officer of Baybay, Leyte, received the original
of the affidavit of withdrawal. 6
On 05 March 2001, respondent Montejo filed with the provincial election supervisor of Leyte, at Tacloban
City a petition to deny due course and/or to cancel the certificates of candidacy of
petitioner. 7 Respondent Antoni filed a similar petition to disqualify petitioner. 8 The petitions were based
on the ground that petitioner filed certificates of candidacy for two positions, namely, that for mayor of
Baybay, Leyte, and that for governor of Leyte, thus, making her ineligible for both.
On 06 March 2001, Atty. Manuel L. Villegas, the provincial election supervisor of Leyte, by 1st
indorsement, referred the cases to the Commission on Election, Manila, Law Department, on the ground
that he was inhibiting himself due to his prior action of refusing to receive the petitioner's affidavit of
withdrawal tendered simultaneously with the filing of the certificate of candidacy for governor on 28
February 2001. 9

In the meantime, the Law Department, COMELEC, under Director Jose P. Balbuena, made a study of the
cases without affording petitioner an opportunity to be heard or to submit responsive pleadings. On 05
April 2001, they submitted a report and recommendation to the COMELEC en banc. 10
The report and recommendation reads:
"Submitted for due consideration is the petition filed by Atty. Felipe V. Montejo and Atty.
Arvin V. Antoni on March 5, 2001, before the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor of
Leyte, seeking to deny due course and/or to cancel the certificate of candidacy of
Catalina L. Go for Governor of Leyte.
"Both petitions which are exactly worded in the same language allege, as follows:
'This petition is heretofore filed pursuant to the provisions of Rule 23 of the
COMELEC RULES OF PROCEDURE and Section 15, as well, of RESOLUTION NO.
3253-A of the COMELEC EN BANC promulgated on November 20, 2000. Ditto, this
petition is filed within the reglementary period following the last day for the filing
of certificates of candidacy on February 28, 2001. cDHAaT
'Petitioner Atty. Felipe V. Montejo is of voting age, Filipino, lawyer by profession,
married, and a resident of #50 Juan Luna Street, Tacloban City, of which locality
he is a registered voter.
'Respondent re. Catalina L. Go, on the other hand, is likewise of legal age,
married, resident of Baybay, Leyte, of which locality she is a registered voter, and
the incumbent Member of the House of Representatives representing the 5th
Congressional District of Leyte.
'Respondent CATALINA L. GO filed a certificate of candidacy for the office of Mayor
of the Municipality of Baybay, Leyte on February 27, 2001. Without cancelling or
withdrawing the said certificate of candidacy this time for the office of Provincial
Governor of Leyte on February 28, 2001. However, before the expiration of the
period for the filing of certificates of candidacy, respondent indubitably failed to
declare under oath the office for which she desires to be eligible and cancel the
certificate of candidacy for the other office.
'Verily, at the time respondent filed her certificate of candidacy for Provincial
Governor, she knew fully well that she was ineligible for the said office, having
filed, a day earlier, a certificate of candidacy for Mayor of Baybay, Leyte. Hence,
respondent falsely represented in her certificate of candidacy for Provincial
Governor, and under oath, that she is ELIGIBLE for the said office; a material fact
required by law to be sworn to and contained in certificates of candidacy. In fine,
respondent likewise falsely represented in her certificates of candidacy, under
oath, that she will OBEY THE LAWS, ORDERS, DECREES, RESOLUTIONS AND
REGULATIONS PROMULGATED AND ISSUED BY THE DULY CONSTITUTED
AUTHORITIES; a material fact required by law to be sworn to and contained in
certificates of candidacy.'
"Petitioners' ground to deny due course and/or to cancel the said certificate of candidacy
is anchored on Section 73 of the Omnibus Election Code, quoted hereunder.
'No person shall be eligible for any elective public office unless he files a sworn
certificate of candidacy within the period fixed herein.
'No person shall be eligible for more than one office to be filled in the same
election, and if he files his certificate of candidacy for more than one office, he
shall not be eligible for any of them. However, before the expiration of the period
for the filing of certificates of candidacy, the person who has filed more than one

certificate of candidacy may declare under oath the office for which he desires to
be eligible and cancel the certificate of candidacy for the other office or offices.'
"In relation to Section (1) (b) of the Comelec Resolution No. 3253-A, to wit:
'SECTION 1. Certificate of Candidacy. . . . (b) No person shall be eligible for more
than one office to be filled in the same election. If he files a certificate of
candidacy for more than one office he shall not be eligible for either. However,
before the expiration of the period for the filing of certificate of candidacy, he may
declare under oath the office for which he desire to be eligible and cancel the
certificate of candidacy for the office or offices.'
"Moreover, petitioners contended that CATALINA LOPEZ LORETO-GO is ineligible to run for
either Mayor of Baybay, Leyte or Governor of Leyte Province.
"Based on the certified list of candidate for the provincial candidates of Leyte on March 7,
2001, the certificate of candidacy of Catalina Lopez Loreto-Go for the position of
Governor of Leyte was filed with the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor on
February 28, 2001 at 11:47 p.m. the last day for filing certificates of candidacy.
"In support of the petitions of Atty. Montejo and Atty. Antoni, is a certified machine copy
of the affidavit of withdrawal of Catalina L. Loreto-Go, which was filed on March 01, 2001
at the Office of the Election Officer of Baybay, Leyte, which she filed on February 28,
2001.
"The affidavit of withdrawal of Catalina Loreto-Go, a portion of which reads:
"1. That last February 27, 2001 I filed my certificate of candidacy for Mayor for the
MUNICIPALITY OF BAYBAY, LEYTE;
"2. That due to political exigency and influence from my political leaders urging me to run
for Mayor of the Municipality of Baybay, Leyte, I have no other recourse but to follow
desire of my political constituents; DCcHIS
"3. That therefore, I am formally withdrawing my certificate of candidacy for Mayor of the
Municipality of Baybay, Leyte and in it stead I am formally filing my certificate for
Governor of Leyte.
"A careful scrutiny and examination of Catalina Loreto-Go certificate of candidacy for
Governor of Leyte Province, although filed on the last day of February 28, 2001, her
affidavit of withdrawal for Mayor of Baybay, Leyte, was filed only on March 1, 2001or one
(1) day after the February 28, 2001 deadline. In other word, there are two (2) certificates
of candidacy filed by Catalina Loreto-Go, one for governor of Leyte and the other for
Mayor of Baybay, Leyte.
"Clearly, on March 1, 2001 when she filed her affidavit of withdrawal for Mayor of Baybay,
Leyte, both her certificates of candidacy for Mayor of Baybay, Leyte and Governor of
Leyte were still subsisting and effective making her liable for filing two certificates of
candidacy on different elective positions, thus, rendering her ineligible for both positions,
in accordance with Section (1) (b) of Comelec Resolution No. 3253-A.
"PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Law Department RECOMMENDS as follows:
"1.) To give due course to the petition of Atty. Felipe V. Montejo and Atty. Arvin V. Antonio
against the certificates of candidacy of Catalina Loreto-Go for Governor of Leyte; and
"2.) To direct the Provincial Election Supervisor of Leyte and the Election Officer to
delete/cancel the name of CATALINA LOPEZ LORETO-GO from the certified list of
candidates for Governor of Leyte and Mayoralty candidates of Baybay, Leyte, and to
accordingly notify the parties and the above-named Comelec Officials." 11

On 23 April 2001, the COMELEC en banc approved the recommendation of the Director, Law Department
and adopted the resolution in question as set out in the opening paragraph of this decision. 12
Hence, this petition. 13
The Issues
At the oral argument on 07 May 2001, at 3:00 p.m., we defined the following issues to be addressed by
the parties:
I. Is petitioner disqualified to be candidate for governor of Leyte and mayor of Baybay,
Leyte because she filed certificates of candidacy for both positions?
II. Was there a valid withdrawal of the certificate of candidacy for municipal mayor of
Baybay, Leyte?
(a) Must the affidavit of withdrawal be filed with the election officer of the place
where the certificate of candidacy was filed?
(b) May the affidavit of withdrawal be validly filed by fax?
III. Was there denial to petitioner of procedural due process of law?
The Court's Ruling
We grant the petition. We annul the COMELEC resolution declaring petitioner disqualified for both
positions of governor of Leyte and mayor of the municipality of Baybay, Leyte. The filing of the affidavit of
withdrawal with the election officer of Baybay, Leyte, at 12:28 a.m., 1 March 2001 was a substantial
compliance with the requirement of the law. 14 We hold that petitioner's withdrawal of her certificate of
candidacy for mayor of Baybay, Leyte was effective for all legal purposes, and left in full force her
certificate of candidacy for governor. 15
Section 73, Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code, provides that:
"SECTION 73. Certificate of candidacy. No person shall be eligible for any elective
public office unless he files a sworn certificate of candidacy within the period fixed
herein. ADCETI
"A person who has filed a certificate of candidacy may, prior to the election, withdraw the
same by submitting to the office concerned a written declaration under oath.
"No person shall be eligible for more than one office to be filled in the same election, and
if he files his certificate of candidacy for more than one office, he shall not be eligible for
any of them. However, before the expiration of the period for the filing of certificates of
candidacy, the person who has filed more than one certificate of candidacy may declare
under oath the office for which he desires to be eligible and cancel the certificate of
candidacy for the other office or offices."
There is nothing in this Section which mandates that the affidavit of withdrawal must be filed with the
same office where the certificate of candidacy to be withdrawn was filed. Thus, it can be filed directly
with the main office of the COMELEC, the office of the regional election director concerned, the office of
the provincial election supervisor of the province to which the municipality involved belongs, or the office
of the municipal election officer of the said municipality.
While it may be true that Section 12 of COMELEC Resolution No. 3253-A, adopted on 20 November 2000,
requires that the withdrawal be filed before the election officer of the place where the certificate of
candidacy was filed, 16 such requirement is merely directory, and is intended for convenience. It is not
mandatory or jurisdictional. An administrative resolution can not contradict, much less amend or repeal a
law, or supply a deficiency in the law. 17 Hence, the filing of petitioner's affidavit of withdrawal of
candidacy for mayor of Baybay with the provincial election supervisor of Leyte sufficed to effectively

withdraw such candidacy. The COMELEC thus acted with grave abuse of discretion when it declared
petitioner ineligible for both positions for which she filed certificates of candidacy.
There is another important moiety that affects the validity of the COMELEC resolution canceling
petitioner's certificates of candidacy. It is that petitioner was deprived of procedural due process of
law. 18 The petition to cancel her certificate of candidacy or to deny due course to both were filed before
the provincial election supervisor of Leyte who inhibited himself and referred the cases to the Law
Department, COMELEC, Manila. On 11 April 2001, the COMELEC, First Division, acting on the first
indorsement of Atty. Villegas approved his inhibition and required the provincial election supervisor of
Leyte to immediately forward his copy of the records of these cases to the Regional Election Director,
Region 08, at Tacloban, Leyte, for hearing. 19 On 18 April 2001, Regional Election Director, Region 08,
Atty. Adolfo A. Ibaez issued summons/subpoena to petitioner Go to submit her consolidated answer to
the petitions and counter-affidavits including position paper within three (3) days from notice. 20 On 23
April 2001, petitioner submitted her consolidated position paper. 21 On 25 April 2001, at 9:00 a.m.,
Director Ibaez set the cases for hearing for reception of evidence of the parties.
In the meantime, however, the Law Department, COMELEC conducted an ex-parte study of the cases. It
did not give petitioner an opportunity to be heard. Petitioner was not required to submit a comment or
opposition to the petitions for cancellation of her certificates of candidacy and/or for disqualification. It
did not set the cases for hearing. It was not even aware of the proceedings before Director Ibaez in
Tacloban. After an ex-parte study of the cases, on 05 April 2001, the Law Department submitted its report
and recommendation, approved by Director Balbuena, to the COMELEC en banc.
During the oral argument on 07 May 2001, Director Balbuena candidly admitted that the COMELEC Rules
of Procedure requires that notice be given to the respondent. Indeed, Section 3, Rule 23 of said Rules on
petition to deny due course to or cancel certificates of candidacy explicitly provides:
"Rule 23 Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificates of Candidacy
"xxx xxx xxx
"SECTION 3. Summary Proceeding. The petition shall be heard summarily after due
notice. (emphasis supplied) TIADCc
Obviously, the COMELEC en banc in approving the report and recommendation of the Law Department,
deprived the petitioner of procedural due process of law. 22 The COMELEC, acting as a quasi-judicial
tribunal, cannot ignore the requirements of procedural due process in resolving cases before it. 23
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition. The Court ANNULS COMELEC Resolution No. 3982, adopted
on 23 April 2001, and DECLARES valid petitioner's certificate of candidacy for Governor of Leyte. The
Chairman, Commission on Elections, Manila, and the provincial election supervisor of Leyte shall
immediately order the inclusion of petitioner's name in the certified list of candidates for Governor,
province of Leyte, to be posted in each polling place/voting booth in every precinct throughout the
province of Leyte, in the voters information sheet to be given to each registered voter therein, in the
election returns, statement of votes by precincts, and certificate of canvass, and all other election papers.
The status quo ante order heretofore issued is made permanent.
This decision is immediately executory. No motion for reconsideration shall be entertained.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Panganiban, Gonzaga-Reyes, De Leon, Jr. and Sandoval-Gutierrez,
JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J. and Mendoza, J., concur in the result.
Quisumbing and Buena, JJ., are on leave.
Ynares-Santiago, J., is abroad on official time.
Footnotes

1.Filed on 27 April 2001, Rollo, pp. 3-18, under Rule


64 in relation to Rule 65, 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, as amended.
2.Issued on 2 May 2001, Rollo, pp. 61-62.
3.Filed on 04 May 2001, Rollo, pp. 103-112.
4.The municipal election officer, Baybay, Leyte, had
no fax machine (Certification, Rollo, p. 146).
With the enactment of the E-Commerce Law,
transmission by fax may be legal. R. A. No.
8792.
5.Manifestation/Compliance, Annex "A", par. 5, Rollo,
pp. 149-150, at p. 149.
6.Affidavit, Rollo, pp. 126, 151.
7.Petition, Annex "A", Rollo, pp. 19-21.
8.Petition, Annex "B", Rollo, pp. 22-24.
9.Petition, Annex "C", Rollo, pp. 25-26.
10.Agenda, Law Department, Rollo, pp. 114-117.
11.Petition, Annex "I", Rollo, pp. 56-60, at pp. 56-59.
12.Petition, Annexes "H" and "I", Rollo, pp. 51-60.
13.Filed on 27 April 2001. Rollo, pp. 3-18. On 2 May
2001, we required respondents to file
comment on the petition, not a motion to
dismiss, not later than 4 May 2001, Rollo,
pp. 61-62. We now give due course to the
petition.
14.Montinola v. Commission on Elections, 98 Phil.
220 [1956].

