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Doctrine:

Facts:

Issue:

Ruling:

CASE #11

[G.R. No. 135083. May 26, 1999]

ERNESTO S. MERCADO, petitioner, vs. EDUARDO BARRIOS MANZANO and the COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, respondents.

DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:

Petitioner Ernesto S. Mercado and private respondent Eduardo B. Manzano were candidates for vice mayor of the City of
Makati in the May 11, 1998 elections. The other one was Gabriel V. Daza III.The results of the election were as follows:

Eduardo B. Manzano 103,853


Ernesto S. Mercado 100,894
Gabriel V. Daza III 54,275[1]

The proclamation of private respondent was suspended in view of a pending petition for disqualification filed by a certain
Ernesto Mamaril who alleged that private respondent was not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States.
In its resolution, dated May 7, 1998,[2] the Second Division of the COMELEC granted the petition of Mamaril and ordered
the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of private respondent on the ground that he is a dual citizen and, under 40(d) of
the Local Government Code, persons with dual citizenship are disqualified from running for any elective position. The
COMELECs Second Division said:

What is presented before the Commission is a petition for disqualification of Eduardo Barrios Manzano as candidate for the
office of Vice-Mayor of Makati City in the May 11, 1998 elections. The petition is based on the ground that the respondent is
an American citizen based on the record of the Bureau of Immigration and misrepresented himself as a natural-born Filipino
citizen.

In his answer to the petition filed on April 27, 1998, the respondent admitted that he is registered as a foreigner with the
Bureau of Immigration under Alien Certificate of Registration No. B-31632 and alleged that he is a Filipino citizen because he
was born in 1955 of a Filipino father and a Filipino mother. He was born in the United States, San Francisco, California, on
September 14, 1955, and is considered an American citizen under US Laws. But notwithstanding his registration as an
American citizen, he did not lose his Filipino citizenship.

Judging from the foregoing facts, it would appear that respondent Manzano is both a Filipino and a US citizen. In other words,
he holds dual citizenship.

The question presented is whether under our laws, he is disqualified from the position for which he filed his certificate of
candidacy. Is he eligible for the office he seeks to be elected?

Under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code, those holding dual citizenship are disqualified from running for any
elective local position.
WHEREFORE, the Commission hereby declares the respondent Eduardo Barrios Manzano DISQUALIFIED as candidate for
Vice-Mayor of Makati City.

On May 8, 1998, private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration. [3] The motion remained pending even until after
the election held on May 11, 1998.
Accordingly, pursuant to Omnibus Resolution No. 3044, dated May 10, 1998, of the COMELEC, the board of canvassers
tabulated the votes cast for vice mayor of Makati City but suspended the proclamation of the winner.
On May 19, 1998, petitioner sought to intervene in the case for disqualification. [4] Petitioners motion was opposed by
private respondent.
The motion was not resolved. Instead, on August 31, 1998, the COMELEC en banc rendered its resolution. Voting 4 to 1,
with one commissioner abstaining, the COMELEC en banc reversed the ruling of its Second Division and declared private
respondent qualified to run for vice mayor of the City of Makati in the May 11, 1998 elections. [5] The pertinent portions of the
resolution of the COMELEC en banc read:

As aforesaid, respondent Eduardo Barrios Manzano was born in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. He acquired US citizenship
by operation of the United States Constitution and laws under the principle of jus soli.

He was also a natural born Filipino citizen by operation of the 1935 Philippine Constitution, as his father and mother were
Filipinos at the time of his birth. At the age of six (6), his parents brought him to the Philippines using an American passport as
travel document. His parents also registered him as an alien with the Philippine Bureau of Immigration. He was issued an
alien certificate of registration. This, however, did not result in the loss of his Philippine citizenship, as he did not renounce
Philippine citizenship and did not take an oath of allegiance to the United States.

It is an undisputed fact that when respondent attained the age of majority, he registered himself as a voter, and voted in the
elections of 1992, 1995 and 1998, which effectively renounced his US citizenship under American law. Under Philippine law,
he no longer had U.S. citizenship.

At the time of the May 11, 1998 elections, the resolution of the Second Division, adopted on May 7, 1998, was not yet
final. Respondent Manzano obtained the highest number of votes among the candidates for vice-mayor of Makati City,
garnering one hundred three thousand eight hundred fifty three (103,853) votes over his closest rival, Ernesto S. Mercado,
who obtained one hundred thousand eight hundred ninety four (100,894) votes, or a margin of two thousand nine hundred fifty
nine (2,959) votes. Gabriel Daza III obtained third place with fifty four thousand two hundred seventy five (54,275) votes. In
applying election laws, it would be far better to err in favor of the popular choice than be embroiled in complex legal issues
involving private international law which may well be settled before the highest court (Cf. Frivaldo vs. Commission on
Elections, 257 SCRA 727).

WHEREFORE, the Commission en banc hereby REVERSES the resolution of the Second Division, adopted on May 7, 1998,
ordering the cancellation of the respondents certificate of candidacy.

We declare respondent Eduardo Luis Barrios Manzano to be QUALIFIED as a candidate for the position of vice-mayor of
Makati City in the May 11, 1998, elections.

ACCORDINGLY, the Commission directs the Makati City Board of Canvassers, upon proper notice to the parties, to
reconvene and proclaim the respondent Eduardo Luis Barrios Manzano as the winning candidate for vice-mayor of Makati
City.

Pursuant to the resolution of the COMELEC en banc, the board of canvassers, on the evening of August 31, 1998,
proclaimed private respondent as vice mayor of the City of Makati.
This is a petition for certiorari seeking to set aside the aforesaid resolution of the COMELEC en banc and to declare
private respondent disqualified to hold the office of vice mayor of Makati City.Petitioner contends that

[T]he COMELEC en banc ERRED in holding that:

A. Under Philippine law, Manzano was no longer a U.S. citizen when he:

1. He renounced his U.S. citizenship when he attained the age of majority when he was already 37 years old; and,
2. He renounced his U.S. citizenship when he (merely) registered himself as a voter and voted in the elections of 1992, 1995
and 1998.

B. Manzano is qualified to run for and or hold the elective office of Vice-Mayor of the City of Makati;

C. At the time of the May 11, 1998 elections, the resolution of the Second Division adopted on 7 May 1998 was not yet final so
that, effectively, petitioner may not be declared the winner even assuming that Manzano is disqualified to run for and hold the
elective office of Vice-Mayor of the City of Makati.

We first consider the threshold procedural issue raised by private respondent Manzano whether petitioner Mercado has
personality to bring this suit considering that he was not an original party in the case for disqualification filed by Ernesto
Mamaril nor was petitioners motion for leave to intervene granted.

I. PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO BRING THIS SUIT

Private respondent cites the following provisions of Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure of the COMELEC in support of his
claim that petitioner has no right to intervene and, therefore, cannot bring this suit to set aside the ruling denying his motion for
intervention:

Section 1. When proper and when may be permitted to intervene. Any person allowed to initiate an action or proceeding may,
before or during the trial of an action or proceeding, be permitted by the Commission, in its discretion to intervene in such
action or proceeding, if he has legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest
against both, or when he is so situated as to be adversely affected by such action or proceeding.

....

Section 3. Discretion of Commission. In allowing or disallowing a motion for intervention, the Commission or the Division, in
the exercise of its discretion, shall consider whether or not the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of
the rights of the original parties and whether or not the intervenors rights may be fully protected in a separate action or
proceeding.

Private respondent argues that petitioner has neither legal interest in the matter in litigation nor an interest to protect because
he is a defeated candidate for the vice-mayoralty post of Makati City [who] cannot be proclaimed as the Vice-Mayor of Makati
City even if the private respondent be ultimately disqualified by final and executory judgment.
The flaw in this argument is it assumes that, at the time petitioner sought to intervene in the proceedings before the
COMELEC, there had already been a proclamation of the results of the election for the vice mayoralty contest for Makati City,
on the basis of which petitioner came out only second to private respondent. The fact, however, is that there had been no
proclamation at that time. Certainly, petitioner had, and still has, an interest in ousting private respondent from the race at the
time he sought to intervene. The rule in Labo v. COMELEC,[6] reiterated in several cases,[7] only applies to cases in which the
election of the respondent is contested, and the question is whether one who placed second to the disqualified candidate may
be declared the winner. In the present case, at the time petitioner filed a Motion for Leave to File Intervention on May 20,
1998, there had been no proclamation of the winner, and petitioners purpose was precisely to have private respondent
disqualified from running for [an] elective local position under 40(d) of R.A. No. 7160. If Ernesto Mamaril (who originally
instituted the disqualification proceedings), a registered voter of Makati City, was competent to bring the action, so was
petitioner since the latter was a rival candidate for vice mayor of Makati City.
Nor is petitioners interest in the matter in litigation any less because he filed a motion for intervention only on May 20,
1998, after private respondent had been shown to have garnered the highest number of votes among the candidates for vice
mayor. That petitioner had a right to intervene at that stage of the proceedings for the disqualification against private
respondent is clear from 6 of R.A. No. 6646, otherwise known as the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987, which provides:

Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him
shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and
he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the
trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the
pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of guilt is strong.
Under this provision, intervention may be allowed in proceedings for disqualification even after election if there has yet
been no final judgment rendered.
The failure of the COMELEC en banc to resolve petitioners motion for intervention was tantamount to a denial of the
motion, justifying petitioner in filing the instant petition for certiorari. As the COMELEC en banc instead decided the merits of
the case, the present petition properly deals not only with the denial of petitioners motion for intervention but also with the
substantive issues respecting private respondents alleged disqualification on the ground of dual citizenship.
This brings us to the next question, namely, whether private respondent Manzano possesses dual citizenship and, if so,
whether he is disqualified from being a candidate for vice mayor of Makati City.

II. DUAL CITIZENSHIP AS A GROUND FOR DISQUALIFICATION

The disqualification of private respondent Manzano is being sought under 40 of the Local Government Code of 1991
(R.A. No. 7160), which declares as disqualified from running for any elective local position: . . . (d) Those with dual
citizenship. This provision is incorporated in the Charter of the City of Makati. [8]
Invoking the maxim dura lex sed lex, petitioner, as well as the Solicitor General, who sides with him in this case,
contends that through 40(d) of the Local Government Code, Congress has command[ed] in explicit terms the ineligibility of
persons possessing dual allegiance to hold local elective office.
To begin with, dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. The former arises when, as a result of the concurrent
application of the different laws of two or more states, a person is simultaneously considered a national by the said
states.[9] For instance, such a situation may arise when a person whose parents are citizens of a state which adheres to the
principle of jus sanguinis is born in a state which follows the doctrine of jus soli. Such a person, ipso facto and without any
voluntary act on his part, is concurrently considered a citizen of both states. Considering the citizenship clause (Art. IV) of our
Constitution, it is possible for the following classes of citizens of the Philippines to possess dual citizenship:
(1) Those born of Filipino fathers and/or mothers in foreign countries which follow the principle of jus soli;
(2) Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien fathers if by the laws of their fathers country such children
are citizens of that country;
(3) Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latters country the former are considered citizens, unless by their act or
omission they are deemed to have renounced Philippine citizenship.
There may be other situations in which a citizen of the Philippines may, without performing any act, be also a citizen of
another state; but the above cases are clearly possible given the constitutional provisions on citizenship.
Dual allegiance, on the other hand, refers to the situation in which a person simultaneously owes, by some positive act,
loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is involuntary, dual allegiance is the result of an individuals volition.
With respect to dual allegiance, Article IV, 5 of the Constitution provides: Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the
national interest and shall be dealt with by law. This provision was included in the 1987 Constitution at the instance of
Commissioner Blas F. Ople who explained its necessity as follows: [10]

. . . I want to draw attention to the fact that dual allegiance is not dual citizenship. I have circulated a memorandum to the
Bernas Committee according to which a dual allegiance - and I reiterate a dual allegiance - is larger and more threatening
than that of mere double citizenship which is seldom intentional and, perhaps, never insidious. That is often a function of the
accident of mixed marriages or of birth on foreign soil. And so, I do not question double citizenship at all.

What we would like the Committee to consider is to take constitutional cognizance of the problem of dual allegiance. For
example, we all know what happens in the triennial elections of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce
which consists of about 600 chapters all over the country. There is a Peking ticket, as well as a Taipei ticket. Not widely
known is the fact that the Filipino-Chinese community is represented in the Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China in
Taiwan. And until recently, the sponsor might recall, in Mainland China in the Peoples Republic of China, they have the
Associated Legislative Council for overseas Chinese wherein all of Southeast Asia including some European and Latin
countries were represented, which was dissolved after several years because of diplomatic friction. At that time, the Filipino-
Chinese were also represented in that Overseas Council.

When I speak of double allegiance, therefore, I speak of this unsettled kind of allegiance of Filipinos, of citizens who are
already Filipinos but who, by their acts, may be said to be bound by a second allegiance, either to Peking or Taiwan. I also
took close note of the concern expressed by some Commissioners yesterday, including Commissioner Villacorta, who were
concerned about the lack of guarantees of thorough assimilation, and especially Commissioner Concepcion who has always
been worried about minority claims on our natural resources.

Dual allegiance can actually siphon scarce national capital to Taiwan, Singapore, China or Malaysia, and this is already
happening. Some of the great commercial places in downtown Taipei are Filipino-owned, owned by Filipino-Chinese it is of
common knowledge in Manila. It can mean a tragic capital outflow when we have to endure a capital famine which also
means economic stagnation, worsening unemployment and social unrest.

And so, this is exactly what we ask that the Committee kindly consider incorporating a new section, probably Section 5, in the
article on Citizenship which will read as follows: DUAL ALLEGIANCE IS INIMICAL TO CITIZENSHIP AND SHALL BE DEALT
WITH ACCORDING TO LAW.

In another session of the Commission, Ople spoke on the problem of these citizens with dual allegiance, thus: [11]

. . . A significant number of Commissioners expressed their concern about dual citizenship in the sense that it implies a double
allegiance under a double sovereignty which some of us who spoke then in a freewheeling debate thought would be
repugnant to the sovereignty which pervades the Constitution and to citizenship itself which implies a uniqueness and which
elsewhere in the Constitution is defined in terms of rights and obligations exclusive to that citizenship including, of course, the
obligation to rise to the defense of the State when it is threatened, and back of this, Commissioner Bernas, is, of course, the
concern for national security. In the course of those debates, I think some noted the fact that as a result of the wave of
naturalizations since the decision to establish diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China was made in 1975, a
good number of these naturalized Filipinos still routinely go to Taipei every October 10; and it is asserted that some of them
do renew their oath of allegiance to a foreign government maybe just to enter into the spirit of the occasion when the
anniversary of the Sun Yat-Sen Republic is commemorated. And so, I have detected a genuine and deep concern about
double citizenship, with its attendant risk of double allegiance which is repugnant to our sovereignty and national security. I
appreciate what the Committee said that this could be left to the determination of a future legislature. But considering the
scale of the problem, the real impact on the security of this country, arising from, let us say, potentially great numbers of
double citizens professing double allegiance, will the Committee entertain a proposed amendment at the proper time that will
prohibit, in effect, or regulate double citizenship?

Clearly, in including 5 in Article IV on citizenship, the concern of the Constitutional Commission was not with dual
citizens per se but with naturalized citizens who maintain their allegiance to their countries of origin even after their
naturalization. Hence, the phrase dual citizenship in R.A. No. 7160, 40(d) and in R.A. No. 7854, 20 must be understood as
referring to dual allegiance. Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall under this disqualification. Unlike
those with dual allegiance, who must, therefore, be subject to strict process with respect to the termination of their status, for
candidates with dual citizenship, it should suffice if, upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy, they elect Philippine
citizenship to terminate their status as persons with dual citizenship considering that their condition is the unavoidable
consequence of conflicting laws of different states. As Joaquin G. Bernas, one of the most perceptive members of the
Constitutional Commission, pointed out: [D]ual citizenship is just a reality imposed on us because we have no control of the
laws on citizenship of other countries. We recognize a child of a Filipino mother. But whether or not she is considered a citizen
of another country is something completely beyond our control.[12]
By electing Philippine citizenship, such candidates at the same time forswear allegiance to the other country of which
they are also citizens and thereby terminate their status as dual citizens. It may be that, from the point of view of the foreign
state and of its laws, such an individual has not effectively renounced his foreign citizenship. That is of no moment as the
following discussion on 40(d) between Senators Enrile and Pimentel clearly shows: [13]
SENATOR ENRILE. Mr. President, I would like to ask clarification of line 41, page 17: Any person with dual citizenship is
disqualified to run for any elective local position. Under the present Constitution, Mr. President, someone whose
mother is a citizen of the Philippines but his father is a foreigner is a natural-born citizen of the Republic. There is no
requirement that such a natural born citizen, upon reaching the age of majority, must elect or give up Philippine
citizenship.
On the assumption that this person would carry two passports, one belonging to the country of his or her father and one
belonging to the Republic of the Philippines, may such a situation disqualify the person to run for a local government
position?
SENATOR PIMENTEL. To my mind, Mr. President, it only means that at the moment when he would want to run for public
office, he has to repudiate one of his citizenships.
SENATOR ENRILE. Suppose he carries only a Philippine passport but the country of origin or the country of the father
claims that person, nevertheless, as a citizen? No one can renounce. There are such countries in the world.
SENATOR PIMENTEL. Well, the very fact that he is running for public office would, in effect, be an election for him of his
desire to be considered as a Filipino citizen.
SENATOR ENRILE. But, precisely, Mr. President, the Constitution does not require an election. Under the Constitution, a
person whose mother is a citizen of the Philippines is, at birth, a citizen without any overt act to claim the citizenship.
SENATOR PIMENTEL. Yes. What we are saying, Mr. President, is: Under the Gentlemans example, if he does not
renounce his other citizenship, then he is opening himself to question. So, if he is really interested to run, the first
thing he should do is to say in the Certificate of Candidacy that: I am a Filipino citizen, and I have only one citizenship.
SENATOR ENRILE. But we are talking from the viewpoint of Philippine law, Mr. President. He will always have one
citizenship, and that is the citizenship invested upon him or her in the Constitution of the Republic.
SENATOR PIMENTEL. That is true, Mr. President. But if he exercises acts that will prove that he also acknowledges other
citizenships, then he will probably fall under this disqualification.
This is similar to the requirement that an applicant for naturalization must renounce all allegiance and fidelity to any
foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty[14] of which at the time he is a subject or citizen before he can be issued a
certificate of naturalization as a citizen of the Philippines. In Parado v. Republic,[15] it was held:

[W]hen a person applying for citizenship by naturalization takes an oath that he renounces his loyalty to any other country or
government and solemnly declares that he owes his allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, the condition imposed by
law is satisfied and complied with. The determination whether such renunciation is valid or fully complies with the provisions of
our Naturalization Law lies within the province and is an exclusive prerogative of our courts. The latter should apply the law
duly enacted by the legislative department of the Republic. No foreign law may or should interfere with its operation and
application. If the requirement of the Chinese Law of Nationality were to be read into our Naturalization Law, we would be
applying not what our legislative department has deemed it wise to require, but what a foreign government has thought or
intended to exact. That, of course, is absurd. It must be resisted by all means and at all cost. It would be a brazen
encroachment upon the sovereign will and power of the people of this Republic.

III. PETITIONER'S ELECTION OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP

The record shows that private respondent was born in San Francisco, California on September 4, 1955, of Filipino
parents. Since the Philippines adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis, while the United States follows the doctrine of jus soli,
the parties agree that, at birth at least, he was a national both of the Philippines and of the United States. However, the
COMELEC en banc held that, by participating in Philippine elections in 1992, 1995, and 1998, private respondent effectively
renounced his U.S. citizenship under American law, so that now he is solely a Philippine national.
Petitioner challenges this ruling. He argues that merely taking part in Philippine elections is not sufficient evidence of
renunciation and that, in any event, as the alleged renunciation was made when private respondent was already 37 years old,
it was ineffective as it should have been made when he reached the age of majority.
In holding that by voting in Philippine elections private respondent renounced his American citizenship, the COMELEC
must have in mind 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of the United States, which provided that A person who is a
national of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by: . . . (e) Voting in a political
election in a foreign state or participating in an election or plebiscite to determine the sovereignty over foreign territory. To be
sure this provision was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Afroyim v. Rusk[16] as beyond the power given
to the U.S. Congress to regulate foreign relations. However, by filing a certificate of candidacy when he ran for his present
post, private respondent elected Philippine citizenship and in effect renounced his American citizenship. Private respondents
certificate of candidacy, filed on March 27, 1998, contained the following statements made under oath:
6. I AM A FILIPINO CITIZEN (STATE IF NATURAL-BORN OR NATURALIZED) NATURAL-BORN
....
10. I AM A REGISTERED VOTER OF PRECINCT NO. 747-A, BARANGAY SAN LORENZO, CITY/MUNICIPALITY
OF MAKATI, PROVINCE OF NCR .
11. I AM NOT A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF, OR IMMIGRANT TO, A FOREIGN COUNTRY.
12. I AM ELIGIBLE FOR THE OFFICE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED. I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE
CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES AND WILL MAINTAIN TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE THERETO;
THAT I WILL OBEY THE LAWS, LEGAL ORDERS AND DECREES PROMULGATED BY THE DULY
CONSTITUTED AUTHORITIES OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES; AND THAT I IMPOSE THIS
OBLIGATION UPON MYSELF VOLUNTARILY, WITHOUT MENTAL RESERVATION OR PURPOSE OF
EVASION. I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT THE FACTS STATED HEREIN ARE TRUE AND CORRECT OF MY
OWN PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE.
The filing of such certificate of candidacy sufficed to renounce his American citizenship, effectively removing any
disqualification he might have as a dual citizen. Thus, in Frivaldo v. COMELEC it was held:[17]

It is not disputed that on January 20, 1983 Frivaldo became an American. Would the retroactivity of his repatriation not
effectively give him dual citizenship, which under Sec. 40 of the Local Government Code would disqualify him from running for
any elective local position? We answer this question in the negative, as there is cogent reason to hold that Frivaldo was really
STATELESS at the time he took said oath of allegiance and even before that, when he ran for governor in 1988. In his
Comment, Frivaldo wrote that he had long renounced and had long abandoned his American citizenship-long before May 8,
1995. At best, Frivaldo was stateless in the interim-when he abandoned and renounced his US citizenship but before he was
repatriated to his Filipino citizenship.

On this point, we quote from the assailed Resolution dated December 19, 1995:

By the laws of the United States, petitioner Frivaldo lost his American citizenship when he took his oath of allegiance to the
Philippine Government when he ran for Governor in 1988, in 1992, and in 1995.Every certificate of candidacy contains an
oath of allegiance to the Philippine Government.

These factual findings that Frivaldo has lost his foreign nationality long before the elections of 1995 have not been effectively
rebutted by Lee. Furthermore, it is basic that such findings of the Commission are conclusive upon this Court, absent any
showing of capriciousness or arbitrariness or abuse.

There is, therefore, no merit in petitioners contention that the oath of allegiance contained in private respondents
certificate of candidacy is insufficient to constitute renunciation of his American citizenship. Equally without merit is petitioners
contention that, to be effective, such renunciation should have been made upon private respondent reaching the age of
majority since no law requires the election of Philippine citizenship to be made upon majority age.
Finally, much is made of the fact that private respondent admitted that he is registered as an American citizen in the
Bureau of Immigration and Deportation and that he holds an American passport which he used in his last travel to the United
States on April 22, 1997. There is no merit in this. Until the filing of his certificate of candidacy on March 21, 1998, he had dual
citizenship. The acts attributed to him can be considered simply as the assertion of his American nationality before the
termination of his American citizenship. What this Court said in Aznar v. COMELEC[18] applies mutatis mutandis to private
respondent in the case at bar:

. . . Considering the fact that admittedly Osmea was both a Filipino and an American, the mere fact that he has a Certificate
stating he is an American does not mean that he is not still a Filipino. . . . [T]he Certification that he is an American does not
mean that he is not still a Filipino, possessed as he is, of both nationalities or citizenships. Indeed, there is no express
renunciation here of Philippine citizenship; truth to tell, there is even no implied renunciation of said citizenship. When We
consider that the renunciation needed to lose Philippine citizenship must be express, it stands to reason that there can be no
such loss of Philippine citizenship when there is no renunciation, either express or implied.

To recapitulate, by declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino citizen; that he is not a permanent resident
or immigrant of another country; that he will defend and support the Constitution of the Philippines and bear true faith and
allegiance thereto and that he does so without mental reservation, private respondent has, as far as the laws of this country
are concerned, effectively repudiated his American citizenship and anything which he may have said before as a dual citizen.
On the other hand, private respondents oath of allegiance to the Philippines, when considered with the fact that he has
spent his youth and adulthood, received his education, practiced his profession as an artist, and taken part in past elections in
this country, leaves no doubt of his election of Philippine citizenship.
His declarations will be taken upon the faith that he will fulfill his undertaking made under oath. Should he betray that
trust, there are enough sanctions for declaring the loss of his Philippine citizenship through expatriation in appropriate
proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago,[19] we sustained the denial of entry into the country of petitioner on the ground that,
after taking his oath as a naturalized citizen, he applied for the renewal of his Portuguese passport and declared in
commercial documents executed abroad that he was a Portuguese national. A similar sanction can be taken against any one
who, in electing Philippine citizenship, renounces his foreign nationality, but subsequently does some act constituting
renunciation of his Philippine citizenship.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Quisumbing, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and Ynares-
Santiago, JJ., concur.
Panganiban, and Purisima, JJ., on leave.
Pardo, J., no part.

[1] Petition, Rollo, p. 5.


[2] Per Commissioner Amado M. Calderon and concurred in by Commissioners Julio F. Desamito and Japal M. Guiani.
[3] Id., Annex E, Rollo, pp. 50-63.
[4] Rollo, pp. 78-83.
[5]
Per Chairman Bernardo P. Pardo and concurred in by Commissioners Manolo B. Gorospe, Teresita Dy-Liaco Flores, Japal
M. Guiani, and Luzviminda G. Tancangco. Commissioner Julio F. Desamito dissented.
[6] 176 SCRA 1 (1989).
[7]
Abella v. COMELEC, 201 SCRA 253 (1991); Benito v. COMELEC, 235 SCRA 436 (1994); Aquino v. COMELEC, 248 SCRA
400 (1995); Frivaldo v. COMELEC, 257 SCRA 727 (1996).
[8]
R.A. No. 7854, the Charter of the City of Makati, provides: Sec. 20 The following are disqualifiedfrom running for any
elective position in the city: . . . (d) Those with dual citizenship.
[9] JOVITO R. SALONGA, PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW 166 (1995).
[10] Id., at 361 (Session of July 8, 1986).
[11] Id., at 233-234 (Session of June 25, 1986).
[12] 1 RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 203 (Session of June 23, 1986).
[13] Transcript, pp. 5-6, Session of Nov. 27, 1990.
[14] C.A. No. 473, 12.
[15] 86 Phil. 340, 343 (1950).
[16] 387 U.S. 253, 18 L. Ed. 2d 757 (1967), overruling Perez v. Brownell, 356 U.S. 2 L. Ed. 2d 603 (1958).
[17] 257 SCRA 727, 759-760 (1996).
[18] 185 SCRA 703, 711 (1990). See also Kawakita v. United States, 343 U.S. 717, 96 L. Ed. 1249 (1952).
[19] 169 SCRA 364 (1989).
CASE #12

G.R. No. 119976 September 18, 1995

IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS, petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and CIRILO ROY MONTEJO, respondents.

KAPUNAN, J.:

A constitutional provision should be construed as to give it effective operation and suppress the mischief at which it is
aimed.1 The 1987 Constitution mandates that an aspirant for election to the House of Representatives be "a registered voter
in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding
the election."2 The mischief which this provision — reproduced verbatim from the 1973 Constitution — seeks to prevent is the
possibility of a "stranger or newcomer unacquainted with the conditions and needs of a community and not identified with the
latter, from an elective office to serve that community." 3

Petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the position of Representative of the First District of
Leyte with the Provincial Election Supervisor on March 8, 1995, providing the following information in item no. 8:4

RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING


THE ELECTION: __________ Years and seven Months.

On March 23, 1995, private respondent Cirilo Roy Montejo, the incumbent Representative of the First District of Leyte and a
candidate for the same position, filed a "Petition for Cancellation and Disqualification" 5 with the Commission on Elections
alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional requirement for residency. In his petition, private respondent contended
that Mrs. Marcos lacked the Constitution's one year residency requirement for candidates for the House of Representatives on
the evidence of declarations made by her in Voter Registration Record 94-No. 33497726 and in her Certificate of Candidacy.
He prayed that "an order be issued declaring (petitioner) disqualified and canceling the certificate of candidacy." 7

On March 29, 1995, petitioner filed an Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy, changing the entry "seven" months to
"since childhood" in item no. 8 of the amended certificate.8 On the same day, the Provincial Election Supervisor of Leyte
informed petitioner that:

[T]his office cannot receive or accept the aforementioned Certificate of Candidacy on the ground that it is filed
out of time, the deadline for the filing of the same having already lapsed on March 20, 1995. The
Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy should have been filed on or before the March 20, 1995
deadline.9

Consequently, petitioner filed the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy with the COMELEC's Head Office in
Intramuros, Manila on
March 31, 1995. Her Answer to private respondent's petition in SPA No. 95-009 was likewise filed with the head office on the
same day. In said Answer, petitioner averred that the entry of the word "seven" in her original Certificate of Candidacy was the
result of an "honest misinterpretation" 10 which she sought to rectify by adding the words "since childhood" in her
Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy and that "she has always maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or
residence. 11 Impugning respondent's motive in filing the petition seeking her disqualification, she noted that:

When respondent (petitioner herein) announced that she was intending to register as a voter in Tacloban City
and run for Congress in the First District of Leyte, petitioner immediately opposed her intended registration by
writing a letter stating that "she is not a resident of said city but of Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. After
respondent had registered as a voter in Tolosa following completion of her six month actual residence therein,
petitioner filed a petition with the COMELEC to transfer the town of Tolosa from the First District to the
Second District and pursued such a move up to the Supreme Court, his purpose being to remove respondent
as petitioner's opponent in the congressional election in the First District. He also filed a bill, along with other
Leyte Congressmen, seeking the creation of another legislative district to remove the town of Tolosa out of
the First District, to achieve his purpose. However, such bill did not pass the Senate. Having failed on such
moves, petitioner now filed the instant petition for the same objective, as it is obvious that he is afraid to
submit along with respondent for the judgment and verdict of the electorate of the First District of Leyte in an
honest, orderly, peaceful, free and clean elections on May 8, 1995. 12

On April 24, 1995, the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), by a vote of 2 to 1, 13 came up with a
Resolution 1) finding private respondent's Petition for Disqualification in SPA 95-009 meritorious; 2) striking off petitioner's
Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy of March 31, 1995; and 3) canceling her original Certificate of
Candidacy. 14 Dealing with two primary issues, namely, the validity of amending the original Certificate of Candidacy after the
lapse of the deadline for filing certificates of candidacy, and petitioner's compliance with the one year residency requirement,
the Second Division held:

Respondent raised the affirmative defense in her Answer that the printed word "Seven" (months) was a result
of an "honest misinterpretation or honest mistake" on her part and, therefore, an amendment should
subsequently be allowed. She averred that she thought that what was asked was her "actual and physical"
presence in Tolosa and not residence of origin or domicile in the First Legislative District, to which she could
have responded "since childhood." In an accompanying affidavit, she stated that her domicile is Tacloban
City, a component of the First District, to which she always intended to return whenever absent and which she
has never abandoned. Furthermore, in her memorandum, she tried to discredit petitioner's theory of
disqualification by alleging that she has been a resident of the First Legislative District of Leyte since
childhood, although she only became a resident of the Municipality of Tolosa for seven months. She asserts
that she has always been a resident of Tacloban City, a component of the First District, before coming to the
Municipality of Tolosa.

Along this point, it is interesting to note that prior to her registration in Tolosa, respondent announced that she
would be registering in Tacloban City so that she can be a candidate for the District. However, this intention
was rebuffed when petitioner wrote the Election Officer of Tacloban not to allow respondent since she is a
resident of Tolosa and not Tacloban. She never disputed this claim and instead implicitly acceded to it by
registering in Tolosa.

This incident belies respondent's claim of "honest misinterpretation or honest mistake." Besides, the
Certificate of Candidacy only asks for RESIDENCE. Since on the basis of her Answer, she was quite aware of
"residence of origin" which she interprets to be Tacloban City, it is curious why she did not cite Tacloban City
in her Certificate of Candidacy. Her explanation that she thought what was asked was her actual and physical
presence in Tolosa is not easy to believe because there is none in the question that insinuates about Tolosa.
In fact, item no. 8 in the Certificate of Candidacy speaks clearly of "Residency in the CONSTITUENCY where
I seek to be elected immediately preceding the election." Thus, the explanation of respondent fails to be
persuasive.

From the foregoing, respondent's defense of an honest mistake or misinterpretation, therefore, is devoid of
merit.

To further buttress respondent's contention that an amendment may be made, she cited the case of Alialy
v. COMELEC (2 SCRA 957). The reliance of respondent on the case of Alialy is misplaced. The case only
applies to the "inconsequential deviations which cannot affect the result of the election, or deviations from
provisions intended primarily to secure timely and orderly conduct of elections." The Supreme Court in that
case considered the amendment only as a matter of form. But in the instant case, the amendment cannot be
considered as a matter of form or an inconsequential deviation. The change in the number of years of
residence in the place where respondent seeks to be elected is a substantial matter which determines her
qualification as a candidacy, specially those intended to suppress, accurate material representation in the
original certificate which adversely affects the filer. To admit the amended certificate is to condone the evils
brought by the shifting minds of manipulating candidate, of the detriment of the integrity of the election.

