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DUMAYAS vs.

COMELEC

Held:

Facts: Petitioner Dumayas and respondent Bernal were rival candidates for
the position in Mayor of Carles, Iloilo in the May 1998 synchronized elections.
During the canvassing by the MBC, petitioner sought the exclusion of
election returns for 3 precincts of Barangay Pantalan owing to alleged acts of
terrorism, intimidation and coercion committed in said precincts during the
casting and counting of votes. The MBC denied petitioners objections and
proceeded with the canvass which showed respondent Bernal garnering
more votes than the petitioner.

The filing of an election protest or a petition for quo warranto precludes the
subsequent filing of a pre-proclamation controversy or amounts to the
abandonment of one earlier filed, thus depriving the COMELEC of the
authority to inquire into and pass upon the title of the protestee or the validity
of his proclamation. The reason for this rule is that once the competent
tribunal has acquired jurisdiction of an election protest or a petition for quo
warranto, all questions relative thereto will have to be decided in the case
itself and not in another proceeding, so as to prevent confusion and conflict
of authority.

Petitioner appealed to the COMELEC Second Division which excluded


election returns from 3 precincts and directed the MBC to reconvene and
finish the canvass of the remaining or uncontested returns and then, to
proclaim the winning mayoralty candidate. Private respondent Bernal moved
for reconsideration of the decision of the Second Division with the COMELEC
en banc.
The MBC proclaim petitioner winner of the election. Private respondent
Bernal filed an urgent motion to declare void petitioners proclamation. The
duly proclaimed Vice-Mayor Betita, and private respondent Bernal filed n
action for quo warranto against petitioner before the RTC of Iloilo. Petitioner
filed with COMELEC en banc a motion to cancel Bernals motion for
reconsideration and motion declare void petitioners proclamation on the
ground that respondent Bernal should be deemed to have abandoned said
motion when he filed quo warranto action.
The COMELEC en banc reversed the decision of the Second Division,
annulled the petitioner Dumayas proclamation; and constituted a new MBC.
Respondent Bernal was proclaimed by the newly-constituted MBC as the
duly-elected Mayor of the Municipality.
Petitioner Dumayas asked the Supreme Court to set aside the COMELEC en
banc resolution.
Issue:
Should respondent Bernal, who was named as petitioner in the quo
warranto proceedings commenced before the regular court, be deemed to
have abandoned the motions he had filed with respondent Commission?
Did the COMELEC err in ordering the inclusion of the contested election
returns in the canvassing of ballots

Nevertheless, the general rule is not absolute. It admits of certain exceptions,


as where: (a) the board of canvassers was improperly constituted; (b) quo
warranto was not the proper remedy; (c) what was filed was not really a
petition for quo warranto or an election protest but a petition to annul a
proclamation; (d) the filing of a quo warranto petition or an election protest
was expressly made without prejudice to the pre-proclamation controversy or
was made ad cautelam; and (e) the proclamation was null and void
An examination of the petition filed primarily by Vice-Mayor Betita with the
Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City reveals that it is neither a quo
warranto petition under the Omnibus Election Code nor an election protest.
Petition for quo warranto under the Omnibus Election Code raises in issue
the disloyalty or ineligibility of the winning candidate. It is a proceeding to
unseat the respondent from office but not necessarily to install the petitioner
in his place. An election protest is a contest between the defeated and
winning candidates on the ground of frauds or irregularities in the casting and
counting of the ballots, or in the preparation of the returns. It raises the
question of who actually obtained the plurality of the legal votes and
therefore is entitled to hold the office
The allegations contained in Betita's petition before the regular court do not
present any proper issue for either an election protest or a quo warranto case
under the Omnibus Election Code. Spl. Civil Action No. 98-141 appears to be
in the nature of an action for usurpation of public office brought by Betita to
assert his right to the position of Mayor pursuant to the rules on succession
of local government officials contained in the Local Government
Code. Although said petition is also denominated as a quo warranto petition
under Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, it is different in nature from the quo
warranto provided for in the Omnibus Election Code where the only issue
proper for determination is either disloyalty or ineligibility of respondent
therein. Neither can it be considered as an election protest since what was
put forth as an issue in said petition was petitioner's alleged unlawful

assumption of the office of Mayor by virtue of his alleged illegal proclamation


as the winning candidate in the election
The Supreme Court held in the affirmative. The only evidence presented by
the petitioner to prove the alleged irregularities were the self-serving
contracts of his watchers and inspectors. Returns cannot be excluded on
mere allegations that the returns are manufactured or fictitious when the
returns on their face appear to be regular and without any physical signs of
tampering. The election irregularities cited by the petitioner would require the
presentation of evidence which cannot be done in a pre-proclamation
controversy which is summary in nature.

