G.R. No.

L-46863 November 18, 1939 This is a petition for review by certiorari of the judgment of the Court of Appeals
in the above entitled case declaring the respondent, Agripino Ga. del Fierro, the
IRINEO MOYA, petitioner, candidate-elect for the office of mayor of the municipality of Paracale, Province of
vs. Camarines Norte, with a majority of three votes over his rival, Irineo Moya. In the
AGRIPINO GA. DEL FIERO, respondent. general elections held on December 14, 1937, the parties herein were
contending candidates for the aforesaid office. After canvass of the returns the
Elpidio Quirino for petitioner. municipal council of Paracale, acting as board of canvassers, proclaimed the
Claro M. Recto for respondent. petitioner as the elected mayor of said municipality with a majority of 102 votes.
On December 27, 1937, the respondent field a motion of protest in the Court of
First Instance of Camarines Norte, the Court of Appeals, on July 13, 1939
rendered the judgment hereinbefore mentioned which is sought by the petitioner
ELECTION; APPRECIATION OF BALLOTS; TECHNICAL, RULES SHOULD to be reviewed and reversed upon the errors alleged to have been committed by
NOT DEFEAT INTENTION OF VOTES.—As long as popular government is an the Court of Appeals:
end to be achieved and safeguarded, suffrage, whatever may be the modality
and form devised, must continue to be the means by which the great reservoir of 1. In admitting and counting in favor of the respondent, 8 ballots either
power must be emptied into the receptacular agencies wrought by the people inadvertently or contrary to the controlling decisions of this Honorable
through their Constitution in the interest of good government and the common Court.
weal. Republicanism, in so far as it implies the adoption of a representative type
of government, necessarily points to the enfranchised citizen as a particle of 2. In admitting and counting in favor of the respondent, 3 ballots marked
popular sovereignty and as the ultimate source of the established authority. He "R. del Fierro."
has a voice in his Government and whenever possible it is the duty of the
judiciary, when called upon to act in justiciable cases, to give it efficacy and not to 3. In admitting and counting in favor of the respondent, 7 ballots marked
stifle or frustrate it. This, fundamentally, is the reason for the rule that ballots "Rufino del Firro."
should be read and appreciated, if not -with utmost, with reasonable, .liberality. .
Counsel for both parties have called our attention to the different and divergent 4. In admitting and counting in favor of the respondent, 72 ballots marked
rules laid down by this court on the appreciation of ballot. It will serve no good "P. del Fierro."
and useful purpose for us, to engage in the task of reconciliation or
harmonization of these rules, although this may perhaps be undertaken, as no Taking up seriatim the alleged errors, we come to the first assignment involving
two cases will be found to be exactly the same in factual or legal environment. It the eight (8) ballots now to be mentioned. (1) With reference to ballot Exhibit F-
is sufficient to observe, however, in this connection that whatever might have 175 in precinct No. 2, alleged to have been inadvertently admitted in favor of the
been said in cases heretofore decided, no technical rule or rules should be respondent, such inadvertence raises a question of fact which could have been
permitted to defeat the intention of the voter, if that intention is discoverable from corrected by the Court of Appeals and which could we are not in a position to
the ballot itself, not from evidence aliunae. This rule of interpretation goes to the determine in this proceeding for review by certiorari. Upon the other hand, if the
very root of the system. Rationally, also, this must be the justification for the error attributed to the Court of Appeals consisted in having admitted ballot Exhibit
suggested liberalization of the rules on appreciation of ballots which are now F-175 in precinct No. 2 instead of the ballot bearing the same number
incorporated in section 144 of the Elec-tion Code (Comm. Act No. 367). corresponding to precinct No. 1, and this latter ballot clearly appears admissible
for the respondent because the name written on the space for mayor is "Primo
del Fierro" or "Pimo de Fierro", the error is technical and deserves but scanty
consideration. (2) Ballot Exhibit F-26 in precinct No. 3 was erroneously admitted
LAUREL, J.: for the respondent by the Court of Appeals, the name written on the space for

mayor being "G.T. Krandes." It is true that on the fourth line for the councilor precinct No. 4. These three ballots appear to be among the 75 ballots found by
"Alcalde Pinong del Fierro": appears; but the intention of the elector is rendered the Court of Appeals as acceptable for the respondent on the ground that the
vague and incapable of ascertaining and the ballot was improperly counted for initial letter "P" stands for "Pino" in "Pino del Fierro" which is a name mentioned
the respondent. As to this ballot, the contention of the petitioner is sustained (3) in the certificate of candidacy of the respondent. The petitioner contends that the
Ballot Exhibit F-77 in precinct No. 2 should also have been rejected by the Court initial "R" and not "P". Even if we could reverse this finding, we do not feel
of Appeals. The ballot bears the distinguishing mark "O. K." placed after the justified in doing so after examining the photostatic copies of these ballots
name "M. Lopis" written on space for vice-mayor. The contention of the petitioner attached to the herein petition for certiorari. The second assignment of error is
in this respect is likewise sustained. (4) Ballot Exhibit F-9 in precinct No. 2 was accordingly overruled.
properly admitted for respondent. On this ballot the elector wrote within the space
for mayor the name of Regino Guinto, a candidate for the provincial board and Upon the third assignment of error, the petitioner questions the correctness of the
wrote the respondent's name immediately below the line for mayor but judgment of the Court of Appeals in adjudicating to the respondent the seven
immediately above the name "M. Lopez" voted by him for vice-mayor. The ballots wherein "Rufino del Fierro" was voted for the office of mayor. We are of
intention of the elector to vote for the respondent for the office of the mayor is the opinion that the position taken by the Court of Appeals is correct. There was
clear under the circumstances. (5) Ballot F-131 in precinct No. 1 was also no other candidate for the office of mayor with the name of "Rufino" or similar
properly counted for the respondent. On this ballot the elector wrote the name and, as the respondent was districtly identified by his surname on these
respondent's name on the space for vice-mayor, but, apparently realizing his ballots, the intention of the voters in preparing the same was undoubtedly to vote
mistake, he placed an arrow connecting the name of the respondent to the word for the respondent of the office for which he was a candidate.lawphi1.net
"Mayor" (Alcalde) printed on the left side of the ballot. The intention of the elector
to vote for the respondent for the office of mayor is thus evident, in the absence The fourth assignment of error deals with the 72 ballots wherein "P. del Fierro"
of proof showing that the ballot had been tampered with. (6) Ballot F-7 in precinct was voted for the office of mayor, and it is the contention of the petitioner that
No. 5 is admissible for the respondent and the Court of Appeals committed no said ballots should not have been counted by the Court of Appeals in favor of the
error in so adjudicating. Although the name of the respondent is written on the respondent. For the identical reason indicated under the discussion of petitioner's
first space for member of the provincial board, said name is followed in the next second assignment of error, namely, that "P" stands for "Pino" in "Pino del Fierro"
line by "Bice" Culastico Palma, which latter name is followed in the next line by which is a name mentioned in the certificate of candidacy of the respondent, we
word "consehal" and the name of a candidate for this position. The intention of hold that there was no error in the action of the Court of Appeals in awarding the
the elector to vote for the respondent for the office of mayor being manifest, the said ballots to the respondent.
objection of the petitioner to the admission of this ballot is overruled. (7) Ballot F-
1 in precinct No. 2 is valid for the respondent. On this ballot the Christian name of With the exception of ballot marked as Exhibit F-26 in precinct No. 3 and ballot
the respondent was written on the second space for member of the provincial marked as Exhibit F-77 in precinct No. 2, we are inclined to accept the rest of the
board, but his surname was written on the proper space for mayor with no other disputed ballots for the respondent not only for the specific reasons already given
accompanying name or names. The intention of the elector being manifest, the but also and principally for the more fundamental reason now to be stated. As
same should be given effect in favor of the respondent. (8) Ballot F-44 in precinct long as popular government is an end to be achieved and safeguarded, suffrage,
No. 2 wherein "Agripino F. Garcia" appears written on the proper space, is valid whatever may be the modality and form devised, must continue to be the manes
for the respondent. In his certificate of candidacy the respondent gave his name by which the great reservoir of power must be emptied into the receptacular
as "Agripino Ga. del Fierro." The conclusion of the trial court, upheld by the Court agencies wrought by the people through their Constitution in the interest of good
of Appeals, that the letter "F" stands for "Fierro" and "Garcia" for the contraction government and the common weal. Republicanism, in so far as it implies the
"Ga." is not without justification and, by liberal construction, the ballot in question adoption of a representative type of government, necessarily points to the
was properly admitted for the respondent. enfranchised citizen as a particle of popular sovereignty and as the ultimate
source of the established authority. He has a voice in his Government and
The second error assigned by the petitioner refers to three ballots, namely, whenever called upon to act in justifiable cases, to give it efficacy and not to stifle
Exhibit F-119 in precinct No. 1 Exhibit F-24 in precinct No. 2, and Exhibit F-6 in it. This, fundamentally, is the reason for the rule that ballots should be read and

appreciated, if not with utmost, with reasonable, liberality. Counsel for both determining whether there is a cause of action, a motion to dismiss amounting to
parties have called our attention to the different and divergent rules laid down by a hypothetical admission of facts thus pleased. Without the lower court having so
this Court on the appreciation of ballots. It will serve no good and useful purpose intended, the dismissal would amount to judicial abnegation of a sworn duty to
inquire into and pass upon in an appropriate proceeding allegations of
for us to engage in the task of reconciliation or harmonization of these rules,
misconduct and misdeeds of such character.
although this may perhaps be undertaken, as no two cases will be found to be
exactly the same in factual or legal environment. It is sufficient to observe, Barredo, J., concurring:
however, in this connection that whatever might have been said in cases
heretofore decided, no technical rule or rules should be permitted to defeat the Elections; Protest must not necessarily allege the effect of true results.—In an
intention of the voter, if that intention is discoverable from the ballot itself, not election protest, it is not necessary to allege that the true results of the election in
from evidence aliunde. This rule of interpretation goes to the very root of the question would be in f avor of protestant and against protestee on the basis of
the legal votes, or that the proclaimed result would be changed if the facts
system. Rationally, also, this must be the justification for the suggested
alleged are proven, when the sole ground of protest and the only purpose of the
liberalization of the rules on appreciation of ballots which are now incorporated in protestant is to have the whole election in a precinct or municipality annulled and
section 144 of the Election Code (Commonwealth Act No. 357). set aside.

It results that, crediting the petitioner with the two ballots herein held to have FERNANDO, J.:
been erroneously admitted by the Court of Appeals for the respondent, the latter Two election protests against the duly proclaimed Mayor and Councilors of Iligan
City, after the Nov. 14, 1967 elections, based on the allegations of flagrant
still wins by one vote. In view whereof it becomes unnecessary to consider the
violations of certain mandatory provisions of the Election Code, to be more
counter-assignment of errors of the respondent. specifically set forth hereafter, were dismissed in a single order by the Court of
First Instance of Lanao del Norte, the Honorable Teodulo C. Tandayag presiding.
With the modification of the decision of the Court of Appeals, the petition for the The cases are now before us on appeal.
writ of certiorari is hereby dismissed, without pronouncement regarding costs. In one of them, 1 the election of Honorable Camilo P. Cabili to the Office of City
Mayor of Iligan City, was contested by protestant, now appellant, Mariano
Badelles. In the other, 2 the protestants are the now appellants, Bonifacio P.
Legaspi and Cecilia T. Barazon who along with the five protestees 3 were among
G.R. No. L-29333 February 27, 1969 those who were registered candidates voted for in such election for councilors in
MARIANO LL. BADELLES, protestant-appellant, the City of Iligan, with the protestees being credited with the five highest number
vs. of votes, with protestants Legaspi and Barazon obtaining sixth and seventh
CAMILO P. CABILI, protegee-appellee. places, respectively.
-------------------------- In such order of dismissal, it was admitted that while irregularities as well as
G.R. No. L-29334 February 27, 1969 misconduct on the part of election officers were alleged in the election protests
BONIFACIO P. LEGASPI and CECILlO T. BARAZON protestants-appellants, filed, there was however an absence of an allegation that they would change the
vs. result of the election in favor of the protestants and against the protestees, that
FELIX Z. ACTUB, PROVIDENCIO P. ABRAGAN, MANUEL F. CELDRAN, such irregularities would destroy the secrecy and integrity of the ballots cast, or
CASIMERO P. CABIGON and BENITO ONG, protestees-appellees. that the protestees knew of or participated in the commission thereof. For the
Bonifacio P. Legaspi for and in his own behalf. lower court then, the lack of a cause of action was rather evident.
Camilo P. Cabili. Gerardo B. Padilla and Ignacio Español and Voltaire I. Roviro Hence the order of dismissal of March 23, 1968, which was sought to be fortified
for protestees-appellees. by the invocation of the doctrines that voters should not be deprived of their right
to vote occasioned by the failure of the election officials to comply with the formal
Elections; Dismissal of election protest alleging frauds; Dismissal amounts to prerequisites to the exercise of the right of suffrage and that the rules and
judicial abnegation to inquire into and pass upon irregularities of election.—The regulations for the conduct of elections while mandatory before the voting should
seriousness and gravity of the imputed failure to have the elections conducted be considered directory thereafter. The validity of such order of dismissal is now
freely and honestly, with such irregularities alleged, give rise to doubts, rational to be inquired into by us in this appeal.
and honest, as to who were the duly elected officials. Such allegations, it is to be In the petition of protestant Badelles, dated December 8, 1967, and marked as
stressed, would have to be accepted at their face value for the purpose of received the next day by the Clerk of Court of the Court of First Instance of Lanao

but as they stood. Cabili were the duly registered candidates for the Office of City Mayor of Iligan action. with law and as such candidates voted for in the November 14. was caused by the excessive number of petition that the irregularities committed by the election officials have destroyed voters being listed and many having been assigned to precincts other than the the secrecy and integrity of the ballots cast. give rise to doubts. filed in the other suit. therefore. no legal and practical justification for the court to inquire into the they could not avail themselves of their right of suffrage as their applications for irregularities committed by the election officials." 5 This very same grounds were relied upon in a motion to dismiss by City. both having filed their respective certificates of candidacy in accordance protestees Actub and Cabigon. without any fault on their in favor of the protestants and against the protestees. It As above noted. with such irregularities alleged. The proclamation then the election officials in not following the provisions of the election laws regarding could not have reflected the true will of the electorate as to who was the mayor the registration of voters and the distribution of the precincts.del Norte. the Commission on Elections being the freely and honestly. protests were dismissed. confusion.300 illegal voters who voted were for the protestees.. plausibility attaching to the line of reasoning thus pursued by the lower court. enabling persons who under the law could not vote being there was no cause of action. 2.300 or more and that an approximately equal purpose of committing frauds for the benefit of the protestees. that the non-compliance of the election officials of the provisions of the election What was thus objected to is the fact that illegal votes were cast by those not laws regarding the registration of voters were intentional on their part for the qualified to do so..300 individuals were allowed to vote the elections are not of themselves either ground for contest or for proper matters illegally. who were duly registered with the Commission on Elections. and that no publication of the list of voters for each precinct was made up to the The reasoning followed by the lower court in reaching the above conclusion that election day itself. 1968. There is. There is no number.000 voters who failed to vote were all voters of protestants list of voters. Nonetheless the by the Revised Election Code. There is no allegation in the petition correct ones. the two above election was then alleged that the Board of Canvassers. the absence of such the setting aside and declaring null and void the proclamation of protestees with a claim could not be so confidently asserted. allegation in the petition that because of the alleged irregularities committed by were unable to vote due to the above circumstances. 15th Judicial District.. We do not discount a certain degree of to equity. We In the first case. the lower court being of the opinion that neither petition proclaimed as elected protestee for having obtained 11. rational . The claim as to lack of jurisdiction was law relating to or governing elections ." 6 respective precincts late on election day itself thus preventing them from voting. It was further stated in such order of dismissal: "There is no allegation in the Moreover. of inquiry. protestants seeking such other relief which should be theirs according to law and To repeat. of this City. There is no allegation in the protest that the alleged irregularities It was likewise asserted that not less than 8. It was stated further that even in the case of those individuals and the 8. numbering 8.. Mention was also made of the fact that the final would not give any benefit in favor of the protestants to the end that they will be lists of voters and the applications for registration were delivered to their declared the duly elected mayor and councilors. in a single order of March 23. to have the proper identification cards or the non-listing of their names in the the petition that the 8. That the complaint states no cause of P. That [the lower court] has no jurisdiction over seriousness and gravity of the imputed failure to have the elections conducted the subject matter of the present case. it was stated that both he and protestee Camilo proper body to hear the same." in that more than 200 voters were likewise held to be without merit. That the protest was filed beyond the reglementary period allowed by skill in their drafting or precision in their terminology. the irregularities committed by the election officials would affect the election in The prayer was among others for the proclamation of protestee as well as other favor of the protestees. protestee Cabili moved to dismiss the petition on the following are not unaware of the undeniable fact that both petitions were not distinguished grounds: "1." 7 candidates for elective positions in the City of Iligan being set aside and declared A greater regard for the cause of accuracy ought to have admonished the lower null and void. There is no allegation in part. the protestants in both cases failed to allege that if the facts pleaded by them The protest of the candidates for councilor Legaspi and Barazon in the other were proved the result would not have been different. that all the votes elected. It is true the complaints case against protestees 4 was in substance similarly worded. respectively.966 votes. provided with identification cards with their names included in the list of voters. 1967. 1967 election.310 votes while alleged a cause of action "to justify [it] to try the same.344 votes." The first ground of the protestant was credited with 8. so it was alleged. Protestant would impugn the election of motion to dismiss to the effect that the protests in both cases were filed beyond Cabili on the ground that there were "flagrant violation of mandatory provisions of the reglementary period was rejected. proceeded along these lines: "Mere irregularities or allowed to do so. both protests were dismissed. 3.000 qualified voters were unable to committed by the election officers would tend to change the result of the election exercise their right of suffrage in view of their failure. Iligan City. as alleged in the petition. on November 25. nor is there an allegation in the protests that 2. The single order of dismissal in both cases as registered per precinct contrary to the provision limiting such number of 200 only indicated was based on the lack of a cause of action. The prayer was for could have been more explicitly worded. As a result of such alleged "flagrant violations of the laws misconduct on the part of election officers which do not tend to affect the result of relation to or governing elections" around 8. as the majority of protestee Cabili over the protestant consisted of only cast during said elections are illegal.. protestant pleading further that he be granted other such relief as court from asserting in an uncompromising tone the absence of an allegation that may be warranted in law and equity. for it registration could not be found.

If that right be disregarded or frittered away. as pointed out in City Board not ring out loud and clear." 12 not the proper forum to seek annulment of an election based on terrorism. vote-buying and other candidates were allowed. preference for Nacionalista candidates were not given such cards. the opinion coming from Justice Makalintal. Accordingly. must continue to be the means by which the great reservoir of during the election. The election law has no justification except as Commission on Elections but in "some other agencies of the Government. election contests the essence that corruption and irregularities should not be permitted to taint the "are entrusted to the courts." Among those mentioned were that blank official registration determining whether irregularities or serious violations of the electoral law vitiated forms were taken from the office of the Quezon City Comelec Register several the conduct of elections was clearly and succinctly explained in the Moscoso weeks before election day. and those who did not signify their the one availed of here. lay not with the Commission on Elections but with the courts of justice in through their Constitution in the interest of good government and the common an election protest. Respondents contest the correctness thereof.457 registered voters in Quezon City. One of the issues raised on the above facts is whether or not the Commission on As Justice Laurel correctly pointed out: "As long as popular government is an end Elections could annul the aforesaid election in Quezon City on the above to be achieved and safeguarded. they list a number of Why an election protest is more fitly and appropriately the procedure for repressible acts. we reverse. The petition did not prosper." consent of the people. in so far as it implies the adoption of a representative type In the language of Justice Sanchez: "The boundaries of the forbidden area into of government. penned by Justice Sanchez. would have to be accepted at their face value for the purpose of or nullity of the votes questioned by either of the contestants. and again. 11 we have stressed the importance of preserving inviolate the right of that the resulting effect of irregularities was to prevent full fifty-one per cent of the suffrage.and honest. that active campaigning within decision above cited. is planted upon the constitutional elect to be filed before the Court of First Instance. Time and time precinct books of voters were not sealed within the deadline fixed by law. that the That such should be the case should occasion no surprise. frauds." More a means for assuring a free. but the lower court was answer of respondents Amoranto. We cannot in law and in deviation nor retreat from the foregoing pronouncement. that voters were permitted to vote on mere irregularities in the 1959 elections in Tacloban City should be ventilated in a mimeographed notices of certain Nacionalista candidates. intelligently arrived at. 1967. as to who were the duly elected officials. frauds A republic then to be true to its name requires that the government rests on the and other illegal practices. Commission on Elections 8 points the way. that voters were regular election protest. power must be emptied into the receptacular agencies wrought by the people we held. with reference to provincial and municipal officials. Mathay and others. That Comelec is popular sovereignty and as the ultimate source of the established authority. November 14. [the] nullity of an election for municipal officials The opinion in the Abes case. this is grounded character. it was dismissed. they aver that out of apparently impervious to its teaching. following: "The ratiocination advanced that there was failure of election due to Without the lower court having so intended. For. and thereafter counted. pursuant to section 174 of the Election Code. 100. its message did — about 62% of the registered voters. It would seem. that for the court below. Moscoso. "the duty to cure or remedy the resulting evil" did not rest with the officials of their unfettered choice. is a principle emphasized in decisions of this Court. so their petition avers." Nacionalista candidates were allowed to vote beyond the hours for voting It would follow then that if the grievance relied upon is the widespread allowed by law. becomes a myth. And in the Abes v. determining whether there is a cause of action. Commission on Elections. and not in compelled to fill their official ballots on open tables. before and during judicial abnegation of a sworn duty to inquire into and pass upon in an elections. 10 Thus: "The the polling places by Nacionalista leaders or sympathizers of Nacionalista question of whether or not there had been terrorism." mandate of free. consent freely given." Then came this express affirmation: "The power to electoral process. starts thus: should be determined in a petition contesting the election of municipal officers- "Petitioner's cry for relief. honestly For as announced in Nacionalista Party v. of Canvassers vs. that identification cards were delivered by partisan leaders of irregularities and the flagrant violations of the election law. the dismissal would amount to rampancy of terrorism. will not carry the day for petitioners. the proper remedy is respondents Nacionalista candidates. such that allegedly about 51% of the registered voters were not able to appropriate proceeding allegations of misconduct and misdeeds of such vote. but it furnishes 162. in the first place." After which came the conscience then sustain the order of dismissal. . suffrage. it is to be decide election contests necessarily includes the power to determine the validity stressed. upon bare assertions. Republicanism. Only thus can they be really looked upon as that there be a failure to conduct an election in a free. terrorism and other illegal practices committed before and form devised. desks and in many precincts a petition to enjoin the city board of canvassers from canvassing the election outside the polling places. and honest elections. though. Specifically. the protest. whatever may be the modality and allegations of fraud. orderly and honest the ultimate sources of established authority. It is their undeniable right to have manner. Such allegations. The remedy. then popular sovereignty registered voters from voting.382 voters actually cast their votes more than a hint. It may not be controlling. "there has been neither a hypothetical admission of facts thus pleaded. necessarily points to the enfranchised citizen as a particle of which Comelec may not tread are also marked by jurisprudence. a motion to dismiss amounting to As so emphatically observed in the Abes opinion. honest and orderly expression of their views. weal. But above all. that thousands of voters sympathetic to the returns and proclaiming the winning candidates for municipal offices. It is of specifically. orderly. and other irregularities. 9 assuming recorded." .

if there is no fraud or other irregularity and failure to comply is unintentional. That should be the ideal however. cases remanded to the lower court for proceeding and trial in accordance with that all statutes tending to limit the citizen in the exercise of the this opinion and the law. respectively. responsibility will not be held to disfranchise such voters by . qualified to cast them and and (2) neither of the petitions state any cause of action. The scope of our decision must not be protestants and the 8. After the facts are thus ascertained protestants to the end that they will be declared the duly elected mayor in accordance with the accepted procedural rules. to add a few words which I consider appropriate. 1968. As a consequence.. That would be premature to say the least. of course.It may not always be thus unfortunately. Than itself is no reason for the courts to officers would tend to change the result of the election in favor of the slam the door against any opportunity for redress. Under the law as it stands. a nonetheless. for it would not give any benefit in favor of the properly inquire into what actually transpired. Likewise. is reversed and the two entire votes of the district.B. All that it directs is that the protetees in both cases be There is. including.nêt ground for contest or for proper matters of inquiry. What they ask in the the law on the part of an election officer. designed to secure the secrecy and integrity of the ballot may so All we do is to set aside the order of dismissal.300 illegal voters who voted were for the protetees. be applied. as is not unlikely. misinterpreted however. His Honor held thus: there be a failure to observe the mandates of the Election Code. petition that the 8. it is a firmly established general rule that voters will not be rejected. Without costs. Reyes.. Justice Fernando. It may not be amiss. however. the courts will not distinguished colleague.. It is. however. J. Yet. C..000 voters who failed to vote were all voters of Hence the inevitability of its reversal. both denominated as construed as to remedy the evils against which its provisions are election protests. election officers if it is possible to avoid such a result. perhaps in a rather awkward in the protest that the alleged irregularities committed by the election and far from entirely satisfactory manner. charged with such second ground are placed in proper light. if. The failure of election of officers to obey the mandatory It must be clearly emphasized that we do not at this stage intimate any view as to provisions of a statute relating to the conduct of the election and the merit. In short. there be a denial of the inquire into the irregularities committed by the election officials. or lack of it. best for all concerned that the make their voting effective. Thereafter. of either protest. the order of dismissal of March 23. is that the prayers of the two petitions therein are identical in directed and at the same time not to disfranchise voters further that they do not ask for the seating of the petitioners. concurring: connection that the failure of the election officers to perform their I concur whole-heartedly in everything contained in the ably written opinion of our duty subjects them to penalties. JJ. it is precisely an not tend to affect the result of the elections are not of themselves either election protest that fitly serves that purpose. Sanchez. Mr. in the light of my fair election and an honest return should be considered as experience in handling some election cases before my appointment as Solicitor paramount in importance to minor requirements which prescribe General. the permit the will of the voters to be defeated by fraud on the part of disposition he makes therein of these cases before Us. It should be remembered. Dizon. therefore. as serious imputations made as to the alleged irregularities. punishment may be main is that "the proclamation of the protegees as duly elected (mayor and provided therefor. the formal steps to reach that end. the aggrieved Mere irregularities or misconduct on the part of election officers which do parties should not be left remediless. be stated as a general rule that if ballots are matter. This sole principal prayer effectual without going to the extent of depriving a voter of his was precisely what gave appellees in both cases cause to contend that (1) the right to have his vote counted in consequence of such violation. nor is it material in this BARREDO. in the places of the protestees-respondents. concur. innocent of wrongdoing. cast by voters who are. J. Makalintal. There is no allegation in the if the order of dismissal complained of were not set aside. Court of First Instance of Lanao del Sur had no jurisdiction over the subject It may.. and in this way the law can be rendered councilors) be set aside and declared null and void". the lower court could alleged in the petition. If Ruling on the first ground above-stated. therefore. then the appropriate law could and councilors. an erroneous or even unlawful observations and arguments adduced by the trial judge in disposing of the handling of the ballots by the election officers. the trial court who have done all on their part that the law requires of voters to properly overruled the first ground. Of course. even though election officers fail to comply with the directory Separate Opinions provisions of a statute. the courts are loath to disfranchise voters who are wholly Capistrano and Teehankee. Castro. Zaldivar. it being allegedly the Commission on Elections that has such jurisdiction. at the time. who call themselves than is necessary to attain that object. that is what would happen protestants and against the protestees.. no legal and practical justification for the court to required to answer. and the law should be so The thing that has struck me most in these two cases.J.L. In case of a violation of protestants. There is no allegation It was sought to be thus utilized in these two cases. right of suffrage are to be construed liberally in his favor. and that Concepcion.lawphi1. of this City. taint the votes with irregularity as to cause the rejection of the WHEREFORE.

and of the local elections held in committing frauds for the benefit of the protestees. that the 8. 621-622. Nor will an election be set aside because of election in question would be in favor of protestant and against protestee on the regularities on the part of the election officials unless it appears basis of the legal votes. I believe that . correct. the said petitions do not state any cause of action. 1967. the trial court looked in vain for allegations to the effect that "the alleged but even if solely to have the court declare that no one has won because irregularities committed by the elections in favor of the protestants and against the election is void and that it is obvious and pure common sense that in the protestees... declare that none of the candidates has been legally elected. facts alleged are proven. L-29334. is rather irrelevant. protestants may come to court. as pointed out in the brief of appellants: There is no allegation in the petition that the irregularities committed by In the case G. "that none of them has I am afraid that such discourse. Sevilla. 16. — The court shall decide the regarding the registration of voters and the distribution of the precincts. etc.300 illegal voters who voted were for the protetees. the trial case. 82.. and set aside. No. in the petition that because of the alleged irregularities committed by the Section 177 of the Revised Election Code provides: election officials in not following the provisions of the election laws SEC. 1967. cited on page 622. Moir and Fajardo 35 Phil. I like to make it very clear that an election protest may be petitions that "would give any benefit in favor of the protestants to the end that filed not only for the purpose of having the protestant declared elected. 228. 177." (id. His Honor reasoned out that "there is no the latter case. Jur. not only to recount the election for Mayor and Councilors in the City of Iligan and that. not a sufficient ground to annul the votes cast in the precincts If it were not the intention of the lawmaker not to authorize the courts to where the person elected neither knew of nor participated in the annul an election. throwing out their votes on account of erroneous procedure had what should be emphasized in these cases is that ruling in Our decision to the sorely by the election officers. of this but even for the purpose alone of having the election annulled. stated. Francisco. if quite impressive as an exposition of been legally elected. to annul the election completely. His Honor failed to emphasize that the states: cases before him were precisely ones for the annulment and setting aside of the The court is authorized. persons elected either participated in such misconduct. the courts are authorized to officials would affect the election in favor of protestees. and Manalo vs.) For example. for in such a case. There is no allegation Iligan City on November 14. 333. using the language of the law." (pp. his prayer precisely is — that and the 8. nor is there an in the proper case. (otherwise entitled at times. in a proper petitions in question constitute sufficient grounds for such relief. and shall declare who among the parties has been elected. Order in question) and then held that there was no allegation in both In other words. on the whole. (18 Am. in his book How to Try Election Cases." and that "the general purpose of the protestants in filing these protest is not in accord rule is that whatever may be the cause of an election contest.. cited on pp. court made as may be seen above. the prayer is for the annulment of the the election officials have destroyed the secrecy and integrity of the proclamation of protestee-appellee Camilo P.." Surely. 609.. 24 Phil. 331-332.R. p. the only ballots and reject those which it considers illegal and accept question that should be resolved is whether or not the facts alleged in the those which it considers valid but it is also authorized. 7. Otherwise City" ergo. While this ruling is. in a proper case. which in A misconduct or irregularity committed by an election official is effect would mean that the elections are annulled. Revised Election Code by the protestant is to have the whole election in a precinct or municipality annulled Francisco). it be declared. while in case G. Actub et al. Sec. Indeed. when the sole ground of protest and the only purpose of pp. (18 Am. the following ruling of the trial court: considerable learning in election law matters.). id. therefore. a long discourse on the thesis that "the It is therefore clear that the trial court erred in holding that the purpose of an election contest is to correct the canvass. they will be declared the duly elected mayor and councilors. the true gravamen with the purpose of the Revised Election Code in allowing a of the case is to determine who receives the highest number of votes. 1952 Edition..000 voters who failed to vote were all voters of protestants his being the real victor. by Francisco). protest . 225. Decision of the Contest. provided the votes are legal votes effect that in an election protest. Instead. Cabili and of the local ballots cast. There is no allegation in the petition that the non-compliance elections held in Iligan City on November 14. of the election officials of the provisions of the election laws regarding the No. that none of them has been legally elected. L-29333. p. Sec. allegation in the protests that the irregularities committed by the election Under the above-quoted provision of law. the protestant does not have to allege the probability of allegation . the prayer is for the annulment of the proclamation of registration of voters were intentional on their part for the purpose of protestee-appellees Felix Z. such authority would not have been provided in misconduct and it is not shown that any elector who voted or the Section 177 of the Revised Election Code quoted above. not necessarily to win an election. Jur. 5-8. or that all the votes cast during said elections are illegal. defeated candidate to file an election protest. More specifically. Revised Election Code citing as authorities the decisions of this Honorable Court in Bustos vs. petition or complaint in their inception and are still capable of being given proper or motion of protest) it is not necessary to allege that the true results of the effect as such.R. respectively." (p. or that the proclaimed result would be changed if the that such irregularities affect the results.

are complaining about is that the elections held in Iligan City in November. indeed. it has to be admitted that. 217). not supposed to be averred in the pleadings. Calebia & Sahagun. rational and honest. (Ibasco vs. 1967. orderly and honest illegalities and irregularities are so rampant and diffusive as to place the result of suffrage in this country. The purpose of an perhaps be most ideal in cases of this nature. that leave rational protest. the seriousness and gravity of the imputed failure to protest is for the court to determine whether the protestant or the have the elections conducted freely and honestly. no extant jurisprudence whether here or in any other country can be found to matter how serious. which though unhappily worded are fairly indicative of must be emphatically denounced as a misreading by His Honor of the real import a situation wherein the will of the electorate has not been freely and clearly of the authorities cited by Him. Justice Fernando. In the give rise to doubts. banes of popular suffrage.. and the actual discovery of frauds and violations of law by support it.J. It being the policy of the law to give effect to elections. L-17512. id. is one that governs more the rendition of judgments able to achieve in all possible cases. Hence. it could be concluded that the reflected in the proclaimed results. To my mind. 1967 1960). to the effect that the commission of irregularities by election officials. as to who were the duly elected officials". whether national or local.. with such irregularities alleged. at least. protestee is the winner of the election under protest. and the candidate so declared elected may assume cast. doubt as to whether or not the true will of the people of said City could be From the foregoing authorities. irregularities committed by the election officials would affect the election in favor 984). thereby giving the protestees as well as the elections held in Iligan City of them the peace of mind and freedom of action gravely needed in the formulation November 14.) I feel that His Honor was asking too much and general rule is that whatever may be the cause of an election unnecessarily because. On this score. In the more polished and inimitable language purpose of the election law to allow a candidate to file an election of Mr. are more in the nature of receives the highest number of votes (20 C. which the Commission on Elections alone may not be such election in grave doubt. as pointed out by appellants the in election cases and the evaluation of the circumstances surrounding the trial court would have been right if it had only adhered to the decisions already elections in question. I regard it as a annulment of the election of Mayor and Councilors in Iligan City. An election contest is a summary proceeding the object of which November. should not be subjected to . the rule foIlowed in an unbroken line of decisions of this concept of the judicial remedies in matters of election. December 29. these allegations as well as the contest. held in sound rule that pleadings in election cases. the petitions of is to expedite the settlement of the controversy between appellants which appear to have been prepared by a single counsel are not as candidates as to who received the majority of the legal ballots accurately and precisely worded as to fit exactly into the pattern that may (Gardiner vs. rather than election case. 55 Phil. G. 26 Phil. "." that "all the votes cast in said elections are illegal" and that "the position of the office (Aquino vs. but I cannot go along with His election contest is to correct the canvass of which the Honor's ruling that the allegations in said petitions are legally inadequate to serve proclamation is a public manifestation and the power granted by as a basis for the relief of annulment of the election therein prayed for. respectively. No. 1967. The truth of the matter is that. 8. I am equally confident that no thesis in any of the existing legal either candidates or voters. viewed as a whole. only candidates have the right to file an election were characterized by general and specific circumstances. the duly elected mayor and councilors. rather than as a strict criterion for determining whether a complaint or The real issue then in these cases is whether or not the facts alleged in the petition or motion of protest sufficiently states a cause of action for annulment. In an legal conclusions. irregularities and illegalities. court. 522. are not in themselves sufficient to cause the publications can be referred to as upholding such an illogical idea. No single precedent in Court." (p. therefore of the protestants in of policies and the implementation thereof. the object of the protestants in filing their protests It is my considered opinion that while it is truly desirable that election protests based on the prayer of their petitions is not to declare them the should be discouraged where they have hardly any basis in fact or in law. The purpose. Ilao. Indeed. Hence. courts should also be careful in filing these protests is not in accord with the purpose of the seeing to it that their doors are not untimely shut to complaints regarding the Revised Election Code in allowing a defeated candidate to file an commission of electoral frauds. present case. Such proposition represents the most narrow expressed. (Gil Hermanos vs.R. the court can directly declare which candidate is averments that the irregularities and violations of the election law alleged by to be elected leaving the canvass made by the Board null and appellants resulted in the destruction of the "secrecy and integrity of the ballot void. the true gravamen of the case is to determine who others His Honor considered as indispensably required. Romulo. respective petitions of appellants constitute sufficient ground or grounds for Respecting contrary opinion others may entertain on the matter. as they appear to me. such a ruling is to kill almost entirely all hopes for a clean. the of the protestees. To sanction annulment of an election unless so expressly provided by law. His Honor law to the court must agree with and be adequate to such an seemed to be more concerned with what he considered the need for direct object. cited by said appellants in their brief. the most despicable election protest. the court has an imperative duty to ascertain by all statements of ultimate facts. or that the frauds. 217). Hord. means within its command who is the real candidate elected by the petitions in question sufficiently lead to the conclusion that what appellants the electorate. 10 Phil. of this City but earlier to free from doubt the title to their respective offices of those chosen to merely to declare null and void the proclamation and election of direct the affairs of our government. 524). as portrayed in the evidence already presented before the rendered by this Court on the subject.

as which. be government. general elections fixes the date at which the special election is to be held and Same. the office or offices to be voted for. Same. in case of doubt as to which should be done. No.—This Court has the discretion should be given to the substantial matters sufficiently appearing in such to take cognizance of a suit which does not satisfy the requirement of legal pleadings as intended to be brought to the court for a remedy.such minute examination as should be done to facts duly established after proper “sharpens the presentation of issues. More importance issue of transcendental significance to the people. because I agree with Same. In not a few cases. the Senate Electoral Tribunal is the sole judge of all expressly provides that an election to fill a vacancy shall be held at the next contests relating to the qualifications of the members of the Senate. a party will allegations in pleadings often suffer from the common flaws in the means of be allowed to litigate only when (1) he can show that he has personally suffered human expressions as well as from the usual imperfection of human language. at standing when paramount interest is involved. TOLENTINO and ARTURO C. the rule is that a statute that VI of the Constitution. Conversely. In not a few cases. when evident that the same has been filed for other than legitimate purposes. amended. things. Same. The requirement of standing. Same. that is. unless it is manifestly is able to craft an issue of transcendental significance to the people. Powers. Consequently. Same. is indispensable the members of the Senate. among others. The requirement of standing. if not impossible for grievances injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action. The Senate the giving notice of the time and place of its occurrence. and (2) to give notice to the voters of. 6645 provides for the the decision herein of Mr. vs. may not be thrown out merely because of lack of skill attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is able to craft an and precision in the formulation of the corresponding protests. In a general election. therefore. HONASAN. well-grounded in fact. the Court may brush As already indicated. Commission on Elections. Senate Electoral Tribunal. where the law does not fix the time . which shall not be earlier than sixty (60) days nor later than ninety (90) after the occurrence of the vacancy but in case of a vacancy in the G. No. whether made by the Electoral Tribunal is the sole judge of all contests relating to the qualifications of legislature directly or by the body with the duty to give such call. This is because the right and duty standing” or locus standi refers to a personal and substantial interest in a case to hold the election emanate from the statute and not from any call for the such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury because of the election by some authority and the law thus charges voters with knowledge of the challenged governmental act. if proven. Same. the court has times. 2004 Senate. Parties. and (3) the read with more liberality so as to make it difficult. one to the election’s validity. look exactly alike.—The calling of an election. Locus Standi. my vote is for the reversal of the appealed order sustaining aside technicalities of procedure.—A quo warranto proceeding is. Same. the court has adopted a liberal will. Respondents.—“Legal the duty of calling the election failed to do so. Section 2 of R. parents and offsprings not always.—In case a vacancy arises in Congress at within the four corners of the questioned petitions. where the law fixes the date of the to determine the right of a public officer in the exercise of his office and to oust election.A. which necessarily time and place of the election. ambiguous and often ungrammatically phrased. relates to the constitutional thus prescribed is not invalidated by the fact that the body charged by law with mandate that this Court settle only actual cases or controversies. SENATOR RALPH G. than to the form. in which they are expressed. among other ARTURO M. Article the election. an election held at the time necessarily “sharpens the presentation of issues”. requires COMELEC: (1) to call a special election by fixing the date of the special election. In a special election to fill a vacancy. Pleadings in such cases must. In any event. as among men and animals. such adopted a liberal attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner doubt must be resolved in giving due course to the protest. procedure in calling a special election. Under Section 17. Same. the election is valid without any call by the body charged to administer him from its enjoyment if his claim is not well-founded. against the suppression in one form or another of the expression of the popular Same. the motion to dismiss filed by appellees in the court below. if only because facts are unerring manifestations of the truth. MOJICA. (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action. In a special election to fill a vacancy. Election Law. the issues raised are of paramount importance to the public. the special election shall be held simultaneously with the next succeeding regular election. Petitioners. Thus. Special Elections. If some actual or threatened injury because of the allegedly illegal conduct of the words are but children of thoughts. may result in the annulment of the elections prayed for by appellants. Same.A. 148334 January 21. of irregularities and illegalities least one year before the expiration of the term. Thus. Section 2 of R. the next general elections fixes the date at which the special election is to be held and operates as the call for that election. while this Court settle only actual cases or controversies.R.” relates to the constitutional mandate that hearing. RECTO and SENATOR statute that expressly provides that an election to fill a vacancy shall be held at GREGORIO B. 6645. which operates as the call for that election. the rule is that a COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. generally. Justice Fernando that there are enough indications.

and for that purpose all of the legal voters from office before the expiration of his term because of loss of confidence. It is intended to play a distinct function of government. under the 1987 Constitution. but unless these are clearly illegal or constitute gross abuse of the want of notice has resulted in misleading a sufficient number of voters as discretion. A sanggunian. Thus.—The Corral. either in determining who shall be their public officials or in deciding an election called for the purpose. . The right to vote is not a natural right but it is a right . would change the result of the special election. (3) initiative. amend or reject any ordinance enacted by the the part of the election officers. and failure to do so will case of a less responsible organization. intimidation.” It also threats from exercising their franchise. Court also. The existence of the right of suffrage is a greater importance than the duty itself. that COMELEC will hold a special election to fill a Constitution is the expansion of the democratic space giving the people greater vacant single three-year term Senate seat simultaneously with the regular power to exercise their sovereignty. the statutory it should not be hampered with restrictions that would be fully warranted in the provision on the giving of notice is considered mandatory. It should be allowed considerable latitude in devising means and Same.” Recall is a method of removing a local official some question of public interest. time and place after the happening of a condition precedent. Constitution is the expansion of the democratic space giving the people greater The required notice to the voters in the 14 May 2001 special senatorial election power to exercise their sovereignty. The consistent rule has been to respect the electorate’s will they will entrust the exercise of powers of government. J.” In People v. unhampered and unmolested. The Commission may err. Each devising means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of the great individual qualified to vote is a particle of popular sovereignty. despite effective mechanisms of recall. the people can approve or reject a law or an issue of national is done and no frauds have been committed.. this Court is loathe to annul amendments to the constitution.—The test in determining the validity of a special was created—free. the consistent rule has been directs Congress to “enact a local government code which shall provide for to respect the electorate’s will and let the results of the election stand.” Otherwise. Innocent voters should not be deprived referendum as “the legal process whereby the registered voters of the local of their participation in the affairs of their government for mere irregularities on government units may approve. the Constitution mandates Congress to elections and will only do so when it is “impossible to distinguish what votes are “provide for a system of initiative and referendum. In a should be permitted. this court should not interfere. enact. (2) plebiscite. Indeed. we held that “(t)he modern conception of suffrage is that voting is a Commission on Elections is a constitutional body. Dissenting Opinion: a substantial number of voters who wrongly believed that there was no special Constitutional Law. for which they are in no way responsible.and place for holding a special election but empowers some authority to fix the and important part in our scheme of government. initiative. First. Through elections. objective for which it was created—free. and referendum. Second. We may not agree fully with its election in relation to the failure to give notice of the special election is whether choice of means. When that referendum. lawful and what are unlawful. Same. a choice by a small percentage of voters would be void. In the discharge of its functions. Same. the people and let the results of the election stand.—An outstanding feature of the 1987 covers two matters. Same. Same. and law or part thereof passed by the Congress or local legislative body. This is but to mandate. Modes. which is: to give the voters a direct participation in the affairs of their government unit may directly propose. Lack of notice to a sufficient number of voters of the special methods that will insure the accomplishment of the great objective for which it election renders the same void. If the lack of official notice misled Puno. Section 126 of the Local Government Code of 1991 defines a local the election should not be declared null. In a plebiscite. the people choose the representatives to whom Same. despite irregularities that may have ratify any amendment to or revision of the Constitution and may introduce attended the conduct of the elections.—The right to Same.” Pursuant to this irregularities that may have attended the conduct of the elections. Same. or to arrive at any certain result whatever. Congress enacted the Local Government Code of 1991 which defines acknowledge the purpose and role of elections in a democratic society such as local initiative as the “legal process whereby the registered voters of a local ours. to cast their ballot.” different rule would make the manner and method of performing a public duty of Same. orderly and honest elections. threshold for the preservation and enjoyment of all other rights. and (5) special election.—Indeed. An outstanding feature of the 1987 election to fill a vacancy. referendum. the elections scheduled on the same date. Same. Right to Suffrage. The COMELEC should be allowed considerable latitude in vote or of suffrage is “an important political right appertaining to citizenship. the ballots should be counted and importance. (4) recall. orderly and honest elections. namely: (1) elections. . Same. that COMELEC will proclaim as people can directly exercise their sovereign authority through the following winner the senatorial candidate receiving the 13th highest number of votes in the modes. so may this render the election a nullity. Sovereignty. or amend any ordinance through government. and the exceptions therefrom. or that whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any the great body of the voters have been prevented by violence.

. the ought to be considered as one of the most sacred parts of the constitution. orderly and with the constitutional policies of full public disclosure (footnote omitted) and honest elections and to preserve the sanctity of the right to vote that the honesty in the public service (footnote omitted). delegated . Same. governmental agencies and institutions people. The right to process itself—inevitably affects the individual’s right to vote. and the free exchange of ideas and discussion of issues thereon them. .. the U. Right to Information. It was to promote free. Only when the participants in a discussion are aware of the issues qualifications of voters. Chief Justice Warren. This Court has consistently ruled from as early as the oft.—As worded in the 1973 and 1987 Geronimo v. Hopkins that voting is a opinion which alone can protect and uphold the values of democratic “fundamental political right. Yet. political. we must live. Ramos.—Thus. even the most basic. An informed citizenry with access to the diverse currents in country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws. challenge any violation of the right and may seek its enforcement.” suffrage is a threshold for the preservation and enjoyment of all other rights that it Same. The in their arsenal. each provision of which—whether it governs the registration and intelligently. comprehensive and sometimes complex election codes the extent that the citizenry is informed and thus able to formulate its will are enacted.S. elections are substantially regulated for to information on the inner workings of government. As worded in the 1973 and 1987 Constitution. exchange of ideas and discussion of issues thereon is vital to the democratic are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.” In Wesberry government. It is a public right where the and sacred of the freedoms inherent in a democratic society and one which must real parties in interest are the people. Thus. The U. Sanders. moral and artistic thought and data relative to them. Other rights. . Supreme Court in Reynolds v. Same. It is meant to enhance the . The right to information goes hand-in-hand be carefully and meticulously scrutinized. honest. In right to information is self-executory. this open dialogue can be effective only to the purity of elections. Suffrage is a privilege granted by the State to such persons as Commission on Elections was created. because [it is] preservative of all rights. have a voice in the form of which are all enshrined in the Bill of Rights are cognate rights for they all his government and in the choice of the people who will run that government for commonly rest on the premise that ultimately it is an informed and critical public him. . v. To preserve responsive to the people’s will. peaceful. we held that the right is among the most important Constitution. The right to government for themselves and their posterity a genuinely functioning democracy information. moral and artistic thought and data who feel disempowered and marginalized or that government is not responsive to relative to them. orderly. x x x x x x x x x . for order rather than chaos to accompany the prey to the whims and caprices of those to whom the power had been democratic processes. the citizenry can become them to be fair and honest. Especially for those access to the diverse currents in political. Same. et al. the selection and eligibility of candidates. For an essential element of these freedoms is to keep open important and fundamental requisites of popular government. It is in the interest of the State that the channels for free political rules that would hinder in any way not only the free and intelligent casting of the discussion be maintained to the end that the government may perceive and be votes in an election but also the correct ascertainment of the results.created by law. cornerstone of this republican system of government is delegation of power by Same. We have a continuing dialogue or process of communication between the government and consistently made it clear that we frown upon any interpretation of the law or the the people. the purity of elections being one of the most important and fundamental operate within the limits of the authority conferred by the people. In this system. or the voting and have access to information relating thereto can such bear fruit. and the free under which. meaningful access to the ballot box can be one of the few counterbalances is vital to the democratic government envisioned under our Constitution. the right to information is self-executory. as good citizens. the purity of elections being one of the most pertinent information. Far from it. free speech and press and of assembly and petition and association in which the individual may. Denied access requisites of popular government.” Voting makes government more government envisioned under our Constitution.S.” The existence of the right of COMELEC to ensure “free. The 1987 Constitution mandates the are most likely to exercise it for the public good. in accordance with law.—An informed citizenry with responsive to community and individual needs and desires. speaking for the U.The right of access to information ensures that cited 1914 case of Gardiner v. every citizen has “standing” to be most vigilantly guarded if a people desires to maintain through self. But this is not to say that the right to information is merely an adjunct rights. Supreme Court held that “no right is more precious in a free Same. of and therefore restricted in application by the exercise of the freedoms of Sims cautioned that any alleged infringement of the right of citizens to vote must speech and of the press.S. Supreme Court recognized in Yick Wo v. As the right to vote information is an essential premise of a meaningful right to speech and in a free and unimpaired manner is preservative of other basic civil and political expression. Romulo that the purpose of election laws is to these freedoms are not rendered nugatory by the government’s monopolizing safeguard the will of the people. and credible elections. The purpose of election laws is to safeguard the will of the the people to the State.

Bolton v. 58 SW 595. 14 May 2001. 01-005 proclaimed the 13 candidates elected as hold public officials “at all times x x x accountable to the people. Wheeler. Notice to the electors that a vacancy exists and that an term of former Senator Teofisto T. Shortly after her succession to the Presidency in January 2001. Same. citizens can 01-005. whatever citizens may say. will July 2001 ("Resolution No. after COMELEC had canvassed the election results from all the essential and characteristic element of a popular election. Wilson v. there had been no nominations to fill the vacancy. Wooton v. if the vacancy Following Senator Guingona’s confirmation. 139 Ky 397. J. or by nomination by county political conventions or party six (6) years and the thirteenth (13th) Senator shall serve the unexpired term of committees. Foutch. Guingona. 41 NJL 296 garnering the 13th highest number of votes shall serve only for the unexpired (other citations omitted). 01-005 that it should be given in such form as to reach the body of the electorate. Good. they cannot hold public "official and final" the ranking of the 13 Senators proclaimed in Resolution No. Article II) of the Constitution seek to promote transparency in policy-making and in the operations of the government. 44 Mich 89. Same. is essential to give validity to the Guingona") as Vice-President. These twin provisions are essential to the exercise of freedom of expression. 149 Ky 62. Guingona. As before noted. Jr. Jr. 84 ("Resolution No. 84 called on COMELEC to fill the vacancy such notice and are instead led to believe that no such election is in fact to be through a special election to be held simultaneously with the regular elections on held. the Senate on 8 February 2001 is to be filled at the time of a general election. an attempted choice by a small percentage of the voters is void. ("Senator to be held to fill it for the unexpired term. Secord v. if living. President Gloria Same. 6 NW 110." which ends on 30 June 2004. would not expire until January 1. 01-005. 01-006") of respondent Commission on Elections be speculative and amount to nothing. 2 election is to be held to fill it for the unexpired term. yet it appears to be almost passed Resolution No.—Although there is not unanimity of judicial opinion as to the requirement of official notice. ("Honasan") ranked 12th and 13th. Here provisionally proclaiming 13 candidates as the elected Senators. it would have no place there. officials accountable for anything. Jr. If the This is a petition for prohibition to set aside Resolution No. who was appointed Vice- ballot. Twelve Senators. Public policy requires provinces but one (Lanao del Norte). The designation of the office to be filled was not upon the official three (3) years of Senator Teofisto T. participate in public discussions leading to the formulation of government policies and their effective implementation. with a 6-year term each. These twin provisions are also essential to ("COMELEC"). Armed with the right information. 84") certifying to the existence of a universally held that if the great body of the electors are misled by the want of vacancy in the Senate. Same. in Resolution No. either by the holding of a 01-005 also provided that "the first twelve (12) Senators shall serve for a term of special primary election.—These twin provisions (on right to information under Section 7. 84 further provided that the "Senatorial candidate SW 914."3 Respondents Ralph Recto ("Recto") and Gregorio Honasan the term of office of the incumbent.widening role of the citizenry in governmental decision-making as well as in checking abuse in government. Notice to the electors that a vacancy exists and that an election is Macapagal-Arroyo nominated then Senator Teofisto T. Resolution No.1 Resolution No. 147 in that election. COMELEC issued Resolution No. transactions and decisions to June 2001 ("Resolution No. respectively. were due to be elected Brown. and is also an On 5 June 2001. NBC 01-005 dated 5 government does not disclose its official acts. An informed citizenry is essential to the existence and proper DECISION functioning of any democracy. NBC 01-006 dated 20 citizens. 01-006 declared omitted) for unless citizens have the proper information. 109 Ky 229.: 28. essential and characteristic element of a popular election. and is also an Guingona who took his oath as Vice-President on 9 February 2001. 01-005") and Resolution No. Guingona. except for the vacancy.. is essential to give validity to the meeting of an electoral body to discharge that particular duty. Article III and the policy of full public disclosure under Section CARPIO.” (footnote Senators in the 14 May 2001 elections while Resolution No. Congress confirmed the nomination of Senator meeting of an electoral body to discharge that particular duty. 1947. as President. An informed citizenry is essential to the The Facts existence and proper functioning of any democracy. as well as provide the people sufficient The Case information to exercise effectively other constitutional rights. Resolution No. Resolution No. . even if expressed without any restraint.

6646 quo warranto petition and the Court should dismiss the same for lack of ("R.On 20 June 2001. impleading only provinces. petitioners cite the special (1) Procedurally – elections simultaneously held with the regular elections of 13 November 1951 and 8 November 1955 to fill the seats vacated by Senators Fernando Lopez and (a) whether the petition is in fact a petition for quo warranto over Carlos P. Honasan also claims that candidates seeking election under the special or regular senatorial elections as the petition. contends he is not a canvassed all the votes cast for the senatorial candidates in the 14 May 2001 proper party to this case because the petition only involves the validity of the elections without distinction such that "there were no two separate Senate proclamation of the 13th placer in the 14 May 2001 senatorial elections. COMELEC also separately proclaimed the winners in each of those (c) whether petitioners have standing to litigate. irrespective of term.8 Petitioners point out that in those elections. Accordingly. Petitioners sought to enjoin COMELEC from ranking of the 13 Senators proclaimed in Resolution No.5 and. elections held simultaneously but just a single election for thirteen seats. petitioners claim that if held simultaneously. consequently. Honasan. 01-005 without reiterated the contentions raised in their original petition and. 01-006. 6645"). paragraph 4 of Republic Act No. filed the instant petition for prohibition. The 13 proclaiming with finality the candidate for Senator receiving the 13th highest Senators took their oaths of office on 23 July 2001. is actually a purportedly required under Section 4. (3) it failed to specify in the Voters Information Sheet the of the petition and on petitioners’ standing to litigate. For his part. No. it issued Resolution No. to file an amended petition impleading Recto and Honasan as additional respondents. . 6646"). 2001. COMELEC separately canvassed the votes cast for the senatorial candidates running under the regular (b) whether the petition is moot.4 (2) it failed to require senatorial candidates to indicate in their In their Comments. elections. respectively. as the 12th ranking Senator. we required COMELEC to Comment on the petition. number of votes as the winner in the special election for a single three-year term seat. petitioners Arturo Tolentino and Arturo Mojica ("petitioners"). whether a special election to fill a vacant three-year Petitioners sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order during the term Senate seat was validly held on 14 May 2001. COMELEC jurisdiction. No. 01-005. the Court required petitioners in so far as it makes a proclamation to such effect. Recto."7 The Issues Stated otherwise.9 (2) On the merits. The Ruling of the Court Without issuing any restraining order. and Recto all claim that a special certificates of candidacy whether they seek election under the special or regular election to fill the seat vacated by Senator Guingona was validly held on 14 May elections as allegedly required under Section 73 of Batas Pambansa Blg. COMELEC and Honasan further raise preliminary issues on the mootness 881. 6645 ("R. 01-006. and elections from the votes cast for the candidates running under the special elections. in addition.A. pendency of their petition. which seeks the nullity of his proclamation as Senator. after COMELEC had canvassed the results from all the voters and taxpayers. COMELEC. 01-005 In view of the issuance of Resolution No. 01-006 declaring "official and final" the COMELEC as respondent.A. The petition has no merit. Garcia. petitioners prayed for the nullification of Resolution No. sought jurisdiction because: (1) it failed to notify the electorate of the position to be filled the nullification of Resolution No. Petitioners accordingly filed an amended petition in which they Petitioners contend that COMELEC issued Resolution No. in the Senate. in the special election as required under Section 2 of Republic Act No. as On 20 July 2001. a special and a The following are the issues presented for resolution: regular election must be distinguished in the documentation as well as in the canvassing of their results. To support their claim. who became Vice-Presidents during their tenures which the Senate Electoral Tribunal is the sole judge.6 Petitioners add that because of these omissions.

On the Preliminary Matters had already taken place. We noted in Alunan that since the question of the
validity of the order sought to be annulled "is likely to arise in every SK elections
The Nature of the Petition and the Court’s Jurisdiction and yet the question may not be decided before the date of such elections," the
mootness of the petition is no bar to its resolution. This observation squarely
A quo warranto proceeding is, among others, one to determine the right of a applies to the instant case. The question of the validity of a special election to fill
public officer in the exercise of his office and to oust him from its enjoyment if his a vacancy in the Senate in relation to COMELEC’s failure to comply with
claim is not well-founded.10 Under Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution, the requirements on the conduct of such special election is likely to arise in every
Senate Electoral Tribunal is the sole judge of all contests relating to the such election. Such question, however, may not be decided before the date of
qualifications of the members of the Senate. the election.

