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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
PresidentialElectoralTribunal
P.E.T.CASENo.002March29,2005
RONALDALLANPOEa.k.a.FERNANDOPOE,JR.,Protestant,
vs.
GLORIAMACAPAGALARROYO,Protestee.
RESOLUTION
QUISUMBING,J.:
Themovingfingerwrites,saysOmarKhayyamintheRubayyat,andhavingwrit,moveson.Norallyourpietynor
wit,addsthepoet,couldlureitbacktocancelhalfalinenorallyourtearswashoutawordofit.
Suchismyviewontheprovidentialcaseforourconsideration.
Before this Electoral Tribunal, composed pursuant to the Constitution, by all the fifteen members of the Supreme
Court,isamatteroffirstimpression.Wearetaskednotonlytodetermine,asoriginallyprayedfor,whobetweenthe
ProtestantandtheProtesteewasthetruewinnerintheMay10,2004PresidentialElections,butalsotodecidenow
whethertheProtestantswidow(Mrs.JesusaSonoraPoe,popularlyknownasthecinemastarSusanRoces)could
interveneand/orsubstituteforthedeceasedparty,assumingarguendothattheprotestcouldsurvivehisdeath.
Ifonewereguidedbyfolkwisdomexpressedintheadagethatinademocracy,thevoiceofthepeopleisthevoice
ofGod,thenitwouldappearourtaskhadbeenmadeeasybyfatefulevents.Pastmidnight,intheearlyhoursof
June 24, 2004, the Congress as the representatives of the sovereign people and acting as the National Board of
Canvassers,inanearunanimousrollcallvote,proclaimedMrs.GloriaMacapagalArroyo(GMA)thedulyelected
PresidentofthePhilippines.Sheobtained12,905,808votes,asagainst11,782,232votesforthesecondplacer,the
movieactorFernandoPoe,Jr.(FPJ).1ShetookherOathofOfficebeforetheChiefJusticeoftheSupremeCourton
June30,2004.
Refusingtoconcededefeat,thesecondplacerintheelections,Mr.FPJ,filedseasonablyanelectionprotestbefore
this Electoral Tribunal on July 23, 2004. Mrs. GMA, through counsel, filed her Answer with Counter Protest on
August 5, 2004. As counsels for the parties exchanged lively motions to rush the presentation of their respective
positionsonthecontroversy,anactofGodintervened.OnDecember14,2004,theProtestantdiedinthecourseof
hismedicaltreatmentatSt.LukesHospital.Themedicalcertificate,filedbycounselaspartoftheNoticeofDeath
oftheProtestant,showedthathediedofcardiopulmonaryarrest,secondarytocerebralinfarction.
However, neither the Protestees proclamation by Congress nor the death of her main rival as a fortuitous
intervening event, appears to abate the present controversy in the public arena. Instead, notice may be taken of
periodicmassactions,demonstrations,andralliesraisinganoutcryforthisTribunaltodecidetheelectoralprotestof
Mr.FPJagainstMrs.GMAonceandforall.TheoracularfunctionofthisTribunal,itwouldappear,needstobefully
exercisedtomakemanifesthereandabroadwhoisthedulyelectedleaderoftheFilipinonation.Allthese,despite
thefactthatthesubmissionsbythepartiesontheirrespectivesidesintheprotestandthecounterprotestarethus
far,farfromcompleted.
Needless to stress, this Tribunal cannot shirk its constitutional duty. Yet, neither could it go beyond its mandate
undertheConstitutionandthelaw.Further,thisTribunalisguidedbyitsRules,aswellastheRulesofCourtina
suppletorymanner.ConsideringthetranscendentalimportanceoftheelectoralcontestinvolvingthePresidency,a
rush to judgment is simply out of the question. Yet decide the matter we must, without further delay, to prevent
popularunrestandavoidfurtherdestabilizationofgovernmentatthehighestlevel.
TogetherwiththeformalNoticeoftheDeathofProtestant,hiscounselhassubmittedtotheTribunal,datedJanuary
10, 2005, a "MANIFESTATION with URGENT PETITION/MOTION to INTERVENE AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR

DECEASED PROTESTANT FPJ," by the widow, Mrs. Jesusa Sonora Poe, who signed the verification and
certificationtherein.
Asmovant/intervenor,Mrs.FPJclaimsthatbecauseoftheuntimelydemiseofherhusbandandinrepresentation
notonlyofherdeceasedhusbandbutmoresobecauseoftheparamountinterestoftheFilipinopeople,thereisan
urgent need for her to continue and substitute for her late husband in the election protest initiated by him to
ascertainthetrueandgenuinewilloftheelectorateinthe2004elections.Insupportofherassertion,shecitesDe
Castrov.CommissiononElections,2andLomugdangv.Javier,3totheeffectthatthedeathoftheprotestantdoes
notconstituteagroundforthedismissalofthecontestnoroustthetrialcourtofthejurisdictiontodecidetheelection
contest.Shestressesneverthelessthateveniftheinstantprotestcasesucceeds,sheiscognizantthatasamere
substituteshecannotsucceed,assumeorbeentitledtosaidelectiveoffice,andherutmostconcernisnotpersonal
butonethatinvolvesthepublicsinterest.Sheprays,however,thatifsubsequentlydeterminedthattheprotestee
GloriaMacapagalArroyodidnotgetthehighestnumberofvotesforpresident,forprotesteetobedisallowedfrom
remaining in office, and thus prevented from exercising the powers, duties, responsibilities and prerogatives
reservedonlytothedulyelectedpresidentorherlegitimatesuccessor.
In her Comment, the Protestee, Mrs. GMA, relying on Vda. de De Mesa v. Mencias4 and subsequent cases
including analogous cases decided by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), asserts that the
widowofadeceasedcandidateisnottheproperpartytoreplacethedeceasedprotestantsinceapublicofficeis
personalandnotapropertythatpassesontotheheirs.Shepointsoutthatthewidowhasnolegalrighttosubstitute
forherhusbandinanelectionprotest,sincenosuchrightsurvivesthehusband,consideringthattherighttofilean
electionprotestispersonalandnontransmissible.
Protestee also contends Mrs. FPJ cannot substitute for her deceased husband because under the Rules of the
Presidential Electoral Tribunal, only the registered candidates who obtained the 2nd and 3rd highest votes for the
presidencymaycontesttheelectionofthepresidentandpatently,Mrs.FPJdidnotreceivethe2ndand3rdhighest
votesforshewasnotevenacandidateforthepresidencyintheelectionthatisbeingcontested.
Citing pertinent PET Rules, protestee also stresses that this Tribunal has no jurisdiction over actions of surviving
spousestoascertainthevoteoftheelectorateastheTribunalhasjurisdictiononlyoverelectionprotestsandquo
warrantocases.
According to protestee, movant/intervenor Mrs. FPJ cannot use "the public interest" to justify her request to be
substituted for her husband. "Public interest", i.e. the need to dispel uncertainty over the real choice of the
electorate,isapplicableonlyinelectioncontests,notinanactiontomerely"ascertainthetrueandgenuinewillof
the people." She asserts that the only case herein cognizable by this Tribunal is an election protest involving a
protestantandaprotestee,notbetweentheelectorateandtheprotestee.CitinganalogousHRETcases,protestee
aversthatinacasewheretheprotestant,theprimaryadversaryinanelectionprotestcasedies,thepublicinterest
insaidprotestdieswithhim.
Protestee also contends that in the adversarial nature of a protest case where one of the parties dies, a correct
rulingcannotbehadbecausethedeadprotestantcouldnolongerrefutehisadversarysallegationsbecausedeath
hasrenderedhimhorsdecombat.
Further citing DefensorSantiago v. Ramos,5 protestee points out that this Tribunal, nonetheless, confirmed its
powertodismissanelectoralcaseontechnicalgrounds.SheaddsthatiftheTribunalcandosoonatechnicality,all
themoreitcouldforastrongerreason,thatofprotestantsdeath.
In her Reply, movant/intervenor argues that reference of protestee to the HRET case of Abadilla v. Ablan,6 was
erroneousinasmuchassaidcasewasacongressionalprotestandthecontrollingcaseisDeCastro.Shelikewise
contendsthatprotestantfailedtodistinguishbetweenarighttoanofficewhichprotestantconcedesispersonaland
nontransmissiblevisvistherighttopursuetheprocesswhichisnotpersonalbutimbuedwithpublicinterest.She
likewise stresses that the death of the protestant abolished the personal/private character of the protest, as
protestantsrighttoassumeifheprevails,necessarilydisappears,andthesamecannotbetransferredtoanyone
else,protestantswidowincluded.Sheinsists,however,thatthepublicinterestremains.Further,movant/intervenor
positsthattheprotesthavingbeencommencedcannotbeabatedbythedeathoftheprotestantandtheonlyreal
issueisthedeterminationofthepropersubstitute.SheaversthattheTribunalsruleisclearonwhocancommence
andinitiateaprotestcomparedtothepersonswhocaninitiateaquowarranto.Sheadmitsthatintheformer,only
thesecondandthirdplacersinthepresidentialelectionareauthorizedtocommencethecontest,whileinthelatter,
any voter may initiate the petition. She contends that with no personal interest involved, any registered voter can
continue the dulycommenced protest as the realpartyininterest which is analogous to a quo warranto. She
contradictsprotesteeandinsiststhatallowing"anyvoter"tosubstitutejustlikeinaquowarrantowillnotopenthe
floodgate to whimsical protests, and the imagined political instability feared by protestee will even more be
pronounced if the protest is dismissed. Movant/intervenor reiterates that the issue at hand involves just the
continuationofproceedingsbyallowingsubstitutionandthetakingoverbythesubstituteoftheprosecutionofthe
protestalready"dulycommenced."