15.Ibid., at p. 223.
16.Comelec Resolution No. 3253-A, Sec. 12,
promulgation 20 November 2000.
17.Cf. Palanca v. Court of Appeals, 238 SCRA 593
[1994].
18.Oft-quoted definition of Webster is that
procedural due process requires a law that
hears before it condemns, proceeds upon
inquiry, and renders judgment only after
trial (Flores v. Buencamino, 74 SCRA 332
[1976]; Lorenzana v. Cayetano, 78 SCRA
485 [1977]; Loquias v. Rodriguez, 65 SCRA
659 [1975]; Romero v. Court of Appeals, 147
SCRA 183 [1987]).
19.Order, dated 11 April 2001, Rollo, pp. 38-40.
20.Petition, Annex "F", Rollo, p. 41.
21.Petition, Annex "G", Rollo, pp. 42-50.
22.Villarosa v. Commission on Elections, 319 SCRA
470 [1999].
23.Sandoval v. Commission on Elections, 323 SCRA
403, 423 [2000]; Cf. Go v. National Police
Commission, 338 Phil. 162, 171 [1997].
||| (Go v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 147741, [May 10, 2001],
410 PHIL 61-77)

EN BANC
[G.R. Nos. 186007 & 186016. July 27, 2009.]
SALVADOR DIVINAGRACIA, JR., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and
ALEX A. CENTENA, respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO MORALES, J p:
Salvador Divinagracia, Jr. (petitioner) and Alex Centena (private respondent) vied for the vice-mayoralty
race in Calinog, Iloilo during the May 14, 2007 Elections wherein petitioner garnered 8,141 votes or 13
votes more than the 8,128 votes received by respondent.
After the proclamation of petitioner as the duly elected vice-mayor on May 16, 2007, private respondent
filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iloilo City an election protest, docketed as Election Case No. 072007, claiming that irregularities attended the appreciation of marked ballots in seven * precints. 1
By Decision of December 5, 2007, Branch 24 of the RTC dismissed private respondent's protest. It ruled
that private respondent failed to overcome the disputable presumption of regularity in the conduct of
elections 2 since no challenge of votes or objection to the appreciation of ballots was raised before the
Board of Elections Inspectors or the Municipal Board of Canvassers.
Private respondent and petitioner filed their respective notices of appeal before the trial court, upon
payment of the P1,000 appeal fee under Section 9, Rule 14 of the "Rules of Procedure in Election
Contests before the Courts involving Elective Municipal and Barangay Officials" (A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC)
which took effect on May 15, 2007.

The Comelec, by Order of March 12, 2008, consolidated the appeals of the parties and directed them to
file their respective briefs.
Meanwhile, the duly elected mayor of Calinog, Teodoro Lao, died on March 18, 2008. On even date,
petitioner assumed office as mayor.
On July 17, 2008, the Comelec Second Division issued its first assailed resolution declaring private
respondent as the duly elected vice mayor. Thus it disposed:
WHEREFORE, this Commission GRANTS the Appeal in EAC No. A-10-2008, and hereby
DECLARES protestant-appellant Alex Centena as the duly elected Vice-Mayor of the
Municipality of Calinog, Iloilo, with a total of 8,130 votes against protestee-appellee
Salvador Divinagracia, Jr.'s total of 8,122 votes, or a winning margin of eight (8) votes.
The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, Branch 24, dated 5 December 2007,
is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
The Appeal in EAC No. A-11-2008 is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED. 3
In reversing the trial court's Decision, the Comelec Second Division found the same to be fatally defective
in form for non-observance of the prescribed rules 4 as it failed to indicate the specific markings in the
contested ballots and merely discussed in a general manner the reasons why those ballots should not be
declared as "marked". 5 The Comelec re-appreciated those ballots and ascertained that respondent was
the true winner in the elections for the vice-mayoralty post.
Petitioner filed a Verified Motion for Reconsideration, alleging, inter alia, that both parties failed to pay
the appeal fee/s in the amount of P3,200 under Section 3, Rule 40 of the Comelec Rules of
Procedure, 6 and following Section 9, Rule 22 of the same Rules, an appeal may be dismissed motu
proprio or upon motion on the ground of failure of the appellant to pay the correct appeal fee. IcDHaT
On January 26, 2009, the Comelec En Banc issued its second assailed Resolution affirming 7 the
pronouncements of the Second Division. It held that petitioner was barred under the doctrine of estoppel
by laches when he failed to raise the question of jurisdiction when he filed his Appellant's and Appellee's
Briefs.
Hence, the present petition for certiorari and prohibition which asserts that payment of the appeal fee is
a mandatory and jurisdictional requirement and that the question of jurisdiction may be raised at any
stage of the proceedings. It cites earlier rulings of the Comelec dismissing analogous cases involving the
same issue of non-payment of appeal fee which, so he contends, contradict the assailed Resolutions.
In support of the issue of whether the Comelec gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Resolutions, petitioner submits the following arguments:
7.1. THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC DID NOT ACQUIRE JURISDICTION OVER THE
APPEAL DOCKETED AS EAC NO. A-10-2008 FOR FAILURE OF THE APPELLANT TO PAY THE
FILING FEE/APPEAL FEE.
7.2. PAYMENT OF FILING FEE/APPEAL FEE IS MANDATORY AND JURISDICTIONAL, HENCE,
CAN BE RAISED AT ANY STAGE OF THE PROCEEDINGS PENDING WITH THE SAME
COURT/COMELEC.
7.3. THE FLIP-FLOPPING RULINGS OF THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC SECOND
DIVISION IS IN DEROGATION OF THE RULES AND THE PROPER ADMINISTRATION OF
JUSTICE.
7.4. IN ASSAILING THE RULING TO AFFIRM THE SECOND DIVISION RESOLUTION, THE
PETITIONER IS NOT BARRED BY ESTOPPEL BECAUSE HIS PARTICIPATION IN THE
PROCEEDINGS WAS DIRECTED BY THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC.
7.5. THERE APPEARS TO BE AN INCONSISTENCY IN THE APPLICATION OF THE RULES
BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND DIVISION OF THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC. 8

Private respondent filed his Comment of March 17, 2009, while petitioner submitted a Reply of May 11,
2009.
Records show that private respondent took his oath of office as vice-mayor and, forthwith successively,
as mayor on March 6, 2009, 9 pursuant to the Comelec Order of March 3, 2009 directing the issuance of
a writ of execution. 10
The petition lacks merit.
The jurisprudence on payment of filing fees in election cases metamorphosed in the 1997 case ofLoyola
v. Comelec. 11 In Loyola, the Court did not dismiss the election protest for inadequate payment of filing
fees arising from the incorrect assessment by the clerk of court, after finding substantial compliance with
the filing fee requirement in election cases. The Court noted the clerk's ignorance or confusion as to
which between Section 5 (a) (11), 12 Rule 141 of the Rules of Court and Section 9, Rule 35 of the
Comelec Rules of Procedure would apply in assessing the filing fee, considering that the particular
election protest fell within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court.
After clarifying the matter, the Court in Loyola warned that the cases cited therein would no longer
provide any excuse for such shortcoming and would now bar any claim of good faith, excusable
negligence or mistake in any failure to pay the full amount of filing fees in election cases which may be
filed after the promulgation of the decision in said case.
Shortly thereafter, in the similar case of Miranda v. Castillo 13 which involved two election protests filed
on May 24, 1995, the Court did not yet heed the Loyola warning and instead held that an incomplete
payment of filing fee is correctible by the payment of the deficiency. The Court, nonetheless, reiterated
the caveat in Loyola that it would no longer tolerate any mistake in the payment of the full amount of
filing fees for election cases filed after the promulgation of the Loyoladecision on March 25, 1997.
The force of the Loyola doctrine was strongly felt in the 2000 case of Soller v. Comelec, 14 where the
Court ordered the dismissal of the therein election protest for, inter alia, incomplete payment of filing fee,
after finding a P268 deficiency in the fees paid, similar to what occurred in Loyola andMiranda. The Court
once again clarified that the then P300 filing fee prescribed by the Comelec under Section 9, Rule 35 of
the Comelec Rules of Procedure was the correct filing fee that must be paid.
The ripples of the caveat in Loyola continued in Villota v. Commission on Elections 15 and Zamoras v.
Commission on Elections, 16 both of which involved, this time, the matter of full payment of theappeal
fee in election contests within the five-day reglementary period.
The petitioner in Villota timely filed a notice of appeal and simultaneously paid to the trial court's cashier
the appeal fees totaling P170. Four days beyond the reglementary period, the therein petitioner realized
his mistake and again paid to the Cash Division of the Comelec the appeal fees in the sum of P520,
pursuant to Sections 3 and 4, Rule 40 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, which Sections fix the amount
of the fees and the place of payment thereof. Maintaining that errors in the matter of non-payment or
incomplete payment of filing fees in election cases are no longer excusable, the Court sustained the
Comelec's dismissal of the appeal.
The Court was more emphatic in Zamoras in reiterating the Loyola doctrine. In that case, the petitioner
failed to fully pay the appeal fees under Comelec Resolution No. 02-0130 (September 18, 2002) which
amended Section 3, Rule 40 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure by increasing the fees to P3,200. There
the Court ruled:
. . . A case is not deemed duly registered and docketed until full payment of the filing fee.
Otherwise stated, the date of the payment of the filing fee is deemed the actual date of
the filing of the notice of appeal. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
. . . The payment of the filing fee is a jurisdictional requirement and non-compliance is a
valid basis for the dismissal of the case. The subsequent full payment of the filing fee

after the lapse of the reglementary period does not cure the jurisdictional
defect. . . . 17 (Italics in the original, underscoring supplied)
Such has been the jurisprudential landscape governing the matter of payment of filing fees and appeal
fees in election cases.
On May 15, 2007, the Court, by A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC, introduced the "Rules of Procedure in Election
Contests before the Courts involving Elective Municipal and Barangay Officials", which superseded Rules
35 and 36 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure governing elections protests and quo warrantocases before
the trial courts. 18 Not only was the amount of the filing fee increased from P300 to P3,000 for each
interest; 19 the amount of filing fee was determined by the Court, not by the Comelec, which was, to
recall, the cause of confusion in Loyola, Miranda and Soller.
Another major change introduced by A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC is the imposition of an appeal fee under Section
9 of Rule 14 thereof, separate and distinct from, but payable within the same period as, the appeal fee
imposed by the Comelec under Sections 3 and 4, Rule 40 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, as amended
by Comelec Resolution No. 02-0130. Contrary to respondent's contention, the Comelec-prescribed
appeal fee was not superseded by A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC. ECSHAD
The requirement of these two appeal fees by two different jurisdictions had caused confusion in the
implementation by the Comelec of its procedural rules on payment of appeal fees for the perfection of
appeals, prompting the Comelec to issue Resolution No. 8486 (July 15, 2008) clarifying as follows:
1. That if the appellant had already paid the amount of P1,000.00 before the Regional
Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court or lower courts within the
five-day period, pursuant to Section 9, Rule 14 of the Rules of Procedure in
Election Contests Before the Courts Involving Elective Municipal and Barangay
Officials (Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 07-4-15) and his Appeal was
given due course by the Court, said appellant is required to pay the Comelec
appeal fee of P3,200.00 at the Commission's Cash Division through the
Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD) or by postal money
order payable to the Commission on Elections through ECAD, within a
period of fifteen days (15) from the time of the filing of the Notice of
Appeal with the lower court. If no payment is made within the prescribed
period, the appeal shall be dismissed pursuant to Section 9(a) of Rule 22 of
the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, which provides:
Sec. 9. Grounds for Dismissal of Appeal. The appeal may be dismissed upon
motion of either party or at the instance of the Commission on any of the
following grounds:
(a) Failure of the appellant to pay the correct appeal fee; . . .
2. That if the appellant failed to pay the P1,000.00-appeal fee with the lower court within
the five (5) day period as prescribed by the Supreme Court New Rules of
Procedure but the case was nonetheless elevated to the Commission, the
appeal shall be dismissed outright by the Commission, in accordance with the
aforestated Section 9(a) of Rule 22 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. (Emphasis,
italics and underscoring supplied)
That Comelec Resolution No. 8486 took effect on July 24, 2008 20 or after a party had filed a notice of
appeal, as in the case of petitioner, does not exempt it from paying the Comelec-prescribed appeal fees.
The Comelec merely clarified the existing rules on the payment of such appeal fees, andallowed the
payment thereof within 15 days from filing the notice of appeal.
In the recent case of Aguilar v. Comelec, 21 the Court harmonized the rules with the following
ratiocination:

The foregoing resolution is consistent with A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC and the COMELEC Rules
of Procedure, as amended. The appeal to the COMELEC of the trial court's decision in
election contests involving municipal and barangay officials is perfected upon the filing
of the notice of appeal and the payment of the P1,000.00 appeal fee to the court that
rendered the decision within the five-day reglementary period. The non-payment or
the insufficient payment of the additional appeal fee of P3,200.00 to the
COMELEC Cash Division, in accordance with Rule 40, Section 3 of the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure, as amended, does not affect the perfection of the appeal and does not
result in outright or ipso factodismissal of the appeal. Following, Rule 22, Section
9(a) of the COMELEC Rules, the appealmay be dismissed. And pursuant to Rule 40,
Section 18 of the same rules, if the fees are not paid, the COMELEC may refuse to take
action thereon until they are paid and may dismiss the action or the proceeding. In such
a situation, the COMELEC is merely given the discretion to dismiss the appeal or not.
(Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)
In Aguilar, the Court recognized the Comelec's discretion to allow or dismiss a "perfected" appeal that
lacks payment of the Comelec-prescribed appeal fee. The Court stated that it was more in keeping with
fairness and prudence to allow the appeal which was, similar to the present case, perfected months
before the issuance of Comelec Resolution No. 8486.
Aguilar has not, however, diluted the force of Comelec Resolution No. 8486 on the matter of compliance
with the Comelec-required appeal fees. To reiterate, Resolution No. 8486 merelyclarified the rules on
Comelec appeal fees which have been existing as early as 1993, the amount of which was last fixed in
2002. The Comelec even went one step backward and extended the period of payment to 15 days from
the filing of the notice of appeal.
Considering that a year has elapsed after the issuance on July 15, 2008 of Comelec Resolution No. 8486,
and to further affirm the discretion granted to the Comelec which it precisely articulated through the
specific guidelines contained in said Resolution, the Court NOW DECLARES, for the guidance of the
Bench and Bar, that for notices of appeal filed after the promulgation of this decision, errors in
the matter of non-payment or incomplete payment of the two appeal fees in election cases
are no longer excusable.
On the Comelec's application of the doctrine of estoppel by laches, records show that petitioner raised
the issue of lack of jurisdiction for his and private respondent's non-payment of the appeal fee only after
the Comelec appreciated the contested ballots and ruled in favor of respondent, an issue which could
have been raised with reasonable diligence at the earliest opportunity. The Court finds the Comelec
resolution well-taken.
That petitioner's filing of the appellee's brief was an invocation of the Comelec's jurisdiction and an
indication of his active participation cannot be refuted on the mere asseveration that he was only
complying with the Comelec's directive to file the same. The submission of briefs was ordered precisely
because the Comelec could not anticipate the claims and defenses that would be raised by the parties.
Moreover, in his Verified Motion for Reconsideration, petitioner once again pleaded to the Comelec to
exercise its jurisdiction by dismissing private respondent's appeal on the merits. 22
The doctrine of estoppel by laches is not new in election cases. It has been applied in at least two cases
involving the payment of filing fees.
In Navarosa v. Comelec, 23 the therein petitioner questioned the trial court's jurisdiction over the
election protest in the subsequent petition for certiorari before the Comelec involving the ancillary issue
of execution pending appeal. The petitioner having raised for the first time the therein private
respondent's incomplete payment of the filing fee in her Memorandum submitted to the Comelec, the
Court applied the doctrine of estoppel in this wise:

In an earlier ruling, the Court held that an election protest is not dismissible if the
protestant, relying on the trial court's assessment, pays only a portion of the COMELEC
filing fee. However, in Miranda v. Castillo, the Court, reiterating Loyola v.
Commission on Elections,held that it would no longer tolerate "any mistake in the
payment of the full amount of filing fees for election cases filed after the promulgation of
the Loyola decision
on
March
25,
1997".Nevertheless,
our
rulings
in Miranda and Loyola are inapplicable to the present case.
At no time did petitioner Navarosa ever raise the issue of respondent Esto's incomplete
payment of the COMELEC filing fee during the full-blown trial of the election protest.
Petitioner Navarosa actively participated in the proceedings below by filing her Answer,
presenting her evidence, and later, seeking a stay of execution by filing a supersedeas
bond. Not only this, she even invoked the trial court's jurisdiction by filing a counterprotest against respondent Esto in which she must have prayed for affirmative reliefs.
Petitioner Navarosa raised the issue of incomplete payment of the COMELEC filing fee
only in her memorandum to respondent Esto's petition before the COMELEC Second
Division. Petitioner Navarosa's conduct estops her from claiming, at such late stage, that
the trial court did not after all acquire jurisdiction over the election protest. Although a
party cannot waive jurisdictional issues and may raise them at any stage of the
proceedings, estoppel may bar a party from raising such issues. In Pantranco North
Express v. Court of Appeals, this Court applied the doctrine of estoppel against a party
who also belatedly raised the issue of insufficient payment of filing fees to question the
court's exercise of jurisdiction over the case. We held: ECTAHc
The petitioner raised the issue regarding jurisdiction for the first time in its Brief
filed with public respondent [Court of Appeals] . . . After vigorously participating in
all stages of the case before the trial court and even invoking the trial court's
authority in order to ask for affirmative relief, the petitioner is effectively barred
by estoppel from challenging the trial court's jurisdiction.
Indeed, in Miranda and Loyola, as in every other case where we sustained the dismissal
of the election protest for lack or incomplete payment of the COMELEC filing fee, the
protestee timely raised the non-payment in a motion to dismiss. Before any revision of
the contested ballots, the protestee filed a petition for certiorari questioning the trial
court's jurisdiction before the COMELEC and eventually before this Court. In contrast, in
the instant case, petitioner Navarosa did not raise the incomplete payment of the
COMELEC filing fee in a motion to dismiss. Consequently, the trial court proceeded with
the revision of the contested ballots and subsequently rendered judgment on the election
protest. Petitioner Navarosa raised for the first time the incomplete payment of the
COMELEC filing fee in her memorandum before the COMELEC Second Division.
Thus, estoppel has set in precluding petitioner Navarosa from questioning the incomplete
payment of the COMELEC filing fee, and in effect assailing the exercise of jurisdiction by
the trial court over the election protest. The law vests in the trial court jurisdiction over
election protests although the exercise of such jurisdiction requires the payment of
docket and filing fees by the party invoking the trial court's jurisdiction. Estoppel now
prevents petitioner Navarosa from questioning the trial court's exercise of such
jurisdiction, which the law and not any act of the parties has conferred on the trial court.
At this stage, the remedy for respondent Esto's incomplete payment is for him to pay the
P200 deficiency in the COMELEC filing fee. It is highly unjust to the electorate of Libacao,
Aklan, after the trial court has completed revision of the contested ballots, to dismiss the

election protest and forever foreclose the determination of the true winner of the election
for a mere P200 deficiency in the COMELEC filing fee. . . . 24 (Italics and emphasis in the
original; underscoring supplied)
In Villagracia v. Commission on Elections, 25 the Court dismissed the petition after finding that the
therein petitioner was estopped from raising the jurisdictional issue for the first time on appeal. The Court
ratiocinated:
Petitioner contends that had public respondent followed the doctrine in Soller v.
COMELEC, it would have sustained the ruling of the First Division that the trial court
lacked jurisdiction to hear the election protest due to private respondent's failure to pay
the correct filing fees.
We disagree. The Soller case is not on all fours with the case at bar. In Soller, petitioner
therein filed with the trial court a motion to dismiss private respondent's protest on the
ground of, among others, lack of jurisdiction. In the case at bar, petitioner actively
participated in the proceedings and voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial
court. It was only after the trial court issued its decision adverse to petitioner that he
raised the issue of jurisdiction for the first time on appeal with the COMELEC's First
Division.
While it is true that a court acquires jurisdiction over a case upon complete payment of
the prescribed filing fee, the rule admits of exceptions, as when a party never raised the
issue of jurisdiction in the trial court. As we stated in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, et al., viz.:
. . . [I]t is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court. . .
. [I]t is not right for a party who has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a
court in a particular matter to secure an affirmative relief, to afterwards deny that
same jurisdiction to escape a penalty.
It was therefore error on the part of the COMELEC's First Division to indiscriminately
applySoller to the case at bar. As correctly pointed out by public respondent in its
questioned Resolution, viz.:
. . . . Villagracia never assailed the proceedings of the trial court for lack of
jurisdiction during the proceedings therein. Instead, he filed an Answer to the
Protest on 2 August 2002 and then actively participated during the hearings and
revision of ballots and subsequently filed his Formal Offer of Exhibits. The issue on
the filing fees was never raised until the Decision adverse to his interest was
promulgated by the trial court and only on [a]ppeal to the COMELEC. Necessarily,
we apply the case of Alday vs. FGU Insurance Corporation where the Supreme
Court instructed that "although the lack of jurisdiction of a court may be raised at
any stage of the action, a party may be estopped from raising such questions if he
has actively taken part in the very proceedings which he questions, belatedly
objecting to the court's jurisdiction in the event that the judgment or order
subsequently rendered is adverse to him." Villagracia is therefore estopped from
questioning the jurisdiction of the trial court only on [a]ppeal. 26(Underscoring
supplied)
To allow petitioner to espouse his stale defense at such late stage of the proceedings would run afoul of
the basic tenets of fairness. It is of no moment that petitioner raised the matter in a motion for
reconsideration in the same appellate proceedings in the Comelec, and not before a higher court. It bears
noting that unlike appellate proceedings before the Comelec, a motion for reconsideration of a trial
court's decision in an election protest is a prohibited pleading, 27 which explains why stale claims of
non-payment of filing fees have always been raised belatedly before the appellate tribunal. In

appellate proceedings before the Comelec, the stage to belatedly raise astale claim of non-payment
of appeal fees to subvert an adverse decision is a motion for reconsideration. The Commission thus did
not gravely abuse its discretion when it did not countenance the glaring inequity presented by such
situation.
More. Petitioner, guilty as he is of the same act that he assails, stands on equal footing with private
respondent, for he himself admittedly did not pay the appeal fee, yet the Comelec similarly adjudicated
his appeal on the merits, the resolution of which he glaringly does not assail in the present petition. He
who comes to court must come with clean hands.
Election cases cannot be treated in a similar manner as criminal cases where, upon appeal from a
conviction by the trial court, the whole case is thrown open for review and the appellate court can resolve
issues which are not even set forth in the pleadings. 28 Petitioner having set his eyes only on the issue of
appeal fees, the present petition must be resolved, as it is hereby resolved, on the basis of such singular
ground which, as heretofore discussed, failed to convince the Court.
En passant, appreciation of the contested ballots and election documents involves a question of fact best
left to the determination of the Comelec, a specialized agency tasked with the supervision of elections all
over the country. In the absence of grave abuse of discretion or any jurisdictional infirmity or error of law,
the factual findings, conclusions, rulings and decisions rendered by the Comelec on matters falling within
its competence shall not be interfered with by this Court. 29
By the assailed Resolutions, the Comelec declared as "marked" those ballots containing the words
"Ruby", "Ruby Lizardo" and its variants after finding a discernible pattern in the way these words were
written on the ballots, leading to the conclusion that they were used to identify the voter. The Comelec
found material the following evidence aliunde: the name "Ruby Lizardo" referred to a community leader
and political supporter of petitioner; said name and its variants were written on several ballots in different
precints; and the fact that Ruby Lizardo acted as an assistor in the elections cannot hold water since an
assistor cannot assist in the preparation of the ballots for more than three times. 30 The Comelec did not
invalidate the other ballots for absence of evidence aliundeto prove that the markings therein were used
for the purpose of identifying the voter. It ruled that circles, crosses and lines ( e.g., "X" marks) placed on
spaces on which the voter has not voted are considered signs to indicate his desistance from voting and
should not invalidate the ballot. CIDaTc
Petitioner failed to establish, or even allege, the presence of grave abuse of discretion with respect to the
substance of the assailed Resolutions. Petitioner's silent stance on this point is an implied waiver of
whatever infirmities or errors of law against the substantive aspect of the assailed Resolutions, for the
Court abhors a piecemeal approach in the presentation of arguments and the adjudication thereof.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The July 17, 2008 Resolution and the January
26, 2009 Resolution of the Commission on Elections are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, C.J., Quisumbing, Carpio, Ynares-Santiago, Corona, Chico-Nazario, Velasco, Jr., Nachura, Leonardode Castro, Peralta and Bersamin, JJ., concur.
Brion, J., is on Official Leave.
Footnotes
1.Precinct Nos. 137A, 138A, 68A/69A, 70A, 71A, 148A/149A, and 146A/147A.
2.A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC (effective May 15, 2007) or the Rules of Procedure in Election Contests before the Courts
involving Elective Municipal and Barangay Officials, Rule 13, Sec. 6, par. (a), sub-pars. 4-5 and par. (c), subpars. 2-5.
3.Rollo, p. 85.
4.Rules of Procedure in Election Contests before the Courts involving Elective Municipal and Barangay Officials,
Rule 14, Sec. 2.
5.Rollo, pp. 58-59