Moreover, to allow respondent to change the seven (7) month period of her residency in order to prolong it by
claiming it was "since childhood" is to allow an untruthfulness to be committed before this Commission. The
arithmetical accuracy of the 7 months residency the respondent indicated in her certificate of candidacy can
be gleaned from her entry in her Voter's Registration Record accomplished on January 28, 1995 which
reflects that she is a resident of Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte for 6 months at the time of the said registration
(Annex A, Petition). Said accuracy is further buttressed by her letter to the election officer of San Juan, Metro
Manila, dated August 24, 1994, requesting for the cancellation of her registration in the Permanent List of
Voters thereat so that she can be re-registered or transferred to Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. The dates of these
three (3) different documents show the respondent's consistent conviction that she has transferred her
residence to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte from Metro Manila only for such limited period of time, starting in the last
week of August 1994 which on March 8, 1995 will only sum up to 7 months. The Commission, therefore,
cannot be persuaded to believe in the respondent's contention that it was an error.

xxx xxx xxx

Based on these reasons the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy cannot be admitted by this
Commission.

xxx xxx xxx

Anent the second issue, and based on the foregoing discussion, it is clear that respondent has not complied
with the one year residency requirement of the Constitution.

In election cases, the term "residence" has always been considered as synonymous with "domicile" which
imports not only the intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal presence in-that place, coupled with
conduct indicative of such intention. Domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent for
business or pleasure, or for like reasons, one intends to return. (Perfecto Faypon vs. Eliseo Quirino, 96 Phil
294; Romualdez vs. RTC-Tacloban, 226 SCRA 408). In respondent's case, when she returned to the
Philippines in 1991, the residence she chose was not Tacloban but San Juan, Metro Manila. Thus,
her animus revertendi is pointed to Metro Manila and not Tacloban.

This Division is aware that her claim that she has been a resident of the First District since childhood is
nothing more than to give her a color of qualification where she is otherwise constitutionally disqualified. It
cannot hold ground in the face of the facts admitted by the respondent in her affidavit. Except for the time that
she studied and worked for some years after graduation in Tacloban City, she continuously lived in Manila. In
1959, after her husband was elected Senator, she lived and resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where she
was a registered voter. In 1965, she lived in San Miguel, Manila where she was again a registered voter. In
1978, she served as member of the Batasang Pambansa as the representative of the City of Manila and later
on served as the Governor of Metro Manila. She could not have served these positions if she had not been a
resident of the City of Manila. Furthermore, when she filed her certificate of candidacy for the office of the
President in 1992, she claimed to be a resident of San Juan, Metro Manila. As a matter of fact on August 24,
1994, respondent wrote a letter with the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila requesting for the
cancellation of her registration in the permanent list of voters that she may be re-registered or transferred to
Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. These facts manifest that she could not have been a resident of Tacloban City
since childhood up to the time she filed her certificate of candidacy because she became a resident of many
places, including Metro Manila. This debunks her claim that prior to her residence in Tolosa, Leyte, she was a
resident of the First Legislative District of Leyte since childhood.

In this case, respondent's conduct reveals her lack of intention to make Tacloban her domicile. She registered
as a voter in different places and on several occasions declared that she was a resident of Manila. Although
she spent her school days in Tacloban, she is considered to have abandoned such place when she chose to
stay and reside in other different places. In the case of Romualdez vs. RTC (226 SCRA 408) the Court
explained how one acquires a new domicile by choice. There must concur: (1) residence or bodily presence in
the new locality; (2) intention to remain there; and (3) intention to abandon the old domicile. In other words
there must basically be animus manendi with animus non revertendi. When respondent chose to stay in
Ilocos and later on in Manila, coupled with her intention to stay there by registering as a voter there and
expressly declaring that she is a resident of that place, she is deemed to have abandoned Tacloban City,
where she spent her childhood and school days, as her place of domicile.

Pure intention to reside in that place is not sufficient, there must likewise be conduct indicative of such
intention. Respondent's statements to the effect that she has always intended to return to Tacloban, without
the accompanying conduct to prove that intention, is not conclusive of her choice of residence. Respondent
has not presented any evidence to show that her conduct, one year prior the election, showed intention to
reside in Tacloban. Worse, what was evident was that prior to her residence in Tolosa, she had been a
resident of Manila.

It is evident from these circumstances that she was not a resident of the First District of Leyte "since
childhood."

To further support the assertion that she could have not been a resident of the First District of Leyte for more
than one year, petitioner correctly pointed out that on January 28, 1995 respondent registered as a voter at
precinct No. 18-A of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. In doing so, she placed in her Voter Registration Record that she
resided in the municipality of Tolosa for a period of six months. This may be inconsequential as argued by the
respondent since it refers only to her residence in Tolosa, Leyte. But her failure to prove that she was a
resident of the First District of Leyte prior to her residence in Tolosa leaves nothing but a convincing proof that
she had been a resident of the district for six months only. 15

In a Resolution promulgated a day before the May 8, 1995 elections, the COMELEC en banc denied petitioner's Motion for
Reconsideration 16 of the April 24, 1995 Resolution declaring her not qualified to run for the position of Member of the House
of Representatives for the First Legislative District of Leyte. 17 The Resolution tersely stated:

After deliberating on the Motion for Reconsideration, the Commission RESOLVED to DENY it, no new
substantial matters having been raised therein to warrant re-examination of the resolution granting the petition
for disqualification. 18

On May 11, 1995, the COMELEC issued a Resolution allowing petitioner's proclamation should the results of the canvass
show that she obtained the highest number of votes in the congressional elections in the First District of Leyte. On the same
day, however, the COMELEC reversed itself and issued a second Resolution directing that the proclamation of petitioner be
suspended in the event that she obtains the highest number of votes. 19

In a Supplemental Petition dated 25 May 1995, petitioner averred that she was the overwhelming winner of the elections for
the congressional seat in the First District of Leyte held May 8, 1995 based on the canvass completed by the Provincial Board
of Canvassers on May 14, 1995. Petitioner alleged that the canvass showed that she obtained a total of 70,471 votes
compared to the 36,833 votes received by Respondent Montejo. A copy of said Certificate of Canvass was annexed to the
Supplemental Petition.

On account of the Resolutions disqualifying petitioner from running for the congressional seat of the First District of Leyte and
the public respondent's Resolution suspending her proclamation, petitioner comes to this court for relief.

Petitioner raises several issues in her Original and Supplemental Petitions. The principal issues may be classified into two
general areas:

I. The issue of Petitioner's qualifications

Whether or not petitioner was a resident, for election purposes, of the First District of Leyte for a period of one
year at the time of the May 9, 1995 elections.

II. The Jurisdictional Issue

a) Prior to the elections

Whether or not the COMELEC properly exercised its jurisdiction in disqualifying petitioner outside the period
mandated by the Omnibus Election Code for disqualification cases under Article 78 of the said Code.

b) After the Elections

Whether or not the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal assumed exclusive jurisdiction over the
question of petitioner's qualifications after the May 8, 1995 elections.

I. Petitioner's qualification

A perusal of the Resolution of the COMELEC's Second Division reveals a startling confusion in the application of settled
concepts of "Domicile" and "Residence" in election law. While the COMELEC seems to be in agreement with the general
proposition that for the purposes of election law, residence is synonymous with domicile, the Resolution reveals a tendency to
substitute or mistake the concept of domicile for actual residence, a conception not intended for the purpose of determining a
candidate's qualifications for election to the House of Representatives as required by the 1987 Constitution. As it were,
residence, for the purpose of meeting the qualification for an elective position, has a settled meaning in our jurisdiction.

Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that "[f]or the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of
natural persons is their place of habitual residence." In Ong vs. Republic 20 this court took the concept of domicile to mean an
individual's "permanent home", "a place to which, whenever absent for business or for pleasure, one intends to return, and
depends on facts and circumstances in the sense that they disclose intent." 21Based on the foregoing, domicile includes the
twin elements of "the fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place" and animus manendi, or the intention of returning
there permanently.

Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual relationship of an individual to a certain place. It is the physical
presence of a person in a given area, community or country. The essential distinction between residence and domicile in law
is that residence involves the intent to leave when the purpose for which the resident has taken up his abode ends. One may
seek a place for purposes such as pleasure, business, or health. If a person's intent be to remain, it becomes his domicile; if
his intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is established it is residence. 22 It is thus, quite perfectly normal for an individual
to have different residences in various places. However, a person can only have a single domicile, unless, for various
reasons, he successfully abandons his domicile in favor of another domicile of choice. In Uytengsu vs. Republic, 23 we laid this
distinction quite clearly:

There is a difference between domicile and residence. "Residence" is used to indicate a place of abode,
whether permanent or temporary; "domicile" denotes a fixed permanent residence to which, when absent,
one has the intention of returning. A man may have a residence in one place and a domicile in another.
Residence is not domicile, but domicile is residence coupled with the intention to remain for an unlimited time.
A man can have but one domicile for the same purpose at any time, but he may have numerous places of
residence. His place of residence is generally his place of domicile, but it is not by any means necessarily so
since no length of residence without intention of remaining will constitute domicile.

For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are dictated by the peculiar criteria of political laws. As these
concepts have evolved in our election law, what has clearly and unequivocally emerged is the fact that residence for election
purposes is used synonymously with domicile.

In Nuval vs. Guray, 24 the Court held that "the term residence. . . is synonymous with domicile which imports not only intention
to reside in a fixed place, but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such
intention." 25 Larena vs. Teves 26 reiterated the same doctrine in a case involving the qualifications of the respondent therein to
the post of Municipal President of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. Faypon vs. Quirino, 27 held that the absence from residence
to pursue studies or practice a profession or registration as a voter other than in the place where one is elected does not
constitute loss of residence. 28 So settled is the concept (of domicile) in our election law that in these and other election law
cases, this Court has stated that the mere absence of an individual from his permanent residence without the intention to
abandon it does not result in a loss or change of domicile.

The deliberations of the 1987 Constitution on the residence qualification for certain elective positions have placed beyond
doubt the principle that when the Constitution speaks of "residence" in election law, it actually means only "domicile" to wit:

Mr. Nolledo: With respect to Section 5, I remember that in the 1971 Constitutional Convention, there was an
attempt to require residence in the place not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the
elections. So my question is: What is the Committee's concept of residence of a candidate for the legislature?
Is it actual residence or is it the concept of domicile or constructive residence?

Mr. Davide: Madame President, insofar as the regular members of the National Assembly are concerned, the
proposed section merely provides, among others, "and a resident thereof", that is, in the district for a period of
not less than one year preceding the day of the election. This was in effect lifted from the 1973 Constitution,
the interpretation given to it was domicile. 29

xxx xxx xxx

Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next question is on Section 7, page 2. I think Commissioner Nolledo has raised the
same point that "resident" has been interpreted at times as a matter of intention rather than actual residence.

Mr. De los Reyes: Domicile.

Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would the gentleman consider at the proper time to go back to actual residence
rather than mere intention to reside?
Mr. De los Reyes: But we might encounter some difficulty especially considering that a provision in the
Constitution in the Article on Suffrage says that Filipinos living abroad may vote as enacted by law. So, we
have to stick to the original concept that it should be by domicile and not physical residence. 30

In Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 31 this Court concluded that the framers of the 1987 Constitution
obviously adhered to the definition given to the term residence in election law, regarding it as having the same meaning as
domicile. 32

In the light of the principles just discussed, has petitioner Imelda Romualdez Marcos satisfied the residency requirement
mandated by Article VI, Sec. 6 of the 1987 Constitution? Of what significance is the questioned entry in petitioner's Certificate
of Candidacy stating her residence in the First Legislative District of Leyte as seven (7) months?

It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which ought to be decisive in determining whether or
not and individual has satisfied the constitution's residency qualification requirement. The said statement becomes material
only when there is or appears to be a deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a
candidate ineligible. It would be plainly ridiculous for a candidate to deliberately and knowingly make a statement in a
certificate of candidacy which would lead to his or her disqualification.

It stands to reason therefore, that petitioner merely committed an honest mistake in jotting the word "seven" in the space
provided for the residency qualification requirement. The circumstances leading to her filing the questioned entry obviously
resulted in the subsequent confusion which prompted petitioner to write down the period of her actual stay in Tolosa, Leyte
instead of her period of residence in the First district, which was "since childhood" in the space provided. These circumstances
and events are amply detailed in the COMELEC's Second Division's questioned resolution, albeit with a different
interpretation. For instance, when herein petitioner announced that she would be registering in Tacloban City to make her
eligible to run in the First District, private respondent Montejo opposed the same, claiming that petitioner was a resident of
Tolosa, not Tacloban City. Petitioner then registered in her place of actual residence in the First District, which is Tolosa,
Leyte, a fact which she subsequently noted down in her Certificate of Candidacy. A close look at said certificate would reveal
the possible source of the confusion: the entry for residence (Item No. 7) is followed immediately by the entry for residence in
the constituency where a candidate seeks election thus:

7. RESIDENCE (complete Address): Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte

POST OFFICE ADDRESS FOR ELECTION PURPOSES: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte

8. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO


BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION:_________ Years and Seven Months.

Having been forced by private respondent to register in her place of actual residence in Leyte instead of petitioner's claimed
domicile, it appears that petitioner had jotted down her period of stay in her legal residence or domicile. The juxtaposition of
entries in Item 7 and Item 8 — the first requiring actual residence and the second requiring domicile — coupled with the
circumstances surrounding petitioner's registration as a voter in Tolosa obviously led to her writing down an unintended entry
for which she could be disqualified. This honest mistake should not, however, be allowed to negate the fact of residence in the
First District if such fact were established by means more convincing than a mere entry on a piece of paper.

We now proceed to the matter of petitioner's domicile.

In support of its asseveration that petitioner's domicile could not possibly be in the First District of Leyte, the Second Division
of the COMELEC, in its assailed Resolution of April 24,1995 maintains that "except for the time when (petitioner) studied and
worked for some years after graduation in Tacloban City, she continuously lived in Manila." The Resolution additionally cites
certain facts as indicative of the fact that petitioner's domicile ought to be any place where she lived in the last few decades
except Tacloban, Leyte. First, according to the Resolution, petitioner, in 1959, resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where she
was also registered voter. Then, in 1965, following the election of her husband to the Philippine presidency, she lived in San
Miguel, Manila where she as a voter. In 1978 and thereafter, she served as a member of the Batasang Pambansa and
Governor of Metro Manila. "She could not, have served these positions if she had not been a resident of Metro Manila," the
COMELEC stressed. Here is where the confusion lies.

We have stated, many times in the past, that an individual does not lose his domicile even if he has lived and maintained
residences in different places. Residence, it bears repeating, implies a factual relationship to a given place for various
purposes. The absence from legal residence or domicile to pursue a profession, to study or to do other things of a temporary
or semi-permanent nature does not constitute loss of residence. Thus, the assertion by the COMELEC that "she could not
have been a resident of Tacloban City since childhood up to the time she filed her certificate of candidacy because she
became a resident of many places" flies in the face of settled jurisprudence in which this Court carefully made distinctions
between (actual) residence and domicile for election law purposes. In Larena vs. Teves, 33 supra, we stressed:

[T]his court is of the opinion and so holds that a person who has his own house wherein he lives with his
family in a municipality without having ever had the intention of abandoning it, and without having lived either
alone or with his family in another municipality, has his residence in the former municipality, notwithstanding
his having registered as an elector in the other municipality in question and having been a candidate for
various insular and provincial positions, stating every time that he is a resident of the latter municipality.

More significantly, in Faypon vs. Quirino, 34 We explained that:

A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for "greener pastures," as the saying goes, to improve his lot,
and that, of course includes study in other places, practice of his avocation, or engaging in business. When
an election is to be held, the citizen who left his birthplace to improve his lot may desire to return to his native
town to cast his ballot but for professional or business reasons, or for any other reason, he may not absent
himself from his professional or business activities; so there he registers himself as voter as he has the
qualifications to be one and is not willing to give up or lose the opportunity to choose the officials who are to
run the government especially in national elections. Despite such registration, the animus revertendi to his
home, to his domicile or residence of origin has not forsaken him. This may be the explanation why the
registration of a voter in a place other than his residence of origin has not been deemed sufficient to constitute
abandonment or loss of such residence. It finds justification in the natural desire and longing of every person
to return to his place of birth. This strong feeling of attachment to the place of one's birth must be overcome
by positive proof of abandonment for another.

From the foregoing, it can be concluded that in its above-cited statements supporting its proposition that petitioner was
ineligible to run for the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC was obviously referring to
petitioner's various places of (actual) residence, not her domicile. In doing so, it not only ignored settled jurisprudence on
residence in election law and the deliberations of the constitutional commission but also the provisions of the Omnibus
Election Code (B.P. 881). 35

What is undeniable, however, are the following set of facts which establish the fact of petitioner's domicile, which we lift
verbatim from the COMELEC's Second Division's assailed Resolution: 36

In or about 1938 when respondent was a little over 8 years old, she established her domicile in Tacloban,
Leyte (Tacloban City). She studied in the Holy Infant Academy in Tacloban from 1938 to 1949 when she
graduated from high school. She pursued her college studies in St. Paul's College, now Divine Word
University in Tacloban, where she earned her degree in Education. Thereafter, she taught in the Leyte
Chinese School, still in Tacloban City. In 1952 she went to Manila to work with her cousin, the late speaker
Daniel Z. Romualdez in his office in the House of Representatives. In 1954, she married ex-President
Ferdinand E. Marcos when he was still a congressman of Ilocos Norte and registered there as a voter. When
her husband was elected Senator of the Republic in 1959, she and her husband lived together in San Juan,
Rizal where she registered as a voter. In 1965, when her husband was elected President of the Republic of
the Philippines, she lived with him in Malacanang Palace and registered as a voter in San Miguel, Manila.

[I]n February 1986 (she claimed that) she and her family were abducted and kidnapped to Honolulu, Hawaii.
In November 1991, she came home to Manila. In 1992, respondent ran for election as President of the
Philippines and filed her Certificate of Candidacy wherein she indicated that she is a resident and registered
voter of San Juan, Metro Manila.

Applying the principles discussed to the facts found by COMELEC, what is inescapable is that petitioner held various
residences for different purposes during the last four decades. None of these purposes unequivocally point to an intention to
abandon her domicile of origin in Tacloban, Leyte. Moreover, while petitioner was born in Manila, as a minor she naturally
followed the domicile of her parents. She grew up in Tacloban, reached her adulthood there and eventually established
residence in different parts of the country for various reasons. Even during her husband's presidency, at the height of the
Marcos Regime's powers, petitioner kept her close ties to her domicile of origin by establishing residences in Tacloban,
celebrating her birthdays and other important personal milestones in her home province, instituting well-publicized projects for
the benefit of her province and hometown, and establishing a political power base where her siblings and close relatives held
positions of power either through the ballot or by appointment, always with either her influence or consent. These well-
publicized ties to her domicile of origin are part of the history and lore of the quarter century of Marcos power in our country.
Either they were entirely ignored in the COMELEC'S Resolutions, or the majority of the COMELEC did not know what the rest
of the country always knew: the fact of petitioner's domicile in Tacloban, Leyte.
Private respondent in his Comment, contends that Tacloban was not petitioner's domicile of origin because she did not live
there until she was eight years old. He avers that after leaving the place in 1952, she "abandoned her residency (sic) therein
for many years and . . . (could not) re-establish her domicile in said place by merely expressing her intention to live there
again." We do not agree.

First, minor follows the domicile of his parents. As domicile, once acquired is retained until a new one is gained, it follows that
in spite of the fact of petitioner's being born in Manila, Tacloban, Leyte was her domicile of origin by operation of law. This
domicile was not established only when her father brought his family back to Leyte contrary to private respondent's
averments.

Second, domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a change of domicile, one must demonstrate: 37

1. An actual removal or an actual change of domicile;

2. A bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one; and

3. Acts which correspond with the purpose.

In the absence of clear and positive proof based on these criteria, the residence of origin should be deemed to continue. Only
with evidence showing concurrence of all three requirements can the presumption of continuity or residence be rebutted, for a
change of residence requires an actual and deliberate abandonment, and one cannot have two legal residences at the same
time. 38 In the case at bench, the evidence adduced by private respondent plainly lacks the degree of persuasiveness required
to convince this court that an abandonment of domicile of origin in favor of a domicile of choice indeed occurred. To effect an
abandonment requires the voluntary act of relinquishing petitioner's former domicile with an intent to supplant the former
domicile with one of her own choosing (domicilium voluntarium).

In this connection, it cannot be correctly argued that petitioner lost her domicile of origin by operation of law as a result of her
marriage to the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952. For there is a clearly established distinction between the Civil
Code concepts of "domicile" and "residence." 39 The presumption that the wife automatically gains the husband's domicile by
operation of law upon marriage cannot be inferred from the use of the term "residence" in Article 110 of the Civil Code
because the Civil Code is one area where the two concepts are well delineated. Dr. Arturo Tolentino, writing on this specific
area explains:

In the Civil Code, there is an obvious difference between domicile and residence. Both terms imply relations
between a person and a place; but in residence, the relation is one of fact while in domicile it is legal or
juridical, independent of the necessity of physical presence. 40

Article 110 of the Civil Code provides:

Art. 110. — The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may exempt the wife from living
with the husband if he should live abroad unless in the service of the Republic.

A survey of jurisprudence relating to Article 110 or to the concepts of domicile or residence as they affect the female spouse
upon marriage yields nothing which would suggest that the female spouse automatically loses her domicile of origin in favor of
the husband's choice of residence upon marriage.

Article 110 is a virtual restatement of Article 58 of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 which states:

La mujer esta obligada a seguir a su marido donde quiera que fije su residencia. Los Tribunales, sin
embargo, podran con justa causa eximirla de esta obligacion cuando el marido transende su residencia a
ultramar o' a pais extranjero.

Note the use of the phrase "donde quiera su fije de residencia" in the aforequoted article, which means wherever (the
husband) wishes to establish residence. This part of the article clearly contemplates only actual residence because it refers to
a positive act of fixing a family home or residence. Moreover, this interpretation is further strengthened by the phrase "cuando
el marido translade su residencia" in the same provision which means, "when the husband shall transfer his residence,"
referring to another positive act of relocating the family to another home or place of actual residence. The article obviously
cannot be understood to refer to domicile which is a fixed,
fairly-permanent concept when it plainly connotes the possibility of transferring from one place to another not only once, but
as often as the husband may deem fit to move his family, a circumstance more consistent with the concept of actual
residence.

The right of the husband to fix the actual residence is in harmony with the intention of the law to strengthen and unify the
family, recognizing the fact that the husband and the wife bring into the marriage different domiciles (of origin). This difference
could, for the sake of family unity, be reconciled only by allowing the husband to fix a single place of actual residence.

Very significantly, Article 110 of the Civil Code is found under Title V under the heading: RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS
BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE. Immediately preceding Article 110 is Article 109 which obliges the husband and wife to
live together, thus:

Art. 109. — The husband and wife are obligated to live together, observe mutual respect and fidelity and
render mutual help and support.

The duty to live together can only be fulfilled if the husband and wife are physically together. This takes into account the
situations where the couple has many residences (as in the case of the petitioner). If the husband has to stay in or transfer to
any one of their residences, the wife should necessarily be with him in order that they may "live together." Hence, it is illogical
to conclude that Art. 110 refers to "domicile" and not to "residence." Otherwise, we shall be faced with a situation where the
wife is left in the domicile while the husband, for professional or other reasons, stays in one of their (various) residences. As
Dr. Tolentino further explains:

Residence and Domicile — Whether the word "residence" as used with reference to particular matters is
synonymous with "domicile" is a question of some difficulty, and the ultimate decision must be made from a
consideration of the purpose and intent with which the word is used. Sometimes they are used synonymously,
at other times they are distinguished from one another.

xxx xxx xxx

Residence in the civil law is a material fact, referring to the physical presence of a person in a place. A person
can have two or more residences, such as a country residence and a city residence. Residence is acquired
by living in place; on the other hand, domicile can exist without actually living in the place. The important thing
for domicile is that, once residence has been established in one place, there be an intention to stay there
permanently, even if residence is also established in some other
place. 41

In fact, even the matter of a common residence between the husband and the wife during the marriage is not an iron-clad
principle; In cases applying the Civil Code on the question of a common matrimonial residence, our jurisprudence has
recognized certain situations 42 where the spouses could not be compelled to live with each other such that the wife is either
allowed to maintain a residence different from that of her husband or, for obviously practical reasons, revert to her original
domicile (apart from being allowed to opt for a new one). In De la Vina vs.Villareal 43 this Court held that "[a] married woman
may acquire a residence or domicile separate from that of her husband during the existence of the marriage where the
husband has given cause for divorce." 44 Note that the Court allowed the wife either to obtain new residence or to choose a
new domicile in such an event. In instances where the wife actually opts, .under the Civil Code, to live separately from her
husband either by taking new residence or reverting to her domicile of origin, the Court has held that the wife could not be
compelled to live with her husband on pain of contempt. In Arroyo vs. Vasques de Arroyo 45 the Court held that:

Upon examination of the authorities, we are convinced that it is not within the province of the courts of this
country to attempt to compel one of the spouses to cohabit with, and render conjugal rights to, the other. Of
course where the property rights of one of the pair are invaded, an action for restitution of such rights can be
maintained. But we are disinclined to sanction the doctrine that an order, enforcible (sic) by process of
contempt, may be entered to compel the restitution of the purely personal right of consortium. At best such an
order can be effective for no other purpose than to compel the spouses to live under the same roof; and he
experience of those countries where the courts of justice have assumed to compel the cohabitation of married
people shows that the policy of the practice is extremely questionable. Thus in England, formerly the
Ecclesiastical Court entertained suits for the restitution of conjugal rights at the instance of either husband or
wife; and if the facts were found to warrant it, that court would make a mandatory decree, enforceable by
process of contempt in case of disobedience, requiring the delinquent party to live with the other and render
conjugal rights. Yet this practice was sometimes criticized even by the judges who felt bound to enforce such
orders, and in Weldon v. Weldon (9 P.D. 52), decided in 1883, Sir James Hannen, President in the Probate,
Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice, expressed his regret that the English law on the
subject was not the same as that which prevailed in Scotland, where a decree of adherence, equivalent to the
decree for the restitution of conjugal rights in England, could be obtained by the injured spouse, but could not
be enforced by imprisonment. Accordingly, in obedience to the growing sentiment against the practice, the
Matrimonial Causes Act (1884) abolished the remedy of imprisonment; though a decree for the restitution of
conjugal rights can still be procured, and in case of disobedience may serve in appropriate cases as the basis
of an order for the periodical payment of a stipend in the character of alimony.

In the voluminous jurisprudence of the United States, only one court, so far as we can discover, has ever
attempted to make a preemptory order requiring one of the spouses to live with the other; and that was in a
case where a wife was ordered to follow and live with her husband, who had changed his domicile to the City
of New Orleans. The decision referred to (Bahn v. Darby, 36 La. Ann., 70) was based on a provision of the
Civil Code of Louisiana similar to article 56 of the Spanish Civil Code. It was decided many years ago, and the
doctrine evidently has not been fruitful even in the State of Louisiana. In other states of the American Union
the idea of enforcing cohabitation by process of contempt is rejected. (21 Cyc., 1148).

In a decision of January 2, 1909, the Supreme Court of Spain appears to have affirmed an order of the
Audiencia Territorial de Valladolid requiring a wife to return to the marital domicile, and in the alternative, upon
her failure to do so, to make a particular disposition of certain money and effects then in her possession and
to deliver to her husband, as administrator of the ganancial property, all income, rents, and interest which
might accrue to her from the property which she had brought to the marriage. (113 Jur. Civ., pp. 1, 11) But it
does not appear that this order for the return of the wife to the marital domicile was sanctioned by any other
penalty than the consequences that would be visited upon her in respect to the use and control of her
property; and it does not appear that her disobedience to that order would necessarily have been followed by
imprisonment for contempt.

Parenthetically when Petitioner was married to then Congressman Marcos, in 1954, petitioner was obliged — by virtue of
Article 110 of the Civil Code — to follow her husband's actual place of residence fixed by him. The problem here is that at that
time, Mr. Marcos had several places of residence, among which were San Juan, Rizal and Batac, Ilocos Norte. There is no
showing which of these places Mr. Marcos did fix as his family's residence. But assuming that Mr. Marcos had fixed any of
these places as the conjugal residence, what petitioner gained upon marriage was actual residence. She did not lose her
domicile of origin.

On the other hand, the common law concept of "matrimonial domicile" appears to have been incorporated, as a result of our
jurisprudential experiences after the drafting of the Civil Code of 1950, into the New Family Code. To underscore the
difference between the intentions of the Civil Code and the Family Code drafters, the term residence has been supplanted by
the term domicile in an entirely new provision (Art. 69) distinctly different in meaning and spirit from that found in Article 110.
The provision recognizes revolutionary changes in the concept of women's rights in the intervening years by making the
choice of domicile a product of mutual agreement between the spouses. 46

Without as much belaboring the point, the term residence may mean one thing in civil law (or under the Civil Code) and quite
another thing in political law. What stands clear is that insofar as the Civil Code is concerned-affecting the rights and
obligations of husband and wife — the term residence should only be interpreted to mean "actual residence." The inescapable
conclusion derived from this unambiguous civil law delineation therefore, is that when petitioner married the former President
in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new home, not a domicilium necessarium.

Even assuming for the sake of argument that petitioner gained a new "domicile" after her marriage and only acquired a right to
choose a new one after her husband died, petitioner's acts following her return to the country clearly indicate that she not only
impliedly but expressly chose her domicile of origin (assuming this was lost by operation of law) as her domicile. This "choice"
was unequivocally expressed in her letters to the Chairman of the PCGG when petitioner sought the PCGG's permission to
"rehabilitate (our) ancestral house in Tacloban and Farm in Olot, Leyte. . . to make them livable for the Marcos family to have
a home in our homeland." 47 Furthermore, petitioner obtained her residence certificate in 1992 in Tacloban, Leyte, while living
in her brother's house, an act which supports the domiciliary intention clearly manifested in her letters to the PCGG Chairman.
She could not have gone straight to her home in San Juan, as it was in a state of disrepair, having been previously looted by
vandals. Her "homes" and "residences" following her arrival in various parts of Metro Manila merely qualified as temporary or
"actual residences," not domicile. Moreover, and proceeding from our discussion pointing out specific situations where the
female spouse either reverts to her domicile of origin or chooses a new one during the subsistence of the marriage, it would
be highly illogical for us to assume that she cannot regain her original domicile upon the death of her husband absent a
positive act of selecting a new one where situations exist within the subsistence of the marriage itself where the wife gains a
domicile different from her husband.
In the light of all the principles relating to residence and domicile enunciated by this court up to this point, we are persuaded
that the facts established by the parties weigh heavily in favor of a conclusion supporting petitioner's claim of legal residence
or domicile in the First District of Leyte.

II. The jurisdictional issue

Petitioner alleges that the jurisdiction of the COMELEC had already lapsed considering that the assailed resolutions were
rendered on April 24, 1995, fourteen (14) days before the election in violation of Section 78 of the Omnibus Election
Code. 48 Moreover, petitioner contends that it is the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and not the COMELEC which
has jurisdiction over the election of members of the House of Representatives in accordance with Article VI Sec. 17 of the
Constitution. This is untenable.

It is a settled doctrine that a statute requiring rendition of judgment within a specified time is generally construed to be merely
directory, 49 "so that non-compliance with them does not invalidate the judgment on the theory that if the statute had intended
such result it would have clearly indicated it." 50 The difference between a mandatory and a directory provision is often made
on grounds of necessity. Adopting the same view held by several American authorities, this court in Marcelino vs. Cruz held
that: 51

The difference between a mandatory and directory provision is often determined on grounds of expediency,
the reason being that less injury results to the general public by disregarding than enforcing the letter of the
law.

In Trapp v. Mc Cormick, a case calling for the interpretation of a statute containing a limitation of thirty (30)
days within which a decree may be entered without the consent of counsel, it was held that "the statutory
provisions which may be thus departed from with impunity, without affecting the validity of statutory
proceedings, are usually those which relate to the mode or time of doing that which is essential to effect the
aim and purpose of the Legislature or some incident of the essential act." Thus, in said case, the statute
under examination was construed merely to be directory.

The mischief in petitioner's contending that the COMELEC should have abstained from rendering a decision after the period
stated in the Omnibus Election Code because it lacked jurisdiction, lies in the fact that our courts and other quasi-judicial
bodies would then refuse to render judgments merely on the ground of having failed to reach a decision within a given or
prescribed period.

In any event, with the enactment of Sections 6 and 7 of R.A. 6646 in relation to Section 78 of B.P. 881, 52 it is evident that the
respondent Commission does not lose jurisdiction to hear and decide a pending disqualification case under Section 78 of B.P.
881 even after the elections.

As to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal's supposed assumption of jurisdiction over the issue of petitioner's
qualifications after the May 8, 1995 elections, suffice it to say that HRET's jurisdiction as the sole judge of all contests relating
to the elections, returns and qualifications of members of Congress begins only after a candidate has become a member of
the House of Representatives. 53 Petitioner not being a member of the House of Representatives, it is obvious that the HRET
at this point has no jurisdiction over the question.

