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[G.R. No. 142840.

May 7, 2001]
ANTONIO BENGSON III, petitioner, vs. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL and TEODORO C. CRUZ,
respondents.
D E C I S I O N
KAPUNAN, J.:
The citizenship of respondent Teodoro C. Cruz is at issue in this case, in view of the constitutional requirement that "no
person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen."[if !supportFootnotes][1][endif]
Respondent Cruz was a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. He was born in San Clemente, Tarlac, on April 27, 1960, of
Filipino parents. The fundamental law then applicable was the 1935 Constitution.[if !supportFootnotes][2][endif]
On November 5, 1985, however, respondent Cruz enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and, without the consent of the
Republic of the Philippines, took an oath of allegiance to the United States. As a consequence, he lost his Filipino citizenship for
under Commonwealth Act No. 63, Section 1(4), a Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship by, among others, "rendering service to or
accepting commission in the armed forces of a foreign country." Said provision of law reads:
Section 1. How citizenship may be lost. -- A Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship in any of the following ways and/or events:
x x x
(4) By rendering services to, or accepting commission in, the armed forces of a foreign country: Provided, That the rendering of
service to, or the acceptance of such commission in, the armed forces of a foreign country, and the taking of an oath of allegiance
incident thereto, with the consent of the Republic of the Philippines, shall not divest a Filipino of his Philippine citizenship if either
of the following circumstances is present:
(a) The Republic of the Philippines has a defensive and/or offensive pact of alliance with said foreign country; or
(b) The said foreign country maintains armed forces on Philippine territory with the consent of the Republic of the Philippines:
Provided, That the Filipino citizen concerned, at the time of rendering said service, or acceptance of said commission, and taking the
oath of allegiance incident thereto, states that he does so only in connection with his service to said foreign country; And provided,
finally, That any Filipino citizen who is rendering service to, or is commissioned in, the armed forces of a foreign country under any
of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b), shall not be permitted to participate nor vote in any election of the Republic
of the Philippines during the period of his service to, or commission in, the armed forces of said country. Upon his discharge from
the service of the said foreign country, he shall be automatically entitled to the full enjoyment of his civil and political rights as a
Filipino citizen x x x.
Whatever doubt that remained regarding his loss of Philippine citizenship was erased by his naturalization as a U.S. citizen
on June 5, 1990, in connection with his service in the U.S. Marine Corps.
On March 17, 1994, respondent Cruz reacquired his Philippine citizenship through repatriation under Republic Act No.
2630.[if !supportFootnotes][3][endif] He ran for and was elected as the Representative of the Second District of Pangasinan in the May 11,
1998 elections. He won by a convincing margin of 26,671 votes over petitioner Antonio Bengson III, who was then running for
reelection.
Subsequently, petitioner filed a case for Quo Warranto Ad Cautelam with respondent House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal (HRET) claiming that respondent Cruz was not qualified to become a member of the House of Representatives since he is
not a natural-born citizen as required under Article VI, Section 6 of the Constitution.[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif]
On March 2, 2000, the HRET rendered its decision[if !supportFootnotes][5][endif] dismissing the petition for quo warranto and
declaring respondent Cruz the duly elected Representative of the Second District of Pangasinan in the May 1998 elections. The
HRET likewise denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the decision in its resolution dated April 27, 2000.[if
!supportFootnotes][6][endif]
Petitioner thus filed the present petition for certiorari assailing the HRET's decision on the following grounds:
1. The HRET committed serious errors and grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess of jurisdiction, when it ruled that private
respondent is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines despite the fact that he had ceased being such in view of the loss and
renunciation of such citizenship on his part.
2. The HRET committed serious errors and grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess of jurisdiction, when it considered
private respondent as a citizen of the Philippines despite the fact that he did not validly acquire his Philippine citizenship.
3. Assuming that private respondent's acquisition of Philippine citizenship was invalid, the HRET committed serious errors and
grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess of jurisdiction, when it dismissed the petition despite the fact that such reacquisition
could not legally and constitutionally restore his natural-born status.[if !supportFootnotes][7][endif]
The issue now before us is whether respondent Cruz, a natural-born Filipino who became an American citizen, can still be
considered a natural-born Filipino upon his reacquisition of Philippine citizenship.
Petitioner asserts that respondent Cruz may no longer be considered a natural-born Filipino since he lost his Philippine
citizenship when he swore allegiance to the United States in 1995, and had to reacquire the same by repatriation. He insists that
Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution expressly states that natural-born citizens are those who are citizens from birth without
having to perform any act to acquire or perfect such citizenship.
Respondent on the other hand contends that he reacquired his status as a natural-born citizen when he was repatriated since
the phrase "from birth" in Article IV, Section 2 refers to the innate, inherent and inborn characteristic of being a natural-born
citizen.

The petition is without merit.
The 1987 Constitution enumerates who are Filipino citizens as follows:
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution;
(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines;
(3) Those born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority, and
(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.[if !supportFootnotes][8][endif]
There are two ways of acquiring citizenship: (1) by birth, and (2) by naturalization. These ways of acquiring citizenship
correspond to the two kinds of citizens: the natural-born citizen, and the naturalized citizen. A person who at the time of his birth is
a citizen of a particular country, is a natural-born citizen thereof.[if !supportFootnotes][9][endif]
As defined in the same Constitution, natural-born citizens "are those citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to
perform any act to acquire or perfect his Philippine citizenship."[if !supportFootnotes][10][endif]
On the other hand, naturalized citizens are those who have become Filipino citizens through naturalization, generally under
Commonwealth Act No. 473, otherwise known as the Revised Naturalization Law, which repealed the former Naturalization Law
(Act No. 2927), and by Republic Act No. 530.[if !supportFootnotes][11][endif] To be naturalized, an applicant has to prove that he possesses all
the qualifications[if !supportFootnotes][12][endif] and none of the disqualifications[if !supportFootnotes][13][endif] provided by law to become a Filipino
citizen. The decision granting Philippine citizenship becomes executory only after two (2) years from its promulgation when the
court is satisfied that during the intervening period, the applicant has (1) not left the Philippines; (2) has dedicated himself to a
lawful calling or profession; (3) has not been convicted of any offense or violation of Government promulgated rules; or (4)
committed any act prejudicial to the interest of the nation or contrary to any Government announced policies.[if !supportFootnotes][14][endif]
Filipino citizens who have lost their citizenship may however reacquire the same in the manner provided by law.
Commonwealth Act. No. 63 (C.A. No. 63), enumerates the three modes by which Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by a
former citizen: (1) by naturalization, (2) by repatriation, and (3) by direct act of Congress.[if !supportFootnotes][15][endif]
Naturalization is a mode for both acquisition and reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. As a mode of initially acquiring
Philippine citizenship, naturalization is governed by Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended. On the other hand, naturalization as
a mode for reacquiring Philippine citizenship is governed by Commonwealth Act No. 63.[if !supportFootnotes][16][endif] Under this law, a
former Filipino citizen who wishes to reacquire Philippine citizenship must possess certain qualifications[if !supportFootnotes][17][endif] and
none of the disqualifications mentioned in Section 4 of C.A. 473.[if !supportFootnotes][18][endif]
Repatriation, on the other hand, may be had under various statutes by those who lost their citizenship due to: (1) desertion
of the armed forces;[if !supportFootnotes][19][endif] (2) service in the armed forces of the allied forces in World War II;[if !supportFootnotes][20][endif]
(3) service in the Armed Forces of the United States at any other time;[if !supportFootnotes][21][endif] (4) marriage of a Filipino woman to an
alien;[if !supportFootnotes][22][endif] and (5) political and economic necessity.[if !supportFootnotes][23][endif]
As distinguished from the lengthy process of naturalization, repatriation simply consists of the taking of an oath of allegiance
to the Republic of the Philippines and registering said oath in the Local Civil Registry of the place where the person concerned
resides or last resided.
In Angat v. Republic,[if !supportFootnotes][24][endif] we held:
xxx. Parenthetically, under these statutes [referring to RA Nos. 965 and 2630], the person desiring to reacquire Philippine
citizenship would not even be required to file a petition in court, and all that he had to do was to take an oath of allegiance to the
Republic of the Philippines and to register that fact with the civil registry in the place of his residence or where he had last resided
in the Philippines. [Italics in the original.][if !supportFootnotes][25][endif]
Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality.[if !supportFootnotes][26][endif] This means that a
naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if
he was originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his former status as a naturalborn Filipino.
In respondent Cruz's case, he lost his Filipino citizenship when he rendered service in the Armed Forces of the United States.
However, he subsequently reacquired Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 2630, which provides:
Section 1. Any person who had lost his Philippine citizenship by rendering service to, or accepting commission in, the Armed Forces
of the United States, or after separation from the Armed Forces of the United States, acquired United States citizenship, may
reacquire Philippine citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and registering the same with
Local Civil Registry in the place where he resides or last resided in the Philippines. The said oath of allegiance shall contain a
renunciation of any other citizenship.
Having thus taken the required oath of allegiance to the Republic and having registered the same in the Civil Registry of
Magantarem, Pangasinan in accordance with the aforecited provision, respondent Cruz is deemed to have recovered his original
status as a natural-born citizen, a status which he acquired at birth as the son of a Filipino father.[if !supportFootnotes][27][endif] It bears
stressing that the act of repatriation allows him to recover, or return to, his original status before he lost his Philippine
citizenship.
Petitioner's contention that respondent Cruz is no longer a natural-born citizen since he had to perform an act to regain his
citizenship is untenable. As correctly explained by the HRET in its decision, the term "natural-born citizen" was first defined in
Article III, Section 4 of the 1973 Constitution as follows:
Sec. 4. A natural-born citizen is one who is a citizen of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or

perfect his Philippine citizenship.
Two requisites must concur for a person to be considered as such: (1) a person must be a Filipino citizen from birth and (2)
he does not have to perform any act to obtain or perfect his Philippine citizenship.
Under the 1973 Constitution definition, there were two categories of Filipino citizens which were not considered naturalborn: (1) those who were naturalized and (2) those born before January 17, 1973,[if !supportFootnotes][28][endif] of Filipino mothers who,
upon reaching the age of majority, elected Philippine citizenship. Those "naturalized citizens" were not considered natural-born
obviously because they were not Filipinos at birth and had to perform an act to acquire Philippine citizenship. Those born of
Filipino mothers before the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution were likewise not considered natural-born because they also had to
perform an act to perfect their Philippine citizenship.
The present Constitution, however, now considers those born of Filipino mothers before the effectivity of the 1973
Constitution and who elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the majority age as natural-born. After defining who are naturalborn citizens, Section 2 of Article IV adds a sentence: "Those who elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3),
Section 1 hereof shall be deemed natural-born citizens." Consequently, only naturalized Filipinos are considered not natural-born
citizens. It is apparent from the enumeration of who are citizens under the present Constitution that there are only two classes of
citizens: (1) those who are natural-born and (2) those who are naturalized in accordance with law. A citizen who is not a
naturalized Filipino, i.e., did not have to undergo the process of naturalization to obtain Philippine citizenship, necessarily is a
natural-born Filipino. Noteworthy is the absence in said enumeration of a separate category for persons who, after losing Philippine
citizenship, subsequently reacquire it. The reason therefor is clear: as to such persons, they would either be natural-born or
naturalized depending on the reasons for the loss of their citizenship and the mode prescribed by the applicable law for the
reacquisition thereof. As respondent Cruz was not required by law to go through naturalization proceedings in order to reacquire
his citizenship, he is perforce a natural-born Filipino. As such, he possessed all the necessary qualifications to be elected as member
of the House of Representatives.
A final point. The HRET has been empowered by the Constitution to be the "sole judge" of all contests relating to the election,
returns, and qualifications of the members of the House.[if !supportFootnotes][29][endif] The Court's jurisdiction over the HRET is merely to
check "whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of the
latter.[if !supportFootnotes][30][endif] In the absence thereof, there is no occasion for the Court to exercise its corrective power and annul the
decision of the HRET nor to substitute the Court's judgment for that of the latter for the simple reason that it is not the office of a
petition for certiorari to inquire into the correctness of the assailed decision.[if !supportFootnotes][31][endif] There is no such showing of
grave abuse of discretion in this case.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.



[G.R. No. 135083. May 26, 1999]
ERNESTO S. MERCADO, petitioner, vs. EDUARDO BARRIOS MANZANO and the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
MENDOZA, J.:
Petitioner Ernesto S. Mercado and private respondent Eduardo B. Manzano were candidates for vice mayor of the City of
Makati in the May 11, 1998 elections. The other one was Gabriel V. Daza III. The results of the election were as follows:
Eduardo B. Manzano 103,853
Ernesto S. Mercado 100,894
Gabriel V. Daza III 54,275[if !supportFootnotes][1][endif]
The proclamation of private respondent was suspended in view of a pending petition for disqualification filed by a certain
Ernesto Mamaril who alleged that private respondent was not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States.
In its resolution, dated May 7, 1998,[if !supportFootnotes][2][endif] the Second Division of the COMELEC granted the petition of
Mamaril and ordered the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of private respondent on the ground that he is a dual citizen
and, under 40(d) of the Local Government Code, persons with dual citizenship are disqualified from running for any elective
position. The COMELECs Second Division said:
What is presented before the Commission is a petition for disqualification of Eduardo Barrios Manzano as candidate for the office of
Vice-Mayor of Makati City in the May 11, 1998 elections. The petition is based on the ground that the respondent is an American
citizen based on the record of the Bureau of Immigration and misrepresented himself as a natural-born Filipino citizen.
In his answer to the petition filed on April 27, 1998, the respondent admitted that he is registered as a foreigner with the Bureau of
Immigration under Alien Certificate of Registration No. B-31632 and alleged that he is a Filipino citizen because he was born in
1955 of a Filipino father and a Filipino mother. He was born in the United States, San Francisco, California, on September 14, 1955,
and is considered an American citizen under US Laws. But notwithstanding his registration as an American citizen, he did not lose
his Filipino citizenship.
Judging from the foregoing facts, it would appear that respondent Manzano is both a Filipino and a US citizen. In other words, he
holds dual citizenship.
The question presented is whether under our laws, he is disqualified from the position for which he filed his certificate of

private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration. to reconvene and proclaim the respondent Eduardo Luis Barrios Manzano as the winning candidate for vice-mayor of Makati City. 1998 elections. petitioner may not be declared the winner even assuming that Manzano is disqualified to run for and hold the elective office of Vice-Mayor of the City of Makati. citizen when he: 1. Accordingly. he registered himself as a voter. citizenship. however. adopted on May 7. 3044. before . Frivaldo vs.S. Mercado. 1998. 2. 1998. He renounced his U. who obtained one hundred thousand eight hundred ninety four (100. effectively. He acquired US citizenship by operation of the United States Constitution and laws under the principle of jus soli. pursuant to Omnibus Resolution No. elections. ACCORDINGLY. 1998. with one commissioner abstaining. the resolution of the Second Division. 1998. petitioner sought to intervene in the case for disqualification. Petitioner contends that [T]he COMELEC en banc ERRED in holding that: A. 1998 elections. Under Philippine law. or a margin of two thousand nine hundred fifty nine (2. His parents also registered him as an alien with the Philippine Bureau of Immigration. as his father and mother were Filipinos at the time of his birth. Pursuant to the resolution of the COMELEC en banc. At the time of the May 11. 1998. 1998 elections. We first consider the threshold procedural issue raised by private respondent Manzano whether petitioner Mercado has personality to bring this suit considering that he was not an original party in the case for disqualification filed by Ernesto Mamaril nor was petitioners motion for leave to intervene granted. 1998. the board of canvassers. California. his parents brought him to the Philippines using an American passport as travel document. WHEREFORE.894) votes. the board of canvassers tabulated the votes cast for vice mayor of Makati City but suspended the proclamation of the winner.S. At the age of six (6). PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO BRING THIS SUIT Private respondent cites the following provisions of Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure of the COMELEC in support of his claim that petitioner has no right to intervene and. U. 257 SCRA 727). it would be far better to err in favor of the popular choice than be embroiled in complex legal issues involving private international law which may well be settled before the highest court (Cf. At the time of the May 11. proclaimed private respondent as vice mayor of the City of Makati.A. When proper and when may be permitted to intervene. as he did not renounce Philippine citizenship and did not take an oath of allegiance to the United States. He renounced his U. Under Philippine law. did not result in the loss of his Philippine citizenship. adopted on May 7. the Commission hereby declares the respondent Eduardo Barrios Manzano DISQUALIFIED as candidate for ViceMayor of Makati City. the COMELEC en banc rendered its resolution. We declare respondent Eduardo Luis Barrios Manzano to be QUALIFIED as a candidate for the position of vice-mayor of Makati City in the May 11. cannot bring this suit to set aside the ruling denying his motion for intervention: Section 1. Gabriel Daza III obtained third place with fifty four thousand two hundred seventy five (54. garnering one hundred three thousand eight hundred fifty three (103. citizenship when he (merely) registered himself as a voter and voted in the elections of 1992. respondent Eduardo Barrios Manzano was born in San Francisco. 1995 and 1998. Any person allowed to initiate an action or proceeding may. Respondent Manzano obtained the highest number of votes among the candidates for vice-mayor of Makati City.959) votes. Is he eligible for the office he seeks to be elected? Under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code.candidacy. The motion was not resolved.[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif] Petitioners motion was opposed by private respondent.[if !supportFootnotes][5][endif] The pertinent portions of the resolution of the COMELEC en banc read: As aforesaid. and. Ernesto S. on August 31. On May 19. the COMELEC en banc reversed the ruling of its Second Division and declared private respondent qualified to run for vice mayor of the City of Makati in the May 11. Commission on Elections. In applying election laws. upon proper notice to the parties.S. 1995 and 1998. dated May 10. which effectively renounced his US citizenship under American law. ordering the cancellation of the respondents certificate of candidacy. I. This.275) votes. He was also a natural born Filipino citizen by operation of the 1935 Philippine Constitution. those holding dual citizenship are disqualified from running for any elective local position. B. He was issued an alien certificate of registration. therefore. he no longer had U. 1998.S.853) votes over his closest rival. Manzano was no longer a U. It is an undisputed fact that when respondent attained the age of majority. C. the Commission directs the Makati City Board of Canvassers. 1998. Voting 4 to 1. WHEREFORE. and voted in the elections of 1992. was not yet final.[if !supportFootnotes][3][endif] The motion remained pending even until after the election held on May 11. of the COMELEC. Instead. On May 8. citizenship when he attained the age of majority when he was already 37 years old. 1998. This is a petition for certiorari seeking to set aside the aforesaid resolution of the COMELEC en banc and to declare private respondent disqualified to hold the office of vice mayor of Makati City. the Commission en banc hereby REVERSES the resolution of the Second Division. Manzano is qualified to run for and or hold the elective office of Vice-Mayor of the City of Makati. the resolution of the Second Division adopted on 7 May 1998 was not yet final so that.S. on the evening of August 31.

a registered voter of Makati City. otherwise known as the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987. IV) of our Constitution. To begin with. the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action. The former arises when. by some positive act. inquiry. unless by their act or omission they are deemed to have renounced Philippine citizenship. be permitted by the Commission. 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. at the time petitioner sought to intervene in the proceedings before the COMELEC. if he has legal interest in the matter in litigation.A. Nor is petitioners interest in the matter in litigation any less because he filed a motion for intervention only on May 20. was competent to bring the action. No. the Commission or the Division. . . The flaw in this argument is it assumes that. which declares as disqualified from running for any elective local position: . is that there had been no proclamation at that time. intervention may be allowed in proceedings for disqualification even after election if there has yet been no final judgment rendered. it is possible for the following classes of citizens of the Philippines to possess dual citizenship: (1) Those born of Filipino fathers and/or mothers in foreign countries which follow the principle of jus soli. petitioner had. and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. without performing any act. or in the success of either of the parties. Congress has command[ed] in explicit terms the ineligibility of persons possessing dual allegiance to hold local elective office. at the time petitioner filed a Motion for Leave to File Intervention on May 20. No. and still has. DUAL CITIZENSHIP AS A GROUND FOR DISQUALIFICATION The disqualification of private respondent Manzano is being sought under 40 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (R. so was petitioner since the latter was a rival candidate for vice mayor of Makati City. Considering the citizenship clause (Art. a person is simultaneously considered a national by the said states. there had already been a proclamation of the results of the election for the vice mayoralty contest for Makati City. Under this provision. Private respondent argues that petitioner has neither legal interest in the matter in litigation nor an interest to protect because he is a defeated candidate for the vice-mayoralty post of Makati City [who] cannot be proclaimed as the Vice-Mayor of Makati City even if the private respondent be ultimately disqualified by final and executory judgment. This brings us to the next question. as a result of the concurrent application of the different laws of two or more states. shall consider whether or not the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties and whether or not the intervenors rights may be fully protected in a separate action or proceeding. (2) Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien fathers if by the laws of their fathers country such children are citizens of that country. or an interest against both. who sides with him in this case.[if !supportFootnotes][9][endif] For instance. If Ernesto Mamaril (who originally instituted the disqualification proceedings). 1998. Section 3. there had been no proclamation of the winner. In allowing or disallowing a motion for intervention. .or during the trial of an action or proceeding. however. refers to the situation in which a person simultaneously owes. be also a citizen of another state. upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor. such a situation may arise when a person whose parents are citizens of a state which adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis is born in a state which follows the doctrine of jus soli. No. but the above cases are clearly possible given the constitutional provisions on citizenship. petitioner. which provides: Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for. The fact. or when he is so situated as to be adversely affected by such action or proceeding.[if !supportFootnotes][7][endif] only applies to cases in which the election of the respondent is contested. namely. COMELEC. The rule in Labo v. Discretion of Commission.A. . in its discretion to intervene in such action or proceeding. That petitioner had a right to intervene at that stage of the proceedings for the disqualification against private respondent is clear from 6 of R. II.A. if so. justifying petitioner in filing the instant petition for certiorari. and the question is whether one who placed second to the disqualified candidate may be declared the winner. whether private respondent Manzano possesses dual citizenship and. As the COMELEC en banc instead decided the merits of the case. on the basis of which petitioner came out only second to private respondent. the present petition properly deals not only with the denial of petitioners motion for intervention but also with the substantive issues respecting private respondents alleged disqualification on the ground of dual citizenship. Certainly. contends that through 40(d) of the Local Government Code. ipso facto and without any voluntary act on his part. on the other hand. or protest and. 1998. 6646. Such a person. . In the present case. . 7160). There may be other situations in which a citizen of the Philippines may. is concurrently considered a citizen of both states.[if !supportFootnotes][6][endif] reiterated in several cases. Dual allegiance. as well as the Solicitor General. and petitioners purpose was precisely to have private respondent disqualified from running for [an] elective local position under 40(d) of R. dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. (d) Those with dual citizenship. This provision is incorporated in the Charter of the City of Makati. 7160. an interest in ousting private respondent from the race at the time he sought to intervene. in the exercise of its discretion. may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of guilt is strong. . whether he is disqualified from being a candidate for vice mayor of Makati City. The failure of the COMELEC en banc to resolve petitioners motion for intervention was tantamount to a denial of the motion. (3) Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latters country the former are considered citizens.[if !supportFootnotes][8][endif] Invoking the maxim dura lex sed lex. after private respondent had been shown to have garnered the highest number of votes among the candidates for vice mayor.

I want to draw attention to the fact that dual allegiance is not dual citizenship. the real impact on the security of this country. There is a Peking ticket. . Hence. . one of the most perceptive members of the Constitutional Commission. or regulate double citizenship? Clearly. China or Malaysia. they have the Associated Legislative Council for overseas Chinese wherein all of Southeast Asia including some European and Latin countries were represented. and especially Commissioner Concepcion who has always been worried about minority claims on our natural resources. as well as a Taipei ticket.A. such candidates at the same time forswear allegiance to the other country of which they are also citizens and thereby terminate their status as dual citizens. in including 5 in Article IV on citizenship. While dual citizenship is involuntary. upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy. It may be that. who must. In another session of the Commission. the concern for national security. As Joaquin G. That is often a function of the accident of mixed marriages or of birth on foreign soil. With respect to dual allegiance. 7854. therefore. we all know what happens in the triennial elections of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce which consists of about 600 chapters all over the country. When I speak of double allegiance. and it is asserted that some of them do renew their oath of allegiance to a foreign government maybe just to enter into the spirit of the occasion when the anniversary of the Sun Yat-Sen Republic is commemorated. with its attendant risk of double allegiance which is repugnant to our sovereignty and national security. Some of the great commercial places in downtown Taipei are Filipino-owned. the concern of the Constitutional Commission was not with dual citizens per se but with naturalized citizens who maintain their allegiance to their countries of origin even after their naturalization. President. In the course of those debates. I think some noted the fact that as a result of the wave of naturalizations since the decision to establish diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China was made in 1975. And until recently. either to Peking or Taiwan. Ople who explained its necessity as follows:[if !supportFootnotes][10][endif] . let us say. a good number of these naturalized Filipinos still routinely go to Taipei every October 10. But considering the scale of the problem. the phrase dual citizenship in R. We recognize a child of a Filipino mother. A significant number of Commissioners expressed their concern about dual citizenship in the sense that it implies a double allegiance under a double sovereignty which some of us who spoke then in a freewheeling debate thought would be repugnant to the sovereignty which pervades the Constitution and to citizenship itself which implies a uniqueness and which elsewhere in the Constitution is defined in terms of rights and obligations exclusive to that citizenship including. Commissioner Bernas. potentially great numbers of double citizens professing double allegiance. dual allegiance is the result of an individuals volition. I do not question double citizenship at all. in the article on Citizenship which will read as follows: DUAL ALLEGIANCE IS INIMICAL TO CITIZENSHIP AND SHALL BE DEALT WITH ACCORDING TO LAW. pointed out: [D]ual citizenship is just a reality imposed on us because we have no control of the laws on citizenship of other countries. page 17: Any person with dual citizenship is disqualified . in effect. 5 of the Constitution provides: Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law. who were concerned about the lack of guarantees of thorough assimilation. for candidates with dual citizenship. and back of this. 7160. worsening unemployment and social unrest. What we would like the Committee to consider is to take constitutional cognizance of the problem of dual allegiance. But whether or not she is considered a citizen of another country is something completely beyond our control. I appreciate what the Committee said that this could be left to the determination of a future legislature. And so. No. will the Committee entertain a proposed amendment at the proper time that will prohibit. Unlike those with dual allegiance. It can mean a tragic capital outflow when we have to endure a capital famine which also means economic stagnation. 20 must be understood as referring to dual allegiance. At that time.[if !supportFootnotes][12][endif] By electing Philippine citizenship. Consequently. which was dissolved after several years because of diplomatic friction. That is of no moment as the following discussion on 40(d) between Senators Enrile and Pimentel clearly shows:[if !supportFootnotes][13][endif] SENATOR ENRILE.loyalty to two or more states. in Mainland China in the Peoples Republic of China. And so. such an individual has not effectively renounced his foreign citizenship. of citizens who are already Filipinos but who. perhaps. I speak of this unsettled kind of allegiance of Filipinos. the obligation to rise to the defense of the State when it is threatened. Article IV. Mr. from the point of view of the foreign state and of its laws. This provision was included in the 1987 Constitution at the instance of Commissioner Blas F. Bernas. . I also took close note of the concern expressed by some Commissioners yesterday. No. For example. Dual allegiance can actually siphon scarce national capital to Taiwan. . is. probably Section 5. the sponsor might recall. I have circulated a memorandum to the Bernas Committee according to which a dual allegiance - and I reiterate a dual allegiance - is larger and more threatening than that of mere double citizenship which is seldom intentional and. they elect Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as persons with dual citizenship considering that their condition is the unavoidable consequence of conflicting laws of different states. including Commissioner Villacorta. Singapore. the Filipino-Chinese were also represented in that Overseas Council. Ople spoke on the problem of these citizens with dual allegiance. therefore. of course. it should suffice if. owned by Filipino-Chinese it is of common knowledge in Manila. 40(d) and in R.A. arising from. by their acts. and this is already happening. never insidious. this is exactly what we ask that the Committee kindly consider incorporating a new section. thus:[if !supportFootnotes][11][endif] . persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall under this disqualification. I would like to ask clarification of line 41. of course. may be said to be bound by a second allegiance. be subject to strict process with respect to the termination of their status. And so. Not widely known is the fact that the Filipino-Chinese community is represented in the Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China in Taiwan. I have detected a genuine and deep concern about double citizenship.

11. . However.[if !supportFootnotes][15][endif] it was held: [W]hen a person applying for citizenship by naturalization takes an oath that he renounces his loyalty to any other country or government and solemnly declares that he owes his allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.S. may such a situation disqualify the person to run for a local government position? SENATOR PIMENTEL. SENATOR ENRILE. OR IMMIGRANT TO. III. I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES AND WILL MAINTAIN TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE THERETO.S. Supreme Court in Afroyim v. it was ineffective as it should have been made when he reached the age of majority. one belonging to the country of his or her father and one belonging to the Republic of the Philippines. Yes. Under the present Constitution. President. Rusk[if !supportFootnotes][16][endif] as beyond the power given to the U. President. potentate. CITY/MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI. so that now he is solely a Philippine national. A FOREIGN COUNTRY. the parties agree that. He will always have one citizenship. the COMELEC must have in mind 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of the United States. . The latter should apply the law duly enacted by the legislative department of the Republic.to run for any elective local position. and that is the citizenship invested upon him or her in the Constitution of the Republic. AND THAT I IMPOSE THIS OBLIGATION UPON MYSELF VOLUNTARILY. In holding that by voting in Philippine elections private respondent renounced his American citizenship. of course. the condition imposed by law is satisfied and complied with. There is no requirement that such a natural born citizen. a person whose mother is a citizen of the Philippines is. private respondent elected Philippine citizenship and in effect renounced his American citizenship. as a citizen? No one can renounce. What we are saying. 1998. as the alleged renunciation was made when private respondent was already 37 years old. Under the Constitution. 1955. while the United States follows the doctrine of jus soli. at birth. Mr. then he is opening himself to question. then he will probably fall under this disqualification. President.S. at birth at least. we would be applying not what our legislative department has deemed it wise to require. Mr. However. must elect or give up Philippine citizenship. in any event. filed on March 27. and I have only one citizenship. SENATOR ENRILE. The determination whether such renunciation is valid or fully complies with the provisions of our Naturalization Law lies within the province and is an exclusive prerogative of our courts. someone whose mother is a citizen of the Philippines but his father is a foreigner is a natural-born citizen of the Republic. precisely. California on September 4. but what a foreign government has thought or intended to exact. So. upon reaching the age of majority. President. SENATOR PIMENTEL. THAT I WILL OBEY THE LAWS. SENATOR PIMENTEL. the Constitution does not require an election. To my mind. . contained the following statements made under oath: 6. the COMELEC en banc held that. or sovereignty[if !supportFootnotes][14][endif] of which at the time he is a subject or citizen before he can be issued a certificate of naturalization as a citizen of the Philippines. But we are talking from the viewpoint of Philippine law. Since the Philippines adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis. It must be resisted by all means and at all cost. Suppose he carries only a Philippine passport but the country of origin or the country of the father claims that person. He argues that merely taking part in Philippine elections is not sufficient evidence of renunciation and that. . BARANGAY SAN LORENZO. In Parado v. it only means that at the moment when he would want to run for public office. by participating in Philippine elections in 1992. 12. President. SENATOR PIMENTEL. Well. he was a national both of the Philippines and of the United States. and 1998. Petitioner challenges this ruling. Mr. a citizen without any overt act to claim the citizenship. if he does not renounce his other citizenship. Congress to regulate foreign relations. I AM A FILIPINO CITIZEN (STATE IF NATURAL-BORN OR NATURALIZED) NATURAL-BORN . Mr. To be sure this provision was declared unconstitutional by the U. No foreign law may or should interfere with its operation and application. That is true. whether by birth or naturalization. 10. is: Under the Gentlemans example. It would be a brazen encroachment upon the sovereign will and power of the people of this Republic. But if he exercises acts that will prove that he also acknowledges other citizenships. I AM NOT A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF. Mr. state. I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT THE FACTS STATED HEREIN ARE TRUE AND CORRECT OF MY OWN PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE. of Filipino parents. 747-A. if he is really interested to run. he has to repudiate one of his citizenships. There are such countries in the world. I AM A REGISTERED VOTER OF PRECINCT NO. PETITIONER'S ELECTION OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP The record shows that private respondent was born in San Francisco. the first thing he should do is to say in the Certificate of Candidacy that: I am a Filipino citizen. be an election for him of his desire to be considered as a Filipino citizen. This is similar to the requirement that an applicant for naturalization must renounce all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince. On the assumption that this person would carry two passports. LEGAL ORDERS AND DECREES PROMULGATED BY THE DULY CONSTITUTED AUTHORITIES OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. nevertheless. in effect. President. That. . I AM ELIGIBLE FOR THE OFFICE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED. If the requirement of the Chinese Law of Nationality were to be read into our Naturalization Law. WITHOUT MENTAL RESERVATION OR PURPOSE OF EVASION. SENATOR ENRILE. the very fact that he is running for public office would. is absurd. . by filing a certificate of candidacy when he ran for his present post. 1995. Republic. Private respondents certificate of candidacy. But. which provided that A person who is a national of the United States. Mr. PROVINCE OF NCR . shall lose his nationality by: . (e) Voting in a political election in a foreign state or participating in an election or plebiscite to determine the sovereignty over foreign territory. private respondent effectively renounced his U. citizenship under American law.

he had dual citizenship. 195649 July 2. truth to tell. In his Comment. absent any showing of capriciousness or arbitrariness or abuse. At best. BALUA. renounces his foreign nationality. We are not unaware that the term of office of the local officials elected in the May 2010 elections has already ended on June 30. Considering the fact that admittedly Osmea was both a Filipino and an American. . to be effective. which under Sec. ROMMEL ARNADO Y CAGOCO.The filing of such certificate of candidacy sufficed to renounce his American citizenship. Frivaldo wrote that he had long renounced and had long abandoned his American citizenship-long before May 8. . The acts attributed to him can be considered simply as the assertion of his American nationality before the termination of his American citizenship. but subsequently does some act constituting renunciation of his Philippine citizenship. of both nationalities or citizenships. Would the retroactivity of his repatriation not effectively give him dual citizenship. Equally without merit is petitioners contention that. 40 of the Local Government Code would disqualify him from running for any elective local position? We answer this question in the negative. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. . Furthermore. 1995. when considered with the fact that he has spent his youth and adulthood. petitioner Frivaldo lost his American citizenship when he took his oath of allegiance to the Philippine Government when he ran for Governor in 1988. as far as the laws of this country are concerned. that he will defend and support the Constitution of the Philippines and bear true faith and allegiance thereto and that he does so without mental reservation. [T]he Certification that he is an American does not mean that he is not still a Filipino. in 1992. there is no express renunciation here of Philippine citizenship. in electing Philippine citizenship. 1983 Frivaldo became an American. G. 1998. On this point. . by declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino citizen. Defensor-Santiago. the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit. R E S O L U T I O N SERENO. possessed as he is. as there is cogent reason to hold that Frivaldo was really STATELESS at the time he took said oath of allegiance and even before that. 2013 and the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration filed on May 20. he applied for the renewal of his Portuguese passport and declared in commercial documents executed abroad that he was a Portuguese national. There is. WHEREFORE. no merit in petitioners contention that the oath of allegiance contained in private respondents certificate of candidacy is insufficient to constitute renunciation of his American citizenship. COMELEC[if !supportFootnotes][18][endif] applies mutatis mutandis to private respondent in the case at bar: . it is basic that such findings of the Commission are conclusive upon this Court. private respondent has. 2013 CASAN MACODE MACQUILING. there is even no implied renunciation of said citizenship. On the other hand. Should he betray that trust. and taken part in past elections in this country. 2013. vs. such renunciation should have been made upon private respondent reaching the age of majority since no law requires the election of Philippine citizenship to be made upon majority age. His declarations will be taken upon the faith that he will fulfill his undertaking made under oath. PETITIONER. Frivaldo was stateless in the interim-when he abandoned and renounced his US citizenship but before he was repatriated to his Filipino citizenship. received his education. after taking his oath as a naturalized citizen. practiced his profession as an artist. private respondents oath of allegiance to the Philippines. it stands to reason that there can be no such loss of Philippine citizenship when there is no renunciation. These factual findings that Frivaldo has lost his foreign nationality long before the elections of 1995 have not been effectively rebutted by Lee. the mere fact that he has a Certificate stating he is an American does not mean that he is not still a Filipino. In Yu v.R. we quote from the assailed Resolution dated December 19.: This Resolution resolves the Motion for Reconsideration filed by respondent on May 10. . therefore. When We consider that the renunciation needed to lose Philippine citizenship must be express. Indeed. there are enough sanctions for declaring the loss of his Philippine citizenship through expatriation in appropriate proceedings.[if !supportFootnotes][19][endif] we sustained the denial of entry into the country of petitioner on the ground that. Thus. and in 1995. COMELEC it was held:[if !supportFootnotes][17][endif] It is not disputed that on January 20. No. To recapitulate. 1995: By the laws of the United States. that he is not a permanent resident or immigrant of another country. leaves no doubt of his election of Philippine citizenship. A similar sanction can be taken against any one who. What this Court said in Aznar v. There is no merit in this. in Frivaldo v. effectively repudiated his American citizenship and anything which he may have said before as a dual citizen. Every certificate of candidacy contains an oath of allegiance to the Philippine Government. J. much is made of the fact that private respondent admitted that he is registered as an American citizen in the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation and that he holds an American passport which he used in his last travel to the United States on April 22. effectively removing any disqualification he might have as a dual citizen. either express or implied. Finally. . when he ran for governor in 1988. AND LINOG G. 1997. Until the filing of his certificate of candidacy on March 21. RESPONDENTS.

it must be emphasized that COMELEC First Division found that Arnado used his U. It devalues the act of taking of an oath. 2013. Arnado. passport at least six times. unless it is shown that the administrative body had arbitrarily disregarded or misapprehended evidence before it to such an extent as to compel a contrary conclusion had such evidence been properly appreciated. or that he acquired American citizenship by naturalization. the fact that he was still able to use his US passport after executing his Affidavit of Renunciation repudiates this claim. Respondent likewise contends that this Court failed to cite any law of the United States "providing that a person who is divested of American citizenship thru an Affidavit of Renunciation will re-acquire such American citizenship by using a US Passport issued prior to expatriation. there is no doubt that Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code disqualifies those with dual citizenship from running for local elective positions. found Arnado to have more than one. The Court cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws.S. it is regarding the efficacy of Arnado’s renunciation of his American citizenship when he subsequently used his U. this Court has. however. It must be stressed. The COMELEC En Banc argued that Arnado was able to prove that he used his Philippine passport for his travels on the following dates: 12 January 2010. that the relevant question is the efficacy of his renunciation of his foreign citizenship and not the taking of the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. therefore. and are binding upon this Court. The renunciation of foreign citizenship must be complete and unequivocal. It is unquestioned that Arnado is a natural born Filipino citizen. It is also indubitable that after renouncing his American citizenship. passport on those occasions because his Philippine passport was not yet issued. he presented his accomplishments as the Mayor of Kauswagan. Nowhere in the decision does it say that Arnado is not a Filipino citizen. Allowing the subsequent use of a foreign passport because it is convenient for the person to do so is rendering the oath a hollow act."4 American law does not govern in this jurisdiction. or unless the aforementioned findings are not supported by substantial evidence.2010. passport. 16 April 2010. With all due respect to the dissent. and which agreed with Arnado’s claim that he only used his U. indicates a policy that anyone who seeks to run for public office must be solely and exclusively a Filipino citizen. Section 5(2)6 requires those who have re-acquired Philippine citizenship and who seek elective public office. given the fact that at the time Arnado filed his certificate of candidacy. This requirement of renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship. when read together with Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code7 which disqualifies those with dual citizenship from running for any elective local position. The dissent states that the Court has effectively left Arnado "a man without a country". which found that Arnado only used his U. Lanao del Norte and reiterated that he has taken the Oath of Allegiance not only twice but six times. Further.8 They are accorded not only great respect but even finality. to renounce any and all foreign citizenship. Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code calls for application in the case before us. we respectfully disagree that the majority decision rules on a situation of doubt. There is likewise no doubt that the use of a passport is a positive declaration that one is a citizen of the country which issued the passport. respondent was divested of all the rights of an American citizen. 2009 and thus claims that he was divested of his American citizenship. he was not only a Filipino citizen but. Indeed.S. . Neither do his accomplishments as mayor affect the question before this Court. To allow a former Filipino who reacquires Philippine citizenship to continue using a foreign passport – which indicates the recognition of a foreign state of the individual as its national – even after the Filipino has renounced his foreign citizenship.S. There is no doubt that he reacquired his Filipino citizenship by taking his Oath of Allegiance to the Philippines and that he renounced his American citizenship. 31 January 2010. has successfully finished his term of office. What the decision merely points out is that he also possessed another citizenship at the time he filed his certificate of candidacy. (RA) 9225 is that "all Philippine citizens who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of this Act. is to allow a complete disregard of this policy. the declared policy of Republic Act No. or that a passport proves that the country which issued it recognizes the person named therein as its national. If there is any remaining doubt. Respondent cites Section 349 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of the United States as having the effect of expatriation when he executed his Affidavit of Renunciation of American Citizenship on April 3. While the relief sought can no longer be granted.9 Nevertheless. ruling on the motion for reconsideration is important as it will either affirm the validity of Arnado’s election or affirm that Arnado never qualified to run for public office. by his own declaration.1âwphi1 On the contrary. The requirement that the renunciation must be made through an oath emphasizes the solemn duty of the one making the oath of renunciation to remain true to what he has sworn to."3 Mere reference to a foreign law in a pleading does not suffice for it to be considered in deciding a case. also an American citizen. Instead. Respondent failed to advance any argument to support his plea for the reversal of this Court’s Decision dated April 16.1 which must be presented as public documents2 of a foreign country and must be "evidenced by an official publication thereof. passport four times.S. in fact."5 This policy pertains to the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. 31 March 2010. It is the application of this law and not of any foreign law that serves as the basis for Arnado’s disqualification to run for any local elective position. Well-settled is the rule that findings of fact of administrative bodies will not be interfered with by the courts in the absence of grave abuse of discretion on the part of said agencies. Passport at least six times after he renounced his American citizenship. Arnado used his U. This was debunked by the COMELEC En Banc. reducing it to a mere ceremonial formality. 20 May 2010. and 4 June 2010.S. If indeed. Instead.

