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G.R. No. 150605 December 10, Secretary-General Roberto P.

Nazareno Leyte, for the purpose of inducing,


2002 of the House of Representatives to influencing or corrupting them to vote for
compel them to implement the decision him. Attached to the petition are the (a)
EUFROCINO M. CODILLA, of the Commission on Elections en banc Affidavits of Basilio Bates,2 Danilo D.
SR., petitioner, by (a) administering the oath of office to Maglasang,3 Cesar A. Laurente;4 (b)
vs. petitioner as the duly-elected Joint Affidavit of Agripino C. Alferez and
HON. JOSE DE VENECIA, ROBERTO Representative of the 4th legislative Rogelio T. Salvera;5 (c) Extract Records
P. NAZARENO, in their official district of Leyte, and (b) registering the from the Police Blotter executed by
capacities as Speaker name of the petitioner in the Roll of Police Superintendent Elson G.
and Secretary-General of the House of Members of the House of Pecho;6 and (d) Photographs showing
Representatives, respectively, Representatives, and against respondent government dump trucks, haulers and
and MA. VICTORIA L. Ma. Victoria L. Locsin for usurping, surfacers and portions of public roads
LOCSIN, respondents. intruding into, and unlawfully holding and allegedly filled-in and surfaced through
exercising the said public office on the the intercession of the respondent.7 The
DECISION basis of a void proclamation. case was docketed as SPA No. 01-208
and assigned to the COMELEC's
The facts are uncontroverted. Petitioner Second Division.
PUNO, J.:
and respondent Locsin were candidates
for the position of Representative of the On May 10, 2001, the COMELEC
In a democracy, the first self-evident
4th legislative district of Leyte during the Second Division issued an Order
principle is that he who has been
May 14, 2001 elections. At that time, delegating the hearing and reception of
rejected by the people cannot represent
petitioner was the Mayor of Ormoc City evidence on the disqualification case to
the people. Respondent Ma. Victoria L.
while respondent Locsin was the sitting the Office of the Regional Director of
Locsin lost to petitioner Eufrocino M.
Representative of the 4th legislative Region VIII.8 On May 11, 2001, the
Codilla, Sr. by 17,903 votes in the May
district of Leyte. On May 8, 2001, one COMELEC Second Division sent a
14, 2001 elections as Representative of
Josephine de la Cruz, a registered voter telegram informing the petitioner that a
the 4th legislative district of Leyte. The
of Kananga, Leyte, filed directly with the disqualification case was filed against
most sophisticated legal alchemy cannot
COMELEC main office a Petition for him and that the petition was remanded
justify her insistence that she should
Disqualification1 against the petitioner for to the Regional Election Director for
continue governing the people of Leyte
indirectly soliciting votes from the investigation.9
against their will. The enforcement of the
registered voters of Kananga and Matag-
sovereign will of the people is not subject
ob, Leyte, in violation of Section 68 (a) of At the time of the elections on May 14,
to the discretion of any official of the
the Omnibus Election Code. It was 2001, the Regional Election Director
land.
alleged that the petitioner used the had yet to hear the disqualification
equipments and vehicles owned by the case. Consequently, petitioner was
This is a Petition for Mandamus and Quo City Government of Ormoc to extract, included in the list of candidates for
Warranto directed against respondents haul and distribute gravel and sand to district representative and was voted for.
Speaker Jose De Venecia and the residents of Kananga and Matag-ob,
The initial results showed that petitioner On the same day, May 18, 2001, the evidence therewith; and (c) he obtained
was the winning candidate. COMELEC Second Division issued a copy of the petition from the
an Ex-Parte Order13 directing the COMELEC Regional Office No. 8 at his
On May 16, 2001, before the counting Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte own instance.17 Petitioner further alleged
could be finished, respondent Locsin to suspend the proclamation of petitioner that the maintenance, repair and
joined as intervenor in SPA No. 128 and in case he obtains the highest number of rehabilitation of barangay roads in the
filed a "Most Urgent Motion to votes by reason of "the seriousness of municipalities of Matag-ob and Kananga
Suspend Proclamation of the allegations in the petition for were undertaken without his authority,
Respondent [herein petitioner]" with the disqualification."14 It also directed the participation or directive as City Mayor of
COMELEC Second Regional Election Director to speed up Ormoc. He attached in his Answer the
Division.10 Respondent Locsin alleged the reception of evidence and to forward following: (a) Affidavit of Alex B.
that "the evidence on record against immediately the complete records Borinaga;18 (b) Copy of the Excerpt from
respondent is very strong and unless together with its recommendation to the the Minutes of the Regular Session of
rebutted remains." She urged the Office of the Clerk of the Barangay Monterico;19 (c) Affidavit of
Commission to set the hearing of the Commission.15 As a result, petitioner was Wilfredo A. Fiel;20 (d) Supplemental
disqualification case and prayed for the not proclaimed as winner even though Affidavit of Wilfredo A. Fiel;21 and (e)
suspension of the proclamation of the the final election results showed that he Affidavit of Arnel Y. Padayao.22
respondent "so as not to render the garnered 71,350 votes as against
present disqualification case moot and respondent Locsin's 53,447 votes.16 On May 25, 2001, petitioner filed
academic." A copy of the Motion was a Motion to Lift Order of
allegedly served on petitioner by At the time that the COMELEC Second Suspension,23 alleging that (a) he did
registered mail but no registry receipt Division issued its Order suspending his not receive a copy of the Motion to
was attached thereto.11 proclamation, the petitioner has yet to be Suspend his Proclamation and hence,
summoned to answer the petition for was denied the right to rebut and refute
On May 18, 2001, respondent Locsin disqualification. Neither has said petition the allegations in the Motion; (b) that he
filed a "Second Most Urgent Motion to been set for hearing. It was only on May did not receive a copy of the summons
Suspend Proclamation of 24, 2001 that petitioner was able to file on the petition for disqualification and
Respondent" stating "there is clear and an Answer to the petition for his after personally obtaining a copy of the
convincing evidence showing that the disqualification with the Regional petition, filed the requisite answer only
respondent is undoubtedly guilty of the Election Director, alleging that: (a) he on May 24, 2001; and (c) that he
charges against him and this remains has not received the summons together received the telegraph Order of the
unrebutted by the respondent." A copy of with the copy of the petition; (b) he COMELEC Second Division suspending
the Motion was sent to the petitioner and became aware of the matter only by his proclamation only on May 22, 2001.
the corresponding registry receipt was virtue of the telegram sent by the He attached documentary evidence in
attached to the pleading.12 The records, COMELEC Second Division informing support of his Motion to Lift the
however, do not show the date the him that a petition was filed against him Suspension of his proclamation, and
petitioner received the motion. and that the Regional Election Director requested the setting of a hearing on his
was directed to investigate and receive Motion.24
On May 30, 2001, an oral argument was guilty of indirect solicitation of votes and disqualification, as well as an Addendum
conducted on the petitioner's Motion and ordered his disqualification. It directed to the Motion for
the parties were ordered to submit their the "immediate proclamation of the Reconsideration.39 Petitioner alleged in
respective memoranda.25 On June 4, candidate who garnered the highest his Motion for Reconsideration that the
2001, petitioner submitted his number of votes xxx." A copy of said COMELEC Second Division erred: (1) in
Memorandum26 in support of his Motion Resolution was sent by fax to the disqualifying petitioner on the
assailing the suspension of his counsel of petitioner in Cebu City in the basis solely of the dubious declaration
proclamation on the grounds that: (a) he afternoon of the following day.36 of the witnesses for respondent Locsin;
was not afforded due process; (b) the (2) in adopting in toto the allegations of
order has no legal and factual basis; and By virtue of the said Resolution, the the witnesses for respondent Locsin; and
(c) evidence of his guilt is patently votes cast for petitioner, totaling (3) in promulgating the resolution in
inexistent for the purpose of suspending 71,350, were declared stray even violation of its own rules of procedure
his proclamation. He prayed that his before said Resolution could gain and in directing therein the immediate
proclamation as winning congressional finality. On June 15, 2001, respondent proclamation of the second highest 'vote
candidate be expediently made, even Locsin was proclaimed as the duly getter.' Respondent Locsin and her co-
while the disqualification case against elected Representative of the 4th petitioner in SPA No. 01-208 filed a joint
him continue upon due notice and legislative district of Leyte by the Opposition to the Motion for
hearing. He attached the following Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte. Reconsideration.40
additional evidence in his Memorandum: It issued a Certificate of Canvass of
(a) Copy of certification issued by PNP Votes and Proclamation of the Winning On June 21, 2001, petitioner filed with
Senior Inspector Benjamin T. Gorre;27 (b) Candidates for Member of the House of the COMELEC en banc a Petition for
Certification issued by Elena S. Aviles, Representatives stating that "MA. Declaration of Nullity of
City Budget Officer;28 (c) Copy of VICTORIA LARRAZABAL LOCSIN Proclamation,41 docketed as SPC No.
