You are on page 1of 106

ROMULO B. MACALINTAL, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, HON.

ALBERTO
ROMULO, in his official capacity as Executive Secretary, and HON. EMILIA T. BONCODIN,
Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management, respondents.

DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Before the Court is a petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by Romulo B. Macalintal, a member of
the Philippine Bar, seeking a declaration that certain provisions of Republic Act No. 9189 (The Overseas
Absentee Voting Act of 2003)[1] suffer from constitutional infirmity. 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, petitioner filed the instant petition as a taxpayer and as a lawyer.
The Court upholds the right of petitioner to file the present petition.
R.A. No. 9189, entitled, An Act Providing for A System of Overseas Absentee Voting by Qualified
Citizens of the Philippines Abroad, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes, 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.Taxpayers, such as herein petitioner, have the right to restrain officials from wasting public
funds through the enforcement of an unconstitutional statute. [2] The Court has held that they may assail
the validity of a law appropriating public funds [3] 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. [4]
The challenged provision of law involves a public right that affects a great number of citizens. 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. This has been
explicitly pronounced in Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, Inc. vs. Tan, [5] where
the Court held:

Objections to taxpayers suit for lack of sufficient personality standing, or interest are, however, in the main
procedural matters. Considering the importance to the public of the cases at bar, and in keeping with the Courts duty,
under the 1987 Constitution, 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
Court has brushed aside technicalities of procedure and has taken cognizance of these petitions. [6]

Indeed, in this case, the Court may set aside procedural rules as the constitutional right of suffrage of
a considerable number of Filipinos is involved.
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, board or before a government official
exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions as required by Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court, dims in light of the importance of the constitutional issues raised by the petitioner. In Taada vs.
Angara,[7] the Court held:

In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the Constitution, the petition
no doubt raises a justiciable controversy. Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have
infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. The
question thus posed is judicial rather than political. The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of
the Constitution is upheld. Once a controversy as to the application or interpretation of constitutional provision is
raised before this Court (as in the instant case), it becomes a legal issue which the Court is bound by constitutional
mandate to decide.

In another case of paramount impact to the Filipino people, 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.[8] In yet another case, the Court said that:

. . . despite the inhibitions pressing upon the Court when confronted with constitutional issues, it will not hesitate to
declare a law or act invalid when it is convinced that this must be done. In arriving at this conclusion, 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. Personal motives and political considerations are irrelevancies that cannot influence its decisions.
Blandishment is as ineffectual as intimidation, for all the awesome power of the Congress and Executive, the Court
will not hesitate to make the hammer fall heavily, where the acts of these departments, or of any official, betray the
peoples will as expressed in the Constitution . . .[9]

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. Thus, strong reasons of public
policy demand that the Court resolves the instant petition [10] and determine whether Congress has acted
within the limits of the Constitution or if it had gravely abused the discretion entrusted to it. [11]
The petitioner raises three principal questions:

A. Does Section 5(d) of Rep. Act No. 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, violate the residency requirement in Section 1 of Article V of the
Constitution?

B. Does Section 18.5 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, Article VII of the Constitution that the winning candidates
for President and the Vice-President shall be proclaimed as winners by Congress?

C. May Congress, through the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created in Section 25 of Rep.
Act No. 9189, exercise the power to review, revise, amend, and approve the Implementing Rules and
Regulations that the Commission on Elections shall promulgate without violating the independence of
the COMELEC under Section 1, Article IX-A of the Constitution?

The Court will resolve the questions in seriatim.
A. Does Section 5(d) of Rep. Act No. 9189 violate Section 1, Article V of the 1987 Constitution of
the Republic of the Philippines?
Section 5(d) provides:

Sec. 5. Disqualifications. The following shall be disqualified from voting under this Act:

.........

d) An immigrant or a permanent resident who is recognized as such in the host country, unless he/she executes, upon
registration, 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. Such affidavit shall also state that he/she has not applied for citizenship in another country. 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.

Petitioner posits that Section 5(d) is unconstitutional because it violates Section 1, 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. Petitioner
cites the ruling of the Court in Caasi vs. Court of Appeals[12] to support his claim. In that case, 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.
Petitioner further argues that Section 1, 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;
[13]
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. [14] He claims that the right of suffrage should not be
granted to anyone who, on the date of the election, does not possess the qualifications provided for by
Section 1, Article V of the Constitution.
Respondent COMELEC refrained from commenting on this issue. [15]

In compliance with the Resolution of the Court, the Solicitor General filed his comment for all public
respondents. 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. He
stresses: All laws are presumed to be constitutional; by the doctrine of separation of powers, a
department of government owes a becoming respect for the acts of the other two departments; all laws
are presumed to have adhered to constitutional limitations; the legislature intended to enact a valid,
sensible, and just law.
In addition, the Solicitor General points out that Section 1, Article V of the Constitution is
a verbatimreproduction of those provided for in the 1935 and the 1973 Constitutions. Thus, he cites Co
vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives [16] wherein the Court held that the term residence
has been understood to be synonymous with domicile under both Constitutions. He further argues that a
person can have only one domicile but he can have two residences, one permanent (the domicile) and
the other temporary;[17] and that the definition and meaning given to the term residence likewise applies to
absentee voters. Invoking Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC[18] which reiterates the Courts ruling
in Faypon vs. Quirino,[19] the Solicitor General maintains that Filipinos who are immigrants or permanent
residents abroad may have in fact never abandoned their Philippine domicile. [20]
Taking issue with the petitioners contention that green card holders are considered to have
abandoned their Philippine domicile, the Solicitor General suggests that the Court may have to discard its
ruling in Caasi vs. Court of Appeals[21] 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.A.
No. 9189. He maintains that through the execution of the requisite affidavits, 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, pursuant to Section 2, Article V of the Constitution, to manifest that
they had in fact never abandoned their Philippine domicile; that indubitably, they would have formally and
categorically expressed the requisite intentions, i.e., animus manendi and animus revertendi; that Filipino
immigrants and permanent residents abroad possess the unquestionable right to exercise the right of
suffrage under Section 1, Article V of the Constitution upon approval of their registration, conformably with
R.A. No. 9189.[22]
The seed of the present controversy is the interpretation that is given to the phrase, qualified citizens
of the Philippines abroad as it appears in R.A. No. 9189, to wit:

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. 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. Towards this end, the State ensures equal
opportunity to all qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad in the exercise of this fundamental right.

SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. For purposes of this Act:

He focuses solely on Section 1. (2) not otherwise disqualified by law. . However. however. Generally. not otherwise disqualified by law. may vote for president. Coverage. who are at least eighteen years of age. the Court said: . 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. . No. (Emphasis supplied) f) Overseas Absentee Voter refers to a citizen of the Philippines who is qualified to register and vote under this Act. No. 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. risks a declaration of unconstitutionality. . .A. who is abroad on the day of elections. . cursory reading of Section 5(d) of R. 2. who are not otherwise disqualified by law. senators and party-list representatives. Article V of the Constitution in ascribing constitutional infirmity to Section 5(d) of R. 4. Under Section 5(d) of R. 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. Filipino immigrants and permanent residents overseas are perceived as having left and abandoned the Philippines to live permanently in their host countries and therefore. 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. Article V of the Constitution. (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. (Emphasis supplied) SEC. or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage. A simple. Article V of the Constitution specifically provides that suffrage may be exercised by (1) all citizens of the Philippines.A. 1. . Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law. . In Peralta vs. SEC. . . . Petitioner questions the rightness of the mere act of execution of an affidavit to qualify the Filipinos abroad who are immigrants or permanent residents. (Emphasis supplied) Section 1. No literacy. 9189 may indeed give the impression that it contravenes Section 1. COMELEC. vice-president. (Emphasis supplied) in relation to Sections 1 and 2. at least eighteen (18) years of age on the day of elections. property.a) Absentee Voting refers to the process by which qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad. 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. (3) at least eighteen years of age. No. all laws are presumed to be constitutional. 9189. the risk is more apparent than real.A. All citizens of the Philippines abroad. exercise their right to vote.[23] Laws that do not conform to the Constitution shall be stricken down for being unconstitutional. . Article V of the Constitution which read: SEC. to vote. totally ignoring the provisions of Section 2 empowering Congress to provide a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad.

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. No.[30] However. To put matters in their right perspective. it is necessary to dwell first on the significance of absentee voting.A. . 9189 is to enfranchise overseas qualified Filipinos. It must be stressed that Section 2 does not provide for the parameters of the exercise of legislative authority in enacting said law. . under our election laws and the countless pronouncements of the . an absentee is not a resident and vice versa. Article V of the Constitution that Congress shall provide a system for voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. the intent of the entire plan. Congress is presumed to have duly exercised its function as defined in Article VI (The Legislative Department) of the Constitution. but in conjunction with all other provisions of that great document. Further. It is viewed thus: The method of absentee voting has been said to be completely separable and distinct from the regular system of voting. [27] The intent of the Constitution may be drawn primarily from the language of the document itself. An act of the legislature. they should also be construed in the light of the circumstances under which they were enacted. approved by the executive. It is a basic rule in constitutional construction that the Constitution should be construed as a whole. it behooves the Court to take a holistic view of the pertinent provisions of both the Constitution and R. In Chiongbian vs. To declare a law unconstitutional. is presumed to be within constitutional limitations. The right of absentee and disabled voters to cast their ballots at an election is purely statutory. it must operate with equality among all the class to which it is granted. or an absolute right. The question of the validity of every statute is first determined by the legislative department of the government itself. [28] R. the repugnancy of that law to the Constitution must be clear and unequivocal..[26] the Court held that a constitutional provision should function to the full extent of its substance and its terms.Constitutional provisions are mandatory in character unless. in the absence of restrictions. in passing on statutes regulating absentee voting. The concept of absentee voting is relatively new. and so as to carry out the objects thereof. No. . the common law. but statutes of this nature may be limited in their application to particular types of elections. 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. [29] (Emphasis supplied) Ordinarily. 9189. Should it be ambiguous. and not recognized at. No. the court should look to the whole and every part of the election laws. To strike down a law there must be a clear showing that what the fundamental law condemns or prohibits. The responsibility of upholding the Constitution rests not on the courts alone but on the legislature as well. the statute allows it to be done. and the privilege of absentee voting may flow from constitutional provisions or be conferred by statutes. both a resident and an absentee. 9189 was enacted in obeisance to the mandate of the first paragraph of Section 2.A. . presumption of constitutionality of a law must be overcome convincingly: . no infringement of constitutional rights is allowed. The statutes should be construed in the light of any constitutional provisions affecting registration and elections. and try to give effect to every portion thereof. When the legislature chooses to grant the right by statute. and reasons and spirit of their adoption. and to be a new and different manner of voting from that previously known. a different intention is manifest.A. absentee voting was unknown to. not by itself alone. for even if a law is aimed at the attainment of some public good. the Court may consider the intent of its framers through their debates in the constitutional convention. De Leon. Such statutes are regarded as conferring a privilege and not a right. and an exception to the customary and usual manner of voting. and with due regard to their texts prior to amendment and to predecessor statutes and the decisions thereunder. [24] Thus. existing in some jurisdictions. if this can be done without doing violence to their provisions and mandates. a person cannot be at the same time.[25] As the essence of R. Hence. either by express statement or by necessary implication.

there are now about 600. Residence. unless. One may seek a place for purposes such as pleasure. community or country. Those who have adhered to their Filipino citizenship notwithstanding strong temptations are exposed to embrace a more convenient foreign citizenship. and although the major portions of these expatriate communities of workers are to be found in the Middle East. A man can have but one domicile for the same purpose at any time. Ramon Felipe. However. we laid this distinction quite clearly: There is a difference between domicile and residence. 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. Republic. It is thus. the framers of the Constitution considered the circumstances that impelled them to require Congress to establish a system for overseas absentee voting. they are scattered in 177 countries in the world. or the intention of returning there permanently. With respect to Section 1. If a persons intent be to remain. for various reasons. the domicile of natural persons is their place of habitual residence. As these concepts have evolved in our election law. is not denied to citizens temporarily residing or working abroad. whenever absent for business or for pleasure. an absentee remains attached to his residence in the Philippines as residence is considered synonymous with domicile. with the exception of the last paragraph. A man may have a residence in one place and a domicile in another. if his intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is established it is residence. it is not clear whether the right of suffrage. quite perfectly normal for an individual to have different residences in various places. In Uytengsu vs. but domicile is residence coupled with the intention to remain for an unlimited time. They could not therefore have foreseen at that time the phenomenon now described as the Filipino labor force explosion overseas. domicile includes the twin elements of the fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place and animus manendi. find that they have to detach themselves from their families to work in other countries with definite tenures of employment. or three . OPLE. this court took the concept of domicile to mean an individuals permanent home. one intends to return. domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence to which.000 contract workers and employees. a person can only have a single domicile. the Chairman of the Commission on Elections. thus: MR. It is the physical presence of a person in a given area. Residence is not domicile. one has the intention of returning. Based on the statistics of several government agencies. In Ong vs. a place to which. Republic. For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are dictated by the peculiar criteria of political laws. or health. what has clearly and unequivocally emerged is the fact that residence for election purposes is used synonymously with domicile. but he may have numerous places of residence. it becomes his domicile. implies the factual relationship of an individual to a certain place. Many of them are on contract employment for one. Residence is used to indicate a place of abode. whether permanent or temporary. when absent.Court pertaining to elections. In a previous hearing of the Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Agencies. In Romualdez-Marcos. in its ordinary conception. Commissioner Bernas had earlier pointed out that these provisions are really lifted from the two previous Constitutions of 1935 and 1973. Based on the foregoing.[32] (Emphasis supplied) Aware of the domiciliary legal tie that links an overseas Filipino to his residence in this country. which here has a residential restriction.[31] the Court enunciated: Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that [f]or the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations. he successfully abandons his domicile in favor of another domicile of choice. According to government data. business. said that there was no insuperable obstacle to making effective the right of suffrage for Filipinos overseas. there ought to be about two million such Filipinos at this time. but it is not by any means necessarily so since no length of residence without intention of remaining will constitute domicile. two. And those who on their own or under pressure of economic necessity here. and depends on facts and circumstances in the sense that they disclose intent. His place of residence is generally his place of domicile.

BERNAS. to improve his lot and that. a more extensive elaboration of this mechanism that will be put in place to make effective the right to vote. unless the vote of the person who is absent is a vote which will be considered as cast in the place of his domicile. . a 1954 case which dealt precisely with the meaning of residence in the Election Law. to his domicile or residence of origin has not forsaken him. . . mainly through the COMELEC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. of course. the meaning seems to be different. the Committee will consider that. But more than just saying that. reengaging in business. The Committee. the citizen who left his birthplace to improve his lot may decide to return to his native town. I. but for professional or business reasons. therefore. they are here registered as voters as he has the qualifications to be one. of course. It gives me scant comfort thinking of about two million Filipinos who should enjoy the right of suffrage. Therefore. residence in this provision refers to two residence qualifications: residence in the Philippines and residence in the place where he will vote. he may not absent himself from the place of his professional or business activities. 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. When an election is to be held. at least a substantial segment of these overseas Filipino communities. As far as residence in the Philippines is concerned. [33] (Emphasis supplied) Thus. OPLE. rather than merely a nominal right under this proposed Constitution. In other words. Despite such registration. FR.years. the animus revertendi to his home. is aware that when this Article of the Constitution explicitly and unequivocally extends the right of effective suffrage to Filipinos abroad. 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. 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. . 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. this will require budgetary and administrative commitments on the part of the Philippine government. . Thank you for citing the jurisprudence. . but as far as residence in the place where he will actually cast his ballot is concerned. to cast his ballot. this will call for a logistical exercise of global proportions. So that there may be serious constitutional obstacles to absentee voting. Allow me to quote: A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for greener pastures. 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. and perhaps. 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. or for any other reason. 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. their voices are marginal insofar as the choice of this countrys leaders is concerned. who are eighteen years of age or over. 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. 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. Quirino. Certainly. They have no intention of changing their residence on a permanent basis. the word residence means domicile. practice of his avocation. MR. . But I want to thank the Committee for saying that an amendment to this effect may be entertained at the proper time. . . So. In effect. . particularly in the case of Faypon vs. as the saying goes. includes study in other places.

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. MONSOD. the understanding is that it is flexible. Before I act on that. meaning. let us say. Section 2. there are provisions for allowing students and military people who are temporarily in another place to register and vote. May I just be recognized for a clarification. I believe the answer was already given by Commissioner Bernas. BERNAS. studying in Manila need not go back to their places of registration. 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. MR. but he satisfies the requirement of residence in Manila. Article V of the Constitution on the proposed system of absentee voting for qualified Filipinos abroad is enlightening: MR. Under the present Election Code. then legislation can take care of the rest. that the domicile requirements as well as the qualifications and disqualifications would be the same. MONSOD. For instance. BENGZON. But I think it should be further clarified with regard to the residence requirement or the place where they vote in practice. MONSOD. The discussion of the Constitutional Commission on the effect of the residency requirement prescribed by Section 1. 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. [34] (Emphasis supplied) Thus. BERNAS. I think there is a very legitimate problem raised there. for instance. to cast their votes. REGALADO. I believe that those situations can be covered by the Omnibus Election Code. FR. MR. those who are. Article V of the Constitution came into being to remove any doubt as to the inapplicability of the residency requirement in Section 1. 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. may I inquire from Commissioner Monsod if the term absentee voting also includes transient voting. Are we leaving it to the legislature to devise the system? FR. So. REGALADO. Would Commissioner Monsod care to answer? MR. . 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. How about those people who cannot go back to the places where they are registered? MR. SUAREZ. Yes. by allowing it and saying that this is possible. THE PRESIDENT. I believe Commissioner Suarez is clarified. one might be a resident of Naga or domiciled therein. THE PRESIDENT. in Mindanao. so he is able to vote in Manila. MR. I think our provision is for absentee voting by Filipinos abroad. The Constitutional Commission realized that under the laws then existing and considering the novelty of the system of absentee voting in this jurisdiction.

If it is. Commissioner Monsods amendment is only to provide a system. say. for example. MR. to require where the registration is. Just to clarify. Yes.However. THE PRESIDENT. In fine-tuning the provision on absentee voting. As stressed by Commissioner Monsod. So does the Committee accept? FR. They must have the qualifications and none of the disqualifications. it should be QUALIFIED FILIPINO VOTERS. MONSOD. the use of the phrase absentee voting already took that into account as its meaning. TINGSON. The Commissioner is not stating here that he wants new qualifications for these absentee voters. members of the diplomatic corps who may be continuously abroad for a long time. MR. by the use of the adjective qualifiedwith respect to Filipinos abroad. perhaps. Madam President. According to Commissioner Monsod. we accepted that. It is just to devise a system by which they can vote. That is referring to qualified Filipino citizens temporarily abroad. the Constitutional Commission discussed how the system should work: . I would like to say that with respect to registration we will leave it up to the legislative assembly. Yes. BERNAS. to vote. That is right.[35] (Emphasis supplied) Clearly therefrom. 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. would that not satisfy the requirement? THE PRESIDENT. the intent of the Constitutional Commission is to entrust to Congress the responsibility of devising a system of absentee voting.MR. Instead of VOTING BY FILIPINOS ABROAD. If the Committee wants QUALIFIED VOTERS LIVING ABROAD. we do not like to preempt the legislative assembly. MONSOD. REGALADO. I specifically stated that the National Assembly shall prescribe a system which will enable qualified citizens. MONSOD. REGALADO. That is right. Madam President. QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD? THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Regalado is recognized. may I then suggest to the Committee to change the word Filipinos to QUALIFIED FILIPINO VOTERS. THE PRESIDENT. THE PRESIDENT. MONSOD. That is right. TINGSON. What does Commissioner Monsod say? MR. The qualifications of voters as stated in Section 1 shall remain except for the residency requirement. MR. Madam President. When Commissioner Bengzon asked me to read my proposed amendment. THE PRESIDENT. MONSOD. MR. there can be a system of registration in the embassies. Madam President. the assumption is that they have the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to vote. temporarily absent from the Philippines. MR. Does the Committee accept the amendment? MR. 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. MR.

BERNAS. FR. MR. Therefore. That is right. but a registered voter of a locality here. MR. One can be abroad on a treaty traders visa. for example. What does Commissioner Regalado say? MR. BENGZON. we need this clarification on record. Madam President. BERNAS. they could not vote for a mayor in Naga City. So I move that we close the period of amendments. MR. the Floor Leader is happy to announce that there are no more registered Commissioners to propose amendments. In other words. Madam President. MONSOD. It just so happens that the day before the elections he has to fly to the United States. when we talk about registration. I just want to make a note on the statement of Commissioner Suarez that this envisions Filipinos residing abroad. The understanding in the amendment is that the Filipino is temporarily abroad. Madam President.This is not limited only to Filipinos temporarily residing abroad. we just want to state for the record that in the case of qualified Filipino citizens residing abroad and exercising their right of suffrage. Yes. 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. He does not have to come home to the Philippines to comply with the registration procedure here. to clarify what we mean by temporarily abroad. He may not be actually residing abroad. BERNAS. but Congress or the Assembly may provide the procedure for registration. Precisely. REGALADO. in a registry list in the embassy abroad. In other words. But as long as he is temporarily abroad on the date of the elections. so he could not cast his vote. For clarification purposes. So as to avoid any complications. 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. MONSOD. MONSOD. He is temporarily abroad. I just want to make that clear for the record. then he can vote only for the local and national candidates in Angeles City. but not residing there. SUAREZ. SUAREZ. MR. REGALADO. MR. he does not have to come home. That is still possible under the system. like listing ones name. just one clarification if Commissioner Monsod agrees with this. So. then he can fall within the prescription of Congress in that situation. Also. He stays in a hotel for two days and comes back.MR. Where will he register? Will he be a registered voter of a certain locality in the Philippines? MR. for instance. the Floor Leader wishes to inquire if there are more clarifications needed from the body. if that qualified voter is registered in Angeles City. it need not be on very short trips. it is possible that his residence is in Angeles and he would be able to vote for the candidates in Angeles. I thank the Commissioner for his further clarification. FR. if they are registered in Angeles City. Madam President. FR. he may just be there on a business trip. he is not a registered voter of Los Angeles. THE PRESIDENT. they can cast their votes for the candidates in the place where they were registered to vote in the Philippines. [36] (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 .

but has a clear intent to return to the Philippines.domicile of origin. And the fact that a Filipino may have been physically absent from the Philippines and may be physically a resident of the United States. President. Mr. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law. No. domicile is the intent to return to ones home. 2104. [37] 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. this bill should be looked into in relation to the constitutional provisions. President. Good question. One. the interpretation here of residence is synonymous with domicile. Article V of the Constitution. This is in compliance with the Constitution. And residents (sic) is a qualification. Mr. when the Constitution says.A. It says: Section 1. They are permanent immigrants. In other words. Suffrage. with the constitutional mandate that we that Congress must provide a franchise to overseas Filipinos. which may be applied in construing constitutional provisions. It is in pursuance of that intention that the Commission provided for Section 2 immediately after the residency requirement of Section 1. Senator Arroyo. thus: Senator Arroyo. and consider them qualified as voters for the first time. Mr. who are at least eighteen years of age. President. then there is no way we can provide for offshore voting to our offshore kababayan. anything that we may do or say in granting our compatriots abroad must be anchored on the proposition that they are qualified. is qualified. 9189. President. Mr. President. was deliberated upon on the Senate floor. The Commission even intended to extend to young Filipinos who reach voting age abroad whose parents domicile of origin is in the Philippines. That Section 2 of Article V of the Constitution is an exception to the residency requirement found in Section 1 of the same Article was in fact the subject of debate when Senate Bill No. Absent the qualification. Mr. Mr. If we read the Constitution and the suffrage principle literally as demanding physical presence. Let me read Section 1. Mr. of the Constitution entitled. This is consistent. I think the sponsor and I would agree that the Constitution is supreme in any statute that we may enact. The key to this whole exercise. President. President. They have changed residence so they are barred under the Constitution. As the gentleman and I know. they cannot vote. for example. Now. which became R. Mr. And this has been asked in various fora. Article V. in Section 2 of Article V. will make him qualified as a resident of the Philippines under this law. 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. the Constitution says. By the doctrine of necessary implication in statutory construction. 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. who shall have resided in the Philippines. 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. President. . 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.

The following shall be disqualified from voting under this Act: a) Those who have lost their Filipino citizenship in accordance with Philippine laws. But he must do so. 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. It is a good point to raise. But it is a point already well-debated even in the constitutional commission of 1986. The second reason. including those who have committed and been found guilty of . if we follow the interpretation of the gentleman. That is why I am raising this point because I think we have a fundamental difference here. We cannot compromise on this. Senator Angara. otherwise. and Section 5 of the assailed law which enumerates those who are disqualified. may vote for president. senators and party-list representatives. to wit: SEC. yes. President. I will lose votes here from permanent residents so-called green-card holders. vice-president. Mr. all of us here have run (sic) for office. We are separated only by a creek. 9189 provides for the coverage of the absentee voting process. Mr. President. he is not qualified to vote. which is quite ridiculous because that is exactly the whole point of this exercise to enfranchise them and empower them to vote. who are not otherwise disqualified by law. And the reason Section 2 of Article V was placed immediately after the six-month/one-year residency requirement is to demonstrate unmistakably that Section 2 which authorizes absentee voting is an exception to the six-month/one-year residency requirement. The Senate cannot be a party to something that would affect or impair the Constitution. Mr. President. that one must remember. But the third more practical reason. That is the first principle. My neighbor is Pateros where Senator Cayetano lives. 5. make the transfer six months before the election. is.But one who votes in Makati cannot vote in Pateros unless he resides in Pateros for six months. Mr. but the Constitution is the Constitution. b) Those who have expressly renounced their Philippine citizenship and who have pledged allegiance to a foreign country. That is how restrictive our Constitution is. which does not require physical residency in the Philippines. if a voter in Makati would want to vote in Pateros. I am talking about the Constitution. President. 4. President. All citizens of the Philippines abroad. Coverage. No. Disqualifications. at least eighteen (18) years of age on the day of elections. is that under our jurisprudence and I think this is so well- entrenched that one need not argue about it residency has been interpreted as synonymous with domicile. [38] (Emphasis supplied) Accordingly. I live in Makati. then it is legally and constitutionally impossible to give a franchise to vote to overseas Filipinos who do not physically live in the country. to wit: SEC. he may do so. As I have said. Section 4 of R. Mr.A. Look at what the Constitution says In the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. I am not talking even about the Election Code.

that Congress must establish a system for absentee voting. a requirement for the registration is the submission of a Sworn Declaration of Intent to Return duly sworn before any Philippine embassy or consulate official authorized to administer oath Mr. such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon or amnesty: Provided. consulates or foreign service establishments concerned. Further perusal of the transcripts of the Senate proceedings discloses another reason why the Senate required the execution of said affidavit. if actual. the execution of the affidavit itself is not the enabling or enfranchising act. d) An immigrant or a permanent resident who is recognized as such in the host country. Thus. No. further. 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. President. however. they are presumed to have relinquished their intent to return to this country. unless he/she executes. physical residence in the Philippines is required. 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. It states that: For Filipino immigrants and those who have acquired permanent resident status abroad.A. there is no sense for the framers of the Constitution to mandate Congress to establish a system for absentee voting. Provided. 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. e) Any citizen of the Philippines abroad previously declared insane or incompetent by competent authority in the Philippines or abroad. but more significantly. Yes. the affidavit is required of immigrants and permanent residents abroad because by their status in their host countries. Such affidavit shall also state that he/she has not applied for citizenship in another country. Section 5(d) of R. as verified by the Philippine embassies. 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. 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. However. As finally approved into law. the presumption of abandonment of Philippine domicile shall remain. 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. upon registration. without the affidavit. for otherwise. Thus: Senator Villar. To repeat. 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. 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.Disloyalty as defined under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code. we are going back. 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? . unless such competent authority subsequently certifies that such person is no longer insane or incompetent. 9189 specifically disqualifies an immigrant orpermanent 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. it serves as an explicit expression that he had not in fact abandoned his domicile of origin. Contrary to the claim of petitioner. thus.

But what we are trying to do here. 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. shall. not otherwise disqualified by law. 8189. after consulting his lawyer or after deliberation within the family. Senator Angara. the Filipinos abroad must also declare that they have not applied for citizenship in another country.1. if he is already an immigrant or a green-card holder. may decide No. Thus. . Mr. In the advent of The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 or R. 11.A. President. Senator Villar. Procedure for Application to Vote in Absentia. 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. 11. 9189 provides: SEC. President. then he must indicate an intention to return. Mr. 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. we thought that we would require the immigrants and the green-card holders . The authorized officer of such embassy. no matter whether he is a green-card holder in the U. This is what makes for the definition of domicile. who has not relinquished Philippine citizenship and who has not actually abandoned his/her intentions to return to his/her domicile of origin. a sworn written application to vote in a form prescribed by the Commission. [39] (Emphasis supplied) The jurisprudential declaration in Caasi vs. Every qualified citizen of the Philippines abroad whose application for registration has been approved. President. is really provide the choice to the voter. . The application form shall be accomplished in triplicate and submitted together with the photocopy of his/her overseas absentee voter certificate of registration. But we want to give him the opportunity to make that decision. while providing for safeguards to a clean election. file with the officer of the embassy. For a merienda. President. The rationale for this. that means he has acquired permanent residency in the United States. consulate or other foreign service establishment authorized by the Commission. Thus.A. Mr. is that we want to be expansive and all-inclusive in this law. going back to the business at hand. the three administration senators are leaving. 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. the Philippines. that means he may not return to the country any more and that contradicts the definition of domicile under the law. 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. . I think we are risking our permanent status in the United States if we file an affidavit that we want to go back. President. including those previously registered under Republic Act No. in every national election. Mr. consulate or other foreign service establishment shall transmit to the Commission the said application to vote within five (5) days from receipt thereof. he will be authorized to vote. otherwise. 9189. Mr. Senator Angara. No. is allowed to register and vote in the Philippine embassy. consider the absentee voting rights of Filipinos who are immigrants and permanent residents in their host countries. We do not want to make that decision for him. And to acquire the vote. or not. Thus. That as long as he is a Filipino. 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.S. Congress crafted a process of registration by which a Filipino voter permanently residing abroad who is at least eighteen years old. The voter. maybe we may ask for a vote [Laughter]. for obvious reasons. they must return to the Philippines. Section 11 of R.

or by mail to.A. Every application to vote in absentia may be done personally at. Therefore. Congress itself was conscious of said probability and in fact. Petitioner argues that should a sizable number of immigrants renege on their promise to return. under the law. 9189 as constitutionally defective. As expressed in Taada vs. Article VII of the Constitution? . He is presumed not to have lost his domicile by his physical absence from this country. No. Under Section 9. Congress enacted the law prescribing a system of overseas absentee voting in compliance with the constitutional mandate. is not farfetched.[40] 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. should a registered overseas absentee voter fail to vote for two consecutive national elections. However. 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.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. it has addressed the expected problem. the Philippines.2. Consular and diplomatic services rendered in connection with the overseas absentee voting processes shall be made available at no cost to the overseas absentee voter. it is not for this Court to determine the wisdom of a legislative exercise. No. the Court does not find Section 5(d) of R.A. Tuvera. 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. The qualified Filipino abroad who executed the affidavit is deemed to have retained his domicile in the Philippines. considering the underlying intent of the Constitution. B. 9189 in relation to Section 4 of the same Act in contravention of Section 4. As to the eventuality that the Filipino abroad would renege on his undertaking to return to the Philippines. No. 11.Indeed. which has jurisdiction over the country where he/she has indicated his/her address for purposes of the elections. 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. he shall opt to remain in his host country beyond the third year from the execution of the affidavit. 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.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. 9189. Contrary to petitioners claim that Section 5(d) circumvents the Constitution. 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. consulate or foreign service establishment.A.5 of R. his name may be ordered removed from the National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters. the embassy. The provisions of Sections 5(d) and 11 are components of the system of overseas absentee voting established by R. 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.3.A. Is Section 18. 9189. 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. 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. the probability that after an immigrant has exercised the right to vote.11. No. In fine.

4 . .4 of the law. factors and circumstances peculiar to such country or countries. . which gives to Congress the duty to canvass the votes and proclaim the winning candidates for president and vice-president. 9189 appears to be repugnant to Section 4.. directed to the President of the Senate.5 of the same Act provides: SEC. No.A. Section 4 of Article VII of the Constitution: SEC. one of them shall forthwith be chosen by the vote of a majority of all the Members of both Houses of the Congress. 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. vice- president. Indeed. Section 18. proclamation of winning candidates. 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.. . 18. in which events. the President of the Senate shall... to wit: .. shall be transmitted to the Congress. senators and party-list representatives.5 of R. factors and circumstances are beyond the control or influence of the Commission. 9189 is far too sweeping that it necessarily includes the proclamation of the winning candidates for the presidency and the vice-presidency. in Section 18. Section 4. Section 18... [41] Respondent COMELEC has no comment on the matter. 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 Congress shall promulgate its rules for the canvassing of the certificates.5 of R. Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass. but in case two or more shall have an equal and highest number of votes. No. upon determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner provided by law.. On-Site Counting and Canvassing. if the holding of elections therein has been rendered impossible by events. The Solicitor General asserts that this provision must be harmonized with paragraph 4. 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. Section 4 of R.A.5 of R. 18. and the Congress. The person having the highest number of votes shall be proclaimed elected.. In addition. duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city. is unconstitutional because it violates the following provisions of paragraph 4. the Court notes that Section 18. (Emphasis supplied) Petitioner claims that the provision of Section 18. open all the certificates in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives in joint public session. 9189 provides that the overseas absentee voter may vote for president. . No. voting separately.A. The returns of every election for President and Vice-President.A. the phrase. Notwithstanding the foregoing. 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 vice-president. canvass the votes. No. not later than thirty days after the day of the election.