6.Comelec Rules of Procedure (February 15, 1993) as amended by Comelec Resolution No. 02-0130 (September 18,
2002). The fees are broken down as follows: appeal fee= P3,000; bailiff's fee= P150; and legal research
fee= P50.
7.The Comelec en banc additionally found three ballots with the word "Rodolfo Lavilla" and its variant as "marked"
ballots and thus consequently deducted three more votes from petitioner's total votes (rollo, pp. 118-120).
8.Rollo, p. 18.
9.Id. at 286-287.
10.Id. at 280-281.
11.337 Phil. 134 (1997).
12.From P32, the amount was increased to P400 in 1990, and was again increased on a staggered basis from 2004
to 2006 starting with P750, P1,000, P1,500, and P2,000, under now Section 7(b)(3).
13.G.R. No. 126361, June 19, 1997, 274 SCRA 503.
14.394 Phil. 197 (2000); for an earlier case, vide Melendres, Jr. v. Comelec, 377 Phil. 275 (1999) citingRoquero v.
Comelec, 351 Phil. 1079, 1087 (1998).
15.415 Phil. 87 (2001).
16.G.R. No. 158610, November 12, 2004, 442 SCRA 397.
17.Id. at 404-406.
18.Rules of Procedure in Election Contests before the Courts involving Elective Municipal and Barangay Officials,
Rule 17, Sec. 1.
19.Rules of Procedure in Election Contests before the Courts involving Elective Municipal and Barangay Officials,
Rule 7, Sec. 1.
20.The seventh day following its publication on July 17, 2008 in Philippine Star and Manila Standard Today,
pursuant to its effectivity clause.
21.G.R. No. 185140, June 30, 2009.
22.Petitioner argued that the findings and conclusions of the Comelec were "contrary to law, the evidence and
existing jurisprudence". (rollo, p. 139).
23.458 Phil. 233 (2003).
24.Id. at 245-248.
25.G.R. No. 168296, January 31, 2007, 513 SCRA 655.
26.Id. at 659-660.
27.Rules of Procedure in Election Contests before the Courts involving Elective Municipal and Barangay Officials,
Rule 6, Sec. 1(d); formerly, Comelec Rules of Procedure, Rule 35, Sec. 19.
28.Id. at 37.
29.Vide Manzala v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 176211, May 8, 2007, 523 SCRA 31, 38.
30.Rollo, p. 61.
||| (Divinagracia, Jr. v. COMELEC, G.R. Nos. 186007 & 186016, [July 27, 2009], 611 PHIL 538-558)

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 155618. March 26, 2003.]
EDGAR Y. SANTOS, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (FIRST DIVISION)
and PEDRO Q. PANULAYA, respondents.
Alexander M. Versoza for petitioner.
The Solicitor General for public respondent.
Rex Raynaldo C. Sandoval for private respondent.
SYNOPSIS
Petitioner and private respondent were both candidates for Mayor of the Municipality of
Balingoan, Misamis Oriental in the May 14, 2001 elections. The Municipal Board of Canvassers
proclaimed respondent Panulaya as the duly elected Mayor. Petitioner filed an election protest before
the trial court which declared and proclaimed petitioner as the duly elected Mayor. Petitioner
thereafter filed a motion for execution pending appeal. Meanwhile, before the trial court could act on
petitioner's motion, respondent filed with the COMELEC a petition forcertiorari assailing the decision

of the trial court, which was dismissed. Respondent filed with the COMELEC a motion for
reconsideration of the dismissal of his petition for certiorari. Thereafter, he filed a supplemental
petition. While his motion for reconsideration and supplemental petition were pending, respondent
filed another petition for certiorari with the COMELEC containing the same prayer as that in the
supplemental petition.
The Supreme Court ruled that respondent was guilty of forum-shopping. In the case at bar,
respondent obtained an adverse decision when his petition for certiorari was dismissed by the
COMELEC. He thereafter filed a motion for reconsideration and a supplemental petition praying for the
nullification of the trial court's order for the execution of the decision pending appeal. Two days after
filing the supplemental petition, and while the same was very much pending before the COMELEC, he
filed a wholly separate petition for certiorari wherein he pleaded the same reliefs prayed for in the
supplemental petition. In doing so, respondent, before allowing the COMELEC to fully resolve the
incidents in the first petition for certiorari, both of which were at his own instance, sought to increase
his chances of securing a favorable decision in another petition. He filed the second petition on the
supposition that the COMELEC might look with favor upon his reliefs. Considering that respondent was
guilty of forum-shopping when he filed the second petition for certiorari, his petition should have been
dismissed outright by the COMELEC. Willful and deliberate forum-shopping is a ground for summary
dismissal of the case, and constitutes direct contempt of court.
The Court further ruled that no grave abuse of discretion was committed by the trial court in
granting the execution pending appeal. In the case at bar, the three-year term of the Office of the
Mayor continued to run. The will of the electorate, as determined by the trial court in the election
protest, had to be respected and given meaning. The municipality needed the services of a mayor
even while the election protest was pending, and it had to be the candidate judicially determined to
have been chosen by the people. IHaSED
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; FORUM-SHOPPING; REQUISITES. Forum-shopping is an act of a party
against whom an adverse judgment or order has been rendered in one forum of seeking and possibly
getting a favorable opinion in another forum, other than by appeal or special civil action for certiorari. It
may also be the institution of two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the
supposition that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. For it to exist, there should be
(a) identity of parties, or at least such parties as would represent the same interest in both actions; (b)
identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and (c)
identity of the two preceding particulars such that any judgment rendered in the other action will,
regardless of which party is successful, amount to res judicata in the action under consideration.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PRESENT IN CASE AT BAR. In the case at bar, respondent obtained an adverse
decision when his petition in SPR No. 20-2002 was dismissed by the COMELEC. He thereafter filed a
motion for reconsideration and a supplemental petition, praying for the nullification of the trial court's
order for the execution of its decision pending appeal. Two days after filing the supplemental petition, and
while the same was very much pending before the COMELEC, he filed a wholly separate petition
for certiorari, docketed as SPR No. 37-2002, wherein he pleaded the same reliefs prayed for in the
supplemental petition. . . . In doing so, respondent, before allowing the COMELEC to fully resolve the
incidents in SPR No. 20-2002, both of which were at his own instance, sought to increase his chances of
securing a favorable decision in another petition. He filed the second petition on the supposition that the
COMELEC might look with favor upon his reliefs.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; A GROUD FOR SUMMARY DISMISSAL OF THE CASE AND CONSTITUTES DIRECT CONTEMPT
OF COURT. Forum-shopping is considered a pernicious evil; it adversely affects the efficient
administration of justice since it clogs the court dockets, unduly burdens the financial and human
resources of the judiciary, and trifles with and mocks judicial processes. The most important factor in
determining the existence of forum shopping is the vexation caused the courts and parties-litigants by a
party who asks different courts to rule on the same or related causes or grant the same or substantially
the same reliefs. Considering that respondent was indubitably guilty of forum-shopping when he filed SPR
No. 37-2002, his petition should have been dismissed outright by the COMELEC. Willful and deliberate
forum-shopping is a ground for summary dismissal of the case, and constitutes direct contempt of court.
4. ID.; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION; TO OBTAIN ANNULMENT IN
AN EXECUTION PENDING APPEAL IN A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI, IT MUST BE PROVED THAT THE TRIAL
COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION. The petition for certiorari in SPR No. 37-2002 assailed the
trial court's orders for the execution of its decision pending appeal. The grant of execution pending
appeal was well within the discretionary powers of the trial court. In order to obtain the annulment of said
orders in a petition for certiorari, it must first be proved that the trial court gravely abused its discretion.
He should show not merely a reversible error committed by the trial court, but a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. "Grave abuse of discretion" implies such capricious and
whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or where the power is exercised in
an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility which must be so patent and
gross as to amount to an invasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or
to act at all in contemplation of law. Mere abuse of discretion is not enough.
5. ID.; CIVIL PROCEDURE; JUDGMENTS; EXECUTION PENDING APPEAL; IN ELECTION CASES, A VALID
EXERCISE OF DISCRETION TO ALLOW EXECUTION PENDING APPEAL REQUIRES THAT IT SHOULD BE BASED
UPON GOOD REASONS TO BE STATED IN A SPECIAL ORDER. While it was indeed held that shortness of
the remaining term of office and posting a bond are not good reasons, we clearly stated in Fermo v.
COMELEC that: "A valid exercise of the discretion to allow execution pending appeal requires that it
should be based "upon good reasons to be stated in a special order." The following constitute "good
reasons" and a combination of two or more of them will suffice to grant execution pending appeal: (1.)
public interest involved or will of the electorate; (2.) the shortness of the remaining portion of the term of
the contested office; and (3.) the length of time that the election contest has been pending."
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. The decision of the trial court in Election Protest No. 1-M (2001)
was rendered on April 2, 2002, or after almost one year of trial and revision of the questioned ballots. It
found petitioner as the candidate with the plurality of votes. Respondent appealed the said decision to
the COMELEC. In the meantime, the three-year term of the Office of the Mayor continued to run. The will
of the electorate, as determined by the trial court in the election protest, had to be respected and given
meaning. The Municipality of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, needed the services of a mayor even while the
election protest was pending, and it had to be the candidate judicially determined to have been chosen
by the people.
7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; BETWEEN THE DETERMINATION BY TRIAL COURT OF WHO OF THE CANDIDATES
WON THE ELECTIONS AND THE FINDING OF THE BOARD OF CANVASSERS AS TO WHOM TO PROCLAIM, IT
IS THE COURT'S DECISION THAT SHOULD PREVAIL; CASE AT BAR. Between the determination by the
trial court of who of the candidates won the elections and the finding of the Board of Canvassers as to
whom to proclaim, it is the court's decision that should prevail. This was sufficiently explained in the case
of Ramas v. COMELEC in this wise: "All that was required for a valid exercise of the discretion to allow
execution pending appeal was that the immediate execution should be based "upon good reasons to be
stated in a special order." The rationale why such execution is allowed in election cases is, as stated

in Gahol v. Riodique, "to give as much recognition to the worth of a trial judge's decision as that which is
initially ascribed by the law to the proclamation by the board of canvassers." cCSDaI
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J p:
Petitioner Edgar Y. Santos and respondent Pedro Q. Panulaya were both candidates for Mayor of the
Municipality of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental in the May 14, 2001 elections. On May 16, 2001, after the
votes were counted and canvassed, the Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed respondent Panulaya
as the duly elected Mayor.
Petitioner filed an election protest before the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental, Branch 26, which
was docketed as SPL Election Protest No. 1-M(2001). After trial and revision of the ballots, the trial court
found that petitioner garnered 2,181 votes while respondent received only 2,105. Hence, on April 2,
2002, it rendered judgment as follows:
WHEREFORE,
judgment
is
hereby
rendered
declaring
and
proclaiming
protestant/petitioner Edgar Y. Santos as the duly elected Municipal Mayor of Balingoan,
Misamis Oriental, in the mayoralty elections held on May 14, 2001 with the plurality of
Seventy Six (76) votes over and above his protagonist-protestee Pedro Q. Panulaya
setting aside as null and void the proclamation of protestee made by the Municipal Board
of Canvassers on May 16, 2001, ordering to pay protestant/petitioner the costs and
expenses that the latter incurred in this protest in accordance with Section 259 of
the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (B.P. 881) and Section 7 of the COMELEC
Resolution 1566, to wit:
xxx xxx xxx.
The Clerk of Court of this Court is hereby directed to furnish copy of the DECISION to the
following: Office of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC); Office of the Commission on
Audit; Office of the Department of Interior and Local Government; Office of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Misamis Oriental, in accordance with Section 15 of the
COMELEC Resolution 1566.
SO ORDERED. 1
Petitioner thereafter filed a motion for execution pending appeal. Meanwhile, before the trial court could
act on petitioner's motion, respondent filed on April 22, 2002 with the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) a petition for certiorari, docketed as SPR No. 20-2002, assailing the decision of the trial
court. 2 Likewise on April 22, 2002, respondent appealed the trial court's decision to the COMELEC, where
it was docketed as EAC No. A-12-2002.
The COMELEC, in SPR No. 20-2002, issued a Writ of Preliminary Injunction, which effectively enjoined the
trial court from acting on petitioner's motion for execution pending appeal. Subsequently, on August 19,
2002, the COMELEC dismissed SPR No. 20-2002 after finding that the trial court did not commit grave
abuse of discretion in rendering the assailed judgment. Moreover, the COMELEC held that the remedy
from the decision of the court a quo was to file a notice of appeal, which respondent precisely did in EAC
No. A-12-2002. Hence, it directed the trial court to dispose of all pending incidents in SPL Election Protest
No. 1-M(2001) with dispatch, to wit:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission (First Division) RESOLVED as it
hereby RESOLVES to DISMISS the instant petition for lack of merit.