certification issued by Wilfredo A. Fiel, obtained a total of FIFTY THREE 01-324, assailing the validity of the
City Engineer of Ormoc;29 (d) Joint THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED FORTY proclamation of respondent Locsin who
Affidavit of Antonio Patenio and Pepito SEVEN (53,447) votes representing garnered only the second highest
Restituto;30and (e) Affidavits of Demetrio the highest number of votes legally number of votes. Respondent Locsin
Brion,31 Igmedio Rita32 and Gerardo cast in the legislative district for said filed her Answer alleging that: (1) the
Monteza.33 Respondent Locsin's office."37 Respondent Locsin took her Commission lost jurisdiction to hear and
memorandum also contained additional oath of office on June 18, 2001 and decide the case because of the
affidavits of his witnesses.34 assumed office on June 30, 2001. proclamation of Locsin and that any
question on the "election, returns, and
Petitioner's Motion to Lift the Order of On June 20, 2001, petitioner qualification" of Locsin can only be taken
Suspension, however, was not seasonably filed with the COMELEC cognizance of by the House of
resolved. Instead, on June 14, 2001, en banc a Motion for Representatives Electoral Tribunal
the COMELEC Second Division Reconsideration38from the June 14, (HRET); (2) the case should be filed and
promulgated its Resolution35 in SPA 2001 Resolution of the COMELEC heard in the first instance by a Division of
No. 01-208 which found the petitioner Second Division which ordered his the Commission and not directly by the
Commission en banc; and (3) the reconsideration filed by petitioner and Commissioner Ralph C. Lantion, in
proclamation of Locsin was valid Codilla.47 Commissioners Florentino A. SPA No. 01-208, to GRANT the motion
because she received the highest Tuason, Jr. and Resurreccion Z. Borra for reconsideration and to REVERSE the
number of valid votes cast, the votes of submitted their respective dissenting resolution of the Commission (Second
Codilla being stray. opinions48 to the Javier resolution. It Division) promulgated on June 1, 2001,
bears emphasis that Commissioner disqualifying Codilla; and subsequently,
On June 28, 2001, petitioner filed Tuason, Jr. was the ponente of the in SPC No. 01-324, to GRANT the
an Urgent Manifestation42 stating that Resolution of the COMELEC Second petition of Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr., and
he was deprived of a fair hearing on the Division which ordered the declare as null and void the proclamation
disqualification case because while the disqualification of petitioner but after of losing candidate Locsin.
documentary evidence adduced in his considering the additional evidence
Memorandum was in support of his presented by the latter, he concluded Accordingly:
Motion for the lifting of the that the totality of the evidence was
suspension of his proclamation, the clearly in petitioner's favor. Equally worth 1. On the Motion for
COMELEC Second Division instead mentioning is the fact that Commissioner Reconsideration of the
ruled on the main disqualification Ralph C. Lantion, who was the Presiding disqualification resolution against
case. In consonance with his prayer that Commissioner of the Second Division, Codilla, promulgated by the
a full-dress hearing be conducted on the also dissented and voted to grant Commission (Second Division)
disqualification case, he submitted Codilla's motion for reconsideration on on June 14, 2001 (SPA No. 01-
Affidavits of additional witnesses43 which the ground that "[T]he people of Leyte 208), I vote:
he claims would refute and substantially have spoken and I respect the
belie the allegations of electorate's will. x x x." 49
(a) to GRANT the Motion
petitioner's/intervenor's witnesses. A for Reconsideration of
Reply,44Rejoinder45 and Sur- On August 29, 2001, then COMELEC respondent-movant
Rejoinder46 were respectively filed by the Chairman Alfredo L. Benipayo issued a Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr.,
parties. Consequently, the motion for "Vote and Opinion and Summary of and to REVERSE the
reconsideration in SPA No. 01-208 and Votes" reversing the resolution of the Resolution of the
the petition for declaration of nullity in Second Division and declaring the Commission (Second
SPC No. 01-324 were submitted for proclamation of respondent Locsin as Division) promulgated on
resolution. null and void. The dispositive portion June 14, 2001, for
reads: insufficiency of evidence;
From the records, it appears that initially,
a "Resolution" penned by Commissioner "JUDGMENT (b) to lift the order of
Rufino S.B. Javier, dated July 24, 2001, suspension of
was submitted to the Office of the WHEREFORE, in view of all the proclamation of petitioner
Chairman, dismissing the petition for foregoing considerations, I concur with Codilla, issued by the
declaration of nullity for lack of Commissioner Resurreccion Z. Borra, Commission (Second
jurisdiction and denying the motion for Commissioner Florentino A. Tuason, Jr. Division) on May 18,
2001, having been issued Commission (Second and, for this purpose, to
without hearing and Division) promulgated o inform the House of
without any finding that June 14, 2001, that the Representatives through
the evidence of guilt of votes of respondent the Honorable Speaker of
petitioner Codilla is Codilla are "considered this resolution for its
strong and, thus, null and stray and invalid" said attention and guidance;
void; ruling being issued on the and
basis of an inapplicable
(c) to nullify the order decision, and contrary to 2. On the petition for Declaration of
contained in the established Nullity of proclamation of respondent Ma.
Resolution of the jurisprudence; Victoria L. Locsin (SPC No. 01-324), I
Commission (Second vote:
Division) promulgated on (e) to order the Provincial
June 14, 2001, for "(t)he Board of Canvassers of (a) to GRANT the petition of
immediate proclamation Leyte, upon the finality of Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr., and
of the candidate who this resolution, to declare as null and void the
garnered the highest reconvene and proclaim proclamation of losing candidate
number of votes, to the petitioner Codilla as the Locsin, the proclamation being
exclusion of respondent" winning candidate for violative of election laws,
and the concurrent order Representative of the established jurisprudence, and
for "the Provincial Board Fourth Legislative district resolutions of the Commission on
of Canvasser (sic) of of Leyte to comply with Elections;
Leyte to immediately its ministerial duty to
reconvene and thereafter proclaim the candidate (b) to lift the order of suspension
proclaim forthwith the who garnered the highest of proclamation of petitioner
candidate who obtained number of votes in the Codilla, issued by the
the highest number of elections for that position; Commission (Second Division)
votes counting out the and on May 18, 2001, in SPA No. 01-
Respondent" the same 208, having been issued without
being violative of election (f) to order intervenor- hearing and without any finding
laws, established oppositor Locsin, upon that the evidence of guilt of
jurisprudence, and the finality of this petitioner Codilla is strong and,
resolutions of the resolution, to vacate the thus, null and void;
Commission; office of Representative
of the House of (c) to nullify the order contained
(d) to nullify the ruling Representatives in the Resolution of the
contained in the representing the Fourth Commission (Second Division)
Resolution of the legislative district of Leyte promulgated on June 14, 2001,
in SPA No. 01-208, for "(t)he the highest number of votes in Javier, Commissioner Luzviminda G.
immediate proclamation of the the elections for the position; and Tancangco, and Commissioner Mehol K.
candidate who garnered the Sadain, is considered, as it is, the
highest number of votes, to the (f) to order respondent Locsin, MINORITY DECISION of the
exclusion of respondent" and the upon the finality of this resolution, Commission En Banc in both cases.
concurrent order for "the to vacate the office of
provincial Board of Canvasser Representative of the House of The MAJORTIY DECISION was arrived
(sic) of Leyte to immediately Representatives representing the at after proper consultation with those
reconvene and thereafter Fourth Legislative district of who joined the majority. The Chairman
proclaim forthwith the candidate Leyte and, for this purpose, to and the three (3) Commissioners
who obtained the highest number inform the House of comprising the majority decided that no
of votes counting out the Representatives through the one will be assigned to write a Majority
Respondent" the same being Honorable Speaker of this Decision. Instead, each one will write his
violative of election laws, resolution for its attention and own separate opinion. Commissioners
established jurisprudence, and guidance. Borra, Tuason, Jr. and the undersigned
resolutions of the Commission; Chairman submitted separate opinions.