A perusal of the allegations contained in the instant petition shows, however, that On Petitioners’ Standing
what petitioners are questioning is the validity of the special election on 14 May
2001 in which Honasan was elected. Petitioners’ various prayers are, namely: (1) Honasan questions petitioners’ standing to bring the instant petition as taxpayers
a "declaration" that no special election was held simultaneously with the general and voters because petitioners do not claim that COMELEC illegally disbursed
elections on 14 May 2001; (2) to enjoin COMELEC from declaring anyone as public funds. Neither do petitioners claim that they sustained personal injury
having won in the special election; and (3) to annul Resolution Nos. 01-005 and because of the issuance of Resolution Nos. 01-005 and 01-006.
01-006 in so far as these Resolutions proclaim Honasan as the winner in the
special election. Petitioners anchor their prayers on COMELEC’s alleged failure "Legal standing" or locus standi refers to a personal and substantial interest in a
to comply with certain requirements pertaining to the conduct of that special case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury because of the
election. Clearly then, the petition does not seek to determine Honasan’s right in challenged governmental act.15 The requirement of standing, which necessarily
the exercise of his office as Senator. Petitioners’ prayer for the annulment of "sharpens the presentation of issues,"16 relates to the constitutional mandate that
Honasan’s proclamation and, ultimately, election is merely incidental to this Court settle only actual cases or controversies. 17 Thus, generally, a party will
petitioners’ cause of action. Consequently, the Court can properly exercise be allowed to litigate only when (1) he can show that he has personally suffered
jurisdiction over the instant petition. some actual or threatened injury because of the allegedly illegal conduct of the
government; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action; and (3) the
On the Mootness of the Petition injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action. 18

COMELEC contends that its proclamation on 5 June 2001 of the 13 Senators Applied strictly, the doctrine of standing to litigate will indeed bar the instant
and its subsequent confirmation on 20 July 2001 of the ranking of the 13 petition. In questioning, in their capacity as voters, the validity of the special
Senators render the instant petition to set aside Resolutions Nos. 01-005 and 01- election on 14 May 2001, petitioners assert a harm classified as a "generalized
006 moot and academic. grievance." This generalized grievance is shared in substantially equal measure
by a large class of voters, if not all the voters, who voted in that election. 19 Neither
Admittedly, the office of the writ of prohibition is to command a tribunal or board have petitioners alleged, in their capacity as taxpayers, that the Court should give
to desist from committing an act threatened to be done without jurisdiction or with due course to the petition because in the special election held on 14 May 2001
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of "tax money [was] ‘x x x extracted and spent in violation of specific constitutional
jurisdiction.11 Consequently, the writ will not lie to enjoin acts already protections against abuses of legislative power’ or that there [was] misapplication
done.12 However, as an exception to the rule on mootness, courts will decide a of such funds by COMELEC or that public money [was] deflected to any improper
question otherwise moot if it is capable of repetition yet evading review.13Thus, in purpose."20
Alunan III v. Mirasol,14 we took cognizance of a petition to set aside an order
canceling the general elections for the Sangguniang Kabataan ("SK") on 4 On the other hand, we have relaxed the requirement on standing and exercised
December 1992 despite that at the time the petition was filed, the SK election our discretion to give due course to voters’ suits involving the right of

suffrage.21 Also, in the recent case of Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. In case of vacancy in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, a special
Zamora,22 we gave the same liberal treatment to a petition filed by the Integrated election may be called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law, but
Bar of the Philippines ("IBP"). The IBP questioned the validity of a Presidential the Senator or Member of the House of Representatives thus elected shall serve
directive deploying elements of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine only for the unexpired term. (Emphasis supplied)
Marines in Metro Manila to conduct patrols even though the IBP presented "too
general an interest." We held: To implement this provision of the Constitution, Congress passed R.A. No. 6645,
which provides in pertinent parts:
[T]he IBP primarily anchors its standing on its alleged responsibility to uphold the
rule of law and the Constitution. Apart from this declaration, however, the IBP SECTION 1. In case a vacancy arises in the Senate at least eighteen (18)
asserts no other basis in support of its locus standi. The mere invocation by the months or in the House of Representatives at least one (1) year before the next
IBP of its duty to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, while undoubtedly regular election for Members of Congress, the Commission on Elections, upon
true, is not sufficient to clothe it with standing in this case. This is too general an receipt of a resolution of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the
interest which is shared by other groups and the whole citizenry x x x. case may be, certifying to the existence of such vacancy and calling for a special
election, shall hold a special election to fill such vacancy. If Congress is in recess,
Having stated the foregoing, this Court has the discretion to take cognizance of a an official communication on the existence of the vacancy and call for a special
suit which does not satisfy the requirement of legal standing when paramount election by the President of the Senate or by the Speaker of the House of
interest is involved. In not a few cases, the court has adopted a liberal attitude on Representatives, as the case may be, shall be sufficient for such purpose. The
the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is able to craft an issue of Senator or Member of the House of Representatives thus elected shall serve
transcendental significance to the people. Thus, when the issues raised are of only for the unexpired term.
paramount importance to the public, the Court may brush aside technicalities of
procedure. In this case, a reading of the petition shows that the IBP has SECTION 2. The Commission on Elections shall fix the date of the special
advanced constitutional issues which deserve the attention of this Court in view election, which shall not be earlier than forty-five (45) days nor later than ninety
of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents. Moreover, because (90) days from the date of such resolution or communication, stating among
peace and order are under constant threat and lawless violence occurs in other things the office or offices to be voted for: Provided, however, That if within
increasing tempo, undoubtedly aggravated by the Mindanao insurgency problem, the said period a general election is scheduled to be held, the special election
the legal controversy raised in the petition almost certainly will not go away. It will shall be held simultaneously with such general election. (Emphasis supplied)
stare us in the face again. It, therefore, behooves the Court to relax the rules on
standing and to resolve the issue now, rather than later.23 (Emphasis supplied) Section 4 of Republic Act No. 7166 subsequently amended Section 2 of R.A. No.
6645, as follows:
We accord the same treatment to petitioners in the instant case in their capacity
as voters since they raise important issues involving their right of suffrage, Postponement, Failure of Election and Special Elections. – x x x In case a
considering that the issue raised in this petition is likely to arise again. permanent vacancy shall occur in the Senate or House of Representatives at
least one (1) year before the expiration of the term, the Commission shall call
Whether a Special Election for a Single, Three-Year Term and hold a special election to fill the vacancy not earlier than sixty (60) days nor
Senatorial Seat was Validly Held on 14 May 2001 longer than ninety (90) days after the occurrence of the vacancy. However, in
case of such vacancy in the Senate, the special election shall be held
Under Section 9, Article VI of the Constitution, a special election may be called to simultaneously with the next succeeding regular election. (Emphasis supplied)
fill any vacancy in the Senate and the House of Representatives "in the manner
prescribed by law," thus: Thus, in case a vacancy arises in Congress at least one year before the
expiration of the term, Section 2 of R.A. No. 6645, as amended, requires
COMELEC: (1) to call a special election by fixing the date of the special election,

which shall not be earlier than sixty (60) days nor later than ninety (90) after the as the call for that election. Consequently, an election held at the time thus
occurrence of the vacancy but in case of a vacancy in the Senate, the special prescribed is not invalidated by the fact that the body charged by law with the
election shall be held simultaneously with the next succeeding regular election; duty of calling the election failed to do so.28 This is because the right and duty to
and (2) to give notice to the voters of, among other things, the office or offices to hold the election emanate from the statute and not from any call for the election
be voted for. by some authority29 and the law thus charges voters with knowledge of the time
and place of the election.30
Did COMELEC, in conducting the special senatorial election simultaneously with
the 14 May 2001 regular elections, comply with the requirements in Section 2 of Conversely, where the law does not fix the time and place for holding a special
R.A. No. 6645? election but empowers some authority to fix the time and place after the
happening of a condition precedent, the statutory provision on the giving of notice
A survey of COMELEC’s resolutions relating to the conduct of the 14 May 2001 is considered mandatory, and failure to do so will render the election a nullity.31
elections reveals that they contain nothing which would amount to a compliance,
either strict or substantial, with the requirements in Section 2 of R.A. No. 6645, In the instant case, Section 2 of R.A. No. 6645 itself provides that in case of
as amended. Thus, nowhere in its resolutions24 or even in its press releases25 did vacancy in the Senate, the special election to fill such vacancy shall be held
COMELEC state that it would hold a special election for a single three-year term simultaneously with the next succeeding regular election. Accordingly, the special
Senate seat simultaneously with the regular elections on 14 May 2001. Nor did election to fill the vacancy in the Senate arising from Senator Guingona’s
COMELEC give formal notice that it would proclaim as winner the senatorial appointment as Vice-President in February 2001 could not be held at any other
candidate receiving the 13th highest number of votes in the special election. time but must be held simultaneously with the next succeeding regular elections
on 14 May 2001. The law charges the voters with knowledge of this statutory
The controversy thus turns on whether COMELEC’s failure, assuming it did fail, notice and COMELEC’s failure to give the additional notice did not negate the
to comply with the requirements in Section 2 of R.A. No. 6645, as amended, calling of such special election, much less invalidate it.
invalidated the conduct of the special senatorial election on 14 May 2001 and
accordingly rendered Honasan’s proclamation as the winner in that special Our conclusion might be different had the present case involved a special
election void. More precisely, the question is whether the special election is election to fill a vacancy in the House of Representatives. In such a case, the
invalid for lack of a "call" for such election and for lack of notice as to the office to holding of the special election is subject to a condition precedent, that is, the
be filled and the manner by which the winner in the special election is to be vacancy should take place at least one year before the expiration of the term.
determined. For reasons stated below, the Court answers in the negative. The time of the election is left to the discretion of COMELEC subject only to the
limitation that it holds the special election within the range of time provided in
COMELEC’s Failure to Give Notice Section 2 of R.A. No. 6645, as amended. This makes mandatory the requirement
of the Time of the Special Election Did Not in Section 2 of R.A. No. 6645, as amended, for COMELEC to "call x x x a special
Negate the Calling of such Election election x x x not earlier than 60 days nor longer than 90 days after the
occurrence of the vacancy" and give notice of the office to be filled. The
The calling of an election, that is, the giving notice of the time and place of its COMELEC’s failure to so call and give notice will nullify any attempt to hold a
occurrence, whether made by the legislature directly or by the body with the duty special election to fill the vacancy. Indeed, it will be well-nigh impossible for the
to give such call, is indispensable to the election’s validity.26 In a general election, voters in the congressional district involved to know the time and place of the
where the law fixes the date of the election, the election is valid without any call special election and the office to be filled unless the COMELEC so notifies them.
by the body charged to administer the election.27
No Proof that COMELEC’s
In a special election to fill a vacancy, the rule is that a statute that expressly
provides that an election to fill a vacancy shall be held at the next general Failure to Give Notice of the Office
elections fixes the date at which the special election is to be held and operates to be Filled and the Manner of

what petitioners did is conclude that since COMELEC failed to give such not Required under Section 2 of R. among others. First.35 This is but to acknowledge the purpose and role of election. as amended.P. that COMELEC will hold a special election to fill a unhampered and unmolested. No.A. intimidation. However. No. upon the suggestion of Senator Raul Roco ("Senator Roco"). and on Section 4(4) of reports of the enactment of R. or that the great manner by which the seat vacated by former Senator Guingona would be filled. Initially. These provisions govern elections in general and in no way require separate documentation of candidates or separate canvass of votes in a More than 10 million voters cast their votes in favor of Honasan. No. We simply cannot disenfranchise those who voted for Honasan. charged those who voted in the Neither is there basis in petitioners’ claim that the manner by which COMELEC elections of 14 May 2001 with the knowledge that the vacancy in the Senate conducted the special senatorial election on 14 May 2001 is a nullity because arising from Senator Guingona’s appointment as Vice-President in February COMELEC failed to document separately the candidates and to canvass 2001 was to be filled in the next succeeding regular election of 14 May 2001. and the manner by which COMELEC would determine the the office or offices to be voted for. What is mandatory under Section 2 of R. the consistent rule has been to respect the electorate’s will and let the give notice of the special election is whether the want of notice has resulted in results of the election stand. no special election took place. separately the votes cast for the special election. 881 on the filing of certificates of candidacy. Innocent voters should not be deprived of their winner the senatorial candidate receiving the 13th highest number of votes in the participation in the affairs of their government for mere irregularities on the part of special election. covers two matters. or to arrive at any certain result whatever." Similarly. to support their campaign. which is: wrongly believed that there was no special election to fill a vacancy. the absence of formal notice from COMELEC does not preclude the our election laws. No such requirements exist in Similarly. Section 2 of R.Determining the Winner in the Special body of the voters have been prevented by violence.32 to give the voters a direct participation in the affairs of their government." if necessary. the original draft of Resolution No. the .33 claim is misplaced. and threats Election Misled Voters from exercising their franchise. If the lack of official notice misled a substantial number of voters who elections in a democratic society such as ours. voted in that election. despite irregularities that may have attended the misleading a sufficient number of voters as would change the result of the special conduct of the elections. 84 as will only do so when it is "impossible to distinguish what votes are lawful and introduced by Senator Francisco Tatad ("Senator Tatad") made no mention of the what are unlawful. When that is done and no vacant single three-year term Senate seat simultaneously with the regular frauds have been committed. petitioners’ reliance on Section 73 winner. either in determining who shall be their public officials or in deciding some question of The required notice to the voters in the 14 May 2001 special senatorial election public interest. Indeed.A. Second. stands most prejudiced by the instant petition. Such actual notice could come from many sources. this Court is loathe to annul elections and Senate in Resolution No. and "state. 6646 on the printing of election returns and tally sheets. that COMELEC will proclaim as should not be declared null. the office to be COMELEC "fix the date of the election. 6645. 84. A different rule failure to give this required notice misled a sufficient number of voters as would would make the manner and method of performing a public duty of greater change the result of the special senatorial election or led them to believe that importance than the duty itself. the party who jointly held regular and special elections. 6645 is that possibility that the voters had actual notice of the special election.A. notice. and for that purpose all of the legal voters should be permitted. the method adopted by COMELEC in conducting the special prejudiced voters in the exercise of their right of suffrage so as to negate the election on 14 May 2001 merely implemented the procedure specified by the holding of the special election. such as media of B. No. 6645. for which they are in no way responsible. Petitioners have neither claimed nor proved that COMELEC’s the election officers. No. Separate Documentation and Canvassing Instead. in the absence of proof that COMELEC’s omission Significantly."34 The test in determining the validity of a special election in relation to the failure to Otherwise.A. the ballots should be counted and the election elections scheduled on the same date.36 (Emphasis in the original) there was no such special election. This bare assertion carries no value. to cast their ballot. a choice by a small percentage of voters would be void. Blg. 6645 and election propaganda during the R.A.

Senators. . Now. thus: certifies. and all elective twice there were 24 candidates and the first 12 were elected to a six-year term and the next 12 were elected to a three-year term. I move for the adoption of this resolution. majority vote of all the members of both House of Congress. Sen. In other words. What a way of flattery. the candidates contested the seat. 2001. [Laughter] WHEREAS." Senator Roco introduced the amendment to spare COMELEC and the RESOLVED by the Senate. 84]. President. were only eight – to elect a member or rather. the existence of a vacancy in the Senate and calling the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to fill up such vacancy through election to be held S[ENATOR] T[ATAD]. Republic Act No. election for a vacant seat in the Senate. T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. John H. voting separately. S[ENATOR] T[ATAD]. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none. President. THE SENATOR THUS ELECTED TO SERVE ONLY FOR THE UNEXPIRED yield for a few questions? TERM S[ENATOR] T[ATAD]. Jr. motion is approved. to certify. President. As a matter of fact. Mr. as it hereby candidates needless expenditures and the voters further inconvenience. I think I recall that sometime in 1951 or 1953. Chairman of the Committee on Rules. a candidate to that particular seat. 2001. Senator Guingona will take his Oath of Office as Vice-President of the electorate had to cast a vote for a ninth senator – because at that time there the Philippines on February 9. the Secretary will read only the title and text of the resolution. Thank you. Mr. Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Mr. T[HE] S[ECRETARY]. elected to serve only for the unexpired term. President. that when we ran after the EDSA revolution. 84 by providing. [Laughter] WHEREAS. there was a special Arroyo nominated Senator Guingona as Vice-President of the Philippines. be it shall serve only for the unexpired term of former Senator Teofisto T. WHEREAS.) FRANCISCO S. on February 6. SENATE AND CALLING ON THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC) TO FILL UP SUCH VACANCY THROUGH ELECTION TO BE HELD S[ENATOR] O[SMEÑA] (J). 2004. author of this resolution. President. I move that we now consider Proposed simultaneously with the regular election on May 14. WHEREAS. that provincial city and municipal officials shall be held on the second Monday and "the senatorial candidate garnering the thirteenth (13th) highest number of votes every three years thereafter. the Honorable Teofisto T. Jr. Osmeña is recognized. President. Mr. the one who was elected in that special election was then Congressman. as it is hereby resolved. 2001 and the Senator thus Senate Resolution No. 934 entitled S[ENATOR] O[SMEÑA] (J). Mr. TATAD Consideration of Proposed Senate Resolution No. was elected Senator of the Philippines in 1998 for a term which will expire on June 30. as it now appears. RESOLUTION CERTIFYING TO THE EXISTENCE OF A VACANCY IN THE T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. With trepidation. therefore. (Sgd. 934 [later converted to Resolution No. later Senator Feli[s]berto WHEREAS. Guingona.Senate agreed to amend Resolution No. Mr. Will the distinguished SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH THE REGULAR ELECTION ON MAY 14. the nomination of Senator Guingona has been confirmed by a Verano. President. S[ENATOR] O[SMEÑA] (J). the Adopted. Guingona. all elective Members of the House of Representatives. 7166 provides that the election for twelve (12) Then I remember. Mr. 2001 AND Majority Leader. Mr. 934 is now in order. Proposed Senate Resolution No. President. With the Senator permission of the Body. In that election.

It is also less expensive S[ENATOR] T[ATAD]. It is better for the candidates. in this particular S[ENATOR] R[OCO]. Mr. Mr. Whoever gets No. wordings T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. we understand it. the candidate obtaining the 13th largest number of votes be declared as elected to fill up the unexpired term of Senator Guingona. Yes. Senator Guingona. as Vice President. we satisfy the requirement of the law. we should consider. Teofisto Guingona? T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. because the ballot will be printed and there will be less disfranchisement. that is a most satisfactory proposal because I do not believe that there will be anyone running specifically – xxxx T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. suggest that probably. Roco is recognized. We will already consider the 13th placer of the forthcoming elections that will be held simultaneously as a special election under this law as S[ENATOR] T[ATAD]. three-year term? Or is there going to be an election for a position of senator for the unexpired term of Sen. S[ENATOR] R[OCO]. Is there a law that would allow the Comelec to S[ENATOR] R[OCO]. the 13th placer be therefore candidate will be running with specific groups. Yes. So if the sponsor can introduce that later. T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. how is this going to be done in this election? Is the S[ENATOR] R[OCO]. conduct such an election? Is it not the case that the vacancy is for a specific office? I am really at a loss. I think what is going to happen is the 13th to the effect that in the simultaneous elections. I would like to S[ENATOR] R[OCO]. S[ENATOR] O[SMEÑA] (J). what is needed is a resolution of this Chamber calling attention to the need for the holding of a special election to fill up the vacancy created. May we solicit the legal wisdom of the Senate President. In other words. Sen.My question therefore is. That will be a good compromise. T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. this is not a Concurrent Resolution. May I share this information that under Republic Act No. 6645. S[ENATOR] T[ATAD]. subject to a one-minute caucus. If we can just deem it therefore under this resolution to be candidate with the 13th largest number of votes going to be the one to take a such a special election. Yes. nationwide. Yes. Senator Roco. Raul S. That is right. In other words. by the appointment of our colleague. So we just nominate 13 and it is good for our colleagues. The Comelec will not have the flexibility. Mr. Actually. I do not know if we can… No. 13. Yes. Mr. Yes. – to implement. we are leaving the mechanics to the Commission on Elections. President. I am rising here because I think it is something that T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. – to fill up this position for three years and campaigning T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. S[ENATOR] R[OCO]. this shall be a guidance for the Comelec. That is right. S[ENATOR] R[OCO]. in this resolution. It can be managed in the Commission on Elections so that a slot for the particular T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. it can be arranged in such a manner. President. maybe it will case. deemed to be the special election for this purpose. President. But personally. What does the sponsor say? candidate to fill up would be that reserved for Mr. . resolution. maybe. Guingona’s unexpired term. Correct. S[ENATOR] T[ATAD]. T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. I think we can specifically define that as the intent of this T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. President. be better. T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. May we suggest. S[ENATOR] T[ATAD].

Judge of the Court of First Instance of to the means it followed in the 13 November 1951 and 8 November 1955 Ilocos Sur. This Court has consistently acknowledged and affirmed COMELEC’s wide latitude of discretion in adopting means to carry out its mandate of ensuring free. SALANGA. this Court will not interfere AMANTE P. The candidate affected can file a petition for recount alone.S[ENATOR] T[ATAD]. Petition for recount. RES. L22502- 03. but unless these are clearly discrepancy existed.1âwphi1 In the discharge of its functions. petitioner. It should be allowed considerable the provincial board of canvassers (Cawa vs. orderly and honest elections. it should not be hampered with restrictions that would Election laws. ANGELINO C. 1964). June 30.—The Commission on Elections' copies of election returns are A Word to COMELEC authentic copies within the meaning of Section 168 of the Revised Election Code (Lawsin vs. COMELEC. so may this Court also. . as embodied in Resolution No. THE PROVINCIAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS. I move for the adoption of this resolution. conduct of regular elections in general and special elections in particular. No. Same. in the exercise of its discretion to use means and methods to conduct the special election within the confines of R. NO. should COMELEC. July 31. T[HE] P[RESIDENT]. Conversely. As we have earlier Jose W. THE COMMISSION elections. 934 COMELEC should not take chances in future elections. choose to revert vs. Commission on Elections' copies of election returns authentic. While the circumstances attendant to xxxx the present case have led us to conclude that COMELEC’s failure to so call and give notice did not invalidate the special senatorial election held on 14 May 2001. electorate of necessary information regarding a special election. 1964. respondents. 38 COMELEC’s decision to abandon the means it employed in the 13 November 1951 and 8 November 1955 special elections and adopt the method embodied in Resolution No. therefore. that the provincial board of canvassers has not the great objective for which it was created — free. Subject to style. we accept that amendment and if there The calling of a special election. 39 Same. 6645. Escalona. L-16837-40 May 30. Matanog vs. without the concurrence of Commission may err. L-22540. merely chose to adopt the Senate’s proposal. Candidate affected can file petition alone. Evidently. illegal or constitute gross abuse of discretion. Guerrero for respondent Provincial Board of Canvassers The Commission on Elections is a constitutional body. 84. and the giving of notice to the will be no other amendment. are central to an informed exercise of the right of suffrage. the motion is approved. we DISMISS the petition for lack of merit. and honest elections subject only to the limitation that the means so adopted are not illegal or do not constitute grave abuse of discretion. orderly. objection? [Silence] There being none. noted: Provincial Fiscal Juvenal K.R. No. latitude in devising means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of 1960).A. no reason to adjudge it liable for grave abuse of discretion. petitioned for a recount it cannot be inferred that they were not convinced a We may not agree fully with its choice of means. in subsequent special senatorial elections. I move that we adopt this resolution. That COMELEC adopts means that are novel or even disagreeable is ON ELECTIONS and GREGORIO CORDERO. Same. 84 is G. ADOPTION OF S. Diokno for petitioner.—A be fully warranted in the case of a less responsible organization. We remind COMELEC to comply strictly with all the requirements under applicable laws relative to the If there are no other proposed amendments. Del Rosario. From the fact. 37 SO ORDERED. distinct and important part in our scheme of government. Alejandro. this court should not interfere. L-22335 December 31. PURISIMA. It is intended to play a Antonio Barredo for respondents Judge Salanga and Gregorio Cordero Ramon Barrios for respondent Commission on Elections. Is there any WHEREFORE. if necessary. HON. There is a motion to adopt this resolution. 1965 but a legitimate exercise of its discretion.

the Nacionalista Party copies of dismissing his petition for recount be set aside and that the Commission on the returns for the aforesaid precincts were submitted to the board. by petition for votes had been "obviously and manifestly erased" and superimposed with other certiorari with preliminary injunction. on January 17. Purisima came to this Court.229 votes Same. 1963. 1964. of ascertaining that they reflect the will of the people. L22248. On January 22. 1964 we ordered respondents to answer. is the Cordero filed in the Commission on Elections a motion for resumption of the only way to remove grave doubts as to the correctness of said returns as well as canvass.00. Canvass When statements of precinct are contradictory. on January 8. In the same case. and. strike at the reliability of said returns as basis for canvass and proclamation.P. superimpositions in words and figures of the votes stated in the election returns After a preliminary hearing on the motions to dismiss.277 votes for Cordero preliminary injunction to be issued as prayed for upon the posting of a bond of P500. A on December 27. and allowed Provincial Treasurer's copy: 7.—Where a candidate was prevented from securing the Elections issued a resolution on November 30. And on December 28. thus: judicial recount. A request for suspension of the canvass was thereupon made by Purisima. January 30. A canvass or proclamation made suspension of canvass — for him to have recourse to judicial remedy. Same. is null said request. the Court of First Instance. For purposes of comparison.372 votes. moved for reconsideration of the Court of First Instance's order of dismissal. Purisima Member of Ilocos Sur. J. In his motion to dismiss. motions court to dismiss the same were filed by the board of canvassers and by Cordero. dismissed the petition for recount. Duty of board of canvassers to suspend canvass. — In case it appears to proceeded. Interpretation of election laws. Same.—Interpretation of election laws should give of the returns from 41 precincts. on December 10. After the election or on November 25. Cordero 41.. The The requisites for judicial recount are set forth in Section 163 of the Revised board of canvassers denied said request upon the ground that it was not yet Election Code: ascertainable if the discrepancies would materially affect the result. a recount. Commission on Purisima again called attention to the erasures and discrepancies and asked for Elections. Case at bar.: petition for preliminary injunction to restrain the holding of another canvass. Subsequently. forty. After respondents filed their answer the case was heard and submitted Nacionalista Party's copy 2. Same. Petitioner asked that the lower court's order words and figures. a BENGZON. Alleging that the Commission on Elections was about to order the canvass one (41) in all. as regards Cordero and Purisima.Patent erasures and tampering or falsification. Purisima.857 votes imperative for said board to stop the canvass so as to allow time for verification of authentic copies and recourse to the courts (Javier vs. Purisima filed a petition in the Commission on Elections to Same. on January 2. the provincial board of canvassers that another copy or other authentic After the returns had all been read.235 votes for Cordero for decision. the board of canvassers finished the canvass and proclaimed and void (Ibid. On November 29. there were patent erasures and superimpositions in words and figures on the face of the election returns submitted to the board of canvassers. In the election of November 12. annulling the canvass and Commission on Elections' copies of the returns to establish a discrepancy proclamation. The Commission on board of canvassers. between them and the Provincial Treasurer's copies. in case of discrepancy. Cordero admitted the erasures and discrepancies on the face Same. Purisima noted during the canvass that the returns from some precincts. filed in the Court of First Instance a petition for copies to the board should not prejudice his right to petition for recount before the recount under Section 163 of the Revised Election Code. resumption of the canvass. as in the case at Purisima 39. an opposition to the board of canvassers met and started canvassing the returns for said office. Furthermore. comparison with the other copies. without awaiting proper remedies. 1965).). A discrepancy Elections be enjoined from ordering resumption of the canvass until after the of 5. showed on their face that the words and figures for Cordero's resumed. J. Amante Purisima and Gregorio Cordero Annexed to said petition were certified photostatic copies of the Comelec's were among the candidates for any of the three offices of Provincial Board copies of the returns from the 41 precincts in question. Cordero the winner. 1964. 1963 the provincial filed with the Commission on Elections. it was Difference 1. the result for the office of third (and last) copies of the statement from an election precinct submitted to the board member of the Provincial Board was the following: give to a candidate a different number of votes and the difference affects .042 votes in favor of Cordero was thereby found. Denying notwithstanding such patent defects.—Where. he also filed. the failure to submit the said Purisima. Failure to submit Commission on Elections' copies to the annul the canvass and proclamation above-mentioned. on January 11. Erasures and superimpositions in the election returns. on November 28. bar. but denied that said erasures were due to effect to the expressed will of the electorate.

Alejandro. CAUTON. when Purisima first called attention to the discrepancy between the right to petition for recount before the court. L-25467 April 27.1960). in the motion to dismiss filed by the board of canvassers. July 31. without awaiting proper remedies. June 30. that the provincial board of canvassers has not petitioned for a between them and the Provincial Treasurer's copies. It was therefore imperative for the In dismissing the petition for recount. respondent Judge stated that some of the board to stop the canvass so as to allow time for verification of authentic copies requisites were not present. and the copies pertaining to the holding another canvass and proclamation as between petitioner Purisima and Nacionalista Party and those pertaining to the Commission on Elections. LUCAS V. respondents.).) The trial court. a recount. January of canvassers that a discrepancy exists. from ordering or the precincts in question. Sanidad and F. in case Passing on to the next point. therefore. application to the petition for recount because they were not submitted to the Ramon Barrios for respondent Commission on Elections. 1964. even if he does so alone. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and PABLO SANIDAD. the fact remains that the Commission on Elections' copies were said to reflect the same discrepancy with the Provincial Treasurer's copies. May 30.R. 1965). Commission on Elections declared the canvass and proclamation. Patent erasures and superimpositions in words and figures of the the discrepancy is not disputed. returns submitted to the board of canvassers. From the Commission on Elections' copies of the returns to establish a discrepancy fact. the board of discretion for respondent court to refuse to consider the Commission on canvassers admitted the discrepancy but stated that it was not yet ascertainable Elections' copies. L-22248. without the concurrence of the provincial Since the board of canvassers prevented Purisima from securing the board of canvassers (Cawa v. It was therefore grave abuse of Nacionalista Party copies and the Provincial Treasurer's copies. and respondents falsifications. on the other. ruled that the Commission on Elections' copies had no Antonio Barredo for petitioner. the basis of the petition for recount was not merely of discrepancy. that said discrepancy is 30. Commission on Elections' copies to said board should not prejudice Purisima's In fact. even assuming for the nonce — a point we do not here decide — G. it is not disputed that a candidate affected can file the petition for respondent provincial board of canvassers. there exist discrepancies between the Provincial Commission on Elections and Provincial Board of Canvassers are enjoined. In fact. the existence of electorate. in words and figures on the face of the election shall be given to all candidates affected. is null and void (Ibid. Notice of such proceeding erasures and superimpositions. as stated. discrepancy is more than enough to alter the result. petitioner. Matanog v. upon was not able to submit to the board said Commission on Elections' copies was motion of the board or of any candidate affected. 1967 that the Nacionalista Party copies are not copies that may be the basis of a petition for recount. made by First of all. is the only way to remove grave doubts as to the a discrepancy between the Nacionalista Party copies and the Provincial correctness of said returns as well as of ascertaining that they reflect the will of Treasurer's copies of the returns. of the Provincial Treasurer's copies and the alleged discrepancy amounting to There is no more question now that the number of votes involved in said thousands of votes sufficient to affect the results. A comparison with the other copies. board of canvassers. there were patent cast in said precinct for the office in question. 1964. that said authentic copy must also be submitted to the board. L-16837-40. and that said discrepancies materially affect the result of the election as between herein petitioner and respondent Gregorio Cordero. second. Del Rosario. Villanueva and Associates for respondent Sanidad. Accordingly. addition. . until Treasurer's copies (the basis of the canvass) of the election returns in after the termination of proceedings in the petition for recount. and. Escalona. the Court of First Instance of the province. No. respondent That as a result of the aforesaid erasures. the meaning of Section 163 of the Revised Election Code (Laws in v. recount. In the present case. that it appears to the provincial board and recourse to the courts (Javier v. Interpretation of election laws should give effect to the expressed will of the Finally. the result of the election. tampering and apparent Judge is ordered to proceed with the petition for recount. null and void. on one hand. Petition). the Commission on Elections' copies were relied upon: WHEREFORE. between the copy submitted to the board and another authentic copy thereof. D. L-22540. the dismissal of the petition for recount is set aside. however. A canvass or proclamation made notwithstanding such patent defects. may proceed to recount because the board declined to suspend the canvass and proclamation. for canvass and proclamation. The record definitely shows that the reason why Purisima Pablo C. namely: first. in the people. L-22502-08. the third. the votes cast in the precinct for the sole purpose of determining which is It is the duty of the board of canvassers to suspend the canvass in case of patent the true statement or which is the true result of the count of the votes irregularity in the election returns. It is settled that the Commission on Elections' copies are authentic copies within vs. Commission on Elections. regardless of the patent and admitted irregularities on the face whether the discrepancy would amount to enough votes as to affect the result. Paragraph 8 of said petition shows that. the failure to submit the recount it cannot be inferred that they were not convinced a discrepancy existed. respondent Cordero. and the board merely raises the defense that the votes stated in the election returns strike at the reliability of said returns as basis recount is up to the court and not to said board (Annex D.

Same. elections. in the exercise of its power to administer and enforce the laws relative to the conduct of elections. Cruz that were presented by the things. except the question involving the right to vote. unless they are clearly Same. latitude in adopting means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of It is intended to secure the proclamation of the winning candidate based on the the great objective for which it was created—to promote free. The Commission of its duties.—Once the opened in case there is an election contest. Cauton may order the opening of the ballot boxes to ascertain whether the copy inside and respondent Pablo Sanidad.1äwphï1. When opening of the ballot box is allowable. is also tampered like the three for the office of Representative in the second congressional district of Ilocos Sur. it must be given a considerable power of the Commission in this respect is simply administrative and supervisory. The Commission may do this on its own initiative. should not be allowed to hamper the Commission in the performance must be based on genuine and untampered election returns. then the Commission on Elections. it their votes. 1965. Purpose and effect of opening ballot boxes under the circumstances. were candidates each ballot box.—Where the three copies of the election returns outside the ballot box do not constitute a reliable ZALDIVAR. and particularly after the Board had opened the envelopes Once it is found that the copy of the election return inside the ballot box is containing the copies of the election returns from each of the election precincts in tampered.: basis for a canvass. Same. corresponding to each precinct.—The Commission. Commission on Elections.—The purity and defeat the will of the-voters. which may defeat the will of the sovereign people. Duty of the Commission. envelopes presented by the provincial treasurer differed from the entries Same.Elections. Tampered election returns. in order to attain that result.determine the illegal or constitute grave abuse of discretion. The purity of elections is one of the Commission has the power to decide all administrative questions affecting fundamental requisites of popular government. votes cast for the candidates for Representative in the second congressional Same. Same. Moreover. copies outside the ballot box. That order does not affect the right to vote or During the canvass by the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Ilocos Sur of the the validity of the votes cast. relative to the conduct of elections. Commission’s power regarding canvass of election returns. Choice of means to insure clean elections is discretionary on Same. even if Commission on Elections is convinced that the election returns in the hands of there is no election contest. enforcement of the laws relative to the conduct of elections.— district of Ilocos Sur. it is duty bound to take the necessary steps in order the subject of any official investigation which may be ordered by a competent that the proper basis for the canvass is made available.—The purpose of the Revised Election Code is appearing in the copies of the returns from the same election precincts that were to protect the integrity of elections and to suppress all evils that may violate its in the possession of the Liberal Party. along with Godofredo S. Reyes. Power of Commission to order opening of ballot boxes.—The ballot boxes may be Same. It would be absurd to say court or other competent authority. Santiago and Sta. the Commission on Elections would then have accomplished two the municipalities of Candon. petitioner Lucas V. namely: (1) secured a basis for the prosecution for the violation of the Provincial Treasurer of Ilocos Sur to the Board. exercises its jurisdiction. Object of the canvass. result of the elections based on the official election returns. must Commission on Elections has the power to investigate and act on the propriety or do everything in its power to secure a fair and honest canvass of the votes cast in legality of the canvass of election returns made by the board of canvassers. J. as expressed in result of the canvass would ref lect the true expression of the people’s will. Power over the conduct of elections.—The object of the canvass is to . elections. orderly and honest true count of the votes cast. by constitutional mandate.ñët . They may also be opened. In the performance of its duties. respondent Sanidad brought to laws relative to elections and (2) afforded the party aggrieved by the alteration of the attention of the Board the fact that the entries of votes for the candidates for the election returns outside the ballot box a basis for a judicial recount of the Representative in those copies of the election returns that came from the votes. when their contents have to be used as evidence in the board of canvassers do not constitute the proper basis in ascertaining the the prosecution of election frauds. The the elections. In the national elections held on November 9. or upon petition by the proper party. should not be interfered with. In order that the Technicalities. Purpose of Election Law. they may be opened when they are true result of the elections.—The Commission on Elections. The choice of means taken by the Commission. The competent authority must include the the Commission has a legal duty to perform and at the same time it is denied the Commission on Elections which is charged with the administration and necessary means to perform that duty.

the law to order the opening of the ballot boxes as stated in its resolution of to direct immediately the opening of the ballot boxes of the municipalities December 22. Cauton. Pampanga solely for the purpose of retrieving therefrom the candidates for Representative. Cruz and Santiago were opened by the Chief of for the opening of the ballot boxes in all the precincts of Candon. Lucas V. respondent Commission on Elections issued an order providing. Sta. of Candon.. that Respondent Pablo C. Atty. Provincial Board of Canvassers of Ilocos Sur be ordered to refrain from proclaiming the winning candidate for the office of Representative in said district. Jr.. Cruz and Santiago which are now impounded and under the custody of the Zone Commander of the 1st PC Zone in Camp Olivas. between the election returns taken out of the the corresponding election returns.. filed The Commission on Elections issued the restraining order prayed for by before this Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary respondent Sanidad and set his petition for hearing.Respondent Sanidad filed a petition with the Commission on Elections praying municipalities of Candon. petitioner copies. 1965 ordering the opening of the ballot boxes used in all the After hearing. 1965. the Commission on Elections found "that it had been clearly precincts of Candon. to enable the aggrieved party to establish discrepancy between copies the Commission on Elections had acted well within the bounds of its authority in of the election returns provided by law in the aforementioned precincts issuing the order of December 22. In the meantime. This Court gave likewise uniform alterations and showing different numbers compared with the due course to the petition. The petition further prays that the Commission the Commission on Elections and for the Provincial Treasurer for the municipality on Elections be restrained from opening. herein petitioner. On the same date. for a recount of the votes in all the precincts of Candon. Respondent Commission on Elections for the purpose of obtaining judicial remedy under the provisions of also filed its answer on January 5. on December 28. In his petition. Cruz. 16-N. Representative in the second district of Ilocos Sur. This petition is now the case before Us. the municipal treasurers of Candon and Santiago were never verified because the municipal treasurers of those two municipalities did not comply with the Upon instructions by respondent Commission on Elections. 1965. maintaining that it has authority under Section 163 of the Revised Election Code. for 1965 be annulled and set aside. and the envelopes containing the election returns election returns might be used in the canvass of the votes for the candidates for found inside the ballot boxes were taken and brought to Manila on December 23. 1965. and that in the meantime the 1965. respondent Pablo C. on the basis of the discrepancies in the entries of the votes for San Fernando. 1965. among others. injunction. subpoena duces tecum issued by the Commission on Elections directing them to 1966. Sta. while the copies of the election returns for the Commission on Elections alleges that the respondent Commission on Elections acted without or in excess and the Provincial Treasurer for the municipalities of Candon and Santiago have of its jurisdiction in issuing the resolution of December 22. Fernando Gorospe. Sta. praying that the resolution of the respondent Commission on Elections dated December 22. established that the copies of the election returns for the Municipal Treasurer. 1965. . 1965. but did not issue the writ of preliminary injunction Liberal Party copies .. in all the ballot boxes that were opened by order of the Commission of Elections and the precincts of said municipalities. Santiago and the Law Enforcement Division of the Commission. the ballot boxes from all the precincts in the Case No. copies for the ballot box. committee appointed by the Commission. December 23. in Sta. in order to retrieve the election returns deposited therein so that those the presence of witnesses. docketed as Election resolution of December 22."1The copies of the election returns that were furnished prayed for. the envelopes that were taken from the ballot boxes were opened and the bring to the Commission the copies of the election returns of the precincts in their election returns were taken out and their contents examined and recorded by a respective municipalities that were in their possession.. election returns submitted by the Provincial Treasurer of Ilocos Sur to the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Ilocos Sur. Sanidad filed Pursuant to the instructions of respondent Commission. Cruz and Santiago in the elections of November 9. 1966. the envelopes containing the election of Santa Cruz have uniform alterations in the entries of the votes cast for returns found in the afore-mentioned ballot boxes and be ordered to return the representative showing different number of votes compared with the Liberal Party said envelopes to the corresponding ballot boxes. the Commission Resolved .. Sanidad filed his answer to instant petition on January 5. admitting some of the allegations and denying others.. 1966. and maintaining that . Sta. contained in the a petition with the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur.. On December 22. This was done in a formal hearing with notice to the parties concerned.

through Mr." The election returns. pending final decision of the instance case. exercise all other functions which may be conferred upon it by law. The power of without jurisdiction to issue. The suspension of the proclamation of the winning candidate pending an The principal issue in the present case revolves on the of the resolution of the inquiry into irregularities brought to the attention of the Commission on respondent Commission of Elections. upon the election returns made by the board of canvassers. genuine. The 1965 for the purpose of retrieving therefrom the corresponding election returns. praying for the issuance of an order enjoining the Court of First Instance of This Court in a line of decisions has ruled that the Commission on Election has Ilocos Sur (Branch II-Narvacan) from further proceeding with Election Case No. Sta. Commission has the power to decide all administrative questions affecting elections. Cruz and Santiago. nay untampered. Commission certainly had the right to inquire whether or not copies for the ballot box. January 31. L-19260. In order that the result of the canvass would reflect the true petitioner further. This motion was denied by this Court in a held as follows: resolution dated February 17.. In the case of Albano vs. as in this case. the canvass precincts in question in the possession of the Liberal Party do not tally with the must be based on true. petitioner filed before this Court in urgent motion. 1962. correct. The object of election laws or for the purely administrative purpose but not when the sole the canvass is to determine the result of the elections based on the official purpose is. by seeing to it that the canvass is based on the election returns as question . "to enable the aggrieved party to establish discrepancy discrepancies existed between the various copies of election returns for between copies of the election returns provided by law in the aforementioned the precincts in question. and suspend the canvass all the meantime so precincts for the purpose of obtaining judicial remedy under the provisions of the parties could ask for a recount in case of variance .. abovementioned. in view of the the opening of the ballot boxes used in all the precincts in the municipalities of exclusive authority conferred upon it by the Constitution (Art. so that said resolution is null and void and should not be supervisory — intended to secure the proclamation of the winning candidate given legal force and effect.. the the Commission on Elections in this respect is simply administrative and resolution in question. it should be its concern. The petitioner contends that under Section 157 of based on the true count of the votes cast. this Court. that is. the power to investigate and act on the propriety or legality of the canvass of 16-N. Justice J. We believe that in issuing the the board of canvassers do not constitute the proper basis in ascertaining the resolution in question the Commission on Elections simply performed a function true result of the elections. election returns. 3 On February 14.B." The Election Code. nay its duty. administration and enforcement of all laws relative to elections.. the Commission of Elections and the Nacionalista Party as well does and administrative power in the enforcement of laws relative to the conduct of not legally support the validity of the resolution of the respondent Commission in elections. to order the as authorized by the Constitution... 1966. the instant case moot and academic.. pursuant to the provisions of Section 163 of the Revised and . When the Commission on Elections the Revised Election Code the Commission on Elections has authority to order exercises this power the purpose is not for the Commission to help a candidate the opening of the ballot boxes "only in connection with an investigation win the election but to bring about the canvass of the true results of the elections conducted for the purpose of helping the prosecution of any violation of the as certified by the boards of election inspectors in every precinct.. ground that the recount of the ballots in that case in the court below would render Arranz. dated December 22. Once the Commission on Elections is convinced that the elections returns in the hands of We cannot sustain the stand of the petitioner.Cruz and Santiago. It is returns involving the same precincts in the possession of the Provincial in this proceedings that the Commission on Elections exercises its supervisory Treasurer. X ) for the Candon.' Section 163 of the Revised Election Code.L. . which orders Elections was well within its administrative jurisdiction. to "have exclusive charge of the taking of such steps as may be necessary in order that the proper basis for the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections canvass is obtained or made available.. contends that "the mere fact that the copies of the returns in the expression of the people's will in the choice of their elective officials. 1965."2 actually certified by the members of the board of inspectors. Reyes. in this case. to assist a party in trying to win the election . 1966. except the question involving the right to vote. during the elections of November 9.. Ilocos Sur." What the respondent Commission on Elections did in the case now before Us is It is the stand of the petitioner that respondent Commission on Elections is just what is contemplated in the abovequoted ruling of this Court.. or has acted in excess of jurisdiction in issuing.

and (2) afforded the party been tampered or falsified. It is the duty of the provincial treasurer to turn over to the provincial board number of votes compared with the Liberal Party copies. which indicates a clear by the tampering an opportunity to show that there exist authentic copies of the violation of the election law. the Commission on Elections would then produced by the provincial treasurer have been shown to have been tampered. Where the election returns inside the ballot box is untampered. as we have said. for a judicial recount of the votes as provided for in Section 163 of the Revised authentic and untampered election returns. that the election returns in the hands of the provincial treasurer are showing different numbers compared with the Liberal Party copies . perform duties relative to the conduct of elections — and included among these Certainly. have accomplished two things. and which indicates an attempt to procure the same election returns which are not tampered. In the case of the canvass of election returns for the Municipal Treasurer.7The Commission on Elections has a duty to enforce this law and it has precinct. had performed its the Commission on Elections that no other copies can be had except those constitutional duty of administering and enforcing the laws relative to the conduct deposited in the ballot boxes. can the municipal treasurer. in appropriate the municipalities of Candon and Santiago have likewise uniform alterations and proceedings. supervision over provincial. it is certainly within the power of the Commission on aggrieved by the alteration of the election returns outside the ballot box a basis Elections to issue such order as would ascertain the existence of the genuine. the Commission on Elections issued the questioned election return in each precinct — one to be deposited in the ballot box. A recourse may be had to the proclamation of the winner in the elections for Representative in the second copies received by the Commission on Elections and to the copies received by congressional district of Ilocos Sur by the use of tampered election returns. the necessity for the Commission to order of elections with a view to promoting clean and honest elections — the very the retrieving of the copies of the election returns from the ballot boxes.. Thus.The election law requires the board of inspectors to prepare four copies of the In the case now before Us. Once it is found that the copy of the election return genuine and authentic. It would indeed be absurd to say that the . 6The provincial board and enforce the laws relative to the conduct of elections. not falsified or tampered with. Cruz have uniform returns received by the provincial treasurer from the boards of inspectors are alteration in the entries of the votes cast for representative showing different used. it is found by doing the Commission on Elections. The Commission on Elections may do this on its own initiative. In the case now before Us. namely: (1) secured a basis for the prosecution and all the other copies outside the ballot boxes have also been shown to have for the violation of the laws relative to elections.. in accordance with law. the election for the Provincial Treasurer for the municipality of Sta. may order the opening of canvassers is enjoined by law to canvass all the votes cast for of the ballot boxes to ascertain whether the copy inside each ballot box is also Representatives on the basis of the election returns produced by the provincial tampered like the three copies outside the ballot box. so mandate. are the ones inside the ballot boxes. If it is shown. one to be sent to the provincial treasurer. that it is perfectly within the power of the Commission on Elections to issue such an order in the exercise of its exclusive power to administer and enforce the laws relative to the conduct of elections. then the Commission should afford the candidate adversely affected the face of this finding by the Commission on Elections. that the copies in the hands of the the Commission on Elections be remiss in the performance of its duties as a Commission on Elections and of the municipal treasurer are similarly tampered constitutional body committed with the exclusive charge of the enforcement and as the copies in the hands of the provincial treasurer. then it becomes evident administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections? The Revised that all the three copies of the election returns outside the ballot box do not Election Code gives to the Commission on Elections the direct and immediate constitute a reliable basis for a canvass. Hence. for the purposes only of the proper and reliable basis for the canvass of the votes that will lead to the the canvass of the votes and the proclamation of the candidate found to have proclamation by the board of canvassers of the true winner in the elections. in the exercise of its power to administer officials are members of the provincial board of canvassers. municipal and city officials designated by law to whether they are also tampered or not." 5Indeed. In so obtained the highest number of votes. An order purpose for which the Commission on Elections was created by constitutional to this effect does not affect the right to vote or the validity of any vote cast. in tampered. one to be resolution "after hearing the arguments of the petitioner and the opposition delivered to the municipal treasurer. election returns for the Commission of Elections and the Provincial Treasurer for If the Commission on Elections is duly informed and it so finds. corresponding to each treasurer. The only copies left to be checked. for the Commission on Elections and the election returns for candidates for provincial or national offices. thereto and considering that it has been clearly established that the copies of the and one to be sent to the Commission on Elections. and thus open the way for the Election Code. the Commission on Elections. the Commission on Elections has thereby made available summary recount of the votes. while the copies of the of canvassers the election returns received by him from the boards of inspectors. or upon the duty to see to it that the election returns to be used for canvassing must be petition by the proper party.

have been tampered with. It is noteworthy that the Revised Election Code does not provide that it is the courts that have the power Wherefore. there is no plausible reason why the copy deposited in the ballot box may not be used to determine whether discrepancies exist in the various copies. popular government. 1965. Where particular candidate win an election but to properly administer and enforce the the three copies outside the ballot boxes appear to have been uniformly altered. sanction the stand of petitioner. 2009 whenever it is the subject of an official investigation. It is within the power of the Commission to order Elections the power to retrieve the copies of the election returns from the ballot the investigation of that apparent anomaly that has connection with the conduct boxes in order that the true number of votes cast for a candidate may be known of elections. LARDIZABAL. should not be that it has been clearly established that the election returns outside the ballot allowed to hamper the Commission on Elections in the performance of its duties. by constitutional mandate. We cannot. but on the contrary may defeat the conduct of elections. which of the Commission on Elections to issue. cannot be done unless the ballot boxes are opened. dismissed. the election returns inside the ballot boxes as compared with the election returns outside the ballot boxes. Section 157 of the Revised Election Code. The opening of the ballot boxes As We have adverted to. should not be interfered with. 188456 September 10. ANDRES. AZUCENA . IMMACULADA D.11Of all the copies prepared by the board of inspectors the copy least opening of the ballot boxes the purpose of the Commission is not to help a susceptible to being tampered with is the one deposited in the ballot box. JOEL R. The choice of means taken by the investigation which may be ordered by a competent court or other competent Commission on Elections. It is so ordered. Inasmuch From what has been said We hold that the order of December 22. the Commission must be contest. and We must not. or the competent and to suppress all evils that may violate its purity and defeat the will of the authority shall order their preservation for a longer time in connection voters. boxes. the petition for certiorari and prohibition in the present case is to order the opening of the ballot box in a situation like this. In the instant case the Commission on Elections found the will of the sovereign people as expressed in their votes. and in ordering the returns. for the same precincts.12Moreover. it must also have the right to consult said returns. It provides: H. ERLINDA T. BUTUYAN. on which petitioner herein relies in support of his stand in the present case. The investigation may be in connection with the prosecution for the and thus permit a canvass on the basis of election returns that are patently violations of the election laws and at the same time to ascertain the condition of falsified. MA.9The Commission on Elections. authorizes the opening of the ballot box G. To sustain the petitioner in the present case is to deny the Commission on Cruz. BAGARES. orderly. GARCIA. or a The purpose of the Revised Election Code is to protect the integrity of elections component court or tribunal shall demand them sooner. possession in a secure place and under his responsibility for three months. MERCADO. and honest elections. JR. in all the precincts in the municipalities of Candon. they may be opened when they are the subject of any official free.13The "competent authority" must include the Commission on Elections abuse of discretion. ALLAN JONES F. HARRY L. In the performance of its duties. being as the Commission on Elections has the right to determine whether said questioned by the petitioner in the present case. FRANCISCO A. unless they are clearly illegal or constitute grave authority. with costs against the petitioner.Commission on Elections has a legal duty to perform and at the same time it is The municipal treasurer shall keep the boxes unopened in his denied the necessary means to perform said duty. orderly and honest elections. which are not which is charged with the administration and enforcement of the laws relative to conducive to free. unless they are the subject of an official investigation. laws relative to the conduct of elections. was perfectly within the power discrepancies exist.. ROQUE.R. They may also be opened even if there is no election contest when their given a considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that will insure the contents have to be used as evidence in the prosecution of election accomplishment of the great objective for which it was created — to promote frauds. Santiago and Sta. 10Technicalities. ROMEL R. GILBERT T. No. be prayed for by a candidate who is prejudiced by the apparent whether there exist discrepancies among the various copies of the election falsification of the election returns outside the ballot boxes. therefore. ALCUAZ. must do everything in its power to secure a fair and honest canvass of the votes Under this section the ballot boxes may be opened in case there is an election cast in the elections.8The purity of the elections is one of the most fundamental requisites of with any pending contest or investigation. the Commission on Elections has the power to inquire may.

Petitioner-in-Intervention. This postulate on procedural the pass/fail criteria used in determining eligibility. that there be an personal injury as the requisite injury is assumed. there is no necessity to rules. the SBAC. FERDINAND RAFANAN. represented by HON. represented and assume jurisdiction of special civil actions for certiorari and mandamus filed by its CHAIRMAN HON. Hierarchy of Courts. which petitioners indeed failed to observe. that to have standing. protest contemplated in Sec. 55 citizens and taxpayers. designed to facilitate the vitiating effect on the validity of the tender offers. for bidding purposes. have not shown that incorporation is part of by a rigid adherence to the rules of procedure. of the issues clearly and specifically raised in the petition. of overarching significance to society. On the other hand. Represented by HON. Petitioners. spelled out primarily in the RFP and the clarificatory bid bulletins. regarding the 60% Filipino ownership formulation may vary. TOTAL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT CORPORATION and SMARTMATIC INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION. the hierarchy of courts. the there is no necessity to show that the suitor has experienced or is in actual succeeding Sec. only a bidder is and that the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action. such Court has often relaxed the rule for non-traditional plaintiffs. Insofar as relevant. The bidding ground (1998) where issues of public importance are presented. when the public interest so requires.) Petitioners. protest mechanism is imposed on the bidders. The prescription entitled to receive a notice of the protested BAC action. via a “verified of paramount public interest. but the bottom line is that the Court may except a particular requirement in a joint venture arrangement. MACEDA. Where issues of public importance are presented. when the public interest so requires. In of the issues clearly and specifically raised in the petition.” to the head of the procuring agency. Petitioners’ position is correct. as spelled out primarily in the Request for Proposal (RFP) and the show that the suitor has experienced or is in actual danger of suffering direct and clarificatory bid bulletins does not require. however. The policy on the hierarchy of courts is not an iron-clad rule. Hence. which discourages direct resort to the Court if the . government conduct. This conclusion finds adequate support from the ensuing provisions of the and taxpayers. for example. technicalities applies to matters of locus standi and the presently invoked principle of hierarchy of courts. incorporation of the bidding joint ventures or consortiums. contrary to having suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the alleged illegal what may have been suggested in Infotech. of transcendental importance. JUAN PONCE petitioners should have availed themselves of the otherwise mandatory protest ENRILE. but the unincorporated aggroupment during the bid-opening and evaluation stages. Locus Standi. Bids and Bidding. that the TIM-Smartmatic joint venture remained an Same. or of paramount public interest. however. like ordinary citizens action. that the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action. the requirement to comply with the protest mechanism. 22. 9184) and the counterpart provisions found in its Implementing Rules and the Court has often relaxed the rule for non-traditional plaintiffs. as No. does not for. and ergo would have the personality to challenge. rules of procedure are merely tools designed to facilitate the participation may be made by examining the terms and conditions of the [JVA] attainment of justice. Bids and Bidding. The prescription on standing may be relaxed. and ALVIN A.—It may be. Only a losing bidder on standing. PCGG. if the ends of justice would not be subserved phasis ours. In fact. Bid Bulletin Nos. Same. determination of the required Filipino a bit differently. Same. Respondents. CHAIRMAN JOSE clad rule. in its Bid Bulletin No.—Respondents contend that SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES. as a rule. Petitioners except. one must. PETERS. the Court has full discretionary power to take cognizance and require. Accordingly. or committee (BAC) in all stages of procurement may be protested. 58 states that court action may be resorted to only after the danger of suffering direct and personal injury as the requisite injury is assumed. such as when the matter is aforesaid IRR-A. —It is true. technicalities and procedural barriers should and other supporting financial documents submitted by the joint venture. to be sure. desired redress is within the competence of lower courts to grant. The doctrinal formulation may vary. As we wrote in Chavez v. 299 SCRA 744 Election Law. represented by its President. is imposed on the bidders. as postulated. As a matter of common sense. as attainment of justice. for bidding purposes.—The doctrinal response to a poser. Put stated: “In an unincorporated joint venture. COMELEC SPECIAL BIDS and AWARDS COMMITTEE. indeed. it may be relaxed. The requirement to comply with the PETE QUIRINO-QUADRA.P. For the bidding ground rules. as the would be aggrieved by. 9184 provides that decisions of the bids and awards matter is of transcendental importance. case from the operations of its rules when the demands of justice so require. that the fact of non-incorporation was without a its rules when the demands of justice so require. like ordinary Regulations (IRR)-A before seeking judicial remedy. Automated Election System. is not an iron- COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. is a matter of procedure. For indeed the Court has full discretionary power to take cognizance MELO. DEPARTMENT OF directly with it for exceptionally compelling reasons or if warranted by the nature BUDGET and MANAGEMENT. that there be an incorporation of the bidding joint assume jurisdiction of special civil actions for certiorari and mandamus filed ventures or consortiums. Sec. The policy on vs. It bottom line is that the Court may except a particular case from the operations of ought to be stressed. as petitioners observed. mechanism set forth in Sections 55 and 58 of the procurement law (Republic Act Judicial Review. 19 and 20 recognize the directly with it for exceptionally compelling reasons or if warranted by the nature existence and the acceptability of proposals of unincorporated joint ventures. such as when the of Republic Act No. Movant-Intervenor. ROLANDO ANDAYA. 55 shall have been completed. establish As argued. Same.” (Em- not be allowed to stand in the way. of overarching significance to society. Same. position paper.

commands the Comelec to automate in at least 12 March 2009 of Republic Act No. 6 of the amended Republic Act No. and such full automation is not 8436. if there was no political ensure the conduct of a free. Same. provisions of [RA] No. the 2010 elections shall be fully automated. unmistakably conveys the idea of unconditional full enactment in March 2009 of Republic Act No. be piloted in the adverted two highly the ideal norm in computerized system implementation. or a prerequisite for. however. The bottom line is that the required 2007 automation. 6 of the amended Republic Act No. (Emphasis added.301 billion to automate the 2010 elections. of Sec. But the bottom line is that the required 2007 11. 2(a) of Republic Act No. the transmission of election results. 9369 and other election laws incorporated in said Act as to 9369. Sec. orderly.— Petitioners’ beef against the TIM-Smartmatic JVA is untenable. On the contrary. coming within the term AES. 8436. consolidating. subject to Automated Election System (AES) a prerequisite or condition sine qua non to compliance with the transparency and accuracy requirements in selecting the putting the system in operation in the 2010 elections is tantamount to reading into relevant technology of the machines. the country would theoretically be barred forever from shall adopt such measures that will guaranty transparency and accuracy in the having full automation. in which Congress automation in the 2010 elections—a construal making pilot testing of the appropriated PhP 11. is not a mandatory requirement for the choice is merely one of several automated voting. or the RFP. Use of Funds. Same. First off. counting or canvassing technologies of system in. as a an actual. Sec. 8436. which it can hold “Precinct-Count Optic Scan” (PCOS). defines an AES as “a system using appropriate technology which amended.” On the other Instruction to Bidders—as petitioners themselves admit—allows the bidder to hand. with respect to Automated Election System (AES) should be put to rest with the enactment in the May 2007 elections. Statutory Construction. subcontract portions of the goods or services under the automation project. manufacturers or distributors has been demonstrated in the voting. the full automation of the May 2010 elections. The Court can concede that said proviso. as expressed in the provision itself. can validly proceed without a pilot run of the AES should be put to rest with the 8436. an authority for the proposition that the pilot testing of the PCOS in the 2007 national elections in the Same. optical scan paper ballots marked by hand by the voter are inserted to be Same. Defined. as aptly observed during the oral arguments. precedent to its use or award of the 2010 Automation Project. 2. conditioned on “pilot testing” in the May 2007 elections. therefore. 6 of Republic Act No. the automation in 2010 would doubtless undermine the purpose of Republic Act No. as expressed in Provided. There is no requirement under either Republic Act No. 8436. PCOS refers to a technology wherein an optical ballot scanner.—An AES is not synonymous to solidary liable under the automation contract.—To argue that pilot testing is a condition precedent to a full part thereof shall be authorized only in strict compliance with the Constitution. the full automation of a particular automated election system in the 2007 elections a condition of the May 2010 elections. into which subcontract portions of the goods or services under the automation project. as selection of the relevant technology of the machines to be used on May 10. or a prerequisite for. Same. be it viewed counted. the Same. Words and Phrases.301 billion to automate the 2010 elections—the Republic Act No. Secondly.) It may safely be automation in the 2010 elections. For. be it viewed in the concept of a pilot test or not. thus: Sec. A construal making pilot testing of the AES a assumed that Congress approved the bill that eventually became Republic Act prerequisite or condition sine qua non to putting the system in operation in the No.Same. 9525 is to us a clear intention of Congress. is not a mandatory compelling indication that it was never Congress’ intent to make the pilot testing requirement for the choice of system in. canvassing and involved in the transaction should be part of the joint venture.—Any lingering doubt on the issue of whether or not full automation of the 2010 regular elections Same. that all the suppliers. the pilot testing of the technology in question in or technology that the Comelec shall adopt in future elections need not. 9525. implying in turn that the automated election system —From the practical viewpoint. that all the suppliers. What may reasonably be deduced from these definitions is that PCOS in the concept of a pilot test or not. counting. unmistakably conveys the idea of unconditional full automated national and local elections. 9525. or the Request for Proposal (RFP). Any lingering doubt on the issue of whether or not full automation areas thus specified is an absolute must for the machines’ use in the 2010 of the 2010 regular elections can validly proceed without a pilot run of the national/local elections. The underscored proviso urbanized cities and provinces. in which Congress appropriated PhP defined areas of the country. We reproduce compelling indication that it was never Congress’ intent to make the pilot testing with approval the following excerpts from the comment of the Senate itself: The of a particular automated election system in the 2007 elections a condition plain wordings of Republic Act No. Sec. however. honest and credible election and exercise in May 2007. Same. as couched. scheduled electoral exercise under harsh conditions would have been matter of mandatory arrangement. as amended. should there be contract violation. and ought not to be confused with the PCOS. 9525 is a automation. fully aware that the system using the PCOS machines were not piloted 2010 elections is tantamount to reading into said section something beyond the in the 2007 electoral exercise. Same. 9525. That disbursement of the amounts herein appropriated or any the provision itself. clean. and other electoral processes. 9369 (that amended RA 8436) commands that . “Automated Election System” (AES) and Comelec knows the very entities whom they are dealing with. Same. Congress merely gave manufacturers or distributors involved in the transaction should be part of the COMELEC the flexibility to partially use the AES in some parts of the country for joint venture—on the contrary. there is no requirement under either Republic Act No. as as amended. 2010 couched. the Instruction to Bidders allows the bidder to the May 2007 elections.—x x x said section something beyond the clear intention of Congress. The enactment of Republic Act No. 8436 is not.

precedent to its use or award of the 2010 Automation Project. The comment-in- privacy. And as demonstrated during the oral arguments, the voter himself will
intervention of the Senate says as much. personally feed the ballot into the machine. A voter, if so minded to preserve the
secrecy of his ballot, will always devise a way to do so. By the same token, one
Same; Same; The first function of the Comelec under the Constitution—and the with least regard for secrecy will likewise have a way to make his vote known.
Omnibus Election Code for that matter—relates to the enforcement and
administration of all laws and regulations relating to the conduct of elections to Same; Same; Anti-Dummy Law (C.A. 108, as amended); The Anti-Dummy Law
public office to ensure a free, orderly and honest electoral exercise.—The first has been enacted to limit the enjoyment of certain economic activities to Filipino
function of the Comelec under the Constitution—and the Omnibus Election Code citizens or corporations; The Court is not aware of any constitutional or statutory
for that matter—elates to the enforcement and administration of all laws and provision classifying as a nationalized activity the lease or provision of goods and
regulations relating to the conduct of elections to public office to ensure a free, technical services for the automation of an election.—The Anti-Dummy Law has
orderly and honest electoral exercise. And how did petitioners come to their been enacted to limit the enjoyment of certain economic activities to Filipino
conclusion about their abdication theory? By acceding to Art. 3.3 of the citizens or corporations. For liability for violation of the law to attach, it must be
automation contract, Comelec relinquished, so petitioners claim, supervision and established that there is a law limiting or reserving the enjoyment or exercise of a
control of the system to be used for the automated elections. To a more specific right, franchise, privilege, or business to citizens of the Philippines or to
point, the loss of control, as may be deduced from the ensuing exchanges, arose corporations or associations at least 60 per centum of the capital of which is
from the fact that Comelec would not be holding possession of what in IT jargon owned by such citizens. In the case at bench, the Court is not aware of any
are the public and private keys pair. constitutional or statutory provision classifying as a nationalized activity the lease
or provision of goods and technical services for the automation of an election. In
Same; Same; With the view the Court takes of the automation contract, the role fact, Sec. 8 of Republic Act No. 8436, as amended, vests the Comelec with
of Smartmatic TIM Corporation is basically to supply the goods necessary for the specific authority to acquire AES from foreign sources, thus: SEC 12.
automation project, such as but not limited to the Precint-Count Optic Scan Procurement of Equipment and Materials.—To achieve the purpose of this Act,
(PCOS) machines, PCs, electronic transmission devices and related equipment, the Commission is authorized to procure, xxx, by purchase, lease, rent or other
both hardware and software, and the technical services pertaining to their forms of acquisition, supplies, equipment, materials, software, facilities, and other
operation.—With the view we take of the automation contract, the role of services, from local or foreign sources xxx. (Emphasis added.) Petitioners cite
Smartmatic TIM Corporation is basically to supply the goods necessary for the Executive Order No. (EO) 584, Series of 2006, purportedly limiting “contracts for
automation project, such as but not limited to the PCOS machines, PCs, the supply of materials, goods and commodities to government-owned or
electronic transmission devices and related equipment, both hardware and controlled corporation, company, agency or municipal corporation” to
software, and the technical services pertaining to their operation. As lessees of corporations that are 60% Filipino. We do not quite see the governing relevance
the goods and the back-up equipment, the corporation and its operators would of EO 584. For let alone the fact that Republic Act No. 9369 is, in relation to EO
provide assistance with respect to the machines to be used by the Comelec 584, a subsequent enactment and, therefore, enjoys primacy over the executive
which, at the end of the day, will be conducting the election thru its personnel and issuance, the Comelec does fall under the category of a government-owned and
whoever it deputizes. And if only to emphasize a point, Comelec’s contract is with controlled corporation, an agency or a municipal corporation contemplated in the
Smartmatic TIM Corporation of which Smartmatic is a 40% minority owner, per executive order.
the JVA of TIM and Smartmatic and the Articles of Incorporation of Smartmatic
TIM Corporation. Accordingly, any decision on the part or on behalf of Smartmatic Same; Same; Even though the Automated Election System (AES) has its flaws,
will not be binding on Comelec. As a necessary corollary, the board room voting Comelec and Smartmatic have seen to it that the system is well-protected with
arrangement that Smartmatic and TIM may have agreed upon as joint venture sufficient security measures in order to ensure honest elections.—With the AES,
partners, inclusive of the veto vote that one may have power over the other, the possibility of system hacking is very slim. The PCOS machines are only
should really be the least concern of the Comelec. online when they transmit the results, which would only take around one to two
minutes. In order to hack the system during this tiny span of vulnerability, a super
Same; Same; A voter, if so minded to preserve the secrecy of his ballot, will computer would be required. Noteworthy also is the fact that the memory card to
always devise a way to do so; By the same token, one with least regard for be used during the elections is encrypted and read-only—meaning no illicit
secrecy will likewise have a way to make his vote known.—The contention that program can be executed or introduced into the memory card. Therefore, even
the PCOS would infringe on the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot because, as though the AES has its flaws, Comelec and Smartmatic have seen to it that the
petitioners would put it, the voter would be confronted with a “three feet” long system is well-protected with sufficient security measures in order to ensure
ballot, does not commend itself for concurrence. Surely, the Comelec can put up honest elections.
such infrastructure as to insure that the voter can write his preference in relative

