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Election Law Cases


a. Tecson vs. Commission on Elections, 424 SCRA 277, March 03, 2004
- There was no such term as Philippine citizens during the Spanish regime but
subjects of Spain or Spanish subjects. In church records, the natives were called
indios, denoting a low regard for the inhabitants of the archipelago. Spanish laws on
citizenship became highly codified during the 19th century but their sheer number made
it difficult to point to one comprehensive law. Not all of these citizenship laws of Spain
however, were made to apply to the Philippine Islands except for those explicitly
extended by Royal Decrees.
- Upon the ratification of the Treaty of Paris, and pending legislation by the United States
Congress on the subject, the native inhabitants of the Philippines ceased to be Spanish
subjects, and although they did not become American citizens, they, however, also
ceased to be aliensunder American laws and were thus issued passports describing
them to be citizens of the Philippines entitled to the protection of the United States
- With the adoption of the Philippine Bill of 1902, the concept of Philippine citizens had
for the first time crystallized; The word Filipino was used by William H. Taft, the first
Civil Governor General in the Philippines when he initially made mention of it in his
slogan, The Philippines for the Filipinos; Under the Jones Law, a native-born
inhabitant of the Philippines was deemed a citizen of the Philippines as of 11 April 1899
if he was (1) a subject of Spain on 11 April 1899, (2) residing in the Philippines on said
date, and, (3) since that date, not a citizen of some other country.
- Pursuant to Article VII, Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution, this Convention on the
Rights of the child became valid and effective on us in July 1990 upon concurrence by
the Senate. We shall be violating the Convention if we disqualify respondent Poe just
because he happened to be an illegitimate child. It is our bounden duty to comply with
our treaty obligation pursuant to the principle of pacta sunct servanda.
- Moreover to disqualify respondent Poe due to his illegitimacy is against the trend in civil
law towards equalizing the civil rights of an illegitimate child with that of a legitimate
child. Called originally as nullius filius or no ones child, an illegitimate child started
without any birthright of significance. The passage of time, however, brought about the
enlightenment that an illegitimate should not be punished for the illicit liaison of his
parents of which he played no part. No less than our Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.,
then a Commissioner of the Constitutional Commission, proposed the adoption of the
following radical provision in the 1987 Constitution, viz.: All children regardless of
filiations shall enjoy thesame social protection

a. Ching vs. Republic, 3 SCRA 264 , October 26, 1961

- One who desires to become a Filipino citizen must explicitly declare his allegiance to the
Philippine Constitution and its principles. He may even be asked, and should be asked,
what those principles areat least, the fundamental ones. In the absence of allegations
and competent proof of such belief, courts may not admit applicant to Filipino citizenship.


a. Maquiling vs. Commission on Elections, , April 16, 2013
- Arnado used his USA passport after his Renunciation of American Citizenship and
before he filed his Certificate of Candidacy. This positive act of retraction of his
renunciation before the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy renders Arnados
Certificate of Candidacy void ab initio. Therefore, Arnado was never a candidate at any
time, and all the votes for him are stray votes. We reiterate our ruling in Jalosjos v.
COMELEC62 on this matter: Decisions of this Court holding that the second-placer
cannot be proclaimed winner if the first-placer is disqualified or declared ineligible should
be limited to situations where the certificate of candidacy of the first-placer was valid at
the time of filing but subsequently had to be cancelled because of a violation of law that
took place, or a legal impediment that took effect, after the filing of the certificate of
candidacy. If the certificate of candidacy is void ab initio, then legally the person who
filed such void certificate of candidacy was never a candidate in the elections at any
- All votes for such non-candidate are stray votes and should not be counted. Thus, such
non-candidate can never be a first-placer in the elections. If a certificate of candidacy
void ab initio is cancelled on the day, or before the day, of the election, prevailing
jurisprudence holds that all votes for that candidate are stray votes. If a certificate of
candidacy void ab initio is cancelled one day or more after the elections, all votes for
such candidate should also be stray votes because the certificate of candidacy is void
from the very beginning.
- Garnering the highest number of votes for an elective position does not cure this
defect. Maquiling, the alleged second placer, should be proclaimed Mayor
because Amados certificate of candidacy was void ab initio. Maquiling is the
qualified candidate who actually garnered the highest number of votes for the
position of Mayor.
- There is no need to apply the rule cited in Labo v. COMELEC that when the voters are
well aware within the realm of notoriety of a candidates disqualification and still cast
their votes in favor said candidate, then the eligible candidate obtaining the next higher
number of votes may be deemed elected. That rule is also a mere obiter that further
complicated the rules affecting qualified candidates who placed second to ineligible
- That the disqualified candidate has already been proclaimed and has assumed office is
of no moment. The subsequent disqualification based on a substantive ground that
existed prior to the filing of the certificate of candidacy voids not only the COC but also
the proclamation.