Summary of Votes Commissioner Lantion wrote an
(d) to nullify the ruling contained explanation on his vote."50
in the Resolution of the Considering the FOUR (4) VOTES of the
Commission (Second Division) Chairman and Commissioners The aforequoted judgment was adopted
promulgated on June 14, 2001, Resurreccion Z. Borra, Florentino A. in a "Vote of Adoption" signed by
in SPA No. 01-208, that the votes Tuason, Jr., and Ralph C. Lantion, to Commissioners Ralph C. Lantion,
of respondent Codilla are grant the Motion for Reconsideration of Resurreccion Z. Borra and Florentino A.
"considered stray and invalid" Codilla and reverse the disqualification Tuason, Jr.51
said ruling being issued on the Resolution of the Commission (Second
basis of an inapplicable decision, Division) in SPA No. 01-208, Respondent Locsin did not appeal
and contrary to established promulgated on June 14, 2001, and as from this decision annulling her
jurisprudence; an inevitable consequence, in voting to proclamation. Instead, she filed a
grant the petition for declaration of nullity "Comment and Manifestation"52 with the
(e) to order the provincial Board of the proclamation of Ma. Victoria L. COMELEC en banc questioning the
of Canvassers of Leyte, upon the Locsin in SPC No. 01-324, the procedure and the manner by which the
finality of this resolution, to verdict/opinion of the Chairman and the decision was issued. In addition,
reconvene and proclaim three (3) Commissioners taken together respondent Locsin requested and was
petitioner Codilla as the winning now stands, as it is, the MAJORITY issued an opinion by House of
candidate for Representative of DECISION of the Commission En Banc Representatives Executive Director and
the Fourth legislative district of in both cases; and the "Resolution" Chief Legal Counsel Leonardo B. Palicte
Leyte he (sic) having garnered submitted by three (3) Commissioners, III declaring that the COMELEC has no
namely, Commissioner Rufino S.B. jurisdiction to nullify the proclamation of
respondent Locsin after she had taken obtained a total of 71,350 votes These notwithstanding, and despite
her oath and assumed office since it is representing the highest number of votes receipt by the House of Representatives
the HRET which is the sole judge of cast in the district.56 On the same day, of a copy of the COMELEC en banc
election, returns and qualifications of petitioner took his oath of office before resolution on September 20, 2001,60 no
Members of the House.53 Relying on this Executive Judge Fortunito L. Madrona of action was taken by the House on the
opinion, respondent Locsin submitted a the Regional Trial Court of Ormoc City.57 letter-appeal of petitioner. Hence,
written privileged speech to the House petitioner sought the assistance of his
during its regular session on September On September 14, 2001, petitioner wrote party, LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP, which sent
4, 2001, where she declared that she will the House of Representatives, thru a letter61 addressed to respondent
not only disregard but will openly defy respondent Speaker De Venecia, Speaker De Venecia, dated October 25,
and disobey the COMELEC en banc informing the House of the August 29, 2001, and signed by Party President
resolution ordering her to vacate her 2001 COMELEC en banc resolution Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr., Secretary-
position.54 annulling the proclamation of respondent General Heherson T. Alvarez, and
Locsin, and proclaiming him as the duly- Region VIII Party Chairman Sergio
On September 6, 2001, the COMELEC elected Representative of the 4th Antonio F. Apostol, requesting the House
en banc issued an Order55 constituting legislative district of Leyte.58 Petitioner of Representatives to act decisively on
the members of the Provincial Board of also served notice that "I am assuming the matter in order that petitioner "can
Canvassers of Leyte to implement the the duties and responsibilities as avail of whatever remedy is available
aforesaid decision. It likewise ordered Representative of the fourth legislative should their action remain unfavorable or
the Board to reconvene and "proclaim district of Leyte to which position I have otherwise undecisive."
the candidate who obtained the highest been lawfully elected and proclaimed.
number of votes in the district, as the On behalf of my constituents, I therefore In response, Speaker De Venecia sent a
duly-elected Representative of the expect that all rights and privileges letter62 dated October 30, 2001, stating
Fourth Legislative district of Leyte, and intended for the position of that:
accordingly issue a Certificate of Representative of the fourth legislative
Canvass and Proclamation of Winning district of Leyte be accorded to me, "We recognize the finality of the
Candidate for Member of the House of including all physical facilities and staff COMELEC decision and we are inclined
Representatives x x x, based on the support." On the basis of this letter, a to sustain it. However, Rep. Locsin has
city/municipal certificates of canvass Memorandum59 dated October 8, 2001 officially notified the HOUSE in her
submitted beforehand to the previous was issued by Legal Affairs Deputy privilege speech, inserted in the HOUSE
Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte Secretary-General Gaudencio A. Journal dated September 4, 2001, that
x x x." Mendoza, Jr., for Speaker De Venecia, she shall 'openly defy and disobey' the
stating that "there is no legal obstacle to COMELEC ruling. This ultimately means
On September 12, 2001, complying with the duly promulgated – that implementing the decision would
petitioner Codilla was proclaimed by and now final and executory – result in the spectacle of having two (2)
the Provincial Board of Canvassers as COMELEC Decision of August 29, 2001 legislators occupying the same
the duly-elected Representative of the x x x." congressional seat, a legal situation, the
4th legislative district of Leyte, having
only consideration, that effectively deters en banc. He alleges that the action or the House. He also contends that the
the HOUSE's liberty to take action. inaction of public respondents has determination of who will sit as Member
deprived him of his lawful right to of the House of Representatives is not a
In this light, the accepted wisdom is assume the office of Representative of ministerial function and cannot, thus, be
that the implementation of the the 4th legislative district of Leyte. compelled by mandamus.
COMELEC decision is a matter that
can be best, and with finality, In his Comment,63 public respondent Respondent Locsin, in her
adjudicated by the Supreme Court, Speaker De Venecia alleged that Comment,66 alleged that the Supreme
which, hopefully, shall act on it most mandamus will not lie to compel the Court has no original jurisdiction over an
expeditiously." (emphases supplied) implementation of the COMELEC action for quo warranto involving a
decision which is not merely a ministerial member of the House of Representatives
Hence, the present petition for duty but one which requires the exercise for under Section 17, Article VI of the
mandamus and quo warranto. of discretion by the Speaker of the Constitution it is the HRET which is the
House considering that: (1) it affects the sole judge of all contests relating to the
Petitioner submits that by virtue of the membership of the House; and (2) there election, returns and qualifications of
resolution of the COMELEC en banc is nothing in the Rules of the House of Members of the House of
which has become final and executory Representatives which imposes a duty Representatives. She likewise asserts
for failure of respondent Locsin to appeal on the House Speaker to implement a that this Court cannot issue the writ of
therefrom, it has become the ministerial COMELEC decision that unseats an mandamus against a co-equal legislative
duty: (1) of the Speaker of the House of incumbent House member. department without grossly violating the
Representatives, as its Administrative principle of separation of powers. She
Head and Presiding Officer, to In his Comment,64 public respondent contends that the act of recognizing who
implement the said resolution of the Secretary-General Nazareno alleged that should be seated as a bona fide member
COMELEC en banc by installing him as in reading the name of respondent of the House of Representatives is not a
the duly-elected Representative of the Locsin during the roll call, and in allowing ministerial function but a legislative
4th legislative district of Leyte; and (2) of her to take her oath before the Speaker- prerogative, the performance of which
the Secretary-General, as official elect and sit as Member of the House cannot be compelled by mandamus.
custodian of the records of the House, to during the Joint Session of Congress, he Moreover, the prayer for a writ of
formally register his name in the Roll of was merely performing official acts in mandamus cannot be directed against
Members of the House and delete the compliance with the opinions65 rendered the Speaker and Secretary-General
name of respondent Locsin therefrom. by House of Representatives Chief because they do not have the authority
Petitioner further contends that Counsel and Executive Director to enforce and implement the resolution
respondent Locsin has been usurping Leonardo C. Palicte III stating that the of the COMELEC.
and unlawfully holding the public office of COMELEC has no jurisdiction to declare
Representative of the 4th legislative the proclamation of respondent Locsin Additionally, respondent Locsin urges
district of Leyte considering that her as null and void since it is the HRET that the resolution of the COMELEC en
premature proclamation has been which is the sole judge of all election, banc is null and void for lack of
declared null and void by the COMELEC returns and qualifications of Members of jurisdiction. First, it should have
dismissed the case pending before it Counsel of the House of legally elected Representative of the 4th
after her proclamation and after she had Representatives; that the HRET has no legislative district of Leyte vice
taken her oath of office. Jurisdiction then jurisdiction over a petition for declaration respondent Locsin.
was vested in the HRET to unseat and of nullity of proclamation which is based
remove a Member of the House of not on ineligibility or disloyalty, but by I
Representatives. Second, the petition for reason that the candidate proclaimed as
declaration of nullity is clearly a pre- winner did not obtain the highest number Whether the proclamation of respondent
proclamation controversy and the of votes; that the petition for annulment Locsin is valid.