It would be an abdication of many of the ideals enshrined in the 1987 Constitution for us to either to ignore or deliberately
make distinctions in law solely on the basis of the personality of a petitioner in a case. Obviously a distinction was made on
such a ground here. Surely, many established principles of law, even of election laws were flouted for the sake perpetuating
power during the pre-EDSA regime. We renege on these sacred ideals, including the meaning and spirit of EDSA ourselves
bending established principles of principles of law to deny an individual what he or she justly deserves in law. Moreover, in
doing so, we condemn ourselves to repeat the mistakes of the past.

WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the necessary residence qualifications to run for a seat in the
House of Representatives in the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC's questioned Resolutions dated April 24, May 7, May
11, and May 25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE. Respondent COMELEC is hereby directed to order the Provincial Board of
Canvassers to proclaim petitioner as the duly elected Representative of the First District of Leyte.

SO ORDERED.

Feliciano, J., is on leave.


Separate Opinions

PUNO, J., concurring:

It was Aristotle who taught mankind that things that are alike should be treated alike, while things that are unalike should be
treated unalike in proportion to their unalikeness.1 Like other candidates, petitioner has clearly met the residence requirement
provided by Section 6, Article VI of the Constitution.2 We cannot disqualify her and treat her unalike, for the Constitution
guarantees equal protection of the law. I proceed from the following factual and legal propositions:

First. There is no question that petitioner's original domicile is in Tacloban, Leyte. Her parents were domiciled in Tacloban.
Their ancestral house is in Tacloban. They have vast real estate in the place. Petitioner went to school and thereafter worked
there. I consider Tacloban as her initial domicile, both her domicile of origin and her domicile of choice. Her domicile of origin
as it was the domicile of her parents when she was a minor; and her domicile of choice, as she continued living there even
after reaching the age of majority.

Second. There is also no question that in May, 1954, petitioner married the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. By
contracting marriage, her domicile became subject to change by law, and the right to change it was given by Article 110 of the
Civil Code provides:

Art. 110. The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may exempt the wife from living with
the husband if he should live abroad unless in the service of the Republic. 3 (Emphasis supplied)

In De la Viña v. Villareal and Geopano,4 this Court explained why the domicile of the wife ought to follow that of the
husband. We held: "The reason is founded upon the theoretic identity of person and interest between the husband
and the wife, and the presumption that, from the nature of the relation, the home of one is the home of the other. It is
intended to promote, strengthen, and secure their interests in this relation, as it ordinarily exists, where union and
harmony prevail."5 In accord with this objective, Article 109 of the Civil Code also obligated the husband and wife "to
live together."

Third. The difficult issues start as we determine whether petitioner's marriage to former President Marcos ipso facto resulted
in the loss of her Tacloban domicile. I respectfully submit that her marriage by itself alone did not cause her to lose her
Tacloban domicile. Article 110 of the Civil Code merely gave the husband the right to fix the domicile of the family. In the
exercise of the right, the husband may explicitly choose the prior domicile of his wife, in which case, the wife's domicile
remains unchanged. The husband can also implicitly acquiesce to his wife's prior domicile even if it is different. So we held
in de la Viña,6

. . . . When married women as well as children subject to parental authority live, with the acquiescence of their
husbands or fathers, in a place distinct from where the latter live, they have their own independent domicile. .
..

It is not, therefore, the mere fact of marriage but the deliberate choice of a different domicile by the husband that will
change the domicile of a wife from what it was prior to their marriage. The domiciliary decision made by the husband
in the exercise of the right conferred by Article 110 of the Civil Code binds the wife. Any and all acts of a wife during
her coverture contrary to the domiciliary choice of the husband cannot change in any way the domicile legally fixed by
the husband. These acts are void not only because the wife lacks the capacity to choose her domicile but also
because they are contrary to law and public policy.

In the case at bench, it is not disputed that former President Marcos exercised his right to fix the family domicile and
established it in Batac, Ilocos Norte, where he was then the congressman. At that particular point of time and throughout their
married life, petitioner lost her domicile in Tacloban, Leyte. Since petitioner's Batac domicile has been fixed by operation of
law, it was not affected in 1959 when her husband was elected as Senator, when they lived in San Juan, Rizal and where she
registered as a voter. It was not also affected in 1965 when her husband was elected President, when they lived in
Malacañang Palace, and when she registered as a voter in San Miguel, Manila. Nor was it affected when she served as a
member of the Batasang Pambansa, Minister of Human Settlements and Governor of Metro Manila during the incumbency of
her husband as President of the nation. Under Article 110 of the Civil Code, it was only her husband who could change the
family domicile in Batac and the evidence shows he did not effect any such change. To a large degree, this follows the
common law that "a woman on her marriage loses her own domicile and by operation of law, acquires that of her husband, no
matter where the wife actually lives or what she believes or intends."7

Fourth. The more difficult task is how to interpret the effect of the death on September 28, 1989 of former President Marcos
on petitioner's Batac domicile. The issue is of first impression in our jurisdiction and two (2) schools of thought contend for
acceptance. One is espoused by our distinguished colleague, Mr. Justice Davide, Jr., heavily relying on American
authorities.8 He echoes the theory that after the husband's death, the wife retains the last domicile of her husband until she
makes an actual change.

I do not subscribe to this submission. The American case law that the wife still retains her dead husband's domicile is based
on ancient common law which we can no longer apply in the Philippine setting today. The common law identified the domicile
of a wife as that of the husband and denied to her the power of acquiring a domicile of her own separate and apart from
him.9 Legal scholars agree that two (2) reasons support this common law doctrine. The first reason as pinpointed by the
legendary Blackstone is derived from the view that "the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during
the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband." 10 The second reason lies in "the
desirability of having the interests of each member of the family unit governed by the same law." 11 The presumption that the
wife retains the domicile of her deceased husband is an extension of this common law concept. The concept and its extension
have provided some of the most iniquitous jurisprudence against women. It was under common law that the 1873 American
case of Bradwell v. Illinois 12 was decided where women were denied the right to practice law. It was unblushingly ruled that
"the natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of
civil life . . . This is the law of the Creator." Indeed, the rulings relied upon by Mr. Justice Davide in CJS 13 and AM JUR
2d14 are American state court decisions handed down between the years 1917 15 and 1938,16 or before the time when women
were accorded equality of rights with men. Undeniably, the women's liberation movement resulted in far-ranging state
legislations in the United States to eliminate gender inequality. 17 Starting in the decade of the seventies, the courts likewise
liberalized their rulings as they started invalidating laws infected with gender-bias. It was in 1971 when the US Supreme Court
in Reed v.Reed,18 struck a big blow for women equality when it declared as unconstitutional an Idaho law that required
probate courts to choose male family members over females as estate administrators. It held that mere administrative
inconvenience cannot justify a sex-based distinction. These significant changes both in law and in case law on the status of
women virtually obliterated the iniquitous common law surrendering the rights of married women to their husbands based on
the dubious theory of the parties' theoretic oneness. The Corpus Juris Secundum editors did not miss the relevance of this
revolution on women's right as they observed: "However, it has been declared that under modern statutes changing the status
of married women and departing from the common law theory of marriage, there is no reason why a wife may not acquire a
separate domicile for every purpose known to the law."19In publishing in 1969 the Restatement of the Law, Second (Conflict of
Laws 2d), the reputable American Law Institute also categorically stated that the view of Blackstone ". . . is no longer held. As
the result of statutes and court decisions, a wife now possesses practically the same rights and powers as her unmarried
sister."20

In the case at bench, we have to decide whether we should continue clinging to the anachronistic common law that demeans
women, especially married women. I submit that the Court has no choice except to break away from this common law rule,
the root of the many degradations of Filipino women. Before 1988, our laws particularly the Civil Code, were full of gender
discriminations against women. Our esteemed colleague, Madam Justice Flerida Ruth Romero, cited a few of them as
follows:21

xxx xxx xxx

Legal Disabilities Suffered by Wives

Not generally known is the fact that under the Civil Code, wives suffer under certain restrictions or disabilities.
For instance, the wife cannot accept gifts from others, regardless of the sex of the giver or the value of the
gift, other than from her very close relatives, without her husband's consent. She may accept only from, say,
her parents, parents-in-law, brothers, sisters and the relatives within the so-called fourth civil degree. She
may not exercise her profession or occupation or engage in business if her husband objects on serious
grounds or if his income is sufficient to support their family in accordance with their social standing. As to what
constitutes "serious grounds" for objecting, this is within the discretion of the husband.

xxx xxx xxx

Because of the present inequitable situation, the amendments to the Civil Law being proposed by the
University of the Philippines Law Center would allow absolute divorce which severes the matrimonial ties,
such that the divorced spouses are free to get married a year after the divorce is decreed by the courts.
However, in order to place the husband and wife on an equal footing insofar as the bases for divorce are
concerned, the following are specified as the grounds for absolute divorce: (1) adultery or having a paramour
committed by the respondent in any of the ways specified in the Revised Penal Code or (2) an attempt by the
respondent against the life of the petitioner which amounts to attempted parricide under the Revised Penal
Code; (3) abandonment of the petitioner by the respondent without just cause for a period of three
consecutive years; or (4) habitual maltreatment.

With respect to property relations, the husband is automatically the administrator of the conjugal property
owned in common by the married couple even if the wife may be the more astute or enterprising partner. The
law does not leave it to the spouses to decide who shall act as such administrator. Consequently, the
husband is authorized to engage in acts and enter into transactions beneficial to the conjugal partnership. The
wife, however, cannot similarly bind the partnership without the husband's consent.

And while both exercise joint parental authority over their children, it is the father whom the law designates as
the legal administrator of the property pertaining to the unemancipated child.

Taking the lead in Asia, our government exerted efforts, principally through legislations, to eliminate inequality
between men and women in our land. The watershed came on August 3, 1988 when our Family Code took effect
which, among others, terminated the unequal treatment of husband and wife as to their rights and responsibilities.22

The Family Code attained this elusive objective by giving new rights to married women and by abolishing sex-based privileges
of husbands. Among others, married women are now given the joint right to administer the family property, whether in the
absolute community system or in the system of conjugal partnership; 23 joint parental authority over their minor children, both
over their persons as well as their properties;24 joint responsibility for the support of the family;25 the right to jointly manage the
household;26 and, the right to object to their husband's exercise of profession, occupation, business or activity. 27 Of particular
relevance to the case at bench is Article 69 of the Family Code which took away the exclusive right of the husband to fix the
family domicile and gave it jointly to the husband and the wife, thus:

Art. 69. The husband and wife shall fix the family domicile. In case of disagreement, the court shall decide.

The court may exempt one spouse from living with the other if the latter should live abroad or there are other
valid and compelling reasons for the exemption. However, such exemption shall not apply if the same is not
compatible with the solidarity of the family. (Emphasis supplied)

Article 69 repealed Article 110 of the Civil Code. Commenting on the duty of the husband and wife to live together,
former Madam Justice Alice Sempio-Diy of the Court of Appeals specified the instances when a wife may now refuse
to live with her husband, thus:28

(2) The wife has the duty to live with her husband, but she may refuse to do so in certain cases like:

(a) If the place chosen by the husband as family residence is dangerous to her Life;

(b) If the husband subjects her to maltreatment or abusive conduct or insults, making
common life impossible;

(c) If the husband compels her to live with his parents, but she cannot get along with her
mother-in-law and they have constant quarrels (Del Rosario v. Del Rosario, CA, 46 OG
6122);

(d) Where the husband has continuously carried illicit relations for 10 years with different
women and treated his wife roughly and without consideration. (Dadivas v. Villanueva, 54
Phil. 92);

(e) Where the husband spent his time in gambling, giving no money to his family for food and
necessities, and at the same time insulting his wife and laying hands on her. (Panuncio v.
Sula, CA, 34 OG 129);

(f) If the husband has no fixed residence and lives a vagabond life as a tramp (1 Manresa
329);
(g) If the husband is carrying on a shameful business at home (Gahn v. Darby, 38 La. Ann.
70).

The inescapable conclusion is that our Family Code has completely emancipated the wife from the control of the
husband, thus abandoning the parties' theoretic identity of interest. No less than the late revered Mr. Justice J.B.L.
Reyes who chaired the Civil Code Revision Committee of the UP Law Center gave this insightful view in one of his
rare lectures after retirement:29

xxx xxx xxx

The Family Code is primarily intended to reform the family law so as to emancipate the wife from the
exclusive control of the husband and to place her at parity with him insofar as the family is concerned. The
wife and the husband are now placed on equal standing by the Code. They are now joint administrators of the
family properties and exercise joint authority over the persons and properties of their children. This means a
dual authority in the family. The husband will no longer prevail over the wife but she has to agree on all
matters concerning the family. (Emphasis supplied)

In light of the Family Code which abrogated the inequality between husband and wife as started and perpetuated by
the common law, there is no reason in espousing the anomalous rule that the wife still retains the domicile of her dead
husband. Article 110 of the Civil Code which provides the statutory support for this stance has been repealed by
Article 69 of the Family Code. By its repeal, it becomes a dead-letter law, and we are not free to resurrect it by giving
it further effect in any way or manner such as by ruling that the petitioner is still bound by the domiciliary determination
of her dead husband.

Aside from reckoning with the Family Code, we have to consider our Constitution and its firm guarantees of due process and
equal protection of
law.30 It can hardly be doubted that the common law imposition on a married woman of her dead husband's domicile even
beyond his grave is patently discriminatory to women. It is a gender-based discrimination and is not rationally related to the
objective of promoting family solidarity. It cannot survive a constitutional challenge. Indeed, compared with our previous
fundamental laws, the 1987 Constitution is more concerned with equality between sexes as it explicitly commands that the
State ". . . shall ensure fundamental equality before the law of women and men." To be exact, section 14, Article II provides:
"The State recognizes the role of women in nation building, and shall ensure fundamental equality before the law of women
and men. We shall be transgressing the sense and essence of this constitutional mandate if we insist on giving our women
the caveman's treatment.

Prescinding from these premises, I respectfully submit that the better stance is to rule that petitioner reacquired her Tacloban
domicile upon the death of her husband in 1989. This is the necessary consequence of the view that petitioner's Batac
dictated domicile did not continue after her husband's death; otherwise, she would have no domicile and that will violate the
universal rule that no person can be without a domicile at any point of time. This stance also restores the right of petitioner to
choose her domicile before it was taken away by Article 110 of the Civil Code, a right now recognized by the Family Code and
protected by the Constitution. Likewise, I cannot see the fairness of the common law requiring petitioner to choose again her
Tacloban domicile before she could be released from her Batac domicile. She lost her Tacloban domicile not through her act
but through the act of her deceased husband when he fixed their domicile in Batac. Her husband is dead and he cannot rule
her beyond the grave. The law disabling her to choose her own domicile has been repealed. Considering all these, common
law should not put the burden on petitioner to prove she has abandoned her dead husband's domicile. There is neither rhyme
nor reason for this gender-based burden.

But even assuming arguendo that there is need for convincing proof that petitioner chose to reacquire her Tacloban domicile,
still, the records reveal ample evidence to this effect. In her affidavit submitted to the respondent COMELEC, petitioner
averred:

xxx xxx xxx

36. In November, 1991, I came home to our beloved country, after several requests for my return were denied
by President Corazon C. Aquino, and after I filed suits for our Government to issue me my passport.

37. But I came home without the mortal remains of my beloved husband, President Ferdinand E. Marcos,
which the Government considered a threat to the national security and welfare.
38. Upon my return to the country, I wanted to immediately live and reside in Tacloban City or in Olot, Tolosa,
Leyte, even if my residences there were not livable as they had been destroyed and cannibalized. The
PCGG, however, did not permit and allow me.

39. As a consequence, I had to live at various times in the Westin Philippine Plaza in Pasay City, a friend's
apartment on Ayala Avenue, a house in South Forbes Park which my daughter rented, and Pacific Plaza, all
in Makati.

40. After the 1992 Presidential Elections, I lived and resided in the residence of my brother in San Jose,
Tacloban City, and pursued my negotiations with PCGG to recover my sequestered residences in Tacloban
City and Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.

40.1 In preparation for my observance of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day that year, I
renovated my parents' burial grounds and entombed their bones which had been excalvated,
unearthed and scattered.

41. On November 29, 1993, I formally wrote PCGG Chairman Magtanggol Gunigundo for permissions to —

. . . rehabilitate . . . (o)ur ancestral house in Tacloban and farmhouse in Olot, Leyte . . . to


make them livable for us the Marcos family to have a home in our own motherland.

xxx xxx xxx

42. It was only on 06 June 1994, however, when PCGG Chairman Gunigundo, in his letter to Col. Simeon
Kempis, Jr., PCGG Region 8 Representative, allowed me to repair and renovate my Leyte residences. I quote
part of his letter:

Dear Col. Kempis,

Upon representation by Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos to this Commission, that she intends to visit
our sequestered properties in Leyte, please allow her access thereto. She may also cause
repairs and renovation of the sequestered properties, in which event, it shall be understood
that her undertaking said repairs is not authorization for her to take over said properties, and
that all expenses shall be for her account and not reimbursable. Please extend the necessary
courtesy to her.

xxx xxx xxx

43. I was not permitted, however, to live and stay in the Sto. Niño Shrine residence in Tacloban City where I
wanted to stay and reside, after repairs and renovations were completed. In August 1994, I transferred from
San Jose, Tacloban City, to my residence in Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, when PCGG permitted me to stay
and live there.

It is then clear that in 1992 petitioner reestablished her domicile in the First District of Leyte. It is not disputed that in
1992, she first lived at the house of her brother in San Jose, Tacloban City and later, in August 1994, she transferred
her residence in Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. Both Tacloban City and the municipality of Olot are within the First
District of Leyte. Since petitioner reestablished her old domicile in 1992 in the First District of Leyte, she more than
complied with the constitutional requirement of residence
". . . for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election," i.e., the May 8, 1995
elections.

The evidence presented by the private respondent to negate the Tacloban domicile of petitioner is nil. He presented
petitioner's Voter's Registration Record filed with the Board of Election Inspectors of Precinct 10-A of Barangay Olot, Tolosa,
Leyte wherein she stated that her period of residence in said barangay was six (6) months as of the date of her filing of said
Voter's Registration Record on January 28, 1995.31 This statement in petitioner's Voter's Registration Record is a non-
prejudicial admission. The Constitution requires at least one (1) year residence in the district in which the candidate shall be
elected. In the case at bench, the reference is the First District of Leyte. Petitioner's statement proved that she resided in Olot
six (6) months before January 28, 1995 but did not disprovethat she has also resided in Tacloban City starting 1992. As
aforestated, Olot and Tacloban City are both within the First District of Leyte, hence, her six (6) months residence in Olot
should be counted not against, but in her favor. Private respondent also presented petitioner's Certificate of Candidacy filed
on March 8, 199532 where she placed seven (7) months after Item No. 8 which called for information regarding "residence in
the constituency where I seek to be elected immediately preceding the election." Again, this original certificate of candidacy
has no evidentiary value because an March 1, 1995 it was corrected by petitioner. In her Amended/Corrected Certificate of
Candidacy,33 petitioner wrote "since childhood" after Item No. 8. The amendment of a certificate of candidacy to correct
a bona fide mistake has been allowed by this Court as a matter of course and as a matter of right. As we held in Alialy
v. COMELEC,34 viz.:

xxx xxx xxx

The absence of the signature of the Secretary of the local chapter N.P in the original certificate of candidacy
presented before the deadline September 11, 1959, did not render the certificate invalid. The amendment of
the certificate, although at a date after the deadline, but before the election, was substantial compliance with
the law, and the defect was cured.

It goes without saying that petitioner's erroneous Certificate of Candidacy filed on March 8, 1995 cannot be used as
evidence against her. Private respondent's petition for the disqualification of petitioner rested alone on these two (2)
brittle pieces of documentary evidence — petitioner's Voter's Registration Record and her original Certificate of
Candidacy. Ranged against the evidence of the petitioner showing her ceaseless contacts with Tacloban, private
respondent's two (2) pieces of evidence are too insufficient to disqualify petitioner, more so, to deny her the right to
represent the people of the First District of Leyte who have overwhelmingly voted for her.

Fifth. Section 10, Article IX-C of the Constitution mandates that "bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from
any form of harassment and discrimination."35 A detached reading of the records of the case at bench will show that all forms
of legal and extra-legal obstacles have been thrown against petitioner to prevent her from running as the people's
representative in the First District of Leyte. In petitioner's Answer to the petition to disqualify her, she averred: 36

xxx xxx xxx

10. Petitioner's (herein private respondent Montejo) motive in filing the instant petition is devious. When
respondent (petitioner herein) announced that she was intending to register as a voter in Tacloban City and
run for Congress in the First District of Leyte, petitioner (Montejo) immediately opposed her intended
registration by writing a letter stating that "she is not a resident of said city but of Barangay Olot, Tolosa,
Leyte." (Annex "2" of respondent's affidavit, Annex "2"). After respondent (petitioner herein) had registered as
a voter in Tolosa following completion of her six-month actual residence therein, petitioner (Montejo) filed a
petition with the COMELEC to transfer the town of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District and
pursued such move up to the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 118702, his purpose being to remove respondent
(petitioner herein) as petitioner's (Montejo's) opponent in the congressional election in the First District. He
also filed a bill, along with other Leyte Congressmen, seeking to create another legislative district, to remove
the town of Tolosa out of the First District and to make it a part of the new district, to achieve his purpose.
However, such bill did not pass the Senate. Having, failed on such moves, petitioner now filed the instant
petition, for the same objective, as it is obvious that he is afraid to submit himself along with respondent
(petitioner herein) for the judgment and verdict of the electorate of the First District of Leyte in an honest,
orderly, peaceful, free and clean elections on May 8, 1995.

These allegations which private respondent did not challenge were not lost
to the perceptive eye of Commissioner Maambong who in his Dissenting Opinion, 37 held:

xxx xxx xxx

Prior to the registration date — January 28, 1995 the petitioner (herein private respondent Montejo) wrote the
Election Officer of Tacloban City not to allow respondent (petitioner herein) to register thereat since she is a
resident of Tolosa and not Tacloban City. The purpose of this move of the petitioner (Montejo) is not lost to
(sic) the Commission. In UND No. 95-001 (In the matter of the Legislative Districts of the Provinces of Leyte,
Iloilo, and South Cotabato, Out of Which the New Provinces of Biliran, Guimaras and Saranggani Were
Respectively Created), . . . Hon. Cirilo Roy G. Montejo, Representative, First District of Leyte, wanted the
Municipality of Tolosa, in the First District of Leyte, transferred to the Second District of Leyte. The Hon.
Sergio A.F. Apostol, Representative of the Second District of Leyte, opposed the move of the petitioner
(Montejo). Under Comelec Resolution No. 2736 (December 29, 1994), the Commission on Elections refused
to make the proposed transfer. Petitioner (Montejo) filed "Motion for Reconsideration of Resolution
No. 2736" which the Commission denied in a Resolution promulgated on February 1, 1995. Petitioner
(Montejo) filed a petition for certiorari before the Honorable Supreme Court (Cirilo Roy G. Montejo vs.
Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 118702) questioning the resolution of the Commission. Believing that he
could get a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court, petitioner (Montejo) tried to make sure that the
respondent (petitioner herein) will register as a voter in Tolosa so that she will be forced to run as
Representative not in the First but in the Second District.

It did not happen. On March 16, 1995, the Honorable Supreme Court unanimously promulgated a "Decision,"
penned by Associate Justice Reynato S. Puno, the dispositive portion of which reads:

IN VIEW WHEREOF, Section 1 of Resolution No. 2736 insofar as it transferred the


municipality of Capoocan of the Second District and the municipality of Palompon of the
Fourth District to the Third District of the province of Leyte, is annulled and set aside. We also
deny the Petition praying for the transfer of the municipality of Tolosa from the First District to
the Second District of the province of Leyte. No costs.

Petitioner's (Montejo's) plan did not work. But the respondent (petitioner herein) was constrained to register in
the Municipality of Tolosa where her house is instead of Tacloban City, her domicile. In any case, both
Tacloban City and Tolosa are in the First Legislative District.

All these attempts to misuse our laws and legal processes are forms of rank harassments and invidious
discriminations against petitioner to deny her equal access to a public office. We cannot commit any hermeneutic
violence to the Constitution by torturing the meaning of equality, the end result of which will allow the harassment and
discrimination of petitioner who has lived a controversial life, a past of alternating light and shadow. There is but one
Constitution for all Filipinos. Petitioner cannot be adjudged by a "different" Constitution, and the worst way to interpret
the Constitution is to inject in its interpretation, bile and bitterness.

Sixth. In Gallego v. Vera,38 we explained that the reason for this residence requirement is "to exclude a stranger or newcomer,
unacquainted, with the conditions and needs of a community and not identified with the latter, from an elective office to serve
that community . . . ." Petitioner's lifetime contacts with the First District of Leyte cannot be contested. Nobody can claim that
she is not acquainted with its problems because she is a stranger to the place. None can argue she cannot satisfy the intent
of the Constitution.

Seventh. In resolving election cases, a dominant consideration is the need to effectuate the will of the electorate. The election
results show that petitioner received Seventy Thousand Four Hundred Seventy-one (70,471) votes, while private respondent
got only Thirty-Six Thousand Eight Hundred Thirty-Three (36,833) votes. Petitioner is clearly the overwhelming choice of the
electorate of the First District of Leyte and this is not a sleight of statistics. We cannot frustrate this sovereign will on highly
arguable technical considerations. In case of doubt, we should lean towards a rule that will give life to the people's political
judgment.

A final point. The case at bench provides the Court with the rare opportunity to rectify the inequality of status between women
and men by rejecting the iniquitous common law precedents on the domicile of married women and by redefining domicile in
accord with our own culture, law, and Constitution. To rule that a married woman is eternally tethered to the domicile dictated
by her dead husband is to preserve the anachronistic and anomalous balance of advantage of a husband over his wife. We
should not allow the dead to govern the living even if the glories of yesteryears seduce us to shout long live the dead! The
Family Code buried this gender-based discrimination against married women and we should not excavate what has been
entombed. More importantly, the Constitution forbids it.

I vote to grant the petition.

Bellosillo and Melo, JJ., concur.

FRANCISCO, J., concurring:

I concur with Mr. Justice Kapunan's ponencia finding petitioner qualified for the position of Representative of the First
Congressional District of Leyte. I wish, however, to express a few comments on the issue of petitioner's domicile.

Domicile has been defined as that place in which a person's habitation is fixed, without any present intention of removing
therefrom, and that place is properly the domicile of a person in which he has voluntarily fixed his abode, or habitation, not for
a mere special or temporary purpose, but with a present intention of making it his permanent home (28 C.J.S. §1). It denotes
a fixed permanent residence to which when absent for business, or pleasure, or for like reasons one intends to return, and
depends on facts and circumstances, in the sense that they disclose intent. (Ong Huan Tin v. Republic, 19 SCRA 966, 969)
Domicile is classified into domicile of origin and domicile of choice. The law attributes to every individual a domicile of origin,
which is the domicile of his parents, or of the head of his family, or of the person on whom he is legally dependent at the time
of his birth. While the domicile of origin is generally the place where one is born or reared, it maybe elsewhere (28 C.J.S. §5).
Domicile of choice, on the other hand, is the place which the person has elected and chosen for himself to displace his
previous domicile; it has for its true basis or foundation the intention of the person (28 C.J.S. §6). In order to hold that a
person has abandoned his domicile and acquired a new one called domicile of choice, the following requisites must concur,
namely, (a) residence or bodily presence in the new locality, (b) intention to remain there or animus manendi, and (c) an
intention to abandon the old domicile or animus non revertendi (Romualdez v. RTC, Br. 7, Tacloban City, 226 SCRA 408,
415). A third classification is domicile by operation of law which attributes to a person a domicile independent of his own
intention or actual residence, ordinarily resulting from legal domestic relations, as that of the wife arising from marriage, or the
relation of a parent and a child (28 C.J.S. §7).

In election law, when our Constitution speaks of residence for election purposes it means domicile (Co v. Electoral Tribunal of
the House of Representatives, 199 SCRA 692, 713; Nuval v. Guray, 52 Phil. 645, 651). To my mind, public respondent
Commission on Elections misapplied this concept, of domicile which led to petitioner's disqualification by ruling that petitioner
failed to comply with the constitutionally mandated one-year residence requirement. Apparently, public respondent
Commission deemed as conclusive petitioner's stay and registration as voter in many places as conduct disclosing her intent
to abandon her established domicile of origin in Tacloban, Leyte. In several decisions, though, the Court has laid down the
rule that registration of a voter in a place other than his place of origin is not sufficient to constitute abandonment or loss of
such residence (Faypon v. Quirino, 96 Phil. 294, 300). Respondent Commission offered no cogent reason to depart from this
rule except to surmise petitioner's intent of abandoning her domicile of origin.

It has been suggested that petitioner's domicile of origin was supplanted by a new domicile due to her marriage, a domicile by
operation of law. The proposition is that upon the death of her husband in 1989 she retains her husband's domicile, i.e.,
Batac, Ilocos Norte, until she makes an actual change thereof. I find this proposition quite untenable.

Tacloban, Leyte, is petitioner's domicile of origin which was involuntarily supplanted with another, i.e., Batac, Ilocos Norte,
upon her marriage in 1954 with then Congressman Marcos. By legal fiction she followed the domicile of her husband. In my
view, the reason for the law is for the spouses to fully and effectively perform their marital duties and obligations to one
another.1 The question of domicile, however, is not affected by the fact that it was the legal or moral duty of the individual to
reside in a given place (28 C.J.S. §11). Thus, while the wife retains her marital domicile so long as the marriage subsists, she
automatically loses it upon the latter's termination, for the reason behind the law then ceases. Otherwise, petitioner, after her
marriage was ended by the death of her husband, would be placed in a quite absurd and unfair situation of having been freed
from all wifely obligations yet made to hold on to one which no longer serves any meaningful purpose.

It is my view therefore that petitioner reverted to her original domicile of Tacloban, Leyte upon her husband's death without
even signifying her intention to that effect. It is for the private respondent to prove, not for petitioner to disprove, that petitioner
has effectively abandoned Tacloban, Leyte for Batac, Ilocos Norte or for some other place/s. The clear rule is that it is the
party (herein private respondent) claiming that a person has abandoned or lost his residence of origin who must show and
prove preponderantly such abandonment or loss (Faypon v. Quirino, supra at 298; 28 C.J.S. §16), because the presumption
is strongly in favor of an original or former domicile, as against an acquired one (28 C.J.S. §16). Private respondent
unfortunately failed to discharge this burden as the record is devoid of convincing proof that petitioner has acquired whether
voluntarily or involuntarily, a new domicile to replace her domicile of origin.

The records, on the contrary, clearly show that petitioner has complied with the constitutional one-year residence requirement.
After her exile abroad, she returned to the Philippines in 1991 to reside in Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, but the Presidential
Commission on Good Government which sequestered her residential house and other properties forbade her necessitating
her transient stay in various places in Manila (Affidavit p.6, attached as Annex I of the Petition). In 1992, she ran for the
position of president writing in her certificate of candidacy her residence as San Juan, Metro Manila. After her loss therein,
she went back to Tacloban City, acquired her residence certificate2 and resided with her brother in San Jose. She resided in
San Jose, Tacloban City until August of 1994 when she was allowed by the PCGG to move and reside in her sequestered
residential house in Olot, Tolosa, Leyte (Annex I, p. 6).3 It was in the same month of August when she applied for the
cancellation of her previous registration in San Juan, Metro Manila in order to register anew as voter of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte,
which she did on January 28, 1995. From this sequence of events, I find it quite improper to use as the reckoning period of the
one-year residence requirement the date when she applied for the cancellation of her previous registration in San Juan, Metro
Manila. The fact which private respondent never bothered to disprove is that petitioner transferred her residence after the
1992 presidential election from San Juan, Metro Manila to San Jose, Tacloban City, and resided therein until August of 1994.
She later transferred to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte (Annex I, p. 7). It appearing that both Tacloban City and Tolosa, Leyte are within
the First Congressional District of Leyte, it indubitably stands that she had more than a year of residence in the constituency
she sought to be elected. Petitioner, therefore, has satisfactorily complied with the one-year qualification required by the 1987
Constitution.
I vote to grant the petition.

ROMERO, J., separate opinion:

Petitioner has appealed to this Court for relief after the COMELEC ruled that she was disqualified from running for
Representative of her District and that, in the event that she should, nevertheless, muster a majority vote, her proclamation
should be suspended. Not by a straightforward ruling did the COMELEC pronounce its decision as has been its unvarying
practice in the past, but by a startling succession of "reverse somersaults." Indicative of its shifting stance vis-a-vis petitioner's
certificate of candidacy were first, the action of its Second Division disqualifying her and canceling her original Certificate of
Candidacy by a vote of 2-1 on April 24, 1995; then the denial by the COMELEC en banc of her Motion for Reconsideration on
May 7, 1995, a day before the election; then because she persisted in running, its decision on
May 11, 1995 or three days after the election, allowing her proclamation in the event that the results of the canvass should
show that she obtained the highest number of votes (obviously noting that petitioner had won overwhelmingly over her
opponent), but almost simultaneously reversing itself by directing that even if she wins, her proclamation should nonetheless
be suspended.

Crucial to the resolution of the disqualification issue presented by the case at bench is the interpretation to be given to the
one-year residency requirement imposed by the Constitution on aspirants for a Congressional seat. 1

Bearing in mind that the term "resident" has been held to be synonymous with "domicile" for election purposes, it is important
to determine whether petitioner's domicile was in the First District of Leyte and if so, whether she had resided there for at least
a period of one year. Undisputed is her domicile of origin, Tacloban, where her parents lived at the time of her birth.
Depending on what theory one adopts, the same may have been changed when she married Ferdinand E. Marcos, then
domiciled in Batac, by operation of law. Assuming it did, his death certainly released her from the obligation to live with him at
the residence fixed by him during his lifetime. What may confuse the layman at this point is the fact that the term "domicile"
may refer to "domicile of origin," "domicile of choice," or "domicile by operation of law," which subject we shall not belabor
since it has been amply discussed by the ponente and in the other separate opinions.

