You are on page 1of 8

ANG LADLAD VS.

COMELEC

Facts:

Petitioner is a national organization which represents the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and trans-
genders. It filed a petition for accreditation as a party-list organization to public respondent.
However, due to moral grounds, the latter denied the said petition. To buttress their denial,
COMELEC cited certain biblical and quranic passages in their decision. It also stated that since
their ways are immoral and contrary to public policy, they are considered nuissance. In fact,
their acts are even punishable under the Revised Penal Code in its Article 201.

A motion for reconsideration being denied, Petitioner filed this instant Petition on Certiorari
under Rule 65 of the ROC.
Ang Ladlad argued that the denial of accreditation, insofar as it justified the exclusion by using
religious dogma, violated the constitutional guarantees against the establishment of religion.
Petitioner also claimed that the Assailed Resolutions contravened its constitutional rights to
privacy, freedom of speech and assembly, and equal protection of laws, as well as constituted
violations of the Philippines’ international obligations against discrimination based on sexual
orientation.

In its Comment, the COMELEC reiterated that petitioner does not have a concrete and genuine
national political agenda to benefit the nation and that the petition was validly dismissed on
moral grounds. It also argued for the first time that the LGBT sector is not among the sectors
enumerated by the Constitution and RA 7941, and that petitioner made untruthful statements in
its petition when it alleged its national existence contrary to actual verification reports by
COMELEC’s field personnel.

Issue:
WON Respondent violated the Non-establishment clause of the Constitution;
WON Respondent erred in denying Petitioners application on moral and legal grounds.

Held:

Respondent mistakenly opines that our ruling in Ang Bagong Bayani stands for the proposition
that only those sectors specifically enumerated in the law or related to said sectors (labor,
peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women,
youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals) may be registered under the party-list
system. As we explicitly ruled in Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. Commission on
Elections, “the enumeration of marginalized and under-represented sectors is not exclusive”. The
crucial element is not whether a sector is specifically enumerated, but whether a particular
organization complies with the requirements of the Constitution and RA 7941.
Our Constitution provides in Article III, Section 5 that “[n]o law shall be made respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” At bottom, what our non-
establishment clause calls for is “government neutrality in religious matters.” Clearly,
“governmental reliance on religious justification is inconsistent with this policy of neutrality.” We
thus find that it was grave violation of the non-establishment clause for the COMELEC to utilize
the Bible and the Koran to justify the exclusion of Ang Ladlad. Be it noted that government
action must have a secular purpose.

Respondent has failed to explain what societal ills are sought to be prevented, or why special
protection is required for the youth. Neither has the COMELEC condescended to justify its
position that petitioner’s admission into the party-list system would be so harmful as to
irreparably damage the moral fabric of society.

We also find the COMELEC’s reference to purported violations of our penal and civil laws flimsy,
at best; disingenuous, at worst. Article 694 of the Civil Code defines a nuisance as “any act,
omission, establishment, condition of property, or anything else which shocks, defies, or
disregards decency or morality,” the remedies for which are a prosecution under the Revised
Penal Code or any local ordinance, a civil action, or abatement without judicial proceedings. A
violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code, on the other hand, requires proof beyond
reasonable doubt to support a criminal conviction. It hardly needs to be emphasized that mere
allegation of violation of laws is not proof, and a mere blanket invocation of public morals cannot
replace the institution of civil or criminal proceedings and a judicial determination of liability or
culpability.

As such, we hold that moral disapproval, without more, is not a sufficient governmental interest
to justify exclusion of homosexuals from participation in the party-list system. The denial of Ang
Ladlad’s registration on purely moral grounds amounts more to a statement of dislike and
disapproval of homosexuals, rather than a tool to further any substantial public interest