1. No. Tabamo. as aptly stated by petitioner. Section 4. and the Commission on Audit. Article IX-A of the Constitution? Petitioner avers that Sections 19 and 25 of R. The Constitutional Commissions. The COMELEC adds. Voting by Mail. Jr. are the Civil Service Commission. b) Where there exists a technically established identification system that would preclude multiple or proxy voting. 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. . For the May. COMELEC joins the petitioner in asserting that as an independent constitutional body. vis--vis its rule-making power. it is the Court that has the power to review the same via the petition of any interested party. (Emphasis supplied) He submits that the creation of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee with the power to review. subject to the approval of the Congressional Oversight Committee. [Emphasis supplied] clashes with paragraph 4. Like the petitioner. including the legislators. It agrees with the petitioner that Sections 19 and 25 of R. It asserts that its power to formulate rules and regulations has been upheld in Gallardo vs. however. . 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. Article IX-A of the Constitution providing for the independence of the constitutional commissions such as the COMELEC. R. to wit: Section 1. 17. 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. the Commission shall authorize voting by mail in not more than three (3) countries. the chairman of the Special Board of Canvassers shall transmit via facsimile. .4. No. respondent COMELEC anchors its claim of unconstitutionality of said Sections upon Section 1. which shall be independent. revise. 9189 intrudes into the independence of the COMELEC which. . No. and that should the rules promulgated by the COMELEC violate any law.A. to wit: SEC. as a constitutional body. 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.18.A.A. C. or any other means of transmission equally safe and reliable the Certificates of Canvass and the Statements of Votes to the Commission. amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the COMELEC. 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. It is only on this question that respondent COMELEC submitted its Comment. 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.A. 9189 violate Article IX-A (Common Provisions) of the Constitution. electronic mail. the Commission on Elections. 17. . is not under the control of either the executive or legislative departments of government. Are Sections 19 and 25 of R. . 2004 elections. No. that only the COMELEC itself can promulgate rules and regulations which may be changed or revised only by the majority of its members. 9189 in violation of Section 1. Congress could not have allowed the COMELEC to usurp a power that constitutionally belongs to it or. and . Immediately upon the completion of the canvass. 9189 are unconstitutional. [42] 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 [43] of the Constitution. that another provision.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be submitted to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior approval. Revision of Codes and Laws. No. . That. may be performed in aid of its legislation. of the seven (7) members to be designated by each House of Congress. No. 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. . No. and the Chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms. There is no question that the authority of Congress to monitor and evaluate the implementation of R. there is no actual issue forged on this question raised by petitioner. composed of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments. (Emphasis supplied) is likewise unconstitutional as it violates Section 1. and seven (7) other Senators designated by the Senate President. . aside from its monitoring and evaluation functions. Thus.1]. . the constitutionally enumerated powers of Congress circumscribe its authority to the exclusion of all others. 25. voting by mail in any country shall be allowed only upon review and approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) promulgated by the COMELEC [Sections 25 and 19]. . . as a constitutional body. 9189 is geared towards possible amendments or revision of the law itself and thus. Authority of the Commission to Promulgate Rules. . However. The parties are unanimous in claiming that Sections 19. . R.c) Where the system of reception and custody of mailed ballots in the embassies. 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. as follows: SEC. the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) is a purely legislative body. and seven (7) other Members of the House of Representatives designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives: Provided. 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. . . 9189 gives to the JCOC the following functions: (a) to review. and (b) subject to the approval of the JCOC [Section 17. amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission. revise. R. four (4) should come from the majority and the remaining three (3) from the minority.A.1 are unconstitutional. . the voting by mail in not more than three countries for the May 2004 elections and in any country determined by COMELEC. 9189 created the JCOC. and by the principles of exclusio unius est exclusio alterius and expressum facit cessare tacitum. A Joint Congressional Oversight Committee is hereby created. . revise. 19. Article IX-A mandating the independence of constitutional commissions. . (Emphasis supplied) SEC. It shall review. . However. . . consulates and other foreign service establishments concerned are adequate and well-secured. . The Joint Congressional Oversight Committee shall have the power to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Act. . (Emphasis supplied) Composed of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives.A.A. 25 and portions of Section 17. . Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. Thereafter.

1 which empowers the Commission to authorize voting by mail in not more than three countries for the May. and its knowledge derived from actual experience in dealing with political controversies. to review its decisions. 2004 elections. [46] In the same vein. it is not correct to hold that because of its recognized extensive legislative power to enact election laws. 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. Both provisions brazenly violate the mandate on the independence of the COMELEC. but certainly not to approve. 9189. amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission. the fact is that the framers of the Constitution wanted it to be independent from the other departments of the Government. In the discharge of its functions. in both provisions. and the second sentence of the second paragraph of Section 25 stating that [i]t shall review. orderly and honest elections. 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. Congress trampled upon the constitutional mandate of independence of the COMELEC. [47] Once a law is enacted and approved. Similarly. revise. Congress may not confer upon itself the authority to approve or disapprove the countries . Congress may intrude into the independence of the COMELEC by exercising supervisory powers over its rule-making authority. [45] (Emphasis supplied) The Court has no general powers of supervision over COMELEC which is an independent body except those specifically granted by the Constitution. Under such a situation. The legislative function may spring back to Congress relative to the same law only if that body deems it proper to review. It is intended to play a distinct and important part in our scheme of government. 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. should be stricken out of the subject statute for constitutional infirmity. revise and amend the IRR of the COMELEC. The second sentence of the first paragraph of Section 19 stating that [t]he Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be submitted to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior approval. amend. the phrase. orders and rulings. review. in recognition of the administrative expertise of that agency in its particular field of operation. is in a peculiarly advantageous position to decide complex political questions. and revise the IRR for The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003. By vesting itself with the powers to approve. whereby Congress. arrogates unto itself a function not specifically vested by the Constitution. Congress went beyond the scope of its constitutional authority. this court should not interfere. subject to the approval of the Congressional Oversight Committee in the first sentence of Section 17. the Court elucidated: The Commission on Elections is a constitutional body. amend and revise the law. that is. so may this court also. the Court has held that [w]hatever may be the nature of the functions of 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. The Commission on Elections.A. the legislative function is deemed accomplished and complete. but unless these are clearly illegal or constitute gross abuse of discretion. Politics is a practical matter.[44] In an earlier case. because of its fact-finding facilities. 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. No. We may not agree fully with its choice of means. The Commission may err. review. By virtue of Section 19 of R. Article X of the 1935 Constitution providing that there shall be an independentCOMELEC. it should not be hampered with restrictions that would be fully warranted in the case of a less responsible organization. and political questions must be dealt with realistically not from the standpoint of pure theory. and the phrase. its contacts with political strategists. The ambit of legislative power under Article VI of the Constitution is circumscribed by other constitutional provisions. Interpreting Section 1.

No. 124 Phil.A.. all the members of the Court agreed to adopt the separate opinion of Justice Reynato S. Puno.. 19 and 25 of R.A.. Sandoval-Gutierrez. and d) The second sentence in the second paragraph of Section 25. The following portions of R. No..1. Mathay.A. Pursuant to Section 30 of R. No. the rest of the provisions of said law continues to be in full force and effect. to wit: only upon review and approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. the petition is partly GRANTED. Vitug. Jr. Tinga.J. and Callejo. concur. b) The portion of the last paragraph of Section 17. citing PHILCONSA vs. Ynares-Santiago. as determined by the COMELEC pursuant to the conditions provided for in Section 17. SO ORDERED. revise. Sr.. to wit: subject to the approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. No. Bellosillo. On official leave. . 9189 insofar as they relate to the creation of and the powers given to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee.. JJ.5 of R. [2] PHILCONSA vs. for being repugnant to Section 1. and Azcuna. J. Carpio-Morales. No. [1] President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo approved the law on 13 February 2003.1. C. During the deliberations. no part. see separate (concurring) opinion.1 of R.. Article VII of the Constitution. The constitutionality of Section 5(d) is UPHELD. Puno as part of the ponencia on the unconstitutionality of Sections 17. on leave. It was published in the 16 February 2003 of Today and Daily Tribune. see concurring opinion. Article IX-A of the Constitution mandating the independence of constitutional commission. Davide... and Panganiban. 122 Phil. 9189 are declared VOID for being UNCONSTITUTIONAL: a) The phrase in the first sentence of the first paragraph of Section 17. c) The second sentence of the first paragraph of Section 19. see separate opinion. and Corona. 9189. 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.. to wit: It shall review.A. 306.wherein voting by mail shall be allowed. J. Quisumbing. JJ. JJ.1.A. and Carpio. JJ.. amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission of the same law. JJ. WHEREFORE. 18 SCRA 300. 9189. The constitutionality of Section 18. [3] Id. Congress would overstep the bounds of its constitutional mandate and intrude into the independence of the COMELEC. 894 (1965). Gimenez. see concurring and dissenting opinion. 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. see concurring and dissenting opinion.. such as COMELEC. 890 (1966). J. [48] Otherwise.

256. Jose P. No. 962. 713 (1991). [23] Manila Prince Hotel vs. 346 Phil. 961. 378. 121 SCRA 51. Today. 775 (1949). 58-59. 22 SCRA 424. 294 (1954). p. 323-324. p. 13. Inc. Bernas. 329 (1995). pp. 670. 690 (1972) citing Morfe vs. Guingona. 9. No. 101 (1997). supra. 331 (1960). [28] Luz Farms vs.[4] Sanidad vs. 110 Phil. [5] G. 7.R. 12 October 1976. supra. [32] Id. p. in Romualdez-Marcos vs. Jr. GSIS. 11-12 (19 July 1986). 248 SCRA 300. 163 SCRA 371. pp. Balbuena. . [10] See: Gonzales vs. 65 Phil. 378 cited in Tatad vs. p. 191 SCRA 229. supra.J. [21] Caasi Case. COMELEC. citing Marcelino vs.R. [19] 96 Phil. 9 citing Joaquin G. 574 (1997).R.S. 321. 86889. Vera. Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform. 18 March 1983. G.. p. [20] Comment. J. G. Mercadal. COMELEC. [6] Id. 73 SCRA 333. [33] II RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION. 232 SCRA 110 (1994) and Basco vs. [9] Luz Farms vs. 387. Law Department. 66 So. 11-12. 546. 30 June 1988. 329 (1995). vs. No. pp. 81311. 88831. p. J.. 8 November 1990. 56. [29] 29 C.R. Jarencio. Phil. [25] Salas vs. Amusements and Gaming Corporation. Hon. 359 (1997). [18] 318 Phil. 82 SCRA 30. [17] Comment.R. COMELEC. 248. [22] Comment. L-42428. 31 January 1968. in Cruz vs. Cruz. G. 575-577. 197 SCRA 52 (1991). 248 SCRA 300. L-20387. p. Mutuc. [12] G. 82. 192 SCRA 51. 18 April 1969. [11] Kilosbayan. 4 December 1990. [24] L-47771. Director IV. [8] Separate Opinion of Kapunan. No. 56. [15] Per Comment and Memorandum filed by Atty. [31] 318 Phil. [7] 338 Phil. 150-B Phil. [30] 1 WORDS AND PHRASES 264 citing Savant vs. 335 Phil.. 358-359 citing Pascual vs.R. 55 citing People vs. Jr. 27 SCRA 835. No. 6 December 2000. [14] Id. 27833. 5 February 2003. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources. [26] 82 Phil.. [13] Petition. [27] Separate opinion of Vitug. [16] 199 SCRA 692. COMELEC. No. G. 11 March 1978. Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform. 95 (1937). L-44640. The Secretary of the Department of Energy. 771. Secretary of Public Works. 136 La. 135385. 347 SCRA 128.

b) Where there exists a technically established identification system that would preclude multiple or proxy voting. 310 SCRA 354 (1999). plebiscite. [38] TRANSCRIPTS OF SENATE PROCEEDINGS (1 October 2002). pp. [40] 146 SCRA 446. COMELEC (340 Phil. initiative. Inc. [39] Transcripts of Senate Proceedings (6 August 2002). Trajano. . Commission on Elections. 121 SCRA 51.. has more than enough expertise in its field that its findings or conclusions are generally respected and even given finality. consulates and other foreign service establishments concerned are adequate and well-secured. 30-31. 107 (1949). [47] In Grego vs. p.. [48] SEC. 606 [1997]). 474 (1967).. pp. . Zaldivar. [36] Id. 129 (1949).1 . Cruz. Voting by Mail. 104848. No. 29 January 1993. 294-295 (1941). p. [46] Nacionalista Party vs.. 10-12. 17. 15. Bautista. 101. [37] Marcelino vs. referendum. and recall. c) Where the system of reception and custody of mailed ballots in the embassies. [45] Sumulong vs. 56. 126.R. 85 Phil. and. EN BANC G. De Vera. [42] G. [41] Comment. 17. No. plebiscite. vs. The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions: (1) Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. Corona. 73 Phil. [43] SEC. 195649 July 2. 218 SCRA 253.. 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. 321 SCRA 218 (1999) and Pagpalain Haulers. 288. 451. referendum. [44] Nacionalista Party vs. pp. cited in Espino vs. pp. the Court said: The COMELEC as an administrative agency and a specialized constitutional body charged with the enforcement and administration of all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. . 35-36. 2. 85 Phil. 129 Phil.[34] Id.R. initiative. [35] Id. 33. and recall. 34-35. 2013 . 454 (1986) cited in Garcia vs. 591.

While the relief sought can no longer be granted." 4 American law does not govern in this jurisdiction. 2013. 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. 2013. Arnado. 2009 and thus claims that he was divested of his American citizenship. Respondent failed to advance any argument to support his plea for the reversal of this Court’s Decision dated April 16. 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. If indeed. he was not only a Filipino citizen but. also an American citizen. the fact that he was still able to use his US passport after executing his Affidavit of Renunciation repudiates this claim.CASAN MACODE MACQUILING. RESOLUTION SERENO. has successfully finished his term of office. he presented his accomplishments as the Mayor of Kauswagan. Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code calls for application in the case before us. Neither do his accomplishments as mayor affect the question before this Court. indicates a policy that anyone who seeks to run for public office must be solely and . vs. the declared policy of Republic Act No. respondent was divested of all the rights of an American citizen. Section 5(2)6 requires those who have re-acquired Philippine citizenship and who seek elective public office. 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. therefore. however. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. PETITIONER. The Court cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. 2013 and the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration filed on May 20. Instead. AND LINOG G. by his own declaration. 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. BALUA. With all due respect to the dissent." 3 Mere reference to a foreign law in a pleading does not suffice for it to be considered in deciding a case."5 This policy pertains to the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. 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. to renounce any and all foreign citizenship. 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. 1 which must be presented as public documents2 of a foreign country and must be "evidenced by an official publication thereof. This requirement of renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship. given the fact that at the time Arnado filed his certificate of candidacy. 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.: This Resolution resolves the Motion for Reconsideration filed by respondent on May 10. ROMMEL ARNADO Y CAGOCO. (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. Instead. J. RESPONDENTS. 2010. It must be stressed. Lanao del Norte and reiterated that he has taken the Oath of Allegiance not only twice but six times.

or that a passport proves that the country which issued it recognizes the person named therein as its national. The dissent states that the Court has effectively left Arnado "a man without a country". found Arnado to have more than one. or unless the aforementioned findings are not supported by substantial evidence. It devalues the act of taking of an oath. It is also indubitable that after renouncing his American citizenship. in fact. Arnado used his U. these incidents sum up to six. 20 May 2010.S.9 Nevertheless. 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. upon departure on 29 July 2009 and upon arrival on 24 November 2009).1âwphi1 On the contrary. Nowhere in the decision does it say that Arnado is not a Filipino citizen. passport on those occasions because his Philippine passport was not yet issued. 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. Passport No. 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. Indeed. Arnado arrived in the Philippines using his U. or that he acquired American citizenship by naturalization. 16 April 2010. 31 January 2010. This was debunked by the COMELEC En Banc. passport. there is no doubt that Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code disqualifies those with dual citizenship from running for local elective positions. 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. It is unquestioned that Arnado is a natural born Filipino citizen. If there is any remaining doubt.S. The renunciation of foreign citizenship must be complete and unequivocal. and which agreed with Arnado’s claim that he only used his U. 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.S. reducing it to a mere ceremonial formality. Further.exclusively a Filipino citizen. Adding these two travel dates to the travel record provided by the Bureau of Immigration showing that Arnado also presented his U. 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. passport four times (upon departure on 14 April 2009. 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. 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. passport at least six times.S. upon arrival on 25 June 2009.S. this Court has. which found that Arnado only used his U. 057782700 which also indicated therein that his nationality is USA-American. we respectfully disagree that the majority decision rules on a situation of doubt. and 4 June 2010. it is regarding the efficacy of Arnado’s renunciation of his American citizenship when he subsequently used his U.S. What the decision merely points out is that he also possessed another citizenship at the time he filed his certificate of candidacy. passport four times. 31 March 2010. 8 They are accorded not only great respect but even finality. . it must be emphasized that COMELEC First Division found that Arnado used his U. Passport at least six times after he renounced his American citizenship. 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. and are binding upon this Court.S. is to allow a complete disregard of this policy.

passport cannot be considered as isolated acts contrary to what the dissent wants us to believe.. 735 (1994). Leonardo-De Castro. official bodies and tribunals. Brion. JJ. JJ. the ruling of the COMELEC En Banc is based on a misapprehension of the facts that the use of the U.. CA. thereby effectively junking the prohibition in Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code. . No. WHEREFORE..S. however. 232 SCRA 722. 24. which in turn cited Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank v. Jr. and Leonen. on 21 January 2010. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court: SEC. 4 September 2001. – The record of public documents referred to in paragraph (a) of Section 19. Jr. 125359. or of a foreign country. and accompanied. concur. Footnotes 1 Benedicto v. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court SEC. and public officers. 2 See Sec. Escolin.S. Mendoza. Arnado’s travel records show that he presented his U. 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. J. Proof of official record. citing Vda. Perez. and Perlas-Bernabe. Bersamin. Classes of Documents. we are creating a special privilege for these dual citizens.. 24. may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record. G. 19. If we allow dual citizens who wish to run for public office to renounce their foreign citizenship and afterwards continue using their foreign passports. joins the dissent of J. Tolete." 10 This conclusion. Velasco. when admissible for any purpose.S. documents are either public or private. Brion. or by his deputy. – For the purpose of their presentation in evidence. if the record is not kept in the Philippines. and on 23 March 2010.S. The records show that he continued to use his U. Arnado’s continued use of his U. passport on 24 November 2009. 3 Sec. SO ORDERED. passport even after he already received his Philippine passport. Carpio. Reyes. Thus. These facts were never refuted by Arnado.R. or records of the official acts of the sovereign authority.The COMELEC En Banc concluded that "the use of the US passport was because to his knowledge. Public documents are: (a) The written official acts. Villarama. passport was discontinued when Arnado obtained his Philippine passport. his Philippine passport was not yet issued to him for his use. de Perez v. Peralta. 19. is not supported by the facts. Abad. Del Castillo. I dissent. 58 SCRA 266 (1974). the Motion for Reconsideration and the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration are hereby DENIED with finality.. whether of the Philippines. Arnado claims that his Philippine passport was issued on 18 June 2009.

4 Motion for Reconsideration. citing Industrial Refractories Corporation of the Philippines v. 48 (2002). p. — The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective local position: […] (d) Those with dual citizenship. 517 SCRA 221.. the certificate may be made by a secretary of the embassy or legation. No. 2 5 Sec. make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath. 36. — Those who retain or reacquire Philippine citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and political rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of the Philippines and the following conditions: (2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualifications for holding such public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and. 6 Sec. at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy.R. 439 Phil. citing Gala v. and authenticated by the seal of his office. consul general. RA 9225. 5. 859 (2003). 846. 2. or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept. 10 Rollo. Jochico. 66. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities. 2 March 2007. p. 227. 7 SECTION 40. If the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country. Court of Appeals. vice consul. Ellice Agro-Industrial Corporation. with a certificate that such officer has the custody. 153413. Disqualifications. G. 8 Raniel v. FIRST DIVISION . 9 Id. consul. 463 Phil.

On May 20. At the hearing of the said petition. Acting Municipal Circuit Judge of Tayum. The said petition sought to strike out Millare's name from the voters' list. however. 1982. which was a Sunday. In his order dated June 22. J: Petitioner Isidro Millare ran for the position of Barangay Captain of Barangay Budac. HON. GIRONELLA. same. 1982. 1982. L-61586 May 30. Judge Bernardino dismissed the election protest for lack of merit. No. after receiving the evidence of Elveña the respondent Municipal Circuit Judge of Tayum. 48. Abra. were not considered by the barangay board of tellers. Millare filed a motion for a reconsideration of the said order. Elveña filed in the Municipal Circuit Court of Tayum. Crisostomo F. Alberto Benesa for respondents. Millare received a copy of the order denying his motion for reconsideration at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon of May 16. 1982. vs. Millare failed to appear and. He reasoned out that the election protest may not be availed of as a means of appealing the decision dated . Tayum Abra. HON. This prayer was denied. Millare was not allowed to testify on the ground that he had already been disqualified as a candidate. docketed as Barangay Election Case No. 222. On May 14. and ALFREDO ELVEÑA respondents. 1982. The barangay board of canvassers proclaimed Elveña as the duly elected Barangay Captain of barangay Budac. At the hearing of said election protest. 48 which declared him disqualified to run as barangay captain of barangay Budac.R. It appears undisputed that he garnered more votes than Elveña His votes. ADRIANO BERNARDINO. LEOPOLDO B. Millare filed with the respondent Municipal Circuit Court Election Protest No. Judge Adriano Bernardino. He took his oath of office as such. Millare ran just the same in the election held on May 17. 1982. 49 against Elveña praying for the annulment of the proclamation of Elveña and for a declaration that he (Millare) was the duly elected Barangay Captain of barangay Budac. and in an order dated May 16. Parinas for petitioner. a petition for the exclusion and disqualification of Millare.G. 1982. with the modification that Millare's name was allowed to remain in the voters' list. they having been declared as stray. Millare asked that the ballot boxes be reopened so as to show to the court that he got more votes than Elveña. against private respondent Alfredo Elveña during the barangay election held on May 17. Abra. On May 10. 1983 ISIDRO MILLARE. Despite the declaration as to his disqualification. When placed on the witness stand. VASQUEZ. Judge of the Court of First Instance of Abra. and to disqualify him as a candidate for the position of barangay captain of barangay Budac on the ground that he was not an actual resident of the said barangay for at least six months prior to the elections. petitioner. Millare did not appeal the orders in Election Case No. the eve of election day. Judge Bernardino denied the. The motion was set for hearing. as required by Section 7 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 1982. issued an order striking out Millare's name from the voters' list and declaring him disqualified to run as barangay captain of barangay Budac.

(last par. 48 declaring him disqualified to run for the position of barangay captain of barangay Budac on the ground of non-residence. The respondents are pinning down Millare on his failure to appeal the order of Judge Bernardino in Election Case No. as amended and as adopted by Presidential Decree No. 3590. 49 to the Court of First Instance of Tayum. 48. 1982. resulted in the said order becoming final and executory. through public respondent Judge Leopoldo B. The decision of the municipal court shag be appealable pursuant to the Rules of Court to the Court of First Instance whose decision shall be final on questions of fact. No. 8. On August 16. as amended. Section 21 of the said law provides that "the provisions of the 1978 Election Code and the Revised Barangay Chapter no. ." He prays principally that the aforementioned decision and orders of the respondents Judge Gironella and Judge Bernardino be nullified." It apparently includes proceedings to disqualify a candidate.. there having been no appeal taken from the same. and in the determination and decision thereof. and that Election Protest No. Such failure. Millare appealed the order of dismissal of Election Protest No. 49 be remanded to the Municipal Circuit Court of Tayum for trial on the merits. R.) It is a fact that Millare did not take an appeal from the orders issued by Judge Bernardino in Election Case No.A. wherein it was docketed as Special Civil Case No. otherwise known as the Barangay Election Act of 1982.) The above-quoted provision deals with "all disputes over barangay elections. 222 and in Sections 93 to 96 of the 1978 Election Code. provides in its last paragraph as follows: All disputes over barangay elections shad be brought before the municipal court of the municipality concerned. it was reasoned out. 1982 affirming the decision of the Municipal Circuit Court in Election Protest No. inconsistent herewith shall be applicable in a suppletory character to the election of barrio officials. 1687 "For Review on certiorari on Questions of Law. the court shall follow as closely as possible the procedure prescribed for inferior courts in Rule 4 (now Rule 5).May 16. there being no other provision expressly applicable to such cases. It was for this reason that Judge Bernardino denied his motion to re-open the ballot boxes for a recanvassing of the contents of the same. Rules of Court. Rules of Court. unlike in the case of actions for exclusion or inclusion in the voters' lists which are explicitly provided for in the first paragraph of Section 20 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 222. 557. 48 which declared Millare as disqualified as a candidate and which had already become final and executory. and that by virtue thereof. Rule 40. 2. 3590. rendered a decision dated July 19. From a strict legal standpoint. and also his attempt to testify in the said proceeding. Gironella. The pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court which have been made applicable to "all disputes over barangay elections" require that the decision of a municipal court be appealed to the Court of First Instance (now the Regional Trial Court) "within fifteen days after notification of the judgment complained of." (Sec. See. The law governing barangay elections is contained in Batas Pambansa Blg. Millare lacked the requisite personality to file Election Protest No. Republic Act No. The petition was given due course and the parties have filed their respective memoranda. -49. " Section 8 of the Revised Barangay Chapter." The then court of first instance. Millare filed the instant petition which he entitled as a "Petition for Review on certiorari on Questions of Law. 49. 1982 in Election Case No. the view that the order disqualifying Millare had become final and executory due to his failure to appeal the same may be said to be technically correct.

within ten days after the proclamation of the election. Millare could not have appealed the order disqualifying him as a candidate before the election. However. was not plain nor certain enough as the proper course of action to take. the will of the voters. The trial court shall decide the election protest within fifteen days after the filing thereof. 25 SCRA 377 ) Under the undisputed facts. within ten days from the date of the proclamation of the winners. As aforesaid. . such action on the part of the barangay board of tellers was legally unjustified and erroneous. as to whether Millare should have appealed the said order of disqualification after election day. or only a few hours before the opening of the polling places. or file an election protest. In the last paragraph of Section 196 of the same Code. Existing provisions seemingly indicate that the appropriate step to take is to file an election contest. 48 was received by Millare only at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon of May 16. which were more than those of his opponents. 19 SCRA 520. a Sunday. Millare should have appealed the order of his disqualification. and whose decision shall be final. for which reason they considered his votes stray. If the order of disqualification was still appealable. COMELEC. but also contravenes the unquestioned policy in the interpretation of election laws and the disposition of election cases. The order denying his motion for reconsideration or the order dated May 13. 607. as the case may be.However. COMELEC." (Canceran vs. they having been considered stray due to the aforementioned disqualification. We find Ourselves unable to go along with the stoically legalistic stance taken by the respondents which not only disregards the equities involved. Silverio vs. 1982 in Election Case No. there is no express legal provision or pertinent jurisprudence which indicates whether. We find the following: xxx xxx xxx The decision of the city. Pacis vs. prescribes the following: A sworn petition contesting the election of a barangay officer shall be filed with the proper city or municipal court by any candidate for the same office who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy. Castro. 107 Phil. The decision of the municipal or city or metropolitan trial court may be appealed within ten days from receipt of a copy thereof to the Regional Trial Court (CFI) which shall decide within thirty days from submission. The quandary in the mind of Millare as to what course of action to take after Elveña was proclaimed the winner despite his having received less votes than Millare was not helped any by the state of the law and of the applicable decisions on the matter. municipal or municipal district courts in the case stated in Section 191 hereof shall not be appealable and shall immediately be final and executory. in turn. The barangay board of tellers had considered the order of his disqualification as already final and executory. under such a situation. Cauton vs. were not credited to him. The second paragraph of Section 20 of Batas Pambansa Blg. more particularly when his votes. Section 191 of the 1978 Election Code. We have repeatedly ruled that "the purpose of election laws is to give effect to rather than frustrate. 1982. 222 provides as follows: A sworn petition contesting the election of any barangay official shall be filed with the city or municipal or metropolitan trial court. COMELEC. 19 SCRA 912. as contended by the respondents.

WHEREFORE. the dismissal of such a case after the proclamation of the winner became the subject of conflicting views. At any rate. Or. Whatever procedural mis-step may have been committed in this regard may not override the paramount consideration of upholding the sovereign will of the people expressed through the democratic process of suffrage. 101 SCRA 420. and the refusal of Judge Bernardino to allow the reopening of the ballot boxes for a recanvassing of the votes. COMELEC.R. 102 SCRA 1. He had insisted on his qualification for the position he ran for. Teehankee (Chairman). J. concur. The orders of Judge Bernardino in Election Case No. a disqualification proceeding based on the so-called "turncoatism" filed after the election were ordered dismissed. if appeal is indeed the proper remedy. The propriety of Millare's filing a separate election contest in lieu of appealing the order of disqualification in Election Case No. Plana and Gutierrez. 1982.. Dec. or well within the period of appeal. 49 and the decision of Judge Gironella in Special Civil Case No. the proper remedy having been held to be an election contest or a quo warranto proceeding.. to render judgment thereon as the evidence and the law may warrant. We accordingly find merit in the petitioner's complaint against the actuations of the public respondents. 48 and filing election contest after the election had been held was thus not easy to make. The issue of the petitioner's non-residence in Barangay Budac upon which his disqualification was predicated in the decisions and orders complained of had never been ventilated at all. Abra. 52502. Venezuela vs. . (Desini v. JJ. 105 SCRA 124. Private respondent Alfredo Elveña shall pay the costs. after trial.. 49 which are hereby ordered remanded to the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum. such as. Jr. No. 48 should be deemed consolidated with Election Protest No. if only to give satisfaction to those who voted for him. Relova. COMELEC. it having been buried and lost sight of in a maze of technicalities. SO ORDERED.) Reliance on the doctrine laid upon in said cases is even impaired by the fact that not one of them involved the election of barangay officials which is governed by different provisions of law. Melencio-Herrera. the petition is hereby GRANTED. 1687 are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. according to him. 30. and as such qualified to run for the position of Barangay Captain thereof. may be considered as in the same nature of that remedy. G. he has been residing for the last twenty years in a big house of strong materials) for at least six months prior to the elections. COMELEC. and took determined and seasonable steps to assert the same. The least that he is entitled to is to be given that chance. Singco v. 98 SCRA 790. Millare may not be faulted for sleeping on his rights. may one be certain as to the correctness of the same. the denial of due process consisting in the lack of opportunity to present evidence in his behalf. Faderanga vs. If filed before the election.The choice between appealing the order of disqualification in Election Case No. 48 and Election Protest No. 48 could have been induced also by the need to raise issues in the election contest other than the sole question of the alleged non-residence of Millare in Barangay Budac. and the said court is ordered to allow the petitioner to present evidence in his behalf to grant his motion for a reopening of the ballot boxes and for the recanvassing of their contents and. for further proceedings. The two cases shall be tried together. the filing of Election Protest No. having made such decision. In several cases brought before the Supreme Court. is on leave. COMELEC. 49 on May 20. COMELEC. 1982. Aguinaldo vs. Election Contest No. the propriety of declaring the votes cast in his favor as stray. Millare was never afforded the chance to prove that he was an actual resident of Barangay Budac (where.

1922.. 3030 of . 3030. 3030. and so as to obtain the most beneficial results. the Partido Naciolista. RIGHTS OF THE "PARTIDO NACIONALISTA COLECTIVISTA" TO ELECTION INSPECTORS. DECISION MALCOLM. and. Recently. SECTION 11. is adopted so as to provide as complete a method as possible to obtain a clean election. two parties. At the last general election in 1919. or. The municipal president De Leon for Respondents. a new party known as Partido Nacionalista Colectivista. The facts are undisputed. April 29. Respondents. if this statement be objected to by partisans of the Partido Nacionalista. Nueva Ecija. as appears from the record. Pursuant to this construction. ] BONIFACIO YSIP. in other towns in Nueva Ecija. and the Partido Naciolista Colectivista.1922. The highest number of votes was cast for the Partido Naciolista. and the Partido Democrata the next largest number of votes at said election. ET AL. MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF CABIAO.R. the Partido Democrata and the Partido Naciolista. Petitioner. in fact. No. The law applicable to the facts is equally certain. in addition to the Partido Nacionlista there has been duly organized a new party known as the Partido Nacionalista Colectivista. on February 28. however. v. contested for supremacy in the municipality of Cabiao. in municipalities where it is shown that the Partido Nacionalista polled the largest number of votes at the last election. commonly known as Unipersonalista.EN BANC [G. and the second highest number for the Partido Democrata. was organized. the Partido Nacionalista Colectivista. one election inspector and one substitute shall belong each to the Partido Naciolista. — A liberal construction of the provisions of section 11 of Act No. NUEVA ECIJA. CONSTRUED. the adherents of the old Nacionalista Party have gone over to the Partido Nationalista Colectivista. L-18947. and where in such municipalities. J. Nueva Ecija. the Partido Nacionalista divided into two parties. By exhibits presented. ACT No. : The issue squarely raised in this case concerns the rights of the Partido Naciolista Colectivista to election inspectors at the approaching election. the court is given to understand that in Cabiao. SYLLABUS ELECTIONS. and as matter of current political history of which the courts can take judicial notice. A portion of section 11 of Act No. ELECTION INSPECTORS. and the Partido Democrata. The petitioner in his own behalf. The Partido Naciolista Colectivista was inaugurated in the municipality of Cabiao.

Such interpretation and application of the law will not do violence to it. Nor can it be denied that the law contemplates be-partisan elections and only takes into account the successful party. named one election inspector for each election precinct for the Partido Nacionalista. then two of said inspectors and two substitutes for the same shall belong to the party which polled the largest number of votes in said municipality at such proceeding election and the other inspector and his substitute shall belong to the party. such as Cabiao. since no one can deny that this is "the party which polled the largest number of votes. the Parido Nacionalista Colectivista. four. As the municipal council of Cabiao. it must be frankly admitted that difficulties are encountered. the writ prayed . Other states of facts could be imagined.the Philippine Legislature. such as where the Naciolista Party might have divided into three. permit the Naciolista Colectivista Party to have representation on election boards in all municipalities in which the old Nacionalista Party polled the largest number of votes of the last election. on the other hand. following the circular of the Chief of the Executive Bureau. in municipalities where it is shown that the Partido Naciolista polled the largest number of votes at the last election and the Partido Democrata the next largest number of votes at said election. branch or fraction thereof. the Partido Nacionalista Colectivista and the Parido Democrata. Such interpretation and application of the law would. Nueva Ecija. and the party which polled the next largest number of votes. or more branches. A liberal construction of the law will. A strict construction of the law would necessarily result in the Nacionalista Party being granted two inspectors in many municipalities. the Nacionalista Party has now split its forces between the old party and a new party. and which necessary would make impossible a division of two election inspectors among the various new parties and which again would force the courts to return to the exact terminology of the law. branches or fractions thereof. which is to provide as complete a method as possible to obtain a clean election." in such municipalities at the preceding election. and the Partido Democrata. as where the Democrata Party obtains two inspectors in an election precinct and where only one inspector remains for another party. or political group. If we must choose between a strict and literal interpretation of the law and a liberal and reasonable interpretation of the law. one election inspector and substitute shall belong each to the Partido Nacionalista. in addition to the Partido Nacionalista there has been duly organized a new party known as the Partido Nacionalista Colectivista. in view of the notorious fact that the party which won the election in many municipalities. or political groups. reads:jgc:chanrobles. if we must choose between the letter of the law which "killeth" and the spirit of the law which "giveth life. Nueva Ecija. and the inspectors so appointed shall be persons proposed by the legitimate representative or representatives of such political parties. the courts are forced to rely on the letter of the law. be in accord with the underlying purpose of the Election Law."cralaw virtua1aw library When the court comes to apply the law. and to assign the minority inspector to the Naciolista Party.ph "Should there be in such municipality or more political parties or branches or fractions thereof. In certain instances.com. with reference to not only the case before it but to a general condition of political affairs. and where in such municipalities. We hold that. moreover." can any one doubt what our decision will be? We adopt that construction which will produce the most beneficial results. or political group which polled the next largest number of votes at said election.