COMELEC en banc has no original of proclamation is a pre-proclamation
jurisdiction to hear and decide a pre- controversy and, hence, falls within the
After carefully reviewing the records of
proclamation controversy. It must first be exclusive jurisdiction of the COMELEC
this case, we find that the proclamation
heard by a COMELEC Division. Third, pursuant to section 242 of B.P. Blg.
of respondent Locsin is null and void for
the questioned decision is actually a 88169 and section 3, Article IX (C) of the
the following reasons:
"hodge-podge" decision because of the Constitution; that respondent Speaker
peculiar manner in which the COMELEC De Venecia himself recognizes the
disposed of the case. finality of the COMELEC decision but First. The petitioner was denied due
has decided to refer the matter to the process during the entire proceedings
Supreme Court for adjudication; that the leading to the proclamation of
Finally, respondent Locsin asserts that
enforcement and implementation of a respondent Locsin.
the matter of her qualification and
eligibility has been categorically affirmed final decision of the COMELEC involves
by the HRET when it dismissed the quo a ministerial act and does not encroach COMELEC Resolution Nos. 340270 sets
warranto case filed against her, docketed on the legislative power of Congress; the procedure for disqualification cases
as HRET Case No. 01-043, entitled and that the power to determine who will pursuant to section 68 of the Omnibus
"Paciano Travero vs. Ma. Victoria sit as Member of the House does not Election Code, viz:
Locsin," on the ground that "the involve an exercise of legislative power
allegations stated therein are not proper but is vested in the sovereign will of the "C. PETITION TO DISQUALIFY A
grounds for a petition for quo warranto electorate. CANDIDATE PURSUANT TO SEC. 68
against a Member of the House of OF THE OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE
Representatives under section 253 of the The core issues in this case are: (a) AND PETITION TO DISQUALIFY FOR
Omnibus Election Code and Rule 17 of whether the proclamation of respondent LACK OF QUALIFICATIONS OR
the HRET Rules, and that the petition Locsin by the COMELEC Second POSSESSING SAME GROUNDS FOR
was filed late."67 Division is valid; (b) whether said DISQUALIFICATION
proclamation divested the COMELEC en
In his Reply,68 petitioner asserts that the banc of jurisdiction to review its validity; (1) The verified petition to
remedy of respondent Locsin from the and (c) assuming the invalidity of said disqualify a candidate pursuant
COMELEC decision was to file a petition proclamation, whether it is the ministerial to Sec. 68 of the Omnibus
for certiorari with the Supreme Court, not duty of the public respondents to Election Code and the verified
to seek an opinion from the Chief Legal recognize petitioner Codilla, Sr. as the petition to disqualify a candidate
for lack of qualifications or allowed by the Omnibus (5) Within three (3) days from
possessing same grounds for Election Code; filing of the petitions, the offices
disqualification, may be filed any concerned shall issue summons
day after the last day for filing of 2.d having solicited, to the respondent candidate
certificates of candidacy but not received or made any together with a copy of the
later than the date of contribution prohibited petition and its enclosures, if any;
proclamation. under Sections 89, 95,
96, 97 and 104 of the (6) The respondent shall be
(2) The petition to disqualify a Omnibus Election Code; given three (3) days from receipt
candidate pursuant to Sec. 68 of of summons within which to file
the Omnibus Election Code shall 2.e having violated any of his verified answer (not a motion
be filed in ten (10) legible copies Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 to dismiss) to the petition in ten
by any citizen of voting age, or and 261, paragraphs d, (10) legible copies, serving a
duly registered political party, e, k, v, and cc, sub- copy thereof upon the petitioner.
organization or coalition of paragraph 6 of the Grounds for Motion to Dismiss
political parties against any Omnibus Election Code, may be raised as an affirmative
candidate who in an action or shall be disqualified from defense;
protest in which he is a party is continuing as a
declared by final decision of a candidate, or if he has (7) The proceeding shall be
competent court guilty of, or been elected, from summary in nature. In lieu of the
found by the Commission of: holding the office. testimonies, the parties shall
submit their affidavits or counter-
2.a having given money xxxxxxxxx affidavits and other documentary
or other material evidences including their position
consideration to (4) Upon payment of the filing fee paper;
influence, induce or of P1,000.00 and legal research
corrupt the voters or fee of P20.00, the offices (8) The hearing must be
public officials performing concerned shall docket the completed within ten (10) days
electoral functions; petition and assign to it a docket from the date of the filing of the
number which must be answer. The hearing officer
2.b having committed consecutive, according to the concerned shall submit to the
acts of terrorism to order of receipt and must bear Clerk of the Commission through
enhance his candidacy; the year and prefixed as SPA the fastest means of
with the corresponding initial of communication, his findings,
2.c having spent in his the name of the office, i.e. SPA reports and recommendations
election campaign an (RED) No. C01-001; SPA (PES) within five (5) days from the
amount in excess of that No. C01-001; completion of the hearing and
reception of evidence together
with the complete records of the xxxxxxxxx never rebutted petitioner's repeated
case; assertion that he was not properly
Section 5. Return.- When the service has notified of the petition for his
(9) Upon receipt of the records of been completed by personal service, the disqualification because he never
the case of the findings, reports server shall give notice thereof, by received summons.71 Petitioner claims
and recommendation of the registered mail, to the protestant or his that prior to receiving a telegraphed
hearing officer concerned, the counsel and shall return the summons to Order from the COMELEC Second
Clerk of the Commission shall the Clerk of Court concerned who issued Division on May 22, 2001, directing the
immediately docket the case it, accompanied with the proof of service. District Board of Canvassers to suspend
consecutively and calendar the his proclamation, he was never
same for raffle to a division; Section 6. Proof of Service.- Proof of summoned nor furnished a copy of the
service of summons shall be made in the petition for his disqualification. He was
(10) The division to whom the manner provided for in the Rules of able to obtain a copy of the petition and
case is raffled, shall after Court in the Philippines." the May 22 Order of the COMELEC
consultation, assign the same to Second Division by personally going to
a member who shall pen the the COMELEC Regional Office on May
Thereafter, hearings, to be completed
decision, within five (5) days from 23, 2001. Thus, he was able to file his
within ten (10) days from the filing of the
the date of consultation." Answer to the disqualification case only
Answer, must be conducted. The hearing
on May 24, 2001.
officer is required to submit to the Clerk
Resolution No. 3402 clearly requires the of the Commission his findings, reports
COMELEC, through the Regional and recommendations within five (5) More, the proclamation of the petitioner
Election Director, to issue summons to days from the completion of the hearing was suspended in gross violation of
the respondent candidate together with a and reception of evidence together with section 72 of the Omnibus Election Code
copy of the petition and its enclosures, if the complete records of the case. which provides:
any, within three (3) days from the filing
of the petition for disqualification. (a) Petitioner was not notified of the "Sec. 72. Effects of disqualification cases
Undoubtedly, this is to afford the petition for his disqualification and priority.- The Commission and the
respondent candidate the opportunity to through the service of summons nor courts shall give priority to cases of
answer the allegations in the petition and of the Motions to suspend his disqualification by reason of violation of
hear his side. To ensure compliance with proclamation. this Act to the end that a final decision
this requirement, the COMELEC Rules of shall be rendered not later than seven
Procedure requires the return of the days before the election in which the
The records of the case do not show that
summons together with the proof of disqualification is sought.
