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Pasandalan vs COMELEC (Abdul Najib Mitmug)

G.R. No. 150312 July 18, 2002


Facts:
Petitioner Pasandalan and respondent Bai Salamona L. Asum were
candidates for mayor in the municipality of Lumbayanague, Lanao del Sur May 14, 2001.
On May 23, Pasandalan filed for nullification of election results in certain
barangays (Deromoyod, Lamin, Bualan, Cabasaran, Meniros, Wago, Pantaon)
on the ground that: (1) while the election was on going, some cafgus
stationed near the schools indiscriminately fired their firearms causing the
voters to panic and leave the voting centers without casting their votes, (2)
failure to sign of BEIs to sign their initials on certain ballots and, (3) taking
advantage of the first fights, the supporters of Asum took the ballots and
filled them up with the name of Asum.
Comelecs ruling: No credence to the allegations of Pasandalan. The 3
instances wherein a failure of election could be declared is not present (1)
the election is not held (election was still held), (2) the election is suspended
(it was not), and (3) the election results in the failure to elect (Asum was
elected through the plurality of votes). The evidence presented by
Pasandalan was only affidavits made by his own poll watchers, thus,
considered as self-serving and insufficient to annul the results. Hence, the
petition in this court.
Issue:
Whether or not the COMELEC commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing
the petition for declaration of failure of election.
Held:
No. The COMELEC correctly dismissed the petition for declaration of failure of
election because the irregularities alleged in the petition should have been
raised in an election protest, not in a petition to declare a failure of election.
Instances to declare a failure of election does not exist (1) the election in a
polling place has not been held on the date fixed on account of force

majeure, terrorism, violence or fraud, (2) the election was suspended on the
same grounds in the 1st and (3) there was failure to elect still on the same
grounds.
The election was held in the precincts protested as scheduled, neither was it
suspended (as proved by the testimony of one of the election officers) nor
was there is failure to elect. The alleged terrorism was not of that scaled to
justify declaration of failure of election.
Credibility of affidavits questioned: (1) it was pre-typed, all that the poll
watchers have to do is to fill up and sign it. (2) Identical statements-human
perception is different for each. Persons when asked about a same incident,
although present in the incident, must have different observations.
Frivaldo vs. COMELEC (Marvin Rasing)
Facts:
Juan G. Frivaldo was proclaimed governor-elect of the province of Sorsogon
on 22 January 1988, and assumed office in due time. On 27 October 1988,
the league of Municipalities, Sorsogon Chapter represented by its President,
Salvador Estuye, who was also suing in his personal capacity, filed with the
Comelec a petition for the annulment of Frivaldos election and proclamation
on the ground that he was not a Filipino citizen, having been naturalized in
the United States on 20 January 1983. Frivaldo admitted that he was
naturalized in the United States as alleged but pleaded the special and
affirmative defenses that he had sought American citizenship only to protect
himself against President Marcos. His naturalization, he said, was merely
forced upon himself as a means of survival against the unrelenting
persecution by the Martial Law Dictators agents abroad. He also argued
that the challenge to his title should be dismissed, being in reality a quo
warranto petition that should have been filed within 10 days from his
proclamation, in accordance with Section 253 of the Omhibus Election Code.
Issue:
Whether Juan G. Frivaldo was a citizen of the Philippines at the time of his
election on 18 January 1988, as provincial governor of Sorsogon.
Held:

The Commission on Elections has the primary jurisdiction over the question
as the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of the members of the Congress and elective provincial and
city officials. However, the decision on Frivaldos citizenship has already been
made by the COMELEC through its counsel, the Solicitor General, who
categorically claims that Frivaldo is a foreigner. The Solicitors stance is
assumed to have bben taken by him after consultation with COMELEC and
with its approval. It therefore represents the decision of the COMELEC itself
that the Supreme Court may review. In the certificate of candidacy filed on
19 November 1987, Frivaldo described himself as a natural-born citizen of
the Philippines, omitting mention of any subsequent loss of such status. The
evidence shows, however, that he was naturalized as a citizen of the United
States in 1983 per the certification from the United States District Court,
Northern District of California, as duly authenticated by Vice Consul Amado P.
Cortez of the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
There were many other Filipinos in the United States similarly situated as
Frivaldo, and some of them subject to greater risk than he, who did not find it
necessary nor do they claim to have been coerced to abandon their
cherished status as Filipinos. Still, if he really wanted to disavow his
American citizenship and reacquire Philippine citizenship, Frivaldo should
have done so in accordance with the laws of our country. Under CA No. 63 as
amended by CA No. 473 and PD No. 725, Philippine citizenship may be
reacquired by direct act of Congress, by naturalization, or by repatriation. He
failed to take such categorical acts. Rhe anomaly of a person sitting as
provincial governor in this country while owing exclusive allegiance to
another country cannot be permitted. The fact that he was elected by the
people of Sorsogon does not excuse this patent violation of the salutary rule
limiting public office and employment only to the citizens of this country. The
will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of
ineligibilityQualifications for public office are continuing requirements and
must be possessed not only at the time of appointment or election or
assumption of office but during the officers entire tenure. Once any of the
required qualifications is lost, his title may be seasonably challenged.
Frivaldo is disqualified from serving as governor of Sorsogon.