Isabela. the pertinent factual backdrop is summarized as follows: On March 24.) The aforementioned resolution dated December 8. is not supported by the facts. way beyond the deadline for filing a certificate of candidacy. On May 6. Adding these two travel dates to the travel record provided by the Bureau of Immigration showing that Arnado also presented his U. 2. the ruling of the COMELEC En Banc is based on a misapprehension of the facts that the use of the U.: Before us is a petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction questioning the resolution of the Comelec En Banc dated December 8. vs. petitioner Joel G.S.S. 1998 (pp. the Department of Finance. we are creating a special privilege for these dual citizens.S. Briefly. The COMELEC En Banc concluded that "the use of the US passport was because to his knowledge. 90-91. ANTONIO M. 1998. with petitioner garnering 22. upon arrival on 25 June 2009. which was docketed as SPA No. 136351. passport cannot be considered as isolated acts contrary to what the dissent wants us to believe. [G.S. and the Secretary of the Sangguniang Panglunsod of Santiago City. 1998. petitioner and private respondent vied for the mayoralty seat. the Commission (First Division) GRANTS the Petition. July 28.R. 1998.E. No. 1998. 1998. The petition was GRANTED by the Comelec in its resolution dated May 5. 1998 elections. passport even after he already received his Philippine passport. then incumbent mayor of Santiago City. Arnado arrived in the Philippines using his U. Jose Pempe Miranda. his Philippine passport was not yet issued to him for his use. These facts were never refuted by Arnado. Arnado’s travel records show that he presented his U. to read as follows: WHEREFORE. During the May 11. 3. The Comelec further ruled to DISQUALIFY Jose Pempe Miranda. supposedly as a substitute for his father. DIRECT THE City board of Canvassers of Santiago City to RECONVENE. private respondent Antonio M. the Department of Interior and Local Government.S. respondents. 1998 election and CANCEL the Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation (C. form 25) issued therefor. passport was discontinued when Arnado obtained his Philippine passport. D E C I S I O N MELO. J. PREPARE a new certificate of canvass & proclamation and PROCLAIM the winning candidate among those voted upon as the duly elected mayor of Santiago City in the May 11. SO ORDERED. 26-33. which was docketed as SPA No. petitioner.002 votes. 1999] JOEL G. these incidents sum up to six. Abaya filed a Petition to Deny Due Course to and/or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy (pp."10 This conclusion. Rollo). The records show that he continued to use his U. thereby effectively junking the prohibition in Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code. passport on 24 November 2009. on 21 January 2010. AMEND and RECTIFY the dispositive portion of the Resolution of the Commission (First Division) in SPA No. 1998 in SPA Case No. 1. SO ORDERED. however. It must be stressed that what is at stake here is the principle that only those who are exclusively Filipinos are qualified to run for public office. Jose Pempe Miranda. ANNUL the election and proclamation of respondent JOEL G. If we allow dual citizens who wish to run for public office to renounce their foreign citizenship and afterwards continue using their foreign passports. 98-288 which disposed: ACCORDINGLY. Arnado claims that his Philippine passport was issued on 18 June 2009. MIRANDA. Arnado’s continued use of his U. Respondent JOSE PEMPE MIRANDAs certificate of candidacy for the position of mayor of Santiago City in the May 11. passport four times (upon departure on 14 April 2009. WHEREFORE. Rollo.666 more votes than private respondent who got only 20. 1998. 1998 national and local elections is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE AND/OR CANCELLED. 1998 elections. Rollo). 1998 election. 36-43. in view of the foregoing. dismissing private respondents petition to declare the substitution of Jose Pempe Miranda by petitioner as candidate for the City of Santiagos mayoralty post void.None of these dates coincide with the two other dates indicated in the certification issued by the Bureau of Immigration showing that on 21 January 2010 and on 23 March 2010. Miranda filed his certificate of candidacy for the mayoralty post. On May 13. and on 23 March 2010. 98-019. and 4. SO ORDERED. MIRANDA as mayor of Santiago City in the May 11. filed his certificate of candidacy for the same mayoralty post for the synchronized May 11. 1998 reversed and set aside the earlier resolution of the First Division of the Comelec dated May 16. (pp. ABAYA and the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS.S. 98-288. private respondent filed a Petition to Declare Null and Void Substitution with Prayer for Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order. Thus. the Motion for Reconsideration and the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration are hereby DENIED with finality. 98-019 promulgated on May 5. Passport No. upon departure on 29 July 2009 and upon arrival on 24 November 2009). 057782700 which also indicated therein that his nationality is USA-American. judgment is hereby rendered to: 1. On March 27. DIRECT the Clerk of Court of the Commission to furnish copies of this Decision to the Office of the President of the Philippines. 336 votes. He prayed for the .

Whether the annulment of petitioners substitution and proclamation was issued without jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. withdraws or is disqualified for any cause. Rollo). 1998 resolution and he heavily relies upon the above-quoted provision allowing substitution of a candidate who has been disqualified for any cause. 73. Rollo). While there is no dispute as to whether or not a nominee of a registered or accredited political party may substitute for a candidate of the same party who had been disqualified for any cause. While the law enumerated the occasions where a candidate may be validly substituted. much in the same way that a nuisance candidate whose certificate of candidacy is denied due course and/or cancelled may not be substituted. 1998.nullification of petitioners certificate of candidacy for being void ab initio because the certificate of candidacy of Jose Pempe Miranda. 251) On the issue of soundness of the disposition in SPA No. withdrawal or disqualification should occur between the day before the election and mid-day of election day. with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. thus nullifying the substitution by petitioner Joel G. as we have said before. the Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order and to require respondents to comment on the petition. had already been cancelled and denied due course. there can be no valid substitution for the latter case. By its express language. and 2. Petitioner insists that the substitution at bar is allowed under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides: SEC. A person without a valid certificate of candidacy cannot be considered a candidate in much the same way as any person who has not filed any certificate of candidacy at all can not. It is but logical to say that any person who attempts . The authority to decide a cause at all. 98-288 motu proprio (pp. The substitute candidate nominated by the political party concerned may file his certificate of candidacy for the office affected in accordance with the preceding sections not later than mid-day of the day of the election. 1999. the decision of all other questions arising in the case is but an exercise of that jurisdiction.R. As early as in Herrera vs. On December 8. 245 [1913]). this does not include those cases where the certificate of candidacy of the person to be substituted had been denied due course and cancelled under Section 78 of the Code. In Bautista vs. there is no mention of the case where a candidate is excluded not only by disqualification but also by denial and cancellation of his certificate of candidacy.13). 1998. On December 9. the foregoing provision of law is absolutely mandatory. Rollo). Jurisdiction should therefore be distinguished from the exercise of jurisdiction. More importantly. The law clearly provides: SEC. there is no question that the case at hand is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Comelec. Petitioner capitalizes on the fact that the Comelec ruled to disqualify Jose Pempe Miranda in the May 5. but petitioner twice asked for an extension of the period. If the death. is what makes up jurisdiction. in the case of candidates to be voted for by the entire electorate of the country. with the Commission. whom petitioner was supposed to substitute. On the matter of jurisdiction. it does not depend either upon the regularity of the exercise of that power or upon the rightfulness of the decision made. 133840. the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died. Whether the order of the Comelec directing the proclamation of the private respondent was issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. disqualification or withdrawal. The Court required petitioner to file a consolidated reply within 10 days from notice. November 13. 1998. an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies. under the express provisions of Section 77 of the Code. Baretto (25 Phil. On May 16. through its counsel. 57-61. the Solicitor General. (p. the Court decided to resolve the controversy in favor of petitioner. the Court finds that the Comelecs action nullifying the substitution by and proclamation of petitioner for the mayoralty post of Santiago City. Candidates in case of death. Private respondent moved for reconsideration (pp. 98-288. petitioner sought this Courts intercession via a petition for certiorari. Comelec (G. 140-187 and 188-234. this Court had occasion to apply the following principles: Jurisdiction is the authority to hear and determine a causethe right to act in a case. Without granting the motions for extension of time to file consolidated reply. Tersely. and not the decision rendered therein. by any stretch of the imagination. 1998) this Court explicitly ruled that a cancelled certificate does not give rise to a valid candidacy (p. be a candidate at all. Rollo) and on February 16. they could have so easily and conveniently included those persons whose certificates of candidacy have been denied due course and/or cancelled under the provisions of Section 78 of the Code. If after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy. the Comelec. The Court finds neither lack of jurisdiction nor grave abuse of discretion attended the annulment of the substitution and proclamation of petitioner. 77. 1998. 254-265. not just any person. On December 11. Under the foregoing rule. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius. and certified by. Since it is the power to hear and determine. resolving to GRANT the motion for reconsideration. 1998. withdrew or was disqualified. Where there is jurisdiction over the subject matter. 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. filed its Comment (pp. If the intent of the lawmakers were otherwise. but only an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party may be substituted. only a person belonging to. said certificate may be filed with any board of election inspectors in the political subdivision where he is a candidate. Isabela is proper and legally sound. the issues in the present case may be summarized as follows: 1. On December 14. Miranda of his father as candidate for the mayoralty post of Santiago City. No. or. 62-72. Comelecs First Division dismissed SPA No. private respondent filed his Comment (pp. the Comelec En Banc rendered the assailed decision aforequoted.

in law. and Section 78 material misrepresentation). 98-019 specifically prayed for the following: WHEREFORE. such interpretation as will avoid inconvenience and absurdity shall in all cases be adopted.to run for an elective office but does not file a certificate of candidacy. Or. 1998 resolution. and (b) to avoid confusion and inconvenience in the tabulation of the votes cast. . and votes might be cast even for unknown or fictitious persons as a mark to identify the votes in favor of a candidate for another office in the same election. Section 68 Disqualifications) are totally separate and distinct from the grounds for cancellation and/or denying due course to a certificate of candidacy (Ibid. for how can a person take the place of somebody who does not exist or who never was. After having considered the importance of a certificate of candidacy. it can be readily understood why in Bautista we ruled that a person with a cancelled certificate is no candidate at all. the Court held that a certificate of candidacy filed beyond the period fixed by law is void. For if the law did not confine the choice or election by the voters to the duly registered candidates. for which reason. lest there be anarchy and chaos. Comelec (95 SCRA 431 [1980]). The question to settle next is whether or not aside from Joel Pempe Miranda being disqualified by the Comelec in its May 5. he cannot be substituted under Section 77 of the Code. it would be a crystalline case of unequal protection of the law. Only the candidate who had a valid certificate of candidacy may be substituted. Nemo dat quod non habet. a third candidate may be qualified but.. In Gador vs. Section 69 nuisance candidates. where there is ambiguity. there might be as many persons voted for as there are voters. he is and was not a candidate at all. it is respectfully prayed that the Certificate of Candidacy filed by respondent for the position of Mayor for the City of Santiago be not given due course and/or cancelled. Also. Applying this principle to the case at bar and considering that Section 77 of the Code is clear and unequivocal that only an official candidate of a registered or accredited party may be substituted. his certificate of candidacy may be denied due course and/or cancelled. the candidates among whom they are to make the choice. All told. the withdrawing candidate is required to have duly filed a valid certificate of candidacy in order to allow his political party to field a substitute candidate in his stead. Cuevas. things or cases akin to. a candidate. The evident purposes of the law in requiring the filing of certificates of candidacy and in fixing the time limit therefor are: (a) to enable the voters to know. 758 [1949]) It is at once evident that the importance of a valid certificate of candidacy rests at the very core of the electoral process. there is none because no one can give what he does not have. said certificate of candidacy is also cancelled and/or denied due course. at least sixty days before the regular election. Even on the most basic and fundamental principles. just as it is in the two previous instances. where a general word or phrase (such as disqualification for any cause in this case) follows an enumeration of particular and specific words of the same class (such as the words dies and withdraws in the instant case) or where the latter follow the former. 83 Phil. or of the same kind or class as those specifically mentioned (see: Vera vs. resembling. it is readily understood that the concept of a substitute presupposes the existence of the person to be substituted. Private respondents petition in SPA No. Furthermore. a disqualified candidate may only be substituted if he had a valid certificate of candidacy in the first place because. In the case of withdrawal of candidacy. To include those disqualified candidates whose certificate of candidacy had likewise been denied due course and/or cancelled among those who may be substituted under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code. interpretatio talis in ambiguis semper freinda est. his certificate of candidacy had likewise been denied due course and cancelled. meaning. is not a candidate at all. there demonstrably cannot be any possible substitution of a person whose certificate of candidacy has been cancelled and denied due course. or to be restricted to persons. The Court rules that it was. and the person who filed it is not. the general word or phrase is to be construed to include. under the foregoing rule. Nico. an act abhorred by our Constitution. if the disqualified candidate did not have a valid and seasonably filed certificate of candidacy. under ejusdem generis rule. Most reasonable it is then. Much in the same manner as a person who filed no certificate of candidacy at all and a person who filed it out of time. leads to the absurdity where a substitute is allowed to take the place of somebody who had not been a candidate in the first placea person who did not have a valid certificate of candidacy prior to substitution. otherwise his political party would not be allowed to field a substitute candidate in his stead under Section 77 of the Code. to hold that a valid certificate of candidacy is likewise an indispensable requisite in the case of a substitution of a disqualified candidate under the provisions of Section 77 of the Code. 90 SCRA 379 [1979]). if we were to allow the so-called substitute to file a new and original certificate of candidacy beyond the period for the filing thereof. This is possible because the grounds for disqualification (see: Omnibus Election Code. A candidate may not be qualified to run for election but may have filed a valid certificate of candidacy. ut eviatur inconveniens et absurdum. (Monsale vs. this explains why the law provides for grounds for the cancellation and denial of due course to certificates of candidacy. Verily. From the foregoing discussion it is evident that the controversy at hand is not a simple case of hair-splitting. The Court has no other choice but to rule that in all the instances enumerated in Section 77 of the Omnibus Election code. No amount of votes should entitle him to the elective office aspired for. If a person was not a candidate. A deceased candidate is required to have duly filed a valid certificate of candidacy. a person whose certificate of candidacy is cancelled or denied due course is no candidate at all. What right can a non-candidate pass on to his substitute? Clearly. Another candidate may likewise be not qualified and at the same time not have a valid certificate of candidacy. the existence of a valid certificate of candidacy seasonably filed is a requisite sine qua non. It cannot be taken lightly. No amount of votes would catapult him into office. Besides.

the following considerations are also in point: It may be relevantly stressed that the review powers of the Supreme Court over decisions of the Constitutional Commissions. any decision. The framers of the new Constitution must be presumed to have definite knowledge of what it means to make the decisions. the Comelec ruled favorably in the following manner: WHEREFORE. The Committee refers specifically to a technical term of review by certiorari would be relying on the provision of Rule XLV [Should be LXV] of the Rules of Court that laid down the three grounds. 98-288 in its December 8. Isabela. in the May 11.43. to correct. to a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 65. 98-019 by consolidating it with SPA No. (I RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION. The only issue that may be taken cognizance of in the present case is whether or not the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in rendering the assailed decision. Emphasis ours. in general. And since instead of maintaining that provision intact. later to become a distinguished Member of this Court. now. grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.) Thus. p. The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary. Mison (176 SCRA 84 [1989]). (Rollo. The disqualification was simply ruled over and above the granting of the specific prayer for denial of due course and cancellation of the certificate of candidacy. 31. compared to a review. in particular. in view of the foregoing. 539. As regards the procedural matter in the present petition for certiorari. Intermediate Appellate Court. it is sufficiently clear that the prayer specifically and particularly sought in the petition was GRANTED. BERNAS. technically connotes something less than saying that the same shall be subject to review by the Supreme Court. under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. but it transcended the same or acted without any statutory authority. then Commissioner. as a remedial measure. p. 1998 in SPA No. It may be stressed at this instance that the legal consequences of this May 5. what is the intention of the Committee? What are the grounds for certiorari? MR. It is well-settled that an act of a court or tribunal may only be considered to have been done in grave abuse of discretion when the same was performed in a capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment which is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. the Commission (FIRST DIVISION) GRANTS the Petition. complaints that justify certiorari under Rule 65. 1996 Edition. such is not within the province of certiorari.) In resolving the petition filed by private respondent specifying a very particular relief. the Court held: . which. we have to be guided by jurisprudence relating to review by certiorari under Rule 65. Therefore. as cited in Bernas. is well known in remedial law. 1998 resolution are independent of the issue of whether or not the Comelec was correct in reviving SPA No. SO ORDERED. it ordained that the Commissions actuations be instead brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari. were rather particularly defined and limited by the 1987 Constitution. Even assuming for the sake of argument that the Comelec committed an error in the exercise of its jurisdiction in the present case. which in turn suggests an appeal by review by petition for review under Rule 45. (p. We cannot insist that there was no intent to change the nature of the remedy. 111-112) To emphasize this procedural point. order. Commission of Elections. as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility (Intestate Estate of Carmen de Luna vs. Rollo. or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari.J. as they were also circumscribed in the 1973 Constitution. as under the 1973 Charter. 1998 national and local elections. Justice Florenz Regalado responded to Commissioner Bernas query during the deliberations of the 1987 Constitution thusly: FR. excess of jurisdiction refers to the case where the court has jurisdiction. peaceful and honest elections. for purposes of the record. as Aratuc tells us. . (pp. 170 SCRA 246 [1989]. REGALADO. certiorari lies where a court has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion.Other reliefs just and equitable in the premises are likewise prayed for.) From a plain reading of the dispositive portion of the Comelec resolution of May 5. Litton Mills . In Dario vs. We affirm the teaching of Aratuc vs. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. Without jurisdiction refers to an absolute want of jurisdiction. 1998 resolution. and the Commission on Elections. our jurisdiction over cases emanating from the Civil Service Commission is limited to complaints of lack or excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Mr. orders and rulings of the Commission subject to review by the Supreme Court. Generally. Emphasis ours. Respondent JOSE Pempe MIRANDA is hereby DISQUALIFIED from running for the position of mayor of Santiago City. there being no qualification on the matter whatsoever. In Aratuc. S. p. . 88 SCRA 251 [1979]) as regards recourse to this Court with respect to rulings of the Civil Service Commissionwhich is that judgments of the Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court through certiorari alone. So. x x x It should also be noted that under the new Constitution. we declared: It is at once evident from these constitutional and statutory modifications that there is a definite tendency to enhance and invigorate the role of the Commission on Elections as the independent constitutional body charged with the safeguarding of free. 98-019. considering that the limited scope of certiorari. 903.

and not SPA No. 98-019 should be treated as a mere surplusage. and where shall law and justice begin? Would the apparent results of the canvassing of votes justify this Court in refusing to apply the law instead? The answers to the foregoing are obvious. 163 SCRA 489 [1988]. Petitioner posits that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion when it annulled the substitution by and proclamation of petitioner. be considered flawed. It stems from the fact that the May 5. errors of judgment may not be corrected by certiorari. As earlier elucidated too. The fact that the certificate of candidacy of Joel Pempe Miranda was denied due course and cancelled did not depend on the en banc resolution dated December 8. Galleon Traders. 93-99. We should always be reminded that ours is a government of laws not of men. who under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code. pp. Ergo. where shall order and justice lie? Without the least intention to degrade. no certificate at all. where shall people power end. 98-019 is one to deny due course and to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Jose Pempe Miranda (Rollo. There is likewise no question that the said petition was GRANTED without any qualification whatsoever. While it may be conceded that the Comelec stepped overboard and acted in excess of its jurisdiction when it motu proprio took cognizance of SPA No. the decision in which was by then already final. 98-019. and not under the shadow of SPA No. Petitioner further faults the Comelec for amending the dispositive portion of its resolution in SPA No. At best. in excess thereof. But even assuming for the sake of argument that it is not. there is clear basis to find that there indeed was a blatant misrepresentation in the instant case and that it was a valid ground for the granting of the petition in SPA No. It may be noted that Commissioner Flores raised this supposed error in her dissenting opinion (pp. the crux of the Comelecs disposition in SPA No. 1998 resolution pertaining to the issues involved in SPA No. vs. Rollo). It is rather clear. 98-288 may. 98-019. 26. which was not elevated to it on review. 26-31). what is under review before us in this certiorari proceedings is SPA No. Comelec committed no grave abuse of discretion in resolving SPA No. 1998 resolution. the result in the dispositive portion of the December 8. We may only strike out a Comelec decision if it was rendered without jurisdiction. there appears to be sound basis to rule that a certificate of candidacy which has been denied due course on account of misrepresentation is. Atienza. The question to answer is: will the Comelecs act which may constitute an excess of jurisdiction in SPA No. 97 SCRA 297 [1980]). This Court in the present certiorari proceedings cannot substitute its judgment for that of the Comelec without violating the Constitution and the Rules of Court on the matter. Evidently. 1998 election. Court of Appeals. The Court cannot choose otherwise but to exercise its sacred duty to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the Republic for and under which it exists. only history will discern whether Jose Pempe Mirandas filing of a certificate of candidacy for a 4th term and the intended substitution by his son was a ploy to perpetrate the Mirandas in power by way of a political dynasty disdained and abhorred by our Constitution which declared: SEC. 98-288 should be judged on its own accord. 98-019. Besides. as expressed by their votes. The Comelecs decision is not subject to appeal to this Court. 1987 Constitution) The invalidation of petitioners supposed substitution of Jose Pempe Miranda brings about the disqualification of petitioner in . And. and it must be shown that the discretion was exercised arbitrarily and despotically (Soriano vs. If this Court should fold its arms and refuse to apply the law at every clamor of the majority of the supposed constituency. the Comelecs motu proprio act of resurrecting SPA No. this blemish would only constitute an error of judgment and definitely not grave abuse of discretion. her legal opinion failed to convince the majority of the collegiate body and was not adopted by the Commission en banc. or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. In fact. (Article II. 171 SCRA 284 [1989]). 1998 of the Comelec. it does not necessarily follow that the Comelec also committed grave abuse of discretion in resolving to grant private respondents motion for reconsideration by nullifying the substitution of petitioner Joel G. in every legal contemplation. therefore. Butuan Bay Export Co. that whether or not the Comelec granted any further relief in SPA No. There is no dispute that the complaint or petition filed by private respondent in SPA No. and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law. 98-288 in favor of private respondent. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service. 1998 resolution GRANTED private respondents Petition to Deny Due Course to and/or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy. there is nothing to substitute. However. was allowed to substitute for disqualified the candidate Jose Pempe Miranda. 98-288. An abuse of discretion is not sufficient by itself to justify the issuance of a writ of certiorari. this supposed error does not constitute grave abuse of discretion which may be annulled and reversed in the present petition for certiorari. The abuse must be grave and patent. rendered in the Comelecs rightful exercise of its jurisdiction in SPA No. non sequitur. at all. 98-019. The Court cannot accede to the reasoning that this Court should now acquiesce and submit to the sovereign will of the electorate. of course. Verily. 98288 is correct insofar as it annulled the election and proclamation of Joel G. As earlier pointed out. it was not even necessary for the Comelec to reiterate this in its December 8. Miranda. 98-019 be tantamount to an act of grave abuse of discretion in its judgment in the separate and distinct case of SPA No. Petitioner also contends that it was an act of grave abuse of discretion for the Comelec to direct the proclamation of private respondent as the winning candidate in the May 11. the same having already attained finality by then. 98-288 is the fact that former candidate Jose Pempe Mirandas certificate of candidacy was denied due course and cancelled. Miranda. still. 98-019. If this judgment. the fact remains that the said petition was granted and that the certificate of candidacy of Jose Pempe Miranda was denied due course and cancelled. 98-288 as well? Clearly. SPA No. 98-019 by disqualifying the candidate. An error of judgment committed in the exercise of its legitimate jurisdiction is not the same as grave abuse of discretion.vs. Also.

Comelec (176 SCRA 1 [1989]). 248 SCRA 400 [1995]. JR. RONALD ALLAN KELLEY POE. vs. Permanent Vacancies in the Offices of the Governor.) and VICTORINO X. The COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. 1998 elections. . For purposes of succession as provided in this Chapter. a descendant of our ruling in Labo v. cannot be proclaimed winner in case the winning candidate is disqualified. TECSON and FELIX B.k. DESIDERIO. a. 161434. R. (a) If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the governor or mayor.the mayoralty race. Comelec (275 SCRA 763 [1997]). Commission on Elections (275 SCRA 763 [1997]) may be recalled: Our case law is now settled that in a mayoralty election. hereby GRANTED so as to MODIFY the resolution of the Comelec in SPA No. FORNIER. Garcias petition to be proclaimed mayor in view of the disqualification of Renato U.R. otherwise known as the Local Government Code. In this regard. in case of his permanent disability. 98-288 by DELETING the portion directing the city board of canvassers to reconvene and proclaim the winning candidate from among those voted upon during the May 11. the highest ranking sanggunian member. That the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes may not be proclaimed winner in case the winning candidate is disqualified is now settled. the petition is hereby partly DENIED. Isabela. 161634. petitioner. The law on succession under section 44 of Republic Act 7160. the restraining order issued in this case is forthwith LIFTED. He could not be considered the first among qualified candidates because in a field which excludes the disqualified candidate. vice governor. JR. respondent Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion insofar as it failed to follow the above doctrine. or vice mayor. a second placer. respondent. Thus. We are not prepared to extrapolate the results under the circumstances. and Vice Mayor. Mayor. FORNIER.: x x x x x x x x x We likewise find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Comelec in denying petitioner Julius O. insofar as the Comelec ruling to ANNUL the election and proclamation of petitioner is being AFFIRMED.. The petition is. In the latest ruling on the question. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and RONALD ALLAN KELLEY POE. No. 44. Comelec (254 SCRA 514 [1996]). the candidate who obtained the second highest number of votes. Reyes. Accordingly. RONALD ALLAN KELLY POE (a. refuses to assume office. This Court has no authority under any law to impose upon and compel the people of Santiago City to accept private respondent as their mayor. The law on succession should be enforced. Subsequent vacancies in the said office shall be filled automatically by the other sanggunian members according to their ranking as defined herein. in view of the election results pointing to petitioner as the electors choice for the mayoralty post. (pp. Aquino vs. this Court said: To simplistically assume that the second placer would have received the other votes would be to substitute our judgment for the mind of the voter. respondents. mayor. and Nolasco vs. He lost the elections. nevertheless. 2004] MARIA JEANETTE C. Reyes vs. vice governor.. Comelec (176 SCRA 1 [1989]). as the case may be. ALSO KNOWN AS FERNANDO POE JR. The doctrinal instability caused by see-sawing rulings has since been removed. however. JR. x x x. or.a. viz. fails to qualify. Consequently. The subsequent finding that he is disqualified cannot retroact to the date of the elections as to invalidate the votes cast for him. March 3. SO ORDERED. The votes cast for Reyes are presumed to have been cast in the belief that Reyes was qualified and for that reason can be treated as stray. He was repudiated by either a majority or plurality of voters. respondents. 2004] VICTORINO X. petitioner. If a permanent vacancy occurs in the offices of the governor. March 3. the vice-governor or vice-mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor. dies. Vice-Governor. March 3. is removed from office. For purposes of this Chapter.R. ranking in the sanggunian shall be determined on the basis of the proportion of votes obtained by each winning candidate to the total number of registered voters in each district in the immediately preceding local election. No. would then apply.a. we reiterated the rule in the fairly recent case of Reyes v. FERNANDO POE. 782-783) Thus. Said provision relevantly states: SEC. petitioners.. Comelec (254 SCRA 514 [1996]). a permanent vacancy arises when an elective local official fills a higher vacant office.k. the conditions would have substantially changed. Garcias plea that the votes case for Reyes be invalidated is without merit. vs. Even as the Court cannot accede to the contention that. 2004] ZOILO ANTONIO VELEZ. voluntarily resigns. the second highest ranking sanggunian member. we should now close our eyes to the pertinent provisions of the Omnibus Election Code on the matter. [G. No. 161824. void and meaningless. in this case Alarilla. The second placer is just that. the Court duly notes that the said election results point to the fact that private respondent was not then the choice of the people of Santiago City. the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion insofar as it failed to follow the above-cited settled ruling consistently applied by this Court since the case of Labo vs. WHEREFORE. what was said in Nolasco vs. mayor or vice mayor. shall become governor. Comelec. FERNANDO POE. [G. HON. [G. vs. or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office.

Granting. and Felix B. Allan F. also known as Fernando Poe. the more significant ones being - a) a certification issued by Estrella M. Fornier." initiated. even if no such prior marriage had existed. R. 23478 in the name of Lorenzo Pou. No.. his date of birth to be 20 August 1939 and his place of birth to be Manila. Poe and Paulita Gomez could be found. docketed G. was an American. Jr. 23477 and No. Poe. the latter being an illegitimate child of an alien mother. docketed G." both challenging the jurisdiction of the COMELEC and asserting that. and his father. On his part. in support of his claim. Poe. Poe in the registry of births for San Carlos. Antecedent Case Settings On 31 December 2003. 20844. that Allan F. a writ of preliminary injunction or any other resolution that would stay the finality and/or execution of the COMELEC resolutions. Desiderio. a natural-born Filipino or is he not? The moment of introspection takes us face to face with Spanish and American colonial roots and reminds us of the rich heritage of civil law and common law traditions. Bessie Kelley Poe. and 6) a certification from the Officer-In-Charge of the Archives Division of the National Archives to the effect that no available information could be found in the files of the National Archives regarding the birth of Allan F.). The Commission on Elections. On 10 February 2004. and Victorino X. after discovering his bigamous relationship with Bessie Kelley.. entitled "Victorino X. Allan F. later consolidated with G. It is a precious heritage. the fusion resulting in a hybrid of laws and jurisprudence that could be no less than distinctly Filipino. his mother. b) a certification issued by the Officer-InCharge of the Archives Division of the National Archives that no available information about the marriage of Allan F. In his certificate of candidacy. 161824. Pangasinan. on 09 January 2004. Ronald Allan Kelley Poe. Poe contracted a prior marriage to a certain Paulita Gomez before his marriage to Bessie Kelley and. g) a copy of the purported marriage contract between Fernando Pou and Bessie Kelley..k. also known as Fernando Poe.R. 161824 . Is Fernando Poe. 161824. Jr. or on 26 January 2004.. 5) a certification issued by the Director of the Records Management and Archives Office. Three days later. 161434. of the 1987 Constitution. The motion was denied on 06 February 2004 by the COMELEC en banc. Commission on Elections and Ronald Allan Kelley Poe. Victorino X. J. Fornier filed his motion for reconsideration. Jurisdiction of the Court In G. d) Original Certificate of Title No. according to Fornier. married Bessie Kelly only a year after the birth of respondent. No. in relation to Rule 65. Section 4. 161824. Velez. likewise prayed for a temporary restraining order. Petitioner based the allegation of the illegitimate birth of respondent on two assertions - first. No.. entitled "Zoilo Antonio G. versus Hon. Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (a. FPJ. Allan Poe. The issue of citizenship is brought up to challenge the qualifications of a presidential candidate to hold the highest office of the land. Jr. 2) a certified photocopy of an affidavit executed in Spanish by Paulita Poe y Gomez attesting to her having filed a case for bigamy and concubinage against the father of respondent. e) copies of Tax Declaration No. c) a certificate of birth of Ronald Allan Poe. Poe was a Filipino citizen. In the hearing before the Third Division of the COMELEC on 19 January 2004. his parents were foreigners. R. entitled "Maria Jeanette C. petitioner in G. was a Spanish national. 161634.a. Jr. would include G. presented twenty-two documentary pieces of evidence. paragraph 7.[if !supportFootnotes][1][endif] that cannot be taken lightly by anyone - either by those who enjoy it or by those who dispute it. presented several documentary exhibits - 1) a copy of the certificate of birth of FPJ. Our people are waiting for the judgment of the Court with bated breath. second. in the name of Lorenzo Pou. Before the Court are three consolidated cases. vs. stating that the records of birth in the said office during the period of from 1900 until May 1946 were totally destroyed during World War II. f) a copy of the certificate of death of Lorenzo Pou. Petitioner. Pangasinan. Domingo of the Archives Division of the National Archives that there appeared to be no available information regarding the birth of Allan F. filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of President of the Republic of the Philippines under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) Party. No. attesting to the fact that there was no record in the National Archives that a Lorenzo Poe or Lorenzo Pou resided or entered the Philippines before 1907. Fornier. as well as an inestimable acquisition. 20643. No. petitioner. the hero of silver screen. 4) a certified photocopy of the certificate of birth of Allan F. and h) a certification issued by the City Civil Registrar of San Carlos City. The other petitions. R. Poe. The petition. 3) an English translation of the affidavit aforesaid. respondent." or "Ronald Allan" Poe. a. he could not have transmitted his Filipino citizenship to FPJ. a Spanish subject.k. petitioner asseverated. Fornier. of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. Jr. Fernando Poe. petitioner assailed the decision of the COMELEC before this Court conformably with Rule 64. Respondents. 04-003 before the Commission on Elections ("COMELEC") to disqualify FPJ and to deny due course or to cancel his certificate of candidacy upon the thesis that FPJ made a material misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy by claiming to be a naturalborn Filipino citizen when in truth. Poe. only the Supreme Court had original and exclusive jurisdiction to resolve the basic issue on the case. the COMELEC dismissed SPA No.: Citizenship is a treasured right conferred on those whom the state believes are deserving of the privilege. stated his name to be "Fernando Jr. respondent Ronald Allan Kelly Poe. No.D E C I S I O N VITUG. No. No. Tecson. Fernando Poe. vs." and the other. being the son of Lorenzo Pou. On 23 January 2004. and now one of the main contenders for the presidency. all of which raise a single question of profound importance to the nation. R. R. Allan F. Jr. (hereinafter "FPJ"). in the forthcoming national elections. 04-003 for lack of merit. under Article VII. a petition docketed SPA No. representing himself to be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.a. P-2247 of the Registry of Deeds for the Province of Pangasinan.

[if !supportFootnotes][5][endif] In such context. and qualifications of the President or Vice-President. that FPJ was a natural-born citizen) before the COMELEC. An election protest shall not include a petition for quo warranto. of the 1987 Constitution in assailing the jurisdiction of the COMELEC when it took cognizance of SPA No. returns and qualifications of the "President" or "Vice-President". 161434 and G. brief. The rules categorically speak of the jurisdiction of the tribunal over contests relating to the election." Additionally. invoke the provisions of Article VII. A case or matter is deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading. and may promulgate its rules for the purpose. 161824 was aptly elevated to.e. or memorandum. Jurisdiction. in G.[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif] as not (being) justiciable controversies or disputes involving contests on the elections. or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof. 1793. nonetheless. Ordinary usage would characterize a "contest" in reference to a post-election scenario. Hear and Decide Protests Contesting the Election of the President-Elect and the Vice-President-Elect of the Philippines and Providing for the Manner of Hearing the Same. . "An Act Constituting an Independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal to Try. Roxas. Article VIII.In seeking the disqualification of the candidacy of FPJ and to have the COMELEC deny due course to or cancel FPJs certificate of candidacy for alleged misrepresentation of a material fact (i. and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. in Lopez vs. in G. and not of "candidates" for President or Vice-President. In Rule 14.. by filing a verified petition with the Clerk of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal within thirty (30) days after the proclamation of the winner. No. the Commission shall have exclusive charge of the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections for the purpose of ensuring free. Powers and functions of the Commission on Elections. the election contest can only contemplate a post-election scenario." Republic Act 1793 designated the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court to be the members of the tribunal. as the case may be. of the same Constitution provides that judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law which power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable. Article IX. of the 1987 Constitution also reads "Each Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members any case or matter brought before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision or resolution. this Court. shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election. A quo warranto proceeding is generally defined as being an action against a person who usurps. A petition for quo warranto shall not include an election protest.. to enact Republic Act No. Section 7. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. would support this premise - Rule 12. orderly and honest elections - and in relation to Article 69 of the Omnibus Election Code which would authorize "any interested party" to file a verified petition to deny or cancel the certificate of candidacy of any nuisance candidate. paragraph 7. or unlawfully holds or exercises a public office.. returns and qualifications of the President or Vice-President. and qualifications of the President or Vice-President of the Philippines. of the Philippines. R. returns. No. on who could or should be elected to occupy the highest government post in the land. on 21 June 1957. the statutory set-up. How Initiated. - An election contest is initiated by the filing of an election protest or a petition for quo warranto against the President or Vice-President. paragraph 7. 1793. petitioner Fornier invoked Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code Section 78. No." The provision is an innovation of the 1987 Constitution. In addition to the powers and functions conferred upon it by the Constitution. 161634 Petitioners Tecson. order. 161434. The omission in the 1935 and the 1973 Constitution to designate any tribunal to be the sole judge of presidential and vice-presidential contests. - Only the registered candidate for President or for Vice-President of the Philippines who received the second or third highest number of votes may contest the election of the President or the Vice-President. A contrary view could be a gross denial to our people of their fundamental right to be fully informed. of the 1987 Constitution. and to make a proper choice. The constitutional lapse prompted Congress. sitting en banc. Decisions of the COMELEC on disqualification cases may be reviewed by the Supreme Court per Rule 64[if !supportFootnotes][2][endif] in an action for certiorari under Rule 65[if !supportFootnotes][3][endif] of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. Section 1. R. intrudes into. returns. i. R. No. --- 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 in consonance with the general powers of COMELEC expressed in Section 52 of the Omnibus Election Code - Section 52. although two distinct remedies. A perusal of the phraseology in Rule 12. Rule 13. et al. Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law. 04-003 and in urging the Supreme Court to instead take on the petitions they directly instituted before it. Section 4. - The Tribunal shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election. R. any decision. It is sufficiently clear that the petition brought up in G. In G. The Constitutional provision cited reads: "The Supreme Court. R. and Velez. to dislodge the winning candidate from office. has constrained this Court to declare. Rule 14. 161634. Election Protest. would have one objective in view. required by the rules of the Commission or by the Commission itself. would now be deemed revived under the present Section 4." promulgated by the Supreme Court en banc on 18 April 1992. and could well be taken cognizance of by.e. Election contests consist of either an election protest or a quo warranto which. No. and Rule 14 of the "Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. Although the subsequent adoption of the parliamentary form of government under the 1973 Constitution might have implicitly affected Republic Act No. Rule 13.