ACCORDINGLY, the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued on 16 May 2002, as well as the
Order issued on 27 April 2002 by the Commission (First Division), are hereby set aside
and lifted, respectively. The Court a quo is hereby directed to dispose with immediate
dispatch all pending incidents in SPL Election Case No. 1-M (2001) entitled "Edgar Y.
Santos, Petitioner/Protestant versus Pedro Q. Panulaya, Respondent/Protestee."
No pronouncement as to cost.
SO ORDERED. (emphasis ours) 3
Thus, on August 20, 2002, the trial court issued an Order as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court hereby upholds and approves the Motion
for Execution Pending Appeal. Further, finding good reasons therefor, the Court hereby
directs and orders the immediate execution of the Decision promulgated on April 18,
2002, and as prayed for install protestant/petitioner EDGAR Y. SANTOS as the duly
elected Mayor of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, to take his oath of office and assume the
functions and duties of Mayor after he shall have filed a bond of One Hundred Thousand
Pesos (P100,000.00).
SO ORDERED. 4
After petitioner posted the required bond, the trial court issued the Writ of Execution, 5 thereby installing
petitioner as Municipal Mayor of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental. Accordingly, petitioner took his oath of
office and thereafter assumed the duties and functions of his office. ISADET
On August 21, 2002, respondent filed with the COMELEC a motion for reconsideration of the dismissal of
his petition in SPR No. 20-2002. 6 After five days, or on August 26, 2002, he filed a supplemental petition
in SPR No. 20-2002, 7 wherein he prayed:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, petitioner [herein respondent] respectfully
prays unto this Honorable Commission that the following Orders of the public respondent:
1. Resolution dated 20 August 2002;
2. Order dated 20 August 2002;
3. Writ of execution dated 21 August 2002;
Be nullified and set aside.
It is further prayed that in the event that the public respondent has carried out its Order
of ousting petitioner [herein respondent] from his position as Mayor of Balingoan,
Misamis Oriental, that the same be nullified and considered of no legal effect. It is
likewise prayed that a STATUS QUO ANTE ORDER be issued by the Honorable Commission
in order to reinstate the petitioner to his rightful position as Mayor of Balingoan, Misamis
Oriental.
Other reliefs, just and equitable are likewise prayed for. 8
Barely two days later, on August 28, 2002, and while his motion for reconsideration and supplemental
petition in SPR No. 20-2002 were pending, respondent filed another petition with the COMELEC, docketed
as SPR No. 37-2002. 9 The petition contained the same prayer as that in the supplemental petition filed
in SPR 20-2002, viz:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, petitioner [herein respondent] respectfully
prays unto this Honorable Commission that immediately upon the filing of the herein
petition,the following Orders of the public respondent:
1. Resolution dated 20 August 2002;
2. Order dated 20 August 2002,
3. Writ of execution dated 21 August 2002;
Be nullified and set aside.

Pending trial and final judgment, and soon after the issuance, but during the effectivity of
the Temporary Restraining Order, a Writ of Preliminary Injunction be issued prohibiting,
restraining and/or enjoining the public respondent from further implementing the highly
unjust, irregular and oppressive Orders above-quoted;
It is further prayed that in the event that the public respondent has carried out its Order
of ousting petitioner [herein respondent] from his position as Mayor of Balingoan,
Misamis Oriental, that the same be nullified and considered of no legal effect. It is
likewise prayed that a STATUS QUO ANTE ORDER be issued by the Honorable
Commission in order to reinstate the petitioner to his rightful position as Mayor of
Balingoan, Misamis Oriental.
Upon due notice and hearing, judgment be rendered in favor of the petitioner [herein
respondent] and against the respondent [herein petitioner] as follows:
1. Making the Writ of Preliminary Prohibitory Injunction permanent;
2. Declaring Resolution dated 20 August 2002, Order dated 20 August 2002, and Writ of
Execution dated 21 August 2002; as null and void for being highly unjust, irregular
and oppressively prepared in utter violation of the Constitutional provisions on
equal protection of the laws and due process, and for having been rendered with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
3. A writ of Prohibition be issued specifically commanding public respondent to cease and
desist from further implementing the highly unjust, irregular and oppressive
Orders above-mentioned are concerned (sic); and
4. Ordering the respondents to pay the costs of suit.
Such other reliefs and remedies, as are just and equitable in the premises, are likewise
prayed for. 10
On September 3, 2002, the COMELEC issued the assailed Order directing the parties to maintain
thestatus quo ante and enjoining petitioner from assuming the functions of Mayor. Pertinent portion of
the Order reads:
In the interest of justice and so as not to render moot and academic the issues raised in
the petition, the Commission (First Division) hereby directs the parties to maintain the
status quo ante, which is the condition prevailing before the issuance and
implementation of the questioned Order of the court a quo dated August 20, 2002 and
the Writ of Execution issued pursuant thereto dated August 21, 2002, in SPL. ELECTION
CASE NO. 1-M (2001) entitled "EDGAR Y. SANTOS versus PEDRO Q. PANULAYA."
Accordingly, effective immediately, private respondent EDGAR Y. SANTOS is hereby
ordered to cease and desist from assuming the duties and functions of the office of Mayor
of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental until further orders from this Commission. 11
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the above Order. However, the COMELEC First Division did
not refer the said motion to the COMELEC En Banc. Hence, petitioner, citing our ruling inKho v.
COMELEC, 12 brought the instant special civil action for certiorari with this Court.
Meanwhile, on September 9, 2002, petitioner filed an "Omnibus Motion (1) To Dissolve The Status Quo
Order As It Was Based On An Unverified And Dismissed Petition With Pending Motion For Reconsideration;
And (2) To Refer This Motion To The Commission En Banc Under Section 2, Rule 3 of the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure." 13 On October 14, 2002, the COMELEC issued a Resolution in SPR No. 37-2002, the
dispositive portion of which states:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the
August 20, 2002 Resolution of the respondent judge granting the Motion for Execution
Pending Appeal as well as his Order also dated August 20, 2002 directing the issuance of

the Writ of Execution and his Writ of Execution dated August 21, 2002 are hereby set
aside. Private Respondent Edgar Y. Santos is enjoined from assuming the function of
mayor of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental until the final determination of the election appeal
case.
This resolution shall be immediately executory.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is hereby requested to assist in
the peaceful and orderly implementation of this Resolution.
SO ORDERED. 14
The petition is impressed with merit. IaDTES
It is at once apparent from the records, as shown above, that respondent was guilty of forum-shopping
when he instituted SPR No. 37-2002 with the COMELEC. Forum-shopping is an act of a party against
whom an adverse judgment or order has been rendered in one forum of seeking and possibly getting a
favorable opinion in another forum, other than by appeal or special civil action for certiorari. It may also
be the institution of two or more action or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition
that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. For it to exist, there should be (a) identity
of parties, or at least such parties as would represent the same interest in both actions; (b) identity of
rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and (c) identity of the
two preceding particulars such that any judgment rendered in the other action will, regardless of which
party is successful, amount to res judicata in the action under consideration. 15
In the case at bar, respondent obtained an adverse decision when his petition in SPR No. 20-2002 was
dismissed by the COMELEC. He thereafter filed a motion for reconsideration and a supplemental petition,
praying for the nullification of the trial court's order for the execution of its decision pending appeal. Two
days after filing the supplemental petition, and while the same was very much pending before the
COMELEC, he filed a wholly separate petition for certiorari, docketed as SPR No. 37-2002, wherein he
pleaded the same reliefs prayed for in the supplemental petition. This is plainly evident from the
respective prayers in the supplemental petition and the petition forcertiorari as reproduced hereinabove.
In doing so, respondent, before allowing the COMELEC to fully resolve the incidents in SPR No. 20-2002,
both of which were at his own instance, sought to increase his chances of securing a favorable decision in
another petition. He filed the second petition on the supposition that the COMELEC might look with favor
upon his reliefs.
Forum-shopping is considered a pernicious evil; it adversely affects the efficient administration of justice
since it clogs the court dockets, unduly burdens the financial and human resources of the judiciary, and
trifles with and mocks judicial processes. 16 The most important factor in determining the existence of
forum shopping is the vexation caused the courts and parties-litigants by a party who asks different
courts to rule on the same or related causes or grant the same or substantially the same reliefs. 17
Considering that respondent was indubitably guilty of forum-shopping when he filed SPR No. 37-2002, his
petition should have been dismissed outright by the COMELEC. 18 Willful and deliberate forum-shopping
is a ground for summary dismissal of the case, and constitutes direct contempt of court. 19
The petition for certiorari in SPR No. 37-2002 assailed the trial court's orders for the execution of its
decision pending appeal. The grant of execution pending appeal was well within the discretionary powers
of the trial court. In order to obtain the annulment of said orders in a petition for certiorari,it must first be
proved that the trial court gravely abused its discretion. He should show not merely a reversible error
committed by the trial court, but a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
"Grave abuse of discretion" implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent
to lack of jurisdiction, or where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of
passion or personal hostility which must be so patent and gross as to amount to an invasion of positive

duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. Mere
abuse of discretion is not enough. 20
We find that no grave abuse of discretion was committed by the trial court. In its order granting execution
pending appeal, it held:
It is of judicial notice that for the public official elected last May 14, 2001 elections only a
short period is left. Relative to this Court's jurisdiction over the instant case, the settled
rule that the mere filing of the notice of appeal does not divest the trial court of its
jurisdiction over the case and to resolve pending incidents, i.e., motion for execution
pending appeal (Asmala vs. COMELEC, 289 SCRA 745) need not be overemphasized. 21
However, the COMELEC set aside the aforesaid order, saying that shortness of term alone is not a good
reason for execution of a judgment pending appeal. We disagree.
While it was indeed held that shortness of the remaining term of office and posting a bond are not good
reasons, we clearly stated in Fermo v. COMELEC 22 that:
A valid exercise of the discretion to allow execution pending appeal requires that it should
be based "upon good reasons to be stated in a special order." The following constitute
"good reasons" and a combination of two or more of them will suffice to grant execution
pending appeal: (1.) public interest involved or will of the electorate; (2.) the shortness of
the remaining portion of the term of the contested office; and (3.) the length of time that
the election contest has been pending (italics supplied). 23
The decision of the trial court in Election Protest No. 1-M(2001) was rendered on April 2, 2002, or after
almost one year of trial and revision of the questioned ballots. It found petitioner as the candidate with
the plurality of votes. Respondent appealed the said decision to the COMELEC. In the meantime, the
three-year term of the Office of the Mayor continued to run. The will of the electorate, as determined by
the trial court in the election protest, had to be respected and given meaning. The Municipality of
Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, needed the services of a mayor even while the election protest was
pending, and it had to be the candidate judicially determined to have been chosen by the people.
Between the determination by the trial court of who of the candidates won the elections and the finding
of the Board of Canvassers as to whom to proclaim, it is the court's decision that should prevail. This was
sufficiently explained in the case of Ramas v. COMELEC 24 in this wise:
All that was required for a valid exercise of the discretion to allow execution pending
appeal was that the immediate execution should be based "upon good reasons to be
stated in a special order." The rationale why such execution is allowed in election cases
is, as stated inGahol v. Riodique, 25 "to give as much recognition to the worth of a trial
judge's decision as that which is initially ascribed by the law to the proclamation by the
board of canvassers." Thus:
Why should the proclamation by the board of canvassers suffice as basis of the
right to assume office, subject to future contingencies attendant to a protest, and
not the decision of a court of justice? Indeed, when it is considered that the board
of canvassers is composed of persons who are less technically prepared to make
an accurate appreciation of the ballots, apart from their being more apt to yield to
extraneous considerations, and that the board must act summarily, practically
racing against time, while, on the other hand, the judge has benefit of all the
evidence the parties can offer and of admittedly better technical preparation and
background, apart from his being allowed ample time for conscientious study and
mature deliberation before rendering judgment, one cannot but perceive the
wisdom of allowing the immediate execution of decisions in election cases
adverse to the protestees, notwithstanding the perfection and pendency of

appeals therefrom, as long as there are, in the sound discretion of the court, good
reasons therefor.
To deprive trial courts of their discretion to grant execution pending appeal would, in the
words of Tobon Uy v. COMELEC, 26
bring back the ghost of the "grab-the-proclamation-prolong the protest"
techniques so often resorted to by devious politicians in the past in their efforts to
perpetuate their hold to an elective office. This would, as a consequence, lay to
waste the will of the electorate. 27
Thus, the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in giving due course, instead of dismissing
outright, the petition in SPR No. 37-2002 despite the clear showing that respondent was guilty of forumshopping; and in setting aside the trial court's order granting execution pending appeal.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Order dated September 3,
2002 and the Resolution dated October 14, 2002 of the Commission on Elections in SPR No. 37-2002 are
ANNULLED and SET ASIDE and the said case is ordered DISMISSED on the ground of forum-shopping. The
Order dated August 20, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental, Branch 26, granting the
execution pending appeal of its decision in Election Protest No. 1-M(2001), and the Writ of Execution
dated August 21, 2002, are REINSTATED. The full enforcement of the said Writ must forthwith be made.
The court of origin shall transmit immediately to the Commission on Elections the records of SPL Election
Case No. 1-M(2001), and the Commission on Elections shall dispose of the appeal in EAC No. A-12-2002
with deliberate dispatch.
This Decision shall be immediately executory.
Costs against private respondent.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio,
Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr. and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1.Rollo, pp. 106107; penned by Presiding Judge Joaquin M.
Murillo.
2.Rollo, pp. 4284.
3.Rollo, pp. 126132, at 131; First Division composed of
Presiding Commissioner Rufino SB. Javier,
Commissioner Luzviminda G. Tancangco and
Commissioner
Resurreccion
Z.
Borra;
Commissioner Tancangco, ponente.
4.Rollo, pp. 102104, at 104.
5.Rollo, pp. 106108.
6.Rollo, pp. 8591.
7.Rollo, pp. 92101.
8.Id., at 9899.
9.Rollo, pp. 3141.
10.Id., at 3738.
11.Rollo, p. 28; First Division composed of Presiding
Commissioner
Rufino
SB.
Javier
and
Commissioners Luzviminda G. Tancangco and
Resurreccion Z. Borra.
12.344 Phil. 878 [1997]. "In a situation such as this where
the Commission in division committed grave
abuse of discretion or acted without or in excess
of jurisdiction in issuing interlocutory orders
relative to an action pending before it and the
controversy did not fall under any of the instances
mentioned in Section 2, Rule 3 of the COMELEC
Rules of Procedure, the remedy of the aggrieved
party is not to refer the controversy to the
Commission en banc as this is not permissible
under its present rules but to elevate it to this