JJ.. In the case at bar two political parties. suggests two interpretations which it calls strict and liberal. We adhere to the first not because it is strict but because. though formed with Nacionalista elements but different from the Nacionalista and Democrata parties. The rights of the victorious political parties should never be affected because of the future reduction of its strength. and that is the reason why it requires that the inspectors of election shall belong to parties or fractions thereof that may have won in the preceding elections. So ordered. and the Nacionalista party polled more votes than the Democrata. The law does not bother the actual number of members of a political party but only with the result of the preceding election as determined by the amount of votes polled. the Nacionalista and the Democrata. with costs against the petitioner.for must be denied. with whom concur ARAULLO. in just acknowledgment of the will of the majorities as expressed in the polls. it is the only one that. J. Johns and Romualdez.. went to the polls in the last election in the municipality of Cabiao. the said law provides that two parties. and when the law expressly provides the means for executing a particular election Act. The fact that there appeared in the field a new political party. because the law does not consider the source of the political element with which the new party is organized. by the affiliation of its members to other parties.. or fractions. or shall have polled the largest number of votes in the last election and one to the party or fraction that obtained the next largest number of votes — this. Nueva Ecija. for obtaining a clean election. does not affect the matter. because the election is the only means by which to determine the strength or popularity of the political parties in the field. as for instance the appointment of inspectors of election. according to the letter and the spirit of the law. that is.. but only the result of the last election which is a self-evident fact that needs no discussion. or two political groups that shall have come out victorious. dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library It is scarcely necessary for us to give our reasons for disagreeing with the conclusion reached by our worthy brethren. It will be noted that the majority opinion. The fact that the component elements of the new party have come from the party that polled the largest number of votes in the last election is not a sound argument to uphold the opinion of the majority. Taking the contingency contemplated by the said provision of law. the existence in a municipality of one or more political parties. C. as some of the remarks that we offered during the deliberation of this case embodied in the majority opinion of this special division. Ostrand.J. Until a political party has gone to the polls. J. Separate Opinions VILLAMOR. It is undeniable that the purpose of the Election Law is to provide a method. and AVANCENA. concur. To concede to a new political party the right to be represented in the board of election inspectors would be tantamount of presuming its victory in an election in which it has never taken any part (as such political party) and this is not what the law contemplates. in our judgment. or fractions thereof. by the withdrawal from the party or by the formation of a new party. after citing the law applicable to the case. should be given. as complete as possible. called the Liberal Nacionalista or Colectivista. or groups thereof. In conformity with the express terms of the law there cannot be any doubt that two of the inspectors must belong to the Nacionalista Party and one to the Democrata. or branches. it should not be construed in a manner so as to supply an alleged omission which is believed . there is no means by which to give it the right of the appointment of an election inspector.

those that occupied the first and second places according to the number of votes polled.. 2010 Order of the 2nd Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Order of the COMELEC en banc dated September 21. But now. Private respondent was proclaimed the winner. 2010 elections in the City of Meycauayan. 2010-23. What is the spirit of the election law in the matter of appointment of election inspectors? It is not necessary to stretch our imagination to discover it. Petitioner’s prayer must be granted. It is well stereo-typed in the words used by law itself. J. DECISION PERALTA. Petitioner.: Before the Court is a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking to set aside the August 12. 2010 in EPC No. shall be represented in the board of election inspectors in the proportion of two to one. that two victorious political parties in the last preceding elections. The factual and procedural antecedents of the case are as follows: Herein petitioner and private respondent were candidates for the mayoralty race during the May 10. EN BANC SALVADOR D. and. VIOLAGO. 2010 Order dismissed the election protest filed by herein petitioner against herein private respondent.versus - COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JOAN V. Bulacan. ALARILLA. SR. according to the majority opinion we have three different political parties in the said board with the special circumstance that one of the said parties did not take part in the last preceding election. while the September 21. 2010 Order denied petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration. . The August 12. . Respondents. that is.to be oppressive.

In its assailed Order7 dated August 12. Hence. No notice of preliminary conference hearing was sent to petitioner before the August 12. 2 Thereafter. Petitioner also claimed that on the date set for the preliminary conference. on July 16. petitioner and his counsel failed to appear during the actual conference on August 12. the COMELEC 2nd Division dismissed petitioner’s protest on the ground that the latter belatedly filed his Brief in violation of the COMELEC rule on the filing of briefs.6 Subsequently. On June 15. (5) irregularities due to non-observance of the guidelines set by the COMELEC. the COMELEC en banc denied petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration on the ground that petitioner failed to file a verified motion in violation of Section 3. 2010. his counsel and his associate were scheduled to appear before different tribunals in connection with other cases they were handling. the present petition based on the following grounds: 4. The COMELEC did not exercise sound judicial discretion when it denied the Motion for Reconsideration. 2010. petitioner filed a Petition1 with the COMELEC questioning the proclamation of private respondent on the following grounds: (1) massive vote-buying. On even date. filed an Urgent Motion to Reset Preliminary Conference on the ground that he did not receive any notice and only came to know of it when he inquired with the COMELEC a day before the scheduled conference. Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. 2010 hearing. on the other hand. 2010. 2010 that he received a copy of the Order of the COMELEC which set the preliminary conference on August 12. 2010. and. 2. private respondent filed her Preliminary Conference Brief. (3) election fraud. In its second assailed Order9 dated September 21. 2010. . 2010. filed his Brief5 on the day of the scheduled preliminary conference. 2010. 2010. petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration8 with the COMELEC en banccontending that it was only on August 16. On August 19.4 Petitioner. the COMELEC 2nd Division issued an Order3 setting the preliminary conference on August 12.On May 21. likewise. 2010. private respondent filed her Answer with Motion to Set for Hearing Affirmative Defenses in the Nature of a Motion to Dismiss for Being Insufficient in Form and Substance. (4) non-appreciation by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines of valid votes cast during the said election. private respondent’s counsel moved for the dismissal of the case. He. On August 11. 2010 and directing the parties to file their Preliminary Conference Briefs at least one (1) day before the scheduled conference. (2) intimidation and harassment.

does not justify the outright dismissal of the protest based on technical grounds where there is no indication of intent to violate the rules . attesting to the fact that the Order sent by the COMELEC to petitioner’s counsel informing the latter of the scheduled hearing set on August 12. There is no indication that the COMELEC 2 nd Division made prior verification from the proper or concerned COMELEC department or official of petitioner’s allegation that he did not receive a copy of the subject Order. respectively. Fairness and prudence dictate that the COMELEC 2nd Division should have first waited for the requested certification before deciding whether or not to dismiss petitioner’s protest on technical grounds. as in this case. Bulacan requesting for a certification as to the date of receipt of the said Order stating therein that the “certification is urgently needed for the proper and appropriate disposition” 13 of petitioner’s election protest. has been terminated and the office permanently closed and transferred to Sta. 2010.12 Respondent did not question the authenticity of these documents. was not based on sound judicial discretion.10 Petitioner’s basic contention is that the COMELEC 2nd Division and the COMELEC en banccommitted grave abuse of discretion in dismissing his electoral protest and in denying his motion for reconsideration. through which the COMELEC also supposedly sent petitioner a notice through telegram. A one-day delay. While it may be argued that petitioner acquired actual knowledge of the scheduled conference a day prior to the date set through means other than the official notice sent by the COMELEC. The denial of the MR. The Court finds the petition meritorious. the fact remains that. 2009. through the 2nd Division Clerk. However. Petitioner is totally blameless and the COMELEC committed undue haste and speed in disposing the case. Bulacan. In fact. 2010 and directing him to file his Preliminary Conference Brief was received only on August 16. although within the discretion of the COMELEC. 4. unlike his opponent. Petitioner likewise submitted an advisory issued by the Chief of the Operations Division of the TELECOM Office in Meycauayan that the telegraph service in the said City. On the basis of the abovementioned documents. the Court finds no justifiable reason why the COMELEC 2nd Division hastily dismissed petitioner’s election protest. 3. sent a letter to the Postmaster of Meycauayan City. Maria. The COMELEC 2nd Division’s reason for dismissing petitioner’s election protest is the latter’s failure to timely file his Preliminary Conference Brief. Bulacan as of April 1. it was only on the day following such dismissal that the Electoral Contests Adjudication Department. he was not given sufficient time to thoroughly prepare for the said conference. Petitioner should not be penalized for belatedly filing his Preliminary Conference Brief. a perusal of the records of the instant case would show that petitioner was able to present a copy of the Certification11 issued by the Postmaster of Meycauayan City.

who is the real candidate elected by the people. Moreover. It is imperative that his claim be immediately cleared not only for the benefit of the winner but for the . the settled rule is that the COMELEC Rules of Procedure are subject to liberal construction.”16 In the same manner. In Pacanan v. it is neither fair nor just to keep in office for an uncertain period one who’s right to it is under suspicion. and it may be stated as a general rule recognized by all courts. 14 as well as Section 3. peaceful and credible elections and for achieving just. by all means within its command. This liberality is for the purpose of promoting the effective and efficient implementation of the objectives of ensuring the holding of free. And the court has the corresponding duty to ascertain. expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition of every action and proceeding brought before the Comelec. orderly. it is true that Section 3. which was the basis of proclamation of the winning candidate. Commission on Elections. What is sought is the correction of the canvass of votes. the Comelec Rules of Procedure are subject to a liberal construction. Moreover. honest. unlike an ordinary civil action.15 this Court held that “the alleged lack of verification of private respondent’s Manifestation and Motion for Partial Reconsideration is merely a technicality that should not defeat the will of the electorate. In Quintos v. in the case of Panlilio v.18 this Court. Thus. With respect to the COMELEC en banc’s denial of petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration. unlike an ordinary action.on the part of petitioner and the reason for the violation is justifiable. An election contest therefore involves not only the adjudication of private and pecuniary interests of rival candidates but paramount to their claims is the deep public concern involved and the need of dispelling the uncertainty over the real choice of the electorate. in clarifying the mandated liberal construction of election laws. The COMELEC may liberally construe or even suspend its rules of procedure in the interest of justice. Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Rule 20 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure on Disputes in an Automated Election System. Commission on Elections. including obtaining a speedy disposition of all matters pending before the COMELEC.17 restated the prevailing principle that the COMELEC’s rules of procedure for the verification of protests and certifications of non-forum shopping should be liberally construed. An election contest. that statutes providing for election contests are to be liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice of public officers may not be defeated by mere technical objections. held thus: x x x An election contest. However. Commission on Elections. is imbued with public interest since it involves not only the adjudication of the private interests of rival candidates but also the paramount need of dispelling the uncertainty which beclouds the real choice of the electorate with respect to who shall discharge the prerogatives of the office within their gift. clearly require that a motion for reconsideration should be verified. we have declared: It has been frequently decided. Thus. this Court. is clothed with a public interest. The purpose of an election protest is to ascertain whether the candidate proclaimed by the board of canvassers is the lawful choice of the people. the COMELEC 2 nd Division committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing petitioner’s protest.

rollo. The essence of due process is to be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard and to submit any evidence in support of one’s claim or defense. the COMELEC “must not be straitjacketed by procedural rules in resolving election disputes. Commission on Elections. 2010-23 and to resolve the same with dispatch. The COMELEC 2nd Division is hereby DIRECTED to continue with the proceedings in EPC No.” In the present case. which can only be achieved by brushing aside technicalities of procedure which protract and delay the trial of an ordinary action. 22 It is the denial of this opportunity that constitutes violation of due process of law. 1 Annex “D” to Petition. id. sake of public interest. 22-36. at 77. without taking into consideration the violation of his right to procedural due process. the fact that petitioner somehow acquired knowledge or information of the date set for the preliminary conference by means other than the official notice sent by the COMELEC is not an excuse to dismiss his protest. . 2Annex “E” to Petition. This is precisely the reason why petitioner was only able to file his Preliminary Conference Brief on the day of the conference itself. the COMELEC en banc is also guilty of grave abuse of discretion. Petitioner’s election protest is REINSTATED.20 and De Castro v. id. Hence.21 where the Court held that in exercising its powers and jurisdiction. Petitioner’s counsel may not likewise be blamed for failing to appear during the scheduled conference because of prior commitments and for. id. procedural due process demands prior notice and hearing. 2010. 2010-23 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. filing an Urgent Motion to Reset Preliminary Conference. instead. id. 4Annex “H” to Petition. the petition for certiorari is GRANTED. 2010. at 88-91. Commission on Elections. the COMELEC en banc should have considered the merits of the said motion in light of petitioner’s meritorious claim that he was not given timely notice of the date set for the preliminary conference. as well as the Order of the COMELEC en banc dated September 21. because it cannot be denied that he was not afforded reasonable notice and time to adequately prepare for and submit his brief. notwithstanding the fact that petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was not verified. at 79-84.23 More particularly. as defined by its mandate to protect the integrity of elections. WHEREFORE. by denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.19 This principle was reiterated in the more recent consolidated cases of Tolentino v. 3 Annex “F” to Petition. pp. in EPC No. 5Annex “J” to Petition.24 As discussed above. The Order of the COMELEC 2nd Division dated August 12. at 59-67.

20G. 187958. at 80. id. Commission on Elections. April 7. April 7. 87. Solicitor-General Paredes. No. 518 SCRA 759. 2010. 14Resolution No.R.R. Nos. 598. No. 15440 Phil. No. 94-98. 8804 approved by the COMELEC en banc on March 22. July 15. 187966-68. 179556. citing Sandoval v. citing Barroso v. 13See Letter from Electoral Contests Adjudication Department dated August 13.R. 2009. 593 SCRA 139. 22Octava v. at 19-20. for Appellant. at 88. 21G. v. 17G. 541-542. Commission on Elections. No.6Annex “I” to Petition. 187961. 488. and 187962. Gomez v. EN BANC [G.R. G. at 1062-1063. 617 SCRA 575. Nos. 18G. 150. 16Id. 19Id. id. . Commission on Elections. 181478. id. 138218. 2000. 460 Phil. pp. 9-12. 23Octava v. 392 (2000). 12Id. 617 SCRA 575.R. Defendant-Appellant. supra. 597 SCRA 189. 166105. ELIAS CUETO. ] THE UNITED STATES. 2009. Godofredo Reyes. 598. 9 Annex “B” to Petition. 579 SCRA 472. 24Namil v. at 764. No.R. 760 (2003). March 22. Ampig. for Appellee. Plaintiff-Appellee.R. 2010. 763. 11 Records. October 29. 375. at 203-204. 7 Annex “A” to Petition. p. 13626. 10Rollo. 2010. at 85. at 18. February 13. 2010. G. 2007. id. 186224. 328 SCRA 530. Alcantara. 1918. 380 Phil. 2009. G. 751. March 17. August 25. 1045 (2002). No. 8 Annex “M” to Petition. Commission on Elections. id.R.

when called upon to assist a disabled voter. PURPOSE.. are proved to have been intentionally committed. ID.. ID. with this in his possession. 12 Phil.. Toribio Briones. 6.. ID.. however. When once outside the dark booth. Carpenter [1889]. 3. (U. 672. ID. ID. should always be imposed on election officers who violate the law. — An election inspector who. 330. as required by law. ID. De la Serna and Callet [1909].. in giving assistance to a disabled voter. Province of Tayabas. by those having charge of such elections.) 4. ID. ID. Either the maximum or a penalty approaching the maximum.. ID.. and the decision in that case imposing the maximum penalty on an election inspector. J... ID. — The primal feature of the Australian ballot system. 41 Fed. entered the polling place.. 762). S. belonged to the Mayo party. such as is circulated at election time. ID. DECISION MALCOLM. — The election inspector. ID. a qualified elector. — An inspector who fails to write upon the ballot the name or names expressly indicated by the voter is guilty of a fraud practiced against the voter and thus of a violation of the penal provisions of the Election Law. and who disregards the wishes of the voter in writing down the name of a candidate for office.SYLLABUS 1. PENALTIES. ASSISTANCE TO DISABLED VOTERS. Elias Cueto. ID. the mechanical act of preparing the ballot. Rep. 37 Phil. or knowingly permitted. which naturally or necessarily have that effect... is guilty of a violation of the Election Law. ELECTIONS. namely. ID. DUTIES. S. ID. the candidate for municipal president found on the slip of paper. — The doctrine announced in The United States v.. ELECTION LAW. is to allow the citizen to vote secretly for whom he pleases. now the defendant and appellant.." (U. Being a disabled person. 2. Instead. He was given a slip containing the slate of candidates of the Mayo faction for the different offices. does so without the aid of another inspector. Cueto inserted the name of Magbiray. ID... of copying the name of Mayo. quoted.. and. has but one function to perform. The exercise of any discretion as to the selection of candidates for the voter assisted is prohibited to the marker. and the substitution of his own for the voter’s choice in such selection is a flagrant violation of an official trust.) 5. ID. Briones secured the assistance of Cueto to prepare his ballot. was an election inspector for an election precinct in the municipality of Tiaong. v. as adopted for the Philippines. 1916. ID. although still able when necessary to read and write. for whom Briones desired to vote. because of failing sight and rheumatism in his hand. v. : In the general election held on June 6. and differentiated. two gentlemen named Mayo and Magbiray were candidates. For the position of municipal president of this municipality. free from improper influences. — "The intent to affect the result of the election is properly presumed when unlawful acts. approved. ELECTION INSPECTORS. Briones . Iturrius ([1918].

43. is the aim of the law. Spanish. and speak either English. and able to read. Act No. a violation of the Election Law. The central idea of the Australian ballot law. 104. This statement. To accomplish these ends. party. and sentenced to two months imprisonment and to pay the costs. Board v. however. 1582 was enacted. To hold this office it was necessary for him to have certain qualifications. 26 Okla. with another inspector. He had to be a qualified elector of his precinct.) An inspector who fails to write upon the ballot the name or names expressly indicated by the voter is guilty of a fraud practiced against the voter and thus of a violation of the penal . namely. society.. not convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude.) The election inspector in giving assistance to a disabled voter has but one function to perform. x x x ". [1912] B. 521. 453. The accused took an oath. All the efforts to secure a free and untrammeled expression of the elector’s will lead up to and depart from that point. and convicted of. The law made it his duty. a new ballot with the name of Mayo was prepared for him by the election inspector.noticed that his ballot contained the name of Magbiray and. disposes of the sole assignment of error by the Appellant. Its primal feature was to allow the citizen to vote secretly for whom he pleased.ph "The purity of elections is one of the most important and fundamental requisites of popular government. violated this provision of the law by acting alone). with the addition of what is hereafter said. The exercise of any discretion as to the selection of candidates for the voter assisted is prohibited to the marker. Dill [1910]. 54. and is generically called by textwriters the Australian ballot law. to render precarious and uncertain the bartering of votes. was an election inspector. that they shall vote in absolute secrecy. Rep. this law is a counterpart of the ballot laws almost universally adopted within comparatively recent times in the United States. Watkins [1901]. 21 Ont. as so often expressed in the cases. Re Prangley. Cueto was charged with. St. of good character. (Patton v. 550):jgc:chanrobles. (See sections 417-424. 26 Phil. and lastly. 101. on his objecting. To carry out this purpose. and then revised by the Philippine Legislature. to prepare ballots for disabled persons."cralaw virtua1aw library The accused. in conjunction with another inspector (the accused. Ann. as already remarked. honestly and justly to administer his duties according to the Election Law without prejudice or favor toward any persons candidate. the Election Law was carefully drafted and enacted. Rep. As was well said in the instructive decision in Gardiner v. 131 Ala. Cas. 90 Am. Administrative Code of 1917. In its essential details.. to ascertain the wishes of the disabled voter and to prepare the ballot of the voter in proper form according to his wishes. to secure a fair and honest count of the ballots cast. is to shroud the marking of the ballots in absolute secrecy. To banish the spectre of revenge from the minds of the timid or defenseless. This law requires that only qualified electors shall be admitted to the polls. 387. and the substitution of his own for the voter’s choice in such selection is a flagrant violation of an official trust.. and that the returns shall be justly compiled and announced. L. or religious sect. . or the local dialect understandingly.com.. On these facts. free from improper influences. the mechanical act of preparing the ballot. One of his functions was. The Philippine Bill and subsequent Acts of Congress conceded to qualified persons the high prerogative of suffrage. write. Romulo ([1914]. . and his duty only. which we find supported by the proof..

are to be continued or permitted by those in authority. the men who shall make laws for them. v.com. If republics are to survive and if the people are to continue to exercise the right to govern themselves and to directly participate in the affairs of their government by selecting their representatives by secret ballot. have a voice in the form of his government. Such a right is among the most important and sacred of the rights of the people in self-government. such as is described in the complaint in the present case. has convicted himself of an attempt to defeat the will of the people in their participation in the affairs of their own self-government. and when he does that. by secret ballot. p. Eternal vigilance is the price paid by a free people for a continuance of their right to directly participate in the affairs of their government.provisions of the Election Law. Carpenter [1889]. 672. we are constrained to infer the motive from the act. If nefarious practices of officials of the government. Designing. 330. ambitious. every person who attempts. without stint or favor.. if the people are off their guard. De la Serna and Callet [1909]. S. an election officer is not responsible for a mere mistake in judgment but only for a willful disregard of duty. It behooves the people under a free government to prosecute to the limit. and will finally undermine the very foundations of self-government and the rights of the people. in accordance with law. 344. and punishment is not meted out speedily and severely upon those who rob the people of their political rights. They have been given a right to participate directly in the form of government under which they live. because there is no criminal intent. although he does not live up to the law there is no crime.) The election officer. of intelligent deliberation leading him to judgment. as in the instant case. whether connected with contract or crime. and one which must be most vigilantly guarded if a people desires to maintain for themselves and their posterity a republican form of government in which the individual may. Justice Johnson said:jgc:chanrobles. undermines the entire edifice of democratic institutions and is deserving of the severest condemnation. criminal intent exists. notwithstanding this duty. by those having charge of such elections. because of the doctrine enunciated in the decision. to interfere with. should be known to all. or knowingly permitted. 41 Fed. which naturally or necessarily have that effect. in the affairs of their government. their direct participation. but also violated his oath of office in which he asked . In a case which was decided by the first division of this court and which. (U. v. Mr. "The color of the act determines the complexion of the intent. deliberately disregards the wishes of the voter. (See 15 Cyc. the result is generally a revolution in which the people again repossess themselves of the jewels of personal and political liberty and the right to self-government.. by his own confession. 12 Phil. through blood and carnage. S. by secret ballot." (U. The people of the Philippine Islands have been granted the right to select. and unscrupulous politicians. The intent to affect the result of the election is properly presumed when unlawful acts. In the investigation of human affairs.ph "Rarely are the courts called upon to decide criminal cases which show a greater culpability on the part of an appellant than the facts in the present case. corrupt.) But when.) Of course. citing numerous cases.. All that the law requires of an election officer is the exercise of prudence. under the forms prescribed by law. the election officer is given a specific duty to perform and. The appellant. or who attempts to defeat. are proved to have been intentionally committed. then the maxims of such a government must be left to the watchful care and reverential guardianship of the people. will ingeniously and persistently encroach upon the rights of an unwary people. who scorns the law which he is sworn to enforce. in the slightest degree. "The defendant not only convicts himself out of his own mouth of an attempt to defeat the will of the people of his district in their effort to choose their representatives in the legislative branch of the government.

God to help him honestly and justly to administer his duties as an inspector of elections
without prejudice or favor toward any person, candidate, party, society, or religious sect,
which oath must have been taken freely or without evasion or mental reservation
whatsoever. (Section 516. Act No. 2657: section 419, Act No. 2711.) In addition to
convicting himself of an attempt to violate the rights of the people, together with the
violation of a solemn oath, he also convicts himself of the falsification of a public document,
and might be punished for the latter offense in a manner very much more severe than for
the crime for which he is being tried. (Articles 300 and 301 of the Penal Code, as amended
by Act No. 2712.)

"In consideration of all of the foregoing, we are of the opinion that the maximum penalty of
the law should be imposed. Therefore, the sentence of the lower court is hereby revoked,
and it is hereby ordered and decreed that the defendant and appellant be sentenced to be
imprisoned for a period of one year and to pay a fine of P500 and costs, and, in case of
insolvency, to suffer subsidiary imprisonment for the payment of said fine." (U. S. v. Iturrius
[1918], 37 Phil., 762.)

The law provides as a punishment for an election officer who fails to perform his official
duties, imprisonment for not less than one month nor more than one year, or by a fine of
not less than P200 nor more than P500, or both. (Section 2639, Administrative Code of
1917.) In the decision above quoted, the maximum penalty was, for good reason, imposed.
There the facts were aggravated because the election officer had manipulated and changed
the election totals. Herein, while the inner purpose of the defendant was just as bad, the
result was not as disastrous. However, believing that either the maximum, or a penalty
approaching the maximum, should always be imposed on election officers who violate the
law, we must proceed to increase the sentence imposed by the lower court so that the
defendant and appellant shall be condemned to six months imprisonment, and to pay a fine
of P250, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and with the costs of both
instances against him. So ordered.

Torres, Johnson, Street, Avanceña and Fisher, JJ., concur.

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 154198. January 20, 2003]

PETRONILA S. RULLODA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC), ELECTION
OFFICER LUDIVICO L. ASUNCION OF SAN JACINTO, PANGASINAN; BARANGAY BOARD
OF CANVASSERS OF BRGY. STO. TOMAS, SAN JACINTO, PANGASINAN, Board of
Election Tellers of Prec. Nos. 30A/30A1, 31A, 31A1, and 32A1, and REMEGIO
PLACIDO, respondents.

DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

In the barangay elections of July 15, 2002, Romeo N. Rulloda and Remegio L. Placido were the
contending candidates for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas, San Jacinto, Pangasinan. On June 22,
2002, Romeo suffered a heart attack and passed away at the Mandaluyong City Medical Center. [1]
His widow, petitioner Petronila Betty Rulloda, wrote a letter to the Commission on Elections on June
25, 2002 seeking permission to run as candidate for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas in lieu of her late
husband.[2] Petitioners request was supported by the Appeal-Petition containing several signatures of
people purporting to be members of the electorate of Barangay Sto. Tomas. [3]
On July 14, 2002, Election Officer Ludivico L. Asuncion issued a directive to the Chairman and
Members of the Barangay Board of Canvassers of Sto. Tomas as follows:

Just in case the names BETTY or PETRONILA or the surname RULLODA is written on the ballot, read the same as
it is written but add the words NOT COUNTED like BETTY NOT COUNTED or RULLODA NOT COUNTED.[4]

Based on the tally of petitioners watchers who were allowed to witness the canvass of votes during
the July 15, 2002 elections, petitioner garnered 516 votes while respondent Remegio Placido received
290 votes.[5] Despite this, the Board of Canvassers proclaimed Placido as the Barangay Chairman of Sto.
Tomas.[6]
After the elections, petitioner learned that the COMELEC, acting on the separate requests of Andres
Perez Manalaysay and Petronila Rulloda to be substituted as candidates for Barangay Chairman of
Barangay La Fuente, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija and Barangay Sto. Tomas, San Jacinto, Pangasinan,
respectively, issued Resolution No. 5217 dated July 13, 2002 which states:

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to ADOPT the
recommendation of the Law Department as follows:

1. To deny due course the Certificates of Candidacy of ANDRES PEREZ MANALAYSAY and
PETRONILA S. RULLODA; and
2. To direct the Election Officer of Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija and San Jacinto, Pangasinan to
delete the name of ANDRES PEREZ MANALAYSAY, candidate for Barangay Chairman in
Barangay La Fuente, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija; and the name of PETRONILA S. RULLODA,
candidate for Barangay Captain in Barangay Sto. Tomas, San Jacinto, Pangasinan.

Let the Law Department implement this resolution.

SO ORDERED.[7]

The above-quoted Resolution cited as authority the COMELECs Resolution No. 4801 dated May 23,
2002, setting forth the guidelines on the filing of certificates of candidacy in connection with the July 15,
2002 synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, more particularly Section 9 thereof
which reads:

Sec. 9. Substitution of candidates. There shall be no substitution of candidates for barangay and sangguniang
kabataan officials.[8]

Hence, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari, seeking to annul Section 9 of Resolution No.
4801 and Resolution No. 5217, both of the COMELEC, insofar as they prohibited petitioner from running
as substitute candidate in lieu of her deceased husband; to nullify the proclamation of respondent; and to
proclaim her as the duly elected Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas, San Jacinto, Pangasinan.
Private respondent Remegio Placido filed his Comment, arguing that since the barangay election is
non-partisan, substitution of candidates is not allowed. Moreover, petitioner did not file any certificate of

candidacy; hence, there was only one candidate for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas, namely,
respondent Placido.[9]
Public respondent COMELEC also filed its Comment. It contends that its Resolution No. 4801 was
issued not pursuant to its quasi-judicial functions but as an incident of its inherent administrative functions
over the conduct of the barangay elections. Therefore, the same may not be the subject of review in a
petition for certiorari. Further, the COMELEC alleges that it did not commit grave abuse of discretion in
denying due course to petitioners certificate of candidacy and in proclaiming respondent considering that
he was the only candidate for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas. [10]
We find merit in the petition.
At the outset, there is no dispute that petitioner garnered 516 votes while respondent got only 290
votes. Respondents did not deny this in their respective Comments.
In our jurisdiction, an election means the choice or selection of candidates to public office by popular
vote through the use of the ballot, and the elected officials which are determined through the will of the
electorate. An election is the embodiment of the popular will, the expression of the sovereign power of the
people. The winner is the candidate who has obtained a majority or plurality of valid votes cast in the
election. Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who receive the highest
number of votes cast in the election for that office. For, in all republican forms of government the basic
idea is 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. [11]
Respondents base their argument that the substitution of candidates is not allowed in barangay
elections on Section 77 of the Omnibus Elections Code, which states:

Section 77. Candidates in case of death, disqualification or withdrawal of another. If after the last day of the filing
of certificates of candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is
disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging to, and certified by the same political party may file a certificate
of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified. 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 election. If the death, withdrawal or disqualification should occur
between the day before the election and mid-day of election day, said certificate may be filed with any board of
election inspectors in the political subdivision where he is a candidate or, in the case of candidates to be voted by the
entire electorate of the country, with the Commission.

Private respondent argues that inasmuch as the barangay election is non-partisan, there can be no
substitution because there is no political party from which to designate the substitute. Such an
interpretation, aside from being non sequitur, ignores the purpose of election laws which is to give effect
to, rather than frustrate, the will of the voters. [12] It is a solemn duty to uphold the clear and unmistakable
mandate of the people. It is well-settled that in case of doubt, political laws must be so construed as to
give life and spirit to the popular mandate freely expressed through the ballot. [13]
Contrary to respondents claim, the absence of a specific provision governing substitution of
candidates in barangay elections can not be inferred as a prohibition against said substitution. Such a
restrictive construction cannot be read into the law where the same is not written. Indeed, there is more
reason to allow the substitution of candidates where no political parties are involved than when political
considerations or party affiliations reign, a fact that must have been subsumed by law.
Private respondent likewise contends that the votes in petitioners favor can not be counted because
she did not file any certificate of candidacy. In other words, he was the only candidate for Barangay
Chairman. His claim is refuted by the Memorandum of the COMELEC Law Department as well as the
assailed Resolution No. 5217, wherein it indubitably appears that petitioners letter-request to be allowed
to run as Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas in lieu of her late husband was treated as a certificate of
candidacy.[14]

The proclamation of respondent Remegio L. 67. p.. citing Benito v. Concurring Opinion of Justice Artemio V.. Bellosillo. 2002. 442 [1994]. G. pp. Vitug. is declared NULL and VOID. 5217 of the Commission on Elections. 68-82. Austria-Martinez. Mendoza. [11] Carlos v.. COMELEC. [13] Bengson III v. supra. COMELEC. it was petitioner who obtained the plurality of votes in the contested election. 147909. Jr. concur. 346 SCRA 571. Carpio . and technicalities and procedural barriers must yield if they constitute an obstacle to the determination of the true will of the electorate in the choice of their elective officials.. 46. [2] Ibid. pp. [15] Election contests involve public interest. [3] Ibid. 42-43. Corona. in the result. 582 [2000]. et al.[16] WHEREFORE. Jr. San Jacinto. citing Frivaldo v. the instant petition is GRANTED.. [1] Rollo. March 12. insofar as it denied due course to petitioners certificate of candidacy. 40-43. 148941-42. pro hac vice only. [10] Ibid. at 38. JJ. . in view of the foregoing. COMELEC.. in the result. No.. pp. Laws governing election contests must be liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by mere technical objections. April 16. pp. Pangasinan is SET ASIDE. Panganiban. 83. and Azcuna. and Quisumbing. 33-39..R. Puno. and the Board of Canvassers of the said Barangay is ORDERED to proclaim petitioner as the duly elected Barangay Chairman thereof. pp.Technicalities and procedural niceties in election cases should not be made to stand in the way of the true will of the electorate.. Panganiban. 257 SCRA 727 [1996]. 235 SCRA 436. pp. J. 357 SCRA 545.. [6] Ibid. COMELEC. [14] Rollo.. 2002. Angeles.. Nos. p.. To reiterate. Tomas.. Placido as Barangay Chairman of Sto.R. [7] Ibid. et al. The assailed Resolution No.. The Court frowns upon any interpretation of the law that would hinder in any way not only the free and intelligent casting of the votes in an election but also the correct ascertainment of the results. SO ORDERED. Sr. Sandoval-Gutierrez.. v. pp. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. 133-137. [9] Ibid. JJ. [12] Papandayan. [4] Ibid... Angeles. [16] OHara v. 566 [2001]. p. G. [8] Ibid. et al. 47. p. Davide. [15] Carlos v. 122-125. 49-64. [5] Ibid. Callejo. Carpio- Morales.