(d) Those who. judgment and loyalty could be expected. and they shall also have the right to carry on their industry. Accordingly. commerce. the earliest understanding of citizenship was that given by Aristotle. by and large. Fernando Poe.only a registered candidate who would have received either the second or third highest number of votes could file an election protest. defined by Section 4. 161434. It is fair to conclude that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. to the basic issue. such as rights to property. The Citizenship Issue Now.[if !supportFootnotes][16][endif] the Royal Decree of 23 August 1868 specifically defining the political status of children born in the Philippine Islands.[if !supportFootnotes][7][endif] The concept grew to include one who would both govern and be governed.[if !supportFootnotes][15][endif] however. R. to civil citizenship.[if !supportFootnotes][17][endif] and finally. Ronald Allan Kelley Poe a. Jr. - (a) Persons born in Spanish territory.a. denoting a low regard for the inhabitants of the archipelago. which would remain virtually intact. it should be helpful to first give a brief historical background on the concept of citizenship. being subject in respect thereof to such laws as are applicable to foreigners. without such papers.[if !supportFootnotes][20][endif] The year 1898 was another turning point in Philippine history. No. Spanish laws on citizenship became highly codified during the 19th century but their sheer number made it difficult to point to one comprehensive law. described the "citizen" to refer to a man who shared in the administration of justice and in the holding of an office. which encompassed the right to participate in the exercise of political power. which established the rights necessary for individual freedom. sometime in 384 to 322 B. the natives were called 'indios'. and professions."[if !supportFootnotes][13][endif] In church records.[if !supportFootnotes][14][endif] Spanish laws on citizenship were traced back to the Novisima Recopilacion. (c) Foreigners who have obtained naturalization papers. the concept was limited." would have to be dismissed for want of jurisdiction. including the right to sell or dispose of such property or of its proceeds. An accepted principle of international law dictated that a change in sovereignty. which was expressly made applicable to the Philippines by the Royal Decree of 13 July 1870.. on the one hand.[if !supportFootnotes][6][endif] Aristotle saw its significance if only to determine the constituency of the "State. Not all of these citizenship laws of Spain however. a citizen was active in public life and fundamentally willing to submit his private interests to the general interest of society. the civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the territories ceded to the United States would be determined by its Congress - "Spanish subjects. (b) Children of a Spanish father or mother.[if !supportFootnotes][18][endif] The Spanish Constitution of 1876 was never extended to the Philippine Islands because of the express mandate of its Article 89. entitled "Maria Jeanette C. An ongoing and final stage of development.[if !supportFootnotes][21][endif] Under Article IX of the treaty.C.. on the other.[if !supportFootnotes][10][endif] The 20th century saw the next stage of the development of social citizenship. 161634. vs. et al. This rule again presupposes a post-election scenario. In case they remain in the . personal liberty and justice. Spain was forced to so cede her sole colony in the East to an upcoming world power. retaining in either event all their rights of property.[if !supportFootnotes][9][endif] Its meaning expanded during the 19th century to include political citizenship. in keeping with the rapidly shrinking global village. Citizenship was seen to deal with rights and entitlements. made effective in this jurisdiction on 18 December 1889. who. promulgated in Spain on 16 July 1805 but as to whether the law was extended to the Philippines remained to be the subject of differing views among experts. paragraph 7. and with concomitant obligations. according to which the provisions of the Ultramar among which this country was included. the Ley Extranjera de Ultramar of 04 July 1870. may have become domiciled inhabitants of any town of the Monarchy. three royal decrees were undisputably made applicable to Spaniards in the Philippines - the Order de la Regencia of 14 August 1841. No. Commission on Elections et al. which laid emphasis on the right of the citizen to economic well-being and social security. even if they were born outside of Spain. Perhaps. natives of the Peninsula..[if !supportFootnotes][11][endif] The idea of citizenship has gained expression in the modern welfare state as it so developed in Western Europe. residing in the territory over which Spain by the present treaty relinquishes or cedes her sovereignty may remain in such territory or may remove therefrom." and G. of the 1987 Constitution. would have no effect on civil laws. In the 18th century.[if !supportFootnotes][19][endif] It was only the Civil Code of Spain. The concept of citizenship had undergone changes over the centuries. for which qualifications like autonomy.[if !supportFootnotes][12][endif] The Local Setting - from Spanish Times to the Present There was no such term as "Philippine citizens" during the Spanish regime but "subjects of Spain" or "Spanish subjects." which he described as being composed of such persons who would be adequate in number to achieve a self-sufficient existence. G. might well be the internationalization of citizenship. while resulting in an abrogation of all political laws then in force. The Treaty of Paris was entered into on 10 December 1898 between Spain and the United States. questioning the qualifications of a candidate for the presidency or vice-presidency before the elections are held. R. would be governed by special laws.[if !supportFootnotes][8][endif] In its ideal setting. the United States. Tecson. entitled "Zoilo Antonio Velez vs. would not include cases directly brought before it. which came out with the first categorical enumeration of who were Spanish citizens.k. were made to apply to the Philippine Islands except for those explicitly extended by Royal Decrees. Already in the state of decline as a superpower.

that the common law principle of jus soli. articulated in jurisprudential writing at the time. is hereby authorized to provide for the acquisition of Philippine citizenship by those natives of the Philippine Islands who do not come within the foregoing provisions. before the adoption of this Constitution. herein provided for. While there was. the natives of other insular possession of the United States. before a court of record. The following are citizens of the Philippines - (1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of this Constitution (2) Those born in the Philippines Islands of foreign parents who. that all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands continuing to reside therein. elect Philippine citizenship. In 23 March 1912.. also known as the Jones Law restated virtually the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902. and. the Congress of the United States made the following amendment to the Philippine Bill of 1902 - "Provided. the first comprehensive legislation of the Congress of the United States on the Philippines - ". divergent views on whether or not jus soli was a mode of acquiring citizenship. except such as shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in accordance with the provisions of the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain. the 1935 Constitution brought to an end to any such link with common law. operative in the United States and England. in default of which declaration they shall be held to have renounced it and to have adopted the nationality of the territory in which they reside. within a year from the date of the exchange of ratifications of this treaty. by adopting. not a citizen of some other country. during which period no citizenship law was extant in the Philippines. jus sanguinis or blood relationship as being the basis of Filipino citizenship - Section 1. a declaration of their decision to preserve such allegiance. taken together with existing civil law provisions at the time. Seeking to . 3) since that date. under the laws of the United States. eighteen hundred and ninety-eight and except such others as have since become citizens of some other country. resulted in discriminatory situations that effectively incapacitated the women from transmitting their Filipino citizenship to their legitimate children and required illegitimate children of Filipino mothers to still elect Filipino citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. That the Philippine Legislature is hereby authorized to provide by law for the acquisition of Philippine citizenship by those natives of the Philippine Islands who do not come within the foregoing provisions. the Philippine Autonomy Act. otherwise also known as the principle of territoriality. if residing therein. Subsection (4). once and for all.[if !supportFootnotes][25][endif] More about this later. as so amended by the Act of Congress in 1912 - That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands who were Spanish subjects on the eleventh day of April. also ceased to be "aliens" under American laws and were thus issued passports describing them to be citizens of the Philippines entitled to the protection of the United States. and then resided in said Islands. Thus "The civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the territories hereby ceded to the United States shall be determined by the Congress. which provided that women would automatically lose their Filipino citizenship and acquire that of their foreign husbands. a citizen of the Philippines was one who was an inhabitant of the Philippines. and such other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who would become citizens of the United States. Taft. or who could become citizens of the United States under the laws of the United States. and 3) an inhabitant who obtained Spanish papers on or before 11 April 1899. if residing therein. of the 1935 Constitution. the concept of "Philippine citizens" had for the first time crystallized. they. except such as shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in accordance with the provisions of the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain. shall be deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands. Article III. 1891. shall be deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands and as such entitled to the protection of the United States. the natives of the insular possessions of the United States. Weight was given to the view. The term inhabitant was taken to include 1) a native-born inhabitant. That the Philippine Legislature. (5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law. and such other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who are citizens of the United States. and then resided in said Islands. The word "Filipino" was used by William H." In 1916. also commonly referred to as the Philippine Organic Act of 1902.. Provided. The term "citizens of the Philippine Islands" appeared for the first time in the Philippine Bill of 1902. "The Philippines for the Filipinos. and pending legislation by the United States Congress on the subject. 1935 Constitution."[if !supportFootnotes][26][endif] With the adoption of the Philippine Bill of 1902. December tenth eighteen hundred and ninety eight. at one brief time. 2) an inhabitant who was a native of Peninsular Spain. and a Spanish subject on the 11th day of April 1899. Although they did not become American citizens. a native-born inhabitant of the Philippines was deemed to be a citizen of the Philippines as of 11 April 1899 if he was 1) a subject of Spain on 11 April 1899."[if !supportFootnotes][22][endif] Upon the ratification of the treaty. the native inhabitants of the Philippines ceased to be Spanish subjects.. and their children born subsequently thereto. and their children born subsequent thereto. 2) residing in the Philippines on said date. (4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and upon reaching the age of majority. signed at Paris. who were Spanish subjects on the 11th day of April. Article III. had been elected to public office in the Philippine Islands." Under the Jones Law. the first Civil Governor General in the Philippines when he initially made mention of it in his slogan. signed at Paris December tenth."[if !supportFootnotes][23][endif] Under the organic act. however.territory they may preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain by making. eighteen hundred and ninety-nine. (3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines. governed those born in the Philippine Archipelago within that period.[if !supportFootnotes][24][endif] Controversy arose on to the status of children born in the Philippines from 11 April 1899 to 01 July 1902.

Poe and Bessie Kelley were married to each other on 16 September. and a mestiza Espaol mother. Article IV. the admissibility thereof." While the last two documents were submitted in evidence for respondent. Article III. For good measure. and Bessie Kelley to be twenty-two years old. With the adoption of the 1935 Constitution and the reversal of Roa in Tan Chong vs. his death certificate. 1940. 1987 Constitution now provides: The following are citizens of the Philippines: (1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution. an American citizen." is defined to include "those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship. (4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law. however. Lorenzo Pou. as well as fully cognizant of the newly found status of Filipino women as equals to men. particularly in reference to the facts which they purported to show. Introduced by petitioner was an uncertified copy of a supposed certificate of the alleged marriage of Allan F. i. jus sanguinis or blood relationship would now become the primary basis of citizenship by birth. and the death certificate of Lorenzo Pou are documents of public record in the custody of a public officer. Jus soli. jus soli. twenty-four years old. except for subsection (3) thereof that aimed to correct the irregular situation generated by the questionable proviso in the 1935 Constitution. the framers of the 1973 Constitution crafted the provisions of the new Constitution on citizenship to reflect such concerns - Section 1. and a Filipino citizen. Poe and Bessie Kelley. Article VII. Poe.e. and 5. The parents of FPJ were Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley. 1973 Constitution - The following are citizens of the Philippines: (1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution. identified him to be a Filipino. unmarried. a registered voter. married to Marta Reyes. Allan F. Section 2 of the same article also further provided that "A female citizen of the Philippines who marries an alien retains her Philippine citizenship. Poe. unless by her act or omission she is deemed. a Filipino. res judicata and jus sanguinis[if !supportFootnotes][28][endif] had been in vogue. 2. and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election. the marriage certificate in relation to the date of marriage of Allan F. a resident of San Carlos. Allan F. . Poe and Paulita Gomez on 05 July 1936. At the time of his death on 11 September 1954. Allan F. The marriage certificate of Allan F. Section I. Pangasinan. 3.. The birth certificate of FPJ was marked Exhibit "A" for petitioner and Exhibit "3" for respondent. would disclose that he was born on 20 August 1939 to Allan F. married to Bessie Kelly. The birth certificate of FPJ. 1973 of Filipino mothers. per Roa vs. able to read and write. at least forty years of age on the day of the election. Considering the reservations made by the parties on the veracity of some of the entries on the birth certificate of respondent and the marriage certificate of his parents. The documents have been submitted in evidence by both contending parties during the proceedings before the COMELEC. Only two. and (4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law. Collector of Customs[if !supportFootnotes][29][endif] (1912). Poe to Bessie Kelley was submitted as Exhibit "21" for respondent. In the same certificate. showed that he was born on 17 May 1915 to an Espaol father. Poe was Lorenzo Poe. The death certificate of Lorenzo Pou was submitted by respondent as his Exhibit "5. Poe was stated to be twenty-five years old. and an American citizen. and 84 years old at the time of his death on 11 September 1954. 4. Would the above facts be sufficient or insufficient to establish the fact that FPJ is a natural-born Filipino citizen? The marriage certificate of Allan F. month and year of birth of FPJ appeared to be 20 August 1939 during the regime of the 1935 Constitution. the only conclusions that could be drawn with some degree of certainty from the documents would be that - 1. (3) Those born before January 17. of the 1987 Constitution expresses: "No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. Marta Reyes. While the record of birth of Lorenzo Pou had not been presented in evidence. Through its history.e. under the law to have renounced her citizenship."[if !supportFootnotes][27][endif] The date. The marriage certificate of Allan F. (2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines. did not last long.. The Case Of FPJ Section 2. jus soli and jus sanguinis. the birth certificate of FPJ. Poe and Bessie Kelley reflected the date of their marriage to be on 16 September 1940. could qualify a person to being a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. FPJ was born to them on 20 August 1939. (2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines. Lorenzo Poe was 84 years old. (3) Those who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five. the father of Allan F. four modes of acquiring citizenship - naturalization. who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority." The 1987 Constitution generally adopted the provisions of the 1973 Constitution. Poe to Bessie Kelley and the death certificate relative to the death of Lorenzo Pou on 11 September 1954 in San Carlos. i." The term "natural-born citizens. The father of Allan F. Documentary evidence adduced by petitioner would tend to indicate that the earliest established direct ascendant of FPJ was his paternal grandfather Lorenzo Pou. unmarried. twenty-one years old and married. Secretary of Labor[if !supportFootnotes][30][endif] (1947). The certificate of birth of the father of FPJ.correct this anomaly. Poe.

likewise failed to show that Lorenzo Pou was at any other place during the same period. exceptions. Petitioners say that in any event the birth certificate is in the nature of a public document wherein voluntary recognition of a natural child may also be made.Pangasinan. or a public document. In his death certificate. Judicial or compulsory acknowledgment was possible only if done during the lifetime of the putative parent. that in establishing filiation (relationship or civil status of the child to the father [or mother]) or paternity (relationship or civil status of the father to the child) of an illegitimate child. It would be extremely doubtful if the Records Management and Archives Office would have had complete records of all residents of the Philippines from 1898 to 1902. or at least to presume. who had utilized those material statements in his argument. the question here really is whether or not his birth certificate (Exhibit 1). in any case. it was not even they or either of them who furnished the data to be entered in the civil register. Petitioner. or at least shown to have been executed. Poe and Bessie Kelly. may be placed upon it. Acknowledgment was either judicial (compulsory) or voluntary. the residence of Lorenzo Pou was stated to be San Carlos. Rule 130. it should be sound to conclude. except in the following cases: x x x x x x x x x (d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public office or is recorded in a public office. that - In case of an illegitimate child. Pareja. Under the Civil Code of Spain. the only other proof of voluntary recognition remained to be "some other public document. Petitioner submits. the mandatory rules under civil law must be used. according to the same Article 131. the death certificate of Lorenzo Pou. While it contains the names of both parents. the certificate was required to be signed or sworn to by the father. True enough. There being no will apparently executed. the marriage certificate of Allan F. Poe. constitute prima facie proof of their contents. in San Carlos. by decedent Allan F. at the age of 84 years. In order that the birth certificate could then be utilized to prove voluntary acknowledgment of filiation or paternity. a statement before a court of record or in any . Entries in official records made in the performance of his duty by a public officer of the Philippines. no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself. voluntary acknowledgment could only be had in a record of birth. the birth certificate shall be signed and sworn to jointly by the parents of the infant or only by the mother if the father refuses. The failure of such requirement rendered the same useless as being an authoritative document of recognition. and those issued by competent public officials by reason of their office." In Pareja vs. after the registry law was enacted. which is merely a certified copy of the registry record. and the birth certificate of FPJ. and 4) the publicity of record which makes more likely the prior exposure of such errors as might have occurred. let alone swore to its contents as required in Section 5 of Act No. that the place of residence of a person at the time of his death was also his residence before death. Poe found. Pangasinan. of the Rules of Court provides: Entries in official records. 3753. however. nowhere in the document was the signature of Allan F. No such reliance.[if !supportFootnotes][32][endif] Complementary to the new code was Act No. may be relied upon as sufficient proof of his having been voluntarily recognized.[if !supportFootnotes][31][endif] The death certificate of Lorenzo Pou would indicate that he died on 11 September 1954. Mella. The public document pointed out in Article 131 as one of the means by which recognition may be made belongs to the first class. presented by both parties. Rules of Court states that - Original document must be produced.[if !supportFootnotes][34][endif] the Court ruled - "Since Rodolfo was born in 1935. Proof of Paternity and Filiation Under Civil Law. For all that might have happened. in our judgment. The 1950 Civil Code categorized the acknowledgment or recognition of illegitimate children into voluntary. In the latter case. All three documents were certified true copies of the originals. there is no showing that they signed the original. but in such a case. those executed by private individuals which must be authenticated by notaries." Let us leave it at that for the moment. 2) the penalty which is usually affixed to a breach of that duty.[if !supportFootnotes][33][endif] In Mendoza vs." In the birth certificate of respondent FPJ. there must be a clear statement in the document that the parent recognizes the child as his or her own. Petitioner would argue that Lorenzo Pou was not in the Philippines during the crucial period of from 1898 to 1902 considering that there was no existing record about such fact in the Records Management and Archives Office. Rule 130. or by a person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law. FPJ evidently being an illegitimate son according to petitioner. it shall not be permissible to state or reveal in the document the name of the father who refuses to acknowledge the child. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary. or to give therein any information by which such father could be identified. Section 3. The trustworthiness of public documents and the value given to the entries made therein could be grounded on 1) the sense of official duty in the preparation of the statement made. Being public documents. were all admitted by petitioner. It could thus be assumed that Lorenzo Pou was born sometime in the year 1870 when the Philippines was still a colony of Spain. Voluntary recognition was required to be expressedly made in a record of birth. 3753 or the Civil Registry Law expressing in Section 5 thereof. a will. acknowledgment was required to establish filiation or paternity. Section 44. a will. legal or compulsory. are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated.[if !supportFootnotes][35][endif] this Court defined what could constitute such a document as proof of voluntary acknowledgment: "Under the Spanish Civil Code there are two classes of public documents. 3) the routine and disinterested origin of most such statements. - When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document. which was in force in the Philippines from 08 December 1889 up until the day prior to 30 August 1950 when the Civil Code of the Philippines took effect. Pangasinan.

This Code shall have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in accordance with the Civil Code or other laws.[if !supportFootnotes][38][endif] the Court has held: "In accordance with Article 9 of the Civil Code of Spain.[if !supportFootnotes][36][endif] the Court has ruled: "We hold that whether Jose was a voluntarily recognized natural child should be decided under Article 278 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. Article 278 may be given retroactive effect. Legal acknowledgment took place in favor of full blood brothers and sisters of an illegitimate child who was recognized or judicially declared as natural. The action already commenced by the child shall survive notwithstanding the death of either or both of the parties. even if the child was born before the effectivity of this body of laws' or before August 30. The provisions are intended to merely govern the private and personal affairs of the family. Unlike an action to claim legitimacy which would last during the lifetime of the child. in general. de Sy-Quia vs. could only be brought during the lifetime of the presumed parent. the authority to decree it. the separation of their properties. and those which exist among members of a society for the protection of private interests. division of conjugal property. Court of Appeals. however. Article 172. Fuster. Balane defined. even though living abroad" - that explains the need to incorporate in the code a reiteration of the Constitutional provisions on citizenship. While. during the oral argument. and Article 175 provide: Art. The Family Code has further liberalized the rules. simply as being a genuine or indubitable writing of the father. Article 2260 of that Code provides that 'the voluntary recognition of a natural child shall take place according to this Code." so as to be an authentic writing for purposes of voluntary recognition. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following: (1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment. 173. 1950. The term would include a public instrument (one duly acknowledged before a notary public or other competent official) or a private writing admitted by the father to be his. for instance. Thus. authority and obedience among members of a family. the rules governing property. or to the status. the civil effects of marriage and divorce upon the persons and properties of the spouses. It has thus [been] defined as the mass of precepts which determine and regulate the relations of assistance. In the absence of the foregoing evidence. Art. if any. govern Spaniards although they reside in a foreign country. to indicate that the legitimate or illegitimate civil status of the individual would also affect his political rights or. or (2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. an action to claim acknowledgment. the extent of the latter. legal causes for divorce. in which case the action may be brought during the lifetime of the alleged parent.authentic writing. x x x the laws relating to family rights and duties. The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173. In these cases.[if !supportFootnotes][40][endif] In adoption. There is little. such as those dealing with the validity or nullity of the matrimonial bond. such provisions must be taken in the context of private relations. in consequence. and. as between them."[if !supportFootnotes][37][endif] In Yaez de Barnuevo vs. in Vda. or to the status. are questions that are governed exclusively by the national law of the husband and wife. Compulsory acknowledgment could be demanded generally in cases when the child had in his favor any evidence to prove filiation. Article 256 of the code reads: "Art. condition and legal capacity of persons. indeed. 172. Art. the classification of their property. Hence. marital authority. The provisions of the Family Code are retroactively applied. the legitimate filiation shall be proved by: (1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. x x x x x x x x x. except when the action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172. that. stating that - "Laws relating to family rights and duties." The relevance of "citizenship" or "nationality" to Civil Law is best exemplified in Article 15 of the Civil Code. condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines. and might pass exceptionally to the heirs of the child. The action to claim legitimacy may be brought by the child during his or her lifetime and shall be transmitted to the heirs should the child die during minority or in a state of insanity. or (2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. an adopted child would be considered the child of his adoptive parents and accorded the same rights as their legitimate child but such legal fiction extended only to define his rights under civil ." It should be apparent that the growing trend to liberalize the acknowledgment or recognition of illegitimate children is an attempt to break away from the traditional idea of keeping well apart legitimate and non-legitimate relationships within the family in favor of the greater interest and welfare of the child. the domicile of the husband and wife. the heirs shall have a period of five years within which to institute the action. the domain of civil law. his relationship to the State. "authentic writing.[if !supportFootnotes][39][endif] such as on successional rights and family relations. provisions on "citizenship" could be found in the Civil Code. 175. particularly - "Civil Law is that branch of law which has for its double purpose the organization of the family and the regulation of property. Similarly. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same. 256. evidence as legitimate children. citizenship is significant in civil relationships found in different parts of the Civil Code. 'all questions of a civil nature. Article 173. their support. in general. Amicus Curiae Ruben F.

law[if !supportFootnotes][41][endif] and not his political status.
Civil law provisions point to an obvious bias against illegitimacy. This discriminatory attitude may be traced to the Spanish family
and property laws, which, while defining proprietary and successional rights of members of the family, provided distinctions in the
rights of legitimate and illegitimate children. In the monarchial set-up of old Spain, the distribution and inheritance of titles and
wealth were strictly according to bloodlines and the concern to keep these bloodlines uncontaminated by foreign blood was
paramount.
These distinctions between legitimacy and illegitimacy were codified in the Spanish Civil Code, and the invidious discrimination
survived when the Spanish Civil Code became the primary source of our own Civil Code. Such distinction, however, remains and
should remain only in the sphere of civil law and not unduly impede or impinge on the domain of political law.
The proof of filiation or paternity for purposes of determining his citizenship status should thus be deemed independent from and
not inextricably tied up with that prescribed for civil law purposes. The Civil Code or Family Code provisions on proof of filiation or
paternity, although good law, do not have preclusive effects on matters alien to personal and family relations. The ordinary rules on
evidence could well and should govern. For instance, the matter about pedigree is not necessarily precluded from being applicable
by the Civil Code or Family Code provisions.
Section 39, Rule 130, of the Rules of Court provides -
Act or Declaration about pedigree. The act or declaration of a person deceased, or unable to testify, in respect to the pedigree of
another person related to him by birth or marriage, may be received in evidence where it occurred before the controversy, and the
relationship between the two persons is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration. The word `pedigree includes
relationship, family genealogy, birth, marriage, death, the dates when and the places where these facts occurred, and the names of
the relatives. It embraces also facts of family history intimately connected with pedigree.
For the above rule to apply, it would be necessary that (a) the declarant is already dead or unable to testify, (b) the pedigree of a
person must be at issue, (c) the declarant must be a relative of the person whose pedigree is in question, (d) declaration must be
made before the controversy has occurred, and (e) the relationship between the declarant and the person whose pedigree is in
question must be shown by evidence other than such act or declaration.
Thus, the duly notarized declaration made by Ruby Kelley Mangahas, sister of Bessie Kelley Poe submitted as Exhibit 20 before the
COMELEC, might be accepted to prove the acts of Allan F. Poe, recognizing his own paternal relationship with FPJ, i.e, living together
with Bessie Kelley and his children (including respondent FPJ) in one house, and as one family -
"I, Ruby Kelley Mangahas, of legal age and sound mind, presently residing in Stockton, California, U.S.A., after being sworn in
accordance with law do hereby declare that:
1. I am the sister of the late Bessie Kelley Poe.
2. Bessie Kelley Poe was the wife of Fernando Poe, Sr.
3. Fernando and Bessie Poe had a son by the name of Ronald Allan Poe, more popularly known in the Philippines as `Fernando Poe,
Jr., or `FPJ.
4. Ronald Allan Poe `FPJ was born on August 20, 1939 at St. Luke's Hospital, Magdalena Street, Manila.
x x x x x x x x x
7. Fernando Poe Sr., and my sister Bessie, met and became engaged while they were students at the University of the Philippines in
1936. I was also introduced to Fernando Poe, Sr., by my sister that same year.
8. Fernando Poe, Sr., and my sister Bessie had their first child in 1938.
9. Fernando Poe, Sr., my sister Bessie and their first three children, Elizabeth, Ronald, Allan and Fernando II, and myself lived
together with our mother at our family's house on Dakota St. (now Jorge Bocobo St.), Malate until the liberation of Manila in 1945,
except for some months between 1943-1944.
10. Fernando Poe, Sr., and my sister, Bessie, were blessed with four (4) more children after Ronald Allan Poe.
x x x x x x x x x
18. I am executing this Declaration to attest to the fact that my nephew, Ronald Allan Poe is a natural born Filipino, and that he is
the legitimate child of Fernando Poe, Sr.
Done in City of Stockton, California, U.S.A., this 12th day of January 2004.
Ruby Kelley Mangahas
Declarant
DNA Testing
In case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to satisfactorily establish or would be difficult to obtain, DNA testing, which
examines genetic codes obtained from body cells of the illegitimate child and any physical residue of the long dead parent could be
resorted to. A positive match would clear up filiation or paternity. In Tijing vs. Court of Appeals,[if !supportFootnotes][42][endif] this Court has
acknowledged the strong weight of DNA testing -
"Parentage will still be resolved using conventional methods unless we adopt the modern and scientific ways available. Fortunately,
we have now the facility and expertise in using DNA test for identification and parentage testing. The University of the Philippines
Natural Science Research Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA Analysis Laboratory has now the capability to conduct DNA typing using short
tandem repeat (STR) analysis. The analysis is based on the fact that the DNA of a child/person has two (2) copies, one copy from the
mother and the other from the father. The DNA from the mother, the alleged father and the child are analyzed to establish
parentage. Of course, being a novel scientific technique, the use of DNA test as evidence is still open to challenge. Eventually, as the

appropriate case comes, courts should not hesitate to rule on the admissibility of DNA evidence. For it was said, that courts should
apply the results of science when competently obtained in aid of situations presented, since to reject said result is to deny
progress."
Petitioners Argument For
Jurisprudential Conclusiveness
Petitioner would have it that even if Allan F. Poe were a Filipino citizen, he could not have transmitted his citizenship to respondent
FPJ, the latter being an illegitimate child. According to petitioner, prior to his marriage to Bessie Kelley, Allan F. Poe, on July 5, 1936,
contracted marriage with a certain Paulita Gomez, making his subsequent marriage to Bessie Kelley bigamous and respondent FPJ
an illegitimate child. The veracity of the supposed certificate of marriage between Allan F. Poe and Paulita Gomez could be most
doubtful at best. But the documentary evidence introduced by no less than respondent himself, consisting of a birth certificate of
respondent and a marriage certificate of his parents showed that FPJ was born on 20 August 1939 to a Filipino father and an
American mother who were married to each other a year later, or on 16 September 1940. Birth to unmarried parents would make
FPJ an illegitimate child. Petitioner contended that as an illegitimate child, FPJ so followed the citizenship of his mother, Bessie
Kelley, an American citizen, basing his stand on the ruling of this Court in Morano vs. Vivo,[if !supportFootnotes][43][endif] citing Chiongbian vs.
de Leon[if !supportFootnotes][44][endif] and Serra vs. Republic.[if !supportFootnotes][45][endif]
On the above score, the disquisition made by amicus curiae Joaquin G. Bernas, SJ, is most convincing; he states -
"We must analyze these cases and ask what the lis mota was in each of them. If the pronouncement of the Court on jus sanguinis was
on the lis mota, the pronouncement would be a decision constituting doctrine under the rule of stare decisis. But if the
pronouncement was irrelevant to the lis mota, the pronouncement would not be a decision but a mere obiter dictum which did not
establish doctrine. I therefore invite the Court to look closely into these cases.
First, Morano vs. Vivo. The case was not about an illegitimate child of a Filipino father. It was about a stepson of a Filipino, a stepson
who was the child of a Chinese mother and a Chinese father. The issue was whether the stepson followed the naturalization of the
stepfather. Nothing about jus sanguinis there. The stepson did not have the blood of the naturalized stepfather.
Second, Chiongbian vs. de Leon. This case was not about the illegitimate son of a Filipino father. It was about a legitimate son of a
father who had become Filipino by election to public office before the 1935 Constitution pursuant to Article IV, Section 1(2) of the
1935 Constitution. No one was illegitimate here.
Third, Serra vs. Republic. The case was not about the illegitimate son of a Filipino father. Serra was an illegitimate child of a Chinese
father and a Filipino mother. The issue was whether one who was already a Filipino because of his mother who still needed to be
naturalized. There is nothing there about invidious jus sanguinis.
Finally, Paa vs. Chan.[if !supportFootnotes][46][endif] This is a more complicated case. The case was about the citizenship of Quintin Chan who
was the son of Leoncio Chan. Quintin Chan claimed that his father, Leoncio, was the illegitimate son of a Chinese father and a
Filipino mother. Quintin therefore argued that he got his citizenship from Leoncio, his father. But the Supreme Court said that there
was no valid proof that Leoncio was in fact the son of a Filipina mother. The Court therefore concluded that Leoncio was not
Filipino. If Leoncio was not Filipino, neither was his son Quintin. Quintin therefore was not only not a natural-born Filipino but was
not even a Filipino.
The Court should have stopped there. But instead it followed with an obiter dictum. The Court said obiter that even if Leoncio,
Quintin's father, were Filipino, Quintin would not be Filipino because Quintin was illegitimate. This statement about Quintin, based
on a contrary to fact assumption, was absolutely unnecessary for the case. x x x It was obiter dictum, pure and simple, simply
repeating the obiter dictum in Morano vs. Vivo.
x x x x x x x x x
"Aside from the fact that such a pronouncement would have no textual foundation in the Constitution, it would also violate the
equal protection clause of the Constitution not once but twice. First, it would make an illegitimate distinction between a legitimate
child and an illegitimate child, and second, it would make an illegitimate distinction between the illegitimate child of a Filipino
father and the illegitimate child of a Filipino mother.
The doctrine on constitutionally allowable distinctions was established long ago by People vs. Cayat.[if !supportFootnotes][47][endif] I would
grant that the distinction between legitimate children and illegitimate children rests on real differences. x x x But real differences
alone do not justify invidious distinction. Real differences may justify distinction for one purpose but not for another purpose.
x x x What is the relevance of legitimacy or illegitimacy to elective public service? What possible state interest can there be for
disqualifying an illegitimate child from becoming a public officer. It was not the fault of the child that his parents had illicit liaison.
Why deprive the child of the fullness of political rights for no fault of his own? To disqualify an illegitimate child from holding an
important public office is to punish him for the indiscretion of his parents. There is neither justice nor rationality in that. And if
there is neither justice nor rationality in the distinction, then the distinction transgresses the equal protection clause and must be
reprobated.
The other amici curiae, Mr. Justice Vicente Mendoza (a former member of this Court), Professor Ruben Balane and Dean Martin
Magallona, at bottom, have expressed similar views. The thesis of petitioner, unfortunately hinging solely on pure obiter dicta,
should indeed fail.
Where jurisprudence regarded an illegitimate child as taking after the citizenship of its mother, it did so for the benefit the child. It
was to ensure a Filipino nationality for the illegitimate child of an alien father in line with the assumption that the mother had
custody, would exercise parental authority and had the duty to support her illegitimate child. It was to help the child, not to

prejudice or discriminate against him.
The fact of the matter perhaps the most significant consideration is that the 1935 Constitution, the fundamental law prevailing on
the day, month and year of birth of respondent FPJ, can never be more explicit than it is. Providing neither conditions nor
distinctions, the Constitution states that among the citizens of the Philippines are those whose fathers are citizens of the
Philippines. There utterly is no cogent justification to prescribe conditions or distinctions where there clearly are none provided.
In Sum
(1) The Court, in the exercise of its power of judicial review, possesses jurisdiction over the petition in G. R. No. 161824, filed under
Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. G.R. No. 161824 assails the resolution of the COMELEC for
alleged grave abuse of discretion in dismissing, for lack of merit, the petition in SPA No. 04-003 which has prayed for the
disqualification of respondent FPJ from running for the position of President in the 10th May 2004 national elections on the
contention that FPJ has committed material representation in his certificate of candidacy by representing himself to be a naturalborn citizen of the Philippines.
(2) The Court must dismiss, for lack of jurisdiction and prematurity, the petitions in G. R. No. 161434 and No. 161634 both having
been directly elevated to this Court in the latters capacity as the only tribunal to resolve a presidential and vice-presidential election
contest under the Constitution. Evidently, the primary jurisdiction of the Court can directly be invoked only after, not before, the
elections are held.
(3) In ascertaining, in G.R. No. 161824, whether grave abuse of discretion has been committed by the COMELEC, it is necessary to
take on the matter of whether or not respondent FPJ is a natural-born citizen, which, in turn, depended on whether or not the father
of respondent, Allan F. Poe, would have himself been a Filipino citizen and, in the affirmative, whether or not the alleged illegitimacy
of respondent prevents him from taking after the Filipino citizenship of his putative father. Any conclusion on the Filipino
citizenship of Lorenzo Pou could only be drawn from the presumption that having died in 1954 at 84 years old, Lorenzo would have
been born sometime in the year 1870, when the Philippines was under Spanish rule, and that San Carlos, Pangasinan, his place of
residence upon his death in 1954, in the absence of any other evidence, could have well been his place of residence before death,
such that Lorenzo Pou would have benefited from the en masse Filipinization that the Philippine Bill had effected in 1902. That
citizenship (of Lorenzo Pou), if acquired, would thereby extend to his son, Allan F. Poe, father of respondent FPJ. The 1935
Constitution, during which regime respondent FPJ has seen first light, confers citizenship to all persons whose fathers are Filipino
citizens regardless of whether such children are legitimate or illegitimate.
(4) But while the totality of the evidence may not establish conclusively that respondent FPJ is a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines, the evidence on hand still would preponderate in his favor enough to hold that he cannot be held guilty of having made
a material misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy in violation of Section 78, in relation to Section 74, of the Omnibus
Election Code. Petitioner has utterly failed to substantiate his case before the Court, notwithstanding the ample opportunity given
to the parties to present their position and evidence, and to prove whether or not there has been material misrepresentation,
which, as so ruled in Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC,[if !supportFootnotes][48][endif] must not only be material, but also deliberate and
willful.
WHEREFORE, the Court RESOLVES to DISMISS
1. G. R. No. 161434, entitled "Maria Jeanette C. Tecson and Felix B. Desiderio, Jr., Petitioners, versus Commission on Elections,
Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (a.k.a. "Fernando Poe, Jr.,) and Victorino X. Fornier, Respondents," and G. R. No. 161634, entitled "Zoilo
Antonio Velez, Petitioner, versus Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, a.k.a. Fernando Poe, Jr., Respondent," for want of jurisdiction.
2. G. R. No. 161824, entitled Victorino X. Fornier, Petitioner, versus Hon. Commission on Elections and Ronald Allan Kelley
Poe, also known as Fernando Poe, Jr., for failure to show grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent Commission on
Elections in dismissing the petition in SPA No. 04-003.
No Costs.
SO ORDERED.


G.R. No. 86564 August 1, 1989
RAMON L. LABO, JR., petitioner,
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC) EN BANC AND LUIS L. LARDIZABAL, respondents
Estelito P. Mendoza for petitioner.
Rillera and Quintana for private respondent.

CRUZ, J.:
The petitioner asks this Court to restrain the Commission on Elections from looking into the question of his citizenship as a
qualification for his office as Mayor of Baguio City. The allegation that he is a foreigner, he says, is not the issue. The issue is whether
or not the public respondent has jurisdiction to conduct any inquiry into this matter, considering that the petition for quo warranto
against him was not filed on time.
It is noteworthy that this argument is based on the alleged tardiness not of the petition itself but of the payment of the filing fee,
which the petitioner contends was an indispensable requirement. The fee is, curiously enough, all of P300.00 only. This brings to

No docket fee was collected although it was offered. he says. specifically Manchester v. the Commission may refuse to take action thereon until they are paid and may dismiss the action or the proceeding. The petitioner's position is simple. In Sun Insurance Office. Res. No petition for quo warranto shall be given due course without the payment of a filing fee in the amount of Three Hundred Pesos (P300. In his Reply. 1980. We agree with the respondents that the fee was paid during the ten-day period as extended by the pendency of the petition when it was treated by the COMELEC as a pre-proclamation proceeding which did not require the payment of a filing fee. what is important is that the filing fee was paid. 1980. on January 20. We held in that case that publication was still necessary under the due process clause despite such effectivity clause. we reach this conclusion only on the assumption that the requirement for the payment of the fees in quo warranto proceedings was already effective. that the COMELEC decided to treat his petition as solely for quo warranto and re-docketed it as EPC Case No. it should be deemed filed only when the fee was paid. which became effective on January 5. To this. No. 1988. In any event. Rule 44 thereof. 88-19. v. It was only on February 8. the private respondent counters that the latter resolution was intended for the local elections held on January 30. No.mind the popular verse that for want of a horse the kingdom was lost. His point is that when he filed his "Petition for Quo Warranto with Prayer for Immediate Annulment of Proclamation and Restraining Order or Injunction" on January 26. 1988. This was done beyond the reglementary period provided for under Section 253 of the Omnibus Election Code reading as follows: SEC. 1996 took effect only on March 3.00) and the legal research fee as required by law. the petitioner would at the same time minimize his alleged lack of citizenship as "a futile technicality. taking into account the special circumstances of that case. or after the petition was filed. regional. Non-payment of prescribed fees. seven days after its publication in the February 25. the court may allow the payment of the said fee within a reasonable time. of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure cited by the petitioner. the private respondent denies that the filing fee was paid out of time. 30. At that. 18. 1 For his part. if it is shown that the petition was indeed filed beyond the reglementary period. 2 At any rate. 1988 issues of the Manila Chronicle and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. 88-288. 1988.ada v. Tuvera 4 when he argues that the resolutions became effective "immediately upon approval" simply because it was so provided therein. 1450 was even published. Ltd. — If the fees above prescribed are not paid. Section 5. 1988. this took effect only on March 3. but no filing fee was paid on that date. 5 however this Court. 1996 and. In the event of non-compliance therewith. The private respondent argues further that during the period when the COMELEC regarded his petition as a pre-proclamation controversy. the time for filing an election protest or quo warranto proceeding was deemed suspended under Section 248 of the Omnibus Election Code. The petitioner forgets Tañ. Section 5. respectively. Court of Appeals. the case shall be dismissed. and stresses that there is abundant jurisprudence holding that the payment of the filing fee is essential to the timeliness of the filling of the petition itself. — Any voter contesting the election of a Member of the Batasang Pambansa. the COMELEC treated it as a pre-proclamation controversy and docketed it as SPC Case No. Section 18. (Emphasis supplied. 1988. seven days after publication of the said Rules in the Official Gazette pursuant to Section 4. of the Procedural Rules of the COMELEC providing that — Sec.1988. thus: Sec. No. He immediately paid the filing fee on that date. became effective only on November 15. No. He was proclaimed mayor-elect of Baguio City. In fact he says. 6646. 1988. or city officer on the ground of ineligibility or of disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines shall file a sworn petition for quo warranto with the Commission within ten days after the proclamation of the result of the election. Asuncion. 253. declared: This Court reiterates the rule that the trial court acquires jurisdiction over a case only upon the payment of the prescribed filing fee. 1450 of the respondent COMELEC. This fee was finally paid on February 10. serving him notice on February 10. 1988. or twenty-one days after his proclamation. 1988. 1988. of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure adopted on June 20. the petitioner argues that even if the Omnibus Election Code did not require it. 1988. we required the timely payment of the filing fee as a precondition for the timeliness of the filing of the case itself." It is . it was flied ahead of time. Effectivity of Regulations and Orders of the Commission. The same idea is expressed in Rule 42. There is no record that Res. and as for Res. before that. otherwise known as the Electoral Reform Law of 1987. 1996. The petition for quo warranto was filed by the private respondent on January 26. promulgated on January 12. However. when he filed his petition with the COMELEC. As the petition by itself alone was ineffectual without the filing fee. provincial. Petition for quo warranto. However. The Court has considered the arguments of the parties and holds that the petition for quo warranto was filed on time. and whatever delay there may have been is not imputable to the private respondent's fault or neglect.) The Court notes that while arguing the technical point that the petition for quo warranto should be dismissed for failure to pay the filing fee on time. The petitioner adds that the payment of the filing fee is required under Rule 36. 1988. there is no question that this petition must be granted and the challenge abated. which were supposed to be governed by the firstmentioned resolution. the payment of filing fees was still necessary under Res. It is true that in the Manchester Case. Res. Still. 5. He cites many rulings of the Court to this effect. Rule 36. 1988. 3 These rules could not retroact to January 26. — The rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission shall take effect on the seventh day after their publication in the Official Gazette or in at least (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines. and February 26. and did not apply to the 1988 local elections. No. following the lapse of seven days after its publication as required by RA No. Its Section 30 provides in part: Sec.