Court via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of


the Rules of Court" (at 888).
13.Rollo, pp. 109115.
14.Rollo, pp. 116125, at 124125; First Division composed
of Commissioners Rufino SB. Javier, Luzviminda G.
Tancangco
and
Resurreccion
Z.
Borra;
Commissioner Tancangco, ponente.
15.GSIS v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 141454, 31
January 2002.
16.Canuto, et al. v. National Labor Relations Commission,
et al., 412 Phil. 467, 474 [2001].
17.Roxas v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 139337, 15 August
2001, 363 SCRA 207, at 218.
18.Candido, et al. v. Camacho, et al., G.R. No. 136751, 15
January 2002.
19.Republic of the Philippines v. Carmel Development, Inc.,
G.R. No. 142572, 20 February 2002.
20.The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
Employees Union v. National Labor Relations
Commission, et al., G.R. No. 113541, 22
November 2001.
21.Rollo, p. 122.
22.384 Phil. 584 [2000].
23.Id., at 592.
24.349 Phil. 857 [1998].
25.G.R. No. L-40415, 27 June 1975, 64 SCRA 494.
26.G.R. Nos. 88158 & 97108-09, 4 March 1992, 206 SCRA
779.
27.Supra, note 23, at 869870.
||| (Santos v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 155618, [March 26, 2003],
447 PHIL 760-775)

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 157957. September 18, 2003.]
CHARITO NAVAROSA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, HONORABLE
DEAN R. TELAN, as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 9, Kalibo,
Aklan and ROGER M. ESTO, respondents.
Francisco B. Sibayan for petitioner.
The Solicitor General for public respondent.
Reynaldo M. Quimpo for private respondent.
SYNOPSIS
In the election protest filed in the RTC by mayoralty candidate Esto against his rival candidate Navarosa,
judgment was rendered in favor of Esto, declaring him winner in the May 14, 2001 elections and ordering
Navarosa to pay him damages. While Navarosa appealed the ruling to the COMELEC, Esto filed a motion
for execution of judgment pending appeal. The same was granted subject to the filing of P300,000 bond
or stayed, as prayed by Navarosa, upon filing of P600,000 supersedes bond. Esto then filed a petition for
certiorari with the Comelec. Navarosa, in her memorandum, raised for the first time the issue of RTC's
failure to acquire jurisdiction over the election protest for Esto's failure to pay the Comelec filing fee: The
Comelec held that the filing fee was duly paid and the execution of judgment pending appeal is
proper. CAcDTI
After active participation in all the proceedings of the case, petitioner is now estopped from claiming
absence of jurisdiction for non-payment of filing fees. In execution of judgment pending appeal, the
Comelec affirmed the good reasons to justify issuance of order namely, that it will give substance and
meaning to the people's mandate, and more than 10 months of the 3-year term of office had already
lapsed. A supersedeas bond finds no application in election protest cases where judgments invariably
include orders which are not capable of pecuniary estimation such as the right to hold office and perform
its functions.
SYLLABUS
1. POLITICAL LAW; ELECTION LAWS; FILING FEE; JURISDICTIONAL ISSUE OF NON-PAYMENT THEREOF,
THOUGH PROCEDURALLY NOT PROPER IN A PETITION THAT INVOLVES ONLY AN ANCILLARY ISSUE,
RESOLVED HERE. Petitioner Navarosa contends that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the
election protest because of respondent Esto's failure to pay the COMELEC filing fee under Rule 35,
Section 9 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Procedurally, petitioner Navarosa should not have raised
this jurisdictional issue in this petition which involves only the ancillary issue of whether to allow
execution of the trial court's decision pending appeal. Nevertheless, as the question of the trial court's
jurisdiction also affects its authority to issue ancillary orders, we resolved to pass upon this issue.
2. ID.; ID.; ID. Section 9 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure provides: Filing Fee. No protest, counterprotest, or protest-in intervention shall be given due course without the payment of a filing fee in the
amount of three hundred pesos (P300.00) for each interest. Each interest shall further pay the legal
research fee as required by law. Respondent Esto must pay this filing fee before the trial court can
exercise its jurisdiction over the election protest. The COMELEC filing fee, to distinguish from the other

mandatory fees under Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, as amended, is credited to the Court's General
Fund.
3. ID.; ID.; ELECTION PROTEST CASES; JURISDICTIONAL ISSUE RAISED BY PARTY FOR THE FIRST TIME ON
APPEAL, ESTOPPED. THEREFROM. At no time did petitioner Navarosa ever raise the issue of respondent
Esto's incomplete payment of the COMELEC filing fee during the full-blown trial of the election protest.
Petitioner Navarosa actively participated in the proceedings below and raised the issue of incomplete
payment of the COMELEC filing fee only in her memorandum to respondent Esto's petition before the
COMELEC Second Division. Petitioner Navarosa's conduct estops her from claiming, at such late stage,
that the trial court did not after all acquire jurisdiction over the election protest. Although a party cannot
waive jurisdictional issues and may raise them at any stage of the proceedings, estoppel may bar a party
from raising such issues. The law vests in the trial court jurisdiction over election protests although the
exercise of such jurisdiction requires the payment of docket and filing fees by the party invoking the trial
court's jurisdiction. Estoppel now prevents petitioner Navarosa from questioning the trial court's exercise
of such jurisdiction, which the law and not any act of the parties has conferred on the trial court. At this
stage, the remedy for respondent Esto's incomplete payment is for him to pay the P200 deficiency in the
COMELEC filing fee. It is highly unjust to the electorate of Libacao, Aklan, after the trial court has
completed revision of the contested ballots, to dismiss the election protest and forever foreclose the
determination of the true winner of the election for a mere P200 deficiency in the COMELEC filing fee.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; EXECUTION PENDING APPEAL; REQUISITES. To grant execution pending appeal in
election protest cases, the following requisites must concur: (1) there must be a motion by the prevailing
party with notice to the adverse party; (2) there must be "good reasons" for the execution pending
appeal; and (3) the order granting execution pending appeal must state the "good reasons."
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; GOOD REASONS; PRESENT IN CASE AT BAR. In Ramas v. Commission on
Elections, the Court, after reviewing pertinent jurisprudence, summarized the circumstances qualifying
as "good reasons" justifying execution pending appeal, thus: In a nutshell, the following constitute "good
reasons," and a combination of two or more of them will suffice to grant execution pending appeal: (1)
the public interest involved or the will of the electorate; (2) the shortness of the remaining portion of the
term of the contested office; and (3) the length of time that the election contest has been pending. The
trial court in the present case, relying on cases reviewed in Ramas,invoked two "good reasons" to justify
its order allowing execution pending appeal. First, the order will "give substance and meaning to the
people's mandate." Second, "more than 10 months or nearly 1/3 of the 3-year term" of the office in
question had already lapsed. The COMELEC found these "good reasons" sufficient.
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SECTION 2, RULE 139 OF THE RULES OF COURT APPLIES IN SUPPLETORY CHARACTER.
Unlike the Election Code of 1971, which expressly provided for execution pending appeal of trial courts'
rulings in election protests, the present election laws are silent on such remedy. Nevertheless, Section 2,
Rule 39 ("Section 2") of the Rules of Court (now 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure) applies in suppletory
character to election cases, thus allowing execution pending appeal in the discretion of the court. A
primordial public interest - to obviate a hollow victory for the duly elected candidate as determined by
the trial court - lies behind the present rule giving suppletory application to Section 2. Only a more
compelling contrary policy consideration can prevent the suppletory application of Section 2.
7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SUPERSEDEAS BOND CANNOT STAY AN ORDER NOT CAPABLE OF PECUNIARY
ESTIMATION SUCH AS RIGHT TO HOLD OFFICE AND PERFORM ITS FUNCTION. In insisting that the
simple expedient of posting a supersedeas bond can stay execution pending appeal, petitioner Navarosa
neither claims nor offers a more compelling contrary policy consideration. A supersedeas bond under
Section 3, Rule 39 cannot fully protect the interests of the prevailing party in election protest cases.
Section 3, provides: Stay of discretionary execution. - Discretionary execution issued under the preceding
section may be stayed upon approval by the proper court of a sufficient bond, filed by the party against

whom it is directed, conditioned upon the performance of the judgment or order allowed to be executed
in case it shall be finally sustained in whole or in part. The bond thus given may be proceeded against on
motion with notice to the surety. A supersedeas bond secures the performance of the judgment or order
appealed from in case of its affirmation. Section 3 finds application in ordinary civil actions where the
interest of the prevailing party is capable of pecuniary estimation, and consequently, of protection,
through the filing of a supersedeas bond. Thus, the penultimate sentence of Section 3 states: "[T]he bond
thus given may be proceeded against on motion with notice to the surety." Consequently, it finds no
application in election protest cases where judgments invariably include orders which are not capable of
pecuniary estimation such as the right to hold office and perform its functions. As applied to the present
case, the supersedeas bond petitioner Navarosa filed can only answer for that portion of the trial court's
ruling ordering her to pay to respondent Esto actual damages, attorney's fees and the cost of the suit. It
cannot secure execution of that portion proclaiming respondent Esto duly elected mayor of Libacao,
Aklan by popular will of the electorate and authorizing him to assume the office. This anomalous situation
defeats the very purpose for the filing of the supersedeas bond in the first place.
8. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION; NOT PRESENT.
The Court holds that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in ordering execution
pending appeal of the trial court's decision. Grave abuse of discretion implies capricious and whimsical
exercise of judgment amounting to lack of jurisdiction, or arbitrary and despotic exercise of power
because of passion or personal hostility. The grave abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to
amount to an evasion or refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. This does not obtain in the present
case.
DECISION
CARPIO, J p:
The Case
This is a petition for certiorari of the Commission on Elections ("COMELEC") En Banc Resolution dated 15
April 2003 denying petitioner Charito Navarosa's motion for reconsideration of the COMELEC Second
Division Resolution 1 dated 28 November 2002. The COMELEC Second Division Resolution ordered the
execution pending appeal of the Decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 9, Kalibo, Aklan,
proclaiming respondent Roger M. Esto winner in the mayoralty race in the 14 May 2001 elections.
The Facts
Petitioner Charito Navarosa ("petitioner Navarosa") and respondent Roger M. Esto ("respondent Esto")
were candidates for mayor of Libacao, Aklan in the 14 May 2001 elections. On 17 May 2001, the
COMELEC Municipal Board of Canvassers of Libacao proclaimed petitioner Navarosa as the duly elected
mayor, with a winning margin of three (3) votes over respondent Esto. 3
Claiming that irregularities marred the canvassing of ballots in several precincts, respondent Esto filed an
election protest docketed as Election Case No. 129 ("election protest") in the Regional Trial Court, Branch
9, Kalibo, Aklan ("trial court"). Petitioner Navarosa, who also claimed that canvassing irregularities
prejudiced her, filed a counter-protest in the same case.
On 4 March 2002, after revision of the contested ballots, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of
respondent Esto. The trial court found that respondent Esto obtained 4,595 votes over petitioner
Navarosa's 4,553 votes. Thus, the trial court declared respondent Esto the elected mayor of Libacao by a

margin of 42 votes and annulled the earlier proclamation of petitioner Navarosa. The trial court also
ordered petitioner Navarosa to pay respondent Esto actual damages and attorney's fees. The dispositive
portion of the decision provides:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
a) Declaring the Proclamation of . . . protestee [Navarosa] as the duly elected Mayor of
Libacao, Aklan and the Certificate of Canvass of Votes and the Proclamation of the
Winning Candidates for Municipal Offices, dated May 17, 2001, as null and void;
b) Declaring the protestant, Roger M. Esto, as the duly elected Municipal Mayor of
Libacao, Aklan in the May 14, 2001 election;
c) Ordering the protestee [Navarosa] to pay the sum of P14,215.00 as actual and
compensatory damages, and the amount of P50,000.00 as and for attorney's fees,
plus the cost of suit. 4
Petitioner Navarosa appealed the trial court's ruling to the COMELEC (EAC Case No. A-9-2002).
Respondent Esto, on the other hand, filed with the trial court a motion for execution of the judgment
pending petitioner Navarosa's appeal. Petitioner Navarosa opposed respondent Esto's motion. In the
alternative, petitioner Navarosa offered to file a supersedeas bond to stay execution pending appeal,
should the trial court grant respondent Esto's motion.
In its Order of 22 March 2002 ("Order"), the trial court granted respondent Esto's motion subject to the
filing of a P300,000 bond. However, in the same order, the trial court also granted petitioner Navarosa's
prayer to stay the execution pending appeal, upon filing a P600,000 supersedeas bond. The Order reads:
The Supreme Court has explicitly recognized and given approval to execution of
judgments pending appeal in election cases, filed under existing election laws. In these
cases, the immediate execution was made in accordance with Sec. 2, Rule 39 of the
Rules of Court (Ramas et al. vs. COMELEC, et al., G.R. No. 130831, 2/10/98). There is,
therefore, no question now that execution pending appeal may be granted.
xxx xxx xxx
[T]he grant of execution would give substance and meaning to the people's mandate
specially since the court has established protestant's right to the office (Lindo vs.
COMELEC cited in the Ramas case); more than 10 months or nearly 1/3 of the 3-year
term for Mayor had already lapsed (Gutierrez vs. COMELEC, G.R. 126298, 3-25-97; Tobon
Uy vs. COMELEC also cited in the Ramas case). These are two "good reasons" to justify
execution of the decision pending appeal.
[P]rotestee [Navarosa] however, prays in the alternative, that should execution pending
appeal be granted, the same be stayed upon his [sic] filing of supersedeas bond to be
fixed by the court under Sec. 3, Rule 39, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
Unlike Sec. 2, Rule 39 where the grant of execution pending appeal is conditioned upon
the presence of the "good and valid reason" for its grant, Sec. 3, Rule 39 does not provide
for any condition precedent before the discretionary execution of Rule 2 may be stayed.
All that it requires is that a sufficient supersedeas bond must be approved by the court
conditioned upon the performance of the judgment allowed to be executed in case it
shall be finally sustained in whole or in part. Under this section, therefore, the filing of a
supersedeas bond sufficient in amount is enough to stay the execution granted under
Sec. 2.
Moreover, the margin of 42 votes in the instant case is not so big, overwhelming or
insurmountable as to be practically beyond or improbable of being overturned by the
higher courts. . . .