PABLO C. VILLABER VS. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (Melody Elaine


Amante)

Facts:
Petitioner Villaber and respondent Douglas R. Cagas were rival candidates for
a congressional seat in the First District of Davao del Sur during the May 14,
2001 elections. Villaber filed his certificate of candidacy for Congressman on
February 19, 2001, while Cagas filed his on February 28, 2001.
On March 4, 2001, Cagas filed with the Office of the Provincial Election
Supervisor of COMELEC Davao del Sur, a consolidated petition to disqualify
Villaber and to cancel the latters certificate of candidacy due to the fact that
Villaber was convicted by the RTC for violation of BP22 and was sentenced to
suffer 1 year imprisonment. The check that bounced was in the sum of
P100,000.00. Cagas further alleged that this crime involves moral turpitude;
hence, under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code, he is disqualified to
run for any public office. On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC Decision.
Undaunted, Villaber filed with this Court a petition for review on certiorari
assailing the CAs Decision. However, in its Resolution of October 26, 1992,
this Court (Third Division) dismissed the petition. On February 2, 1993, our
Resolution became final and executory. Cagas also asserted that Villaber
made a false material representation in his certificate of candidacy that he is
Eligible for the office I seek to be elected which false statement is a
ground to deny due course or cancel the said certificate pursuant to Section
78
of
the
Omnibus
Election
Code.
In his answer to the disqualification suit, Villaber countered mainly that his
conviction has not become final and executory because the affirmed Decision
was not remanded to the trial court for promulgation in his presence.
Furthermore, even if the judgment of conviction was already final and
executory, it cannot be the basis for his disqualification since violation of B.P.
Blg.
22
does
not
involve
moral
turpitude.
After the opposing parties submitted their respective position papers, the
case was forwarded to the COMELEC, Manila, for resolution.
On April 30, 2001, the COMELEC finding merit in Cagas petition, issued the
challenged Resolution declaring Villaber disqualified as a candidate for and
from holding any elective public office and canceling his certificate of
candidacy. The COMELEC ruled that a conviction for violation of B.P Blg. 22
involves moral turpitude following the ruling of this Court en banc in the

administrative case of People vs. Atty. Fe Tuanda. Villaber filed a motion for
reconsideration but was denied by the COMELEC en banc in a Resolution.
Hence, this petition.

Issue:
The sole issue for our Resolution is whether or not violation of B.P. Blg. 22
involves
moral
turpitude.
Held:
The COMELEC believes it is. In disqualifying petitioner Villaber from being a
candidate for Congressman, the COMELEC applied Section 12 of the Omnibus
Election Code which provides:
Sec. 12. Disqualifications. Any person who has been declared by
competent authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final
judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or for any offense for which
he has been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months, or for a
crime involving moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and
to hold any office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted
amnesty.
The disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be deemed
removed upon the declaration by competent authority that said insanity or
incompetence had been removed or after the expiration of a period of five
years from his service of sentence, unless within the same period he again
becomes disqualified.
As to the meaning of moral turpitude, we have consistently adopted the
definition in Blacks Law Dictionary as an act of baseness, vileness, or
depravity in the private duties which a man owes his fellow men, or to
society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and
duty between man and woman, or conduct contrary to justice, honesty,
modesty, or good morals.
In In re Vinzon,the term moral turpitude is considered as encompassing
everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty, or good morals.

We, however, clarified in Dela Torre vs. Commission on Elections that not
every criminal act involves moral turpitude, and that as to what crime
involves moral turpitude is for the Supreme Court to determine.We further
pronounced therein that:
in International Rice Research Institute vs. NLRC, the Court admitted that
it cannot always be ascertained whether moral turpitude does or does not
exist by merely classifying a crime as malum in se or as malum prohibitum.
In the final analysis, whether or not a crime involves moral turpitude is
ultimately a question of fact and frequently depends on the circumstances
surrounding the case.
In the case at bar, petitioner does not assail the facts and circumstances
surrounding the commission of the crime. In effect, he admits all the
elements of the crime for which he was convicted. At any rate, the question
of whether or not the crime involves moral turpitude can be resolved by
analyzing its elements alone, as we did in Dela Torre which involves the
crime of fencing punishable by a special law.
Petitioner was charged for violating B.P. Blg. 22 under the following
Information:
That on or about February 13, 1986, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the
said accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously make or
draw and issue to Efren D. Sawal to apply on account or for value Bank of
Philippine Islands (Plaza Cervantes, Manila) Check No. 958214 dated
February 13, 1986 payable to Efren D. Sawal in the amount of P100,000.00,
said accused well knowing that at the time of issue he did not have sufficient
funds in or credit with the drawee bank for payment of such check in full
upon its presentment, which check, when presented for payment within
ninety (90) days from the date thereof, was subsequently dishonored by the
drawee bank for insufficiency of funds, and despite receipt of notice of such
dishonor, said accused failed to pay said Efren D. Sawal the amount of said
check or to make arrangement for full payment of the same within five (5)
banking days after receiving said notice. (Emphasis ours)
The elements of the offense under the above provision are:
1. The accused makes, draws or issues any check to apply to account or for

