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AKBAYAN-Youth, SCAP, UCSC, MASP, KOMPIL II-Youth, ALYANSA, called by the Senate Committee headed by Senator Roco

, held at the Senate, New
EMMANUEL E. OMBAO, JOHNNY ACOSTA, ARCHIE JOHN TALAUE,  On January 29, 2001, Commissioners Tancangco and Lantion submitted
RYAN DAPITAN, CHRISTOPHER OARDE, JOSE MARI MODESTO, Memorandum No. 2001-027 on the Report on the Request for a Two-day
RICHARD M. VALENCIA, EDBEN TABUCOL v. COMMISSION ON Additional Registration of New Voters Only
ELECTIONS o The agreement that is legally feasible to have a two-day additional
registration of voters to be conducted preferably on February 17 and 18,
COMMISSIONERS MEHOL SADAIN, RUFINO JAVIER, LUZVIMINDA o To address the concern that this may open the flood parts for “hakot
TANCANGCO, RALPH LANTIQN, FLORENTINO TUASON and system,” certain restrictive parameters were discussed
RESURRECCION BORRA, all of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)  Immediately, Commissioner Borra called a consultation meeting among regional
March 26, 2001 | Buena, J. | Registration of voters heads and representatives, and a number of senior staff headed by Executive
Director Mamasapunod Aguam. It was the consensus of the group, with the
SUMMARY: Petitioners sought to direct COMELEC to conduct a special registration, exception of Director Jose Tolentino, Jr. of the ASD, to disapprove the request for
since around 4 million has failed to register before the deadline set by COMELEC. additional registration of voters on the ground that Section 8 of R.A. 8189
COMELEC denied the request, so the petitioners went to Court. The SC held that the explicitly provides that no registration shall be conducted during the period starting
COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in denying the petition to one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election and that the Commission
conduct a special registration.
has no more time left to accomplish all pre-election activities.

DOCTRINE: As to the procedural limitation, the right of a citizen to vote is
necessarily conditioned upon certain procedural requirements he must undergo:  COMELEC: On February 8, 2001, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 3584 –
among others, the process of registration. A citizen in order to be qualified to DENIED the request to conduct a two-day additional registration of new voters
exercise his right to vote, in addition to the minimum requirements set by the on February 17 and 18, 2001.”
fundamental charter, is obliged by law to register, at present, under the provisions of  G.R. No. 147066, which seeks to set aside and nullify respondent COMELEC’s
Republic Act No. 8189, otherwise known as the “Voter’s Registration Act of 1996.” Resolution and/or to declare Section 8 of R.A. 8189 unconstitutional insofar as
The act of registration is an indispensable precondition to the right of suffrage. said provision effectively causes the disenfranchisement of petitioners and others
For registration is part and parcel of the right to vote and an indispensable element in similarly situated. Likewise, petitioners pray for the issuance of a writ of mandamus
the election process. Thus, contrary to petitioners’ argument, registration cannot and directing respondent COMELEC to conduct a special registration of new voters
should not be denigrated to the lowly stature of a mere statutory requirement. and to admit for registration petitioners and other similarly situated young Filipinos
to qualify them to vote in the May 14, 2001 General Elections.
 On March 09, 2001, herein petitioner Michelle Betito, a student of the University of
FACTS: the Philippines, likewise filed a Petition for Mandamus, docketed as G.R. No.
 Invoking the right to suffrage, herein petitioners - representing the youth sector - 147179, praying that this Court direct the COMELEC to provide for another
seek to direct the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to conduct a special special registration day under the continuing registration provision under the
registration before the May 14, 2001 General Elections, of new voters ages 18-21. Election Code.
 According to petitioners, around 4 million youth failed to register on or before the
RULING: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petitions for certiorari and
December 27, 2000 deadline set by the COMELEC under RA No. 8189.
 mandamus are hereby DENIED.