1988.R. et al. 21 SCRA 1039. respondent COMELEC implicitly adopted as "its own" private respondent's repeated assertion that petitioner is no longer a Filipino citizen. Garcia. as his citizenship is the subject of that proceeding. v. There is therefore no point in referring the case back to the Court of Appeals. to serve the ends of justice. 11 The first decision was penned by then COMELEC Chigas. thus: From the foregoing brief statement of the nature of the instant case. Erico v. In this case. the Court.. 12 SCRA 628. we apply the rule in the case of Del Castillo v. it is a cherished rule of procedure for this Court to always strive to settle the entire controversy in a single proceeding leaving no root or branch to bear the seeds of future litigation. (See Sotto v. (112 SCRA 629) and follow the principle enunciated in Alger Electric. However. the Court is immediately impressed that substantial justice may not be timely achieved. In so doing. we find that there are two administrative decisions on the question of the petitioner's citizenship. the length of time that this case has been pending. This matter should normally end here as the sole issue originally raised by the petitioner is the timeliness of the quo warranto proceedings against him. Inc. not to speak of delay in the disposal of the case (cf. Considerable time has already elapsed and. 50141. it is claimed that a foreigner is holding a public office. 5 SCRA 733. Fernandez v. Paredes. Gimenez. we see that there is enough basis for us to end the basic controversy between the parties here and now. 43) Only recently in the case of Beautifont. very ably and comprehensively expounded by evidently knowledgeable and unusually competent counsel. 34 Phil. 74). 1982. such as where the ends of justice would not be subserved by the remand of the case or when public interest demands an early disposition of the case or where the trial court had already received all the evidence of the parties. Republic. and act with finality. by reason of prejudgment. the petitioner says: In adopting private respondent's comment. Francisco v. v. 99 Phil. Jaymalin. nor should the ultimate judgment. and held that the petitioner was not a citizen of the Philippines. and act with finality. the dictates of justice do demand that this Court act. 162).. 92 Phil. we stated that: . and we feel we can better serve the interests of justice by broadening the scope of our inquiry. v. with procedural steps which would not anyway affect substantially the merits of their respective claims. from resolving the petition for quo warranto filed by private respondent still pending before it? 9 This is still another reason why the Court has seen fit to rule directly on the merits of this case. 105 Phil. 230 and U. 98 SCRA 575. the more correct procedure was for the respondent court to forward the case to the proper court which was the Court of Appeals for appropriate action. to repeat for stress. to say the least. (G. City of Davao.S. dispensing. Republic v. citing Samal v. Inc. The Court has similarly acted in a notable number of cases.. for as the record before us stands. it would appear that our sole function in this proceeding should be to resolve the single issue of whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the motion for new trial of the GSIS in question should indeed be deemed pro forma. that the requirement of citizenship as a qualification for public office can be so demeaned. On many occasions.. the Supreme Court should act. 76 SCRA 197. 1046. Lianga Timber Co. and considering the necessity for an early resolution of that more important question clearly and urgently affecting the public interest. Jr. v. Court of Appeals. 6 x x x While it is the fault of the petitioner for appealing to the wrong court and thereby allowing the period for appeal to lapse. The second decision was unanimously rendered by Chairman Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Commissioners Alano and Geraldez of . CA. 592. Court of Appeals. We have carefully read all the allegations and arguments of the parties. 10 The second was rendered by the Commission on Immigration and Deportation on September 13. Heirs of Chigas. What is worse is that it is regarded as an even less important consideration than the reglementary period the petitioner insists upon. No useful purpose will be served if this case is remanded to the trial court only to have its decision raised again to the Intermediate Appellate Court and from there to this Court. Lianga Lumber Co. we shall directly address it now in this same action. 1988). 57. however.' (Li Siu Liat v. We also note in his Reply. But all those relevant facts are now before this Court. both to the parties and the government.regrettable. Vicente Santiago. And those facts dictate the rendition of a verdict in the petitioner's favor. The first was rendered by the Commission on Elections on May 12. et al. effort and expense. Samson. and found the petitioner to be a citizen of the Philippines. But going over the extended pleadings of both parties. 108 Phil. 597). (p. has resolved actions on the merits instead of remanding them to the trial court for further proceedings. 8 This course of action becomes all the more justified in the present case where. Valencia v.ñèt Sound practice seeks to accommodate the theory which avoids waste of time.lâwphî1.. 7 x x x Remand of the case to the lower court for further reception of evidence is not necessary where the court is in a position to resolve the dispute based on the records before it. No. Inc." Commissioner Sagadraca reserved his vote. The facts and the legal propositions involved will not change. while Commissioner Felipe was for deferring decision until representations shall have been made with the Australian Embassy for official verification of the petitioner's alleged naturalization as an Australian. has not respondent COMELEC effectively disqualified itself. if we should decide this case upon such a technical ground alone. in the public interest and the expeditious administration of justice. A marked characteristic of our judicial set-up is that where the dictates of justice so demand . however.. January 29. Considering. Mabilangan. Going over the record... it is time that the controversy is finally laid to rest. (135 SCRA 37) which states: ... with Commissioners Pabalate Savellano and Opinion concurring in full and Commissioner Bacungan concurring in the dismissal of the petition "without prejudice to the issue of the respondent's citizenship being raised anew in a proper case.

date of birth 23 December 1934. he could be deprived of Australian citizenship under Section 21 of the Act. A. there was no direct proof that the herein petitioner had been formally naturalized as a citizen of Australia. renouncing all other allegiance . DONE AT MANILA IN THE PHILIPPINES. not all the members joined in this finding. STATEMENT A) RAMON LABO. 15 The petitioner does not question the authenticity of the above evidence. renouncing all other allegiance. As the spouse of an Australian citizen. although. WEST Consul This was affirmed later by the letter of February 1. B) Any person over the age of 16 years who is granted Australian citizenship must take an oath of allegiance or make an affirmation of allegiance. 223809. LABO may face court action in respect of Section 50 of Australian Citizenship Act 1948 which relates to the giving of false or misleading information of a material nature in respect of an application for Australian citizenship." etc.. JR. On the other hand. and do hereby certify that the statement is true and correct. and registered as an alien with the CID upon his return to this country in 1980. Queen of Australia. acquired Australian citizenship on 28 July 1976..B. then he would automatically lose as Australian citizenship under Section 17 of the Act. 1988. which he used in coming back to the Philippines in 1980. For the Secretary of Foreign Affairs: (SGD) RODOLFO SEVERINO. was merely inferred from the fact that he had married an Australian citizen. Jr. GRAHAM COLIN WEST. 2) That prior to 17 July 1986. Queen of Australia. addressed to the private respondent by the Department of Foreign Affairs reading as follows: 13 Sir: With reference to your letter dated 1 February 1988. MANILA. a candidate for Australian citizenship had to either swear an oath of allegiance or make an affirmation of allegiance which carries a renunciation of "all other allegiance. A.. by virtue of a certificate of appointment signed and sealed by the Australian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on 19 October 1983.the Commission on Immigration and Deportation. renouncing all other allegiance. That statement 12 is reproduced in full as follows: I. swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second. which declares: AFFIRMATION OF ALLEGIANCE I. was married in the Philippines to an Australian citizen. Consul of Australia in the Philippines. 754705. Ramon L. The wording of the oath of affirmation is: "I .. E) Should he return to Australia. I HAVE HEREUNTO SET MAY HAND AND SEAL OF THE AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY. solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second. and recognized as such by Letter of Patent signed and sealed by the Philippines Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs on 23 November 1983.. Her heirs and successors according to law.. B-323985. 84-73). he was not required to meet normal requirements for the grant of citizenship and was granted Australian citizenship by Sydney on 28 July 1976. and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfill my duties as an Australian citizen. Filipino) by a formal and voluntary act other than marriage. JR. Assistant Secretary The decision also noted the oath of allegiance taken by every naturalized Australian reading as follows: OATH OF ALLEGIANCE I. which was eventually rejected. even sought to avoid the jurisdiction of the barangay court on the ground that he was a foreigner. If such a prosecution was successful.B. as earlier noted. Y LOZANO (SPC No. the decision of the CID took into account the official statement of the Australian Government dated August 12. through its Consul in the Philippines. This need not necessarily have any effect on his former nationality as this would depend on the citizenship laws of his former country. The . This conjecture. C) The marriage was declared void in the Australian Federal Court in Sydney on 27 June 1980 on the ground that the marriage had been bigamous. 17 He also categorically declared that he was a citizen of Australia in a number of sworn statements voluntarily made by him and. that the petitioner was still an Australian citizen as of that date by reason of his naturalization in 1976. Very truly yours. obtained an Australian passport. Her heirs and successors according to law. IN WITNESS WHEREOF. (for example. Labo. 16 He later asked for the change of his status from immigrant to a returning former Philippine citizen and was granted Immigrant Certificate of Residence No. I wish to inform you that inquiry made with the Australian Government through the Embassy of the Philippines in Canberra has elicited the following information: 1) That Mr. F) There are two further ways in which LABO could divest himself of Australian citizenship: (i) He could make a declaration of Renunciation of Australian citizenship under Section 18 of the Australian Citizenship Act. and that I will faithfully observe the Laws of Australia and fulfill my duties as an Australian citizen. JR. 14 and the Affirmation of Allegiance. It is important to observe that in the proceeding before the COMELEC. 1984. THIS 12th DAY OF APRIL 1984. do hereby provide the following statement in response to the subpoena Testificandum dated 9 April 1984 in regard to the Petition for disqualification against RAMON LABO. D) According to our records LABO is still an Australian citizen. 18 The decision of the COMELEC in 1982 quaintly dismisses all these acts as "mistakes" that did not divest the petitioner of his citizenship. Neither does he deny that he obtained Australian Passport No. when he declared before the immigration authorities that he was an alien and registered as such under Alien Certificate of Registration No.. or (ii) If he acquired another nationality. Y LOZANO. We reject this ruling as totally baseless. (Signed) GRAHAM C.

Under CA No. at least twenty-three years of age on election day. but this too must be dismissed. In fact. That is a matter between him and his adopted country.. let alone the fact that he was assisted by counsel when he performed these acts. is not present in this case. or any other local language or dialect. he swore "to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second. one of the requisites of res judicata. it does not appear that it was properly and seasonably pleaded.petitioner is not an unlettered person who was not aware of the consequences of his acts. having been invoked only when the petitioner filed his reply 20 to the private respondent's comment. is not now qualified to serve as such. And that is also the reason we must deny his present claim for recognition as a citizen of the Philippines. In any event. who filed the quo warranto petition." The petitioner now claims that his naturalization in Australia made him at worst only a dual national and did not divest him of his Philippine citizenship. as the Court has ruled in several cases. The probability that many of those who voted for the petitioner may have done so in the belief that he was qualified only strengthens the conclusion that the results of the election cannot nullify the qualifications for the office now held by him. (2) express renunciation of citizenship. although elected. 725. as he claims. the citizenship and voting requirements were not subsequently lost but were not possessed at all in the first place on the day of the election. a qualified voter registered as such in the barangay. This doctrine does not apply to questions of citizenship. He became a citizen of Australia because he was naturalized as such through a formal and positive process.100 votes. the people of that locality could not have. The simple reason is that as he obtained only the second highest number of votes in the election. and (3) subscribing to an oath of allegiance to support the Constitution or laws of a foreign country. It is also worth mentioning in this connection that under Article IV." Even if it be assumed that. — An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines. Filipino. (Emphasis supplied. It does not appear in the record. simplified in his case because he was married to an Australian citizen. 1988. 19 Moreover. who elected him by a "resonant and thunderous majority. if their applications are approved. Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by direct act of Congress. There is also the claim that the decision can no longer be reversed because of the doctrine of res judicata. both quoted above. city or province where he proposes to be elected. "Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law.. The Commission on Immigration and Deportation shall thereupon cancel their certificate of registration. in a motion to dismiss or in the answer. by naturalization. nor was he on the day of the local elections on January 18." To be accurate. Such a specious argument cannot stand against the clear provisions of CA No. all of which are applicable to the petitioner. The petitioner argues that his alleged lack of citizenship is a "futile technicality" that should not frustrate the will of the electorate of Baguio City. 63 as amended by PD No. or by repatriation. he . he formally took the Oath of Allegiance and/or made the Affirmation of Allegiance. In the case at bar. providing that: . The possibility that he may have been subsequently rejected by Australia." and to fulfill his duties "as an Australian citizen. Qualifications. even unanimously. that he has reacquired Philippine citizenship by any of these methods. These qualifications are continuing requirements. can replace the petitioner as mayor. His divestiture of Australian citizenship does not concern us here. taking the necessary oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. for his lead over the second-placer was only about 2. He cannot. of the present Constitution. nor does the petitioner claim. 42. Section 5. 725. under Section 42 of the Local Government Code providing in material part as follows: Sec. (2) natural-born Filipinos who have lost their Philippine citizenship may reacquire Philippine citizenship through repatriation by applying with the Special Committee on Naturalization created by Letter of Instruction No. to preside over them as mayor of their city.. What we must consider is the fact that he voluntarily and freely rejected Philippine citizenship and willingly and knowingly embraced the citizenship of a foreign country. The electorate had no power to permit a foreigner owing his total allegiance to the Queen of Australia. Among these are: (1) naturalization in a foreign country. his naturalization in Australia was annulled after it was found that his marriage to the Australian citizen was bigamous. there is the question of whether or not the private respondent. He does not point to any judicial decree of naturalization as to any statute directly conferring Philippine citizenship upon him. Finally. a citizen of the Philippines. which enumerates the modes by which Philippine citizenship may be lost. As a condition for such naturalization. There is no claim or finding that he automatically ceased to be a Filipino because of that marriage. 21 He was therefore ineligible as a candidate for mayor of Baguio City. changed the requirements of the Local Government Code and the Constitution.) That is why the Commission on Immigration and Deportation rejected his application for the cancellation of his alien certificate of registration. but we need not go into that now. 270. The petitioner is not now. does not mean that he has been automatically reinstated as a citizen of the Philippines. after which they shall be deemed to have reacquired Philippine citizenship. Only citizens of the Philippines have that privilege over their countrymen. Neither has he shown that he has complied with PD No.. he was not even a qualified voter under the Constitution itself because of his alienage. Queen of Australia . The private respondent questions the motives of the COMELEC at that time and stresses Labo's political affiliation with the party in power then. and. a resident therein for at least one year at the time of the filing of his certificate of candidacy. Renouncing all other allegiance. as the petitioner asserts. Besides. identity of parties. that circumstance alone did not automatically restore his Philippine citizenship. it was not as loud as all that. and able to read and write English. title to the office itself is deemed forfeited. or at least a stateless individual owing no allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. once any of them is lost during incumbency. The petitioner was disqualified from running as mayor and. 63. to wit. The petitioner's contention that his marriage to an Australian national in 1976 did not automatically divest him of Philippine citizenship is irrelevant. municipality.

32 There the Court held: . Padilla. petitioner Ramon J. and so holds. S 243. JR. Labo assumed the mayorship. Sarmiento. he must not lightly yield this precious advantage. they should not be treated as stray. Ordinarily. we would have limited ourselves to sustaining the jurisdiction of the COMELEC and remanding the case for further proceedings and the rendition of a decision. 25 One was on official leave. Melencio-Herrera.J. Padilla. disqualified. The votes cast for a dead. he cannot expect to be welcomed back with open arms once his taste for his adopted country turns sour or he is himself disowned by it as an undesirable alien. or eligible. Sarmiento. Griñ. 33 But having done so. God has seen fit to grant him. R. concur. The temporary restraining order dated January 31.) The fact that the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is later declared to be disqualified or not eligible for the office to which he was elected does not necessarily entitle the candidate who obtained the second highest number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective office. Separate Opinions GUTTIERREZ. order. 676. he has the right to renounce the Philippines if he sees fit and transfer his allegiance to a state with more allurements for him. It is beyond dispute that a non-citizen cannot be the mayor of Baguio City. C. Justice Isagani A. 1989) and inspire of what would otherwise be insuperable procedural obstacles. reiterate my statement in Frivaldo that my concurrence is limited only to cases involving citizenship and disloyalty but not to any of the many other grounds for disqualification cited in my concurring opinion. if the votes were cast in the sincere belief that the candidate was alive. In effect. Our decision to disqualify the petitioner is particularly distressing to me because I am impressed by the singular achievements in the beautification of Baguio City. To be sure. were all disregarded as stray. Fernan. I. 27 Which represents the more logical and democratic rule. who was disqualified as a turncoat and considered a non-candidate. a decision. Melencio-Herrera. Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who have received the highest number of votes cast in the election for that office. I do so because I cannot see how the Court can countenance a citizen of a foreign country or one who has renounced Filipino citizenship sitting as the mayor of one of the most important cities in the Philippines. JJ. Jr. This may not be accomplished by election to public office. Cortes. and it is a fundamental Idea in all republican forms of government that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election. void or meaningless.. the candidate who placed second was proclaimed elected after the votes for his winning rival. I join the rest of the Court..o-Aquino Medialdea and Regalado. Ramos. He is ordered to VACATE his office and surrender the same to the Vice-Mayor of Baguio City... be elevated to us for review. in the peace and order situation. I am constrained to concur in the Court's decision so forcefully and felicitously written by Mr. Bidin. the second placer won by default. out of more than a hundred other nationalities.). 26 Re-examining that decision. once this decision becomes final and executory. Commission on Elections 22 decided in 1985. Cortes.. Under Section 7. Commission on Elections (G.. Fernan. the majority of which have positively declared through their ballots that they do not choose him. Feliciano. Narvasa. It remains to stress that the citizen of the Philippines must take pride in his status as such and cherish this priceless gift that. That decision was supported by eight members of the Court then 23 with three dissenting 24 and another two reserving their vote. is LIFTED. JJ. Bidin. Paras. 87193. Gancayco. as yet. rejecting it for another land that may offer him material and other attractions that he may not find in his own country. No. However. WHEREFORE. it would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed a winner and imposed as the representative of a constituency. What was raised to the Court was only the issue of the COMELEC's jurisdiction to inquire into the citizenship of the petitioner. In that case. or ruling of the COMELEC may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty day from receipt of a copy thereof. It may be restored only after the returning renegade makes a formal act of re-dedication to the country he has abjured and he solemnly affirms once again his total and exclusive loyalty to the Republic of the Philippines. concur. although one reserved his vote. in the absence of a statute which clearly asserts a contrary political and legislative policy on the matter. (20 Corpus Juris 2nd. Paras.o-Aquino Medialdea and Regalado. No decision on the petitioner's citizenship has been rendered and no decision can. J. Having been so endowed. p. Article IXA of the Constitution. I see no other way this case can be resolved except by adopting a pragmatic approach. 1989. Labo. Philippine citizenship is not a cheap commodity that can be easily recovered after its renunciation. Griñ. However.concurring: As in the case of Frivaldo v.. (C. qualified. That case. Gancayco.was obviously not the choice of the people of Baguio city. June 23. the Court finds. is hereby declared NOT a citizen of the Philippines and therefore DISQUALIFIED from continuing to serve as Mayor of Baguio City. Narvasa.J. Paredes 28 was supported by ten members of the Court 29 without any dissent. Feliciano. which reiterated the doctrine first announced in 1912 in Topacio vs. The latest ruling of the Court on this issue is Santos v. Cruz. therefore. or non-eligible person may not be valid to vote the winner into office or maintain him there. that it should be reversed in favor of the earlier case of Geronimo v. 30 another took no part 31 and two others were on leave. . and in the resurgence of civic pride so visible to anyone who has gone up to Baguio since Mr.

a decision. 87193. we can already consider his/her acts. No decision on the petitioner's citizenship has been rendered and no decision can. Labo assumed the mayorship.R. J. after the filing of his/her COC and prior to the campaign period. No. Penera’s (Penera) motion for reconsideration of this Court’s Decision of 11 September 2009 (Decision). be elevated to us for review. as yet. third paragraph. The Decision disqualified Penera from running for the office of Mayor in Sta. Commission on Elections (G. I see no other way this case can be resolved except by adopting a pragmatic approach. 3. The Decision states that "[w]hen the campaign period starts and [the person who filed his certificate of candidacy] proceeds with his/her candidacy. as amended by Section 13 of RA 9369. the essential elements for violation of Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code are: (1) a person engages in an election campaign or partisan political activity. the Decision considers the partisan political acts of a person so filing a certificate of candidacy "as the promotion of his/her election as a candidate. J. the Decision considers a person who files a certificate of candidacy already a "candidate" even before the start of the campaign period.Separate Opinions GUTTIERREZ. Section 79(a) of the Omnibus Election Code defines a "candidate" as "any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public office. The petition for disqualification failed to submit convincing and substantial evidence against Penera for violation of Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code. Ordinarily. Petitioner.: We grant Rosalinda A.concurring: As in the case of Frivaldo v." The immediately succeeding proviso in the same third paragraph states that "unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period. . 4. vs. No. ANDANAR. 2. hence. Penera was not yet a candidate at the time of the incident under Section 11 of RA 8436 as amended by Section 13 of RA 9369. who has filed a certificate of candidacy x x x. In short. Article IXA of the Constitution." Thus. therefore. or ruling of the COMELEC may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty day from receipt of a copy thereof. R. In Lanot. order.2 which held that a person who files a certificate of candidacy is not a candidate until the start of the campaign period. 1989) and inspire of what would otherwise be insuperable procedural obstacles. JR. Our decision to disqualify the petitioner is particularly distressing to me because I am impressed by the singular achievements in the beautification of Baguio City. What was raised to the Court was only the issue of the COMELEC's jurisdiction to inquire into the citizenship of the petitioner. such person can be disqualified for premature campaigning for acts done before the start of the campaign period. I am constrained to concur in the Court's decision so forcefully and felicitously written by Mr. June 23. in the peace and order situation.. (3) the act is done outside the campaign period. However. The Decision reverses Lanot v. his/her intent turning into actuality. constituting premature campaigning. this Court explained: Thus. Penera never admitted the allegations of the petition for disqualification and has consistently disputed the charge of premature campaigning. R E S O L U T I O N CARPIO. for which he/she may be disqualified. Section 15 of RA 8436. Respondents. 181613 November 25. Surigao del Norte and declared that the Vice-Mayor should succeed Penera. a candidate may already be liable for premature campaigning after the filing of the certificate of candidacy but even before the start of the campaign period. The admission that Penera participated in a motorcade is not the same as admitting she engaged in premature election campaigning." These two provisions determine the resolution of this case. From the filing of the certificate of candidacy. provides that "[a]ny person who files his certificate of candidacy within [the period for filing] shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy. I join the rest of the Court.. In support of her motion for reconsideration. Justice Isagani A. 2009 ROSALINDA A. I. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and EDGAR T. Under Section 7. Cruz."1 Under the Decision. Penera submits the following arguments: 1. as the promotion of his/her election as a candidate. even long before the start of the campaign period." The second sentence. Monica. lawphil The assailed Decision is contrary to the clear intent and letter of the law. It is beyond dispute that a non-citizen cannot be the mayor of Baguio City. The assailed Decision dismissed Penera’s petition and affirmed the Resolution dated 30 July 2008 of the COMELEC En Banc as well as the Resolution dated 24 July 2007 of the COMELEC Second Division. we would have limited ourselves to sustaining the jurisdiction of the COMELEC and remanding the case for further proceedings and the rendition of a decision. I do so because I cannot see how the Court can countenance a citizen of a foreign country or one who has renounced Filipino citizenship sitting as the mayor of one of the most important cities in the Philippines. G. PENERA. and in the resurgence of civic pride so visible to anyone who has gone up to Baguio since Mr. reiterate my statement in Frivaldo that my concurrence is limited only to cases involving citizenship and disloyalty but not to any of the many other grounds for disqualification cited in my concurring opinion. (2) the act is designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates. COMELEC.

The only question is whether Eusebio. Senators and candidates under the party-list system as well as petitions for registration and/or manifestation to participate in the party-list system shall be on February 9. Accredited political parties and deputized citizens’ arms of the Commission may assign watchers in the printing. . whether national or local. which is before the start of the campaign period and after at least one candidate has filed his certificate of candidacy. TANJUATCO). and that identification marks. SENATOR GONZALES." The third element requires that the campaign period has not started when the election campaign or partisan political activity is committed. or 81 days earlier. referendum or plebiscite. there is no "particular candidate or candidates" to campaign for or against. 1998 elections. Unless one has filed his certificate of candidacy. the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition for registration/ manifestation to participate in the election shall not be later than one hundred twenty (120) days before the elections: Provided. SENATOR GONZALES. for purposes of the May 11. That. – The Commission shall prescribe the size and form of the official ballot which shall contain the titles of the positions to be filled and/or the propositions to be voted upon in an initiative. Under Section 11 of RA 8436. SENATOR GONZALES. which under Section 75 of the Omnibus Election Code is the day before the start of the campaign period. . If that’s a fact. Under each position. THE CHAIRMAN (REP. There is no dispute that Eusebio’s acts of election campaigning or partisan political activities were committed outside of the campaign period. the Commission through the Committee shall ensure that the serial number on the ballot stub shall be printed in magnetic ink that shall be easily detectable by inexpensive hardware and shall be impossible to reproduce on a photocopying machine. but if we can provide that the filing of the certificate of candidacy will not result in that official vacating his position. This is perhaps the reason why those running for elective public office usually file their certificates of candidacy on the last day or close to the last day. Then. Thus. On the day immediately after the last day of filing. 1998. the only purpose for the early filing of certificates of candidacy is to give ample time for the printing of official ballots. then no one can be prosecuted for violation of Section 80 for acts done prior to such last day. TANJUATCO). bar codes and other technical and security markings. The official ballots shall be printed by the National Printing Office and/or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas at the price comparable with that of private printers under proper security measures which the Commission shall adopt. Section 80 may only apply to acts done on such last day. Vice-President. unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period: Provided. To prevent the use of fake ballots. shall be deemed resigned only upon the start of the campaign period corresponding to the position for which he/she is running: Provided. election period or his being a candidate will not yet . the law cannot change a fact. the original deadline was moved from 23 March 2004 to 2 January 2004. The Commission may contract the services of private printers upon certification by the National Printing Office/Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas that it cannot meet the printing requirements. further. That. any elective official. TANJUATCO). Assuming that all candidates to a public office file their certificates of candidacy on the last day. . Section 11 of Republic Act No. how about the campaign period. That. a candidate is one who "has filed a certificate of candidacy" to an elective public office. THE CHAIRMAN (REP. And you cannot say that the campaign period has not yet began (sic). Personally. THE CHAIRMAN (REP. the deadline for filing of the certificate of candidacy for the positions of President. But the moment one files a certificate of candidacy. 8436 ("RA 8436") moved the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy to 120 days before election day. and there are many prohibited acts on the part of candidate. he’s already a candidate.] uniform for local and national officials? THE CHAIRMAN (REP. Okay. 1998 while the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy for other positions shall be on March 27. Official Ballot. Both sides of the ballots may be used when necessary. storage and distribution of official ballots. magnetic strips. Before such last day. For this purpose. are provided on the ballot. was a "candidate" when he committed those acts before the start of the campaign period on 24 March 2004. No. Unless we. we can also provide that insofar he is concerned. The official ballots shall be printed and distributed to each city/municipality at the rate of one (1) ballot for every registered voter with a provision of additional four (4) ballots per precinct. would it be the same[. the campaign period starts and Section 80 ceases to apply since Section 80 covers only acts done "outside" the campaign period. TANJUATCO). who filed his certificate of candidacy on 29 December 2003. A fixed space where the chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors shall affix his/her signature to authenticate the official ballot shall be provided.The second element requires the existence of a "candidate. The crucial question is: did this change in the deadline for filing the certificate of candidacy make one who filed his certificate of candidacy before 2 January 2004 immediately liable for violation of Section 80 if he engaged in election campaign or partisan political activities prior to the start of the campaign period on 24 March 2004? Section 11 of RA 8436 provides: SECTION 11. except for president and vice-president. the names of candidates shall be arranged alphabetically by surname and uniformly printed using the same type size. I would agree to retaining it at the present periods. If we don’t provide that the filing of the certificate will not bring about one’s being a candidate. running for any office other than the one which he/she is holding in a permanent capacity. he is not a "candidate. Thus. finally." Under Section 79(a). This is clear from the following deliberations of the Bicameral Conference Committee: SENATOR GONZALES. if all candidates file their certificates of candidacy on the last day.

Any person who files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided. The original provision in RA 8436 states — x x x Provided. shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his/her office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of his/her certificate of candidacy. realizing that Lanot merely relied on the deliberations of Congress in holding that — The clear intention of Congress was to preserve the "election periods as x x x fixed by existing law" prior to RA 8436 and that one who files to meet the early deadline "will still not be considered as a candidate. THE ACTING CHAIRMAN (SEN. third paragraph of the amended Section 15 of RA 8436. Congress expressly wrote the Lanot doctrine into the second sentence. Congress decided to expressly incorporate the Lanot doctrine into law. never intended the filing of a certificate of candidacy before 2 January 2004 to make the person filing to become immediately a "candidate" for purposes other than the printing of ballots. How about prohibition against campaigning or doing partisan acts which apply immediately upon being a candidate? THE CHAIRMAN (REP. x x x x SENATOR GONZALES. which laid the legal framework for an automated election system. Chairman. TANJUATCO). including active members of the armed forces. Thus. this provision does not intend to change the campaign periods as presently. That. which cannot be annulled by this Court except on the sole ground of its unconstitutionality. TANJUATCO). THE ACTING CHAIRMAN (SEN. That any person holding a public appointive office or position.commence. because of the early deadline of 2 January 2004 for purposes of printing of official ballots. There was no express provision in the original RA 8436 stating that one who files a certificate of candidacy is not a candidate until the start of the campaign period. In enacting RA 9369. Mr. it should be subject to the other prohibition. In other words. the Decision considers the entire Section 15 good law. in reversing Lanot does not claim that this second sentence or any portion of Section 15 of RA 8436. the Commission shall set the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition for registration/manifestation to participate in the election. third paragraph. Thus. TANJUATCO). THE CHAIRMAN (REP. (Emphasis supplied) . unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period x x x. Section 15 of RA 8436. however."3 (Emphasis in the original) Lanot was decided on the ground that one who files a certificate of candidacy is not a candidate until the start of the campaign period. Chairman. Thank you. the reason why we are doing an early filing is to afford enough time to prepare this machine readable ballots. thus: x x x For this purpose. with the manifestations from the Commission on Elections. That. That’s right. however. THE CHAIRMAN (REP. and officers and employees in government-owned or -controlled corporations. This legislative intent prevents the immediate application of Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code to those filing to meet the early deadline. which embodies the Lanot doctrine. That. So. Congress even further clarified the first proviso in the third paragraph of Section 15 of RA 8436. or rather election periods as presently fixed by existing law. When Congress amended RA 8436. election period starts 120 days also. as amended by RA 9369. since the intention of this provision is just to afford the Comelec enough time to print the ballots. Thus. This ground was based on the deliberations of the legislators who explained the intent of the provisions of RA 8436. is unconstitutional. finally. Because here. (Boldfacing and underlining supplied) Congress elevated the Lanot doctrine into a statute by specifically inserting it as the second sentence of the third paragraph of the amended Section 15 of RA 8436. The assailed Decision. Congress inserted the word "only" so that the first proviso now reads — x x x Provided. unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period: Provided."4 (Emphasis supplied) Congress wanted to insure that no person filing a certificate of candidacy under the early deadline required by the automated election system would be disqualified or penalized for any partisan political act done before the start of the campaign period. x x x. FERNAN). the House Panel will withdraw its proposal and will agree to the 120-day period provided in the Senate version. Okay. The clear intention of Congress was to preserve the "election periods as x x x fixed by existing law" prior to RA 8436 and that one who files to meet the early deadline "will still not be considered as a candidate. So. there would be no conflict anymore because we are talking about the 120-day period before election as the last day of filing a certificate of candidacy. as amended by RA 9369. unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period. the Decision is selfcontradictory — reversing Lanot but maintaining the constitutionality of the second sentence. in enacting RA 9369. The Decision cannot reverse Lanot without repealing this second sentence. But he will still not be considered as a candidate. THE CHAIRMAN (SENATOR FERNAN). So that is election period already. In RA 9369. Congress. further. Eusebio filed his certificate of candidacy on 29 December 2003. In fact. because to reverse Lanot would mean repealing this second sentence. In so doing. Mr. FERNAN). the Decision is irreconcilably in conflict with the clear intent and letter of the second sentence. Again. actually.

A "‘candidate’ refers to any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public office. Acts committed by Penera within the campaign period are not covered by Section 80 as Section 80 punishes only acts outside the campaign period. can already commit the acts described under Section 79(b) of the Omnibus Election Code as election campaign or partisan political activity.Thus. such that the offender may freely carry out the same with impunity. present and imminent danger to the State." does not mean that the acts constituting premature campaigning can only be committed.6 (Emphasis supplied) It is a basic principle of law that any act is lawful unless expressly declared unlawful by law. after filing his/her COC but prior to his/her becoming a candidate (thus. the law still did not consider Penera a candidate for purposes other than the printing of ballots. The law is clear as daylight — any election offense that may be committed by a candidate under any election law cannot be committed before the start of the campaign period. for which the offender may be disqualified. aggroupment or coalition of parties. the law does not consider Penera a candidate at the time of the questioned motorcade which was conducted a day before the start of the campaign period. the assailed Decision ignores the clear and express provision of the law. Contrary to the pronouncement in the dissent. as amended by RA 9369. When the applicable provisions of RA 8436. This is not what the law says. Only after said person officially becomes a candidate. The Decision states that: x x x [T]he line in Section 15 of Republic Act No.5 The assailed Decision gives a specious reason in explaining away the first proviso in the third paragraph. Thus. at the beginning of the campaign period. On 29 March 2007. Therefore. prior to the start of the campaign period). which provides that "any unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period. that political partisan activities before the start of the campaign period are lawful." Any person may thus file a certificate of candidacy on any day within the prescribed period for filing a certificate of candidacy yet that person shall be considered a candidate." The plain meaning of this provision is that the effective date when partisan political acts become unlawful as to a candidate is when the campaign period starts. As previously established. In layman’s language. However. until the start of the campaign period. the amended Section 15 of RA 8436 that election offenses applicable to candidates take effect only upon the start of the campaign period." The only inescapable and logical result is that the same acts. only during the campaign period. this means that a candidate is liable for an election offense only for acts done during the campaign period. there is no need for Congress to declare in Section 15 of RA 8436. Penera filed her certificate of candidacy on 29 March 2007. a candidate who had previously engaged in premature campaigning already enjoys an unfair headstart in promoting his/her candidacy. In ruling that Penera is liable for premature campaigning for partisan political acts before the start of the campaigning. a person." even if constituting election campaigning or partisan political activities. these provisions of law do not consider Penera a candidate for purposes other than the printing of ballots. it is no longer enough to merely file a certificate of candidacy for a person to be considered a candidate because "any person who files his certificate of candidacy within [the filing] period shall only be considered a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy. if done before the start of the campaign period. Obviously. the same partisan political acts are lawful. it is only at the start of the campaign period. are lawful. as amended. This is specially true to expression or speech. What the law says is "any unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period. There is absolutely no room for any other interpretation. at the start of the campaign period. ." However. there is no "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates to public office simply because there is no "candidate" to speak of prior to the start of the campaign period. only after said person officially becomes a candidate. We quote with approval the Dissenting Opinion of Justice Antonio T. Before the start of the campaign period. It is sufficient for Congress to state that "any unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period. shall accrue to his/her benefit. can his/her disqualification be sought for acts constituting premature campaigning. who has filed a certificate of candidacy by himself or through an accredited political party. Acts committed by Penera prior to 30 March 2007. constituting premature campaigning. the date when she became a "candidate. Compared to the other candidates who are only about to begin their election campaign. that the undue and iniquitous advantages of his/her prior acts. nowhere in said proviso was it stated that campaigning before the start of the campaign period is lawful. when the person officially becomes a candidate. Indeed. despite the filing of her certificate of candidacy. not before. as amended by RA 9369. Congress not only reiterated but also strengthened its mandatory directive that election offenses can be committed by a candidate "only" upon the start of the campaign period. are read together. The Decision rationalizes that a candidate who commits premature campaigning can be disqualified or prosecuted only after the start of the campaign period. are not punishable under Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code. can said acts be given effect as premature campaigning under Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code. 8436. The mere fact that the law does not declare an act unlawful ipso facto means that the act is lawful. x x x The campaign period for local officials began on 30 March 2007 and ended on 12 May 2007. for purposes of determining one’s possible violations of election laws. Carpio: x x x The definition of a "candidate" in Section 79(a) of the Omnibus Election Code should be read together with the amended Section 15 of RA 8436. Such acts are within the realm of a citizen’s protected freedom of expression. such election offenses cannot be so committed. This clearly means that before the start of the campaign period. which Congress cannot outlaw except on very narrow grounds involving clear. Penera was thus a candidate on 29 March 2009 only for purposes of printing the ballots. during the campaign period.

and BAGONG BAYANI ORGANIZATION. 3785. NACIONALISTA PARTY. The Case Before us are two Petitions under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.The law does not state. LIBERAL PARTY. Besides. and enacting remedial measures. JEEP. Surigao del Norte. including those which now dominate district elections. "[v]erifications were made as to the status and capacity of these parties and organizations and hearings were scheduled day and night until the last party w[as] heard. PANGANIBAN. It intends to make the marginalized and the underrepresented not merely passive recipients of the State's benevolence..R. PHILIPPINE LOCAL AUTONOMY. to have the same opportunity to participate in party-list elections would desecrate this lofty objective and mongrelize the social justice mechanism into an atrocious veneer for traditional politics. review of these petitions as well as deliberations takes a longer process in order to arrive at a decision and as a result the two (2) divisions promulgated a separate Omnibus Resolution and individual resolution on political parties. WHEREFORE. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP. challenging Omnibus Resolution No. This is clearly not the language of the law." Neither can this Court turn a blind eye to the express and clear language of the law that "any unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period. MOHAMMAD OMAR FAJARDO. According to the Comelec. petitioner. Thus." The forum for examining the wisdom of the law. 2001. G. PARTIDO NG MASANG PILIPINO (PMP). This Resolution approved the participation of 154 organizations and parties. as written in the third paragraph of Section 15 of RA 8436. No. respondents. ANG BUHAY HAYAANG YUMABONG. vs. ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY GO! GO! PHILIPPINES. and its immediately succeeding proviso. and others under "Political Parties" of Omnibus Resolution No. This Court has no recourse but to apply a law that is as clear. Congress has laid down the law — a candidate is liable for election offenses only upon the start of the campaign period. LIBERAL PARTY. but also to enable them to become veritable lawmakers themselves. 3785 1 issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on March 26. 181613 promulgated on 11 September 2009. but active participants in the mainstream of representative democracy. Petitioners seek the disqualification of private respondents.: The party-list system is a social justice tool designed not only to give more law to the great masses of our people who have less in life. 07-224. allowing all individuals and groups. which defines a criminal act and curtails freedom of expression and speech. the Comelec received several Petitions for registration filed by sectoral parties. SPORTS & HEALTH ADVANCEMENT FOUNDATION. NATIONALIST PEOPLE'S COALITION (NPC). 3785. respectively. With the number of these petitions and the observance of the legal and procedural requirements. Neither does the law state that partisan political acts done by a candidate before the campaign period are temporarily lawful. ENVIRONMENT AND PEACE. in SPA No. LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO (LDP). J. not the mainstream political parties. The Factual Antecedents With the onset of the 2001 elections. is not this Court but the Legislature. but may be prosecuted only upon the start of the campaign period. organizations and political parties. CITIZENS MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE. concise and express as the second sentence. We SET ASIDE the Decision of this Court in G. respondents. NATIONALIST PEOPLE'S COALITION. as the assailed Decision asserts. empowered to participate directly in the enactment of laws designed to benefit them. No. ANG LAKAS NG OVERSEAS CONTRACT WORKERS (OCW). the non-marginalized or overrepresented. PARTIDO NG MASANG PILIPINO. ECONOMY. Rosalinda A. CREBA. 147613 June 26. Penera’s Motion for Reconsideration. These numerous petitions and processes observed in the disposition of these petition[s] hinder the . such a law as envisioned in the Decision. represented herein by its secretary-general. as amended by RA 9369. but becomes unlawful upon the start of the campaign period. in the 2001 party-list elections.R. This Court has no power to ignore the clear and express mandate of the law that "any person who files his certificate of candidacy within [the filing] period shall only be considered a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy. arguing mainly that the party-list system was intended to benefit the marginalized and underrepresented. 2001 BAYAN MUNA. as well as the Resolutions dated 24 July 2007 and 30 January 2008 of the COMELEC Second Division and the COMELEC En Banc. CHAMBER OF REAL ESTATE BUILDERS ASSOCIATION. LAKAS NUCD-UMDP. would be void for vagueness. Penera shall continue as Mayor of Sta. 2001 ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY (under the acronym OFW). including those herein impleaded. BAGONG BAYANI ORGANIZATION and others under "Organizations/Coalitions" of Omnibus Resolution No. THE TRUE MARCOS LOYALIST ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES. PDP-LABAN. SO ORDERED. AKSYON DEMOKRATIKO. NATIONAL FEDERATION OF SUGARCANE PLANTERS. we GRANT petitioner Rosalinda A.R. vs. Monica. petitioner. INC. 147589 June 26. No. that partisan political acts done by a candidate before the campaign period are unlawful. LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO. x---------------------------------------------------------x G. MAMAMAYANG AYAW SA DROGA.