In any case, what assumes relevance is the divergence of legal opinion as to the effect of the husband's death on the domicile
of the widow. Some scholars opine that the widow's domicile remains unchanged; that the deceased husband's wishes
perforce still bind the wife he has left behind. Given this interpretation, the widow cannot possibly go far enough to sever the
domiciliary tie imposed by her husband.

It is bad enough to interpret the law as empowering the husband unilaterally to fix the residence or domicile of the family, as
laid down in the Civil Code,2 but to continue giving obeisance to his wishes even after the rationale underlying the mutual duty
of the spouses to live together has ceased, is to close one's eyes to the stark realities of the present.

At the other extreme is the position that the widow automatically reverts to her domicile of origin upon the demise of her
husband. Does the law so abhor a vacuum that the widow has to be endowed somehow with a domicile? To answer this
question which is far from rhetorical, one will have to keep in mind the basic principles of domicile. Everyone must have a
domicile. Then one must have only a single domicile for the same purpose at any given time. Once established, a domicile
remains until a new one is acquired, for no person lives who has no domicile, as defined by the law be is subject to.

At this juncture, we are confronted with an unexplored legal terrain in this jurisdiction, rendered more murky by the conflicting
opinions of foreign legal authorities. This being the state of things, it is imperative as it is opportune to illumine the darkness
with the beacon light of truth, as dictated by experience and the necessity of according petitioner her right to choose her
domicile in keeping with the enlightened global trend to recognize and protect the human rights of women, no less than men.

Admittedly, the notion of placing women at par with men, insofar as civil, political and social rights are concerned, is a
relatively recent phenomenon that took seed only in the middle of this century. It is a historical fact that for over three
centuries, the Philippines had been colonized by Spain, a conservative, Catholic country which transplanted to our shores the
Old World cultures, mores and attitudes and values. Through the imposition on our government of the Spanish Civil Code in
1889, the people, both men and women, had no choice but to accept such concepts as the husband's being the head of the
family and the wife's subordination to his authority. In such role, his was the right to make vital decisions for the family. Many
instances come to mind, foremost being what is related to the issue before us, namely, that "the husband shall fix the
residence of the family." 3 Because he is made responsible for the support of the wife and the rest of the family, 4 he is also
empowered to be the administrator of the conjugal property, with a few exceptions 5 and may, therefore, dispose of the
conjugal partnership property for the purposes specified under the law; 6 whereas, as a general rule, the wife cannot
bind the conjugal partnership without the husband's consent.7 As regards the property pertaining to the children
under parental authority, the father is the legal administrator and only in his absence may the mother assume his
powers.8 Demeaning to the wife's dignity are certain strictures on her personal freedoms, practically relegating her to
the position of minors and disabled persons. To illustrate a few: The wife cannot, without the husband's consent,
acquire any gratuitous title, except from her ascendants, descendants, parents-in-law, and collateral relatives within
the fourth degree.9 With respect to her employment, the husband wields a veto power in the case the wife exercises
her profession or occupation or engages in business, provided his income is sufficient for the family, according to
its social standing and his opposition is founded on serious and valid grounds. 10 Most offensive, if not repulsive, to
the liberal-minded is the effective prohibition upon a widow to get married till after three hundred days following the
death of her husband, unless in the meantime, she has given birth to a child. 11 The mother who contracts a
subsequent marriage loses the parental authority over her children, unless the deceased husband, father of the
latter, has expressly provided in his will that his widow might marry again, and has ordered that in such case she
should keep and exercise parental authority over their children. 12 Again, an instance of a husband's overarching
influence from beyond the grave.

All these indignities and disabilities suffered by Filipino wives for hundreds of years evoked no protest from them
until the concept of human rights and equality between and among nations and individuals found hospitable
lodgment in the United Nations Charter of which the Philippines was one of the original signatories. By then, the
Spanish "conquistadores" had been overthrown by the American forces at the turn of the century. The bedrock of
the U.N. Charter was firmly anchored on this credo: "to reaffirm faith in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity
and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women." (Emphasis supplied)

It took over thirty years before these egalitarian doctrines bore fruit, owing largely to the burgeoning of the
feminist movement. What may be regarded as the international bill of rights for women was implanted in the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) adopted by the U.N.
General Assembly which entered into force as an international treaty on September 3, 1981. In ratifying the
instrument, the Philippines bound itself to implement its liberating spirit and letter, for its Constitution, no
less, declared that "The Philippines. . . adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of
the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with
all nations." 13 One such principle embodied in the CEDAW is granting to men and women "the same rights
with regard to the law relating to the movement of persons and the freedom to choose their residence and
domicile." 14(Emphasis supplied).

CEDAW's pro-women orientation which was not lost on Filipino women was reflected in the 1987 Constitution of the
Philippines and later, in the Family Code, 15 both of which were speedily approved by the first lady President of the
country, Corazon C. Aquino. Notable for its emphasis on the human rights of all individuals and its bias for equality
between the sexes are the following provisions: "The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees
full respect for human rights"16 and "The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the
fundamental equality before the law of women and men."17

A major accomplishment of women in their quest for equality with men and the elimination of discriminatory provisions of law
was the deletion in the Family Code of almost all of the unreasonable strictures on wives and the grant to them of personal
rights equal to that of their husbands. Specifically, the husband and wife are now given the right jointly to fix the family
domicile;18 concomitant to the spouses' being jointly responsible for the support of the family is the right and duty of both
spouses to manage the household;19 the administration and the enjoyment of the community property shall belong to both
spouses jointly;20 the father and mother shall now jointly exercise legal guardianship over the property of their unemancipated
common child21 and several others.

Aware of the hiatus and continuing gaps in the law, insofar as women's rights are concerned, Congress passed a law
popularly known as "Women in Development and Nation Building Act" 22 Among the rights given to married women evidencing
their capacity to act in contracts equal to that of men are:

(1) Women shall have the capacity to borrow and obtain loans and execute security and credit arrangements under the same
conditions as men;

(2) Women shall have equal access to all government and private sector programs granting agricultural credit, loans and non
material resources and shall enjoy equal treatment in agrarian reform and land resettlement programs;

(3) Women shall have equal rights to act as incorporators and enter into insurance contracts; and

(4) Married women shall have rights equal to those of married men in applying for passports, secure visas and other travel
documents, without need to secure the consent of their spouses.
As the world draws the curtain on the Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijing, let this Court now be the first to respond
to its clarion call that "Women's Rights are Human Rights" and that "All obstacles to women's full participation in decision-
making at all levels, including the family" should be removed. Having been herself a Member of the Philippine Delegation to
the International Women's Year Conference in Mexico in 1975, this writer is only too keenly aware of the unremitting struggle
being waged by women the world over, Filipino women not excluded, to be accepted as equals of men and to tear down the
walls of discrimination that hold them back from their proper places under the sun.

In light of the inexorable sweep of events, local and global, legislative, executive and judicial, according more rights to women
hitherto denied them and eliminating whatever pockets of discrimination still exist in their civil, political and social life, can it
still be insisted that widows are not at liberty to choose their domicile upon the death of their husbands but must retain the
same, regardless?

I submit that a widow, like the petitioner and others similarly situated, can no longer be bound by the domicile of the departed
husband, if at all she was before. Neither does she automatically revert to her domicile of origin, but exercising free will, she
may opt to reestablish her domicile of origin. In returning to Tacloban and subsequently, to Barangay Olot, Tolosa, both of
which are located in the First District of Leyte, petitioner amply demonstrated by overt acts, her election of a domicile of
choice, in this case, a reversion to her domicile of origin. Added together, the time when she set up her domicile in the two
places sufficed to meet the one-year requirement to run as Representative of the First District of Leyte.

In view of the foregoing expatiation, I vote to GRANT the petition.

VITUG, J., separate opinion:

The case at bench deals with explicit Constitutional mandates.

The Constitution is not a pliable instrument. It is a bedrock in our legal system that sets up ideals and directions and render
steady our strides hence. It only looks back so as to ensure that mistakes in the past are not repeated. A compliant transience
of a constitution belittles its basic function and weakens its goals. A constitution may well become outdated by the realities of
time. When it does, it must be changed but while it remains, we owe it respect and allegiance. Anarchy, open or subtle, has
never been, nor must it ever be, the answer to perceived transitory needs, let alone societal attitudes, or the Constitution
might lose its very essence.

Constitutional provisions must be taken to be mandatory in character unless, either by express statement or by necessary
implication, a different intention is manifest (see Marcelino vs. Cruz, 121 SCRA 51).

The two provisions initially brought to focus are Section 6 and Section 17 of Article VI of the fundamental law. These
provisions read:

Sec. 6. No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of
the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write, and,
except the party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a
resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election.

Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be
the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members.
Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme
Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or the
House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional
representation from the political parties and the parties or organizations registered under the party-list system
represented therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.

The Commission on Election (the "COMELEC") is constitutionally bound to enforce and administer "all laws and regulations
relative to the conduct of election . . ." (Art. IX, C, Sec. 2, Constitution) that, there being nothing said to the contrary, should
include its authority to pass upon the qualification and disqualification prescribed by law of candidates to an elective office.
Indeed, pre-proclamation controversies are expressly placed under the COMELEC's jurisdiction to hear and resolve (Art. IX,
C, Sec. 3, Constitution).

The matter before us specifically calls for the observance of the constitutional one-year residency requirement. The issue
(whether or not there is here such compliance), to my mind, is basically a question of fact or at least inextricably linked to such
determination. The findings and judgment of the COMELEC, in accordance with the long established rule and subject only to
a number of exceptions under the basic heading of "grave abuse of discretion," are not reviewable by this Court.

I do not find much need to do a complex exercise on what seems to me to be a plain matter. Generally, the term "residence"
has a broader connotation that may mean permanent (domicile), official (place where one's official duties may require him to
stay) or temporary (the place where he sojourns during a considerable length of time). For civil law purposes, i.e., as regards
the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of a natural person is the place of
his habitual residence (see Article 50, Civil Code). In election cases, the controlling rule is that heretofore announced by this
Court in Romualdez vs. Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Tacloban City (226 SCRA 408, 409); thus:

In election cases, the Court treats domicile and residence as synonymous terms, thus: "(t)he term "residence"
as used in the election law is synonymous with "domicile," which imports not only an intention to reside in a
fixed place but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention."
"Domicile" denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent for business or pleasure, or for like
reasons, one intends to return. . . . . Residence thus acquired, however, may be lost by adopting another
choice of domicile. In order, in turn, to acquire a new domicile by choice, there must concur (1) residence or
bodily presence in the new locality, (2) an intention to remain there, and (3) an intention to abandon the old
domicile. In other words, there must basically be animus manendi coupled with animus non revertendi. The
purpose to remain in or at the domicile of choice must be for an indefinite period of time; the change of
residence must be voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new domicile must be actual.

Using the above tests, I am not convinced that we can charge the COMELEC with having committed grave abuse of
discretion in its assailed resolution.

The COMELEC's jurisdiction, in the case of congressional elections, ends when the jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunal
concerned begins. It signifies that the protestee must have theretofore been duly proclaimed and has since become a
"member" of the Senate or the House of Representatives. The question can be asked on whether or not the proclamation of a
candidate is just a ministerial function of the Commission on Elections dictated solely on the number of votes cast in an
election exercise. I believe, it is not. A ministerial duty is an obligation the performance of which, being adequately defined,
does not allow the use of further judgment or discretion. The COMELEC, in its particular case, is tasked with the full
responsibility of ascertaining all the facts and conditions such as may be required by law before a proclamation is properly
done.

The Court, on its part, should, in my view at least, refrain from any undue encroachment on the ultimate exercise of authority
by the Electoral Tribunals on matters which, by no less than a constitutional fiat, are explicitly within their exclusive domain.
The nagging question, if it were otherwise, would be the effect of the Court's peremptory pronouncement on the ability of the
Electoral Tribunal to later come up with its own judgment in a contest "relating to the election, returns and qualification" of its
members.

Prescinding from all the foregoing, I should like to next touch base on the applicability to this case of Section 6 of Republic Act
No. 6646, in relation to Section 72 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, each providing thusly:

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6646

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. — Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be
disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a
candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and
receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial
and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may
during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the
evidence of his guilt is strong.

BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 881

xxx xxx xxx


Sec. 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority. — The Commission and the courts shall give priority to
cases of disqualification by reason of violation of this Act to the end that a final decision shall be rendered not
later than seven days before the election in which the disqualification is sought.

Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the
votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless, if for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final,
judgment before an election to be disqualified, and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes
in such election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding sections shall not prevent his proclamation
and assumption to office.

I realize that in considering the significance of the law, it may be preferable to look for not so much the specific instances they
ostensibly would cover as the principle they clearly convey. Thus, I will not scoff at the argument that it should be sound to say
that votes cast in favor of the disqualified candidate, whenever ultimately declared as such, should not be counted in his or
her favor and must accordingly be considered to be stray votes. The argument, nevertheless, is far outweighed by the
rationale of the now prevailing doctrine first enunciated in the case of Topacio vs. Paredes (23 Phil. 238 [1912]) which,
although later abandoned in Ticzon vs. Comelec (103 SCRA 687 [1981]), and Santos vs. COMELEC (137 SCRA 740 [1985]),
was restored, along with the interim case of Geronimo vs. Ramos (136 SCRA 435 [1985]), by the Labo (176 SCRA 1
(1989]), Abella (201 SCRA 253 [1991]), Labo (211 SCRA 297 [1992]) and, most recently, Benito (235 SCRA 436 [1994])
rulings. Benito vs. Comelec was a unanimous decision penned by Justice Kapunan and concurred in by Chief Justice
Narvasa, Justices Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Romero, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug and Mendoza (Justices
Cruz and Bellosillo were on official leave). For easy reference, let me quote from the first Labo decision:

Finally, there is the question of whether or not the private respondent, who filed the quo warrantopetition, can
replace the petitioner as mayor. He cannot. The simple reason is that as he obtained only the second highest
number of votes in the election, he was obviously not the choice of the people of Baguio City.

The latest ruling of the Court on this issue is Santos v. Commission on Elections, (137 SCRA 740) decided in
1985. In that case, the candidate who placed second was proclaimed elected after the votes for his winning
rival, who was disqualified as a turncoat and considered a non-candidate, were all disregard as stray. In
effect, the second placer won by default. That decision was supported by eight members of the Court then,
(Cuevas, J., ponente, with Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Escolin, Relova, De la Fuente, Alampay and
Aquino, JJ., concurring.) with three dissenting (Teehankee, Acting C.J., Abad Santos and Melencio-
Herrera, JJ.) and another two reserving their vote. (Plana and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ.) One was on official leave.
(Fernando, C.J.)

Re-examining that decision, the Court finds, and so holds, that it should be reversed in favor of the earlier
case of Geronimo v. Ramos, (136 SCRA 435) which represents the more logical and democratic rule. That
case, which reiterated the doctrine first announced in 1912 in Topacio v. Paredes, (23 Phil. 238) was
supported by ten members of the Court, (Gutierrez, Jr., ponente, with Teehankee, Abad Santos, Melencio-
Herrera, Plana, Escolin, Relova, De la Fuente, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concurring) without any dissent,
although one reserved his vote, (Makasiar, J.) another took no part, (Aquino, J.) and two others were on
leave. (Fernando, C.J. and Concepcion, Jr., J.) There the Court held:

. . . it would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally guaranteed


right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is
proclaimed a winner and imposed as the representative of a constituency, the majority of
which have positively declared through their ballots that they do not choose him.

Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who have received the
highest number of votes cast in the election for that office, and it is a fundamental idea in all
republican forms of government that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be
declared carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the
election. (20 Corpus Juris 2nd, S 243, p. 676.)

The fact that the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is later declared to be disqualified or
not eligible for the office to which he was elected does not necessarily entitle the candidate who obtained the
second highest number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective office. The votes cast for a dead,
disqualified, or non-eligible person may not be valid to vote the winner into office or maintain him there.
However, in the absence of a statute which clearly asserts a contrary political and legislative policy on the
matter, if the votes were cast in the sincere belief that the candidate was alive, qualified, or eligible, they
should not be treated as stray, void or meaningless. (at pp. 20-21)
Considering all the foregoing, I am constrained to vote for the dismissal of the petition.

MENDOZA, J., separate opinion:

In my view the issue in this case is whether the Commission on Elections has the power to disqualify candidates on the
ground that they lack eligibility for the office to which they seek to be elected. I think that it has none and that the qualifications
of candidates may be questioned only in the event they are elected, by filing a petition for quo warranto or an election protest
in the appropriate forum, not necessarily in the COMELEC but, as in this case, in the House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal. That the parties in this case took part in the proceedings in the COMELEC is of no moment. Such proceedings were
unauthorized and were not rendered valid by their agreement to submit their dispute to that body.

The various election laws will be searched in vain for authorized proceedings for determining a candidate's qualifications for
an office before his election. There are none in the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. Blg. 881), in the Electoral Reforms Law of
1987 (R.A. No. 6646), or in the law providing for synchronized elections (R.A. No. 7166). There are, in other words, no
provisions for pre-proclamation contests but only election protests or quo warrantoproceedings against winning candidates.

To be sure, there are provisions denominated for "disqualification," but they are not concerned with a declaration of the
ineligibility of a candidate. These provisions are concerned with the incapacity (due to insanity, incompetence or conviction of
an offense) of a person either to be a candidate or to continue as a candidate for public office. There is also a provision for the
denial or cancellation of certificates of candidacy, but it applies only to cases involving false representations as to certain
matters required by law to be stated in the certificates.

These provisions are found in the following parts of the Omnibus Election Code:

§ 12. Disqualifications. — Any person who has been declared by competent authority insane or incompetent,
or has been sentenced by final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense for which he
has been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall
be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted
amnesty.

The disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be deemed removed upon the declaration by
competent authority that said insanity or incompetence had been removed or after the expiration of a period
of five years from his service of sentence, unless within the same period he again becomes disqualified.
(Emphasis added)

§ 68. Disqualifications. — Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final
decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other
material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral
functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy; (c) spent in his election campaign an
amount in excess of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any contribution prohibited
under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d,
e, k, v, and cc, sub-paragraph 6, shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been
elected, from holding the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign
country shall not be qualified to run for any elective office under this Code, unless said person has waived his
status as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence requirement
provided for in the election laws. (Emphasis added)

§ 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of


candidacy. — A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be
filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained therein as required
under Section 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from the
time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, after due notice and hearing, not later
than fifteen days before the election. (Emphasis added)

the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987 (R.A. No. 6646):

§ 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. — Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be
disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a
candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and
receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial
and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and; upon motion for the complainant or any intervenor, may
during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the
evidence of his guilt is strong. (Emphasis added).

§ 7. Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy. — The procedure hereinabove
provided shall apply to petitions to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy as provided in
Section 78 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881.

and the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160):

§ 40. Disqualifications. — The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective local position:

(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by
one (1) year or more of imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence;

(b) Those removed from office as a result of on administrative case;

(c) Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to the Republic;

(d) Those with dual citizenship;

(e) Fugitive from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad;

(f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired the right to reside abroad and
continue to avail of the same right after the effectivity of this Code; and

(g) The insane or feeble-minded.

The petition filed by private respondent Cirilo Roy Montejo in the COMELEC, while entitled "For Cancellation and
Disqualification," contained no allegation that private respondent Imelda Romualdez-Marcos made material representations in
her certificate of candidacy which were false, it sought her disqualification on the ground that "on the basis of her Voter
Registration Record and Certificate of Candidacy, [she] is disqualified from running for the position of Representative,
considering that on election day, May 8, 1995, [she] would have resided less than ten (10) months in the district where she is
seeking to be elected." For its part, the COMELEC's Second Division, in its resolution of April 24, 1995, cancelled her
certificate of candidacy and corrected certificate of candidacy on the basis of its finding that petitioner is "not qualified to run
for the position of Member of the House of Representatives for the First Legislative District of Leyte" and not because of any
finding that she had made false representations as to material matters in her certificate of candidacy.

Montejo's petition before the COMELEC was therefore not a petition for cancellation of certificate of candidacy under § 78 of
the Omnibus Election Code, but essentially a petition to declare private respondent ineligible. It is important to note this,
because, as will presently be explained, proceedings under § 78 have for their purpose to disqualify a person from being
a candidate, whereas quo warranto proceedings have for their purpose to disqualify a person from holding public office.
Jurisdiction over quo warranto proceedings involving members of the House of Representatives is vested in the Electoral
Tribunal of that body.

Indeed, in the only cases in which this Court dealt with petitions for the cancellation of certificates of candidacy, the allegations
were that the respondent candidates had made false representations in their certificates of candidacy with regard to
their citizenship,1 age,2 or residence.3 But in the generality of cases in which this Court passed upon the qualifications of
respondents for office, this Court did so in the context of election protests4 or quo warrantoproceedings5 filed after the
proclamation of the respondents or protestees as winners.

Three reasons may be cited to explain the absence of an authorized proceeding for determining before election the
qualifications of a candidate.

First is the fact that unless a candidate wins and is proclaimed elected, there is no necessity for determining his eligibility for
the office. In contrast, whether an individual should be disqualified as a candidate for acts constituting election offenses (e.g.,
vote buying, over spending, commission of prohibited acts) is a prejudicial question which should be determined lest he wins
because of the very acts for which his disqualification is being sought. That is why it is provided that if the grounds for
disqualification are established, a candidate will not be voted for; if he has been voted for, the votes in his favor will not be
counted; and if for some reason he has been voted for and he has won, either he will not be proclaimed or his proclamation
will be set aside.6
Second is the fact that the determination of a candidate's eligibility, e.g., his citizenship or, as in this case, his domicile, may
take a long time to make, extending beyond the beginning of the term of the office. This is amply demonstrated in the
companion case (G.R. No. 120265, Agapito A. Aquino v. COMELEC) where the determination of Aquino's residence was still
pending in the COMELEC even after the elections of May 8, 1995. This is contrary to the summary character of proceedings
relating to certificates of candidacy. That is why the law makes the receipt of certificates of candidacy a ministerial duty of the
COMELEC and its officers.7 The law is satisfied if candidates state in their certificates of candidacy that they are eligible for
the position which they seek to fill, leaving the determination of their qualifications to be made after the election and only in the
event they are elected. Only in cases involving charges of false representations made in certificates of candidacy is the
COMELEC given jurisdiction.

Third is the policy underlying the prohibition against pre-proclamation cases in elections for President, Vice President,
Senators and members of the House of Representatives. (R.A. No. 7166, § 15) The purpose is to preserve the prerogatives of
the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and the other Tribunals as "sole judges" under the Constitution of
the election, returns and qualifications of members of Congress or of the President and Vice President, as the case may be.

By providing in § 253 for the remedy of quo warranto for determining an elected official's qualifications after the results of
elections are proclaimed, while being conspicuously silent about a pre-proclamation remedy based on the same ground, the
Omnibus Election Code, or OEC, by its silence underscores the policy of not authorizing any inquiry into the qualifications of
candidates unless they have been elected.

Apparently realizing the lack of an authorized proceeding for declaring the ineligibility of candidates, the COMELEC amended
its rules on February 15, 1993 so as to provide in Rule 25, § 1 the following:

Grounds for disqualification. — Any candidate who does not possess all the qualifications of a candidate as
provided for by the Constitution or by existing law or who commits any act declared by law to be grounds for
disqualification may be disqualified from continuing as a candidate.

The lack of provision for declaring the ineligibility of candidates, however, cannot be supplied by a mere rule. Such an act is
equivalent to the creation of a cause of action which is a substantive matter which the COMELEC, in the exercise of its
rulemaking power under Art. IX, A, § 6 of the Constitution, cannot do. It is noteworthy that the Constitution withholds from the
COMELEC even the power to decide cases involving the right to vote, which essentially involves an inquiry
into qualifications based on age, residence and citizenship of voters. (Art. IX, C, § 2(3))

The assimilation in Rule 25 of the COMELEC rules of grounds for ineligibility into grounds for disqualification is contrary to the
evident intention of the law. For not only in their grounds but also in their consequences are proceedings for "disqualification"
different from those for a declaration of "ineligibility." "Disqualification" proceedings, as already stated, are based on grounds
specified in §§ 12 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code and in § 40 of the Local Government Code and are for the purpose of
barring an individual from becoming a candidate or from continuing as a candidate for public office. In a word, their purpose is
to eliminate a candidate from the race either from the start or during its progress. "Ineligibility," on the other hand, refers to the
lack of the qualifications prescribed in the Constitution or the statutes for holding public office and the purpose of the
proceedings for declaration of ineligibility is to remove the incumbent from office.

Consequently, that an individual possesses the qualifications for a public office does not imply that he is not disqualified from
becoming a candidate or continuing as a candidate for a public office and vice versa. We have this sort of dichotomy in our
Naturalization Law. (C.A. No. 473) That an alien has the qualifications prescribed in § 2 of the law does not imply that he does
not suffer from any of disqualifications provided in § 4.

Indeed, provisions for disqualifications on the ground that the candidate is guilty of prohibited election practices or offenses,
like other pre-proclamation remedies, are aimed at the detestable practice of "grabbing the proclamation and prolonging the
election protest,"8 through the use of "manufactured" election returns or resort to other trickery for the purpose of altering the
results of the election. This rationale does not apply to cases for determining a candidate's qualifications for office before the
election. To the contrary, it is the candidate against whom a proceeding for disqualification is brought who could be prejudiced
because he could be prevented from assuming office even though in end he prevails.

To summarize, the declaration of ineligibility of a candidate may only be sought in an election protest or action for quo
warranto filed pursuant to § 253 of the Omnibus Election Code within 10 days after his proclamation. With respect to elective
local officials (e.g., Governor, Vice Governor, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, etc.) such petition must be filed
either with the COMELEC, the Regional Trial Courts, or Municipal Trial Courts, as provided in Art. IX, C, § 2(2) of the
Constitution. In the case of the President and Vice President, the petition must be filed with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal
(Art. VII, § 4, last paragraph), and in the case of the Senators, with the Senate Electoral Tribunal, and in the case of
Congressmen, with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. (Art. VI, § 17) There is greater reason for not allowing
before the election the filing of disqualification proceedings based on alleged ineligibility in the case of candidates for
President, Vice President, Senators and members of the House of Representatives, because of the same policy prohibiting
the filing of pre-proclamation cases against such candidates.

For these reasons, I am of the opinion that the COMELEC had no jurisdiction over SPA No. 95-009; that its proceedings in
that case, including its questioned orders, are void; and that the eligibility of petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos for the office
of Representative of the First District of Leyte may only be inquired into by the HRET.

Accordingly, I vote to grant the petition and to annul the proceedings of the Commission on Elections in SPA No. 95-009,
including its questioned orders doted April 24, 1995, May 7, 1995, May 11, 1995 and May 25, 1995, declaring petitioner
Imelda Romualdez-Marcos ineligible and ordering her proclamation as Representative of the First District of Leyte suspended.
To the extent that Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure authorizes proceedings for the disqualification of candidates
on the ground of ineligibility for the office, it should considered void.

The provincial board of canvassers should now proceed with the proclamation of petitioner.

Narvasa, C.J., concurs.

PADILLA, J., dissenting:

I regret that I cannot join the majority opinion as expressed in the well-written ponencia of Mr. Justice Kapunan.

As in any controversy arising out of a Constitutional provision, the inquiry must begin and end with the provision itself. The
controversy should not be blurred by what, to me, are academic disquisitions. In this particular controversy, the Constitutional
provision on point states that — "no person shall be a member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born
citizen of the Philippines, and on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five (25) years of age, able to read and write, and
except the party list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a
period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election." (Article VI, section 6)

It has been argued that for purposes of our election laws, the term residence has been understood as synonymous
with domicile. This argument has been validated by no less than the Court in numerous cases 1 where significantly the factual
circumstances clearly and convincingly proved that a person does not effectively lose his domicile of origin if the intention to
reside therein is manifest with his personal presence in the place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention.

With this basic thesis in mind, it would not be difficult to conceive of different modalities within which the phrase "a resident
thereof (meaning, the legislative district) for a period of not less than one year" would fit.

The first instance is where a person's residence and domicile coincide in which case a person only has to prove that he has
been domiciled in a permanent location for not less than a year before the election.

A second situation is where a person maintains a residence apart from his domicile in which case he would have the luxury of
district shopping, provided of course, he satisfies the one-year residence period in the district as the minimum period for
eligibility to the position of congressional representative for the district.

In either case, one would not be constitutionally disqualified for abandoning his residence in order to return to his domicile of
origin, or better still, domicile of choice; neither would one be disqualified for abandoning altogether his domicile in favor of his
residence in the district where he desires to be a candidate.

The most extreme circumstance would be a situation wherein a person maintains several residences in different districts.
Since his domicile of origin continues as an option as long as there is no effective abandonment (animus non revertendi), he
can practically choose the district most advantageous for him.

All these theoretical scenarios, however, are tempered by the unambiguous limitation that "for a period of not less than one
year immediately preceding the day of the election", he must be a resident in the district where he desires to be elected.

To my mind, the one year residence period is crucial regardless of whether or not the term "residence" is to be synonymous
with "domicile." In other words, the candidate's intent and actual presence in one district must in allsituations satisfy the length
of time prescribed by the fundamental law. And this, because of a definite Constitutional purpose. He must be familiar with the
environment and problems of a district he intends to represent in Congress and the one-year residence in said district would
be the minimum period to acquire such familiarity, if not versatility.
In the case of petitioner Imelda R. Marcos, the operative facts are distinctly set out in the now assailed decision of the
Comelec 2nd Division dated 24 April 1995 (as affirmed by the Comelec en banc) —

In or about 1938 when respondent was a little over 8 years old, she established her domicile in Tacloban,
Leyte (Tacloban City). She studied in the Holy Infant Academy in Tacloban from 1938 to 1948 when she
graduated from high school. She pursued her college studies in St. Paul's College, now Divine Word
University of Tacloban, where she earned her degree in Education. Thereafter, she taught in the Leyte
Chinese High School, still in Tacloban City. In 1952 she went to Manila to work with her cousin, the late
Speaker Daniel Z. Romualdez in his office in the House of Representatives. In 1954, she married ex-
president Ferdinand Marcos when he was still a congressman of Ilocos Norte. She lived with him in Batac,
Ilocos Norte and registered there as a voter. When her husband was elected Senator of the Republic in 1959,
she and her husband lived together in San Juan, Rizal where she registered as a voter. In 1965 when her
husband was elected President of the Republic of the Philippines, she lived with him in Malacanang Palace
and registered as a voter in San Miguel, Manila.

During the Marcos presidency, respondent served as a Member of the Batasang Pambansa, Minister of
Human Settlements and Governor of Metro Manila. She claimed that in February 1986, she and her family
were abducted and kidnapped to Honolulu, Hawaii. In November 1991, she came home to Manila. In 1992
respondent ran for election as President of the Philippines and filed her Certificate of Candidacy wherein she
indicated that she is a resident and registered voter of San Juan, Metro Manila. On August 24, 1994,
respondent filed a letter with the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila, requesting for cancellation of her
registration in the Permanent List of Voters in Precinct No. 157 of San Juan, Metro Manila, in order that she
may be re-registered or transferred to Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. (Annex 2-B, Answer). On August 31, 1994,
respondent filed her Sworn Application for Cancellation of Voter's Previous Registration (Annex 2-C, Answer)
stating that she is a duly registered voter in 157-A, Brgy. Maytunas, San Juan, Metro that she intends to
register at Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.

On January 28, 1995 respondent registered as a voter at Precinct No. 18-A of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. She filed
with the Board of Election Inspectors CE Form No. 1, Voter Registration Record No. 94-3349772, wherein
she alleged that she has resided in the municipality of Tolosa for a period of 6 months (Annex A, Petition).

On March 8, 1995, respondent filed with the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor, Leyte, a Certificate of
Candidacy for the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte wherein she also alleged that she
has been a resident in the constituency where she seeks to be elected for a period of 7 months. The pertinent
entries therein are as follows:

7. PROFESSION OR OCCUPATION: House-wife/ Teacher/ Social Worker

8. RESIDENCE (complete address): Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte

Post Office Address for election purposes: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte

9. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHEREIN I SEEK TO BE


ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING ELECTION: ________
Years SevenMonths

10. I AM NOT A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF, OR IMMIGRANT TO, A


FOREIGN COUNTRY.

THAT I AM ELIGIBLE for said office; That I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the
Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; That I will obey the laws, legal orders and
decrees promulgated by the duly-constituted authorities; That the obligation imposed by my oath is assumed
voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and That the facts stated herein are true to the
best of my knowledge.

(Sgd.) Imelda Romualdez-Marcos


(Signature of Candidate)2
Petitioner's aforestated certificate of candidacy filed on 8 March 1995 contains the decisive component or seed of her
disqualification. It is contained in her answer under oath of "seven months" to the query of "residence in the constituency
wherein I seek to be elected immediately preceding the election."

It follows from all the above that the Comelec committed no grave abuse of discretion in holding that petitioner is disqualified
from the position of representative for the 1st congressional district of Leyte in the elections of
8 May 1995, for failure to meet the "not less than one-year residence in the constituency (1st district, Leyte) immediately
preceding the day of election
(8 May 1995)."