a. Romualdez-Marcos vs. Commission on Elections, 248 SCRA 300 , September 18,
- In Ong vs. Republic this court took the concept of domicile to mean an individuals
permanent home, a place to which, whenever absent for business or for pleasure,
one intends to return, and depends on facts and circumstances in the sense that they
disclose intent. Based on the foregoing, domicile includes the twin elements of the
fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place and animus manendi, or the
intention of returning there permanently.
- Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual relationship of an individual to a
certain place. It is the physical presence of a person in a given area, community or
country. The essential distinction between residence and domicile in law is that
residence involves the intent to leave when the purpose for which the resident has taken
up his abode ends. One may seek a place for purposes such as pleasure, business, or
health. If a persons intent be to remain, it becomes his domicile; if his intent is to leave
as soon as his purpose is established it is residence. It is thus, quite perfectly normal for
an individual to have different residences in various places. However, a person can only
have a single domicile, unless, for various reasons, he successfully abandons his
domicile in favor of another domicile of choice.
- As these concepts have evolved in our election law, what has clearly and
unequivocally emerged is the fact that residence for election purposes is used
synonymously with domicile.
- It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which ought to be
decisive in determining whether or not an individual has satisfied the constitutions
residency qualification requirement. The said statement becomes material only when
there is or appears to be a deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which
would otherwise render a candidate ineligible. It would be plainly ridiculous for a
candidate to deliberately and knowingly make a statement in a certificate of candidacy
which would lead to his or her disqualification.
- We have stated, many times in the past, that an individual does not lose his domicile
even if he has lived and maintained residences in different places. Residence, it bears
repeating, implies a factual relationship to a given place for various purposes. The
absence from legal residence or domicile to pursue a profession, to study or to do other
things of a temporary or semi- permanent nature does not constitute loss of residence.
Thus, the assertion by the COMELEC that she could not have been a resident of
Tacloban City since childhood up to the time she filed hercertificate of candidacy
because she became a resident of many places flies in the face of settled
jurisprudence in which this Court carefully made distinctions between (actual) residence
and domicile for election law purposes.

a. Domino vs. Commission on Elections, 310 SCRA 546 , July 19, 1999
- It is doctrinally settled that the term residence, as used in the law prescribing the
qualifications for suffrage and for elective office, means the same thing as domicile,
which imports not only an intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal presence
in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention. Domicile denotes a
fixed permanent residence to which, whenever absent for business, pleasure, or some
other reasons, one intends to return. Domicile is a question of intention and
circumstances. In the consideration of circumstances, three rules must be borne in mind,
namely: (1) that a man must have a residence or domicile somewhere; (2) when once
established it remains until a new one is acquired; and (3) a man can have but one
residence or domicile at a time.
- As a general rule, the principal elements of domicile, physical presence in the locality
involved and intention to adopt it as a domicile, must concur in order to establish a new
domicile. No change of domicile will result if either of these elements is absent.
Intention to acquire a domicile without actual residence in the locality does not
result in acquisition of domicile, nor does the fact of physical presence without