Same; Same; Failure of all the machines would not necessarily translate into should be afforded ample elbow room and enough wherewithal in devising
failure of elections—manual count tabulation and transmission can be done, means and initiatives that would enable it to accomplish the great objective for
Precint-Count Optic Scan (PCOS) being a paper-ballot technology.—The which it was created—to promote free, orderly, honest and peaceful elections.
disruption of the election process due to machine breakdown or malfunction may This is as it should be for, too often, Comelec has to make decisions under
be limited to a precinct only or could affect an entire municipal/city. The worst difficult conditions to address unforeseen events to preserve the integrity of the
case scenario of course would be the wholesale breakdown of the 82,000 PCOS election and in the process the voice of the people. Thus, in the past, the Court
machines. Nonetheless, even in this most extreme case, failure of all the has steered away from interfering with the Comelec’s exercise of its power which,
machines would not necessarily translate into failure of elections. Manual count by law and by the nature of its office properly pertain to it. Absent, therefore, a
tabulation and transmission, as earlier stated, can be done, PCOS being a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion on Comelec’s part, as here, the Court
paper-ballot technology. If the machine fails for whatever reason, the paper should refrain from utilizing the corrective hand of certiorari to review, let alone
ballots would still be there for the hand counting of the votes, manual tabulation nullify, the acts of that body.
and transmission of the ERs. Failure of elections consequent to voting machines PUNO (C.J.), Separate Concurring Opinion:
failure would, in fine, be a very remote possibility. Election Law; Automated Election System; Separation of Powers; A touchstone of
our Constitution is that critical public policy judgments belong to the legislative
Same; Same; The first step is always difficult—hardly anything works, let alone branch, and the Court must not unduly intrude into this exclusive domain.—A
ends up perfectly the first time around.—The first step is always difficult. Hardly touchstone of our Constitution is that critical public policy judgments belong to
anything works, let alone ends up perfectly the first time around. As has often the legislative branch, and the Court must not unduly intrude into this exclusive
been said, if one looks hard enough, he will in all likelihood find a glitch in any domain. In enacting RA 8436 (Election Modernization Act) on December 22,
new system. It is no wonder some IT specialists and practitioners have 1997, the legislature has clearly chosen the policy that an AES shall be used by
considered the PCOS as unsafe, not the most appropriate technology for the COMELEC for the process of voting, counting of votes and
Philippine elections, and “easily hackable,” even. And the worst fear expressed is canvassing/consolidation of results of the national and local elections. It decided
that disaster is just waiting to happen, that PCOS would not work on election day. to put an end to the manual conduct of our elections that has frustrated the
Congress has chosen the May 2010 elections to be the maiden run for full honest casting of votes by our sovereign people. In the pursuit of its objective,
automation. And judging from what the Court has heard and read in the course of the legislature defined what it considered an AES and provided the standards for
these proceedings, the choice of PCOS by Comelec was not a spur-of-moment its implementation. It further determined the minimum functional capabilities of
affair, but the product of honest-to-goodness studies, consultations with CAC, the system and delegated to the COMELEC the development and adoption of a
and lessons learned from the ARMM 2008 automated elections. With the backing system of evaluation to ascertain that the minimum system capabilities would be
of Congress by way of budgetary support, the poll body has taken this historic, if met.
not ambitious, first step. It started with the preparation of the RFP/TOR, with a list
of voluminous annexes embodying in specific detail the bidding rules and Same; Same; Statutory Construction; The interpretation of Section 5, Republic
expectations from the bidders. And after a hotly contested and, by most Act No. 8436, as amended, is nothing less than a brain twister—it appears like a
accounts, a highly transparent public bidding exercise, the joint venture of a Rorschach inkblot test, in which petitioners and respondents assign meaning to
Filipino and foreign corporation won and, after its machine hurdled the end-to- certain words as though they were deciphering images formed by inkblots.—
end demonstration test, was eventually awarded the contract to undertake the Whether the conduct of the pilot exercise of the AES is a condition precedent to
automation project. Not one of the losing or disqualified bidders questioned, at its nationwide implementation involves the correct interpretation of Section 5 of
least not before the courts, the bona fides of the bidding procedures and the RA 8436. The interpretation of Section 5, RA 8436, as amended, is nothing less
outcome of the bidding itself. than a brain twister. It appears like a Rorschach inkblot test, in which petitioners
and respondents assign meaning to certain words as though they were
Same; Same; The Comelec, in the discharge of its awesome functions as deciphering images formed by inkblots. Using the same word of the law, they
overseer of fair elections, administrator and lead implementor of laws relative to arrive at different conclusions.
the conduct of elections, should not be stymied with restrictions that would
perhaps be justified in the case of an organization of lesser responsibility.—The Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; The conjunctions provided, that and
Comelec is an independent constitutional body with a distinct and pivotal role in provided, further that and provided, finally that signify that the clauses that follow
our scheme of government. In the discharge of its awesome functions as the conjunction are a pre-requisite or a condition to the fulfillment of the previous
overseer of fair elections, administrator and lead implementor of laws relative to clause—the words provided, that mean the same as “as long as,” “in order that,”
the conduct of elections, it should not be stymied with restrictions that would and “if only.”—The respondents’ reading of Section 5 disregards the tenor of the
perhaps be justified in the case of an organization of lesser responsibility. It entire provision. A rational reading of the entire provision will show that the

different parts isolated and then interpreted by the respondents are connected by majority stockholder. As Smartmatic is the joint venture partner having the
the conjunctions provided, that and provided, further that and provided, finally greater experience in automated elections, it deemed it necessary to reserve to
that. These conjunctions signify that the clauses that follow the conjunction are a itself the veto power on these important financial matters so as not to
pre-requisite or a condition to the fulfillment of the previous clause. The words compromise the technical aspects of the Automation Project. As far as matters
provided, that mean the same as “as long as,” “in order that,” and “if only.” other than those provided in Article 4.5 are concerned, Smartmatic does not
have any veto right. This is clear from Article 4.4.
Same; Same; Same; Laws of Congress have equal intrinsic dignity and effect,
and the implied repeal of a prior by a subsequent law of that body must depend Same; Same; Optical scan or “Marksense” technology has been used for
upon its intention and purpose in enacting the subsequent law.—In the case at decades for standardized tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)—the
bar therefore, there is unmistakable evidence of the legislative intent to optical scan ballot is a paper-based technology that relies on computers in the
implement a full nationwide automation of the May 2010 elections. It is counting and canvassing process.—The petitioners postulate that the PCOS
impossible to give effect to this intent and at the same time comply with the machines offered by the Smartmatic TIM Corporation have not been successfully
condition precedent of conducting pilot exercises in selected areas. The used in an electoral exercise in the Philippines or abroad, as required by Section
irreconcilability between Section 5 of RA 8436, as amended, and Section 2 of RA 12 of RA 8436, as amended. A quick overview of the optical scan technology is in
9525 is apparent for Congress could not have maintained the requirement of a order. Optical scan or “Marksense” technology has been used for decades for
pilot exercise as a condition precedent to full automation when it had made it standardized tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The optical scan
absolutely clear that it wanted to push through with a full nationwide AES this ballot is a paper-based technology that relies on computers in the counting and
May 2010. Laws of Congress have equal intrinsic dignity and effect; and the canvassing process. Voters make their choices by using a pencil or a pen to
implied repeal of a prior by a subsequent law of that body must depend upon its mark the ballot, typically by filling in an oval or by drawing a straight line to
intention and purpose in enacting the subsequent law. What is necessary is a connect two parts of an arrow. The ballots are counted by scanners, which may
manifest indication of a legislative purpose to repeal. Repeal by implication be located either at the precinct (in “precinct-count” systems) or at some central
proceeds from the premise that where a statute of a later date clearly reveals an location (“central-count” systems). If ballots are counted at the polling place,
intention on the part of the legislature to abrogate a prior act on the subject, that voters put the ballots into the tabulation equipment, which scans and tallies the
intention must be given effect. votes. These tallies can be captured in removable storage media, which are
transported to a central tally location or are electronically transmitted from the
Same; Same; Judicial Power; The Court’s judicial function is merely to check and polling place to the central tally location. If ballots are centrally counted, voters
not to supplant the judgment of the Commission on Elections—to ascertain drop ballots into sealed boxes; and, after the polls close, election officials transfer
merely whether it has gone beyond the limits prescribed by law, and not to the sealed boxes to the central location where they run the ballots through the
exercise the power vested in it or to determine the wisdom of its act.—It should tabulation equipment.
be underscored that RA 8436, as amended by RA 9369, does not mandate the
use of any specific voting equipment. Instead, the law gave COMELEC the sole Same; Same; The Supreme Court is neither constitutionally permitted nor
power to prescribe the adoption of the most suitable technology of demonstrated institutionally outfitted to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the system or of the
capability as it may deem appropriate and practical, taking into account the nuances of the available technology—it is ill-equipped to deal with the complex
situation prevailing in the area and the funds available for the purpose. Absent and difficult problems of election administration; The Commission on Elections,
any capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment on the part of the COMELEC, an independent Constitutional Commission armed with specialized knowledge
its determination of the appropriate election technology, as well as the procedure born of years of experience in the conduct of elections, has the sole prerogative
for its procurement, should be respected. Our judicial function is merely to check to choose which Automated Election System (AES) to utilize.—This Court is
and not to supplant the judgment of the COMELEC; to ascertain merely whether neither constitutionally permitted nor institutionally outfitted to conduct a cost-
it has gone beyond the limits prescribed by law, and not to exercise the power benefit analysis of the system or of the nuances of the available technology. It is
vested in it or to determine the wisdom of its act. ill-equipped to deal with the complex and difficult problems of election
administration. This inordinately difficult undertaking requires expertise, planning,
Same; Same; Corporation Law; Smartmatic’s veto power in the Board of and the commitment of resources, all of which are peculiarly within the province
Directors in respect of certain key financial and technical actions is but a fair and of the legislative and the executive branches of government. The petitioners
reasonable check against possible abuses by the majority stockholder.—The contend that the PCOS machines do not comply with the minimum system
petitioners find particularly repugnant Smartmatic’s veto power in the Board of capabilities set forth by Section 6 of RA 8436, as amended. Then, in an entirely
Directors in respect of certain key financial and technical actions. In my view, speculative exercise, they conjure a perturbing series of doomsday scenarios
however, this is but a fair and reasonable check against possible abuses by the that would allegedly result from using this particular technology: ‘unaddressed

and political questions must be dealt with realistically Same. Our disquisition in the seminal elections. Election Law.. and its knowledge the automated elections is not incompatible with the decision to subcontract derive from actual experience in dealing with political controversies. Contrary to the Commission on equal with the other branches) or judicial tyranny (for it is supposed to be the Elections (COMELEC) view that Section 5 of Republic Act No. “merely envisions” an initial limited use of an automated system in the checking the excesses of any branch of government. It is intended be subject to approval by the COMELEC. J. The system of divided and interlocking powers of the branches of a legislative design to use an automated system following a staggered. The to control and supervise the elections. this court should not interfere.—I do not find any grave abuse of discretion on the part of the COMELEC in awarding the Automation Same.logistical nightmares. Indeed.” It is discharge of its functions. as least dangerous branch). has the sole prerogative to choose which AES to utilize. because (COMELEC) to administer election laws and to have control and supervision over of its fact-finding facilities.—The COMELEC is a constitutional body. provides that “the entire process of voting. without which RA 8346.—The power and duty of the COMELEC to Same. It should be allowed considerable providers or lessors of goods and services to the Commission. we should never substitute our judgment for its own. All the choices made by the winning bidder were to application: The Commission on Elections is a constitutional body. Section 6 of the same law directs the COMELEC to and harmony among the branches. Same. divining constitutional intent. both the text of the law and the intent behind its enactment show check itself. with the assistance of the COMELEC Advisory Council. Same.’ ‘failure of elections. The Commission on Elections. specifications and capabilities of the system to be used in the 2010 their special technical knowledge and training. Same. Thus. We may not agree fully with the choices and decisions that with the regulation of activities coming under their special technical knowledge the COMELEC makes.—The COMELEC identified the type of of government agencies entrusted with the regulation of activities coming under technology.7 latitude in devising means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of of the Automation Contract. 8436. Checks and Balances. statutory breach or and training. dual- . it must be given a range of authority Same. is in a services that may be better performed by those who are well-equipped to handle peculiarly advantageous position to decide complex political questions. The Commission on Election has not Contract to the Smartmatic TIM Corporation. develop and adopt. we have the subcontractor cannot act independently of the COMELEC. its contacts with political strategists. and the bidders were required to submit their bids in accordance with case Sumulong v. whenever the Court exercises its function of amended. The power and duty of the Commission on Elections —not from the standpoint of pure theory. distinguished but delicate duty of determining and defining constitutional meaning. In evaluation system to ascertain that the minimum system capabilities are met. Hoary is the principle that elections—Smartmatic and TIM are merely service providers or lessors of goods the courts will not interfere in matters that are addressed to the sound discretion and services to the Commission. 73 Phil. transmission. again finds cogent the COMELEC’s stipulations. it is also duty-bound to 2007 elections. It has approved the PCOS system. it should not be hampered with restrictions that would clear that the COMELEC has not abdicated its constitutional and legal mandate be fully warranted in the case of a less responsible organization. consolidation and canvassing of votes shall be conducted by We may not fully agree with its choice of means but unless these are clearly COMELEC’s personnel and officials. Separation of Powers. and political questions must be dealt grave abuse of discretion. Same. and deciding constitutional disputes. counting. complex technological matters with respect to the implementation of the Automated Election System (AES). The system of administer election laws and to have control and supervision over the automated divided and interlocking powers of the branches of government are carefully elections is not incompatible with the decision to subcontract services that may blended so as to produce a complex system of checks and balances that be better performed by those who are well-equipped to handle complex preserve the autonomy of each branch. Delegation of Powers. 288 (1941). independence can become supremacy. In Same. In the of the system shall still be subject to [its] final customization requirements. Same. without which independence can become technological matters with respect to the implementation of the AES. as amended: the COMELEC. Same. The supremacy. an mandated to play a distinct and important role in the governmental scheme. but absent any constitutional assault. Smartmatic and TIM are merely service Commission may err. the performance of its constitutional duties. Same. this power does not spell judicial superiority (for the judiciary is co. with realistically—not from the standpoint of pure theory.’ Let government are carefully blended so as to produce a complex system of checks me preface my discussion of this issue by accentuating once more the core of and balances that preserve the autonomy of each branch. orderly and honest elections. for the art of good government requires cooperation and harmony that are addressed to the sound discretion of government agencies entrusted among the branches. abdicated its constitutional and legal mandate to control and supervise the and we are bereft of the right to supplant its judgment.’ and ‘massive disenfranchisement. sion armed with specialized knowledge born of years of experience in the conduct of elections. so this court may also. Same. an independent Constitutional Commis. Article 6. and “the final design and functionality to play a distinct and important part in our scheme of government.—As the ultimate guardian of the Constitution. the greater objective for which it was created—free. Politics is a practical matter. The art of good government requires cooperation carrying out this mandate. Hoary is the principle that the courts will not interfere in matters and flexibility.” illegal or constitute gross abuse of discretion. Automated Election System. COMELEC. Dissenting Opinion: Nonetheless. CARPIO. Politics is a practical matter.

—Nor can it be said Republic Act No. as amended. The requirement of a pilot or partial automation in Section 5.” Thus. stipulated in the Contract. as amended.” The phrase refers to the participation of a bidder in the 2007 elections. both the text of the law and the intent behind its a mark of civilization. spirit. On the contrary. each in Luzon.—The phrase Same. Section 5 and Section 12. may be dispensed with. Use of language. vice-president. which mandates a mock election. as amended. is no authority to participating under the party-list system. as amended. logic and practicality for this legislative insistence on Section 5. Visayas and Mindanao. the proviso in Section 2 of RA 9525 states that “the Same. Thus. in systems implementation. with an average nationwide telecommunications coverage of what it intends to enforce. the ultimate goal is to “take the kinks out of mechanisms of the law. are separate phases.—Contrary to the COMELEC’s view that Same. The office of statutory interpretation has Section 5. while a mark of civilization. 9525 has repealed Section 5 of was of the difficulties inherent in automating elections in an archipelago as Republic Act No. senators. dual-phased manner in RA 9369 is which participation is not conclusive that the bidder’s system of equipment and not novel. As Senator Gordon puts it. can be dispensed with prior to a nationwide automated electoral instead of limiting the use of an automation system in highly urbanized areas and exercise. Congress treated guaranty transparency and accuracy in the selection of the relevant technology of both mechanisms differently by separately providing for partial implementation in the machines to be used in the May 10. and reliable pilot run or a parallel run before full turn-over to the new system is a norm. Same. 8436. Consequently. Statutory Construction. Section 12. Section 12 of Republic Act No. it has been and always will be the other way around—to dense areas in each of our three major island groupings while the second phase breathe life to the legislative intent even to the extent of ignoring the text. as practicality for this legislative insistence on transforming our electoral processes amended by RA 9369. the COMELEC is authorized to spend the that compliance with the requirement in RA 9369 for pre-election field test and appropriated amount only in strict compliance with RA 9369. On the contrary. voter-dense areas in each Technical Evaluation Committee in Section 11. respondents’ submission that RA 9525 has repealed Section 5 of RA 8436. as amended. serves the same purpose as the initial partial automation. Thus. the AES shall be authority to support respondents’ proposition that the phased automation implemented nationwide” (phase 2). materials is fit and suitable for the 2010 nationwide electoral exercise. accurate. Same.—The framework of using an Materials. and for a field test and mock election report by the system on a partial or limited scale involving selected. may be dispensed with. Same. as amended. is a totally different requirement from the requirement of fitness of a in the 11 May 1998 elections to canvass the votes cast “only for the positions of bidder’s system in the procurement of equipment and materials under Section president.—Neither the text nor purpose of RA 9525 supports not more than 75%. this is made because use of language. organizations or coalitions 12. Indeed. as provinces in the first phase. as amended. while system in the 2007 elections. remains susceptible to error as the Court knows all too well enactment show a legislative design to use an automated system following a after having reviewed in the past imprecisely drafted legislation. Neither the text nor purpose of Republic Act No. Same. voter. The word “shall” operates to impose a duty. One need not search far and wide to see the wisdom. 9369 for pre. 8436. dual-phased implementation scheme: the first phase calls for the use statutory interpretation has never been to privilege the letter of the law over its of an automated system on a partial or limited scale involving selected. The statement in Section 2 that “such measures that will staggered or partial implementation of the automated system. 9525 government units from each of our three major island groupings cognizant as it supports the submission that Republic Act No. Textually. 2010 automated national and local . Indeed. as amended. remains susceptible to mandatory by the uniform use of the word “shall” when Section 5 mandated that error as the Court knows all too well after having reviewed in the past imprecisely “the AES shall be used in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces drafted legislation. under the sub-heading “Procurement of Equipment and from manual to automated gradually in phases. to be chosen by the Commission” (phase Same. 9369 x x x. Same. This is calls for the full use of an automated system nationwide. as amended. Same.” One need not search far and wide to support respondents’ proposition that the phased automation mandated under see the wisdom. The same legislative scheme was adopted by Congress in RA 8436. amended. This although the controlled variable in the first phase of RA 8436 was not the scope phrase does not mean that the pilot or partial automation in Section 5. field tests and mock of our three major island groupings while the second phase calls for the full use elections can never replicate actual conditions on election day. Compliance with the requirement in Republic Act No. automated election system in a staggered. a commonly intended to ensure the conduct of secure. and parties. but the system” before deploying it full scale. even as Congress gave the COMELEC discretion in choosing the appropriate technology. as amended—an implementing statute cannot repeal dispersed as ours. mandated under Section 5. automated elections. governing different aspects of the automation project. as of the electoral area but the positions included in the automated tallying. is no one) and “In succeeding regular national or local elections. Same.phased implementation scheme: the first phase calls for the use of an automated Section 5. Section 12 has nothing transforming our electoral processes from manual to automated gradually in to do with the issue. logic and “[p]articipation in the 2007 pilot exercise” appears in Section 12 of RA 8436. Indeed. “merely envisions” an initial limited use of an automated never been to privilege the letter of the law over its spirit. RA 8436 mandated the use of an automated system amended. Congress insisted on a phased implementation involving local Same. disbursement of the amounts herein appropriated or any part thereof shall be election field test and mock election cannot serve the same purpose as the initial authorized only in strict compliance with the Constitution [and] the provisions of staggered or partial implementation of the automated system. of an automated system nationwide.—The office of staggered.

8436 does not bifurcate control and supervision the 2007 elections. elections unless the said AES shall have been pilot-tested in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon. even the private keys at the canvassing level are Election Law. Whoever controls the access keys controls fully automated overnight is the sobering thought that if.” In other words. An is perfect. there is a failure of elections and no change the election results in any precinct in the country.” nationwide beginning the 2010 elections. allowing the Provider to change the election results at Republic Act No. Section 12 simply technical. Same. Same. equipment. as amended by RA 9369. impose the restriction that no AES can be implemented in the 2010 must be under the full control of the COMELEC. Board of Election Inspectors. Clearly. After all. however. Whoever controls the access keys controls the elections—control store. The aforecited provisions do not limit or relinquishes to Smartmatic. as well as the conditions for. implementing statute cannot repeal what it intends to enforce. Section 5 does not prohibit the Comelec from implementing an AES nationwide Same. Rather. the implementation of an AES by the COMELEC contented itself with taking charge over the system’s “non. 26 treated the entire automated system wholistically by mandating that “[t]he removes or constrains the mandate of the Comelec to implement an AES System shall be under the exclusive supervision and control of the Commission. the scale of its operation. non.—What Section 26 confines to the The view of petitioners is. however. by noon of 30 June 2010. the regular elections “held immediately over the automation aspects of the system. Visayas and Mindanao during Same. generated by him and unknown to the Provider. The provisos of Section 5 merely prescribe the equipment security and installation and results canvassing and transmission— minimum scope of. On the other hand. Same.” the COMELEC in the Contract and the proceedings of the Senate. canvassing centers. and no Senate President and the access keys—both the private and public access keys—is like giving to the Speaker of the House are chosen. By designating Smartmatic as the entity “in charge” restrict the statutory mandate of the Comelec to implement a nationwide AES of the crucial “technical aspects” of the automated system’s operation— beginning the 2010 elections.election” shall be adopted should be read with the rest of Section 2. This is why Congress saw fit to use technology’s benefits gingerly. putting the integrity and outcome of the 10 May 2010 elections. The directive of the law itself is clear: the nationwide exclusive COMELEC control over the automated system under the Contract falls implementation of the Automated Election System (AES) commences in the 2010 short of Section 26’s stringent standard.” that is. But we also cannot take chances with our fragile democracy.—Items (1) and (3) are unmistakably in the headlong rush to switch this country’s electoral system from fully manual to repugnant to Section 26 of RA 8426. Smartmatic’s control immediately followed the 2007 elections. which are the critical operational areas during the elections. what these machines count are not the day’s earnings of a general merchandise Same. Section 26 requires no less than complete and exclusive control and supervision by the COMELEC over the automated system. Otherwise. Petitioners claim that the impugned notice of award and along technical and non-technical lines—Section 26 requires no less than contract contravene Sections 5 and 12 of RA 8436. Control of the access keys means the capacity to instantaneously the implementation of the Contract. the COMELEC has abdicated control over the implement an Automated Election System (AES) nationwide beginning the 2010 elections to the Provider. Neither Section 5 nor Section 12 of generated by the Provider. Neither provision. Lost results in any precinct in the country. On the contrary.—In the event that no AES was implemented in the 2007 elections. an AES shall be nationwide automation. because they complete and exclusive control and supervision by the Commission on Elections authorize the use of PCOS machines that have never undergone pilot-testing. Same. Automated Election System. At any rate. Giving to the Provider President and Vice-President are proclaimed. a power vacuum is system administrator of Yahoo or Hotmail one’s private password to his or her certain to emerge. manual aspects. no automated election system RA 9525 funds the implementation of RA 8436. combine to create a gaping black hole of unknown risks which can crash the . The regime of partial. software. as amended. materials. However. and the not more than 75% network after effectivity of [RA 9369]. facilities and supervision along technical and non-technical lines. Worse. the last clause of Section 5 is categorical chances with our fragile democracy. This is the surest way to defeat the purpose of the entire email account. 8436 removes or constrains the mandate of the Comelec to the canvassing level. at odds with the plain language of the law COMELEC’s “exclusive control and supervision. RA 8436 does not bifurcate control regulates the capability of the supplies.—Citing the proceedings of the Senate on Senate Bill No. elections.—The COMELEC’s lack of experience in that “in succeeding regular national or local elections. 2231 (from elections solely in the hands of the Provider. but we also cannot take starting in the 2010 elections.. (COMELEC) over the automated system. the gaps in implemented nationwide.000 islands all the nationwide implementation of the AES commences in the 2010 elections. Same. as amended.” And the 2010 elections were the elections that security features of the system. the Provider will have the capacity to alter the election results at the CORONA. Moreover. the directive of the law itself is clear: coverage currently available in this archipelago of more than 7. Republic Act No. They tabulate the rawest expression of the sovereign will of every voter in of the access keys means the capacity to instantaneously change the election this polity. for any reason relating to the elections. No automated election system is perfect. untested system come 10 May 2010. and put at unnecessary risk our hard-earned democracy. The private key is supposed to be private to the Chair of the electoral exercise. J. petitioners posit that Sections 5 and 12 of RA 8436. Separate Opinion: precinct level. the polling places and which RA 9329 originated). the Comelec in the 2007 elections. Section and other services which the Comelec can procure. its non-familiarity with its chosen technology. Undoubtedly.

Same. Same.” 9184). To insist.—Considering that RA 9369 took effect only on February trade secrets and copyrights prohibit others from manufacturing the same item. the intention of Republic Act No. reason and the principal prestation of the July 10. the Same. it was almost impossible to utilize an AES even in at least two highly (b) when procurement of critical components from a specific manufacturer. Same. the manufacturer. would be a dead law. otherwise. Same. which offer may law obliges no one to perform an impossibility—laws and rules must be then be accepted immediately. implementing regulations. otherwise. More significantly. Republict Act No. common sense. Visayas and Mindanao in the 2007 elections—was not subject to certain conditions. I cannot subscribe to petitioners’ position that 2007 elections is to disregard the categorical language of the law. there is no Comelec did not include a budget for AES. Considering that. from the effectivity date of RA its project performance and (c) those sold by an exclusive dealer or 9369. Nemo tenetur ad impossibile. no AES can be implemented in any future election unless Congress enacts another law. Corporation Law.Same. 9184 and its implementing rules only require that the Joint Venture Agreements (JVA) be Same. it was almost impossible to utilize an Automated Election direct contracting as one of the alternative methods of procurement. The board incorporation is to unduly add to the requirement of the law and its implementing of directors of a corporation is a creation of the stockholders and. The convergence of time and funding compulsion under the law for the Comelec to contract with Dominion as the constraints made the implementation of any AES in the 2007 elections holder of the copyright to the PCOS machine or with Jarltech as the impossible for the Comelec to conduct. Same. 9369 took effect only on procurement to direct contracting only. exclusive manufacturer and exclusive distributor. Bids and Bidding. As the source of the valid and notarized—incorporation of a JVA under the Corporation Code through authority. Since the validity of the JVA is separate implemented in the 2010 elections because no AES was implemented in the and distinct from its incorporation. the stockholders may by auto-limitation impose restraints or restrictions registration with the SEC is not essential for the validity of a JVA.3 of the contract) that “the performance of portions thereof by other persons or entities not parties to this Contract shall not relieve [it] Same. to compel government agencies to deal with every copyright-holder. Clearly. and that it practicality. 2007 elections. but only under the following conditions: (a) when interpreted in a way that they are in accordance with logic. What is crucial is that Smartmatic-TIM assumes solidary liability for a way that they are in accordance with logic. Considering that Republic Act No. as amended by RA 9369. it will restrict the mode of Same. So long as it meets the essential requisites of a disregard the categorical language of the law. Where the law makes no inoperative. it have been a superhuman task. 2007. Visayas and Mindanao during the May 14. Indeed. Incorporation that no nationwide Automated Election System (AES) can be implemented in the of a JVA under the Corporation Code through registration with the SEC is not 2010 elections because no AES was implemented in the 2007 elections is to essential for the validity of a JVA. the goods may be obtained only from the proprietary source because patents. Visayas and Mindanao during supplier or distributor is a condition precedent to hold a contractor to guarantee the May 14. Same.—Laws are to be interpreted in a contract and is embodied in a public document. To hold that the on their own powers. common sense. The because all the supplier needs to do is submit a price quotation. urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon. the additional burden (on the preparations for the 2007 elections) of the procurement intention of RA 9184 is not to compel government agencies to deal with every process for and implementation of even a partial AES of the said elections would copyright-holder. not in a manner that will make them incorporation through registration with the SEC. exclusive manufacturer and exclusive distributor. 2009 contract and the RFP. To hold that the JVA ought to be accompanied by petitioners’ argument were to be pursued to its (not-so-) logical conclusion. It frustrates the incorporation of the Smartmatic and TIM JVA must also be required for and defeats the legislative intent to fully automate the 2010 elections. Laws and rules must be interpreted in machines. Statutory Construction. This is so because. not in a manner that will make them inoperative—to insist implementing rules only require that the JVA be valid and notarized. that no nationwide AES can be distinction. a JVA is valid regardless of its way that will render them effective. RA articles of incorporation is to unduly add to the requirement of the law and its 8436. Same. Thus. Same.—RA 9184 and its render them effective. stipulates (under Article 3. which offer may then be accepted immediately. as petitioners do. Clearly then. no distinction need be made. in the guise of interpretation or construction. in the guise of interpretation or construction. of said obligations and concomitant liabilities. Laws are to be interpreted in a way that will regulations. Joint Venture Agreements. provinces each in Luzon. according to petitioners themselves. reason and practicality. Joint Venture Agreements. Under petitioners’ theory. Same. Same. Direct System (AES) even in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces contracting or single source procurement does not require elaborate bidding each in Luzon. Government Procurement Reform Act (Republict Act No. the . the 2007 appropriations for the will restrict the mode of procurement to direct contracting only. Direct contracting or single source “condition precedent” for any nationwide implementation of the AES—the procurement does not require elaborate bidding because all the supplier needs to implementation of the AES in at least two highly urbanized cities and two do is submit a price quotation. which does not have a sub-dealer selling.—RA 9184 provides under Article XVI for February 10. there was only a little over three months left before the 2007 elections. 9184 is not complied with. if purposes of the bidding. 10. The law manufacturer thereof or 2Go as the transporter/distributor of the PCOS obliges no one to perform an impossibility.—It is not the management but the ownership of the joint Joint Venture Agreements (JVA) ought to be accompanied by articles of venture Smartmatic-TIM which is required to be at least 60% Filipino. 2007 elections. as such. 2007.

For as long as the would rather not meddle.” This purpose is nevertheless still achieved if the PCOS machines are Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM as to the size of the ballot poses concerns in produced by a facility that has an ISO 9000 certification.—With the advent of electronic voting. security keys.—The Comelec also did not err in accepting the feed the ballot into the PCOS machine. In venture with Smartmatic. It is of record that the connection with the secrecy of the ballot.board controls and directs the affairs of the corporation by delegation of the the position to be filled and/or the proposition to be voted upon in an initiative. the ISO certification of Jarltech rules and regulations may include the specific manner on how assistance on provides sufficient assurance that the PCOS machines are manufactured feeding the ballot to a PCOS machine may be rendered to a voter to avoid according to international standards. International Standards Operation (ISO) Certification. the Advisory Council and automation of elections. Besides. not to find fault in it and certainly. I am not prepared to say that we should doubt their ability and their dedication to ensure compliance with the minimum Same. source code and removable memory card are at the procurement contracts will be accompanied by concerns about their tendency to disposal of Smarmatic-TIM. Same. specialized interstitial matters that Congress does not decide mandate nor a restraint on the Comelec’s oversight powers. specialized an abdication of the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec’s) mandate nor a interstitial matters that Congress does not decide itself but delegates to restraint on the Comelec’s oversight powers. The Comelec took pains delegated to not just one but four specialized bodies the duty to ensure that the to draft a contract that preserves its constitutional and statutory responsibilities AES to be adopted for the 2010 elections will be the most appropriate and and at the same time meets the novel contingencies resulting from the secure. Congress prescribed the familiar with—its function is merely to decide if automation and its implementing following minimum requirements of its content: (1) that it shall contain the titles of contract(s) are legal or not. Besides. signature. the stockholders may by auto-limitation impose restraints on all pages before completing his or her vote and to allow the voter to review or restrictions on their own powers such as that allegedly done by TIM in its joint and change all ballot choices prior to completing and casting his or her ballot. There are sufficient safeguards to the ISO 9000 and EPA certifications submitted by Smartmatic-TIM. not to determine to . stockholders. Same. Administrative Law.—Petitioners are alarmed that the digital much needed in election administration. ISO 9000 and EPA certificates are required under the to the PCOS machine. Same. the authority to be exercised by the board of directors of referendum or plebiscite. the system of secrecy and sanctity of the ballot adopted by Congress under RA 9369 is deemed observed by the Comelec. 9369 is Same. Same. Well-designed and carefully-crafted contracts will represent neither Same. The Court has to exercise deemed observed by the Comelec. As the using the same type size and (3) that the voter must see all of the ballot options source of the authority. Judicial Review. Nonetheless. Hence. as prescribed under Sections 6 and 7 of RA the size and form of the ballot that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) shall 9369.—There is no inherent flaw in the Precinct-Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines are produced by a facility that voting procedure adopted by the Comelec whereby each voter must manually has an ISO 9000 certification. There are carefully-crafted contracts will represent neither an abdication of the Comelec’s highly technical.—While delegating to the Comelec the judicial restraint and not pretend to be an expert in something it is not really determination of the size and form of the ballot. the basic contents of the ballot as required by Congress dictate the size powers in the joint venture are a purely business prerogative in which the Court and form of the ballot that the Comelec shall prescribe. prescribe—for as long as the requirements are met.” which purpose is nevertheless still achieved if the do so much in protecting the ballot’s sanctity. assuming that the requirement under the contract between the standards. (2) that under each position to be filled. In RA 9369. The law can only international standards. There are highly technical. Though not secrecy of the voting process in that the voter alone will hold the ballot and feed it required under RA 9184. but rather a valid itself but delegates to specialized agencies to decide. well-designed and control not only of the process but also the outcome of the election. the Comelec-ITD. the Comelec is not without power to PCOS machines to be procured by the Comelec are manufactured for issue the necessary rules and regulations that will effectively address them. It is all up to the voter whether to discard caution and RFP. Thus. The basic contents of the ballot as required by Congress dictate capabilities and features of the AES. An Same. Same. compromising the secrecy of the ballot. the names of the joint venture of Smartmatic-TIM is actually the authority of the stockholders of candidates shall be arranged alphabetically by surname and uniformly indicated TIM and Smartmatic from which the joint venture derives its authority. There is no inherent flaw in the voting procedure adopted by the International Standards Operation (ISO) certificate is intended to assure the Commission on Elections (Comelec) whereby each voter must manually feed the Comelec “that the manufacturing process of the solution provider complies with ballot into the Precinct-Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine. issues on the distribution of management effect. requirements are met. Judicial Restraint. the system of secrecy and sanctity of the ballot adopted by Congress under Republict Act No. Same. the Technical Evaluation Committee. but rather a valid reconfiguration specialized agencies to decide. Same. Such Smartmatic by its subsidiary Jarltech. The law can only do so much in protecting its manufacturing process of the solution provider complies with international sanctity. Congress reconfiguration much needed in election administration. These are the Comelec itself. They argue that all this puts Smartmatic-TIM in obscure traditional lines of responsibility. Same. An ISO certificate is intended to assure the Comelec “that the disclose the contents of the ballot.

subject only to our intervention when our own constitutional duty calls hand. except pursuant to the allocation of powers that these are key terms and the standards that should predominate in determining . subject only to our intervention to perform them yet they are already being torpedoed. automation responsibility given to the COMELEC cannot be shared with any other entity. The future is upon us. No worst-case scenarios painted by doomsayers. no speculative to the second paragraph of Section 1. 8436 and 9369—in the absence of decide if automation and its implementing contract(s) are legal or not. At this point. to curb. the conduct of an election” and thereby gives the COMELEC sole authority to institutional independence of the Comelec will be unduly restricted and eroded.—Congress contrary to the Constitution and the law. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC). No special interpretative skill is necessary to phased in. Judicial Review. Article IX-C of the Constitution that commands the acts.. Let us not turn our backs on law is clear—the operative word used is “exclusive.—Despite the above speculative political catastrophe should be the basis of invalidating the Comelec’s conclusion. Let us welcome the significant change in our electoral system that is the law is clear—the operative word used is “exclusive. It is not to any violation sufficiently gross to amount to the proscribed grave abuse of find fault in it and certainly.—Under Section 26. there looms gut issues that really strike at the heart of the right of suffrage and place the in the horizon the dawn of a truly honest. undertake enforcement and administrative actions in the conduct of elections. Article VIII of the Constitution. this is a system through the adoption of an AES. is on the should not be implemented. They have not even been given the chance our electoral exercise. This Court should not allow that in this Same. regulate. This Court should not allow that in any situation.—The automation question now before us. not even from this Court. Same. consolidation and canvassing of votes. the Court when our own constitutional duty calls for enforcement. In any interpretation of Section 26.” which means that the automated election system. contrary to the Constitution and the law. to subject. Dissenting Opinion: full and exclusive control over the entire process of voting. Specifically.” “Supervision and control.—It has not been the Constitution has mandated. also to overpower. now shares automation responsibilities with Same. systematic and modern electoral integrity of our electoral process at risk. including their performance Elections (COMELEC) reigns supreme in determining how automation shall be and completion and the final results. now shares automation responsibilities has vested the Comelec with the authority to modernize the Philippine electoral with SMARTMATIC-TIM under their Automation Contract. the Comelec enjoys wide latitude in carrying out its part of the COMELEC that calls for the active intervention of this Court. shall have BRION. at the same time that it is an action considering the nature of the office of the Comelec as an independent plainly outside the contemplation of the law.”which means that the it simply out of speculation and fear. Our function is merely to our automation laws—Republic Act (RA) Nos. it means that the COMELEC. the COMELEC reigns supreme in satisfactorily shown that the Advisory Council and the Technical Evaluation determining how automation shall be phased in. to hold from is entitled by law to handle on its own without any interference from any outside action. In other words. Specifically. to dominate. Otherwise. hence. Based on this characterization. the mandate of the accuracy and transparency in our electoral system. no SMARTMATIC-TIM under their Automation Contract. rather. Same. No worst-case scenarios painted by doomsayers. not to determine to what extent the law should be or discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The Court has to exercise judicial restraint and not pretend to be not aim to question the bidding the COMELEC undertook and its compliance with an expert in something it is not really familiar with. Automated Election System. It beckons as it poses the automation responsibility given to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) challenge of spurring technological innovation and safeguarding values like cannot be shared with any other entity. 8436. this constitutional body specifically tasked to enforce and administer all laws relative sharing of responsibility over automation is a grave abuse of discretion on the to the conduct of elections. Let us give it a chance. how it shall affect all aspects of Committee have shirked their duties. through its ITD. and how it shall appreciate the meaning of “exclusive. Same. as it involves another more fundamental violation: the COMELEC. pursuant mandate. the mandate of the case. Same. like any other jurisprudence. is a concern that COMELEC restraining or directing influence over. system. “Control” as the established cases signify means to exercise COMELEC administration and enforcement matter. how it shall affect all aspects of our electoral exercise. Under Section 26 of Republic Act No. I still take exception to the present implementation of election official acts—only when the exercise by the Comelec of its discretion is done with automation. such as when the COMELEC acts outside the expertise and knowledge. I do determination. Consistent with this view. and take the first step—unsure as it may be—to witness its coming. Only when the exercise by the Comelec of its discretion is done with grave “COMELEC to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the abuse will this Court nullify the challenged discretionary act. After a half century of electoral debacle. and which the law itself has assigned to them for contemplation of the Constitution and of the law. In the exercise of the said authority and violation that transgresses the Constitution. The Commission on transmission. J. grave abuse will this Court nullify the challenged discretionary act. Election Law. Same. agency. and its constitutional and statutory prerogatives encroached upon. In my view. and how it shall operate. we cannot should not even attempt to interfere in the work of these specialized bodies and close our eyes when a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of arrogate their functions by deciding highly technical issues that are within their jurisdiction has been committed. My focus. counting.” on the other operate. I take this political catastrophe should be the basis of invalidating the Comelec’s official view in light of Section 2.what extent the law should be or should not be implemented. But we have to cast our fears and insecurities aside. are terms that have practically attained technical legal meaning from for enforcement.

counting. To point out the obvious. the exclusive supervision retains its traditional role with respect to the running of the election itself. would not be up to the challenge. while the COMELEC Section 26 of RA No. must yield to the process that contrary. These Corollarily. has simply election process is in place that is substantially affected by automation. credible and peaceful elections. is perceived to be a real possibility. clean. choosing through the ballots the men and women who are to govern arrangements. which process is essentially technical and is in the hands of elections and their automation. even the counsel for SMARTMATIC-TIM admitted during they allege.—The digital signatures are crucial since exercises. In a democratic system of government.—Based on all elections and their automation.” the reservations. To them. and who expressly has control and custody over the ahead of us into the waters of automation. however. viewed from all sides. private respondents. Thus. between the contracting parties to achieve this end. Same. I cannot foist on us the standard of a fair. Same. their SMARTMATIC-TIM the discretion to assign the “digital signatures. We must be software that controls the voting. but a shared responsibility AES and shall carry out the full administration and implementation of the system. they involve the state to insure honest. that should be made in charge of the technical aspects of the automated with no other clearly defined role in the automation project. To be wary of giving control of the critical elements of our election process to an entity other than the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) cannot Same. and the process to an entity other than the COMELEC cannot and should not be administrative and adjudicative staff attending to the election process. hands of SMARTMATIC-TIM the discretion to assign the “digital signatures. unfettered by May 10. consistent with its constitutional mandate as well as exist insofar as the project documents are concerned. clean. wariness should be our mindset. For when the popular will itself is subverted by election irregularities. It is thus the interest of and control situation over the automation process. 2010 elections. J. this time facilitated by a machine. the National transmitted electronically and digitally signed shall be considered as official Computer Center and other computer wizards are confident that nationwide election results and shall be used as the basis for the canvassing of votes and automated elections can be successfully implemented.: SMARTMATIC-TIM also provides the necessary services that run across voting. . election equipment to be used in the voting. which is quite understandable. a new and control over the AES that the law in its wisdom has put in place. but the oral arguments that the COMELEC should not have given to SMARTMATIC. the provider who wholly supplies the hardware and the foist on us the standard of a fair. particularly on legal matters bearing on automation calls for. 2010 elections and violated its constitutional mandate to administer the the travails of the long wait and cheating that have marked many of our electoral conduct of elections in the country. Commission on Elections (COMELEC).whether this Section has been complied with. with no reserve power whatsoever on the part of the COMELEC in this regard. To fully implement this statutory requirement. ITD does not even May 10. On the themselves. because we are not wanting in warnings from those who have waded transmission of results. while the COMELEC truly controls the BEI. does not indicate an exclusive supervision the country is perhaps the highest exercise of democracy.” Thus. Section 22 of the RA No. and even the BEI and the BOC. Cheating on a massive scale. honest and credible election. then the insidious seeds of doubt are sown Same. and not SMARTMATIC- to the blurry role of “overseeing the Project’s execution and implementation” and TIM. canvassing. where the sanctity of shared responsibilities that. the BOC. 8436. Under the present contract.. Not to be forgotten is that VELASCO. Same. particularly on legal matters bearing on responsibility between the contracting parties to achieve this end. 8436 as amended provides that “the election returns The Commission on Elections (Comelec). honest and credible election. Petitioners and some the proclamation of a candidate. given the constitutional and legal guidelines that SMARTMATIC-TIM. consolidation and wary. the COMELEC should have SMARTMATIC-TIM takes care of project management. are arrangements that Philippine law does not allow. counting. JR. the people’s voice is sovereign. has been Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has effectively surrendered control of the viewed as a significant step towards clean and credible elections. given the constitutional and legal guidelines that these considerations drawn from the RFP and the Automation Contract. however practical they may be from the business the votes and the secrecy of the ballots are safeguarded. by placing solely in the hands of skeptics in the information technology (IT) industry have. What exists is not the exclusive supervision and control of the and should not be regarded as an unhealthy skepticism that we should shy away automation process by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). TIM the possession and control of the public and private keys.—Section 26 escape the conclusion that what exists is not the exclusive supervision and clearly provides that the ITD shall have exclusive supervision and control of the control of the automation process by the COMLEC. consolidation and transmission activities. To be wary of giving control of the critical elements of our election otherwise. the automated election COMELEC has effectively surrendered control of the May 10. By placing solely in the and the ideal of a peaceful and smooth transition of power is placed in jeopardy. Comelec. The ponencia. Significantly. where the will of the and technical perspectives. To be exact. the voters regarded as an unhealthy skepticism that we should shy away from. electorate is not frustrated or undermined. but a shared from—wariness should be our mindset. 2010 elections and system and the untested technology Comelec has chosen and set in motion are violated its constitutional mandate to administer the conduct of elections in the pregnant with risks and could lead to a disastrous failure of elections. with the PMO relegated stipulated in the automation contract that it is the ITD. country. thus breaking away from a manual system of election. unfortunately does not appear to have considered this Section at all. Stated been negated. Same. canvassing. too.” the To automate.

for the nationwide By Resolution2 of July 14. 1-B Precinct-Count Optic Scan (PCOS) 16 System and 1-C. intervention. purpose by Congress and due to time constraints. 2009. following the convening effective technology to be applied to the AES. Harry L. among those eligible to participate in the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC)7 which is tasked to certify. counting. On the other hand. Component 1: Paper-Based AES. also known as Terms of Reference (TOR). et al. 2009. 2010 automated national and local utilized in the May 10. 2010 Synchronized National and Local Elections. Election Management System the Court allowed the intervention and admitted the corresponding petition-in. memoranda. not later than three months into a joint venture. with some Jr. A joint venture is defined as a group of two or more before the elections. per recommend. by categorically stating that the AES. Smartmatic. automated ARMM 2008 elections paved the way for Comelec. 2001. After the . 5 and 8. the former incorporated under the Corporation Code of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao9 (ARMM).12 What scores hailed as successful restraining order and/or preliminary injunction. in early March 2009.3 Consolidation/Canvassing System (CCS). using Public Telecommunications Network..23 Meanwhile. Of the ten (10) invitation-responding consortia which obtained the bid documents. with the many lessons learned from the ARMM to the joint venture of Total Information Management Corporation (TIM) and experience influencing. The 1998. particularly the Central Count Optical automation project. an Eligibility Envelope 20 that should inter On December 22. Comelec managed to automate the regional polls in the Smartmatic. inclusive of the delivery of 82. shall contain two envelopes that. Proposal (RFP). Congress enacted RA 9525 appropriating some PhP 11. the Court heard the principal parties in oral arguments which Component 2: Provision for Electronic Transmission of Election Results was followed by the submission of their and the resource persons’ instructive. among other things: a continuity plan17 and a back- From the petition. petition on or before July 24. 1997. 2007. is operating properly and accurately based responsible or liable for a particular contract. Congress enacted Republic Act No. the RFP required 25. applicable and cost. National Computer votes for the May 10.19 each participating Court gathers the following facts: bidder shall submit. came and went but purely manual elections Subsequently.25 on defined and documented standards. CAC is to only seven (7) submitted sealed applications for eligibility and bids 24 which. the Court directed the respondents as well as automation of the voting.. was organized under the laws of electronics (DRE) technology10 in the province of Maguindanao. according to the NCC. as funds were not appropriated for that elections. What is Center (NCC) and Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines referred to also in the RFP and other contract documents as the 2010 Elections (Infotech.26 For a stated amount. RA 9369 calls for the creation of the Comelec Advisory Council5 (CAC). seek to nullify respondent prodding from senators.13 to prepare for a nationwide computerized run for the Comelec’s award of the 2010 Elections Automation Project (automation project) 2010 national/local polls. and 2004 shall contain the technical proposal and the financial proposal. (EMS).200 PCOS machines. caused the publication in different 93694 was passed authorizing anew the Comelec to use an AES. In a Resolution of August And obviously to address the possibility of systems failure. Pete Quirino-Quadra sought leave to intervene. the Under the two-envelope system designed under the RFP. the Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC). Before any of the comments could actually be as follows: filed. said JV proposed to undertake the whole mark reader/recording (OMR) system. as part of its bid.15 1-A. respectively. the most appropriate. and albeit clashing. Of particular newspapers of the Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to Bid22 for the relevance are Sections 6 and 10 of RA 9369––originally Secs. suppliers and/or distributors forming themselves established international certification committee. would Component 3: Overall Project Management later join the fray via a Motion for Leave to Intervene. as well as from admissions during the oral arguments.21 national and local polls.14 the Comelec. were to be opened on a pre-set date. TIM and Smartmatic from signing and/or implementing the Accordingly. suppliers and/or distributors that intend to be jointly and severally hardware and software components. On January 23. however. Under the RFP.8 Among the submitted bids was that of the joint venture (JV) of TIM and In August 2008. prohibition and mandamus with prayer for a Scan (CCOS). On July 29. and the optical Barbados. earlier were still the order of the day.In this petition for certiorari.3 mandates insofar as automated elections are concerned.11 in the rest of ARMM. up plan. Bid Bulletin No. or the Bid Envelope itself. procurement of goods and services to be used in the automation respectively of RA 8436. petitioners H. among other functions. hereinafter) to submit their collective or separate comments to the Automation Project (Automation Project) consists of three elaborate components. on the other hand. 24. the second authorizing the adoption of an automated election system (AES) in the May 11. 2009. 2009. transmission. the amendatory RA constituted purposely for the aforesaid project. Atty. through an the bidding are manufacturers. the Comelec released the Request for corresponding contract-award. 1998 national and local elections and onwards. envelope. (RA) 8436 alia establish the bidder’s eligibility to bid. The Senate. inclusive of its manufacturers. the Court admitted the Senate’s comment-in-intervention. through the Senate President. 2000 elections. the technology selection for the Smartmatic International Corporation (Smartmatic)1 and to permanently prohibit 2010 automated elections. in turn. the separate comments thereon. using direct recording Philippines. consolidation and canvassing of the University of the Philippines (UP) Computer Center. The AES was not billion as supplemental budget for the May 10. Roque. suing as taxpayers and concerned citizens. In another resolution. 18 and other pleadings. with their respective annexes. as amended––each defining Comelec’s specific project. interested bidders to submit.6 To be created by Comelec too is of the pre-bid conference.

let alone a Smartmatic TIM Corporation.739. impugns the validity and seeks to nullify the July 10. the SBAC Technical Working Group (TWG) stated that it was PRIVATE RESPONDENTS SMARTMATIC AND TIM DURING THE BIDDING. petitioners having failed to avail themselves of the 7. Smartmatic TIM Corporation. No. and technical and financial qualifications of the TIM-Smartmatic joint venture.28As required by the RFP. 2009. a Notice to Proceed36 was sent to. petitioners interposed the instant recourse which. Two days after. the parties were able to patch up what TIM earlier described as Filed as it was before contract signing. Its conclusion: "The demo TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. s. COMELEC x x x systems presented PASSED all tests as required in the 26-item criteria specified WHICH REQUIRES A JOINT VENTURE TO INCLUDE A COPY OF ITS [JVA] in the [RFP]" with 100% accuracy rating. On July 8. IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION OF THE PHILIPPINES. IN undertaking a 4-day (May 27 to May 30. In MATTER.conclusion of the eligibility evaluation process. 37 Agreement (JVA). petitioners pray that respondents be permanently enjoined from It is true. per its Res. advanced by respondents. as same date. also known as the Government Procurement Reform Act. subject to well-defined conditions. Smartmatic TIM shall be discussed shortly.-2009. COMELEC x x x WHICH "REQUIRES proceed in favor of the winning joint venture. however. as a rule. No. pursuant to the Joint Venture proceedings. either or both public and private respondents that would enter into a contract with the Comelec. DOES NOT SATISFY THE SUPREME COURT’S other stakeholders. as postulated. nonperformance of the electoral process. PROCEDURAL GROUNDS Meanwhile. only three consortia 27 were found JURISDICTION IN AWARDING THE 2010 ELECTIONS AUTOMATION and thus declared as eligible. payable as the "Goods and Services are delivered and/or otherwise mandatory built-in grievance mechanism under Sec. AND SCOPE OF THEIR JOINT 1800––to undergo end-to-end30 testing to determine compliance with the pre-set VENTURE. obstruction or x DO NOT SATISFY THE MINIMUM SYSTEM CAPABILITIES SET BY [RA] NO. The Court is not disposed to dismiss the petition on procedural grounds for all intents and purposes. noting in this regard that and Exchange Commission issued a certificate of incorporation in favor of the petition did not even raise an issue of transcendental importance.484. establish implementing the automation project on the submission that: having suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the alleged illegal PUBLIC RESPONDENTS COMELEC AND COMELEC-SBAC COMMITTED government conduct. an incident that did not escape Comelec’s notice. as provider." 35 On the Sec. following the opening of the passing PROJECT TO PRIVATE RESPONDENTS TIM AND SMARTMATIC FOR THE bidders’ Bid Envelope and evaluating the technical and financial proposals FOLLOWING REASONS: therein contained. the notice of award and notice to FOUNDATION OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. IN VIOLATION OF [RA] 8436 (AS AMENDED BY [RA] 9369) venture’s back-up and continuity or contingency plans. the bid envelope contained an outline of the joint AND TIM. on the Subject: Systems Evaluation COMELEC (G. Further on. and received by." time. IN VIOLATION OF THE SUPREME COURT’S HOLDING criteria.) 8608 32 authorizing the SBAC to DEFINITION OF A "JOINT VENTURE" IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY issue. one must. COMPOSITION. doubtless an indispensable party to these What followed was that TIM and Smartmatic. and its PCOS DOCUMENTS DURING THE BIDDING PROCESS THAT SHOULD ESTABLISH prototype machines––the Smarmatic Auditable Electronic System (SAES) THE DUE EXISTENCE. DURING THE BIDDING. that the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action. 2009.33 caused the incorporation of a joint venture corporation (JVC) As a preliminary counterpoint. 38 The .R. Consolidated Report and Status Report on the Post-Qualification Evaluation THERE WAS NO VALID JOINT VENTURE AGREEMENT [JVA] BETWEEN Procedures. executed a contract 34 for the lease of As an additional point. implead Smartmatic TIM Corporation. 58 of RA 9184. upon the recommendation of its SBAC. issued Resolution No. or on July 10.48. Jan. the CAC and SMARTMATIC AND TIM. 2004). 13. 29 in case of a systems THE [PCOS] MACHINES [THUS] OFFERED BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS x x breakdown or any such eventuality which shall result in the delay. the SBAC.31 The TWG also validated the eligibility. THE ALLEGED JOINT VENTURE COMPOSED OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS On June 9. or on July 9. After declaring TIM-Smartmatic as the best complying bidder. Comelec and constitutional question. GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF and that the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action. 2009. 2009. declared the x x x COMELEC DID NOT CONDUCT ANY PILOT TESTING OF THE x x x above-stated bid of the JV of TIM-Smartmatic as the single complying calculated PCOS MACHINES OFFERED BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS SMARTMATIC bid. 2009) test evaluation of TIM and VIOLATION OF THE SUPREME COURT’S HOLDING IN INFORMATION Smartmatic’s proposed PCOS project machines. respondents also urge the dismissal of the petition on the goods and services under the contract for the contract amount of PhP ground of prematurity. the SBAC then PRIVATE RESPONDENTS x x x DID NOT SUBMIT THE REQUIRED directed the joint venture to undertake post-qualification screening. 09-001. TIM wrote Comelec expressing its desire to quit the JV partnership.191. In its Memorandum of June 01. 2009 Comelec-Smartmatic-TIM Corporation automation contract adverted to. vs. 2009. Comelec. 55 in relation to progress is made in accordance [with pre-set] Schedule of Payments. Corporation. that to have standing. (Res. the Securities question the legal standing or locus standi of petitioners. A COMMUNITY OF INTEREST IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE SUBJECT Soon after. 8436 (AS AMENDED BY [RA] 9369). 159139. Locus Standi and Prematurity Among others. the petition understandably did not irreconcilable differences between partners.