RAMON L. LABO, JR. VS. COMELEC


G.R. No. 86564 August 1, 1989
DOCTRINE: The will of the electorate cannot change the requirement of the Local Government
Code and the Constitution as would permit a foreigner owing his total allegiance to the Queen of
Australia or at least a stateless individual owing no allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines,
to preside over them as mayor of their city. Only citizens of the Philippines have that privilege
over their countrymen.The probability that many of those who voted for the public official with
alleged lack of citizenship may have done so in the belief that he was qualified, only strengthens
the conclusion that the results of the election cannot nullify the qualifications for the office held by
him. These qualifications are continuing requirements; once any of them is lost during
incumbency, title to the office itself is deemed forfeited.
FACTS: Petitioner Ramon Labo was proclaimed mayor-elect of Baguio City on January 20, 1988.
Questioning Labo’s citizenship as a qualification for his office, private respondent LuizLardizabal
filed a petition for quo warranto on January 26, 1988, but the filing fee was paid only on February
10, 1988, or twenty-one days after his proclamation.Labocontends that the petition should not be
given due course as it was filed beyond the reglementary period of ten days under Section 253 of
the Omnibus Election Code.Prior to the filing of the petition for quo warranto, two administrative
decisions were rendered on the question of the Labo’s citizenship. The first was rendered by the
COMELEC finding Labo to be a citizen of the Philippines on the ground that there was no direct
proof that he had been formally naturalized as a citizen of Australia. The second was rendered by
the Commission on Immigration and Deportation, acting upon Labo’s application for the
cancellation of his alien certificate of registration.It ruled that he was not a citizen of the Philippines
based on the official statement of the Australian Government that Labo was an Australian citizen
by reason of his naturalization in 1976. However,Laboclaims that his marriage to an Australian
national in 1976 did not automatically divest him of Philippine citizenship, but instead it made him
a dual national. He further argues that his alleged lack of citizenship is a futile technicality that
should not frustrate the will of the electorate of Baguio City, who elected him by a majority.
ISSUE: Whether or not Petitioner Labois eligible as a candidate for mayor of Baguio City.
HELD: NO. Under CA No. 63 as amended by PD No. 725, Philippine citizenship may be reacquired
by direct act of Congress, by naturalization, or by repatriation. It did not appear in the record, nor
did the petitioner claim, that he has reacquired Philippine citizenship by any of these methods.For
this reason, Labo’s claim for recognition as a citizen of the Philippines must be denied. Labo was
not a citizen of the Philippines on the day of the local elections on January 18, 1988. He was not
even a qualified voter under the Constitution because of his alienage. He was therefore ineligible
as a candidate for mayor of Baguio City, under Section 42 of the Local Government Code which
provides that “An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty-three
years of age on election day, a qualified voter registered as such in the barangay, municipality,
city or province where he proposes to be elected…” Moreover, even if Labo was elected by the
majority, the people of that locality could not change the requirements of the Local Government
Code and the Constitution. The electorate had no power to permit a foreigner owing his total
allegiance to the Queen of Australia, or at least a stateless individual owing no allegiance to the
Republic of the Philippines, to preside over them as mayor of their city. Only citizens of the
Philippines have that privilege over their countrymen.The probability that many of those who voted
for the petitioner may have done so in the belief that he was qualified, only strengthens the
conclusion that the results of the election cannot nullify the qualifications for the office now held
by him. These qualifications are continuing requirements; once any of them is lost during
incumbency, title to the office itself is deemed forfeited. In the case at bar, the citizenship and
voting requirements were not subsequently lost but were not possessed at all in the first place on
the day of the election. The petitioner was disqualified from running as mayor and, although
elected, is not now qualified to serve as such.

Penera vs. Commission on Elections, et al.


G.R. No. 181613
25 November 2009

Facts:

On 11 September 2009, the Supreme Court affirmed the COMELEC’s decision to


disqualify petitioner Rosalinda Penera (Penera) as mayoralty candidate in Sta. Monica, Surigao
del Norte, for engaging in election campaign outside the campaign period, in violation of Section
80 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (the Omnibus Election Code).

Penera moved for reconsideration, arguing that she was not yet a candidate at the time of the
supposed premature campaigning, since under Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8436 (the law
authorizing the COMELEC to use an automated election system for the process of voting,
counting of votes, and canvassing/consolidating the results of the national and local elections),
as amended by Republic Act No. 9369, one is not officially a candidate until the start of the
campaign period.

Issue:
Whether or not Penera’s disqualification for engaging in premature campaigning should be
reconsidered.

Holding:

Granting Penera’s motion for reconsideration, the Supreme Court En Banc held that
Penera did not engage in premature campaigning and should, thus, not be disqualified as a
mayoralty candidate. The Court said –

(A) The Court’s 11 September 2009 Decision (or “the assailed Decision”) considered a
person who files a certificate of candidacy already a “candidate” even before the start of the
campaign period. This is contrary to the clear intent and letter of Section 15 of Republic Act
8436, as amended, which states that a person who files his certificate of candidacy will only be
considered a candidate at the start of the campaign period, and unlawful acts or omissions
applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of such campaign period.

Thus, applying said law:

(1) The effective date when partisan political acts become unlawful as to a
candidate is when the campaign period starts. Before the start of the campaign
period, the same partisan political acts are lawful.

(2) Accordingly, a candidate is liable for an election offense only for


acts done during the campaign period, not before. In other words, election
offenses can be committed by a candidate only upon the start of the campaign
period. Before the start of the campaign period, such election offenses cannot be
so committed. Since the law is clear, the Court has no recourse but to apply it. The forum for
examining the wisdom of the law, and enacting remedial measures, is not the Court but the
Legislature.