Penera vs. Commission on Elections, 599 SCRA 609 , September 11, 2009
2. Premature Campaigning; Words and Phrases; The conduct of a motorcadea procession
or parade of automobiles or other motor vehiclesis a form of election campaign or
partisan political activity, falling squarely within the ambit of Section 79(b) Omnibus
Election Code, on [h]olding political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades,
or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any
campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate[.]
3. Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code, on premature campaigning, explicitly provides
that [i]t shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not a voter or candidate, or for any
party, or association of persons, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political
activity, except during the campaign period. Very simply, premature campaigning may be
committed even by a person who is not a candidate. For this reason, the plain
declaration in Lanot that what Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code prohibits is an
election campaign or partisan political activity by a candidate outside of the campaign
period, is clearly erroneous.
4. True, that pursuant to Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8436, as amended, even after the
filing of the COC but before the start of the campaign period, a person is not yet officially
considered a candidate. Nevertheless, a person, upon the filing of his/her COC, already
explicitly declares his/her intention to run as a candidate in the coming elections. The
commission by such a person of any of the acts enumerated under Section 79(b) of the
Omnibus Election Code (i.e., holding rallies or parades, making speeches, etc.) can,
thus, be logically and reasonably construed as for the purpose of promoting his/her
intended candidacy. When the campaign period starts and said person proceeds with
his/her candidacy, his/her intent turning into actuality, we can already consider his/her
acts, after the filing of his/her COC and prior to the campaign period, as the promotion of
his/her election as a candidate, hence, constituting premature campaigning, for which
he/she may be disqualified. Also, conversely, if said person, for any reason, withdraws
his/her COC before the campaign period, then there is no point to view his/her acts prior
to said period as acts for the promotion of his/her election as a candidate. In the latter
case, there can be no premature campaigning as there is no candidate, whose
disqualification may be sought, to begin with.
5. A person, after filing his/her COC but prior to his/her becoming a candidate (thus, prior to
the start of the campaign period), can already commit the acts described under Section
79(b) of the Omnibus Election Code as election campaign or partisan political activity.
However, only after said person officially becomes a candidate, at the beginning of the
campaign period, can said acts be given effect as premature campaigning under Section
80 of the Omnibus Election Code. Only after said person officially becomes a candidate,
at the start of the campaign period, can his/her disqualification be sought for acts
constituting premature campaigning. Obviously, it is only at the start of the campaign
period, when the person officially
6. 614becomes a candidate, that the undue and iniquitous advantages of his/her prior acts,
constituting premature campaigning, shall accrue to his/her benefit. Compared to the
other candidates who are only about to begin their election campaign, a candidate who
had previously engaged in premature campaigning already enjoys an unfair headstart in
promoting his/her candidacy.
7. The laudable and exemplary intention behind the prohibition against premature
campaigning, as declared in Chavez v. Commission on Elections (437 SCRA 415
[2004]), is to level the playing field for candidates of public office, to equalize the
situation between the popular or rich candidates, on one hand, and lesser- known or
poorer candidates, on the other, by preventing the former from enjoying undue
advantage in exposure and publicity on account of their resources and popularity. The
intention for prohibiting premature campaigning, as explained in Chavez, could not have
been significantly altered or affected by Republic Act No. 8436, as amended by Republic
Act No. 9369, the avowed purpose of which is to carry-on the automation of the election
system. Whether the election would be held under the manual or the automated system,
the need for prohibiting premature campaigningto level the playing field between the
popular or rich candidates, on one hand, and the lesser-known or poorer candidates, on
the other, by allowing them to campaign only within the same limited periodremains. We
cannot stress strongly enough that premature campaigning is a pernicious act that is
continuously threatening to undermine the conduct of fair and credible elections in our
country, no matter how great or small the acts constituting the same are. The choice as
to who among the candidates will the voting public bestow the privilege of holding public
office should not be swayed by the shrewd conduct, verging on bad faith, of some
individuals who are able to spend resources to promote their candidacies in advance of
the period slated for campaign activities.

Penera vs. Commission on Elections, 605 SCRA 574 , November 25, 2009
- Under the Decision, a candidate may already be liable for premature campaigning after t
he filing of the certificate of candidacy but even before the start of the campaign period.
From the filing of the certificate of candidacy, even long before the start of the campaign
period, the Decision considers the partisan political acts of a person so filing a certificate
of candidacy as the promotion of his/her election as a candidate. Thus, such person
can be disqualified for premature campaigning for acts done before the start of the
campaign period. In short, the Decision considers a person who files a certificate of
candidacy already a candidate even before the start of the campaign period. The
assailed Decision is contrary to the clear intent and letter of the law.
- The Decision reverses Lanot v. COMELEC, 507 SCRA 114 (2006) which held that a
person who files a certificate of candidacy is not a candidate until the start of the
campaign period. In Lanot, this Court explained: Thus, the essential elements for
violation of Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code are: (1) a person engages in an
election campaign or partisan political activity; (2) the act is designed to promote the
election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates; (3) the act is done outside the
campaign period. The second element requires the existence of a candidate. Under
Section 79(a), a candidate is one who has filed a certificate of candidacy to an
elective public office. Unless one has filed hiscertificate of candidacy, he is not a
candidate. The third element requires that the cam-paign period has not started when
the election campaign or partisan political activity is committed.
- Lanot was decided on the ground that one who files a certificate of candidacy is not a
candidate until the start of the campaign period.
- Republic Act No. 8436 and Republic Act No. 9369 do not consider Penera a candidate
for purposes other than the printing of ballots, until the start of the campaign period.
- In laymans language, this means that a candidate is liable for an election offense only
for acts done during the campaign period, not before. The law is clear as daylightany
election offense that may be committed by a candidate under any election law cannot be
committed before the start of the campaign period. In ruling that Penera is liable for
premature campaigning for partisan political acts before the start of the campaigning, the
assailed Decision ignores the clear and express provision of the law.
- The Decision rationalizes that a candidate who commits premature campaigning can be
disqualified or prosecuted only after the start of the campaign period. This is not what
the law says. What the law says is any unlawful act or omission applicable to a
candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period. The plain
meaning of this provision is that the effective date when partisan political acts become
unlawful as to a candidate is when the campaign period starts. Before the start of the
campaign period, the same partisan political acts are lawful.
- Congress has laid down the lawa candidate is liable for election offenses only upon the
start of the campaign period. This Court has no power to ignore the clear and express
mandate of the law that any person who files his certificate of candidacy within [the
filing] period shall only be considered a candidate at the start of the campaign period for
which he filed his certificate of candidacy. Neither can this Court turn a blind eye to the
express and clear language of the law that any unlawful act or omission applicable to a
candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period