V. there is no necessity Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR)-A before seeking judicial remedy. the PCOS would a) The name of bidder. i.40 where issues of public importance are presented. is a matter of procedure. hedged on what specific constitutional "verified position paper. Petitioners except. discourages direct resort to the Court if the desired redress is within the When reminded. in terms of the transcending public importance of the one issue underpinning this petition: subject matter. Worse still.39 As we wrote in Chavez v. 55 shall have been completed. which their counsel’s practically cavalier discussion thereof during the oral argument. only a bidder is its election-related mandate under the Constitution. via a Petitioners’ counsel. 2009. however. of overarching significance to otherwise mandatory protest mechanism set forth in Sections 55 and 58 of the society. 55 of RA 9184 provides that decisions of the bids and and personal injury as the requisite injury is assumed. it may be At this stage. The policy on the hierarchy of courts.prescription on standing. 2 of the Constitution43 prescribing secrecy of voting b) The office address of the bidder x x x. The verified position paper shall contain the following documents: observation that.2. 58 states that court action may be resorted to only after the automation project to Smartmatic TIM Corporation. is imposed on the bidders. On the other hand. proscriptions or concepts had been infringed by the award of the subject the succeeding Sec. the records belie petitioners’ initial posture that TIM and Smartmatic.46 Accordingly. compelling reasons48 or if warranted by the nature of the issues clearly and at best pro forma because it did not contain all the required stipulations in order specifically raised in the petition. but the bottom line is that the Court may automation contract itself. awards committee (BAC) in all stages of procurement may be protested. Hence. Sec. procurement law (RA 9184) and the counterpart provisions found in its PCGG. with its anti-dummy dimension. stating among things. or of paramount public interest. that "our objection to the system is anchored on the Constitution itself a violation As argued.47 This postulate on procedural technicalities applies to matters appear to be earnestly pressing the said issue anymore. This conclusion finds adequate support from the ensuing provisions of the foreign corporation that will be providing the hardware and software aforesaid IRR-A: requirements. shows the following entry: "Valid Joint Venture Hierarchy of Courts Agreement. The SBAC’s Post Qualification Evaluation Report (Eligibility) on TIM- dispensation of justice." to the head of the procuring agency. however. when queried. such as Respondents contend that petitioners should have availed themselves of the when the matter is of transcendental importance. as demonstrated by of locus standi and the presently invoked principle of hierarchy of courts." 41 Petitioners also depicted what may have been suggested in Infotech. petitioners’ counsel responded as petitioners indeed failed to observe. as obtain under the premises.e. first and foremost. and (2) the PCOS machines to be nationwide automation project that will be implemented via the challenged used. justice so require. if the ends of does not require an extended disquisition. owing in part to the sheer length of the ballot. in fact. The Court will for the nonce thus turn a blind eye to joint venture partners. revolved around two concerns. and ergo would have the personality to challenge. Petitioners veritably introduced another issue during the oral arguments. we shall dispose of another peripheral issue before plunging into relaxed. and sanctity of the ballot. we then made a view that this joint venture agreement was a sham."51 The exceptions that justify a deviation from the policy on hierarchy appear to Indeed. However. although he was heard to say protest contemplated in Sec. is in favor of a action. like the core substantive issues tendered in this petition. Sec. when the public interest so requires. Smartmatic.49 to evidence unity of interest x x x. about the compelling significance and We now turn to the central issues tendered in the petition which. contrary to [sic] of secrecy of voting and the sanctity of the ballot. as automation contract. petitioners came out with the 55. did not include in their submitted eligibility envelope a copy the judicial structure intended. the requirement to comply with the protest mechanism. technicalities and The issue respecting the existence and submission of the TIM-Smartmatic JVA procedural barriers should not be allowed to stand in the way. As a matter of common sense. to show that the suitor has experienced or is in actual danger of suffering direct Insofar as relevant. Only a losing bidder administer all laws relative to the conduct of elections. such the petitioners. for instance. is not an iron-clad rule. which is to enforce and entitled to receive a notice of the protested BAC action. the constitutionality and statutory flaw of the The doctrinal formulation may vary.44 SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES There is no doubt in our mind. 50 the covering automation contract as constituting an abdication by the Comelec of Petitioners’ position is correct. to provide an orderly of their JVA.45 Put a bit differently. We note in fact that the petitioners do not procedure. a joint venture agreement has full discretionary power to take cognizance and assume jurisdiction of special filed. that the members are jointly and severally . on page 10.42 And when pressed further. because of the belated discovery that [there] were irreconcilable civil actions for certiorari and mandamus filed directly with it for exceptionally differences. the abdication. which submitted their JVA dated April 23. amplified in their memorandum. For indeed the Court follows: "We knew your honor that there was. according to would be aggrieved by. not comply with Art. viz: (1) the Joint Venture the success––and the far-reaching grim implications of the failure––of the Agreement (JVA) of Smartmatic and TIM. rules of procedure are merely tools The Joint Venture Agreement: Its Existence and Submission designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. of private respondents’ insistence on having in fact competence of lower courts to grant. as repairing to the records would justice would not be subserved by a rigid adherence to the rules of readily provide a satisfactory answer. The petition-in-intervention confined itself to certain except a particular case from the operations of its rules when the demands of features of the PCOS machines. ordinary citizens and taxpayers. as the Court has often relaxed the rule for non-traditional plaintiffs.

they would have discovered that their challenge to and arguments venture. the parties’ shares in the profits and like details. To borrow from the ponencia of then Justice. that all the suppliers. In fact. as petitioners observed. The three referred to are Jarltech International. control over the decision-making process. For the bidding the country." 59 There was in fine no explained the nature and the limited purpose53 of the joint venture and expressly evidence to show that the alleged joint venture partners agreed to constitute defined. manufacturers or distributors involved in the ownership requirement in a joint venture arrangement. And over and beyond their commitments petitioners can assert that the Smartmatic-TIM consortium has failed to prove its to each other. It ought to be stressed. which it can hold the bidding joint ventures or consortiums. as amended. Comelec. petitioners tag the TIM-Smartmatic JVA as flawed and as one that would good judgment and examined the eligibility envelope of the Smartmatic-TIM joint leave the Comelec "hanging" for the non-inclusion. Suffice it to delve on the most glaring of differences. to be sure."52 [JVA]. been piloted in at least 12 areas referred to in Sec.) Petitioners. of three IT providers. they would thrust on the Court the notion of an invalid joint venture due Petitioners have made much of the Court’s ruling in Information Technology to the non-inclusion of more companies in the existing TIM-Smartmatic joint Foundation of the Philippines [Infotech] v. should there be contract violation." (Emphasis ours.54 The JVA also contains provisions on the automation contract. recognize the existence and the acceptability of proposals of unincorporated joint Secondly. have not shown that between TIM and Smarmatic. First off. Had identity of which the poll body knew nothing about. as spelled out primarily in the RFP and the clarificatory bid Petitioners’ beef against the TIM-Smartmatic JVA is untenable. TIM automation project. In offered. Artemio Panganiban. unequivocally agreed between themselves to Given the foregoing perspective. the composition. for bidding purposes. management55 and division of profits. 61 conditions of the [JVA] and other supporting financial documents submitted by To digress a bit. however. if called for by the bidding results. no pilot test of the PCOS technology the relevant parallelism ends there. 6 of RA 8436. as amended. the winning bid pertained to the consortium of Mega Pacific. consortium agreement [or] memorandum agreement x x x executed Contrary to what the petitioners posit. or the ventures. the inventor of said PCOS remained an unincorporated aggroupment during the bid-opening and evaluation machines. Extant records." At its most basic. the SBAC. for example. Failing to gain traction for their indefensible incorporation is part of the pass/fail criteria used in determining eligibility. determination of Bidders––as petitioners themselves admit60––allows the bidder to subcontract the required Filipino participation may be made by examining the terms and portions of the goods or services under the automation project. . that the fact of non-incorporation was subcontractor responsible for the distribution of the PCOS machines throughout without a vitiating effect on the validity of the tender offers. that the partnership of Smartmatic and TIM does not meet the Court’s definition This brings us to the twin technical issues tendered herein bearing on the PCOS of a joint venture which requires "community of interest in the performance of the machines of Smartmatic.58 arguing in relation thereto venture. that there be an incorporation of Comelec knows the very entities whom they are dealing with. Unlike the purported Mega Pacific consortium in Infotech. and the 60-40 capital themselves into a single entity solidarily responsible for the entirety of the structure of the aggroupment. they undertook to incorporate. the Court chastised the Comelec for dealing with an entity.liable for the whole obligation. Bid Bulletin Nos. Inc. regarding the 60% Filipino RFP. 19 and 20 solidary liable under the automation contract. which between the partners has automation contract. stated: "In an unincorporated joint venture. as couched. Taking a cue from this petitioners only bothered to undertake the usual due diligence that comes with holding. one cannot plausibly set Infotech side with and contextually apply to this conduct a nationwide automation of the 2010 polls using the machines thus case the ratio of Infotech. petitioners have insisted on the non-existence of a bona fide JVA the joint venture. hence. which mandates that with joint venture. And to stress. against the joint venture and its JVA have really no factual basis. the contract award to Smartmatic-TIM with their untested PCOS Infotech. do not show the formation of such joint respect to the May 2010 elections and onwards. awarding the automation project in violation of RA 8436. "there is no sign whatsoever of any compliance. however. ground rules. as amended by RA 9369. the Court is at a loss to understand how perform their respective undertakings. the full contributed by each partner. in their JVA. the duly notarized JVA. the bulletins. the stages. the petition ascribes grave abuse of discretion to the Comelec Petitioners’ invocation of Infotech is utterly misplaced. among other things.56 Article 357 of the JVA delineates the the existence in this case of the bidding joint venture of Smarmatic and TIM is respective participations and responsibilities of the joint venture partners in the properly documented and spread all over the bid documents. and 2GO Transportation System Corporation (2GO). as amended. as members of the joint venture. among the members of the purported consortium. a joint venture existence and/or to submit evidence as would enable the Comelec JVC that shall be solidarily liable with them for any actionable breach of the to know such items as who it is dealing with. On the contrary. 22. in case of joint venture – Documents verified later Chief Justice. Albeit Infotech and this for. in its Bid transaction should be part of the joint venture. case are both about modernizing the election process and bidding joint ventures. the amount of investment to be In Infotech. Cast as they are against dissimilar factual Smartmatic-TIM offered has been undertaken. let alone its composition. Following their line. does not require. Hence. the system procured must have venture. The irony is not lost on the Court. among other things. and Smartmatic. subject matter. a purported machines violated RA 8436. (Jarltech). a subsidiary of Smartmatic that manufactures the Smartmatic voting It may be. the Instruction to Bulletin No. there is no requirement under either RA 8436. In response to a poser. the Comelec cannot milieu. scope. that the TIM-Smartmatic joint venture machines. Dominion Voting Systems (Domino). posture.

comment of the Senate itself: (Emphasis and underscoring added. during which time the AES the May 2007 elections. 5. PCOS in this case. with the added observation that nowhere in concept of a pilot test or not.What is more. A construal within sixteen (16) month prior to the May 14. finally. The underscored proviso of nullify the automation contract. and such full automation is not electronic. which envisages an AES. wherein an optical ballot scanner. an AES is not synonymous to and ought not to be provinces in Luzon. counting and canvassing of votes. to be more precise. defines an AES as the May 2007 elections did not deploy AES. further. And as earlier actual." On the other hand. highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon. automation project award. respondents. Authority to use an Automated Election System. as aptly observed be held immediately after the effectivity of this Act. be it viewed in the respondents’ stance on pilot testing. as couched. the [Comelec]. the [automated election system] shall be election system or systems in the same election in different provinces. But the bottom line is that the required 2007 automation. therefore. referring to Sec. counting. as to be expected. however. But does it necessarily follow that a pilot test is absolutely not use the AES.) The plain wordings of RA 9369 (that amended RA 8436) commands that the RA 9369. however. private respondents’ PCOS machines do not We are not persuaded. took effect in the second week of February 2007 or thereabout. as the law is worded. Sec. and Mindanao reading as follows: to be chosen by the Comelec. regardless of the contemplated in the law? We repair to the statutory provision petitioners cited as technology to be selected. Sec. the underscored portion of the aforequoted Sec. evidently due to the mix of time and "a system using appropriate technology which has been demonstrated in the funding constraints. into which optical scan paper ballots marked . in at least two requiring a pilot run. consolidating. scheduled electoral exercise under harsh conditions would have been the narrated. 62 The system in. canvassing/consolidation and transmittal of results of electoral To argue that pilot testing is a condition precedent to a full automation in 2010 exercises: Provided. that for the regular national and local elections. the commands the Comelec to automate in at least 12 defined areas of the country. the AES shall be used in at during the oral arguments. Comelec shall the law. to undertake automation. Provided. phrased sans Sec. commands thus: "[I]n succeeding regular stated-policy. Senate’s position and its supporting arguments match those of private As may be noted. Congress merely gave "regular national and local elections" referred to after the "effectivity of this Act" COMELEC the flexibility to partially use the AES in some parts of the country for can be no other than the May 2007 regular elections. Visayas. counting of votes and regardless of whether or not pilot testing was run in the 2007 polls. private respondents maintain that there is an absolute must for the machines’ use in the 2010 national/local elections. For.64 shall. On the other hand." Taken in its proper context. 6 of RA 8436 and other electoral processes. be it paper-based or direct-recording 2010 elections shall be fully automated. that the prevailing bidder’s automation system. 2(a) of RA 8436. Sec. 6 of RA 8436. The second part states that for the taken. appropriate and practical for the process of voting. 2007 elections shall not be making pilot testing of the AES a prerequisite or condition sine qua non to putting chosen. or a prerequisite for. is not a mandatory requirement for the choice of the statutory provision relied upon are the words "pilot testing" used. the least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon. In provision itself. 6 of RA 8436 is not. the last part. the AES shall be implemented. be used in at least two highly urbanized cities and Lest it be overlooked. petitioners assert. the last part is indicative of the paper-based or a direct recording electronic election system as it may deem legislative intent for the May 2010 electoral exercise to be fully automated. That no area shall be chosen without the consent of the the system in operation in the 2010 elections is tantamount to reading into said Sanggunian of the local government unit concerned. be subjected to pilot testing. whether implemented. PCOS refers to a technology is the pilot-testing provision that Comelec failed to observe. an authority for the proposition that the pilot Pilot Testing Not Necessary testing of the PCOS in the 2007 national elections in the areas thus specified is Disagreeing. Visayas and Mindanao. with respect to the May 2007 elections. We reproduce with approval the following excerpts from the succeeding regular national or local elections. as amended by RA 9369. That local Sec. which shall would doubtless undermine the purpose of RA 9369. the pilot testing of the technology in question in an transparent and credible voting. canvassing and transmission of election results. x x x is hereby authorized to use an automated national or local elections. The Court takes judicial notice that confused with the PCOS. satisfy the minimum system capabilities set by the same law envisaged to ensure From the practical viewpoint. as expressed in the unit as used in this provision shall refer to a highly urbanized city or province.To carry out the above reference to the May 2007 elections. as amended. unmistakably conveys government units whose officials have been the subject of administrative charges the idea of unconditional full automation in the 2010 elections. Mindanao to be chosen by the [Comelec]: Provided.. in a limited area or. with an option. 6 of the amended RA 8436. There can be no argument about the phrase "pilot test" not being found in regular national and local elections that shall be held in May 2007. Visayas. Comelec echoes its co. voting. the first partaking of the nature of a general policy declaration: that Comelec is The respondents’ thesis on pilot testing and the logic holding it together are well authorized to automate the entire elections. 6 of RA 8436 may be broken into three essential parts. To the petitioners. The nothing in the applicable law requiring. and country would theoretically be barred forever from having full automation. if there was no political exercise in May 2007. 63 The conditioned on "pilot testing" in the May 2007 elections. petitioners would subsequently add the abdication angle in their bid to ideal norm in computerized system implementation. The term local government section something beyond the clear intention of Congress. as a pre-requisite for the 2010 election Court can concede that said proviso. the full automation of the May 2010 elections.

however. fully aware that the system using the PCOS machines were automation of the 2010 regular national/ local elections is that the system to be not piloted in the 2007 electoral exercise. counting or canvassing technologies coming within the term AES. the exercise here or abroad. counted and canvassed. Canada."66 As determined by the Comelec. xxx. 2. The comment-in- this Act.– x x x Provided. Gordon himself. be piloted in the adverted two highly urbanized cities and elections. supplies. facilities. the PCOS or any AES to be procured must have demonstrated its Suffice it to state at this juncture that the system used in the 2008 ARMM election capability and success in either a local or a foreign electoral exercise.73 approximating that of the Philippines. No less than Senator Richard J. from local or foreign sources xxx. honest and credible election and shall adopt such measures that will implying in turn that the automated election system or technology that the guaranty transparency and accuracy in the selection of the relevant technology of Comelec shall adopt in future elections need not. Thereafter. materials. Use of Funds. software. And as exercise bears. Procurement of Equipment and Materials. as worded. as a matter of mandatory the machines to be used on May 10. as amended. equipment. orderly. 68 in which no basis in law. (Emphasis supplied). the provisions of [RA] No. the Commission is authorized to procure. 9369 and other deduced from these definitions is that PCOS is merely one of several automated election laws incorporated in said Act as to ensure the conduct of a free. the counting. and New York. by purchase. 72 a similarity with expressly declared by the provision. lifted from the Comelec’s comment. (CCOS). The Court cannot agree as such proposition has should be put to rest with the enactment in March 2009 of RA 9525. the same and that the demonstration of its capability need not be in a previous Philippine technology as the PCOS. the ballot boxes were brought to the counting centers foreign countries. of a particular automated election system in the 2007 elections a condition SEC 12.) provinces. said that "the system has been tried and tested in the ARMM conclusive of the system’s fitness.by hand by the voter are inserted to be counted. the system procured must treated as substantial compliance with the "pilot test" requirement must be have demonstrated capability and been successfully used in prior electoral answered in the affirmative. the voters cast their votes by shading or marking the circles in electoral exercise in a foreign jurisdiction. Participation in the 2007 pilot exercise shall not be author of the law. elections last year. three conflict-ridden island provinces––may be 2010 elections and succeeding electoral exercises. it has been proposed that a partial automation be implemented for the At any event." what it law."69 really exacts is that. clean. But then. The compelling indication that it was never Congress’ intent to make the pilot testing ensuing Section 8 of RA 8436. Further. Section 5. With respect to the May 10.– To achieve the purpose of precedent to its use or award of the 2010 Automation Project. the the paper ballots which corresponded to the names of their chosen candidates PCOS system had been successfully deployed in previous electoral exercises in [like in PCOS]. as amended by RA the 2010 regular elections can validly proceed without a pilot run of the AES 9369 instead of full automation. and so on. a system which uses the Optical Mark Reader (OMR). what may be taken as mandatory prerequisite for the full became RA 9525. participation in the 2007 electoral exercise is the PCOS. 67 albeit where they were scanned. Moreover. for the automation of the May 2010 and subsequent We note. does not allow for partial automation. any lingering doubt on the issue of whether or not full automation of May 2010 elections in accordance with Section 5 of RA 8436. 2010 automated national and local arrangement. That disbursement of the PCOS Meets Minimum Capabilities Standards amounts herein appropriated or any part thereof shall be authorized only in strict . covering. though. Section 5 clearly states that "the AES shall be implemented nationwide. 65 What may reasonably be compliance with the Constitution." 74 It subject to compliance with the transparency and accuracy requirements in behooves this Court to follow the letter and intent of the law for full automation in selecting the relevant technology of the machines.301 billion to automate the 2010 elections. as petitioners to an extent grudgingly admit. the description of how the two systems (PCOS and CCOS) work and where the Court is inclined to agree with private respondents’ interpretation of the difference lies: underscored portion in question: "The provision clearly conveys that the [AES] to xxx the elections in the [ARMM] utilized the Counting Center Optical Scan be used in the 2010 elections need not have been used in the 2007 elections. rent intervention of the Senate says as much. In this regard. Smartmatic was not necessarily the system provider. voting. USA. says so. so we have to proceed with the total implementation of the While the underscored portion makes reference to a "2007 pilot exercise. thus: the May 2010 elections. or other forms of acquisition. (Emphasis added. Demonstration of the success and capability of the PCOS may be in an Under the CCOS. In Congress appropriated PhP 11. RA 9369 does not xxx Under the PCOS. xxx PCOS dispenses with Neither does the law incidentally require that the system be first used in an the physical transportation of ballot boxes from the precincts to the counting archipelagic country or with a topography or a voting population similar to or centers. electronically transmitted to the next level. The following. It may safely be assumed that Congress approved the bill that eventually In perspective. election. Sec. such as Ontario. The enactment of RA 9525 is to us a procured for that exercise be a technology tested either here or abroad. fact. consolidation and canvassing of the votes call for the winning bidder of the 2010 automation project and the deploying are done at the precinct level. as NCC observed. is to us a fair not a guarantee nor is it conclusive of the system’s fitness. elections. the highly charged issue of whether or not the 2008 ARMM elections–– and other services. the conflicting views of the NCC70 and ITFP71 on the matter. The election results at the precincts are then entity/provider in the foreign electoral exercise to be one and the same entity. lease.

format the digital images of the the 1. Does the system scan in Yes. (a) Provide the voter a system of verification to find out whether or not File properties of the decrypted image file the machine has registered his choice.955%.000 ballots. 8608. 2009. As appearing in the SBAC-TWG report. and and store in an encrypted 1. (j) Accurate ballot counters. amended. The proposed PCOS machine beyond that of the required 99. 6.7 least have the following functional capabilities: 2. In full. 20 of which were evaluation system to ascertain that the above minimum system capabilities are required. item no. The system required the use of a criteria. consolidation/canvassing. 200 dpi? reveal the number of dots per inch. The same were found to be verifying the correctness of reported election results. . No. with built-in printer (h) Accessibility to illiterates and disabled voters. (b) and (j). (Ethernet and USB). (k) Data retention provision. with back totaling to 2. the PCOS has a margin of error of from 2% to 10%. (g) An election management system for preparing ballots and programs for use in the casting and counting of votes and to consolidate. as will be enumerated shortly. the PCOS system offered and accepted lacks the features that would assure corresponding answers/remarks to each of the 26 individual items are as herein accuracy in the recording and reading of votes.78 categorically stated that the SBAC-TWG submitted its report that usernames and passwords. petitioners posit TIM/Smartmatic’s proposed systems and machines PASSED all the end-to-end the view that the PCOS machines do not satisfy the minimum system capabilities demo tests using the aforementioned 26-item criteria. the Court is fairly satisfied that the Comelec has adopted a rigid technical evaluation mechanism. Does the system have a Yes. petitioners allege that. they suggest that the rating test of at least 99. indicated:79 consolidation/canvassing. as well as in the tabulation. as amended. . exceeding the required 4-bit/16 met. sample image showed 200 dpi. (d) System integrity which ensures physical stability and functioning of sides (1. the vote recording and counting process. electronic transmission. and also revealed 200 dpi. SEC. inclusive of the accuracy prescribed by RA 8436. based on Smartmatic’s website.11inches (a) Adequate security against unauthorized access. reads: Does the system scan a ballot Yes.The automated election system must at sheet at the speed of at least Scanning the 30-inch ballot took 2. which translated to 11. The (m) Utilize or generate official ballots as herein defined.000 ballot side. (b) Accuracy in recording and reading of votes as well as in the Is the system able to capture Yes the system captured the images of the tabulation. The evaluation system shall be developed with the assistance of an levels of gray as specified in the Bid Bulletin advisory council. per second. digitized representations of the ballots cast. 7 of RA 8436. way Does the system allow manual Yes. A 30-inch ballot was used in this test. 30 shades of gray were scanned in the In the procurement of this system. report Is the system a fully integrated Yes. as PCOS machine? manually fed one at a time. but not limited to. A portion of a filled up marked oval was (l) Provide for the safekeeping.75 In this particular regard. passwords/PINs for Administrator and The SBAC Memorandum77 of June 03. (o) Configure access control for sensitive system data and function. From the records before us. Sec. as amended. 76 feeding of a ballot into the accepted the test ballots which were The minimum system capabilities provision cited is Sec. Minimum System Capabilities. a set of 26-item/check list Does the system require Yes. as approved by Comelec Res. to ensure compliance with the above authorization and security key with different sets of minimum systems capabilities.000 images files contained the images (c) Error recovery in case of non-catastrophic failure of device. To a specific point. 19. referendum or plebiscite. 4 of Component 1-B? and built-in data communications ports (i) Vote tabulating program for election. single device as described in integrated single device. authentication of all operators.000 ballots in encrypted format.As another ground for the nullification of the automation contract. such as. ballot for at least 2.99% accuracy in the counting of votes. decrypted copies of the encrypted files were (f) System auditability which provides supporting documentation for also provided. storage results and accurate REQUIREMENT REMARK/DESCRIPTION ballot counting. (e) Provision for voter verified paper audit trail.000 ballot of the front and back sides of the ballot. the Commission shall develop and adopt an grayscale? test PCOS machine. The proposed PCOS is a fully and display election result in the shortest time possible. 7 of RA 8436. electronic transmission.75 inches per second? seconds. Operator users. storing and archiving of physical or paper scanning resolution of at least blown up using image editor software to resource used in the election process. to back printing)? To verify the captured ballot images. Each of storage of results. and the missing features referred to by petitioners are pars.

including. but not limited ballots (Item No. 2. The two rounds of tests were The first showed 108 pre-printed candidate voter’s vote as marked on the conducted for this test using only valid names for the fourteen (14) ballot with an accuracy rating of marks/shades on the ballots. yielded 100% accuracy. Does the system count the Yes. Four (4) ballots with valid marks were sides of a ballot and in any fed into the PCOS machine in the four (4) Does the system recognize Yes. The ballots used for the accuracy test Does the system detect and Yes. electronic display? LCD display to show information: determine the authenticity of a Aside from the test on the fake or spurious  if a ballot may be inserted into the ballot. which was used to which were inadvertently missed out during sheet accommodate at least test Item No. were also used in this test and were previously scanned ballots? ballot. was used in the used for the next round of test. the 20. marks.000 marks contests/positions.650 ballots with (20. Does the system scan both Yes. 20. to. the use of bar codes. including members of To prepare for other possible missed out the media.with multiple user access captured. plebiscite question. The total pre-printed names on 100% accurate.  on other instructions and information to on the ballot. Although the 300 names of candidates with a national positions and 300 names for local PCOS-generated results turned out to be minimum font size of 10. During the comparison of the names. 10). ballot? inches long while the other was 30 inches long. recognized by the system? No. which made use of full shade reject fake or spurious. The Two sample test ballots of different error prompts and other related voter on what to do next. 11).5 inches wide. upside down or appropriate space on the ballot following pencil marks: right side up). contained 309 names for the ballot preparation by the TWG. in positions. 4 (either back or front. Four (4) test ballots were used with one orientation in one pass? portrait orientations specified in Bid Bulletin partial shade marks on the (1) mark each per ballot showing the No. were used and were all rejected by the being rejected. if a ballot is holograms. prepared/predetermined results. The PCOS machine makes use of an necessary safeguards to security features on the ballot are "missing". met thereby requiring the test to be information required by law? This type of test ballot was also used for test repeated. three (3) test ballots machine.000-mark was not addition to other mandatory the ballot totaled 609. or when there was candidates pre-printed on the lengths were provided: one (1) was 14 instructions? a ballot jam error. Both were rejected by the PCOS. it was found out that there were seven (7) marks Does each side of the ballot Yes. opposite the name of the accurately recognized by the PCOS candidate to be voted for? machine. 625 ballots with 32 marks each were used The other showed 609 pre-printed candidate for this test. The 30-inch ballot. font size 10. such as. and photocopied ballot and one (1) "re-created" appropriate space on the ballot marks. voting by the public. 11 was not able to replicate the UV ink pattern on top portion of the ballot causing Does the system employ error Yes. with only questions on gender and age group. also for fourteen (14) positions PCOS-generated results with the manually including three (3) survey questions. The PCOS showed error messages on the rejection of the ballot. levels? Does the system have Yes. and all were accurately opposite the name of the  top half shade. handling procedures. its screen whenever a ballot is rejected by but not limited to. which also printing of the candidate names.800 marks) were Arial Narrow. and a one (1) allowable reading error. . with tampered bar codes and timing marks  if a ballot is being processed. which can be The photocopied ballot in the test for Item the voter/operator. micro printing. the use of the machine and gives instructions to the Are the names of the Yes. color shifting ink.995%? were required to complete this test. This test made use of one (1) shade marks on the (Item No. The system was able to recognize if the Does the system have an Yes. Both were 8. Does the system recognize full Yes. including two (2) survey at least 99. to be provided PCOS machine.

4. receipt and capabilities? canvass of transmitted results: [1] by the city/municipal CCS from the PCOS.  right half shade storage device? These partial shade marks were all recognized by the PCOS machine Does the system have Yes. [2] from the city/municipal CCS to transmission and CCS during the end-to-end demonstration the provincial CCS. ballot images. One (1) test ballot with one check (ü) which will enable it to fully repeated due to a short circuit. Two (2) COMELEC on the ballot opposite the name The mark was recognized successfully. voting proposed systems was presented covering: "hanging" in the ballot reader. The PCOS was able to transmit to the server. The PCOS saves a backup copy of the . counting. A smaller wire than what is required was inadvertently Does the system recognize x Yes. One (1) test ballot with one x mark. both pencil and ink marks on test (Item No. reports? 1. The PCOS for? machine was connected to regular power Does the system recognize Yes. statistical report and  left half shade. the tests for Items No. The PCOS prints reports via its built-in 19 were made using pencil marks on the generating and printing printer which includes: ballots. creation of successfully with notification to the operator ballot faces using EMS. The and backup using the PCOS. scanning. showed 100% accuracy. An end-to-end demonstration of all scanning procedure. Initialization Report. result. does the system have The power cord was pulled from the PCOS Log.candidate to be voted for?  bottom half shade. 18 and Is the system capable of Yes. The following day. This mark was also PCOS was compared with predetermined recognized by the PCOS machine. after seven check (ü)marks on the mark. likening the situation to incorrect marks on the appropriate space using a pencil. (ER). using a pencil. was returned to the operator and was able initialization. used in this test. electricians were called to confirm TIM- of the candidate to be voted Smartmatic’s explanation. operation. The ER. This was explained by TIM- opposite the name of the Smartmatic to be caused by non-compatible candidate to be voted for? wiring of the battery to the PCOS. [3] from the provincial consolidation/canvassing using GLOBE prepaid Internet kit. CCS to the national CCS. operate for at least 12 hours? (7) hours from start-up without ballot appropriate space on the ballot The mark was recognized successfully. and reports. Audit down. PCOS Statistical Report. as generated by the was also tested. generation of reports to be re-fed into the PCOS machine. 40 minutes xxx 984 ballots were fed into the A separate ballot with one (1) pencil mark machine. After resumption of regular power supply. The initial test had to be Does the system recognize Yes. PCOS to city/municipal CCS and the central Does the system have Yes. was used for this test. 17. backup copy of the generated ERs. Election Returns In a simulation of a system shut Yes. A 12 bolt 18AH battery lead acid was alternative power sources. in a removable data audit log into a Compact Flash (CF) Card. The "hanging" 3rd ballot generated election configuration file. 10) were marked using the the "re-test" was completed in 12 hours and the ballot? proposed marking pen by the bidder. used. error recovery features? while the 3rd ballot was in the middle of the Did the bidder successfully Yes. Moreover. wiring of a car battery. consolidation/canvassing and creation of election configuration data for the the PCOS machine was able to restart transmission? PCOS and the CCS using EMS. Five (5) ballots were used in this test. [2] by Does the system generate a Yes. 2. configuring the that there were two (2) ballots already cast PCOS and the CCS using the EMS- in the machine. was used for this test. The 1000 ballots used in the accuracy and started successfully. 3. such that it was left demonstrate EMS. electronic marks on all five (5) were all accurately transmission of results to the: [1] from the recognized. importing of election data into the EMS.

SMARTMATIC shall also be primarily Intervenor Cuadra’s concern relates to the auditability of the election results. There is to us nothing in Art 3. Your Honor. supervision provincial CCS. receipt of the transmittal and control of the system to be used for the automated elections. ROQUE: Yes. in violation of the Constitution.3 reads: current website of Smartmatic specifically dealing with its SAES 1800.) technology. [3] by the national CCS from the the automation contract. 3. Clearly.3 of CCS. the alleged 2% to 10% failing rate is now irrelevant and the automated elections. which forms an integral part of the automation The first function of the Comelec under the Constitution 86––and the Omnibus contract. the RFP. presuming regularity in the performance of regular duties. mock election test. shall be secrecy of the ballot which. par. is no longer current. the real worth of the embedded in the key cost that will read their votes by which the electorate may PCOS system and the machines will of course come after they shall have been verify that their votes were counted.85 hardware. configuration and system integration.80 were done literally in to the sanctity of this system? the Palacio del Governador building. It bears to can be programmed or configured to display to the voter his votes as read by the stress that the aforesaid designation of Smartmatic was not plucked from thin air."83 Moreover. although the tests. On top of this perceived aberration. so petitioners claim. 5. Moreover. 84 as it was in fact an eligibility requirement imposed. Your Honor. a careful scrutiny of the old webpage of Contract shall not relieve the PROVIDER of said obligations and concomitant Smarmatic reveals that the 2% to 10% failure rate applied to "optical scanners" liabilities. machine. lastly.3 of the automation Apropos the counting-accuracy feature of the PCOS machines. it may suffice to point out that PCOS. transmission test and. more specifically are you saying that the main course of thus conducted by SBAC-TWG as a reflection of the capability of the PCOS this lost of control is the fact that SMARTMATIC holds the public and private keys machines. subjected to the gamut of acceptance tests expressly specified in the RFP. takes the demo-testing CHIEF JUSTICE: Well. Part 5. petitioners no contract. to support the simplistic conclusion of 2% to 10% failing rate. among which is "a all laws and regulations relating to the conduct of elections to public office to complete solutions provider… which can provide… effective overall nationwide ensure a free. should also be noted that the PCOS machine contains an LCD screen. even if read separately from other stipulations and the provisions of the less impliedly admit that the web page they appended to their petition. hold these public and private keys? the final test and sealing procedure of all PCOS and CCS units using the actual ATTY. the provincial CCS from the city/municipal come to their conclusion about their abdication theory? By acceding to Art. the Court. the PCOS 3. reads: Corporation automation contract nullified since. orderly and honest electoral exercise.4 (e) of the Instruction to Bidders on the subject Eligible As a final main point. election law enforcement. Art.3 The PROVIDER shall be liable for all its obligations under this Project and the system it offered. as the joint venture partner with the greater track record in accuracy. 3. as Comelec admits. to ceding control of the electoral process to Smartmatic. Art 3. petitioners would have the Comelec-Smartmatic-TIM Bidders. one that without more. it technical aspect of the counting and canvassing wares does not to us translate. Yet the same page discloses that the SAES has "100%" SMARTMATIC.4 A JV of two or more firms as partners shall comply with the following constitutes a wholesale abdication of the poll body’s constitutional mandate for requirements. as well as the fact that they control the program adjoining room a city.811avvph!1 The Court is not convinced. to verify if the The proviso designating Smartmatic as the joint venture partner in charge of the machine had scanned. to . as may be deduced from the ensuing exchanges. if need be. being a paper-based during the elections. recorded and counted his vote properly. is provided in Sec. showing a bid documents and the Constitution itself. in-charge of the technical aspects of the counting and canvassing software and V of the Constitution. should the bidder be a joint No Abdication of Comelec’s Mandate and Responsibilty venture. including transmission petitioners impose on us. the lab test. In responsible for preventing and troubleshooting technical problems that may arise this regard. To a more results by the central server from the PCOS. it 5.99999%. arose from the fact that Comelec would not be holding possession of Given the foregoing and absent empirical evidence to the contrary. what in IT jargon are the public and private keys pair. specific point. whence the second paragraph of aforequoted Art. Insofar as pertinent. and not to SAES. Election Day machine configuration. where a room therein simulated a town. (Emphasis added. 2. field test. CHIEF JUSTICE: You are saying that SMARTMATIC and not its partner TIM who namely. Comelec relinquished. ROQUE: Yes. And lest it be overlooked. the loss of control. Perusing the RFP. they would have readily seen that the advertised accuracy performance of portions thereof by other persons or entities not parties to this rating is over "99. the mechanism of xxxx the PCOS machines would infringe the constitutional right of the people to the (e) The JV member with a greater track record in automated elections.3 came from.82 And if they bothered to examine the abdication of control pressed on the Court. shall be in charge of the technical aspects of the Court need not belabor this and the equally irrelevant estoppel principle counting and canvassing software and hardware. according to the petitioners. And how did petitioners project management service… under COMELEC supervision and control. including transmission configuration and system integration The above contention is not well taken. the ATTY.87 has put all prospective bidders on notice of Comelec’s intent to Election Code for that matter––relates to the enforcement and administration of automate and to accept bids that would meet several needs. affords audit since the voter would be able. however. etc.

his answers had a qualifying tone: personnel and officials. did you talk with the Chairman elections specifically mandated the use of public key cryptography. are strangers to the automation contract. education campaign. bidding conference or the bidding proper or even perhaps examined the bidding Foundation x x x. none really knows the real intention of the parties. ROQUE : We did not confront. 6. 5 of RA 8436. I based it on the fact that it was the COMELEC in was it indicated that COMELEC would delegate to the winning bidder the full fact that entered into this contract …. It is a study of outsiders appearing to know more than the parties do. petitioners rhetorically SMARTMATIC that would have full control of the technology insofar as the keys ask: "Where does Public Respondent Comelec intend to get this large number of are concerned xxx? professionals. What is of knowledge?95 fairly clear in this case. the entire processes of voting. 94 this poser in the following wise: And subsequently.92 project. matter deserves mention.ensure effective and successful implementation of the [automation] Just as they do on the issue of control over the electoral process. project. they did was left to the discretion of the bidder to propose an acceptable manner of not exercise this power of control? utilization for approval/acceptance of the Comelec. does it have a monopoly case law tells us. will forge partnerships with various entities in different fields to bring CHIEF JUSTICE: Yes. public and private respondents categorically rejected outright available I. conducted the bidding and make the other policy judgments? to stress. x x x CHIEF JUSTICE: Why do you make that poor conclusion against the COMELEC As regards the requirement of RA 9369 that IT-capable personnel shall be x x x May not the COMELEC hire the services of experts in order for the deputized as a member of the BEI and that another IT-capable person shall institution to be able to discharge its constitutional functions? assist the BOC. Consider: Petitioners’ counsel was at the start cocksure about Commission En Banc. The NCC wrote: explanatory: The RFP/TOR used in the recent bidding for the AES to be used in the 2010 CHIEF JUSTICE: Why did you say that it did not. what I am sure is that they did not confer with the I. but did you check with the COMELEC who will be holding about the success of the 2010 automated elections. Your Corporation is basically to supply the goods necessary for the automation Honor. these two keys x x x did you check with COMELEC whether this system is Public respondent COMELEC will partner with Smartmatic TIM Corporation for correct? the training and hiring of the IT personnel as well as for the massive voter.T. such as but not limited to the PCOS machines. counting. and their performance.ROQUE: We have not had occasion to do so. However. ROQUE: I do not know if COMELEC will be in a position to generate these Comelec.) independently with SMARTMATIC so that it would be COMELEC and not But not one to let an opportunity to score points pass by. We impugned their acts. 93 consolidation and canvassing of votes shall be conducted by COMELEC’s Several questions later. Smartmatic’s control of these keys and. discretion. (Emphasis added. many of whom are already gainfully employed abroad?" 89 The ATTY. therefore. completion and final results JUSTICE NACHURA: And can COMELEC under the contract not demand that it according to specifications and within the specified periods shall be the shared have access. officials that they forfeited their power of control in over our election process? With the view we take of the automation contract. documents and. in the implementation of the automated have possession and control of the keys became apparent. As CHIEF JUSTICE: But is that foundation the only expert. to be sure. the role of Smartmatic TIM ATTY."88 Complementing this RFP advisory as to control of the election process anchor on speculative reasoning their claim that Smartmatic has possession and is Art. with its control. transmission. ROQUE : Your Honor. the court has to ferret out the real intent of the parties. 390 and Sec. ATTY. public respondent COMELEC shall partner with DOST and other ATTY.7 Subject to the provisions of the General Instructions to be issued by the machines. PCs.7 of the automation contract. your Honor. who do not have the same kind of accountability as public officers x x x In not so many words during the oral arguments and in their respective CHIEF JUSTICE: Are you saying that the COMELEC did not consult with Memoranda. including the digital signatures. supervision and control over the manner of PKI [Public Key CHIEF JUSTICE : Yes. it and Commissioners of COMELEC that they failed to perform this duty. is that petitioners who are not even privy to the The Court. The following is self. however. Nowhere in the RFP/TOR ATTY. The petitioners. that it be given access to and in fact generate its own keys responsibility of COMELEC and the PROVIDER. records. the speculative nature of petitioners’ position as to who would x x x [P]ublic respondent COMELEC. ROQUE: That is true. ROQUE: Your Honor. aptly answered keys. but my question is – did you confront the COMELEC Infrastructure] utilization. providing: control over the public and private keys pair that will operate the PCOS 6. but x x x there is too much reliance on individuals agencies and instrumentalities of the government. The NCC comment on the intention. electronic . x x x Your Honor. Not one participated in the ATTY. xxx. of the electoral process.91 as amended. experts in the country before it made the bidding rules before it allegations of abdication by the Comelec of its constitutional duty. recognizes the importance of the vote-security issue bidding process foist upon the Court their own view on the stipulations of the revolving around the issuance of the public and private keys pair to the Board of automation contract and present to the Court what they think are the parties’ true Election Inspectors. petitioners also Project. appearing to hew as it does to what appear on the but actually speculating what the parties intended. citing Sec.T. There is in fact a budget allocation x x x for these xxxx undertakings.

given the RFP requirement of a joint venture bidder to be at corporation" to corporations that are 60% Filipino. 8 of RA 8436. the contention that the PCOS would infringe on the secrecy and activity the lease or provision of goods and technical services for the automation sanctity of the ballot because. Penalty.) Corporation of which Smartmatic is a 40% minority owner. the notion of a possible violation of the Anti-Dummy government-owned or controlled corporation. lease. the machines in the precincts did not reserved by the Constitution or the laws to citizens of the Philippines or of any count the votes. Surely. as petitioners would put it. the Comelec can put up such infrastructure as to insure that SEC 12. purportedly likewise have a way to make his vote known.) devise a way to do so. capital of which is owned by such citizens. the Court is not should really be the least concern of the Comelec. company. supplies. machine. software. per the JVA of TIM The Anti-Dummy Law has been enacted to limit the enjoyment of certain and Smartmatic and the Articles of Incorporation of Smartmatic TIM Corporation. the joint venture partnership. voting system thus used in the US during the period material and the AES to be shall be punished by imprisonment xxx and by a fine xxx. Exploitation or Enjoyment. property or business. a right.96 does not commend itself for specific authority to acquire AES from foreign sources. and any alien or foreigner profiting thereby. the Comelec does fall under the category of a government- The Anti-Dummy Law97 pertinently states: owned and controlled corporation. franchise. a subsequent enactment and. candidates and the citizens’ arms or their specific country. any decision on the part or on behalf of Smartmatic will not be the law to attach. in relation joint venture. On the other hand. just or enjoyment of a right. in the AES. And as demonstrated during this Act. (Emphasis added. enjoys primacy over the first. agency or municipal Law cropped up. therefore. any citizen of the Philippines or of like the voting machines used in certain precincts in Florida. property or business to a person. inclusive of the veto vote that one may have power over the other. will always and other services. the voter would be of an election."99The Source Code for the 2010 AES shall be available and opened for centum of its capital must be owned by citizens of the Philippines or any other review by political parties. defined in RA constitutional or legal provision requires that a corporation or association may 9369 as "human readable instructions that define what the computer equipment exercise or enjoy a right. franchise. As lessees of the goods and exploitation or enjoyment thereof by a person. privilege. if so minded to preserve the secrecy of his ballot. found in the precincts will also be the same device that would tabulate and privilege. thus keeping the American public in the dark as to how exactly the SECTION 2-A. the board room voting the enjoyment or exercise of a right. Any person. not otherwise qualified under the Constitution xxx shall be punished by And if only to emphasize a point. a foreign corporation. A voter. The first relates to the Source Code. In fact. transfers or conveys said right. and of the capital of which is owned by such citizens. the winning bidder. corporation. and then in Smartmatic TIM Corporation. it must be established that there is a law limiting or reserving binding on Comelec. rent the oral arguments. owning 40% of the equity in. economic activities to Filipino citizens or corporations. machines counted their votes. Sec. goods and commodities to During the oral arguments. by purchase. Instead the votes cast appeared to have been stored in a other specific country. By the same token. However.transmission devices and related equipment. franchise or privilege. not less than a certain per will do. having in its name or under its control. it shall be unlawful to falsely simulate the existence of such representatives. 98 Series of 2006. the voter himself will personally feed the ballot into the or other forms of acquisition. has Smartmatic. materials. franchise or privilege. the technical services pertaining to their operation. aware of any constitutional or statutory provision classifying as a nationalized Parenthetically. As a necessary corollary. corporation or association deputizes. xxx. the Source minimum stock or capital as owned by such citizen for the purpose of evading Code was alleged to have been kept secret by the machine manufacture such provision. or leases. as amended. Comelec’s contract is with Smartmatic TIM imprisonment xxx (Emphasis added. equipment.– To achieve the purpose of the voter can write his preference in relative privacy. to EO 584. at the Philippines. permits or allows the use. As a . will be conducting the election thru its personnel and whoever it franchise. thus: concurrence. an analysis of post-election reports on the purpose of evading such provision. Unlawful use. TIM-Smartmatic governing relevance of EO 584. the Commission is authorized to procure. Simulation of minimum capital stock – In all cases in which a between the two systems. USA in the Gore- any other specific country who allows his name or citizenship to be used for the Bush presidential contests. or in any other way. or to corporations or associations at least sixty per centum memory card that was brought to a counting center at the end of the day. from local or foreign sources xxx. In all cases in which any constitutional or legal provision contemplated in the executive order. or association not the back-up equipment. And secondly. We do not quite see the least be 60% Filipino. In the case at bench. facilities. corporation. utilized in the 2010 automation project seems to suggest stark differences SECTION 2. xxx company. the exercise or enjoyment of which is expressly canvass the votes. For let alone the fact that RA 9369 is. the PCOS machines or association which. For liability for violation of Accordingly. both hardware and software. privilege. whereas in the US. requires Philippine or any other specific citizenship as a requisite for the exercise A view has been advanced regarding the susceptibility of the AES to hacking. end of the day. an agency or a municipal corporation Section 1. Procurement of Equipment and Materials. executive issuance. limiting "contracts for the supply of materials. vests the Comelec with confronted with a "three feet" long ballot. (EO) 584. one with least regard for secrecy will Petitioners cite Executive Order No. the corporation and its operators would provide possessing the requisites prescribed by the Constitution or the laws of the assistance with respect to the machines to be used by the Comelec which.100 whereas in the US precincts aforementioned. or business to citizens arrangement that Smartmatic and TIM may have agreed upon as joint venture of the Philippines or to corporations or associations at least 60 per centum of the partners.

No grave abuse of occurs where the PCOS machines fail to print ERs. with a list apprehension of a failure of elections in case the machines falter during the of voluminous annexes embodying in specific detail the bidding rules and actual election. in fine. can be done. (2) The end demonstration test. the joint venture provider has formulated and put in of Congress by way of budgetary support. only––meaning no illicit program can be executed or introduced into the memory Congress has chosen the May 2010 elections to be the maiden run for full card. a super computer would be required. Hardly anything works.101 shall be used. and/or (3) The automation project. In order to hack the system during this tiny span appropriate technology for Philippine elections. And the transfer of PCOS-2 shall be effected. ballots would still be there for the hand counting of the votes. It is no wonder some IT PCOS machines are only online when they transmit the results.result. the joint venture of a precincts throughout the country. but the product of honest-to-goodness studies. The means and initiatives that would enable it to accomplish the great objective for worst case scenario of course would be the wholesale breakdown of the 82. even in this most extreme case. automation. Failure of elections consequent to voting machines clear showing of grave abuse of discretion on Comelec’s part. It started with the preparation of the RFP/TOR. at PCOS prints but fails to transmit the ERs. therefore. the possibility of system hacking is very slim. may be availed of: The Comelec is an independent constitutional body with a distinct and pivotal bringing PCOS-1 to the nearest precinct or polling center which has a functioning role in our scheme of government. and the terms and conditions of the promulgated rules on appreciation of automated ballots. This gem. the RFP and even the Anti-Dummy Law. requirements. Manual counting of ERs shall be surely. let alone A final consideration. orderly. not the most take around one to two minutes. And should eventuality company as partner. after its machine hurdled the end-to- address the following eventualities: (1) The PCOS fails to scan ballots. the acts of that body. In the discharge of its awesome functions as transmission facility. the PCOS of another outcome of the bidding itself. Manual count difficult conditions to address unforeseen events to preserve the integrity of the tabulation and transmission. the Court failure would. in the past. while not on all fours with. it should not be stymied with restrictions that would transmission facility. if available. be a very remote possibility. 102 In the event item #2 corresponding automation contract in question to be valid. and lessons learned from the ARMM 2008 automated elections. the winning joint venture should not be faulted for having a foreign resorted to also if all PCOS fails in the entire municipality. Noteworthy also is the fact the worst fear expressed is that disaster is just waiting to happen. the poll body has taken this historic. PCOS machines. Nonetheless. was eventually awarded the contract to undertake the PCOS scans the ballots. would not work on election day. if place a continuity and back-up plans that would address the understandable not ambitious. PCOS being a election and in the process the voice of the people. a spare least not before the courts. The continuity and back-up plans seek to Filipino and foreign corporation won and. #3 transpire. the Court paper-ballot technology. therefore. order to ensure honest elections. a and transmission of the ERs. the following back-up options. let alone ends up center. but fails to print election returns (ERs). the choice of PCOS by Comelec was not a spur-of-moment seen to it that the system is well-protected with sufficient security measures in affair. municipality/city fail. perhaps be justified in the case of an organization of lesser responsibility. the hacking and cheating may have possibly occurred at the counting The first step is always difficult. as earlier stated. as amended by RA 9369.000 units assigned to an equal number accounts. perfectly the first time around. honest and peaceful elections. the bona fides of the bidding procedures and the PCOS. even though the AES has its flaws. In the event item #1 occurs.000 which it was created––to promote free. first step. Thus. the Court finds the project award to accomplishment of ERs shall be resorted to in accordance with Comelec have complied with legal prescriptions. Comelec and Smartmatic have these proceedings. is lifted from. with the AES. that PCOS that the memory card to be used during the elections is encrypted and read.000 expectations from the bidders. which would only specialists and practitioners have considered the PCOS as unsafe. Additionally. failure of all the This is as it should be for. too often. should refrain from utilizing the corrective hand of certiorari to review. the Court’s holding in an old but oft-cited case: . the paper has steered away from interfering with the Comelec’s exercise of its power which. With the backing And as indicated earlier. manual counting of the paper ballots and the manual which petitioners invoked as an afterthought. as here. will be brought in or. Comelec has to make decisions under machines would not necessarily translate into failure of elections. This over-all fall-back strategy includes the provisions for 2. if one looks hard enough.103 It The disruption of the election process due to machine breakdown or malfunction should be afforded ample elbow room and enough wherewithal in devising may be limited to a precinct only or could affect an entire municipal/city." even. by most spare PCOS machines on top of the 80. If the machine fails for whatever reason. can be laid on the doorsteps of respondent Comelec. a highly transparent public bidding exercise. the use of spare PCOS and discretion. consultations with CAC. The he will in all likelihood find a glitch in any new system. manual tabulation by law and by the nature of its office properly pertain to it. the enabling automation law. As has often been said. And after a hotly contested and. precinct (PCOS 2 for clarity). if not available. And judging from what the Court has heard and read in the course of Therefore. nullify. And of vulnerability. Absent. and "easily hackable. Should all the PCOS machines in the entire RA 8436. Not one of the losing or disqualified bidders questioned. among others. administrator and lead implementor of laws relative to to PCOS-1 and transmitting stored data from PCOS-1 using functioning the conduct of elections. inserting transmission cable of functioning transmission line overseer of fair elections. after observing certain defined Assayed against the provisions of the Constitution.

188456 February 10.—As a matter of sound established practice. This independent constitutional commission. Due regard to the independent character of the Commission x x x piecemeal presentation of evidence and on the practice of parties of going to trial requires that the power of this court to review the acts of that body should. MA. Roque. JOEL R. if not speedy. will not indulge in the presumption that nothing would go issues. this court should SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES. ROMEL R. AZUCENA reconsideration. FERDINAND RAFANAN. as supplemented. Section 6 of Republic Act No. and out on review. Movant-Intervenor. MACEDA. The imperatives of like irregularities would be the order of the moment on May 10. It would accordingly need the help of all VELASCO. x x x xxxx There are no ready-made formulas for solving public problems. et al. violence. FRANCISCO A. praying. that a successful automation election unmarred by fraud. violation of the Constitution. ROQUE.. Harry automated elections to succeed. however. award be declared null and void on the stated ground that it was made in vs. BAGARES. but firmly in appropriate cases. BUDGET and MANAGEMENT. The imperatives of orderly. The road. 104 x x x haphazardly. H. JR. if not speedy. The Comelec is laboring under very tight timelines. justice frown on a belongs to it. (RA) 8436. but unless PETE QUIRINO-QUADRA. with realistically––not from the standpoint of pure theory [or speculation]. The Court also denied the petition-in-intervention of Pete Q. CHAIRMAN JOSE also interposed a similar motion. Appeals. however. as they did earlier. Jr. DEPARTMENT OF electronic transmission of the election returns. contract-award of the 2010 Election Automation Project to the joint venture of SO ORDERED. as amended by RA 9369. No. as a general proposition. That task belongs at the first instance to Comelec. ANDRES. praying that the respondents be directed to implement the G. 2010 minimum requirements provided under pars. ERLINDA T. HARRY L. the instant petition is hereby DENIED. prohibition. represented by HON. and political questions must be dealt ENRILE. or the Election Modernization Act. J. points of law. Petitioners Roque. represented by its President. IMMACULADA D. issues. the effectiveness of the voting machines and on the practice of parties of going to trial haphazardly. (f) and (g). justice frown on a piecemeal presentation of evidence and it guarantee. Theories. and ALVIN A.. but only to pray that the Board of Election MELO. Like anyone else. et al. ROLANDO ANDAYA. BUTUYAN. Total Information Management Corporation (TIM) and Smartmatic International Corporation (Smartmatic). GILBERT T.. Neither will orderly. Represented by HON. Respondents.: advocates of orderly and honest elections. and arguments not raised in the original proceedings cannot be brought wrong. and jurisprudence. represented Inspectors be ordered to manually count the ballots after the printing and by its CHAIRMAN HON. x x x we must not by any excessive zeal take away from the original proceedings cannot be brought out on review. In the matter of the administration of the laws relative to the conduct Civil Procedure. Politics is a practical matter. for certiorari. as part of its mandate to ensure clean and peaceful elections.x x x We may not agree fully with [the Comelec’s] choice of means. the integrity of the counting and consolidation software embedded in them. it is true. to smoothen the way and assist Comelec personnel address the fears expressed about the integrity of the system. the Court would like and wish By Decision dated September 10. the Court denied the petition of H. 1 Intervening petitioner COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. PETERS. Petitioners. of all men and women of goodwill. ALLAN JONES F. ALCUAZ. and arguments not raised in the of elections. are again before the Court on a motion for GARCIA. that the contract P. Basic considerations of fair [Comelec] the initiative which by constitutional and legal mandates properly play impel this rule.R. COMELEC SPECIAL BIDS and AWARDS COMMITTEE. and mandamus to nullify the WHEREFORE. be used sparingly. 2010. L. MERCADO. JUAN PONCE not interfere. statutes. Basic considerations of fair play impel this rule. Time and experience are necessary to evolve patterns that will serve the ends of good government. possesses extraordinary powers and enjoys a considerable latitude in the discharge of its functions. 2009. TOTAL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT CORPORATION and SMARTMATIC INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION. LARDIZABAL. theories. as it cannot guarantee. Quadra. . towards successful 2010 RESOLUTION automation elections would certainly be rough and bumpy. JR. Petitioner-in-Intervention. credibly. these are clearly illegal or constitute gross abuse of discretion. The Court.

committed grave abuse of discretion when it signed x x x the contract for full automation x x x despite the likelihood of a failure of elections. on its face assailed source code review. the Court cannot grant the ensure a free. and argues along speculative and ensure compliance of the PCOS with the minimum capabilities standards conjectural lines. during the conduct of the 2010 elections." 6 2. oversight. 2009 Decision.4 "the unaddressed logistical nightmares—and the lack of contingency plans that should have been crafted as a result of a pilot 1. orderly.. . all questions affecting elections. does not require that the AES procured or. 5 and "COMELEC probability" that there will be failure of automated elections. automated ballots in case the PCOS machines fail. insist that petitioners’ tested in the 2007 Philippine election. chosen AES has been demonstrated in an electoral exercise in a foreign for the most part. the award by Comelec of the poll automation project to the TIM-Smartmatic joint venture. (2) Comelec has adopted a rigid technical evaluation mechanism to certiorari. The conjectural and speculative nature of the first issue raised is documents. and 3. etc. probative value and. et al. upon the other hand. (3) Comelec retains under the Upon taking a second hard look into the issues in the case at bar and the automation arrangement its supervision. and mandamus. the challenge basically predicated on the non-compliance of the contract 5. albeit later abandoned or facilities that will assure 100% communications coverage at all times at least not earnestly pursued. cannot be the basis of a sound judgment. the Comelec’s bidding rules. because the motion. dismissed the petition and the 7. on the one hand. and its determination in this regard must be respected absent grave abuse of discretion. continuity and back-up plans are in place to be activated in case the reflected in the very manner of its formulation and by statements. have interposed their separate comments and/or oppositions. referring to the Sec. There is no legal framework to guide the Comelec in appreciating public respondents Commission on Elections (Comelec). and control mandate to arguments earnestly pressed in the instant motions. Private respondents will not be able to provide telecommunications and Smartmatic was also raised as a nullifying ground. surely. if any. 12 of RA 8436. seek a reconsideration of the is a high probability that the use of PCOS machines in the May 2010 elections September 10. on matters that may or instance. 3 "there Petitioners Roque. The Comelec’s public pronouncements show that there is a "high test—make an automated failure of elections very probable". such as "the PCOS machines falter during the actual election exercise. and honest electoral exercise. 4. and (4) in accordance with contract may not occur. Respondents cannot comply with the requirements of RA 8436 for a As may be recalled. on the other. private respondents TIM and Smartmatic. et al. it being sufficient that the capability of the motion for reconsideration should be held devoid of merit. abdicate its duty to enforce and administer all laws relative to the conduct of elections and decide. Certifications submitted by private respondents as to the successful award with the pilot-testing requirements of RA 9369 and the minimum system use of the machines in elections abroad do not fulfill the requirement of capabilities of the chosen automated election system (AES). Speculations and conjectures are not equivalent to proof. as movants herein. prescribed by RA 8436.. 2009 Decision on the following issues or grounds: will result in failure of elections". and The Court. the underlying petition for certiorari.To both motions. either advances issues or theories not raised in the petition for jurisdiction. prohibition. Comelec abdicated its constitutional functions in favor of Smartmatic. as amended. at the first Petitioners’ threshold argument delves on possibilities. as a condition sine qua non. the assailed automation project contract. Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) system. Subcontracting the manufacture of PCOS machines to Quisdi violates petition-in-intervention on the following main grounds: (1) RA 8436. The non-submission of documents to show the existence and scope of a valid joint venture agreement between TIM 6. Both public and private respondents. to be used for the 2010 nationwide fully automated elections must. by entering into desired reconsideration. public pronouncements of public respondent COMELEC2 x x x clearly show that there is a high probability that there will be automated failure of elections". it did not. in its September 10. they have little. as amended. have been pilot.

13 The overall fallback strategy and cannot breakdown.000 PCOS machines nationwide machines falter during the 2010 elections. citing for the purpose a news item on Inquirer. however. described the Melo pronouncements as made in the context of aspects of the elections. The effect can be dangerous. Smartmatic is order to assert a misleading conclusion. Suffice it to state that. Petitioners. At any event. 2009." said Melo. i. 26 11 of RA 8436.net.7 aspects of the 2010 automated elections to Smartmatic in violation of Sec. have attributed certain statements to respondent mandate9 to decide all questions affecting elections when. The Court need not belabor them again. . Maybe several would but we have standby units for this and options to address even the worst-case scenario—the wholesale breakdown of we also have preparations for manual elections. so petitioners suggest. cannot be accorded cogency. in issue again. it realistically recognizes the contingency measure in case the contingency plans for automation are difficult to complexity and the highly technical nature of the automation project and implement. memorandum12 in support of their petition.7 Subject to the provisions of the General Instructions to be issued by the Allaying fears of failure of elections in 2010. all 80. counting. sometimes out of their proper context. Art. it is easy to selectively Court is not inclined to embark on another extended discussion of the same cite portions of what has been said. and found to be without merit in the Decision subject hereof. (Emphasis added. put a misleading spin to the Melo pronouncements by reproducing part of the Petitioners’ above contention.e. should have stipulated that its Reacting to the attribution. as well as the arguments. to support their speculative venture vis-à-vis the possibility of Petitioners next maintain that the Comelec abdicated its constitutional Comelec going manual. Indeed. which shall publication. The Private respondents’ observation is well-taken. it glosses over "The occurrence of nationwide failure of elections as alleged by doomsayers is the continuity and back-up plans that would be implemented in case the PCOS impossible. in their Information Technology (IT) Department shall have charge of the technical comment. x x x personnel and officials and their performance. But at the end of the day." he said.000 reserved units—have been discussed in some detail in the Decision subject of this recourse. but omitting to make reference to his succeeding statements to arrive holding it together. especially for areas with problems in electricity and consolidation and canvassing of votes shall [still] be conducted by COMELEC’s telecommunications network coverage. Comelec. it surrendered control of the system and technical posted September 16. addresses the contingencies that the novelty of election automation brings. the Smarmatic-TIM joint venture is merely a crude comments by the simple expediency of lifting them out of context from any service provider and lessor of goods and services to the Comelec. the Court took it upon itself to visit the website. citations.000 needed machines nationwide and of the 2. Comelec in the appreciation of automated ballots or to govern manual count should PCOS machines fail. squarely addressed. whence have exclusive supervision and control of the electoral process. 8 (Emphasis added. provinces with no electricity and would have issues in electronic transmission. the same respondents added. the poll automation contract. We are ready for The aforequoted provision doubtless preserves Comelec’s constitutional and manual polls in at least 30 percent or 50 percent of the country as a last statutory responsibilities. The poll chief was reacting to statements expressing the possibility of Petitioners’ posture anent the third issue. and premises news item. under the automation contract. prepare for manual balloting. under Article 3. Comelec is also preparing for responsibility of COMELEC and the PROVIDER. Improper given a specific and limited technical task to assist the Comelec in implementing meaning may be deliberately attached to innocent views or even occasional the AES. the x x x [Comelec] said it will Commission En Banc.) manual elections sa mga liblib na lugar [in remote places] x x x. however. is a rehash of their previous position articulated in their at a clearer and true picture. They have been considered. Comelec’s contingency plan. First. there no is legal framework to guide failure of elections due to the novelty of poll automation.) the 80. completion and final results according to specifications and within specified periods shall be the shared "Aside from preparations for poll automation. 6.7 of the petitioners deduced their position on the possible failure of automated elections automation contract could not have been more clear: in problem areas and found the following items: 6.3 10 of Comelec Chairman Melo. the entire process of voting. respondents TIM and Smartmatic. Under the laws of probability. transmission. But at the same time.Petitioners.

a reconsideration—the hard reality is that petitioners have failed to raise matters substantially plausible or compellingly persuasive to warrant the desired course Pursuing the point. As such. in effect. but to a third party. or what it cannot and probably will of an election. PCOS machines. Justice Artemio place. 2009 Decision. Dominion Voting Systems. second. 14 of RA 8436. in the meanwhile. a source code review.23 albeit Smartmatic was not necessarily the system provider. enjoys the presumption of good faith in the performance of its duties in the first framework issue. Comelec. 14 It should code to all political and interested parties."17 and "the rules laid down in the Omnibus invalidate the automation contract on the ground that the certifications submitted Election Code (OEC) for the appreciation and counting of ballots cast in a by Smartmatic during the bidding. is the constitutional body Again. came by way of a dissenting opinion. appreciation and reading of the ballots used in the automated system. In the matter of the activities is not an indication.While a motion for reconsideration may tend to dwell on issues already resolved technology available and open to any interested political party or groups which in the decision sought to be reconsidered—and this should not be an obstacle for may conduct their own review thereof.. 12 22 of RA 8436. take away from Comelec the initiative that by law pertains to it. the Court accords the Comelec. Resolving the challenge. as Roque.—Once an AES Technology is selected one procured by Comelec for the 2010 elections. amended. after citing a commentary of an IT expert on the importance of of action.19 exercises in foreign countries. in its Comment on the Motion for petitioners for that matter—must not.16 where he made the following observations: "Resort to manual appreciation of the ballots is precluded by the basic features of And going to another but recycled issue. but under a controlled environment to not be stymied with restrictions that would perhaps be justified in the case of an obviate replication and tampering of the source code." 21 standing idly by. et al. thus protecting. later Chief. as petitioners suggest. Canada and New York. will effectively be kept secret from the people. showing that the PCOS technology has been manual election x x x are inappropriate. In the discharge of this responsibility. petitioners engage in an entirely speculative exercise. And besides. the Court—or implement such review. Comelec has been afforded not do. Comelec. manifests its intention to make available and open the source zeal. Comelec. said that the system subject of the certifications was the same Opening of the Source Code of Review. Absent compelling proof to the contrary. the AES chosen by Comelec the Court or other collegial adjudicating body. the benefit of the doubt. the SEC. while disagreeing with the for the 2010 elections has been successfully deployed in previous electoral conclusion held by the majority. 14. totally unconcerned with that grim eventuality and the scenarios petitioners envision and depict. that Comelec will not administration of laws relative to the conduct of elections. a dissenting opinion being a mere expression of the individual view of a member of As stressed in our September 10. to the proper used in elections abroad. it is without binding effect. the Commission shall promptly make the source code of that Agreement between Smartmatic and the Dominion Voting Systems indicates that the former is the entity licensed by the latter to use the system in the Philippines. the intellectual proprietary right of Smartmatic to the source code. Examination and Testing of Equipment or Device of the AES and Court. to reiterate. such as Ontario. in the organization of lesser responsibility. Petitioners insist next that public respondents cannot comply with the requirement of a source code20 review as mandated by Sec. which provides: arguing that these certifications were not issued to respondent TIM-Smartmatic. in support of their position on the lack-of-legal.15 process. which Significantly. do not comply with Sec. Panganiban in Loong v.guessing tasked to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct what the Comelec can and will probably do. had questioned the certifications to this effect." 18 Without delving on its wisdom and validity. the Licensing for implementation. which runs the Second. in their petition. invoke the opinion of Associate. petitioners’ position presupposes that the Comelec is. USA. by any preemptive move or any excessive Reconsideration. The fact that a enough latitude in devising means and methods that would enable it to source code review is not expressly included in the Comelec schedule of accomplish the great objective for which it was created. if not downright useless. petitioners state the observation that "there are strong indications of [the inability] to comply x x x since the source code. . petitioners would have the Court the automated election system. petitioners. with respect to the implementation of a statutory provision. the view of Justice Panganiban thus cited We are not convinced.

the Court cannot plausibly validate this factual assertion of counted his vote properly. HON. at this stage of the case. a possible breach difficult and complex undertaking belongs at the first instance to the Comelec as of a contractual stipulation is not a legal reason to prematurely rescind. of course. the instant separate motions for reconsideration of the main and intervening petitioners are DENIED. respondents. the effectiveness of the voting machines and being again highly speculative.28 the TIM-Smartmatic joint assist Comelec personnel in addressing the fears expressed about the integrity venture has entered into a new contract with Quisdi. to Finally. and credible elections is everyone’s to manufacture on its behalf the needed PCOS machines to fully automate the concern. As we have said. of the system. Petitioner. "Smartmatic has unilaterally JOSE MIGUEL T. 32 the website24 whence petitioners base their assertion. recorded. The Court. This we cannot allow for compelling reasons.26 apprehensions of well-meaning sectors of society. justice frown on a piecemeal presentation of September 10." 30 Petitioners admit too. The Comelec. as it less annul. HON. is laboring under a very tight timeline. Basic considerations of fair play impel this rule. private respondents have even questioned the reliability of the Board of Election Inspectors Chairperson as an audit log. based as it is again on news reports. petitioners aver. vs.29 This arrangement.Presently. ARROYO. All actions done on the machine can be printed out by petitioners. past and present. state that the Image Cast Precinct tabulation device refers to the On the basis of the arguments. fair. if not speedy." 27 This argument. a Shanghai-based company. the Court harks back to its parting message embodied in its orderly. again citing news reports. As petitioners G.R. petitioners argue that. an entirely new system. about the possibility of failure of elections. automation project. is without evidentiary value and hardly provides a the integrity of the counting and consolidation software embedded in them. And. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. automated elections. a ballot marking device. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. No. much part of its mandate to insure orderly and peaceful elections. violates the bid rules proscribing sub-contracting of significant components of the automation project. all men and women of goodwill. It would accordingly need the help of all advocates of orderly and honest elections. After all. based on news reports. to repeat.1avvphi1 were. in the scheme of things. As it is. That ground for the Court to nullify the automation contract. points of law. will not Moving still to another issue. and arguments not raised in the original proceedings cannot be brought out on review. Surely.. necessary expertise to guarantee. peaceful. the Court is at a loss to understand how the sub-contract would. albeit the former. honest. 2012 themselves acknowledge. including some members of the Court. 2009 Decision.JR. able. The argument is untenable. and intervenor. petitioners cannot expect the Court to act on unverified reports foisted on it. since the voter would be factual dimension to their cause. SO ORDERED. Surely. 2010 elections. the Court does not find any grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Comelec in awarding the automation contract to the joint venture of private Moreover. but this time even more mindful of warnings and evidence25 and on the practice of parties of going to trial haphazardly. . if needed. made the new subcontract to the Chinese company. The imperatives of In closing. petitioners assert that the system certified as having been used in New The motion of intervenor Quadra deals with the auditability of the results of the York was the Dominion Image Cast. WHEREFORE. Neither will it guarantee. presented by the petitioners Dominion’s PCOS machines. the contract. which has a provision for system auditability. His concern has already been addressed by the Court in its Decision. in her capacity as Secretary of the Department of Justice. 199082 September 18. in his capacity as Chairperson of the . citing the same website. as it is not even equipped with the telecommunication facilities for areas without these facilities. and For starters. theories. to verify if the PCOS machine has scanned.31 SIXTO BRILLANTES. issues. the AES procured by the Comelec is a paper-based Petitioners have obviously inserted. petitioners claim that "there are very strong venture to say that nothing could go wrong in the conduct of the 2010 nationwide indications that Private Respondents will not be able to provide for automated elections. constitute grave abuse of discretion on the part of Comelec so as to nullify the contract award of the automation project. LEILA DE albeit with qualification. that RA 9184 allows subcontracting of a portion of the LIMA. as a matter of sound established practice.

BRILLANTES.199118 affects the social. such rule is subject to exception. to wit: intended or incidental. legal officers. DEE. However. Courts. While this jurisdiction same provision of law the authority to avail itself of the assistance of other is shared with the Court of Appeals and the RTC. in their constitutionality of a law or regulation at the first instance is of paramount capacity as COMELEC COMMISSIONERS. Thus. SR. and the JOINT DOJ-COMELEC PRELIMINARY the rule on hierarchy of courts in keeping with the Court’s duty to determine INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE and FACT-FINDING TEAM. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. Jr. Commission on Elections (COMELEC).. However. otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code. While this jurisdiction is shared act on any complaint within four months from his filing. Rule 34 of the Court’s jurisdiction is allowed when there are special and important reasons Comelec Rules of Procedure. that is. a direct invocation of this prosecuting arms of the government. 881. No. however. as in the present case. clearly and especially set out in the petition. Civil Procedure. Respondents. and that they have not abused the G. The Same. However. economic. This case falls GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO.R. BENJAMIN S. is vested exclusively with the Comelec. a direct invocation the complaint with the office of the fiscal [public prosecutor]. Same. Hierarchy of Courts. ROMEO B. treaty or regulation. as in the present Under the above provision of law. JACINTO G.Commission on Elections. that is. The general rule is that this Court shall HON. Remedial Law. Court without the requisite motion for reconsideration filed below or without Brillantes.—The Commission shall. OF jurisdiction over cases involving the constitutionality of a statute. Same. such rule is subject to exception. vs. Moot and Academic. in circumstances THE 2004 AND 2007 ELECTION FRAUD. FORTES AND MICHAEL D. Same. a case election laws and to prosecute the same. process. or with the Ministry of this Court’s jurisdiction is allowed when there are special and important [Department] of Justice for proper investigation and prosecution. De Lima. GEOUGE importance and immediately affects the social.. PIMENTEL III. CLARO A. Same. LIM AND AUGUSTO C. The latter. and DOJ-COMELEC the government or of the petitioners and when there is an alleged violation of due FACT FINDING TEAM. Rule 34 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. LUCENITO N. HON. JR. represented by Chairperson Sixto S. represented by Secretary Leila exhaustion of administrative remedies where there is an urgent necessity for the M.—The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari. government: Provided.—A case becomes prosecutors and their assistants are given continuing authority as deputies to moot and academic when it ceases to present a justiciable controversy so that a conduct preliminary investigation of complaints involving election offenses under declaration on the issue would be of no practical use or value. the people. JOINT DOJ-COMELEC PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION resolution of the question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of COMMITTEE. and moral well-being of the people. An expeditious resolution of the issues raised in the vs. the power to conduct preliminary investigation case. No. petitioners invoke exemption from the observance of complaints involving election offenses under election laws and to prosecute the . and moral well-being of C. Respondents. in his capacity as COMELEC Chairperson. 199085 discretion given to them. TAGLE. quo warranto. as in the present case. and habeas corpus.—The constitutional grant of should not be dismissed simply because one of the issues raised therein had prosecutorial power in the Comelec was reflected in Section 265 of Batas become moot and academic by the onset of a supervening event. SIXTO exercise only appellate jurisdiction over cases involving the constitutionality of a S. within the exception. ELIAS R. through its duly authorized trial. whether Pambansa Blg. the complainant may file with the Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Court (RTC). circumstances where the Court believes that resolving the issue of YUSOPH. RENE V. academic when it ceases to present a justiciable controversy so that a Under Section 2. was given by the prohibition. prohibition. Prosecution. ARELLANO. Besides. LAGMAN. In are given continuing authority as deputies to conduct preliminary investigation of the consolidated petitions. Petitioner. in her capacity as Secretary of Justice. clearly and especially set out in the petition. economic. quo warranto. treaty or THE JOINT DOJ-COMELEC PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION COMMITEE ON regulation. statute. whether or not the other branches of government have kept themselves within x-----------------------x the limits of the Constitution and the laws. if warranted. ANG. ARMANDO V. Preliminary Investigations. where the Court believes that resolving the issue of constitutionality of a law or x-----------------------x regulation at the first instance is of paramount importance and immediately G. in SARMIENTO. A case becomes moot and Election Law. ABALOS. and to prosecute the same. if there are other causes which need to be resolved after Section 265. the Court has entertained a direct resort to the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. under Section 2. Same. Petitioner. Same. Respondents.—The general rule is that this Court shall exercise only appellate in their capacity as CHAIRPERSON AND MEMBERS. RESPECTIVELY. however. LEILA DE LIMA. VILLARET. The Commission may avail of the assistance of other prosecuting arms of the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari.R. reasons therefor. VELASCO. Supreme Court. provincial and city prosecutors and their assistants therefor. That in the event that the Commission fails to mandamus. CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. petitions is necessary. Jurisdiction.. provincial and city declaration on the issue would be of no practical use or value. SENATOR AQUILINO M. and habeas corpus. have the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses punishable under this Code. mandamus.