Having arrived at petitioner's disqualification to be a representative of the first district of Leyte, the next important issue to
resolve is whether or not the Comelec can order the Board of Canvassers to determine and proclaim the winner out of
the remaining qualified candidates for representative in said district.

I am not unaware of the pronouncement made by this Court in the case of Labo vs. Comelec, G.R. 86564, August 1, 1989,
176 SCRA 1 which gave the rationale as laid down in the early 1912 case of Topacio vs. Paredes, 23 Phil. 238 that:

. . . . Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who have received the highest
number of votes cast in the election for that office, and it is a fundamental idea in all republican forms of
government that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it
receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election. (20 Corpus Juris 2nd, S 243, p. 676)

The fact that the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is later declared to be disqualified or
not eligible for the office to which he was elected does not necessarily entitle the candidate who obtained the
second highest number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective office. The votes cast for a dead,
disqualified, or non-eligible person may not be valid to vote the winner into office or maintain him there.
However, in the absence of a statute which clearly asserts a contrary political and legislative policy on the
matter, if the votes were cast in the sincere belief that the candidate was alive, qualified, or eligible, they
should not be treated as stray, void or meaningless.

Under Sec. 6 RA 6646, (An Act Introducing Additional Reforms in the Electoral System and for other purposes) (84 O.G. 905,
22 February 1988) it is provided that:

. . . — Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and
the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment
before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such
election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and,
upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may, during the pendency thereof order the suspension of
the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong.

There is no need to indulge in legal hermeneutics to sense the plain and unambiguous meaning of the provision quoted
above. As the law now stands, the legislative policy does not limit its concern with the effect of a final judgement of
disqualification only before the election, but even during or after the election. The law is clear that in all situations, the votes
cast for a disqualified candidate SHALL NOT BE COUNTED. The law has also validated the jurisdiction of the Court or
Commission on Election to continue hearing the petition for disqualification in case a candidate is voted for and receives the
highest number of votes, if for any reason, he is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified.

Since the present case is an after election scenario, the power to suspend proclamation (when evidence of his guilt is strong)
is also explicit under the law. What happens then when after the elections are over, one is declared disqualified? Then, votes
cast for him "shall not be counted" and in legal contemplation, he no longer received the highest number of votes.

It stands to reason that Section 6 of RA 6646 does not make the second placer the winner simply because a "winning
candidate is disqualified," but that the law considers him as the candidate who had obtained the highest number of votes as a
result of the votes cast for the disqualified candidate not being counted or considered.

As this law clearly reflects the legislative policy on the matter, then there is no reason why this Court should not re-examine
and consequently abandon the doctrine in the Jun Labo case. It has been stated that "the qualifications prescribed for elective
office cannot be erased by the electorate alone. The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of
ineligibility" most especially when it is mandated by no less than the Constitution.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition and to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte to proclaim the
candidate receiving the highest number of votes, from among the qualified candidates, as the duly elected representative of
the 1st district of Leyte.

Hermosisima, Jr. J., dissent.

REGALADO, J., dissenting:

While I agree with same of the factual bases of the majority opinion, I cannot arrive conjointly at the same conclusion drawn
therefrom Hence, this dissent which assuredly is not formulated "on the basis of the personality of a petitioner in a case."

I go along with the majority in their narration of antecedent facts, insofar as the same are pertinent to this case, and which I
have simplified as follows:

1. Petitioner, although born in Manila, resided during her childhood in the present Tacloban City, she being a
legitimate daughter of parents who appear to have taken up permanent residence therein. She also went to
school there and, for a time, taught in one of the schools in that city.

2. When she married then Rep. Ferdinand E. Marcos who was then domiciled in Batac, Ilocos Norte, by
operation of law she acquired a new domicile in that place in 1954.

3. In the successive years and during the events that happened thereafter, her husband having been elected
as a Senator and then as President, she lived with him and their family in San Juan, Rizal and then in
Malacanang Palace in San Miguel, Manila.

4. Over those years, she registered as a voter and actually voted in Batac, Ilocos Norte, then in San Juan,
Rizal, and also in San Miguel, Manila, all these merely in the exercise of the right of suffrage.

5. It does not appear that her husband, even after he had assumed those lofty positions successively, ever
abandoned his domicile of origin in Batac, Ilocos Norte where he maintained his residence and invariably
voted in all elections.

6. After the ouster of her husband from the presidency in 1986 and the sojourn of the Marcos family in
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A., she eventually returned to the Philippines in 1991 and resided in different places
which she claimed to have been merely temporary residences.

7. In 1992, petitioner ran for election as President of the Philippines and in her certificate of candidacy she
indicated that she was then a registered voter and resident of San Juan, Metro Manila.

8. On August 24, 1994, she filed a letter for the cancellation of her registration in the Permanent List of Voters
in Precinct No. 157 of San Juan, Metro Manila in order that she may "be re-registered or transferred to Brgy.
Olot, Tolosa, Leyte." On August 31, 1994, she followed this up with her Sworn Application for Cancellation of
Voter's Previous Registration wherein she stated that she was a registered voter in Precinct No. 157-A, Brgy.
Maytunas, San Juan, Metro Manila and that she intended to register in Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.

9. On January 28, 1995, petitioner registered as a voter at Precinct No. 18-A of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, for which
purpose she filed with the therein Board of Election Inspectors a voter's registration record form alleging that
she had resided in that municipality for six months.

10. On March 8, 1995, petitioner filed her certificate of candidacy for the position of Representative of the First
District of Leyte wherein she alleged that she had been a resident for "Seven Months" of the constituency
where she sought to be elected.

11. On March 29, 1995, she filed an "Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy" wherein her answer in the
original certificate of candidacy to item "8. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK, TO BE
ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION:" was changed or replaced with a new entry
reading "SINCE CHILDHOOD."
The sole issue for resolution is whether, for purposes of her candidacy, petitioner had complied with the residency
requirement of one year as mandated by no less than Section 6, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.

I do not intend to impose upon the time of my colleagues with a dissertation on the difference between residence and
domicile. We have had enough of that and I understand that for purposes of political law and, for that matter of international
law, residence is understood to be synonymous with domicile. That is so understood in our jurisprudence and in American
Law, in contradistinction to the concept of residence for purposes of civil, commercial and procedural laws whenever an issue
thereon is relevant or controlling.

Consequently, since in the present case the question of petitioner's residence is integrated in and inseparable from her
domicile, I am addressing the issue from the standpoint of the concept of the latter term, specifically its permutations into the
domicile of origin, domicile of choice and domicile by operation of law, as understood in American law from which for this case
we have taken our jurisprudential bearings.

My readings inform me that the domicile of the parents at the time of birth, or what is termed the "domicile of origin,"
constitutes the domicile of an infant until abandoned, or until the acquisition of a new domicile in a different place. 1 In the
instant case, we may grant that petitioner's domicile of origin, 2 at least as of 1938, was what is now Tacloban City.

Now, as I have observed earlier, domicile is said to be of three kinds, that is, domicile by birth, domicile by choice, and
domicile by operation of law. The first is the common case of the place of birth or domicilium originis, the second is that which
is voluntarily acquired by a party or domicilium propio motu; the last which is consequential, as that of a wife arising from
marriage,3 is sometimes called domicilium necesarium. There is no debate that the domicile of origin can be lost or replaced
by a domicile of choice or a domicile by operation of law subsequently acquired by the party.

When petitioner contracted marriage in 1954 with then Rep. Marcos, by operation of law, not only international or American
but of our own enactment, 4 she acquired her husband's domicile of origin in Batac, Ilocos Norte and correspondingly lost her
own domicile of origin in Tacloban City.

Her subsequent changes of residence — to San Juan, Rizal, then to San Miguel, Manila, thereafter to Honolulu, Hawaii, and
back to now San Juan, Metro Manila — do not appear to have resulted in her thereby acquiring new domiciles of choice. In
fact, it appears that her having resided in those places was by reason of the fortunes or misfortunes of her husband and his
peregrinations in the assumption of new official positions or the loss of them. Her residence in Honolulu and, of course, those
after her return to the Philippines were, as she claimed, against her will or only for transient purposes which could not have
invested them with the status of domiciles of choice.5

After petitioner's return to the Philippines in 1991 and up to the present imbroglio over her requisite residency in Tacloban City
or Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, there is no showing that she ever attempted to acquire any other domicile of choice which could have
resulted in the abandonment of her legal domicile in Batac, Ilocos Norte. On that score, we note the majority's own
submission 6 that, to successfully effect a change of domicile, one must demonstrate (a) an actual removal or an actual
change of domicile, (b) a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one, and (c)
acts which correspond with the purpose.

We consequently have to also note that these requirements for the acquisition of a domicile of choice apply whether what is
sought to be changed or substituted is a domicile of origin (domicilium originis) or a domicile by operation of law (domicilium
necesarium). Since petitioner had lost her domicilium originis which had been replaced by her domicilium necesarium, it is
therefore her continuing domicile in Batac, Ilocos Norte which, if at all, can be the object of legal change under the
contingencies of the case at bar.

To get out of this quandary, the majority decision echoes the dissenting opinion of Commissioner Regalado E. Maambong in
SPA 95-009 of the Commission on Elections,7 and advances this novel proposition.

It may be said that petitioner lost her domicile of origin by operation of law as a result of her marriage to the
late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952 (sic, 1954). By operation of law (domicilium necesarium), her
legal domicile at the time of her marriage became Batac, Ilocos Norte although there were no indications of
an intention on her part to abandon her domicile of origin. Because of her husband's subsequent death and
through the operation of the provisions of the New Family Code already in force at the time, however, her
legal domicile automatically reverted to her domicile of origin. . . . (Emphasis supplied).

Firstly, I am puzzled why although it is conceded that petitioner had acquired a domicilium necesarium in Batac, Ilocos Norte,
the majority insists on making a qualification that she did not intend to abandon her domicile of origin. I find this bewildering
since, in this situation, it is the law that declares where petitioner's domicile is at any given time, and not her self-serving or
putative intent to hold on to her former domicile. Otherwise, contrary to their own admission that one cannot have more than
one domicile at a time,8 the majority would be suggesting that petitioner retained Tacloban City as (for lack of a term in law
since it does not exist therein) the equivalent of what is fancied as a reserved, dormant, potential, or residual domicile.

Secondly, domicile once lost in accordance with law can only be recovered likewise in accordance with law. However, we are
here being titillated with the possibility of an automatic reversion to or reacquisition of a domicile of origin after the termination
of the cause for its loss by operation of law. The majority agrees that since petitioner lost her domicile of origin by her
marriage, the termination of the marriage also terminates that effect thereof. I am impressed by the ingeniousness of this
theory which proves that, indeed, necessity is the mother of inventions. Regretfully, I find some difficulty in accepting either
the logic or the validity of this argument.

If a party loses his domicile of origin by obtaining a new domicile of choice, he thereby voluntarily abandons the former in
favor of the latter. If, thereafter, he abandons that chosen domicile, he does not per se recover his original domicile unless, by
subsequent acts legally indicative thereof, he evinces his intent and desire to establish the same as his new domicile, which is
precisely what petitioner belatedly and, evidently just for purposes of her candidacy, unsuccessfully tried to do.

One's subsequent abandonment of his domicile of choice cannot automatically restore his domicile of origin, not only because
there is no legal authority therefor but because it would be absurd Pursued to its logical consequence, that theory of ipso
jure reversion would rule out the fact that said party could already very well have obtained another domicile, either of choice or
by operation of law, other than his domicile of origin. Significantly and obviously for this reason, the Family Code, which the
majority inexplicably invokes, advisedly does not regulate this contingency since it would impinge on one's freedom of choice.

Now, in the instant case, petitioner not only voluntarily abandoned her domicile of choice (unless we assume that she entered
into the marital state against her will) but, on top of that, such abandonment was further affirmed through her acquisition of a
new domicile by operation of law. In fact, this is even a case of both voluntary and legal abandonment of a domicile of origin.
With much more reason, therefore, should we reject the proposition that with the termination of her marriage in 1989,
petitioner had supposedly per se and ipso facto reacquired her domicile of origin which she lost in 1954. Otherwise, this would
be tantamount to saying that during the period of marital coverture, she was simultaneously in possession and enjoyment of a
domicile of origin which was only in a state of suspended animation.

Thus, the American rule is likewise to the effect that while after the husband's death the wife has the right to elect her own
domicile,9 she nevertheless retains the last domicile of her deceased husband until she makes an actual change. 10 In the
absence of affirmative evidence, to the contrary, the presumption is that a wife's domicile or legal residence follows that of her
husband and will continue after his death. 11

I cannot appreciate the premises advanced in support of the majority's theory based on Articles 68 and 69 of the Family Code.
All that is of any relevance therein is that under this new code, the right and power to fix the family domicile is now shared by
the spouses. I cannot perceive how that joint right, which in the first place was never exercised by the spouses, could affect
the domicile fixed by the law for petitioner in 1954 and, for her husband, long prior thereto. It is true that a wife now has the
coordinate power to determine the conjugal or family domicile, but that has no bearing on this case. With the death of her
husband, and each of her children having gotten married and established their own respective domiciles, the exercise of that
joint power was and is no longer called for or material in the present factual setting of this controversy. Instead, what is of
concern in petitioner's case was the matter of her having acquired or not her own domicile of choice.

I agree with the majority's discourse on the virtues of the growing and expanded participation of women in the affairs of the
nation, with equal rights and recognition by Constitution and statutory conferment. However, I have searched in vain for a
specific law or judicial pronouncement which either expressly or by necessary implication supports the majority's desired
theory of automatic reacquisition of or reversion to the domicilium originis of petitioner. Definitely, as between
the settled and desirable legal norms that should govern this issue, there is a world of difference; and, unquestionably, this
should be resolved by legislative articulation but not by the eloquence of the well-turned phrase.

In sum, petitioner having lost Tacloban City as her domicile of origin since 1954 and not having automatically reacquired any
domicile therein, she cannot legally claim that her residency in the political constituency of which it is a part continued since
her birth up to the present. Respondent commission was, therefore, correct in rejecting her pretension to that effect in her
amended/corrected certificate of candidacy, and in holding her to her admission in the original certificate that she had actually
resided in that constituency for only seven months prior to the election. These considerations render it unnecessary to further
pass upon the procedural issues raised by petitioner.

ON THE FOREGOING PREMISES, I vote to DISMISS the petition for lack of merit.

DAVIDE, JR., J., dissenting:


I respectfully dissent from the opinion of the majority written by Mr. Justice Santiago M. Kapunan, more particularly on the
issue of the petitioner's qualification.

Under Section 7, Subdivision A, Article IX of the Constitution, decisions, orders, or rulings of the COMELEC may be brought
to this Court only by the special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court (Aratuc vs. COMELEC, 88 SCRA
251 [1979]; Dario vs. Mison, 176 SCRA 84 [1989]).

Accordingly, a writ of certiorari may be granted only if the COMELEC has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with
grave abuse of discretion (Section 1, Rule 65, Rules of Court). Since the COMELEC has, undoubtedly, jurisdiction over the
private respondent's petition, the only issue left is whether it acted with grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying the petitioner.

My careful and meticulous perusal of the challenged resolution of 24 April 1995 of the COMELEC Second Division and the En
Banc resolution of 7 May 1995 discloses total absence of abuse of discretion, much less grave abuse thereof. The resolution
of the Second Division dispassionately and objectively discussed in minute details the facts which established beyond cavil
that herein petitioner was disqualified as a candidate on the ground of lack of residence in the First Congressional District of
Leyte. It has not misapplied, miscomprehended, or misunderstood facts or circumstances of substance pertinent to the issue
of her residence.

The majority opinion, however, overturned the COMELEC's findings of fact for lack of proof that the petitioner has abandoned
Tolosa as her domicile of origin, which is allegedly within the First Congressional District of Leyte.

I respectfully submit that the petitioner herself has provided the COMELEC, either by admission or by documentary evidence,
overwhelming proof of the loss or abandonment of her domicile of origin, which is Tacloban City and not Tolosa, Leyte.
Assuming that she decided to live again in her domicile of origin, that became her second domicile of choice, where her stay,
unfortunately, was for only seven months before the day of the election. She was then disqualified to be a candidate for the
position of Representative of the First Congressional District of Leyte. A holding to the contrary would be arbitrary.

It may indeed be conceded that the petitioner's domicile of choice was either Tacloban City or Tolosa, Leyte. Nevertheless,
she lost it by operation of law sometime in May 1954 upon her marriage to the then Congressman (later, President) Ferdinand
E. Marcos. A domicile by operation of law is that domicile which the law attributes to a person, independently of his own
intention or actual residence, as results from legal domestic relations as that of the wife arising from marriage (28 C.J.S.
Domicile § 7, 11). Under the governing law then, Article 110 of the Civil Code, her new domicile or her domicile of choice was
the domicile of her husband, which was Batac, Ilocos Norte. Said Article reads as follows:

Art. 110. The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may exempt the wife from living with
the husband if he should live abroad unless in the service of the Republic.

Commenting thereon, civilist Arturo M. Tolentino states:

Although the duty of the spouses to live together is mutual, the husband has a predominant right because he
is empowered by law to fix the family residence. This right even predominates over some rights recognized by
law in the wife. For instance, under article 117 the wife may engage in business or practice a profession or
occupation. But because of the power of the husband to fix the family domicilehe may fix it at such a place as
would make it impossible for the wife to continue in business or in her profession. For justifiable reasons,
however, the wife may be exempted from living in the residence chosen by the husband. The husband cannot
validly allege desertion by the wife who refuses to follow him to a new place of residence, when it appears
that they have lived for years in a suitable home belonging to the wife, and that his choice of a different home
is not made in good faith. (Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Civil Code of the Philippines, vol. 1, 1985
ed., 339).

Under common law, a woman upon her marriage loses her own domicile and, by operation of law, acquires that of her
husband, no matter where the wife actually lives or what she believes or intends. Her domicile is fixed in the sense that it is
declared to be the same as his, and subject to certain limitations, he can change her domicile by changing his own (25 Am Jur
2d Domicile § 48, 37).

It must, however, be pointed out that under Article 69 of the Family Code, the fixing of the family domicile is no longer the sole
prerogative of the husband, but is now a joint decision of the spouses, and in case of disagreement the court shall decide. The
said article uses the term "family domicile," and not family residence, as "the spouses may have multiple residences, and the
wife may elect to remain in one of such residences, which may destroy the duty of the spouses to live together and its
corresponding benefits" (ALICIA V. SEMPIO-DIY, Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines, [1988], 102).
The theory of automatic restoration of a woman's domicile of origin upon the death of her husband, which the majority opinion
adopts to overcome the legal effect of the petitioner's marriage on her domicile, is unsupported by law and by jurisprudence.
The settled doctrine is that after the husband's death the wife has a right to elect her own domicile, but she retains the last
domicile of her husband until she makes an actual change (28 C.J.S. Domicile § 12, 27). Or, on the death of the husband, the
power of the wife to acquire her own domicile is revived, but until she exercises the power her domicile remains that of the
husband at the time of his death (25 Am Jur 2d Domicile § 62, 45). Note that what is revived is not her domicile of origin
but her power to acquire her own domicile.

Clearly, even after the death of her husband, the petitioner's domicile was that of her husband at the time of his death —
which was Batac, Ilocos Norte, since their residences in San Juan, Metro Manila, and San Miguel, Manila, were their
residences for convenience to enable her husband to effectively perform his official duties. Their residence in San Juan was a
conjugal home, and it was there to which she returned in 1991 when she was already a widow. In her sworn certificate of
candidacy for the Office of the President in the synchronized elections of May 1992, she indicated therein that she was a
resident of San Juan, Metro Manila. She also voted in the said elections in that place.

On the basis of her evidence, it was only on 24 August 1994 when she exercised her right as a widow to acquire her own
domicile in Tolosa, Leyte, through her sworn statement requesting the Election Officer of San Juan, Metro Manila, to cancel
her registration in the permanent list of voters in Precinct 157 thereat and praying that she be "re-registered or transferred to
Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, the place of [her] birth and permanent residence" (photocopy of Exhibit "B," attached as Annex "2"
of private respondent Montejo's Comment). Notably, she contradicted this sworn statement regarding her place of birth when,
in her Voter's Affidavit sworn to on 15 March 1992 (photocopy of Exhibit "C," attached as Annex "3," Id.), her Voter
Registration Record sworn to on 28 January 1995 (photocopy of Exhibit "E," attached as Annex "5," Id.), and her Certificate of
Candidacy sworn to on 8 March 1995 (photocopy of Exhibit "A," attached as Annex "1," Id.), she solemnly declared that she
was born in Manila.

The petitioner is even uncertain as to her domicile of origin. Is it Tacloban City or Tolosa, Leyte? In the affidavit attached to
her Answer to the petition for disqualification (Annex "I" of Petition), she declared under oath that her "domicile or residence is
Tacloban City." If she did intend to return to such domicile or residence of origin why did she inform the Election Officer of San
Juan that she would transfer to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, and indicate in her Voter's Registration Record and in her certificate of
candidacy that her residence is Olot, Tolosa, Leyte? While this uncertainty is not important insofar as residence in the
congressional district is concerned, it nevertheless proves that forty-one years had already lapsed since she had lost or
abandoned her domicile of origin by virtue of marriage and that such length of time diminished her power of recollection or
blurred her memory.

I find to be misplaced the reliance by the majority opinion on Faypon vs. Quirino (96 Phil. 294 [1954]), and the subsequent
cases which established the principle that absence from original residence or domicile of origin to pursue studies, practice
one's profession, or engage in business in other states does not constitute loss of such residence or domicile. So is the
reliance on Section 117 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides that transfer of residence to any other place by reason
of one's "occupation; profession; employment in private and public service; educational activities; work in military or naval
reservations; service in the army, navy or air force, the constabulary or national police force; or confinement or detention in
government institutions in accordance with law" is not deemed as loss of original residence. Those cases and legal provision
do not include marriage of a woman. The reason for the exclusion is, of course, Article 110 of the Civil Code. If it were the
intention of this Court or of the legislature to consider the marriage of a woman as a circumstance which would not operate as
an abandonment of domicile (of origin or of choice), then such cases and legal provision should have expressly mentioned the
same.

This Court should not accept as gospel truth the self-serving claim of the petitioner in her affidavit (Annex "A" of her Answer in
COMELEC SPA No. 95-009; Annex "I" of Petition) that her "domicile or residence of origin is Tacloban City," and that she
"never intended to abandon this domicile or residence of origin to which [she] always intended to return whenever absent."
Such a claim of intention cannot prevail over the effect of Article 110 of the Civil Code. Besides, the facts and circumstances
or the vicissitudes of the petitioner's life after her marriage in 1954 conclusively establish that she had indeed abandoned her
domicile of origin and had acquired a new one animo et facto (KOSSUTH KENT KENNAN, A Treatise on Residence and
Domicile, [1934], 214, 326).

Neither should this Court place complete trust on the petitioner's claim that she "merely committed an honest mistake" in
writing down the word "seven" in the space provided for the residency qualification requirement in the certificate of candidacy.
Such a claim is self-serving and, in the light of the foregoing disquisitions, would be all sound and fury signifying nothing. To
me, she did not commit any mistake, honest or otherwise; what she stated was the truth.

The majority opinion also disregards a basic rule in evidence that he who asserts a fact or the affirmative of an issue has the
burden of proving it (Imperial Victory Shipping Agency vs. NLRC, 200 SCRA 178 [1991]; P.T. Cerna Corp. vs. Court of
Appeals, 221 SCRA 19 [1993]). Having admitted marriage to the then Congressman Marcos, the petitioner could not deny the
legal consequence thereof on the change of her domicile to that of her husband. The majority opinion rules or at least
concludes that "[b]y operation of law (domicilium necesarium), her legal domicile at the time of her marriage automatically
became Batac, Ilocos Norte." That conclusion is consistent with Article 110 of the Civil Code. Since she is presumed to retain
her deceased husband's domicile until she exercises her revived power to acquire her own domicile, the burden is upon her to
prove that she has exercised her right to acquire her own domicile. She miserably failed to discharge that burden.

I vote to deny the petition.

Separate Opinions

PUNO, J., concurring:

It was Aristotle who taught mankind that things that are alike should be treated alike, while things that are unalike should be
treated unalike in proportion to their unalikeness.1 Like other candidates, petitioner has clearly met the residence requirement
provided by Section 6, Article VI of the Constitution.2 We cannot disqualify her and treat her unalike, for the Constitution
guarantees equal protection of the law. I proceed from the following factual and legal propositions:

First. There is no question that petitioner's original domicile is in Tacloban, Leyte. Her parents were domiciled in Tacloban.
Their ancestral house is in Tacloban. They have vast real estate in the place. Petitioner went to school and thereafter worked
there. I consider Tacloban as her initial domicile, both her domicile of origin and her domicile of choice. Her domicile of origin
as it was the domicile of her parents when she was a minor; and her domicile of choice, as she continued living there even
after reaching the age of majority.

Second. There is also no question that in May, 1954, petitioner married the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. By
contracting marriage, her domicile became subject to change by law, and the right to change it was given by Article 110 of the
Civil Code provides:

Art. 110. The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may exempt the wife from living with
the husband if he should live abroad unless in the service of the Republic.3 (Emphasis supplied)

In De la Viña v. Villareal and Geopano,4 this Court explained why the domicile of the wife ought to follow that of the
husband. We held: "The reason is founded upon the theoretic identity of person and interest between the husband
and the wife, and the presumption that, from the nature of the relation, the home of one is the home of the other. It is
intended to promote, strengthen, and secure their interests in this relation, as it ordinarily exists, where union and
harmony prevail."5 In accord with this objective, Article 109 of the Civil Code also obligated the husband and wife "to
live together."

Third. The difficult issues start as we determine whether petitioner's marriage to former President Marcos ipso facto resulted
in the loss of her Tacloban domicile. I respectfully submit that her marriage by itself alone did not cause her to lose her
Tacloban domicile. Article 110 of the Civil Code merely gave the husband the right to fix the domicile of the family. In the
exercise of the right, the husband may explicitly choose the prior domicile of his wife, in which case, the wife's domicile
remains unchanged. The husband can also implicitly acquiesce to his wife's prior domicile even if it is different. So we held
in de la Viña,6

. . . . When married women as well as children subject to parental authority live, with the acquiescence of their
husbands or fathers, in a place distinct from where the latter live, they have their own independent domicile. .
..

It is not, therefore, the mere fact of marriage but the deliberate choice of a different domicile by the husband that will
change the domicile of a wife from what it was prior to their marriage. The domiciliary decision made by the husband
in the exercise of the right conferred by Article 110 of the Civil Code binds the wife. Any and all acts of a wife during
her coverture contrary to the domiciliary choice of the husband cannot change in any way the domicile legally fixed by
the husband. These acts are void not only because the wife lacks the capacity to choose her domicile but also
because they are contrary to law and public policy.

In the case at bench, it is not disputed that former President Marcos exercised his right to fix the family domicile and
established it in Batac, Ilocos Norte, where he was then the congressman. At that particular point of time and throughout their
married life, petitioner lost her domicile in Tacloban, Leyte. Since petitioner's Batac domicile has been fixed by operation of
law, it was not affected in 1959 when her husband was elected as Senator, when they lived in San Juan, Rizal and where she
registered as a voter. It was not also affected in 1965 when her husband was elected President, when they lived in
Malacañang Palace, and when she registered as a voter in San Miguel, Manila. Nor was it affected when she served as a
member of the Batasang Pambansa, Minister of Human Settlements and Governor of Metro Manila during the incumbency of
her husband as President of the nation. Under Article 110 of the Civil Code, it was only her husband who could change the
family domicile in Batac and the evidence shows he did not effect any such change. To a large degree, this follows the
common law that "a woman on her marriage loses her own domicile and by operation of law, acquires that of her husband, no
matter where the wife actually lives or what she believes or intends."7

Fourth. The more difficult task is how to interpret the effect of the death on September 28, 1989 of former President Marcos
on petitioner's Batac domicile. The issue is of first impression in our jurisdiction and two (2) schools of thought contend for
acceptance. One is espoused by our distinguished colleague, Mr. Justice Davide, Jr., heavily relying on American
authorities.8 He echoes the theory that after the husband's death, the wife retains the last domicile of her husband until she
makes an actual change.

I do not subscribe to this submission. The American case law that the wife still retains her dead husband's domicile is based
on ancient common law which we can no longer apply in the Philippine setting today. The common law identified the domicile
of a wife as that of the husband and denied to her the power of acquiring a domicile of her own separate and apart from
him.9 Legal scholars agree that two (2) reasons support this common law doctrine. The first reason as pinpointed by the
legendary Blackstone is derived from the view that "the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during
the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband." 10 The second reason lies in "the
desirability of having the interests of each member of the family unit governed by the same law." 11 The presumption that the
wife retains the domicile of her deceased husband is an extension of this common law concept. The concept and its extension
have provided some of the most iniquitous jurisprudence against women. It was under common law that the 1873 American
case of Bradwell v. Illinois 12 was decided where women were denied the right to practice law. It was unblushingly ruled that
"the natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of
civil life . . . This is the law of the Creator." Indeed, the rulings relied upon by Mr. Justice Davide in CJS 13 and AM JUR
2d14 are American state court decisions handed down between the years 191715 and 1938,16 or before the time when women
were accorded equality of rights with men. Undeniably, the women's liberation movement resulted in far-ranging state
legislations in the United States to eliminate gender inequality. 17 Starting in the decade of the seventies, the courts likewise
liberalized their rulings as they started invalidating laws infected with gender-bias. It was in 1971 when the US Supreme Court
in Reed v.Reed,18 struck a big blow for women equality when it declared as unconstitutional an Idaho law that required
probate courts to choose male family members over females as estate administrators. It held that mere administrative
inconvenience cannot justify a sex-based distinction. These significant changes both in law and in case law on the status of
women virtually obliterated the iniquitous common law surrendering the rights of married women to their husbands based on
the dubious theory of the parties' theoretic oneness. The Corpus Juris Secundum editors did not miss the relevance of this
revolution on women's right as they observed: "However, it has been declared that under modern statutes changing the status
of married women and departing from the common law theory of marriage, there is no reason why a wife may not acquire a
separate domicile for every purpose known to the law."19In publishing in 1969 the Restatement of the Law, Second (Conflict of
Laws 2d), the reputable American Law Institute also categorically stated that the view of Blackstone ". . . is no longer held. As
the result of statutes and court decisions, a wife now possesses practically the same rights and powers as her unmarried
sister."20

In the case at bench, we have to decide whether we should continue clinging to the anachronistic common law that demeans
women, especially married women. I submit that the Court has no choice except to break away from this common law rule,
the root of the many degradations of Filipino women. Before 1988, our laws particularly the Civil Code, were full of gender
discriminations against women. Our esteemed colleague, Madam Justice Flerida Ruth Romero, cited a few of them as
follows:21

xxx xxx xxx

Legal Disabilities Suffered by Wives

Not generally known is the fact that under the Civil Code, wives suffer under certain restrictions or disabilities.
For instance, the wife cannot accept gifts from others, regardless of the sex of the giver or the value of the
gift, other than from her very close relatives, without her husband's consent. She may accept only from, say,
her parents, parents-in-law, brothers, sisters and the relatives within the so-called fourth civil degree. She
may not exercise her profession or occupation or engage in business if her husband objects on serious
grounds or if his income is sufficient to support their family in accordance with their social standing. As to what
constitutes "serious grounds" for objecting, this is within the discretion of the husband.

xxx xxx xxx


Because of the present inequitable situation, the amendments to the Civil Law being proposed by the
University of the Philippines Law Center would allow absolute divorce which severes the matrimonial ties,
such that the divorced spouses are free to get married a year after the divorce is decreed by the courts.
However, in order to place the husband and wife on an equal footing insofar as the bases for divorce are
concerned, the following are specified as the grounds for absolute divorce: (1) adultery or having a paramour
committed by the respondent in any of the ways specified in the Revised Penal Code or (2) an attempt by the
respondent against the life of the petitioner which amounts to attempted parricide under the Revised Penal
Code; (3) abandonment of the petitioner by the respondent without just cause for a period of three
consecutive years; or (4) habitual maltreatment.

With respect to property relations, the husband is automatically the administrator of the conjugal property
owned in common by the married couple even if the wife may be the more astute or enterprising partner. The
law does not leave it to the spouses to decide who shall act as such administrator. Consequently, the
husband is authorized to engage in acts and enter into transactions beneficial to the conjugal partnership. The
wife, however, cannot similarly bind the partnership without the husband's consent.

And while both exercise joint parental authority over their children, it is the father whom the law designates as
the legal administrator of the property pertaining to the unemancipated child.

Taking the lead in Asia, our government exerted efforts, principally through legislations, to eliminate inequality
between men and women in our land. The watershed came on August 3, 1988 when our Family Code took effect
which, among others, terminated the unequal treatment of husband and wife as to their rights and responsibilities.22

The Family Code attained this elusive objective by giving new rights to married women and by abolishing sex-based privileges
of husbands. Among others, married women are now given the joint right to administer the family property, whether in the
absolute community system or in the system of conjugal partnership; 23 joint parental authority over their minor children, both
over their persons as well as their properties;24 joint responsibility for the support of the family;25 the right to jointly manage the
household;26 and, the right to object to their husband's exercise of profession, occupation, business or activity. 27 Of particular
relevance to the case at bench is Article 69 of the Family Code which took away the exclusive right of the husband to fix the
family domicile and gave it jointly to the husband and the wife, thus:

Art. 69. The husband and wife shall fix the family domicile. In case of disagreement, the court shall decide.