COMELEC
Chrisma
filed
her
Luna
certificate
Candidacy
of
as
candidate
for
the
Hans
2004
Roger
for
elections
a
Lagayan
However,
Abra.
Tomas
Layao
together
others
disqualification
filed
a
petition
her
against
registered
voter
not
Bangued
Lagayan
and
Furthermore
can
be
no
since
Hans
sought
substituted
to
was
only
20
years
of
the
election.
ruled
favor
of
the
case.
this
petition.
Hence,
grave
committed
abuse
of
it
ruled
that
there
valid
was
no
Roger.
a
substitution
valid
.by
The
may
COMELEC
not,
without
the
proceedings,
proper
deny
to
or
due
course
candidacy
in
due
form.
filed
In
Sanchez
v.
that
Court
the
question
eligibility
of
or
non-age
beyond
the
is
usual
and
cognizance
COMELEC
of
candidate
for
the
COMELEC
Chrisma
filed
her
Luna
Candidacy
as
Hans
2004
Roger
for
elections
a
Lagayan
However,
Abra.
Tomas
Layao
together
others
disqualification
filed
a
petition
her
against
registered
voter
not
Bangued
Lagayan
and
Furthermore
can
be
no
since
Hans
sought
substituted
to
was
only
20
years
of
the
election.
ruled
favor
of
the
case.
this
petition.
Hence,
grave
committed
abuse
of
it
ruled
that
there
valid
was
no
Roger.
a
substitution
valid
.by
The
may
COMELEC
not,
without
the
proceedings,
proper
deny
to
or
due
course
certificate
of
candidacy
in
due
form.
filed
In
Sanchez
v.
that
Court
the
question
eligibility
of
or
non-age
beyond
the
is
usual
and
cognizance
COMELEC
of
the
candidate
for
LUNA v COMELEC

Luna filed her certificate of candidacy for the position of vice-mayor of


Lagayan, Abra as a substitute for Hans Roger, who withdrew his certificate of
candidacy on the same date. Ruperto Blanco, Election Officer of Lagayan,
Abra removed the name of Hans Roger from the list of candidates and
placed the name of Luna.
On 20 April 2004, private respondents Tomas Layao, Solomon Lalugan III,
Nelia Lazaga, Anthony Layao, Cipriano Lapez, Jr., Victoria Layao, Moderno
Lapez, Rodrigo Parias, and Eugenio Caber Donato (private respondents)
filed a petition for the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy or
disqualification of Luna. Private respondents alleged that Luna made a false
material representation in her certificate of candidacy because Luna is not a
registered voter of Lagayan, Abra but a registered voter of Bangued, Abra.
Private respondents also claimed that Luna's certificate of candidacy was not
validly filed because the substitution by Luna for Hans Roger was invalid.
Private respondents alleged that Hans Roger was only 20 years
old on election day and, therefore, he was disqualified to run for vice-mayor
and cannot be substituted by Luna.

The COMELEC First Division granted the petition and denied due course to
the substitution of Luna for Hans Roger. The COMELEC First Division ruled
that, while Luna complied with the procedural requirements for substitution,
Hans Roger was not a valid candidate for vice-mayor. The COMELEC First
Division pointed out that Hans Roger, being underage, did not file a valid
certificate of candidacy and, thus, Hans Roger was not a valid candidate for
vice-mayor who could be substituted by Luna. The COMELEC First Division
also ruled that Luna was not a registered voter of Lagayan, Abra and that this
was sufficient to disqualify Luna from running as vice-mayor.

On 28 June 2004, Luna filed a motion for reconsideration with


the COMELEC En Banc. Luna added that the 4 June 2004 Resolution was
issued in violation of her right to due process because she was not given the
opportunity to present evidence on her behalf with the COMELEC First
Division.
In the 22 November 2004 Resolution, the COMELEC En Banc denied the
motion for reconsideration and affirmed with modification the 4 June 2004
Resolution. The COMELEC En Banc affirmed the finding that Hans Roger,
being underage, may not be validly substituted by Luna. The COMELEC En
Banc also ruled that Luna's right to due process was not violated
because Luna was notified of the petition and was given the opportunity to be
heard. However, the COMELEC En Banc ruled that Luna was a registered
voter of Lagayan, Abra.
Issue:
WON COMELEC has jurisdiction over the case?
Held:
NO.

Under Rule 23 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure, a petition to deny


due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy shall be heard summarily
after due notice. The law mandates that the candidates must be notified of
the petition against them and should be given the opportunity to present
evidence on their behalf. This is the essence of due process.
Hans Roger withdrew his certificate of candidacy. The Election Code allows a
person who has filed a certificate of candidacy to withdraw the same prior to
the election by submitting a written declaration under oath. There is no
provision of law which prevents a candidate from withdrawing his certificate
of candidacy before the election.
On the same date, Luna filed her certificate of candidacy as substitute for
Hans Roger. Section 77 of the Election Code prescribes the
rules on substitution of an official candidate of a registered political party who
dies, withdraws, or is disqualified for any cause after the last day for the filing
of certificate of candidacy.
Since
Hans
Roger withdrew his
certificate
of
candidacy
and
the COMELEC found that Luna complied with
all the procedural
requirements for a valid substitution, Lunacan validly substitute for Hans
Roger.

In this case, there was no petition to deny due course to or cancel the
certificate of candidacy of Hans Roger. The COMELEC only declared that
Hans Roger did not file a valid certificate of candidacy and, thus, was not a
valid candidate in the petition to deny due course to or cancel Luna's
certificate of candidacy. In effect, the COMELEC, without the proper
proceedings, cancelled Hans Roger's certificate of candidacy and declared
the substitution by Luna invalid.
It would have been different if there was a petition to deny due course to or
cancel Hans Roger's certificate of candidacy. For if the COMELEC cancelled
Hans Roger's certificate of candidacy after the proper proceedings, then he is
no candidate at all and there can be no substitution of a person whose

certificate of candidacy has been cancelled and denied due


course. However, Hans Roger's certificate of candidacy was never cancelled
or denied due course by the COMELEC.
Moreover, Hans Roger already withdrew his certificate of candidacy before
the COMELEC declared that he was not a valid candidate. Therefore, unless
Hans Roger's certificate of candidacy was denied due course or cancelled in
accordance with Section 78 of the Election Code, Hans Roger's certificate of
candidacy was valid and he may be validly substituted by Luna.