—The equal protection guarantee due process to give as wide publicity as possible so that all persons having an exists to prevent undue favor or privilege. The Department of Justice (DOJ) now defective.—Forum shopping is the act over or to conduct a preliminary investigation is no less than that of a municipal of a party against whom an adverse judgment has been rendered in one forum. respective functions. honest. Publication. Although essentially executive in nature. judge or even an RTC Judge. and when a party institutes two or more suits in different courts. It merely that all persons having an interest in the proceedings may be notified thereof. Preliminary Investigations. either simultaneously credible elections and to serve as the guardian of the people’s sacred right of or successively.—The grant of exclusive power to release of the accused from detention. Neither is it a ground to quash the serve as the guardian of the people’s sacred right of suffrage—the citizenry’s vital information or nullify the order of arrest issued against the accused or justify the weapon in effecting a peaceful change of government and in achieving and release of the accused from detention. by the nature of his functions. it does not demand absolute equality. There can be forum shopping conduct of preliminary investigation is. the same justification should be cited to justify the grant to the Constitutional Law. they are not under the control of the President of the Philippines in the discharge of their Election Law. Preliminary or successively. There can also be forum shopping independent Comelec committed to ensure free. Separate Concurring and Dissenting Opinion: mere deputies. peaceful. they now have better grounds to perform such function by virtue of the Administrative Code requires the filing of such rules with the U. amended by Section 43 of R.P. Neither is it a ground to quash the conducts preliminary investigation of election offenses concurrently with the information or nullify the order of arrest issued against the accused or justify the Comelec and no longer as mere deputies.A. Forum Shopping. acts as a quasi-judicial officer. Tuvera requires publication of investigation and file the necessary information by virtue only of a delegated administrative rules that have the force and effect of law and the Revised authority. Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Publication is a necessary component of procedural privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. J. Nor does it impair the validity of the criminal information or render it Same. The proper course of action that should investigate and prosecute cases of election offenses to the Comelec was not by be taken is to hold in abeyance the proceedings upon such information and to virtue of the Constitution but by the Omnibus Election Code which was eventually remand the case for the conduct of preliminary investigation. orderly. the DOJ now conducts preliminary investigation of election offenses concurrently with the Comelec and no longer as CARPIO. as a judicial proceeding wherein the prosecutor or investigating officer. acts as a quasi-judicial officer. It is intended to eliminate interest in the proceedings may be notified thereof. requires that all persons under like circumstances and conditions shall be treated The requirement of publication is intended to satisfy the basic requirements of alike both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. one or the other court would make a favorable disposition or increase a party’s The authority of a prosecutor or investigating officer duly empowered to preside chances of obtaining a favorable decision or action.. honest. Recognizing the existence of component of procedural due process to give as wide publicity as possible so real differences among men. Preliminary Investigations.—It is settled that the Remedial Law. The complaints may be filed directly with them or may be indorsed to them and legal officers to ensure prompt and fair investigation and prosecution of by the petitioner or its duly authorized representatives. peaceful.—It is well-settled that the absence [or promoting political stability. in order to ask the courts to rule on the same and related causes investigation is considered as a judicial proceeding wherein the prosecutor or and/or to grant the same or substantially the same reliefs on the supposition that investigating officer. in order to ask the courts to rule on the same and related causes suffrage—the citizenry’s vital weapon in effecting a peaceful change of and/or to grant the same or substantially the same reliefs on the supposition that government and in achieving and promoting political stability. Same. Preliminary investigation is considered no notice whatsoever. Publication. of seeking another and possibly favorable opinion in another forum other than by Same. due process. Preliminary Investigations. Commission on Elections (COMELEC). View that Tañada v.—Section 1. by the nature of his functions. Article one or the other court would make a favorable disposition or increase a party’s IX-A of the 1987 Constitution expressly describes all the Constitutional chances of obtaining a favorable decision or action. Equal Protection of the Laws. If the prosecutors had been allowed to conduct preliminary Due Process.—Publication is a necessary discrimination and oppression based on inequality. It merely requires that all persons under like circumstances and conditions shall be treated alike both as to Due Process. 9369. Thus. irregularity] of preliminary investigation does not affect the court’s jurisdiction over the case. election offenses. either simultaneously requirements of both substantive and procedural due process. like court proceedings. exists to prevent undue favor or privilege. Dismissal is not the remedy. The Constitution envisions a truly appeal or the special civil action of certiorari.same. Commissions as independent. to prevent . The equal protection guarantee other prosecuting arms of the government of such concurrent jurisdiction. Law Center as statutory grant of authority. It is imperative for it will be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgressions of a law or rule of which he had Election Law. Civil Procedure. If deputation was justified because of lack of funds facets of the constitutional guarantee of procedural due process. subject to the when a party institutes two or more suits in different courts. The Constitution envisions a truly independent Comelec It is well-settled that the absence [or irregularity] of preliminary investigation does committed to ensure free. and credible elections and to not affect the court’s jurisdiction over the case. orderly.

” Thus. [emphasis ours] malpractices. Same. have equal jurisdiction to given continuing authority. the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. requires publication of administrative rules that have the force and effect of law and the Revised Administrative Code requires the filing of such rules Same.” Thus. I do not see how prompt investigation and prosecution of election offenses. Same. or that may be indorsed to them by the preliminary investigations and prosecute election offenses not merely as COMELEC or its duly authorized representatives and to prosecute the same. laws. which shall be “investigate and. as deputies of the COMELEC. the Constitution Commissions.— deputies. as deputies of the COMELEC. Under the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure. 9189 or The Overseas Absentee Voting COMELEC and the Department of Justice (DOJ). a co-equal branch of government. 146 SCRA 446 (1986) COMELEC or its duly authorized representatives and to prosecute the same. 136 SCRA 27 (1985) (Decision). IX (C) of the Constitution specifically vests in the COMELEC the plenary power to It provides that: Section 1. Same. As the Committee Rules merely complement and must be given considerable latitude in the fulfillment of its duty of ensuring the even reiterate Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure. equal jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigation and prosecute election had no power to review the rules promulgated by the COMELEC for the offenses. Same. since it “trample[s] upon the constitutional mandate of independence 9369 that the COMELEC shall have the power concurrent with the other of the COMELEC. View that Congress. particularly its BRION. prosecute cases of violations of election independent. conduct of an election. investigation of complaints involving election offenses under election laws that this means that the DOJ and its prosecuting arms can already conduct may be filed directly with them. had no power to review the rules promulgated by the COMELEC for the Same. prosecutorial agencies of the government. Congress. a co-equal branch of government. I duly acknowledge their non-publication and non-filing caused surprise or prejudice to petitioners.P.—I agree with the majority that the COMELEC presumed to know the law. Congress also offenses (subject to the rule that the body or agency that first takes cognizance of empowered the COMELEC to avail of the assistance of the prosecuting arms of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of the others).—With respect to the power to conduct preliminary investigation and to implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. View that while the COMELEC and the Department of conduct preliminary investigations and prosecute election offenses. Same. to conduct preliminary (DOJ) and seek its assistance without violating its constitutionally guaranteed investigation of complaints involving election offenses under election laws that independence.” To discharge its duty effectively. Act of 2003. all Provincial and City Fiscals. or that may be indorsed to them by the Tañada v. Law Center as facets of the constitutional guarantee of procedural latitude in the fulfillment of its duty of ensuring the prompt investigation and due process. to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses punishable under the Omnibus Election Code. plebiscite.surprise and prejudice to the public who are legally presumed to know the law. have Act of 2003.. J. As outlined in that case. 881 (BP 881) of the Omnibus Election Code granted the COMELEC the exclusive power to Same. Congress has mandated under Section 42 of RA No. Same. Same. and/or their respective assistants were investigation of elections offences—can still work with the Department of Justice given continuing authority. referendum and recall.— may be filed directly with them. and/or their respective assistants were COMELEC and the DOJ. the the government. where appropriate.” the 1987 Constitution (as has been the case since the amendment of the 1935 Constitution) now provides that the COMELEC. shall be independent. Article the COMELEC.—Section 2.—The Court ruled that Congress. like all other Constitutional Commissions. Commission on Elections (COMELEC). prosecuting arms of the government. 9189. Section 265 of Batas Pambansa Blg. Preliminary Investigations. View that under the present legal framework. but independently of the COMELEC.—At present. the 1987 Constitution (as has endowed the COMELEC with special features which elevate it above other been the case since the amendment of the 1935 Constitution) now provides that investigative and prosecutorial agencies of the government. including acts or omissions constituting election frauds. View that at present. offenses and and the Commission on Audit. the Court invalidated Section 25(2) of RA No. are the Civil Service Commission. Same. (Resolution). 9189 or The Overseas Absentee Voting prosecute election offenses. Tuvera. Dissenting and Concurring Opinion: broad power “to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the Constitutional Law. View that the COMELEC must be given considerable with the U. the Chief State COMELEC—whenever it directly acts in the fact-finding and preliminary Prosecutor. The Constitutional Commissions.—The only . to prevent surprise and prejudice to the public who are legally prosecution of election offenses. Same. under the present legal framework. Concurrent jurisdiction has been defined as “equal jurisdiction to View that under the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure. and its prosecuting arms. Effectively. to conduct preliminary conduct preliminary investigation and prosecute election offenses. but it can only do so as the principal in a principal-delegate relationship with the DOJ where the latter acts as the delegate. the Chief State deal with the same subject matter. Same. the Constitution endowed the COMELEC with special features which elevate it above other investigative and Same. all Provincial and City Fiscals. and to prosecute Same. View that to discharge its duty effectively. that the COMELEC exercises considerable latitude and the widest discretion in adopting its chosen means and methods of discharging its tasks. shall be independent. these offenses. the Commission on Elections. and its prosecuting arms. like all other Constitutional Same. 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Looking then Justice (DOJ) have equal jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election at the practical limitations arising from such broad grant of power. initiative. the Prosecutor.

4 The consolidated petitions and supplemental petitions likewise assail the substantive one.. 9266 approving the creation of a committee . and a decision is rendered thereon. resolution. given time to file a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec. Same. No. nullity and the absence of the necessary preliminary investigation that a criminal information requires. the unconstitutionality of the process DECISION undertaken in conducting the preliminary investigation would result in its nullity PERALTA. the wheels of justice turn unimpeded by public MENDOZA. The prosecutor validity of the proceedings undertaken pursuant to the aforesaid issuances. the exclusion of the others). however. Commission on Elections (COMELEC). a motion for reconsideration of an Same. Preliminary Investigations. Law"1 dated August 2. independence. 199082. the trial court may not be bound. as was the case. 2011. Abalos. An act becomes a judicial proceeding delegate of the COMELEC and not a co-equal partner in the investigation and when there is an opportunity to be heard and for the production of. Three important considerations taken together. the unconstitutionality of the en banc ruling. a motion for reconsideration of an en banc ruling. DIRECTLY ACTS. it is a judicial proceeding. Concurring Opinion: opinion or clamor. controversies by applying the rule of law with due deference to the right to due frustrate the petitioners’ bid to achieve this result so that the petitions ultimately process. is for the DOJ to be a mere deputy or judicial inquiry. such motions are allowed. Sufficient proof of the guilt of the accused must be of election results in the 2004 and 2007 National Elections. as a the Comelec issued Resolution No. her own actions rendered the issues on probable cause and on and Constituting a Joint DOJ-Comelec Preliminary Investigation Committee [Joint the validity of the preliminary investigation as moot and academic. The entry of her plea of not guilty Arroyo (GMA) in G. given the independence of the COMELEC matter of law. on her Before the Court are three (3) consolidated petitions and supplemental petitions very own motion. of society his just due without distinction. 199118 assailing the following: (1) Commission on to the crime of electoral sabotage can only be deemed as a waiver of her right to Elections (Comelec) Resolution No. but only for the ultimate end of giving each and every member Election Law. adduced so that when the case is tried. order or decision is generally proscribed. View that true. True. View that the arraignment of petitioner Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA). View that in the usual course. resolution. under Rule 13 of the agency that first takes cognizance of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction to Comelec Rules of Procedure.—Due process demands that the Comelec DOJ and seek its assistance without violating its constitutionally guaranteed should have given the petitioner the opportunity to submit her counter-affidavit. (2) Joint Order No. In “election offenses cases. No. to order an acquittal. 2011.: and the absence of the necessary preliminary investigation that a criminal The Court is vested with the constitutional mandate to resolve justiciable information requires. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA). it is not a casual affair. such motions are allowed. J. 001-2011 (Joint Order) "Creating Consequently.” finding and preliminary investigation of elections offences—can still work with the however. irrespective of the standing in society of the parties involved. No. and weighing prosecution of election offenses WHENEVER THE COMELEC ITSELF of. assurance that in this jurisdiction. 199085 and Gloria Macapagal submission to the jurisdiction of the trial court.R. conducting the same investigates or inquires into the facts concerning the The Antecedents commission of a crime to determine whether or not an Information should be filed Acting on the discovery of alleged new evidence and the surfacing of new against a respondent. and (4) Initial Report of the Fact-Finding Team dated October 20. 2011. under Rule 13 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. 2011. Sr. on her very own motion. A preliminary investigation is in effect a realistic appraisal witnesses indicating the occurrence of massive electoral fraud and manipulation of the merits of the case. order or decision is generally proscribed.—In the usual course.R. Motion for Reconsideration. Same. is tantamount to her (Abalos) in G. In “election process undertaken in conducting the preliminary investigation would result in its offenses cases.—Although a preliminary investigation is not a trial and is not and 2007 National Elections (Joint Committee Rules of Procedure) 3 dated August intended to usurp the function of the trial court. A preliminary investigation has been called a and despite Section 42 of RA 9369. to a preliminary investigation is not a mere formal or technical right but a 2011. Arroyo (Mike Arroyo) in G. but it can only do so as the principal in a principal-delegate And if its resolution would be adverse. Offenses Committed during the 2004 and 2007 Elections Pursuant to headed by the Prosecutor General (Joint Committee) and/or Comelec.” however. J. forming part of due process in criminal justice. 9266 "In the Matter of the Commission on question the alleged irregularities committed during the preliminary investigation Elections and Department of Justice Joint Investigation on the Alleged Election conducted by the Joint DOJ-COMELEC Preliminary Investigation Committee. The right 23. Committee] and Fact-Finding Team on the 2004 and 2007 National Elections Electoral Fraud and Same.—I am in agreement with the ponencia that the arraignment of petitioner Miguel T. Same.arrangement constitutionally possible. evidence. on August 2. Benjamin S. View that the right to a preliminary investigation is not a mere Manipulation Cases"2 dated August 15. (3) Rules of Procedure on the formal or technical right but a substantive one. Same. While the COMELEC and the DOJ have equal jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election offenses (subject to the rule that the body or Same. It is an have to be dismissed. is tantamount to her submission to the jurisdiction of the trial for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court filed by Jose court. forming part of due process in Conduct of Preliminary Investigation on the Alleged Election Fraud in the 2004 criminal justice. the COMELEC—whenever it directly acts in the fact. she should have been relationship with the DOJ where the latter acts as the delegate.R.

the Secretary of Justice issued Department Order No. or to protect the identities of informants. make a full and final report to 6406 naming three (3) of its prosecutors to the Joint Committee. on October 17. the Joint Committee consolidated the two DOJ-Comelec the Fact-Finding Team may conduct interviews or document testimonies cases. Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) Finding Team and/or Committee. The case was informants. or those not covered by the Omnibus Election Code and Twenty-six (26)14 persons. On October 24.15 Several persons were also The Fact-Finding Team. docketed as DOJ-Comelec Case No. the Secretary of Justice and the GMA contended that for the crime of electoral sabotage to be established.jointly with the Department of Justice (DOJ). there Chairman of the Comelec periodic reports and recommendations. was created for the purpose of recommended to be charged administratively. 17 The the preliminary investigation to be conducted by the Joint Committee. and prepare the before the Court.8 on the other hand. and testimonial evidence which can be utilized in Mike Arroyo. and Pimentel) filed a Complaint-Affidavit18 for Electoral Sabotage against petitioners investigative leads from official as well as unofficial sources and and twelve others19 and several John Does and Jane Does. 2011. to wit: allegedly committed during the May 14. but not petitioners in DOJ-Comelec Case Nos. Respondents therein were likewise ordered to submit their Counter- discreetly. and On August 4. f) Upon the termination of its investigation. the Secretary of Justice. the corresponding criminal information may be filed directly recommended for preliminary investigation for electoral sabotage for with the appropriate courts. such as complaints and charge sheets for the Committee an Omnibus Motion Ad Cautelam25 to require Senator Pimentel to initiation of preliminary investigation proceedings against said individuals furnish her with documents referred to in his complaint-affidavit and for the to be conducted by the Committee.23 The petitions were eventually consolidated. Affidavits by November 14. defined and perpetrated. Section 2 of the Joint Order lays down the mandate of the the Initial Report would be the electoral fraud and manipulation of election results Joint Committee. the Joint Committee issued two subpoenas against and collate material and relevant documentary evidence. 2011. petitioner GMA filed before the Joint necessary documentation. and the provisions of election On November 14. follows: Meanwhile. election documents used in the 2004 and 2007 national 3.9 creating and constituting a Joint Committee and Fact-Finding Team on the 2004 Pursuant to Section 710 of the Joint Order. intelligence information. 21On elections. For security reasons. – The Committee shall conduct the necessary preliminary Report11 dated October 20. 2011. Senator Aquilino Pimentel III (Senator a) Gather and document reports. 2011. e) Regularly submit to the Committee. establish evidence for individual Proceedings24 before the Joint Committee. the Fact-Finding Team concluded that investigation on the basis of the evidence gathered and the charges manipulation of the results in the May 14.5 Section 6 of this Joint Order. Resolutions finding probable cause for election offenses. which may increase or decrease in the number of votes of local and national . the Committee. the Joint and 2007 National Elections electoral fraud and manipulation cases. as provided under the 2004 and 2007 elections. 001-2011. appeared before the Joint Committee. 001-2011 and 002-2011. commission. were recommended to be subjected to further investigation. in view of the pendency of his petition criminal and administrative liability and prosecution. their offenses and the manner of their Panel. that preliminary hearing. 2011. petitioner Mike Arroyo filed a Motion to Defer and general criminal laws violated. Committee and the Fact-Finding Team are composed of officials from the DOJ The members of the Fact-Finding Team unanimously agreed that the subject of and the Comelec. 2011. b) Conduct interviews. record testimonies. which shall conduct preliminary then serve as the Committee’s basis for immediately commencing investigation on the alleged election offenses and anomalies committed during appropriate preliminary investigation proceedings. take affidavits of witnesses. Thus.22 c) Assess and evaluate affidavits already executed and other Thereafter. the Comelec and the DOJ issued Joint Order No. Its specific case resulting from the investigation of the Fact-Finding Team was docketed as duties and functions as enumerated in Section 4 of the Joint Order are as DOJ-Comelec Case No. were likewise other election laws. 16 including petitioner gathering real. 2011. through counsel. production of election documents as basis for the charge of electoral sabotage. including petitioners GMA and Abalos. 2007 senatorial elections in the recommended by the Fact-Finding Team created and referred to in Section 4 provinces of North and South Cotabato and Maguindanao were indeed hereof.12 The Fact-Finding Team recommended that petitioner Abalos and penalized under the Omnibus Election Code and other election laws shall be ten (10) others13 be subjected to preliminary investigation for electoral sabotage approved by the Comelec in accordance with the Comelec Rules of Procedure. individually or in conspiracy. 20 On November limited to. in its Initial Section 2. documentary. 2011. for conspiring to manipulate the election results in North and South Cotabato. 001-2011 Comelec. is a need to present election documents allegedly tampered which resulted in the supported by real. and the Chairman of the On August 15. petitioners.7 manipulating the election results in Maguindanao. petitioners filed before the Court separate Petitions for Certiorari and documentary evidence submitted or may be submitted to the Fact. and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction assailing the creation of the Joint d) Identify the offenders. 2007 elections. On the same day. Mandate. such as. on August 23. 2011. while others. The Joint Committee promulgated its Rules of Procedure. For other offenses. 002-2011. testimonial and documentary evidence.

the Resolution of the Joint DOJ-COMELEC On November 18. . AMBA. The Section 42 (b) of R. C. MARTIRIZAR be REJECTED by reason of the THE HEADS OF THE DOJ AND THE COMELEC. ALBERTO AGRA. 9369. amending Section 27 (b) of R. In G. amending Section conducting a special session. 001-2011 and Motion Ad Cautelam36 with leave to allow the Joint Committee to resolve the DOJ-COMELEC Case No. government’s right to prosecute and to obtain speedy disposition of the present DIOKNO AND RELATED CASES. HIS SPOKESPERSONS. GMA subsequently filed a motion for On even date. GABBY PROSECUTING CERTAIN PERSONS AND INCIDENTS ONLY. be RTC nonetheless issued a warrant for her arrest which was duly served. to defer issuance of a warrant of arrest COMELEC’s own representatives in the Committee. PROTECTION CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION. NICODEMO FERRER. RADAM and YOGIE G. SUAN. thereafter filed a Motion for Bail which was granted. and to proceed to judicial determination of probable ADOPTED.34 The case was raffled to Branch 112 and the corresponding Warrant of The dispositive portion of the Comelec Resolution reads: Arrest was issued which was served on GMA on the same day.26 GMA prayed that she be allowed to file her counter-affidavit within case pending before the Commission. likewise. petitioner GMA filed with the RTC an Urgent Omnibus Preliminary Investigation Committee in DOJ-COMELEC Case No. the Law Department and/or any ten (10) days from receipt of the requested documents. and Atty. That the recommendation that ESTELITA B. for COMELEC legal officers as may be authorized by this Commission is hereby his part. pursuant to the above Resolution. END OF 2011. WHICH FUSES THE CANANBAN. A. the Comelec’s Law Department reconsideration. be DISMISSED for insufficiency of evidence to establish TO THE EXCLUSION OF OTHERS. SALIAO S. the Comelec en banc issued a 27 (b) of R. 9369. That information/s for the crime of ELECTORAL SABOTAGE under Cautelam37 praying that its Resolution be vacated for being null and void. ANDREI BON TAGUM. and MACEDA L.30 filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC). BONG CREATED WITH THE SOLE END IN VIEW OF INVESTIGATING AND SERRANO. 2011. AND MEMBERS OF pendency of their respective cases before the Regional Trial Court of THE JOINT COMMITTEE THAT CASES SHOULD BE FILED AGAINST Pasay (Branch 114) and this Commission for the same offense under PETITIONER AND HIS FAMILY AND ALLEGED ASSOCIATES BY THE consideration. is hereby APPROVED and and a Hold Departure Order. against them. Sr. 199082. SALONGA K. MA. 6646. after violation of Section 42 (b)(3) of Republic Act (R. 2011.R. JAIME PAZ and NORIE K. ARROYO. ROHAIDA T.candidates. DATU ANDAL AMPATUAN. CONDUCT PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION. ASUNCION CORAZON P. JEREMY JAVIER. ABO be INDEPENDENCE OF THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AS administratively charged be subjected to further review by this PROVIDED IN ARTICLE IX(A). ARAW M. ABAS. THE CREATION OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE. She. IN VIOLATION OF THE DOCTRINE probable cause. 27 Petitioner Abalos. subject to the following MODIFICATIONS: cause.31 On November 18. MABANG.. docketed as Criminal Case No. before the appropriate court/s In an Order29 dated November 15. PRONOUNCEMENTS OF THE PRESIDENT. RPSY-11-04432- Resolution32approving and adopting the Joint Resolution subject to modifications. 002-2011. SUSAN L.k. SUSAN U. ALICE A. NENA A. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS . AYUNAN. 2011. POLITICAL AGENT OF THE EXECUTIVE – DEMOLISHES THE HANGKAL. NORIJEAN P. ALBANO. SR. CHRISTINA ROAN M. LINTANG H. PURSUANT TO ALLADO V. D. ELIZA A. BEDOL. INDEPENDENT BODY . IN BIRAOGO V. ALID. Governor Andal Ampatuan. Bedol. THE PROCEEDINGS THEREOF SHOULD BE In the higher interest of justice and by reason of manifest attempts to frustrate the ENJOINED FOR BEING PERSECUTORY. That the charges against MICHAEL C. ORBASE. No. filed with the Comelec a Motion to Vacate Ad 1. CAO.A. That the charges against JOSE MIGUEL T. NO LAW OR RULE AUTHORIZES THE JOINT COMMITTEE TO GASMIN.33 (Emphasis supplied.) No. RAGAH D.35 WHEREFORE. ATINEN. JEEHAN S. and PETER Issues REYES.a SPECIFICALLY THOSE INVOLVING THE 2004 AND 2007 ELECTIONS BUTCH. CLAUDIO. NUR. B. DALOPE. THE CREATION OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE VIA THE JOINT REUBEN BASIAO. 4. 6646. EDZELA. petitioner Arroyo relies on the following grounds: 2. SECTIONS 1 AND 2 AND IX(C) OF THE Commission to determine the appropriate charge/s that may be filed CONSTITUTION. That the findings of lack of probable cause against LILIAN S. the Joint Committee denied the SO ORDERED. GMA filed against GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO. ELSA Z. filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings (Ex Abundante Ad ORDERED to IMMEDIATELY PREPARE and FILE the necessary Information/s Cautelam). IN VIEW OF THE NUMEROUS AND PERSISTENT PUBLIC 5. TRUTH COMMISSION AND COMPANION CASE. SR. 2011.28 in view of the pendency of his petition brought before the Court. premises considered. UNAS be subjected to ORDER IS AT WAR WITH THE DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL further investigation.A CONSTITUTIONALLY RENIEDO. upon the recommendation of the motion for reconsideration filed by GMA. BENJAMIN ABALOS. MAGSAYSAY B.A. RUSSAM H. for which was later indorsed to the Comelec. LIM.A. MOHAMAD. an Information against On November 16. Pasay City. JOHN DOE a. CR.A.WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE – A KHALID. Lintang H.) aforesaid motions of petitioners. HAVING BEEN 3. No. ROMY DAYDAY.. the Joint Committee promulgated a Joint Resolution petitioner GMA.

AS THE HONORABLE COURT LIKEWISE DECLARED IN HAVE ASSUMED JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT MATTER REPUBLIC V. E.46 With the filing of the Information. considering that he was not among those indicted for electoral sabotage In G. SOUGHT TO BE INVESTIGATED BY THE JOINT COMMITTEE. The Court’s Ruling DOES THE JOINT DOJ-COMELEC FACT-FINDING TEAM AND Procedural Issues PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE HAVE THE POWER Respondents claim that Mike Arroyo’s petition is moot and that of GMA is moot AND LEGAL AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT A PRELIMINARY and academic. 001-2011 AND THE JOINT TRAMPLES UPON PETITIONER’S RIGHT TO A FAIR PROCEEDING COMMITTEE RULES HAVE NOT BEEN PUBLISHED PURSUANT TO BY AN INDEPENDENT AND IMPARTIAL TRIBUNAL. the Fact-Finding I. They explain that the Mike Arroyo petition presents no actual INVESTIGATION OF THE SAME ELECTORAL SABOTAGE CASES controversy that necessitates the exercise by the Court of its power of judicial WHICH THE COMELEC HAD ALREADY TAKEN COGNIZANCE OF?39 review. Finding Team and Preliminary Investigation Committee. The due process clause of the 1987 Constitution DID THE CONDUCT AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE JOINT DOJ.45 As to the GMA petition. including all issues relating to the constitutionality or legality of her APPROPRIATE. Whether or not Joint Order No. 41 In G. 199118. CREATING THE JOINT DOJ.48 Respondents add that considering that the RTC has concurrent jurisdiction PHILIPPINES) IN FAVOR OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT. to determine a constitutional issue. G. A.R. required the parties to submit their respective COURT? Memoranda. AND MALPRACTICES" (ARTICLE GMA are best left to the trial court. RTC of Pasay II.R. THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT. SECTION 26. ALL. 173918 (08 APRIL 2008). required the respondents to comment on the petitions. petitioner Abalos raises the following issues: We likewise scheduled the consolidated cases for oral argument for which the I.44 Anent the 2004 national elections. No. Whether or not due process was observed by the Joint DOJ-COMELEC Fact- SEPARATION OF POWERS BY CREATING THE JOINT DOJ.R. RTC to determine the constitutional issues in this case. and the COMELEC in COMELEC FACT-FINDING TEAM AND PRELIMINARY the conduct of the preliminary investigation and approval of the Joint Panel’s INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE WHICH ENCROACHED UPON THE Resolution. preliminary investigation jointly with the DOJ. No.42 POWERS OF THE LEGISLATURE AND THE REGIONAL TRIAL The Court. Whether or not the COMELEC has jurisdiction under the law to conduct III. PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORPORATION. The independence of the COMELEC as a constitutional body CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW? II. THE COMELEC. G. THROUGH THE DOJ. 001-2011. the RTC has already acquired jurisdiction CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE "TO INVESTIGATE AND. INCLUDING ACTS OR OMISSIONS CONSTITUTING constitutionality and validity of the conduct of the preliminary investigation of ELECTION FRAUDS. THE CREATION AND CONSTITUTION OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE III. PROSECUTE CASES OF VIOLATIONS OF ELECTION preliminary investigation. TO No. considering that it involves questions of IX-C. B. The equal protection clause of the 1987 Constitution COMELEC FACT-FINDING TEAM AND PRELIMINARY C. (SIC)40 THE EXCLUSION OF ANY BODY.47 Respondents also claim that the issues relating to the LAWS. L-63915 (29 DECEMBER 1986). OFFENSES. THE COMELEC HAS EFFECTIVELY ABDICATED ITS City. COMMITTEE. The principle of separation of powers INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE VIOLATE PETITIONER’S D. INCLUDING THE JOINT We deferred the resolution of petitioners’ Motion for the Issuance of a TRO and. Information has already been filed against her in Branch 112.R.38 instead. Team is yet to complete its investigation so Mike Arroyo’s apprehensions are OSTENSIBLY ACTING "JOINTLY" WITH THE COMELEC. respondents aver BEYOND THE LIMITS OF THE CONSTITUTION. . No. 199085. AFTER F. petitioner GMA anchors her petition on the following in the 2007 national elections as the Comelec dismissed the case against him for grounds: insufficiency of evidence. TUVERA. AND SUBSEQUENTLY. DID THE DOJ AND COMELEC VIOLATE THE PRINCIPLE OF A. parties were directed to limit their respective discussions to the following issues: DOES JOINT ORDER NO. WHERE over the case. 1987 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE fact. DOJ-COMELEC JOINT ORDER NO. thereafter. THE RTC OF PASAY CITY. HAS ACTED merely speculative and anticipatory. TAÑADA V. I. 001-2011 "Creating and Constituting a Joint COMELEC FACT-FINDING TEAM AND PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATON DOJ-COMELEC Preliminary Investigation Committee and Fact-Finding Team on COMMITTEE VIOLATE PETITIONER’S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO the 2004 and 2007 National Elections Electoral Fraud and Manipulation Cases" EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW? is constitutional in light of the following: II. IN THAT IT HAS that any judgment of the Court will have no practical legal effect because an COMPROMISED THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE COMELEC.49 We do not agree. it will be practical for the Court to allow the ACTING THROUGH RESPONDENT JUSTICE SECRETARY DE LIMA.43 IV.

57 The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari. treaty or regulation. quo warranto. and (2) on the assumption that it has jurisdiction to conduct such a functions of the Comelec. This principle requires that recourse must first be made to which need to be resolved after trial. whether intended or incidental. petitions in court for decided these issues notwithstanding the fact that Informations had already been inclusion or exclusion of voters. Jr. Jr. such rule is subject to exception. upon a verified complaint. 2011 Resolution. prosecute filed with the trial court. clearly and especially set out in the petition. petitioners invoke exemption from the observance of Committee was created for purposes of investigating the alleged massive the rule on hierarchy of courts in keeping with the Court’s duty to determine electoral fraud during the 2004 and 2007 national elections. ordered that further investigations be conducted issuances and resolutions of the DOJ and the Comelec. one which involves a conflict of filing of the information and the inordinate interest of the government in filing the legal rights.50 The case must not be moot or academic or based on extra-legal or probable cause to warrant the filing of information. However. the Court has entertained a direct resort to information and dismissal of the charges. promulgation of the Joint Resolution by the Joint Committee and the approval prohibition. 51 that information had been filed and a warrant of arrest had been issued. In Cojuangco. Presidential Commission the present case and. Apparently. in the whether or not the other branches of government have kept themselves within Fact-Finding Team’s Initial Report. on economic. while directing the filing of information against It is noteworthy that the consolidated petitions assail the constitutionality of petitioners Abalos and GMA. notwithstanding the fact other similar considerations not cognizable by a court of justice. as in the present case. While this jurisdiction thereof by the Comelec.Mootness In Allado v.53 the lower-ranked court exercising concurrent jurisdiction with a higher Here. This.60 constitutional grounds. An expeditious resolution of the issues raised petitions simply by the occurrence of the supervening events of filing an in the petitions is necessary. and that they have not abused the would focus on the irregularities during the 2007 elections. a direct invocation of this petitions before us are the constitutionality and legality of the creation of the Joint Court’s jurisdiction is allowed when there are special and important reasons Committee and the Fact-Finding Team as well as the proceedings undertaken therefor. Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution enumerates the powers and funds. and other respondents for the alleged misuse of coconut levy Section 2.59 18. and moral well-being of the people.61 We apply the same relaxation of the Rules in conduct of preliminary investigation. the Court without the requisite motion for reconsideration filed below or without Jurisdiction over the validity of the exhaustion of administrative remedies where there is an urgent necessity for the conduct of the preliminary investigation resolution of the question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of This is not the first time that the Court is confronted with the issue of jurisdiction the government or of the petitioners and when there is an alleged violation of due to conduct preliminary investigation and at the same time with the propriety of the process. v. an assertion of opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial same. and habeas corpus.52 However. there issuance of a warrant of arrest. in circumstances where the bound to continue discharging their duties set forth in the assailed Joint Order. namely: (1) Substantive Issues whether or not the PCGG has the power to conduct a preliminary investigation of Bases for the Creation of the the anti-graft and corruption cases filed by the Solicitor General against Eduardo Fact-Finding Team and Joint Committee Conjuangco. the team specifically agreed that the report the limits of the Constitution and the laws. on Good Government (PCGG). Fact-Finding Team and the Joint Committee leading to the filing of information. Diokno. thus. It must be recalled that the main issues in the three is shared with the Court of Appeals and the RTC. entertain direct resort to this Court. the Fact-Finding Team’s and this Court shall exercise only appellate jurisdiction over cases involving the Joint constitutionality of a statute. resolution. investigate and. 58 In pursuant thereto. the Comelec. in its November discretion given to them. Committee’s respective mandates have not been fulfilled and they are. However. the Court could not ignore the undue haste in the must be an actual case or controversy. Thus. that is. whether or not its conduct constitutes a violation of to: petitioner’s right to due process and equal protection of the law. the consolidated cases are not rendered moot and academic by the court.55 The Court (6) File. a case should not be dismissed simply because one of the Hierarchy of courts issues raised therein had become moot and academic by the onset of a Neither can the petitions be dismissed solely because of violation of the principle supervening event. therefore. Court believes that resolving the issue of constitutionality of a law or regulation at Moreover. petitioners question the validity of the proceedings undertaken by the the first instance is of paramount importance and immediately affects the social. therefore. this Court took time to determine whether or not there was. The general rule is that against the other respondents therein. We are not. The assailed Joint Order specifically provides that the Joint the consolidated petitions. . Also. as in the present case.54 the Court resolved two issues. barred from deciding on the This case falls within the exception. Besides. A case becomes moot and academic when it ceases to present a justiciable Petitioners therein came directly to this Court and sought relief to rectify the controversy so that a declaration on the issue would be of no practical use or injustice that they suffered. Paragraph (6) thereof vests in the Comelec the power preliminary investigation.56 in a petition for certiorari assailing the propriety of the It cannot be gainsaid that for a court to exercise its power of adjudication. value. or on its own initiative. mandamus. that is. where appropriate. if there are other causes of hierarchy of courts. indeed.

now exercise concurrent Section 265 of Batas Pambansa Blg. investigation and to prosecute such cases. Prosecution. – The Commission shall. however.71 which reads: The grant to the Comelec of the power to investigate and prosecute election Section 43. because Section 265 of the Omnibus Election Code was amended by Section 43 of R. 72 vote. orderly. have the power. 74 . under the Omnibus Election Code. to wit: offenses and to prosecute the same. 881 is hereby amended to read offenses as an adjunct to the enforcement and administration of all election laws as follows: is intended to enable the Comelec to effectively insure to the people the free. such as the DOJ. the complainant may file Fact-Finding Team for the purpose of conducting a thorough investigation of the the complaint with the office of the fiscal [public prosecutor]. on the other hand. through its duly authorized legal orderly. The complaints may be filed directly with them or may be indorsed to them massive electoral fraud in 2004 and 2007. however. was given by the Constitutionality of Joint-Order No. and previous and by the petitioner or its duly authorized representatives. and of the state prosecutors of the DOJ. the above-quoted provision was not in the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions. nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. honest. To bolster their claim. if any. 2004 and 2007 national elections relating in particular to the presidential and Under the above provision of law. and honest conduct of elections. Pursuant to the above constitutional and Commission may avail of the assistance of other prosecuting arms of the statutory provisions. offenses.68 We agree with the respondents. and to prosecute the same.69 the prompt and fair The equal protection clause is enshrined in Section 1. Order No. Section 265 of Batas Pambansa Blg. the other The constitutional grant of prosecutorial power in the Comelec was reflected in prosecuting arms of the government. the power to conduct preliminary investigation senatorial elections. immediately negate the assertion that the the petitioner does not have a sufficient number of legal officers to conduct such assailed orders are aimed only at the officials of the Arroyo Administration. 66 subsequent national elections. under Section 2. members. The prosecution of election offenses. therefore. instead of a mere delegated authority. liberty. SEC. That in the event that the Commission fails to impediment for the Comelec and the DOJ to create the Joint Committee and act on any complaint within four months from his filing. Article III of the investigation and prosecution of election offenses committed before or in the Constitution which reads: course of nationwide elections would simply not be possible without the Section 1. concurrent with the other prosecuting arms of the this power could result in the frustration of the true will of the people and make a government. petitioners explain that Joint delegation of authority has been explained in Commission on Elections v. Basilla. 265. and no substantial distinction Thus. however.A.64 Thus. including acts or omissions constituting assistance of provincial and city fiscals prosecutors and their assistants and staff election frauds. to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses mere idle ceremony of the sacred right and duty of every qualified citizen to punishable under this Code. 001-2011 is similar to Executive Order No. on the one hand.65 Rule 34 of the Petitioners claim that the creation of the Joint Committee and Fact-Finding Team Comelec Rules of Procedure. The Commission shall.70 This was an important innovation introduced by the 1987 Constitution. Equal Protection Clause prosecuting arms of the government.63 As clearly set forth above. through its duly authorized It is. and malpractices. or property without due process of law. 1 (creating the Philippine Español:67 Truth Commission) which this Court had already nullified for being The deputation of the Provincial and City Prosecutors is necessitated by the violative of the equal protection clause. not only the power but the duty of both the Comelec and the DOJ legal officers.cases of violations of election laws. refute the above contentions and argue that the wide indispensable part of the task of securing fine. and as will be explained further below. Enfeebled by lack of funds and the magnitude of its workload. as we acknowledged in People v. 001-2011 same provision of law the authority to avail itself of the assistance of other A. otherwise known as the Omnibus jurisdiction with the Comelec to conduct preliminary investigation of all election Election Code. Moreover. They insist that the Joint Panel was prosecutors had been conducting preliminary investigations pursuant to the created to target only the Arroyo Administration as well as public officials linked to continuing delegated authority given by the Comelec. 62 No. Prosecution. peaceful and array of the possible election offenses and broad spectrum of individuals who credible elections. and to prosecute the same. provincial and city prosecutors and their assistants is in violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution because its sole are given continuing authority as deputies to conduct preliminary investigation of purpose is the investigation and prosecution of certain persons and incidents. if warranted. The failure of the Comelec to exercise officers. the been involved in previous election offenses. 881. need for prompt investigation and dispensation of election cases as an Respondents. The latter.73 is vested exclusively with the Comelec. we find no government: Provided. may have committed them. No person shall be deprived of life. Section 265. have the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all to perform any act necessary to ensure the prompt and fair investigation and election offenses punishable under this Code. or with the Ministry alleged massive electoral fraud and the manipulation of election results in the Department of Justice for proper investigation and prosecution. while the exclusive jurisdiction to between petitioners and the other persons or public officials who might have conduct preliminary investigation had been lodged with the Comelec. complaints involving election offenses under election laws and to prosecute the They argue that there is no substantial distinction between the allegations of same. The reason for this the Arroyo Administration. 9369.

81 the Comelec has the authority to government. particular investigation. They explain that since the Fact-Finding Team has found was expressly created for the purpose of investigating alleged graft and probable cause to subject them to preliminary investigation. Thus. Unlike the matter addressed by the Court’s ruling in Biraogo v.The concept of equal protection has been laid down in Biraogo v. 001-2011 created two bodies. It requires public bodies and institutions Moreover. and credible elections. While GMA and Mike expressed prejudgment against petitioners through their statements captured by Arroyo were among those subjected to preliminary investigation. whether commenced by complaint or on its own initiative. equal protection simply requires that all guidelines in order to ensure that the rules are updated to respond to existing persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike. We once held that the Office of the Ombudsman is granted virtually plenary We find for respondents. and Chairman of the duties. Philippine Truth Ombudsman is granted such latitude. to provide for a plebiscite. they cannot be enforced. infringes the equal protection clause. it does not demand that the Joint Committee itself had prejudged the case. investigations may be conducted express terms of a statute or by its improper execution through the state's duly. as the constitutional body granted with the broad power of enforcing and process. They likewise contend that assuming that The equal protection guarantee exists to prevent undue favor or privilege. 82 against intentional and arbitrary discrimination. The Comelec may equal protection clause is to secure every person within a state's jurisdiction even initiate. elections. Article III of the 1987 apply in the present case. while the Joint express doubts of any possibility that the Joint Committee will be fair and Committee was created for the purpose of conducting preliminary investigation of impartial to them as Secretary De Lima and Chairman Brillantes had repeatedly election offenses during the 2004 and 2007 elections. the sharper weapon to cut it down is the equal protection elections setting forth the guidelines to be observed in the conduct of the clause. Due Process Commission of 2010. with their respective mandates. Philippine Truth B. both as to rights circumstances. either by the Comelec itself through its law department or through the constituted authorities.79 This same doctrine should likewise equality of right which is embodied in Section 1. it neutrality of an impartial judge because it is all at once the evidence-gatherer. mean that respondents are not treated alike. investigatory powers by the Constitution and by law and thus may. Pursuant to this process clause. The Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 prosecutor and judge. Joint Order No. as every unfair discrimination offends the requirements of justice and administering all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. complaints for violations of election to treat similarly-situated individuals in a similar manner. The equal protection of the laws is embraced in the concept of due Thus. petitioners’ individuals solely on differences that are irrelevant to a legitimate governmental insistence of infringement of their constitutional right to equal protection of the objective. context in which they interpreted them. however. there was no showing that Secretary De Lima had intended to eliminate discrimination and oppression based on inequality. Constitution. it is impossible for corruption during the Arroyo Administration since Executive Order No.78 considered as one.83 Preliminary investigation is considered as a judicial proceeding . whether occasioned by the Pursuant to law and the Comelec’s own Rules. conferred and responsibilities imposed. It has been embodied in a separate clause. complaints for election offenses. The purpose of the laws may be filed either with the Comelec or with the DOJ. the Comelec issues various resolutions prior to every local or national partiality or prejudice. like court proceedings. its varying treatment of similarly situated Commission of 2010:75 investigations cannot by itself be considered a violation of any of the parties’ One of the basic principles on which this government was founded is that of the rights to the equal protection of the laws. the concept of equal justice under the law prosecutors of the DOJ. 80 and tasked to ensure free. as has been practiced in the past. Hence. Lastly. they point out that absolute equality. tried to intervene in the investigation to influence its outcome nor was it proven Recognizing the existence of real differences among men. 001-2011 cannot be nullified on the ground Petitioners claim that the Joint Panel does not possess the required cold that it singles out the officials of the Arroyo Administration and. the Fact-Finding Team and the conditions shall be treated alike both as to privileges conferred and liabilities Joint Committee. fair play. respondents contend that petitioners failed to present proof that investigated upon in connection with their acts in the performance of their official the President of the Philippines. These varying procedures and treatment do not. initiative. not all the media. more specific guaranty against any form of undue favoritism or hostility from the honest. and it may not draw distinctions between however. for every It is settled that the conduct of preliminary investigation is. peaceful. requires the state to govern impartially. It merely requires that all persons under like circumstances and Joint Order No. Since the Office of the process. the Joint Committee to arrive at an opposite conclusion. Petitioners likewise 177 specifically referred to the "previous administration". Private individuals were also subjected to the investigation by the Joint Comelec actually made the statements allegedly prejudging their case and in the Committee. referendum and recall. This shows that every election is distinct and requires different According to a long line of decisions. subject to the requirements of both substantive and procedural due decide how best to pursue each investigation. It is said statements were made. orderly. But if the particular act assailed partakes of an unwarranted authority. Secretary of Justice. respondents therein were linked to GMA as there were public officers who were For their part. motu proprio. Arbitrariness in general may be challenged on the basis of the due determine how best to perform such constitutional mandate. In other words.76 law is misplaced. therefore.

constituting election frauds. the Comelec. the Comelec is granted the power to investigate. Neither did the petitioners show that assailed Joint Order which give the DOJ and the Comelec the power to conduct the President of the Philippines. to conduct preliminary investigation of Committee itself. as Team are not new public offices. made by Secretary De Lima and Chairman Brillantes or were in the prejudicial prosecute offenders and administer the probation and correction system. The act of the head of a collegial body cannot be considered as that of D. and justice evenhandedly. offenses. and malpractices in favor of the Executive namely: (1) the Fact-Finding Team tasked to gather real. tasked to conduct the requisite preliminary investigation against all election offenses. Only by strict adherence to the ensuring free. prosecution of offenders and administration of the correctional the statements claimed to have prejudged the case against petitioners were system. by the nature of his functions. are specifically named as the officers authorized to hypothetical questions in the event that probable cause would eventually be conduct preliminary investigation. 85 Thus. weak or strong.95 Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution expressly describes all the composition. whether where appropriate. or Again. the Comelec has effectively with that of the Joint Committee. the Comelec testimonial evidence which can be utilized in the preliminary investigation to be personnel is placed under the supervision and control of the DOJ. the Secretary of Justice or the Chairman of the preliminary investigation. On the other established procedure may public's perception of the impartiality of the hand. there would be no arm of the government abdicated its constitutional mandate to investigate and. it is the Constitution. honest. it must be emphasized that the constitutional body is no way can we consider the Joint Committee as a new public office. discretion with the Executive Branch. they are not under the control of the President of the Philippines in the investigate the commission of crimes and the Comelec’s constitutional mandate discharge of their respective functions. It is their position that the power of the DOJ to nature. Petitioners claim that the Joint Panel is a new public office as shown by its Section 1. C. giving the impression that their noble office is being used or Comelec who exercise duties and functions that are already vested in them. the Comelec has willingly surrendered its conduct preliminary investigation. Thus. acts the Joint Panel.96 The Constitution envisions a truly to investigate and prosecute violations of election laws do not include the power independent Comelec committed to ensure free. This is shown by the fact x x x We cannot emphasize too strongly that prosecutors should not allow.87 accordance with the accepted processes thereof consisting in the investigation of In this case. statutes. This is necessary in rich or poor. is given the power. It is. prostituted.88 Moreover. and (2) the Joint Committee mandated to chairperson is a DOJ official. Thus. and that the members of the Joint Panel are existing officers of the DOJ and the should avoid. without fear or favor to any and all litigants alike.93 Recently. insofar as the positions as prosecutors of the DOJ and legal officers of the Comelec. Velasco:86 government agencies sharing concurrent jurisdiction. peaceful and credible elections. the creation of its own Rules of Procedure. honest. peaceful. context in which petitioners claimed the statements were made. A reading of the the provincial or city prosecutors and their assistants. or other purposes alien to. in creating credible elections and to serve as the guardian of the people’s sacred right of . the DOJ is mandated to administer the criminal justice system in prosecutor be enhanced. Under the set. collegial. authorized legal offices. Although essentially executive in funding for its operation. The conducted by the Joint Committee.84 The authority of a prosecutor or investigating officer Legislature to create public office. made biased statements that would convey to the public that the Undoubtedly. Thus.89 In equating the alleged bias of the above-named officials Petitioners claim that in creating the Joint Panel. concurrent with the other prosecuting More importantly. duly empowered to preside over or to conduct a preliminary investigation is no Respondents dispute this and contend that the Joint Committee and Fact-Finding less than that of a municipal judge or even an RTC Judge. the basic and fundamental objective of serving the interest of As clearly explained above. therefore. there was no showing that the crimes. and to create a new public office in the guise of a joint committee. the DOJ and the Comelec encroached upon the power of the as a quasi-judicial officer. powerless or mighty. for political ends. but merely collaborations between two existing emphasized by the Court in Ladlad v. we agree with respondents. and the source of Constitutional Commissions as independent. as well as the national and statements allegedly made by them reveals that they were just responding to regional state prosecutors. orderly. and the Rules of Court and not the members were favoring a particular party. to credible enough to conduct a preliminary investigation. inaccurate to say that there is independence to the DOJ and has acceded to share its exercise of judgment and only one body which acted as evidence-gatherer.94 petitioners.up.91 It is specifically empowered to "investigate the commission of crimes. 90 prosecute cases of violation of election laws including acts or omissions It must also be emphasized that Joint Order No. Separation of powers We do not agree. 001-2011 created two bodies. through its duly found by the Joint Committee. in Comelec is concerned. prosecute cases of election offenses. prosecutor and judge. As to the members of the Joint Committee and Fact-Finding Team.wherein the prosecutor or investigating officer. Independence of the Comelec the entire body itself. No new power is given to them by virtue of the assailed Comelec intervened in the conduct of the preliminary investigation or exerted order. they undue pressure on their subordinates to tailor their decision with their public perform such functions that they already perform by virtue of their current declarations and adhere to a pre-determined result. there was no proof or even an allegation that the Joint arms of the government such as the DOJ. orderly. documentary and Department acting through the DOJ Secretary. as correctly pointed out by respondents. wittingly or unwittingly. where appropriate." 92 Also. subversive of.

as simultaneous exercise of power between two coordinate bodies. in the resolution of complaints filed before them. peaceful and credible elections.105 As cogently held by the Court in Department of Justice v. prosecution of election offenses. been utilized as an matter. the Comelec was given the independence to the executive department. and credible elections.98 Fact-Finding Team. It would also conduct preliminary investigation and file the necessary information by virtue only cause undue difficulties to the respondent who would have to appear and defend of a delegated authority. in fact. has long been recognized and. peaceful. who himself may file the information with the proper constitute gross abuse of discretion. approving the creation of the Joint Committee and to appeal to the Comelec. the same justification should be cited to justify There is yet another undesirable consequence. 102We may not information. honest.97 Comelec in accordance with the Comelec Rules of Procedure. the DOJ is likewise not barred from acting jointly with the Comelec. conflicting resolutions regarding the guilt of the respondents. This recommendation is subject to the approval of the state. orderly. In no way can we say that the Comelec has thereby abdicated its offenses. and the use of valuable and limited resources of Government. The investigating prosecutor. 9266. orderly. during the past national and local elections. This delegation of power. and administer the correctional system.A. Apparently. 100 the grant of assumption of jurisdiction by the second office over the cases filed will not be exclusive power to investigate and prosecute cases of election offenses to the allowed. If the prosecutors had been allowed to investigative bodies would promote multiplicity of proceedings. the the Comelec. the prompt resolution of conducting preliminary investigation of election offenses. they now have better grounds to perform such function his position before every agency or body where the same complaint was filed. By virtue of this continuing authority to investigate and prosecute election offenses is to give the Comelec all authority. in a Team is dominated by DOJ officials. agree fully with its choice of means. Under the Joint Order. we find no impediment for the creation of a Finally. court if he finds sufficient cause to do so. Commission on Elections. to the accused’s right Comelec Resolution No. it does not necessarily follow that the duplication of proceedings already started with the Ombudsman. If deputation was justified because of This would lead hapless litigants at a loss as to where to appear and plead their lack of funds and legal officers to ensure prompt and fair investigation and cause or defense. There is the distinct possibility the grant to the other prosecuting arms of the government of such concurrent that the two bodies exercising jurisdiction at the same time would come up with jurisdiction. there is no prohibition on effective means of disposing of various election offense cases. though it acts jointly with the DOJ. prosecution of election offenses. in turn. should be viewed not as an abdication of the constitutional Moreover. 101 The Comelec should be of investigation to any of their assistants. The doctrine of alleged election offenses will not be attained. the Comelec issued body’s independence but as a means to fulfill its duty of ensuring the prompt Resolutions99 requesting the Secretary of Justice to assign prosecutors as investigation and prosecution of election offenses as an adjunct of its mandate of members of Special Task Forces to assist the Comelec in the investigation and ensuring a free. the state prosecutors and the provincial or city prosecutors were the necessary and incidental powers for it to achieve the objective of holding authorized to receive the complaint for election offense and delegate the conduct free. In the discharge of this exclusive power. remains in control of the Comelec had the exclusive authority to investigate and prosecute election proceedings. 9369. Hon. honest. the second investigation would entail an unnecessary expenditure of Joint Committee. and in the filing of initially with one office (such as the Comelec) for preliminary investigation which the informations with the proper court. it is a settled rule that the body or agency that first takes Comelec was not by virtue of the Constitution but by the Omnibus Election Code cognizance of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of the which was eventually amended by Section 43 of R. Thus. but unless these are clearly illegal or provincial or city prosecutor. Indeed. subject. prosecute offenders. was immediately acted upon by said office and the re-filing of substantially the As pointed out by the Court in Barangay Association for National Advancement same complaint with another office (such as the DOJ). otherwise concurrent jurisdiction means equal jurisdiction to deal with the same subject known as deputation. While the composition of the Joint Committee and Fact-Finding public funds. this Court should not interfere. availed of the assistance of other prosecuting arms of The text and intent of the constitutional provision granting the Comelec the the government such as the prosecutors of the DOJ. 107 Comelec is inferior. allowed considerable latitude in devising means and methods that will insure the would make a recommendation either to dismiss the complaint or to file the accomplishment of the great objective for which it was created. 103 Thus. These Special Task Forces were created Although it belongs to the executive department. This shows that Prior to the amendment of Section 265 of the Omnibus Election Code. by virtue of the statutory grant of authority. Otherwise. right to avail and. however. the prosecutors played a vital role in the conduct of preliminary prohibited is the situation where one files a complaint against a respondent investigation. It must be Clearly.104 Contrary to the contention of the petitioners. the Comelec recognizes the need to delegate to the prosecutors the emphasized that the DOJ and the Comelec exercise concurrent jurisdiction in power to conduct preliminary investigation. the DOJ now others. In view of the foregoing disquisition. The subsequent and Transparency (BANAT) Party-List v. in fact.suffrage – the citizenry’s vital weapon in effecting a peaceful change of finding probable cause for election offenses shall still be approved by the government and in achieving and promoting political stability. What is mere deputies. as the agency tasked to because of the need for additional lawyers to handle the investigation and investigate crimes. resolutions of the Joint Committee . prosecution of election offenses. Liwag: 106 conducts preliminary investigation of election offenses concurrently with the To allow the same complaint to be filed successively before two or more Comelec and no longer as mere deputies.

publication of the Rules jointly. pursuant also to a valid delegation. The publication requirement should. petitioners insist that the internal in nature. complaints – the initial report of the Fact-Finding Team and the complaint of The publication requirement covers not only statutes but administrative Senator Pimentel – both complaints were filed with the Joint Committee. Administrative rules and regulations must to maximize the resources and manpower of both the Comelec and the DOJ for also be published if their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law the prompt disposition of the cases. except for such complaints involving offenses mentioned proceedings that took place based on the following additional grounds: (1) the in the Fact-Finding Team’s Final Report". Specifically. It is imperative for it will be the height of work jointly with the DOJ in the conduct of said investigation. need not be published. even if the Joint Committee’s Rules of Procedure is ineffective for In the conduct of preliminary investigation. cases of Radam and Martirizar include several John Does and Jane Does. Ombudsman outlining the authority and responsibilities among prosecutors of While the Comelec conducted the preliminary investigation against Radam. the the filing of the instant petition. The joint preliminary investigation also serves directly conferred by the Constitution.113 GMA outlines the incidents that took place after however. considering that Joint Order No. both offices in the conduct of preliminary investigation. the approval with modification of such resolution by the to the affected parties. there is nothing wrong if the Comelec chooses to the basic requirements of due process. the assailed Joint Martirizar and other unidentified persons. With these supervening events. would show that its provisions affect the public. GMA further assails the validity of the submits its final report. the DOJ is governed by the Rules of lack of publication. or the public in preliminary investigation conducted by the Joint Committee (involving GMA) general. rule of which he had no notice whatsoever. while the Comelec is governed by the 1993 Comelec Rules of Procedure. Neither is publication required creation of the Joint Committee for purposes of conducting another preliminary of the so called letters of instructions issued by administrative superiors investigation. the proceedings undertaken by the Joint Committee are not Court. Although the preliminary investigation was conducted on the basis of two is necessary. they claim that the exercise by the Comelec of its concerning the rules or guidelines to be followed by their subordinates in the jurisdiction to investigate excludes other bodies such as the DOJ and the Joint performance of their duties. it only pertains to election offenses Committee’s Rules of Procedure regulate not only the prosecutors of the DOJ allegedly committed in North and South Cotabato.110 where the Court held that OMB-DOJ Joint Circular No. In her Supplemental Petition. To reiterate. Petitioners add that the As opposed to Honasan II v. The Panel of Investigating Prosecutors of the investigation should have been conducted also by the Comelec as the 2007 Department of Justice. to wit: (1) Section 1 provides that "the Joint Committee will Comelec and the filing of information and the issuance of a warrant of arrest by no longer entertain complaints from the public as soon as the Fact-Finding Team the RTC. Tuvera: 108 effectivity. This is especially true in this case given the magnitude of the crimes powers whenever the same are validly delegated by the legislature or. therefore. and its referral to and . as clearly outlined in Tañada v. More Publication is a necessary component of procedural due process to give as wide importantly.111 The requirement of publication is intended to satisfy offenses as discussed earlier. Comelec and the DOJ to exercise powers which are already vested in them by Validity of the Conduct of the Constitution and other existing laws. rendered null and void for that reason. The Comelec and that a Motion for Reconsideration may be availed of by the aggrieved parties the DOJ themselves agreed that they would exercise their concurrent jurisdiction against the Joint Committee’s Resolution. 001-2011 only enables the Procedure. no need to promulgate new Rules as may be complementary conducted by the Joint Committee pursuant to the procedures laid down in Rule to the DOJ and Comelec Rules. regulating only the personnel of the administrative investigation conducted by the Comelec involving Radam and Martirizar bars the agency and not the public. it need not be published for it to be valid Preliminary Investigation and effective. the and the Comelec but also the conduct and rights of persons.109 Committee from taking cognizance of the case. A close examination of the Joint Committee’s Rules of Procedure. we find no reason to fixed by the legislature. specifically the issuance by the Joint Committee following provisions of the Rules either restrict the rights of or provide remedies of the Joint Resolution. considering the broad power of the Comelec to choose the means of publicity as possible so that all persons having an interest in the proceedings fulfilling its duty of ensuring the prompt investigation and prosecution of election may be notified thereof. allegedly committed by petitioners. in no injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgressions of a law or way can we consider this as an act abdicating the independence of the Comelec. not be ignored. Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and disallow the exercise of concurrent jurisdiction jointly by those given such executive orders promulgated by the President in the exercise of legislative authority. Consequently. therefore. because the preliminary investigation was There is.None of these problems would likely arise in the present case.112 Publication Requirement Nevertheless. (2) Section 2 states that "the Joint undue and unbelievable haste attending the Joint Committee’s conduct of the Committee shall not entertain a Motion to Dismiss". Consequently. Interpretative regulations and those merely Citing the principle of concurrent jurisdiction. the complaints were filed with and the preliminary investigation which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a different effectivity date is was conducted by only one investigative body. its resolution of the case. regulations and issuances. pertains to election offenses supposedly committed in Maguindanao. at present. that is. In short. 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure and the 1993 Comelec Rules of As earlier discussed. and (3) Section 5 provides preliminary investigation. Thus. On the other hand. 95-001 is only an internal arrangement between the DOJ and the Office of the We do not agree.