The court may exempt one spouse from living with the other if the latter should live abroad or there are other
valid and compelling reasons for the exemption. However, such exemption shall not apply if the same is not
compatible with the solidarity of the family. (Emphasis supplied)

Article 69 repealed Article 110 of the Civil Code. Commenting on the duty of the husband and wife to live together,
former Madam Justice Alice Sempio-Diy of the Court of Appeals specified the instances when a wife may now refuse
to live with her husband, thus:28

(2) The wife has the duty to live with her husband, but she may refuse to do so in certain cases like:

(a) If the place chosen by the husband as family residence is dangerous to her Life;

(b) If the husband subjects her to maltreatment or abusive conduct or insults, making
common life impossible;

(c) If the husband compels her to live with his parents, but she cannot get along with her
mother-in-law and they have constant quarrels (Del Rosario v. Del Rosario, CA, 46 OG
6122);

(d) Where the husband has continuously carried illicit relations for 10 years with different
women and treated his wife roughly and without consideration. (Dadivas v. Villanueva, 54
Phil. 92);

(e) Where the husband spent his time in gambling, giving no money to his family for food and
necessities, and at the same time insulting his wife and laying hands on her. (Panuncio v.
Sula, CA, 34 OG 129);
(f) If the husband has no fixed residence and lives a vagabond life as a tramp (1 Manresa
329);

(g) If the husband is carrying on a shameful business at home (Gahn v. Darby, 38 La. Ann.
70).

The inescapable conclusion is that our Family Code has completely emancipated the wife from the control of the
husband, thus abandoning the parties' theoretic identity of interest. No less than the late revered Mr. Justice J.B.L.
Reyes who chaired the Civil Code Revision Committee of the UP Law Center gave this insightful view in one of his
rare lectures after retirement:29

xxx xxx xxx

The Family Code is primarily intended to reform the family law so as to emancipate the wife from the
exclusive control of the husband and to place her at parity with him insofar as the family is concerned. The
wife and the husband are now placed on equal standing by the Code. They are now joint administrators of the
family properties and exercise joint authority over the persons and properties of their children. This means a
dual authority in the family. The husband will no longer prevail over the wife but she has to agree on all
matters concerning the family. (Emphasis supplied)

In light of the Family Code which abrogated the inequality between husband and wife as started and perpetuated by
the common law, there is no reason in espousing the anomalous rule that the wife still retains the domicile of her dead
husband. Article 110 of the Civil Code which provides the statutory support for this stance has been repealed by
Article 69 of the Family Code. By its repeal, it becomes a dead-letter law, and we are not free to resurrect it by giving
it further effect in any way or manner such as by ruling that the petitioner is still bound by the domiciliary determination
of her dead husband.

Aside from reckoning with the Family Code, we have to consider our Constitution and its firm guarantees of due process and
equal protection of
law.30 It can hardly be doubted that the common law imposition on a married woman of her dead husband's domicile even
beyond his grave is patently discriminatory to women. It is a gender-based discrimination and is not rationally related to the
objective of promoting family solidarity. It cannot survive a constitutional challenge. Indeed, compared with our previous
fundamental laws, the 1987 Constitution is more concerned with equality between sexes as it explicitly commands that the
State ". . . shall ensure fundamental equality before the law of women and men." To be exact, section 14, Article II provides:
"The State recognizes the role of women in nation building, and shall ensure fundamental equality before the law of women
and men. We shall be transgressing the sense and essence of this constitutional mandate if we insist on giving our women
the caveman's treatment.

Prescinding from these premises, I respectfully submit that the better stance is to rule that petitioner reacquired her Tacloban
domicile upon the death of her husband in 1989. This is the necessary consequence of the view that petitioner's Batac
dictated domicile did not continue after her husband's death; otherwise, she would have no domicile and that will violate the
universal rule that no person can be without a domicile at any point of time. This stance also restores the right of petitioner to
choose her domicile before it was taken away by Article 110 of the Civil Code, a right now recognized by the Family Code and
protected by the Constitution. Likewise, I cannot see the fairness of the common law requiring petitioner to choose again her
Tacloban domicile before she could be released from her Batac domicile. She lost her Tacloban domicile not through her act
but through the act of her deceased husband when he fixed their domicile in Batac. Her husband is dead and he cannot rule
her beyond the grave. The law disabling her to choose her own domicile has been repealed. Considering all these, common
law should not put the burden on petitioner to prove she has abandoned her dead husband's domicile. There is neither rhyme
nor reason for this gender-based burden.

But even assuming arguendo that there is need for convincing proof that petitioner chose to reacquire her Tacloban domicile,
still, the records reveal ample evidence to this effect. In her affidavit submitted to the respondent COMELEC, petitioner
averred:

xxx xxx xxx

36. In November, 1991, I came home to our beloved country, after several requests for my return were denied
by President Corazon C. Aquino, and after I filed suits for our Government to issue me my passport.

37. But I came home without the mortal remains of my beloved husband, President Ferdinand E. Marcos,
which the Government considered a threat to the national security and welfare.
38. Upon my return to the country, I wanted to immediately live and reside in Tacloban City or in Olot, Tolosa,
Leyte, even if my residences there were not livable as they had been destroyed and cannibalized. The
PCGG, however, did not permit and allow me.

39. As a consequence, I had to live at various times in the Westin Philippine Plaza in Pasay City, a friend's
apartment on Ayala Avenue, a house in South Forbes Park which my daughter rented, and Pacific Plaza, all
in Makati.

40. After the 1992 Presidential Elections, I lived and resided in the residence of my brother in San Jose,
Tacloban City, and pursued my negotiations with PCGG to recover my sequestered residences in Tacloban
City and Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.

40.1 In preparation for my observance of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day that year, I
renovated my parents' burial grounds and entombed their bones which had been excalvated,
unearthed and scattered.

41. On November 29, 1993, I formally wrote PCGG Chairman Magtanggol Gunigundo for permissions to —

. . . rehabilitate . . . (o)ur ancestral house in Tacloban and farmhouse in Olot, Leyte . . . to


make them livable for us the Marcos family to have a home in our own motherland.

xxx xxx xxx

42. It was only on 06 June 1994, however, when PCGG Chairman Gunigundo, in his letter to Col. Simeon
Kempis, Jr., PCGG Region 8 Representative, allowed me to repair and renovate my Leyte residences. I quote
part of his letter:

Dear Col. Kempis,

Upon representation by Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos to this Commission, that she intends to visit
our sequestered properties in Leyte, please allow her access thereto. She may also cause
repairs and renovation of the sequestered properties, in which event, it shall be understood
that her undertaking said repairs is not authorization for her to take over said properties, and
that all expenses shall be for her account and not reimbursable. Please extend the necessary
courtesy to her.

xxx xxx xxx

43. I was not permitted, however, to live and stay in the Sto. Niño Shrine residence in Tacloban City where I
wanted to stay and reside, after repairs and renovations were completed. In August 1994, I transferred from
San Jose, Tacloban City, to my residence in Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, when PCGG permitted me to stay
and live there.

It is then clear that in 1992 petitioner reestablished her domicile in the First District of Leyte. It is not disputed that in
1992, she first lived at the house of her brother in San Jose, Tacloban City and later, in August 1994, she transferred
her residence in Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. Both Tacloban City and the municipality of Olot are within the First
District of Leyte. Since petitioner reestablished her old domicile in 1992 in the First District of Leyte, she more than
complied with the constitutional requirement of residence
". . . for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election," i.e., the May 8, 1995
elections.

The evidence presented by the private respondent to negate the Tacloban domicile of petitioner is nil. He presented
petitioner's Voter's Registration Record filed with the Board of Election Inspectors of Precinct 10-A of Barangay Olot, Tolosa,
Leyte wherein she stated that her period of residence in said barangay was six (6) months as of the date of her filing of said
Voter's Registration Record on January 28, 1995.31 This statement in petitioner's Voter's Registration Record is a non-
prejudicial admission. The Constitution requires at least one (1) year residence in the district in which the candidate shall be
elected. In the case at bench, the reference is the First District of Leyte. Petitioner's statement proved that she resided in Olot
six (6) months before January 28, 1995 but did not disprovethat she has also resided in Tacloban City starting 1992. As
aforestated, Olot and Tacloban City are both within the First District of Leyte, hence, her six (6) months residence in Olot
should be counted not against, but in her favor. Private respondent also presented petitioner's Certificate of Candidacy filed
on March 8, 199532 where she placed seven (7) months after Item No. 8 which called for information regarding "residence in
the constituency where I seek to be elected immediately preceding the election." Again, this original certificate of candidacy
has no evidentiary value because an March 1, 1995 it was corrected by petitioner. In her Amended/Corrected Certificate of
Candidacy,33 petitioner wrote "since childhood" after Item No. 8. The amendment of a certificate of candidacy to correct
a bona fide mistake has been allowed by this Court as a matter of course and as a matter of right. As we held in Alialy
v. COMELEC,34 viz.:

xxx xxx xxx

The absence of the signature of the Secretary of the local chapter N.P in the original certificate of candidacy
presented before the deadline September 11, 1959, did not render the certificate invalid. The amendment of
the certificate, although at a date after the deadline, but before the election, was substantial compliance with
the law, and the defect was cured.

It goes without saying that petitioner's erroneous Certificate of Candidacy filed on March 8, 1995 cannot be used as
evidence against her. Private respondent's petition for the disqualification of petitioner rested alone on these two (2)
brittle pieces of documentary evidence — petitioner's Voter's Registration Record and her original Certificate of
Candidacy. Ranged against the evidence of the petitioner showing her ceaseless contacts with Tacloban, private
respondent's two (2) pieces of evidence are too insufficient to disqualify petitioner, more so, to deny her the right to
represent the people of the First District of Leyte who have overwhelmingly voted for her.

Fifth. Section 10, Article IX-C of the Constitution mandates that "bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from
any form of harassment and discrimination."35 A detached reading of the records of the case at bench will show that all forms
of legal and extra-legal obstacles have been thrown against petitioner to prevent her from running as the people's
representative in the First District of Leyte. In petitioner's Answer to the petition to disqualify her, she averred: 36

xxx xxx xxx

10. Petitioner's (herein private respondent Montejo) motive in filing the instant petition is devious. When
respondent (petitioner herein) announced that she was intending to register as a voter in Tacloban City and
run for Congress in the First District of Leyte, petitioner (Montejo) immediately opposed her intended
registration by writing a letter stating that "she is not a resident of said city but of Barangay Olot, Tolosa,
Leyte." (Annex "2" of respondent's affidavit, Annex "2"). After respondent (petitioner herein) had registered as
a voter in Tolosa following completion of her six-month actual residence therein, petitioner (Montejo) filed a
petition with the COMELEC to transfer the town of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District and
pursued such move up to the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 118702, his purpose being to remove respondent
(petitioner herein) as petitioner's (Montejo's) opponent in the congressional election in the First District. He
also filed a bill, along with other Leyte Congressmen, seeking to create another legislative district, to remove
the town of Tolosa out of the First District and to make it a part of the new district, to achieve his purpose.
However, such bill did not pass the Senate. Having, failed on such moves, petitioner now filed the instant
petition, for the same objective, as it is obvious that he is afraid to submit himself along with respondent
(petitioner herein) for the judgment and verdict of the electorate of the First District of Leyte in an honest,
orderly, peaceful, free and clean elections on May 8, 1995.

These allegations which private respondent did not challenge were not lost
to the perceptive eye of Commissioner Maambong who in his Dissenting Opinion, 37 held:

xxx xxx xxx

Prior to the registration date — January 28, 1995 the petitioner (herein private respondent Montejo) wrote the
Election Officer of Tacloban City not to allow respondent (petitioner herein) to register thereat since she is a
resident of Tolosa and not Tacloban City. The purpose of this move of the petitioner (Montejo) is not lost to
(sic) the Commission. In UND No. 95-001 (In the matter of the Legislative Districts of the Provinces of Leyte,
Iloilo, and South Cotabato, Out of Which the New Provinces of Biliran, Guimaras and Saranggani Were
Respectively Created), . . . Hon. Cirilo Roy G. Montejo, Representative, First District of Leyte, wanted the
Municipality of Tolosa, in the First District of Leyte, transferred to the Second District of Leyte. The Hon.
Sergio A.F. Apostol, Representative of the Second District of Leyte, opposed the move of the petitioner
(Montejo). Under Comelec Resolution No. 2736 (December 29, 1994), the Commission on Elections refused
to make the proposed transfer. Petitioner (Montejo) filed "Motion for Reconsideration of Resolution
No. 2736" which the Commission denied in a Resolution promulgated on February 1, 1995. Petitioner
(Montejo) filed a petition for certiorari before the Honorable Supreme Court (Cirilo Roy G. Montejo vs.
Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 118702) questioning the resolution of the Commission. Believing that he
could get a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court, petitioner (Montejo) tried to make sure that the
respondent (petitioner herein) will register as a voter in Tolosa so that she will be forced to run as
Representative not in the First but in the Second District.

It did not happen. On March 16, 1995, the Honorable Supreme Court unanimously promulgated a "Decision,"
penned by Associate Justice Reynato S. Puno, the dispositive portion of which reads:

IN VIEW WHEREOF, Section 1 of Resolution No. 2736 insofar as it transferred the


municipality of Capoocan of the Second District and the municipality of Palompon of the
Fourth District to the Third District of the province of Leyte, is annulled and set aside. We also
deny the Petition praying for the transfer of the municipality of Tolosa from the First District to
the Second District of the province of Leyte. No costs.

Petitioner's (Montejo's) plan did not work. But the respondent (petitioner herein) was constrained to register in
the Municipality of Tolosa where her house is instead of Tacloban City, her domicile. In any case, both
Tacloban City and Tolosa are in the First Legislative District.

All these attempts to misuse our laws and legal processes are forms of rank harassments and invidious
discriminations against petitioner to deny her equal access to a public office. We cannot commit any hermeneutic
violence to the Constitution by torturing the meaning of equality, the end result of which will allow the harassment and
discrimination of petitioner who has lived a controversial life, a past of alternating light and shadow. There is but one
Constitution for all Filipinos. Petitioner cannot be adjudged by a "different" Constitution, and the worst way to interpret
the Constitution is to inject in its interpretation, bile and bitterness.

Sixth. In Gallego v. Vera,38 we explained that the reason for this residence requirement is "to exclude a stranger or newcomer,
unacquainted, with the conditions and needs of a community and not identified with the latter, from an elective office to serve
that community . . . ." Petitioner's lifetime contacts with the First District of Leyte cannot be contested. Nobody can claim that
she is not acquainted with its problems because she is a stranger to the place. None can argue she cannot satisfy the intent
of the Constitution.

Seventh. In resolving election cases, a dominant consideration is the need to effectuate the will of the electorate. The election
results show that petitioner received Seventy Thousand Four Hundred Seventy-one (70,471) votes, while private respondent
got only Thirty-Six Thousand Eight Hundred Thirty-Three (36,833) votes. Petitioner is clearly the overwhelming choice of the
electorate of the First District of Leyte and this is not a sleight of statistics. We cannot frustrate this sovereign will on highly
arguable technical considerations. In case of doubt, we should lean towards a rule that will give life to the people's political
judgment.

A final point. The case at bench provides the Court with the rare opportunity to rectify the inequality of status between women
and men by rejecting the iniquitous common law precedents on the domicile of married women and by redefining domicile in
accord with our own culture, law, and Constitution. To rule that a married woman is eternally tethered to the domicile dictated
by her dead husband is to preserve the anachronistic and anomalous balance of advantage of a husband over his wife. We
should not allow the dead to govern the living even if the glories of yesteryears seduce us to shout long live the dead! The
Family Code buried this gender-based discrimination against married women and we should not excavate what has been
entombed. More importantly, the Constitution forbids it.

I vote to grant the petition.

Bellosillo and Melo, JJ., concur.

FRANCISCO, J., concurring:

I concur with Mr. Justice Kapunan's ponencia finding petitioner qualified for the position of Representative of the First
Congressional District of Leyte. I wish, however, to express a few comments on the issue of petitioner's domicile.

Domicile has been defined as that place in which a person's habitation is fixed, without any present intention of removing
therefrom, and that place is properly the domicile of a person in which he has voluntarily fixed his abode, or habitation, not for
a mere special or temporary purpose, but with a present intention of making it his permanent home (28 C.J.S. §1). It denotes
a fixed permanent residence to which when absent for business, or pleasure, or for like reasons one intends to return, and
depends on facts and circumstances, in the sense that they disclose intent. (Ong Huan Tin v. Republic, 19 SCRA 966, 969)
Domicile is classified into domicile of origin and domicile of choice. The law attributes to every individual a domicile of origin,
which is the domicile of his parents, or of the head of his family, or of the person on whom he is legally dependent at the time
of his birth. While the domicile of origin is generally the place where one is born or reared, it maybe elsewhere (28 C.J.S. §5).
Domicile of choice, on the other hand, is the place which the person has elected and chosen for himself to displace his
previous domicile; it has for its true basis or foundation the intention of the person (28 C.J.S. §6). In order to hold that a
person has abandoned his domicile and acquired a new one called domicile of choice, the following requisites must concur,
namely, (a) residence or bodily presence in the new locality, (b) intention to remain there or animus manendi, and (c) an
intention to abandon the old domicile or animus non revertendi (Romualdez v. RTC, Br. 7, Tacloban City, 226 SCRA 408,
415). A third classification is domicile by operation of law which attributes to a person a domicile independent of his own
intention or actual residence, ordinarily resulting from legal domestic relations, as that of the wife arising from marriage, or the
relation of a parent and a child (28 C.J.S. §7).

In election law, when our Constitution speaks of residence for election purposes it means domicile (Co v. Electoral Tribunal of
the House of Representatives, 199 SCRA 692, 713; Nuval v. Guray, 52 Phil. 645, 651). To my mind, public respondent
Commission on Elections misapplied this concept, of domicile which led to petitioner's disqualification by ruling that petitioner
failed to comply with the constitutionally mandated one-year residence requirement. Apparently, public respondent
Commission deemed as conclusive petitioner's stay and registration as voter in many places as conduct disclosing her intent
to abandon her established domicile of origin in Tacloban, Leyte. In several decisions, though, the Court has laid down the
rule that registration of a voter in a place other than his place of origin is not sufficient to constitute abandonment or loss of
such residence (Faypon v. Quirino, 96 Phil. 294, 300). Respondent Commission offered no cogent reason to depart from this
rule except to surmise petitioner's intent of abandoning her domicile of origin.

It has been suggested that petitioner's domicile of origin was supplanted by a new domicile due to her marriage, a domicile by
operation of law. The proposition is that upon the death of her husband in 1989 she retains her husband's domicile, i.e.,
Batac, Ilocos Norte, until she makes an actual change thereof. I find this proposition quite untenable.

Tacloban, Leyte, is petitioner's domicile of origin which was involuntarily supplanted with another, i.e., Batac, Ilocos Norte,
upon her marriage in 1954 with then Congressman Marcos. By legal fiction she followed the domicile of her husband. In my
view, the reason for the law is for the spouses to fully and effectively perform their marital duties and obligations to one
another.1 The question of domicile, however, is not affected by the fact that it was the legal or moral duty of the individual to
reside in a given place (28 C.J.S. §11). Thus, while the wife retains her marital domicile so long as the marriage subsists, she
automatically loses it upon the latter's termination, for the reason behind the law then ceases. Otherwise, petitioner, after her
marriage was ended by the death of her husband, would be placed in a quite absurd and unfair situation of having been freed
from all wifely obligations yet made to hold on to one which no longer serves any meaningful purpose.

It is my view therefore that petitioner reverted to her original domicile of Tacloban, Leyte upon her husband's death without
even signifying her intention to that effect. It is for the private respondent to prove, not for petitioner to disprove, that petitioner
has effectively abandoned Tacloban, Leyte for Batac, Ilocos Norte or for some other place/s. The clear rule is that it is the
party (herein private respondent) claiming that a person has abandoned or lost his residence of origin who must show and
prove preponderantly such abandonment or loss (Faypon v. Quirino, supra at 298; 28 C.J.S. §16), because the presumption
is strongly in favor of an original or former domicile, as against an acquired one (28 C.J.S. §16). Private respondent
unfortunately failed to discharge this burden as the record is devoid of convincing proof that petitioner has acquired whether
voluntarily or involuntarily, a new domicile to replace her domicile of origin.

The records, on the contrary, clearly show that petitioner has complied with the constitutional one-year residence requirement.
After her exile abroad, she returned to the Philippines in 1991 to reside in Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, but the Presidential
Commission on Good Government which sequestered her residential house and other properties forbade her necessitating
her transient stay in various places in Manila (Affidavit p.6, attached as Annex I of the Petition). In 1992, she ran for the
position of president writing in her certificate of candidacy her residence as San Juan, Metro Manila. After her loss therein,
she went back to Tacloban City, acquired her residence certificate2 and resided with her brother in San Jose. She resided in
San Jose, Tacloban City until August of 1994 when she was allowed by the PCGG to move and reside in her sequestered
residential house in Olot, Tolosa, Leyte (Annex I, p. 6). 3 It was in the same month of August when she applied for the
cancellation of her previous registration in San Juan, Metro Manila in order to register anew as voter of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte,
which she did on January 28, 1995. From this sequence of events, I find it quite improper to use as the reckoning period of the
one-year residence requirement the date when she applied for the cancellation of her previous registration in San Juan, Metro
Manila. The fact which private respondent never bothered to disprove is that petitioner transferred her residence after the
1992 presidential election from San Juan, Metro Manila to San Jose, Tacloban City, and resided therein until August of 1994.
She later transferred to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte (Annex I, p. 7). It appearing that both Tacloban City and Tolosa, Leyte are within
the First Congressional District of Leyte, it indubitably stands that she had more than a year of residence in the constituency
she sought to be elected. Petitioner, therefore, has satisfactorily complied with the one-year qualification required by the 1987
Constitution.
I vote to grant the petition.

ROMERO, J., separate opinion:

Petitioner has appealed to this Court for relief after the COMELEC ruled that she was disqualified from running for
Representative of her District and that, in the event that she should, nevertheless, muster a majority vote, her proclamation
should be suspended. Not by a straightforward ruling did the COMELEC pronounce its decision as has been its unvarying
practice in the past, but by a startling succession of "reverse somersaults." Indicative of its shifting stance vis-a-vis petitioner's
certificate of candidacy were first, the action of its Second Division disqualifying her and canceling her original Certificate of
Candidacy by a vote of 2-1 on April 24, 1995; then the denial by the COMELEC en banc of her Motion for Reconsideration on
May 7, 1995, a day before the election; then because she persisted in running, its decision on
May 11, 1995 or three days after the election, allowing her proclamation in the event that the results of the canvass should
show that she obtained the highest number of votes (obviously noting that petitioner had won overwhelmingly over her
opponent), but almost simultaneously reversing itself by directing that even if she wins, her proclamation should nonetheless
be suspended.

Crucial to the resolution of the disqualification issue presented by the case at bench is the interpretation to be given to the
one-year residency requirement imposed by the Constitution on aspirants for a Congressional seat. 1

Bearing in mind that the term "resident" has been held to be synonymous with "domicile" for election purposes, it is important
to determine whether petitioner's domicile was in the First District of Leyte and if so, whether she had resided there for at least
a period of one year. Undisputed is her domicile of origin, Tacloban, where her parents lived at the time of her birth.
Depending on what theory one adopts, the same may have been changed when she married Ferdinand E. Marcos, then
domiciled in Batac, by operation of law. Assuming it did, his death certainly released her from the obligation to live with him at
the residence fixed by him during his lifetime. What may confuse the layman at this point is the fact that the term "domicile"
may refer to "domicile of origin," "domicile of choice," or "domicile by operation of law," which subject we shall not belabor
since it has been amply discussed by the ponente and in the other separate opinions.

In any case, what assumes relevance is the divergence of legal opinion as to the effect of the husband's death on the domicile
of the widow. Some scholars opine that the widow's domicile remains unchanged; that the deceased husband's wishes
perforce still bind the wife he has left behind. Given this interpretation, the widow cannot possibly go far enough to sever the
domiciliary tie imposed by her husband.

It is bad enough to interpret the law as empowering the husband unilaterally to fix the residence or domicile of the family, as
laid down in the Civil Code,2 but to continue giving obeisance to his wishes even after the rationale underlying the mutual duty
of the spouses to live together has ceased, is to close one's eyes to the stark realities of the present.

At the other extreme is the position that the widow automatically reverts to her domicile of origin upon the demise of her
husband. Does the law so abhor a vacuum that the widow has to be endowed somehow with a domicile? To answer this
question which is far from rhetorical, one will have to keep in mind the basic principles of domicile. Everyone must have a
domicile. Then one must have only a single domicile for the same purpose at any given time. Once established, a domicile
remains until a new one is acquired, for no person lives who has no domicile, as defined by the law be is subject to.

At this juncture, we are confronted with an unexplored legal terrain in this jurisdiction, rendered more murky by the conflicting
opinions of foreign legal authorities. This being the state of things, it is imperative as it is opportune to illumine the darkness
with the beacon light of truth, as dictated by experience and the necessity of according petitioner her right to choose her
domicile in keeping with the enlightened global trend to recognize and protect the human rights of women, no less than men.

Admittedly, the notion of placing women at par with men, insofar as civil, political and social rights are concerned, is a
relatively recent phenomenon that took seed only in the middle of this century. It is a historical fact that for over three
centuries, the Philippines had been colonized by Spain, a conservative, Catholic country which transplanted to our shores the
Old World cultures, mores and attitudes and values. Through the imposition on our government of the Spanish Civil Code in
1889, the people, both men and women, had no choice but to accept such concepts as the husband's being the head of the
family and the wife's subordination to his authority. In such role, his was the right to make vital decisions for the family. Many
instances come to mind, foremost being what is related to the issue before us, namely, that "the husband shall fix the
residence of the family." 3 Because he is made responsible for the support of the wife and the rest of the family, 4 he is also
empowered to be the administrator of the conjugal property, with a few exceptions 5 and may, therefore, dispose of the
conjugal partnership property for the purposes specified under the law; 6 whereas, as a general rule, the wife cannot
bind the conjugal partnership without the husband's consent. 7 As regards the property pertaining to the children
under parental authority, the father is the legal administrator and only in his absence may the mother assume his
powers.8 Demeaning to the wife's dignity are certain strictures on her personal freedoms, practically relegating her to
the position of minors and disabled persons. To illustrate a few: The wife cannot, without the husband's consent,
acquire any gratuitous title, except from her ascendants, descendants, parents-in-law, and collateral relatives within
the fourth degree.9 With respect to her employment, the husband wields a veto power in the case the wife exercises
her profession or occupation or engages in business, provided his income is sufficient for the family, according to
its social standing and his opposition is founded on serious and valid grounds. 10 Most offensive, if not repulsive, to
the liberal-minded is the effective prohibition upon a widow to get married till after three hundred days following the
death of her husband, unless in the meantime, she has given birth to a child. 11 The mother who contracts a
subsequent marriage loses the parental authority over her children, unless the deceased husband, father of the
latter, has expressly provided in his will that his widow might marry again, and has ordered that in such case she
should keep and exercise parental authority over their children. 12 Again, an instance of a husband's overarching
influence from beyond the grave.

All these indignities and disabilities suffered by Filipino wives for hundreds of years evoked no protest from them
until the concept of human rights and equality between and among nations and individuals found hospitable
lodgment in the United Nations Charter of which the Philippines was one of the original signatories. By then, the
Spanish "conquistadores" had been overthrown by the American forces at the turn of the century. The bedrock of
the U.N. Charter was firmly anchored on this credo: "to reaffirm faith in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity
and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women." (Emphasis supplied)

It took over thirty years before these egalitarian doctrines bore fruit, owing largely to the burgeoning of the
feminist movement. What may be regarded as the international bill of rights for women was implanted in the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) adopted by the U.N.
General Assembly which entered into force as an international treaty on September 3, 1981. In ratifying the
instrument, the Philippines bound itself to implement its liberating spirit and letter, for its Constitution, no
less, declared that "The Philippines. . . adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of
the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with
all nations." 13 One such principle embodied in the CEDAW is granting to men and women "the same rights
with regard to the law relating to the movement of persons and the freedom to choose their residence and
domicile." 14(Emphasis supplied).

CEDAW's pro-women orientation which was not lost on Filipino women was reflected in the 1987 Constitution of the
Philippines and later, in the Family Code, 15 both of which were speedily approved by the first lady President of the
country, Corazon C. Aquino. Notable for its emphasis on the human rights of all individuals and its bias for equality
between the sexes are the following provisions: "The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees
full respect for human rights"16 and "The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the
fundamental equality before the law of women and men."17

A major accomplishment of women in their quest for equality with men and the elimination of discriminatory provisions of law
was the deletion in the Family Code of almost all of the unreasonable strictures on wives and the grant to them of personal
rights equal to that of their husbands. Specifically, the husband and wife are now given the right jointly to fix the family
domicile;18 concomitant to the spouses' being jointly responsible for the support of the family is the right and duty of both
spouses to manage the household;19 the administration and the enjoyment of the community property shall belong to both
spouses jointly;20 the father and mother shall now jointly exercise legal guardianship over the property of their unemancipated
common child21 and several others.

Aware of the hiatus and continuing gaps in the law, insofar as women's rights are concerned, Congress passed a law
popularly known as "Women in Development and Nation Building Act" 22 Among the rights given to married women evidencing
their capacity to act in contracts equal to that of men are:

(1) Women shall have the capacity to borrow and obtain loans and execute security and credit arrangements under the same
conditions as men;

(2) Women shall have equal access to all government and private sector programs granting agricultural credit, loans and non
material resources and shall enjoy equal treatment in agrarian reform and land resettlement programs;

(3) Women shall have equal rights to act as incorporators and enter into insurance contracts; and

(4) Married women shall have rights equal to those of married men in applying for passports, secure visas and other travel
documents, without need to secure the consent of their spouses.
As the world draws the curtain on the Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijing, let this Court now be the first to respond
to its clarion call that "Women's Rights are Human Rights" and that "All obstacles to women's full participation in decision-
making at all levels, including the family" should be removed. Having been herself a Member of the Philippine Delegation to
the International Women's Year Conference in Mexico in 1975, this writer is only too keenly aware of the unremitting struggle
being waged by women the world over, Filipino women not excluded, to be accepted as equals of men and to tear down the
walls of discrimination that hold them back from their proper places under the sun.

In light of the inexorable sweep of events, local and global, legislative, executive and judicial, according more rights to women
hitherto denied them and eliminating whatever pockets of discrimination still exist in their civil, political and social life, can it
still be insisted that widows are not at liberty to choose their domicile upon the death of their husbands but must retain the
same, regardless?

I submit that a widow, like the petitioner and others similarly situated, can no longer be bound by the domicile of the departed
husband, if at all she was before. Neither does she automatically revert to her domicile of origin, but exercising free will, she
may opt to reestablish her domicile of origin. In returning to Tacloban and subsequently, to Barangay Olot, Tolosa, both of
which are located in the First District of Leyte, petitioner amply demonstrated by overt acts, her election of a domicile of
choice, in this case, a reversion to her domicile of origin. Added together, the time when she set up her domicile in the two
places sufficed to meet the one-year requirement to run as Representative of the First District of Leyte.

In view of the foregoing expatiation, I vote to GRANT the petition.

VITUG, J., separate opinion:

The case at bench deals with explicit Constitutional mandates.

The Constitution is not a pliable instrument. It is a bedrock in our legal system that sets up ideals and directions and render
steady our strides hence. It only looks back so as to ensure that mistakes in the past are not repeated. A compliant transience
of a constitution belittles its basic function and weakens its goals. A constitution may well become outdated by the realities of
time. When it does, it must be changed but while it remains, we owe it respect and allegiance. Anarchy, open or subtle, has
never been, nor must it ever be, the answer to perceived transitory needs, let alone societal attitudes, or the Constitution
might lose its very essence.

Constitutional provisions must be taken to be mandatory in character unless, either by express statement or by necessary
implication, a different intention is manifest (see Marcelino vs. Cruz, 121 SCRA 51).

The two provisions initially brought to focus are Section 6 and Section 17 of Article VI of the fundamental law. These
provisions read:

Sec. 6. No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of
the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write, and,
except the party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a
resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election.

Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be
the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members.
Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme
Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or the
House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional
representation from the political parties and the parties or organizations registered under the party-list system
represented therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.

The Commission on Election (the "COMELEC") is constitutionally bound to enforce and administer "all laws and regulations
relative to the conduct of election . . ." (Art. IX, C, Sec. 2, Constitution) that, there being nothing said to the contrary, should
include its authority to pass upon the qualification and disqualification prescribed by law of candidates to an elective office.
Indeed, pre-proclamation controversies are expressly placed under the COMELEC's jurisdiction to hear and resolve (Art. IX,
C, Sec. 3, Constitution).

The matter before us specifically calls for the observance of the constitutional one-year residency requirement. The issue
(whether or not there is here such compliance), to my mind, is basically a question of fact or at least inextricably linked to such
determination. The findings and judgment of the COMELEC, in accordance with the long established rule and subject only to
a number of exceptions under the basic heading of "grave abuse of discretion," are not reviewable by this Court.