summons was served on the petitioner.
service to the Clerk of Court of the They do not contain a copy of the
COMELEC when service has been summons allegedly served on the Any candidate who has been declared
completed, viz: petitioner and its corresponding proof of by final judgment to be disqualified shall
service. Furthermore, private respondent not be voted for, and the votes cast for
"Rule 14. Summons him shall not be counted. Nevertheless,
if for any reason, a candidate is not which the Commission or the Division shall continue with the trial or hearing
declared by final judgment before an may dispose of on its own motion. of the action, inquiry, or protest and,
election to be disqualified and he is upon motion of the complainant or
voted for and receives the winning The notice shall be directed to the any intervenor, may during the
number of votes in such election, his parties concerned and shall state the pendency thereof order the
violation of the provisions of the time and place of the hearing of the suspension of the proclamation of
preceding sections shall not prevent motion. such candidate whenever the
his proclamation and assumption to evidence of his guilt is strong."
office." (emphases supplied) Section 5. Proof of Service.- No motion (emphases supplied)
shall be acted upon by the Commission
In the instant case, petitioner has not without proof of service of notice thereof, Second, the right of an adverse party, in
been disqualified by final judgment when except when the Commission or a this case, the petitioner, is clearly
the elections were conducted on May 14, Division is satisfied that the rights of the affected. Given the lack of service of the
2001. The Regional Election Director has adverse party or parties are not Most Urgent Motion to the petitioner,
yet to conduct hearing on the petition for affected." said Motion is a mere scrap of paper.74 It
his disqualification. After the elections, cannot be acted upon by the COMELEC
petitioner was voted in office by a wide Respondent's Most Urgent Motion does Second Division.
margin of 17,903. On May 16, 2001, not fall under the exceptions to notice
however, respondent Locsin filed a Most and service of motions. First, the On May 18, 2001 at exactly 5:00
Urgent Motion for the suspension of suspension of proclamation of a winning p.m.,75 respondent Locsin filed a Second
petitioner's proclamation. The Most candidate is not a matter which the Most Urgent Motion for the suspension
Urgent Motion contained a statement to COMELEC Second Division can dispose of petitioner's proclamation. Petitioner
the effect that a copy was served to the of motu proprio. Section 6 of R.A. No. was served a copy of the Second Motion
petitioner through registered mail. The 664673 requires that the suspension must again by registered mail. A registry
records reveal that no registry receipt be "upon motion by the complainant or receipt76 was attached evidencing
was attached to prove such any intervenor", viz: service of the Second Most Urgent
service.72 This violates COMELEC Rules Motion to the petitioner but it does not
of Procedure requiring notice and service appear when the petitioner received a
"Section 6. Effect of Disqualification
of the motion to all parties, viz: copy thereof. That same day, the
Case.- Any candidate who has been
declared by final judgment to be COMELEC Second Division issued an
"Section 4. Notice.- Notice of a motion disqualified shall not be voted for, and Order suspending the proclamation of
shall be served by the movant to all the votes cast for him shall not be petitioner. Clearly, the petitioner was not
parties concerned, at least three (3) days counted. If for any reason, a candidate is given any opportunity to contest the
before the hearing thereof, together with not declared by final judgment before an allegations contained in the petition for
a copy of the motion. For good cause election to be disqualified and he is disqualification. The Order was issued
shown, the motion may be heard on voted for and receives the winning on the very same day the Second Most
shorter notice, especially on matters number of votes in such election, the Urgent Motion was filed. The petitioner
Court or Commission (COMELEC) could not have received the Second
Most Urgent Motion, let alone answer the petitioner to adduce evidence in On this score, it bears emphasis that the
same on time as he was served a copy support of his defense in the petition hearing for Motion to Lift the Order of
thereof by registered mail. for his disqualification. Suspension cannot be substituted for the
hearing in the disqualification case.
Under section 6 of R.A. No. 6646, the All throughout the proceeding, no Although intrinsically linked, it is not to be
COMELEC can suspend proclamation hearing was conducted on the petition supposed that the evidence of the
only when evidence of the winning for disqualification in gross violation of parties in the main disqualification case
candidate's guilt is strong. In the case at section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 which are the same as those in the Motion to
bar, the COMELEC Second Division specifically enjoins the COMELEC to Lift the Order of Suspension. The parties
did not make any specific finding that "continue with the trial or hearing of may have other evidence which they
evidence of petitioner's guilt is the action, inquiry, or protest." This is may deem proper to present only on the
strong. Its only basis in suspending the also in violation of COMELEC Resolution hearing for the disqualification case.
proclamation of the petitioner is the No. 3402 requiring the Regional Election Also, there may be evidence which are
"seriousness of the allegations" in the Director to complete the hearing and unavailable during the hearing for the
petition for disqualification. Pertinent reception of evidence within ten (10) Motion to Lift the Order of Suspension
portion of the Order reads: days from the filing of the Answer, and to but which may be available during the
submit his findings, reports, and hearing for the disqualification case.
"Without giving due course to the petition recommendations within the five (5) days
xxx the Commission (2nd Division), from completion of the hearing and the In the case at bar, petitioner asserts that
pursuant to Section 72 of the Omnibus reception of evidence. he submitted his Memorandum merely to
Election Code in relation to Section 6, support his Motion to Lift the Order of
Republic Act No. 6646 xxx Petitioner filed a Motion to Lift the Suspension. It was not intended to
and considering the serious Order of Suspension of his answer and refute the disqualification
allegations in the petition, hereby proclamation on May 25, 2001. Although case against him. This submission was
directs the Provincial Board of an oral argument on this Motion was sustained by the COMELEC en banc.
Canvassers of Leyte to suspend the held, and the parties were allowed to file Hence, the members of the COMELEC
proclamation of respondent, if their respective memoranda, the Motion en banc concluded, upon consideration
winning, until further was not acted upon. Instead, the of the additional affidavits attached in his
orders."77 (emphases supplied) COMELEC Second Division issued a Urgent Manifestation, that the evidence
Resolution on the petition for to disqualify the petitioner was
We hold that absent any finding that the disqualification against the petitioner. It insufficient. More specifically, the
evidence on the guilt of the petitioner is was based on the following evidence: (a) ponente of the challenged Resolution of
strong, the COMELEC Second Division the affidavits attached to the Petition for the COMELEC Second Division held:
gravely abused its power when it Disqualification; (b) the affidavits
suspended his proclamation. attached to the Answer; and (c) the "Indeed, I find from the records that the
respective memoranda of the parties. May 30, 2001 hearing of the COMELEC
(b) The COMELEC Second Division (Second Division) concerns only the
did not give ample opportunity to the incident relating to the Motion to Lift
Order of Suspension of Proclamation. It conduct a full dress hearing on the main Petitioner allegedly violated section 68
also appears that the order for the disqualification case should the (a) of the Omnibus Election Code which
submission of the parties' respective suspension be lifted.80 reads:
memoranda was in lieu of the parties'
oral argument on the motion. This would (c) the Resolution of the COMELEC "Section 68. Disqualifications.- Any
explain the fact that Codilla's Second Division disqualifying the candidate who, in action or protest in
Memorandum refers mainly to the validity petitioner is not based on substantial which he is a party is declared by final
of the issuance of the order of evidence. decision of a competent court guilty of, or
suspension of proclamation. There is, found by the Commission of having (a)
however, no record of any hearing on the The Resolution of the COMELEC given money or other material
urgent motion for the suspension of Second Division cannot be considered to consideration to influence, induce or
proclamation. Indeed, it was only upon be based on substantial evidence. It corrupt the voters or public officials
the filing of the Urgent Manifestation relied merely on affidavits of witnesses performing official functions, xxx shall be
by Codilla that the Members of the attached to the petition for disqualified from continuing as
Commission (Second Division) and disqualification. As stressed, the candidate, or if he has been elected,
other Members of the Commission en COMELEC Second Division gave from holding office"
banc had the opportunity to consider credence to the affidavits without hearing
Codilla's affidavits. This time, Codilla the affiants. In reversing said Resolution, To be disqualified under the above-
was able to present his side, thus, the COMELEC en banc correctly quoted provision, the following elements
completing the presentation of observed: must be proved: (a) the candidate,
evidentiary documents from both personally or through his instructions,
sides."78 (emphases supplied) must have given money or other material
"Lacking evidence of Codilla, the
Commission (Second Division) made its consideration; and (b) the act of giving
Indeed, careful reading of the petitioner's decisions based mainly on the allegation money or other material consideration
Memorandum shows that he confined his of the petitioner and the supporting must be for the purpose of influencing,
arguments in support of his Motion to Lift affidavits. With this lopsided evidence at inducing, or corrupting the voters or
the Order of Suspension. In said hand, the result was predictable. The public officials performing electoral
Memorandum, petitioner raised the Commission (Second Division) had no functions.