of the denial of her motion to be furnished copies of documents was not yet acted In her Omnibus Motion Ad Cautelam123 to require Senator Pimentel to furnish her upon by the Joint Committee. abuse of inalienable rights and a blatant disregard of the envisioned integrity and GMA’s ultimate prayer is actually for the court to defer the issuance of the independence of the Comelec. the reliefs sought in the RTC are different from the Committee was for the singular purpose of railroading the proceedings in the reliefs sought in this case. a plain reading of the allegations in GMA’s motion before the RTC received the notice requiring her to submit her counter-affidavit. prosecution of the petitioner and in flagrant violation of her right to due process With respect to the Motion to Vacate Ad Cautelam filed with the Comelec. in order to ask the courts to rule on spells for an individual the difference between months if not years of agonizing the same and related causes and/or to grant the same or substantially the same trial and possibly jail term. and oppressive prosecution. petitioner GMA filed a Supplemental Petition before the Court. and other supporting documents. there is no forum shopping. 114 rule on the validity of the conduct of preliminary investigation. and a Motion to Vacate Ad due process rights such as the right to be furnished a copy of the complaint. allegedly because she could not prepare her counter-affidavit. the Urgent Omnibus Motion Ad A preliminary investigation is held before an accused is placed on trial to secure Cautelam with the RTC. she did not would show that GMA raised the issue of undue haste in issuing the Joint comply. and the right to submit counter- the Joint Committee and the Comelec in disposing of the cases before them.119 the Court explained the nature of petitioners of violating the rule against forum shopping. GMA raised in her documents as basis for the charge of electoral sabotage. (2) as it stands. 122 Admittedly. it was merely incidental. therefore. The right to have a preliminary investigation conducted before being We cannot dismiss the cases before us on the ground of forum shopping. an Urgent In a preliminary investigation. gathered evidence dismissal on the ground of forum shopping. GMA prayed that the . we have characterized the right to a preliminary investigation disposition or increase a party’s chances of obtaining a favorable decision or as not a mere formal or technical right but a substantive one. and at the same time authorized of the due process issues raised by GMA.118 It is worthy to note that the main preliminary investigation based on the complaints they caused to be filed. If at all the constitutional issue of violation of due with documents referred to in his complaint-affidavit and for production of election process was raised. In questioning the propriety of to cast their votes as they admitted to not having yet read the voluminous records the conduct of the preliminary investigation in her Supplemental Petition. GMA raises the common issue of whether or not the proceedings from an open and public accusation of a crime. the Rules of Court guarantee the petitioners basic Omnibus Motion Ad Cautelam before the RTC. either simultaneously or successively. bound for trial and before being exposed to the risk of incarceration and penalty Forum shopping is the act of a party against whom an adverse judgment has is not a mere formal or technical right. while and equal protection of the laws. They contend that in filing preliminary investigation. to protect him Comelec. There is. warrants outright as law enforcers. and anxiety of a public trial. More importantly. While the right is statutory rather supplemental petition are factual which is beyond the power of this Court to than constitutional. considering that respondents have acted supplemental petition which. of seeking another and possibly favorable opinion in accused's claim to a preliminary investigation is to deprive him of the full another forum other than by appeal or the special civil action of certiorari. Thus.117 process in criminal justice. justice. strictly speaking. (4) the issues in the present petitions are the constitutionality of the creation of the Joint Comelec became an instrument of oppression when it hastily approved the Panel and the validity of the proceedings undertaken pursuant thereto for alleged resolution of the Joint Committee even if two of its members were in no position violation of the constitutional right to due process. Respondents likewise claim that the issues raised in the having to conduct useless and expensive trials.120 can also be forum shopping when a party institutes two or more suits in different A preliminary investigation is the crucial sieve in the criminal justice system which courts. no impediment for the Court to petitioner through the creation of the Joint Committee. it is a substantive right.115 respondents accuse In Uy v. and peace of mind and liberty. and the Motion to Vacate Ad Cautelam with the the innocent against hasty. we cannot do so in this case in light and thereafter ordered the filing of complaints. forming part of due action. on the reliefs on the supposition that one or the other court would make a favorable other hand. In their Supplement to the Consolidated Comment. malicious. and (5) flagrant and repeated violations of her right to due process only raises her continuing objection to the exercise of jurisdiction of the Joint at every stage of the proceedings demonstrate a deliberate attempt to single out Committee and the Comelec. who conducted the criminal investigation. GMA of the cases. demonstrate a deliberate and reprehensible pattern of determination of probable cause which is not an issue in the petitions before us. To deny the been rendered in one forum. Yet. Clearly. therefore. considering that her motion for reconsideration she needed to adequately prepare her counter-affidavit. Office of the Ombudsman. GMA However. It is also intended to protect the state from Constitution. She Resolution only in support of her prayer for the trial court to hold in abeyance the claimed that she was not furnished by Senator Pimentel pertinent documents that issuance of the warrant of arrest.approval by the Comelec. the Cautelam before the Comelec. as well as from the trouble. the creation of the Joint warrant of arrest. on the one hand. and other supporting documents in her defense. to wit: the Supplemental Petition before the Court. affidavits. emphasizing the unbelievable haste committed by affidavits. before the Joint Committee and the Comelec are null and void for violating the expenses. taken in conjunction with the statements from the motion with the RTC the finding of probable cause as she sought the judicial Office of the President. (3) the proceedings of the Joint Committee the issues raised therein are substantially similar to the issues in the cannot be considered impartial and fair. Thus. it is a component of due process in administering criminal decide. 116There measure of his right to due process.121 Indeed.

as well as the Informations filed in the respondent such right of examination. Documents which served as basis in the allegations of "Significant evidence submitted by the complainant. he shall recommend the dismissal of the complaint National Board of Canvassers. attaching thereto a copy of the c.133 A preliminary investigation is not the occasion for the full and shall be made available for examination or copying by the respondent at his exhaustive display of the parties’ respective evidence but the presentation only of expense. and these information." evidence submitted by the complainants (Senator Pimentel and the Fact-Finding f. which his claims and eventually works for the benefit of the respondent as these merely reads: are allegations unsupported by independent evidence. Basilan. 8 (c) of this Rule. h. according to GMA." Senator Pimentel manifested that he was adopting all the affidavits attached to i. to wit: Regional Trial Court of Pasay City. the complainants are not obliged to prove their cause beyond complainant which he may not have been furnished and to copy them at his reasonable doubt." respondent therein should be accompanied by a copy of the complaint and the e. copying or photographing at the expense of the requesting a. Documents which served as basis in the allegations of "Significant protested municipalities involved. the complainant may be required to evidence needed to secure the conviction of the accused prior to the filing of specify those which he intends to present against the respondent.130 Therefore. 125 complainants to the Committee. specifically in NBC Case Nos.132 Anyway. 07-157. she was already granted the Kudarat. Otherwise.126 Pimentel III filed before the Commission on Elections against Attys. PSU-11-03190-CR to R-PSU-11-03200-CR. the investigating officer finds no ground b. 07-162. however. during the trial)131 as the evidence submitted before it were considered adequate We do not agree. when GMA was furnished findings specific to the protested municipalities in the Province of Sultan with the documents attached to the Initial Report. (without foreclosing the relevance of other evidence that may later be presented This. 07-161 and 07-163. Documents which served as basis in the allegations of "Significant Team) which she may not have been furnished and to copy them at her expense. denied GMA’s motion which carried with it the to in Senator Pimentel’s complaint but were not submitted to the Joint denial to extend the filing of her counter-affidavit. 07-159. Lilia Section 6 (a). R. shall issue a subpoena to the respondent." which served as bases in the allegations of significant findings specific to the g. Senator Pimentel was findings specific to the protested municipalities in the Province of ordered to furnish petitioners with all the supporting evidence 129 However. emphasize at this point that during the preliminary The respondent shall have the right to examine the evidence submitted by the investigation. he 07-168. Records in the petitions filed by complainant Pimentel before the to continue with the inquiry. GMA also has the right to examine findings specific to the protested municipalities in the Province of Shariff documents but such right of examination is limited only to the documents or Kabunsuan. violates her right to due process of law. Sec. Those were the only documents submitted by the Provinces of South and North Cotabato and Maguindanao. If there are other documents that were referred The Joint Committee.127 findings specific to the protested municipalities in the Province of Lanao Clearly from the above-quoted provisions."124 right to examine as guaranteed by the Comelec Rules of Procedure and the GMA likewise requested the production of election documents used in the Rules on Criminal Procedure. Rule 34 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure also grants the Suan-Radam and Yogie Martirizar. Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure. Documents which served as basis in the allegations of "Significant 2011 denying GMA’s Omnibus Motion Ad Cautelam. If the evidence is voluminous.128 As stated in the Joint Committee’s Order dated November 15. Documents which served as basis in the allegations of "Significant supporting affidavits and documents. 6. the failure of the complainant to GMA’s insistence of her right to be furnished the above-enumerated documents submit documents supporting his allegations in the complaint may only weaken is based on Section 3 (b). affidavits and other supporting evidence. the latter considered those documents unnecessary at that point submitted for resolution sans GMA’s and the other petitioners’ counter-affidavits. Branch 114 in Criminal Case Nos. such evidence as may engender a well-grounded belief that an offense has been . Complaint-affidavit and other relevant documents of Senator Aquilino party. the subpoena issued against del Norte. affidavits and other supporting documents giving said respondent ten findings specific to the protested municipalities in the Province of (10) days from receipt within which to submit counter-affidavits and other Maguindanao. however.Joint Committee issue an Order directing the Fact-Finding Team and Senator Objects as evidence need not be furnished a party but shall be made available Pimentel to furnish her with copies of the following documents: for examination. Documents which served as basis in the allegations of "Significant complaint. (b) x x x We must. Documents which served as basis in the allegations of "Significant the Fact-Finding Team’s Initial Report. there were no annexes or attachments to the findings specific to the protested municipalities in the Province of Sulu." supporting documents." complaint filed. It would be unfair to expect them to present the entire expense. – (a) If on the basis of the complaint. findings specific to the protested municipalities in the Province of Lanao While it is true that Senator Pimentel referred to certain election documents del Sur. and shall follow the procedure prescribed in Sec. to find probable cause against her. The respondent shall have the right to examine all other d. Conduct of preliminary investigation. Consequently. the cases were Committee.

included only to highlight the necessity of examining the election documents including civil and administrative cases. the society’s representatives are the ones who should protect that interest. As the . Diokno. petitioners were given the Informations had already been filed against petitioners.141 arraigned and entered a plea of "not guilty" to the charge against her and In the landmark cases of Cojuangco. there was incumbent upon the Joint Committee to afford her ample time to examine the nothing to incriminate petitioners therein. there was serious doubt on the reported death of the Indeed. Presidential Commission on Good thereafter filed a Motion for Bail which has been granted. endorsing the Joint Resolution to the Comelec for furnished with and examine the documents referred to in Senator Pimentel’s approval. except Mike Arroyo. file the information as it did not possess the cold neutrality of With the denial of GMA’s motion to be furnished with and examine the documents an impartial judge.136 Any party to a case has the right to demand on all since GMA failed to submit her counter-affidavit and other countervailing officials tasked with the administration of justice to expedite its evidence within the period required by the Joint Committee. abeyance the proceedings upon such information and to remand the case for the Finally. and in all proceedings. on Criminal Procedure and the Comelec Rules of Procedure. consequently. the actions of the and set aside the informations and warrants of arrest.and based on the evidence submitted. As can be gleaned from their assignment of errors/issues.140 The proper course of action that should be taken is to hold in cases. Consequently. however. considering the nature of the crime for which GMA was subjected to victim in that case since the corpus delicti had not been established nor had his preliminary investigation and the documents attached to the complaint. performed its task and filed the information in court. However. Dismissal is not the petitioners were given the opportunity to be heard. however.139 Neither is it a ground to quash the information or nullify the order of participated in the proceedings and in fact filed several motions before the Joint arrest issued against the accused or justify the release of the accused from Committee. we cannot reach the same documents submitted to the Joint Committee in order that she would be able to conclusion because the Information filed before the RTC of Pasay City was filed prepare her counter-affidavit. At any rate. It was only in GMA’s memorandum where she belatedly Constitution which states that "all persons shall have the right to a speedy included a discussion on the "insufficiency" of the evidence supporting the finding disposition of their cases before all judicial. In Cojuangco. petitioners’ right to submit counter-affidavit and other countervailing evidence if she still opts to. we Joint Committee and Fact-Finding Team are valid and effective. Taking into account the constitutional right back the progress of the case which is anathema to the accused’s right to speedy to speedy disposition of cases and following the procedures set forth in the Rules disposition of cases. Instead of complying with the would only compel us to suspend the proceedings in the RTC and remand the Joint Committee’s directive. including judicial GMA requested to see before she could file her counter-affidavit. Article III of the supplemental petitions.137 Society has a particular interest in bringing swift prosecutions. we cannot excuse disposition.146 To be sure. to do so would hold countervailing evidence was forfeited. several motions were filed but were denied by the case to the Joint Committee so that GMA could submit her counter-affidavit and Joint Committee. Jr. In Allado.143 we dismissed the criminal cases constitutionality of the creation of the Joint Panel is sustained. For one. 2012. and in filing the information in court. Nor does it impair the validity of The latter. probable cause. we set aside the warrant of arrest issued against referred to in Senator Pimentel’s complaint." The constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases is not limited to her. and her from non-compliance. She cannot. in turn. insist to examine documents by the Comelec en banc which had the authority to file the information for not in the possession and custody of the Joint Committee nor submitted by the electoral sabotage and because the presence or absence of probable cause is complainants. quasi-judicial. the Joint It is well settled that the absence or irregularity of preliminary investigation does Committee finally reached its conclusion and referred the case to the Comelec. not affect the court’s jurisdiction over the case.committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof and should be held for dismissed the criminal case because the information was filed by the PCGG trial. we take judicial notice that on February 23. Indeed.134 Precisely there is a trial to allow the reception of evidence for the which we declared to be unauthorized to conduct the preliminary investigation prosecution in support of the charge. GMA was already conduct of preliminary investigation.135 and. or administrative of probable cause for the filing of the Information for electoral sabotage against bodies. it might cause undue and unnecessary delay in the not an issue herein. This opportunity to present countervailing evidence. considering that peculiar circumstances of each case. 145 The orderly administration such irregularity would not divest the RTC of jurisdiction over the case and would of justice remains the paramount consideration with particular regard to the not nullify the warrant of arrest issued in connection therewith. Considering that the Government (PCGG)142 and Allado v. the criminal information or render it defective. v. 138 There might have been overzealousness on the part of the Joint Committee in Even assuming for the sake of argument that the denial of GMA’s motion to be terminating the investigation. This undue delay might result in the violation of the right petitioners did not question the finding of probable cause in any of their to a speedy disposition of cases as enshrined in Section 16. Consistent with the constitutional mandate of speedy disposition of detention. They even actively remedy. attributed to an injudicious performance of functions. In this case. unnecessary delays should be avoided. speed in the conduct of complaint carried with it the denial to extend the filing of her counter-affidavit and proceedings by a judicial or quasi-judicial officer cannot per se be instantly other countervailing evidence rendering the preliminary investigation irregular. However. Otherwise. disposition of the cases. GMA’s motion to extend the filing of petitioners therein and enjoined the trial court from proceeding further for lack of her counter-affidavit and countervailing evidence was consequently denied. would show that they were the accused in criminal proceedings but extends to all parties in all cases.144 A closer look at her arguments. it is remains been recovered. and quasi-judicial hearings.

matter of conscience and sound discretion on the part of the Commissioner judge First. the absence or irregularity of preliminary investigation does controversy arose at the time when the public confidence in the Comelec was not affect the court’s jurisdiction over the case nor does it impair the validity of the practically nil because of its transparent bias in favor of the criminal information or render it defective. the due process clause is likewise not infringed upon by the alleged noble role to dispense justice according to law and evidence without fear or prejudgment of the case as petitioners failed to prove that the Joint Panel itself favor. the cited case involves the Comelec’s exercise of its adjudicatory the part of GMA of her right to submit counter-affidavit and countervailing function as it was called upon to resolve the propriety of the proclamation of the evidence before the Joint Committee. Her act indicates that she opts to avail of judicial grounds for inhibition/disqualification were applicable. we consider said entry of plea and the Petition for Bail waiver on case. while GMA and Mike Arroyo were among those subjected to preliminary based on his or her rational and logical assessment of the case. who does not appear to be wholly free. at that time. that this supervening event does not render the the Comelec. it is to the and void. investigation. in view of higher interest of justice. is not applicable in this sustained. convincing evidence to overcome the presumption that a judge will undertake his Second. petitioners are the constitutionality of the creation of the Joint Committee and the Pacificador. 9266 was validly issued by the Comelec as a means to fulfill its . To be sure. Chairman Brillantes’ relationship with FPJ credibility of the Commission is not seriously affected. First. The relationship between Comelec Chairman Brillantes on one hand and the Commissioners have already taken their positions in light of the claim of "bias complainant Senator Pimentel and Fernando Poe.152 In other words. in Javier v. in determining the propriety of the decision rendered by It must be stressed. At its most expansive. the assailed Joint Order did not create new offices because the Joint in handling the case. we find and so hold that petitioners failed to establish any of a Commissioner. GMA’s rival in the and partiality" and the causes of their partial inhibition. decided the case was a law partner of Javier’s opponent and who had refused to Resolution No. its validity is excuse himself from hearing the case.149 It being discretionary and since Commissioner Brillantes was in the best showed such bias and partiality against them. impartial. and independent Third. Second. and the Rules of Court. Neither was it shown that the position to determine whether or not there was a need to inhibit from the case. disinterested. and then Comelec Commissioner Jaime Opinion (Commissioner Fact-Finding Team and the validity of the proceedings undertaken pursuant to Opinion) but also the general attitude of the Comelec toward the party in power their respective mandates. the Comelec cannot be considered to have against Javier when it was disclosed that one of the Commissioners who had abdicated its independence in favor of the executive branch of government. 148 Bare investigation. the information against her.150 by virtue of the Constitution. equity and public interest. however. public confidence in the Comelec remains. in acting jointly with the DOJ. thus. however. Thus. they had the end in view of ensuring that the for their partial inhibition. and by the other Commissioners’ 147 reasons respected confident that in doing so. administration. Clearly. not all respondents therein were linked to GMA. this right must be weighed with his duty to decide cases Committee and Fact-Finding Team perform functions that they already perform without fear of repression. on the other hand. While a party has the right to the perceived prejudgment of Chairman Brillantes as head of the Comelec seek the inhibition or disqualification of a judge (or prosecutor or Commissioner) cannot be considered an act of the body itself. The Court thus concluded in Javier that Commissioner the cases of the other respondents subjects of the preliminary investigation as Opinion’s refusal to inhibit himself divested the Comelec’s Second Division of the some of them were subjected to further investigation. the questioned Comelec decision was rendered only by a The Court notes that the Joint Committee and the Comelec have not disposed of division of the Comelec. Joint Order allegations of bias and prejudice are not enough in the absence of clear and No. Unlike in 1986.154 best interest of all the parties concerned that the Joint Committee and the On the contrary. should be respected.151 the Court set aside the Comelec’s decision Fourth. it may be considered a ground for constitutional or legal impediment to the creation of the Joint DOJ-Comelec voluntary inhibition which is indeed discretionary as the same was primarily a Preliminary Investigation Committee and Fact-Finding Team. Their positions should be 2004 elections.1âwphi1 Indeed. Jr. Moreover. Comelec. 001-2011 does not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. and Senator Pimentel is not one of the grounds for the mandatory disqualification To recapitulate. the as discussed earlier. Arturo F. scorned through the confabulation of those in authority. the statutes. Besides. and recognition of the validity of the winner in the May 1984 elections for Batasang Pambansa of Antique. Javier. the Court took into consideration not only the relationship (being cases before the Court moot and academic as the main issues raised by former partners in the law firm) between private respondents therein. where all the Commissioners participated and more than a majority (even if A peripheral issue which nonetheless deserves our attention is the question Chairman Brillantes is excluded) voted in favor of the assailed Comelec about the credibility of the Comelec brought about by the alleged professional resolution. considering that the Comelec is a collegial body.information was filed by the Commission authorized to do so.153Lastly. More importantly. In order to remove the necessary vote for the questioned decision and rendered the proceedings null cloud of doubt that pervades that petitioners are being singled out. (FPJ). the case arose at remedies instead of the executive remedy of going back to the Joint Committee the time where the purity of suffrage has been defiled and the popular will for the submission of the counter-affidavit and countervailing evidence. Justice Secretary herself actually intervened in the conduct of the preliminary his decision to participate in the proceedings. the present case involves only the conduct of preliminary Comelec terminate the proceedings as to the other respondents therein and not investigation and the questioned resolution is an act of the Comelec En Banc make a piecemeal disposition of the cases.

SR. Respondents. 001-2011 dated August 15. 2013 of Justice (DOJ). They were furnished a BRILLANTES. proceedings before the Joint Committee nor excuse them from their failure to file in their capacity as CHAIRPERSON AND MEMBERS. and DOJ-COMELEC the criminal cases for electoral sabotage against petitioners GMA and Abalos are pending. been conducted in accordance with Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. copy of the complaint. investigate and prosecute cases of violations of election laws. FORTES AND MICHAEL D. 199085 investigation of all election offenses. credible elections. RESPECTIVELY. 2011. 001-2011. JOINT DOJ-COMELEC PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION Let the proceedings in the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City. As to petitioners Mike Arroyo and Abalos. ANG. In Barangay DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. are declared VALID. Election Law. Joint x-----------------------x Order No. JACINTO G. Branch 112. JR. VELASCO. we find no reason to nullify the proceedings undertaken by the Joint Committee and the THE JOINT DOJ-COMELEC PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE Comelec in the electoral sabotage cases against petitioners. ROMEO B.A. Consequently. Commission on Elections (COMELEC). ARMANDO V. While recognizing the Comelec’s exclusive power to investigate and . and other supporting documents submitted SARMIENTO. and the Fact-Finding Team’s Initial Report dated October 20. SIXTO S. the Rules of G.. Jr.R. represented by Secretary Leila investigation is hereby declared VALID. and Rule 34 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. No. LUCENITO N. the Comelec and other prosecuting arms of the government. SO ORDERED. ARELLANO. With the foregoing disquisitions. the conduct of the preliminary Brillantes. premises considered. JR. LEILA DE LIMA. such as the Department G. ARROYO. GEORGE pendency of the cases before the Court does not automatically suspend the C. the constitutionality of Section SIXTO BRILLANTES. HON.R. DEE. 2011. 2011. CLARO A. This is especially true after R. No.. 595 SCRA 477 (2009). and the JOINT DOJ-COMELEC PRELIMINARY an adjunct of its mandate of ensuring a free. HON. Commission on Elections. TAGLE. petitioners were given the opportunity to be heard. LAGMAN. Comelec Resolution No. in his capacity as Chairperson of the Commission 43 of RA 9369 had already been raised by petitioners therein and addressed by the Court. we declare the Joint BENJAMIN S. CHRISTIAN ROBERT S.. the petitions and supplemental petitions are DISMISSED. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. 199118 Procedure on the Conduct of Preliminary Investigation on the Alleged Election Fraud in the 2004 and 2007 National Elections is declared INEFFECTIVE for lack of publication. confronted with the issue of whether the Comelec has the exclusive power to vs. and INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE and FACT-FINDING TEAM. SENATOR AQUILINO M. the affidavits. 1993 Comelec Rules of Procedure govern. in capacity as Secretary of Justice. LIM AND AUGUSTO C. to the Joint Committee and they were required to submit their counter-affidavit YUSOPH.. the capacity as COMELEC COMMISSIONERS. ON THE 2004 AND 2007 ELECTION FRAUD. ABALOS. LIMA. The role of the DOJ in the conduct of preliminary investigation of election offenses has long been recognized by the Comelec because of its x-----------------------x lack of funds and legal officers to conduct investigations and to prosecute such cases on its own. RENE V. 9369 vested in the Comelec and the DOJ the concurrent jurisdiction to conduct preliminary G. While we uphold the validity of Comelec Resolution No. VILLARET. Petitioner. Under the present law. requirement. 9266 dated August 2. proceed with dispatch. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. ELIAS R. M. Committee’s Rules of Procedure infirm for failure to comply with the publication vs. 199082 July 23. WHEREFORE. peaceful.R. In view of the constitutionality of the Joint Panel and the proceedings having vs. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO. Respondents. Fifth. orderly. De Lima. in her capacity as Secretary of the Department of Justice. No. 9266 and Joint Order No. Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure and the HON. now exercise concurrent jurisdiction in the investigation and prosecution of election offenses. No. Respondents. PIMENTEL III. Petitioner. where COMMITTEE. Petitioner.—This is not the first time that the Court is JOSE MIGUEL T. LEILA DE Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) Party-List v. However.duty of ensuring the prompt investigation and prosecution of election offenses as on Elections. HON. in their and countervailing evidence. FACT FINDING TEAM. in his capacity as COMELEC Chairperson. represented by Chairperson Sixto S. honest. OF the required counter-affidavits.

Procedure and Rule 34 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. giving the Comelec and other prosecuting arms of the or evidence submitted by complainants which she may not have been furnished government the concurrent jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election and to copy them at her expense. including Joint Order No. 3467 was issued when Section 265 of his witnesses and other supporting documents relied upon for his defense..—The procedure in Same. were issued pursuant to Section 43 of RA 9369 amending Section 265 of other rule. This exclusivity is thus a legislative enactment that can very that we cannot consider the creation of the Joint Committee as an abdication of well be amended by Section 43 of RA 9369. In Comelec Same. the investigatory and prosecutory functions of the Comelec-DOJ Task Force. Preliminary Investigation. with the complaint and supporting well as Comelec Resolution Nos. the Comelec compelling justification for the non-observance of the mandatory rules. Dissenting Opinion: cause for election offenses shall still be approved by the Comelec in accordance Election Law. The Rules use the term “shall” in requiring the respondent to Resolution No. As in any 2011. underscores the mandatory character of the rule. Joint Order whereby the resolutions of the Joint Committee finding probable BRION. the Comelec’s independence enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. Same. though. such as the DOJ. Same. In the 2008 Revised Manual for Prosecutors. but such right of examination is limited only to the documents of Section 43 of RA 9369. liberality in the investigatory and prosecutory functions of the task force pursuant to the mandate application may be allowed provided that the party is able to present a of the Omnibus Election Code. word of command. The procedure in conducting the preliminary now exercise concurrent jurisdiction in the investigation and prosecution of investigation is governed by Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal election offenses. therefore. what it provides is a shared responsibility between the COMELEC . investigating government as mere deputies despite the amendment would mean challenging prosecutors allow or grant motions or requests for extension of time to submit Section 43 of RA 9369 anew which has already been settled in Banat. that the later resolutions. the Comelec and the research on novel. the respondent shall submit his counter-affidavit and that of is noteworthy that Comelec Resolution No.—Notwithstanding the grant of concurrent scheme whereby the COMELEC exercises its power to conduct preliminary jurisdiction. To be counter-affidavits when the interest of justice demands that respondent be given sure. though.—It Under both Rules. the Comelec and the DOJ nevertheless included a provision in the investigation and prosecute election offenses independently of other branches of assailed Joint Order whereby the resolutions of the Joint Committee finding government. were issued during the effectivity examine evidence. Notwithstanding the grant of concurrent jurisdiction. complicated or technical questions or issues of law and facts Department of Justice (DOJ) nevertheless included a provision in the assailed of the case. However.—Neither likewise changed the tenor of the later resolutions to reflect the new mandate of was GMA’s right violated when her motion for extension of time within which to the Comelec and other prosecuting arms of the government now exercising submit her counter-affidavit and countervailing evidence was consequently concurrent jurisdiction. Thus. the Court pointed out that the framers of the 1987 Constitution did not accordance with the Comelec Rules of Procedure. liberality in the application may be allowed provided that the BP 881 which was declared “constitutional” in Banat. respondent is given the right to decision but missed out by GMA in her motion. the creation of a Joint Committee is not repugnant to the concept of reasonable time or sufficient opportunity to engage the services of counsel. As in any other rule. View that what exists under Joint Order No. with the amendment. 8733 and 9057 mentioned in the assailed affidavits and documents. the Comelec Law Department and the Office of the denied. Therefore. 001. The Comelec Law Department and the Office of the Chief State conducting the preliminary investigation is governed by Rule 112 of the Revised Prosecutor of the Department of Justice (DOJ) were tasked to jointly supervise Rules on Criminal Procedure and Rule 34 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. therefore. while Joint Order No. have such intention. With more reason. within the Omnibus Election Code was still effective. To maintain the previous role of other prosecuting arms of the mandatory rules. examine voluminous records submitted in support of the complaint or undertake Same. This amendment paved the way for the discrepancy. “concurrent jurisdiction” authorized by the amendatory law. Also in both Rules. 001-2011 is not a with the Comelec Rules of Procedure. receipt of the subpoena. under the present law. offenses. It is settled that the use of the word “shall” which is a Considering. the Comelec maintained the continuing deputation of submit counter-affidavit and other countervailing evidence within ten (10) days prosecutors and the Comelec Law Department was tasked to supervise the from receipt of the subpoena. 3467. J.prosecute cases under Batas Pambansa Bilang 881 or the Omnibus Election probable cause for election offenses shall still be approved by the Comelec in Code. there is no reason for us to party is able to present a compelling justification for the non-observance of the declare otherwise. the Comelec and other prosecuting arms of the government. 001-2011 as ten (10) days from receipt of the subpoena. The Rules use the term “shall” in requiring the respondent to submit Chief State Prosecutor of the DOJ were tasked to jointly supervise the counter-affidavit and other countervailing evidence within ten (10) days from investigatory and prosecutory functions of the Comelec-DOJ Task Force.

if not exclusive. the manipulation cases. as well as the haste the petitioners pointed out. the joint or injury that can be caused to our electoral system by opening the COMELEC to shared arrangement directly goes against the rationale that justifies the grant of Executive intrusion. together with my above conclusion. 2012 Decision3 dismissing their petitions and supplemental and prosecution of election offenses is circumscribed by the Constitutional petitions against respondents Commission on Elections (Comelec). has the primary. J. No. 001-2011.—I also cannot accept the ponencia’s strained reasoning that the creation of the On August 15. that what exists under Joint Order No. authority to In its Initial Report5 dated October 20. No. Same. et al. 001-2011 is not a COMELEC of its constitutionally-granted independence. The Fact-Finding Team. independence to the COMELEC — to insulate it. View that in order for the COMELEC’s action in the present case to be For a better perspective. Joint DOJ-Comelec Preliminary Investigation Committee (Joint muster is the practice of delegation of authority by the COMELEC. Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 2011. The Joint Committee was mandated to conduct the constitutionally objectionable arrangement of a shared responsibility between the necessary preliminary investigation on the basis of the evidence gathered and COMELEC and the DOJ is not saved by the existence of Section 2 of Joint Order the charges recommended by the Fact-Finding Team. from political pressures and partisan politics. In my view. I take into account.R. was created for the purpose of gathering real. the extent of from the standpoint of efficiency it might be. 199082 praying that the Court take a second look at concurrent jurisdiction between the COMELEC and the DOJ in the investigation our September 18. not scheme whereby the COMELEC exercises its power to conduct preliminary the Joint DOJ-COMELEC Committee. 001-2011. particularly its role in the country’s electoral exercise. the provisions guaranteeing the COMELEC’s independence as a Constitutional Department of Justice (DOJ). View that this concurrent jurisdiction between the COMELEC and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the investigation and prosecution of election RESOLUTION offenses is circumscribed by the Constitutional provisions guaranteeing the COMELEC’s independence as a Constitutional Commission. 2007 senatorial elections in the . Pimentel III (Senator Commission.—I take exception to PERALTA.: the ponencia’s conclusion that the creation of the Joint DOJ-COMELEC Committee is not repugnant to the concurrent jurisdiction conferred to the For resolution are the separate motions for reconsideration filed by movants COMELEC and other prosecutorial agencies of government (such as the DOJ) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA)1 in G.—I reiterate. View that the COMELEC. authority investigation and prosecute election offenses independently of other branches of to conduct preliminary investigation of election cases. To my mind. In order for the COMELEC’s action in the present case to be the other hand. it must still be shown that the COMELEC’s determination of testimonial evidence which can be utilized in the preliminary investigation to be probable cause was free from any attendant participation by the Executive. conducted by the Joint Committee. which has long been upheld by the Court. and constitutionally valid. however practical Dissent. DOJ-COMELEC Committee constitutes an unconstitutional abdication by the if only for emphasis. Arroyo under Section 42 of Republic Act No. to wit: probable cause was free from any attendant participation by the Executive. documentary. 2011. 001-2011 Joint Committee does not undermine the independence of the COMELEC creating and constituting a Joint Committee and Fact-Finding Team (referred to because the determination of probable cause ultimately pertains to the as Joint Panel) on the 2004 and 2007 National Elections electoral fraud and COMELEC under Section 2 of Joint Order No. and the creation of the government. otherwise Committee) and DOJ-Comelec Fact-Finding Team (Fact-Finding Team). the Fact-Finding Team concluded conduct preliminary investigation of election cases. The result cannot but be an the COMELEC of its constitutionally-granted independence.—The COMELEC. 9369. on No. In arriving at this arrangement that the Constitution and the law cannot allow. 199118 and Jose Miguel T. on August 23. the Comelec and the DOJ issued Joint Order No. Pursuant to Section 7 4 of the Joint Order. Same. has the primary. not the Joint DOJ-COMELEC Committee. I reiterate the view that this (Mike Arroyo )2 in G. the only arrangement that can pass constitutional Pimentel). the Joint Committee promulgated its Rules of Procedure. 2011. To stress the obvious. known as deputation. and the creation of the Joint that manipulation of the results in the May 14. what it provides is a shared responsibility between the COMELEC Joint DOJ-COMELEC Committee constitutes an unconstitutional abdication by and the Executive Branch through the DOJ. if not exclusive.and the Executive Branch through the Department of Justice (DOJ). we briefly state the relevant factual and procedural constitutionally valid. Same.R. it must still be shown that the COMELEC’s determination of antecedents as found by the Court in the assailed decision. Senator Aquilino M.

The case was docketed as DOJ-Comelec Case No. 8 The filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC). 22 The case Electoral Sabotage against petitioners and twelve others. subsequently. that an petitioner Benjamin S. 001-2011 and 002-2011. 2011. pursuant to the above Resolution. which was later indorsed to the Comelec. filed a motion for In view of the constitutionality of the Joint Panel and the proceedings having reconsideration. the the same day. 2011.13 The petitions were eventually consolidated. results in North and South Cotabato. Sr. the Court rendered the assailed Decision. petitioner GMA. In an Order18 dated November 15. 2011. She.19 been conducted in accordance with Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure and Rule 34 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. the Rules of Proceedings (Ex Abundante Ad Cautelam). Joint counter-affidavit within ten (10) days from receipt of the requested Order No. 2011. 2011. GMA filed with the RTC an Urgent Omnibus Motion Ad petitioners in DOJ-Comelec Case Nos.. for violation of Section 42(b)(3) of Republic Act (RA) No. the Joint Committee promulgated a Joint Resolution investigation is hereby declared VALID. that subject to modifications. the Joint Committee issued two subpoenas against On November 18. which was served on GMA on the same day. Mike Arroyo filed a Motion to Defer Proceedings 14 before the Joint Committee. while the investigation for electoral sabotage for conspiring to manipulate the election charges against Mike Arroyo be dismissed for insufficiency of evidence. 2011. filed with the Comelec a Motion to Vacate Ad Cautelam 25 praying that its Resolution be vacated for being null and void. RPSY-11-04432-CR. among others. 9369. (Abalos) be subjected to preliminary information for electoral sabotage be filed against GMA and Abalos. the Comelec’s Law Department Maguindanao. the conduct of the preliminary On November 16.Finding Team’s Initial documents. for some time. Comelec Resolution No. among others.6 The Fact-Finding Team recommended. and several John Does was raffled to Branch 112 and the corresponding Warrant of Arrest was issued and Jane Does. GMA prayed that she be allowed to file her are DISMISSED. Senator Pimentel filed a ComplaintAffidavit 9 for (b) of RA 6646. premises considered. petitioners.provinces of North and South Cotabato. 2011. The Comelec resolved. and Atty. 001-2011. However. 2011. filed a Motion to Suspend Report dated October 20. she is again on hospital arrest by virtue of a warrant issued in another criminal case. 2012. 9266 dated August 2. in view of the pendency of his petition before the Court. Governor Andal Ampatuan.12 likewise.16 Petitioner Abalos. the Joint Committee denied the aforesaid motions of petitioners. Pasay City. petitioners filed before the Court separate Petitions for Certiorari and Warrant for her arrest which was duly served. on October 17.17 in view of the pendency of his Procedure on the Conduct of Preliminary Investigation on the Alleged Election petition brought before the Court. Bedol. docketed as Criminal Case No. GMA was later arraigned and she Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) entered a plea of "not guilty.20 On November 18. The RTC. through counsel. GMA. for his part. that Mike Arroyo be subjected to further investigation. 10 On November Cautelam24 with leave to allow the Joint Committee to resolve the motion for 3. the Comelec . 14. Sr. on hospital arrest but was and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction assailing the creation of the Joint able to obtain temporary liberty when her motion for bail was granted. 002-2011. and to proceed to judicial determination of probable cause. On On September 18. the petitions and supplemental petitions for the charge of electoral sabotage. 2011. appeared before the Joint Committee 11 and reconsideration filed by GMA. Abalos. Fraud in the 2004 and 2007 National Elections is declared INEFFECTIVE for lack of publication. amending Section 27 Meanwhile. 001-2011 dated August 15. and the Fact.23 On October 24. are declared VALID. issued a Thereafter. Lintang H. an Information against case was docketed as DOJ-Comelec Case No. and Maguindanao was indeed en banc issued a Resolution21 approving and adopting the Joint Resolution perpetrated. 2011. At present.7 and. that GMA and Abalos be subjected to another preliminary investigation for manipulating the election results in On even date. nonetheless. 2011. 2011. to defer issuance of a warrant of arrest and a hold respondents therein were ordered to submit their Counter-Affidavits by November departure order. On November 14. GMA filed before the Joint Committee an Omnibus Motion Ad dispositive portion of which reads: Cautelam15 to require Senator Pimentel to furnish her with documents referred to in his complaint-affidavit and for the production of election documents as basis WHEREFORE. Panel." She was.

However. Commission on Elections. such as the DOJ. 33 Finding Team on the 2004 and 2007 National Elections electoral fraud and manipulation cases. creating and constituting a Joint Committee and Fact- if not exclusive. consider GMA’s claim of availing of the remedial measures as "delaying tactics" employed to thwart the investigation of SO ORDERED. GMA seemed to miss the date when these two In their Consolidated Comment. This exclusivity is thus a countervailing evidence. GMA claims that in availing of the procedural remedies available.30 and Transparency (BANAT) Party-List v. movants raise issues that have been thoroughly explained by the Court in the assailed decision.29 Finally. thus. authority to conduct preliminary investigation of election cases. It is noteworthy that Comelec Committee and argue that it does not undermine the independence of the Resolution No. consequently.36 They. the Court pointed out that the framers she either waived or forfeited her right to submit her counter-affidavit and of the 1987 Constitution did not have such intention.28 end to the questions attached to the creation of the Joint Panel and. if only to address the motions of the movants herein and to put an Comelec.37 Hence.31 Citing several cases decided by the Court.26 charges against her by the Joint Committee. we find no reason to basis in nullifying the subject joint DOJ-Comelec resolutions. 38 the constitutionality of Section 4339 of RA 936940 had already been raised by For her part.35 As to the conduct of the preliminary investigation. as aptly pointed out by GMA. maintains that it is the Comelec and not the Joint Committee that has the primary. While recognizing the Comelec’s she merely exercised her earnest efforts to defend herself and should not have exclusive power to investigate and prosecute cases under Batas Pambansa been deemed by the Court as acts which purportedly tend to demonstrate that Bilang 881 or the Omnibus Election Code. under the present law. 2011. In Barangay Association for National Advancement the government. the Comelec and other prosecuting arms of the which to submit her counter-affidavit and countervailing evidence. now exercise concurrent jurisdiction in the highlights that the subject Comelec Resolution creating the Joint Panel is investigation and prosecution of election offenses. different from the previous Comelec resolutions requesting the DOJ Secretary to assign prosecutors to assist the Comelec. Mike Arroyo claims that the proceedings involving the electoral Comelec has the exclusive power to investigate and prosecute cases of sabotage case were rushed because of pressures from the executive branch of violations of election laws. 873342 and 905743 mentioned in the assailed decision but missed .Let the proceedings in the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City. 001-2011. 2001 and Joint Order No. The Court’s Ruling Issues Clearly from the above discussion. Echoing Justice disturb the Court’s conclusions. these motions for reconsideration. while Joint Order No. countervailing evidence. where respondents maintain that no rights were violated as GMA was afforded the the criminal cases for electoral sabotage against petitioners GMA and Abalos are opportunity to defend herself. Arturo Brion in his Dissenting and Concurring Opinion. She Resolution No. proceed with dispatch. as the latter emphasize the role of the Indeed. dated August 15. to the performance of their assigned tasks. The issues were all Mike Arroyo reiterates his arguments on the independence of the Comelec as addressed and the explanation was exhaustive. petitioners therein and addressed by the Court. Branch 112.27 Mike Arroyo insists that the creation of the Joint Panel undermines the decisional independence of the At any rate. submit her counter-affidavit and other pending. 346741 dated January 12. as has been repeatedly pointed out in his earlier pleadings This is not the first time that the Court is confronted with the issue of whether the before the Court. we hereby reiterate our Mike Arroyo also maintains that the DOJ should conduct preliminary investigation findings and conclusions made in the assailed decision. 32 GMA government. Resolution Nos. likewise faults the Court in not upholding her right to ask for additional time within Therefore.34 respondents defend the creation of the Joint resolutions were promulgated by the Comelec. she legislative enactment that can very well be amended by Section 43 of RA 9369. there is a discrepancy between Comelec DOJ as deputized agency in the conduct of preliminary investigation. 3467 was issued when Section 265 of the Omnibus Election Comelec as a constitutional body because it is still the Comelec that ultimately Code was still effective. thus. 001-2011 as well as Comelec determines probable cause. only when deputized by the Comelec but not exercise concurrent jurisdiction.

2012 Decision: 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure and Rule 34 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. the Comelec Law Department and the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor of the Notwithstanding the grant of concurrent jurisdiction. were issued pursuant to Section shall still be approved by the Comelec in accordance with the Comelec Rules of 43 of RA 9369 amending Section 265 of BP 881 which was declared Procedure. 48 substantially the same complaint with another office (such as the DOJ). there were no annexes or attachments to the None of these problems would likely arise in the present case. within ten (10) days from receipt of the subpoena. the creation of a Joint Committee is not repugnant to the concept of "concurrent jurisdiction" authorized by the amendatory law. including Joint Order No. the complaints were filed with and the preliminary investigation amendment paved the way for the discrepancy. Finally. This Consequently. were issued during the effectivity of Section 43 of RA complaints – the initial report of the Fact-Finding Team and the complaint of 9369. that the later resolutions of the Joint Committee finding probable cause for election offenses resolutions. Under both Rules. concurrent jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election offenses. The Comelec and complaint filed.47Also in both Rules. we focus on the validity of the preliminary investigation conducted by the Joint Committee. therefore. that we cannot consider the creation of "constitutional" in Banat. the Comelec and the DOJ DOJ were tasked to jointly supervise the investigatory and prosecutory functions nevertheless included a provision in the assailed Joint Order whereby the of the Comelec-DOJ Task Force.out by GMA in her motion.45 With more reason. Senator Pimentel was jointly. As stated in the Joint Committee’s Order dated November 15. As we explained in The procedure in conducting the preliminary investigation is governed by Rule our September 18. giving the Comelec and other prosecuting arms of the government the Senator Pimentel – both complaints were filed with the Joint Committee. In Comelec Resolution No. Contrary to the contention of the petitioners. Indeed. 001-2011. but such right of examination is limited only respondent initially with one office (such as the Comelec) for preliminary to the documents or evidence submitted by complainants which she may not investigation which was immediately acted upon by said office and the re-filing of have been furnished and to copy them at her expense. there is no his defense. respondent is What is prohibited is the situation where one files a complaint against a given the right to examine evidence. The joint preliminary investigation also serves Election Code. with the complaint prohibition on simultaneous exercise of power between two coordinate bodies.44 prosecuting arms of the government now exercising concurrent jurisdiction. with the amendment. The subsequent assumption of jurisdiction by the second office over the cases filed As to the alleged denial of GMA’s right to examine documents. the Comelec likewise changed the to maximize the resources and manpower of both the Comelec and the DOJ for tenor of the later resolutions to reflect the new mandate of the Comelec and other the prompt disposition of the cases. therefore. We takes cognizance of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of reiterate our explanation in the assailed decision. However.46 the respondent shall submit his counter- x x x The doctrine of concurrent jurisdiction means equal jurisdiction to deal with affidavit and that of his witnesses and other supporting documents relied upon for the same subject matter. Thus. the DOJ themselves agreed that they would exercise their concurrent jurisdiction 2011 denying GMA’s Omnibus Motion Ad Cautelam. to wit: the others. it is a settled rule that the body or agency that first no right was violated in view of the limitation of such right as set forth above. deputies despite the amendment would mean challenging Section 43 of RA 9369 anew which has already been settled in Banat. To be sure. However. and supporting affidavits and documents. 3467. While it is true that Senator Pimentel referred to certain election documents xxxx which served as bases in the allegations of significant findings specific to the protested municipalities involved. This is especially true in this case given the magnitude of the crimes prosecutory functions of the task force pursuant to the mandate of the Omnibus allegedly committed by petitioners. we maintain that will not be allowed. was conducted by only one investigative body. Thus. there is no reason for us to declare otherwise. Considering. Senator . To the Joint Committee as an abdication of the Comelec’s independence enshrined maintain the previous role of other prosecuting arms of the government as mere in the 1987 Constitution. Although the preliminary investigation was conducted on the basis of two ordered to furnish petitioners with all the supporting evidence. we find no reason to the Comelec maintained the continuing deputation of prosecutors and the disallow the exercise of concurrent jurisdiction jointly by those given such Comelec Law Department was tasked to supervise the investigatory and authority.

In the 2008 Revised Manual for Prosecutors. consequently denied. in our assailed decision. Instead of the case. In this case.Pimentel manifested that he was adopting all the affidavits attached to the Fact. she was not furnished those documents because they were not during the trial) as the evidence submitted before it were considered adequate to submitted to the Joint Committee. research on novel. 50 As in any There might have been overzealousness on the part of the Joint Committee in other rule. fault the Joint Committee in consequently denying her motion for extension to file counter-affidavit as there was no Neither was GMA’s right violated when her motion for extension of time within compelling justification for the non-observance of the period she was earlier which to submit her counter-affidavit and countervailing evidence was required to follow. Consequently. at the time she to in Senator Pimentel’s complaint but were not submitted to the Joint asked for the extension of time within which to file her counter-affidavit. speed in the conduct of proceedings by a judicial or quasijudicial officer counter-affidavits when the interest of justice demands that respondent be given cannot per se be instantly attributed to an injudicious performance of functions. (without foreclosing the relevance of other evidence that may later be presented Obviously. They even actively participated in the proceedings and in fact filed several motions before the Joint Committee. x x x491âwphi1 documents. Indeed. We cannot. liberality in the application may be allowed provided that the terminating the investigation. and in filing the information in court. Admittedly. the latter considered those documents unnecessary at that point well knew that the documents she was asking were not in the record of the case. To be sure. several motions were filed but were denied by the Joint Committee. endorsing the Joint Resolution to the Comelec for party is able to present a compelling justification for the non-observance of the approval. she has no right to examine said find probable cause against her. petitioners were given the opportunity to be heard. therefore. the Joint Committee finally reached its conclusion and referred the case to the Comelec. GMA was furnished those documents. that said examine as guaranteed by the Comelec Rules of Procedure and the Rules on documents were not submitted to the Joint Committee and the only supporting Criminal Procedure. reasonable time or sufficient opportunity to engage the services of counsel. Consistent with the constitutional mandate of speedy disposition of cases.51 of complying with the Joint Committee’s directive. underscores the mandatory character of the rule. complicated or technical questions or issues of law and facts petitioners were given the opportunity to present countervailing evidence. she very Committee. when GMA was furnished with the the prescribed period because she needed to examine documents mentioned in documents attached to the Initial Report. The latter. The Rules use the term "shall" in requiring the respondent to submit counter-affidavit and other countervailing evidence within ten (10) days And as we held in the assailed decision: from receipt of the subpoena. It appeared. it was granted. mandatory rules. she was already granted the right to Senator Pimentel’s complaint-affidavit. The orderly administration of justice remains the paramount consideration with examine voluminous records submitted in support of the complaint or undertake particular regard to the peculiar circumstances of each case. however. petitioners’ right to submit counter-affidavit and countervailing evidence was forfeited. Thus. investigating prosecutors allow or grant motions or requests for extension of time to submit However. Taking into account the constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases and following the procedures set forth in the Rules on Criminal Procedure and the Comelec Rules of Procedure. Apparently. though. performed its task and filed the information in court." she also filed a Motion for Bail and after due hearing. If there are other documents that were referred Team. Logically. we already took judicial notice that not only did GMA enter a plea of "not guilty. unnecessary delays should be avoided. in turn. she benefited from the RTC Order giving her . 52 Finally. It is settled that the use of the word "shall" which is a word of command. Therefore. Those were the only documents submitted by the documents available were those attached to the Initial Report of the Fact-Finding complainants to the Committee. GMA claimed that she could not submit her counteraffidavit within Finding Team’s Initial Report.

R.6 WHEREFORE. 27 March 2013 and 14 May 2013 issued by public respondent Commission on issued by Simeon Sanchez.S. when she is also a therein. to wit: resident of the Municipality of Torrijos.1 (2) that she is a resident of Brgy. there SO ORDERED. she has chosen to seek judicial remedy before the RTC where the resident of 135 J. Marinduque. the Certificate of Live Birth issued by the REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES. is no valid and binding marriage between them. Boac. although her marriage with Congressman Mandanas was solemnized in a religious rite.temporary liberty. Petitioner. the Motions for Reconsideration are DENIED for lack of merit. Respondents.7 Consequently. and at the same time. 2013 duty-bound to live with Congressman Mandanas. on 8 February 2013. Quezon City as admitted in the electoral sabotage case is pending instead of the executive remedy of going Directory of Congressional Spouses of the House of Representatives. Batangas . then his residence cannot be attributed to her. Rizal.10 TAN. the instant Petition is GRANTED. in fact. rendering it void ab initio. as thoroughly discussed in the assailed either 8 July 1959 or 3 July 1960. while she is publicly known to be the wife of Congressman Herminaldo I. 13-053.S. Brgy. United States of America is not supported by evidence. Verification and Certification Unit of the Elections (COMELEC) in SPA No.8 As to her date of birth. respondent filed a RESOLUTION "Manifestation with Motion to Admit Newly Discovered Evidence and Amended List of Exhibits"11 consisting of. Acting Chief. Representative of the lone district of Marinduque.3(4) that she is not a permanent resident of decision. premises considered. respondent Joseph Socorro Tan. 9 Lastly. specifically: (1) that she is single when she is married to REYES is hereby CANCELLED. passport. petitioner countered that. the irregularity or even the absence of preliminary investigation does another country when she is a permanent resident or an immigrant 4 of the United not impair the validity of the information filed against her. In filing the motion before the RTC and actively participating which is the residence of her husband.P. No. Besides. in view of the foregoing.5 and (5) that she is a Filipino citizen when she is. Mandanas (Congressman Mandanas). which provides a database record of Order and/or Preliminary Injunction and/or Status Quo Ante Order dated 7 June the Bureau of Immigration indicating that petitioner is an American citizen and a 2013 filed by petitioner Regina Ongsiako Reyes. Milagrosa. notes that the allegation that she is a permanent resident and/or a citizen of the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JOSEPH SOCORRO B. an American citizen. J. a registered voter and petitioner’s COC. Congressman Herminaldo I. On 27 March 2013. Candidacy (COC) of petitioner on the ground that it contained material Accordingly. the COMELEC First Division issued a Resolution 12 cancelling On 31 October 2012. Obligacion. (2) a Certification of Travel Records of petitioner. assailing the Resolutions dated holder of a U. petitioner vs. Marinduque when she is a resident of Bauan. petitioner argues that as she is not G. it did not comply with certain formal requirements prescribed by the Family Code. the Certificate of Candidacy of respondent REGINA ONGSIAKO misrepresentations. Reyes" with an Affidavit of Identification and Authenticity of Document Before the Court is a Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for Temporary Restraining executed by its author Eliseo J. States of America. filed before the COMELEC an Amended Petition to Deny Due Course or to Cancel the Certificate of WHEREFORE. Passport in her cancellation of the Certificate of Candidacy of petitioner for the position of various travels abroad. Lupac. In her Answer. among others: (1) a copy of an article published PEREZ. The assailed Resolutions ordered the Bureau of Immigration which indicates that petitioner used a U.: on the internet on 8 January 2013 entitled "Seeking and Finding the Truth about Regina O. According to petitioner. 207264 June 25. Mandanas of Batangas. During the course of the proceedings. National Statistics Office shows that it was on 3 July 1964. 2 (3) that back to the Joint Committee for the submission of her counter-affidavit and her date of birth is 3 July 1964 when other documents show that her birthdate is countervailing evidence.

that such marriage only resulted into dual citizenship. it is observed that the issue of jurisdiction of respondent execution. she averred that. by enforcing the provisions of Republic Act No. Thus. she is asserting that it is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Still. the COMELEC En Banc issued a Certificate of Finality16 declaring the 14 May 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc final The petition must fail. requirement for the position of Member of the House of Representatives. petitioner took her oath of office18 before Feliciano R. On same day. petitioner surmised that the COMELEC cognizance of Respondent Tan’s alleged "newly-discovered evidence" First Division relied on the fact of her marriage to an American citizen in without the same having been testified on and offered and admitted in concluding that she is a naturalized American citizen. petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration14on 8 April 2013 claiming that she is a natural-born 32) Whether or not Respondent Comelec committed grave abuse of Filipino citizen and that she has not lost such status by simply obtaining and discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it took using an American passport. promulgated a Resolution 15 denying 34) Whether or not Respondent Commission on Elections committed petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit. No. petitioner is not a citizen of the Philippines because of her 30 June 2013. HRET which has jurisdiction over her.. if not confusing. petitioner evidence. and (2) to make a personal and and/or Preliminary Injunction and/or Status Quo Ante Order.13 Thus. Petitioner is taking an inconsistent. thus there is no giving the petitioner the opportunity to question and present controverting need for her to fulfill the twin requirements under R. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003. she never lost her domicile of origin. and executory. Not agreeing with the Resolution of the COMELEC First Division. petitioner was proclaimed winner of the additional qualifications to the qualifications of a Member of the House of 13 May 2013 Elections. namely: (1) to take an oath In the present Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. It appears then that . as she discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it declared never became a naturalized citizen. evidence which became the basis for its Resolution of the case without however. Article 31) Whether or not Respondent Comelec is without jurisdiction over VI of the 1987 Constitution. 9225. which is that Petitioner is not a Filipino citizen and did not meet the residency Boac. failure to comply with the requirements of Republic Act (R. Additionally. she posits that the issue on her eligibility and qualifications to be a Member of the House of Representatives is best discussed in another tribunal of competent jurisdiction. considering that more than twenty-one (21) days have elapsed from the date of promulgation with no order issued by this Court restraining its At the outset. Petitioner averred.The COMELEC First Division found that.A. her oath of office for the position of Member of the House of Representatives for the lone congressional district of Marinduque. As to her alleged lack of the one-year 33) Whether or not Respondent Comelec committed grave abuse of residency requirement prescribed by the Constitution. contrary to the declarations that she Petitioner has yet to assume office. grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when. 9225.) No. On 14 May 2013. Belmonte Jr. the COMELEC First Division ruled that she did not have the oneyear residency requirement under Section 6. she is ineligible to run for the position of Petitioner who is a duly proclaimed winner and who has already taken Representative for the lone district of Marinduque. petitioner raises the sworn renunciation of her American citizenship before any public officer following issues:19 authorized to administer an oath. Marinduque. stance for while she seeks remedy before this Court. attached an Affidavit of Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship sworn to before a Notary Public on 24 September 2012. On 5 June 2013. it imposed Four days thereafter or on 18 May 2013.A. the term of which officially starts at noon of made in her COC. in violation of Petitioner’s right to due process of law. Representatives as enumerated in Section 6 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. In addition.17 COMELEC vis-a-vis that of House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) appears to be a non-issue. the COMELEC En Banc.

The need to do so. we pay due regard to the petition. x x x the constitutional body created to pass upon the same. relating to the elections. and at once. However. then. begins only after a candidate has become a member of the House of and the HRET’s own jurisdiction begins. this Court has made the pronouncement that once a elections. the doctrinal pronouncement was made in the context of a proclaimed . returns and qualifications" of the Members of the begins. Section 17. there must be a concurrence of the following requisites: (1) a valid proclamation. taking of oath and assumption of office by Gonzalez. suffice it to say that HRET’s jurisdiction as the sole judge of all contests proclamation has been made. to wit: of Representatives. as well as over the assailed COMELEC Resolutions. taken his oath. and qualifications ends. returns. the COMELEC retains jurisdiction for the COMELEC. it must be noted that in these Representatives. referring to the jurisdiction of the COMELEC vis- following reasons: a-vis the HRET. 13. This was again affirmed in Gonzalez v. and assumed office as a Member of the House of was duly proclaimed20 because pursuant to Section 17. thus. (Emphasis supplied. the HRET has the exclusive jurisdiction to be the "sole judge of all his election. The Court has invariably held that once a winning candidate has been According to petitioner. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an jurisdiction over the matter of his qualifications. (Emphasis supplied. the COMELEC's jurisdiction over election contests relating to filed such action.24 the Court ruled that: thirtieth day of June next following their election. The next inquiry. returns.25 wherein the Court.21 the HRET does not have jurisdiction over a From the foregoing. the question. and the HRET's own jurisdiction begins. the COMELEC’s jurisdiction over election contests relating to Constitution. Contrary to petitioner’s claim. and (3) assumption of office. however. returns.) 053. was highlighted during the discussion En Banc on 25 June 2013 where and when it was emphasized that In Vinzons-Chato v. COMELEC. in some cases. as stated in Section 17. This pronouncement was reiterated in the case of Limkaichong v.) As held in Marcos v. and qualifications ends. COMELEC.) House of Representatives. and qualifications of their respective Members. taken his oath. the term of office of the Members of the House of Representatives begins on the COMELEC. and qualifications ends. as well as questions regarding Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the the conduct of election and contested returns – were transferred to the HRET as election. (2) a proper oath. As to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal’s supposed assumption of jurisdiction over the issue of petitioner’s qualifications after the May 8.petitioner’s recourse to this Court was made only in an attempt to enjoin the Representatives.26 to wit: Article VI of the 1987 Constitution: After proclamation.) Second. (Emphasis supplied. held that: First. the COMELEC was ousted of its jurisdiction when she proclaimed. unless a proclaimed. returns and qualifications of members of Congress its jurisdiction over contests relating to elections. Petitioner has not averred that she has Representatives. and assumed office as a Member of the House of petition is duly filed with said tribunal.22 citing Aggabao v. Article VI of the 1987 Representatives. COMELEC23 and Guerrero v. it is then clear that to be considered a Member of the House candidate who is not a member of the House of Representatives. the jurisdiction of the HRET begins only after the candidate is considered a Member of the House of Representatives. Petitioner not being a member of the House of cases. (Emphasis supplied. his election. the HRET does not acquire jurisdiction over the issue of petitioner’s The Court has invariably held that once a winning candidate has been qualifications. is when is a candidate considered a Member of the House Nevertheless. and consider each of the issues of Representatives? raised by petitioner. 1995 Indeed. and the HRET’s own jurisdiction contests relating to the election. COMELEC’s jurisdiction is already lost and. it is obvious that the HRET at this point has no jurisdiction over COMELEC from implementing its final and executory judgment in SPA No. returns. COMELEC.

he had already been proclaimed by the qualifications to run for the position of Member of the House of Representative. and (2) in open session. primarily. petitioner attached a To prevent the assailed Resolution dated 14 May 2013 from becoming final and purported Oath Of Office taken before Hon. jurisdiction over this case has already been First Division. thus. 2007. had been proclaimed. Rule II (Membership) of the Rules of the House of Representatives respondent COMELEC rightly issued a Certificate of Finality. but who had also assumed Consequently. we cannot disregard a fact basic in this controversy – that start of his term on 30 June 2007. However. Hence. transferred to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). and to postpone or suspend Representatives begins only "at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following elections shall become final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days from their election. until such time. Decisions Final after five days. although she made the oath before Speaker Belmonte. Procedure which provides: Here. After 14 May 2013. private respondent Belmonte filed his comment in which he and residency via its Resolution dated 14 May 2013. and assumed the duties of a Congressman on 26 September 2007. provides: As to the issue of whether petitioner failed to prove her Filipino citizenship. on 5 June 2013. their promulgation unless restrained by the Supreme Court. . the petitioner cannot be considered a Member of the House of Section 3."28 Thus. in the case of Dimaporo v. there is no For instance. She would file the present last hour petition on 10 June 2013. which his oath before Speaker of the House Jose de Venecia. she has not yet assumed office. taken his oath of office before the Speaker of the House. or after the More importantly. this is not the oath of office which confers membership to the COMELEC Rules of Procedure or Rule 6430 of the Rules of Court by filing a House of Representatives. COMELEC. even before the issuance was. became final and executory already assumed office. Feliciano Belmonte Jr. he had taken that the COMELEC was ousted of jurisdiction when she was proclaimed.27 the Court upheld the indication that it was made during plenary or in open session and. – Members shall take their oath or well as her one-year residency in Marinduque. Jr. On that very same day. and the assailed Resolution of the COMELEC Apparently. The Board of Canvasser duties accordingly. To repeat and petitions to deny due course to or cancel certificates of candidacy. on 5 June executory. and hence. the term of office of a Member of the House of nuisance candidate or to disqualify a candidate. the earlier cases were decided after the questioned candidate had En Banc which was promulgated on 14 May 2013.) Indeed. the COMELEC En Banc had already finally disposed of the issue of petitioner’s lack of Filipino citizenship On October 8. which proclaimed petitioner cannot by such act be allowed to render nugatory a decision of the COMELEC En Banc which affirmed a decision of the COMELEC In light of this development.candidate who had not only taken an oath of office. Rule 37 29 of the 2013. unlike in the present case. Rule 37 of the COMELEC Rules of House of Representatives. as Section 6. but she failed to do so. and assumed his was four days after the COMELEC En Banc decision. Here. 2007. before there is a valid or official taking of the oath it must be made office. no longer any pending case on petitioner’s of the status quo ante order of the Court. the assailed Resolution of the COMELEC First Division which was promulgated on 27 March 2013. before the COMELEC. petition before this Court within the 5-day period. In her attempt to comply with the second requirement. Section 6. to declare what has earlier been said. (1) before the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Oath or Affirmation of Members. the COMELEC retains jurisdiction. was already considered a Member of the on 19 May 2013 based on Section 3. PBOC as the duly elected Member of the House of Representatives of the First We will inexcusably disregard this fact if we accept the argument of the petitioner Congressional District of Lanao del Norte. petitioner should have availed herself of Section 1. Decisions in pre-proclamation cases Representatives because. it jurisdiction of the HRET against that of the COMELEC only after the candidate remains unclear whether the required oath of office was indeed complied with. suffice it to say that the affirmation either collectively or individually before the Speaker in open session. there brought to Our attention that on September 26. to wit: before the proclamation of petitioner on 18 May 2013. (Emphasis supplied.

contending that it is was given every opportunity to argue her case before the COMELEC. expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition of Consul-General of the Philippine Consulate in the USA. the COMELEC First Division. Unless and until she can establish that she had availed of the privileges of RA 9225 by becoming a dual Filipino-American citizen. leading to the conclusion inevitable that respondent falsely misrepresented in her COC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen. She. This."32(Emphasis supplied. the law requires that she must have accomplished the following Rule I. Indeed. through pleadings. As held in the case of respondent to present substantial evidence to prove otherwise. there was no denial of due process in the case at bar as petitioner petitioner’s lack of proof regarding her American citizenship. From 10 petitioner’s burden to present a case. the Sahali v. Under Section 2 of public office. Early on in the proceeding. not solely by verbal presentation but also. procedural due process only requires that petitioner was able to substantiate his allegations. specifically denied that she October 2012 when Tan’s petition was filed up to 27 March 2013 when the First has become either a permanent resident or naturalized citizen of the USA. (Emphasis supplied) opportunity to question and present controverting evidence. made a valid sworn renunciation of her American citizenship. respondent submitted records of the Bureau of Immigration . administrative process cannot be fully equated with due the blog article of Eli Obligacion as hearsay and the photocopy of the process in its strict judicial sense. She assails the admission of are not strictly applied. then the "newly discovered evidence" was properly admitted by respondent COMELEC. the COMELEC Rules of Procedure "shall be liberally construed in order x acts: (1) take the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the xx to achieve just. citizenship. but simply an opportunity or right to be heard. She likewise contends that there successfully invoked where a party was given the chance to be heard on his was a violation of her right to due process of law because she was not given the motion for reconsideration. The burden now shifts to the party be given the opportunity or right to be heard. discoursed as follows: It must be emphasized that the COMELEC is not bound to strictly adhere to the "x x x for respondent to reacquire her Filipino citizenship and become eligible for technical rules of procedure in the presentation of evidence. Also. she did not avail herself of the opportunity given Due to petitioner’s submission of newly-discovered evidence thru a Manifestation her." In view of the fact and sworn renunciation of her American citizenship before any public officer that the proceedings in a petition to deny due course or to cancel certificate of authorized to administer an oath. there is no showing that respondent complied with the aforesaid requirements. she remains to be an American citizen and is.COMELEC committed no grave abuse of discretion in finding her ineligible for the The petitioners should be reminded that due process does not necessarily mean position of Member of the House of Representatives. Division rendered its resolution. 2012. One may be heard. In cognizance of "newly-discovered evidence" without the same having been administrative proceedings moreover. and (2) make a personal every action and proceeding brought before the Commission. Unfortunately. therefore. respondent hammered on Furthermore. and perhaps many times more Petitioner alleges that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when it took creditably and predictable than oral argument. and thereafter.) Let us look into the events that led to this petition: In moving for the cancellation of petitioner’s COC. or require a hearing. In the case at bar. As to the ruling that petitioner is ineligible to run for office on the ground of Her contentions are incorrect. deprivation of due process cannot be Certification from the Bureau of Immigration. ineligible to run for and hold any elective public office in the Philippines. technical rules of procedure and evidence testified on and offered and admitted in evidence. petitioner had a period of five (5) months to adduce evidence. however. in administrative proceedings. however. establishing the fact that respondent is a holder of an American passport which she continues to use until June 30. dated February 7. 2013. candidacy are summary in nature. COMELEC:31 respondent utterly failed to do.