I do not find much need to do a complex exercise on what seems to me to be a plain matter. Generally, the term "residence"
has a broader connotation that may mean permanent (domicile), official (place where one's official duties may require him to
stay) or temporary (the place where he sojourns during a considerable length of time). For civil law purposes, i.e., as regards
the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of a natural person is the place of
his habitual residence (see Article 50, Civil Code). In election cases, the controlling rule is that heretofore announced by this
Court in Romualdez vs. Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Tacloban City (226 SCRA 408, 409); thus:

In election cases, the Court treats domicile and residence as synonymous terms, thus: "(t)he term "residence"
as used in the election law is synonymous with "domicile," which imports not only an intention to reside in a
fixed place but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention."
"Domicile" denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent for business or pleasure, or for like
reasons, one intends to return. . . . . Residence thus acquired, however, may be lost by adopting another
choice of domicile. In order, in turn, to acquire a new domicile by choice, there must concur (1) residence or
bodily presence in the new locality, (2) an intention to remain there, and (3) an intention to abandon the old
domicile. In other words, there must basically be animus manendi coupled with animus non revertendi. The
purpose to remain in or at the domicile of choice must be for an indefinite period of time; the change of
residence must be voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new domicile must be actual.

Using the above tests, I am not convinced that we can charge the COMELEC with having committed grave abuse of
discretion in its assailed resolution.

The COMELEC's jurisdiction, in the case of congressional elections, ends when the jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunal
concerned begins. It signifies that the protestee must have theretofore been duly proclaimed and has since become a
"member" of the Senate or the House of Representatives. The question can be asked on whether or not the proclamation of a
candidate is just a ministerial function of the Commission on Elections dictated solely on the number of votes cast in an
election exercise. I believe, it is not. A ministerial duty is an obligation the performance of which, being adequately defined,
does not allow the use of further judgment or discretion. The COMELEC, in its particular case, is tasked with the full
responsibility of ascertaining all the facts and conditions such as may be required by law before a proclamation is properly
done.

The Court, on its part, should, in my view at least, refrain from any undue encroachment on the ultimate exercise of authority
by the Electoral Tribunals on matters which, by no less than a constitutional fiat, are explicitly within their exclusive domain.
The nagging question, if it were otherwise, would be the effect of the Court's peremptory pronouncement on the ability of the
Electoral Tribunal to later come up with its own judgment in a contest "relating to the election, returns and qualification" of its
members.

Prescinding from all the foregoing, I should like to next touch base on the applicability to this case of Section 6 of Republic Act
No. 6646, in relation to Section 72 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, each providing thusly:

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6646

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. — Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be
disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a
candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and
receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial
and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may
during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the
evidence of his guilt is strong.

BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 881

xxx xxx xxx


Sec. 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority. — The Commission and the courts shall give priority to
cases of disqualification by reason of violation of this Act to the end that a final decision shall be rendered not
later than seven days before the election in which the disqualification is sought.

Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the
votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless, if for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final,
judgment before an election to be disqualified, and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes
in such election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding sections shall not prevent his proclamation
and assumption to office.

I realize that in considering the significance of the law, it may be preferable to look for not so much the specific instances they
ostensibly would cover as the principle they clearly convey. Thus, I will not scoff at the argument that it should be sound to say
that votes cast in favor of the disqualified candidate, whenever ultimately declared as such, should not be counted in his or
her favor and must accordingly be considered to be stray votes. The argument, nevertheless, is far outweighed by the
rationale of the now prevailing doctrine first enunciated in the case of Topacio vs. Paredes (23 Phil. 238 [1912]) which,
although later abandoned in Ticzon vs. Comelec (103 SCRA 687 [1981]), and Santos vs. COMELEC (137 SCRA 740 [1985]),
was restored, along with the interim case of Geronimo vs. Ramos (136 SCRA 435 [1985]), by the Labo (176 SCRA 1
(1989]), Abella (201 SCRA 253 [1991]), Labo (211 SCRA 297 [1992]) and, most recently, Benito (235 SCRA 436 [1994])
rulings. Benito vs. Comelec was a unanimous decision penned by Justice Kapunan and concurred in by Chief Justice
Narvasa, Justices Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Romero, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug and Mendoza (Justices
Cruz and Bellosillo were on official leave). For easy reference, let me quote from the first Labo decision:

Finally, there is the question of whether or not the private respondent, who filed the quo warrantopetition, can
replace the petitioner as mayor. He cannot. The simple reason is that as he obtained only the second highest
number of votes in the election, he was obviously not the choice of the people of Baguio City.

The latest ruling of the Court on this issue is Santos v. Commission on Elections, (137 SCRA 740) decided in
1985. In that case, the candidate who placed second was proclaimed elected after the votes for his winning
rival, who was disqualified as a turncoat and considered a non-candidate, were all disregard as stray. In
effect, the second placer won by default. That decision was supported by eight members of the Court then,
(Cuevas, J., ponente, with Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Escolin, Relova, De la Fuente, Alampay and
Aquino, JJ., concurring.) with three dissenting (Teehankee, Acting C.J., Abad Santos and Melencio-
Herrera, JJ.) and another two reserving their vote. (Plana and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ.) One was on official leave.
(Fernando, C.J.)

Re-examining that decision, the Court finds, and so holds, that it should be reversed in favor of the earlier
case of Geronimo v. Ramos, (136 SCRA 435) which represents the more logical and democratic rule. That
case, which reiterated the doctrine first announced in 1912 in Topacio v. Paredes, (23 Phil. 238) was
supported by ten members of the Court, (Gutierrez, Jr., ponente, with Teehankee, Abad Santos, Melencio-
Herrera, Plana, Escolin, Relova, De la Fuente, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concurring) without any dissent,
although one reserved his vote, (Makasiar, J.) another took no part, (Aquino, J.) and two others were on
leave. (Fernando, C.J. and Concepcion, Jr., J.) There the Court held:

. . . it would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally guaranteed


right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is
proclaimed a winner and imposed as the representative of a constituency, the majority of
which have positively declared through their ballots that they do not choose him.

Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who have received the
highest number of votes cast in the election for that office, and it is a fundamental idea in all
republican forms of government that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be
declared carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the
election. (20 Corpus Juris 2nd, S 243, p. 676.)

The fact that the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is later declared to be disqualified or
not eligible for the office to which he was elected does not necessarily entitle the candidate who obtained the
second highest number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective office. The votes cast for a dead,
disqualified, or non-eligible person may not be valid to vote the winner into office or maintain him there.
However, in the absence of a statute which clearly asserts a contrary political and legislative policy on the
matter, if the votes were cast in the sincere belief that the candidate was alive, qualified, or eligible, they
should not be treated as stray, void or meaningless. (at pp. 20-21)
Considering all the foregoing, I am constrained to vote for the dismissal of the petition.

MENDOZA, J., separate opinion:

In my view the issue in this case is whether the Commission on Elections has the power to disqualify candidates on the
ground that they lack eligibility for the office to which they seek to be elected. I think that it has none and that the qualifications
of candidates may be questioned only in the event they are elected, by filing a petition for quo warranto or an election protest
in the appropriate forum, not necessarily in the COMELEC but, as in this case, in the House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal. That the parties in this case took part in the proceedings in the COMELEC is of no moment. Such proceedings were
unauthorized and were not rendered valid by their agreement to submit their dispute to that body.

The various election laws will be searched in vain for authorized proceedings for determining a candidate's qualifications for
an office before his election. There are none in the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. Blg. 881), in the Electoral Reforms Law of
1987 (R.A. No. 6646), or in the law providing for synchronized elections (R.A. No. 7166). There are, in other words, no
provisions for pre-proclamation contests but only election protests or quo warrantoproceedings against winning candidates.

To be sure, there are provisions denominated for "disqualification," but they are not concerned with a declaration of the
ineligibility of a candidate. These provisions are concerned with the incapacity (due to insanity, incompetence or conviction of
an offense) of a person either to be a candidate or to continue as a candidate for public office. There is also a provision for the
denial or cancellation of certificates of candidacy, but it applies only to cases involving false representations as to certain
matters required by law to be stated in the certificates.

These provisions are found in the following parts of the Omnibus Election Code:

§ 12. Disqualifications. — Any person who has been declared by competent authority insane or incompetent,
or has been sentenced by final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense for which he
has been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall
be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted
amnesty.

The disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be deemed removed upon the declaration by
competent authority that said insanity or incompetence had been removed or after the expiration of a period
of five years from his service of sentence, unless within the same period he again becomes disqualified.
(Emphasis added)

§ 68. Disqualifications. — Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final
decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other
material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral
functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy; (c) spent in his election campaign an
amount in excess of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any contribution prohibited
under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d,
e, k, v, and cc, sub-paragraph 6, shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been
elected, from holding the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign
country shall not be qualified to run for any elective office under this Code, unless said person has waived his
status as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence requirement
provided for in the election laws. (Emphasis added)

§ 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of


candidacy. — A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be
filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained therein as required
under Section 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from the
time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, after due notice and hearing, not later
than fifteen days before the election. (Emphasis added)

the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987 (R.A. No. 6646):

§ 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. — Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be
disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a
candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and
receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial
and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and; upon motion for the complainant or any intervenor, may
during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the
evidence of his guilt is strong. (Emphasis added).

§ 7. Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy. — The procedure hereinabove
provided shall apply to petitions to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy as provided in
Section 78 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881.

and the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160):

§ 40. Disqualifications. — The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective local position:

(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by
one (1) year or more of imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence;

(b) Those removed from office as a result of on administrative case;

(c) Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to the Republic;

(d) Those with dual citizenship;

(e) Fugitive from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad;

(f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired the right to reside abroad and
continue to avail of the same right after the effectivity of this Code; and

(g) The insane or feeble-minded.

The petition filed by private respondent Cirilo Roy Montejo in the COMELEC, while entitled "For Cancellation and
Disqualification," contained no allegation that private respondent Imelda Romualdez-Marcos made material representations in
her certificate of candidacy which were false, it sought her disqualification on the ground that "on the basis of her Voter
Registration Record and Certificate of Candidacy, [she] is disqualified from running for the position of Representative,
considering that on election day, May 8, 1995, [she] would have resided less than ten (10) months in the district where she is
seeking to be elected." For its part, the COMELEC's Second Division, in its resolution of April 24, 1995, cancelled her
certificate of candidacy and corrected certificate of candidacy on the basis of its finding that petitioner is "not qualified to run
for the position of Member of the House of Representatives for the First Legislative District of Leyte" and not because of any
finding that she had made false representations as to material matters in her certificate of candidacy.

Montejo's petition before the COMELEC was therefore not a petition for cancellation of certificate of candidacy under § 78 of
the Omnibus Election Code, but essentially a petition to declare private respondent ineligible. It is important to note this,
because, as will presently be explained, proceedings under § 78 have for their purpose to disqualify a person from being
a candidate, whereas quo warranto proceedings have for their purpose to disqualify a person from holding public office.
Jurisdiction over quo warranto proceedings involving members of the House of Representatives is vested in the Electoral
Tribunal of that body.

Indeed, in the only cases in which this Court dealt with petitions for the cancellation of certificates of candidacy, the allegations
were that the respondent candidates had made false representations in their certificates of candidacy with regard to
their citizenship,1 age,2 or residence.3 But in the generality of cases in which this Court passed upon the qualifications of
respondents for office, this Court did so in the context of election protests 4 or quo warrantoproceedings5 filed after the
proclamation of the respondents or protestees as winners.

Three reasons may be cited to explain the absence of an authorized proceeding for determining before election the
qualifications of a candidate.

First is the fact that unless a candidate wins and is proclaimed elected, there is no necessity for determining his eligibility for
the office. In contrast, whether an individual should be disqualified as a candidate for acts constituting election offenses (e.g.,
vote buying, over spending, commission of prohibited acts) is a prejudicial question which should be determined lest he wins
because of the very acts for which his disqualification is being sought. That is why it is provided that if the grounds for
disqualification are established, a candidate will not be voted for; if he has been voted for, the votes in his favor will not be
counted; and if for some reason he has been voted for and he has won, either he will not be proclaimed or his proclamation
will be set aside.6
Second is the fact that the determination of a candidate's eligibility, e.g., his citizenship or, as in this case, his domicile, may
take a long time to make, extending beyond the beginning of the term of the office. This is amply demonstrated in the
companion case (G.R. No. 120265, Agapito A. Aquino v. COMELEC) where the determination of Aquino's residence was still
pending in the COMELEC even after the elections of May 8, 1995. This is contrary to the summary character of proceedings
relating to certificates of candidacy. That is why the law makes the receipt of certificates of candidacy a ministerial duty of the
COMELEC and its officers.7 The law is satisfied if candidates state in their certificates of candidacy that they are eligible for
the position which they seek to fill, leaving the determination of their qualifications to be made after the election and only in the
event they are elected. Only in cases involving charges of false representations made in certificates of candidacy is the
COMELEC given jurisdiction.

Third is the policy underlying the prohibition against pre-proclamation cases in elections for President, Vice President,
Senators and members of the House of Representatives. (R.A. No. 7166, § 15) The purpose is to preserve the prerogatives of
the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and the other Tribunals as "sole judges" under the Constitution of
the election, returns and qualifications of members of Congress or of the President and Vice President, as the case may be.

By providing in § 253 for the remedy of quo warranto for determining an elected official's qualifications after the results of
elections are proclaimed, while being conspicuously silent about a pre-proclamation remedy based on the same ground, the
Omnibus Election Code, or OEC, by its silence underscores the policy of not authorizing any inquiry into the qualifications of
candidates unless they have been elected.

Apparently realizing the lack of an authorized proceeding for declaring the ineligibility of candidates, the COMELEC amended
its rules on February 15, 1993 so as to provide in Rule 25, § 1 the following:

Grounds for disqualification. — Any candidate who does not possess all the qualifications of a candidate as
provided for by the Constitution or by existing law or who commits any act declared by law to be grounds for
disqualification may be disqualified from continuing as a candidate.

The lack of provision for declaring the ineligibility of candidates, however, cannot be supplied by a mere rule. Such an act is
equivalent to the creation of a cause of action which is a substantive matter which the COMELEC, in the exercise of its
rulemaking power under Art. IX, A, § 6 of the Constitution, cannot do. It is noteworthy that the Constitution withholds from the
COMELEC even the power to decide cases involving the right to vote, which essentially involves an inquiry
into qualifications based on age, residence and citizenship of voters. (Art. IX, C, § 2(3))

The assimilation in Rule 25 of the COMELEC rules of grounds for ineligibility into grounds for disqualification is contrary to the
evident intention of the law. For not only in their grounds but also in their consequences are proceedings for "disqualification"
different from those for a declaration of "ineligibility." "Disqualification" proceedings, as already stated, are based on grounds
specified in §§ 12 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code and in § 40 of the Local Government Code and are for the purpose of
barring an individual from becoming a candidate or from continuing as a candidate for public office. In a word, their purpose is
to eliminate a candidate from the race either from the start or during its progress. "Ineligibility," on the other hand, refers to the
lack of the qualifications prescribed in the Constitution or the statutes for holding public office and the purpose of the
proceedings for declaration of ineligibility is to remove the incumbent from office.

Consequently, that an individual possesses the qualifications for a public office does not imply that he is not disqualified from
becoming a candidate or continuing as a candidate for a public office and vice versa. We have this sort of dichotomy in our
Naturalization Law. (C.A. No. 473) That an alien has the qualifications prescribed in § 2 of the law does not imply that he does
not suffer from any of disqualifications provided in § 4.

Indeed, provisions for disqualifications on the ground that the candidate is guilty of prohibited election practices or offenses,
like other pre-proclamation remedies, are aimed at the detestable practice of "grabbing the proclamation and prolonging the
election protest,"8 through the use of "manufactured" election returns or resort to other trickery for the purpose of altering the
results of the election. This rationale does not apply to cases for determining a candidate's qualifications for office before the
election. To the contrary, it is the candidate against whom a proceeding for disqualification is brought who could be prejudiced
because he could be prevented from assuming office even though in end he prevails.

To summarize, the declaration of ineligibility of a candidate may only be sought in an election protest or action for quo
warranto filed pursuant to § 253 of the Omnibus Election Code within 10 days after his proclamation. With respect to elective
local officials (e.g., Governor, Vice Governor, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, etc.) such petition must be filed
either with the COMELEC, the Regional Trial Courts, or Municipal Trial Courts, as provided in Art. IX, C, § 2(2) of the
Constitution. In the case of the President and Vice President, the petition must be filed with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal
(Art. VII, § 4, last paragraph), and in the case of the Senators, with the Senate Electoral Tribunal, and in the case of
Congressmen, with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. (Art. VI, § 17) There is greater reason for not allowing
before the election the filing of disqualification proceedings based on alleged ineligibility in the case of candidates for
President, Vice President, Senators and members of the House of Representatives, because of the same policy prohibiting
the filing of pre-proclamation cases against such candidates.

For these reasons, I am of the opinion that the COMELEC had no jurisdiction over SPA No. 95-009; that its proceedings in
that case, including its questioned orders, are void; and that the eligibility of petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos for the office
of Representative of the First District of Leyte may only be inquired into by the HRET.

Accordingly, I vote to grant the petition and to annul the proceedings of the Commission on Elections in SPA No. 95-009,
including its questioned orders doted April 24, 1995, May 7, 1995, May 11, 1995 and May 25, 1995, declaring petitioner
Imelda Romualdez-Marcos ineligible and ordering her proclamation as Representative of the First District of Leyte suspended.
To the extent that Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure authorizes proceedings for the disqualification of candidates
on the ground of ineligibility for the office, it should considered void.

The provincial board of canvassers should now proceed with the proclamation of petitioner.

Narvasa, C.J., concurs.

PADILLA, J., dissenting:

I regret that I cannot join the majority opinion as expressed in the well-written ponencia of Mr. Justice Kapunan.

As in any controversy arising out of a Constitutional provision, the inquiry must begin and end with the provision itself. The
controversy should not be blurred by what, to me, are academic disquisitions. In this particular controversy, the Constitutional
provision on point states that — "no person shall be a member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born
citizen of the Philippines, and on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five (25) years of age, able to read and write, and
except the party list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a
period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election." (Article VI, section 6)

It has been argued that for purposes of our election laws, the term residence has been understood as synonymous
with domicile. This argument has been validated by no less than the Court in numerous cases 1 where significantly the factual
circumstances clearly and convincingly proved that a person does not effectively lose his domicile of origin if the intention to
reside therein is manifest with his personal presence in the place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention.

With this basic thesis in mind, it would not be difficult to conceive of different modalities within which the phrase "a resident
thereof (meaning, the legislative district) for a period of not less than one year" would fit.

The first instance is where a person's residence and domicile coincide in which case a person only has to prove that he has
been domiciled in a permanent location for not less than a year before the election.

A second situation is where a person maintains a residence apart from his domicile in which case he would have the luxury of
district shopping, provided of course, he satisfies the one-year residence period in the district as the minimum period for
eligibility to the position of congressional representative for the district.

In either case, one would not be constitutionally disqualified for abandoning his residence in order to return to his domicile of
origin, or better still, domicile of choice; neither would one be disqualified for abandoning altogether his domicile in favor of his
residence in the district where he desires to be a candidate.

The most extreme circumstance would be a situation wherein a person maintains several residences in different districts.
Since his domicile of origin continues as an option as long as there is no effective abandonment (animus non revertendi), he
can practically choose the district most advantageous for him.

All these theoretical scenarios, however, are tempered by the unambiguous limitation that "for a period of not less than one
year immediately preceding the day of the election", he must be a resident in the district where he desires to be elected.

To my mind, the one year residence period is crucial regardless of whether or not the term "residence" is to be synonymous
with "domicile." In other words, the candidate's intent and actual presence in one district must in allsituations satisfy the length
of time prescribed by the fundamental law. And this, because of a definite Constitutional purpose. He must be familiar with the
environment and problems of a district he intends to represent in Congress and the one-year residence in said district would
be the minimum period to acquire such familiarity, if not versatility.
In the case of petitioner Imelda R. Marcos, the operative facts are distinctly set out in the now assailed decision of the
Comelec 2nd Division dated 24 April 1995 (as affirmed by the Comelec en banc) —

In or about 1938 when respondent was a little over 8 years old, she established her domicile in Tacloban,
Leyte (Tacloban City). She studied in the Holy Infant Academy in Tacloban from 1938 to 1948 when she
graduated from high school. She pursued her college studies in St. Paul's College, now Divine Word
University of Tacloban, where she earned her degree in Education. Thereafter, she taught in the Leyte
Chinese High School, still in Tacloban City. In 1952 she went to Manila to work with her cousin, the late
Speaker Daniel Z. Romualdez in his office in the House of Representatives. In 1954, she married ex-
president Ferdinand Marcos when he was still a congressman of Ilocos Norte. She lived with him in Batac,
Ilocos Norte and registered there as a voter. When her husband was elected Senator of the Republic in 1959,
she and her husband lived together in San Juan, Rizal where she registered as a voter. In 1965 when her
husband was elected President of the Republic of the Philippines, she lived with him in Malacanang Palace
and registered as a voter in San Miguel, Manila.

During the Marcos presidency, respondent served as a Member of the Batasang Pambansa, Minister of
Human Settlements and Governor of Metro Manila. She claimed that in February 1986, she and her family
were abducted and kidnapped to Honolulu, Hawaii. In November 1991, she came home to Manila. In 1992
respondent ran for election as President of the Philippines and filed her Certificate of Candidacy wherein she
indicated that she is a resident and registered voter of San Juan, Metro Manila. On August 24, 1994,
respondent filed a letter with the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila, requesting for cancellation of her
registration in the Permanent List of Voters in Precinct No. 157 of San Juan, Metro Manila, in order that she
may be re-registered or transferred to Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. (Annex 2-B, Answer). On August 31, 1994,
respondent filed her Sworn Application for Cancellation of Voter's Previous Registration (Annex 2-C, Answer)
stating that she is a duly registered voter in 157-A, Brgy. Maytunas, San Juan, Metro that she intends to
register at Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.

On January 28, 1995 respondent registered as a voter at Precinct No. 18-A of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. She filed
with the Board of Election Inspectors CE Form No. 1, Voter Registration Record No. 94-3349772, wherein
she alleged that she has resided in the municipality of Tolosa for a period of 6 months (Annex A, Petition).

On March 8, 1995, respondent filed with the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor, Leyte, a Certificate of
Candidacy for the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte wherein she also alleged that she
has been a resident in the constituency where she seeks to be elected for a period of 7 months. The pertinent
entries therein are as follows:

7. PROFESSION OR OCCUPATION: House-wife/ Teacher/ Social Worker

8. RESIDENCE (complete address): Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte

Post Office Address for election purposes: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte

9. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHEREIN I SEEK TO BE


ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING ELECTION: ________
Years SevenMonths

10. I AM NOT A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF, OR IMMIGRANT TO, A


FOREIGN COUNTRY.

THAT I AM ELIGIBLE for said office; That I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the
Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; That I will obey the laws, legal orders and
decrees promulgated by the duly-constituted authorities; That the obligation imposed by my oath is assumed
voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and That the facts stated herein are true to the
best of my knowledge.

(Sgd.) Imelda Romualdez-Marcos


(Signature of Candidate)2
Petitioner's aforestated certificate of candidacy filed on 8 March 1995 contains the decisive component or seed of her
disqualification. It is contained in her answer under oath of "seven months" to the query of "residence in the constituency
wherein I seek to be elected immediately preceding the election."

It follows from all the above that the Comelec committed no grave abuse of discretion in holding that petitioner is disqualified
from the position of representative for the 1st congressional district of Leyte in the elections of 8 May 1995, for failure to meet
the "not less than one-year residence in the constituency (1st district, Leyte) immediately preceding the day of election (8 May
1995)."

Having arrived at petitioner's disqualification to be a representative of the first district of Leyte, the next important issue to
resolve is whether or not the Comelec can order the Board of Canvassers to determine and proclaim the winner out of
the remaining qualified candidates for representative in said district.

I am not unaware of the pronouncement made by this Court in the case of Labo vs. Comelec, G.R. 86564, August 1, 1989,
176 SCRA 1 which gave the rationale as laid down in the early 1912 case of Topacio vs. Paredes, 23 Phil. 238 that:

. . . . Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who have received the highest
number of votes cast in the election for that office, and it is a fundamental idea in all republican forms of
government that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it
receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election. (20 Corpus Juris 2nd, S 243, p. 676)

The fact that the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is later declared to be disqualified or
not eligible for the office to which he was elected does not necessarily entitle the candidate who obtained the
second highest number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective office. The votes cast for a dead,
disqualified, or non-eligible person may not be valid to vote the winner into office or maintain him there.
However, in the absence of a statute which clearly asserts a contrary political and legislative policy on the
matter, if the votes were cast in the sincere belief that the candidate was alive, qualified, or eligible, they
should not be treated as stray, void or meaningless.

Under Sec. 6 RA 6646, (An Act Introducing Additional Reforms in the Electoral System and for other purposes) (84 O.G. 905,
22 February 1988) it is provided that:

. . . — Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and
the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment
before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such
election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and,
upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may, during the pendency thereof order the suspension of
the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong.

There is no need to indulge in legal hermeneutics to sense the plain and unambiguous meaning of the provision quoted
above. As the law now stands, the legislative policy does not limit its concern with the effect of a final judgement of
disqualification only before the election, but even during or after the election. The law is clear that in all situations, the votes
cast for a disqualified candidate SHALL NOT BE COUNTED. The law has also validated the jurisdiction of the Court or
Commission on Election to continue hearing the petition for disqualification in case a candidate is voted for and receives the
highest number of votes, if for any reason, he is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified.

Since the present case is an after election scenario, the power to suspend proclamation (when evidence of his guilt is strong)
is also explicit under the law. What happens then when after the elections are over, one is declared disqualified? Then, votes
cast for him "shall not be counted" and in legal contemplation, he no longer received the highest number of votes.

It stands to reason that Section 6 of RA 6646 does not make the second placer the winner simply because a "winning
candidate is disqualified," but that the law considers him as the candidate who had obtained the highest number of votes as a
result of the votes cast for the disqualified candidate not being counted or considered.

As this law clearly reflects the legislative policy on the matter, then there is no reason why this Court should not re-examine
and consequently abandon the doctrine in the Jun Labo case. It has been stated that "the qualifications prescribed for elective
office cannot be erased by the electorate alone. The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of
ineligibility" most especially when it is mandated by no less than the Constitution.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition and to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Leyte to proclaim the
candidate receiving the highest number of votes, from among the qualified candidates, as the duly elected representative of
the 1st district of Leyte.

Hermosisima, Jr. J., dissent.

REGALADO, J., dissenting:

While I agree with same of the factual bases of the majority opinion, I cannot arrive conjointly at the same conclusion drawn
therefrom Hence, this dissent which assuredly is not formulated "on the basis of the personality of a petitioner in a case."

I go along with the majority in their narration of antecedent facts, insofar as the same are pertinent to this case, and which I
have simplified as follows:

1. Petitioner, although born in Manila, resided during her childhood in the present Tacloban City, she being a
legitimate daughter of parents who appear to have taken up permanent residence therein. She also went to
school there and, for a time, taught in one of the schools in that city.

2. When she married then Rep. Ferdinand E. Marcos who was then domiciled in Batac, Ilocos Norte, by
operation of law she acquired a new domicile in that place in 1954.

3. In the successive years and during the events that happened thereafter, her husband having been elected
as a Senator and then as President, she lived with him and their family in San Juan, Rizal and then in
Malacanang Palace in San Miguel, Manila.

4. Over those years, she registered as a voter and actually voted in Batac, Ilocos Norte, then in San Juan,
Rizal, and also in San Miguel, Manila, all these merely in the exercise of the right of suffrage.

5. It does not appear that her husband, even after he had assumed those lofty positions successively, ever
abandoned his domicile of origin in Batac, Ilocos Norte where he maintained his residence and invariably
voted in all elections.

6. After the ouster of her husband from the presidency in 1986 and the sojourn of the Marcos family in
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A., she eventually returned to the Philippines in 1991 and resided in different places
which she claimed to have been merely temporary residences.

7. In 1992, petitioner ran for election as President of the Philippines and in her certificate of candidacy she
indicated that she was then a registered voter and resident of San Juan, Metro Manila.

8. On August 24, 1994, she filed a letter for the cancellation of her registration in the Permanent List of Voters
in Precinct No. 157 of San Juan, Metro Manila in order that she may "be re-registered or transferred to Brgy.
Olot, Tolosa, Leyte." On August 31, 1994, she followed this up with her Sworn Application for Cancellation of
Voter's Previous Registration wherein she stated that she was a registered voter in Precinct No. 157-A, Brgy.
Maytunas, San Juan, Metro Manila and that she intended to register in Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.

9. On January 28, 1995, petitioner registered as a voter at Precinct No. 18-A of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, for which
purpose she filed with the therein Board of Election Inspectors a voter's registration record form alleging that
she had resided in that municipality for six months.

10. On March 8, 1995, petitioner filed her certificate of candidacy for the position of Representative of the First
District of Leyte wherein she alleged that she had been a resident for "Seven Months" of the constituency
where she sought to be elected.

11. On March 29, 1995, she filed an "Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy" wherein her answer in the
original certificate of candidacy to item "8. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK, TO BE
ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION:" was changed or replaced with a new entry
reading "SINCE CHILDHOOD."
The sole issue for resolution is whether, for purposes of her candidacy, petitioner had complied with the residency
requirement of one year as mandated by no less than Section 6, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.

I do not intend to impose upon the time of my colleagues with a dissertation on the difference between residence and
domicile. We have had enough of that and I understand that for purposes of political law and, for that matter of international
law, residence is understood to be synonymous with domicile. That is so understood in our jurisprudence and in American
Law, in contradistinction to the concept of residence for purposes of civil, commercial and procedural laws whenever an issue
thereon is relevant or controlling.

Consequently, since in the present case the question of petitioner's residence is integrated in and inseparable from her
domicile, I am addressing the issue from the standpoint of the concept of the latter term, specifically its permutations into the
domicile of origin, domicile of choice and domicile by operation of law, as understood in American law from which for this case
we have taken our jurisprudential bearings.

My readings inform me that the domicile of the parents at the time of birth, or what is termed the "domicile of origin,"
constitutes the domicile of an infant until abandoned, or until the acquisition of a new domicile in a different place. 1 In the
instant case, we may grant that petitioner's domicile of origin, 2 at least as of 1938, was what is now Tacloban City.

Now, as I have observed earlier, domicile is said to be of three kinds, that is, domicile by birth, domicile by choice, and
domicile by operation of law. The first is the common case of the place of birth or domicilium originis, the second is that which
is voluntarily acquired by a party or domicilium propio motu; the last which is consequential, as that of a wife arising from
marriage,3 is sometimes called domicilium necesarium. There is no debate that the domicile of origin can be lost or replaced
by a domicile of choice or a domicile by operation of law subsequently acquired by the party.

When petitioner contracted marriage in 1954 with then Rep. Marcos, by operation of law, not only international or American
but of our own enactment, 4 she acquired her husband's domicile of origin in Batac, Ilocos Norte and correspondingly lost her
own domicile of origin in Tacloban City.

Her subsequent changes of residence — to San Juan, Rizal, then to San Miguel, Manila, thereafter to Honolulu, Hawaii, and
back to now San Juan, Metro Manila — do not appear to have resulted in her thereby acquiring new domiciles of choice. In
fact, it appears that her having resided in those places was by reason of the fortunes or misfortunes of her husband and his
peregrinations in the assumption of new official positions or the loss of them. Her residence in Honolulu and, of course, those
after her return to the Philippines were, as she claimed, against her will or only for transient purposes which could not have
invested them with the status of domiciles of choice.5

After petitioner's return to the Philippines in 1991 and up to the present imbroglio over her requisite residency in Tacloban City
or Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, there is no showing that she ever attempted to acquire any other domicile of choice which could have
resulted in the abandonment of her legal domicile in Batac, Ilocos Norte. On that score, we note the majority's own
submission 6 that, to successfully effect a change of domicile, one must demonstrate (a) an actual removal or an actual
change of domicile, (b) a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one, and (c)
acts which correspond with the purpose.

We consequently have to also note that these requirements for the acquisition of a domicile of choice apply whether what is
sought to be changed or substituted is a domicile of origin (domicilium originis) or a domicile by operation of law (domicilium
necesarium). Since petitioner had lost her domicilium originis which had been replaced by her domicilium necesarium, it is
therefore her continuing domicile in Batac, Ilocos Norte which, if at all, can be the object of legal change under the
contingencies of the case at bar.

To get out of this quandary, the majority decision echoes the dissenting opinion of Commissioner Regalado E. Maambong in
SPA 95-009 of the Commission on Elections,7 and advances this novel proposition.

It may be said that petitioner lost her domicile of origin by operation of law as a result of her marriage to the
late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952 (sic, 1954). By operation of law (domicilium necesarium), her
legal domicile at the time of her marriage became Batac, Ilocos Norte although there were no indications of
an intention on her part to abandon her domicile of origin. Because of her husband's subsequent death and
through the operation of the provisions of the New Family Code already in force at the time, however, her
legal domicile automatically reverted to her domicile of origin. . . . (Emphasis supplied).

Firstly, I am puzzled why although it is conceded that petitioner had acquired a domicilium necesarium in Batac, Ilocos Norte,
the majority insists on making a qualification that she did not intend to abandon her domicile of origin. I find this bewildering
since, in this situation, it is the law that declares where petitioner's domicile is at any given time, and not her self-serving or
putative intent to hold on to her former domicile. Otherwise, contrary to their own admission that one cannot have more than
one domicile at a time,8 the majority would be suggesting that petitioner retained Tacloban City as (for lack of a term in law
since it does not exist therein) the equivalent of what is fancied as a reserved, dormant, potential, or residual domicile.