 Acting on the clamor of the students and civic leaders, Senator Raul Roco,
Chairman of the Committee on Electoral Reforms, Suffrage, and People’s Whether COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing
Participation, through a Letter dated January 25, 2001, invited the COMELEC to a COMELEC Resolution dated February 8, 2001 – NO
public hearing for the purpose of discussing the extension of the registration of  The right of suffrage, although accorded a prime niche in the hierarchy of rights
voters to accommodate those who were not able to register before the COMELEC embodied in the fundamental law, ought to be exercised within the proper bounds
 and framework of the Constitution and must properly yield to pertinent laws
skillfully enacted by the Legislature, which statutes for all intents and purposes, are
 Commissioners Luzviminda G. Tancangco and Ralph C. Lantion, together with
crafted to effectively insulate such so cherished right from ravishment and preserve
Consultant Resurreccion Z. Borra (now Commissioner) attended the public hearing

 Petitioners invoke the so called “standby” powers or “residual” powers of the  As to the procedural limitation.A. precise meaning and coverage. the right of a citizen to vote is necessarily COMELEC. o SEC. 8189 volunteered by performed by the duly constituted authorities in a realistic and orderly manner· one respondent COMELEC. The exercise of the right of suffrage. o Section 28.A. to wit: reconciled.‰ in the enjoyment of all other rights. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines. 1. debauchery and abuse. Section 35 of R. glance may seem to be at war in relation to the other. True enough. to the  At this point. Republic Act conditioned upon certain procedural requirements he must undergo: among No. 8436
 others. the State undoubtedly. Under Section 3(a) of R. the Commission shall fix other periods and at present. Section 8 of R. property. contrary to petitioners’ specific definition. Thus. who are at least eighteen years of age. 8189. 6646 and adopted verbatim in Section 28 of Republic Act No. otherwise known as the dates in order to ensure accomplishments of the activities so voters shall “Voter’s Registration Act of 1996” not be deprived of their right to suffrage. If it should  A citizen in order to be qualified to exercise his right to vote. For registration is part and parcel of the right to vote and an election act. which should be ascertained and given effect. together of the Election Officer during regular office hours. as a process. 8189. a pre- suffrage. 8189. No literacy.A. speaks of a prohibitive period within which to file a sworn petition for the exclusion of voters from the  Similarly. for so long. There must be a regular election and ninety (90) days before a special election” some purpose in making them. orderly and peaceful election. observe the periods and dates prescribed by law minimum requirements set by the fundamental charter. guarded against the spoils o SEC. Interpretare et concordare legibus est optimus interpretandi. 8436 incidental yet generally important end. It is not to be presumed that the legislature. is subject to existing substantive and procedural  COMELEC: The petition for exclusion is a necessary component to registration requirements embodied in our Constitution. thus: argument. as to the substantive aspect. Sec. was indulging in mere semantic exercise.
  Likewise. application for registration by a qualified voter before the election officer  Proceeding from the significance of registration as a necessary requisite to the right of the city or municipality wherein he resides and including the same in to vote. – The Personal filing of  Rudimentary is the principle in legal hermeneutics that changes made by the application of registration of voters shall be conducted daily in the office legislature in the form of amendments to a statute should be given effect. the democratic institutions our people have. provides: existing in relation to the same subject matter and all should be made to harmonize and stand together. Article V of the Constitution provides: hand serves the purpose of securing the voter’s substantive right to be included in o Section 1. which provides a system of continuing circumspect perusal. the act of registration is concededly by its very nature. for certain pre-election acts. with other parts of the amended act. . representative of a political party x x x may file x x x except one hundred  The right of suffrage is not at all absolute. registration cannot and should not be denigrated to the lowly stature of a o a) Registration refers to the act of accomplishing and filing of a sworn mere statutory requirement. that even pre-election activities could be invoked by herein petitioners and Section 8 of R. far from contradicting each other. necessarily capable of being harmonized and registration. every new statute should be construed in connection with those already permanent voter’s list. it bears emphasis that the provisions of Section 29 of R. No registration shall.A. in the exercise of its inherent police power. is obliged by law to register. The short cuts that will have to be adopted in order to fit the otherwise disqualified by law. for at least six months immediately possibility that we shall be conducting elections on the basis of an inaccurate list is preceding the election. has its own indispensable element in the election process. statute books and other repositories of since it is a safety mechanism that gives a measure of protection against flying law. or other substantive enough to cast a cloud of doubt over the results of the polls requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage. actually share which is not indifferent and so far removed from the pressing order of the day and some common ground. Designation of other Dates for Certain Pre-election Acts. 35. in addition to the no longer be possible to. which among others. 8. if they can be done by any fair and reasonable interpretation. and the like.A. under the provisions of Republic Act No. Petition for Exclusion of Voters from the List·Any registered voter. as (100) days prior to a regular election x x x. the process of registration. of opportunism. not the list of voters. registration. in however. although at first the prevalent circumstances of the times. voters. some of whom might not even be qualified to vote. may the book of registered voters upon approval by the Election Registration then enact laws to safeguard and regulate the act of voter’s registration for the Board. x x x the very place wherein they propose to vote. 8189. and entire process of registration within the last 60 days will give rise to haphazard list who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the of voters. is explicit.  The act of registration is an indispensable precondition to the right of  On this matter. System of Continuing Registration of Voters. The prohibitive period. be conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before making such changes. both provisions. on the other  Thus. ultimate purpose of conducting honest. non-qualified registrants. are in a more  On the legal score. as provided under the relevant provisions of Section 29.