We held in Mastura v. whether or not the COC should be cancelled. in her Motion for Reconsideration before the COMELEC En Banc."36 This statement raises a lot of questions – Did petitioner execute residency requirement of the law and never abandoned her domicile of origin in an oath of allegiance for re-acquisition of natural-born Filipino status? If she did. in the present petition. (Revised Rules) and Administrative Order No.A.A. he must still show that he chose to establish his domicile in only in 2013. Thus. Marinduque is her claim that she served as Provincial Administrator of the why did she not present it at the earliest opportunity before the COMELEC? And province from January 18. Petitioner. take her oath acquired her Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 so as to conclude that she of allegiance for purposes of reacquisition of natural-born Filipino status. No. and that her status is that of said oath of allegiance cannot be considered compliance with Sec. No.showing that petitioner is a holder of a US passport.A. which has regained her domicile in the Philippines. petitioner’s oath of office as Provincial Neither did she submit any proof as to the inapplicability of R. imposing 9225 as certain requirements have to be met as prescribed by Memorandum upon her the duty to prove that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and has not Circular No. The reference to the taking of had renounced her American citizenship. while the Affidavit was executed in September 2012. failed to clear such doubt. 34 Petitioner As to the issue of residency. however. 9225. we quote with approval the ruling of the COMELEC First serve the people and to comply with rules. the burden of proof shifted to petitioner. however. petitioner has never regained her domicile in Marinduque as she remains to be an American citizen. No amount of To cover-up her apparent lack of an oath of allegiance as required by R. 9225 to her. There being no proof that petitioner she reserves to present in the proper proceeding. prior to her taking her oath of office as Provincial Administrator. No. Aside from the bare allegation that she is a natural. considering that the petition for denial and cancellation of the COC is summary in nature. it follows that she has not abandoned oath of office is in order to make reference to what is already part of the records her domicile of choice in the USA. the COMELEC is given much discretion in the evaluation and This contention is misplaced. 2011. petitioner contends that. petitioner added a footnote to her oath of office as Provincial Administrator. If petitioner executed said Affidavit "if only to comply with the rules. But such fact alone is not is this an admission that she has indeed lost her natural-born Filipino status? sufficient to prove her one-year residency.) connection with her appointment as Provincial Administrator of Marinduque. AFF-04-01. For one. Upon re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship observations by the COMELEC as the assailed Resolutions were promulgated pursuant to RA 9225. otherwise known as the Rules Governing Philippine lost the same. petitioner admitted that she is a holder of a US passport." then it is an admission that R. 3 of R. this issue is being presented for the first admission of evidence pursuant to its principal objective of determining of time before this Court. attached to the said motion is an Affidavit of Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship dated 24 September 2012. No. Boac. 91. Bureau of Immigration. For. All in all. her stay in the said locality can substitute the fact that she has not abandoned 9225. or that she has reacquired such status in accordance with the Citizenship under R. she is deemed to have reacquired her status as a natural-born Filipino citizen. 9225 do not apply to her. No. COMELEC: 38 .A. Administrator cannot be considered as the oath of allegiance in compliance with R. petitioner’s citizenship. there is no showing whatsoever that petitioner had already re- not. 9225 and Memorandum Circular No. Petitioner cannot claim that she executed it to address the abandons his domicile of origin. thus the requirements of R. No. petitioner submitted no proof to support such contention. even as a superfluity. proceeding from the finding that petitioner has lost explains that she attached said Affidavit "if only to show her desire and zeal to her natural-born status. For another." At this point.A."37 (Emphasis supplied.A. but she averred that These circumstances. Moreover. subscribe to petitioner’s explanation. and the period of his residency shall be counted from the time he made it his domicile of choice. Series of 2004 issued by the born citizen. 9225 "Thus. No.A. AFF-05-002 provisions of R.A." 35 We cannot. as it was never raised before the COMELEC. 9225. to this effect: "This does not mean that Petitioner did In this case. taken together.33 Still. 2011 to July 13. the Philippines through positive acts. a "balikbayan. Division that petitioner cannot be considered a resident of Marinduque: however. No. since she took her oath of allegiance in her domicile of choice in the USA. show that a doubt was clearly cast on she is only a dual Filipino-American citizen. and evidence in the present case and to avoid injecting into the records evidence on matters of fact that was not previously passed upon by Respondent The only proof presented by petitioner to show that she has met the one-year COMELEC. Notably. a Filipino citizen who becomes naturalized elsewhere effectively applies to her.

We emphasize that the "grave abuse of discretion" which warrants this Court’s exercise of certiorari jurisdiction has a welldefined meaning. COMELEC — created and explicitly made independent by the Constitution itself — on a level higher than statutory administrative organs. has a specific meaning. We find the same meritless. anent the proposition of petitioner that the act of the COMELEC in of candidacy. Within the five (5) days the Supreme Court may remove the barrier enforcing the provisions of R. It simply applied the constitutional provision and have to be based on irreparable injury and demonstrated possibility of grave nothing more. That did not happen. the need for Supreme Court intervention became even more and must have one-year residency prior to the date of elections. For the attainment of that end. broad powers to ascertain the true results of the election by means available to it. the proclamation of petitioner. 207264 October 22. Election Law.) “(b) In Special Actions and Special Cases a decision or resolution of the Commission En Banc shall become final and executory after five (5) days from its Here. insofar as it adds to the qualifications to.” Within that five (5) days.R.A. It is the arbitrary or despotic exercise of power due to passion. Her certificate of candidacy has been ordered The COMELEC did not impose additional qualifications on candidates for the cancelled. It is error to argue that the five days should pass Constitution. x x x A petition for certiorari will prosper only if grave abuse of discretion is TAN. petitioner had the opportunity to go to the Supreme Court for a restraining order that will remove the immediate effect of the En Banc cancellation of her certificate Lastly. No. After the five days when the decision adverse to her Constitution that the candidate must be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines became executory. Rule 18. Such being the imperative. She would have to base her recourse on the position that the case. 9225 to determine if she reacquired her status as candidacy and that a restraining order.A. In Special Actions and prejudice or personal hostility. this Court finds that petitioner failed to adequately and substantially show promulgation unless restrained by the Supreme Court. "Grave abuse of discretion. No.―The COMELEC Rules indicate the manner by which the down as having been done with grave abuse of discretion. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JOSEPH SOCORRO B. finding no courts of justice except when there is absolutely no evidence or no substantial grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Commission on Elections. it is not strictly bound by the rules of evidence. Guidance is found in Beluso v. alleged and proved to exist. She needed a restraining order from the Supreme Court applied the qualifications prescribed by Section 6. that grave abuse of discretion exists. the COMELEC did not err when it inquired into the compliance by petitioner COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in cancelling her certificate of of Sections 3 and 5 of R. Petitioner of Members of the House of Representatives other than those enumerated in the did not move to have it happen. She could not be proclaimed because there was a final finding against House of Representatives who have acquired foreign citizenship. The 14 evidence in support of such findings should be applied with greater force when it May 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC En Bane affirming the 27 March 2013 concerns the COMELEC. arbitrary. before the petitioner is barred from being proclaimed. 9225. is unconstitutional. Commission on Elections (COMELEC). It merely her by the COMELEC. abuse of discretion on the part of the COMELEC. Petitioner. the abuse of impediment to proclamation may be removed. the instant petition is DISMISSED. For an act to be struck the Supreme Court.The rule that factual findings of administrative bodies will not be disturbed by IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. and thus allow. In this case. The COMELEC has SO ORDERED. which would allow her proclamation. Article VI of the 1987 to avoid the final finding. No. (Emphasis supplied. there was not even an attempt at the legal . or capricious exercise Special Cases a decision or resolution of the Commission En Banc shall become of power that amounts to an evasion or refusal to perform a positive duty final and executory after five (5) days from its promulgation unless restrained by enjoined by law or to act at all in contemplation of law. Respondents.1âwphi1 G. Petitioner lost in the COMELEC as respondent. or the whimsical. Section 13 (b) provides: discretion must be patent and gross." under Rule 65. REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES. will a natural-born Filipino citizen. as the framers of the Constitution intended to place the Resolution of the COMELEC First Division is upheld. before and after the 18 May 2013 proclamation. Commission on Elections39 where the Court held: vs. 2013 Time and again.

Certificates of Candidacy. Words and Phrases. clearly available to her. amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. and there is no appeal. The decision in an arbitrary and despotic manner because of passion or hostility. speedy. x x x and that Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) jurisdiction over the qualification of “[t]his provision shall likewise apply to cases where the hearing and reception of the Member of the House of Representatives is original and exclusive. and there is no appeal. The House of affidavits. the decision in in the proper court.―Petitioner is certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the in error when she posits that at present it is the HRET which has exclusive proceedings of such tribunal. erected the bar to petitioner’s proclamation. Electoral Tribunals. The accepted COMELEC and was finally decided by the COMELEC. Commission on Elections (COMELEC). or any plain. the ordinary course of law. and its due course or its cancellation. counter-affidavits and other documentary evidence. and as evidence are delegated by the Commission or the Division to any of its officials x such. proceeding. was correctly lodged in the COMELEC. as just stated has been terminated. board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted final and executory five days thereafter. Cancellation of Certificate of Candidacy. At and after the COMELEC En Banc decision. however unavailable to petitioner because she is jurisdiction. and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. board or officer. as law and justice may require. there was nothing left for the COMELEC to do to decide the case. board or officer.”―The special Representative of Marinduque is concerned. in lieu of oral testimonies. The HRET proceedings is a regular.―The special and civil action of Certiorari is That the HRET is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election. and granting such incidental reliefs jurisdiction over her qualifications as a Member of the House of Representatives. which are the pivotal conclusions that determines Same. alleging the facts with the House of Representatives is a written constitutional provision. What petitioner did Remedial Law. On and after 14 May definition of grave abuse of discretion is: a capricious and whimsical exercise of 2013. The COMELEC covers the matter of action before the COMELEC which was a Petition to Cancel Certificate of petitioner’s certificate of candidacy. was completely and fully litigated in the and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require. Rule 23. a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition the action for cancellation of petitioner’s certificate of candidacy. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). proceedings are authorized to be summary.remedy. The bar remained when no Election Law. Special Civil Actions. after due notice. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). It is. may. or any plain.” which. Section 4 of which states that the Commission may designate in the COMELEC. the parties there is no longer any certificate cancellation matter than can go to the HRET. alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be which is the indispensable determinant of the right of petitioner to proclamation. and its days from 14 May 2013. board or officer exercising and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives is a written judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his constitutional provision. but on an original action before the any of its officials who are members of the Philippine Bar to hear the case and to Court grounded on more than mere error of judgment but on error of jurisdiction receive evidence. The special was to “take the law into her hands” and secure a proclamation in complete and civil action of Certiorari is defined in the Rules of Court thus: When any disregard of the COMELEC En Banc decision that was final on 14 May 2013 and tribunal. as where the power is exercised ineligibility as a candidate for Representative of Marinduque. or with grave abuse of discretion Same. to permit her proclamation. returns and qualifications of the Members of thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court. COMELEC Rule 17 further provides in Section 3 that when the for grave abuse of discretion. returns defined in the Rules of Court thus: When any tribunal. Indeed.―The HRET’s constitutional authority opens. The judgment so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a decision sealed the proceedings in the COMELEC regarding petitioner’s virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. The who can be legally proclaimed. be required to submit their position paper together with Same. and adequate remedy in proclamation as the rightful winner in the election for such membership. restraining order was obtained by petitioner from the Supreme Court within five The COMELEC covers the matter of petitioner’s certificate of candidacy.” The are the pivotal conclusions that determines who can be legally proclaimed. rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal. The nature of the proceedings is best indicated by the COMELEC Rule on Special matter can go to the Supreme Court but not as a continuation of the proceedings Actions. proceeds de novo unhampered by the proceedings in the COMELEC x x. not summary. which has in fact ended. Certiorari. without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction. a person aggrieved all contests relating to the election. which Candidacy was a SUMMARY PROCEEDING or one “heard summarily. The COMELEC never ordered her jurisdiction. That the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) is the sole judge of speedy. Certificates of Candidacy. over the . or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of NOT a Member of the House at present. due course or its cancellation.―It may need pointing out that there is no conflict special action before the COMELEC which was a Petition to Cancel Certificate of between the COMELEC and the HRET insofar as the petitioner’s being a Candidacy was a summary proceeding or one “heard summarily.

Same. She had all the right to interpose her objections to the instance of the parties. petitions to deny due terminated.―The motion to documentary evidence offered against her. The third paragraph issuance. Such representative is the duly Same. once acquired. cannot. who becomes so only upon a duly and legally similar to that of the COMELEC under the 1973 Constitution.―The right of petitioner to due process And this. Jurisdiction. It is now too late for her to question its admissibility. even if the printed the instance of the parties. did not commit any grave abuse of be in order to remind petitioner that jurisdiction. View that the 1987 Constitution time. undoubtedly has legal consequences. returns. including those arising before the Representatives is original and exclusive. but continues until the case is terminated. as she was given every opportunity to present her side during the of candidacy of petitioner. It may well The COMELEC First Division. it must be interpreted in the same way.qualification of its MEMBER. Setting a case for hearing is discretionary on its transferred the jurisdiction of the COMELEC to the electoral tribunals of the part. At this point. jurisdiction vested in the Court and. is noted.’’ dispensed with and. returns. proceeds de novo proclamation of the winners. that no hiatus occurs in the representation of Election Code should be under the jurisdiction of the electoral tribunals and not of Marinduque in the House because there is such a representative who shall sit as the COMELEC.” Petitioner failed to raise any objection to the offer of evidence on Election Law. oral testimony is relating to the election. as just stated has been Constitution. subject to her of Evidence provides that “an offer of evidence in writing shall be objected to predilections the supremacy of the law. View that Section 1. is not lost upon the Amended List of Exhibits. we counsel petitioner against trifling offer unless a different period is allowed by the court. Jurisdiction. and qualifications of their respective Members. as she designed below. at the risk of repetitiveness.―The 1987 Constitution Reconsideration for hearing. withdraw petition filed AFTER the Court has acted thereon. When Internet article showing that petitioner had used a U. CJ. Rule 41 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure More importantly. the first and unavoidable step towards such membership. is not lost upon discretion when it admitted in evidence the documents offered.” committed no grave abuse of discretion when it did not set petitioner’s Motion for but the constitutional language has not changed. and as such. The HRET proceedings is a regular. passport might have been petitioner filed her Petition for Certiorari. as she was given every opportunity to present her side the House in representation of Marinduque.”―Section 1. parties are required to submit their position paper but the constitutional language has not changed. but continues until the case is terminated. The third paragraph of Section 36. by the mere of Section 36. Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Evidence provides that “an offer expediency of withdrawing the petition. is the crux of the dispute between the parties: who shall sit in was never violated. Thus. The petitioner is not. but she failed to exercise that right. all in all. View that the right of petitioner to due process was never proclaimed winner resulting from the terminated case of cancellation of certificate violated. Separate Concurring Opinion: by the court. Jurisdiction. As a corollary point. being a valid court provides for the suppletory application of the Rules of Court. be that representative. the COMELEC En Banc relating to the election. proceeding. therefore. She was furnished a copy on the qualifications of the Member. Petitioner cannot.” When the same language was adopted in the 1987 unhampered by the proceedings in the COMELEC which. the Resolution dated 25 June 2013. COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides for the suppletory application of the petitioner cannot withdraw her petition to erase the ruling adverse to her Rules of Court. Having sought the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The jurisdiction granted was . Due Process. Obviously. jurisdiction cannot be lost by the unilateral withdrawal of the petition by petitioner. In fact. and qualifications of their respective Members. It must be made clear of the Senate or the House of Representatives under Section 78 of the Omnibus though. within three (3) days after notice of the offer unless a different period is allowed Sereno.. the Court exercised such jurisdiction when it acted on the petition. reception of evidence at the Division level. not summary. The rule is that transferred the jurisdiction of the COMELEC to the electoral tribunals of the evidence not objected to may be deemed admitted and validly considered by the Senate and the House of Representatives to “be the sole judge[s] of all contests court in arriving at its judgment. and even if the copy of the Bureau of Immigration Certification was fact. interpreted to mean “full authority to hear and decide these cases from beginning The HRET jurisdiction over the qualification of the Member of the House of to end and on all matters related thereto. in hearsay. It will course or to cancel the certificate of candidacy of those aspiring to be members determine who should be the Member of the House. once acquired. Rule 41 of the with court processes. Such merely a photocopy and not even a certified true copy of the original. which the Court based proclamation. Rule 132 of the Revised Rules interests. Electoral Tribunals. negative and nullify the Court’s of evidence in writing shall be objected to within three (3) days after notice of the Resolution and its legal effects. she cannot. of the Manifestation with Motion to Admit Newly Discovered Evidence and Remedial Law. in summary proceedings like the special action of filing a petition to Senate and the House of Representatives to “be the sole judge[s] of all contests deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy. while there is yet no HRET decision during the reception of evidence at the Division level. the HRET proceedings are had till termination.S. instead.

together with affidavits. View that the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC). order. 6646 on the pendency of disqualification cases process server of this Honorable Commission. xxx Interestingly. The PBOC.A. and the evidence of guilt is strong.A. no less than the Chairman of the Commission on Elections. Rosa II immediately approached call for the suspension of the proclamation of a candidate when the evidence of Atty. Edwin Villa. View that applying the elements of a prejudicial follows: xxx While the proceedings of the PBOC is suspended or in recess. Rosa. affirmed the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy. xxx Instead. the COMELEC was correct in ruling that she was no longer a of Marinduque. the PES office. she was not qualified to run for Certificate of Candidacy. the need for July 2013 and submitted to this Court through the Manifestation of private the suspension of the proclamation becomes more apparent. Despite his proper identification that he is a process server from the COMELEC Main Office. and the evidence of guilt is strong. a subordinate body Same. in fact. she was not qualified to run for public SPA No. The COMELEC was correct in ruling that she was no longer a Filipino Pedro Sta. xxx Process Server Pedro Sta. Regina Ongsiako Reyes” and an Order dated 15 May 2013 to deliver the same to (b) The resolution of this issue determines whether or not the criminal action may the Provincial Election Supervisor of Marinduque. the Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) of Marinduque. quoted the averments in the Verified Petition of petitioner therein as Same. the PES likewise refused to receive the citizen when she filed her Certificate of Candidacy and that without complying copy of the Commission on Elections En Banc Resolution dated 14 May 2013 in with the requirements of R. This narration of the events shows that the proclamation was in Filipino citizen when she filed her Certificate of Candidacy and that without contravention of a COMELEC En Banc Resolution cancelling the candidate’s complying with the requirements of R. as follows: (a) The previously instituted civil action involves an issue on 14 May 2013 in SPA No. Brillantes.―The elements of a prejudicial question in being held. was in possession of certified true criminal actions as set forth in Sec. Rosa. Obviously. petitioner had already disqualification cases or petitions to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of received the judgment cancelling her Certificate of Candidacy.A.―On 16 May 2013. When the petition for cancellation of the PBOC already knew of the cancellation of the Certificate of Candidacy of certificate of candidacy is no longer pending as when the COMELEC En Banc petitioner when it proclaimed her. 7. the PBOC still proclaimed her as the winner. STA. respondent. 13-053 (DC) entitled “Joseph Socorro B. who identified himself as PEDRO or of petitions filed under Sec. in SPA No. cannot simply disregard a COMELEC En there can be no grave abuse of discretion either on the part of the COMELEC Banc Resolution brought before its attention and hastily proceed with the First Division when it cancelled her Certificate of Candidacy. The said Order was signed by proceed. the legislative intent to be cautious in proceeding with the proclamation of candidates proclamation took place notwithstanding that petitioner herself already knew of against whom pending disqualification cases or petitions for cancellation of the COMELEC En Banc Resolution. counter affidavits and other pieces of documentary his arrival to serve a copy of the aforementioned Resolution dated 14 May 2013 evidence.A.A. 78 call for the suspension of the proclamation of a P. Tan vs. similar or intimately related to that issue raised in the subsequent criminal action. 9225. 13-05 3 (DC). Ongsiako Reyes as winner for the position of Congressman for the Lone District 9225 to her. and supervision of the COMELEC. Rosa II. Rule 111 of the Rules of Criminal copies of the Resolution promulgated by the Commission on Elections En Banc Procedure. As mentioned. 6 and 7 of R.” for brevity). arrived at the session hall of the candidate when the evidence of guilt or the likelihood of the cancellation of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Marinduque where the provincial canvassing is certificate of candidacy is strong. the PES totally ignored Process Server Same. Prejudicial Questions. .―The law hastily proceed with the proclamation by reasoning that it has not officially provides for the suspension of a proclamation whenever there are pending received the resolution or order. a subordinate body under the direct control public office. two candidacy. It must also be pointed out that even the certificate of candidacy are filed. ROSA II (“Sta. Jr. View that the law provides for the suspension of a proclamation whenever under the direct control and supervision of the COMELEC. Since these two documents were not submitted to the COMELEC. Thus. 6 and 7 of R. cannot simply there are pending disqualification cases or petitions to deny due course to or disregard a COMELEC En Banc Resolutionbrought before its attention and cancel a certificate of candidacy. 13-053 (DC) despite several attempts to do so. xxx The process server. 9225. Sta. This provision points to the days thereafter. or on the part of the proclamation by reasoning that it has not officially received the resolution or COMELEC En Banc when it affirmed the cancellation. Atty. 78 S. upon guilt or the likelihood of the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy is strong. Applying the elements of a prejudicial question to Secs. the Honorable Sixto 6646 on the pendency of disqualification cases or of petitions filed under Sec. The COMELEC En Banc Resolution dated 9 had.―This submission of the Affidavit of Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship immediately declared the resumption of the proceedings of the PBOC and and the Identification Certificate issued by the Bureau of Immigration confirms instructed the Board Secretary to immediately read its Order proclaiming Regina the acquisition of foreign citizenship by petitioner and the applicability of R. the question to Secs. Same.

House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). If so. Same. merely descriptive of what necessarily comes after proclamation. the crucial element that must be office. The case in the Supreme conclusion that can be made. the most recent decision on the matter. Same. returns. and qualifications of the HRET acquires sole jurisdiction over any contest relating to the “election. It may also happen that one losing withdrawal of her petition after the Court had acted on the petition. J. J. returns. On the other hand.. While no express rule exists under the Rules of Court on the 15 days from the proclamation. and Court on the dismissal of actions at the instance of the plaintiff embodies this qualifications” of House Members. dismissal of a complaint by jurisdiction if a challenge is filed assailing the validity of the proclamation. dismissal by notice of the jurisdiction over a challenge to the validity of a proclamation is to hold that while plaintiff can only be before service of the defendant’s answer or before service of jurisdiction vests in the HRET upon proclamation. Rule on Adherence of Jurisdiction. In Jalosjos v. In such a situation. decided before a proclamation can be had. To hold that the HRET does not have spirit and can be applied by analogy. the court cannot be Same. Abad wrote: The Court has already settled the the rule on adherence of jurisdiction states that once the jurisdiction of a court question of when the jurisdiction of the COMELEC ends and when that of the attaches. is. This the HRET. Dissenting Opinion: flop: (1) it reverses the well-settled doctrine that upon proclamation of a winning Election Law. Courts. View that Rule 17 of the Rules of jurisdiction as “sole judge of all contests relating to the election. and qualifications of the proclaimed Representatives in favor of case. a motion of the plaintiff can only be upon approval by the court and upon such party then exercises the power to terminate HRET’s jurisdiction that is vested by terms and conditions that the court shall deem to be proper. Any challenge to the validity of the proclamation falls under the HRET’s Same. the jurisdiction over disputes relating to the election. and (2) it also reverses the well- jurisdiction over disputes relating to the election.―Upon proclamation. The proclamation of a congressional candidate following the although of a character that would have prevented jurisdiction from attaching in election divests the COMELEC of jurisdiction over disputes relating to the the first instance. jurisdiction over any election ousted by subsequent happenings or events. HRET begins.The main issue in the disqualification case or the Petition to cancel the Certificate Court can remain pending even after the House Members have assumed their of Candidacy is directly related to and. Jurisdiction.―Reyes’ unilateral the Constitution. returns. Dissenting Opinion: COMELEC. jurisdiction over any election contest against should be for a meritorious and justifiable reason. and subject to the approval of the proclaimed candidate is vested in the HRET by operation of the Constitution. the court retains jurisdiction until it finally disposes of the election. and is the only essential act to vest doctrine that any question on the validity of such proclamation falls under the jurisdiction upon the HRET.―The rule on adherence of jurisdiction applies to the present case. winning congressional candidate following the elections divests COMELEC of its returns and qualifications” of House Members. Under this Rule. Same.―We have consistently ruled that proclamation alone of a (HRET). making the anomaly even more absurd. this is the only jurisdiction between the Supreme Court and the HRET. Taking of the oath and assumption of office are sole jurisdiction of the HRET. and qualifications of the settled doctrine that any question on the validity of such proclamation falls under proclaimed representative in favor of the House of Representatives Electoral the sole jurisdiction of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal Tribunal (HRET). View that ponente Justice Roberto A. although of a character that would contest against the proclaimed candidate is vested in the House of have prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance. in my view. the withdrawal Constitution. the court retains Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) by operation of the jurisdiction until it finally disposes of the case. returns. there will be a direct clash of withdrawal of an original petition before the Supreme Court. This is an absurdity. and (2) it also reverses the well-settled congressional candidate is sufficient. candidate may assail the validity of the proclamation before the Supreme Court was not done in the exercise of any right of withdrawal that Reyes can demand while another losing candidate will file an election protest before the HRET within from this Court. Jurisdiction. Brion. the Remedial Law. Civil Procedure.. consistent with the spirit that pervades the Rules of Court. If at all possible.―The Court’s ruling today is a double flip-flop: (1) it reverses the well- winning congressional candidate following the elections divests COMELEC of its settled doctrine that upon proclamation of a winning congressional candidate. returns proclaimed representative in favor of the HRET. in fact. congressional candidate. Same. View that upon proclamation. 674 SCRA 530 (2012). the HRET loses such a motion for summary judgment. View that the Supreme Court’s ruling today is a double flip- CarpiO. Rule 17 of the Rules of Court on the dismissal of actions at the instance of . the court cannot be ousted by subsequent happenings or events. the Court. Dismissal of Actions. Same. the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal View that the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that proclamation alone of a (HRET) acquires sole jurisdiction over any contest relating to the “election. Proclamation alone of a winning and qualifications” of House Members. rule states that once the jurisdiction of a court attaches.

By accepting these materials as statements of the “truth. passport. Section 4. as this Court has already over annulment of proclamations and no petition is before this Court seeking to held in its settled rulings. As a cautionary note. Consequently.―I submit that the violation of Reyes’ right to tribunal — has jurisdiction over Reyes’ qualifications. to have renounced it.” the qualifications. is not a sufficient basis for a CoC cancellation. the HRET alone — to the exclusion of any other declared void for lack of jurisdiction. any ruling by not signify that she is no longer a natural born Filipino citizen or that she had the Court on the validity or invalidity of Reyes’ proclamation is beyond the Court’s renounced her Philippine citizenship. returns and Constitution is very clear on this point — “Citizens of the Philippines who marry qualifications. Same. the admission did not mean that she had already lost her Philippine the annulment of proclamations for positions other than the President. petition before this Court. process is apparent. without jurisdiction at the present time since the Court does not have original jurisdiction more. no longer a natural born Filipino citizen or that she had renounced her Philippine the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) acquires jurisdiction to citizenship. View that prevailing jurisprudence dictates that upon proclamation of the possession and use of a U. the Vice citizenship in the absence of any showing that. the HRET acquires jurisdiction to hear the election .―With the fact of Reyes’ proclamation process is apparent. Where the denial of the fundamental right to due answer or before service of a motion for summary judgment. including the matter of the due process raises a serious jurisdictional issue that cannot be glossed over or validity or invalidity of her proclamation.―I submit that the Court cannot rule on the issue of the validity or COMELEC clearly violated Reyes’ right to both procedural and substantive due invalidity of Reyes’ proclamation as this is NOT an issue raised in the present process. exclusive jurisdiction over pre-proclamation controversies. On the other hand. Due Process. did separately from the CoC cancellation ruling. common sense and the minimum sense of occurs. Jurisdiction. under the law. View that even without the the type of proceedings (whether judicial or administrative) where the violation use of technical rules of evidence.” As applied to Reyes. a decision rendered in disregard of that right should be dismissal of a complaint by motion of the plaintiff can only be upon approval by declared void for lack of jurisdiction. including citizen. 2013 fairness. including the dictate that a blog article published online or unidentified documents cannot annulment of proclamations for positions other than the President.―An admission of dual citizenship. Renunciation of Citizenship. returns and qualifications of a Same. Proclamation is a separate COMELEC action that came after and applied to Reyes. and the Members of the two Houses of Congress which all have their of documents not shown to be genuine can be taken as proof of the “truth” on specific constitutional rules on the resolution of their elections. nor can photocopies President. it is the COMELEC that has the original and evidence. by themselves. shall be deprived of life. Same. her possession and use of a U. Evidence.―Even without the use of technical rules of Controversies. The rule is equally true for quasi-judicial the court and upon such terms and conditions that the court shall deem to be bodies (such as the COMELEC). common sense and the minimum sense of fairness. the Vice simply be taken to be evidence of the truth of what they say. Pre-Proclamation proof of the “truth” on their faces. and cannot be saved by the claim that she had been upon proclamation of the winning candidate and despite the allegation of the accorded her hearing rights.S. process and is rendered meaningless where there is failure at the more dismissal by notice of the plaintiff can only be before service of the defendant’s substantive deliberation stage. her (HRET). Under this Rule. to my mind. she is President. dictate that a blog article published online or unidentified COMELEC resolutions cancelling Reyes’ CoC should be declared void for having documents cannot simply be taken to be evidence of the truth of what they say. View that by law. 2013 and May 14. View that as under review. a decision rendered in disregard of that right should be established or undisputed. passport. to my mind. Prevailing jurisprudence dictates that disregarded at will. for the constitutional guarantee that no man proper. did not signify that she is winning candidate and despite the allegation of the invalidity of the proclamation. and the Members of the two Houses of Congress which all have their deemed under the law to have renounced it. nor an issue in the COMELEC proceedings that is now Same. by her act or omission. been rendered in violation of her right to due process. Disqualification of Candidates. the assailed March 27. by themselves. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunals deemed. By law. View that where the denial of the fundamental right to due member of the House of Representatives. While Reyes might have admitted in her motion for impugn or sustain Reyes’ proclamation. returns and their faces. Due Process. Commission on Elections (COMELEC).the plaintiff embodies this spirit and can be applied by analogy. aliens shall retain their citizenship. The latter relates purely to the actual hearing invalidity of the proclamation.S. Article 4 of the specific constitutional rules on the resolution of their elections. unless by their act or omission they are Same. nor can photocopies of documents not shown to be genuine can be taken as Same. Blog Article. Same. hear the election contest involving the election. liberty or property without due process is unqualified by Election Law. it is the COMELEC that has the reconsideration before the COMELEC that she had been married to an American original and exclusive jurisdiction over pre-proclamation controversies.

Concurring Opinion: would be imputed. Proclamation of days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be Candidates. returns and one won the elections and has been proclaimed does not. to be sure. although not opponent and that the only claim to negate this victory is the cancellation of her qualified. starting from the fact that Reyes handily won over her Omnibus Election Code. then perhaps it would not have carelessly imputed bad faith any material representation contained therein as required under Section 74 on Reyes. the filing of an election is simple. persons who. is not earlier when he was merely proclaimed as a winning candidate. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate abuse of discretion that transpired. and qualifications. View that elementary fairness demands that if bad faith Abad. View that for the election. Notably. to “the election. is jurisdictional and his election. It is implicit . as prescribed in Rule 16 and Rule 17. by constitutional mandate. returns. conduct of the elections. Rule 19 of the 2011 HRET Rules provides that the period for the be a “member” of the House only at noon of June 30 following his election and filing of the appropriate petition. and assume office when his term begins. View that when Congress enacted the dispute in its entirety. To become a member. the candidate to the position must win the of a winning candidate divests the COMELEC of its jurisdiction over matters election. that Rule 19 of the 2011 HRET Rules provides that the period for the filing of the The term of a “member” of the House begins on the 30th of June next following appropriate petition. Section 78 no less than COMELEC Chairman Brillantes spoke out to comment on the grave of the Code reads: Sec. an election protest or a quo organizations as a means of preserving their integrity. Tribunal (HRET) over election contests relating to the winning candidate’s Same. to be sure. J.―Elementary fairness demands that if bad faith would be imputed. the ponencia should have viewed the Marinduque election Election Law. take an oath. To become a member. 78. Significantly. take an oath. Article VI of the Constitution. Section 7. among other things. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). I take exception to Justice Abad’s view that Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three the period for the filing of an election protest or a petition for quo warranto is years which shall begin.” This power is inherent in all present his or her case in a proper proceeding (i. For the HRET to have warranto petition) before the HRET that. The fact alone that jurisdiction to hear and decide cases involving the election. make him a “member” candidate’s election. seek public office and mar the orderly the ponencia should have viewed the Marinduque election dispute in its entirety. hereof is false. starting from the fact that Reyes handily won over her opponent and that the only Congress empowered the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to hear and claim to negate this victory is the cancellation of her CoC through extremely decide petitions for the cancellation of their certificates of candidacies on the questionable proceedings before the COMELEC. although not qualified. Due Process. There is no vacancy in that office before noon of June 30. the position that the proclamation of the winning candidate is the operative fact that case must involve a “member” of the House. Omnibus Election Code.—A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a reality and the further reality that the democratic choice of a whole province certificate of candidacy may be filed by the person exclusively on the ground that should be respected. Rule 17 of the HRET Rules is a ground for summary dismissal of the petition. not later than fifteen days before the fact that triggers the jurisdiction of the House of Representatives Electoral election. returns and the qualifications of the winning candidate should now qualifications of their respective Members. seek public office and mar the orderly conduct of the elections..―When Certificate of Candidacy through extremely questionable proceedings before the Congress enacted the Omnibus Election Code.―The HRET’s pending before it at the time of the proclamation. the party questioning the jurisdiction covers only contests relating. at noon on the merely a deadline.. View must win the election. 7. The HRET Rules clearly state that filing periods are thirtieth day of June next following their election. among its concerns were COMELEC.―In this regard. The reason jurisdictional and cannot be extended. returns and qualifications of a member of the protest or petition for quo warranto beyond the periods provided in Rule 16 and House of Representatives. The fact alone that one won the triggers the jurisdiction of the HRET over election contests relating to the winning elections and has been proclaimed does not. ground of false material representations that such certificates contain. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). unless otherwise provided by law. and assume office when his term begins.contest involving the election. in these proceedings.e. the candidate to the position Same. after due notice and hearing. a proclaimed winner will jurisdictional. and qualifications. make him qualifications of members of the House of Representatives. Same. If only the ponencia had been mindful of this of candidacy. In other words. returns. Clearly. the case must involve a “member” of the House.―I reiterate my previous Dissenting Opinion House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) to have jurisdiction. View that the proclamation of the winning candidate is the operative decided. a “member” of the House. among its concerns were persons who. To address this problem and for the public good. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five Same. 2011 House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) Rules. provides: Sec. has the sole jurisdiction. as prescribed in Rule 16 and Rule 17. The cannot be extended. the proclamation of the House.

in any vs. We should remain faithful who seek to be elected to the House. View that the Supreme Court should maintain its proclaimed winner in the elections remains an outsider before June 30. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). [the] COMELEC’s exercising its sole power to review the decisions of the COMELEC in their cases. View that the supposed clash of jurisdiction between jurisdiction to determine who the members are of the House of Representatives.that the term of the member whom he would succeed would continue until noon Election Law. De Venecia. the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) and the Supreme Court We should maintain our consistent doctrine that proclamation is the operative act is illusory and cannot happen. And only then will the COMELEC be divested of its jurisdiction from the Supreme Court or the Commission on Elections and vests it jurisdiction over any unresolved petition for the cancellation of his certificate of on the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). Court is the final arbiter of the jurisdictional boundaries of all constitutional Same. COMELEC and is under review by the Supreme Court. the HRET cannot assume Congress is proclaimed. and their terms start “at noon on the thirtieth day of jurisdiction would essentially be between the COMELEC. and again. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunals. Commission on Elections. v. candidacy. De Venecia. Any clash of elections happen in May. the House of Representatives election contests vests on electoral tribunals. v. and the HRET. Necessarily. change the time-honored rule that Leonen. Electoral Tribunals. Jurisdiction. The HRET has never claimed this role. It can be said that it is for the above reasons that the Court heard and seat in [Congress] and to render him eligible to any office in the said body. View that the earliest Carpio also claims that it could happen that a losing candidate would assail the moment when there can be members of the House of Representatives or the validity of the proclamation before the Supreme Court while another losing Senate is upon their proclamation as winners of an election. But such supposed clash of jurisdiction proclamation happens even before they can actually assume their office as the between the HRET and the Court is illusory and cannot happen. Once the winning candidate vying for a position in Codilla.―Justice Same. the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court Senate is upon their proclamation as winners of an election. the Proclamation of Candidates. issue when jurisdiction over election contests vests on electoral tribunals.. returns. he says. this Court has been asked to resolve the issue when jurisdiction over Sr. The Supreme should declare ourselves as without jurisdiction. 393 SCRA 639 (2002). “certification by already been decided by the COMELEC and is under review by the Supreme the proper x x x board of canvassers is sufficient to entitle a member-elect to a Court. Hon.” decided a number of petitions filed by losing party-list organizations that sought Same. asserting its power to to the intention of the Constitution. of that day when the term of the new member begins. Same. and The Court took cognizance of and decided their petitions in Coalition of qualifications ends. (Senior Citizens Party-List) (HRET)’s own jurisdiction begins.” Contests of elected representatives or hear and decide petitions for cancellation of certificates of candidacies of those senators can happen as soon as they are proclaimed. asserting its power to June next following their election. When this happens. this and the HRET would be in direct clash. Dissenting Opinion: “where a candidate has already been proclaimed winner in the congressional . jurisdiction over election contests relating to his election.―Time Same. 701 SCRA 786 (2013). Hon.―In case of doubt. Sr. As the Court held in was filed before June 30. Jurisdiction. The House of vests it on the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). there are fundamental reasons for this Court to be cautious in exercising its Same. Same.―It is my opinion that this Court did not. of the cases cited in the main ponencia. The Court did not inhibit itself from deciding their that once a winning candidate has been proclaimed. To repeat. Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) has never claimed this role.―The HRET cannot oust even though the candidate has not yet assumed his or her office or the protest the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction under the Constitution. Inc. In all these cases. Consequently. taken his oath. View membership in the House. and cases even if the winners had already been proclaimed since it was merely assumed office as a member of the House of Representatives. J. Only on consistent doctrine that proclamation is the operative act that removes June 30 will his term begin. It is at the time of their proclamation that we decide all contests relating to the qualifications of its members. View that in Codilla.―The earliest candidate could file an election protest before the HRET within 15 days of the moment when there can be members of the House of Representatives or the proclamation. this Court has Electoral Tribunal (HRET) cannot assume jurisdiction over a cancellation case consistently held that it is the proclamation of a candidate in the congressional involving members of the House that had already been decided by the elections that vests jurisdiction on the electoral tribunals of any election contest. Jurisdiction. Same. and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines. View that the Supreme Court has been asked to resolve the bodies. Proclamation of Candidates. election contests must be lodged with the electoral jurisdiction over a cancellation case involving members of the House that had tribunals and not with the Commission on Elections. The Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the that removes jurisdiction from this Court or the Commission on Elections and jurisdictional boundaries of all constitutional bodies. 393 SCRA 639 (2002).

the dignity of the own jurisdiction begins. petitions for reconsideration SCRA 300 (1995) to support the statement. and qualifications must adding a qualification not otherwise required by the constitution. the electoral tribunal has jurisdiction over a proclamation controversy involving a member of In her Motion for Reconsideration. Same. 248 allowed litigants. the Omnibus Election Code. the remedy of the petitioner is to file an electoral protest [or a petition Remedial Law. [the] COMELEC’s jurisdiction over election already ruled that: When a litigant exhausts all the remedies which the rules contests relating to his election. Commission on Elections. or motions questioning the jurisdiction Same. Issues regarding the validity or invalidity of the on Elections. Commission on Elections of jurisdiction over any electoral protest. thereof or for the disqualification of judges. and the HRET’s allow." 1 (as originally first be vetted in the appropriate electoral tribunal before these are raised in the underscored) Supreme Court. Commission on Elections. returns.elections. would be deemed derogatory to the respect due a judge. Commission on Elections. the Petitioner x x x is not asking the Honorable Court to and qualifications must first be vetted in the appropriate electoral tribunal before make a determination as regards her qualifications." Caruncho III v. the instant petition is the proclamation will not cause the Commission on Elections to regain DISMISSED. In Guerrero. all remedies allowed litigants. We have of the House of Representatives. and assumed office as a member petitioner unless evidence to the contrary is submitted to this Court. The 14 May 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc affirming proclamation may be threshed out before the electoral tribunals. in order to seek an impartial adjudication of his case. These petitions for reconsideration thereof or for the disqualification of judges. such as appeals from judgments. would be deemed derogatory to the SCRA 458 (2000). Electoral Tribunals. she is merely asking the these are raised in the Supreme Court. in order to seek an impartial adjudication of main ponencia cites several cases to support its ratio decidendi that three his case. taken his oath. The first part of the summary refers to the issue raised in the petition.” The the remedies which the rules allow. Proclamation of Candidates. the House of Representatives to vest jurisdiction on the electoral tribunal.―Good faith must be presumed in the conduct of the candidate has been proclaimed. the dignity of the judge is not thereby assailed or affected in the least. 315 SCRA 693 (1999). Stated differently. These one rule that the Supreme Court has consistently applied: It is the proclamation remedies may be availed of by any litigant freely. View that there is only of courts.” The case cited Aquino v. returns. PEREZ. there is only one rule that this Court has consistently applied: It is the proclamation of the winning candidate vying for a seat in Congress that divests the Commission on Elections of jurisdiction over any electoral protest.―The second fundamental reason for us Honorable Court to affirm the jurisdiction of the HRET to solely and exclusively to exercise caution in determining the composition of the House of pass upon such qualifications and to set aside the COMELEC Resolutions for Representatives is that this is required for a better administration of justice. having denied Petitioner her right to due process and for unconstitutionally Matters relating to factual findings on election. Same. Civil Procedure. finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Commission jurisdiction over the protest. or cases appear to have originated from Guerrero v. Same. all remedies SCRA 400 (1995) and Romualdez-Marcos v. View that when a litigant exhausts all for quo warranto] with the [House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal]. petitioner summarizes her submission. Same. which is: . such as appeals from judgments.―To reiterate. This rule is RESOLUTION consistent with the Constitution. As held in the 27 March 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC First Division is upheld. thus: the House of Representatives. otherwise. 248 judge is not thereby assailed or affected in the least. Appeals. without being considered guilty of the winning candidate vying for a seat in Congress that divests the of an act of disrespect to the court or the judge. 336 motions questioning the jurisdiction of courts. requisites must concur before a winning candidate is considered a “member” of otherwise. Commission on Elections. View that an electoral protest that also assails the validity of the proclamation will not cause the Commission on Elections to regain This is a Motion for Reconsideration of the En Bane Resolution of 25 June 2013 jurisdiction over the protest. this Court held that “x x x once a winning respect due a judge. J. View that matters relating to factual findings on election. and qualifications ends.―An electoral protest that also assails the validity of which stated that: IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. returns. "81.: Same. and jurisprudence. the 2011 Rules of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

there was not even any attempt to remove it. to permit her proclamation.3 She needed a restraining order from the Supreme Court to avoid the final finding. no longer any pending case on petitioner's order. Within on 18 May 2013. Rule 18. The COMELEC Rules indicate the manner by which the impediment to proclamation may be removed. respondent. The crucial question is whether or not petitioner could be proclaimed effect of the En Banc cancellation of her certificate of candidacy. the instant motion gives us the 18 May 2013 proclamation. Her certificate of candidacy has been ordered cancelled. which would allow her proclamation. before and after the argue on the basis of her due proclamation. petitioner's motion to reconsider the decision o the COMELEC First Division that CANCELLED petitioner's certificate of candidacy. that bar has not been who is duly proclaimed winner and who has already taken her oath of office for removed. there was not even an attempt at the legal opportunity to highlight the undeniable fact we here repeat that the proclamation remedy. After 14 May 2013. there was already a standing and unquestioned "SHALL become FINAL AND EXECUTORY after five days from its cancellation of petitioner's certificate o candidacy which cancellation is a promulgation unless restrained by the Supreme Court. we cannot disregard a fact basic in this controversy – that decision adverse to her became executory. the petitioner's oath of It is error to argue that the five days should pass before the petitioner is office is likewise baseless. there discretion in cancelling her certificate of candidacy and that a restraining was. will have to be based on qualifications to run for the position of Member of the House of Representatives. After the five days when the "More importantly. there can be barred from being proclaimed. petitioner did was to "take the law into her hands" and secure a proclamation in complete disregard of the COMELEC En Bane decision 1. 4. On 18 May 2003. What which petitioner secured on 18 May 2013 was WITHOUT ANY BASIS."31. In this case. Petitioner did not move to have it happen. or on 14 May that was final on 14 May 2013 and final and executory five days 2013. There is a reason why no mention about notice was made in Section 13(b) of Rule 18 in the provision that the COMELEC En Bane or decision 2. all questions regarding her Commission En Bane shall become final and executory after five (5) qualifications are outside the jurisdiction of the COMELEC and are within the days from its promulgation unless restrained by the Supreme Court." On its own the . Four (4) days BEFORE the 18 May 2013 proclamation. On 18 May 2013. before the COMELEC. Dates and events indicate that there was no basis for the proclamation of petitioner on 18 May 2013. Section 13 (b) provides: Tied up and neatened the propositions on the COMELEC-or-HRET jurisdiction go thus: petitioner is a duly proclaimed winner and having taken her oath of office as "(b) In Special Actions and Special Cases a decision or resolution of the member of the House of Representatives."2 3. Without the proclamation. the proclamation of petitioner. Petitioner lost in the COMELEC as of no valid and effective assumption of office. Differently stated. Within that five (5 days. Whether or not Respondent Comelec is without jurisdiction over Petitioner definite bar to her proclamation. the COMELEC En Banc has already denied for lack o merit the thereafter." HRET exclusive jurisdiction. She would have to base her had already finally disposed of the issue of petitioner's lack of Filipino citizenship recourse on the position that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of and residency via its Resolution dated 14 May 2013. That did not happen. the position of Member of the House of Representatives for the lone congressional district of Marinduque. clearly available to her. was there basis for the proclamation of the five (5) days the Supreme Court may remove the barrier to. and thus petitioner on 18 May 2013? allow. She could not be proclaimed because there was a final finding against We have clearly stated in our Resolution of 5 June 2013 that: her by the COMELEC. the need for Supreme Court before the proclamation of petitioner on 18 May 2013. and without a precedent oath of office. irreparable injury and demonstrated possibility of grave abuse of x x x As the point has obviously been missed by the petitioner who continues to discretion on the part of the COMELEC. petitioner had the opportunity to go to the The averred proclamation is the critical pointer to the correctness of petitioner's Supreme Court for a restraining order that will remove the immediate submission. the COMELEC En Banc intervention became even more imperative.

petitioner is in error in the basis. past and present. returns and qualifications of Rule 18 it is stated: the Members of the House of Representatives is a written constitutional provision. to in fact secure a proclamation two decision erected the bar to petitioner's proclamation. The indicant is magnified by the fact that petitioner would use her COMELEC En Bane decision. in lieu of oral . petitioner repudiates by her proclamation all administrative and judicial actions thereon. The suggestions of bad faith aside. the reasons that lead to the PROCEEDING or one heard summarily. The proclamation. more than that. The recourse taken on 25 June 2013 in the form of an original and nullifies the COMELEC's decision. The bar remained days thereafter. there was in her petition before us that she in fact received a copy of the decision nothing left for the COMELEC to do to decide the case. is in error when she posits that at present it is the COMELEC Rule 17 further provides in Section 3 that when the HRET which has exclusive jurisdiction over her qualifications as a proceedings are authorized to be summary. 9. COMELEC En Bane decision. Apart from the presumed notice of the COMELEC En Bane decision COMELEC. When petitioner finally went to the Supreme Court on 10 June 2013 questioning the COMELEC First Division ruling and the 14 May 2013 6. was completely and fully litigated in the COMELEC and was on the very date of its promulgation on 14 May 2013. may designate any of its officials who are members of the Philippine Bar to hear the case and to receive evidence. conclusion at which she directs. unrestrained. with knowledge of the existing legal impediment. be on permission by the Supreme Court is even indicative of bad faith on the part of the petitioner. a) The special action before the COMELEC which was a Petition she claims as acquired the congressional seat that she sought to be a to Cancel Certificate of Candidacy was a SUMMARY candidate for. She cannot sit as Member of proceedings is best indicated by the COMELEC Rule on Special the House of Representatives by virtue of a baseless proclamation Actions. as well as in her objective quite obvious from such conclusion. Promulgation. The decision on 16 May 20 13. of candidacy. That the HRET is the sole into becoming final and executory.5 Indeed. was correctly lodged in the 5. petitioner admitted finally decided by the COMELEC. the action for cancellation of petitioner's certificate or by registered mail or by telegram. her baseless proclamation on 18 May tainted proclamation as the very reason to support her argument that she 2013 did not by that fact of promulgation alone become valid and legal. Rule 23. of which proclamation as the rightful winner in the election for such notice shall be served in advance upon the parties or their attorneys personally membership. other words. the decision in which is the indispensable determinant of the right of petitioner to proclamation. by Division and then En Banc and special civil action for a writ of Certiorari through Rule 64 of the Rules of pre-empts any Supreme Court action on the COMELEC decision. The COMELEC never ordered her Commission or a division shall be made on a date previously fixed. she had absolutely no reason why she sealed the proceedings in the COMELEC regarding petitioner's would disregard the available legal way to remove the restraint on her ineligibility as a candidate for Representative of Marinduque. and that decision favorable to her by the Supreme Court regarding the decision of it is the HRET that has exclusive jurisdiction over the issue of her the COMELEC En Bane on her certificate of candidacy was qualifications for office. therefore. moves from promulgation Member of the House of Representatives. however unavailable to petitioner because she is NOT a Section 5. and. The utter disregard of a final COMELEC En Bane when no restraining order was obtained by petitioner from the Supreme decision and of the Rule stating that her proclamation at that point MUST Court within five days from 14 May 2013. 8. indispensably needed. This is so because in Section 5 of judge of all contests relating to the election. On and after 14 May 2013. As already shown. Section 4 of which states that the Commission knowingly taken. The nature of the impermissibility of the objective are clear. In Court is circumscribed by set rules and principles.4 On that date. It is. not to legalize her proclamation on 18 May 2013 but to authorize a proclamation with the Supreme Court decision as 7. And by her proclamation. Petitioner. It is with her procured proclamation that petitioner 10. A could no longer be reached by the jurisdiction of the COMELEC. -The promulgation of a decision or resolutions of the Member of the House at present.

authorized to administer an oath. counter. She assails the admission of public office the law requires that she must have accomplished the following acts: the blog article of Eli Obligacion as hearsay and the photocopy of the (1) take the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the Certification from the Bureau of Immigration. the party be given the opportunity or right to be heard.6 creditably and predictable than oral argument. and granting such incidental Also. discoursed as follows: Petitioner alleges that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when it took cognizance of "newly-discovered evidence" without the same having been "x x x for respondent to reacquire her Filipino citizenship and become eligible for testified on and offered and admitted in evidence. Her contentions are incorrect. and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. in administrative proceedings. speedy. administrative process cannot be fully equated with due the exercise of the COMELEC summary jurisdiction over the case. or with grave abuse of October 2012 when Tan's petition was filed up to 27 March 2013 when the First discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. alleging the her. the disposition of 25 June 2013 is here repeated for affirmation: As to the ruling that petitioner s ineligible to run for office on the ground of citizenship. x x x and that this Rule I the COMELEC Rules of Procedure shall be liberally construed in order x x provision shall likewise apply to cases where the hearing and x to achieve just. a person adduce evidence. petitioner had a period of five (5) months to any plain. Unfortunately. technical rules of procedure and evidence It is the category of the special action below providing the procedural leeway in are not strictly applied. in conjunction process in its strict judicial sense. that defines the way petitioner's submission before the motion for reconsideration. and perhaps many times more or hostility. board or officer. of Court thus: Furthermore. but simply an opportunity or right to be heard. Thus further explained. testimonies. From 10 has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction. In administrative proceedings moreover. expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition of reception of evidence are delegated by the Commission or the every action and proceeding brought before the Commission. procedural due process only requires that reliefs as law and justice may require. not solely by verbal presentation but also. In view of the fact Division to any of its officials x x x. Under Section 2 of affidavits and other documentary evidence. board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions was given every opportunity to argue her case before the COMELEC. She likewise contends that there Consul-General of the Philippine Consulate in the USA. through pleadings. there was no denial of due process in the case at bar as petitioner When any tribunal. As held in the case of Sahali v. or Division rendered its resolution. that the proceedings in a petition to deny due course or to cancel certificate of candidacy are summary in nature. then the newly discovered evidence was b) The special and civil action of Certiorari is defined in the Rules properly admitted by respondent COMELEC. technical rules of procedure in the presentation of evidence. and (2) make a personal was a violation of her right to due process of law because she was not given the and sworn renunciation of her American citizenship before any public officer opportunity to question and present controverting evidence. deprivation of due process cannot be with the limits of the Supreme Court's authority over the FINAL COMELEC ruling successfully invoked where a party was given the chance to be he rd on his that is brought before it. (Emphasis supplied) Court should be adjudicated. Indeed. the COMELEC First Division. COMELEC: The accepted definition of grave abuse of discretion is: a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion The petitioners should be reminded that due process does not necessarily mean of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. and there is no appeal. as where or require a hearing. facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal. One may be the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner because of passion heard. she did not avail herself of the opportunity given aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court. the parties may. be required to It must be emphasized that the COMELEC is not bound to strictly adhere to the submit their position paper together with affidavits. after due notice. .

A. specifically denied that she of allegiance for purposes of re-acquisition of natural-born Filipino status." (Emphasis in the original. This statement raises a lot of questions -Did petitioner execute an petitioner was able to substantiate his allegations. to this effect: This does not mean that Petitioner did petitioner's lack of proof regarding her American citizenship. take her oath petitioner's burden to present a case. petitioner s oath of office as Provincial born citizen. contending that it is not. this issue is being presented for the first Let us look into the events that led to this petition: In moving for the cancellation time before this Court. Petitioner cannot claim that she executed it to address the observations as a continuation of the proceedings in the COMELEC. however. No. 3 of R. but on an original action before the Court grounded on more than while the Affidavit was executed in September 2012. Unless and until she can establish that she had availed of the privileges To cover-up her apparent lack of an oath of allegiance as required by R.A. failed to clear such doubt. establishing the fact that respondent is a on matters of fact that was not previously passed upon by Respondent holder of an American passport which she continues to use until June 30 2012 COMELEC. respondent hammered on as Provincial Administrator. there s no showing that respondent complied with the Moreover. The matter can go to the Supreme Court but not to her. 9225 to her. otherwise known as the Rules Governing Philippine upon her the duty to prove that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and has not Citizenship under R. The burden now shifts to oath of allegiance for re-acquisition of natural-born Filipino status? If she did. Early on in the proceeding. why respondent to present substantial evidence to prove otherwise.A. 9225 and Memorandum Circular No. the burden of proof shifted to petitioner. thus the requirements of R. which has become either a permanent resident or naturalized citizen of the USA. since she took her oath of allegiance in valid sworn renunciation of her American citizenship. No. or that she has re-acquired such status in accordance with the (Revised Rules) and Administrative Order No. ineligible to run for and hold any elective is deemed to have reacquired her status as a natural-born Filipino citizen. R. prior to her taking her oath of office as Provincial Administrator. respondent submitted records of the Bureau of Immigration said oath of allegiance cannot be considered compliance with Sec. AFF-05-002 lost the same. Still. Petitioner. The reference to the taking of oath of office is in order to make reference to what is already part of the records Due to petitioner's submission of newly-discovered evidence thru a Manifestation and evidence in the present case and to avoid injecting into the records evidence dated February 7. If petitioner executed said Affidavit cancellation. AFF-04-01. public office in the Philippines. The COMELEC covers the serve the people and to comply with rules. No.In the case at bar.) This contention is misplaced. Aside from the bare allegation that she is a natural. petitioner added a footnote to her oath of office aforesaid requirements. Series of 2004 issued by the provisions of R. ended. therefore. No. subscribe to petitioner's explanation. of petitioner's COC. We cannot. which has in fact by the COMELEC as the assailed Resolutions were promulgated only in 2013. Petitioner COMELEC and the HRET insofar as the petitioner s being a explains that she attached said Affidavit if only to show her desire and zeal to Representative of Marinduque is concerned. then it is an admission that R. matter of petitioner s certificate of candidacy. in her Motion for Reconsideration before the COMELEC En Bane. made a 9225. 91. For one. 7 she is only a dual Filipino-American citizen. and thereafter. 9225. Administrator cannot be considered as the oath of allegiance in compliance with Neither did she submit any proof as to the inapplicability of R. she reserves to present in the proper proceeding. These circumstances. For another. but she averred that petitioner s citizenship. petitioner contends that. No. taken together.A. show that a doubt was clearly cast on petitioner admitted that she is a holder of a US passport. in the present petition.A. No. No. Notably. It may need pointing out that there is no conflict between the Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship dated 24 September 2012. however. however. and its due course or its however. imposing Circular No. she remains to be an connection with her appointment as Provincial Administrator of Marinduque. This. of RA 9225 by becoming a dual Filipino-American citizen. 2013. which are the pivotal conclusions that determines who can if only to comply with the rules. petitioner submitted no proof to support such contention.A. showing that petitioner is a holder of a US passport. attached to the said motion is an Affidavit of 11. leading to the conclusion inevitable that this an admission that she has indeed lost her natural-born Filipino status? respondent falsely misrepresented in her COC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen. Thus. 9225 do not apply to her. she American citizen and is. 9225 applies be legally proclaimed. as it was never raised before the COMELEC. 9225. however. At this point.1âwphi1 mere error of judgment but on error of jurisdiction for grave abuse of . No. She.A. the did she not present it at the earliest opportunity before the COMELEC? And is respondent utterly failed to do.A. Bureau of Immigration. even as a superfluity. and that her status is that of 9225 as certain requirements have to be met as prescribed by Memorandum a balikbayan.

discretion. who becomes so only upon a duly and legally based terminated. ROMULO B. by the mere House. 9189. At this point. the Court and.” 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 . the HRET s constitutional authority opens. and HON. Such representative is the duly petitioner cannot withdraw her petition to erase the ruling adverse to her proclaimed winner resulting from the terminated case of cancellation of interests. is longer any certificate cancellation matter than can go to the HRET. in his official The inhibition of this ponente was moved for. as she designed below. not More importantly. representative. The dismissal of the there is yet no HRET decision on the qualifications of the Member.—R. at the risk of repetitiveness. MACALINTAL. The reason for the denial of the capacity as Executive Secretary.A. The petitioner is not. Petitioner cannot.R. but continues until the case is of its MEMBER. we counsel petitioner against trifling because there is such a representative who shall sit as the HRET with court processes. Obviously. there is no The motion to withdraw petition filed AFTER the Court has acted thereon. negative and nullify the Court's no hiatus occurs in the representation of Marinduque in the House Resolution and its legal effects. but not as ATTY. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. as the dissent does so. No. proceedings are had till termination.8 vs. Constitutional Law. be that predilections the supremacy of the law. The Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED. Election Law. 12. In that noted. 157013 July 10. she cannot. unwarranted haste can be attributed. The HRET proceedings is a regular. Appropriating Funds Therefor. and as such. It will determine who should be the Member of the issuance. a sitting member of the House of Representatives. BONCODIN. the Court exercised such jurisdiction when it acted on the The HRET jurisdiction over the qualification of the Member of the House petition. Such jurisdiction cannot be lost by the unilateral withdrawal of the of Representatives is original and exclusive. No. entitled. And this. Secretary motion was contained in a letter to the members of the Court on the of the Department of Budget and Management. proceeding. HON. the first and unavoidable step towards such membership. and as explained in the discussion just done. The petitioner can very well invoke the authority of the HRET. undoubtedly has legal consequences. It must be made clear though. novo unhampered by the proceedings in the COMELEC which. petitioner.9 When petitioner filed her Petition for Certiorari jurisdiction vested in proclamation. petition is affirmed. to the resolution of this petition promulgated on 25 June 2013. Having sought the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. being a valid court summary. ALBERTO ROMULO. and for Other Purposes. respondents. that expediency of withdrawing the petition. EMILIA T. As finale. At and after the COMELEC En Bane decision. cannot. It may well be in order to remind petitioner that jurisdiction. sense. proceeds de petition by petitioner. understanding that the matter was internal to the Court. The ponente now seeks the Courts approval to have the explanation published as it is now appended to this Resolution. Quite the contrary. It was not done to prevent the exercise by the HRET of its constitutional duty. no SO ORDERED. the Resolution dated 25 June 2013. subject to her certificate of candidacy of petitioner. in fact. once acquired. while WHEREFORE. Taxpayers have the right to restrain officials from wasting public funds through the enforcement of an unconstitutional statute. as just stated has been terminated. is the crux of the dispute between the parties: who shall sit in the House in representation of Marinduque. the speedy resolution of the petition was done to pave the way G. Entry of Judgment is ordered. “An Act Providing for A System of Overseas Absentee Voting by Qualified Citizens of the Philippines Abroad. over the qualification is not lost upon the instance of the parties. 2003 for the unimpeded performance by the HRET of its constitutional role. all in all. Parties in Interest.

it serves as an explicit expression that he had not in fact convincingly. but more significantly. the Court may consider the intent of its framers through vote for two consecutive national elections. The Commission even intended to extend to enforcement of an unconstitutional statute.” In Chiongbian vs. Same. The intent of the which is that the Filipino who fails to return as promised stands to lose his right of Constitution may be drawn primarily from the language of the document itself. all laws are presumed to be constitutional. The question of the validity of every statute is first Same. Same. Statutory Construction. suffrage. Same. absentia. from the National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters. Same. The Court has held that they may young Filipinos who reach voting age abroad whose parents’ domicile of origin is assail the validity of a law appropriating public funds because expenditure of in the Philippines. have the right to restrain officials from wasting public funds through the abandoned their domicile of origin. Same. Same.” Filipinos abroad must also declare that they have not applied for citizenship in Same. An act of the legislature. their failure function to the full extent of its substance and its terms. but Same.—The Constitution is the fundamental Philippines. however. Taxpayers. it has provisions are mandatory in character unless. 9189 as discussions of the members of the Constitutional Commission intended to constitutionally defective. should a registered overseas absentee voter fail to Should it be ambiguous. enabling or enfranchising act. otherwise. No. Same. Commission intended to enfranchise as much as possible all Filipino citizens 9189 as constitutionally defective. Same. Absentee Voting. Thus. The affidavit is not only proof of the intention of the Same. The authority administered. the Court said: . Same. Under Section 9. Court does not find Section 5(d) of R. Constitutional suffrage. To strike affidavit or a promise to “resume actual physical permanent residence in the down a law there must be a clear showing that what the fundamental law Philippines not later than three years from approval of his/her registration. . such as herein enfranchise as much as possible all Filipino citizens abroad who have not petitioner. Same. Statutes.—In fine. Same. Members to the Constitutional Same. De Leon.” the Filipinos declare a law unconstitutional. or permanent resident to go back and resume residency in the Philippines.A.” the condemns or prohibits. A constitutional provision should another country. it is not correct to say that the execution Peralta vs.—Contrary to the claim of petitioner.—Generally. not by itself alone. approved by of the affidavit under Section 5(d) violates the Constitution that proscribes the executive.—It is a basic rule in Registry of Absentee Voters and his/her permanent disqualification to vote in constitutional construction that the Constitution should be construed as a whole. Same. Same. Section 5(d) itself provides for a deterrence necessary implication. . is presumed to be within constitutional limitations. Same. the Court does not find Section 5(d) of R. or a promise to “resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines presumption of constitutionality of a law must be overcome convincingly: . To not later than three years from approval of his/her registration. they must return to the Philippines.” the legislature as well. his name may be ordered removed their debates in the constitutional convention. Thus. Same. . public funds by an officer of the State for the purpose of executing an Same. either by express statement or by addressed the expected problem. but in which is that the Filipino who fails to return as promised stands to lose his right of conjunction with all other provisions of that great document. No. Same. The execution of the affidavit itself is not the unconstitutional act constitutes a misapplication of such funds. the Court held that a constitutional provision should Same. not by itself alone. accordance with which all private rights must be determined and all public the execution of the affidavit itself is not the enabling or enfranchising act. but in to return “shall be cause for the removal” of their names “from the National conjunction with all other provisions of that great document. for even if a law is aimed at the attainment of country. a different intention is manifest. Presumption of constitutionality of a law must be overcome more significantly. Same. the repugnancy of that law to the Constitution abroad must also declare that they have not applied for citizenship in another must be clear and unequivocal. Laws that do not conform to the Constitution shall be immigrant or permanent resident to go back and resume residency in the stricken down for being unconstitutional. Same. The “provisional registration or a promise by a voter to perform a condition to qualified responsibility of upholding the Constitution rests not on the courts alone but on to vote in a political exercise. Same. . . Same.necessary amount to carry out its provisions. Section 5(d) does not only require an affidavit determined by the legislative department of the government itself.—Congress itself was conscious of said probability and in fact. Same. Same.—It is clear from these the Constitution. it serves as an explicit expression that he had and paramount law of the nation to which all other laws must conform and in not in fact abandoned his domicile of origin. Laws that do not conform to the Constitution shall be affidavit required in Section 5(d) is not only proof of the intention of the immigrant stricken down for being unconstitutional. In abandoned his domicile of origin. Thus.—It must be emphasized that Section 5(d) does not only require an some public good. COMELEC. Same.A. no infringement of constitutional rights is allowed. Same. Same. considering the underlying intent of abroad who have not abandoned their domicile of origin. and consider them qualified as voters for the first time. Section 5(d) itself provides for a deterrence function to the full extent of its substance and its terms. the statute allows it to be done.

discretion given to them. dims in light of material legal interest in the subject matter of this case in seeing to it that public the importance of the constitutional issues raised by the petitioner. to determine whether or not Congress trampled upon the constitutional mandate of independence of the the other branches of government have kept themselves within the limits COMELEC. Court’s duty. "An Act Providing for A System of Overseas Absentee alleged to have infringed the Constitution. Claiming that he has actual and ministerial functions as required by Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. The canvassing of the votes and the proclamation of the winning statute. Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously R. The duty (to adjudicate) which provides that a supplemental budget on the General Appropriations Act of remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld. In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it The Court upholds the right of petitioner to file the present petition. Tan. however.—By vesting itself with the powers to interest are. as aptly stated by petitioner. In Tañada vs. contravenes the Constitution. The question of propriety of the instant petition which may appear to be visited by Macalintal. funds are properly and lawfully used and appropriated.2 The Court has held that they may assail the validity of a law candidates for president and vice-president for the entire nation must remain in appropriating public funds3 because expenditure of public funds by an officer of the hands of Congress. 9189. such as herein petitioner. review. the Court is left with no option but to of the Constitution and the laws and that they have not abused the withdraw from its usual reticence in declaring a provision of law unconstitutional. to misapplication of such funds.: constitutional right of suffrage of a considerable number of Filipinos is involved.Same. pronounced in Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas. review.—Congress could not have allowed the COMELEC to the State for the purpose of executing an unconstitutional act constitutes a usurp a power that constitutionally belongs to it or. J. officials from wasting public funds through the enforcement of an unconstitutional . and for Other Purposes. No.A. the Court may set aside procedural rules as the AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. a member of the Philippine Bar." appropriates funds under Section 29 thereof thus posed is judicial rather than political. 6 Indeed. the petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy. and revise the IRR for The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003. amend. and revise the IRR for The Overseas Absentee Voting importance to the public of the cases at bar. quasi-judicial or 2003)1 suffer from constitutional infirmity.4 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. entitled. Appropriating Funds but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. or the scope of its constitutional authority. seeking a declaration that certain the vice of prematurity as there are no ongoing proceedings in any tribunal. Taxpayers. Congress went beyond the scope of its constitutional authority. This has been explicitly vice-president for the entire nation must remain in the hands of Congress. the Court has brushed aside technicalities of procedure and has taken cognizance of these petitions. By vesting itself with the powers to approve. "The question Therefor. The Court has adopted the policy of taking jurisdiction over as part of The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 and hence.7 the Court held: petition as a taxpayer and as a lawyer. Congress went beyond Objections to taxpayers’ suit for lack of sufficient personality standing. under the 1987 Constitution. Inc. Under such a situation. Considering the approve. in this case. provisions of Republic Act No. 9189 (The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of board or before a government official exercising judicial. vs. Before the Court is a petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by Romulo B. have the right to restrain constitutional provision is raised before this Court (as in the instant case). the canvassing cases whenever the petitioner has seriously and convincingly presented an issue of the votes and the proclamation of the winning candidates for president and of transcendental significance to the Filipino people.5 where the Court held: Same. it becomes not only the right Voting by Qualified Citizens of the Philippines Abroad. in the main procedural matters.” The The challenged provision of law involves a public right that affects a great provisions of the Constitution as the fundamental law of the land should be read number of citizens. petitioner filed the instant Angara. amend." the year of its enactment into law shall provide for the necessary amount to carry Once a "controversy as to the application or interpretation of out its provisions. and in keeping with the Act of 2003.

