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Reyes v COMELEC Lico v COMELEC

Petitioner, therefore, is in error when she posits that at present it is the HRET which In arriving at its Resolution, the COMELEC En Banc held that it had no jurisdiction to
has exclusive jurisdiction over her qualifications as a Member of the House of expel Congressman Lico from the House of Representatives, considering that his
Representatives. That the HRET is the sole judge of all contests relating to the expulsion from Ating Koop affected his qualifications as member of the House, and
election, returns and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives is therefore it was the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) that had
a written constitutional provision. It is, however unavailable to petitioner because she jurisdiction over the Petition.
is NOT a Member of the House at present. The COMELEC never ordered her At the same time, the COMELEC upheld the validity of petitioner Lico's expulsionfrom
proclamation as the rightful winner in the election for such membership. 5 Indeed, the Ating Koop, explaining that when the Interim Central Committee ousted him from
action for cancellation of petitioner's certificate of candidacy, the decision in which is Ating Koop, the said Committee's members remained in hold-over capacity even after
the indispensable determinant of the right of petitioner to proclamation, was correctly their terms had expired; 29 and that the COMELEC was not in a position to substitute
lodged in the COMELEC, was completely and fully litigated in the COMELEC and its judgment for that of Ating Koop with respect to the cause of the expulsion. 30
was finally decided by the COMELEC. On and after 14 May 2013, there was nothing Finally, the COMELEC En Banc recognized the Rimas Group as the legitimate
left for the COMELEC to do to decide the case. The decision sealed the proceedings representative of Ating Koop considering that: 1) it found nothing in the records to
in the COMELEC regarding petitioner's ineligibility as a candidate for Representative show that the Lico Group made a valid call for the special election of Central
of Marinduque. The decision erected the bar to petitioner's proclamation. The bar Committee members as required under the Amended Constitution and By-Laws; 31
remained when no restraining order was obtained by petitioner from the Supreme 2) there is nothing on record indicating that a minimum of 100 attended the Cebu
Court within five days from 14 May 2013. (Reyes v. Commission on Elections, G.R. meeting; 32 and 3) the Paraaque convention was in accordance with Ating Koop's
No. 207264 (Resolution), [October 22, 2013], 720 PHIL 174-309) Amended Constitution and By-Laws. 33

It may need pointing out that there is no conflict between the COMELEC and the The COMELEC justified its Resolution on the merits of the expulsion, by relying on
HRET insofar as the petitioner's being a Representative of Marinduque is concerned. the rule that it can decide intra-party matters as an incident of its constitutionally
The COMELEC covers the matter of petitioner's certificate of candidacy, and its due granted powers and functions
course or its cancellation, which are the pivotal conclusions that determines who can
be legally proclaimed. The matter can go to the Supreme Court but not as a The rules on intra-party matters and on the jurisdiction of the HRET are not parallel
continuation of the proceedings in the COMELEC, which has in fact ended, but on an concepts that do not intersect. Rather, the operation of the rule on intra-party matters
original action before the Court grounded on more than mere error of judgment but on is circumscribed by Section 17 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and jurisprudence
error of jurisdiction for grave abuse of discretion. At and after the COMELEC En on the jurisdiction of electoral tribunals. The jurisdiction of the HRET is exclusive. It is
Bancdecision, there is no longer any certificate cancellation matter than can go to the given full authority to hear and decide the cases on any matter touching on the
HRET. In that sense, the HRET's constitutional authority opens, over the qualification validity of the title of the proclaimed winner.
of its MEMBER, who becomes so only upon a duly and legally based proclamation,
the first and unavoidable step towards such membership. The HRET jurisdiction over
the qualification of the Member of the House of Representatives is original and REYES RULING v LICO RULING
exclusive, and as such, proceeds de novo unhampered by the proceedings in the
COMELEC which, as just stated has been terminated. The HRET proceedings is a Our ruling here must be distinguished from Regina Ongsiako Reyes v. Commission
regular, not summary, proceeding. It will determine who should be the Member of the on Elections. 43 In that case, We upheld the disqualification by the COMELEC of
House. It must be made clear though, at the risk of repetitiveness, that no hiatus petitioner Reyes, even as she was already proclaimed winner in the elections at the
occurs in the representation of Marinduque in the House because there is such a time she filed her petition with the High Court. In doing so, We rejected the argument
representative who shall sit as the HRET proceedings are had till termination. Such that the case fell w ithin the exclusive jurisdiction of the HRET.
representative is the duly proclaimed winner resulting from the terminated case of
cancellation of certificate of candidacy of petitioner. The petitioner is not, cannot, be In Reyes, the petitioner was proclaimed winner of the 13 May 2013 Elections, and
that representative. And this, all in all, is the crux of the dispute between the parties: took her oath of office before the Speaker of the House of Representatives. However,
who shall sit in the House in representation of Marinduque, while there is yet no the Court ruled on her qualifications since she was not yet a member of the House of
HRET decision on the qualifications of the Member. (Reyes v. Commission on Representatives: petitioner Reyes had yet to assume office, the term of which would
Elections, G.R. No. 207264 (Resolution), [October 22, 2013], 720 PHIL 174-309) officially start at noon of 30 June 2013, when she filed a Petition for Certiorari with
Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction and/or Status
Quo Ante Order dated 7 June 2013 assailing the Resolutions ordering the
cancellation of her Certificate of Candidacy. In the present case, all three
requirements of proclamation, oath of office, and assumption of office were satisfied.
Moreover, in Reyes, the COMELEC En Banc Resolution disqualifying petitioner on
grounds of lack of Filipino citizenship and residency had become final and executory
when petitioner elevated it to this Court. 44 It should be mentioned that when
petitioner Reyes filed her petition with the Court, the COMELEC En Banc had, as
early as 5 June 2013, already issued a Certificate of Finality over its 14 May 2013
Resolution disqualifying her. Therefore, there was no longer any pending case on the
qualifications of petitioner Reyes to speak of. Here, the question of whether petitioner
Lico remains a member of the House of Representatives in view of his expulsion from
Ating Koop is a subsisting issue.

Finally, in Reyes, We found the question of jurisdiction of the HRET to be a non-


issue, since the recourse of the petitioner to the Court appeared to be a mere attempt
to prevent the COMELEC from implementing a final and executory judgment. We said
that the petitioner therein took an inconsistent, if not confusing, stance, considering
that she sought remedy before the Court, and yet asserted that it is the HRET which
had jurisdiction over the case. 45 In this case, the question on the validity of petitioner
Lico's expulsion from Ating Koop is a genuine issue that falls within the jurisdiction of
the HRET, as it unmistakably affects his qualifications as party-list representative.