Plainly,theissuehereis:Maythewidowsubstitute/intervenefortheprotestantwhodiedduringthependencyofthe
lattersprotestcase?
ThefundamentalruleapplicableinapresidentialelectionprotestisRule14ofthePETRules.Itprovides,
Rule14.ElectionProtest.OnlytheregisteredcandidateforPresidentorforVicePresidentofthePhilippines
who received the second or third highest number of votes may contest the election of the President or the
VicePresident, as the case may be, by filing a verified petition with the Clerk of the Presidential Electoral
Tribunalwithinthirty(30)daysaftertheproclamationofthewinner.
Pursuant to this rule, only two persons, the 2nd and 3rd placers, may contest the election. By this express
enumeration,therulemakershaveineffectdeterminedtherealpartiesininterestconcerninganongoingelection
contest.Itenvisionedascenariowhere,ifthedeclaredwinnerhadnotbeentrulyvoteduponbytheelectorate,the
candidate who received that 2nd or the 3rd highest number of votes would be the legitimate beneficiary in a
successfulelectioncontest.
ThisTribunal,however,doesnothaveanyruleonsubstitutionnorinterventionbutitdoesallowfortheanalogous
andsuppletoryapplicationoftheRulesofCourt,decisionsoftheSupremeCourt,andthedecisionsoftheelectoral
tribunals.7
Rule 3, Section 16 is the rule on substitution in the Rules of Court.8 This rule allows substitution by a legal
representative. It can be gleaned from the citation of this rule that movant/intervenor seeks to appear before this
Tribunalasthelegalrepresentative/substituteofthelateprotestantprescribedbysaidSection16.However,inour
applicationofthisruletoanelectioncontest,wehaveeverytimeruledthatapublicofficeispersonaltothepublic
officerandnotapropertytransmissibletotheheirsupondeath.9Thus,weconsistentlyrejectedsubstitutionbythe
widowortheheirsinelectioncontestswheretheprotestantdiesduringthependencyoftheprotest.InVda.deDe
Mesav.Mencias,10werecognizedsubstitutionuponthedeathoftheprotesteebutdeniedsubstitutionbythewidow
orheirssincetheyarenottherealpartiesininterest.Similarly,inthelatercaseofDelaVictoriav.Commissionon
Elections,11westruckdowntheclaimofthesurvivingspouseandchildrenoftheprotesteetothecontestedoffice
forthesamereason.Eveninanalogouscasesbeforeotherelectoraltribunals,12involvingsubstitutionbythewidow
ofadeceasedprotestant,incaseswherethewidowisnotarealpartyininterest,wedeniedsubstitutionbythewife
orheirs.
Thisisnottosaythatdeathoftheprotestantnecessarilyabatesthependingaction.WehaveheldasearlyasVda.
deDeMesa(1966)thatwhiletherighttoapublicofficeispersonalandexclusivetothepublicofficer,anelection
protestisnotpurelypersonalandexclusivetotheprotestantortotheprotesteesuchthatthedeathofeitherwould
oust the court of all authority to continue the protest proceedings.13 Hence, we have allowed substitution and
interventionbutonlybyarealpartyininterest.Arealpartyininterestisthepartywhowouldbebenefitedorinjured
by the judgment, and the party who is entitled to the avails of the suit.14 In Vda. de De Mesa v. Mencias15 and
Lomugdangv.Javier,16wepermittedsubstitutionbythevicemayorsincethevicemayorisarealpartyininterest
consideringthatiftheprotestsucceedsandtheprotesteeisunseated,thevicemayorsucceedstotheofficeofthe
mayorthatbecomesvacantiftheonedulyelectedcannotassumeoffice.Incontrast,hereinmovant/intervenor,Mrs.
FPJ,herselfdeniesanyclaimtotheaugustofficeofPresident.Thus,giventhecircumstancesofthiscase,wecan
concludethatprotestantswidowisnotarealpartyininteresttothiselectionprotest.
Wearenotunawarethatacontestbeforeelectiontribunalshastwoaspects.First,itisinpursuitofonesrighttoa
publicoffice,andsecond,itisimbuedwithpublicinterest.
Indeedthepersonalaspectofthecaseisinextricablylinkedwiththepublicinterest.Foranelectionprotestinvolves
not merely conflicting private aspirations but is imbued with public interest which raises it into a plane over and
above ordinary civil actions.17 But herein movant/intervenor, Mrs. FPJ, has overly stressed that it is with the
"paramountpublicinterest"inmindthatshedesires"topursuetheprocess"commencedbyherlatehusband.She
aversthatsheis"pursuingtheprocess"todeterminewhotrulywontheelection,asaservicetotheFilipinopeople.
Welaudhernobleintentionandherinteresttofindoutthetruewilloftheelectorate.However,nobilityofintentionis
notthepointofreferenceindeterminingwhetherapersonmayinterveneinanelectionprotest.Rule19,Section1
oftheRulesofCourt18istheapplicableruleoninterventionintheabsenceofsucharuleinthePETRules.Insuch
intervention,theinterestwhichallowsapersontointerveneinasuitmustbeinthematteroflitigationandofsuch
direct and immediate character that the intervenor will either gain or lose by the effect of the judgment. In this
protest, Mrs. FPJ will not immediately and directly benefit from the outcome should it be determined that the
declared president did not truly get the highest number of votes. We fully appreciate counsels manifestation that
movant/intervenor herself claims she has no interest in assuming the position as she is aware that she cannot
succeed to the presidency, having no legal right to it. Yet thus far, in this case, no real parties such as the vice
presidentialaspirantsinthe2004elections,havecomeforwardtointervene,ortobesubstitutedforthedeceased