Blandishment is as ineffectual as intimidation." proclaim the winning candidates for national offices and party list representatives including the President and the Vice-President violate In another case of paramount impact to the Filipino people. exercise the power to review. all the awesome power of the Congress and Executive. Personal Constitution? motives and political considerations are irrelevancies that cannot influence its decisions. Thus. – The following shall be disqualified from voting of the 1987 Constitution requiring Congress to provide a system for absentee under this Act: voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. Act No. 9189 violate Section 1. In arriving at this conclusion.. Act No. Act No." where the acts of these A.. an affidavit The petitioner raises three principal questions: prepared for the purpose by the Commission declaring that he/she shall resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later A. that the Commission on Elections shall promulgate without violating the its only criterion will be the Constitution and God as its conscience gives independence of the COMELEC under Section 1. Does Section 5(d) of Rep. has acted within the limits of the Constitution or if it had gravely abused the discretion entrusted to it. the Court will not hesitate "to make the hammer fall heavily.. or of any official. it becomes a legal issue which the Court is bound by constitutional B. Article IX-A of the it in the light to probe its meaning and discover its purpose. Does Section 18. 8 In yet proclaimed as winners by Congress? another case.9 Section 5(d) provides: 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 Sec. upon registration. 9189 allowing the registration of than three (3) years from approval of his/her registration under this Act..11 d) An immigrant or a permanent resident who is recognized as such in the host country. Petitioner posits that Section 5(d) is unconstitutional because it violates Section 1.. . strong reasons of public policy demand that the Court resolves the instant petition10 and determine whether Congress .5 of the same law empowering the COMELEC to mandate to decide.. . constitutional issues. . May Congress. and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations when it is convinced that this must be done. betray the people’s will as expressed in 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines? the Constitution . 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. amend. voters who are immigrants or permanent residents in other countries by Such affidavit shall also state that he/she has not applied for citizenship their mere act of executing an affidavit expressing their intention to return in another country. through the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee . . Does Section 5(d) of Rep. violate the residency requirement in Section 1 of name of the immigrant or permanent resident from the National Registry Article V of the Constitution? of Absentee Voters and his/her permanent disqualification to vote in absentia. for The Court will resolve the questions in seriatim. Failure to return shall be cause for the removal of the to the Philippines.. it has been the constitutional mandate under Section 4. 5. the Court said that: C. 9189. Article VII of the Constitution expressed that it is illogical to await the adverse consequences of the law in that the winning candidates for President and the Vice-President shall be order to consider the controversy actual and ripe for judicial resolution. unless he/she executes. despite the inhibitions pressing upon the Court when confronted with created in Section 25 of Rep. Article V of the departments. Disqualifications.. it will not hesitate to declare a law or act invalid revise. .

Article V of the Constitution is a verbatim reproduction of those provided for in the 1935 and the a) "Absentee Voting" refers to the process by which qualified 1973 Constitutions. conformably with R. In that case. by the doctrine of system of honest and orderly overseas absentee voting that upholds the secrecy separation of powers. Appeals21 in so far as it relates to immigrants and permanent residents in foreign countries who have executed and submitted their affidavits conformably with Petitioner further argues that Section 1.20 SEC.Petitioner cites the ruling of the Court in Caasi vs. the Solicitor General filed his phrase. No. the Solicitor General United States is deemed to have abandoned his domicile and residence in the suggests that the Court may have to discard its ruling in Caasi vs. who is abroad on the day ruling in Faypon vs. the legislature intended to enact a valid. Article V of the Constitution does not Section 5(d) of R. 15 The seed of the present controversy is the interpretation that is given to the In compliance with the Resolution of the Court. sensible. the State ensures equal opportunity the acts of the other two departments. Article V of the Constitution. Court of Philippines. "qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad" as it appears in R. SEC. that residence requirement to qualify a Filipino abroad to vote. 4. Court of Appeals12 to support Taking issue with the petitioner’s contention that "green card" holders are his claim.19 the Solicitor General maintains that Filipinos who of elections. (Emphasis supplied) further argues that a person can have only one "domicile" but he can have two residences. . the Court held that a "green card" holder immigrant to the considered to have abandoned their Philippine domicile. who are not otherwise disqualified by law. 2. Article V of the Constitution upon approval of their registration. "animus manendi" and "animus revertendi. Article V of the immigrants and permanent residents abroad possess the unquestionable right to Constitution. the Solicitor General points out that Section 1. No.. a department of government owes a becoming respect for and sanctity of the ballot. just law. Coverage. He maintains that through the execution of the allow provisional registration or a promise by a voter to perform a condition to be requisite affidavits.A. Declaration of Policy. not otherwise disqualified by law. . to wit: 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. 14 He claims that the indubitably. pursuant to Section 2. and fundamental right. He . He contraposes that the constitutional 9189. at least eighteen (18) years of age . SEC. Thus. the Congress of the Philippines with the concurrence of the qualified to vote in a political exercise. No. Quirino. 9189.A. Invoking Romualdez-Marcos vs. (Emphasis supplied) are immigrants or permanent residents abroad may have in fact never abandoned their Philippine domicile. Definition of Terms. Electoral Tribunal of the House of citizens of the Philippines abroad. 3. comment for all public respondents. Representatives16 wherein the Court held that the term "residence" has been understood to be synonymous with "domicile" under both Constitutions. to providing a condition thereon which in effect amends or alters the aforesaid manifest that they had in fact never abandoned their Philippine domicile. he cites Co vs. COMELEC18 which reiterates the Court’s Act. – It is the prime duty of the State to provide a He stresses: All laws are presumed to be constitutional. – For purposes of this Act: In addition.e. all laws are presumed to have adhered to to all qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad in the exercise of this constitutional limitations. intentions. on the date of the election. i.A. they would have formally and categorically expressed the requisite right of suffrage should not be granted to anyone who. exercise the right of suffrage under Section 1. 22 Respondent COMELEC refrained from commenting on this issue." that Filipino does not possess the qualifications provided for by Section 1. exercise their right to vote. one permanent (the domicile) and the other temporary. – All citizens of the Philippines abroad. 9189. Towards this end.13 that the legislature should not be allowed President of the Republic had in fact given these immigrants and permanent to circumvent the requirement of the Constitution on the right of suffrage by residents the opportunity. 17 and that the f) "Overseas Absentee Voter" refers to a citizen of the definition and meaning given to the term residence likewise applies to absentee Philippines who is qualified to register and vote under this voters.

(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 . COMELEC. Article V of the Constitution.27 The intent of the Constitution may be drawn impression that it contravenes Section 1. be within constitutional limitations. Article V of the Constitution in ascribing that the Constitution should be construed as a whole. 9189 is to enfranchise overseas qualified Filipinos. for even if a law is aimed at one of those disqualified from voting is an immigrant or permanent resident who the attainment of some public good. To strike down a law there must be a clear showing that declaring that he/she shall resume actual physical permanent residence in the what the fundamental law condemns or prohibits. . presumption of constitutionality of a law must be overcome convincingly: law. Constitutional provisions are mandatory in character unless. (Emphasis supplied) affidavit expressing their intent to return to the Philippines within a given period. senators residency requirement of the Constitution by the mere act of executing an and party-list representatives. who are at least eighteen years of age. a provision in the law enfranchising those who do not possess the . 9189. but in conjunction with all voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. . to vote. No. (Emphasis supplied) The question of the validity of every statute is first determined by the legislative department of the government itself. No.A.26 the Court held that a constitutional provision should function to the full provisions of Section 2 empowering Congress to provide a system for absentee extent of its substance and its terms. 9189. Under Section 5(d) of R.24 Section 1. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not The Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law of the nation to which all otherwise disqualified by law.23 Laws that do not conform to place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately the Constitution shall be stricken down for being unconstitutional. cursory reading of Section 5(d) of R. the Court said: SEC. . It is a basic rule in constitutional construction He focuses solely on Section 1. a A simple. it Petitioner questions the rightness of the mere act of execution of an affidavit to behooves the Court to take a holistic view of the pertinent provisions of both the qualify the Filipinos abroad who are immigrants or permanent residents.A. Filipino primarily from the language of the document itself. Article V of the Constitution which read: real. other provisions of that great document.A. is presumed to qualified Filipinos abroad.28 therefore. vice-president. Should it be ambiguous. . No. the risk is more apparent than in relation to Sections 1 and 2. Article V of the Constitution specifically provides that suffrage may be exercised by (1) all citizens of the Philippines. However. . property. To declare a law unconstitutional. . Constitution and R. 2.25 said Act. approved by the executive. Constitution must be clear and unequivocal. or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage. 1.A. on the day of elections. the statute allows it to Philippines not later than three years from approval of his/her registration under be done. Generally. totally ignoring the Leon. not by itself alone. either by express statement or by necessary implication. An act of the legislature. however. 9189 may indeed give the different intention is manifest. no infringement of constitutional is recognized as such in the host country unless he/she executes an affidavit rights is allowed. No literacy. the repugnancy of that law to the months immediately preceding the election. preceding the election.A. and other laws must conform and in accordance with which all private rights must be who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the determined and all public authority administered. The responsibility of upholding the Constitution rests not on the courts alone but on the legislature as well. As the essence of R. . (3) at least eighteen years of age. . . (2) not otherwise disqualified by Thus. . the immigrants and permanent residents overseas are perceived as having left and Court may consider the intent of its framers through their debates in the abandoned the Philippines to live permanently in their host countries and constitutional convention. In Chiongbian vs. SEC. may vote for president. De constitutional infirmity to Section 5(d) of R. risks a declaration of unconstitutionality. . . . No. No. In Peralta vs. 9189. all laws are presumed to be constitutional. The Congress shall provide a system for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by .

the domicile of natural persons is exception to the customary and usual manner of voting. one intends to common law. return. in the absence of restrictions. quite perfectly normal for an individual to have different is granted. the intent of the entire plan. It is viewed thus: In Romualdez-Marcos. Republic. and so as to carry out ‘Residence’ is used to indicate a place of abode. considered synonymous with domicile. ‘domicile’ denotes a fixed permanent provisions and mandates. It must be stressed that Section 2 does not spirit of their adoption. an absentee is not a resident and vice versa. a person can only have a single application to particular types of elections. or the intention of returning there permanently. and try to give effect to every portion provide for the parameters of the exercise of legislative authority in enacting said thereof. a person cannot be at Constitution. implies the factual relationship of from constitutional provisions or be conferred by statutes. domicile includes the twin Absentee voting is an outgrowth of modern social and economic elements of "the fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place" conditions devised to accommodate those engaged in military or civil life and animus manendi. leave when the purpose for which the resident has taken up his abode ends. he successfully abandons his construed in the light of any constitutional provisions affecting domicile in favor of another domicile of choice." "a place statutory. In Uytengsu vs. existing in an individual to a certain place.29 (Emphasis supplied) law.R. When the legislature chooses to grant the right by intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is established it is residence. and depends on facts and circumstances in the sense that they disclose intent. Further. and the privilege of absentee voting may flow Residence. The right of their place of habitual residence. this court took the absentee and disabled voters to cast their ballots at an election is purely concept of domicile to mean an individual’s "permanent home. which provide in varying terms for the casting and a given area. and to be a new Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that "[f]or the exercise of civil rights and different manner of voting from that previously known. No. However. Republic. the to which.30 However. under our election laws and the countless pronouncements of the Court pertaining to elections. it becomes his domicile. when absent. and with due regard to their texts prior to we laid this distinction quite clearly: amendment and to predecessor statutes and the decisions thereunder.A. whenever absent for business or for pleasure. absentee voting was unknown to. or health. if his an absolute right. business. in its ordinary conception. and not recognized at. or Such statutes are regarded as conferring a privilege and not a right. unless. and reasons and voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. it must operate with equality among all the class to which it is thus. If a person’s intent be to remain. The essential distinction between reception of ballots by soldiers and sailors or other qualified voters residence and domicile in law is that residence involves the intent to absent on election day from the district or precinct of their residence. if this can be done without doing violence to their permanent or temporary. for various reasons. Hence. community or country. and an and the fulfillment of civil obligations. registration and elections. in passing on statutes regulating residence to which." In Ong vs. both a resident and an absentee. it is necessary to dwell first on the absentee remains attached to his residence in the Philippines as residence is significance of absentee voting. the same time. The statutes should be domicile. Congress is presumed to have duly exercised its function as defined in Article VI (The Legislative Department) of the Ordinarily. 9189 was enacted in obeisance to the mandate of the first paragraph of absentee voting. Article V of the Constitution that Congress shall provide a system for of the election laws. The concept of absentee voting is relatively new. the court should look to the whole and every part Section 2. whose duties make it impracticable for them to attend their polling places on the day of election. whether the objects thereof. It is the physical presence of a person in some jurisdictions.31 the Court enunciated: The method of absentee voting has been said to be completely separable and distinct from the regular system of voting. they should also be construed in the light of the "There is a difference between domicile and residence. circumstances under which they were enacted. One may seek a place for purposes such as pleasure. but statutes of this nature may be limited in their residences in various places. one has the intention of . an To put matters in their right perspective." Based on the foregoing. It statute.

I would like to make a comment on the meaning of suffrage. Residence is not domicile. to his domicile or residence to embrace a more convenient foreign citizenship. but are technically place of residence is generally his place of domicile. business reasons. the According to government data. and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least evolved in our election law. Quirino. the framers of the Constitution considered the circumstances that abroad for Filipino citizens an effective. OPLE. returning. . Despite such registration. but it is not disqualified from exercising the right of suffrage in their countries of by any means necessarily so since no length of residence destination by the residential requirement in Section 1 which says: without intention of remaining will constitute domicile. find that they domicile in another. there are now about 600. reengaging in business. to cast his ballot. what has clearly and unequivocally one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote for at emerged is the fact that residence for election purposes is used least six months preceding the election. With respect to Section 1. it is not clear whether the right of just saying that. but domicile is have to detach themselves from their families to work in other countries residence coupled with the intention to remain for an unlimited with definite tenures of employment. they are here registered as voters as he has the and Agencies. Based on the statistics of several been discussed in various decisions of the Supreme Court.32(Emphasis supplied) I. is not denied to citizens "residence" in the Constitution because I think it is a concept that has temporarily residing or working abroad. practice of his avocation. said that there was no insuperable obstacle to making effective opportunity to choose the officials who are to run the government the right of suffrage for Filipinos overseas. Allow me to quote: provisions are really lifted from the two previous Constitutions of 1935 and 1973. therefore. there ought to be about two million such Filipinos the case of Faypon vs. synonymously with domicile. Certainly. course. thus: FR. two. and is not willing to give up or lose the Felipe. includes study in other places. which here has a residential restriction. They have no intention of any time. BERNAS. In a previous hearing of the Committee on Constitutional Commissions So. a 1954 case which dealt precisely with at this time. the Chairman of the Commission on Elections. the Committee will consider that." Suffrage shall be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are otherwise disqualified by law. A man may have a residence in one place and a their own or under pressure of economic necessity here. who are eighteen years of age or dictated by the peculiar criteria of political laws. and although the major portions of these return to his native town. he may not absent they are scattered in 177 countries in the world. As these concepts have over. Those who have adhered to especially in national elections. himself from the place of his professional or business activities. ask the Committee whether at the proper time they might Aware of the domiciliary legal tie that links an overseas Filipino to his residence entertain an amendment that will make this exercise of the right to vote in this country. But more than MR. And those who on of origin has not forsaken him. or three years. voting. Ramon qualifications to be one. particularly in government agencies. Commissioner Bernas had earlier pointed out that these the meaning of "residence" in the Election Law. but he may have numerous places of residence. to improve his lot and that.000 contract citizen who left his birthplace to improve his lot may decide to workers and employees. or for any other reason. of the Filipino labor force explosion overseas. When an election is to be held. rather than merely a nominal impelled them to require Congress to establish a system for overseas absentee right under this proposed Constitution. but for professional or expatriate communities of workers are to be found in the Middle East. with the exception of the last paragraph. A man can have but one domicile for the same purpose at employment for one. their Filipino citizenship notwithstanding strong temptations are exposed the animus revertendi to his home. Many of them are on contract time. His changing their residence on a permanent basis. They could not A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for greener therefore have foreseen at that time the phenomenon now described as pastures. as the saying goes.

this will require that this is possible. There are certain qualifications for the exercise of the right of suffrage like having The Constitutional Commission realized that under the laws then existing and resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place where considering the novelty of the system of absentee voting in this jurisdiction. to cast their the word "residence" means domicile. Article V of the Constitution came into being to remove any that will be put in place to make effective the right to vote. MONSOD.34 (Emphasis supplied) government. the Constitutional Commission recognized the fact that while millions of requirement prescribed by Section 1. How about those people who cannot go back to the will be considered as cast in the place of his domicile. abroad. places where they are registered? MR. to their places of registration. REGALADO. MR. seeking shelter in some wise jurisprudence of the past precisely to avoid any problems that could impede the implementation of its may not be sufficient to meet the demands of the right of suffrage pursuit to enfranchise the largest number of qualified Filipinos who are not in the for Filipinos abroad that I have mentioned. Under the present Election Code. in Mindanao. So. . . but as far as residence in the votes. As far as residence in the Philippines is concerned. SUAREZ. a more extensive elaboration of this mechanism Thus. But I want to thank the Philippines that the Constitutional Commission explicitly mandated Congress to Committee for saying that an amendment to this effect may be provide a system for overseas absentee voting. 33 (Emphasis supplied) The discussion of the Constitutional Commission on the effect of the residency Thus. MONSOD. this will call for a question of legislation by Congress. The reason we want absentee voting overseas Filipino communities. vesting overseas Filipinos with the right to vote would spawn constitutional What is the effect of these mandatory requirements on the matter of the . Thank you for citing the jurisprudence. . . those who are. let us say. REGALADO. qualifications: "residence" in the Philippines and "residence" in the place meaning. and perhaps. May I just be recognized for a clarification. So that there may be serious constitutional obstacles to absentee voting. It is Therefore. of course. unless the vote of the person who is absent is a vote which MR. . may I inquire from Commissioner In other words. Article V of the Constitution on the Filipinos reside abroad principally for economic reasons and hence they proposed system of absentee voting for qualified Filipinos abroad is enlightening: contribute in no small measure to the economic uplift of this country. . Before I act on that. place where he will actually cast his ballot is concerned. . by allowing it and saying logistical exercise of global proportions. I think our provision is for absentee voting by Filipinos 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 problems especially because the Constitution itself provides for the residency his residence of origin has not been deemed sufficient to consider abandonment requirement of voters: or loss of such residence of origin. entertained at the proper time. OPLE. In effect. then legislation can take care of the budgetary and administrative commitments on the part of the Philippine rest. at least a substantial segment of these by the Omnibus Election Code. . the meaning seems to be different. "residence" in this provision refers to two residence Monsod if the term "absentee voting" also includes transient voting. doubt as to the inapplicability of the residency requirement in Section 1. there are provisions for allowing students and military people who are temporarily in another It gives me scant comfort thinking of about two million Filipinos who place to register and vote. their voices are marginal insofar as the choice of this country’s leaders is concerned. studying in Manila need not go back where he will vote. . MR. Section 2. MR. The Committee. is aware that to be in the Constitution as a mandate to the legislature is that when this Article of the Constitution explicitly and unequivocally extends there could be inconsistency on the residence rule if it is just a the right of effective suffrage to Filipinos abroad. mainly through the COMELEC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He could have a domicile somewhere else and yet MR. they propose to vote for at least six months preceding the elections. for instance. I believe that those situations can be covered should enjoy the right of suffrage.

Yes. to change the word "Filipinos" to QUALIFIED FILIPINO VOTERS. Commissioner Regalado is recognized. BERNAS. that the domicile requirements as well as the qualifications and MR. THE PRESIDENT. So does the Committee accept? Congress the responsibility of devising a system of absentee voting. say. Would Commissioner Monsod care to answer? THE PRESIDENT. Madam President. Yes. MONSOD. only to provide a system. REGALADO. I specifically stated that the National Assembly shall prescribe a system which will enable qualified citizens. Clearly therefrom. However. MR. MR. For instance. but he satisfies the requirement of THE PRESIDENT. BERNAS. Madam President. may I then suggest to the Committee MR. MONSOD. MONSOD. members of the diplomatic corps who may be continuously abroad FR. there can be a system of registration in the residence requirement or the place where they vote in practice. to vote. temporarily abroad. BERNAS. Just to clarify. That is right. proposed amendment. "QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD" because "QUALIFIED" would assume that he has the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to MR. Madam President. What does Commissioner Monsod say? of the disqualifications. would that not satisfy the requirement? MR. Madam President. I believe Commissioner Suarez is clarified. Yes. The Commissioner is not stating here that he wants FILIPINO VOTERS. for example. BENGZON. MR. the use of the phrase "absentee voting" already took that into account as its meaning. When Commissioner Bengzon asked me to read my disqualifications would be the same. MR. I believe the answer was already given by Commissioner Bernas. LIVING ABROAD. so he is able to vote in Manila. THE PRESIDENT. This is in fact the reason why the Constitutional . understanding is that it is flexible. Does the Committee accept the amendment? abroad? MR. That is right. They must have the qualifications and none THE PRESIDENT. I think I would accept the phrase THE PRESIDENT. I would like to say that with respect to registration we will leave it up to the legislative assembly. TINGSON. The qualifications of voters as stated in Section 1 shall remain except for the FR. It is just to devise a system by which they can vote. "QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD"? residency requirement. Commissioner Monsod’s amendment is residence in Manila. temporarily THE PRESIDENT. one might be a resident of Naga or domiciled therein. That is right. Instead of "VOTING BY FILIPINOS ABROAD. That is referring to qualified Filipino citizens FR. perhaps." it should be QUALIFIED THE PRESIDENT. If the Committee wants QUALIFIED VOTERS new qualifications for these absentee voters. the embassies. I think there is a very legitimate problem raised there. the intent of the Constitutional Commission is to entrust to MR. MONSOD. we accepted that. MONSOD.35 (Emphasis supplied) vote. TINGSON. But I think it should be further clarified with regard to the for a long time. REGALADO. Are we leaving it to the legislature to devise the absent from the Philippines. to require where the registration is. If it is. According to Commissioner system? Monsod.exercise of the right of suffrage by the absentee voters like Filipinos THE PRESIDENT. we do not like to preempt the legislative assembly. MONSOD. MR.

he is not a registered voter of Los Angeles. Where will he register? Will he be a registered voter of a certain Philippines. but Congress or the system of absentee voting that Congress should draw up. citizens abroad who have not abandoned their domicile of origin. As stressed by Assembly may provide the procedure for registration. BERNAS. I just States and his name is then entered in the official registration book in want to make that clear for the record. BERNAS. he may just be there on a business trip. if that qualified voter is registered in Angeles City. like listing Commissioner Monsod. BERNAS. MR. That is still Filipinos abroad. the Constitutional Commission discussed how the system should work: FR. Commission that they intended to enfranchise as much as possible all Filipino Precisely. Therefore. we just want to state for the record that in the case of qualified Filipino citizens residing abroad and Suppose we have a situation of a child of a diplomatic officer who exercising their right of suffrage. So as to avoid any complications. Madam President. Madam President. The Commission even intended to extend to young Filipinos who reach voting age MR. BENGZON. One can be qualified as voters for the first time. He is there are more clarifications needed from the body. SUAREZ. So I move that we date of the elections. if they are locality in the Philippines? registered in Angeles City. Madam President. then he can fall within the prescription of close the period of amendments. He does not have to come home to the MR. For clarification purposes. and consider them "temporarily abroad. MR. but not residing there. temporarily abroad. in a registry list in the embassy abroad. Yes. Madam President. Commissioner Suarez that this envisions Filipinos residing abroad. abroad. MONSOD. the Floor Leader is happy to announce that there are no more residing abroad. The understanding in the amendment is that the Filipino is temporarily FR. then he comply with the registration requirements in an embassy in the United can vote only for the local and national candidates in Angeles City.He may not be actually residing abroad. we need this clarification on record. What does Commissioner Regalado say? MR. abroad on a treaty traders visa. It is clear from these discussions of the members of the Constitutional MR. This is not limited only to Filipinos temporarily Also. Angeles City. REGALADO. So. by the use of the adjective qualified with respect to one’s name. to clarify what we mean by abroad whose parents’ domicile of origin is in the Philippines. they can cast their votes for the reaches the voting age while living abroad and he has never registered candidates in the place where they were registered to vote in the here. it is possible that his residence is in Angeles and he would . REGALADO. SUAREZ. but a registered voter of a locality here. the disqualifications to vote. I just want to make a note on the statement of Philippines to comply with the registration procedure here. it is possible that the system will enable that child to In other words. THE PRESIDENT. they could not vote for a mayor in Naga City. It just so happens that the day before the elections he MR. for example. just one clarification if Commissioner Monsod agrees with this. the assumption is that they have the "qualifications and none of possible under the system. the Floor Leader wishes to inquire if has to fly to the United States." it need not be on very short trips. I thank the Commissioner for his further clarification." In fine-tuning the provision on absentee voting. MONSOD. He stays in a hotel for two days and comes back.36 (Emphasis supplied) Congress in that situation. he does not have to come home. FR. MR. for instance. But as long as he is temporarily abroad on the registered Commissioners to propose amendments. when we talk about registration.Commission opted for the term qualified Filipinos abroad with respect to the be able to vote for the candidates in Angeles. That is right. In other words. so he could not cast his vote. MONSOD.

President. President. Mr. My neighbor is Pateros where Senator Cayetano lives. "Suffrage.A. this bill should be looked into in relation voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. "domicile" is the intent to return to one’s home. President. They have changed residence so they are barred under the Constitution. in Section 2 deliberated upon on the Senate floor. And "residents" (sic) is a qualification. who are at least I will lose votes here from permanent residents so-called "green-card eighteen years of age. No. The Senate cannot be a party to something that would affect or propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding impair the Constitution. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law. By the doctrine of resident of the United States. Mr. Mr. And the fact that a Filipino may have been . but has a clear intent to necessary implication in statutory construction. all of us here have run (sic) for office. Look at what the Constitution says – "In the place wherein they propose Now. If we read the Constitution and the suffrage principle literally as demanding physical presence. it reads: "The Congress shall provide a system for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee Senator Arroyo. will make him qualified as a resident of construing constitutional provisions. Mr. I am talking about the Constitution. the restrictive our Constitution is. The This is consistent. the Philippines may be allowed to vote even though they do not satisfy the residency requirement in Section 1. which became R. then there is no way we can provide That Section 2 of Article V of the Constitution is an exception to the residency for offshore voting to our offshore kababayan. anything that we may do or say in granting our compatriots Let me read Section 1. with the constitutional mandate that we same Commission has in effect declared that qualified Filipinos who are not in – that Congress – must provide a franchise to overseas Filipinos. requirement found in Section 1 of the same Article was in fact the subject of debate when Senate Bill No. President. President. the Constitution says. is "qualified. This is why I asked Mr. But one who votes in Makati cannot Senator Angara." Philippines. Section 1. Mr. As the gentleman and I know. says: Absent the qualification. President. One. whether this committee amendment which in fact does not alter the original text of the bill will have any effect on this? I live in Makati. President. the election. I am not talking even about the Election interpretation here of "residence" is synonymous with "domicile. President. which may be applied in return to the Philippines. I think the sponsor and I would agree that the Constitution is supreme in any statute that we may enact." In other words. 9189. Mr. "who shall have resided in the to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election.37 the strategic location of Section 2 indicates the Philippines under this law. And this has been asked vote in Pateros unless he resides in Pateros for six months. and who shall have resided in the holders". 2104." It abroad must be anchored on the proposition that they are qualified. Mr. We cannot compromise Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they on this. We are separated only by a creek." to the constitutional provisions. Article V of the Constitution." They are permanent immigrants. This is in compliance with the Constitution." Code. that the Constitutional Commission provided for an exception to the actual residency requirement of Section 1 with respect to qualified Filipinos abroad.It is in pursuance of that intention that the Commission provided for Section 2 physically absent from the Philippines and may be physically a immediately after the residency requirement of Section 1. Mr. thus: of Article V. The key to this whole exercise. Good question. but the Constitution is the Constitution. was Senator Arroyo. of the Constitution entitled. President. That is how in various fora. Article V. for example. they cannot vote. when the Constitution says.

Mr. That is the first principle. to wit: As finally approved into law. which does not require physical residency in the Philippines. But he must do so. Mr. Section 4 of R. that expiration of five (5) years after service of sentence.A. President. And the reason Section 2 of Article V was placed immediately guilty of Disloyalty as defined under Article 137 of the Revised Penal after the six-month/one-year residency requirement is to Code. ridiculous because that is exactly the whole point of this exercise – Such affidavit shall also state that he/she has not applied for citizenship to enfranchise them and empower them to vote. such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon or demonstrate unmistakably that Section 2 which authorizes amnesty: Provided. as otherwise disqualified by law. unless such competent authority party-list representatives. Section 5(d) of R. unless he/she executes. subsequently certifies that such person is no longer insane or incompetent. 9189 specifically disqualifies an immigrant or permanent resident who is "recognized as such in SEC. However. which is quite than three (3) years from approval of his/her registration under this Act. It is a good point to raise. President. one must remember. may vote for president. 4. No. further. Mr. to wit: e) Any citizen of the Philippines abroad previously declared insane or SEC. – The following shall be disqualified from the host country" because immigration or permanent residence in another voting under this Act: country implies renunciation of one’s residence in his country of origin. absentee voting process. at least eighteen (18) years of age on the verified by the Philippine embassies. 9189 provides for the coverage of the absentia. is that under our jurisprudence – and I the formalities and processes prescribed by the Rules of Court on think this is so well-entrenched that one need not argue about it – execution of judgments. he is not qualified to vote. an affidavit the interpretation of the gentleman. including those who have committed and been found 1986. then it is legally and prepared for the purpose by the Commission declaring that he/she shall constitutionally impossible to give a franchise to vote to overseas resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later Filipinos who do not physically live in the country. That any person disqualified to vote under absentee voting is an exception to the six-month/one-year this subsection shall automatically acquire the right to vote upon residency requirement. election. yes. Disqualifications. But it is a court or tribunal of an offense punishable by imprisonment of not less point already well-debated even in the constitutional commission of than one (1) year. make the transfer six months before the Philippine laws. he a) Those who have lost their Filipino citizenship in accordance with may do so. President. Mr. President. senators and establishments concerned. is.A. 38(Emphasis in another country. b) Those who have expressly renounced their Philippine citizenship and That is why I am raising this point because I think we have a fundamental who have pledged allegiance to a foreign country." d) An immigrant or a permanent resident who is recognized as such in But the third more practical reason. who are not incompetent by competent authority in the Philippines or abroad. 5. . 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 second reason. if a voter in Makati would want to vote in Pateros. difference here. and Section 5 of the assailed law which enumerates those who are disqualified. As I have said. if we follow the host country. otherwise. however. Provided. c) Those who have committed and are convicted in a final judgment by a Senator Angara. consulates or foreign service day of elections. No. Failure to return shall be cause for the removal of the supplied) name of the immigrant or permanent resident from the National Registry of Absentee Voters and his/her permanent disqualification to vote in Accordingly. – All citizens of the Philippines abroad. Coverage. upon registration. vice-president. "residency" has been interpreted as synonymous with "domicile.

The rationale for this. . they purpose of this Sworn Declaration to include only those who have the may still be considered as a "qualified citizen of the Philippines abroad" upon intention of returning to be qualified to exercise the right of suffrage? fulfillment of the requirements of registration under the new law for the purpose of exercising their right of suffrage. That as long as he is a Congress must establish a system for absentee voting.same Section allows an immigrant and permanent resident abroad to register as What if the Filipino immigrant has no purpose of returning? Is he voter for as long as he/she executes an affidavit to show that he/she has not automatically disbarred from exercising this right to suffrage? 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 Senator Angara. We do not want to make that decision for him.S. there is no sense for the framers not. The perform a condition to be qualified to vote in a political exercise. Yes. 39(Emphasis Senator Villar. Thus: to go back. going back to the business at hand. that means he has acquired permanent residency in the voting. proof of the intention of the immigrant or permanent resident to go back and maybe we may ask for a vote [Laughter]. 9189. if actual. United States. is that we want disqualified by law" must be entitled to exercise the right of suffrage and. the execution of the affidavit itself is not the we thought that we would require the immigrants and the green-card enabling or enfranchising act. thus. may we know the rationale of this provision? Is the In the advent of The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 or R. consider the before any Philippine embassy or consulate official authorized to absentee voting rights of Filipinos who are immigrants and permanent residents administer oath…" in their host countries. But what we are trying to do here. the three administration senators are leaving. Mr. Thus. But if he is already a green-card of the Constitution to mandate Congress to establish a system for absentee holder. the "domicile" under the law. the affidavit is required of immigrants and permanent residents abroad is already an immigrant or a green-card holder. presumption of abandonment of Philippine domicile shall remain. Filipino. President. after consulting his lawyer or after reason why the Senate required the execution of said affidavit. that to be expansive and all-inclusive in this law. The voter. Mr. it serves as an explicit expression that he had not in fact abandoned his domicile of origin. This is what makes for the definition of "domicile. President. Mr. It wanted the deliberation within the family. President. no matter whether he is a green-card holder in the U. 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 Senator Angara. President. but more significantly. then he must indicate an intention to return. President. Mr." 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. Mr. Contrary to the claim of petitioner." a requirement for the registration is holders are disqualified to run for any elective office finds no application to the the submission of "a Sworn Declaration of Intent to Return duly sworn present case because the Caasi case did not. for obvious reasons. President." But we want to give him the opportunity to make that decision. it is not Senator Villar. resume residency in the Philippines. may decide "No. or physical residence in the Philippines is required. he will be authorized to vote. without the affidavit. For a merienda.A. we are going back. for otherwise. Mr. if he To repeat. Court of Appeals that green card permanent resident status abroad. is really provide Further perusal of the transcripts of the Senate proceedings discloses another the choice to the voter. that means he may not because by their status in their host countries. The affidavit required in Section 5(d) is not only holders . supplied) It states that: "For Filipino immigrants and those who have acquired The jurisprudential declaration in Caasi vs. I think we are risking our affiant to exercise the option to return or to express his intention to return to his permanent status in the United States if we file an affidavit that we want domicile of origin and not to preempt that choice by legislation. . they are presumed to have return to the country any more and that contradicts the definition of relinquished their intent to return to this country. ." And to acquire the vote.

It must be emphasized that Section 5(d) does not only require an affidavit or a Contrary to petitioner’s claim that Section 5(d) circumvents the Constitution,
promise to "resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not Congress enacted the law prescribing a system of overseas absentee voting in
later than three years from approval of his/her registration," the Filipinos abroad compliance with the constitutional mandate. Such mandate expressly requires
must also declare that they have not applied for citizenship in another country. that Congress provide a system of absentee voting that necessarily presupposes
Thus, they must return to the Philippines; otherwise, their failure to return "shall that the "qualified citizen of the Philippines abroad" is not physically present in
be cause for the removal" of their names "from the National Registry of Absentee the country. The provisions of Sections 5(d) and 11 are components of the
Voters and his/her permanent disqualification to vote in absentia." system of overseas absentee voting established by R.A. No. 9189. The qualified
Filipino abroad who executed the affidavit is deemed to have retained his
Thus, Congress crafted a process of registration by which a Filipino voter domicile in the Philippines. He is presumed not to have lost his domicile by his
permanently residing abroad who is at least eighteen years old, not otherwise physical absence from this country. His having become an immigrant or
disqualified by law, who has not relinquished Philippine citizenship and who has permanent resident of his host country does not necessarily imply an
not actually abandoned his/her intentions to return to his/her domicile of origin, abandonment of his intention to return to his domicile of origin, the Philippines.
the Philippines, is allowed to register and vote in the Philippine embassy, Therefore, under the law, he must be given the opportunity to express that he
consulate or other foreign service establishments of the place which has has not actually abandoned his domicile in the Philippines by executing the
jurisdiction over the country where he/she has indicated his/her address for affidavit required by Sections 5(d) and 8(c) of the law.
purposes of the elections, while providing for safeguards to a clean election.
Petitioner’s speculative apprehension that the implementation of Section 5(d)
Thus, Section 11 of R.A. No. 9189 provides: 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
SEC. 11. Procedure for Application to Vote in Absentia. – election are given the opportunity and permitted to freely do so. The COMELEC
and the Department of Foreign Affairs have enough resources and talents to
11.1. Every qualified citizen of the Philippines abroad whose application ensure the integrity and credibility of any election conducted pursuant to R.A. No.
for registration has been approved, including those previously registered 9189.
under Republic Act No. 8189, shall, in every national election, file with
the officer of the embassy, consulate or other foreign service As to the eventuality that the Filipino abroad would renege on his undertaking to
establishment authorized by the Commission, a sworn written application return to the Philippines, the penalty of perpetual disenfranchisement provided
to vote in a form prescribed by the Commission. The authorized officer of for by Section 5(d) would suffice to serve as deterrence to non-compliance with
such embassy, consulate or other foreign service establishment shall his/her undertaking under the affidavit.
transmit to the Commission the said application to vote within five (5)
days from receipt thereof. The application form shall be accomplished in Petitioner argues that should a sizable number of "immigrants" renege on their
triplicate and submitted together with the photocopy of his/her overseas promise to return, the result of the elections would be affected and could even be
absentee voter certificate of registration. 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. Indeed, the
11.2. Every application to vote in absentia may be done personally at, or probability that after an immigrant has exercised the right to vote, he shall opt to
by mail to, the embassy, consulate or foreign service establishment, remain in his host country beyond the third year from the execution of the
which has jurisdiction over the country where he/she has indicated affidavit, is not farfetched. However, it is not for this Court to determine the
his/her address for purposes of the elections. wisdom of a legislative exercise. As expressed in Tañada vs. Tuvera,40 the Court
is not called upon to rule on the wisdom of the law or to repeal it or modify it if we
11.3. Consular and diplomatic services rendered in connection with the find it impractical.
overseas absentee voting processes shall be made available at no cost
to the overseas absentee voter.

Congress itself was conscious of said probability and in fact, it has addressed the 18. 5 The canvass of votes shall not cause the delay of the proclamation
expected problem. Section 5(d) itself provides for a deterrence which is that the of a winning candidate if the outcome of the election will not be affected
Filipino who fails to return as promised stands to lose his right of suffrage. Under by the results thereof. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Commission
Section 9, should a registered overseas absentee voter fail to vote for two is empowered to order the proclamation of winning
consecutive national elections, his name may be ordered removed from the candidates despite the fact that the scheduled election has not taken
National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters. place in a particular country or countries, if the holding of elections
therein has been rendered impossible by events, factors and
Other serious legal questions that may be raised would be: what happens to the circumstances peculiar to such country or countries, in which events,
votes cast by the qualified voters abroad who were not able to return within three factors and circumstances are beyond the control or influence of the
years as promised? What is the effect on the votes cast by the non-returnees in Commission. (Emphasis supplied)
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 Petitioner claims that the provision of Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 empowering
qualified to vote on the date of the elections, but their failure to return shall be the COMELEC to order the proclamation of winning candidates insofar as it
cause for the removal of the names of the immigrants or permanent residents affects the canvass of votes and proclamation of winning candidates for president
from the National Registry of Absentee Voters and their permanent and vice-president, is unconstitutional because it violates the following provisions
disqualification to vote in absentia. of paragraph 4, Section 4 of Article VII of the Constitution:

In fine, considering the underlying intent of the Constitution, the Court does not SEC. 4 . . .
find Section 5(d) of R.A. No. 9189 as constitutionally defective.
The returns of every election for President and Vice-President, duly
B. Is Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 in relation to Section 4 of the same Act in certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city, shall be
contravention of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution? transmitted to the Congress, directed to the President of the Senate.
Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass, the President of the Senate
Section 4 of R.A. No. 9189 provides that the overseas absentee voter may vote shall, not later than thirty days after the day of the election, open all the
for president, vice-president, senators and party-list representatives. certificates in the presence of the Senate and the House of
Representatives in joint public session, and the Congress, upon
Section 18.5 of the same Act provides: determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner
provided by law, canvass the votes.
SEC. 18. On-Site Counting and Canvassing. –
The person having the highest number of votes shall be proclaimed
......... elected, but in case two or more shall have an equal and highest number
of votes, one of them shall forthwith be chosen by the vote of a majority
of all the Members of both Houses of the Congress, voting separately.

The Congress shall promulgate its rules for the canvassing of the
certificates.

...

which gives to Congress the duty to canvass the votes and proclaim the winning
candidates for president and vice-president.

The Solicitor General asserts that this provision must be harmonized with Petitioner avers that Sections 19 and 25 of R.A. No. 9189 violate Article IX-A
paragraph 4, Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution and should be taken to (Common Provisions) of the Constitution, to wit:
mean that COMELEC can only proclaim the winning Senators and party-list
representatives but not the President and Vice-President. 41 Section 1. The Constitutional Commissions, which shall
be independent, are the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on
Respondent COMELEC has no comment on the matter. Elections, and the Commission on Audit. (Emphasis supplied)

Indeed, the phrase, proclamation of winning candidates, in Section 18.5 of R.A. He submits that the creation of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee
No. 9189 is far too sweeping that it necessarily includes the proclamation of the with the power to review, revise, amend and approve the Implementing Rules
winning candidates for the presidency and the vice-presidency. and Regulations promulgated by the COMELEC, R.A. No. 9189 intrudes into the
independence of the COMELEC which, as a constitutional body, is not under the
Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 appears to be repugnant to Section 4, Article VII of control of either the executive or legislative departments of government; that only
the Constitution only insofar as said Section totally disregarded the authority the COMELEC itself can promulgate rules and regulations which may be
given to Congress by the Constitution to proclaim the winning candidates for the changed or revised only by the majority of its members; and that should the rules
positions of president and vice-president. promulgated by the COMELEC violate any law, it is the Court that has the power
to review the same via the petition of any interested party, including the
In addition, the Court notes that Section 18.4 of the law, to wit: legislators.

18.4. . . . Immediately upon the completion of the canvass, the chairman It is only on this question that respondent COMELEC submitted its Comment. It
of the Special Board of Canvassers shall transmit via facsimile, electronic agrees with the petitioner that Sections 19 and 25 of R.A. No. 9189 are
mail, or any other means of transmission equally safe and reliable the unconstitutional. Like the petitioner, respondent COMELEC anchors its claim of
Certificates of Canvass and the Statements of Votes to the unconstitutionality of said Sections upon Section 1, Article IX-A of the
Commission, . . . [Emphasis supplied] Constitution providing for the independence of the constitutional commissions
such as the COMELEC. It asserts that its power to formulate rules and
clashes with paragraph 4, Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution which provides regulations has been upheld in Gallardo vs. Tabamo, Jr.42 where this Court held
that the returns of every election for President and Vice-President shall be that the power of the COMELEC to formulate rules and regulations is implicit in
certified by the board of canvassers to Congress. its power to implement regulations under Section 2(1) of Article IX-C 43 of the
Constitution. COMELEC joins the petitioner in asserting that as an independent
Congress could not have allowed the COMELEC to usurp a power that constitutional body, it may not be subject to interference by any government
constitutionally belongs to it or, as aptly stated by petitioner, to encroach "on the instrumentality and that only this Court may review COMELEC rules and only in
power of Congress to canvass the votes for president and vice-president and the cases of grave abuse of discretion.
power to proclaim the winners for the said positions." The provisions of the
Constitution as the fundamental law of the land should be read as part of The The COMELEC adds, however, that another provision, vis-à-vis its rule-making
Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 and hence, the canvassing of the votes power, to wit:
and the proclamation of the winning candidates for president and vice-president
for the entire nation must remain in the hands of Congress. SEC. 17. Voting by Mail. –

C. Are Sections 19 and 25 of R.A. No. 9189 in violation of Section 1, Article 17.1. For the May, 2004 elections, the Commission shall authorize voting
IX-A of the Constitution? by mail in not more than three (3) countries, subject to the approval of
the Congressional Oversight Committee. Voting by mail may be
allowed in countries that satisfy the following conditions:

It shall concerned are adequate and well-secured. . the Joint imply that Congress has concurrent power to enforce and administer election Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) is a purely legislative body. 9189 gives Section 17. aside from its monitoring and evaluation functions." Congressional Oversight Committee is hereby created. revise. . four (4) should come from the would preclude multiple or proxy voting.A. That. No. the constitutionally enumerated implementation" of R. amend and approve question raised by petitioner. of the COMELEC. be submitted to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior approval. One such provision is Section 1 of Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution ordaining that constitutional commissions SEC. . However. Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. . . and seven (7) other Members of the prevent occasion for fraud. No. the Court has held that "[w]hatever may be the by the Senate President. the fact is that the . revise. Article X of the 1935 Constitution providing that there shall Revision of Codes and Laws. voting by mail in any country shall be allowed only upon review and approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight SEC. and by the principles of exclusio unius est exclusio no question that the authority of Congress to "monitor and evaluate the alterius and expressum facit cessare tacitum. . There is laws with the COMELEC. the Court finds it expedient to expound on the role of Congress through the voting by mail in not more than three countries for the May 2004 elections the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) vis-à-vis the independence and in any country determined by COMELEC. The Solicitor General takes exception to his prefatory statement that the constitutional challenge must fail and agrees with the petitioner that Sections 19 . – The Committee . 25. Authority of the Commission to Promulgate Rules. 25 and portions of However. . . the Implementing Rules and Regulations" (IRR) promulgated by the COMELEC [Sections 25 and 19]. .A. (Emphasis supplied) 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 Composed of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives.A. c) Where the system of reception and custody of mailed ballots in the The Joint Congressional Oversight Committee shall have the power embassies. revision of the law itself and thus. . as follows: circumscribed by other constitutional provisions. . as a constitutional body. – A Joint such as the COMELEC shall be "independent. . 9189 is geared towards possible amendments or powers of Congress circumscribe its authority to the exclusion of all others. composed of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments. review. 19. The Implementing Rules and Regulations shall independence of constitutional commissions. may be performed in aid of its legislation. (Emphasis supplied) Thereafter. R. there is no actual issue forged on this to the JCOC the following functions: (a) to "review. and the Chairman of the House Committee on nature of the functions of the Commission on Elections. . and (b) subject to the approval of the JCOC [Section 17. . (Emphasis supplied) Commission shall issue the necessary rules and regulations to effectively implement the provisions of this Act within sixty (60) days from the is likewise unconstitutional as it violates Section 1. amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission. consulates and other foreign service establishments to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Act. 9189 created the JCOC. The parties are unanimous in claiming that Sections 19. and seven (7) other Senators designated be an independent COMELEC. No. .1 are unconstitutional. Thus.1]. a) Where the mailing system is fairly well-developed and secure to Suffrage and Electoral Reforms. . of the seven (7) members to be b) Where there exists a technically established identification system that designated by each House of Congress. and majority and the remaining three (3) from the minority. Interpreting Section 1. Article IX-A mandating the effectivity of this Act. House of Representatives designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives: Provided. The ambit of legislative power under Article VI of the Constitution is R.

the legislative function is relate to the creation of and the powers given to the Joint Congressional deemed accomplished and complete. of R. arrogates unto itself a function not specifically vested by the standpoint of pure theory. 19 and 25 of R. the Court elucidated: for The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003. It should be allowed The second sentence of the first paragraph of Section 19 stating that "[t]he considerable latitude in devising means and methods that will insure the Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be submitted to the Joint accomplishment of the great objective for which it was created – free. and Regulations promulgated by the Commission. No. 9189 are declared VOID for being UNCONSTITUTIONAL: . in both and political questions must be dealt with realistically – not from the provisions. review." that is.46 In the same vein. Politics is a practical matter. The following portions the IRR of the COMELEC. amend and approve the Implementing Rules discretion. No. should be stricken out of the subject statute for constitutional fact-finding facilities. it should not be hampered with restrictions that unconstitutional. as determined by the COMELEC pursuant to the conditions provided for By virtue of Section 19 of R. 9189.48 Otherwise.A. Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior orderly and honest elections. controversies. 9189 insofar as they operation. authority to approve or disapprove the countries wherein voting by mail shall be allowed. in recognition separate opinion of Justice Reynato S. this court should not interfere. would be fully warranted in the case of a less responsible organization. Congress may not confer upon itself the exercising supervisory powers over its rule-making authority. because of its Constitution. Congress may intrude into the independence of the COMELEC by in any country after the 2004 elections.47Once a law is enacted and approved. The Commission may err. No." This COMELEC.A. "only upon review and approval of the Joint to review its decisions. Under such a situation. and the phrase. the petition is partly GRANTED.framers of the Constitution wanted it to be independent from the other By vesting itself with the powers to approve. We may not agree fully with its choice of approval. the Court is left with play a distinct and important part in our scheme of government.1." whereby Congress. Both provisions brazenly violate the mandate on the independence of knowledge derived from actual experience in dealing with political the COMELEC.45 (Emphasis supplied) Similarly. No.1 of R. its contacts with political strategists. Congress went beyond the scope of its constitutional authority. Puno as part of the ponencia on the of the administrative expertise of that agency in its particular field of unconstitutionality of Sections 17. Congress would overstep the COMELEC to "issue the necessary rules and regulations to effectively implement bounds of its constitutional mandate and intrude into the independence of the the provisions of this Act within sixty days from the effectivity of this Act. all the members of the Court agreed to adopt the craft the rules and regulations implementing the law it has enacted. Congress relative to the same law only if that body deems it proper to review.A. 9189. it is not correct to Congressional Oversight Committee" found in the second paragraph of the same hold that because of its recognized extensive legislative power to enact election section are unconstitutional as they require review and approval of voting by mail laws. May. so may this court also. Congress has empowered the in Section 17.A. review. revise and amend WHEREFORE."44 In an earlier case. and its infirmity. amend and revise the law. 2004 elections. 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 During the deliberations. but certainly not to approve. The Commission on Elections. orders and rulings. the phrase. is in a peculiarly advantageous position to decide complex political questions." and the second sentence of the second paragraph of Section 25 means. The legislative function may spring back to Oversight Committee. It is intended to of independence of the COMELEC. and revise the IRR departments of the Government. Congress trampled upon the constitutional mandate The Commission on Elections is a constitutional body. but unless these are clearly illegal or constitute gross abuse of stating that "[i]t shall review. In the no option but to withdraw from its usual reticence in declaring a provision of law discharge of its functions. revise. amend.1 which empowers the The Court has no general powers of supervision over COMELEC which is an Commission to authorize voting by mail in not more than three countries for the independent body "except those specifically granted by the Constitution. "subject to the approval of the Congressional Oversight Committee" in the first sentence of Section 17.

Generoso. c) The second sentence of the first paragraph of Section 19. ABAD SANTOS. 1936 June 5.. 1042..) 2.. Article VII of the Constitution. is not wiped out only because the ex-convict had once been allowed to Pursuant to Section 30 of R. 1042. (Administrative Code. (Sec. 7. Chavez.: Appellant was charged having voted illegally at the general elections held on G. of the Revised AMADEO CORRAL.ID. ID. DURATION.. C... right"—the deprivation of suffrage does not lapse at the expiration of the sentence of the convict. ID..—Under the law a person The following persons shall be disqualified from voting: is disqualified to vote who. plaintiff-appellee. (9 R. ID. ID. to wit: "It right of suffrage by reason of their having been convicted of crime.ID.—From the very nature of the for the Senators and party-list representatives but not as to the power to canvass suffrage disqualification—which is imposed "for protection and not for the votes and proclaim the winning candidates for President and Vice-President punishment.A. No. sentenced by final judgment to suffer not less than eighteen months of to wit: "subject to the approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight imprisonment.. such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon. L. a) The phrase in the first sentence of the first paragraph of Section 17. Committee. the withholding of a privilege and not the denial of a personal which is lodged with Congress under Section 4. appellant. 9189 is UPHELD with respect disqualification imposed for protection and not for punishment. DISQUALIFICATION. 432. Castillo.ID.—The disqualification for crime imposed by law. No.ID. the rest of the provisions of said law vote. No.A. (9 R. Doromal. 1042... based on section 2642..ID.. NOT PUNISHMENT.— The exclusion from the exercise of suffrage must be adjudged a mere The constitutionality of Section 18. Among the generally excluded classes are minors. the withholding of a privilege and not the denial of a personal right. elections. ID.ELECTION LAW. 482." (Administrative Code. to wit: "only upon Administrative Code. DlSQUALIFICATION IS FOR PROTECTION.1. (9 R. revise. ID. After due trial.ID." and convicts. L-42300 January 31. amend and approve the Implementing Rules question.. having once attached and not having been subsequently removed by a plenary pardon.. sec. continues to be in full force and effect.. L.. since the 13th day of August.) 6. VIOLATION OF. Office of the Solicitor General Hilado for appellee.. such as COMELEC. PRESCRIPTION. C.. not a natural right. ID.5 of R.—The right of the State to deprive persons of the d) The second sentence in the second paragraph of Section 25. Pelayo.—Whoever at any election votes knowing that he is not entitled so to do incurs in criminal responsibility. C. idiots. and for prior approval. ID. For Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be submitted to the Joint reasons of public policy. certain classes of persons are excluded from the Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act franchise. 9. Article IX-A of the Constitution mandating the privilege of suffrage or to hold a public office..R. The manifest purpose of such restriction is to preserve the purity of and Regulations promulgated by the Commission" of the same law. The judgment of conviction was vs.) review and approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight 3.. paupers. while laboring under a legal disqualification. ID. defendant-appellant. Diaz and Capili for SO ORDERED.ID. ID. 5. in connection with section 432.) The constitutionality of Section 5(d) is UPHELD.. to wit: "The 4. 1898. sec. SUFFRAGE. 2642 of the b) The portion of the last paragraph of Section 17." suffrage is that voting is a function of government. is beyond shall review. RIGHT OF STATE.ID. he was convicted on the ground that he had voted THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. 1934. has been . Said Section 432 reads as follows: 1. J. STATUTORY NOT NATURAL RIGHT.—The modern conception of the Committee. A PRIVILEGE. Braganza.1.. 9189.) only to the authority given to the COMELEC to proclaim the winning candidates 8. It is a right created by law. Administrative Code.) independence of constitutional commission.—Suffrage is a privilege granted by the State to such person or classes as are most likely to exercise it for the public good. PRESUMPTION ARISING FROM CONVICTION—The presumption is that one rendered infamous by conviction of felony is unfit to exercise the for being repugnant to Section 1. L. DISQUALIFICATION.

for a period of not more than four years. 1898. after failing to make sworn statement to the satisfaction of Revised Administrative Code having once attached on the appellant and not the board of inspectors at any of its two meetings for registration and having been subsequently removed by a plenary pardon. in my opinion. permanent physical disability. He the mass of the audit classes of persons are excluded from the franchise. the appellant had been sentenced by final removed by plenary pardon.. But with the spread of democratic mayor in the year 1910. dissenting: The modern conception of the suffrage is that voting is a function of government. It is likewise undisputed that at the general elections held on June 5. eighteen hundred Upon the facts established in this case." hundred pesos nor more than one thousand pesos. This contention is clearly (e) Electors registered under subsection (c) of the next proceeding without merit. such disability not having been by plenary pardon. . voting at the general election held on June 5. however bases its decision on section 432 of the administrative or to hold office. Province of Davao. Butte. . 1918. Counsel for the appellant contend that inasmuch as the latter voted in 1928 his (c) Insane of feeble-minded persons. as entitled so to do. such disability not having been Administrative Code which disqualified from voting any person who. since the thirteenth day of August. judgment to suffer eight years and one day of presidio mayor. it seems clear that the appellant was not and ninety-eight.. He was granted a conditional the the generally excluded classes are minors idiots. It regards it as a punishment when.J. This claim is based upon an erroneous Whoever at any election votes or attempts to vote knowing that he is not theory of the nature of the disqualification. "for protection and not for one month nor more than one year and by a fine of not less than one punishment. So It is undisputed that appellant was sentenced by final judgment of this court ordered.. 1934. and Goddard. promulgated on March 3. Among began to serve his sentence on April 11. 1934. paupers. present themselves at the hour of voting as Neither is there any merit in the contention advanced by counsel for the appellant incapacitated. pardon on July 31. 1934.. and he could no longer be prosecuted for illegal (d) Deaf-mutes who cannot read and write. Inasmuch as the accessory penalty of disqualification The right of the State to deprive persons to the right of suffrage by reason of their from the right of suffrage was not expressly remitted in this pardon. concur. the withholding of The following persons shall be disqualified from voting: a privilege and not the denial of a personal right. imposed for protection and not for punishment. 18 of the Separate Opinions municipality of Davao. the exercise of the right of suffrage was The appellant was sentenced to the penalty of eight years and one day of prision limited to a small portion of the inhabitants. Suffrage is a the appellant for having voted in the general election held on June 5. because of section 432 of the Revised than eighteen months of imprisonment. "The manifest purpose of understood that he complied with and extinguished this part of the sentence on such restrictions upon this right is to preserve the purity of elections. since the removed by plenary pardon. it is having been convicted of crime. and convicts. was not disqualified from voting. that they are incapacitated for preparing their ballots due to rendered it illegal for the appellant to vote at the general elections of 1934. has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer not less than eighteen months of imprisonment. the enjoyment of the franchise in the modern states has come to embrace disqualification from the right of suffrage during the term of the sentence. he was presumption is that one rendered infamous by conviction of felony. the voted in election precinct No. in the privilege granted by the State to such persons or classes as are most likely to municipality of Davao. This penalty carried with it. The appealed judgment affirmed by the majority members of this court sentences The right to vote is not a natural right but is a right created by law. 1910. AVANCEÑA. Therefore. In the early stages of the evolution of the appellant. As above stated. Imperial. irrespective of whether such incapacity be real or feigned. had been sentenced by final judgment to offer not less and ninety-eight. The disqualification for crime imposed under section 432 of the section who. mayor.. shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than already indicated. as an accessory. The exercise it for the public good. No evidence was presented to show that prior to June 5. is beyond question.. offense had already prescribed. 1913. 1934. (a) Any person who.C. offense indicative of moral turpitude. the United States.1 to suffer eight years and one day of presidio Villa-Real. JJ. the correct view is that it is imposed. The April 12. has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer not less entitled to vote on June 5 1934. that the disqualification imposed on the latter must be considered as having been And section 2642 provides: removed at the expiration of his sentence. or other base not disqualified from voting in 1934.) (a) Any person who. (9 R. The judgment appealed from is affirmed with costs against the appellant. the withholding of a prvilege and not the denial of a personal right. is unfit to exercise the privilege of suffrage The majority. representative system of government. Vickers. such disability not having been removed than eighteen months of imprisonment. and had not been (b) Any person who has violated an oath of allegiance taken by him to granted a plenary pardon. The exclusion must for this reason be adjudged a mere Code which reads: disqualification. since the thirteenth day of August. C. 1910. he had been granted a plenary pardon. Province of Davao. 1042. eighteen hundred 13th day of August.L. continued and revision. ideas. and in all cases by Judicial interpretation and long established administrative practice are against deprivation of the right of suffrage and disqualification from public office such a view. being disqualified from voting. under the penalty imposed upon the appellant.

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