12. each local government unit shall submit its resolution of concurrence to join the Subic Special Economic Zone to the Office of the President. the lands occupied by the Subic Naval Base and its contiguous extensions as embraced. petitioner.Subject to the concurrence by resolution of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Olongapo and the Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipalities of Subic. .all with the purpose of nurturing.: The 1987 Constitution is unique in many ways. 1992. Bataan. 1996 and Resolution No. CALIMBAS. ENRIQUE T. September 26. Serye 1993. [2] Petitioner was organized with an authorized capital stock of P20 billion which was fully subscribed and fully paid up by the Republic of the . It also sets down some guidelines in the conduct and implementation of these two novel and vital features of popular democracy.R. Thereafter. it institutionalized people power in law- making. In this action for certiorari and prohibition. covered and defined by the 1947 Military Bases Agreement between the Philippines and the United States of America as amended. Learning from the bitter lesson of completely surrendering to Congress the sole authority to make. the President of the Philippines shall issue a proclamation defining the metes and bounds of the zone as provided herein. For one thing. 125416. DECISION PANGANIBAN. this Court distinguishes referendum from initiative and discusses the practical and legal implications of such differences. Province of Bataan. respondents. there is hereby created a Special Economic and Free-port Zone consisting of the City of Olongapo and the Municipality of Subic. No. Within thirty (30) days after the approval of this Act. as well as settles some relevant questions on jurisdiction -. hereinafter referred to as the Subic Special Economic Zone whose metes and bounds shall be delineated in a proclamation to be issued by the President of the Philippines. Subic Special Economic Zone. Province of Zambales.EN BANC [G. which among others. Morong and Hermosa. J. and within the territorial jurisdiction of the Municipalities of Morong and Hermosa. thus: "Sec. the present Constitution concurrently vested such prerogatives in the electorate by expressly recognizing their residual and sovereign authority to ordain legislation directly through the concepts and processes of initiative and of referendum. amend or repeal laws." (Underscoring supplied) RA 7227 likewise created petitioner to implement the declared national policy of converting the Subicmilitary reservation into alternative productive uses. GARCIA and CATALINO A. 2848 promulgated on June 27. protecting and promoting the people's exercise of direct democracy. In this Decision. The Facts On March 13. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. 7227 (The Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992). petitioner seeks to nullify the respondent Commission on Elections' Ruling dated April 17. provided for the creation of the Subic Special Economic Zone. of the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong. Congress enacted Republic Act No. 1996 [1] denying petitioner's plea to stop the holding of a local initiative and referendum on the proposition to recall Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 1996] SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY. vs. 10.

covered and defined in Section 12 hereof. (K) Isama ang mga lupain ng Bataan na nakapaloob sa SBMA sa pagkukuenta ng salaping ipinagkaloob ng pamahalaang national o 'Internal Revenue Allotment' (IRA) sa Morong. respondents Garcia. Palitan ito ng isang Pambayang kapasiyahan na aanib lamang ang Morong sa SSEFZ kung ang mga sumusunod na kondisyones ay ipagkakaloob. The Sangguniang Bayan of Morong also informed respondents that items (D) and (H) had already been referred to and favorably acted upon by the government agencies concerned. expressing therein its absolute concurrence. Bataan passed a Pambayang Kapasyahan Bilang 10. or transferred to another government agency. Calimbas. 1993. (I) Tapusin ang pagkokonkreto ng mga daang Morong-Tala-Orani at Morong-Tasig-Dinalupihan para sa kabutihan ng mga taga-Bataan at tuloy makatulong sa pangangalaga ng mga kabundukan. 1993. as well as permanent improvements and fixtures upon proper inventory not otherwise alienated. et al. Serye 1993. (H) Pabayaang bukas ang pinto ng SBMA na nasa Morong ng 24 na oras at bukod dito sa magbukas pa ng pinto sa hangganan naman ng Morong at Hermosa upang magkaroon ng pagkakataong umunlad rin ang mga nasabing bayan. as required by said Sec.A. . among other assets. ipatutupad at isasagawa para sa kapakanan at interes ng Morong at Bataan: (A) Ibalik sa Bataan ang 'Virgin Forests' -. The petition prayed for the following: "I.[3] On November 24. 1992. the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong submitted Pambayang Kapasyahan Bilang 10. Immediately.Philippines with. No. (B). (E) and (G) of private respondents' petition. In April 1993. 12 of RA 7227. particularly those concerning the matters cited in items (A). 10. particularly the preservation of the seaports. (J) Magkakaroon ng sapat na representasyon sa pamunuan ng SBMA ang Morong. airports. Calimbas and their companions filed a petition with the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong to annul Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. nulipikahin at pawalang-bisa ang Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. by promulgating Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. Hermosa at Dinalupihan. (E) Ibase sa laki ng kanya-kanyang lupa ang pamamahagi ng kikitain ng SBMA. the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong. buildings. pati na rin ng iba pang bayan ng Bataan. to join the Subic Special Economic Zone. "(a)ll lands embraced. (B) Ihiwalay ang Grande Island sa SSEFZ at ibalik ito sa Bataan. such as the Bases Conversion Development Authority and the Office of the President. (D) Payagang magtatag rin ng sariling 'special economic zones' ang bawat bayan ng Morong. 10 Serye 1993 ng Sangguniang Bayan para sa pag-anib ng Morong sa SSEFZ na walang kundisyon. (G) Ibase rin ang alokasyon ng pagbibigay ng trabaho sa laki ng nasabing mga lupa. On September 5. II. petitioner commenced the implementation of its task. (K). the American navy turned over the Subic military reservation to the Philippine government. Hermosa at Bataan." The Sangguniang Bayan of Morong acted upon the petition of respondents Garcia. conveyed. Hermosa at sa Lalawigan. Serye 1993. Serye 1993. requesting Congress of the Philippines to amend certain provisions of R. Serye 1993 to the Office of the President.isang bundok na hindi nagagalaw at punong-puno ng malalaking punong- kahoy at iba't-ibang halaman. Bawiin. 7227. 18. houses and other installations left by the American navy. On May 24.

2848 providing for "the rules and guidelines to govern the conduct of the referendum proposing to annul or repeal Kapasyahan Blg. On July 10. (2) x x x petitioner seeks to overturn a decision/judgment which has long become final and executory. On February 1. Serye 1993. 1993. [4] Sec. respondent Comelec issued Resolution No. private respondent Garcia claims that (1) petitioner has failed to show the existence of an actual case or controversy. Not satisfied. that public respondent "is intent on proceeding with a local initiative that proposes an amendment of a national law. Serye 1993 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong. 122. 2848 and alleging. 93-1676) further directed its Provincial Election Supervisor to hold action on the authentication of signatures being solicited by private respondents. adopting therein a "Calendar of Activities for local referendum on certain municipal ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong. On June 18. 1996. x x x" The Issues The petition[6] presents the following "argument": "Respondent Commission on Elections committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in scheduling a local initiative which seeks the amendment of a national law. inter alia. giving notice thereof to the sanggunian concerned. Saturday). - xxxxxxxxx (b) If no favorable action thereon is taken by the sanggunian concerned. Bataan". Bataan. 2845. 1996. and which indicated. 122 paragraph (b) of which provides as follows: "Sec. including Grande Island and that portion of the former naval base within the territorial jurisdiction of the Municipality of Morong. the scheduled referendum Day (July 27. 12 of RA 7227. 1995. Said proclamation included in the SSEZ all the lands within the former Subic Naval Base. On August 15. respondent Commission En Banc in Comelec Resolution No. x x x x x x x x x. 10. 93-1676 insofar as it prevented the Provincial Election Supervisor of Bataan from proceeding with the authentication of the required number of signatures in support of the initiative and the gathering of signatures. 1996. petitioner instituted the present petition for certiorari and prohibition contesting the validity of Resolution No. to set aside Comelec Resolution No. Bataan". 532 defining the metes and bounds of the SSEZ. may invoke their power of initiative. Procedure in Local Initiative. 93-1623 insofar as it disallowed the conduct of a local initiative to annul Pambayang Kapasyahan Bilang 10. herein respondents resorted to their power of initiative under the Local Government Code of 1991." On July 6. 1993. On July 13. 93-1623 denied the petition for local initiative by herein private respondents on the ground that the subject thereof was merely a resolution (pambayang kapasyahan) and not an ordinance. 1996. and within 30 days from submission of their petition. among others. pursuant to Sec. (3) x x x public respondent has not abused its discretion and has in fact . 1993. On June 27. the proponents. the President of the Philippines issued proclamation No. public respondent Comelec En Banc (thru Comelec Resolution no. through their duly authorized and registered representatives. the Comelec promulgated the assailed Resolution No. and Comelec Resolution No." In his Comment. private respondents instituted a petition for certiorari and mandamus[5] before this Court against the Commission on Elections and the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong.

No. the Court received by facsimile transmission an Order dated also on July 23. Garcia. dated July 22. Enrique Garcia. the Court believes that the issues may be restated as follows: (1) Whether this petition "seeks to overturn a decision/judgment which has long become final and executory". 1996." [7] The Solicitor General. July 23. J. Rodolfo O. is on leave. 10. 1996. filed by: (b-1) the Solicitor General for respondent Commission on Elections dated July 19. identified two issues. Oscar L. whether or not Commission on Elections would push through with the initiative/referendum this Saturday. after which. as counsel for public respondent. and Atty. 1996. the case shall be considered SUBMITTED for resolution. the Court heard oral argument by the parties. Reyes appeared and argued for petitioner Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) while Atty. (b) Separate Comments on the petition. the Court directed the counsel for both parties to INFORM this Court by Friday. No. 1996." Private respondent Calimbas. Bataan.acted within its jurisdiction..R. 1996 and (b-2) counsel for private respondent Enrique T. as follows: "1. Bellosillo. At the hearing of this case this morning. Estoesta and Solicitor Zenaida Hernandez-Perez appeared for respondent Commission on Elections with Solicitor General Goco arguing. Puno.' In view of this Order.R. 1996 and (c) Manifestation filed by counsel for petitioner dated July 22. Thereafter. et al. Garcia. filed by counsel for respondent Catalino Calimbas. . Assistant Solicitor General Cecilio O. dated July 22." On July 23. (and) (4) x x x the concurrence of local government units is required for the establishment of the Subic Special Economic Zone. the petitioner's application for a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction has become moot and academic and will thus not be passed upon by this Court at this time. 2. dated July 22. 1996. Sixto Brillantes for private respondent Enrique T. et al.m. namely G.. Before the Court adjourned. Karaan for respondent Catalino Calimbas. Serye 1993 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong. it issued the following resolution: "The Court Resolved to (1) GRANT the Motion to Admit the Attached Comment filed by counsel for private respondent Enrique T.. Solicitor General Raul Goco. 1996 pending resolution of G. July 27. 111230. J. vs. Whether or not the Comelec can be enjoined from scheduling/conducting the local intiative proposing to annul Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg." After careful study of and judicious deliberation on the submissions and arguments of the parties. Garcia. Atty. respondent Calimbas discovered that the demands in the petition for a local initiative/referendum were not legally feasible. 1996 from the respondent Commission on Elections En Banc inter alia 'to hold in abeyance the scheduled referendum (initiative) on July 27. 1996. in his Reply (should be Comment) joined petitioner's cause because "(a)fter several meetings with petitioner's Chairman and staff and after consultation with legal counsel. no part due to relationship. At 2:50 p. 1996 and (2) NOTE the: (a) Reply (should be comment) to the petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunctiom. Whether or not the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in denying the request of petitioner SBMA to stop the local initiative. now the incumbent Mayor of Morong. Commission on Elections. July 26. 125416.

in fine. 10. or amend any ordinance. . serye 1993 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong. Bataan. petitioner is not contesting the propriety of municipal resolution as the form by which these two new constitutional prerogatives of the people may validly exercised. or local legislative body x x x'. and the exceptions therefrom. whether such initiative "seeks the amendment of a national law. Title XI. 10. Chapter 2. as a legislature.Local initiative is the legal process whereby the registered voters of a local government unit may directly propose. No. Serye 1993 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong.R. that interpretations will be adopted which will avoid the effect of unconstitutionality. vs. enact. edicts. 2848 which "govern(s) the conduct of the referendum proposing to annul or repeal Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. We quote from our said Decision:[9] "In light of this legal backdrop. we reviewed our rollo in said G. 2848. et al. 111230 and we found that the sole issue presented by the pleadings was the question of "whether or not a Sangguniang Bayan Resolution can be the subjectof a valid initiative or referendum". it bears emphasizing. for this purpose. is sufficient in form and substance for submission to the people for their approval.Section 32 of Article VI provides in luminous language: 'The Congress shall. whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof passed by the Congress. judgement. Serye 1993. even though it may be necessary.' We reject respondent's narrow and literal reading of the above provision for it will collide with the Constitution and will subvert the intent of the lawmakers in enacting the provisions of the Local Government of 1991 on initiative and referendum. as early as possible. 10.the very same proposition. . . . Bataan is the proper subject of an initiative. The Constitution clearly includes not only ordinances but resolutions as appropriate subjects of a local initiative. Bataan is now sought to be enjoined by petitioner x x x".[10] In the present case. but also decrees. The only issue resolved in the earlier Garcia case is whether a municipal resolution as contra-distinguished from an ordinance may be the proper subject of an initiative and/or referendum. Respondents take the negative stance as they contend that under the Local Government Code of 1991 only an ordinance can be the subject of initiative.(2) Whether the respondent Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in promulgating and implementing its Resolution No. if the words or provisions are obscure. laws. -. al. the submission of which to the people of Morong. it may denote something done . Garcia. the essential issue to be resolved in the case at bench is whether Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. Book I of the Local Government Code of 1991 which provides: 'Local Initiative Defined. Black defines an acts 'an expression of will or purpose ." First Issue: Bar by Final Judgment Respondent Garcia contends that this Court had already ruled with finality in Enrique T. whether the Comelec acted properly and juridically in promulgating and implementing Resolution No. we held in In Re Guarina that if there is doubt or uncertainly as to the meaning of the legislative. including not merely physical acts. as worded. An act includes a resolution. resolves. to disregard the more usual or apparent import of the language used. In line with this postulates. They rely on Section 120. awards and determination x x x. Bataan on the subject proposition -. et. Commission on Elections.' It is basic that a law should be construed in harmony with and not in violation of the Constitution.' " Moreover. We disagree.[8] on "the very issue raised in (the) petition: whether or not there can be an initiative by the people of Morong.. or if the enactment is fairly susceptible of two or more construction. i. . What is at issue here is whether Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg." and (3) Whether the questioned local initiative covers a subject within the powers of the people of Morong to enact. provide for a system of initiative and referendum.e.

"Referendum Board of Canvassers" and the ballots themselves bore the description "referendum". and a. Along these statutory definitions. 120.2. Initiative on local legislation which refers to a petition proposing to enact a regional. Referendum on statutes which refers to a petition to approve or reject an act or law. Justice Isagani A. namely: c. and to enact or reject them at the polls independent of the legislative assembly. or part thereof. And yet. not once was the word "initiative" used in said body of Resolution No. 2848 The main issue in this case may be re-started thus: Did respondent Comelec commit grave abuse of discretion in promulgating and implementing Resolution No. the canvassers.3. namely: a. To repeat. Initiative on statutes which refers to a petition proposing to enact a national legislation. he explains that referendum "is the right reserved to the people to adopt or reject any act or measure which has been passed by a legislative body and which in most cases would without action on the part of electors become a law. city. It may be of two classes. To begin with." On the other hand. Referendum on local law which refers to a petition to approve or reject a law. which are based on Black's[14] and other leading American authorities.1. Local Initiative Defined. resolution or ordinance enacted by regional assemblies and local legislative bodies.[12] Congress differentiated one term from the other. -. The Comelec labeled the exercise as a "Referendum". or barangay law. (c) "Referendum" is the power of the electorate to approve or reject a legislation through an election called for the purpose. and c. thus: (a) "Initiative" is the power of the people to propose amendments to the Constitution or to propose and enact legislations through an election called for the purpose.2. In enacting the "Initiative and Referendum Act. In fact. enact. (b) "Indirect initiative" is exercise of initiative by the people through a proposition sent to Congress or the local legislative body for action. the counting of votes was entrusted to a "Referendum Committee". the process started by private respondents was an INITIATIVE but respondent Comelec made preparations for a REFERENDUM only. or amend any ordinance. in the body of the Resolution [11] as reproduced in the footnote below the word "referendum" is repeated at least 27 times. .1. Cruz [13] defines initiative as the "power of the people to propose bills and laws. 2848. are echoed in the Local Government Code (RA 7160) substantially as follows: "SEC. the documents were called "referendum returns". passed by Congress. There are three (3) systems of initiative. provincial. 2848? We answer the question in the affirmative." The foregoing definitions. municipal.Local Initiative is the legal process whereby the registered voters of a local government unit may directly propose. There are statutory and conceptual demarcations between a referendum and an initiative. Second Issue: Sufficiency of Comelec Resolution No. this exercise is unquestionably an INITIATIVE. resolution or ordinance. a. but "initiative" is not mentioned at all. Initiative on the Constitution which refers to a petition proposing amendments to the Constitution.

forty-five (45) days in case of municipalities and thirty (30) days in case of barangays. for approval or rejection. or "the proposal" itself (in the case of initiative) being referred to in this Decision. the local legislative body is given the opportunity to enact the proposal. Said referendum shall be conducted also under the control and direction of the Commission on Elections. In the exercise of its authority.[15] In other words. The Comelec shall certify and proclaim the results of the said referendum. Under Sec. the "Secretary of Local Government or his designated representative shall extend assistance in the formulation of the proposition. On the other hand.Ultra Vires? .A. the proponents through their duly-authorized and registered representatives may invoke their power of initiative." [16] although "two or more propositions may be submitted in an initiative". in a local referendum. These law-making powers belong to the people.Hence. 13 (c) of RA 6735." Prescinding from these definitions.Local referendum is the legal process whereby the registered voters of the local government units may approve. Local Referendum Defined. hence the respondent Commission cannot control or change the substance or the content of legislation. while initiative is entirely the work of the electorate. 126. as Justice Cruz terms them. referendum is begun and consented to by the law-making body. 13 of R. Initiative is a process of law-making by the people themselves without the participation and against the wishes of their elected representatives. or "concepts". If its refuses/neglects to do so within thirty (30) days from its presentation. Care must also be exercised that "(n)o petition embracing more than one subject shall be submitted to the electorate. -. resolution or act that they desire or because they want to amend or modify one already existing.] From the above differentiation.[17] It should be noted that under Sec. each such part to be voted upon separately. This is especially true where the proposed legislation is lengthy and complicated. the Commission on Elections "shall then set a date for the initiative (not referendum) at which the proposition shall be submitted to the registered voters in the local government unit concerned x x x". the Comelec exercises administration and supervision of the process itself. ordinance. it follows that there is need for the Comelec to supervise an initiative more closely." In initiative and referendum. and should thus be broken down into several autonomous parts. any ordinance or resolution which is duly enacted or approved by such law-making authority. the process and the voting in an initiative are understandably more complex than in a referendum where expectedly the voters will simply write either "Yes" or "No" in the ballot. while referendum consists merely of the electorate approving or rejecting what has been drawn up or enacted by a legislative body. giving notice thereof to the local legislative body concerned. [Note: While the above quoted laws variously refer to initiative and referendum as "powers" or "legal processes". Should the proponents be able to collect the number of signed conformities within the period granted by said statute. amend or reject any ordinance enacted by the sanggunian. The local referendum shall be held under the control and direction of the Comelec within sixty (60) days in case of provinces and cities."SEC. 6735. it may (in fact it should have done so already) issue relevant and adequate guidelines and rules for the orderly exercise of these "people-power" features of our Constitution. we gather that initiative is resorted to (or initiated) by the people directly either because the law-making body fails or refuses to enact the law. its authority thereon extending not only to the counting and canvassing of votes but also to seeing to it that the matter or act submitted to the people is in the proper form and language so it may be easily understood and voted upon by the electorate. Third Issue: Withdrawal of Adherence and Imposition of Conditionalities -. the law-making body submits to the registered voters of its territorial jurisdiction. akin to its powers over the conduct of elections. these can also be "rights".

Deliberating on this issue. namely. In other words.[20] We also note that the Initiative and Referendum Act itself provides [21] that "(n)othing in this Act shall prevent or preclude the proper courts from declaring null and void any proposition approved pursuant to this Act x x x. while regular courts may take jurisdiction over "approved propositions" per said Sec. Having said that. and it may be added. even as to content. In the present case. It is not yet an approved law. the Court agrees with private respondent Garcia that indeed. Petitioner maintains that the proposition sought to be submitted in the plebiscite. and by which the same should have been decided in the first instance. 1995 in accordance with Section 12 of R. Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. On the other hand. 18 of R. a local initiative may enact only such ordinances or resolutions as the municipal council itself could. where the proposals or parts thereof are patently and clearly outside the "capacity of the local legislative body to enact. private respondent Garcia counters that such argument is premature and conjectural because at this point. courts may decide only actual controversies. Should the people reject it.to which then the herein basic questions ought to have been addressed. and by reason of which the SSEZ had been created. Once created. In other words. Subic and Hermosa) gave their resolutions of concurrence. The Comelec simply included verbatim the proposal in its questioned Resolution No. petitioner adds. is ultra vires or beyond the powers of the Sangguniang Bayan to enact.A. However. the specific conditionalities included in the questioned municipal resolution are beyond the powers of the Council to impose. "local initiative shall cover only such subjects or matters as are within the legal powers of the sanggunians to enact. we are in no wise suggesting that the Comelec itself has no power to pass upon proposed resolutions in an initiative. 7227. the power to withdraw such concurrence and/or to substitute therefor a conditional concurrence is no longer within the authority and competence of the Municipal Council of Morong to legislate. it does not have the same authority in regard to the proposed initiative since it has not been promulgated or approved. the municipal resolution is still in the proposal stage. it is merely a proposal and the writ of prohibition cannot issue upon a mere conjecture or possibility. then there would be nothing to contest and to adjudicate. Hence. Serye 1993. in the exercise of its review powers. Quite the contrary. 10. then there is nothing to declare as illegal. 124 (b) of RA 7160 (the Local Government Code)." Elsewise stated. Constitutionally speaking. if it decided to so enact. or passed upon by any "branch or instrumentality" or lower court. the Supreme Court is basically a review court." [23] Accordingly. as in the case of mandatory appeals of capital offenses) of lower courts as well as determines whether there had been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any "branch or instrumentality" of government. there is really no decision or action made by a branch. It is only when the people have voted for it and it has become an approved ordinance or resolution that rights and obligations can be enforced or implemented thereunder. instrumentality or court which this Court could take cognizance of and acquire jurisdiction over. SSEZ has ceased to be a local concern. 532 issued on February 1. [22] It passes upon errors of law (and sometimes of fact. for that matter. whose metes and bounds had already been delineated by Proclamation No. 6735. No. Thus. it is quite clear that the Court has authority to review Comelec Resolution No. such withdrawal can no longer be enacted or conditionalities imposed by initiative. the question of whether the subject of this . It has become a national project." So too. not hypothetical questions or cases. the Comelec in the exercise of its quasi-judicial and administrative powers may adjudicate and pass upon such proposals insofar as their form and language are concerned. At this point. we are ruling that these matters are in fact within the initiatory jurisdiction of the Commission -.[19] After the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong and the other municipalities concerned (Olongapo. Morong cannot unilaterally withdraw its concurrence or impose new conditions for such concurrence as this would effectively render nugatory the creation by (national) law of the SSEZ and would deprive the entire nation of the benefits to be derived therefrom. Hence. the creation of SSEZ is now a fait accompli for the benefit of the entire nation.[18] stressing that under Sec. If the people should reject it during the referendum.A. 2848. as discussed earlier. the resolution is just a proposal. petitioner insists. The Commission on Elections itself has made no reviewable pronouncements about the issues brought by the pleadings. Furthermore. 2848 to determine the commission of grave abuse of discretion.

ipatutupad at isasagawa) for the benefit and interest of Morong and Bataan.. the ". he may want a total dismemberment of Morong from the Authority -. 6735 to give life and form to the constitutional mandate. Bernas. For it is but sound public policy to enable the electorate to express their . this Court early on expressly recognized the revolutionary import of reserving people power in the process of law-making. Item "II" proposes to change or replace (palitan) said resolution with another municipal resolution of concurrence provided certain conditions enumerated thereunder would be granted.[27] Like elections. 13 (e) of R. obeyed and implemented (ipagkakaloob.A. Epilogue In sum. We note that Sec.initiative is within the capacity of the Municipal Council of Morong to enact may be ruled upon by the Comelec upon remand and after hearing the parties thereon." [25] Impelled by a sense of urgency. treasures these "instruments which can be used should the legislature show itself indifferent to the needs of the people. nullify and render without effect (bawiin." which includes said island and forests. Series of 1993. assuming it is within the capacity of the Municipal Council to enact. in implementation of these laws.i. may be divided into several parts for purposes of voting.J. Item "I" is a proposal to recall.but may not agree with any of the conditions set forth in Item II. S. (ii) the respondent Commission should be given an opportunity to review and correct its errors in promulgating its Resolution No. as concepts and processes. respectively. 10.if necessary -. it would be fruitful for the parties and the Comelec to plead and adjudicate. Should the proposal then be divided and be voted upon separately and independently? All told. And this Court as a matter of policy and doctrine will exert every effort to nurture. and therefore violative of law.. the Court realizes that initiative and referendum. . On the other hand. as above discussed. aside from cash and other assets. For its part. with a view to helping fulfill our people's aspirations for the actualization of effective direct sovereignty. 7227 speaks of the full subscription and payment of the P20 billion authorized capital stock of the Subic Authority by the Republic. with.. Indeed we recognize that "(p)rovisions for initiative and referendum are liberally construed to effectuate their purposes.for the plebiscite. Joaquin G. are new in our country.. Fr. to facilitate and not to hamper the exercise by the voters of the rights granted thereby. may be undertaken. embraced.. we shall not pass upon the third issue of ultra vires on the ground of prematurity. Congress also interphased initiative and referendum into the workings of local governments by including a chapter on this subject in the local Government Code of 1991. While on the subject of capacity of the local lawmaking body. In deciding this case. Congress enacted Republic Act No. The ownership of said lands is a question of fact that may be taken up in the proper forum -- the Commission on Elections. protect and promote their legitimate exercise. Another question which the parties may wish to submit to the Comelec upon remand of the initiative is whether the proposal. 2848 and in preparing -. we hold that (i) our decision in the earlier Garcia case is not a bar to the present controversy as the issue raised and decided therein is different from the questions involved here." [24] In his authoritative treatise on the Constitution. initiative and referendum are powerful and valuable modes of expressing popular sovereignty. the question of whether Grande Island and the "virgin forests" mentioned in the proposed initiative belong to the national government and thus cannot be segregated from the Zone and "returned to Bataan" by the simple expedient of passing a municipal resolution. We are remanding the matter to the Comelec so that proper corrective measures. for both national and local use. and (iii) that the said Commission has administrative and initiatory quasi-judicial jurisdiction to pass upon the question of whether the proposal is sufficient in form and language and whether such proposal or part or parts thereof are clearly and patently outside the powers of the municipal council of Morong to enact. nulipikahin at pawalangbisa) Municipal Resolution No. lands.A voter may favor Item I -.[26] And the Commission on Elections can do no less by seasonably and judiciously promulgating guidelines and rules. covered and defined in Section 12 hereof.e.

5. 111230. p. [6] p.free and untrammeled will. Bellosillo. C. 10. 7160. Resolution No. Bataan. THEREFORE.The referendum shall be held on July 27. 237 SCRA 279. minus the preamble or "whereas" clauses.The qualified voters of Morong. 1994. 290-291. [7] Reply. JJ. Regalado E. and Mendoza. Bataan. Jr. 3. Bataan. referendum returns. Kapunan. WHEREFORE the petition is GRANTED. . at pp. Desamito. 82 (Solicitor General's Comment). Remedios A. SECTION 5. which shall include the printing of official ballots. Date of referendum and voting hours. SECTION 2. 1996. shall prepare the lists of voters for the entire municipality. the Election Officer. 1995 Congressional and Local Elections shall function and be used in the referendum. 38-46. [3] Sec. [8] See footnote no. Davide. not only in the election of their anointed lawmakers and executives. et al. pp. is the text of Resolution 2848: NOW. SECTION 3. RA 7227. said municipality. Republic Act No. For this purpose. Area of coverage. of the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong. 6735. Puno. 1995 Congressional and Local Elections. Republic Act No. G. Gorospe. shall be chargeable against the available funds of the Commission. SECTION 1. Rollo.. 1996. Precincts and polling places. September 30. J. 13 (a). supra. [11] For easy reference. Garcia. the Omnibus Election Code and other related election laws. Supervision and control. Serye 1993 is REMANDED to the Commission on Elections for further proceedings consistent with the foregoing discussion. Expenses forms and paraphernalia. 2848 is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. [5] Enrique T. 10. Regalado. Melo. . vs. subject to such changes under the law as the Commission may find necessary. rollo. Bataan during the May 8.. Teresita Dy-Liaco Flores and Japal M.The same precincts and polling places that functioned in the municipality of Morong. No.. signed by Chairman Bernardo P.. the Executive Director and the Director of the Finance Services Department are directed to submit the budget thereon and to request the Department of Budget and Management to immediately release the necessary amount. et al. p. 12. as well as the per diems of the members of the Referendum committees and overtime compensation of the members of the Board of Canvassers. by virtue of the powers vested upon it by the Constitution. 13 (e) (1). [4] Republic Act No.The expenses in the holding of the referendum. but also in the formulation of the very rules and laws by which our society shall be governed and managed. No costs. Maambong. .The Commission on Elections shall have direct control and supervision over the conduct of the referendum. [10] Rollo.The referendum shall be held in the entire municipality of Morong. 7160. quoted verbatim hereunder.. Pardo and Comms. 134-147. pp. [2] Sec. In case of deficiency. See also petitioner Garcia's Memorandum. shall be entitled to vote in the referendum. no part due to relationship. Salazar-Fernando. [9] Supra. 10.J. Francisco. Commission on Elections. Vitug. RESOLVED AS IT HEREBY RESOLVES to promulgate the following rules and guidelines to govern the conduct of the referendum proposing to annul or repeal Kapasyahan Blg. [1] Rollo. . p. RA 7227. The voting shall start at seven o'clock in the morning and shall end at three o'clock in the afternoon. . on official leave. Jr. Who may vote. duly registered as such in the May 8.. SECTION 4. Romero. andHermosisima. The initiative on Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. Manolo B. and those who are registered in the special registration of voters scheduled on June 29. and other forms and the procurement of supplies and paraphernalia. Guiani. Serye 1993. JJ. SECTION 6. Padilla. IT IS SO ORDERED. . the Commission on Elections. Narvasa.R. concur. . Julio F..