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing[,] the court finds that the protestant, Roger M. Esto
is entitled to the execution of the decision dated March 4, 2002, pending appeal, upon
the filing of a bond which covers the salary and emoluments of the office of the Municipal
Mayor of Libacao, Aklan and or the payment of all damages in the amount of
P300,000.00, Philippine Currency, in cash, surety bond or real property with assessed
value in said amount to be filed on or before April 3, 2002, furnishing copy thereof to the
protestee or his duly authorized representative.
The protestee, Charito Navarosa, considering that the margin is not so insurmountable as
to be beyond reversal by the higher court[,] is hereby allowed to stay the execution of
the decision of March 4, 2002 pending appeal, by filing a supersedeas bond in double the
amount posted by the protestant, on or before April 3, 2002, furnishing copy thereof the
protestant or his duly authorized representative. 5
Both petitioner Navarosa and respondent Esto sought reconsideration of the Order but the trial court
denied their motions on 5 April 2002.
Respondent Esto filed a petition for certiorari with the COMELEC against the Order. In her memorandum
to the petition, petitioner Navarosa raised for the first time the issue of the trial court's failure to acquire
jurisdiction over the election protest because of respondent Esto's failure to pay the COMELEC filing fee.
The Ruling of the COMELEC
In its Resolution dated 28 November 2002 ("Resolution"), the COMELEC Second Division affirmed the trial
court's Order granting execution pending appeal and nullified the stay of the execution. The Second
Division also found that respondent Esto duly paid the COMELEC filing fee. The Resolution reads:
Going now to the main issue at hand, did respondent judge gravely abuse his discretion
and/or exceed his jurisdiction when he stayed the immediate execution of his decision on
a finding of "good reasons" he made in his questioned Order of March 22, 2002 by
allowing in the same Order the filing of a supersedeas bond double the amount posted by
petitioner?
The answer is yes.
It is [for] the Commission on Elections, in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction to issue
the extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and injunction over all
contests involving elective municipal officials decided by the trial courts of general
jurisdiction elevated on appeal, and not the trial court, that may order the stay or restrain
the immediate execution of the decision pending appeal granted by the trial court of
general jurisdiction in an election contest. Except when the trial court reversed itself in a
motion for reconsideration of its order granting immediate execution, it cannot later on
stay or restrain the execution thereof in the guise of allowing the losing party to file a
supersedeas bond. The issue before the trial court where a motion for execution pending
appeal is filed is to determine whether or not there are "good reasons" to justify the
immediate execution pending appeal. The issue is not whether . . . there are good
reasons to stay the immediate execution of the decision pending appeal.
The trial court, by granting the immediate execution of the March 4, 2002 decision,
recognized that the "good reasons" cited in the questioned Order constitute superior
circumstances demanding urgency that will outweigh the injuries or damages to the
adverse party if the decision is reversed. By declaring that petitioner Esto is the duly
elected Mayor of Libacao, Aklan, the trial court gave substance and meaning to the
people's mandate as expressed in the ballot, especially since it has established petitioner
Esto's right to the office. The trial court cannot indirectly reverse its substantial finding of
"good reasons" by a rule of procedure which does not strictly apply in election protest

cases when it allowed the filing of a supersedeas bond under Section 3, Rule 39 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. To allow the application of the said procedural relief would
defeat the right of the winning candidate in an election protest to hold the public office
by virtue of the people's mandate expressed through the ballot and to perform the
functions of the said public office.
xxx xxx xxx
It is interesting to note that instead of expounding on the propriety of the supersedeas
bond to stay the execution of a judgment in an election protest case, private respondent
raised for the first time in his [sic] memorandum the issue of lack of jurisdiction of the
trial court over the instant election protest for the alleged failure of petitioner Esto to pay
the filing fee of P300.00 required under Section 9, Rule 35 of the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure. However, the records of Election Case No. 129 of the RTC of Kalibo, Aklan,
Branch 9 showed otherwise. The Official Receipts issued by the RTC of Kalibo, Aklan
shows [sic] that petitioners paid a total of P515.00 filing fees in Election Case No. 129 by
specifically stating therein "[F]iling Fee in Election Case No. 129". At the time of filing the
election protest, petitioner specified that the payment made was to cover the COMELEC
filing fee for the election protest. Upon assessment, petitioner paid not only the amount
of P300.00 required under Section 9, Rule 35 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, but a
total sum of P515.00 as filing fees. While it is true that the issue of jurisdiction may be
raised anytime, even on appeal, the same is of no moment now. 6
Petitioner Navarosa sought reconsideration of this ruling but the COMELEC En Banc denied her motion on
15 April 2003.
Hence, this petition.
On 10 June 2003, the Court required the parties to maintain the status quo pending resolution of this
petition.
The Issues
Petitioner Navarosa raises the following issues:
1. WHETHER PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC EN BANC ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT
AFFIRMED THE 28 NOVEMBER 2002 RESOLUTION OF THE COMELEC SECOND
DIVISION FOR FAILURE TO RULE ON THE BASIC ISSUE OF LACK OF JURISDICTION
OF THE COURT A QUO OVER RESPONDENT ESTO'S ELECTION PROTEST FOR NONPAYMENT OF THE MANDATORY COMELEC FILING FEE OF P300.00.
2. WHETHER PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC EN BANC ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT
AFFIRMED THE 28 NOVEMBER 2002 RESOLUTION OF THE COMELEC SECOND
DIVISION DESPITE THE FACT THAT THERE WERE NO "GOOD REASONS" TO
EXECUTE THE 4 MARCH 2002 DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT.
3. WHETHER PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC EN BANC ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT
AFFIRMED THE 28 NOVEMBER 2002 RESOLUTION OF THE COMELEC SECOND
DIVISION WHEN THE LATTER RULED THAT THE TRIAL COURT HAD NO POWER TO
ORDER THE STAY OF EXECUTION OF ITS 4 MARCH 2002 DECISION PENDING
APPEAL IN AN ELECTION CONTEST, BECAUSE SECTION 3, RULE 39 OF THE
REVISED RULES OF COURT DOES NOT APPLY TO ELECTION CASES. 7
The Ruling of the Court

The petition has no merit.


The Trial Court Acquired Jurisdiction Over Election Case No. 129
Petitioner Navarosa contends that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the election protest
because of respondent Esto's failure to pay the COMELEC filing fee under Rule 35, Section 9 of the
COMELEC Rules of Procedure ("Section 9"). Procedurally, petitioner Navarosa should not have raised this
jurisdictional issue in this petition which involves only the ancillary issue of whether to allow execution of
the trial court's decision pending appeal. Nevertheless, as the question of the trial court's jurisdiction also
affects its authority to issue ancillary orders such as its Order of 22 March 2002 subject of this petition,
we have resolved to pass upon this issue.
Section 9 provides:
Filing Fee. No protest, counter-protest, or protest-in-intervention shall be given due
course without the payment of a filing fee in the amount of three hundred pesos
(P300.00) for each interest.
Each interest shall further pay the legal research fee as required by law.
Respondent Esto must pay this filing fee before the trial court can exercise its jurisdiction over the
election protest. 8 The COMELEC filing fee, to distinguish from the other mandatory fees under Rule
141 of the Rules of Court, as amended, is credited to the Court's General Fund. 9
Petitioner Navarosa claims that although the receipts issued by the trial court show that respondent Esto
paid P515 as "filing" and other fees, only P100 was credited to the General Fund. The rest of what
respondent Esto paid accrued to the Judiciary Development Fund (P400), the Legal Research Fund (P10)
and the Victim's Compensation Fund (P5). 10 Consequently, respondent Esto paid only P100 of the P300
COMELEC filing fee, for which reason the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the election protest.
Petitioner Navarosa also claimed that the Second Division did not rule on this issue.
Contrary to petitioner Navarosa's claim, the COMELEC Second Division did rule on the issue of respondent
Esto's non-payment of the full amount of the COMELEC filing fee. The Second Division held that the P515
fees respondent Esto paid already covered the P300 COMELEC filing fee.
However, based on the trial court's Election Fees Form for Election Case No. 129, 11 of the total amount
of P515 respondent Esto paid, only P100 was indeed credited to the General Fund. Consequently,
respondent Esto only paid P100 of the required P300 COMELEC filing fee.
In an earlier ruling, 12 the Court held that an election protest is not dismissible if the protestant, relying
on the trial court's assessment, pays only a portion 13 of the COMELEC filing fee. However, inMiranda v.
Castillo, 14 the Court, reiterating Loyola v. Commission on Elections, 15 held that it would no longer
tolerate "any mistake in the payment of the full amount of filing fees for election cases filed after the
promulgation
of
the Loyola decision
on
March
25,
1997."
Nevertheless,
our
rulings
inMiranda and Loyola are inapplicable to the present case.
At no time did petitioner Navarosa ever raise the issue of respondent Esto's incomplete payment of the
COMELEC filing fee during the full-blown trial of the election protest. Petitioner Navarosa actively
participated in the proceedings below by filing her Answer, presenting her evidence, and later, seeking a
stay of execution by filing a supersedeas bond. Not only this, she even invoked the trial court's
jurisdiction by filing a counter-protest against respondent Esto in which she must have prayed for
affirmative reliefs. 16
Petitioner Navarosa raised the issue of incomplete payment of the COMELEC filing fee only in her
memorandum to respondent Esto's petition before the COMELEC Second Division. Petitioner Navarosa's
conduct estops her from claiming, at such late stage, that the trial court did not after all acquire
jurisdiction over the election protest. Although a party cannot waive jurisdictional issues and may raise
them at any stage of the proceedings, estoppel may bar a party from raising such issues.17 In Pantranco
North Express v. Court of Appeals, 18 this Court applied the doctrine of estoppel against a party who also

belatedly raised the issue of insufficient payment of filing fees to question the court's exercise of
jurisdiction over the case. We held:
The petitioner raised the issue regarding jurisdiction for the first time in its Brief filed with
public respondent [Court of Appeals] . . . After vigorously participating in all stages of the
case before the trial court and even invoking the trial court's authority in order to ask for
affirmative relief, the petitioner is effectively barred by estoppel from challenging the trial
court's jurisdiction.
Indeed, in Miranda and Loyola, as in every other case 19 where we sustained the dismissal of the
election protest for lack or incomplete payment of the COMELEC filing fee, the protestee timely raised the
non-payment in a motion to dismiss. Before any revision of the contested ballots, the protestee filed a
petition for certiorari questioning the trial court's jurisdiction before the COMELEC and eventually before
this Court. In contrast, in the instant case, petitioner Navarosa did not raise the incomplete payment of
the COMELEC filing fee in a motion to dismiss. Consequently, the trial court proceeded with the revision
of the contested ballots and subsequently rendered judgment on the election protest. Petitioner Navarosa
raised for the first time the incomplete payment of the COMELEC filing fee in her memorandum before
the COMELEC Second Division.
Thus, estoppel has set in precluding petitioner Navarosa from questioning the incomplete payment of the
COMELEC filing fee, and in effect assailing the exercise of jurisdiction by the trial court over the election
protest. The law vests in the trial court jurisdiction over election protests although the exercise of such
jurisdiction requires the payment of docket and filing fees by the party invoking the trial court's
jurisdiction. 20 Estoppel now prevents petitioner Navarosa from questioning the trial court's exercise of
such jurisdiction, which the law and not any act of the parties has conferred on the trial court. At this
stage, the remedy for respondent Esto's incomplete payment is for him to pay the P200 deficiency in the
COMELEC filing fee. 21 It is highly unjust to the electorate of Libacao, Aklan, after the trial court has
completed revision of the contested ballots, to dismiss the election protest and forever foreclose the
determination of the true winner of the election for a mere P200 deficiency in the COMELEC filing fee. We
repeat that:
[E]lection contests involve public interest, and technicalities and procedural barriers
should not be allowed to stand if they constitute an obstacle to the determination of the
true will of the electorate in the choice of their elective officials. And also settled is the
rule that laws governing election contests must be liberally construed to the end that the
will of the people in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by mere technical
objections. In an election case the court has an imperative duty to ascertain by all means
within its command who is the real candidate elected by the electorate. 22
Good Reasons Exist to Grant Execution Pending Appeal in this Case
To grant execution pending appeal in election protest cases, the following requisites must concur: (1)
there must be a motion by the prevailing party with notice to the adverse party; (2) there must be "good
reasons" for the execution pending appeal; and (3) the order granting execution pending appeal must
state the "good reasons." 23 Petitioner Navarosa concedes respondent Esto's compliance with the first
and third requisites. What she contests is the trial court's finding that there are "good reasons" to order
discretionary execution of its decision.
In Ramas v. Commission on Elections, 24 the Court, after reviewing pertinent jurisprudence, summarized
the circumstances qualifying as "good reasons" justifying execution pending appeal, thus:
In a nutshell, the following constitute "good reasons," and a combination of two or more
of them will suffice to grant execution pending appeal: (1) the public interest involved or
the will of the electorate; (2) the shortness of the remaining portion of the term of the
contested office; and (3) the length of time that the election contest has been pending.