value;
2. The accused knows at the time of the issuance that he or she does not
have sufficient funds in, or credit with, the drawee bank for the payment of
the check in full upon its presentment; and
3. The check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency
of funds or credit, or it would have been dishonored for the same reason had
not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment.
[19]
The presence of the second element manifests moral turpitude. We held that
a conviction for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 imports deceit and certainly
relates to and affects the good moral character of a person.Thus,
paraphrasing Blacks definition, a drawer who issues an unfunded check
deliberately reneges on his private duties he owes his fellow men or society
in a manner contrary to accepted and customary rule of right and duty,
justice, honesty or good morals.
In fine, we find no grave abuse of discretion committed by respondent
COMELEC in issuing the assailed Resolutions.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

RODRIGUEZ vs. COMELEC (Oliver Balagasay)


259 SCRA 296, 1996
Facts:
The petitioner Eduardo T. Rodriguez was a candidate for Governor in the
Province of Quezon in the May 8, 1995 elections. His rival candidate for the
said position was Bienvenido O. Marquez, Jr., herein private respondent.
Private respondent filed a petition for disqualification before the COMELEC
based principally on the allegation that Rodriguez is a fugitive from justice.
Private respondent revealed that a charge for fraudulent insurance claims,
grand theft and attempted grand theft of personal property is pending
against the petitioner before the Los Angeles Municipal Court. Rodriguez is
therefore a fugitive from justice which is a ground for his

disqualification/ineligibility under Section 40 (e) of the Local Government


Code according to Marquez.
Rodriguez, however, submitted a certification from the Commission of
Immigration showing that Rodriguez left the US on June 25, 1985 - roughly
five (5) months prior to the institution of the criminal complaint filed against
him before the Los Angeles Court.
Issue:
Whether or not Rodriguez may be considered a fugitive from justice within
the contemplation of Sec. 40(e) of the Local Government Code so as to
disqualify him from his elective position.
Held:
No. The Supreme Court reiterated that a fugitive from justice includes not
only those who flee after conviction to avoid punishment but likewise who,
being charged, flee to avoid prosecution. The definition thus indicates that
the intent to evade is the compelling factor that animates ones flight from a
particular jurisdiction. And obviously, there can only be an intent to evade
prosecution or punishment when there is knowledge by the fleeing subject of
an already instituted indictment or of a promulgated judgement of
conviction.
Intent to evade on the part of a candidate must therefore be established by
proof that there has already been a conviction or at least, a charge has
already been filed, at the time of flight. Not being a fugitive from justice
under this definition, Rodriguez cannot be denied the Quezon Province
gubernatorial post.

CAASI VS. COMELEC (Charina Mae Boaga)


Facts:
Mateo Caasi is seeking the disqualification of Merito Miguel as candidate for
municipal mayor of Bolinao, Pangasinan on the ground that he is a green
card holder, hence, a resident of the United States. Miguel admits possessing
a green card but contends that he only uses it for convenience to freely enter
US for his medical treatment and to visit his children. He also alleges that he
voted in all previous elections, including the plebiscite on February 2, 1987

for the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, and the congressional elections
on May 18, 1987.
Issue:
WON a green card is a proof that the holder is a US resident.
Held:
Miguel is disqualified to run for mayor.
In Miguels Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration which he
filled up in his own handwriting and submitted to the Embassy in Manila
before his departure for the United States in 1948, Miguels answer to
question No. 21 therein regarding his length of intended stay
(if
permanently, so state), Miguels answer was, Permanently. On the green
card itself, it identifies Miguel as a resident Alien. Miguels immigration to the
United States in 1984 constituted an abandonment of his domicile and
residence in the Philippines. To be qualified to run for elective office in the
Philippines, the law requires that the candidate who is a green card holder
must have waived his status as a permanent resident or immigrant of a
foreign country. Also, Miguel only resided in Bolinao for 8 months after
returning to the country which is in violation of the 1 year residency
requirement.