Palitan ito ng isang Pambayang Kapasyahan na aanib lamang ang Morong sa SSEZ kung ang mga sumusunod na kondisyones ay ipagkakaloob. SECTION 11. (K) Isama ang mga lupain ng Bataan na nakapaloob sa SBMA sa pagkukuenta ng salaping ipinagkaloob ng pamahalaang national o "Internal Revenue Allotment" (IRA) sa Morong. "REFERENDUM". (B) Ihiwalay ang Grande Island sa SSEZ at ibalik ito sa Bataan.The official ballots to be used in the referendum shall bear the heading: "OFFICIAL BALLOT". Bawiin. and. SECTION 9. Hermosa at sa lalawigan. Preparation and distribution of copies of the referendum results. Official ballots. OF THE SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF MORONG. within three (3) days from proclamation. (D) Payagang magtatag rin ng sariling "special economic zones" and bawat bayan ng Morong. (G) Ibase rin ang alokasyon ng pagbibigay ng trabaho sa laki ng nasabing mga lupa. Hermosa at Dinalupihan.SECTION 7.As soon as all the returns have been canvassed. 10. supported by a Statement of Votes per Precinct. to be distributed as follows: (1) The first copy shall be delivered to the Referendum Board of Canvassers. (2) The second copy shall be forwarded to the Election Records and Statistics Department of the Commission. be sent to the Election Records and Statistics Department of the Commission. SERYE 1993. ipatutupad at isasagawa para sa kapakanan at interes ng Morong at Bataan: (A) Ibalik sa Bataan ang "Virgin Forests" -.The voting and counting of votes shall be conducted in each polling place by a Referendum Committee composed of a Chairman. and shall immediately canvass the referendum returns and shall not adjourn until the canvass is completed. Do not put any distinctive mark on any part of this ballot. pati na rin ng iba pang bayan ng Bataan." The following question shall be provided in the official ballots: "DO YOU APPROVE OFTHE PROPOSITIONS CONTAINED IN THE SIGNED PETITION TO ANNUL OR REPEAL PAMBAYANG KAPASYAHAN BLG. WHICH READ AS FOLLOWS: 'I. . to be appointed by the Commission through the Election Officer of Morong. Notice of said meeting shall be posted in conspicuous places in the Municipal Hall and other public places within the municipality. Said copies shall be distributed as follows: (1) The original shall. a Poll Clerk. the Chairman shall issue a written notice to the Members of the Board that it shall convene at four o'clock in the afternoon of Referendum Day to canvass the referendum returns. Referendum Board of Canvassers. BATAAN. Bataan not later than four o'clock in the afternoon of Referendum Day.'?" SECTION 8.The referendum returns shall be prepared by the Referendum Committee in three (3) copies.isang bundok na hindi nagagalaw at punong-puno ng malalaking punong-kahoy at iba't-ibang halaman. Bataan. 1996". nulipikahin at pawalang bisa and Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. Serye 1993 ng Sangguniang Bayan para sa pag-anib ng Morong sa SSEZ na walang kondisyon. The Board shall meet at the session hall of the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong. (J) Magkaroon ng sapat na representation sa pamunuan ng SBMA ang Morong. Each member of the Referendum Committee shall be entitled to a per diem of Two Hundred Pesos (P200. on the basis thereof. . Hermosa at Bataan. (H) Pabayaang bukas ang pinto ng SBMA na nasa Morong ng 24 na oras at bukod dito sa magbukas pa ng pinto sa hangganan naman ng Morong at Hermosa upang magkaroon ng pagkakataong umunlad rin ang mga nasabing bayan. in the latter's absence. . the Board shall prepare and accomplish the Certificate of Canvass of Votes and Proclamation in five (5) copies. At least five (5) days before the day of the referendum. SECTION 10. (E) Ibase sa laki ng kanya-kanyang lupa ang pamamahagi ng kikitain ng SBMA. . and (3) The third copy shall be deposited inside ballot box. . BATAAN". Referendum Committee. the following instructions: "Fill out this ballot secretly inside the voting booth. II. (I) Tapusin ang pagkokontre-to ng mga daang Morong-Tala-Orani at Morong-Tasig-Dinalupihan para sa kabutihan ng mga taga-Bataan at tuloy makatulong sa pangangalaga ng mga kabundukan. . "JULY 27.00) for services rendered on the day of the referendum. and underneath. a principal of the school district or the elementary school. and as Members thereof. 10. Referendum returns and distribution of copies thereof. the Municipal Treasurer and the most senior District School Supervisor or.There is hereby created a Referendum Board of Canvassers which shall be composed of the Provincial Election Supervisor of Bataan as Chairman. shall certify and proclaim the final results. "MORONG. and a Third Member who shall all be public school teachers.

the Secretary of the Department of Education. 13 (d). peaceful and credible referendum. but shall not include the day before and the day of the referendum. . [20] "Judicial power has been defined in jurisprudence as 'the right to determine actual controversies arising between adverse litigants.The pertinent provisions of Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. pp. 3. 18. the District School Supervisor. Constructive discussions and debates shall be encouraged and the voters assured of the freedom to voice their opinion regarding the issue. 1993 edition. Handbook on the Courts and the Criminal Justice System.The Education and Information Department shall cause the immediate publication of this Resolution in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines and give this Resolution the widest publicity and dissemination possible. . youth and any other similar organizations may also hold public rallies or meetings to enlighten the residents therein of the issues involved. RA 6735. p. [16] Sec. Joaquin G. Civic. 6646) and other related election laws which are not inconsistent with this Resolution shall apply to this referendum. duly instituted in courts of proper jurisdiction' (citing Muskrats v.' x x x" -Fr.This Resolution shall take effect on the seventh day after its publication in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines. RA 6735. business. 255.. 1991 edition. . 1989. 10 (a). It is 'the authority to settle controversies or disputes involving rights that are enforceable and demandable before the courts of justice or the redress of wrongs for violation of such rights' (citing Lopez v. During this period. 21-A. p. each a copy of this Resolution the widest publicity possible within the municipality. religious. . Bataan. 1569. Bataan. (3) The third copy shall be submitted to the Provincial Governor of Bataan. . SECTION 12. (5) The fifth copy shall be submitted to the Municipal Mayor of Morong.J. and the Municipal Mayor. 42 Am. 17 SCRA 756. assisted by the Deputy Executive Director for Operations and the Directors of the Finance Services Department. Thus. 881).S. Administrative Services Department and Election and Barangay Affairs Department. I. 761 [1966]). SECTION 14. [17] Sec. The Election Officer of Morong.There shall be a period of information campaign which shall commence immediately. and the Election Officer. Bouvier's Law Dictionary. Vol. 1988 edition. all of Morong. there can be no occasion for the exercise of judicial power unless real parties come to court for the settlement of an actual controversy and unless the controversy is such that can be settled in a manner that binds the parties by the application of existing laws. II. See also Words and Phrases. SO ORDERED. 169. Bataan shall convoke barangay assemblies or "pulong-pulongs" within the municipality. SECTION 15. p. S. RA 6735.A Commentary. The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines . the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987 (Republic Act No. Dissemination. 10. the Municipal Treasurer. Narvasa C. Culture and Sports. SECTION 16. Applicability of election laws. [12] Sec.. 705 and 1152. [13] Philippine Political Law. United States. SECTION 13. Vol. Implementation. Bernas. The Local Government Code of 1991. 237. Bataan. 5. professional. shall implement this Resolution to ensure the holding of a free. local initiatives cannot propose the enactment of the death penalty for any crime because the imposition of (such) penalty is not within the competence of the local sanggunian to enact." -- Pimentel.. the Provincial Election Supervisor of Bataan. 17... approved on August 4. orderly. Effectivity. . 36A. 346 [1911).J. (4) The fourth copy shall be kept in the Office of the Election Officer of Morong. Jur 647 et seq. [18] Rollo. RA 6735. 56 et seq. 1979 edition. [21] Sec. 3rd edition. [22] Andres R. [15] Sec. 219 U. 1996 Ed. Republic Act 6735. 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. and Vol. [19] "Thus. p. "The 1987 Constitution now adds: 'Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable. the Provincial Governor of Bataan. Roxas. honest. The Executive Director shall furnish the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management. pp. Vol.The Executive Director. 14.(2) The second copy shall be filed in the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor of Bataan. Information Campaign. 179 et seq. pp. [14] Black's Law Dictionary.

[26] R. adopted Resolution No. II. 1. Vol. kagawads.[23] Cf. to compel the COMELEC to set the date for the holding of recall elections in Pasay City pursuant to the aforecited resolution of the COMELEC. DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT. 01. JOVITO O. J. [24] 42 Am. Richard Advincula. Sec. Pasay City. Claudio. 140560 is a petition for certiorariand prohibition. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. 99-005 entitled IN THE MATTER OF THE PREPARATORY RECALL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION NO. seeking the nullification of the resolution. On May 19. Jr. No. supra. CLAUDIO AS MAYOR OF PASAY CITY FOR LOSS OF . Sometime during the second week of May 1999. He assumed office on July 1. No. 288. 140714. EN BANC [G.: Calrky These are petitions arising from the proceedings initiated by the Preparatory Recall Assembly of Pasay City (PRA) in the Commission on Elections in E. Zone 4. p. The facts are as follows: Jovito O. RA 6735. 140560 and petitioner in G. DECISION MENDOZA. S-1999 ADOPTED ON 29 MAY 1999 FOR THE RECALL OF MAYOR JOVITO CLAUDIO OF PASAY CITY. 1999. No. [G. 1999. private respondent in G. respondents. respondents.. CLAUDIO. in Barangay 11. May 4. 7160. No. Title Nine. Commission on Elections.R. vs. 140560. No. On May 29. entitled RESOLUTION TO INITIATE THE RECALL OF JOVITO O. at p.A. at p. op. No. G. herein represented by its Chairman. 140560. G. [25] Bernas. Claudio as mayor of Pasay City. petitioner in G. cit. No. COMMISSION ON AUDIT and HON. 1999. On the other hand. 140714 is a petition for mandamus filed by the PRA. at the residence of barangay chair Benjamin Lim. S-1999. 2d. [27] Garcia vs. petitioner.073 members of the PRA composed of barangay chairs. Richard Advincula. Jr. of the COMELEC giving due course to the petition for the recall of petitioner Jovito O. 653. See Book I. DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT. and sangguniang kabataan chairs of Pasay City. 1998. 1998 elections. the chairs of several barangays in Pasay City gathered to discuss the possibility of filing a petition for recall against Mayor Claudio for loss of confidence. Chapter 2. et al. vs.R. represented by its Chair.R. petitioner. CLAUDIO.R. 01. May 4. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. was designated chair.M. 12. was the duly elected mayor of Pasay City in the May 11.R.. COMMISSION ON AUDIT and RICHARD ADVINCULA. several barangay chairs formed an ad hoc committee for the purpose of convening the PRA.R.[1] dated October 18. RICHARD ADVINCULA. 140714. No. 68. 2000] JOVITO O.R. 2000] PREPARATORY RECALL ASSEMBLY OF PASAY CITY.

Since the petition was filed on July 2. these petitions. 1999. the Police Department. We now proceed to explain the grounds for our resolution. the election officer for Pasay City designated by the COMELEC. to wit: (1) the signatures affixed to the resolution were actually meant to show attendance at the PRA meeting. In its Resolution No.CONFIDENCE. 40 sangguniang kabataan officials had withdrawn their support. copies of the petition were posted on the bulletin boards of the local COMELEC office. (3) the convening of the PRA took place within the one-year prohibited period. Finally. Angeles. considering that 10 were actually double entries. 14 were not duly accredited members of the barangays. Hence. as chair of the PRA. on whether the petition for recall violated the bar on recall within one year from the elective official's assumption of office. it was held that the petition was filed on time. the COMELEC found the signatures of 958 members of the PRA sufficient. seeking the annulment of the proclamation of petitioner Claudio as mayor of Pasay City.876. a verification of the authenticity of the signatures on the resolution was conducted by Ligaya Salayon.R. Ronald Langub. On whether the pendency of the case questioning the proclamation of petitioner was a prejudicial question which must first be decided before any recall election could be held. by the vote of 8 to 6 of its members. 1999. all in Pasay City. Pursuant to the rules of the COMELEC. No. Based on the verification made by election officer Ligaya Salayon. No. after which the Court. Burgos St. invited the Mayor. and Roberto L. and at the entrance of the Sta. On the other hand. considering that its records showed the total membership of the PRA was 1.073 members who attended the May 29. Oral arguments were held in these cases in Baguio City on April 4. 1999 of the petition for recall. (4) the election case. No. 140714 to compel the COMELEC to fix a date for the recall elections in Pasay City is no longer tenable. and 60 barangay chairs executed affidavits of retraction. The bone of contention in this case is 74 of the Local Government Code (LCG) [4] which provides: Scslx . On the issue of whether the PRA was constituted by a majority of its members. and (5) the recall resolution failed to obtain the majority of all the members of the PRA. should first be decided before recall proceedings against petitioner could be filed. clearly. the public market at Libertad St. the COMELEC set the date of the recall elections in Pasay City on April 15. 2000. (2) most of the signatories were only representatives of the parties concerned who were sent there merely to observe the proceedings. 1999 meeting were more than necessary to constitute the PRA. the Court unanimously dismissed the petition in G. the COMELEC ruled in the negative. 140714 on the ground that the issue raised therein had become moot and academic. [3] resolved to dismiss the petition in G. the City Hall. the petition for recall was filed on July 2. alleging procedural and substantive defects in the petition.. and Taft Avenue. Subsequently. accompanied by an affidavit of service of the petition on the Office of the City Mayor. while the statistics of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) showed that the total membership of the PRA was 1. Rev.R. Advincula. Station Commander. a majority had been obtained in support of the recall resolution. In either case. 1999. the COMELEC granted the petition for recall and dismissed the oppositions against it.790. 2000. Oppositions to the petition were filed by petitioner Jovito O. 2000. the COMELEC ruled that it was not and that petitioner was merely using the pendency of the case to delay the recall proceedings. holding that recall is a process which starts with the filing of the petition for recall. 3121. the petition for mandamus in G. Clara Church on P. and thirteen (13) Councilors of Pasay City to witness the formal submission to the Office of the Election Officer on July 2. Claudio. 140560 for lack of showing that the COMELEC committed a grave abuse of discretion. Consequently. Mesm As scheduled. exactly one year and a day after petitioner Claudio's assumption of office. We are thus left with only petitioner Claudio's action for certiorari and prohibition. dated March 9. 1999. In a letter dated June 29. since only a majority is required to constitute the PRA. Vice- Mayor.R.Slx In its resolution of October 18. the COMELEC held that the 1.[2] filed by Wenceslao Trinidad in this Court.

. The term "regular local election" in the last clause of paragraph (b) includes the election period for that regular election or simply the date of such election.shall be exercised by the registered voters of a local government unit to which the local elective official belongs. Slxsc The COMELEC. . on the other hand. 2000. Both petitioner Claudio and the COMELEC thus agree that the term "recall" as used in 74 refers to a process. 1999 and unanimously resolved to initiate the recall. 1999 for the purpose of adopting a resolution to initiate the recall of Jovito Claudio as Mayor of Pasay City for loss of confidence. as used in paragraph (b) of 74.A. As defined at the hearing of these cases on April 4. (1) On Whether the Word "Recall" in Paragraph (b) of 74 of the Local Government Code Includes the Convening of the Preparatory Recall Assembly and the Filing by it of a Recall Resolution Petitioner contends that the term "recall" in 74(b) refers to a process. the process of recall began" and. In other words. the limitations in 74 cannot be deemed to apply to the entire recall proceedings. the issues are: WHETHER. Limitations on Recall. under Section 74 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (R. the recall was validly initiated outside the one-year prohibited period. It is in fact entitled "Limitations on Recall." Since the power vested on the electorate is not the power to initiate recall proceedings [6] but the power to elect an official into office. 1999 was less than a year after he had assumed office. "recall" refers to the election itself by means of which voters decide whether they should retain their local official or elect his replacement. and the holding of the election on the scheduled date. 1999. 74 deals with restrictions on the power of recall. A. the PRA was illegally convened and all proceedings held thereafter. the verification of such resolution or petition. (b) No recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the official's assumption to office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular local election. the term "recall" in .. including the filing of the recall petition on July 2. in contrast to the term "recall election" found in 74(a). B.. and that.[5] However. The word "recall" in paragraph (b) covers a process which includes the convening of the Preparatory Recall Assembly and its approval of the recall resolution. exactly one year and a day after petitioner's assumption of office. First. We can agree that recall is a process which begins with the convening of the preparatory. 1999. followed by the taking of votes by the PRA on May 29. Several reasons can be cited in support of this conclusion. They disagree only as to when the process starts for purposes of the one-year limitation in paragraph (b) of 74. 7160) . No. and then proceeds to the filing of a recall resolution or petition with the COMELEC. were null and void." On the other hand. the fixing of the date of the recall election. He claims that "when several barangay chairmen met and convened on May 19. recall assembly or the gathering of the signatures at least 25% of the registered voters of a local government unit.(a) Any elective local official may be the subject of a recall election only once during his term of office for loss of confidence. 69 provides that "the power of recall .. since May 29. which obviously refers to an election. maintains that the process of recall starts with the filing of the petition for recall and ends with the conduct of the recall election. since the petition for recall in this case was filed on July 2.

COMELEC." Sdaadsc If these preliminary proceedings do not produce a decision by the electorate on whether the local official concerned continues to enjoy the confidence of the people.which paragraph (b) of 74 seeks to limit by providing that no recall shall take place within one year from the date of assumption of office of an elective local official. then. Thus. there may be several PRAs held (as in the case of Bataan Province in 1993) or petitions for recall filed with the COMELEC . COMELEC[7] where two objections were raised against the legality of PRAs: (1) that even the power to initiate recall proceedings is the sole prerogative of the electorate which cannot be delegated to PRAs." The one-year limitation was reckoned as of the filing of a petition for recall because the Municipal Code involved in that case expressly provided that "no removal petition shall be filed against any officer or until he has actually held office for at least twelve months. The second reason why the term "recall" in paragraph (b) refers to recall election is to be found in the purpose of the limitation itself. the preliminary steps required to be taken to initiate a recall . In the Bower case[8] cited by this Court in Angobung v. The purpose of the first limitation is to provide a reasonable basis for judging the performance of an elective local official. except one year after the official's assumption of office. the official concerned remains in office . Rtcspped . he will not be judged on his performance prematurely. and (2) that no recall shall take place within one year immediately preceding a regular local election. As already stated. and (2) that by vesting this power in a PRA. the prohibition in paragraph (b) against the holding of a recall. . it was held that a recall resolution "merely sets the stage for the official concerned before the tribunal of the people so he can justify why he should be allowed to continue in office. [But until] the people render their sovereign judgment. or the gathering of the signatures of at least 25 % of the voters for a petition for recall. in this case. it was held that it is the power to recall and not the power to initiate recall that the Constitution gave to the people. The limitations in 74 apply only to the exercise of the power of recall which is vested in the registered voters. With respect to the second objection. These are merely preliminary steps for the purpose of initiating a recall. Both objections were dismissed on the ground that the holding of a PRA is not the recall itself. cannot apply to such proceedings. the principle announced is that the purpose of the limitation is to provide a reasonable basis for evaluating the performance of an elective local official. Indeed. the preliminary proceedings to initiate a recall can be held even before the end of the first year in office of a local official. There are two limitations in paragraph (b) on the holding of recalls: (1) that no recall shall take place within one year from the date of assumption of office of the official concerned. With respect to the first objection. as long as the recall election is not held before the official concerned has completed one year in office. It cannot be argued that to allow recall proceedings to be initiated before the official concerned has been in office for one-year would be to allow him to be judged without sufficient basis. as long as the election is held outside the one-year period. this is the thrust of the ruling in Garcia v. it is the vote of the electorate in the Election that does. it is not the holding of PRA nor the adoption of recall resolutions that produces a judgment on the performance of the official concerned. .paragraph (b) refers only to the recall election." But however the period of prohibition is determined.there is no legal limit on the number of times such processes may be resorted to. It is this . excluding the convening of the PRA and the filing of a petition for recall with the COMELEC. Therefore. the law in effect unconstitutionally authorizes it to shorten the term of office of incumbent elective local officials.and not merely. Hence.[9] it was held that "The only logical reason which we can ascribe for requiring the electors to wait one year before petitioning for a recall election is to prevent premature action on their part in voting to remove a newly elected official before having had sufficient time to evaluate the soundness of his policies and decisions. .

the law cannot really provide for a period of honeymoon or moratorium in politics. To the contrary. according to 69. but that is not really the purpose of the limitation on recall under the law. A respite from partisan politics may. and it is not always easy to determine when criticism of his performance is politically motivated and when it is not. Yet. Laws converting municipalities into cities and providing for the holding of plebiscites during which the question of cityhood is submitted to the people for their approval are not always approved by the people. The crystallization and formation of an informed public opinion takes time. had it been shown that the PRA was resorted to only because those behind the move to oust the incumbent mayor failed to obtain the signatures of 25% of the voters of that city to a petition for his recall. will convening the PRA outside this period make it any more representative of the people. In the case of recall elections in Kaloocan City. One is that it is no disparagement of the PRA that in the ensuing election the local official whose recall is sought is actually reelected. there may be some plausibility for the claim that PRAs are not as good a gauge of the people's will as are the 25 % of the voters. his acts become subject to scrutiny and criticism. no one can say that Congress is not a good judge of the will of the voters in the locality. Since the voters do not exercise such right . have the incidental effect of providing respite from partisanship. Our esteemed colleague Justice Puno says in his dissent that the purpose of the one-year period in paragraph (b) is to provide the local official concerned a "period of repose" during which "[his] attention should not be distracted by any impediment. Because 74 speaks of limitations on "recall" which. From the day an elective official assumes office. To hold. The issue is whether the one-year period of limitation in paragraph (b) includes the convening of the PRA. The people cannot just be asked on the day of the election to decide on the performance of their officials. that the first limitation in paragraph (b) includes the holding of assemblies for the exchange of ideas and opinions among citizens is to unduly curtail one of the most cherished rights in a free society. therefore. especially by disturbance due to political partisanship. In any event. Given that question. recalls initiated directly by 25% of the registered voters of a local government unit cannot be more representative of the sentiments of the people than those initiated by PRAs whose members represent the entire electorate in the local government unit. they reelected him. instead of ousting Mayor Rey Malonzo. Two points may be made against this argument. Indeed. to construe the term "recall" in paragraph (b) as including the convening of the PRA for the purpose of discussing the performance in office of elective local officials would be to unduly restrict the constitutional right of speech and of assembly of its members. they may result in the expression of confidence in the incumbent. it is wrong to assume that such assemblies will always eventuate in a recall election." Justice Puno cites the "embarrassing repudiation by the people of [Kaloocan City's] Preparatory Recall Assembly" when. Korte The other point regarding Justice Punos claim is that the question here is not whether recalls initiated by 25% of the voters are better. The limitation is only intended to provide a sufficient basis for evaluating and judging the performance of an elected local official. The only safeguard against the baneful and enervating effects of partisan politics is the good sense and self restraint of the people and its leaders against such shortcomings of our political system." Unfortunately. it is argued that the judgments of PRAs are not "as politically unassailable as recalls initiated directly by the people. Voters who directly initiate recalls are just as vulnerable to political maneuverings or manipulations as are those composing PRAs. as the petition filed by 25 % of the registered voters is claimed to be? To sum up.Third. the term "recall" in paragraph (b) refers to the recall election and not to the preliminary proceedings to initiate recall - 1. Indeed. is a power which shall be exercised by the registered voters of a local government unit.

(2) On Whether the Phrase "Regular Local Election" in the Same Paragraph (b) of 74 of the Local Government Code includes the Election Period for that Regular Election or Simply the Date of Such Election Petitioner contends. 74 imposes limitations on the holding of recall elections. Sclaw This contention is untenable. and 3.[11] unless otherwise fixed by the COMELEC. because it would devitalize the right of recall which is designed to make local government units" more responsive and accountable." Sclex Indeed. Thus. He argues that the phrase "regular local elections" in paragraph (b) does not only mean "the day of the regular local election" which. because no recall election may be held until one year after the assumption of office of an elective local official. This is a period of only nine months and 15 days. petitioner's interpretation would severely limit the period during which a recall election may be held. To recapitulate the discussion in parts 1 and 2. Because to construe the limitation in paragraph (b) as including the initiation of recall proceedings would unduly curtail freedom of speech and of assembly guaranteed in the Constitution. 2000. it is clear that the initiation of recall proceedings is not prohibited within the one-year period provided in paragraph (b). And third. paragraph (b) prohibits the holding of a recall election within one year immediately preceding a regular local election. . Such an interpretation must be rejected. Under the Omnibus Election Code. paragraph (a) prohibits the holding of such election more than once during the term of office of an elective local official. 2000. paragraph (b) prohibits the holding of such election within one year from the date the official assumed office. 2. the free period is only the period from July 1 of the following year to about the middle of May of the succeeding year. . COMELEC." Had Congress intended this limitation to refer to the campaign period. there is a distinction between election period and campaign period. that the date set by the COMELEC for the recall election is within the second period of prohibition in paragraph (b). we hold that there is no bar to its holding on that date. First. to follow petitioner's interpretation that the second limitation in paragraph (b) includes the "election period" would emasculate even more a vital right of the people. no recall election may be held. Second. [10] it could have expressly said so. the election period commences ninety (90) days before the day of the election and ends thirty (30) days thereafter. Hence. but the election period as well. which period is defined in the Omnibus Election Code. As succinctly stated in Paras v. As the recall election in Pasay City is set on April 15. more or less. one (1) year immediately preceding a regular local election. Actually. which is normally at least forty five (45) days immediately before the day of the election. more than one year after petitioner assumed office as mayor of that city. To construe the second limitation in paragraph (b) as including the campaign period would reduce this period to eight months. The law is unambiguous in providing that "[n]o recall shall take place within .except in an election. for the year 2001 is May 14. however. Moreover. and final judging is not done until the day of the election. Because the purpose of the first limitation in paragraph (b) is to provide voters a sufficient basis for judging an elective local official. . presumably on June 30 following his election. he contends that beginning March 30.

see attached separate and dissenting opinion. is not commissioned as notary public for Pasay City but for Makati City.. G.. therefore. this claim is being raised for the first time in this case. Puno. this issue was not raised before the COMELEC itself. As in the case of the first claim. Panganiban. J Davide..J. WHEREFORE.. It is more probable to believe that they signed pages 94-104 to signify their concurrence in the recall resolution of which the pages in question are part. and that Wenceslao Trinidad's pending election protest was a prejudicial question which must first be resolved before the petition for recall could be given due course. 2000. concur. Puno and Kapunan. 140560 is DISMISSED for lack of merit. JJ. Petitioner claims that this is shown by the word "Attendance" written by hand at the top of the page on which the signatures of the 74 begin. Quisumbing. JJ. and Ynares-Santiago. J. Jr.R. This contention has no basis.. Xsc Pardo... it was mistaken for the attendance sheet which is a separate document. Nelson Ng. He contends that a majority of the signatures of the members of the PRA was not obtained because 74 members did not really sign the recall resolution. see dissenting opinion. who notarized it. and De Leon." (3) On Whether the Recall RESOLUTION was Signed by a Majority of the PRA and Duly Verified Petitioner alleges other grounds for seeking the annulment of the resolution of the COMELEC ordering the holding of a recall election. Gonzaga-Reyes.. JJ. during the second year of office. and Purisima. because Atty. Buena.. Bellosillo. According to petitioner. It was not raised before the COMELEC. C. joined the dissents of JJ. Xlaw Although the word "Attendance" appears at the top of the page. J. the 74merely signed their names on pages 94-104 of the resolution to signify their attendance and not their concurrence. while the petition in G. reiterate his separate opinion in the resolution of 5 Apr. Jr. that some members had withdrawn their support for the petition. it is apparent that it was written by mistake because it was crossed out by two parallel lines drawn across it. 140714 is DISMISSED for having been rendered moot and academic. Apparently. No. be raised now. SO ORDERED. It cannot. Melo. J. Kapunan.. join the dissent of J. J. MENDOZA. . It is absurd to believe that the 74 members of the PRA who signed the recall resolution signified their attendance at the meeting twice.[12] "[p]aragraph (b) construed together with paragraph (a) merely designates the period when such elective local official may be subject to recall election. Vitug. The other point raised by petitioner is that the recall petition filed in the COMELEC was not duly verified. Puno. No. on leave. in which the claim made by petitioner was that some of the names in the petition were double entries. To be sure. The order of the COMELEC embodying the stipulations of the parties and defining the issues to be resolved does not include the issue now being raised by petitioner.R. that is.

In cases where the sangguniang panlalawigan members are elected by district.. All punong barangay and sangguniang barangay members in the city.. and municipality which shall be composed of the following: Slxmis (1). all elective barangay officials in the district.. 7160.... and in cases where sangguniang panlungsod members are elected by district. (3).. and Ynares-Santiago. All punong barangay and sangguniang barangay members in the municipality. Purisima. dissented and voted to grant the petitions.. as the case may be. Buena. city. [4] R.. JJ. the Comelec or its duly authorized representative shall announce the acceptance of candidates to the position and thereafter prepare the list of candidates which shall include the name of the official sought to be recalled. 1999... for the purpose of verifying the authenticity and genuineness of the petition and the required percentage of voters. C. Mendoza. Reyes.. COMELEC.. took no part. Pardo.. municipality. and (4). JJ. or municipal officials shall be validly initiated through a resolution adopted by a majority of all the members of the preparatory recall assembly concerned during its session called for the purpose..A. Desamito was on leave... Jr. and in a public place in the province. (d) Recall of any elective provincial. city.. Initiation of the Recall Process.. Jr.. [2] The case has since been decided by being dismissed. vice mayors.. and sangguniang members of the municipalities and component cities.A written petition for recall duly signed before the election register or his representative and in the presence of a representative. (a) Recall may be initiated by a preparatory recall assembly or by the registered voters of the local government unit to which the local elective official subject to such recall belongs..... Kapunan. All mayors. all elective municipal officials in the district. and De Leon. Dec. 15.City level. the Local Government Code provides: SEC. municipal. (2).. Melo. Demetriou.. or barangay. No. No. of the petitioner and a representative of the official sought to be recalled. Commissioner Julio F.provincial level.. (1). See Trinidad v. Panganiban. city. (b) There shall be a preparatory recall assembly in every province. Recall of provincial.R. and Bellosillo. Voted to dismiss the petition. who was in Manila for the funeral of his brother. or barangay official may also be validly initiated upon petition of at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the total number of registered voters in the local government unit concerned during the election in which the local official sought to be recalled was elected. (2). [5] Thus.. shall be filed with the Comelec through its office in the local government unit concerned. G. Gorospe. 70.. and concurred in by Commissioner Harriet O. Missdaa . city. The Comelec or its duly authorized representative shall cause the publication of the petition in a public and conspicuous place for a period of not less than ten (10) days nor more than twenty (20) days.[1] Per Commissioner Manolo B. (c) A majority of all the preparatory recall assembly members may convene in session in a public place and initiate a recall proceeding against any elective official in the local government unit concerned. 134657.Upon the lapse of the aforesaid period. Puno. [3] Davide. Vitug..... J.J. Quisumbing..Legislative District level.Municipal level. district.

vs. Upon the filing of a valid resolution or petition for recall with the appropriate local office of the Comelec. petitioner. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. Chairman-COMELEC. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC). Commissioners-COMELEC.R.. city and municipal officials. PEREZ. the Commission or its duly authorized representative shall set the date of the election on recall. like other candidates. L-47816 March 11. Budget Commissioner. HON. respondents. vs. DUQUE.For Members of the House of Representatives and elective provincial. . 1978 YOUTH DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT. and GREGORIO G.... 3. FLORES A. PERALTA. G. ninety (90) days before the day of the election. 71. G. No. vs. MENDOZA. The official or officials sought to be recalled shall automatically be considered as duly registered candidate or candidates to the pertinent positions and. LEONARDO B. National Treasurer. and forty-five (45) days in the case of provincial officials. CASIMIRO R. VENANCIO S. [11] Id. Election on Recall. BAYOT. shall be entitled to be voted upon. L-47803 March 11..SEC.R. [6] Such power is vested in the PRA or in at least 25% of the registered voters. HON. L-47771 March 11. 54 (1996) EN BANC G. respondents.. petitioner. NATIONAL TREASURER.. and KILUSANG BAGONG LIPUNAN. 1978 JUAN T. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. JAIME LAYA. RAMON PAGUIRIGAN. which shall not be later than thirty (30) days after the filing of the resolution or petition for recall in the case of the barangay. YANEZA. 70(c)(d) [7] 227 SCRA 100 (1993) [8] In re Bower 41 Ill. Vice President and Senators.. No.. petitioners. 242 N. respondent. MADARANG. 1978 PEDRO G. and ALFREDO SALAPANTAN. 256 (1997) [10] The Omnibus Election Code. No. JR.For President.. or municipal officials. 777. forty-five (45) days before the day of the election. VENANCIO L. provides: . DAVID.R. 2d 252 (1968) [9] 269 SCRA 245. and (b). [12] 264 SCRA 48.. city. The campaign periods are hereby fixed as follows: (a).E.

No. David. Nemesio C. Mendoza and Assistant Solicitor General Reynato S. Fernandez & Associates for petitioner Reynaldo T. et al. Puno for Commission of Elections (COMELEC).R. Gualberto J. petitioner. respondent. FAJARDO. JAIME LAYA.R. Dante. petitioner. Tolentino Law Office for respondent Kilusang Bagong Lipunan. and LAKAS NG BAYAN. J. Assistant Solicitor General Vicente V. L-47827 March 11. as the NATIONAL TREASURER. vs. petitioner. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. granting to the voter the option to vote either for . Pedro G. of the 1978 Election Code. MENDOZA. I The first issue posed for resolution is: Whether or not the voting system provided for in Sections 140 and 155. subparagraphs 26 to 28. David for petitioner Juan T. GUALBERTO J. David. 1978 B.. Jr. Gonzalez & Associates for petitioners Youth Democractic Movement. G. as the BUDGET COMMISSIONER. G. GREGORIO G. No. S. de la Llana in his own behalf. Rodrigo H. Asuncion Buenafe in his own behalf Binay Cueva. KILUSANG BAGONG LIPUNAN. No.: These six (6) consolidated petitions pose for the determination of this Court the constitutionality of specific provisions of the 1978 Election Code (Presidential Decree No. B. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. Solicitor General Estelito P. ASUNCION BUENAFE.G. vs. 1269). ANTONIO. 1978 IN THE MATTER OF PETITION FOR THE DECLARATION OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE ELECTION CODE OF 1978 AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Fajardo. DE LA LLANA. Mendoza. Julie David-Feliciano & Juan T. Raul M.R. Melchor. respondents. L-47791 March 11. 1978 REYNALDO T. Garcia. L-47767 March 11. Peralta in his own behalf.

he shall immediately inform the Commission as to which ticket he chooses to be included. write the name of such political party. and for this purpose.individual candidates by filling in the proper spaces in the ballot the names of candidates he desires to elect. group or aggrupation or candidate. That in the election of regional representatives to the interim Batasang Pambansa. It shag then be unnecessary for you to write the names of Candidates you vote for. if you want to vote for candidates belonging to different parties. the committee shall observe the following rules: xxx xxx xxx . or to vote for all the candidates of a political party. group or aggrupation or for individual candidates. group or aggrupation: Provided further. group or aggrupation to the exclusion of all other candidates. group or aggrupation. —The voter upon receiving his folded ballot shall forthwith proceed to one of the empty voting booths and shall there fill his ballot by writing in the proper space for each office the name of the candidate for whom he desires to vote: Provided. The following notice shall be printed on the ballot: "If you want to vote for all the official candidates of a political party. — In the reading and appreciation of ballots. group or aggrupation in the space indicated. 155. and there shall also be a column containing blank spaces for the names of such candidates which spaces are to be filled by the voter who does not desire to vote for a straight ticket: Provided. he shall cease to be considered to belong to any ticket. but if for any reason he chooses to vote for all the candidates of a political party. and if he fails to do so. Manner of preparing the ballot. finally. On the other hand. xxx xxx xxx SEC. That the ballots for the election of regional representatives to the interim Batasang Pambansa shall be prepared by the Commission in such manner that the voter may vote for the straight ticket of a political party. group or aggrupation. Rules for the appreciation of ballots. write in the respective blank spaces the names of the candidates you vote for and the names written by you in the respective blank spaces in the ballot shall then be considered as validly voted for. violates Section 1 of Article IV and Section 9(1) of article XII-C of the Constitution. groups or aggrupations and/or for individual candidates. 140. shall be printed in the upper portion of said ballots in a manner which does not give undue advantage to any political party. the ticket of a regularly organized political party. group or aggrupation. That a candidate may be in the ticket of only one political party. if he is included in the ticket of more than one political party. by writing in the space provided for in the ballot the name of the political party. the voter may choose to vote for individual candidates by filling in the proper spaces of the ballot the names of candidates he desires to elect. group or aggrupation as certified under oath by their respective directorates or duly authorized representatives as wen as candidates not belonging to any particular political party. group or aggrupation presenting different sets of candidates. group or aggrupation by simply waiting in the space provided for in the ballot the name of the political party. The specific provisions of the 1978 Election Code which are assailed as being in violation of the equal protection clause are the following: SEC. group or aggrupation.