(B) Contrary to the assailed Decision, Section 15 of R.A. 8436, as amended, does not
provide that partisan political acts done by a candidate before the campaign period are unlawful,
but may be prosecuted only upon the start of the campaign period. Neither does the law state
that partisan political acts done by a candidate before the campaign period are temporarily
lawful, but becomes unlawful upon the start of the campaign period. Besides, such a law as
envisioned in the Decision, which defines a criminal act and curtails freedom of expression and
speech, would be void for vagueness.

(C) That Section 15 of R.A. 8436 does not expressly state that campaigning before the start of
the campaign period is lawful, as the assailed Decision asserted, is of no moment. It is a basic
principle of law that any act is lawful unless expressly declared unlawful by law. The mere fact
that the law does not declare an act unlawful ipso facto means that the act is lawful. Thus, there
is no need for Congress to declare in Section 15 of R.A. 8436 that partisan political activities
before the start of the campaign period are lawful. It is sufficient for Congress to state that “any
unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the
campaign period.” The only inescapable and logical result is that the same acts, if done before
the start of the campaign period, are lawful.

(D) The Court’s 11 September 2009 Decision also reversed Lanot vs. COMELEC (G.R.
No. 164858; 16 November 2006). Lanot was decided on the ground that one who files a
certificate of candidacy is not a candidate until the start of the campaign period. This ground was
based on the deliberations of the legislators who explained that the early deadline for filing
certificates of candidacy under R.A. 8436 was set only to afford time to prepare the machine-
readable ballots, and they intended to preserve the existing election periods, such that one who
files his certificate of candidacy to meet the early deadline will still not be considered as a
candidate.
When Congress amended R.A. 8436, Congress decided to expressly incorporate the
Lanot doctrine into law, thus, the provision in Section 15 of R.A. 8436 that a person who files his
certificate of candidacy shall be considered a candidate only at the start of the campaign period.
Congress wanted to insure that no person filing a certificate of candidacy under the early
deadline required by the automated election system would be disqualified or penalized for any
partisan political act done before the start of the campaign period. This provision cannot be
annulled by the Court except on the sole ground of its unconstitutionality.
The assailed Decision, however, did not claim that this provision is unconstitutional. In fact, the
assailed Decision considered the entire Section 15 good law. Thus, the Decision was self-
contradictory — reversing Lanot but maintaining the constitutionality of the said provision.

Maquiling vs. COMELEC

Facts:
Respondent Arnado is a natural born Filipino citizen. However, as a consequence of his
subsequent naturalization as a citizen of USA, he lost his Filipino citizenship. Arnado applied for
repatriation under R.A. No. 9225 before the Consulate General of the Philippines in San Francisco,
USA and took the Oath of Allegianceto the RP on 10 July 2008. On the same day an order of
approval of his citizenship retention and re-acquisition was issued in his favour. In 2009, Arnado
again took his Oath of Allegiance to RP and executed an affidavit of renunciation of his foreign
citizenship. On 30 November 2009, Arnado filed his certificate of candidacy for Mayor of
Kauswagan, Lanao Del Norte. Respondent Linog Balua, another mayoralty candidate, filed a
petition to disqualify Arnado and presented a record indicating that Arnado has been using
his US Passport in entering and departing the Philippines.

COMELEC issued an order requiring the respondent to personally file his answer. After Arnado
failed to answer the petition, Balua moved to declare him in default. In 2010 election, Arnado
garnered the highest number of votes and was subsequently proclaimed as the winning candidate
for Mayor. It was only after his proclamation that Arnado filed his answer.

COMELEC first division ruled for his disqualification. Petitioner Maquiling, another candidate for
mayor of Kausawagan, and who garnered the second highest number of votes, intervened in the
case and filed before the COMELEC En Banc a motion for reconsideration claiming that the
cancellation of Arnado’s candidacy and the nullification of his proclamation, him, as the legitimate
candidate who obtained the highest lawful votes should be proclaimed as the winner. COMELEC
En Banc held that it shall continue with the trial and hearing. However, it reversed and set aside
the ruling of first division and granted Arnado’s MR.

Maquiling filed the instant petition questioning the propriety of declaring Arnado qualified to run
for public office despite his continued use of a US passport, and praying that he be proclaimed as
the winner in the 2010 mayoralty race.
Issue:
Whether or not the use of a foreign passport after renouncing foreign citizenship amount to
undoing a renunciation earlier made.

