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CASE: Akbayan-Youth v COMELEC HELD:

G.R. No. 147066 26 March 2001 Right to vote subject to procedural limitations
AKBAYAN-- such as registration
The exercise of the right of suffrage, as in
MYLA GAIL Z. TAMONDONG, EMMANUEL E. the enjoyment of all other rights, is subject
OMBAO, JOHNNY ACOSTA, ARCHIE JOHN to existing substantive and procedural
TALAUE, requirements embodied in our Constitution,
RYANDAPITAN,CHRISTOPHEROARDE,JOSE statute books and other repositories oflaw.
MARIMODESTO,RICHARDM.VALENCIA,EDB As to the procedural limitation, the
EN right of a citizen to vote is necessarily
TABUCOL, petitioners vs. COMMISSION ON conditioned upon certain procedural
ELECTION, respondents. requirements he must undergo: among others,
the process of registration. Specifically, a
citizen in order to be qualified to exercise
FACTS: his right to vote, in addition to the minimum
In Marchof2001,Akbayan--Youth requested that requirements set by fundamental charter, is
the COMELEC conduct a special2-- obliged by law to register, at present, under
dayregistrationperiodbeforetheMay14, the provisions of Republic Act No.8189.
2001regularelections.AccordingtoAkbayan-- Stated differently, the act of
Youth,around4m youth failed to register on or registration is an indispensable
before the deadline under RA 8189 (Voters precondition to the right of suffrage. For
Registration Act of1996). registration is part and parcel of the right to
The possibility of conducting this special vote and an indispensable element in the
registration was discussed in public hearings. election process. Thus, contrary to Akbayan's
The COMELEC also consulted its regional heads argument, registration cannot and should not
as to the feasibility of such an undertaking. be denigrated to the lowly stature of a mere
In the end, the COMELEC issued the assailed statutory requirement.
Resolution wherein they denied the request. The Proceeding from the significance of
basis for COMELECs denial was logistic registration as a necessary requisite to the right
impossibility: that registration process would to vote, the State undoubtedly, in the
take more than 3 weeks to complete from exercise of its inherent police power, may then
printing the required forms to preparing the enact laws to safeguard and regulate the act
required accomodations for the new registrants. of voter's registration for the ultimate purpose
Furthermore, the COMELEC claimed, Section 8 of conducting honest, orderly and peaceful
of RA 8189 precludes the registration of voters election, to the incidental yet generally
120 days before a regular election and 90 days important end, that even pre--
before a special election. electionactivitiescouldbeperformedbytheduly
Akbayan then filed a petition for certioari and constituted authorities in a realistic and orderly
mandamus, seeking to declare such provision manner -- one which is not indifferent and so
unconstitutional as it causes disenfranchisement far removed from the pressing order of the
of voters. Petitions of mandamus were also filed day and the prevalent circumstances of
seeking to compel the COMELEC to conduct the thetimes.
requested registration.
Akbayan claims that the COMELEC may still Sec 8, RA 8189 and Sec 28 of RA 8436
hold the registration under Section 28 of 8346 reconciled
where itstates: RA 8189 explicitly provides that no
registration shall be conducted during the
SEC.28.DesignationofotherDatesforCertainPr period starting one hundred twenty (120)
e--electionActs days before a regular election. Thus it is
-- if it should no longer be possible to observe improper for Akbayan to request COMELEC
the periods and to conduct a special registration through RA
datesprescribedbylawforcertainpre-- 8346.
electionacts,the Commission shall fix other The provisions of Section 28, RA
periods and dates in order to ensure 8436 would come
accomplishments of the activities so voters shall intoplayincaseswherethepre--
not be deprived of their right to suffrage. electionactsaresusceptibleof performance
within the available period prior to
ISSUE: WON the COMELEC should conduct a election day. In more categorical language,
special registration of voters as requested. NO Section 28 of R.A 8436 is, to our mind,
WON such undertaking by the COMELEC may be anchoredonthesoundpremisethatthesecertain"
compelled by mandamus. NO pre--election
edvis--a--visthe remaining period before the date
of election and the conduct of otherrelatedpre--
standby power of the COMELEC under RA
8436 presupposeS the possibility of its being
exercised or availed of, and not otherwise (as
in this case as it is prohibited by law).

On the contention of disenfranchisement:

those who failed to register also had fault
There is no showing that anyone of
herein petitioners has filed an application to
be registered as a voter which was denied by
the COMELEC or that he or she was
disallowed or barred by respondent
COMELEC from filing his application for
registration. While it may be true that
respondent COMELEC set the registration
deadline on December 27, 2000, this Court is
of the firm view that petitioners were not
totally denied the opportunity to avail of the
continuing registration under R.A. 8189.

Determination of feasibility of conducting a

special registration involves discretion and is
therefore not subject to mandamus
As an extraordinary writ, the remedy of
mandamus lies only to compel an officer to perform
a ministerial duty, not a discretionary one;
mandamus will not issue to control the exercise of
discretion of a public officer where the law imposes
upon him the duty to exercise his judgment in
reference to any manner in which he is required to
act, because it is his judgment that is to be
exercised and not that of thecourt.
For the determination of whether or not
the conduct of a special registration of voters is
feasible, possible or practical within the remaining
period before the actual date of election, involves
the exercise of discretion and thus, cannot be
controlled by mandamus.