under both the . and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof registered with the Commission on Elections. the registered parties and organizations filed their respective Manifestations. together with Manifestations of their intent to participate in the party-list elections. after summary evidentiary hearings." 2 Thereafter. 10 the Court directed respondents to comment on the Petition within a non-extendible period of five days from notice. before the February 12. 3426 dated December 22. 2001.early release of the Omnibus Resolutions of the Divisions which were promulgated only on 10 February 2001. the Court directed the parties to address the following issues: "1." It also asked. the 'party-list system' is a 'mechanism of proportional representation' in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives from national. 2000. This Petition. dissatisfied with the pace of the Comelec. but denied those of several others in its assailed March 26. 6 but subsequently reset it to May 3. 3785. 2001. 5 On April 18. 13 the Court ordered the consolidation of the two Petitions before it. however. "4. is there no other plain. Thereafter. Whether or not the party-list system is exclusive to 'marginalized and underrepresented' sectors and organizations. 7 During the hearing. on May 17. 2000. At bottom. Whether or not the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in promulgating Omnibus Resolution No. Still other registered parties filed their Manifestations beyond the deadline." 3 On April 10. Whether or not recourse under Rule 65 is proper under the premises. insofar as it allowed respondents to participate in the party-list elections of 2001. Petitioner Bayan Muna also filed before this Court a Petition. 12 docketed as GR No. but barred the proclamation of any winner therein. 3785. Whether or not political parties may participate in the party-list elections. 2001. 15 Issues: During the hearing on May 17. These cases should be remanded to the Comelec which will determine. new or sectoral parties or organization to directly participate in this electoral window. and called the parties to an Oral Argument on May 17. 2001. 17 The Office of the Solicitor General argues that petitioners should have filed before the Comelec a petition either for disqualification or for cancellation of registration. 11 On April 17. which we quote: "We carefully deliberated the foregoing matters. 2001. 2001. First Issue: Recourse Under Rule 65 Respondents contend that the recourse of both petitioners under Rule 65 is improper because there are other plain. 2001. 147613. keeping only those who substantially comply with the rules and regulations and more importantly the sufficiency of the Manifestations or evidence on the Motions for Reconsiderations or Oppositions. 4 On April 11. we must recognize the fact that there is a need to keep the number of sectoral parties. the Comelec required the respondents in the two disqualification cases to file Comments within three days from notice. speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law? "2. More specifically. 2001. Other sectoral and political parties and organizations whose registrations were denied also filed Motions for Reconsideration. 2001 Elections' and that said certified list be accordingly amended. and that the latter's nominees not be proclaimed. 8 Meanwhile. until further orders of the Court. Lantion merely directed the parties to submit their respective memoranda. Commissioner Ralph C. 2001. organizations and coalitions. "However. In its Resolution dated April 17. pursuant to Sections 19. stating their intention to participate in the party-list elections. 2001. also challenging Comelec Omnibus Resolution No. 19 We disagree. In an Order given in open court. 21 and 22 of Comelec Resolution No. "3. whether the 154 parties and organizations enumerated in the assailed Omnibus Resolution satisfy the requirements of the Constitution and RA 7941. 2001. 2001 deadline prescribed under Comelec Resolution No. speedy and adequate remedies in the ordinary course of law. 147589. that the votes cast for the said respondents not be counted or canvassed. 20. as specified in this Decision. directed respondents named in the second Petition to file their respective Comments on or before noon of May 15. docketed as GR No. Bayan Muna and Bayan Muna-Youth also filed a Petition for Cancellation of Registration and Nomination against some of herein respondents. the Oral Argument was conducted as scheduled. 2001 Omnibus Resolution No. the parties were directed to submit their respective Memoranda simultaneously within a non-extendible period of five days. petitioners attack the validity of Comelec Omnibus Resolution 3785 for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion. in the course of our review of the matters at bar. down to a manageable level. 2001. regional. having in mind that this system of proportional representation scheme will encourage multi-partisan [sic] and enhance the inability of small. Indeed. "It will be noted that as defined. assailed Comelec Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. 2001. In its Resolution dated May 9. 3307-A 18 dated November 9. The Comelec gave due course or approved the Manifestations (or accreditations) of 154 parties and organizations. Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party filed a Petition 9 before this Court on April 16. as an alternative." 16 The Court's Ruling The Petitions are partly meritorious. 3785. Akbayan Citizens Action Party filed before the Comelec a Petition praying that "the names of [some of herein respondents] be deleted from the 'Certified List of Political Parties/Sectoral Parties/Organizations/Coalitions Participating in the Party List System for the May 14. It added that the Comelec may proceed with the counting and canvassing of votes cast for the party-list elections. Comments 14 on the second Petition were received by the Court and. It also set the date for hearing on April 26.

private respondents cannot be disqualified from the party-list elections. or organizations or coalitions registered under the party-list system. if we count their votes nationwide. they would have five or six representatives in the Assembly even if they would not win individually in legislative districts." Furthermore. the Office of the Solicitor General.000 or 1." 28 On the other hand. No votes cast in favor of a political party. shall not be represented in the voters' registration boards. boards of canvassers." 27 For its part. this case raises transcendental constitutional issues on the party-list system. or a regional party in Mindanao. procedural requirements "may be glossed over to prevent a miscarriage of justice.Constitution 20 and the Rules of Court. consistent with its duty to "formulate guiding and controlling constitutional principles. such challenge may be brought before this Court in a verified petition for certiorari under Rule 65. Subsequent events have proven the urgency of petitioner's action. hence. the purpose and objectives of the partylist system. It argues that the party-list system is. Jaime Tadeo and Blas Ople: 33 "MR. x x x. that is essentially the mechanics. Under the Constitution and RA 7941." 26 Second Issue: Participation of Political Parties In its Petition. as the most immediate means of securing their adoption. except for those registered under the party-list system as provided in this Constitution. doctrines. Political parties. "where the issue raised is one purely of law. However. regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members as candidates for public office. "Sec. 23 It has been held that certiorari is available. or other similar bodies. have about 1.000. But this way. 34 He explained: "The purpose of this is to open the system. notwithstanding the presence of other remedies. Section 5. Liberal at Nacionalista? MR. In view of the pendency of the elections. Article VI of the Constitution provides that members of the House of Representatives may "be elected through a party-list system of registered national. for there was no other adequate recourse at the time. boards of election inspectors. Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party contends that "the inclusion of political parties in the party-list system is the most objectionable portion of the questioned Resolution." More to the point. however. Commissioner Monsod stated that the purpose of the party-list provision was to open up the system. regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof. where public interest is involved. 22 The Comelec. the law defines "political party" as "an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform. a national party. Section 2 of RA 7941 also provides for "a party-list system of registered national. the instant case is indubitably imbued with public interest and with extreme urgency.000 votes. OPLE. PDP-Laban." For its part. we found out that there were certain groups or parties that." 29 We now rule on this issue. the Comelec has not yet formally resolved the Petition before it. 21 The Court also notes that Petitioner Bayan Muna had filed before the Comelec a Petition for Cancellation of Registration and Nomination against some of herein respondents." Section 3 expressly states that a "party" is "either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties. political parties may be registered under the party-list system. Section 11 of RA 7941 leaves no doubt as to the participation of political parties in the party-list system. and sectoral parties or organizations. has made its position on the matter quite clear. or rules. regional. they have no voice in the Assembly. it being a prohibited pleading under Section 1 (d). So. "Sec. regional and sectoral parties or organizations." 30 During the deliberations in the Constitutional Commission. the assailed Omnibus Resolution was promulgated by Respondent Commission en banc. speedy and adequate remedy. which this Court must urgently resolve. did not act on that Petition. for it potentially involves the composition of 20 percent of the House of Representatives. this case presents an exception to the rule that certiorari shall lie only in the absence of any other plain. 31 Magsasaka. TADEO. UNIDO. or coalition shall be valid. Rule 13 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. no motion for reconsideration was possible. they shall be entitled to appoint poll watchers in accordance with law. principles and policies for the general conduct of government and which. Petitioner Bayan Muna objects to the participation of "major political parties. or when the need for relief is extremely urgent and certiorari is the only adequate and speedy remedy available. under Sections 7 and 8. 7941 allow political parties to participate in the party-list elections. precepts. 7. Article IX (C) of the Constitution. PNP. like the impleaded political parties." 24 Indeed." 32 This was also clear from the following exchange between Comms. when the issue involves the principle of social justice x x x when the decision sought to be set aside is a nullity." Furthermore. Maaari yan sapagkat bukas ang party list system sa lahat ng mga partido. But a resolution may just be a formality because the Comelec. Comm. Petitioner Bayan Muna sought succor from this Court. So. Naniniwala ba kayo na ang party list ay pwedeng paghati-hatian ng UNIDO. In the past elections. the first five (5) major political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of . In any event. But they were always third or fourth place in each of the districts. Monsod pointed out that the participants in the party-list system may "be a regional party. in order to give a chance to parties that consistently place third or fourth in congressional district elections to win a seat in Congress. open to all "registered national." 25 Finally. 8. Moreover. Christian S. We quote the pertinent provision below: "x x x "For purposes of the May 1998 elections. a sectoral party. and in case of urgency. in fact. through the Office of the Solicitor General. merely on the ground that they are political parties.500. to this date. submits that the Constitution and RA No. Moreover. organization." Indeed.

37 . by selection or election from the labor. it is not enough for the candidate to claim representation of the marginalized and underrepresented.Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the Philippines shall not be entitled to participate in the party-list system. and shall provide the simplest scheme possible." 35 The foregoing provision on the party-list system is not self-executory. because representation is easy to claim and to feign. The requisite character of these parties or organizations must be consistent with the purpose of the party-list system. except the religious sector. regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof. 2. Section 5. The party-list organization or party must factually and truly represent the marginalized and underrepresented constituencies mentioned in Section 5. and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio." However. peasant. a distinguished member of the Constitutional Commission declared that the purpose of the party-list provision was to give "genuine power to our people" in Congress. as provided by law. and those who. Rather. who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. as provided by law. which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors. regional. and sectoral parties or organizations. we repeat. Consistent with this intent. organizations and parties. youth. women. x x x. indigenous cultural communities. who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors. sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature. usher in a new chapter to our national history." In the end. urban poor. who lack well-defined constituencies. to become members of the House of Representatives. political parties – even the major ones -- may participate in the party-list elections. women. not only by giving more law to those who have less in life." "marginalized and underrepresented. it points again to those with disparate interests identified with the "marginalized or underrepresented. which will "enable" the election to the House of Representatives of Filipino citizens. organizations and parties. hopefully. one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled. x x x" Indubitably. Article VI of the Constitution. and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants. the policy of the implementing law." and "lack of well-defined constituencies. Rather. and such other sectors as may be provided by law. the role of the Comelec is to see to it that only those Filipinos who are "marginalized and underrepresented" become members of Congress under the party-list system. organizations and parties. It laid out the statutory policy in this wise: "SEC. Towards this end. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution. and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. Declaration of Policy. the persons nominated by the party-list candidateorganization must be "Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors." "Proportional representation" here does not refer to the number of people in a particular district. the State shall develop and guarantee a full. when the provision was discussed. that any political party -- or any organization or group for that matter -- may do so. however. 1. overseas workers. (2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list. it was thus up to Congress to sculpt in granite the lofty objective of the Constitution. elderly. we shall. interspersed with phrases like "in accordance with law" or "as may be provided by law". It is. to become members of the House of Representatives. it must be applied according to its express terms. -- The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national. namely. organizations and parties. "lack of well-defined constituenc[y] " refers to the absence of a traditionally identifiable electoral group." The Marginalized and Underrepresented to Become Lawmakers Themselves The foregoing provision mandates a state policy of promoting proportional representation by means of the Filipino-style party-list system. as laid down in the Constitution and RA 7941. it refers to the representation of the "marginalized and underrepresented" as exemplified by the enumeration in Section 5 of the law. cities. free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party. provides as follows: "(1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members. shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national. "labor. urban poor. is likewise clear: "to enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors. by giving genuine power to our people in the legislature. in fact. unless otherwise fixed by law. RA 7941 was enacted. peasant. Filipino-style. and professionals. Third Issue: Marginalized and Underrepresented That political parties may participate in the party-list elections does not mean. handicapped. therefore. The key words in this policy are "proportional representation." (Emphasis supplied. 36 Concurrently. like voters of a congressional district or territorial unit of government. youth. but more so by enabling them to become veritable lawmakers themselves. The intent of the Constitution is clear: to give genuine power to the people.) Notwithstanding the sparse language of the provision. indigenous cultural communities." Where the language of the law is clear. fisherfolk. Hence. because the party-list election is national in scope. Neither does it allude to numerical strength in a distressed or oppressed group. who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces. and 2. Hence. he exultantly announced: "On this first day of August 1986. but 3." Finally. veterans.

Thus. In its noblest sense. 20 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives were set aside for the party-list system. industrialists and sugar planters could not join the party-list system as representatives of their respective sectors. the OSG's position to treat them similarly defies reason and common sense." 39 In fact. and their meaning is ascertained by reference to. that the marginalized and underrepresented in our midst are the majority who wallow in poverty. In contrast. it is likely to arise more directly from the number and amount of one's bank accounts. even those in the underground movement – to come out and participate. As earlier noted. Indeed. to give them the opportunity to be elected and to represent the specific concerns of their constituencies. Verily. overseas workers. it is not for the non-marginalized or overrepresented who already fill the ranks of Congress. allowing the non-marginalized and overrepresented to vie for the remaining seats under the party-list system would not . and professionals.The marginalized and underrepresented sectors to be represented under the party-list system are enumerated in Section 5 of RA 7941. for the stark reality is that their economic clout engenders political power more awesome than their numerical limitation. It is a fundamental principle of statutory construction that words employed in a statute are interpreted in connection with. 43 While the business moguls and the mega-rich are. the Office of the Solicitor General submits that RA No. Lorna Patajo-Kapunan 42 admitted during the Oral Argument that a group of bankers. regional or sectoral party or organization or a coalition of such parties or organizations. it admitted during the Oral Argument that even an organization representing the super rich of Forbes Park or Dasmariñas Village could participate in the party-list elections. that the sector shall include labor. organizations and parties – to be elected to the House of Representatives. indigenous cultural communities. the "open house" is for the benefit of outsiders only. the purpose of the party-list provision was to open up the system. 41 The declared policy of RA 7941 contravenes the position of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). We stress that the party-list system seeks to enable certain Filipino citizens – specifically those belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors. In the same vein. by-laws. handicapped. which states: "SEC. therefore." which by its nature allows outsiders to enter the facilities. the open party-list system is only for the "outsiders" who cannot get elected through regular elections otherwise. a tiny minority. indeed. 7941 "does not limit the participation in the party-list system to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of society. The import of the open party-list system may be more vividly understood when compared to a student dormitory "open house. as indeed many of them came out and participated during the last elections. not the dormers themselves who can enter the dormitory even without such special privilege. coalition agreement and other relevant information as the COMELEC may require: Provided. the party-list system truly empowers the masses and ushers a new hope for genuine change. attaching thereto its constitution. it would be illogical to open the system to those who have long been within it -- those privileged sectors that have long dominated the congressional district elections. the law crafted to address the peculiar disadvantages of Payatas hovel dwellers cannot be appropriated by the mansion owners of Forbes Park. platform or program of government. fisherfolk. women. It is ironic. 45 Logic shows that the system has been opened to those who have never gotten a foothold within it -- those who cannot otherwise win in regular elections and who therefore need the "simplest scheme possible" to do so. but genuine power. the words and the phrases with which they are associated or related. it contends that any party or group that is not disqualified under Section 6 40 of RA 7941 may participate in the elections. youth. It was for them that the party-list system was enacted -- to give them not only genuine hope. Conversely. it demonstrates the clear intent of the law that not all sectors can be represented under the party-list system. elderly." While the enumeration of marginalized and underrepresented sectors is not exclusive. The interests of these two sectors are manifestly disparate. The assertion of the OSG that the party-list system is not exclusive to the marginalized and underrepresented disregards the clear statutory policy. In arguing that even those sectors who normally controlled 80 percent of the seats in the House could participate in the party-list elections for the remaining 20 percent. veterans. Atty. the urban poor. The State cannot now disappoint and frustrate them by disabling and desecrating this social justice vehicle. Hence. urban poor. hence. Traditionally. destitution and infirmity. 5. 44 in order to enhance the chance of sectoral groups and organizations to gain representation in the House of Representatives through the simplest scheme possible. and simply to give them a direct voice in Congress and in the larger affairs of the State. and with admirable candor. Registration. 38 The Party-List System Desecrated by the OSG Contentions Notwithstanding the unmistakable statutory policy. list of officers. -- Any organized group of persons may register as a party. Because the marginalized and underrepresented had not been able to win in the congressional district elections normally dominated by traditional politicians and vested groups. Verily. Obviously. the fisher folk. the OSG and the Comelec disregard the fundamental difference between the congressional district elections and the party-list elections. Its claim that even the super-rich and overrepresented can participate desecrates the spirit of the party-list system. qualified or specialized by those in immediate association. organization or coalition for purposes of the partylist system by filing with the COMELEC not later than ninety (90) days before the election a petition verified by its president or secretary stating its desire to participate in the party-list system as a national. peasant. numerically speaking. the meaning of a term in a statute may be limited. political power does not necessarily emanate from the size of one's constituency. it invites those marginalized and underrepresented in the past – the farm hands. they are neither marginalized nor underrepresented.

not to reinvent or second-guess it. not even to the proceedings of Congress. 2001 elections. as cited in the Separate Opinion of Justice Mendoza. but. the function of all judicial and quasijudicial instrumentalities is to apply the law as they find it. it seems to have ignored the facet of the party-list system discussed above. LDP. is couched in clear terms: the mechanics of the system shall be provided by law. LP and PMP – on the ground that under Comelec Resolution No. such as the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission or Convention. organizations and parties. the intent of the law is obvious and clear from its plain words. as discussed earlier. only persuasive in construing the meaning and purpose of the constitution or statute. violates or ignores the Constitution or the law. Mendoza. 4073. its action can be struck down by this Court on the ground of grave abuse of discretion. Article VI of the Constitution. are anchored mainly on the supposed intent of the framers of the Constitution as culled from their deliberations. 50 In its Memorandum. is not a trier of facts. Hence. Pursuant thereto. 47 Indeed. it is manifest that the Comelec failed to appreciate fully the clear policy of the law and the Constitution. and as indicating the reason for their votes. In any event. Justices Jose C. Only when the meaning of the words used is unclear and equivocal should resort be made to extraneous aids of construction and interpretation. 51 It is not equipped to receive evidence and determine the truth of such factual allegations. cannot allow the party-list system to be sullied and prostituted by those who are neither marginalized nor underrepresented. Congress enacted RA 7941. The OSG as its counsel admitted before the Court that any group. relative to the party-list system." This Court. It cannot let that flicker of hope be snuffed out. We think it safer to construe the constitution from what appears upon its face. When a lower court. could field candidates in the party-list elections. pursuant to the Constitution and the law. or a quasi-judicial agency like the Commission on Elections. in order to shed light on and ascertain the true intent or purpose of the provision being construed. is that the primary source from which to ascertain constitutional intent or purpose is the language of the provision itself. that this accreditation does not refer to the party-list election." We note. but they give us no light as to the views of the large majority who did not talk. much less of the mass or our fellow citizens whose votes at the polls gave that instrument the force of fundamental law. preferred poll watchers x x x. there is no need for recourse to constitutional deliberations. This Court. but also prejudice the chance of the marginalized and underrepresented. however." Section 5. to the election of district representatives for the purpose of determining which parties would be entitled to watchers under Section 26 of Republic Act No. however. 46 In other words. they have been accredited as the five (six. all the 154 previously approved groups. at best. On the contrary. inter alia. they remain parts of the law. Thus. to the prejudice of the intended beneficiaries.' The proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people adopting it than in the framers' understanding thereof." The criteria for participation is well defined. Debates in the constitutional convention 'are of value as showing the views of the individual members. have the necessary qualifications to participate in the party-list elections. The presumption is that the words in which the constitutional provisions are couched express the objective sought to be attained. The clear state policy must permeate every discussion of the qualification of political parties and other organizations under the party-list system. they have the "advantage of getting official Comelec Election Returns.only dilute. Be it remembered that the constitutionality or validity of Sections 2 and 5 of RA 7941 is not an issue here. however. for that matter. this Court stated in Civil Liberties Union v. Section 2 thereof unequivocally states that the party-list system of electing congressional representatives was designed to "enable underrepresented sectors. however. NPC. because "it is a government entity using government resources and privileges. 49 Indeed. 7166. contrary to the intention of the law to enhance it. verba legis still prevails. Only when we find its provisions ambiguous should the use of extraneous aids of construction be resorted to. the law could not have given the same tool to others. What is needed under the present circumstances. including PDP-Laban) major political parties in the May 14. we should therefore look at the law first. Certificates of Canvass. Executive Secretary 48 that "the debates and proceedings of the constitutional convention [may be consulted] in order to arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting Constitution x x x only when other guides fail as said proceedings are powerless to vary the terms of the Constitution when the meaning is clear. Vitug and Vicente V. The fundamental principle in constitutional construction. Petitioner Bayan Muna passionately pleads for the outright disqualification of the major political parties – Respondents Lakas-NUCD. It argues that because of this. Bayan Muna also urges us to immediately rule out Respondent Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga (MAD). and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole x x x. therefore. Fourth Issue: Grave Abuse of Discretion From its assailed Omnibus Resolution. even the non-marginalized and overrepresented. Basic rudiments of due process require that respondents should first be given an opportunity to show that they qualify under the . In understanding and implementing party-list representation. But. the framers' deliberations merely express their individual opinions and are. The party-list system is a tool for the benefit of the underprivileged. which must be applied plainly and simply. is a factual determination of whether respondents herein and. Refutation of the Separate Opinions The Separate Opinions of our distinguished colleagues.

decides to form its own political party in emulation of those parties I had mentioned earlier as deriving their inspiration and philosophies from well-established religious faiths. OPLE. the indigenous community sector to represent their group. (5) It violates or fails to comply with laws. organization. therefore. rules or regulations relating to elections. organization or association organized for religious purposes. Second.guidelines promulgated in this Decision. they must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling "Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors x x x to be elected to the House of Representatives. they must show. the Court notes the express constitutional provision that the religious sector may not be represented in the party-list system. the government." In other words. whether the 154 parties and organizations allowed to participate in the party-list elections comply with the requirements of the law. which is allegedly a religious group. Verily. The counsel of Aksyon Demokratiko and other similarly situated political parties admitted as much during the Oral Argument."55 Furthermore. (4) It is receiving support from any foreign government. foreign political party. or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by. the party or organization must not be an adjunct of. The extent of the constitutional proscription is demonstrated by the following discussion during the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission: "MR. which enumerates the grounds for disqualification as follows: "(1) It is a religious sect or denomination. organizations and parties x x x to become members of the House of Representatives. (3) It is a foreign party or organization. Your Honor. therefore. of course. First. the Court finds it appropriate to lay down the following guidelines. When the Commissioner proposed "EXCEPT RELIGIOUS GROUPS. then certainly the Comelec can pierce through the legal fiction. articles of incorporation. after summary evidentiary hearings. in view of the objections53 directed against the registration of Ang Buhay Hayaang Yumabong. the Protestant Church et cetera. REV. however. RIGOS. In other words. That is not prohibited here. bylaws. majority of its membership should belong to the marginalized and underrepresented. while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the Constitution to participate in the party-list system. the Constitution provides that "religious denominations and sects shall not be registered. it must show -- through its constitution. to assist the Comelec in its work. If the evidence shows that the intention is to go around the prohibition. or (8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it has registered. (6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition. In this light. Guidelines for Screening Party-List Participants The Court."58 Fourth. the party or organization must be a group of citizens. while they are not disqualified merely on the ground that they are political parties. sector. MONSOD. that they represent the interests of the marginalized and underrepresented. it is the registration of a religious sect as a political party. say."56 The prohibition was explained by a member57 of the Constitutional Commission in this wise: "[T] he prohibition is on any religious organization registering as a political party."52 Third. that does not comply with this policy must be disqualified. in order to circumvent this prohibition. the answer is yes. I do not see any prohibition here against a priest running as a candidate. organized by citizens and operated by citizens. the Catholic Church. platform of government and track record -- that it represents and seeks to uplift marginalized and underrepresented sectors. By the very nature of the party-list system. The participation of the government or its officials in the affairs of a party- ."54 The following discussion is also pertinent: "MR. imams or pastors who may be elected by." he is not. before they can be deprived of their right to participate in and be elected under the partylist system. Not at all. the political party must claim to represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors? ATTY. a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941. it has chosen or is likely to choose the interest of such sectors. the political party. which states that the party-list system seeks to "enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors. (7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year. deems it proper to remand the case to the Comelec for the latter to determine." A party or an organization. whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan election purposes. VILLACORTA."59 Note should be taken of paragraph 5. (2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal. as the following quote shows: "JUSTICE PANGANIBAN: I am not disputing that in my question. These laws include Section 2 of RA 7941. x x x In the event that a certain religious sect with nationwide and even international networks of members and supporters. And it must demonstrate that in a conflict of interests. Fifth. which disqualifies a party or group for violation of or failure to comply with election laws and regulations. culled from the law and the Constitution. will that also not fall within this prohibition? MR. foundation. prohibiting priests. history. All I am saying is. but I am objecting to anybody who represents the Iglesia ni Kristo. organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and underrepresented groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. KAPUNAN: Yes. It must be independent of the government.

the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. under Section 2 of RA 7941. To allow otherwise is to betray the State policy to give genuine representation to the marginalized and underrepresented. to become members of the House of Representatives. It is a message to the destitute and the prejudiced. Apostol. Section 9 of RA 7941 reads as follows: "SEC. Layosa & Sibayan Law Office for petitioner." Crucial to the resolution of this case is the fundamental social justice principle that those who have less in life should have more in law. WHEREFORE. 1994 SULTAN MOHAMAD L. a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election. not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. As a result. it would create a mirage. shall remain in force until after the Comelec itself will have complied and reported its compliance with the foregoing disposition. LANAO DEL SUR. a mockery of noble intentions. and an empty offering on the altar of people empowerment. BELLOSILLO. so also must its nominees. the Court cannot accept the submissions of the Comelec and the other respondents that the party-list system is.R. Nachura. It is an invitation for them to come out of their limbo and seize the opportunity. organizations and parties. In effect. as previously discussed. Sixth. Navarro & Arcilla for private respondent. a registered voter. It would gut the substance of the party-list system. MITMUG. G.nêt The Resolution of this Court dated May 9. but also deleterious to the objective of the law: to enable citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors and organizations to be elected to the House of Representatives. directing the Comelec "to refrain from proclaiming any winner" during the last party-list election. neither can those of the urban poor or the working class. petitioner. and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election. it also prejudices them. J. and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. the Comelec would have us believe that the party-list provisions of the Constitution and RA 7941 are nothing more than a play on dubious words. Clearly. its nominees must likewise do so. is not going to represent a particular district x x x. it would further weaken them and aggravate their marginalization. a bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election. No. 106270-73 February 10. Lanao del Sur. while lacking a well-defined political constituency. this could not have been the intention of the framers of the Constitution and the makers of RA 7941. SO ORDERED. that change is possible. the Comelec is directed to begin its hearings for the parties and organizations that appear to have garnered such number of votes as to qualify for seats in the House of Representatives. – No person shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is a naturalborn citizen of the Philippines. It gives the great masses of our people genuine hope and genuine power. 9. 2001. No pronouncement as to costs. This Decision is immediately executory upon the Commission on Elections' receipt thereof. The Comelec is further DIRECTED to submit to this Court its compliance report within 30 days from notice hereof."61 Epilogue The linchpin of this case is the clear and plain policy of the law: "to enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors. this case is REMANDED to the Comelec. The party-list system is one such tool intended to benefit those who have less in life. the nominees must be Filipino citizens "who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors." Seventh. Surely. was abnormally low. national or regional. Eighth. the party must not only comply with the requirements of the law. Brillantes. open to all. Instead of enabling the marginalized.: The turnout of voters during the 11 May 1992 election in Lumba-Bayabao. several . respondents. In case of a nominee of the youth sector. which is hereby DIRECTED to immediately conduct summary evidentiary hearings on the qualifications of the party-list participants in the light of the guidelines enunciated in this Decision. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. Considering the extreme urgency of determining the winners in the last party-list elections. MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF LUMBA-BAYABAO. by an industrialist.list candidate is not only illegal60 and unfair to other parties. and even to those in the underground. Pimentel. therefore. organizations and parties. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until the expiration of his term. he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election. without any qualification. To repeat. the interests of the youth cannot be fully represented by a retiree. vs. Instead of generating hope.1âwphi1. able to read and write. Senator Jose Lina explained during the bicameral committee proceedings that "the nominee of a party." Surely. Such position does not only weaken the electoral chances of the marginalized and underrepresented. and DATU GAMBAI DAGALANGIT.

330 out of 9. the petition was dismissed. COMELEC considered the petition moot. Where only an election protest ex abundante ad cautela is filed. 2 In the interim. 16 The main issue is whether respondent COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in denying motu proprio and without due notice and hearing the petitions seeking to declare a failure of election in some or all of the precincts in Lumba-Bayabao. a fourth mayoralty candidate. COMELEC considered the petition moot since the votes in the subject precincts were already counted. private respondent was proclaimed the duly elected Mayor of Lumba-Bayabao. As was heretofore stated. 1 Consequently. No. a new board of Election Inspectors was formed to conduct the special election set for 25 July 1992. MITMUG and private respondent DATU GAMBAI DAGALANGIT were among the candidates for the mayoralty position of Lumba-Bayabao during the 11 may 1992 election. petitioner lodged an election protest with the Regional trial Court of Lanao del Sur disputing the result not only of some but all the precincts of Lumba-Bayabao.830 registered voters therein cast their votes. private respondent Datu Gamba Dagalangit filed an urgent petition praying for the holding of a special election in Precinct No. Lanao del Sur. 3. . On the contrary. But on 13 July 1992. But a special election was ordered in precincts where no voting actually took place. SPC No. . i. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) ruled that for as long as the precincts functioned and conducted actual voting during election day. On 3 August 1992. 106270 assailing the validity of the proclamation of the herein protestee. Datu Elias Abdusalam. another mayoralty candidate. on the other hand. 7 Since voting was actually conducted in the contested precincts. he has meritorious grounds in support thereto. We are now called upon to review this ruling. voter turnout was rather low. 11 On 8 July 1992.R. tampering and substitution of ballots. particularly in forty-nine (49) precincts where the average voter turnout was 22. SPA No 92-368: On 20 June 1992. the new Board convened and began the canvassing of votes. Nevertheless. Consequently. del Sur.26%. 92-336: On 16 June 19992. Lanao del Sur. petitioner filed a motion to intervene in these four (4) petitions. On 10 August 1992. 4 2. on the ground of massive disenfranchisement of voters. petitioner filed a petition seeking the annulment of the special election conducted on 30 May 1992 alleging various irregularities such as the alteration. 9 4. 10 On 9 July 1992. low voter turnout would not justify a declaration of failure of election. It may be noted that when petitioner filed his election protest with the Regional Trial Court of Lanao del Sur. COMELEC ordered the holding of a special election on 30 May 1992 in the five (5) precincts which failed to function during election day. COMELEC ruled that there must be a situation where there is absolute inability to vote before a failure of election can be declared. 8 Again.. to wit: 1. on 30 July 1992. 92-324: On 6 June 1992. SPA No. 3 Other petitions seeking the declaration of failure of election in some or all precincts of Lumba-Bayabao were also filed with COMELEC by other mayoralty candidates. Petitioner SULTAN MOHAMAD L. petitioner did not intend to abandon his recourse with this Court. this time seeking to exclude from the counting the ballots cast in six (6) precincts on the ground that the integrity of the ballot boxes therein was violated. he informed the trial court of the pendency of these proceedings. the Court retains jurisdiction to hear the petition seeking to annul an election. 1992. Incidentally. Lanao del Sur. Datu Bagato Khalid Lonta. . on 31 July 1992. 22-A was set for 25 July 1992.e. 6 On 16 July 1992. 13 Thereafter. . docketed as G. only 2. as the issue raised therein was related to that of SPA No. assert that with the filing of an election protest. the massive disenfranchisement of voters due to alleged terrorism and unlawful clustering of precincts. filed a petition which in the main sought the declaration of failure of election in all sixty-seven (67) precincts of Lumba-Bayabao. petitioner is already deemed to have abandoned the instant petition.. petitioner instituted the instant proceedings seeking the declaration of failure of election in forty-nine (49) precincts where less than a quarter of the electorate were able to cast their votes. filed a petition to declare failure of election in twenty-nine (29) more precincts as a result of alleged tampering of ballots 5 and clustering of precincts. Petitioner impugned the creation of this Board. ruling that the allegations therein did not support a case of failure of election. Finally. 22-A alleging therein that when the ballot box was opened. 92-347: On 1 July 1992." 15 Evidently. the proclamation of a winning candidate together with his subsequent assumption of office is not an impediment to the prosecution of the case to its logical conclusion. Paragraph 3 of his protest states "[T]hat on August 3. your protestant filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Supreme Court . a petition to annul an election is not a pre-proclamation controversy. ballots were already torn to pieces. 92-311 which on 9 July 1992 was already set aside as moot. petitioner argues. he intended to pursue it. 17 . there was no basis for the petition. After all. . There were sixty-seven (67) precincts in the municipality. private respondent filed another petition. 14 Respondents. on 14 July 1992. On 14 July 1992. COMELEC dismissed the petition. He also prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to enjoin private respondent from assuming office. the petition was granted and a special election for Precinct No. On 30 July 1992 another special election was held for a sixth precinct. Five (5) of these precincts did not conduct actual voting at all. which COMELEC should have at least heard before rendering its judgment. SPA No. viz.petitions were filed seeking the declaration of failure of election in precincts where less than 25% of the electorate managed to cast their votes. 12 But COMELEC treated the same as a motion for reconsideration and promptly denied it considering that under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure such motion was a prohibited pleading.

within twenty-four (24) hours from the filing of a verified petition to declare a failure to elect. There was no basis for the petitions since the facts alleged therein did not constitute sufficient grounds to warrant the relief sought. MERCED. it must be accorded respect. B. 6. on the basis of a verified petition by any interested party and after due notice and hearing. KENNETH CARLISLE EARL EUGENIO. the Petition for Certiorari is DISMISSED. KABATAAN PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVE RAYMOND V. violence. SECRETARY GENERAL OF KABATAAN PARTY-LIST. The verified petition must still show on its face that the conditions to declare a failure to elect are present. the results thereof cannot be disregarded and excluded. fraud or other analogous causes the election in any precinct has not been held on the date fixed. CRISOSTOMO. VIJAE O. the petition must be denied outright. the language of the law expressly requires the concurrence of these conditions to justify the calling of a special election. Before COMELEC can act on a verified petition seeking to declare a failure of election. it is indubitable that the votes not cast will definitely affect the outcome of the election. VICTOR LOUIS E. that no actual voting took place. the question of whether there have been terrorism and other irregularities is better ventilated in an election contest. MA. and in any of such cases the failure or suspension of election would affect the result of the election. VENCER MARI E. and JADE CHARMANE ROSE J. such election results in a failure to elect. PRESIDENT OF THE COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES (CEGP). call for the holding or continuation of the election not held. the results thereon will be tantamount to a failure to elect. PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUSP). 22 COMELEC therefore did not commit any abuse of discretion. suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect but not later than thirty (30) days after the cessation of the cause of such postponement or suspension of the election or failure to elect. the same must still be respected. and. no voting has taken place in the precinct or precincts on the date fixed by law or. in denying the petitions outright. there being no grave abuse of discretion. But. All the law requires is that a winning candidate must be elected by a plurality of valid votes.. even if less than 25% of the electorate in the questioned precincts cast their votes. SO ORDERED. CHAIRPERSON OF THE STUDENT CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES (SCMP). if it can be determined. 25 Thus. there is no provision in our election laws which requires that a majority of registered voters must cast their votes. the clear intent of the law is that a petition of this nature must be acted upon with dispatch only after hearing thereon shall have been conducted. These irregularities may not as a rule be invoked to declare a failure of election and to disenfranchise the electorate through the misdeeds of a relative few. PALATINO. 23 Indeed. particularly Sec. second. i. SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE KABATAANG ARTISTA PARA SA TUNAY NA KALAYAAN (KARATULA). Petitioners. the first requisite is missing. the fact that a verified petition is filed does not automatically mean that a hearing on the case will be held before COMELEC will act on it. TEJERO. a closer examination of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Rule 26. there is no more need to receive evidence on alleged election irregularities. CRISOSTOMO. 24 Otherwise. DIANNE KRISTEL M. Since COMELEC denied the other petitions 20 which sought to include forty-three (43) more precincts in a special election without conducting any hearing. the votes not cast would affect the result of the election. or after the voting and during the preparation and the transmission of the election returns or in the custody of canvass thereof. or had been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting. 881. It reads — Sec. 19 Based on the foregoing. notices to all interested parties indicating therein the date of hearing should be served through the fastest means available. 18 The hearing of the case will also be summary in nature. However. the Commission shall. or even if there is. ALQUISOLA. Instead. — If. - versus - . much less grave. CRISTINA ANGELA GUEVARRA. There can be failure of election in a political unit only if the will of the majority has been defiled and cannot be ascertained. 21 In the case before us. the election nevertheless results in failure to elect. thereof which was lifted from Sec. VALENZUELA. PETERS. ALVIN A. even if there was voting. elections will never be carried out with the resultant disenfranchisement of innocent voters as losers will always cry fraud and terrorism. Failure of election. otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines. For. 2. indicates otherwise. ASUELO. But. Since actual voting and election by the registered voters in the questioned precincts have taken place. suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect on a date reasonably close to the date of the election not held.e.Under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. precincts. on account of force majeure. two (2) conditions must concur: first. it would appear then that there indeed might have been grave abuse of discretion in denying the petitions. regardless of the actual number of ballots cast. ANA KATRINA V. 2.P. Considering that there is no concurrence of the two (2) conditions in the petitions seeking to declare failure of election in fortythree (43) more. JACQUELINE ALEXIS S. There is prima facie showing that private respondent was elected through a plurality of valid votes of a valid constituency. After all. In the absence thereof. terrorism. WHEREFORE.