The system which allows straight party voting is not unique in the Philippine experience. the Second National Assembly of the Philippines enacted Commonwealth Act No." Said Commonwealth Act enabled the voter to vote for individual candidates or for a straight party ticket by writing either the names of the candidates of his choice or of the political party he favored on designated blank spaces on the ballot. Provided. did not carry provisions for optional straight party voting. group or aggrupation. 5 Likewise. group or aggrupation written by the voter in the ballot is less than the number of seats to be filled in the election and the voter also writes the names of individual candidates in the spaces provided therefor not belonging to the ticket of the political party. 180. dated August 22. group or aggrupation in the spaces provided therefor. group or aggrupation in the spaces provided therefor. the following has been observed: The party-column ballot. until the authorized number of seats is fined. group or aggrupation which has nominated official candidates and the names of individual candidates belonging to the ticket of the same political party. used in about 30 states. Senators. 666. If a voter has written in the proper space of his ballot the name of a political party. 357. substantially reinstituted in Republic Act No. That if the number of candidates nominated by the political party. group or aggrupation concerned and the individual candidates whose names were firstly written by the voter in the spaces provided therefor. As early as 1941. for example. entitled "An Act to Provide for the First Election for President and Vice-President of the Philippines. an of the votes indicated in the ballot shall be considered as stray votes and shall not be counted. If a voter has written in the proper space of the ballot the name of a political party. 1947. If a voter has written in the proper space of the ballot the name of a political party. 28. group or aggrupation and the votes for the individual candidates written on the ballot shall be considered as stray votes. Under the Constitution and the Amendments Thereof. group or aggrupation he has written in the ballot. 666 provided that the vote shall be counted in favor of the political party. it should be noted that in other jurisdictions. Commonwealth Act No. 1 While the original Election Code. 1938. however. group or aggrupation which has nominated official candidates. and Members of the House of Representatives. the ballot shall be counted as votes in favor of the candidates of the political party. or the Revised Election Code. Republic Act No. enacted on June 21. a vote shall be counted for each of the official candidates of such party. In most . ballots providing for optional straight party voting have been accepted as a standard form. 27. is sometimes called the Indiana-type ballot because the Indiana law of 1889 has served as a model for other states. 3 The only im portent difference introduced was that in appreciating ballots on which the voter had written both the name of a political party and the names of candidates not members of said party. 180 provided that the individual candidates whose names were written shall be considered voted for. Among the different states of the United States. a vote shall be counted for each of the official candidates of such party. 26. 4whereas Commonwealth Act No. 2 the system was. in addition to the "office-block" ballots in which all candidates for each office grouped together. group or aggrupation which has nominated official candidates and the names of individual candidates not belonging to the ticket of the same political party. however.

states using the party column ballot. 7assailed as unconstitutional was a statutory proviso which required that ballots should be printed with the following instructions: "To vote a straight party ticket. but simply regulated. et al. and lies in the sound discretion of the Legislature.. in less literate days. Black. The supposition is that the voter will be compelled to consider separately the candidates for each ballot. or. Richards. voting by party has been accepted in various states as a form of democratic electoral process. 10 At any rate. it is possible to vote for the candidates of a single party for all offices by making a single cross in the circle at the head of the column containing the party's candidates. the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that the "free and equal exercises of the elective franchise by every elector is not impaired by the statute. for each office are grouped together on the office-block ballot. It was alleged that the special privilege given to straight ticket voters and denied to others injured appellants. as it is sometimes called by virtue of its origin. usually with an indication alongside each name of the party affiliation. the voter selects a party. as candidates. et al. have been held constitutional as against the contention that they interfere with the freedom and equality of elections. were opposed by other candidates who can much more easily be voted for. mark a cross (x) in the square opposite the name of the party of your choice.. The head of . Thus. was of some utility in guiding the voter to the right column on the ballot. Names of all candidates.. v. in Oughton. as aforementioned. when each ballot is as effective as every other ballot. and authorizes a method of voting for political parties and not 'or men. for example. Pennsylvania uses a variation of the office-block ballot: the candidates are grouped according to office but provision is made for straight-ticket voting by a single mark. path the voter will presumably hesitate to follow when he has the alternative of making a single crossmark. where the election system is one of proportional representation in which each political party presents a list of candidates to the citizenry. which sustained the validity of a statute containing a similar provisional. In some states. the party emblem is carried at the top of its column. . to the vote of every candidate. in the first column. not a candidate. In contrast with the party-column ballot is the office-block ballot. The regulation is for the convenience of the electors. When each has been afforded the opportunity and been provided with reasonable facilities to vote. 6 Election laws providing for the Indiana-type ballot. a feature which. by whatever party nominated. the Constitution. In resolving such question and declaring the law valid. who." 8 The Pennsylvania Court further emphasized that elections are equal when the vote of every candidate is equal in its influence on the result. In Israel. Professional party workers generally favor the use of the party-column ballot because it encourages straight ticket voting. a crossmark in the square opposite the name of any candidate indicates a vote for that candidate. in contrast with the encouragement given to straight-ticket voting by the party column ballot. To vote a split ticket on a party-column ballot usually requires the recording of a choice for each office. The constitutionality of the law is not to be tested by the fact that one voter can cast his ballot by making one mark while another may be required to make two or more to express his will. and each party is then represented in the Knesset in proportion to its strength on the polls. the Massachussetts ballot." It was contended that such provision interferes with the freedom and equality of elections. 9 To the same effect is the holding in Ritchie v.

however. of course. And. It is not violated by a reasonable classification based upon substantial distinctions. to be valid. be so drawn that those who stand in substantially the same position with respect to the law are treated alike. activities or things included and those excluded. Section 1) and the provision that "bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment or discrimination" (Article XII-C. 12 In Italy and West Germany. some reasonable basis on general lines for the division. Furthermore. a list system of proportional representation was set up. must rest upon material differences between the persons. It is. party voting is likewise in practice. Commissioners then count the ballots for each party list and distribute the total number of seats among the different successful parties. 13 The main objection of petitioners against the optional straight party' voting provided for in the Code is that an independent candidate would be discriminated against because by merely writing on his ballot the name of a political party. where the classification is germane to the purpose of the law and applies equally to all those belonging to the same class. The general rule. and reasonable grounds exist for making a distinction between those who fall within the class and those who do not. 15 There is.' There must. in other words. and proportional representation seats are distributed on the basis of the number of votes received by the successful parties. No definite rule has been or can be laid down on the basis of which such question may be resolved. The voter was required to vote only for one party list. in relation to Section 9 of Article XII. The word "discrmination" in the latter provision should be construed in relation to the equal protection clause and in the manner and degree in which it is taken therein. Section 9[l]). Petitioners in the cases at bar invoke the constitutional mandate that no person shag be denied the equal protection of the laws (Article IV. no concise or easy answer as to what an arbitrary classification is. the assailed classification springs from the alleged differential treatment afforded to candidates who are party members as against those who run as independents. providing for the selection of National Assembly members. 14 The equal protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class. it discontended that the candidate who is not a party member is deprived of the equal protection of the laws. such classification must be germane and pertinent to the purpose of the law. conceded that it is almost impossible in some matters to foresee and provide for every imaginable and exceptional case. on the other hand. he could not split his vote among several candidates on different party lists. It must be emphasized in . finally. if it applies alike to all persons within such class. The determination must be made in accordance with the facts presented by the particular case. but could depart from the order of preference set up by the party. of the Constitution.the largest party is asked to form a government. an advantage which the independent candidate does not enjoy. The equal protection clause does not forbid all legal classifications. in general. a voter would have voted for all the candidates of that party. 17 In the cases at bar. is that a classification. 1946. as provided in Section 1 of Article IV. What is proscribes is a classification which is arbitrary and unreasonable. be a basis for distinction. since said provision "is in line with the provision of the Bill of Rights that no 'person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws' ". 16 Classification which has some reasonable basis does not offend the equal protection clause merely because it is not made with mathematical nicety. in general. In effect. which is well-settled by the authorities. Exactness in division is impossible and never looked for in applying the legal test. All that is required is that there must be. whereby each electoral area elected several candidates in proportion to its voting strength. the basis of classification must. under the electoral law of October 5. 11 In France.

If he wishes to avail hihiself of such alleged advantages as an official candidate of a party. are printed on the ballot. therefore. 20 Thus. Freedom to engage in associations for the advancement of beliefs and Ideas is. is presumed to be within constitutional limitations. necessarily enjoy certain benefits and privileges which are incident to. those who join or become members of associations. 19 These principles are predicated upon the presumption in favor of constitutionality. No candidate will receive more than one vote. group or aggrupation is left entirely to their discretion. In making his decision. group or aggrupation. In other words. it must be assumed that the candidate had carefully weighed and considered the relative advantages and disavantages of either alternative.voting statutes. In the challenged provision of the electoral law. groups or independent candidates. 23 Independent candidates had no representation in the Board. all the names of the candidates. an inseparable aspect of the liberty guaranteed by the fundamental law. whether he is voted individually or as a candidate of a party group or aggrupation. An act of the legislature. Before he prepares his ballot." 21 There is practical unanimity among the courts in the pronouncement "that laws shag not be declared invalid unless the conflict with the Constitution is clear beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore. The choice is His. approved by the executive. or are consequences of such membership. The responsibility of upholding the Constitution rests not on the courts alone but on the legislature as well. and yet it was never contended that the independent candidates were denied the equal protection of the laws. after exercising his discretion. In the case of candidates. not a doubtful and argumentative implication. Freedom of association has been enshrined in the Constitution to enable individuals to join others of like persuasion to pursue common objectives and to engage in lawful activities. So long as the application of the rule depends on his voluntary action or decision. he is free to do so by joining a political party group or aggrupation. 18 The factual foundation to demonstrate invalidity must be established by the litigant challenging its constitutionality. this is constitutionally Permissible.the election law must carry the burden of showing that it does not rest upon a reasonable basis. claim that he was the victim of discrimination. the choice is his. group or aggrupation. Effective advocacy of both public and private views or opinions is undeniably enhanced by group association. only the parties who polled the largest and the next largest number of votes in the last preceding presidential elections were entitled to representation in the Board of Election Inspectors. The question of the validity of every statute is first determined by the legislative department of the government itself. Certainly. whether of parties. Membership in associations is considered as an extension of individual freedom. the decision on whether to run as an independent candidate or to join a political party. . In the ordinary course of things. there must be "a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution. This has to be so because of "the fundamental criteria in cases of this nature that all reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the constitutionality of a statute. before filing his certificate of candidacy. if. but is essentially arbitrary. under the provisions of the previous election laws. No one can compel him to do otherwise. the voter will be able to read all the names of the candidates. Thus. to justify the nullification of a law. as an incident of joining a political party. unlike the previous block. a candidate is aware of the advantages under the law accruing to candidates of a political party or group. 22 We shall now test the validity of petitioners' arguments on the basis of these principles. the candidate is given certain privileges. such as political parties or any other lawful groups or organizations. The voter is free to vote for the individual candidates or to vote by party. he cannot.

The former are bound by the party's rules.. They amass sufficient support to buttress the authority of governments. Besides. To the electorate. As this system of voting favors the strongly organized parties or groups. to explain why such fears. If the electoral law has bias in favor of political parties. its tenets. they attract or organize discontent and dissatisfaction sufficient to oust the government. its platform and programmes of government. in countrywide or regional elections. This is not true of an independent candidate. its policies. It is well to remember that this Court does not pass upon questions of wisdom or expediency of legislation... On the part of the electorate. orderly and honest elections or that it encourages laziness or political irresponsibility. This is predicated on the doctrine that government exists with the consent of the governed. 1947 and 1949 elections. may be the basis for declaring a statute invalid. It thus results in the formation of stable and responsible political parties. We have reiterated in a previous case that: "It is . The parliamentary system works best when party distinctions are well defined by differences in principle. it will tend to make elections less expensive. Since candidates of a party or group may pool their resources. In modern nines the political party has become the instrument for the organization of societies. all procedures or manners of voting are susceptible to fraud. Such a system implies the existence of responsible political parties with distinct programmes of government. such a system of voting facilitates the exercise of their right of suffrage. As observed by a noted authority on political law. "the maintenance and development party system becomes not only necessary but indispensable for the enforcement of the idea and the rule of government responsibility and accountability to the people in the political management of the country. for the information of everyone concerned. These are objections that go to the wisdom of the statute. in a growing climate of political maturity and social responsibility appear conjectural. Government derives its strength from the support. The important thing to consider is that the 1978 Election Code is replete with new provisions designed to guarantee the sanctity and secrecy of the people's vote." 24 The Constitution establishes a parliamentary system of government. with party support. not the wisdom of the action taken. it tends to prevent the proliferation of political parties or groups. or.. that only congressional power or competence. under a parliamentary system. activity or passive. on the contrary. in the final analysis. Political parties per. it is because political parties constitute a basic element of the democractic institutional apparatus. As demonstrated in the experience of other democratic states." 26 This notwithstanding. ideals and objectives. they represent the party. as well as in the process of obtaining popular consent to the course of public policy. It enables the laborer. on the degree of the citizens' competence in politics and their willingness to contribute political resources to the parties. It may enable deserving young candidates — but without adequate financial resources of their own — to win." 25 Indeed. We deem it necessary. settled . the farmer and the . In either case they perform the function of the articulation of the interests and aspirations of a substantial segment of the citizenry. of a coalition of elements of society. usually in ways contended to be promotive of the national weal. its principles. They owe loyalty to the party. such a system has its advantages. It is also contended that the system of optional straight party voting is anathema to free. There are no data to show that the system herein assailed was the proximate cause of all the frauds in the 1941.The official candidates of an organized political party may be distinguished from an independent candidate. form an "essential function in the management of succession to power. the extent to which political parties can become effective instruments of self- government depends.

Composition. those who shag not be less than eighteen years of age elected by their respective sectors. in the region not taken into account in the 1975 census. : xxx xxx xxx The foregoing apportionment shall be not considered a precedent in connection with the re-apportionment of representative districts for the regular National Assembly under Section 2. 14.. Nor could it be true. or issues or any combination of those. Apportionment of regional representatives. nevertheless. While there may be those who may be moved to vote straight party by reason of lack of interest. he has a political direction in mind and he implements it through the choice of one party or the other on the ballot. The more highly motivated he is toward this political objective.. 11. the number of regional representative for any region shall not be less than the number of representative districts therein existing at the time of the ratification of the Constitution. Voting by region. — The interim Batasang Pambansa shall be composed of the incumbent President of the Philippines. Article XVI I of the Constitution." 27 II The second issue before Us is: Whether or not the provisions of Sections 11. — Each region shall be entitled to such number of regional representatives as are allotted to it in Section 12 of Article II hereof. There are also allotted two additional seats for regional representatives to Region IV in view of inhabitants. 12 and 14 of the 1978 Election Code. Assailed as unconstitutional are the following provisions of the 1978 Election Code: SEC. that a system which allows straight ticket voting encourages laziness and political irresponsibility." SEC. All candidates for . SEC. Article VIII and Section 6. there are still those sufficiently interested to cast an intelligent vote. such as students. violate Section 2 of Article VIII of the Constitution which provides that the members of the National Assembly shall be apportioned among the provinces. the less willing he is to dilute his vote by crossing party lines. candidates. As observed by a survey research group: "Motivated straight ticket voting appears to reflect an intention on the part of the voter to accomplish his political purpose as fully as possible. 12. representative districts and cities. It has been observed that in a straight ticket the motivated voter is more likely to organize his ballot in a highly structure pattern. which authorize the elections of the members of the interim Batasang Pambansa by regions. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions. — There shall be 160 regional representatives to the interim Batasang Pambansa apportioned among the thirteen regions of the nation in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio . His motivation may derive from an interest in parties. Such a voter does not scatter his choices casually. It thus broadens the ways and means by which the sovereign will can be expressed.voter of ordinary education to vote with greater facility for all the official candidates of the party of his choice. and those chosen by the incumbent President from the members of the Cabinet. as petitioners contend. representatives elected from the different regions of the nation.

those who shall not be less than eighteen years of age elected by their respective sectors. Members of the interim Batasang Pambansa. which shall not be more than 120. The National Assembly shall be composed of as many Members as may be provided by law to be apportioned among the provinces. abolishing the interim National Assembly and creating in its stead an interim Batasang Pambansa. as pointed out by petitioner Juan T. which took effect on October 27. By September of 1976. There shall be. an interim Batasang Pambansa. those of Section 2 of Article VIII of the Constitution. contiguous. in lieu of the interim National Assembly. the Senators and the Representatives of the old Congress and the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention who have opted to serve therein. and adjacent territory. representatives elected from the different regions of the nation. which deal with the composition of the regular National Assembly. which provides: SEC. should be considered and not. while the sectors shall be determined by law. Regional representatives shall be apportioned among the regions in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio. the provisions of Amendment No. Amendments Nos. 1 provides: 1. it specifically provides that. 2. compact. (Emphasis supplied. representative districts and cities in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio. region representatives shall be voted upon at large by the registered voters of their respective regions. the consensus had emerged for a referendum partaking of the character of a plebiscite which would be held to establish the solid foundation for the next step towards normalizing the political process. 1976. The constitutional provision relied upon is Section 2 of Article VIII. (1) the . 1 to 9 were approved. 1 to the Constitution. unless otherwise provided by law. 1976. T was intended as a preparatory and experimental step toward the establishment of full parliamentary government as provided for in the Constitution. as far as practicable. The number of representatives from each region or sector and the manner of their election shall be prescribed and regulated by law. David. It should be recalled that under the term of the Transitory Provisions of the Constitution. By the will of the people. as expressed overwhelmingly in the plebiscite of October 15 and 16. Each district shall Comprise. Representative districts or provinces already created or existing at the time of the ratification of this Constitution shag have at least one Member each. and for a perfectly justifiable reason. In resolving the issue. shall include the incumbent President of the Philippines. Amendment No.) The provisions of the Above Amendment are clear. Instead of providing that representation in the interim Batasang Pambansa shall be by representative districts. The candidates receiving the highest number of votes from the entire region shall be declared elected. The Filipino people rejected the convening of the interim National Assembly. 28 the membership of the interim National Assembly would consists of the Incumbent President and Vice- President. and those chosen by the incumbent President from the Members of the Cabinet.

" Furthermore. They will represent the whole region and not merely its integral provinces. 31 It should be emphasized that the regular National Assembly is distinct and different in composition. That the interim Batasang Pambansa is a distinct and special body. representatives elected from the different regions of the nation. in the same manner as the regular National Assembly. its membership "shall not be more than 120.. by reason of its transitory nature should be governed by specifically formulated rules. The composition of the interim Batasang Pambansa is indeed experimental. the Constitution made it clear and manifest. By reason of its provisional character. unless otherwise provided by law. The representatives are to be elected by the voters of the entire region. Moreover. representative districts and cities". 2 of the Constitution. those who shall not be less than eighteen years of age elected by their respective sectors. Where the intent is to relate to the regular National Assembly. and (2) the "Regional representatives shall be apportioned among the regions in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio while the sector shall be determined by law. The fear of petitioner Juan T. Section 12 of the Code ensures that there shall be sufficient representatives for each region by providing that "the number of regional representatives for any region shall not be less than the number of representative districts therein existing at the time of the ratification of the Constitution. Thus. is limited in its membership to representatives to be apportioned among the provinces." The regular National Assembly. is apparent from the constitutional amendment which created it." as provided in Section 3[l] of Article VIII of the Constitution. powers and manner of elections of its members from the interim Batasang Pambansa is to function during the period of transition while the regular National Assembly is to operate upon the restoration of normalcy. the interim Batasang Pambansa has to be more flexible. and such regional representatives shall be alloted or distributed among the regions in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio. " No mention whatsoever is made of 4 provinces. therefore. The clear import and intent of the Constitutional Amendment is. " Elections of sectoral representatives are specially provided for in the 1978 Election Code. Neither does the Amendment provide that the members of the interim Batasang Pambansa "shall be elected by the qualified electors in their respective district for term of six years . There is no denying the fact that as wide a range of representation as possible is required in order to hasten the nation's return to normalcy. To hold that Section 3[l] of Article VIII is applicable to the interim Batasang Pambansa would lead to the conclusion that the members of the Batasan shall have a term of six years. be ludicrous to confine the members of such body within the strictures of the representative districts of the regular National Assembly. David that several representative districts will be deprived of representation misconstrues the concept of regional elections." III The following two issues raised by petitioners are interrelated and must be jointly discussed herein. therefore. They are: . both in its representation and the manner of election of its members. It would.. representative districts and cities. the election of the representatives from the different regions of the nation. form and distribution of constituencies in the hope of securing a legislature most truly representative of the views of the electorate. it "shall include the incumbent President of the Philippines.representatives shall be elected from the different regions of the nation. districts or cities. 29 It is significant to note that nowhere in the said amendment is it provided that the members of the interim Batasang Pambansa shall be apportioned among the representative districts. and those chosen by the incumbent President from the Members of the Cabinet. on the other hand. which is of course inconsistent with its transitory character. It is an experiment in size. as indicated in Amendment No. It is for t reason that sectors are given adequate representation 30 and are considered as "national aggrupations. which.

. SEC. and shag be entitled to nominate and support their respective candidates for representatives in the interim Batasang Pambansa. so that their respective candidates for membership in the interim Batasang Pambansa may be voted for as a group under the 1978 Election Code. 33 They envisioned. 199. such party has obtained at least the third highest number of votes cast in the constituency to which it seeks accreditation. and no political party which seeks to achieve its goals through violence or subversion shall be entitled to accreditation. any other group of persons pursuing the same political Ideals in government may register with the Commission and be entitled to the same rights and privileges. Invoked by petitioner are Sections 8 and 10 of Article XII-C of the Constitution. and (b) Whether or not members of a political party in the l971 elections may run under the ticket sponsored by any other party. therefore. amend or change their names. officers and members. a new era in Philippine politics. and where the electoral process was to be free.". questioned by petitioners. — Pending the promulgation of rules and regulations to govern the registration and accreditation of political parties by the Commission in accordance with Article XII[C] of the Constitution. by-laws. less . platfor. 10. 8. the registration with the Commission previous to 1972 of the Nacionalista Party. A political party shall be entitled to accreditation by the Commission if. Similarly. group or aggrupation. and no candidate for any elective public office may change political party affiliation within six months immediately preceding g or following an election. (a) Whether or not the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) and the Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN) may be registered and accredited as political parties under Section 8 of Article XII-C of the Constitution. These two major parties were considered as "in fact a one party system with two factions openly disagreeing on fringe issues but tacitly united by one common aim: alternate monopoly of power through a pattern of patronage politics. and other national parties shall be deemed to continue and they may. constitutions. considering the provisions of Section 10 of Article XII-C of the Constitution which prohibition candidates for any elective public office from changing party affiliation within six months s immediately preceding or following an election The resolution of the foregoing issues calls for the determination of the constitutionality of Section 199 of the 1978 Election Code. in the immediately preceding election. which provide: SEC. where elections were to be decided on issues rather than on personalities. Registration of political parties. or other organizational papers. Said section provides: SEC. Liberal Party. It should be recalled that the object of the afore-quoted provisions of the Constitution was to develop a third party and break the heretofore dominant hold on the political system by the two major political parties which have been in existence since the birth of the republic. No elective public officer may change political party affiliation during term of office." 32 The framers of the Constitution examined the weaknesses of the party system and saw the need "for discarding the old party system as a political farce that has been largely responsible for many of the country's ills .. Citizens' Party. upon notice to the Commission through their respective presidents or duly authorized representatives. No religious sect shall be registered as political party.

Thus. they are subjected to the regulation of propaganda materials (Sec. in the immediately preceding election. imposing strict discipline among the members. the 1978 Election Code allows the registration of aggrupations or groups of persons "pursuing the same political Ideals in government". and (b) those political parties or groups who seek "to achieve its goals through violence and subversion". that some of these provisions would not operate during the interim period. since a political party has been generally defined as "an association of voters believing in certain principles of government. from the wording of Section 8. Accreditation is the means by which the registration requirement is made effective by conferring benefits to registered political parties. it is only the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) and the Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN) that have polarized the major differences on vital public issues affecting the nation. no political party can be accredited. during t first election in t period of transition when. therefore. consequently. neither the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) nor the Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN) professes to be a political party in the sense of a stable organization with a degree of permanence. it would exempt aggrupations or other political groups from certain requirements.expensive government depends on an organized and vigorous citizenry. 52). in Article XII-C. Political parties "result from the voluntary association of electors. to construe the term "political party" restrictively would delimit the supervisory authority of the Commission on Elections. that the KBL and LABAN are not political parties. It does not follow. obviously. The element of time is not essential to the formation of a legal party. is that the political party must have obtained. however. necessity for legislation. however. And." 35. The condition for accreditation. It would appear from Section 8 of Article XII-C that the only groups which cannot be registered are: (a) religious groups or sects. does not state what are the effects of accreditation. formed to urge the adoption and execution of such principles in governmental affairs through officers of like belief. does the Constitution. Such can only exist if citizens can increase their effectiveness in politics by modernizing and using political parties to set the general directions of public policy and to influence the specific decisions of public institutions that affect their daily lives. More specifically. Sections 2[5] and 8 limit registration to political parties as strictly understood by withholding it from aggrupations of persons pursuing the same political Ideals of government as provided in Section 199 of the 1978 Election Code? It clearly does not. it may spring into existence from the exigencies of a particular election. aside from those mentioned. in a generic sense. and do not exist by operation of law. at least "the third highest number of votes cast in the constituency to which it seeks accreditation. There is." 36 As a matter of fact. " The Constitution. 41) and the limitation of expenses for candidates (Sec. Under Section 199. it is obvious that said section is incapable of application during the first election because it states that no political party shall be entitled to accreditation unless in the immediately preceding election. and with a party platform drafted and ratified in a party convention. It was intended. 34 Although their members are united by common policies and principles of government and apparently impelled by the same political Ideals. . however. and with no intention of continuing after the exigency has passed. it obtained at least the third highest number of votes cast in the constituency to which it seeks accreditation. Moreover. The listing of political parties appears to have a dual aspect — registration and accreditation Registration is a means by which the government is enabled to supervise and regulate the activities of various elements participating in an election. That there cannot be any accreditation during the first election under the 1973 Constitution is evident from the sponsorship speech of the proponent of t constitutional provision.

38 It is. 1972 makes it an event of no ordinary significance. Indeed. In the cases at bar. after having become such. includes the freedom to associate or refrain from association. without the aid of supplementary legislation. We understand that no candidate voluntarily changed party affiliation. necessary at t stage to encourage the emergence or growth of political parties that will truly reflect the opinions and aspirations of our people. that under Section 10 of Article XII-C of the Constitution. we shall inaugurate a new stage in our political life. What we envision in t initiative is the permanence and continuity of the refor that we have launched under the aegis of crisis government. and commence our fateful transition from crisis government to a parliamentary system. is no mere restoration of electoral processes and representative government. therefore. or. Section 10 is a statement of a basic principle against political opportunism. The coming elections would be a perilous exercise indeed if they would merely return us to elections and representative institutions as we had known them in the past. It is in recognition of t fact that Section 199 of the 1978 Election Code allows or sanctions the registration of groups of persons "pursuing the same political ideals in government" with the Commission on Elections. 41 T brings us to the next point raised by petitioners. Today the acts of Filipino politicians must be judged by more mature standards and the test of national allegiance has become more strict and more demanding. which at t stage of our political tory appears. no legislation has been enacted to implement t constitutional prohibition. And it will have permanence and continuity because by the grace of suffrage and representative government. "The Filipino society has outgrown its age of innocence. Marcos has significantly observed: . the provision in question states that no elective .From another point of view. no candidate for elective office may change party affiliation within six months immediately preceding or following an election. namely. to remain a member. We envision in it the full emergence of a new political order that will give life and sustenance to our national vision of a new society.. On the contrary. to what extent the rights of organized political parties should be regulated by law is a matter of public policy to be determined by the lawmaker — a matter which does not concern the courts. To begin with. The right of individuals to form associations as guaranteed by the fundamental law.. 39 In accord with t constitutional precept." 37 By t election. But as President Ferdinand E. a narrow construction may discourage the robust exercise of the right of association guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The facts that the coming polls will be the first that we shall hold since the proclamation of martial law on September 21. necessary. it is difficult to conceive how the courts may apply the prohibition. in all the varied facts and circutances under which it may be invoked. For instance. and compromise what had taken us so much time and effort to construct over the last five years. it is recognized that no man is compelled by law to become a member of a political party. I repeat. 40 The existence of responsible political parties with distinct programs of government is essential to the effectiveness of a parliamentary system of government. this step. we shag thereby attain a formal mechanism for the exercise of participation and involvement by our people in nation-building and national development. Moreover. the claim that the KBL and the LABAN are not political parties" is based partly on the fact that the candidates running under their banners have retained their party affiliation. even more binding.

that will allow the Filipino people to express their deeper concerns and aspirations through popular government. and does not extend to the determination of abstract questions or issues framed for the purpose of invoking the advice of the court without real parties or a real case. presented in such form. We cannot perceive how such constitutional prohibition could be applied in t first election. 4." 42 In any event. It may be relevant to emphasize here that the jurisdiction of t Court is "limited to cases and controversies. the period of campaign shall commence on February 17. Election and campaign periods. and pronouncing and carrying into effect a judgment between the parties. excluding the day before and the day of the election: Provided. Article XII-C of the Constitution.public officer may change political party affiliation during term of office. in resolving winch many immensurable factors have to be considered. 1978 except that no election campaign or partisan political activity may be conducted on March 23 and 24. — The election period shall be fixed by the Commission on Elections in accordance with Section 6. What sanctions should be adopted? Should he be suspended or ousted from the legislature? When one turns to political candidates. Is the sanction to be found in the refusal by the Commission on Elections to register the party or group. It is not part of the judicial department to deal with such questions without their authoritative solutions by the legislative department. (a) it was decreed by the President and not by the Commission on Elections as provided by Section 6 of Article XII-C. belonging to one party. Suppose an elected representative in the legislature. the overriding constitutional purpose is to remove the dominant hold of the two major political parties and encourage the formation of new political parties. within the parties or beyond them. petitioners rely on Section 6 of Article XII-C of the Constitution. IV The fourth issue is: whether or not the forty-five-day period of campaign prescribed in the 1978 Election Code violates the Constitution because. The intention is not to rebuild old party coalitions but to define new political means and instruments. that the judicial power is capable of acting upon them. That for the election of representatives to the interim Batasang Pambansa. with adverse litigants. The afore-cited constitutional provisions are commands to the legislature to enact laws to carry out the constitutional purpose. the same questions as to what should be considered "political opportunism" or "turncoatism" will be encountered.five days immediately preceding the election. Precisely. or are there other ways? Should political parties be prevented from "adopting" candidates? Or from forming coalitions? All of these are questions of policy. Petitioners question the constitutionality of Section 4 of the 1978 Election Code. therefore. They are. shall always vote and side with another political party. which provides: SEC. But the problem of procedure for hearing and deciding infringements of the prohibition or the determination of the appropriate sanction becomes more acute. 1978. Will he be considered a "turncoat" even if he does not formally change party affiliation? Suppose it be decided that he is a "turncoat". addressed initially to the lawmaking department of the government. or in the denial of certificate of candidacy. In support of the allegation of unconstitutionality. thus: . The period of campaign shall not be more than forty. and (b) the period should cover at least ninety (90) days.

At t point. 6. Thus. the constitutional mandate is complied with by the fact that the Commission on Elections has adopted and is enforcing the period fixed in Section 4. has been fixed so that "it shall not be more than forty-five days immediately preceding the election: Provided. 1978. 1 provides that the "number of representatives from each region and the manner of their election shall be prescribed and regulated by law " (emphasis supplied). insofar as objections to the fixing of the campaign period for elections in general are concerned. 1978 except that no election campaign or partisan political activity may be conducted on March 23 and 24. Thus. the COMELEC removed the so-called undue advantage which the Nacionalista Party and the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) had over the Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN) in ter of authorized election expenses. 5. therefore. Article XII (C) of the Constitution. At the outset. Under Amendment No. by reason of its nature and purpose. In conferring upon the incumbent President the authority to determine the date of the election. At any rate. it should be considered that Amendment No. it is apparent that there is a distinction between the ter "election period" and "campaign period". Section 4. those who drafted the Amendments must have realized that it is only the incumbent President who has the authority and the means of obtaining. and t is emphasized by the fact that the Code itself limits its application. through the various facilities in the civil and military agencies of the government. contrary to the clai of petitioners. It is. therefore." The distinction is further made apparent by the fact that the "election period" under Section 5 of Article XII-C of the Constitution extends even beyond the day of the election itself. and to determine the period within which an electoral campaign may be adequately conducted in all the regions of the nation. while the "campaign period". an election in a state of emergency. That for the election of representatives to the interim Batasang Pambansa. no conflict with the constitutional provision. 43 Even assuming that it should be the Commission on Elections that should fix the period for campaign." The "campaign period". shows that the Commission on Elections. "the incumbent President shall continue to exercise legislative powers until martial law shall have been lifted. it may be relevant to note the efforts of the Commission on Elections to give more substance and meaning to the intent and spirit of the Constitution and the 1978 Election Code by giving the same practicable opportunities to candidates. 1978 interim Batasang Pambansa elections. the objective is to hasten the normalization of government and. at the same time. must necessarily be before the elections are held. At t juncture. SEC. The exigencies of the situation require that it be governed by special rules. the election period shall commence ninety days before the day of election and shall end thirty days thereafter. It should be borne in mind that the forthcoming election for members in the interim Batasang Pambansa will be a special election during a regime of martial law. to ensure that the nation is not exposed to the same critical proble that necessitated the declaration of martial law. appointment of election watchers and use of print and broadcast media. information on the peace and order condition of the country. the period of campaign shag commence on February 17." The power conferred by these Amendment upon the lawmaker necessarily included the authority to prescribe the date and procedure for the holding of such elections. There is. Article I of the 1978 Election Code provides that the "election period shag be fixed by the Commission on Elections in accordance with Section 6. Article I of the 1978 Election Code. groups or parties involved in the April 7. Thus. in Resolution No. T circutance. as a constitutional body charged with the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to . however. Unless otherwise fixed by the Commission in special cases. 1289. the 1978 Election Code was formulated to meet a special need.

put the matter in language notable for its impact. the instant petitions are hereby DISMISSED. and with broad powers. in their opinion. Care is to be taken though that the transgression alleged did in fact occur. Concepcion. In that way.. C. concurring and dissenting: It is a reassuring feature of the martial law regime in the Philippines that t Court had repeatedly entertained suits challenging the validity of presidential decrees raised in appropriate legal proceedings. and . as the guardian of constitutional rights. parties had come to this Tribunal whenever. FERNANDO. and they were heard. not only jurisdiction to pass upon [such questions] but also the duty to do so. Judicial activism may become judicial exuberance As was so well put by Justice Malcolm. The trust reposed in them is not to formulate policy but to determine its legality as tested by the Constitution..the conduct of elections. can give candidates. More specifically.. it oversteps the boundary of judicial competence. It is an awesome power. It may come from parties resolved to transfer the site of conflict from the political arena to the judicial forum. 1 It is a role it had never shunned. whether there is a failure to abide by the fundamental law. the executive act assailed was tainted by the vice of nullity. "have. there must always be an awareness of the scope of the power to adjudicate. functions and duties under the 1973 Constitution. Fernandez. That is not to be encouraged. The challenge may be insubstantial and the argument adduced inconclusive." 3 Justice Laurel in the landmark case of Angara v. Courts. without costs. If so. The limits imposed on the exercise of executive and legislative power must be observes The function of judicial review is intended to serve that Purpose It does not extend to an unwarranted intrusion into that broad and legitimate sphere of discretion enjoyed by the political branches to determine the policies to be pursued. equal opportunities under equal circutances. in the language of Chief Justice Concepcion." 2 Judicial review is thus the dominant constitutional concept to assure that the Constitution remains supreme.. It is undeniable that the function of judicial review exists not because courts can initiate the governmental action to be taken. They did complain. For there is no issue so basic that it cannot be settled within the constitutional framework.J. Castro. "Just as the Supreme Court. so should it as strictly confine its own sphere of influence to the powers expressly or by implication conferred on it by the Organic Act. The function entrusted to them is to decide. without design or intent. irrespective of parties. concur. JJ. is theirs to perform. this Tribunal cannot avoid the responsibility thrust upon it to vindicate the rights safeguarded by the Constitution. This Court should ever be on the alert lest. and Guerrero. should not sanction usurpations by any other department of the government. in view of the foregoing. Makasiar. the outcome should not be in doubt. sweep. assuming that a suit satisfies the requisites for an inquiry into a constitutional issue. to be sure. Electoral Commission. Aquino. but reasons of delicacy as well as the courtesy due a coordinate branch do not suffice to ward off judicial intervention in proper cases. but because thereafter the duty to pass upon its validity. Santos. Even during this period of emergency. whenever raised in an appropriate case. WHEREFORE. 4 decided eight months to the day from the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution. both in normal times and under crisis conditions. J. Certainly. It goes no further than to assure obedience to and respect for the mandates of the Constitution. Jr. this Court manifested fealty to the basic tenet of constitutionalism. which cannot be evaded without violating the fundamental law and paving the way to its eventual destruction. There is thus adherence to the path of constitutionalism.