protestant.Inourview,ifpersonsnotrealpartiesintheactioncouldbeallowedtointervene,proceedingswillbe
unnecessarily complicated, expensive and interminable and this is not the policy of the law.19 It is far more
prudenttoabidebytheexistingstrictlimitationsoninterventionandsubstitutionunderthelawandtherules.
Conformably then with the law, the rules and prevailing jurisprudence, this Tribunal finds no justifiable reason to
grantthepetition/motionforinterventionandsubstitution.
WHEREFORE, the motion of movant/intervenor JESUSA SONORA POE a.k.a. SUSAN ROCES to intervene and
substituteforthedeceasedprotestantisDENIEDforlackofmerit.
ActingontheprotestandconsideringtheNoticeoftheDeath,submittedbycounselofprotestantRONALDALLAN
POE, a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR., we also resolve that Presidential Electoral Tribunal Case No. 002, entitled
RonaldAllanPoea.k.a.FernandoPoe,Jr.v.GloriaMacapagalArroyo,shouldbeasitisherebyDISMISSEDonthe
groundthatnorealpartyininteresthascomeforwardwithintheperiodallowedbylaw,tointerveneinthiscaseor
besubstitutedforthedeceasedprotestant.
Nopronouncementastocosts.
SOORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Panganiban, YnaresSantiago, SandovalGutierrez, Carpio, AustriaMartinez, Corona,
CarpioMorales,Callejo,Sr.,Azcuna,Tinga,ChicoNazario,andGarcia,JJ.,concur.