Article IX-C of the did not commit an abuse of discretion. in its on language. nemo tenetur ad impossible. and that he or she was disallowed or barred by respondent COMELEC from provides that no registration shall be conducted during the period starting one filing his application for registration. it must be presumed that may not validly conduct an incursion and meddle with affairs exclusively within the the legislature did not at all intend an interpretation or application of a law which is province of respondent COMELEC a body accorded by no less than the far removed from the realm of the possible. Impossibilium nulla obligato est. we are of the considered view that the stand-by power of the COMELEC under Section 28 of R. within the period of registration and came to of Section 28. which two-day additional registration of new voters on February 17 and 18. 2001. the interpretation to be given must be such that it is in accordance with logic.A.  Further. Accordingly. 8436 is. in issuing Resolution No. R. we rule that the COMELEC. all questions the same in some patent. 2001 the day before the period before the May 14. the petitioners in the COMELEC may validly and legally conduct a two-day special registration. much less be adjudged to have committed Constitution) to decide. respondent COMELEC which is the constitutional body tasked  Applying the foregoing. 8189. They admit in their petition that they the expedient of the letter of Section 28 of R. this Court is of the Firm view that hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election. 2000 to January 13. to our mind. not sufficient. In other words. it is specious for herein petitioners to argue that respondent registration under R. in the best position to know what they questions relating to the registration of voters. evidently. coincidentally. 8189 applies in COMELEC alleging that he or she proceeded to the Office of the Election Officer the present case. COMELEC simply performed its constitutional task to enforce and would be accorded great weight considering that these specialized government administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. than the legality of the act. In their eyes. petitioners bare allegation that they were disenfranchised when COMELEC pegged the registration deadline on December 27. under prevailing circumstances. dormientibus jura in re subveniunt. reasonableness and practicality. Stated in a different manner. in denying the request of Commission. well-entrenched is the rule in our jurisdiction that the law aids the reasonably performed vis-a-vis the remaining period before the date of election and vigilant and not those who slumber on their rights. Truly. implementation and application of a law Resolution. we hold that Section 8 of R. at the time. there is no allegation in the two consolidated petitions and the records are bereft of any showing that anyone of herein petitioners has filed an application to be registered as a voter which was denied by the COMELEC nor filed a complaint before the . the sound premise that these certain „pre-election acts‰ are still capable of being  In a similar vein.
 petitioners were not totally denied the opportunity to avail of the continuing  Corollarily. except those involving the right to vote. a statute may not be so construed as to require compliance with what it abuse of power of discretion on the part of respondent COMELEC. par. fundamental law with independence. anchored on with unclean hands. 8436 would come into play in cases where the pre-election acts this Court and invoked its protective mantle not realizing.A. 2001 regular elections commences is. common sense.A. Vigilantis sed non the conduct of other related pre-election activities required under the law. presupposes the possibility of its being exercised or availed of. considering that the aforesaid law explicitly 2001. acted within the bounds and confines of  It is an accepted doctrine in administrative law that the determination of the applicable law on the matter --Section 8 of RA 8189. In issuing the assailed administrative agency as to the operation. to our mind. In light of the foregoing doctrine. inter alia. 8436. for whatever reason. whimsical and arbitrary manner.A.  In its Comment. Thus. merely exercised a prerogative that chiefly pertains to it and one which squarely  Beyond this. for the purpose of upholding the assailed COMELEC Resolution to register between the period starting from December 28. petitioners to hold a special registration. respondent COMELEC can possibly do or not do. While it may be true that COMELEC set the registration deadline on December 27. the speck in are susceptible of performance within the available period prior to election day. impossible be done. Hence. this Court prescribes cannot. by their nature and functions. this court is of the firm view that respondent COMELEC by no less than the fundamental charter (Sec. in the maxim. be legally.A. 2000. so to speak. pertains to the wisdom rather to do an impossible thing. and denying the instant petitions. in the absence of clear showing of grave  Hence. 3. in respondents own terms. bodies are. resolved to deny the request to conduct a emphasized the operational impossibility of conducting a special registration. 8436. Impuris minibus nemo accedat curiam. expressed whatever action respondent takes in the exercise of its wide latitude of discretion. To this end. On this matter. Section 28 of R. it is likewise well-settled that the law does not require that the falls within the proper sphere of its constitutionally-mandated powers. through instant case are not without fault or blame. 2000 instead of January 13. 2. the provisions failed to register. Let no one come to court more categorical language. affecting elections. including registration of voters painstakingly and thoroughly 3584 which. can no longer be accomplished within the time left to (us) the  Under these circumstances. and not otherwise.A. in the interpretation of statutes. The law obliges no one to perform an impossibility. there is no obligation specifically on matters involving voters’ registration.