And when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries." 5 Such a principle was earlier given expression. the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom. insofar as the optional block voting scheme is a valid response to a compelling state interest. must continue to be the means by which the . petitioners who are independent candidates were unable to sustain the burden of proving that there is a denial of due process or of equal protection.enduring vitality. scope and extent of such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. it does not assert any superiority over the other departments. The doubts that come to mind from an objective appraisal of the challenged provisions of the 1978 Election Code do not suffice then to call for a declaration of nullity. without impairing the freedom of choice in view of its not being compulsory. 8 As was so well emphasized by justice Laurel in Moya v. on the assumption that electoral frauds will be avoided. the conclusion reached by the Court commends itself for approval. Del Fierro: 9 "As long as popular government is an end to be achieved and safeguarded. even of an interim character. Nor is t merely to pay heed to precepts fundamental in character. t power of judicial review is limited to actual cast and controversies to ex after full opportunity of argument by the parties. The courts do not sit to resolve the merits of conflicting theories. and limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. as citizens. courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments. it cannot be said to be infected with the virus of invalidity. not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the government. The principles set forth above were not only characterized by their responsiveness to the questions involved in such litigations but were also impressed with a validity which transcended the issues raised on those occasions. the electorate is afforded the opportunity of choosing their representatives in a legislative body. Debatable questions are for the legislature to decide. by Justice Malcolm: "If there is probable basis for sustaining the conclusion reached. force. it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature. premised as it is on their mere assertion that the challenged provision on the block voting scheme is void on its face. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. favoring as it does the growth and stability of political parties. Who is to determine the nature. While the judicial process does not take place in a social void. of course." 6 In that perspective and with such pronouncements of undoubted clarity. it may be said that the strictures of recent tory had been glossed over. This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed 'judicial supremacy' which properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution. This is. More than that. This they failed to do. Even then. suffrage. that it will undoubtedly be of great help to the unlettered and untutored who. and authority coming from eminent constitutionalists. Thus they had to overcome the presumption of validity accorded a legislative or executive act. 7 What added difficulty to their task was the rather tenuous character of their plea. Thus: "The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Nor should nagging doubts prevail against the overriding consideration that thereby. Moreover. [legislative] findings are not subject to judicial review. Narrowed as its function is in t manner. but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting clai of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the par ties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument and guarantees to them. with sovereignty residing in the people. so should it be now. To the extent. It is true that as to the optional block voting scheme. That is to pay homage to the fundamental principle of the Philippines being a republican state. justice or expediency of legislation. are entitled to participate in the democratic process. however. As it was then. there are doctrines that are of the essence of the function of judicial review. in words both lucid and emphatic. whatever may be the modality and form devised.

For as it stands. "The unchallenged rule. primarily the maintenance of peace and order. that in each and every instance where such an exception is invoked. which. the existence of an interim Batasang Pambansa would be in consonance with the pronouncement of Justice Black in Duncan v. Vera. at the instance of taxpayers. Moreover. To that extent. however. I am unable to yield entire concurrence. and learned opinion of Justice Antonio. in so far as it implies the adoption of a representative type of government. 26 Professor Tushnet came to t conclusion: "Decisions on questions of standing are concealed decisions on the merits of the underlying constitutional claim.. Macapagal" 19 clarified matters thus: "Moreover. direct injury as a result of its'enforcement. except for the inclusion of the rule on appreciation of ballots found in paragraph 28 of Section 155 of the 1978 Election Code. In such a ease. laws providing for the disbursement of public funds. 17 with t modification in the opinion of Chief Justice Concepcion: "Yet. there appears to be an undue intrusion in the freedom of choice implicit in the right of suffrage if an elector's preference for individual candidates would not be accorded recognition solely due to the fact that at the same time ballot likewise indicates voting for the slate of another party or aggrupation. The forthcoming election is a major step toward the eagerly-awaited restoration of full civilian rule. It does not mean. necessarily points to the enfranced citizen as a particle of popular sovereignty and as the ultimate source of the established authority. 23It only remains to be added that there apparently is a tendency in recent American decisions to retreat from the liberal rule as to standing announced in the 1968 decision of Flast v. by registered candidates for the interim Batasang Pambansa. The Court finds . Tan v. After a recent careful and analytical study of the trend discernible in cases heard the last two or three years by the American Supreme Court. leaving unimpaired the full exercise of legislative and judicial powers by the other departments and thus maintaining civilian supremacy. Two petitions were filed by registered voter." 18 Thus was the concept of a taxpayer's suit given the imprimatur of approval by this Court. tills Court is not devoid of discretion as to whether or not it should be entertained. there are many decisions nullifying. 13 I am thus persuaded to yield conformity to the able." according to Justice Laurel. however." 16 There was a reiteration of t doctrine in Pascual v. 22 and the last two." 10 There is this added reinforcement to the conclusion reached by the Court.' which may be enjoined at the request of a taxpayer. There is thus a closer approximation to the Willoughby concept 11 that martial law merely confers on the Executive the competence to call on the armed forces to assist him in the faithful execution of the laws. this Tribunal is left with no alternative except to hear the parties. Fortunately for petitioner all of them could show an interest Personal and substantial. one by "a political and civil aggrupation" and the other by a former delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention who was also the Chairman of the Committee on Political Parties. 1. 21 two others. relied on a well-settled doctrine concerning the procedural standards that must be met for the function of judicial review to come into play." 20 Solicitor General Mendoza was on solid ground therefore when he raised as one of defenses that taxpayer's suits as such do not necessarily call for the exercise of the function of judicial review. Frothingham. Kahanamoku 12 that even during such emergency period. raises a serious constitutional question. to the rather rigid rule of Mellon v. exhaustive. 24 There is no automatic reversion. to my mind. 15 "is that the person who impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained. upon the theory that 'the expenditure of public funds by an office of the State for the purpose of administering an unconstitutional act constitutes a misapplication of such funds. it is my view that what should be disregarded is the vote for such other party or aggrupation and the vote for the individual candidates counted. or will sustain. 14 in raising the question of standing of petitioners. as far as taxpayer's suit is concerned. Secretary of Public Works. legislatures and courts remain indispensable to the existence of a republican state. Mendoza. Cohen.great reservoir of power must be emptied into the receptacular agencies wrought by the people through their Constitution in the interest of good government and the common weal Republicanism. 25 a 1923 decision. in the equally leading case of People v. Solicitor General Estelito P.

Five of the six petitions assailed the options block voting scheme with unwonted severity." 27 2. Abubakar. David. and has been recognized by this court. instead of stressing the right to vote. who is given the freedom of choice between casting ballot for individual candidates or for the favored party or aggrupation. to quote from Pungutan v." 37 Chief Justice Warren. That private damage may be caused by such political action. This Court is committed to such a principle. inasmuch as members of the legislative body both in the Philippines 42 and in the United States 43 could file actions to assail the validity of a challenged legislation or even a resolution of the Constitutional Convention. the petition concerns political action. Herndon. That was the ruling in the leading case of Nixon v. Del Fierro. 51 Without developing further how the right to vote of an elector. White. Zosa 31 in words with a similar ring. it would premise its plea on the ground that no party could be accredited by the Conunission on Elections and subsequently no party could be voted for in the coming elections. we must live. To be more specific. and may be recovered for in a suit at law. 45 and Juan T. There is nothing axiomatic about conclusion." 30 Such a thought was given expression by Chief Justice Concepcion in Ozamis v. Certainly." 34 It is thus evident that petitioners who are registered voters cannot be denied the right to be heard. The censure that came from the Youth Democratic Movement 47 was peripheral to its main submission. a voter whose right of suffrage 28 is allegedly impaired by the optional block voting scheme is entitled to judicial redress. even the most basic. Pedro G. 46 did manifest grave concern as to its possible adverse effects on their candidacies. a delegate or former delegate is entitled to the same privilege." 39 possible objection based on standing can be raised either when the suit is instituted by a candidate for public office 40 as well as a political party or aggrupation. but the denunciation fell far short of overcoming the presumption of validity. there had been no previous decisions on the matter. are illusory if the right to vote is undermined." 32 It follows then. in Wesberry v. It is unthinkable then for this Court not to inquire into any allegation of constitutional infirmity imputed to a provision of the Election Code that would emasculate the right to vote. 35 So it is under American law where a denial of the right to vote could even be made the basis for a money claim. paragraph 5 and Section 8 of the same Article." 50 What other conclusion can there be from such a bare assertion except that it is decidedly unpersuasive? It assumes what must be shown. since Ashby v. as good citizens. 29 is "a particle of popular sovereignty and [is] the ultimate source of the established authority.standing when it wishes to sustain a chum on the merits and denies standing when the claim would be rejected were the merits reached. it may be a . that it is "a constitutional guarantee of the utmost significance. Section 2. referring to Article XII C. That leaves only petitioner De la Llana. Peralta. the first two stressing their running as independents. three of the petitioners. There see to be lack of awareness of the rudimentary concept in constitutional law that there being a presumption of validity. if that is the appropriate term. characterizing the right to vote as "an attribute of sovereignty. By analogy. yet. 41 Concerning as constitutional convention delegate. 49 All that was stated by him as to the optional block voting is that it "win result to (sic) the commission of gross electoral frauds and malpractices and the election win only be a farcical political exercise and a death blow to our democratic system. by condensing the matter in four pages. had been infringed. Of course. hardly has been doubted for over two hundred years. but it alleges and seeks to recover for private damage. Asuncion Buenafe. unless the statute or decree is void on its face." to refer anew to Justice Laurel's opinion in Moya v. The "enfranced citizen. 3. 33. It is a right without which the principle of sovereignty residing in the people becomes nugatory. Sanders. It cannot just be taken for granted. 44 B. it is an attack on the optional block voting scheme. Other rights. Ostensibly. however. distinguished. 48 who filed a suit for declaratory relief treated by this Court as an action for prohibition. 38 was quite eloquent when he spoke on the matter: "No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which. the necessity for evidence to rebut it is unavoidable. 36 the opinion being penned by the illustrious Justice Holmes: "The objection that the subject-matter of the suit is political is little more than a play upon words.

It is equally undoubted that with such a provision an advantage is afforded party candidates. The importance of political parties or political aggrupations to a republican state. it serves as a source of resiliency and cohesion. however. Nor is that necessarily undesirable for that could minimize the sharpness of conflicts which. even if optional." 54 He sought the shelter of its protection for hielf and other independent candidates who. Through a political party. This is not to say though that it does not reflect the deep clash of forces within the community. the feelings of the electorate about their own tangled proble and institutions may be canalized and thus be clarified." to quote from Friedrich. it offends against such a guarantee. Even intelligent professionals are confused. Let me not be misunderstood. in ter of individual rights." tory need not repeat itself. An executive or legislative act must satisfy the rational basis test. measures to avoid abuses in the utilization of a device neutral in character and on its face not infected with the vice of nullity could be taken. would be thus made to suffer if the assailed provision is not nullified. to repeat. The thirteen-page petition of the Youth Democratic Movement 52 is distinguished by a more conscientious and diligent appraisal of the constitutional issues. have played a major role as makers of governments." 58 As a vote mobilizer he stated further. it should be stated flatly at the outset that t volume is devoted to the thesis that the political parties created democracy and that modern democracy is unthinkable save in ter of the parties. with leaders of undeviating rigidity in their approach to political proble. is not by any means suggested. preferably a majority of votes." 59 It is through a political party then that the shifting desires and pressure intensities of the various groups that compose the electorate may be ascertained. in the language of Cardozo. would outrun the bounds of reason and result in sheer oppression. it may be unavoidable that. There is. "first of all an organized attempt to get power. The desirability of any block voting provision. The result will be countless (sic) of stray ballots and a defeat of popular will. according to Lerner." 60 Thus it has to be responsive to the needs and outlook of the elector. in fact. more especially they have been the makers of democratic government. especially so for a parliamentary system. is on the limitation of the election period. arousing the fear on the part of petitioner that the balloting would not reflect the true popular will. 4. there is t Categorical declaration by Schattschneider: "The rise of political parties is indubitably one of the principal distinguishing marks of modern government. "has given American democracy a rough kind of . the presumption of validity has not been overcome." 57 As observed by Truman: "Whatever else it may be or may not be. calls for such a response. The parties. he would raise a due process and equal protection question. "[is] victory. Precisely. the condition of the parties is the best possible evidence of the nature of any regime. as to the due process aspect. 55 5. Petitioner Peralta was rather vehement in contending that the optional block voting scheme is violative of t provision of the Constitution: Bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination. "The single purpose. however. The party system. t stray comment bearing on the optional block voting provision: "And t will be worse confounded by the introduction of the infamous block voting scheme which millions of our voters do not understand. is the drive for power. There was a dismal failure to sustain the burden incumbent upon him to demonstrate invalidity. Clearly. Does that stamp it with invalidity? The answer is in the negative. As a matter of fact. there be compromises with both political principles and doctrinal symmetry. but the crucial element in their campaign for votes. It is undoubted that if the optional block voting scheme. It does not suffice to link past agonies with present hopes. "a party must be an 'alliance of interests' to use Herring's phrase. could have caused an undue strain in the body politic. the political party in the United States most commonly is a device for mobilizing votes. presumption of constitutionality to a legislative act or a presidential decree cautions against sustaining the plea of petitioner De la Llana." 56 It is. Its major thrust. At times. Likewise. according to him." 53 Such a rather curt summary invites a similar appraisal.rash assumption to affirm categorically that "the election win only be a farcical political exercise and a death blow to our democratic system. Essentially. First. An that is set forth here is that respect for the deeply-rooted principle of according the. On that point. to quote him anew.

Inc. 71 has t relevant excerpt: "To assure that the general welfare be promoted. or according to objects or occupations and the like." 66 It is of interest to note that the applicable constitutional law doctrine in Malaysia is not dissimilar. 64 the second landmark opinion in constitutional law of Justice Laurel to Felwa v. Vera. is in the negative. what is condemned is invidious discrimination. but also to future conditions which are substantially identical to those of the present. M. they have been returned there to support a party to which their supporters hope will win enough seats to be able to form a government under the Premiership of its leader. The ponencia of Chief Justice Concepcion in Felwa is a succinct but comprehensive statement of the matter. Land Tenure Administration. if due regard be had to the authoritative and controlling doctrines. therefore. it makes the rise of new parties a difficult matter. It is undoubted that independent candidates are at a disadvantage under an optional block voting scheme. The teaching of our decisions is plain and unmistakable. promulgated in 1977. Public Prosecutor. that the added advantage afforded parties or aggrupations by the optional block voting device is an infringement of the due process guarantee. has a special pathology of its own. 68 As in the Philippines. Now as to the equal protection question. and (4) the classification applies equally to all those who belong to the same class. Thus: "It is well settled that the equal protection clause applies only to persons or things identically situated and does not bar a reasonable classification of the subjects of legislation. in Datuk Haji Harun bin Haji Idris v. Salas. It is too clear to be misread. the character. or at the very least. such a guarantee "applies to both substantive and procedural law" but "envisages that there may be lawful discrimination based on classification.politically functioning unity without the social cast that the unity of a single-party totalitarian system would have involved. a regulatory measure may cut into the rights to liberty and property." 63 It cannot be said. it is not absolute but qualified. 6. or distinction of mind. Like our Constitution the federal charter of Malaysia has an equality provision. of its party pattern gives both the House and the electorate a government which party discipline will usually maintain in office for a period pretty close to the five years set as its legal term by the Parliament Act of 1911. to quote anew from People v. 67 As was made clear by the Lord President. which is the end of law. Vera. According to subject to a small number of exceptions. Does that in itself justify a finding that it suffers from the corrosion of constitutional infirmity? The answer. and once it has brought the new House of Commons into being. 65 cited in the opinion of Justice Antonio. (3) the classification applies. The classification may be founded on different bases such as geographical. It is hostile to the independent member. Whatever deficiencies may be attributed to it cannot go so far as to warrant the conclusion that thereby the rational basis test for governmental action had been disregarded. Those adversely affected may. far from being inspired by the attainment of the common weal was prompted by the spirit of hostility. A recent decision. v. J." 69 That the formulation of Justice Laurel in People v. members are not elected "to Parliament for exceptional beauty of character. So it has been from People v. So it is apparent in the masterly opinion of Lord President Tun Sufian of the Federal Court of Malaysia. and the differential a rational relation to the object sought to be achieved by the law in question. not only to present conditions. and that a classification is reasonable where: (1) it is based upon substantial distinctions which make real differences. under such circutances. it a general vote of confidence in men rather than a mandate upon measures. "No doubt the party system s we know it. (2) these are germane to the purpose of the law. invoke the equal protection clause only if they can show that the governmental act assailed.. discrimination . Vera as to when there is a reasonable classification applies as well in Malaysia is evident from t portion of the opinion citing the Shri Ram Krishma Dalmia decision of the Indian Supreme Court to the effect that a discriminatory law is good law as long as there is reasonable and possible classification which "is founded on an intelligible differential which distinguishes persons that are grouped together from others left out of the group." 70 Succinctly put." 62 He elucidated further. What is necessary is that there must be a nexus between the basis of classification and the object of the law in question. Tuason and Co." 61 What was said by the eminent British political scientist Laski is equally relevant.

Such a conclusion follows from another avenue of approach. In Aglipay v. benefit. the capital of the Philippines. Ruiz. To the extent. The denunciatory favor in which the contention was made is thus unpersuasive. and in labor legislation making a distinction between management and the workingmen. therefore. received by the Roman Catholic Church." 72 7. as the seat of that congress. the resulting propaganda. For the principle is that equal protection and security shall be given to every person under circutances which. all provinces belong to the same class. Petitioner Peralta. more or less religious in character. The optional block voting scheme. the Recto Installment Sales Law making a distinction between vendors and vendees. Since the Act was intended to operate equally in the Philippines. it is not a suspect classification to which the rigid scrutiny test applies. If law be looked upon in ter of burden or charges. There is nothing to prevent them from joining a party or aggrupation and hoping to be nominated as candidates. 74 a 1937 decision of major importance. the conditions not being different. in the emphatic language of Justice Laurel: "The main purpose should not be frustrated by its subordination to mere incidental results not contemplated.that finds no support in reason. there certainly would be inequality if certain provinces failed to make the necessary appropriation As the purpose was for an enactment nationwide in operation. both in the privileges conferred and the liabilities imposed. if any. It is obvious that while the issuance and sale of the stamps in question may be said to be inseparably linked with an even of a religious character." 77 If the independent candidates are to be prejudiced by the adoption of the optional block voting scheme. the resulting harm to their candidacy is attributable to their decision to run as such. Any adversity suffered by them comes under the heading of a self-inflicted wound. a law may be considered bad not only when it actually denies but also when it permits inequality. that independent candidates may be placed in a less favorable category. Favoritism and undue preference cannot be snowed. People v. if not Identical are analogous. It cannot stand the test of scrutiny. For in the challenged provision. is one of the means of strengthening a party government which is a valid state objective. whatever restrictions cast on some in the group equally binding on the rest. 76 So in this case. There is a grave misapprehension on part. To assert in the light of such undoubted statutory objective that a similar kind of inequality may be attributed to the optional block voting scheme that would thus favor political parties or aggrupations is to flounder in the mire of elusive analogy. it cannot be too strongly emphasized. 75 He explained why: "What is emphasized is not the Eucharistic Congress itself but Manila. So it is in the case of the assailed optional block voting scheme. It suffices then that the laws operate equally and uniformly on all persons under similar circutances or that all persons must be treated in the same manner. Petitioner Peralta's contention that there was an infringement of the equal protection clause is thus devoid of support in law. 73 This Court is not called upon then to nullify such a provision. not to mention the fact that . if the purpose had in view is one which could legitimately be undertaken by appropriate legislation. would seek to lend a semblance of deceptive plausibility by the assertion that in the Vera Opinion of Justice Laurel. Vera declared unconstitutional the former Probation Act 78 in view of the fact that its Section 11 would leave its applicability the appropriation by the Provincial Board of the salary of the probation officers. We are of the opinion that the government should not be embarrassed in its activities simply because of incidental results. the statute treates a separate class in a much more favorable manner without thereby incurring the vice of offending against the equal protection clause. or support of any sect or church or system of religion. Justice Laurel as ponente rejected the contention that the issuance of postage stamps referring to Manila as the Seat of the XXXIII International Eucharistic Congress was violative of the constitutional provision against the use of public money or property for the use. was not the aim and purpose of the Goverment. undeterred. as in the cases of usury laws making a distinction between debtors and creditors. those that fall within a class should be treated in the same fashion.

a complete ticket for the Metro Manila region. since petitioner is not a member of the bar. This is a decade of transition and. and heavily. violates Section 1 of Article IV and Section 9(1) of Article XII-C of the Constitution. were squarely met and. said names shall be deemed as not written and the vote shall be counted as cast for each and every one of the official candidates of the party voted for in the ballot. a statutory provision setting at naught will as to such candidates individually singled out could be viewed as free from any constitutional deficiency. par. group or aggrupation. with petitioner David being hielf a candidate in the forthcoming elections and petitioner Youth Democratic Movement being a political aggrupation with intent to present. 8. The opinion of the Court set forth as the first issue: "Whether or not the voting system provided for in Sections 140 and 155. on my part. enters into the picture and constitutes a bar. in the opinion of Justice Antonio. satisfactorily resolved. as pointed out in the opinion of justice Antonio. I am unable to accept any implication in the opinion of the Court that just because he had also made use of the optional block voting scheme. 9. Hence. 155. although not insurmountable. all of the votes indicated in the ballot shall be considered as stray votes and shall not be counted: . that stage had not been reached in the last three petitions. group or aggrupation in the spaces provided therefor.the element of hyperbole was clearly apparent. it is not to an explicit ruling but merely the reference to Section 155 paragraph 28 of the Election Code that precluded. "(g) If a voter had voted for the straight ticket of a political party and at the same time had written on one or more blank spaces of the ballot the names of candidates of other party or parties or of independent candidates. or to vote for all the candidates of a political party. As was made plain at the outset. This is not the case with paragraph 28 of Section 155 of the Election Code. . group or aggrupation by simply writing in the space provided for in the ballot the name of the political party. an agreement full and entire. 80 It is perhaps understandable why the Fajardo petition appears to be less than fully aware of the implications of the doctrine of primary jurisdiction and ripeness of the constitutional question raised to call for adjudication. 79 it would appear that the doctrine of estoppel. The questions raised in the David. After such a categorical expression of will to vote for specified candidates whose names he had taken the trouble to write. all of which bore evidence of considerable thought and reflection. 28: If a voter has written in the proper space of ballot the name of a political party." 85 It is that rule in the appreciation of ballots that to my mind is free from any unconstitutional taint. It is only when there is a clear denial of a constitutional right evident on the face of a statute or decree that even in the absence of any evidentiary proof. The assertion that there is a denial of equal protection thus falls to the ground. there is a great deal of allowable latitude for experimentation.. sub-paragraphs 26 to 28 of the 1978 Election Code. I would not want then to be placed on record as having failed to express my conviction on the matter. to borrow from the language of Justice Laurel." 83 Then the aforesaid provision was quoted in full: "Sec. with one of them characterized by objectivity seeming to melt away under the fierce fire of intense indignation. which admittedly is not to be applied indiscriminately.. 666 which provided. the Youth Democratic Movement. If there is a dissent. to my mind. so its petition stated." 84 Reference was likewise made to Section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. to the grant of the relief prayed for. Nothing remains to be added except to point out that in the first two. it may be a counsel of wisdom not to anticipate the serious constitutional law proble that would arise under situations where only a tentative judgment is dictated by prudence. granting to the voter the option to vote either for individual candidates by filling in the proper spaces in the ballot the names of candidates he desires to elect. and the Fajardo petitions." 82 To my mind. it is submitted ex abundante cautela. it wig be time. 81 It may likewise be stated that considering the tensions of our days and the crisis of our times. this brief dissent. The will of the voter expressed in a manner free from doubt was given force and effect. It is quite obvious then that t separate opinion is essentially and almost wholly one of concurrence. "to make the hammer of [judicial review] fall. group or aggrupation which has nominated official candidates and the names of individual candidates not belonging to the ticket of the same political party. but not until then.

silently vocal on the matter. for me. Recto. as unfortunately happened in the past. 87 characterized an argument "from the possibility of an abuse" as "unsatisfactory. an illusory pretence. dissenting: I. its achievements would stand discredited and the New Society itself condemned. to follow Thomas Reed Powell. the legislature [or the executive] must have its way. J. If it fails. I dissent from the majority's dismissal of the petition on the fundamental ground in consonance with my stand in earlier cases 1 that the so-called October 27. while undoubtedly cognizant of the abuses to which block voting could give rise and did suffer as a consequence. did not challenge its validity in an appropriate case or Proceeding.. the opinions coming from the pens of Justices Laurel and Malcolm. protection guarantees. there is solace in the thought that outside of the 1978 Election Code being applicable only for t year's poll there are built-in provisions therein to guard against the perpetration of electoral misdeeds. from the possibility of its abuse." 89 T excerpt from an opinion of Justice Cardozo in Willia v. there was no clear showing of invalidity based on the impairment of the right of suffrage or the denial of due process and equal pro. to argue against the use or existence of a power. cannot be construed as an admission of its desirability. Hunter's Lessee. until they died. they had participated as counsel de parte or as amici curiae or had been consulted on major constitutional law cases. That is a matter the cognizance of which belongs to the other branches. which. Their failure to do so is. in the oficited case of Martin v. especially those impugning the validity of the optional block voting scheme. It would seem that for them such a question had more of a policy rather than a legal connotation. So I am led to conclude because. impressed with significance considering that in the post World War II period. Baltimore 90 is equally relevant: "The judicial function is exhausted with the discovery that the relation between means and end is not wholly vain and fanciful. Pasay Transportation. Within the field where men of reason may reasonably differ. Solicitor General Mendoza in the course of oral argument observed that two of the most eminent constitutionalists who sat on t bench. it could be perverted from its legitimate use and could be a source of electoral frauds. 86 They were. and Lorenzo. Laurel and Claro M. that I am persuaded to concur in the dismissal of these petitions. As early as 1816. TEEHANKEE. Jose P." 88 He emphasized: "It is always a doubtful course. It is to stress anew that it is primarily on that ground. with full reliance on the authoritative pronouncements in the aforecited cases of Angara. Justice Story. Stress must equally be made on what was said before that the dismissal of these petitions. must be obeyed. There must be a true expression of the popular will. it is to the interest of the present Administration that every effort should be made to avoid such evil practices. to my mind. 1976 amendments to the 1973 Constitution which sought to crate the Interim Batasang Pambansa in lieu of the interim National Assembly provided for in Article XVII of the 1973 Constitution were constitutionally void and invalid since the constituent power to propose constitutional amendments during the transition period (between enforcement of the 1973 Constitution and election and assumption of office of the members of the regular National Assembly) is expressly vested in the interim National Assembly (not in the incumbent President) and the only way to fulfill the express mandate of the Constitution in proposing and effecting any constitutional amendments is the convening of the interim National Assembly to exercise the constituent power to propose amendments. So both constitutionalism and democracy mandate. thereafter. . Moreover.A few more words." 91 At any rate. The presumption of validity accorded a legislative act or executive decree was not therefor overcome. thus appropriately belonging to the political branches. Nor is it to deny that.

although it is universally recognized that the Constitution is a "superior paramount law. like petitioner. which shag form part of the law of the land "whenever the Interim Batasang Pambansa or the regular National Assembly "fails or is unable to act adequately on any matter for any reason that in judgment requires immediate action." 9 . The block voting scheme offends the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution and is furthermore proscribed by the express injunction of the new provision in Article XII. 1978 under Presidential Decree No. On the other hand. We are thus confronted with the reality of the scheduled April 7. 1595. 1978 election of Interim Batasang Pambansa members and the merits of the petitions at bar which in the main assail the validity and constitutionality of the so-called "optional block voting" system now resurrected in Presidential Decree No. that it is associated with electoral frauds and malpractices. 1. section 9 (1) of the 1973 Constitution that "Bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination. or letters of instructions. on the ballot." 6 II. supra the proposed amendments were proclaimed as ratified and in fun force and effect as of October 27. the evils of block voting are enhanced to a hundredfold. Comelec" complaining against the double listing of KBL candidates in Metro Manila where the Comelec recognizes three additional ways of voting for a KBL candidate viz by writing (4) KBL (5) NP (for Nacionalista Party) or (6) just a plain N unless enjoined by the Court in said pending case." 8Actually. only by writing name. (Thus. Said petitioner further aptly observes that "under martial law where the freedom. 1976 under Presidential Proclamtion No. that adopting it would seemingly insured political advantage to the candidates of the administration and. orders. there is but one way to vote for an independent.This was not done. 1978 that "block voting would only make a mockery of the elections. the arbitrary and oppressive edge given the KBL candidate against an independent candidate amounts to 6 to 1 for judicial notice may be taken of the ballot subject of the petition in Case L-47883 entitled "Lakas ng Bayan (Laban) vs." 7 I vote for the granting of the petitions and for the outlawing of the block voting scheme on the following grounds. (2) by writing KIBALI and (3) by writing NACIONALISTA. the credibility of the election would be impaired because of it. unchangeable by ordinary means" 2 but only by the particular mode and manner therein prescribed for otherwise "there will not be stability in our constitutional system and necessarily no stability in our government." Petitioner Peralta as an independent La Union candidate complains with reason that he is unfairly discriminated against and prejudiced by the block voting scheme in that "there are three ways to vote for a KIBALI [Kilusang ng Bagong Lipunan] candidate: (1) by writing name. privileges and immunities of the citizens are curtailed or suspended. contrary to the very tenets of the parliamentary system the Interim Batasang Pambansa which is shorn of the interim and regular Assembly's power to ratify treaties. 1296 (1978 Election Code) for electing the members of the Interim Batasang Pambansa with greatly diluted powers and functions compared to those of the interim National Assembly. And elections have been called for April 7." 3 But with the majority vote in Sanidad. 1296 for the said elections and pray that respondent Comelec be enjoined from implementing the same citing the Comelec's own position papers in the Batasan Bayan's last session on January 27. therefore." 5 The President (Prime Minister) is further empowered to "issue the necessary decrees. cannot elect the Prime Minister nor replace the incumbent President as Prime Minister who may however dissolve the Batasan at any time 4 and who shall continue to exercise legislative powers until martial law shall have been lifted.

only the name of the political party or group. group or aggrupation" 16 with the observation that block voting "favors the strongly organized parties or groups and tends to prevent the proliferation of political parties or groups" 17 may hold true for other times. .. One who writes out 21 names on ballot cannot finish the task in five seconds. Jose P. "(B)lock voting was used after the Second World War in two elections." 10 When taken against the backdrop of 5-½ years of martial law and its restraints without any political activity so much so that the main opposition party. The majority's thesis that "in other jurisdictions ballots providing for optional straight party voting have been accepted as a standard form" 15 and that there is reasonable basis for favoring official candidates against independent candidates who are free to avail of such advantages "by joining a political party.. Independent candidates under such circutances will not find it easy to follow the majority's solution that they become official candidates of non-existent or non. the writing of the party's name prevailed over the individual candidates as distinguished from the postwar scheme in 1947 and 1949 (under Rep. Laurel and Claro M. the Liberal Party. The two great oppositionists at the time. As observed by the former Senator Jovito Salonga. became easy victi of block voting. Historically. 1951. Block voting makes it easy to verify whether the voter who has been bribed will vote according to previous understanding. and 1973 Constitution has in effect outlawed the inherent discrimination in block voting against independent candidates through its new provision that bona fide candidates "shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination. it assumes a heavier burden in being fair. massive frauds were committed and facilitated by the party in power." This new provision which is not found in the Constitution of other states and jurisdictions manifestly constricts the classifications heretofore permitted in the application of the general equal protection clause . In the 1947 elections. So great was the indignation of the people that Congress had to abolish the optional block voting scheme in March. Most importantly. 13 It has thus been noted that "since the administration slate has more advantages than the opposition. the administration almost wiped out the opposition. through the use of block voting. 11 the "invidious discrimination" that is inflicted by ." 14 3. It is a matter of daily comment in the press that the government's KBL slate is running practically unopposed and there certainly is no proliferation of parties or groups to even watch out for. the one assigned to watch him can readily conclude that the voter complied with part of the bargain. If he finishes accomplishing ballot in.participating political parties or groups. Act 180) which provided that the in. This is all the more so since the block voting scheme that has been revived is closer to the pre-war scheme (under Commonwealth Act 666) of practically compulsory straight party balloting whereby the writing of the name of the party now cancels and invalidates the written names of the candidate(s) not member(s) of said party 12 (whereas in the prewar scheme. Region V (Bicolandia) and Region VII (Central Visayas). has been urged in vain to take part in the elections and the government's ticket of KBL candidates throughout the country are all but unopposed "in an awesome display of power" with only three reported "quixotic" pockets of opposition in Metro Manila. Block voting makes it easy for fake ballots to be used with maximum effect.the block voting scheme upon the opposition and independent candidates calls for judicial protection of their constitutionally protected rights of due process and equal protection. Twenty-one names of candidates in Metro Manila need not be written out. aside from the people's repudiation of block voting since 1951. let us say. five seconds. individual candidates' names as written prevailed over the party's. In the 1949 elections.2. it may be noted that block voting was repudiated by the people through Congress which abolished block voting in 1951 and never reinstituted the same. Recto — who headed the senatorial slate — and the men who ran with them. places and climes but y not in the context of the present martial law situation and the Philippine experience.

by specifically providing that in elections for any public office, bona fide candidates may not be subjected
to any form of discrimination (such as that of block voting) which might otherwise have been permissible
against independent candidates.