The trial court in the present case, relying on cases 25 reviewed in Ramas, invoked two "good reasons" to
justify its order allowing execution pending appeal. First, the order will "give substance and meaning to
the people's mandate." Second, "more than 10 months or nearly 1/3 of the 3-year term" of the office in
question had already lapsed. The COMELEC found these "good reasons" sufficient. Being consistent
with Ramas, we find no grave abuse of discretion in the ruling of the trial court or of the COMELEC.
Petitioner Navarosa's invocation of Camlian v. Commission on Elections 26 is unavailing. In Camlian, the
COMELEC ruled that circumstances such as "public interest in the true outcome of the elections[;] that
the protestee illegally manufactured votes[;] and that the appeal was interposed for delay" do not suffice
to justify execution pending appeal. On appeal, we sustained the COMELEC, noting that "not every
invocation of public interest with . . . reference to the will of the electorate can be appreciated as a good
reason especially so if the same appears to be self-serving and has not been clearly established." The
Court further pointed out that the protestant failed to substantiate his claim that the appeal is dilatory as
it in fact assails the trial court's ruling. These circumstances are absent in the present case,
precluding Camlian's application.
Section 3 of Rule 39 Not Applicable To Election Protest Cases
Unlike the Election Code of 1971, 27 which expressly provided for execution pending appeal of trial
courts' rulings in election protests, the present election laws are silent on such remedy.
Nevertheless, Section 2, Rule 39 ("Section 2") of the Rules of Court (now 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure)
applies in suppletory character to election cases, thus allowing execution pending appeal in the discretion
of the court. As explained in Ramas:
The Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (B.P. Blg. 881) and the other election laws
do not specifically provide for execution pending appeal of judgment in election cases,
unlike the Election Code of 1971 whose Section 218 made express reference to the Rules
of Court on execution pending appeal; . . .
The failure of the extant election laws to reproduce Section 218 of the Election Code of
1971 does not mean that execution of judgment pending appeal is no longer available in
election cases. In election contests involving elective municipal officials, which are
cognizable by courts of general jurisdiction; and those involving elective barangay
officials, which are cognizable by courts of limited jurisdiction, execution of judgment
pending appeal under Section 2 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court are permissible pursuant
to Rule 143 of the Rules of Court, which is now Section 4, Rule 1 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure. This Section 4 provides:
SEC 4. In what cases not applicable. These Rules shall not apply to election
cases, land registration, cadastral, naturalization and insolvency proceedings, and
other cases not herein provided for, except by analogy or in a suppletory
character and whenever practicable and convenient.
As to election cases involving regional, provincial, and city officials, which fall within the
exclusive original jurisdiction of the COMELEC, Section 3 of Article IX-C of the Constitution
vests the COMELEC with the authority to promulgate its rules of procedure in order to
expedite disposition of election cases, including pre-proclamation controversies.
Additionally,Section 52(c), Article VII of the Omnibus Election Code empowers the
COMELEC to promulgate rules and regulations implementing the provisions of the Code
or other laws which it is required to enforce and administer. Accordingly, the COMELEC
promulgated the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Section 1 of Rule 41 thereof expressly
provides that "[i]n the absence of any applicable provision in [said] Rules, the pertinent

provisions of the Rules of Court in the Philippines shall be applicable by analogy or in a


suppletory character and effect." 28
In the earlier case of Gahol v. Riodique, 29 the Court explained the legislative intent behind the
enactment of Section 218 of the Election Code of 1971. In Gahol, the Court gave an additional
justification for allowing execution pending appeal of decisions of trial courts, thus:
. . . [T]his innovative provision is the product of the bad experience of the people under
the previous election laws. Public policy underlies it. . . . [S]omething had to be done to
strike the death blow at the "pernicious grab-the-proclamation-prolong-the-protest"
technique often, if not invariably, resorted to by unscrupulous politicians who would
render nugatory the people's verdict against them and persist in continuing in an office
they very well know they have no legitimate right to hold. . . . [T]o uphold the theory of
Protestee that the very nature of the matter in dispute in election contests, the holding of
a public office and the performance of its functions, makes gravely doubtful the propriety
of an execution pending appeal, what with the possible placing of the corresponding
powers of government in the hands of one who might ultimately turn out not to be really
entitled to the position, is to negate the unquestionable and patent intent of the
legislature to give as much recognition to the worth of a trial judge's decision as that
which is initially ascribed by the law to the proclamation by the board of canvassers. Why
should the proclamation by the board of canvassers suffice as basis of the right to
assume office, subject to future contingencies attendant to a protest, and not the
decision of a court of justice? Indeed, when it is considered that the board of canvassers
is composed of persons who are less technically prepared to make an accurate
appreciation of the ballots, apart from their being more apt to yield extraneous
considerations, that the board must act summarily, practically [racing] against time,
while, on the other hand, the judge has the benefit of all the evidence the parties can
offer and of admittedly better technical preparation and background, apart from his
being allowed ample time for conscientious study and mature deliberation before
rendering judgment, one cannot but perceive the wisdom of allowing the immediate
execution of decisions in election cases adverse to the protestees, notwithstanding the
perfection and pendency of appeals therefrom, as long as there are, in the sound
discretion of the court, good reasons therefor.(Emphasis supplied)
Thus, a primordial public interest to obviate a hollow victory for the duly elected candidate as
determined by the trial court lies behind the present rule giving suppletory application to Section 2.
Only a more compelling contrary policy consideration can prevent the suppletory application of Section 2.
In insisting that the simple expedient of posting a supersedeas bond can stay execution pending appeal,
petitioner Navarosa neither claims nor offers a more compelling contrary policy consideration. Instead,
she merely contends that Section 3 of Rule 39 ("Section 3") applies also in a suppletory character
because its "Siamese twin" 30 provision, Section 2, is already being so applied. Such simplistic reasoning
both ignores and negates the public interest underlying Section 2's application. We cannot countenance
such argument.
Furthermore, a supersedeas bond under Section 3 cannot fully protect the interests of the prevailing
party in election protest cases. Section 3 provides:
Stay of discretionary execution. Discretionary execution issued under the preceding
section may be stayed upon approval by the proper court of a sufficient bond, filed by the
party against whom it is directed, conditioned upon the performance of the judgment or
order allowed to be executed in case it shall be finally sustained in whole or in part. The

bond thus given may be proceeded against on motion with notice to the surety.
(Emphasis supplied)
A supersedeas bond secures the performance of the judgment or order appealed from in case of its
affirmation. 31 Section 3 finds application in ordinary civil actions where the interest of the prevailing
party is capable of pecuniary estimation, and consequently, of protection, through the filing of a
supersedeas bond. Thus, the penultimate sentence of Section 3 states: "[T]he bond thus given may be
proceeded against on motion with notice to the surety." Consequently, it finds no application in election
protest cases where judgments invariably include orders which are not capable of pecuniary estimation
such as the right to hold office and perform its functions. As well observed by the COMELEC Second
Division in its Resolution in the instant case:
The supersedeas bond, as used under Section 3, Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, refers to a bond, either in cash or a surety bond, filed by the losing party in an
ordinary civil action to secure the performance or to satisfy the judgment appealed from
in case it is affirmed on appeal in favor of the prevailing party. A supersedeas bond is
filed purposely for the performance of the judgment appealed from in case it is affirmed
by the appellate court. On the assumption that the filing of the supersedeas bond applies
in an election protest case, the practical considerations of the matter dictate that it
cannot secure the performance of or satisfy the judgment rendered in an election protest
which basically involves the right to hold a public office and the performance of its
functions in accordance with the mandate of the law, except insofar as the monetary
award provided in the special order. By allowing the filing of a supersedeas bond to stay
the execution of a judgment in an election protest declaring the protestant, as in the case
of petitioner herein, as the winning candidate who is entitled to the right to hold and
perform the functions of the contested public office, would render the judgment in an
election protest illusory. . . . While the supersedeas bond ensures that the appealed
decision if affirmed is satisfied, in an election protest case, such bond, in the event the
appealed case is affirmed and the execution pending appeal is proven to be meritorious,
cannot adequately answer for the deprivation of a duly elected candidate of his post, and
his
constituents
of
their
leader
of
choice,
such
deprivation
being
unquantifiable. 32 (Emphasis added)
As applied to the present case, the supersedeas bond petitioner Navarosa filed can only answer for that
portion of the trial court's ruling ordering her to pay to respondent Esto actual damages, attorney's fees
and the cost of the suit. It cannot secure execution of that portion proclaiming respondent Esto duly
elected mayor of Libacao, Aklan by popular will of the electorate and authorizing him to assume the
office. This anomalous situation defeats the very purpose for the filing of the supersedeas bond in the
first place.
In sum, the Court holds that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in ordering execution
pending appeal of the trial court's decision. Grave abuse of discretion implies capricious and whimsical
exercise of judgment amounting to lack of jurisdiction, or arbitrary and despotic exercise of power
because of passion or personal hostility. The grave abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to
amount to an evasion or refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. 33 This does not obtain in the present
case.
WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the instant petition. The Resolution dated 28 November 2002 of the COMELEC
Second Division, and the Resolution dated 15 April 2003 of the COMELEC En Banc, are AFFIRMED.
The status quo order dated 10 June 2003 is LIFTED and the COMELEC is directed to cause the
implementation of the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Kalibo, Aklan, Branch 9, in Election Case No.

129, without prejudice to any judgment the COMELEC may render in EAC Case No. A-9-2002. Moreover,
respondent Roger M. Esto shall pay immediately the P200 deficiency in the COMELEC filing fee. cCTIaS
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C .J ., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez,
Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio Morales, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna and Tinga, JJ ., concur.
Footnotes
1.Penned by Commissioner Mehol K. Sadain
(1999); Gatchalian v. Court of Appeals,
with Commissioners Ralph C. Lantion
315 Phil. 134 (1995).
and Florentino A. Tuason, Jr., concurring.
20.Section 22 of Republic Act No. 7166 vests
2.Penned by Judge Dean R. Telan.
Regional Trial Courts ("RTCs") with
3.Petitioner Navarosa received 4,876 votes
exclusive original jurisdiction over
while respondent Esto obtained 4,873
election protests involving municipal
votes.
officials. The payment of the COMELEC
4.Rollo, pp. 8485.
filing fee merely allows the RTCs to
5.Rollo, pp. 155157.
exercise such jurisdiction. (For a
6.Rollo, pp. 4448.
distinction between subject matter
7.Ibid., pp. 1617.
jurisdiction
and
exercise
of
8.Gatchalian v. Court of Appeals, 315 Phil. 134
jurisdiction, see Lim v. Pacquing, G.R.
(1995).
No. 115044, 1 September 1994, 236
9.Soller v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No.
SCRA 211).
139853, 5 September 2000, 339 SCRA
21.For a grant of similar remedy, see National
685; Miranda v. Castillo, G.R. No.
Steel Corporation v. Court of Appeals,
126301, 19 June 1997, 274 SCRA
362 Phil. 150 (1999).
503; Loyola v. COMELEC, 337 Phil. 134
22.Juliano v. Court of Appeals, 127 Phil. 207
(1997);Gatchalian v. Court of Appeals,
(1967).
315 Phil. 134 (1995); Pahilan v. Tabalba,
23.Alvarez v. Commission on Elections, G.R.
G.R. No. 110170, 21 February 1994, 230
No. 142527, 1 March 2001, 353 SCRA
SCRA 205.
434.
10.Rollo, pp. 1920.
24.G.R. No. 130831, 10 February 1998, 286
11.Ibid., p. 74.
SCRA 188, reiterated in Santos v.
12.Pahilan v. Tabalba, supra, note 9.
Commission on Elections, G.R. No.
13.In case of non-payment of filing fees, the
155618, 26 March 2003.
election protest will be dismissed
25.Gutierrez v. Commission on Elections, 337
(see Gatchalian v. Court of Appeals, 315
Phil. 143 (1997), and Tobon Uy v.
Phil. 134 [1995]).
Commission on Elections, G.R. No.
14.G.R. No. 126301, 19 June 1997, 274 SCRA
88158, 4 March 1992, 206 SCRA 779.
503.
26.338 Phil. 474 (1997).
15.337 Phil. 134 (1997).
27.Section 218 provides: "Assumption of office
16.The records do not contain a copy of
notwithstanding an election contest.
petitioner Navarosa's Answer.
Every candidate for provincial, city,
17.La Campana Food Products, Inc. v. Court of
municipal or municipal district office
Appeals, G.R. No. 88246, 4 June 1993,
duly
proclaimed
elected
by
the
223 SCRA 151;Martinez v. De la Merced,
corresponding board of canvassers shall
G.R. No. 82039, 20 June 1989, 174 SCRA
assume office, notwithstanding the
182; Tajonera v. Lamaroza, G.R. Nos.
pendency in the courts of any contest
48907 & 49035, 19 December 1981,
against his election, without prejudice
110 SCRA 438; Summit Guaranty &
to the final decision thereon and
Insurance Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals,
applicable provisions of the Rules of
L-51539, 14 December 1981, 110 SCRA
Court regarding execution of judgment
241; People v. Munar, G.R. No. L-37642,
pending appeal."
22 October 1973, 53 SCRA 278.
28.Ramas v. Commission on Elections, supra,
18.G.R. No. 105180, 5 July 1993, 224 SCRA
note 24. For prior but identical
491,
reiterated
in National
Steel
rulings, see Lindo v. Commission on
Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 362
Elections, G.R. No. 127311, 19 June
Phil. 150 (1999).
1997,
274
SCRA
511; Garcia
v.
19.Soller v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No.
Commission on Elections, G.R. No.
139853, 5 September 2000, 339 SCRA
88158, 4 March 1992, 206 SCRA 779.
685; Melendres, Jr. v. Commission on
29.G.R. No. L-404115, 27 June 1975, 64 SCRA
Elections,
377
Phil.
275
494.

30.Rollo, pp. 2730.


31.De Leon v. De los Santos, 78 Phil. 461
(1947).
32.Rollo, pp. 4648.

33.Alafriz vs. Nable, 72 Phil. 278 (1941).


||| (Navarosa v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 157957,
[September 18, 2003], 458 PHIL 233-254)