Footnotes
1ResolutionofBothHousesNo.01,12thCong.,JointPublicSession(2004).
2G.R.No.125249,7February1997,267SCRA806.
3No.L27535,30September1967,21SCRA402.
4No.L24583,29October1966,18SCRA533.
5P.E.T.CaseNo.001,13February1996,253SCRA559.
6HRETCaseNo.95005,11September1996,9HRETReports102.
7Rule69.Applicability.Thefollowingshallbeapplicablebyanalogyorinsuppletorycharacterandeffectin

sofarastheymaybeapplicableandarenotinconsistentwiththeseRulesandwiththeorders,resolutions
anddecisionsoftheTribunal,namely:1)TheRulesofCourt2)DecisionsoftheSupremeCourt3)
DecisionsoftheElectoralTribunals.
8SEC.16.Deathofpartydutyofcounsel.Wheneverapartytoapendingactiondies,andtheclaimisnot

therebyextinguished,itshallbethedutyofhiscounseltoinformthecourtwithinthirty(30)daysaftersuch
deathofthefactthereof,andtogivethenameandaddressofhislegalrepresentativeorrepresentatives.
Failureofcounseltocomplywiththisdutyshallbeagroundfordisciplinaryaction.
Theheirsofthedeceasedmaybeallowedtobesubstitutedforthedeceased,withoutrequiringthe
appointmentofanexecutororadministratorandthecourtmayappointaguardianadlitemfortheminor
heirs.
Thecourtshallforthwithordersaidlegalrepresentativeorrepresentativestoappearandbesubstitutedwithin
aperiodofthirty(30)daysfromnotice.
Ifnolegalrepresentativeisnamedbythecounselforthedeceasedpartyoriftheonesonamedshallfailto
appearwithinthespecifiedperiod,thecourtmayordertheopposingparty,withinaspecifiedtime,toprocure
theappointmentofanexecutororadministratorfortheestateofthedeceasedandthelattershall
immediatelyappearforandonbehalfofthedeceased.Thecourtchargesinprocuringsuchappointment,if
defrayedbytheopposingparty,mayberecoveredascosts.
9DeCastrov.CommissiononElections,G.R.No.125249,7February1997,267SCRA806,809.
10No.L24583,29October1966,18SCRA533,545.

11G.R.Nos.9527576,23July1991,199SCRA561,565566.
12Abadillav.Ablan,HRETCaseNo.95005,11September1996,9HRETReports102Albertov.Tapia,

HRETCaseNo.37,23January1989,1HRETReports52.
13DeCastrov.CommissiononElections,supraat809.
14Francisco,Jr.v.NagmamalasakitnamgaManananggolngMgaManggagawangPilipino,Inc.,G.R.Nos.

16026163&160277,10November2003,415SCRA44,135citingKilosbayanIncorporatedv.Morato,G.R.
No.118910,17July1995,246SCRA540,563.
15No.L24583,29October1966,18SCRA545.
16No.L27535,30September1967,21SCRA402,407.
17Vda.deDeMesav.Mencias,supraat538.
18SECTION1.Whomayintervene.Apersonwhohasalegalinterestinthematterinlitigation,orinthe

successofeitheroftheparties,oraninterestagainstboth,orissosituatedastobeadverselyaffectedbya
distributionorotherdispositionofpropertyinthecustodyofthecourtorofanofficerthereofmay,withleave
ofcourt,beallowedtointerveneintheaction.Thecourtshallconsiderwhetherornottheinterventionwill
undulydelayorprejudicetheadjudicationoftherightsoftheoriginalparties,andwhetherornotthe
intervenorsrightsmaybefullyprotectedinaseparateproceeding.
19MagsaysayLabradorv.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.58168,19December1989,180SCRA266,271.
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