following issues: (a) he was utterly choice. Codilla was disqualified."81
deprived of procedural due process, and In the case at bar, the petition for
consequently, the order suspending his disqualification alleged that (a) petitioner
Worse, the Resolution of the COMELEC
proclamation is null and void; (b) the said ordered the extraction, hauling and
Second Division, even without the
order of suspension of proclamation has distribution of gravel and sand, and (b)
evidence coming from the petitioner,
no legal and factual basis; and (c) his purpose was to induce and influence
failed to prove the gravamen of the
evidence of guilt on his part is patently the voters of Kananga and Matag-ob,
offense for which he was charged.82
inexistent for the purpose of directing the Leyte to vote for him. Pertinent portion of
suspension of his proclamation.79 He the petition reads:
urged the COMELEC Second Division to
"[T]he respondent [herein petitioner], by the City Government of Ormoc supposed order of the petitioner to
within the election period, took dumping gravel and sand on the road of distribute gravel and sand for the
advantage of his current elective position Purok 6, San Vicente, Matag-ob, Leyte. purpose of inducing the voters to vote for
as City Mayor of Ormoc City by illegally A payloader then scattered the sand and him. The same could be said about the
and unlawfully using during the gravel unloaded by the white trucks.85 affidavits of Randy T. Merin,88 Alfredo C.
prohibited period, public equipments and De la Peña,89 Miguel P.
vehicles belonging to and owned by the On the other hand, Danilo D. Maglasang, Pandac,90 Paquito Bregeldo, Cristeta
City Government of Ormoc City in a temporary employee of the City Alferez , Glicerio Rios,91 Romulo Alkuino,
extracting, hauling and distributing gravel Government of Ormoc assigned to check Sr.,92 Abner Casas,93 Rita Trangia,94 and
and sand to the residents and voters of and record the delivery of sand and Judith Erispe95 attached to respondent
the Municipalities of Kananga and gravel for the different barangays in Locsin's Memorandum on the Motion to
Matag-ob Leyte, well within the territorial Ormoc, stated as follows: Lift the Suspension of Proclamation.
limits of the 4th Congressional District of
Leyte, which acts were executed without "3. That on April 20, 2001, I was ordered Also valueless are the affidavits of other
period, and clearly for the illicit purpose by Engr. Arnel Padayo, an employee of witnesses96 of respondent Locsin, all
of unduly inducing or directly corrupting the City Engineering Office, Ormoc City similarly worded, which alleged that the
various voters of Kananga and Matag- to go to Tagaytay, Kangga (sic), Leyte as petitioner ordered the repair of the road
ob, within the 4th legislative district of that will be the source of the sand and in Purok 6, Barangay San Vicente,
Leyte, for the precise purpose of gravel. I inquired why we had to go to Matag-ob, Leyte and the flattening of the
inducing and influencing the Kananga but Engr. Padayao said that it's area where the cockfights were to be
voters/beneficiaries of Kananga and not a problem as it was Mayor Eufrocino held. These allegations are extraneous
Matag-ob, Leyte to cast their votes for M. Codilla, Sr. who ordered this and the to the charge in the petition for
said respondent."83 property is owned by the family of Mayor disqualification. More importantly, these
Codilla. We were to deliver sand and allegations do not constitute a ground to
The affidavits relied upon by the gravel to whoever requests from Mayor disqualify the petitioner based on section
COMELEC Second Division failed to Codilla."86 68 of the Omnibus Election Code.
prove these allegations. For instance,
Cesar A. Laurente merely stated that he Similarly, the Affidavit of Basilio Bates To be sure, the petition for
saw three (3) ten-wheeler dump trucks cannot prove the offense charged disqualification also ascribed other
and a Hyundai Payloader with the against the petitioner. He alleged that on election offenses against the petitioner,
markings "Ormoc City Government" April 18, 2001, a white truck with the particularly section 261 of the Omnibus
extracting and hauling sand and gravel marking "City Government of Ormoc" Election Code, viz:
from the riverbed adjacent to the came to his lot at Montebello, Kananga,
property owned by the Codilla family.84 Leyte and unloaded mixed sand and that "Section 261. Prohibited Acts.- The
the driver of the truck told him to "vote for following shall be guilty of an election
Agripino C. Alferez and Rogelio T. Codilla as a (sic) congressman during offense:
Sulvera in their Joint Affidavit merely election."87 His statement is hearsay. He
stated that they saw white trucks owned has no personal knowledge of the
(a) Vote-buying and vote-selling.- campaign or for any partisan complainant may file the
(1) Any person who gives, offers political activity x x x." complaint with the office of the
or promises money or anything of fiscal or with the Ministry of
value, gives or promises any However, the jurisdiction of the Justice for proper investigation
office or employment, franchise COMELEC to disqualify and prosecution, if warranted.
or grant, public or private, or candidates is limited to those
make or offers to make an enumerated in section 68 of the xxxxxxxxx
expenditure, directly or indirectly, Omnibus Election Code. All other
or cause an expenditure to be election offenses are beyond the Section 268. Jurisdiction.- The regional
made to any person, association, ambit of COMELEC trial court shall have the exclusive
corporation, entity or community jurisdiction.97 They are criminal original jurisdiction to try and decide any
in order to induce anyone or the and not administrative in nature. criminal action or proceeding for violation
public in general, to vote for or Pursuant to sections 265 and of this Code, except those relating to the
against any candidate or withhold 268 of the Omnibus Election offense of failure to register or failure to
his vote in the election, or to vote Code, the power of the vote which shall be under the
for or against any aspirant for the COMELEC is confined to the jurisdictions of metropolitan or municipal
nomination or choice of a conduct of preliminary trial courts. From the decision of the
candidate in a convention or investigation on the alleged courts, appeal will lie as in other criminal
similar selection process of a election offenses for the purpose cases."
political party. of prosecuting the alleged
offenders before the regular The COMELEC Second Division
xxxxxxxxx courts of justice, viz: grievously erred when it decided the
disqualification case based on section
(o) Use of public funds, money "Section 265. Prosecution.- The 261 (a) and (o), and not on section 68 of
deposited in trust, equipment, Commission shall, through its the Omnibus Election Code.
facilities owned or controlled by duly authorized legal officers,
the government for an election have the exclusive power to (d) Exclusion of the votes in favor of
campaign.- Any person who uses conduct preliminary investigation the petitioner and the proclamation of
under any guise whatsoever of all election offenses respondent Locsin was done with
directly or indirectly, xxx (3) any punishable under this Code, and undue haste.