Held:
Yes. The Supreme Court ruled that the use of foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign
citizenship is a positive and voluntary act of representation as to one’s nationality and citizenship;
it does not divest Filipino citizenship regained by repatriation but it recants the Oath of
Renunciation required to qualify one to run for an elective position.

Section 5(2) of The Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003 provides:

Those who retain or re-acquire Philippine citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and political
rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of
the Philippines and the following conditions:

xxxx

(2)Those seeking elective public in the Philippines shall meet the qualification for holding such
public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the
certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign before any
public officer authorized to administer an oath.

xxx

Rommel Arnado took all the necessary steps to qualify to run for a public office. He took the Oath
of Allegiance and renounced his foreign citizenship. There is no question that after performing
these twin requirements required under Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention
and Re-acquisition Act of 2003, he became eligible to run for public office. By renouncing his
foreign citizenship, he was deemed to be solely a Filipino citizen, regardless of the effect of such
renunciation under the laws of the foreign country.

However, this legal presumption does not operate permanently and is open to attack when, after
renouncing the foreign citizenship, the citizen performs positive acts showing his continued
possession of a foreign citizenship. Arnado himself subjected the issue of his citizenship to attack
when, after renouncing his foreign citizenship, he continued to use his US passport to travel in
and out of the country before filing his certificate of candidacy on 30 November 2009. The pivotal
question to determine is whether he was solely and exclusively a Filipino citizen at the time he
filed his certificate of candidacy, thereby rendering him eligible to run for public office.
Between 03 April 2009, the date he renounced his foreign citizenship, and 30 November 2009, the
date he filed his COC, he used his US passport four times, actions that run counter to the affidavit
of renunciation he had earlier executed. By using his foreign passport, Arnado positively and
voluntarily represented himself as an American, in effect declaring before immigration authorities
of both countries that he is an American citizen, with all attendant rights and privileges granted
by the United States of America. The renunciation of foreign citizenship is not a hollow oath that
can simply be professed at any time, only to be violated the next day. It requires an absolute
and perpetual renunciation of the foreign citizenship and a full divestment of all civil and
political rights granted by the foreign country which granted the citizenship. While the act of using
a foreign passport is not one of the acts enumerated in Commonwealth Act No. 63 constituting
renunciation and loss of Philippine citizenship, it is nevertheless an act which repudiates
the very oath of renunciation required for a former Filipino citizen who is also a citizen of another
country to be qualified to run for a local elective position.

When Arnado used his US passport on 14 April 2009, or just eleven days after he
renounced his American citizenship, he recanted his Oath of Renunciation that he "absolutely
and perpetually renounce(s) all allegiance and fidelity to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and
that he "divest(s) himself of full employment of all civil and political rights and privileges of the
United States of America."

We agree with the COMELEC En Banc that such act of using a foreign passport does not divest
Arnado of his
Filipino citizenship, which he acquired by repatriation. However, by representing himself as an
American citizen, Arnado voluntarily and effectively reverted to his earlier status as a dual citizen.
Such reversion was not retroactive; it took place the instant Arnado represented himself as an
American citizen by using his US passport. This act of using a foreign passport after renouncing
one’s foreign citizenship is fatal to Arnado’s bid for public office, as it effectively imposed on him
a disqualification to run for an elective local position.

The citizenship requirement for elective public office is a continuing one. It must be possessed not
just at the time of the renunciation of the foreign citizenship but continuously. Any act which
violates the oath of renunciation opens the citizenship issue to attack.

Citizenship is not a matter of convenience. It is a badge of identity that comes with attendant civil
and political rights accorded by the state to its citizens. It likewise demands the concomitant duty
to maintain allegiance to one’s flag and country. While those who acquire dual citizenship by choice
are afforded the right of suffrage, those who seek election or appointment to public office are
required to renounce their foreign citizenship to be deserving of the public trust. Holding public
office demands full and undivided allegiance to the Republic and to no other.

We therefore hold that Arnado, by using his US passport after renouncing his American citizenship,
has recanted the same Oath of Renunciation he took. Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code
applies to his situation. He is disqualified not only from holding the public office but even from
becoming a candidate in the May 2010 elections.
With Arnado being barred from even becoming a candidate, his certificate of candidacy is thus
rendered void from the beginning. It could not have produced any other legal effect except that
Arnado rendered it impossible to effect his disqualification prior to the elections because he
filed his answer to the petition when the elections were conducted already and he was
already proclaimed the winner.

Arnado being a non-candidate, the votes cast in his favor should not have been counted. This
leaves Maquiling as the qualified candidate who obtained the highest number of votes. Therefore,
the rule on succession under the Local Government Code will not apply.