2010 which is the day before the 120-day prohibitive period starting on January 10.: At the threshold once again is the right of suffrage of the sovereign Filipino people the foundation of Philippine democracy. 8514[if !supportFootnotes][1][endif] which. be conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election and ninety (90) days before a special election. that Section 29 of Republic Act No. The intense public clamor for an extension of the October 31. 2010. 2009 as previously fixed by Resolution No. Petitioners further contend that COMELEC Resolution No. set December 2. 2009.[if !supportFootnotes][3][endif] petitioners challenge the validity of COMELEC Resolution No. and that its schedule of pre-election acts shows that the October 31. 2008 to December 15. claiming that based on National Statistics Office (NSO) data. 6646 (RA 6646)[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif] and Section 28 of Republic Act No. Via the present Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus filed on October 30. No registration shall. sues as a member of the House of Representatives and a concerned citizen. . 8585 is an unconstitutional encroachment on the legislative power of Congress as it amends the system of continuing voter registration under Section 8 of Republic Act No. orderly and honest elections. a youth sectoral representative under the Kabataan Party-list. otherwise known as The Voters Registration Act of 1996. and that the COMELEC be accordingly required to extend the voter registration until January 9.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. As the country prepares to elect its next set of leaders on May 10. The COMELEC maintains in its Comment filed on December 7. arguing mainly that it needs ample time to prepare for the automated elections.758. J. 8436 (RA 8436)[if !supportFootnotes][5][endif] authorize it to fix other dates for pre-election acts which include voter registration. Subsequently. 2010 elections is 3. 8585 be declared null and void. System of Continuing Registration of Voters. however. They thus pray that COMELEC Resolution No. the projected voting population for the May 10. On November 12. the Constitution and the Omnibus Election Code confer upon it the power to promulgate rules and regulations in order to ensure free. the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 2000 deadline of voter registration for the May 14. instead of December 15. 2010. reading: Section 8. 2010 national and local elections to October 31. 2009 deadline of voter registration was impelled by operational and pragmatic considerations. or a total of 12. among other things. 2009 deadline notwithstanding.981 for the age group 2024. Respondent.945. 8585 and seek a declaration of its nullity. respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) issued Resolution No. citing Akbayan-Youth v.756.964 for the age group 18-19 and 8. 2009. 8585[if !supportFootnotes][2][endif] on February 12. 2009 that. 8514. 2009 as the period of continuing voter registration using the biometrics process in all areas nationwide. 2009 adjusting the deadline of voter registration for the May 10. the Court upholds this primordial right. The personal filing of application of registration of voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the Election Officer during regular office hours. Palatino. except in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. 2008. Petitioners contend that the serious questions involved in this case and potential disenfranchisement of millions of Filipino voters justify resort to this Court in the first instance. COMELEC[if !supportFootnotes][6][endif] wherein the Court denied a similar prayer for an extension of the December 27. D E C I S I O N CARPIO MORALES. Petitioner Raymond V.515. the COMELEC stood firm in its decision not to extend it. among other things. 8189 (RA 8189). 2001 elections. while the rest of petitioners sue as concerned citizens.

No literacy. The Congress shall provide a system of securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. they shall be allowed to vote under existing laws and such rules as the Commission on Elections may promulgate to protect the secrecy of the ballot. The Congress shall also design a procedure for the disabled and the illiterates to vote without the assistance of other persons. The right of suffrage lies at the heart of our constitutional democracy. The petition is impressed with merit. SECTION 2. Until then. The right of every Filipino to choose the leaders who will lead the country and participate. and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. to the fullest extent possible. . Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law. property or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage. in every national and local election is so zealously guarded by the fundamental law that it devoted an entire article solely therefor: ARTICLE V SUFFRAGE SECTION 1. who are at least eighteen years of age.

and sought the conduct of a two-day registration on February 17 and 18.[if !supportFootnotes][10][endif] Both R.A. the Court held that the COMELEC did not commit abuse of discretion in denying the request of the therein petitioners for an extension of the December 27. The present case differs significantly from Akbayan-Youth v. No. Such determination of Congress is well within the ambit of its legislative power. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) The clear text of the law thus decrees that voters be allowed to register daily during regular offices hours. however. No. No registration shall. 8436. but had not. is for the purpose of enabling the people to exercise the right of suffrage the common underlying policy of RA 8189. registered during the period . The presumption is against inconsistency or repugnance and. Section 28 grant the COMELEC the power to fix other periods and dates for pre-election activities only if the same cannot be reasonably held within the period provided by law. which is necessary for the proper allocation of official ballots. against implied repeal. And the COMELECs rule-making power should be exercised in accordance with the prevailing law. (2) constitution of the Board of Election Inspectors. however. election returns and other election forms and paraphernalia. This Courts primary duty is to harmonize laws rather than consider one as repealed by the other. 6646. Sec. except during the period starting 120 days before a regular election and 90 days before a special election. (3) finalizing the Computerized Voters List.[if !supportFootnotes][7][endif] bolstered by the recognition of the vital role of the youth in nation-building and directive to the State to encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs. 2000 deadline of voter registration for the May 14. the same is not in conflict with the mandate of continuing voter registration under RA 8189. be conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election and ninety (90) days before a special election. printing and distribution of Voters Information Sheet. including the determination of the precincts to which they shall be assigned. By the above provision. and (5) preparation. In the present case.A. There is thus no occasion for the COMELEC to exercise its power to fix other dates or deadlines therefor. the Court finds no ground to hold that the mandate of continuing voter registration cannot be reasonably held within the period provided by RA 8189. 2001. The personal filing of application of registration of voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the Election Officer during regular office hours. The Court in fact suggested in Akbayan-Youth that the therein petitioners could have. Congress itself has determined that the period of 120 days before a regular election and 90 days before a special election is enough time for the COMELEC to make ALL the necessary preparations with respect to the coming elections including: (1) completion of project precincts. The paramount importance of this right is also a function of the State policy of people empowerment articulated in the constitutional declaration that sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. 2010 regular elections. except during the period starting 120 days before the May 10. 8 daily during office hours. System of Continuing Registration of Voters. 2001 elections. (4) supervision of the campaign period. For the therein petitioners filed their petition with the Court within the 120-day prohibitive period for the conduct of voter registration under Section 8 of RA 8189.Preserving the sanctity of the right of suffrage ensures that the State derives its power from the consent of the governed. clearly within the 120-day prohibitive period. which this Court is bound to respect.[if !supportFootnotes][11][endif] In said case. Section 29 and R.[if !supportFootnotes][8][endif] It is against this backdrop that Congress mandated a system of continuing voter registration in Section 8 of RA 8189 which provides: Section 8. For Congress is presumed to know the existing laws on the subject and not to enact inconsistent or conflicting statutes. bidding.[if !supportFootnotes][9][endif] Respecting the authority of the COMELEC under RA 6646 and RA 8436 to fix other dates for pre-election acts. COMELEC. This grant of power. accordingly. RA 6646 and RA 8436.

the petition is GRANTED. In the present case. SO ORDERED. (3) the issuance of a writ of mandamus to compel respondent Sangguniang Bayan to recognize petitioner as the duly elected member thereof. COMELEC Resolution No. prohibition and mandamus which seeks (1) the annulment of the decision. LEYNES. 20-A.: This is a petition for certiorari. enjoining him from continuing in office as member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Naujan. 108886 May 5. their prayer would have been granted pursuant to the mandate of RA 8189.A. While it may be true that respondent COMELEC set the registration deadline on December 27. Form No. 2010 elections on October 31. 2001. this Court is of the firm view that petitioners were not totally denied the opportunity to avail of the continuing registration under R. However. and that he or she was disallowed or barred by respondent COMELEC from filing his application for registration. That after correcting the total number of votes garnered by the petitioner. 1995 AQUILES U. it appears now that the total votes cast in his favor in all precincts is 7. dismissing petitioner's appeal from the trial court's decision." Private respondent alleged: 5. as reflected earlier. 1992 synchronized elections. it is reflected therein that the total number of votes garnered by the petitioner is only 858 votes. (2) the annulment of the decision of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). AND THE SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF NAUJAN. 1992 petitioner took his oath of office. 2010. therefore. Oriental Mindoro. 39) of Calapan. 2010) are prior to the 120-day prohibitive period. considering that there was another candidate (Epitacio Reyes) bearing the same surname. This Decision is IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY.205 votes. That in the said Statement of Votes by City/Municipality or Precinct or C. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ORIENTAL MINDORO. on the ground of serious irregularity in counting in favor of petitioner Aquiles Reyes votes cast for "Reyes" only. Oriental Mindoro. 2009) and the extension sought (until January 9.[if !supportFootnotes][12][endif] (emphasis and underscoring supplied) The clear import of the Courts pronouncement in Akbayan-Youth is that had the therein petitioners filed their petition and sought an extension date that was before the 120-day prohibitive period. petitioner. 1992. MENDOZA. 6.E. dated January 22. 8189. manifested in the presence of Municipal Trial Court Judge TOMAS C. 20-A. 2000 deadline set by the COMELEC and before the start of the 120-day prohibitive period prior to the election date or January 13. No. The COMELEC is directed to proceed with dispatch in reopening the registration of voters and holding the same until January 9. The Court. during the proceedings of the Municipal Board of Canvassers. finds no legal impediment to the extension prayed for. He alleged that "a vital mistake [had been] committed by the Board of Canvassers in the mathematical computation of the total number of votes garnered by petitioner [now private respondent]. Comia. Oriental Mindoro in the May 11. when in fact and in truth. Oriental Mindoro.between the December 27. 1992. who was proclaimed as Elected Sangguniang Bayan Member of Naujan. REYES. and (4) the issuance of a writ of prohibition against respondent Adolfo G. On May 13. 2001. Reyes. 7. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. ORIENTAL MINDORO.233 votes which is more than 28 votes over the total of 7. On June 1. BRANCH XXXIX. 2009. 1992.. On June 4. 2000 to January 13.E. On May 25. Oriental Mindoro. annuling the proclamation of petitioner as the eighth member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Naujan. Form No. private respondent filed an election protest before the trial court. That the Municipal Board of Canvassers and the Election Registrar of Naujan.205 votes garnered by respondent Aquiles U. petitioner filed a motion to dismiss private respondent's petition on the ground that it was filed beyond the . vs. respondents. COMIA.R. without resolving his petition. the Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed on the same day petitioner as the eighth winning candidate with 7. Oriental Mindoro occupying the 8th position. ADOLFO G. dated June 23. that it was an honest mistake committed in the computation and the addition of the total number of votes appearing in C. J. 1992. of the Regional Trial Court (Br. The facts are as follows: Petitioner Aquiles Reyes and private respondent Adolfo Comia were candidates for the position of member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Naujan. private respondent moved for the exclusion of certain election returns. G. both the dates of filing of the petition (October 30. 8585 is declared null and void insofar as it set the deadline of voter registration for the May 10. thus: [T]here is no allegation in the two consolidated petitions and the records are bereft of any showing that anyone of herein petitioners has filed an application to be registered as a voter which was denied by the COMELEC nor filed a complaint before the respondent COMELEC alleging that he or she proceeded to the Office of the Election Officer to register between the period starting from December 28. WHEREFORE. 2000. after having been informed of the said discrepancies. 1993. after reviewing and correcting the computation of the actual votes garnered by the petitioner the total votes to be counted in his favor is 915 votes.

§3. Petitioner then brought the present action. violates Art. §1. 2. 1992. . 20-A). A. . including pre-proclamation controversies. When docket and other fees shall be paid. he may file a motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC en banc. and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction. "may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari. the decision. executory. §9 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure expressly provides: Sec. 1992. in accordance with Art. We find the petition to be without merit. §7 of the Constitution 1 because under this provision only decisions of the COMELEC en banc may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari. The questions raised by petitioner involve the interpretation of constitutional and statutory provisions in light of the facts of this case. On June 23. and shall promulgate its rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases. the Sangguniang Bayan met in inaugural session on July 3. A. including pre-proclamation controversies. Petitioner contends that both the trial court and the COMELEC's First Division committed a grave abuse of discretion. orders and rulings of COMELEC "may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari" the Constitution in its Art. §7 means the special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65. IX. must be decided by the COMELEC in division. Grounds for dismissal of appeal. 3 it follows that petitioner's failure to file a motion for reconsideration of the decision of the First Division of the COMELEC is fatal to his present action. This is not correct. In accordance with §2(b) of COMELEC Resolution No. Meanwhile. In addition. and not appealable. Oriental Mindoro.e. Decisions. On the other hand. On August 26. The questions tendered are. the appeal fee must be paid within the period to perfect the appeal. provincial. It is now settled that in providing that the decisions. Petitioner argues that this requirement may be dispensed with because the only question raised in his petition is a question of law. final orders. or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction. The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions: xxx xxx xxx (2) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections. A copy of the decision was served on petitioner on June 26. 1992. the trial court rendered its decision annuling the proclamation of petitioner and declaring private respondent as the eighth winning candidate for the position of councilor of the Sangguniang Bayan of Naujan. The appellate court cited Supreme Court Circular 28-91 which prohibits the filing of multiple petitions involving the same issues. Id. to compel the Sangguniang Bayan to recognize him as the duly proclaimed member of that body and prohibit it from further recognizing private respondent. the first. Should a party be dissatisfied with the decision. without petitioner first filing a motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC en banc.E. 9. — . raises a fundamental question. the COMELEC's First Division dismissed on January 22. This is correct.reglementary period of ten days from proclamation. §2. On the other hand. The Solicitor General. 1992. A. — 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 appeal fee. 1993 petitioner's appeal on the ground that he had failed to pay the appeal fee within the prescribed period. Thus: Sec. in behalf of the COMELEC. therefore. Form No. IX. he filed a petition for mandamus and prohibition in the Court of Appeals." 4 Second Even on the merits we think the First Division of the COMELEC properly dismissed petitioner's appeal from the decision of the trial court because of his failure to pay the appeal fee within the time for perfecting an appeal. He contends that the filing of the present petition. however. Moreover. and the second i. it informed petitioner that it had recognized the private respondent as its member. IX. On July 13. . All such election cases shall be heard and decided in division. not pure questions of law. by dismissing petitioner's appeal from the decision of the trial court for late payment of the appeal fee. 1992. returns. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but his motion was denied. 1992. Petitioner filed a notice of appeal to the COMELEC. the COMELEC's First Division. On June 15. the Municipal Board of Canvassers file its answer in which it admitted that it had made a mistake in crediting private respondent with only 858 votes when he was entitled to 915 votes in the Statement of Votes (C. by assuming jurisdiction over the election contest filed by private respondent despite the fact that the case was filed more than ten days after petitioner's proclamation. provided that motions for reconsideration of decisions shall be decided by the Commission en banc. the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition because of petitioner's pending appeal in the COMELEC. 2 Since a basic condition for bringing such action is that the petitioner first file a motion for reconsideration. It is. First. §7. IX. The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in two divisions.. the trial court denied his motion. therefore. or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices shall be final. and qualifications of all elective regional. The appellate court's decision became final and executory on December 10. and city officials. Rule 22. order or ruling of the COMELEC en banc that. C. Conformably to these provisions of the Constitution all election cases. during which private respondent was recognized as the eighth member of the body and thereafter allowed to assume office and discharge its functions. 2108-A. that a motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC en banc is required for the filing of a petition for certiorari is clear from the following provisions of the Constitution: Art. 1992.

. EMILIA T. HON. 37. However. SO ORDERED.xxx xxx xxx (b) The appeal fees prescribed in section 3 of Rule 22 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedures shall be paid within the period to perfect the appeal. however. The Court upholds the right of petitioner to file the present petition. and HON. Form No. This resolution. to wait until the records of the appealed case was received from the Regional Trial Court. petitioner filed the instant petition as a taxpayer and as a lawyer. BONCODIN. Form No. . R. The period to perfect the appeal is understood to be the period within which to file the notice of appeal. estopped to raise this question now. Aquiles U. thru honest mistake was erroneously and inadvertently transcribed or recorded in good faith and without malice due to mental and physical fatigue and exhaustion by the Board of Canvassers and its staff in favor of candidate Jeremias Nacorda of Sangguniang Bayan Member of the Municipality of Naujan in the Statement of Votes (C.: Before the Court is a petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by Romulo B. Petitioner also prays that a re-canvass be conducted in all the electoral precincts of Naujan. 9) are "9" votes in Precinct 37 not "40" votes. Appropriating Funds Therefor. Rule 22. certification is hereto attached issued by the Election Officer of Naujan that candidate Nacorda per Comelec records shown in the Election Returns (C. he paid the appeal fee of P1. On the other hand. seeking a declaration that certain provisions of Republic Act No. he should not be allowed to file the present petition just because he lost in those cases.E. This issue was raised in the Addendum to Appellant's Brief 6 in the COMELEC Case EAC No.00 only on August 6. ROMULO B. and "8" votes in Precinct 41-A and marked as Annex "1" and made as integral part of his joint-affidavit. ATTY. there is no basis for petitioner's present contention. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. Third. 1993 in which they stated: That the respondent Board. . In other words. in his official capacity as Executive Secretary. per verification from the Comelec records of Naujan. 1456 5 on which petitioner relies for his contention that the fee is to be paid only upon the filing of the appeal brief. 9) only garnered "9" votes in Precinct 37. With the dismissal of that case by the COMELEC's First Division. He did not only appeal from the decision of the trial court to the COMELEC raising this question. 9). Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management. Petitioner also assails the decision of the trial court as having been rendered without jurisdiction.E. 1989. petitioner. respondents. 22-A) on the basis of the Election Returns (C. No. The records show that petitioner received a copy of the decision of the trial court on June 26. Reyes. 1992. Having decided on this course of action. 22-A) of said precincts. Petitioner is. Macalintal. But there is nothing in the record to show this or that petitioner offered to pay the appeal fee within the appeal period. the aggrieved party may file with said court a notice of appeal. and the "31" votes in Precinct 41-A that should have been credited. transcribed or recorded in complainant's favor in the Statement of Votes (C.E. He has not identified the person who allegedly gave him the erroneous advice. have the right to restrain officials from wasting public funds through the enforcement of an unconstitutional statute. but he also filed a petition for mandamus and prohibition in the Court of Appeals. ALBERTO ROMULO. Form No.020. WHEREFORE. Petitioner claims that he acted on advice. presumably of COMELEC officials. 1992. 22-A) on the basis of the Election Returns (C. MACALINTAL. Form No. He contends that the election protest of private respondent was filed more than ten days after his (petitioner's) proclamation. appropriates funds under Section 29 thereof which provides that a supplemental budget on the General Appropriations Act of the year of its enactment into law shall provide for the necessary amount to carry out its provisions. Claiming that he has actual and material legal interest in the subject matter of this case in seeing to it that public funds are properly and lawfully used and appropriated. D E C I S I O N AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. Form No. which was promulgated on July 14. Within five (5) days after promulgation of the decision of the court. An Act Providing for A System of Overseas Absentee Voting by Qualified Citizens of the Philippines Abroad. Form No. §3 of the Rules of Procedure of the COMELEC provides: Notice of Appeal. 9-92.[if !supportFootnotes][2][endif] The Court has held that they may assail the validity of a law appropriating public funds[if !supportFootnotes][3][endif] because expenditure of public funds by an officer of the State for the purpose of executing an unconstitutional act constitutes a misapplication of such funds. and "8" votes in Precinct No. 9189. after receipt of the sworn letter-complaint of Mr.[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif] .E. J. 41-A and not "31" votes. vs. aside from the matters already alluded to above found that the "40" votes he garnered in Precinct No. entitled. Oriental Mindoro in view of the jointaffidavit executed by the members of the Municipal Board of Canvassers on October 12. such as herein petitioner.E. so that it could be docketed and given a case number before paying the appeal fee. the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. petitioner allowed forty (40) days to lapse when the appeal fee should have been paid within five (5) days after promulgation of the trial court's decision.E. and what should have been credited and reflected as candidate Nacorda's vote in the Statement of Votes (C. and for Other Purposes. a member of the Philippine Bar. 9189 (The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003)[if !supportFootnotes][1][endif] suffer from constitutional infirmity. and serve a copy thereof upon the attorney of record of the adverse party.A. superseded COMELEC Resolution No. Taxpayers.

it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. the Court may set aside procedural rules as the constitutional right of suffrage of a considerable number of Filipinos is involved. Blandishment is as ineffectual as intimidation. upon registration. Act No. violate the residency requirement in Section 1 of Article V of the Constitution? B. Act No.[if !supportFootnotes][11][endif] The petitioner raises three principal questions: A. 9189 violate Section 1. quasi-judicial or ministerial functions as required by Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.[if !supportFootnotes][7][endif] the Court held: In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the Constitution. Inc. in the main procedural matters. . exercise the power to review. or interest are. Petitioner posits that Section 5(d) is unconstitutional because it violates Section 1. . Such affidavit shall also state that he/she has not applied for citizenship in another country. Tan. . Does Section 5(d) of Rep. Petitioner cites the ruling of the Court in Caasi vs. unless he/she executes. Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution. . . vs. to determine whether or not the other branches of government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and that they have not abused the discretion given to them. The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld. . Disqualifications. the Court has brushed aside technicalities of procedure and has taken cognizance of these petitions. . The following shall be disqualified from voting under this Act: . the Court said that: . The Court has adopted the policy of taking jurisdiction over cases whenever the petitioner has seriously and convincingly presented an issue of transcendental significance to the Filipino people. May Congress. Article IX-A of the Constitution? The Court will resolve the questions in seriatim. revise.5 of the same law empowering the COMELEC to proclaim the winning candidates for national offices and party list representatives including the President and the Vice-President violate the constitutional mandate under Section 4. A. Article V of the 1987 Constitution which requires that the voter must be a resident in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place where he proposes to vote for at least six months immediately preceding an election. for all the awesome power of the Congress and Executive. amend. Thus. . Failure to return shall be cause for the removal of the name of the immigrant or permanent resident from the National Registry of Absentee Voters and his/her permanent disqualification to vote in absentia. through the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created in Section 25 of Rep.[if !supportFootnotes][9][endif] The need to consider the constitutional issues raised before the Court is further buttressed by the fact that it is now more than fifteen years since the ratification of the 1987 Constitution requiring Congress to provide a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. 5. betray the peoples will as expressed in the Constitution . d) An immigrant or a permanent resident who is recognized as such in the host country. Court of Appeals[if !supportFootnotes][12][endif] . its only criterion will be the Constitution and God as its conscience gives it in the light to probe its meaning and discover its purpose. Act No.[if !supportFootnotes][8][endif] In yet another case. however. board or before a government official exercising judicial. . the Court will not hesitate to make the hammer fall heavily. it has been expressed that it is illogical to await the adverse consequences of the law in order to consider the controversy actual and ripe for judicial resolution. This has been explicitly pronounced in Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas. or of any official. under the 1987 Constitution. . an affidavit prepared for the purpose by the Commission declaring that he/she shall resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later than three (3) years from approval of his/her registration under this Act. and in keeping with the Courts duty. Does Section 5(d) of Rep. . it becomes a legal issue which the Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide. where the acts of these departments. and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations that the Commission on Elections shall promulgate without violating the independence of the COMELEC under Section 1.[if !supportFootnotes][6][endif] Indeed. In Taada vs. The question of propriety of the instant petition which may appear to be visited by the vice of prematurity as there are no ongoing proceedings in any tribunal. Does Section 18. In another case of paramount impact to the Filipino people. dims in light of the importance of the constitutional issues raised by the petitioner. Angara. strong reasons of public policy demand that the Court resolves the instant petition[if !supportFootnotes][10][endif] and determine whether Congress has acted within the limits of the Constitution or if it had gravely abused the discretion entrusted to it. in this case. it will not hesitate to declare a law or act invalid when it is convinced that this must be done. 9189. Considering the importance to the public of the cases at bar. Article VII of the Constitution that the winning candidates for President and the Vice-President shall be proclaimed as winners by Congress? C. The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. the petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy.The challenged provision of law involves a public right that affects a great number of citizens. 9189 allowing the registration of voters who are immigrants or permanent residents in other countries by their mere act of executing an affidavit expressing their intention to return to the Philippines. . Personal motives and political considerations are irrelevancies that cannot influence its decisions.[if !supportFootnotes][5][endif] where the Court held: Objections to taxpayers suit for lack of sufficient personality standing. Article V of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines? Section 5(d) provides: Sec. In arriving at this conclusion. despite the inhibitions pressing upon the Court when confronted with constitutional issues. Once a controversy as to the application or interpretation of constitutional provision is raised before this Court (as in the instant case).

Article V of the Constitution. Article V of the Constitution does not allow provisional registration or a promise by a voter to perform a condition to be qualified to vote in a political exercise. .[if !supportFootnotes][15][endif] [if !supportEmptyParas] [endif] In compliance with the Resolution of the Court. the Solicitor General filed his comment for all public respondents.[if !supportFootnotes][19][endif] the Solicitor General maintains that Filipinos who are immigrants or permanent residents abroad may have in fact never abandoned their Philippine domicile. No. 9189. the Court held that a green card holder immigrant to the United States is deemed to have abandoned his domicile and residence in the Philippines. qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad as it appears in R. and just law. Article V of the Constitution specifically provides that suffrage may be exercised by (1) all citizens of the Philippines. He further argues that a person can have only one domicile but he can have two residences. conformably with R. Article V of the Constitution is a verbatim reproduction of those provided for in the 1935 and the 1973 Constitutions. one of those disqualified from voting is an immigrant or permanent resident who is recognized as such in the host country unless he/she executes an affidavit declaring that he/she shall resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later than three years from approval of his/her registration under said Act. (Emphasis supplied) in relation to Sections 1 and 2. . No. who are not otherwise disqualified by law. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law. Declaration of Policy. the Solicitor General suggests that the Court may have to discard its ruling in Caasi vs. who are at least eighteen years of age. that indubitably. 9189. The Congress shall provide a system for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad.[if !supportFootnotes][17][endif] and that the definition and meaning given to the term residence likewise applies to absentee voters. (Emphasis supplied) Section 1. . . pursuant to Section 2.e. does not possess the qualifications provided for by Section 1. Court of Appeals[if !supportFootnotes][21][endif] in so far as it relates to immigrants and permanent residents in foreign countries who have executed and submitted their affidavits conformably with Section 5(d) of R. to manifest that they had in fact never abandoned their Philippine domicile. . not otherwise disqualified by law. i. the Congress of the Philippines with the concurrence of the President of the Republic had in fact given these immigrants and permanent residents the opportunity. He stresses: All laws are presumed to be constitutional. 9189.. No. 2. Thus.A. (2) not otherwise disqualified by law. Definition of Terms. sensible. .A. to wit: SEC. 2. It is the prime duty of the State to provide a system of honest and orderly overseas absentee voting that upholds the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot. All citizens of the Philippines abroad.[if !supportFootnotes][22][endif] The seed of the present controversy is the interpretation that is given to the phrase. Coverage.[if !supportFootnotes][13][endif] that the legislature should not be allowed to circumvent the requirement of the Constitution on the right of suffrage by providing a condition thereon which in effect amends or alters the aforesaid residence requirement to qualify a Filipino abroad to vote. Petitioner further argues that Section 1. vice-president. No. Article V of the Constitution which read: SEC. (3) at least eighteen years of age. Article V of the Constitution. In addition. one permanent (the domicile) and the other temporary. and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. Towards this end.to support his claim. . For purposes of this Act: a) Absentee Voting refers to the process by which qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad. he cites Co vs.[if !supportFootnotes][20][endif] Taking issue with the petitioners contention that green card holders are considered to have abandoned their Philippine domicile. who is abroad on the day of elections. Under Section 5(d) of R. (Emphasis supplied) SEC. . No literacy. at least eighteen (18) years of age on the day of elections. (4) who are residents in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place where they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. 1. . the State ensures equal opportunity to all qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad in the exercise of this fundamental right. they would have formally and categorically expressed the requisite intentions. senators and party-list representatives. 9189.A. (Emphasis supplied) f) Overseas Absentee Voter refers to a citizen of the Philippines who is qualified to register and vote under this Act. . Invoking Romualdez-Marcos vs. all laws are presumed to have adhered to constitutional limitations. may vote for president. on the date of the election. Article V of the Constitution upon approval of their registration. exercise their right to vote. Respondent COMELEC refrained from commenting on this issue. He maintains that through the execution of the requisite affidavits. In that case. that Filipino immigrants and permanent residents abroad possess the unquestionable right to exercise the right of suffrage under Section 1. or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage. by the doctrine of separation of powers. SEC. He contraposes that the constitutional challenge to Section 5(d) must fail because of the absence of clear and unmistakable showing that said provision of law is repugnant to the Constitution. property.[if !supportFootnotes][14][endif] He claims that the right of suffrage should not be granted to anyone who. . the Solicitor General points out that Section 1. SEC. . animus manendi and animus revertendi. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives[if !supportFootnotes][16][endif] wherein the Court held that the term residence has been understood to be synonymous with domicile under both Constitutions. the legislature intended to enact a valid. . Quirino. a department of government owes a becoming respect for the acts of the other two departments. 3.A. 4. COMELEC[if !supportFootnotes][18][endif] which reiterates the Courts ruling in Faypon vs.

the domicile of natural persons is their place of habitual residence. the Court said: . It is viewed thus: The method of absentee voting has been said to be completely separable and distinct from the regular system of voting.[if !supportFootnotes][30][endif] However. .A. In Ong vs. 9189 may indeed give the impression that it contravenes Section 1. A simple. risks a declaration of unconstitutionality. presumption of constitutionality of a law must be overcome convincingly: . is presumed to be within constitutional limitations. Generally. The right of absentee and disabled voters to cast their ballots at an election is purely statutory. a place to which. . the court should look to the whole and every part of the election laws.[if !supportFootnotes][31][endif] the Court enunciated: Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that [f]or the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations. Further. In Chiongbian vs. Congress is presumed to have duly exercised its function as defined in Article VI (The Legislative Department) of the Constitution. To put matters in their right perspective. COMELEC. absentee voting was unknown to. and so as to carry out the objects thereof. and to be a new and different manner of voting from that previously known. the risk is more apparent than real. The statutes should be construed in the light of any constitutional provisions affecting registration and elections. and an exception to the customary and usual manner of voting. one intends to return. Hence. existing in some jurisdictions. approved by the executive. The Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law of the nation to which all other laws must conform and in accordance with which all private rights must be determined and all public authority administered. if this can be done without doing violence to their provisions and mandates. a different intention is manifest. No. both a resident and an absentee. De Leon. an absentee is not a resident and vice versa. for even if a law is aimed at the attainment of some public good.[if !supportFootnotes][24][endif] Thus. In Romualdez-Marcos. 9189.Petitioner questions the rightness of the mere act of execution of an affidavit to qualify the Filipinos abroad who are immigrants or permanent residents. the common law.A. An act of the legislature. or an absolute right. it behooves the Court to take a holistic view of the pertinent provisions of both the Constitution and R. 9189. not by itself alone. which provide in varying terms for the casting and reception of ballots by soldiers and sailors or other qualified voters absent on election day from the district or precinct of their residence. however. Absentee voting is an outgrowth of modern social and economic conditions devised to accommodate those engaged in military or civil life whose duties make it impracticable for them to attend their polling places on the day of election.[if !supportFootnotes][28][endif] R. Filipino immigrants and permanent residents overseas are perceived as having left and abandoned the Philippines to live permanently in their host countries and therefore. Article V of the Constitution that Congress shall provide a system for voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. the statute allows it to be done. and try to give effect to every portion thereof. but in conjunction with all other provisions of that great document. no infringement of constitutional rights is allowed. and depends on facts and . The question of the validity of every statute is first determined by the legislative department of the government itself. and with due regard to their texts prior to amendment and to predecessor statutes and the decisions thereunder. an absentee remains attached to his residence in the Philippines as residence is considered synonymous with domicile. No. cursory reading of Section 5(d) of R. However. in the absence of restrictions. 9189 is to enfranchise overseas qualified Filipinos. a provision in the law enfranchising those who do not possess the residency requirement of the Constitution by the mere act of executing an affidavit expressing their intent to return to the Philippines within a given period. Republic. and reasons and spirit of their adoption. When the legislature chooses to grant the right by statute. the Court may consider the intent of its framers through their debates in the constitutional convention. The responsibility of upholding the Constitution rests not on the courts alone but on the legislature as well.[if !supportFootnotes][25][endif] As the essence of R. . the intent of the entire plan. totally ignoring the provisions of Section 2 empowering Congress to provide a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. either by express statement or by necessary implication.[if !supportFootnotes][23][endif] Laws that do not conform to the Constitution shall be stricken down for being unconstitutional. it must operate with equality among all the class to which it is granted. Article V of the Constitution in ascribing constitutional infirmity to Section 5(d) of R. To declare a law unconstitutional. In Peralta vs. 9189 was enacted in obeisance to the mandate of the first paragraph of Section 2. No. To strike down a law there must be a clear showing that what the fundamental law condemns or prohibits. the repugnancy of that law to the Constitution must be clear and unequivocal. It is a basic rule in constitutional construction that the Constitution should be construed as a whole.[if !supportFootnotes][26][endif] the Court held that a constitutional provision should function to the full extent of its substance and its terms.A. whenever absent for business or for pleasure. to vote.A. Such statutes are regarded as conferring a privilege and not a right. they should also be construed in the light of the circumstances under which they were enacted. No. He focuses solely on Section 1. in passing on statutes regulating absentee voting. . It must be stressed that Section 2 does not provide for the parameters of the exercise of legislative authority in enacting said law. it is necessary to dwell first on the significance of absentee voting. The concept of absentee voting is relatively new. and not recognized at. No. this court took the concept of domicile to mean an individuals permanent home.[if !supportFootnotes][27][endif] The intent of the Constitution may be drawn primarily from the language of the document itself.[if !supportFootnotes][29][endif] (Emphasis supplied) Ordinarily. and the privilege of absentee voting may flow from constitutional provisions or be conferred by statutes. Constitutional provisions are mandatory in character unless. under our election laws and the countless pronouncements of the Court pertaining to elections. Should it be ambiguous. but statutes of this nature may be limited in their application to particular types of elections.A. Article V of the Constitution. all laws are presumed to be constitutional. a person cannot be at the same time.

with the exception of the last paragraph. unless. As these concepts have evolved in our election law. Despite such registration. is not denied to citizens temporarily residing or working abroad. Commissioner Bernas had earlier pointed out that these provisions are really lifted from the two previous Constitutions of 1935 and 1973. A man can have but one domicile for the same purpose at any time. As far as residence in the Philippines is concerned. OPLE. they are scattered in 177 countries in the world. residence in this provision refers to two residence qualifications: residence in the Philippines and residence in the place where he will vote. Quirino. for various reasons. Based on the foregoing. But more than just saying that. he may not absent himself from the place of his professional or business activities. I would like to make a comment on the meaning of residence in the Constitution because I think it is a concept that has been discussed in various decisions of the Supreme Court. there ought to be about two million such Filipinos at this time. which here has a residential restriction. Ramon Felipe. to cast his ballot. Those who have adhered to their Filipino citizenship notwithstanding strong temptations are exposed to embrace a more convenient foreign citizenship.[if !supportFootnotes][32][endif] (Emphasis supplied) Aware of the domiciliary legal tie that links an overseas Filipino to his residence in this country. find that they have to detach themselves from their families to work in other countries with definite tenures of employment. His place of residence is generally his place of domicile. includes study in other places. If a persons intent be to remain. With respect to Section 1. rather than merely a nominal right under this proposed Constitution. or health.circumstances in the sense that they disclose intent. but it is not by any means necessarily so since no length of residence without intention of remaining will constitute domicile. the animus revertendi to his home. in its ordinary conception. So. when absent. but as far as residence in the place where he will actually cast his ballot is concerned. or for any other reason. He could have a domicile somewhere else and yet he is a resident of a place for six months and he is allowed to vote there. community or country. Based on the statistics of several government agencies. therefore. unless the vote of the person who is absent is a vote which will be considered as cast in the place of his domicile. whether permanent or temporary. In other words. they are here registered as voters as he has the qualifications to be one. but domicile is residence coupled with the intention to remain for an unlimited time. to improve his lot and that. but are technically disqualified from exercising the right of suffrage in their countries of destination by the residential requirement in Section 1 which says: Suffrage shall be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law. the Chairman of the Commission on Elections. When an election is to be held. However. but for professional or business reasons. In Uytengsu vs. one has the intention of returning. BERNAS. and is not willing to give up or lose the opportunity to choose the officials who are to run the government especially in national elections. said that there was no insuperable obstacle to making effective the right of suffrage for Filipinos overseas. a person can only have a single domicile. particularly in the case of Faypon vs. It is thus. Residence. Thank you for citing the jurisprudence. Allow me to quote: A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for greener pastures. the citizen who left his birthplace to improve his lot may decide to return to his native town.000 contract workers and employees. implies the factual relationship of an individual to a certain place. who are eighteen years of age or over. domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence to which. OPLE. two. there are now about 600. as the saying goes. Republic. thus: MR. A man may have a residence in one place and a domicile in another. According to government data. or three years. it becomes his domicile. And those who on their own or under pressure of economic necessity here. and although the major portions of these expatriate communities of workers are to be found in the Middle East. MR. it is not clear whether the right of suffrage. FR. the word residence means domicile. The essential distinction between residence and domicile in law is that residence involves the intent to leave when the purpose for which the resident has taken up his abode ends. One may seek a place for purposes such as pleasure. ask the Committee whether at the proper time they might entertain an amendment that will make this exercise of the right to vote abroad for Filipino citizens an effective. Many of them are on contract employment for one. quite perfectly normal for an individual to have different residences in various places. of course. but he may have numerous places of residence. practice of his avocation. For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are dictated by the peculiar criteria of political laws. Residence is used to indicate a place of abode. what has clearly and unequivocally emerged is the fact that residence for election purposes is used synonymously with domicile. Certainly. business. . or the intention of returning there permanently. domicile includes the twin elements of the fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place and animus manendi. So that there may be serious constitutional obstacles to absentee voting. if his intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is established it is residence. and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months preceding the election. This may be the explanation why the registration of a voter in a place other than his residence of origin has not been deemed sufficient to consider abandonment or loss of such residence of origin. we laid this distinction quite clearly: There is a difference between domicile and residence. the framers of the Constitution considered the circumstances that impelled them to require Congress to establish a system for overseas absentee voting. the Committee will consider that. Residence is not domicile. to his domicile or residence of origin has not forsaken him. a 1954 case which dealt precisely with the meaning of residence in the Election Law. I. he successfully abandons his domicile in favor of another domicile of choice. It is the physical presence of a person in a given area. the meaning seems to be different. In a previous hearing of the Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Agencies. reengaging in business. They have no intention of changing their residence on a permanent basis. They could not therefore have foreseen at that time the phenomenon now described as the Filipino labor force explosion overseas.

. . MR. Madam President. MONSOD. BERNAS. it should be QUALIFIED FILIPINO VOTERS. by allowing it and saying that this is possible. FR. The Committee. If the Committee wants QUALIFIED VOTERS LIVING ABROAD. How about those people who cannot go back to the places where they are registered? MR. . but he satisfies the requirement of residence in Manila. REGALADO. MONSOD. studying in Manila need not go back to their places of registration. vesting overseas Filipinos with the right to vote would spawn constitutional problems especially because the Constitution itself provides for the residency requirement of voters: MR. MONSOD. that the domicile requirements as well as the qualifications and disqualifications would be the same. I think there is a very legitimate problem raised there. Under the present Election Code. I believe that those situations can be covered by the Omnibus Election Code. THE PRESIDENT. the understanding is that it is flexible. Madam President. Does the Committee accept the amendment? MR. I believe the answer was already given by Commissioner Bernas. then legislation can take care of the rest. What does Commissioner Monsod say? MR. mainly through the COMELEC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Article V of the Constitution came into being to remove any doubt as to the inapplicability of the residency requirement in Section 1. there are provisions for allowing students and military people who are temporarily in another place to register and vote. one might be a resident of Naga or domiciled therein. So does the Committee accept? FR. I believe Commissioner Suarez is clarified. their voices are marginal insofar as the choice of this countrys leaders is concerned. That is referring to . It is precisely to avoid any problems that could impede the implementation of its pursuit to enfranchise the largest number of qualified Filipinos who are not in the Philippines that the Constitutional Commission explicitly mandated Congress to provide a system for overseas absentee voting. BERNAS. of course. [if !supportFootnotes][33][endif] (Emphasis supplied) Thus. MR. SUAREZ. seeking shelter in some wise jurisprudence of the past may not be sufficient to meet the demands of the right of suffrage for Filipinos abroad that I have mentioned. Madam President. for instance. I specifically stated that the National Assembly shall prescribe a system which will enable qualified citizens. But I think it should be further clarified with regard to the residence requirement or the place where they vote in practice. When Commissioner Bengzon asked me to read my proposed amendment. at least a substantial segment of these overseas Filipino communities. Are we leaving it to the legislature to devise the system? FR. the use of the phrase absentee voting already took that into account as its meaning. Commissioner Regalado is recognized. May I just be recognized for a clarification. Would Commissioner Monsod care to answer? MR. According to Commissioner Monsod. a more extensive elaboration of this mechanism that will be put in place to make effective the right to vote. BENGZON. this will call for a logistical exercise of global proportions. That is right. and perhaps. I think I would accept the phrase QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD because QUALIFIED would assume that he has the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to vote. Yes. Before I act on that. BERNAS. Article V of the Constitution on the proposed system of absentee voting for qualified Filipinos abroad is enlightening: MR. Therefore. MR. In effect. REGALADO. REGALADO. QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD? THE PRESIDENT. . THE PRESIDENT. is aware that when this Article of the Constitution explicitly and unequivocally extends the right of effective suffrage to Filipinos abroad. meaning. to vote. those who are. this will require budgetary and administrative commitments on the part of the Philippine government. MR. in Mindanao. But I want to thank the Committee for saying that an amendment to this effect may be entertained at the proper time. The reason we want absentee voting to be in the Constitution as a mandate to the legislature is that there could be inconsistency on the residence rule if it is just a question of legislation by Congress. THE PRESIDENT. to cast their votes. The discussion of the Constitutional Commission on the effect of the residency requirement prescribed by Section 1. I think our provision is for absentee voting by Filipinos abroad. There are certain qualifications for the exercise of the right of suffrage like having resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place where they propose to vote for at least six months preceding the elections. The Constitutional Commission realized that under the laws then existing and considering the novelty of the system of absentee voting in this jurisdiction. temporarily absent from the Philippines. . Section 2. TINGSON. Instead of VOTING BY FILIPINOS ABROAD. . . the Constitutional Commission recognized the fact that while millions of Filipinos reside abroad principally for economic reasons and hence they contribute in no small measure to the economic uplift of this country. For instance. . may I then suggest to the Committee to change the word Filipinos to QUALIFIED FILIPINO VOTERS. MR. so he is able to vote in Manila. MONSOD.[if !supportFootnotes][34][endif] (Emphasis supplied) Thus. would that not satisfy the requirement? THE PRESIDENT.It gives me scant comfort thinking of about two million Filipinos who should enjoy the right of suffrage. let us say. TINGSON. What is the effect of these mandatory requirements on the matter of the exercise of the right of suffrage by the absentee voters like Filipinos abroad? THE PRESIDENT. . REGALADO. MR. may I inquire from Commissioner Monsod if the term absentee voting also includes transient voting. So.