equipment, vehicle, facility, to prosecute the same. The
apparatus, or paraphernalia Commission may avail of the
The COMELEC Second Division ordered
owned by the government or by assistance of other prosecuting
the exclusion of the votes cast in favor of
its political subdivisions, arms of the government:
the petitioner, and the proclamation of
agencies including government- Provided, however, That in the
the respondent Locsin, without affording
owned or controlled corporations, event that the Commission fails
the petitioner the opportunity to
or by the Armed Forces of the to act on any complaint within
challenge the same. In the morning of
Philippines for any election four months from his filing, the
June 15, 2001, the Provincial Board of Leyte; and (2) it ordered the immediate people voted for him bona fide, without
Canvassers convened, and on the proclamation of the candidate who any intention to misapply their franchise,
strength of the said Resolution excluding garnered the highest number of votes, to and in the honest belief that the
the votes received by the petitioner, the exclusion of the respondent [herein candidate was then qualified to be the
certified that respondent Locsin received petitioner]. person to whom they would entrust the
the highest number of votes. On this exercise of the powers of government.100
basis, respondent Locsin was As previously stated, the disqualification
proclaimed. of the petitioner is null and void for being This principle applies with greater force
violative of due process and for want of in the case at bar considering that
Records reveal that the petitioner substantial factual basis. Even the petitioner has not been declared
received notice of the Resolution of the assuming, however, that the petitioner by final judgment to be disqualified
COMELEC Second Division only through was validly disqualified, it is still improper not only before but even after the
his counsel via a facsimile message in for the COMELEC Second Division to elections. The Resolution of the
the afternoon of June 15, 200198 when order the immediate exclusion of votes COMELEC Second Division disqualifying
everything was already fait accompli. cast for the petitioner as stray, and on the petitioner did not attain finality, and
Undoubtedly, he was not able to contest this basis, proclaim the respondent as hence, could not be executed, because
the issuance of the Certificate of having garnered the next highest number of the timely filing of a Motion for
Canvass and the proclamation of of votes. Reconsideration. Section 13, Rule 18 of
respondent Locsin. This is plain and the COMELEC Rules of Procedure on
simple denial of due process. (a) The order of disqualification is not Finality of Decisions and Resolutions
yet final, hence, the votes cast in reads:
The essence of due process is the favor of the petitioner cannot be
opportunity to be heard. When a party is considered "stray." "Sec. 13. Finality of Decisions or
deprived of that basic fairness, any Resolutions.- (a) In ordinary actions,
decision by any tribunal in prejudice of Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 and section special proceedings, provisional
his rights is void. 72 of the Omnibus Election Code require remedies and special reliefs, a decision
a final judgment before the election for or resolution of the Commission en banc
Second. The votes cast in favor of the the votes of a disqualified candidate to shall become final and executory after
petitioner cannot be considered be considered "stray." Hence, when a thirty (30) days from its promulgation.
"stray" and respondent cannot be candidate has not yet been disqualified
validly proclaimed on that basis. by final judgment during the election (b) In Special Actions and Special Cases
day and was voted for, the votes cast in a decision or resolution of the
The Resolution of the COMELEC his favor cannot be declared stray. To do Commission en banc shall become final
Second Division in SPA No. 01-208 so would amount to disenfranchising the and executory after five (5) days in
contains two dispositions: (1) it ruled that electorate in whom sovereignty Special Actions and Special Cases and
the petitioner was disqualified as a resides.99 For in voting for a candidate after fifteen (15) days in all other
candidate for the position of who has not been disqualified by final proceedings, following their
Congressman of the Fourth District of judgment during the election day, the promulgation.
(c) Unless a motion for Considering the foregoing and in order to same name as the bona fide
reconsideration is seasonably filed, a guide field officials on the finality of candidate shall be immediately
decision or resolution of a Division decisions or resolutions on special action executory;
shall become final and executory after cases (disqualification cases) the
the lapse of five (5) days in Special Commission, RESOLVES, as it is hereby (5) the decision or resolution of a
Actions and Special Cases and after RESOLVED, as follows: DIVISION on nuisance
fifteen (15) days in all other actions or candidate, particularly where the
proceedings, following its (1) the decision or resolution of nuisance candidate has the
promulgation." (emphasis supplied) the En Banc of the Commission same name as the bona fide
on disqualification cases shall candidate shall be immediately
In this wise, COMELEC Resolution No. become final and executory after executory after the lapse of five
4116,101 issued in relation to the finality of five (5) days from its (5) days unless a motion for
resolutions or decisions in promulgation unless restrained reconsideration is seasonably
disqualification cases, provides: by the Supreme Court; filed. In which case, the votes
cast shall not be considered stray
"This pertains to the finality of decisions (2) the decision or resolution of a but shall be counted and tallied
or resolutions of the Commission en Division on disqualification cases for the bona fide candidate.
banc or division, particularly on Special shall become final and executory
Actions (Disqualification Cases). after the lapse of five (5) days All resolutions, orders and rules
unless a motion for inconsistent herewith are hereby
Special Action cases refer to the reconsideration is seasonably modified or repealed."
following: filed;
Considering the timely filing of a Motion
(a) Petition to deny due course to (3) where the ground for for Reconsideration, the COMELEC
a certificate of candidacy; disqualification case is by reason Second Division gravely abused its
of non-residence, citizenship, discretion in ordering the immediate
(b) Petition to declare a violation of election laws and disqualification of the petitioner and
candidate as a nuisance other analogous cases and on ordering the exclusion of the votes cast
candidate; the day of the election the in his favor. Section 2, Rule 19 of the
resolution has not become final COMELEC Rules of Procedure is very
and executory the BEI shall tally clear that a timely Motion for
(c) Petition to disqualify a
and count the votes for such Reconsideration shall suspend the
candidate; and
disqualified candidate; execution or implementation of the
resolution, viz:
(d) Petition to postpone or
(4) the decision or resolution of
suspend an election.
the En Banc on nuisance Section 2. Period for filing Motion for
candidates, particularly whether Reconsideration.- A motion to reconsider
the nuisance candidate has the a decision, resolution, order, or ruling of
a Division shall be filed within five (5) assume that the second placer would disqualification based on election
days from the promulgation have received that (sic) other votes offenses. She contends that the election
thereof. Such motion, if not pro forma, would be to substitute our judgment for of candidates later disqualified based on
suspends the execution or the mind of the voters. He could not be election offenses like those enumerated
implementation of the decision, considered the first among the qualified in section 68 of the Omnibus Election
resolution, order or ruling." (emphases candidates because in a field which Code should be invalidated because
supplied) excludes the qualified candidate, the they violate the very essence of suffrage
conditions would have substantially and as such, the votes cast in his favor
(b) Respondent Locsin, as a mere changed. should not be considered.106
second placer, cannot be proclaimed.
xxxxxxxxx This contention is without merit. In the
More brazen is the proclamation of recent case of Trinidad v.
respondent Locsin which violates the The effect of a decision declaring a COMELEC,107 this Court ruled that the
settled doctrine that the candidate who person ineligible to hold an office is only effect of a judgment disqualifying a
obtains the second highest number of that the election fails entirely, that the candidate, after winning the election,
votes may not be proclaimed winner in wreath of victory cannot be transferred based on personal circumstances or
case the winning candidate is from the disqualified winner to the section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code
disqualified.102 In every election, the repudiated loser because the law then as is the same: the second placer could not
people's choice is the paramount now only authorizes a declaration in take the place of the disqualified winner.
consideration and their expressed will favor of the person who has obtained a
must at all times be given effect. When plurality of votes, and does not entitle the II
the majority speaks and elects into office candidate receiving the next highest
a candidate by giving him the highest number of votes to be declared elected. Whether the proclamation of respondent
number of votes cast in the election for In such case, the electors have failed to Locsin divested the COMELEC en
the office, no one can be declared make a choice and the election is a banc of jurisdiction to review its validity.
elected in his place.103 In Domino v. nullity. To allow the defeated and
COMELEC,104 this Court ruled, viz: repudiated candidate to take over the Respondent Locsin submits that the
elective position despite his rejection by COMELEC en banc has no jurisdiction to
"It would be extremely repugnant to the the electorate is to disenfranchise the annul her proclamation. She maintains
basic concept of the constitutionally electorate without any fault on their part that the COMELEC en banc was been
guaranteed right to suffrage if a and to undermine the importance and divested of jurisdiction to review the
candidate who has not acquired the meaning of democracy and the people's validity of her proclamation because she
majority or plurality of votes is right to elect officials of their choice."105 has become a member of the House of
proclaimed winner and imposed as Representatives. Thus, she contends
representative of a constituency, the Respondent Locsin proffers a distinction that the proper forum to question her
majority of which have positively between a disqualification based on membership to the House of
declared through their ballots that they personal circumstances such as age, Representatives is the House of
do not choose him. To simplistically residence or citizenship and
Representative Electoral Tribunal Resolution has yet to become final and "Rule 19. Motions for
(HRET). executory."108 Clearly, the validity of Reconsideration.-
respondent Locsin's proclamation was
We find no merit in these contentions. made a central issue in the Motion for Section 1. Grounds for Motion for
Reconsideration seasonably filed by the Reconsideration.- A motion for
First. The validity of the respondent's petitioner. Without doubt, the COMELEC reconsideration may be filed on
proclamation was a core issue in the en banc has the jurisdiction to rule on the the grounds that the evidence is
Motion for Reconsideration issue. insufficient to justify the decision,
seasonably filed by the petitioner. order or ruling, or that the said
The fact that the Petition for Nullity of decision, order or ruling is
In his timely Motion for Reconsideration Proclamation was filed directly with the contrary to law.
