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Lambino v.

COMELEC Oppositors-intervenors contend that petitioners Lambino and Aumentado


G.R. No. 174153 are not the proper parties to file the instant petition as they were not
October 25, 2006 authorized by the signatories in the petition for initiative.

Facts Issue

On February 15, 2008, petitioners Raul Lambino and Erico B. Aumentado, Whether are proper parties to file the petition.
along with other groups and individuals, commenced gathering of
signatures for an initiative petition to change the 1987 Constitution. Such Held
changes comprise of the modification of Sections 1-7 of Article VI
(Legislative Department), and Sections 1-4 of Article VII (Executive The argument deserves scant attention. The Constitution requires that the
Department), and the addition of Article XVIII entitled "Transitory petition for initiative should be filed by at least twelve per cent (12%) of all
Provisions in which these proposed changes will shift the present registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by
Bicameral-Presidential system to a Unicameral-Parliamentary form of at least three per cent (3%) of all the registered voters therein. The petition
government. for initiative filed by Lambino and Aumentado before the COMELEC was
accompanied by voluminous signature sheets which prima facie show the
On August 25, 2006, petitioners later on filed a petition with the respondent, intent of the signatories to support the filing of said petition. Stated above
Commission on Elections (COMELEC), to hold a plebiscite to ratify their their signatures in the signature sheets is the following:
initiative petition under Sec. 5(b) and (c) and Sec. 7 of RA 6735 or the
Initiative and Referendum Act. x x x My signature herein which shall form part of the petition for
initiative to amend the Constitution signifies my support for the filing
Then on August 30, 2006, the petitioners, Lambino Group, filed an thereof.
Amended Petition with the respondent, COMELEC, indicating
modifications in the proposed Article XVIII (Transitory Provisions) of their There is thus no need for the more than six (6) million signatories to execute
initiative. separate documents to authorize petitioners to file the petition for initiative
in their behalf.
On August 31 2006, respondent, Commission on Elections, issued its
Resolution denying due course the petition of the plaintiffs, Lambino and its Neither is it necessary for said signatories to authorize Lambino and
group, for lack of an enabling law governing initiative petitions to amend Aumentado to file the petition for certiorari and mandamus before this
the Constitution. Court. Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides who may file
a petition for certiorari and mandamus. Sections 1 and 3 of Rule 65 read:
The petitioner, Lambino Group, then prays for the issuance of the writs of
certiorari and mandamus to set aside the COMELEC Resolution of August SECTION 1. Petition for certiorari.When any tribunal, board or officer
31 2006, and to compel the respondent Commission on Elections, to give exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess
due course to their initiative petition. Various groups and individuals sought of his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
intervention, filing pleadings supporting or opposing the Lambino Group's excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and
petition. adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby
may file a verified petition in the proper court x x x x.
The Court heard the parties and interveners in oral arguments on September
26 2006. After receiving the parties' memoranda, the Court considered the SEC. 3. Petition for mandamus.When any tribunal, corporation, board,
case submitted for resolution. officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the
law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station x
x x and there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary
course of law, the person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in
the proper court x x x x. Mandamus is a proper recourse for citizens who act to enforce a public right
and to compel the persons of a public duty most especially when mandated
Thus, any person aggrieved by the act or inaction of the respondent by the Constitution. However, under Section 3, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of
tribunal, board or officer may file a petition for certiorari or mandamus Court, for a petition for mandamus to prosper, it must be shown that the
before the appropriate court. Certainly, Lambino and Aumentado, as among subject of the petition is a ministerial act or duty and not purely
the proponents of the petition for initiative dismissed by the COMELEC, discretionary on the part of the board, officer or person, and that petitioner
have the standing to file the petition at bar. has a well-defined, clear and certain right to warrant the grant thereof. A
purely ministerial act or duty is one which an officer or tribunal performs in
Dissenting Opinion a given state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of
a legal authority, without regard to or the exercise of his own judgment
It is argued by petitioners that, assuming arguendo that the COMELEC is upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done. If the law imposes a duty
correct in relying on Santiago that RA 6735 is inadequate to cover initiative upon a public official and gives him the right to decide how or when the
to the Constitution, this cannot be used to legitimize its refusal to heed the duty should be performed, such duty is discretionary and not ministerial.
peoples will. The fact that there is no enabling law should not prejudice the The duty is ministerial only when the discharge of the same requires neither
right of the sovereign people to propose amendments to the Constitution, the exercise of an official discretion nor judgment.
which right has already been exercised by 6,327,952 voters. The collective
and resounding act of the particles of sovereignty must not be set aside. To stress, in a petition for mandamus, petitioner must show a well defined,
Hence, the COMELEC should be ordered to comply with Section 4, Article clear and certain right to warrant the grant thereof. In this case, petitioners
XVII of the 1987 Constitution via a writ of mandamus. The submission of failed to establish their right to a writ of mandamus as shown by the
petitioners, however, is unpersuasive. foregoing disquisitions.