So as to avoid any complications. THE PRESIDENT. MONSOD. That is still possible under the system. The understanding in the amendment is that the Filipino is temporarily abroad. Suppose we have a situation of a child of a diplomatic officer who reaches the voting age while living abroad and he has never registered here. MR. THE PRESIDENT. there can be a system of registration in the embassies. Just to clarify. In other words. I would like to say that with respect to registration we will leave it up to the legislative assembly. but a registered voter of a locality here. Commissioner Monsods amendment is only to provide a system. By the doctrine of necessary implication in statutory construction. if that qualified voter is registered in Angeles City. if they are registered in Angeles City. MR. BERNAS. MR. FR. then he can fall within the prescription of Congress in that situation. I just want to make that clear for the record. say. What does Commissioner Regalado say? MR. The same Commission has in effect declared that qualified Filipinos who are not in the Philippines may be allowed to vote even though they do not satisfy the residency requirement in Section 1. for example.qualified Filipino citizens temporarily abroad. MR. But as long as he is temporarily abroad on the date of the elections. This is in fact the reason why the Constitutional Commission opted for the term qualified Filipinos abroad with respect to the system of absentee voting that Congress should draw up. Yes. and consider them qualified as voters for the first time. MONSOD. but not residing there. Madam President. That is right. they could not vote for a mayor in Naga City. It just so happens that the day before the elections he has to fly to the United States. THE PRESIDENT. the assumption is that they have the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to vote.[if !supportFootnotes][35][endif] (Emphasis supplied) Clearly therefrom. it need not be on very short trips. One can be abroad on a treaty traders visa. he does not have to come home. he is not a registered voter of Los Angeles. REGALADO. MR. I thank the Commissioner for his further clarification. Madam President. This is not limited only to Filipinos temporarily residing abroad. MR. for instance. Madam President. He does not have to come home to the Philippines to comply with the registration procedure here. That Section 2 of Article V of the Constitution is an exception to the residency requirement found in Section 1 of the same Article . we just want to state for the record that in the case of qualified Filipino citizens residing abroad and exercising their right of suffrage. I just want to make a note on the statement of Commissioner Suarez that this envisions Filipinos residing abroad. They must have the qualifications and none of the disqualifications. to require where the registration is. SUAREZ. So. In other words. like listing ones name. it is possible that the system will enable that child to comply with the registration requirements in an embassy in the United States and his name is then entered in the official registration book in Angeles City. Madam President. Therefore. by the use of the adjective qualified with respect to Filipinos abroad. THE PRESIDENT. for example. MONSOD. MONSOD. It is just to devise a system by which they can vote. Madam President. He is temporarily abroad. The Commissioner is not stating here that he wants new qualifications for these absentee voters. it is possible that his residence is in Angeles and he would be able to vote for the candidates in Angeles. BERNAS. they can cast their votes for the candidates in the place where they were registered to vote in the Philippines. when we talk about registration. perhaps. then he can vote only for the local and national candidates in Angeles City. Yes. MONSOD.[if !supportFootnotes][37][endif] the strategic location of Section 2 indicates that the Constitutional Commission provided for an exception to the actual residency requirement of Section 1 with respect to qualified Filipinos abroad. he may just be there on a business trip. the Constitutional Commission discussed how the system should work: MR. MR. BENGZON. we do not like to preempt the legislative assembly. MONSOD. So I move that we close the period of amendments. MONSOD. BERNAS. which may be applied in construing constitutional provisions. He stays in a hotel for two days and comes back. we accepted that. just one clarification if Commissioner Monsod agrees with this. It is in pursuance of that intention that the Commission provided for Section 2 immediately after the residency requirement of Section 1. in a registry list in the embassy abroad. As stressed by Commissioner Monsod. For clarification purposes. However. to clarify what we mean by temporarily abroad. Also. so he could not cast his vote. That is right. we need this clarification on record. the intent of the Constitutional Commission is to entrust to Congress the responsibility of devising a system of absentee voting. the Floor Leader is happy to announce that there are no more registered Commissioners to propose amendments. Yes. the Floor Leader wishes to inquire if there are more clarifications needed from the body. [if !supportFootnotes][36][endif] (Emphasis supplied) It is clear from these discussions of the members of the Constitutional Commission that they intended to enfranchise as much as possible all Filipino citizens abroad who have not abandoned their domicile of origin. MR. The qualifications of voters as stated in Section 1 shall remain except for the residency requirement. members of the diplomatic corps who may be continuously abroad for a long time. The Commission even intended to extend to young Filipinos who reach voting age abroad whose parents domicile of origin is in the Philippines. but Congress or the Assembly may provide the procedure for registration. Precisely. FR. SUAREZ. He may not be actually residing abroad. Article V of the Constitution. Where will he register? Will he be a registered voter of a certain locality in the Philippines? MR. If it is. MR. FR. REGALADO. That is right. In fine-tuning the provision on absentee voting.

was in fact the subject of debate when Senate Bill No. I live in Makati. the Constitution says. then there is no way we can provide for offshore voting to our offshore kababayan. for example. It says: Section 1. The key to this whole exercise. Article V. Mr. of the Constitution entitled. Senator Arroyo. The Senate cannot be a party to something that would affect or impair the Constitution. that one must remember. This is in compliance with the Constitution. yes. They are permanent immigrants. Suffrage. President. Mr. And the fact that a Filipino may have been physically absent from the Philippines and may be physically a resident of the United States. this bill should be looked into in relation to the constitutional provisions. Mr. We are separated only by a creek. Mr. Absent the qualification. President. They have changed residence so they are barred under the Constitution. they cannot vote. No. domicile is the intent to return to ones home. Let me read Section 1. President. President. As I have said. If we read the Constitution and the suffrage principle literally as demanding physical presence. will make him qualified as a resident of the Philippines under this law. when the Constitution says. all of us here have run (sic) for office. President. I am talking about the Constitution. But he must do so. This is consistent. President. I think the sponsor and I would agree that the Constitution is supreme in any statute that we may enact. and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. I will lose votes here from permanent residents so-called green-card holders. Senator Angara. We cannot compromise on this. who are at least eighteen years of age. That is how restrictive our Constitution is. 2104. Good question. 9189. President. if a voter in Makati would want to vote in Pateros. the interpretation here of residence is synonymous with domicile. But one who votes in Makati cannot vote in Pateros unless he resides in Pateros for six months. was deliberated upon on the Senate floor. who shall have resided in the Philippines. Now. And the reason Section 2 of Article V was placed immediately after the six-month/oneyear residency requirement is to demonstrate unmistakably that Section 2 which authorizes absentee voting is an exception to the six-month/one-year residency requirement. As the gentleman and I know. And residents (sic) is a qualification. Look at what the Constitution says In the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. is qualified. President. I am not talking even about the Election Code. but the Constitution is the Constitution. Mr. but has a clear intent to return to the Philippines. anything that we may do or say in granting our compatriots abroad must be anchored on the proposition that they are qualified. My neighbor is Pateros where Senator Cayetano lives. Mr. Mr. This is why I asked whether this committee amendment which in fact does not alter the original text of the bill will have any effect on this? Senator Angara. President. That is the first principle. Mr. Mr. he may do so. In other words. he is not qualified to vote. The second reason. otherwise. That is why I am raising this point because I think we have a fundamental difference here. It is a good point to raise. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law. And this has been asked in various fora. in Section 2 of Article V. with the constitutional mandate that we that Congress must provide a franchise to overseas Filipinos. is that under our jurisprudence and I think this is so well-entrenched that one need not . thus: Senator Arroyo. President. Mr. which became R. it reads: The Congress shall provide a system for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. Mr. One. But it is a point already well-debated even in the constitutional commission of 1986.A. make the transfer six months before the election. President. Mr. President.

physical residence in the Philippines is required. No. The following shall be disqualified from voting under this Act: a) Those who have lost their Filipino citizenship in accordance with Philippine laws. Disqualifications. But the third more practical reason. That any person disqualified to vote under this subsection shall automatically acquire the right to vote upon expiration of five (5) years after service of sentence. Such affidavit shall also state that he/she has not applied for citizenship in another country. senators and party-list representatives. Provided. the affidavit is required of immigrants and permanent residents abroad because by their status in their host countries.A. we are going back. for otherwise. to wit: SEC. including those who have committed and been found guilty of Disloyalty as defined under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code. thus. Contrary to the claim of petitioner. It states that: For Filipino immigrants and those who have acquired permanent resident status abroad.A.argue about it residency has been interpreted as synonymous with domicile. That the Commission may take cognizance of final judgments issued by foreign courts or tribunals only on the basis of reciprocity and subject to the formalities and processes prescribed by the Rules of Court on execution of judgments. unless such competent authority subsequently certifies that such person is no longer insane or incompetent. However. such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon or amnesty: Provided. As finally approved into law. [if !supportFootnotes][38][endif] (Emphasis supplied) Accordingly. b) Those who have expressly renounced their Philippine citizenship and who have pledged allegiance to a foreign country. Section 5(d) of R. they are presumed to have relinquished their intent to return to this country. Thus. it serves as an explicit expression that he had not in fact abandoned his domicile of origin. d) An immigrant or a permanent resident who is recognized as such in the host country. and Section 5 of the assailed law which enumerates those who are disqualified. To repeat. The affidavit required in Section 5(d) is not only proof of the intention of the immigrant or permanent resident to go back and resume residency in the Philippines. Failure to return shall be cause for the removal of the name of the immigrant or permanent resident from the National Registry of Absentee Voters and his/her permanent disqualification to vote in absentia. President. if we follow the interpretation of the gentleman. Yes. Section 4 of R. who are not otherwise disqualified by law. without the affidavit. Further perusal of the transcripts of the Senate proceedings discloses another reason why the Senate required the execution of said affidavit. Coverage. to wit: SEC. may vote for president. if actual. however. as verified by the Philippine embassies. further. vice-president. 5. Thus: Senator Villar. 9189 specifically disqualifies an immigrant or permanent resident who is recognized as such in the host country because immigration or permanent residence in another country implies renunciation of ones residence in his country of origin. Mr. then it is legally and constitutionally impossible to give a franchise to vote to overseas Filipinos who do not physically live in the country. unless he/she executes. consulates or foreign service establishments concerned. All citizens of the Philippines abroad. c) Those who have committed and are convicted in a final judgment by a court or tribunal of an offense punishable by imprisonment of not less than one (1) year. is. it is not correct to say that the execution of the affidavit under Section 5(d) violates the Constitution that proscribes provisional registration or a promise by a voter to perform a condition to be qualified to vote in a political exercise. an affidavit prepared for the purpose by the Commission declaring that he/she shall resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later than three (3) years from approval of his/her registration under this Act. at least eighteen (18) years of age on the day of elections. the execution of the affidavit itself is not the enabling or enfranchising act. e) Any citizen of the Philippines abroad previously declared insane or incompetent by competent authority in the Philippines or abroad. but more significantly. which does not require physical residency in the Philippines. the presumption of abandonment of Philippine domicile shall remain. a requirement for the registration is the submission of a Sworn Declaration of Intent to Return duly sworn before any Philippine . It wanted the affiant to exercise the option to return or to express his intention to return to his domicile of origin and not to preempt that choice by legislation. upon registration. there is no sense for the framers of the Constitution to mandate Congress to establish a system for absentee voting. that Congress must establish a system for absentee voting. which is quite ridiculous because that is exactly the whole point of this exercise to enfranchise them and empower them to vote. No. same Section allows an immigrant and permanent resident abroad to register as voter for as long as he/she executes an affidavit to show that he/she has not abandoned his domicile in pursuance of the constitutional intent expressed in Sections 1 and 2 of Article V that all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law must be entitled to exercise the right of suffrage and. 9189 provides for the coverage of the absentee voting process. 4.

That as long as he is a Filipino. or by mail to. This is what makes for the definition of domicile. is that we want to be expansive and all-inclusive in this law. But we want to give him the opportunity to make that decision. for obvious reasons. But what we are trying to do here. the embassy. Mr. The voter. consulate or foreign service establishment.S. the Philippines. Thus. For a merienda. shall. President. The rationale for the requirement that an immigrant or a green-card holder should file an affidavit that he will go back to the Philippines is that.A. . the Filipinos abroad must also declare that they have not applied for citizenship in another country. Every qualified citizen of the Philippines abroad whose application for registration has been approved. they may still be considered as a qualified citizen of the Philippines abroad upon fulfillment of the requirements of registration under the new law for the purpose of exercising their right of suffrage. consulate or other foreign service establishments of the place which has jurisdiction over the country where he/she has indicated his/her address for purposes of the elections.3. 11. Consular and diplomatic services rendered in connection with the overseas absentee voting processes shall be made available . President. But if he is already a green-card holder. It must be emphasized that Section 5(d) does not only require an affidavit or a promise to resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later than three years from approval of his/her registration. after consulting his lawyer or after deliberation within the family. maybe we may ask for a vote [Laughter]. is allowed to register and vote in the Philippine embassy.1. not otherwise disqualified by law. is really provide the choice to the voter. that means he may not return to the country any more and that contradicts the definition of domicile under the law. Mr. if he is already an immigrant or a green-card holder. otherwise.2. while providing for safeguards to a clean election. Thus. . Court of Appeals that green card holders are disqualified to run for any elective office finds no application to the present case because the Caasi case did not. he will be authorized to vote. consulate or other foreign service establishment shall transmit to the Commission the said application to vote within five (5) days from receipt thereof. Thus. the three administration senators are leaving. they must return to the Philippines. Mr. We do not want to make that decision for him. I think we are risking our permanent status in the United States if we file an affidavit that we want to go back. 11. President.A.embassy or consulate official authorized to administer oath Mr. then he must indicate an intention to return. President. 8189. Congress crafted a process of registration by which a Filipino voter permanently residing abroad who is at least eighteen years old. no matter whether he is a green-card holder in the U. 9189. may we know the rationale of this provision? Is the purpose of this Sworn Declaration to include only those who have the intention of returning to be qualified to exercise the right of suffrage? What if the Filipino immigrant has no purpose of returning? Is he automatically disbarred from exercising this right to suffrage? Senator Angara. in every national election. Senator Angara. or not. 9189 provides: SEC. who has not relinquished Philippine citizenship and who has not actually abandoned his/her intentions to return to his/her domicile of origin. Every application to vote in absentia may be done personally at. that means he has acquired permanent residency in the United States. [if !supportFootnotes][39][endif] (Emphasis supplied) The jurisprudential declaration in Caasi vs. consider the absentee voting rights of Filipinos who are immigrants and permanent residents in their host countries. a sworn written application to vote in a form prescribed by the Commission. And to acquire the vote. including those previously registered under Republic Act No. Mr. we thought that we would require the immigrants and the green-card holders . The application form shall be accomplished in triplicate and submitted together with the photocopy of his/her overseas absentee voter certificate of registration. Senator Villar. their failure to return shall be cause for the removal of their names from the National Registry of Absentee Voters and his/her permanent disqualification to vote in absentia. Section 11 of R. 11. which has jurisdiction over the country where he/she has indicated his/her address for purposes of the elections. Mr. Procedure for Application to Vote in Absentia. The rationale for this. 11. In the advent of The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 or R. President. going back to the business at hand. may decide No. file with the officer of the embassy. consulate or other foreign service establishment authorized by the Commission. The authorized officer of such embassy. President. No.

Is Section 18. Petitioner argues that should a sizable number of immigrants renege on their promise to return. it is not for this Court to determine the wisdom of a legislative exercise. 18. 9189 in relation to Section 4 of the same Act in contravention of Section 4. He is presumed not to have lost his domicile by his physical absence from this country. open all the certificates in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives in joint public session. 9189.A. factors and circumstances are beyond the control or influence of the Commission. duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city. Indeed. is unconstitutional because it violates the following provisions of paragraph 4. . Therefore. if the holding of elections therein has been rendered impossible by events. voting separately. one of them shall forthwith be chosen by the vote of a majority of all the Members of both Houses of the Congress. the President of the Senate shall. Tuvera. not later than thirty days after the day of the election. in which events. Under Section 9. his name may be ordered removed from the National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters. considering the underlying intent of the Constitution. should a registered overseas absentee voter fail to vote for two consecutive national elections. . .A. As expressed in Taada vs. Section 5(d) itself provides for a deterrence which is that the Filipino who fails to return as promised stands to lose his right of suffrage. . Other serious legal questions that may be raised would be: what happens to the votes cast by the qualified voters abroad who were not able to return within three years as promised? What is the effect on the votes cast by the non-returnees in favor of the winning candidates? The votes cast by qualified Filipinos abroad who failed to return within three years shall not be invalidated because they were qualified to vote on the date of the elections. . The provisions of Sections 5(d) and 11 are components of the system of overseas absentee voting established by R. No. In fine. but their failure to return shall be cause for the removal of the names of the immigrants or permanent residents from the National Registry of Absentee Voters and their permanent disqualification to vote in absentia. upon determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner provided by law. 9189 as constitutionally defective. 5 The canvass of votes shall not cause the delay of the proclamation of a winning candidate if the outcome of the election will not be affected by the results thereof. Article VII of the Constitution? Section 4 of R. Contrary to petitioners claim that Section 5(d) circumvents the Constitution. No. Notwithstanding the foregoing. the Commission is empowered to order the proclamation of winning candidates despite the fact that the scheduled election has not taken place in a particular country or countries. . canvass the votes. he shall opt to remain in his host country beyond the third year from the execution of the affidavit. The qualified Filipino abroad who executed the affidavit is deemed to have retained his domicile in the Philippines. Congress enacted the law prescribing a system of overseas absentee voting in compliance with the constitutional mandate. 4 . . Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass. The returns of every election for President and Vice-President. On-Site Counting and Canvassing. 18. (Emphasis supplied) Petitioner claims that the provision of Section 18. Petitioners speculative apprehension that the implementation of Section 5(d) would affect the credibility of the elections is insignificant as what is important is to ensure that all those who possess the qualifications to vote on the date of the election are given the opportunity and permitted to freely do so. the penalty of perpetual disenfranchisement provided for by Section 5(d) would suffice to serve as deterrence to non-compliance with his/her undertaking under the affidavit. but in case two or more shall have an equal and highest number of votes. The person having the highest number of votes shall be proclaimed elected.at no cost to the overseas absentee voter. . Congress itself was conscious of said probability and in fact. Section 4 of Article VII of the Constitution: SEC. However. No. His having become an immigrant or permanent resident of his host country does not necessarily imply an abandonment of his intention to return to his domicile of origin. the probability that after an immigrant has exercised the right to vote. he must be given the opportunity to express that he has not actually abandoned his domicile in the Philippines by executing the affidavit required by Sections 5(d) and 8(c) of the law. the Philippines. B. the result of the elections would be affected and could even be a ground to contest the proclamation of the winning candidates and cause further confusion and doubt on the integrity of the results of the election. .5 of R. 9189. the Court does not find Section 5(d) of R. As to the eventuality that the Filipino abroad would renege on his undertaking to return to the Philippines. senators and party-list representatives. factors and circumstances peculiar to such country or countries. directed to the President of the Senate. The COMELEC and the Department of Foreign Affairs have enough resources and talents to ensure the integrity and credibility of any election conducted pursuant to R. No. . Such mandate expressly requires that Congress provide a system of absentee voting that necessarily presupposes that the qualified citizen of the Philippines abroad is not physically present in the country.A.A.5 of R. it has addressed the expected problem.5 of the same Act provides: SEC.A. 9189 empowering the COMELEC to order the proclamation of winning candidates insofar as it affects the canvass of votes and proclamation of winning candidates for president and vicepresident. is not farfetched. shall be transmitted to the Congress. No. . under the law.[if !supportFootnotes][40][endif] the Court is not called upon to rule on the wisdom of the law or to repeal it or modify it if we find it impractical. vice-president. No.A. and the Congress. . Section 18. 9189 provides that the overseas absentee voter may vote for president.

17. including the legislators. are the Civil Service Commission. .A. 9189 appears to be repugnant to Section 4. . Article IX-A of the Constitution? Petitioner avers that Sections 19 and 25 of R. Congress could not have allowed the COMELEC to usurp a power that constitutionally belongs to it or. It asserts that its power to formulate rules and regulations has been upheld in Gallardo vs. consulates and other foreign service establishments concerned are adequate and well-secured. as aptly stated by petitioner. No. it is the Court that has the power to review the same via the petition of any interested party. 2004 elections. Jr. Article VII of the Constitution which provides that the returns of every election for President and Vice-President shall be certified by the board of canvassers to Congress. amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the COMELEC. 9189 are unconstitutional. . it may not be subject to interference by any government instrumentality and that only this Court may review COMELEC rules and only in cases of grave abuse of discretion. [Emphasis supplied] clashes with paragraph 4. proclamation of winning candidates. Section 4. .4.4 of the law. R. No. . The Solicitor General asserts that this provision must be harmonized with paragraph 4. and that should the rules promulgated by the COMELEC violate any law. which gives to Congress the duty to canvass the votes and proclaim the winning candidates for president and vice-president. and by the principles of exclusio unius est exclusio alterius and expressum facit cessare tacitum. No. Tabamo. The COMELEC adds. Voting by mail may be allowed in countries that satisfy the following conditions: a) Where the mailing system is fairly well-developed and secure to prevent occasion for fraud. vis--vis its rule-making power. voting by mail in any country shall be allowed only upon review and approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. the chairman of the Special Board of Canvassers shall transmit via facsimile. No. . or any other means of transmission equally safe and reliable the Certificates of Canvass and the Statements of Votes to the Commission. and the Commission on Audit. The Constitutional Commissions. and c) Where the system of reception and custody of mailed ballots in the embassies. Indeed. .A. (Emphasis supplied) He submits that the creation of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee with the power to review. the constitutionally enumerated powers of Congress circumscribe its authority to the exclusion of all others. Section 18. .1. . 9189 intrudes into the independence of the COMELEC which. 9189 in violation of Section 1. Voting by Mail. Article IX-A mandating the independence of constitutional commissions. . . Article VII of the Constitution only insofar as said Section totally disregarded the authority given to Congress by the Constitution to proclaim the winning candidates for the positions of president and vice-president. The Solicitor General takes exception to his prefatory statement that the constitutional challenge must fail and agrees with the petitioner that Sections 19 and 25 are invalid and unconstitutional on the ground that there is nothing in Article VI of the Constitution on Legislative Department that would as much as imply that Congress has concurrent power to enforce and administer election laws with the COMELEC. 17. in Section 18. . Immediately upon the completion of the canvass. 9189 violate Article IX-A (Common Provisions) of the Constitution. Article IX-A of the Constitution providing for the independence of the constitutional commissions such as the COMELEC. It is only on this question that respondent COMELEC submitted its Comment.A. subject to the approval of the Congressional Oversight Committee. b) Where there exists a technically established identification system that would preclude multiple or proxy voting. No. (Emphasis supplied) is likewise unconstitutional as it violates Section 1. . revise. to wit: Section 1. No.[if !supportFootnotes][41][endif] Respondent COMELEC has no comment on the matter. the canvassing of the votes and the proclamation of the winning candidates for president and vice-president for the entire nation must remain in the hands of Congress.A. the Court notes that Section 18.5 of R. that only the COMELEC itself can promulgate rules and regulations which may be changed or revised only by the majority of its members. The provisions of the Constitution as the fundamental law of the land should be read as part of The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 and hence. the Commission shall authorize voting by mail in not more than three (3) countries. as a constitutional body.A. Like the petitioner. 9189 is far too sweeping that it necessarily includes the proclamation of the winning candidates for the presidency and the vice-presidency. Thereafter. that another provision.[if !supportFootnotes][42][endif] where this Court held that the power of the COMELEC to formulate rules and regulations is implicit in its power to implement regulations under Section 2(1) of Article IX-C[if !supportFootnotes][43][endif] of the Constitution. In addition. is not under the control of either the executive or legislative departments of government. C. however. . .The Congress shall promulgate its rules for the canvassing of the certificates. Section 4.A. the phrase. respondent COMELEC anchors its claim of unconstitutionality of said Sections upon Section 1.5 of R. . It agrees with the petitioner that Sections 19 and 25 of R. Are Sections 19 and 25 of R. to encroach on the power of Congress to canvass the votes for president and vice-president and the power to proclaim the winners for the said positions. to wit: SEC. to wit: 18. which shall be independent. COMELEC joins the petitioner in asserting that as an independent constitutional body. Article VII of the Constitution and should be taken to mean that COMELEC can only proclaim the winning Senators and party-list representatives but not the President and Vice-President. electronic mail. . . For the May. . the Commission on Elections.

the legislative function is deemed accomplished and complete. By vesting itself with the powers to approve. . There is no question that the authority of Congress to monitor and evaluate the implementation of R. A Joint Congressional Oversight Committee is hereby created. That. amend and revise the law. and (b) subject to the approval of the JCOC [Section 17. The Commission may err. We may not agree fully with its choice of means. It shall review. the voting by mail in not more than three countries for the May 2004 elections and in any country determined by COMELEC.[if !supportFootnotes][44][endif] In an earlier case. the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) is a purely legislative body. but certainly not to approve. the fact is that the framers of the Constitution wanted it to be independent from the other departments of the Government. and seven (7) other Senators designated by the Senate President. orderly and honest elections. so may this court also. In the discharge of its functions. in recognition of the administrative expertise of that agency in its particular field of operation. . revise and amend the IRR of the COMELEC. No. It should be allowed considerable latitude in devising means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of the great objective for which it was created free. its contacts with political strategists. The Commission on Elections. One such provision is Section 1 of Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution ordaining that constitutional commissions such as the COMELEC shall be independent. It is intended to play a distinct and important part in our scheme of government. 19. composed of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments. (Emphasis supplied) Composed of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. revise.[if !supportFootnotes][47][endif] Once a law is enacted and approved.A. that is. 9189 is geared towards possible amendments or revision of the law itself and thus.1]. aside from its monitoring and evaluation functions. R. . the Court has held that [w]hatever may be the nature of the functions of the Commission on Elections. . This provision of law follows the usual procedure in drafting rules and regulations to implement a law the legislature grants an administrative agency the authority to craft the rules and regulations implementing the law it has enacted. the Court is left with no option but to withdraw from its usual reticence in declaring a provision of law unconstitutional. as follows: SEC. However. as a constitutional body. However.A. .[if !supportFootnotes][46][endif] In the same vein. The Commission shall issue the necessary rules and regulations to effectively implement the provisions of this Act within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act. four (4) should come from the majority and the remaining three (3) from the minority. and seven (7) other Members of the House of Representatives designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives: Provided.A. Interpreting Section 1. Congress may intrude into the independence of the COMELEC by exercising supervisory powers over its rule-making authority. it is not correct to hold that because of its recognized extensive legislative power to enact election laws. but unless these are clearly illegal or constitute gross abuse of discretion. may be performed in aid of its legislation. Article X of the 1935 Constitution providing that there shall be an independent COMELEC. Authority of the Commission to Promulgate Rules.1 are unconstitutional. Congress went beyond the scope of its constitutional authority. and revise the IRR for The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003. to review its decisions.The parties are unanimous in claiming that Sections 19. amend. orders and rulings. Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. The second sentence of the first paragraph of Section 19 stating that [t]he Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be submitted . 25 and portions of Section 17. Congress trampled upon the constitutional mandate of independence of the COMELEC. is in a peculiarly advantageous position to decide complex political questions. the Court elucidated: The Commission on Elections is a constitutional body. Under such a situation. R. there is no actual issue forged on this question raised by petitioner. of the seven (7) members to be designated by each House of Congress. the Court finds it expedient to expound on the role of Congress through the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) vis--vis the independence of the COMELEC. [if !supportFootnotes][45][endif] (Emphasis supplied) The Court has no general powers of supervision over COMELEC which is an independent body except those specifically granted by the Constitution. Congress has empowered the COMELEC to issue the necessary rules and regulations to effectively implement the provisions of this Act within sixty days from the effectivity of this Act. 9189. The Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be submitted to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior approval. revise. . amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) promulgated by the COMELEC [Sections 25 and 19]. . The legislative function may spring back to Congress relative to the same law only if that body deems it proper to review. .A. The ambit of legislative power under Article VI of the Constitution is circumscribed by other constitutional provisions. and political questions must be dealt with realistically not from the standpoint of pure theory. Politics is a practical matter. 9189 created the JCOC. 25. this court should not interfere. The Joint Congressional Oversight Committee shall have the power to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Act. it should not be hampered with restrictions that would be fully warranted in the case of a less responsible organization. No. (Emphasis supplied) SEC. Revision of Codes and Laws. because of its fact-finding facilities. No. and its knowledge derived from actual experience in dealing with political controversies. review. By virtue of Section 19 of R. 9189 gives to the JCOC the following functions: (a) to review. and the Chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms. . Thus. No. review. amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission.

the automated machines failed to read them correctly. Southern Philippines. Puno as part of the ponencia on the unconstitutionality of Sections 17. 1998 regular elections held in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which includes the Province of Sulu. such as COMELEC. Sulu. 9189 is UPHELD with respect only to the authority given to the COMELEC to proclaim the winning candidates for the Senators and party-list representatives but not as to the power to canvass the votes and proclaim the winning candidates for President and Vice-President which is lodged with Congress under Section 4. Congress enacted R. Edgardo Espinosa. arrogates unto itself a function not specifically vested by the Constitution. Atty. The constitutionality of Section 5(d) is UPHELD. Congress would overstep the bounds of its constitutional mandate and intrude into the independence of the COMELEC. of the same day. They found nothing wrong with the automated machines.1. 9189. Supt.[if !supportFootnotes][48][endif] Otherwise. all the members of the Court agreed to adopt the separate opinion of Justice Reynato S.1. Provincial Director. 2004 elections. No. No. amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission of the same law.R. April 14. The error was in the printing of the local ballots. Some ballots picked at random by Atty. respondents. At about 6 a. Marine forces.A. Article VII of the Constitution. whereby Congress. The voting in Sulu was relatively peaceful and orderly. Jr. 9189. confirmed that votes in favor of a mayoralty candidate were not reflected in the printed election returns. to wit: The Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be submitted to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior approval. The constitutionality of Section 18. Jr. No.[if !supportFootnotes][1][endif] The problem started during the automated counting of votes for the local officials of Sulu at the Sulu State College. b) The portion of the last paragraph of Section 17. revise.A.1. He suspended the automated counting of ballots in Pata and immediately communicated the problem to the technical experts of COMELEC and the suppliers of the automated machine. subject to the approval of the Congressional Oversight Committee in the first sentence of Section 17.A. Pursuant to Section 30 of R.to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior approval. Congress may not confer upon itself the authority to approve or disapprove the countries wherein voting by mail shall be allowed.[if !supportFootnotes][2][endif] At 12:30 p. LOONG.A. No. of May 12. and the phrase. The new system was used in the May 11. intervenor Yusop Jikiri and Kimar Tulawie. No. some election inspectors and watchers informed Atty.[if !supportFootnotes][3][endif] . 1997 prescribing the adoption of an automated election system. in both provisions. should be stricken out of the subject statute for constitutional infirmity. No. 9189 insofar as they relate to the creation of and the powers given to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. Gen. only upon review and approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee found in the second paragraph of the same section are unconstitutional as they require review and approval of voting by mail in any country after the 2004 elections. YUSOP JIKIRI.A.5 of R.1 which empowers the Commission to authorize voting by mail in not more than three countries for the May. 1998. After consultations. called for an emergency meeting of the local candidates and the military-police officials overseeing the Sulu elections. as a consequence of which. Brig. Jose Tolentino. Tolentino. private respondent Abdusakur Tan. the phrase.1 of R. 1999] TUPAY T. 9189 are declared VOID for being UNCONSTITUTIONAL: a) The phrase in the first sentence of the first paragraph of Section 17. Tolentino. and the second sentence of the second paragraph of Section 25 stating that [i]t shall review. amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission. vs. 19 and 25 of R.m. Charlemagne Alejandrino. intervenor. for being repugnant to Section 1. to wit: It shall review.m. Similarly. AFP. D E C I S I O N PUNO. Article IX-A of the Constitution mandating the independence of constitutional commission. to wit: only upon review and approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. the experts told him that the problem was caused by the misalignment of the ovals opposite the names of candidates in the local ballots. revise.: In a bid to improve our elections. SO ORDERED. 3rd Marine Brigade. headed the COMELEC Task Force to have administrative oversight of the elections in Sulu.A. of discrepancies between the election returns and the votes cast for the mayoralty candidates in the municipality of Pata. namely. 8436 on December 22. J. Jr. and d) The second sentence in the second paragraph of Section 25. Gen. Tolentino. Jr. as determined by the COMELEC pursuant to the conditions provided for in Section 17. The following portions of R. No. petitioner Tupay Loong. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and ABDUSAKUR TAN. c) The second sentence of the first paragraph of Section 19. Those who attended were the various candidates for governor. petitioner. Percival Subala. Atty. During the deliberations. AFP. the rest of the provisions of said law continues to be in full force and effect. to wit: subject to the approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. PNP Command and congressional candidate Bensandi Tulawie. Both provisions brazenly violate the mandate on the independence of the COMELEC. Also in attendance were Brig. [G. the petition is partly GRANTED. 133676. WHEREFORE.

The meeting discussed how the ballots in Pata should be counted in light of the misaligned ovals. Siasi."' Before midnight of May 12. Tudanan. The Election Returns for the Municipality of Pata.[if !supportFootnotes][6][endif] On the same day. Armina Akmad. requested the parties to submit their written position papers. the following documents were submitted to him. however. Still. Benjamin Loong and Asani Tamang for automated count. 'That the top ballot. Jose Tolentino. the undersigned directed that counting for all ballots in Sulu be stopped to enable the Commission to determine the problem and rectify the same. Jr. it is very possible that the same is happening in the counting of votes in the other municipalities of this province. "1. 1998 submitted by Congressman Tulawie for manual counting and canvassing. 1998 and to Order that the counting of votes shall be done manually in the Municipality of PATA. to avoid delay. Mike Jupakal. Unsigned letter dated May 12. candidate for Municipal Mayor while the Election Return shows zero vote. The resolution reads:[if !supportFootnotes][7][endif] "x x x x x x x x x "In the matter of the Petition dated May 12. Governor. COMELEC issued Minute Resolution No. the use of automated machines will serve as a vehicle to frustrate the will of the sovereign people of Sulu. Verification with the Sulu Technical Staff. Tolentino. candidate for Mayor under the LAKAS-NUCD-UMDPMNLF obtains (sic) 100% votes of the total number of voters who actually voted. Those who insisted on an automated count were gubernatorial candidates Loong and Jikiri. error messages appeared on the screen although the actual condition of the ballots would have shown a different message. the Commission. "In view of the error discovered in Pata and the undersigned's order to suspend the counting. Tolentino. 1998 of Abdusakur Tan. Atty. Task Force Sulu. poll clerks and members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) such as Rena Jawan. 1998. urging the use of the manual count in the entire Province of Sulu. Vice-Mayor. Because of these. was able to send to the COMELEC en banc his report and recommendation. Province of Sulu-District II do not reflect or reveal the mandate of the voters: 'DISCUSSIONS 'That the watchers called the attention of our political leaders and candidates regarding their discovery that the election returns generated after the last ballots for a precinct is scanned revealed that some candidates obtained zero votes. a matter that requires immediate investigation. 'The foregoing is a clear evidence that the automated machine (scanner) cannot be relied upon as to truly reflect the contents of the ballots. on May 12. whose attention was called regarding the discrepancies. 'RESOLVED to grant the Petition dated May 12.[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif] Reports that the automated counting of ballots in other municipalities in Sulu was not working well were received by the COMELEC Task Force. There was lack of agreement. reveals that the cause of the error is the way the ballot was printed. subject to notice to all parties concerned. and the failure of the machine to read the votes may have been occasioned by other factors. Romulo Roldan and Lerma Marawali to mention some. among others the Provincial Board Members.' "While the commission does not agree with the conclusions stated in the petition. 'The Pata incident can be confirmed by no less than Atty. If such happened in the Municipality of Pata. Atty. quoted to wit '1. Jr. Those who recommended a shift to manual count were Brig. including Pat Squires of ES & S. It is submitted that stopping the counting is more in consonance with the Commission's mandate than proceeding with an automated but inaccurate count. 'Wherefore. but in the public interest. Sulu. counting be done through the usual way known and tested by us. If this will not be suspended or stopped. Generals Espinosa and Subala. Petition of Governor Sakur Tan for manual counting. "2.[if !supportFootnotes][5][endif] Private respondent Tan and Atty. Matanka Hajirul. 98-1747 ordering a manual count but only in the municipality of Pata. Local ballots in five (5) municipalities were rejected by the automated machines. viz:[if !supportFootnotes][8][endif] "The undersigned stopped the counting in the municipality of Pata since he discovered that votes for a candidate for mayor was credited in favor of the other candidate. gubernatorial candidates Tan and Tulawie and congressional candidate Bensandi Tulawie. Tan requested for the suspension of the automated counting of ballots throughout the Sulu province.. Head. Rainer Talcon. Tapul and Jolo. it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Commission that an Order be issued immediately suspending or stopping the use of the automated machine (scanner) in the counting of votes for all the eighteen (18) municipalities in the Province of Sulu and in lieu thereof. the only place in Sulu where the automated machine failed to read the ballots. 'The foregoing discrepancies were likewise noted and confirmed by the chairmen. Aside from misalignment of the ovals and use of codes assigned to another municipality (which caused the rejection of all local ballots in one precinct in Talipao). PNP Director Alejandrino. Jr. . Mayor. "3. to suspend or stop counting of ballots through automation (sic) machines for the following grounds.1998. Tolentino. Teddy Mirajuli. Position paper of Tupay Loong. These municipalities were Talipao. The ballots were rejected because they had the wrong sequence code. Dulba Kadil. reveals that the ballots contained votes for Anton Burahan. 'That further review of the Election Return reveals that John Masillam. the foregoing premises considered and in the interest of an honest and orderly election. and the councilors for the LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP. sent separate communications to the COMELEC en banc in Manila. In view of their differences in opinion.