Petitioner Reynaldo T. Fajardo who was chairman of the Committee on Political Parties in the 1971
Constitutional Convention submitted committee's printed report which bears out contention that block
voting was outlawed by t new Constitutional provision. The Committee's explanatory note on the draft of
said provision (which was adopted practically verbatim save that protection against harassment was
added) further emphasized that t provision is to be understood as having special reference to unaffiliated
or partyless bona fide candidates. Extending to them the equal protection of the law is but a matter of
elementary justice. If the State guarantees equal protection to groups of individuals, such as political
parties, it is but logical that the same protection be made available to individuals, separately, without
discrimination in any form.

4. The basic consideration is the principle of due process and equal protection of the laws as enshrined in
the very first clause of the Bill of Rights which negates state power or that of the party in power to act in
an arbitrary or oppressive manner and stands as the embodiment of the sporting idea of fair play and the
guaranty of justice. In all this,U.S. Chief Justice Erl Warren had well stressed that it is the spirit and not
the form of law that makes justice alive.

The late Justice Jose P. Laurel (hielf a victim of block voting in the 1949 elections 18 had earlier enjoined
us that "(R)epublicanism, in so far as it implies the adoption of a representative type of government,
necessarily points to the enfranced citizen as a particle of popular sovereignty and as the ultimate source
of the established authority. He has a voice in Government and whenever possible it is the solemn duty of
the judiciary, when caged upon to act in justifiable cases, to give it efficacy and not to stifle or frustrate
it." 19

It was in t same spirit that U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren in formulating the "one man, one vote" formula
as the constitutional rule to be followed in the reapportionment of representation in State
legislatures 20 held in upholding plaintiffs' contention that they were denied "equal suffrage in free and
equal elections ... and the equal protection of the laws", that "... (E)specially since the right to exercise the
france in a free and unimpaired manner is preservative of other basic civil and political rights, any alleged
infringement of the right of citizens to vote must be carefully and meticulously scrutinized ..." and "a denial
of constitutionally protected rights demands judicial protection; our oath and our office require no less of
us. ... To the extent that a citizen's right to vote is debased, he is that much less a citizen. "

5. Finally, petitioner Juan T. David has raised the prejudicial questions that since P.D. 1269, the 1978
Election Code, has not yet been published in the Official Gazette (as per certification dated February 16,
1978 of the Government Printing Office 21) the provisions thereof particularly those imposing penal
sanctions may not be enforced until after the lapse of 15 days from publications in the Official Gazette
and that block voting as therein provided may not be enforced because the Election Code of 1971 (which
does not provide for block voting) should be deemed as still in force and as not having been legally
repealed.

This has sound basis under the pertinent laws, Article 2 of the Civil Code which provides that "Laws shall
take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is
otherwise provided ... "and Section 11 of the Revised Administrative Code which likewise requires that
"(W)hen laws take effect. — A statute passed by the Philippine Legislature (National Assembly) shall, in

the absence of special provision, take effect at the beginning of the fifteenth day after the completion of
the publication of the statute in the Official Gazette, the date of issue being excluded. For the purpose of
fixing such date the Gazette is conclusively presumed to be published on the day indicated therein as the
date of issue.

The Court held through then Chief Justice Ricardo Paras in People vs. de Dios 22 that "it is an elementary
rule of fair play and justice that a reasonable opportunity to be informed must be afforded to the people
who are commanded to obey before they can be punished for its violation" citing the general principle
enunciated in an earlier case 23 that "before the public is bound by its contents, especially its penal
provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and specially
informed of said contents and its penalties."

Such legal requirement of publication in the Official Gazette for the effectivity of laws is vital and
indispensable and may not be waved away with the contention that copies of the election decree have
been published and distributed or the people advised thereof through the newspapers. In a time of
proliferating decrees, orders and letters of instructions which all form part of the law of the land, the
requirements of due process and of the Rules of Law demand that the Official Gazette as the official
government reporsitory promulgate and publish the texts of all such decrees, orders and instructions so
that the people may know where to obtain their official and specific contents.

MUÑOZ PALMA, J., dissenting:

The Constitution shall be the bedrock of our Republic.

(From the Speech of President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the opening of the 1971
Constitution Convention, June 1, 1971)

La Constitution, ... es la ley de la paternidad y de los afectos del poder creador, que rige
la en sus diversos ordenes. Obra del pueblo, y no de un partido, ha de ser, por tanto, la
Constitution para que el pueblo deba amarla y defenderla y los governantes respetarla y
cumplirla. ... *

(From the Speech of President Claro M. Recto at the opening of the 1934 Constitutional
Convention, July 30, 1934; emphasis supplied)

The Malolos Constitution "is the most glorious expression of the noble aspirations of the Filipino a mirror
of their culture and a clear proof before the world of their capacity to govern themselves.

(From the Speech of President Emilio Aguinaldo, Proclamation of the Malolos
Constitution, January 21, 1899)

It was in the spirit of the transcendental principles enunciated in the foregoing statements and of similarly
— inspired pronouncements, too many to be quoted, of our forbears and leaders of thought and of
government of the past, that I wrote my dissenting Opinion in Sanidad, et al. v. COMELEC, et al., L-
44640, October 12, 1976, and the accompanying cases.

What was challenged in Sanidad was the constitutionality of Presidential Decree Nos. 991 and 1033
which called for a referendum-plebiscite on October 16, 1976, on certain proposed constitutional
amendments, one of which was to substitute the interim National Assembly with an Interim Batasang
Pambansa. I expressed there the opinion that the incumbent President did not have constituent powers,
that is, the power to propose amendments to the 1973 Constitution, and that if there was need of
amending the Constitution the amendatory process provided for in Art. XVI, Section 1 (1) and (2), or Art.
XVII, Section 15, of the 1973 Constitution, was to be followed. I said:

xxx xxx xxx

l. That sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from
them is a fundamental, basic principle of government which cannot be disputed, but when
the people have opted to govern theelves under the mantle of a written Constitution each
and every citizen , from the highest to the lowliest, has the sacred duty to respect and
obey the Charter they have so ordained.

xxx xxx xxx

The Filipino people,, wanting to ensure to theelves a democratic republican form of
government, have promulgated a Constitution whereby the power to govern theelves has
been entrusted to and distributed among three branches of government; they have also
mandated in clear and unmistakable ter the method by which provisions in their
fundamental Charter may be amended or g done so, the people are bound by these
constitutional limitations. For while there is no surrender or abdication of the people's
ultimate authority to amend, revised, or adopt a new Constitution, sound reason demands
that they keep theelves within the procedural bounds of the existing fundamental law. (73
SCRA 455, 456)

My view in Sanidad was reiterated by me in Dela Llana v. COMELEC et al., L-47245, and Hidalgo v.
COMELEC, et al., L-47239, December 9, 1977. The issue was on the validity of another national
referendum for December 17, 1977, which referred to the 1976 amendments Nos. 3 and 7 of the
Constitution. In these two cases, I stated that inasmuch as amendments Nos. 3 and 7 were not validly
proposed and ratified, Presidential Decree No. 1229 which implements said amendments is nun and void.

The cases now before Us raise legal questions which center on the election of representatives to
the Interim Batasang Pambansa. Without necessity of giving my views on the different issues raised in
these petitions, I vote to declare as unconstitutional the challenged portions of "The 1978 Election Code"
as they are without constitutional basis, conformably to my opinion in Sanidad that the Interim Batasang
Pambansa is not validly constituted and suffers from a basic constitutional infirmty.

I strongly reiterate here what I wrote in Sanidad that the only possible measure that can lead our country
and people to a "condition of normalcy" is the lifting and ending of the state of martial rule and the
implementation of the Transitory Provisions of the 1973 Constitution for the convening of the Interim
National Assembly in order that the latter may carry out the objectives for its creation as decreed in the
1973 Constitution. (supra. p. 46.)

he had been granted a plenary pardon. defendant-appellant. Generoso. J. Castillo.. 1936 THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. plaintiff-appellee. he was convicted on the ground that he had voted while laboring under a legal disqualification. It is likewise undisputed that at the general elections held on June 5. Said Section 432 reads as follows: The following persons shall be disqualified from voting: (a) Any person who. has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer not less than eighteen months of imprisonment. eighteen hundred and ninety-eight. (e) Electors registered under subsection (c) of the next proceeding section who. Doromal. since the thirteenth day of August. of the Revised Administrative Code. (b) Any person who has violated an oath of allegiance taken by him to the United States. Province of Davao. .: Appellant was charged having voted illegally at the general elections held on June 5. (c) Insane of feeble-minded persons. after failing to make sworn statement to the satisfaction of the board of inspectors at any of its two meetings for registration and revision.. The judgment of conviction was based on section 2642.1 to suffer eight years and one day of presidio mayor. No. irrespective of whether such incapacity be real or feigned.EN BANC G. (d) Deaf-mutes who cannot read and write. Office of the Solicitor General Hilado for appellee. shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one month nor more than one year and by a fine of not less than one hundred pesos nor more than one thousand pesos. ABAD SANTOS. . No evidence was presented to show that prior to June 5. the voted in election precinct No. that they are incapacitated for preparing their ballots due to permanent physical disability. 1934. such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon. 18 of the municipality of Davao. And section 2642 provides: Whoever at any election votes or attempts to vote knowing that he is not entitled so to do. Diaz and Capili for appellant. L-42300 January 31. present themselves at the hour of voting as incapacitated. 1934. It is undisputed that appellant was sentenced by final judgment of this court promulgated on March 3. AMADEO CORRAL. Braganza. After due trial. and in all cases by deprivation of the right of suffrage and disqualification from public office for a period of not more than four years. Pelayo.R. vs. Chavez. in connection with section 432. 1934. 1910.

dissenting: The appealed judgment affirmed by the majority members of this court sentences the appellant for having voted in the general election held on June 5. disqualification from the right of suffrage during the term of the sentence. "for protection and not for punishment. 1042. 1913. He began to serve his sentence on April 11. being disqualified from voting. because of section 432 of the Revised Administrative Code which disqualified from voting any person who. the withholding of a privilege and not the denial of a personal right. Inasmuch as the accessory penalty of disqualification from the right of suffrage was not expressly remitted in this pardon. 1910. C. was not disqualified from voting. the correct view is that it is imposed. in the municipality of Davao." Judicial interpretation and long established administrative practice are against such a view. as already indicated. since the 13th day of August. continued and rendered it illegal for the appellant to vote at the general elections of 1934.The modern conception of the suffrage is that voting is a function of government. is unfit to exercise the privilege of suffrage or to hold office.. or other base offense indicative of moral turpitude. and had not been granted a plenary pardon. 1934. the exercise of the right of suffrage was limited to a small portion of the inhabitants. The appellant. He was granted a conditional pardon on July 31. In the early stages of the evolution of the representative system of government. Vickers. The exclusion must for this reason be adjudged a mere disqualification. But with the spread of democratic ideas. Province of Davao. such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon. "The manifest purpose of such restrictions upon this right is to preserve the purity of elections. This contention is clearly without merit. concur.. is beyond question. paupers. 1934. Suffrage is a privilege granted by the State to such persons or classes as are most likely to exercise it for the public good. This claim is based upon an erroneous theory of the nature of the disqualification. 1898.. Among the the generally excluded classes are minors idiots. and Goddard. Villa-Real. So ordered. The judgment appealed from is affirmed with costs against the appellant. in my opinion. it is understood that he complied with and extinguished this part of the . The right of the State to deprive persons to the right of suffrage by reason of their having been convicted of crime. imposed for protection and not for punishment. As above stated. It regards it as a punishment when.C. The disqualification for crime imposed under section 432 of the Revised Administrative Code having once attached on the appellant and not having been subsequently removed by a plenary pardon. JJ. Neither is there any merit in the contention advanced by counsel for the appellant that the disqualification imposed on the latter must be considered as having been removed at the expiration of his sentence. as an accessory.. Imperial. and he could no longer be prosecuted for illegal voting at the general election held on June 5. The appellant was sentenced to the penalty of eight years and one day of prision mayor in the year 1910. had been sentenced by final judgment to offer not less than eighteen months of imprisonment. Counsel for the appellant contend that inasmuch as the latter voted in 1928 his offense had already prescribed. The right to vote is not a natural right but is a right created by law.L. the appellant had been sentenced by final judgment to suffer eight years and one day of presidio mayor. (9 R. the withholding of a prvilege and not the denial of a personal right. it seems clear that the appellant was not entitled to vote on June 5 1934. Butte. and convicts.J. The presumption is that one rendered infamous by conviction of felony.) Upon the facts established in this case. This penalty carried with it. the enjoyment of the franchise in the modern states has come to embrace the mass of the audit classes of persons are excluded from the franchise. Separate Opinions AVANCEÑA.

2637. 1918. — AVANCEÑA. respectively. however bases its decision on section 432 of the administrative Code which reads: The following persons shall be disqualified from voting: (a) Any person who.sentence on April 12. 2657. 2645. and it would be to no purpose still to sentence him to him to the penalty of disqualification from the right of suffrage for a period not exceeding fourteen years. 2639. not disqualifies the guilty party from the right of suffrage for a period not exceeding fourteen years. 2636. after serving his sentence which does not exceed fourteen years. Neither can it be said that section 432 governs all cases. 2647. RECTO. One may be sentenced to more than eighteen months of imprisonment for having committed the crime of serious physical injuries. if the interpretation of the majority is correct. It cannot be said to harmonize these provisions. for instance. the penalty of imprisonment for more than eighteen months is imposed upon him could be disqualified from voting during his entire lifetime. Supposing that in one of said cases. If the law in more serious cases wherein an attempt is made directly against the cleanliness of the election. section 432 of the Administrative Code would not harmonize with the latter provisions thereof (secs. This cannot be the result countenanced by the law. J. Therefore. The language of the law is not clear whether the disqualification referred to therein is only for the term of the sentence or for the entire life time of the convict. eighteen hundred and ninety-eight. under the penalty imposed upon the appellant. C. will again be qualified to vote. it cannot be supposed that its intention is to forever disqualify therefrom the party guilty of a crime which bears no relation to the exercise of suffrage and which does not involve the degree of moral turpitude as in the other case. 2656. participated in this decision and voted to affirm the judgment.J. 2654. Malcolm. 2642. Associate Justice. The majority. 2641. 2658 and 2659) on offenses relative to elections and elective officers. 2640. abusing his position. I am of the opinion that this anomaly can be avoided only by interpreting section 432 in the sense that the disqualification referred to therein is merely during the term of the sentence. has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer not less than eighteen months of imprisonment. that the disqualification from the right of suffrage should be imposed only when the penalty of imprisonment imposed therein less than eighteen months because it is expressly required that both penalties be imposed in all cases. it being contrary to the spirit thereof. through reckless negligence or in self-defense. George A. 2644. I hereby certify that Hon. because there would be no justice in the law. such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon.: I concur in this dissenting opinion of Chief Justice Avanceña. and sections 2336 et seq. imposing the penalties of imprisonment and disqualification from the right of suffrage for a period not exceeding five and fourteen years. 2646. govern the specific cases referred to therein. If the interpretation of the majority were correct. and according to the majority opinion he will be disqualified from voting during his entire who. 2652. interprets this provision in the latter sense to which I do not agree. he was not disqualified from voting in 1934. but without having used the means reasonably necessary therefor. The majority however. for instance that of an election inspector who willfully signs a false statement of the result of a ballot (sec. willfully commits a falsehood in connection with a ballot entrusted to him. . in accordance with section 432. since the thirteenth day of August. in general. 2649. 2639). 2643.

On the other hand. in a COMELEC special action case.977) votes of the total votes cast for the vice-mayoralty position. 4. EN BANC [G. specifically vote buying and flying voters being allowed to vote..Footnotes 1 U. amounts to a denigration of the expression of the true will of the people. Tomas T. JR. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and FLORENCIO M. the winner for having garnered a total of Seventy One Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy Seven (71. Banaga. vs. The will of the legitimate voters of the City of Paraaque were denigrated during the 11 May 1998 election as a consequence of the fact that an indeterminable number of flying voters were allowed to vote. petitioner filed with the COMELEC on May 29.. xxx the local elections for the office of Vice-Mayor in the City of Paraaque. 1998. Metro Manila. 1998 election.R. not to mention the fact that numerous election returns appeared to be tampered with. an action denominated as Petition to Declare Failure of Elections and/or For Annulment of Elections.: This special civil action for certiorari seeks to annul the en banc resolution of public respondent Commission on Elections promulgated on June 29. SPA No.S. 383. vs. The local elections for the position of Vice-Mayor in the City of Paraaque. No. J. BERNABE. numerous Election Returns were discovered to contain glaring discrepancies and are replete with blatant omissions. BANAGA. petitioner... falsified or fabricated. JR.[1] alleging that: 3.970) of the total votes cast. On May 19. All told. The factual antecedents of this case are as follows: Petitioner and private respondent were the candidates for vice-mayor of the City of Paraaque in the May 11. July 31. respondents. it is readily apparent that the portion of the Election Returns pertaining to the position of Vice-Mayor in the City of Paraaque. petitioner. with Sixty Eight Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy (68. 2000] TOMAS T. 98-383.. Thus. Florencio M. Corral. received the second highest number of votes for the said position. appear to be altered. Dissatisfied.007) votes. 1998. as it was tainted with widespread election anomalies which constitutes election fraud. during the canvassing of votes before the Board of Canvasser. xxx . DECISION QUISUMBING. the city board of canvassers proclaimed private respondent. 15 Phil. Moreover. 1998. Jr. the difference between the votes received by the private respondent and the petitioner is three thousand seven (3. 134696. was replete with election offenses. held on 11 May 1998. Jr. Metro Manila. Bernabe.

The Honorable Commission should seriously consider these anomalies specially on account of the fact that the lead of the respondent over the petitioner is a mere Three Thousand Seven (3. xxx 9. attached hereto as Annex F is the Affidavit of a certain Rosemarie Pascua of Barangay Baclaran. As evidence thereof. The 11 May 1998 elections for local officials in the City of Paraaque has likewise been marred by massive vote buying. a certain Dennis Sambilay Agayan (Agayan) was arrested for voting in substitution of registered voter Ramon Vizcarra. Also. what seriously casts doubt on the legitimacy of the elections for the office of the Vice-Mayor in the City of Paraaque is the fact that the results thereof are statistically improbable. City of Paraaque. 8. Metro Manila.5. After trial.00) to vote at precincts No. is such that the voters involved number in the thousands. Agayan admitted before SPO1 Alberto V.As proof of the foregoing. The magnitude of the vote buying in the 11 May 1998 local elections in the City of Paraaque. It is. several Election Returns are found to have glaring discrepancies which may materially alter the results of the election for the office of Vice-Mayor in the City of Paraaque. 6.2. Annulling the proclamation of the respondent as the elected Vice-Mayor of the City of Paraaque. Evidence in this regard shall be presented in the proper time. or declaring the annulment of the elections. Parena that he was paid One Hundred Fifty Pesos (P150. in Precinct Nos. To cite but one example.1 Declaring a failure of elections. thus. Petitioner is the incumbent Vice-Mayor of the City of Paraaque. judgment be rendered as follows: 1. . the anomalies do not stop there. during the canvassing of votes before the Board of Canvassers. during the 11 May 1998 elections. The foregoing incidents alone actually suffices to establish that a failure of elections should be declared on the ground that the will of the electorate of the City of Paraaque has been denigrated.[2] Petitioner asked the COMELEC for the following reliefs: 1. for the office of the Vice- Mayor in the City of Paraaque. it was discovered that numerous election returns contain glaring discrepancies and are replete with blatant omissions. The elections for the office of the Vice-Mayor in the City of Paraaque. not to mention the fact that several election returns appeared to be tampered with or appear to be fabricated. 1. Finally. attached hereto as Annex E is the Information dated 11 May 1998 filed against Agayan. Metro Manila. In addition to the foregoing. Metro Manila. 7. 111-112 and use the name Ramon Vizcarra. xxx 10. on 11 May 1998 cannot be considered as reflective of the true will of the electorate. impossible that he will receive zero (0) votes in any given precinct. and 1. Declaring that special elections should be held for the office of Vice-Mayor in the City of Paraaque. 111-112 at the Tambo Elementary School in the City of Paraaque. However.007) votes.3. Moreover. A case in point is precinct number 483 where petitioner shockingly is supposed to have received zero (0) votes. there have been several instances where purported voters were depositing more than one (1) ballot inside the ballot box.

3. AL. petitioner timely filed the instant petition for certiorari with this Court. [5] and aggrieved by the COMELECs dismissal of his suit. the issue for our resolution is whether or not public respondent acted with grave abuse of discretion in dismissing petitioners petition. an order be issued to the Treasurer of the City of Paraaque to bring and present before this Honorable Commission on or before the day of the hearing of the Election Protest. Before us. THE COMELEC COULD NOT LEGALLY DISMISS THE ENTIRE PETITION MERELY ON THE GROUND THAT THERE WAS ALLEGEDLY NO FAILURE OF ELECTION IN THE CITY OF PARANAQUE DURING THE 11 MAY 1998 ELECTIONS. JR. in the light of petitioners foregoing contentions. Alternatively. ARE NOT APPLICABLE TO THE CASE AT BAR CONSIDERING THAT ASIDE FROM BEING AN ELECTION PROTEST. and the other documents used in the local elections for the Office of the Vice-Mayor held on 11 May 1998 in the said City. The election of respondent FLORENCIO M. COMELEC.. COMELEC. for the office of Vice-Mayor in the City of Paraaque. be adjudged as the duly elected Vice-Mayor in the City of Paraaque. for the Honorable Commission to re-examine and revise the same. After due trial judgment be rendered as follows: 3. COMELEC. the ballot boxes.2. AND MITMUG V.2. in our view. The petitioner. [4] Considering that a motion for reconsideration of a COMELEC en banc ruling is prohibited. it is clear that an election took place and that it did not result in a failure to elect. election returns. TOMAS T. 1998. and 3. Other just and equitable reliefs are likewise prayed for. Metro Manila be annulled. HENCE. BANAGA. It held that the grounds relied upon by petitioner do not fall under any of the instances enumerated in Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code.[6] Clearly. and 3..[3] On June 29. The expenses. petitioner now claims that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it dismissed his petition motu propio without any basis whatsoever and without giving him the benefit of a hearing. during the 11 May 1998 local elections. While petitioner may have intended to institute an election protest by praying that said action may also be considered an election protest. costs and damages incurred in these proceedings be assessed against the respondent.3. II THE AUTHORITY RELIED UPON BY THE COMELEC AS BASIS FOR THE DISMISSAL OF THE PETITION DATED 28 MAY 1998. BERNABE. V.1. the COMELEC dismissed petitioners suit. He contends that: I THE PETITION DATED 28 MAY 1998 IS ESSENTIALLY AN ELECTION PROTEST.. THAT OF EDWIN SAR[D]EA. . THE SAID PETITION SEEKS THE ANNULMENT OF AN ELECTION PURSUANT TO THE DOCTRINE LAID DOWN BY THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT IN LOONG V. copies of the registry lists. except in a case involving an election offense. ET. in the remote event that the Honorable Commission does not render judgment as aforesaid. AL. petitioners action is a petition to declare a failure of elections or annul election results. It is not an election protest. the minutes of election in all precincts. ET.The election tribunal concluded that based on the allegations of the petition. JR.

provides as follows: Section 6. or had been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting. call for the holding or continuation of the election not held. the petition was docketed as SPA-98-383. Third. 7166 in relation to Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code. fraud or other analogous causes the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed. such election results in a failure to elect. In this case. while a petition to declare failure of elections is covered by Rule 26 under special actions. Failure of Elections. violence.[9] Given these circumstances. suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect on a date reasonably close to the date of the election not held. public respondent cannot be said to have gravely erred in treating petitioners action as a petition to declare failure of elections or to annul election results. denigrates the true will of the people as it was marred with widespread anomalies on account of vote buying. 1998. in turn. Failure to pay filing fees will not vest the election tribunal jurisdiction over the case. on account of force majeure. Section 4 of RA 7166 provides that the COMELEC sitting en banc by a majority vote of its members may decide. violence. Second. First. such election results in a failure to elect on account of force . Petitioner alleged that the local elections for the office of vice-mayor in Paraaque City held on May 11. There are three instances where a failure of election may be declared. and in any of such cases the failure or suspension of election would affect the result of the election. failure of election and special elections[7] while Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code relates to failure of election. In contrast. or after the voting and during the preparation and the transmission of the election returns or in the custody or canvass thereof. fraud or other analogous causes. The COMELECs authority to declare a failure of elections is provided in our election laws. or (c) after the voting and during the preparation and transmission of the election returns or in the custody or canvass thereof. Section 4 of RA 7166 refers to postponement. It is simply captioned as Petition to Declare Failure of Elections and/or For Annulment of Elections. Said Section 6. [8] For that reason. flying voters and glaring discrepancies in the election returns. (a) the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed on account of force majeure. --. on the basis of verified petition by any interested party and after due notice and hearing. terrorism. Such procedural lapse on the part of a petitioner would clearly warrant the outright dismissal of his action. (b) the election in any polling place has been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting on account of force majeure. terrorism. terrorism. an en banc decision of COMELEC in an ordinary action becomes final and executory after thirty (30) days from its promulgation. the allegations in the petition decisively determine its nature. unless restrained by the Supreme Court. meaning election protest case. his petition before the COMELEC was instituted pursuant to Section 4 of Republic Act No. Fourth.If. while an en banc decision in a special action becomes final and executory after five (5) days from promulgation. an election protest is assigned a docket number starting with EPC. petitioner did not comply with the requirements for filing an election protest. an election protest is an ordinary action while a petition to declare a failure of elections is a special action under the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure as amended. a petition cannot be treated as both an election protest and a petition to declare failure of elections. petitioner filed his petition as a special action and paid the corresponding fee therefor.Thus. An election protest is governed by Rule 20 on ordinary actions. He averred that those incidents warrant the declaration of a failure of elections. He failed to pay the required filing fee and cash deposits for an election protest. fraud or other analogous causes. violence. the Commission shall. This conforms to petitioners categorization of his petition as one to declare a failure of elections or annul election results. among others. the declaration of failure of election and the calling of special election as provided in Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code. Fifth. namely. 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.

terrorism. he filed a petition assailing the composition of the board of canvassers. In Loong vs. fraud or other analogous causes. fraud or other analogous causes. violence. On review.[15] Even before the technical examination of election documents was conducted.[12] petitioner instituted with the COMELEC an action to declare failure of election in forty-nine precincts where less than a quarter of the electorate were able to cast their votes. Neither was it shown that even if there was voting.If the will of the people is determinable. the destruction or loss did not affect the result of the election. Next. petitioner filed a petition to declare a failure of election alleging that the attendant facts would justify declaration of such failure. Considering that there is no concurrence of the conditions seeking to declare failure of election. While petitioner contends that the election was tainted with widespread anomalies. he conceded that an election took place for the office of vice-mayor of Paraaque City. the same must as far as possible be respected. we held that the destruction and loss of copies of election returns intended for the municipal board of canvassers on account of violence is not one of the causes that would warrant the declaration of failure of election.majeure. It was not proven that no actual voting took place. is interpreted to mean that nobody emerged as a winner. Neither did he aver that although there was voting. COMELEC.[10] Before the COMELEC can act on a verified petition seeking to declare a failure of election two conditions must concur. This is obvious in the first two scenarios. On the contrary. The board then decided to use the copies of election returns furnished to the municipal trial court. or even if there was voting. The petition was denied. proclaimed elected to that post. In these instances. terrorism. The COMELEC denied motu propio and without due notice and hearing the petition to declare failure of election despite petitioners argument that he has meritorious grounds in support thereto. there is a resulting failure to elect. in fact. He also lodged an election protest with the Regional Trial Court disputing the result of the election in all precincts in his municipality. but he did not. that is. Sulu. These essential facts ought to have been alleged clearly by the petitioner below. namely (1) no voting took place in the precinct or precincts on the date fixed by law. or marred fatally the preparation and transmission. the COMELEC already observed badges of fraud just by looking at the election results in . The reason is that voting actually took place as scheduled and other valid election returns still existed. and that private respondent was. [11] Note that the cause of such failure of election could only be any of the following: force majeure. In Sardea vs.[14] the petition for annulment of election results or to declare failure of elections in Parang. Regarding the petition to declare a failure of election. COMELEC. where the election was not held and where the election was suspended.[13] all election materials and paraphernalia with the municipal board of canvassers were destroyed by the sympathizers of the losing mayoralty candidate. where the preparation and the transmission of the election returns give rise to the consequence of failure to elect must as aforesaid. In Mitmug vs. the board of canvassers proclaimed the winning candidates. nobody was elected. No error could be attributed to public respondent for its reliance on these precedents. We also declared that there is failure of elections only when the will of the electorate has been muted and cannot be ascertained. we ruled that the COMELEC did not gravely abuse its discretion in denying the petition. on the ground of statistical improbability and massive fraud was granted by the COMELEC.As to the third scenario. the election resulted in a failure to elect. Petitioner therein filed a petition to stop the proceedings of the board of canvassers on the ground that it had no authority to use said election returns obtained from the municipal trial court. But we found that petitioner did not allege at all that elections were either not held or suspended. we ruled that petitioners first two actions involved pre-proclamation controversies which can no longer be entertained after the winning candidates have been proclaimed. there is no longer need to receive evidence on alleged election irregularities. These aforecited cases are instructive in the resolution of the present case because they involve similar actions and issues. We have painstakingly examined the petition filed by petitioner Banaga before the COMELEC. the results thereon would be tantamount to failure to elect. Later on. custody and canvass of the election returns. it must be noted that to warrant a declaration of failure of election the commission of fraud must be such that it prevented or suspended the holding of an election. Moreover. Despite that petition. violence. Comelec. massive disenfranchisement of voters due to terrorism. On review. and (2) the votes not cast would have affected the result of the election.

Accordingly. WHEREFORE. the instant petition is DISMISSED. J. 9. violence or analogous cause. [12] Mitmug vs. the Omnibus Election Code denominates them similarly. We ruled that COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the petition as there is no law which provides for a reglementary period to file annulment of elections when there is yet no proclamation. SO ORDERED. In their absence. Buena. Panganiban. [11] Mitmug vs. on this score. Vitug. [7] Republic Act 7166. the COMELEC dismissed the petition for annulment of election results or to declare failure of elections in the municipalities of Tapul. [2] Rollo.The postponement. [18] Public respondent had no recourse but to dismiss petition. [3] Id. the petition must be denied outright. Failure of Election and Special Elections. at 29-30.Parang. Costs against petitioner. C. petitioner claims that public respondent gravely abused its discretion when it dismissed his petition motu propio. Section 13 (a). Melo. Kapunan. despite a finding that the same badges of fraud evident from the results of the election based on the certificates of canvass of votes in Parang. 39-43. 38-49. are also evident in the election results of the five mentioned municipalities. [5] Section 1 (d). as amended.. The cause for the declaration of a failure of election may occur before or after the casting of votes or on the day of election. 6 and 7 of the Omnibus Election Code shall be decided by the Commission sitting en banc by a majority vote of its members.Nevertheless. . COMELEC. Whether an action is for declaration of failure of elections or for annulment of election results. [9] Rollo. Nor may petitioner now complain of denial of due process. [4] Id. Rule 18. Section 4. Ynares-Santiago.. Bellosillo. COMELEC.[17] No positive gain will accrue to petitioners cause by making a distinction without a difference. Pardo. The assailed RESOLUTION of public respondent is AFFIRMED. the fact that a verified petition has been filed does not mean that a hearing on the case should first be held before COMELEC can act on it. November 29. COMELEC. no part. pp. 1999. Purisima. Rule 13. pp. [1] The Petition is dated May 28. Mendoza..A prayer to declare failure of elections and a prayer to annul the election results for vice mayor in this case are actually of the same nature. Finally. based on allegations of fraud. 230 SCRA 54 (1994). Jr. However. (b). Petitioner argues that the COMELEC should not have treated his prayer for annulment of elections as a prayer for declaration of failure of elections. concur. xxx [8] COMELEC Rules of Procedure. hence without merit. The election resulted in a failure to elect on account of fraud. and De Leon. The petition to declare a failure of election and/or to annul election results must show on its face that the conditions necessary to declare a failure to elect are present.. Davide. for his failure to properly file an election protest. It committed no grave abuse of discretion in dismissing his petition to declare failure of elections and/or for annulment of elections for being groundless. 230 SCRA 54. [16] This argument is plainly gratuitous as well as immaterial. Postponement. are not present in this case. p. however. [6] Rollo. Panglima Estino. 60 (1994). p. on official leave. declaration of failure of election and the calling of special elections as provided in Sections 5. [10] Typoco vs.. 1998. Jr. Puno. 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Gonzaga- Reyes. terrorism. so that reliance on Loong by petitioner Banaga is misplaced. 10. at 49-51. Those circumstances. J. Siasi and Kalinggalang Calauag. JJ..--. we ordered the COMELEC to reinstate the aforesaid petition. The COMELEC dismissed the latter action on ground of untimeliness of the petition. GR-136191. The COMELEC can only rule on what was filed before it. Pata.J.

COMELEC. 20. 225 SCRA 374 (1993). at 31-32. [16] Rollo. . COMELEC. [18] Mitmug vs. 16. [17] Loong vs. [14] 257 SCRA 1 (1996). 23 (1996). 257 SCRA 1. 61 (1994). p. 230 SCRA 54.[13] Sardea vs. [15] Id. COMELEC.