with the COMELEC en banc, petitioner COMELEC en banc is of no moment.
argued that the COMELEC Second Even without said Petition, the Section 2. Period for filing Motion
Division erred thus: COMELEC en banc could still rule on the for Reconsideration.- A motion to
nullity of respondent's proclamation reconsider a decision, resolution,
because it was properly raised in the order, or ruling of a Division shall
"(1) in disqualifying petitioner on
Motion for Reconsideration. be filed within five (5) days from
the basis solely of the dubious
declaration of the witnesses for the promulgation thereof. Such
respondent Locsin; Section 3, Article IX-C of the 1987 motion, if not pro forma,
Constitution empowers the COMELEC suspends the execution or
en banc to review, on motion for implementation of the
(2) in adopting in toto the
reconsideration, decisions or resolutions decision, resolution, order or
allegations of the witnesses for
decided by a division, viz: ruling."
respondent Locsin; and
"Sec. 3. The Commission on Elections Section 3. Form and Contents of
(3) in promulgating the
may sit en banc or in two divisions, and Motion for Reconsideration.- The
resolution in violation of its
shall promulgate its rules of procedure in motion shall be verified and shall
own rules of procedure and in
order to expedite disposition of election point out specifically the findings
directing therein the immediate
cases, including pre-proclamation or conclusions of the decision,
proclamation of the second
controversies. All such election cases resolution, order or ruling which
highest 'vote
shall be heard and decided in division, are not supported by the
getter.'" (emphases supplied)
provided that motions for reconsideration evidence or which are contrary to
of decision shall be decided by the law, making express reference to
In support of his third assignment of Commission en banc." the testimonial or documentary
error, petitioner argued that "the Second evidence or to the provisions of
Division's directive for the immediate law alleged to be contrary to
Pursuant to this Constitutional mandate,
proclamation of the second highest vote- such findings or resolutions.
the COMELEC Rules of Procedure
getter is premature considering that the
provides:
Section 4. Effect of Motion for said Order of the Second Division. The in his Motion for Reconsideration. The
Reconsideration on Period to said Order of the Second Division was issue was still within the exclusive
Appeal.- A motion to reconsider a yet unenforceable as it has not attained jurisdiction of the COMELEC en banc to
decision, resolution, order or finality; the timely filing of the motion for resolve. Hence, the HRET cannot
ruling when not pro forma, reconsideration suspends its execution. assume jurisdiction over the matter.
suspends the running of the It cannot, thus, be used as the basis for
period to elevate the matter to the assumption in office of the In Puzon vs. Cua,110 even the HRET
the Supreme Court. respondent as the duly elected ruled that the "doctrinal ruling that once a
Representative of the 4th legislative proclamation has been made and a
Section 5. How Motion for district of Leyte. candidate-elect has assumed office, it is
Reconsideration Disposed Of.- this Tribunal that has jurisdiction over an
Upon the filing of a motion to Second. It is the House of election contest involving members of
reconsider a decision, resolution, Representatives Electoral Tribunal the House of Representatives, could not
order or ruling of a Division, the (HRET) which has no jurisdiction in have been immediately applicable due
Clerk of Court concerned shall, the instant case. to the issue regarding the validity of
within twenty-four (24) hours the very COMELEC pronouncements
from the filing thereof, notify the Respondent contends that having been themselves." This is because the HRET
Presiding Commissioner. The proclaimed and having taken oath as has no jurisdiction to review resolutions
latter shall within two (2) days representative of the 4th legislative or decisions of the COMELEC, whether
thereafter certify the case to the district of Leyte, any question relative to issued by a division or en banc.
Commission en banc. her election and eligibility should be
brought before the HRET pursuant to (b) The instant case does not involve
Section 6. Duty of the Clerk of section 17 of Article VI of the 1987 the election and qualification of
Court of the Commission to set Constitution.109 respondent Locsin.
Motion for Hearing.- The Clerk of
Court concerned shall calendar We reject respondent's contention. Respondent Locsin maintains that the
the motion for reconsideration for proper recourse of the petitioner is to file
the resolution of the Commission (a) The issue on the validity of the a petition for quo warranto with the
en banc within ten (10) days from Resolution of the COMELEC Second HRET.
the certification thereof." Division has not yet been resolved by
(emphases supplied) the COMELEC en banc. A petition for quo warranto may be filed
only on the grounds of ineligibility and
Since the petitioner seasonably filed a To stress again, at the time of the disloyalty to the Republic of the
Motion for Reconsideration of the Order proclamation of respondent Locsin, the Philippines.111 In the case at bar, neither
of the Second Division suspending his validity of the Resolution of the the eligibility of the respondent Locsin
proclamation and disqualifying him, the COMELEC Second Division was nor her loyalty to the Republic of the
COMELEC en banc was not divested of seasonably challenged by the petitioner Philippines is in question. There is no
its jurisdiction to review the validity of the
issue that she was qualified to run, and if officer or person unlawfully neglects the in the Roll of Members of the House of
she won, to assume office. performance of an act which the law Representatives representing the 4th
specifically enjoins as a duty resulting legislative district of Leyte is no longer a
A petition for quo warranto in the HRET from an office, trust, or station, or matter of discretion on the part of the
is directed against one who has been unlawfully excludes another from the use public respondents. The facts are settled
duly elected and proclaimed for having and enjoyment of a right or office to and beyond dispute: petitioner garnered
obtained the highest number of votes but which such other is entitled, and there is 71,350 votes as against respondent
whose eligibility is in question at the time no other plain, speedy and adequate Locsin who only got 53, 447 votes in the
of such proclamation. It is evident that remedy in the ordinary course of May 14, 2001 elections. The COMELEC
respondent Locsin cannot be the subject law."112 For a petition for mandamus to Second Division initially ordered the
of quo warranto proceeding in the HRET. prosper, it must be shown that the proclamation of respondent Locsin; on
She lost the elections to the petitioner by subject of the petition for mandamus is Motion for Reconsideration the
a wide margin. Her proclamation was a a ministerial act or duty, and not purely COMELEC en banc set aside the order
patent nullity. Her premature assumption discretionary on the part of the board, of its Second Division and ordered the
to office as Representative of the 4th officer or person, and that the petitioner proclamation of the petitioner. The
legislative district of Leyte was void from has a well-defined, clear and certain right Decision of the COMELEC en banc has
the beginning. It is the height of absurdity to warrant the grant thereof. not been challenged before this Court by
for the respondent, as a loser, to tell respondent Locsin and said Decision has
petitioner Codilla, Sr., the winner, to The distinction between a ministerial and become final and executory.
unseat her via a quo warranto discretionary act is well delineated. A
proceeding. purely ministerial act or duty is one which In sum, the issue of who is the rightful
an officer or tribunal performs in a given Representative of the 4th legislative
III state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in district of Leyte has been finally settled
obedience to the mandate of a legal by the COMELEC en banc, the
Whether it is the ministerial duty of the authority, without regard to or the constitutional body with jurisdiction on
public respondents to exercise of his own judgment upon the the matter. The rule of law demands
propriety or impropriety of the act done. that its Decision be obeyed by all
If the law imposes a duty upon a public officials of the land. There is no
recognize petitioner Codilla, Sr. as the
officer and gives him the right to decide alternative to the rule of law except
legally elected Representative
how or when the duty shall be the reign of chaos and confusion.
performed, such duty is discretionary
of the 4th legislative district of Leyte vice and not ministerial. The duty is IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Petition for
respondent Locsin. ministerial only when the discharge of Mandamus is granted. Public Speaker of
the same requires neither the exercise of the House of Representatives shall
Under Rule 65, section 3 of the 1997 official discretion or judgment.113 administer the oath of petitioner
Rules of Civil Procedure, any person EUFROCINO M. CODILLA, SR., as the
may file a verified petition for mandamus In the case at bar, the administration of duly-elected Representative of the 4th
"when any tribunal, corporation, board, oath and the registration of the petitioner legislative district of Leyte. Public
respondent Secretary-General shall
likewise register the name of the
petitioner in the Roll of Members of the
House of Representatives after he has
taken his oath of office. This decision
shall be immediately executory.

SO ORDERED.