Governor Sakur Tan and recommendation of Brigadier General Edgardo Espinosa. the political tensions and imminent violence and bloodshed may not be prevented. that while he supports Minute Resolution No. P/Supt. The Resolution reads:[if !supportFootnotes][9][endif] "In the matter of the Memorandum dated 13 May 1998 of Executive Director Resurreccion Z. "3. "While the forces of AFP are ready to provide arm (sic) security to our Comelec officials. Borra. subject to notice to all parties concerned.000. Sulu. Jr."4. by Lt. 1998 which resolved to order that the counting of votes shall be done manually in the municipality of Pata. To authorize the official travel of the board of canvassers concerned for the conduct of the automated and manual operations of the counting of votes at PICC under the close supervision and control of the Commission En Banc. Recommendation of General E. Sulu by C130 to Manila for purposes of both automated and manual operations. Tammang. "Additional marines have been deployed at the SSC. COMELEC issued Resolution No. To authorize the presence of only the duly authorized representative of the political parties concerned and the candidates watchers both outside and inside the perimeters of the venue at PICC. 98-1750 approving Atty. Task Force Head. General Percival Subla. Espinosa. They agreed to allow each political party to have at least one (1) escort/ watcher for every municipality to acompany the flight. "3. the COMELEC en banc issued Minute Resolution No. For this purpose. Whether or not this is true. Asani S. TOLENTINO." Atty.[if !supportFootnotes][10][endif] The meeting was attended by the parties. He attached the stand of Congressman Tulawie. or a show of force. furnished the parties with copies of Minute Resolution No. to discuss the implementation of the resolution. addressed to the Executive Director on the subject counting and canvassing in the municipality of Pata due to the errors of the counting of votes by the machine brought about by the error in the printing of the ballot. inside and outside SSC. please find the following: "1. BEIs and other deputies. No. who wanted the continuation of the automated counting. 98-1750 and called for another meeting the next day. to make available a designated space at the PICC. 98-1747 promulgated May 12. "RESOLVED: "1. May 14. the only place in Sulu where the automated counting machine failed to read the ballots. Sulu be transported back by C130 to Manila and be located at the available space at PICC for purposes of both automated and manual operations. "2. Borra. the NAMFREL. not a few people would believe that this error in Pata would extend to the other municipalities. The position paper of former Governor Tupay Loong. May 13.. both inside and outside the perimeters of the venue at PICC. and "5. as per report received. MNLF Position for automated count. JR. Only authorized political party and candidate watchers will be allowed in PICC with proper security. Handwritten Memo of Director Jose M. 98-1796 laying down the rules for the manual count. Lastly. 98-1747.'s recommendation and the manner of its implementation as suggested by Executive Director Resurreccion Z. 1998. Tolentino. it would be more prudent to stay away from a lifeless thing that has sown tension and anxiety among and between the voters of Sulu. Jr. who are candidates for Governor and Congressman of 1st and 2nd Districts respectively. quoted to wit: . This approach will keep the COMELEC officials away from violence and bloodshed between the two camps who are determined to slug each other as above mentioned in Jolo. Joselin Nazareno. implementation thereof shall be done as follows: "1. Charlemagne Alejandrino for manual counting. The undersigned is not sure if it is merely intended to tame a disorderly crowd. "It is submitted that since an error was discovered in a machine which is supposed to have an error rate of 1: 1. Respectfully submitted: 12 May 1998 (Sgd. then the Chief of the AFP Southern Command. Gen. To transport all counting machines from Jolo. Two C130s were used for the purpose. 1998. Benjamin Loong and Mr. Tolentino.) JOSE M. with notice to all parties concerned. "Director Borra recommends. pertinent portion of which is quoted as follows: "In connection with Min. media. With this process. it will be directly under the close supervision and control of Commission on Elections En Banc.000.V. the MNLF forces are readying their forces to surround the venue for automated counting and canvassing in Sulu in order that the automation process will continue. viz:[if !supportFootnotes][12][endif] "In the matter of the Memorandum dated 15 May 1998 of Executive Director Resurreccion Z. Tolentino. That all the counting machines from Jolo. Especially discussed was the manner of transporting the ballots and the counting machines to the PICC in Manila. 1998. General PM Subala.[if !supportFootnotes][11][endif] On May 15. He recommended to revert to the manual counting of votes in the whole of Sulu. Jr. Sulu." The next day. Res. Mr. "2. and PD CS Alejandrino for manual count. and the public. there will be an objective analysis and supervision of the automated and manual operations by both the MIS and Technical Expert of the ES & S away from the thundering mortars and the sounds of sophisticated heavy weapons from both sides of the warring factions. Borra. causing misalignment of ovals and use of codes assigned to another municipality.

'6. Echavia Ms. '5. 98-1750 promulgated on 13 May 1998 providing for the manual counting of votes in the municipality of Pata. the following are hereby respectfully recommended: '1. The creation of the following Special Boards of Inspectors under the supervision of Atty. Celia Romero Ms. Theresa A. Tolentino. Task Force Head. considering the recommendation of Comm. Jacelyn Tan d) Atty. 'RESOLVED to approve the foregoing recommendations in the implementation of Min. The political parties and the candidates in Sulu as well as the Party-List Candidates are authorized to appoint their own watchers upon approval of the Commission'. Jose M. de Mesa Ms. Manolo B. and in view of the arrival of the counting machines. Zenaida S. Villaflor-Roxas Ms. Jocelyn Guiang Ma. de Mesa and Ester L. Aguam Ms. 98-1750 promulgated 13 May 1998 in the manual counting of votes of Pata. and after conference with some members of the Senior Staff and Technical Committee of this Commission. Torralba Ms. '2. Commissioner-In-Charge. 'RESOLVED. ARMM. ballot boxes. Resolution No. Sulu.'In the implementation of COMELEC Min. Sulu. Ma. namely: a) Atty. Mamasapunod M. Gorospe. The Provincial Board of Canvassers which by standing Resolution is headed by the Task Force Sulu Head shall consolidate the manual and automated results as submitted by the Municipal Boards of Canvassers of the whole province with two members composed of Directors Estrella P. Sulu. documents and other election paraphernalia for the whole province of Sulu now stored in PICC. Nelly Jaena '4. Erlinda C. Manual counting of the local ballots of the automated election system in Pata. Resolution No. moreover. Automated counting of the national ballots considering that there are no questions raised on the National Elective Officials as pre-printed in the mark-sensed ballots. Rebecca Macaraya c) Atty. Gloria Fernandez Ms.. Jr. Villaflor-Roxas. Carmen Llamas e) Director Estrella P. Esperanza Nicolas b) Director Ester L. Teresita Velasco Ms. '3. Sulu. as well as the arrival of the Municipal Board of Canvassers of said Municipality in Sulu. to conduct a parallel manual counting on all 18 municipalities of Sulu as a final guidance of the reliability of the counting machine which will . Additional Special Board of Inspectors may be created when necesary. Soriano Ms.

"(d) There is the opportunity of delaying the proclamation of the winning candidates through the usually dilatory moves in a preproclamation controversy because the returns and certificates of canvass are already human (sic) made. Tolentino. 1998. No. The minute resolution under agenda No. In fact." Nonetheless. petitioner filed with this Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. he alleged denial of due process. "x x x.121 votes. "2."' On May 18. "3. the winning candidates of the Province of Sulu be proclaimed on the basis of the results of the automated counting. 1998."[if !supportFootnotes][15][endif] The vice-governor elect was allowed to temporarily discharge the powers and functions of governor. On June 23. 15. 1998. fake and counterfeit ballots which the counting machines have been programmed to reject (Section 7. 1998 was denied as it was filed too late. who recommended to the COMELEC the anomalous manual counting. (c) manual counting gave "opportunity to the following election cheatings. pag-usapan natin. a temporary restraining order be issued enjoining the COMELEC from conducting a manual counting of the ballots of the 1. 8436 providing for an automated counting of the ballots in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. this petition be given due course and the respondents be required to answer. Petitioner was third with 35. after due hearing. viz:[if !supportFootnotes][13][endif] "1. On August 20. 98-1796 violates the provisions of Republic Act No. "4. private respondent Tan was proclaimed governor- elect of Sulu on the basis of the manual count. 1998 be all declared null and void ab initio for having been issued without jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction and for being in violation of due process of law. 98-1747. The automated counting is mandatory and could not be substituted by a manual counting. 8436.1998. this Court required the respondents to file their Comment to the petition and directed the parties "to maintain the status quo prevailing at the time of the filing of the petition. There is no legal basis for the 'parallel manual counting' ordained in the disputed minute resolution. the parties filed their respective Comments. automated election returns. 1998.A. PBC certificates of canvass and proclaim the winning candidates on the basis of the automated counting and consolidation of results. on October 7.serve as basis for the proclamation of the winning candidates and for future reference on the use of the automated counting machine.452 votes or a difference of 8. In the automated counting there is no room for any dilatory pre-proclamation controversy because the returns and the MBC and PBC certificates of canvass are machine made and immediate proclamation is ordained thereafter. upon filing of this petition." dearly indicating overtures of possible bribery of the watchers of petitioner (ANNEX E). No. and 17. On September 25. the manipulators are given sufficient time to change and tamper the ballots to be manually counted. He contended that: (a) COMELEC issued Minute Resolution Nos. "2. 98-1796.[if !supportFootnotes][17][endif] As similar petition for intervention filed by Abdulwahid Sahidulla. lack of factual basis of the COMELEC resolutions and illegality of manual count in light of R." Petitioner then prayed: "WHEREFORE. automated MBC and PBC certificates of canvass.573 votes. In fact. The counting machines in the other municipalities are in order.[if !supportFootnotes][14][endif] Private respondent garnered 43. Jose M.194 precincts of the 18 municipalities of the Province of Sulu but instead proceed with the automated counting of the ballots. COMELEC started the manual count on the same date. 13.993 votes and placed second. The automated counting in the municipalities of Lugus and Panglima Tahil has been completed. " 4. 1998." namely: "(a) The counting by human hands of the tampered.194 precincts. 1998. preparation of the election returns and MBC. The automated counting machines of the Comelec have been designed in such a way that only genuine official ballots could be read and counted by the machine. and 98-1798 without prior notice and hearing to him." On June 8. The issues for resolution are the following: . "(b) The opportunity to substitute the ballots all stored at the PICC. had approached the watchers of petitioners to allow the retrieval of the ballots. 98-1750. Where the machines are allegedly defective. 8436. no less than the head of the COMELEC Task Force of Sulu. a candidate for vice-governor. petitioner filed his objection to Minute Resolution No. Act 8436). tayo lang mga watchers. the LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP-MNLF candidate for governor filed a motion for intervention and a Memorandum in Intervention. TheCourt noted his intervention. saying "tayo. Similarly. the questioned COMELEC En Banc Minute Resolutions of May 12. Jr. (b) the order for manual counting violated R. Manual counting is prohibited by law. the Court heard the parties in oral arguments[if !supportFootnotes][18][endif] which was followed by the submission of their written memoranda. the automated counting has already started.A. In due time. On May 25. 8 & 9 of Rep. the only remedy provided for by law is to replace the machine. Atty.[if !supportFootnotes][16][endif] The result of the manual count showed he received 38. "3. it is most especially prayed of the Honorable Court that: "1. May 18. Yusop Jikiri. There are strong indications that in the municipality of Pata the ballots of the said municipality were rejected by the counting machine because the ballots were tampered and/or the texture of the ballots fed to the counting machine are not the official ballots of the Comelec. "(c) With the creation by the COMELEC of only 22 Boards of Election Inspectors to manually count the 1.

2. one of first impression. a." We have interpreted this provision to mean final orders. Were the petitioner and the intervenor denied due process by the COMELEC when it ordered a manual count? 3. Talipao. Siasi. Section 7. Tapal and Jolo were carefully analyzed by the technical experts of COMELEC and the supplier of the automated machines. In the case of the municipality of Pata. The big issue. No. administrative orders of the COMELEC are not. is whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it ordered a manual count in light of R.A.a. Is there a legal basis for the manual count? 2-b. The post election realities on ground will show that the order for a manual count cannot be characterized as arbitrary. Anton Burahan. order or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof. Whether or not a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is the appropriate remedy to invalidate the disputed COMELEC resolutions. as a general rule. The main issue in the case at bar is whether the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when it ordered a manual count of the 1998 Sulu local elections. Siasi. Each municipality was assigned a sequence code as a security measure. They traced the problem to the printing of local ballots by the National Printing Office. It is adjudicatory of the right of the petitioner. We shall resolve the issues in seriatim. 2. b.A. Tapal and Jolo. capricious or whimsical. All of them found nothing wrong with the automated machines. Are its factual bases reasonable? 2. fit subjects of a petition for certiorari. Indanan. Indanan.[if !supportFootnotes][19][endif] Contrariwise.c. whether or not COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in ordering a manual count. First. In the case of the municipalities of Talipao. We hold that certiorari is the proper remedy of the petitioner. Ballots with the wrong sequence code were programmed to be rejected by the automated machines. Article IX(A) of the 1987 Constitution states that if "unless provided by this Constitution or by law. It is likewise conceded that the automated machines rejected and would not count the local ballots in the municipalities of Talipao." The issue is not only legal but one of first impression and undoubtedly suffused with significance to the entire nation. it turned out that the local ballots contained the wrong sequence code. These flaws in the automated counting of local ballots in the municipalities of Pata. any decision. . No. Indanan. A mayoralty candidate. A resolution of the issue will involve an interpretation of R. c. It is well established that the automated machines failed to read correctly the ballots in the municipality of Pata. Siasi. Mr. Assuming the manual count is illegal and that its result is unreliable. 8436. Assuming the appropriateness of the remedy. Tapal and Jolo.1. obtained zero votes despite the representations of the Chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors and others that they voted for him. the private respondent and the intervenor to the position of governor of Sulu. Another candidate garnered 100% of the votes. These are enough considerations to call for an exercise of the certiorari jurisdiction of this Court. Second. Article IX(C) of the Constitution "to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election x x x. rulings and decisions of the COMELEC rendered in the exercise of its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial powers. it was discovered that the ovals of the local ballots were misaligned and could not be read correctly by the automated machines. 8436 on automated election in relation to the broad power of the COMELEC under Section 2(1). whether or not it is proper to call for a special election for the position of governor of Sulu.

In the meantime. Brig.It is plain that to continue with the automated count in these five (5) municipalities would result in a grossly erroneous count. "In his attempt to remedy the situation. rectify the same. Commanding General. "Technical experts of the supplier based in Manila were informed of the problem and after numerous consultations through long distance calls. Brig. Fourth. Siasi. They later submitted written position papers. the MNLF forces are readying their forces to surround the venue for automated counting and canvassing in Sulu in order that automation process will continue. We quote the Tolentino memorandum. Marine Forces Southern Philippines. the members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) and watchers present in said room stated that the counting machine assigned to the municipality of Pata did not reflect the true results of the voting thereat. The Tolentino memorandum clearly shows that they were given every opportunity to oppose the manual count of the local ballots in Sulu. namely. COMELEC had to act decisively in view of the fast deteriorating peace and order situation caused by the delay in the counting of votes.1998 Memorandum to the COMELEC likewise stated: "x x x "While the forces of AFP are ready to provide arm (sic) security to our COMELEC officials. Atty. Gen. Task Force Head. There was no need for more sampling of local ballots in these municipalities as they suffered from the same defects. as per report received. the TF Head presided over a conference at Camp General Bautista (3rd Marine Brigade) to discuss the . Third. stated: "x x x "Additional marines have been deployed at the SSC. Their watchers observed the manual count from beginning to end. Sulu PNP Command explained that it "x x x will not only serve the interest of majority of the political parties involved in the electoral process but also serve the interest of the military and police forces in maintaining peace and order throughout the province of Sulu. The members of the BEI complained that their votes were not reflected in the printout of the election returns since per election returns of their precincts. or a show of force." An automated count of the local votes in Sulu would have resulted in a wrong count. "To avoid a situation where proceeding with automation will result in an erroneous count. the counting of the ballots for the other municipalities proceeded under the automated system. After verifying the printout of some election returns as against the official ballots. the military and the police authorities unanimously recommended manual counting to preserve peace and order. ordered the suspension of the counting of all ballots in the province to enable him to call a meeting with the heads of the political parties which fielded candidates in the province. the political tensions and imminent violence and bloodshed may not be prevented. Tapal and Jolo with wrong sequence codes are certain to be rejected by the automated machines. They were orally heard. Jr. 1998. Charlemagne S. Similarly. There is no showing in the records that the local ballots in these five (5) municipalities are dissimilar which could justify the call for their greater sampling. Percival M. "During the interview conducted by the TF Head. the technical experts concluded that the cause of the error was in the manner the ballots for local positions were printed by the National Printing Office (NPO). of May 12. 1998. COMELEC avoided this imminent probability by ordering a manual count of the votes. no error was found. Edgardo V.m. Commanding General. "On or about 12:30 p. 3rd Marine Brigade. it would be more prudent to stay away from a lifeless thing that has sown tension and anxiety among and between the voters of Sulu. Its aftermath could have been a bloodbath. As regards the ballots for national positions. It would be the height of irony if the Court condemns COMELEC for aborting violence in the Sulu elections. Subala.. All local ballots in Pata with misaligned ovals will be erroneously read by the automated machines. Gen. Borra. Whether or not this is true. a province with a history of violent elections. the candidate they voted for obtained "zero". not a few people would believe that this error in Pata would extend to the other municipalities. It cannot also be gainsaid that the count in these five (5) municipalities will affect the local elections in Sulu. The evidence of this fragile peace and order cannot be downgraded. and Supt. the TF Head discovered that votes cast in favor of a mayoralty candidate were credited in favor of his opponents. it was found necessary to determine the extent of the error in the ballot printing process before proceeding with the automated counting. The undersigned is not sure if it is merely intended to tame a disorderly crowd inside and outside SSC. the COMELEC Sulu Task Force Head (TF Head) proceeded to the room where the counting machine assigned to the municipality of Pata was installed to verify the cause of the commotion therein. Indanan. Alejandrino. all local ballots in Talipao. viz: "x x x "On or about 6:00 a. These failures of automated counting created post election tension in Sulu. ARMM in his May 13. We also find that petitioner Loong and intervenor Jikiri were not denied due process. inform them of the technical error. that the ovals opposite the names of the candidates were not properly aligned. Their representatives escorted the transfer of the ballots and the automated machines from Sulu to Manila. Provincial Director. "Since the problem was not machine-related. the TF Head.000. BEI's and other deputies. the TF Head suspended the counting of all ballots for said municipality to enable COMELEC field technicians to determine the cause of the technical error. In his handwritten report to the COMELEC dated May 12.m.000. and thereafter proceed with automated counting. Tolentino. and find solutions to the problem. a travesty of the sovereignty of the electorate.m." Executive Director Resurreccion Z." Last but not the least. Espinosa. "It is submitted that since an error was discovered in a machine which is supposed to have an error rate of 1:1. on or about 11:45 a. it was obvious that the use of counting machines from other municipalities to count the ballots of the municipality of Pata would still result in the same erroneous count. while automated counting of all the ballots for the province of Sulu was being conducted at the counting center located at the Sulu State College. Thus.

the TF Head. A machine is then assigned a specific "sequence code" as one of the security features to detect whether the ballots passing through it are genuine. Brig. "Upon receipt of the position papers of the parties. the machine will credit the votes of a candidate in favor of his opponent. and the position papers of the Philippine Marines and Philippine National Police (Annex "2"). Gubernatorial Candidate Abdusakur Tan 5. Percival Subala 3. which was assigned two (2) machines. some of the local ballots were rejected by the machine. Brig. was of the belief that it would be more prudent to count the ballots manually than to proceed with an automated system which will result in an erroneous count. such as "sequence code". Charlemagne Alenjandrino 4." Attached are copies of the recommendations of the TF Head (Annex "1"). Gubernatorial Candidate Kimar Tulawie LAMMP 8. Thus. even if said ballots were genuine. Congressional Candidate Bensaudi Tulawie LAMMP "During said meeting. Caluang. Southern Philippines 2. Gen. Gubernatorial Candidate Abdusakur Tan LAKAS-NUCD Tan Wing 6. Provincial Dir. it was discovered that in the Municipality of Talipao. Gubernatorial Candidate Tupay Loong LAKAS-NUCD Loong Wing 5. upon consultation with his technical staff. together with the recommendations of the TF Head. such as Siasi. ballots which bear a "sequence code" assigned to another machine/municipality. Brig. Edgardo Espinoza Marine Forces. Those in favor of a manual count were: 1. 1998. Gubernatorial Candidate Kimar Tulawie 6. "The TF Head thus ordered the indefinite suspension of counting of ballots until such time as the Commission shall have resolved the petition/position papers to be submitted by the parties. together with his handwritten recommendation to proceed with a manual count. "Other municipalities. are present in the ballot. A municipality is assigned a specific machine (except for Jolo. all of the above parties verbally advanced their respective positions. Verification showed that while the ballots were genuine. however. 'The TF Head returned to the counting center at the Sulu State College and called his technical staff to determine the extent of the technical error and to enable him to submit the appropriate recommendation to the Commission en banc. "In the case of 'misaligned ovals'. Brig. they failed to determine whether the cause for rejection of ballots for said municipalities was the same as that for the municipality of Talipao. "It could not be determined if the other municipalities also had the same technical error in their official ballots since the "misaligned ovals" were discovered only after members of the Board of Election Inspectors of the Municipality of Pata complained that their votes were not reflected in the printout of the election returns. Congressional Candidate Bensaudi Tulawie and those in favor of an automated count were: 1. H. Present during the meeting were: 1. the following is the manner by which a sequence code" determined genuineness of a ballot. Edgardo Espinoza 2. Indanan. "Upon consultation with the technical staff.P. Gubernatorial Candidate Yusop Jikiri "Said parties were then requested by the TF Head to submit their respective position papers so that the same may be forwarded to the Commission en banc. will be rejected by the machine. "As the extent or coverage of the technical errors could not be determined. instead of rejecting the ballot. Gubernatorial Candidate Yusop Jikiri LAKAS-NUCD-MNLF Wing 7. However. LAKAS-NUCD . Gen. "Briefly. since the machine operators were not aware that one of the reasons for rejection of ballots is the use of wrong "sequence code". Tapul and Jolo also had the same problem of rejected ballots. Since a counting machine is programmed to read the specific "sequence code" assigned to it.process by which the will of the electorate could be determined. and sharing of one (1) machine by two (2) municipalities. Gubernatorial Candidate Tupay Loong 2. ballot paper bearing a wrong "sequence code" was used by the NPO during the printing process. Percival Subala 3rd Marine Brigade 3. Tahil and Maimbung. the machine will credit the shaded oval for the position where the machine is programmed to "read" the oval. or in the adjacent space where the oval should be properly placed. Gen. Charlemagne Alejandrino Sulu PNP Command 4. Gen. Pata and Tongkil and Panamao and Lugus). since the oval is misaligned or not placed in its proper position. the TF Head faxed the same in the evening of May 12. The TF Head and his staff returned to Camp General Bautista to await the submission of the position papers of the parties concerned. the counting machine will not reject the ballot because all the security features. Pandami and K. Provincial Dir. namely.

1998. Pata - Marvin Hassan 7. Loong (Sgd. Marunggas - Taib Mangkabong 10. viz:[if !supportFootnotes][20][endif] "Dear Atty. Lugus - Patta Alih 15. (Sgd. They were placed in an open space at the PICC. 98-1750 dated May 13. Talipao - Ismael Sali "Hoping for your kind and (sic) consideration for approval on this matter. Estino - Yasir lbba 17. Parang - Siyang Loong 8. petitioner Tupay Loong himself submitted the names of his representatives who would accompany the ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia. with notice to them that another conference will be conducted at the 3rd Marine Brigade on May 14.) Asani S. Pangutaran - Hji. Brig. Nazareno. a total of seventy-two (72) escorts/watchers accompanied the ballots and counting machines. Tapul - Alphawanis Tupay 14. Luuk - Jun Arbison 11. Indanan - - Dixon Jadi 4. Jr. Tolentino. Patikul - Fathie B. "After hearing the sides of all parties concerned. directing among other things. with each political party authorized to send at least one (1) escort/watcher for every municipality to accompany the ballot boxes and counting machines from the counting center at the Sulu State College to the Sulu Airport up to the PICC. Gen. "Thank you. Maimbong - Mike Bangahan 16. Indeed. Panamao - Hamba Loong 18. LAKAS-NUCD-MNLF Wing (Annex "5") and LAMMP (Annex "6"). Attached is a copy of said notice (Annex "8") bearing the signatures of candidates Tan (Annex "8-A") and Loong (Annex "8-B"). together with their counsel. petitioner's charge that the ballots could have been tampered with before the manual counting is totally unfounded. and the representatives of candidates Tulawie (Annex "8-C") and Jikiri (Annex "8-D"). Tongkil - Usman Sahidulla 13.. Tammang" The ballot boxes were consistently under the watchful eyes of the parties' representatives. They watched 24 hours a day and slept at the PICC. then AFP Commander. 1998. accompanied by all the authorized escorts. General Joselin Nazareno. Tolentino: "Submitted herewith are the names of escort(s) to accompany the ballot boxes and other election pharaphernalia to be transported to COMELEC. representatives of the political parties escorted the transfer of ballots from Sulu to PICC. media and the public. with all the escorts/watchers allowed to station themselves at the ballot box storage area. Said recommendations and position papers were the bases for the promulgation of COMELEC Minute Resolution No. "Two C130s left Sulu on May 15. Kaluang - Enjimar Abam 6.Tan Wing Annex (Annex "3"). Pandami - Orkan Osman 12. Lakas-NUCD Loong Wing (Annex "4"). 1998 (Annex "7"). The evidence is clear that the integrity of the local ballots was safeguarded when they were transferred from Sulu to Manila and when they were manually counted. the procedure by which the ballots and counting machines were to be transported to Manila was finalized. 1998. Copies were then served through personal delivery to the heads of the political parties. that the ballots and counting machines be transported by C130 to Manila for both automated and manual operations. Siasi - Jamal Ismael 5. "Minute Resolution No. Nasser Loong 9. Jolo - Joseph Lu 2. Said ballots boxes reached the PICC on the same day. Southern Command. this time. where the COMELEC was then conducting its Senatorial Canvass. After the counting they once more escorted the return of the ballot boxes to PICC. K. in his May 14. another C130 left Sulu to ferry the members of the board of canvassers. Subala. representatives of the NAMFREL. The evidence also reveals that the result of the manual count is reliable. Manila.[if !supportFootnotes][21][endif] The parties' watchers again accompanied the transfer of the ballot boxes from PICC to the public schools of Pasay City where the ballots were counted. "On May 14.) Tupay T. with Lt. including Lt. 1998 to transport all the ballot boxes and counting machines. As shown by the Tolentino memorandum. The watchers stationed themselves some five (5) meters away from the ballot boxes. On May 17. There being four parties. Gen. Loong 3. Very truly yours. . including that of NAMFREL. 1992 letter to Atty. 98-1750 was received by the TF Head through fax on or about 5:30 in the evening of May 13. 1998 at 9:00 o'clock in the morning. the TF Head presided over said conference in the presence of the heads of the political parties of Sulu." Fifth.[if !supportFootnotes][22][endif] In fine. to wit: 1. Sixth. P.

Tolentino. Return all pertinent election documents and paraphernalia inside the ballot box. 'RESOLVED. Open the ballot box. moreover. When the COMELEC ordered a manual count of the votes. Mamasapunod M. - If there are more ballots than the number of voters who actually voted. Local Ballots '1. '4. the POBC/MOBC shall revert to manual consolidation. The MO shall print the provincial certificate of canvass and the SOV by municipality. After all the local ballots shall have been manually counted. The ballots were uncomplicated. '2. 'B. Borra. to undertake the manual counting. The BEI shall accomplish the certification portion of the election returns and announce the results. They had fairly large ovals opposite the names of candidates. In case there is system failure in the counting and/or consolidation of the results. '2. To consolidate the provincial results. the poll clerk shall draw out as many local and national ballots as may be equal to the excess and place them in the envelope for excess ballots. The results of the counting for the national ballots for each municipality shall be consolidated by using the ERs of the automated election system. Place the election returns in their respective envelopes and distribute them accordingly. Count the number of pieces of both the national and local ballots and compare the same with the number of votes who actually voted as stated in the Minutes of Voting: - If there is no Minutes of Voting. '2. no vote shall be counted in favor of any candidate. '4. 2971 and 3030 shall apply. Segregate the national ballots from the local ballots. albeit. Common Provisions: '1. A voter needed only to check the oval opposite the name of his candidate. 'II Counting of Votes 'A.[if !supportFootnotes][24][endif] viz: "a) Atty. '5. The rules were spelled out in Minute Resolution 98-1798. refer to the Voting Records at the back of the VRRs to determine the number of voters who actually voted. return the same inside the envelope for counted ballots. 'Let the Executive Director implement this resolution. and return the same to the members of the BEI concerned for their signatures and thumbmarks. If the national ballots have already been counted. place them inside an envelope and give the envelope through a liaison officer to the machine operator concerned for counting and printing of the election returns. '6. five (5) Special Boards were initially created under Atty. The Chairman shall read the votes while the poll clerk and the third member shall simultaneously accomplish the election returns and the tally board respectively. 'III. reseal and place the envelope inside the ballot box. The machine operator shall affix his signature and thumbmark thereon. Consolidation of Results 'A. 1998 at 9:00 a. Group the local ballots in piles of fifty (50). '4. 'If the voters shaded more ovals than the number of positions to be voted for. it issued special rules as the counting involved a different kind of ballot. Local Ballots: '1. the MO shall load all the diskettes used in the scanner to the ERs. more simple ballots. '5. After the consolidation. the same shall be given to the machine operator concerned for counting by the scanning machine."' As aforestated. viz:[if !supportFootnotes][23][endif] "In the matter of the Memorandum dated 17 May 1998 of Executive Director Resurreccion Z. The proclamation of winning candidates shall be based on the manual consolidation. National Ballots: '1.m. '3. National Ballots '1. The machine operator shall then save the results in a diskette and print out the election returns for COMELEC reference. re procedure of the counting of votes for Sulu for the convening of the Board of Election Inspectors. the Municipal Board of Canvassers and the Provincial Board of Canvassers on May 18. Aguam . at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). Jr. The said returns shall then be placed in corresponding envelopes for distribution. - The consolidation of votes shall be done manually by the Provincial/Municipal Board of Canvassers. 'B. '2.It bears stressing that the ballots used in the case at bar were specially made to suit an automated election. '3. '3. '2. If the national ballots have not yet been counted. The Omnibus Election Code rules on appreciation of ballots cannot apply for they only apply to elections where the names of candidates are handwritten in the ballots. 'RESOLVED to approve the following procedure for the counting of votes for Sulu at the PICC: 'I. retrieve the Minutes of Voting and the uncounted ballots or the envelope containing the counted ballots as the case may be. the Machine Operator shall print the certificate of canvass by municipality and statement of votes by precinct. that the pertinent provisions of COMELEC Resolution Nos. '3.

5. No. Nelly Jaena" Later." Undoubtedly. Needless to state. Villaflor-Roxas Ms. petitioner did not complain that the local ballots could not be counted by a layman. Esperanza Nicolas b) Director Ester L. it was inutile for the COMELEC to use other machines to count the local votes in Sulu. initiative. and one (1) by LAMMP. 8436 after the machines misread or rejected the local ballots in five (5) municipalities in Sulu. 9.Ms. Teresa A. Zamora Street."[if !supportFootnotes][27][endif] There is logic to private respondent Tan's contention that if the manual count was tampered. This is not all. Zenaida S.A." As the facts show. two (2) by the MNLF. 8436. referendum and recall. The naked eye could see the checkmarks opposite the big ovals. the Commission shall use any available machine or any component thereof from another city/municipality upon approval of the Commission En Banc or any of its divisions. Pasay City - for the municipalities of Parang. They were also signed by the parties' watchers. No. Seventh. The errors were not machine-related. his candidates would not have miserably lost. Panamao. We hold. Echavia Ms. Tramo Street. As private respondent Tan alleged. or when the computer fails to consolidate election results/reports or fails to print election results/reports after consolidation. the text and intent of this provision is to have COMELEC all the necessary and incidental powers for it to achieve the objective of holding . The COMELEC representatives had no difficulty counting the votes. No. and Tapul. Lugus. four (4) with petitioner Loong. The allegation that it will take a trained eye to read the ballots is more imagined than real. Systems Breakdown in the Counting Center. The watchers of the parties had no difficulty. Thereafter. however. Burgos Street. Carmen Llamas e) Director Estrella P. viz:[if !supportFootnotes][25][endif] "1." From beginning to end. The transfer of such machines or any component thereof shall be undertaken in the presence of representatives of political parties and citizens' arm of the Commission who shall be notified by the election officer of such transfer. Gotamco Street. Congress obviously failed to provide a remedy where the error in counting is not machine-related for human foresight is not all-seeing. Rebecca Macaraya c) Atty. In the mayoral race. Pasay City - for the municipalities of Indanan. Burgos Elementary School. Celia Romero Ms. the certificates of canvass were prepared and signed by the City/Municipal Board of Canvassers composed of the Chairman. the manual count could not have been manipulated in his favor because the results show that most of his political opponents won. two (2) were won by the camp of respondent Tan. Petitioner did not object to the rules on manual count on the ground that the ballots cannot be manually counted. Torralba Ms. Zamora Elementary School. In enacting R. to grant petitioner's prayer to continue the machine count of the local ballots will certainly result in an erroneous count and subvert the will of the electorate. the COMELEC utilized the services of 600 public school teachers from Pasay City to do the manual counting. Talipao. Pangutaran. 8436 provides: "SEC. There was no need for an expert to count the votes. The errors in counting were due to the misprinting of ovals and the use of wrong sequence codes in the local ballots.[if !supportFootnotes][26][endif] The correctness of the manual count cannot therefore be doubted. nobody complained that the votes could not be read and counted.A. Section 2(1) of Article IX(C) of the Constitution gives the COMELEC the broad power "to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. We further hold that petitioner cannot insist on automated counting under R. Jocelyn Guiang Ma. and Secretary. de Mesa Ms. two (2) with LAMMP and one (1) with REPORMA. Epifanio Elementary School. Eighth. Jocelyn Tan d) Atty. "4. Palma Elementary School - for the municipalities of Siasi and Kalingalang Caluang. Thus. plebiscite. of the eight (8) seats for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Neither did the intervenor complain in his petition for intervention. The 600 public school teachers of Pasay City had no difficulty. Ma. that the vacuum in the law cannot prevent the COMELEC from levitating above the problem. Pasay City - for the municipalities of Jolo.A. the manual counting was done with the watchers of the parties concerned in attendance. three (3) by the camp of petitioner Loong. Erlinda C. Panglima Estino. "3. In the event of a systems breakdown of all assigned machines in the counting center. Pasay City - for the municipalities of Luuk and Tongkil. Vice-Chairman. seven (7) out of eighteen (18) victorious municipal mayors were identified with respondent Tan. three (3) with the MNLF. "the official results show that the two congressional seats in Sulu were won by Congressman Hussin Amin of the LAKAS-MNLF Wing for the 1st District and Congressman Asani Tammang of the LAKASLoong Wing for the 2nd District. Maimbung. Panglima Tahil. "2. Section 9 of R. There is a systems breakdown in the counting center when the machine fails to read the ballots or fails to store/save results or fails to print the results after it has read the ballots. Soriano Ms. in his original Petition. Indeed. Gloria Fernandez Ms. Indeed. Teresita Velasco Ms. In the provincial level. Five (5) elementary schools served as the venues of the counting. Gotamco Elementary School.

Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code tells us when there is a failure of election. engage in a swivel chair criticism of these actions often taken under very difficult circumstances. albeit manually. peaceful. COMELEC has to make snap judgments to meet unforseen circumstances that threaten to subvert the will of our voters. terrorism. however. petitioner did not pray for a special election. If manual counting is illegal. Congruent to this intent. we held in Sumulong v. - The postponement. 4. Their votes were counted correctly. is in a peculiarly advantageous position to decide complex political questions x x x. their assumption of office cannot also be countenanced. - If on account of force majeure." To begin with. Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code should be read in relation to Section 4 of R. In running for public offices. terrorism. Hence. His plea for a special election is a mere afterthought. not held. and 7 of the Omnibus Election Code shall be decided by the Commission en banc by a majority vote of its members. It ought to be self-evident that the Constitution did not envision a COMELEC that cannot count the result of an election. 607 enacted on August 22. A quick flashback of its history is necessary lest our efforts be lost in the labyrinth of time. the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed. orderly and credible elections. Ninth. We cannot kick away the will of the people by giving a literal interpretation to R. According to Dean Sinco. Thus. declaration of failure of elections and the calling of special elections as provided in Sections 5. because of its fact-finding facilities. To hold a special election only for the position of Governor will be discriminatory and will violate the right of private respondent to equal protection of the law. Postponement. There is another reason why a special election cannot be ordered by this Court. No. Counting is part and parcel of the conduct of an election which is under the control and supervision of the COMELEC.free. A final word. viz: "Sec. Failure of election. or had been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting. In the matter of the administration of laws relative to the conduct of election. indeed. honest. R. From a statutory creation. It was the only way to count the decisive local votes in the six (6) municipalities of Pata. a vice-governor. or other analogous causes. the plea for this Court to call a special election for the governorship of Sulu is completely off-line. Even in his original petition with this Court. the COMELEC order for a manual count was not only reasonable. COMELEC was generously granted the power to "have exclusive charge of the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections x x x. orderly. was transferred to the COMELEC."[if !supportFootnotes][30][endif] Then came the 1973 Constitution. honest.1940. numerous vicemayors and municipal councilors are now serving in their official capacities. this Court has not been niggardly in defining the parameters of powers of COMELEC in the conduct of our elections. The people have spoken. Thus. Too often. Our elections are not conducted under laboratory conditions. Failure of Election and Special Elections. or after the voting and during the preparation and the transmission of the election returns or in the custody or canvass thereof. Too late in the day and too unprocedural. Worse. may even be debatable. Thus. its contacts with political strategists. The plea can only be grounded on failure of election. Tapul and Jolo. Private respondent's election cannot be singled out as invalid for alikes cannot be treated unalikes. the COMELEC was transformed to a constitutional body by virtue of the 1940 amendments to the 1935 Constitution which took effect on December 2. the Commission shall on the basis of a verified petition by any interested party and after due notice and hearing." In the case at bar. We cannot. suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect but not later than thirty days after the cessation of the cause of such postponement or suspension of the election or failure to elect.A. and credible elections. COMELEC:[if !supportFootnotes][28][endif] "Politics is a practical matter. two (2) congressmen. The records show that the voters of Sulu were able to cast their votes freely and fairly. eight (8) members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and eighteen (18) mayors. petitioner never asked the COMILEC en banc to call for a special election in Sulu. the plea for a special election must be addressed to the COMELEC and not to this Court. The Commission on Elections. The causes for the declaration of a failure of election may occur before or after casting of votes or on the day of the election. 7166 which provides: "Sec. we cannot order a special election unless demanded by exceptional circumstances. Siasi. 8436. 1940. Time and experience are necessary to evolve patterns that will serve the ends of good government. such election results in a failure to elect. In the process. and political questions must be dealt with realistically - not from the standpoint of pure theory. The power to enforce our election laws was originally vested in the President and exercised through the Department of Interior. 8436 did not prohibit manual counting when machine count does not work. and its knowledge derived from actual experience in dealing with political controversies. Even more. 6.A. while an executive power. Talipao. Our decision merely reinforces our collective efforts to endow COMELEC with enough power to hold free. fraud or other analogous causes - clearly involve questions of fact. and in any of such cases the failure or suspension of election would affect the result of the election. It is for this reason that they can only be determined by the COMELEC en banc after due notice and hearing to the parties. These officials were proclaimed on the basis of the same manually counted votes of Sulu. the grounds for failure of election are inexistent. Their sovereign will has to be obeyed. The bottom line is that by means of the manual count. the actions of COMELEC may not be impeccable. Tudanan. x x x we must not by any excessive zeal take away from the Commission on Elections the initiative which by constitutional and legal mandates properly belongs to it.[if !supportFootnotes][29][endif] the view ultimately emerged that an independent body could better protect the right of suffrage of our people. the will of the voters of Sulu was honestly determined. the enforcement of our election laws. There are no ready made formulas for solving public problems. It further broadened the powers of COMELEC by making it the sole Judge of all election .A. The COMELEC was organized under Commonwealth Act No." The grounds for failure of election - force majeure. The records show that all elected officials in Sulu have been proclaimed and are now discharging their powers and duties. candidates do not follow the rules of Emily Post. 6. In the case at bar. fraud. call for the holding or continuation of the election.

there being no showing that public respondent gravely abused its discretion in issuing Minute Resolution Nos. 1998 is lifted.[if !supportFootnotes][34][endif] we reiterated the guiding principle that "clean elections control the appropriateness of the remedy. Our status quo order of June 23. The choice of means taken by the Commission on Elections. it is not enough for this Court to make a statement but it should do everything to have that sovereignty obeyed by all. initiatives. unless they are clearly illegal or constitute grave abuse of discretion. All contests involving elective municipal and barangay officials are under its appellate jurisdiction.[if !supportFootnotes][33][endif] we laid down this liberal approach.[if !supportFootnotes][32][endif] Our decisions have been in cadence with the movement towards empowering the COMELEC in order that it can more effectively perform its duty of safeguarding the sanctity of our elections. referenda and recalls. is out of step with this movement.[if !supportFootnotes][31][endif] In fine. plebiscites. The purity of the elections is one of the most fundamental requisites of popular government. IN VIEW WHEREOF. 98-1750. SO ORDERED. the Commission must be given a considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of the great objective for which it was created -- to promote free. In Cauton vs. provincial and city elective officials are under its exclusive original jurisdiction.contests relating to the election. should not be interfered with. and honest elections. returns and qualifications of members of the national legislature and elective provincial and city officials. orderly. it would set aside the judgment of the people electing the private respondent as Governor. The Commission on Elections. the COMELEC was given judicial power aside from its traditional administrative and executive functions." In Pacis vs. must do everything in its power to secure a fair and honest canvass of the votes cast in the elections. . When the sovereignty of the people expressed thru the ballot is at stake. for all its depth. by constitutional mandate. It would set aside the results of the manual count even when the results are free from fraud and irregularity." The dissent. the petition of Tupay Loong and the petition in intervention of Yusop Jikiri are dismissed. Upholding the sovereignty of the people is what democracy is all about. Worse. The 1987 Constitution quickened this trend of strengthening the COMELEC. COMELEC. In the performance of its duties. Well done is always better than well said. It condemns the COMELEC for exercising its discretion to resort to manual count when this was its only viable alternative. Today. 98-1748. Election contests involving regional. 98-1796 and 981798. No costs. viz: x x x 'The purpose of the Revised Election Code is to protect the integrity of elections and to suppress all evils that may violate its purity and defeat the will of the voters. COMLEC enforces and administers all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of elections. COMELEC.