Secondly, domicile once lost in accordance with law can only be recovered likewise in accordance with law. However, we are
here being titillated with the possibility of an automatic reversion to or reacquisition of a domicile of origin after the termination
of the cause for its loss by operation of law. The majority agrees that since petitioner lost her domicile of origin by her
marriage, the termination of the marriage also terminates that effect thereof. I am impressed by the ingeniousness of this
theory which proves that, indeed, necessity is the mother of inventions. Regretfully, I find some difficulty in accepting either
the logic or the validity of this argument.

If a party loses his domicile of origin by obtaining a new domicile of choice, he thereby voluntarily abandons the former in
favor of the latter. If, thereafter, he abandons that chosen domicile, he does not per se recover his original domicile unless, by
subsequent acts legally indicative thereof, he evinces his intent and desire to establish the same as his new domicile, which is
precisely what petitioner belatedly and, evidently just for purposes of her candidacy, unsuccessfully tried to do.

One's subsequent abandonment of his domicile of choice cannot automatically restore his domicile of origin, not only because
there is no legal authority therefor but because it would be absurd Pursued to its logical consequence, that theory of ipso
jure reversion would rule out the fact that said party could already very well have obtained another domicile, either of choice or
by operation of law, other than his domicile of origin. Significantly and obviously for this reason, the Family Code, which the
majority inexplicably invokes, advisedly does not regulate this contingency since it would impinge on one's freedom of choice.

Now, in the instant case, petitioner not only voluntarily abandoned her domicile of choice (unless we assume that she entered
into the marital state against her will) but, on top of that, such abandonment was further affirmed through her acquisition of a
new domicile by operation of law. In fact, this is even a case of both voluntary and legal abandonment of a domicile of origin.
With much more reason, therefore, should we reject the proposition that with the termination of her marriage in 1989,
petitioner had supposedly per se and ipso facto reacquired her domicile of origin which she lost in 1954. Otherwise, this would
be tantamount to saying that during the period of marital coverture, she was simultaneously in possession and enjoyment of a
domicile of origin which was only in a state of suspended animation.

Thus, the American rule is likewise to the effect that while after the husband's death the wife has the right to elect her own
domicile,9 she nevertheless retains the last domicile of her deceased husband until she makes an actual change. 10 In the
absence of affirmative evidence, to the contrary, the presumption is that a wife's domicile or legal residence follows that of her
husband and will continue after his death. 11

I cannot appreciate the premises advanced in support of the majority's theory based on Articles 68 and 69 of the Family Code.
All that is of any relevance therein is that under this new code, the right and power to fix the family domicile is now shared by
the spouses. I cannot perceive how that joint right, which in the first place was never exercised by the spouses, could affect
the domicile fixed by the law for petitioner in 1954 and, for her husband, long prior thereto. It is true that a wife now has the
coordinate power to determine the conjugal or family domicile, but that has no bearing on this case. With the death of her
husband, and each of her children having gotten married and established their own respective domiciles, the exercise of that
joint power was and is no longer called for or material in the present factual setting of this controversy. Instead, what is of
concern in petitioner's case was the matter of her having acquired or not her own domicile of choice.

I agree with the majority's discourse on the virtues of the growing and expanded participation of women in the affairs of the
nation, with equal rights and recognition by Constitution and statutory conferment. However, I have searched in vain for a
specific law or judicial pronouncement which either expressly or by necessary implication supports the majority's desired
theory of automatic reacquisition of or reversion to the domicilium originis of petitioner. Definitely, as between
the settled and desirable legal norms that should govern this issue, there is a world of difference; and, unquestionably, this
should be resolved by legislative articulation but not by the eloquence of the well-turned phrase.

In sum, petitioner having lost Tacloban City as her domicile of origin since 1954 and not having automatically reacquired any
domicile therein, she cannot legally claim that her residency in the political constituency of which it is a part continued since
her birth up to the present. Respondent commission was, therefore, correct in rejecting her pretension to that effect in her
amended/corrected certificate of candidacy, and in holding her to her admission in the original certificate that she had actually
resided in that constituency for only seven months prior to the election. These considerations render it unnecessary to further
pass upon the procedural issues raised by petitioner.

ON THE FOREGOING PREMISES, I vote to DISMISS the petition for lack of merit.

DAVIDE, JR., J., dissenting:


I respectfully dissent from the opinion of the majority written by Mr. Justice Santiago M. Kapunan, more particularly on the
issue of the petitioner's qualification.

Under Section 7, Subdivision A, Article IX of the Constitution, decisions, orders, or rulings of the COMELEC may be brought
to this Court only by the special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court (Aratuc vs. COMELEC, 88 SCRA
251 [1979]; Dario vs. Mison, 176 SCRA 84 [1989]).

Accordingly, a writ of certiorari may be granted only if the COMELEC has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with
grave abuse of discretion (Section 1, Rule 65, Rules of Court). Since the COMELEC has, undoubtedly, jurisdiction over the
private respondent's petition, the only issue left is whether it acted with grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying the petitioner.

My careful and meticulous perusal of the challenged resolution of 24 April 1995 of the COMELEC Second Division and the En
Banc resolution of 7 May 1995 discloses total absence of abuse of discretion, much less grave abuse thereof. The resolution
of the Second Division dispassionately and objectively discussed in minute details the facts which established beyond cavil
that herein petitioner was disqualified as a candidate on the ground of lack of residence in the First Congressional District of
Leyte. It has not misapplied, miscomprehended, or misunderstood facts or circumstances of substance pertinent to the issue
of her residence.

The majority opinion, however, overturned the COMELEC's findings of fact for lack of proof that the petitioner has abandoned
Tolosa as her domicile of origin, which is allegedly within the First Congressional District of Leyte.

I respectfully submit that the petitioner herself has provided the COMELEC, either by admission or by documentary evidence,
overwhelming proof of the loss or abandonment of her domicile of origin, which is Tacloban City and not Tolosa, Leyte.
Assuming that she decided to live again in her domicile of origin, that became her second domicile of choice, where her stay,
unfortunately, was for only seven months before the day of the election. She was then disqualified to be a candidate for the
position of Representative of the First Congressional District of Leyte. A holding to the contrary would be arbitrary.

It may indeed be conceded that the petitioner's domicile of choice was either Tacloban City or Tolosa, Leyte. Nevertheless,
she lost it by operation of law sometime in May 1954 upon her marriage to the then Congressman (later, President) Ferdinand
E. Marcos. A domicile by operation of law is that domicile which the law attributes to a person, independently of his own
intention or actual residence, as results from legal domestic relations as that of the wife arising from marriage (28 C.J.S.
Domicile § 7, 11). Under the governing law then, Article 110 of the Civil Code, her new domicile or her domicile of choice was
the domicile of her husband, which was Batac, Ilocos Norte. Said Article reads as follows:

Art. 110. The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may exempt the wife from living with
the husband if he should live abroad unless in the service of the Republic.

Commenting thereon, civilist Arturo M. Tolentino states:

Although the duty of the spouses to live together is mutual, the husband has a predominant right because he
is empowered by law to fix the family residence. This right even predominates over some rights recognized by
law in the wife. For instance, under article 117 the wife may engage in business or practice a profession or
occupation. But because of the power of the husband to fix the family domicilehe may fix it at such a place as
would make it impossible for the wife to continue in business or in her profession. For justifiable reasons,
however, the wife may be exempted from living in the residence chosen by the husband. The husband cannot
validly allege desertion by the wife who refuses to follow him to a new place of residence, when it appears
that they have lived for years in a suitable home belonging to the wife, and that his choice of a different home
is not made in good faith. (Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Civil Code of the Philippines, vol. 1, 1985
ed., 339).

Under common law, a woman upon her marriage loses her own domicile and, by operation of law, acquires that of her
husband, no matter where the wife actually lives or what she believes or intends. Her domicile is fixed in the sense that it is
declared to be the same as his, and subject to certain limitations, he can change her domicile by changing his own (25 Am Jur
2d Domicile § 48, 37).

It must, however, be pointed out that under Article 69 of the Family Code, the fixing of the family domicile is no longer the sole
prerogative of the husband, but is now a joint decision of the spouses, and in case of disagreement the court shall decide. The
said article uses the term "family domicile," and not family residence, as "the spouses may have multiple residences, and the
wife may elect to remain in one of such residences, which may destroy the duty of the spouses to live together and its
corresponding benefits" (ALICIA V. SEMPIO-DIY, Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines, [1988], 102).
The theory of automatic restoration of a woman's domicile of origin upon the death of her husband, which the majority opinion
adopts to overcome the legal effect of the petitioner's marriage on her domicile, is unsupported by law and by jurisprudence.
The settled doctrine is that after the husband's death the wife has a right to elect her own domicile, but she retains the last
domicile of her husband until she makes an actual change (28 C.J.S. Domicile § 12, 27). Or, on the death of the husband, the
power of the wife to acquire her own domicile is revived, but until she exercises the power her domicile remains that of the
husband at the time of his death (25 Am Jur 2d Domicile § 62, 45). Note that what is revived is not her domicile of origin
but her power to acquire her own domicile.

Clearly, even after the death of her husband, the petitioner's domicile was that of her husband at the time of his death —
which was Batac, Ilocos Norte, since their residences in San Juan, Metro Manila, and San Miguel, Manila, were their
residences for convenience to enable her husband to effectively perform his official duties. Their residence in San Juan was a
conjugal home, and it was there to which she returned in 1991 when she was already a widow. In her sworn certificate of
candidacy for the Office of the President in the synchronized elections of May 1992, she indicated therein that she was a
resident of San Juan, Metro Manila. She also voted in the said elections in that place.

On the basis of her evidence, it was only on 24 August 1994 when she exercised her right as a widow to acquire her own
domicile in Tolosa, Leyte, through her sworn statement requesting the Election Officer of San Juan, Metro Manila, to cancel
her registration in the permanent list of voters in Precinct 157 thereat and praying that she be "re-registered or transferred to
Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, the place of [her] birth and permanent residence" (photocopy of Exhibit "B," attached as Annex "2"
of private respondent Montejo's Comment). Notably, she contradicted this sworn statement regarding her place of birth when,
in her Voter's Affidavit sworn to on 15 March 1992 (photocopy of Exhibit "C," attached as Annex "3," Id.), her Voter
Registration Record sworn to on 28 January 1995 (photocopy of Exhibit "E," attached as Annex "5," Id.), and her Certificate of
Candidacy sworn to on 8 March 1995 (photocopy of Exhibit "A," attached as Annex "1," Id.), she solemnly declared that she
was born in Manila.

The petitioner is even uncertain as to her domicile of origin. Is it Tacloban City or Tolosa, Leyte? In the affidavit attached to
her Answer to the petition for disqualification (Annex "I" of Petition), she declared under oath that her "domicile or residence is
Tacloban City." If she did intend to return to such domicile or residence of origin why did she inform the Election Officer of San
Juan that she would transfer to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, and indicate in her Voter's Registration Record and in her certificate of
candidacy that her residence is Olot, Tolosa, Leyte? While this uncertainty is not important insofar as residence in the
congressional district is concerned, it nevertheless proves that forty-one years had already lapsed since she had lost or
abandoned her domicile of origin by virtue of marriage and that such length of time diminished her power of recollection or
blurred her memory.

I find to be misplaced the reliance by the majority opinion on Faypon vs. Quirino (96 Phil. 294 [1954]), and the subsequent
cases which established the principle that absence from original residence or domicile of origin to pursue studies, practice
one's profession, or engage in business in other states does not constitute loss of such residence or domicile. So is the
reliance on Section 117 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides that transfer of residence to any other place by reason
of one's "occupation; profession; employment in private and public service; educational activities; work in military or naval
reservations; service in the army, navy or air force, the constabulary or national police force; or confinement or detention in
government institutions in accordance with law" is not deemed as loss of original residence. Those cases and legal provision
do not include marriage of a woman. The reason for the exclusion is, of course, Article 110 of the Civil Code. If it were the
intention of this Court or of the legislature to consider the marriage of a woman as a circumstance which would not operate as
an abandonment of domicile (of origin or of choice), then such cases and legal provision should have expressly mentioned the
same.

This Court should not accept as gospel truth the self-serving claim of the petitioner in her affidavit (Annex "A" of her Answer in
COMELEC SPA No. 95-009; Annex "I" of Petition) that her "domicile or residence of origin is Tacloban City," and that she
"never intended to abandon this domicile or residence of origin to which [she] always intended to return whenever absent."
Such a claim of intention cannot prevail over the effect of Article 110 of the Civil Code. Besides, the facts and circumstances
or the vicissitudes of the petitioner's life after her marriage in 1954 conclusively establish that she had indeed abandoned her
domicile of origin and had acquired a new one animo et facto (KOSSUTH KENT KENNAN, A Treatise on Residence and
Domicile, [1934], 214, 326).

Neither should this Court place complete trust on the petitioner's claim that she "merely committed an honest mistake" in
writing down the word "seven" in the space provided for the residency qualification requirement in the certificate of candidacy.
Such a claim is self-serving and, in the light of the foregoing disquisitions, would be all sound and fury signifying nothing. To
me, she did not commit any mistake, honest or otherwise; what she stated was the truth.

The majority opinion also disregards a basic rule in evidence that he who asserts a fact or the affirmative of an issue has the
burden of proving it (Imperial Victory Shipping Agency vs. NLRC, 200 SCRA 178 [1991]; P.T. Cerna Corp. vs. Court of
Appeals, 221 SCRA 19 [1993]). Having admitted marriage to the then Congressman Marcos, the petitioner could not deny the
legal consequence thereof on the change of her domicile to that of her husband. The majority opinion rules or at least
concludes that "[b]y operation of law (domicilium necesarium), her legal domicile at the time of her marriage automatically
became Batac, Ilocos Norte." That conclusion is consistent with Article 110 of the Civil Code. Since she is presumed to retain
her deceased husband's domicile until she exercises her revived power to acquire her own domicile, the burden is upon her to
prove that she has exercised her right to acquire her own domicile. She miserably failed to discharge that burden.

I vote to deny the petition.

Footnotes

1 Jarrolt v. Mabberly, 103 U.S. 580 (1881).

2 CONST, art. VI, states:

Sec. 6. No person shall be a member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born


citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, able to
read and write, and except the party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he
shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding
the day of the election.

See, Jarrolt v. Mabberly, supra, note 1.

3 Gallego vs. Vera, 73 Phil. 453 (1941).

4 Rollo, p. 114, Annex "D".

5 Rollo, p. 110, Annex "D".

6 Rollo, p. 113.

7 Rollo, p. 111.

8 Rollo, p. 115, Annex "E".

9 Signed by Virgilo S. Oledan, Provincial Election Supervisor IV, Leyte; Rollo,


p. 116, Annex "F".

10 Rollo, p. 117, Annex "G". Petitioner explained the circumstances surrounding the filling up of the
original certificate thus:

1. On March 8, 1995, I filed my certificate of candidacy for Member of the House of Representatives
(Congresswoman) of the First Legislative District of the province of Leyte, which was drafted by Mr.
Filomeno A. Zeta.

2. I learned lately that Congressman Cirilo Montejo wants to disqualify me as I allegedly lack
residence in the constituency because of the entry of the word "SEVEN" in Item No. 8 of my
certificate of candidacy.

3. I read my certificate of candidacy before signing it and thought of the word "RESIDENCE" to mean
actual or physical residence, and the word "SEVEN" merely reflected my actual and physical
residence in Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.

3.1. The word "SEVEN" was placed on my certificate of candidacy to indicate that at lease one (1)
month had passed from my registration as voter of Tolosa, Leyte, on January 28, 1995, when I wrote
"06" months under "PERIOD OF RESIDENCE" as my actual or physical residence in the town.

4. I thought then that the sense in Item No. 10 of my certificate of candidacy stating "THAT I AM
eligible for said Office" was sufficient to affirm that I possess all the qualifications, including my
residence, for Member of the House of Representatives for which I am aspiring in the May 8, 1995
elections.

5. The fact, however, is that my domicile or residence of origin is Tacloban City, a component city of
the First Legislative District of Leyte I never intended to abandon this domicile or residence of origin
to which I always intended to return whenever absent; indeed in 1992, I returned to Tacloban City to
live and stay there. On November 5, 1992; I bought my Residence Certificate No. 15226186L there,
which is made an integral part hereof as Annex "I" (Annex "2" hereof).

11 Id., at p. 120. See also, Rollo, p. 130-133, Annex "I", petitioner's Affidavit explaining her residence:

13. I established my domicile, however in Tacloban, Leyte (Tacloban City in 1938, when was little
over eight (8) years old. Shortly after my mother died on April 7, 1938, my widowed father, Vicente
Orestes Romualdez, brought me and my brothers. . .and my sisters to Tacloban, Leyte (now
Tacloban City) his hometown.

xxx xxx xxx

18. I have always considered Tacloban City as my permanent residence or residence of origin have
not abandoned and have never intended to abandon my permanent residence or residence of origin
there. To it I always intend to return whenever absent.

19. In 1952, I went to Manila to work with my cousin, the late speaker
Daniel Z. Romualdez in his office in the House of Representatives.

20. In May, 1954, I married President Ferdinand E. Marcos when he was still the congressman of
Ilocos, Norte.

21. As a dutiful wife who loved him deeply, I lived with him in Batac, Ilocos Norte and registered as a
voter there.

22. In 1965, my husband was elected President of the Republic of the Philippines. Together, we lived
in Malacañang Palace and I registered as a voter in San Miguel, Manila.

23. My registration as voter in Batac, Ilocos Norte; San Juan, Rizal (now San Juan, Metro Manila);
and San Miguel, Manila, was for convenience because I had to live with my husband to serve him
when he was congressman, Senator and President of the Republic of the Philippines. During those
years however, I never intended nor desired to abandon my domicile or residence of origin in
Tacloban City, which I established since I was a child.

xxx xxx xxx

33. Throughout the Marcos Presidency, I spent most of my birthday anniversaries and attended the
Sto. Nini Fiesta in Tacloban City. I regularly visited my domicile or residence of origin in Leyte and
even held important functions and entertained guests and foreign dignitaries there.

34. After President Ferdinand E. Marcos and I, together with our children and innocent grandchildren
were abducted and kidnapped to Honolulu, Hawaii, in February, 1986, my Leyte properties were
sequestered by the PCGG, and were destroyed and cannibalized.

xxx xxx xxx

38. Upon my return to the country, I wanted to immediately live and reside in Tacloban City or in Olot,
Tolosa, Leyte even if my residences there were not livable as they had been destroyed and
cannibalized. The PCGG, however, did not permit and allow me.

xxx xxx xxx


40. After the 1992 Presidential Elections, I lived and resided in the residence of my brother in San
Jose, Tacloban City, and pursued my negotiations with PCGG to recover my sequestered residences
in Tacloban City and Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.

12 Rollo, p. 122.

13 Commissioners Manolo B. Gorospe and Teresita Dy-Liaco Flores formed the majority opinion.
Commissioner Remedies A. Salazar-Fernando dissented.

14 Rollo, p. 64.

15 Rollo, p. 57-64.

16 Petitioner filed a "Motion to Recall Resolution Promulgated on April 24, 1995 and to Dismiss the
Petition Because of Lapse of Jurisdiction; Alternatively, Motion for Reconsideration." The
Commission's May 7, 1995 Resolution treated the same simply as a Motion for Reconsideration.

17 Commissioners Regalado E. Maambong, Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando and Julio F. Desamito


dissented. All filed separate dissenting opinions. In disqualifying petitioner, the majority held:

As it stands now, only the Certificate of Candidacy respondent filed on March 8, 1995, stands, and on
the basis of the entries therein, she is disqualified to run for failure to meet the constitutional
requirement of one (1) year of residence in the place where she wanted to be elected.

18 Rollo, p. 78, Annex "B".

19 Rollo, Annex "D".

20 19 SCRA 966 (1967). See also, Corre v. Corre, 100 Phil. 221 (1956).

21 Id. at 969.

22 Uytengsu v. Republic, 95 Phil. 890 (1954).

23 Id.

24 52 Phil. 645 (1928).

25 Citing People v. Bender 144 N.Y.S., 145.

26 61 Phil. 36 (1934).

27 96 Phil. 294 (1954).

28 Id, see also Ujano v. Republic, 17 SCRA 147 (1966); Nuval v. Guray, supra

note 22.

29 II RECORD OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 110 (July 22, 1986).

30 Id.

31 199 SCRA 692 (1991).

32 Id, at 714.

33 61 Phil. 36 (1934).
34 96 Phil. 294, 299-300 (1954).

35 B.P. 881, sec. 117 states:

xxx xxx xxx

Any person who transfers residence to another city, municipality or country solely by reason of his
occupation; profession; employment in private or public service; educational activities; work in military
or naval reservations; service in the army, navy or air force; the constabulary or national police force;
or confinement or detention in government institutions in accordance with law shall not be deemed to
have lost his original residence.

36 Rollo, p. 38.

37 18 Am Jur 219-220.

38 20 Am Jur 71.

39 TOLENTINO 1 COMMENTARIES & JURISPRUDENCE ON THE CIVIL CODE, 220 (1987).

40 Id.

41 TOLENTINO, 1 COMMENTARIES AND JURISPRUDENCE ON CIVIL CODE, 220 (1987).

42 Under modern laws, it is clear that many exceptions to the rule that the domicile of the wife is
determined by that of her husband must obtain. Accordingly, the wife may acquire another and
separate domicile from that of her husband where the theoretical unity of the husband and wife is
dissolved, as it is by the institution of divorce proceedings; or where the husband has given cause for
divorce; or where there is a separation of the parties by agreement, or a permanent separation due to
desertion of the wife by the husband or attributable to cruel treatment on the part of the husband; or
where there has been a forfeiture by the wife of the benefit of the husband's domicile. 9 R.C.L.,
545, cited in De La Vina, supra. If the law allows the wife to automatically revert to her original
domicile or acquire a new domicile under these situations, all the more should it sanction a reversion
— or the acquisition of a new domicile by the wife — upon the death of her husband.

43 41 Phi. 13 (1920).

44 The rule that the wife automatically acquires or follows her husband's domicile is not an absolute
one. A specific situation recognized in Spanish jurisprudence involves the one in which husband
acquiesces (1 Manresa 223) or gives his tacit consent (Scaevola, Civil Code; 354.)

45 42 Phil. 54 (1921).

46 Justice Alicia Sempio-Diy recognizes the same Civil Code distinction. However, taking another
approach, she writes:

(6) The above Article (Article 69, FC) uses the term "family domicile" instead of family residence
because the spouses may have multiple residences, and the wife may elect to remain in one of such
residences, which may destroy the duty of the spouses to live together and its corresponding
benefits. SEMPIO-DIY, HANDBOOK ON THE FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES, 102 (1988).

47 Rollo, pp. 132-133.

48 The provision reads: Section 78. Petition to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of
candidacy. — A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy
may be filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained
therein as required under
Section 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from
the time of filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided after due notice and hearing, not
later than fifteen days before the election.

49 Marcelino vs. Cruz, 121 SCRA 51 (1983).

50 American Tupe Founders Co. v. Justice's Court, 133 Cal. 819, 65 Pac. 742; Heillen v. Phillipps, 88
Cal. 557, 26 Pac. 366; Drake v. Bagley, 69 Mo. App. 39; State v. Davis, 194 Mo. 585.

51 Supra, note 39, citing Huffines v. Gold 154 Tenn. 583, 588; 288 S.W. 353, 354.

52 Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. — Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment
to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any
reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is
voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall
continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and, upon motion of the
complainant or any intervenor, may during the thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of
such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong.

Sec. 7 Petition to Deny Due Course or to Cancel a Certificate Candidacy.


The procedure hereinabove provided shall apply to petitions to deny due course to or cancel a
certificate of candidacy as provided in Section 78 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881.

53 CONST., art. VI, sec. 11 states:

The Senate and the House of Representatives shall have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the
sole judge of all questions relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective
Members. . . .

PUNO, J., concurring:

1 Aristotle, Ethica Nichomachea, bk., v. 3, 1131 (a) (W. Ross translation, 1925 ed).

2 It provides: "No person shall be a member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural
born citizen of the Philippines and on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, able
to read and write, and except the party list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which
he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately
preceding the day of the election." (Emphasis supplied)

3 There are two (2) other instances when a married woman may have a domicile different from the
husband: (1) if they are legally separated pursuant to par. 1, Art. 106 of the Civil Code, and (2) if the
husband forcibly ejects the wife from the conjugal home to have illicit relations with another. (De la
Viña v. Villareal and Geopano, 41 Phil. 13 [1920]).

4 Op cit.

5 Id., at pp. 16-17.

6 Id., at p. 20, citing 1 Manresa 223.

7 25 AM JUR 2nd S. 48, p. 37.

8 28 CJS on Domicile, S. 12, 27; 25 AM JUR 2nd on Domicile S. 62, 46.

9 28 CJS, S. 12, p. 24.

10 Restatement of the Law, 2d, Conflict of Laws 2d., S. 21, p. 84.

11 Ibid.
12 83 U.S. 442; 21 Law Ed. 442; S.C. 16 Wall 130.

13 Supra.

14 Supra.

15 In re Green's Estate, 191 N.Y.S. 757, 117 Misc. 800, 165 N.Y.S. 1063, 99 Misc. 582.

16 Clark et al. v. Baker et al., 196 SE 750, 186 Ga 65.

17 Lefcourt, Women and The Law, 1990 ed.

18 404 US 71.

19 28 CJS S. 12, p. 25 citing Shute v. Sargent, 36 A 282, 67 N.H. 305.

20 Op cit., p. 84.

21 Women's Status in Philippine Society, UP Law Center, 1979, pp. 4-6.

22 In submitting the draft of the Family Code to President Corazon Aquino, the Civil Code Revision
Committee stated:

Close to forty years of experience under the Civil Code adopted in 1949 and changes and
developments in all aspects of Filipino Life since then have revealed the unsuitability of certain
provisions of that Code, implanted from foreign sources, to Philippine culture; the unfairness,
unjustness, and gaps or inadequacies of others; and the need to attune them to contemporary
developments and trends.

In particular — to cite only a few instances — (1) the property regime of conjugal partnership of gains
is not in accord with Filipino custom, especially in the rural areas, which is more congenial to absolute
community of property; (2) there have considerably been more grounds for annulment of marriage by
the Church than those provided by the Code, thus giving rise to the absurd situation of several
marriages already annulled under Canon Law but still considered subsisting under the Civil Law and
making it necessary to make the grounds for annulment under both laws to coincide; (3) unequal
treatment of husband and wife as to rights and responsibilities, which necessitates a response to the
long-standing clamor for equality between men and women now mandated as a policy to be
implemented under the New Constitution; (4) the inadequacy of the safeguards for strengthening
marriage and the family as basic social institutions recognized as such by the New Constitution; (5)
recent developments have shown the absurdity of limiting the grounds for legal separation to the
antiquated two grounds provided under the Civil Code; (6) the need for additional safeguards to
protect our children in the matter of adoption by foreigners; and (7) to bring our law on paternity and
filiation in step with or abreast of the latest scientific discoveries." (Emphasis supplied)

23 Article 96, Family Code.

24 Article 225, Family Code.

25 Article 70, Family Code.

26 Article 71, Family Code.

27 Article 73, Family Code.

28 Op cit., Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines, pp. 98-99.

29 As cited in Diy, Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines, pp. 184-185.
30 Section 1, Article III of the Constitution provides: "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or
property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws."

31 Exhibit "E"; see also Exhibit "B" in SPA No. 95-001.

32 Exhibit "A" in SPA No. 95-009.

33 Exhibit "2" in SPA No. 95-009.

34 2 SCRA 957, 960 (1961); See Canceran v. COMELEC, 107 Phil. 607 (1960); Gabaldon v.
COMELEC, 99 Phil. 898 (1956).

35 Section 26, Article II of the Constitution also provides: "The State shall guarantee equal access to
opportunities for public service . . . ."

36 Annex "G," Petition.

37 Petition, Annex "B-1" pp. 6-7.

38 73 Phil. 453, 459 (1951).

FRANCISCO, J., concurring:

1 See Articles 68-73 of E.O. 209, as amended, otherwise known as The Family Code of the
Philippines.

2 Residence Certificate No. 15226186L, dated Nov. 5, 1992.

3 PCGG Chairman Gunigundo's letter addressed to Col. Kempis.

ROMERO, J., separate opinion:

1 Art. VI, Sec. 6, Const.: "No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is
a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of
age, able to read and write, and, except the party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district
in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period not less than one year immediately
preceding the day of the election."

2 Art. 110: "The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may exempt the wife from
living with the husband if he should live abroad unless in the service of the Republic.

3 Art. 110, Civil Code.

4 Art. 111, Civil Code.

5 Art. 112, Civil Code.

6 Art. 171, Civil Code.

7 Art. 172, Civil Code.

8 Art. 320, Civil Code.

9 Art. 114, Civil Code.

10 Art. 117, Civil Code.

11 Art. 84, Civil Code.


12 Art. 328, Civil Code.

13 Art. II, Sec. 2, Const.

14 Part IV, Art. 15, Paragraph 4, CEDAW.

15 Executive Order No. 209, July 6, 1987, as amended by Executive Order No. 227, July 17,1987,
which took effect on August 3, 1988.

16 Art. II Sec. 11, Const.

17 Art. II, Sec. 14, Const.

18 Art. 69, Family Code.

19 Art. 71, Family Code.

20 Art. 96, Family Code.

21 Art. 225, Family Code.

22 Republic Act No. 7192 approved February 12, 1992.

23 Ibid., Sec. 5.

MENDOZA, J., separate opinion:

1 Labo, Jr. v. COMELEC, 211 SCRA 297 (1992) (for mayor).

2 Loong v. COMELEC, 216 SCRA 760 (1992) (for regional vice governor).

3 Abella v. Larrazabal, 180 SCRA 509 (1989); Abella v. COMELEC, 201 SCRA 253 (1991) (for
provincial governor).

4 Co. v. HRET, 199 SCRA 692 (1991) (election protest against a Congressman).

5 Faypon v. Quirino, 96 Phil. 294 (1954) (quo warranto against a governor); Gallego v. Verra, 73 Phil.
453 (1941) (quo warranto against a mayor); Larena v. Teves, 61 Phil. 36 (1934) (quo
warranto against a provincial board member); Tanseco v. Arteche, 57 Phil. 227 (1932) (quo
warranto against a governor): Yra v. Abaño, 52 Phil. 380 (1928) (quo warranto against a municipal
president); Vivero v. Murillo, 52 Phil. 694 (1929) (quo warranto against a municipal
president). Cf. Aznar v. COMELEC, 185 SCRA 703 (1990) (quo warranto although prematurely filed,
against a governor-elect).

6 R.A. No. 6646, § 6; Labo, Jr. v. COMELEC, supra note 1.

7 OEC, § 76.

8 Lagumbay v. COMELEC, 16 SCRA 175 (1966).

PADILLA, J., dissenting:

1 Nuval vs. Guray, G.R. No. 30241, December 29, 1928; Larena vs. Teves, G.R.
No. 42439, December 10, 1934; Gallego vs. Verra, G.R. No. 48641, November 24, 1941; De los
Reyes vs. Solidum, G.R. No. 42798. August 31, 1935; but see Romualdez vs. RTC, Br. 7 Tacloban
City, where a sudden departure from the country was not deemed "voluntary" so as to constitute
abandonment of domicile both in fact and in law.
2 Annex "A" Petition, pp. 2-4.

REGALADO, J., dissenting:

1 Struble vs. Struble, Tex. Civ. App., 177 S.W. 2d, 279, 283.

2 This is also referred to as natural domicile or domicile by birth (Johnson vs. Twenty-One Bales, 13
Fed. Cas. 863).

3 Story, Conflict of Laws, Sec. 46; Railroad Co. vs. Kimbrough, 115 Ky 512, 74 S.W. 229; and
Johnson vs. Harvey, 261 Ky. 522, 88 S.W. 2d 42, 46, 47, as cited in Black's Law Dictionary, 4th ed.

4 Article 110, Civil Code.

5 Towson vs. Towson, 126 Va. 640, 102 S.E. 48, 52; Fisher vs. Jordan, C.C.A. Tex., 116 F. 2d. 183,
186; Minick vs. Minick, 111 Fla. 469, 149 So. 483, 488; Hartzler vs. Radeka, 265 Mich. 451, 251 N.W.
554.

6 Citing 18 Am. Jur. 219-220.

7 Montejo vs. Marcos, En Banc, May 10, 1995.

8 Citing 20 Am. Jur. 71.

9 Cheely vs. Clayton, D.C., 110 U.S. 701, L. Ed. 298.

10 In re Gates' Estate, 191 N.Y.S. 757, 117 Misc. 800 — In re Green's Estate, 164 N.Y.S. 1063, 99
Misc. 582, affirmed 165 N.Y.S. 1088, 179 App. Div. 890, as reported in 28 C.J.S. 27.

11 Clark vs. Baker, 196 S.E. 750, 186 Ga. 65, op. cit. 37.
CASE #13

[G.R. No. 135150. July 28, 1999]

ROMEO LONZANIDA, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COMMISSION ON ELECTION and EUFEMIO
MULI, repondents.

DECISION
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:

This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeks to set aside the resolutions issued by the COMELEC
First Division dated May 21, 1998 and by the COMELEC En Banc dated August 11, 1998 in SPA 98-190 entitled, In the
matter of the Petition to Disqualify Mayoralty Candidate Romeo Lonzanida of San Antonio, Zambales. Eufemio Muli,
petitioner, vs. Romeo Lonzanida, respondent. The assailed resolutions declared herein petitioner Romeo Lonzanida
disqualified to run for Mayor in the municipality of San Antonio, Zambales in the May 1998 elections and that all votes cast in
his favor shall not be counted and if he has been proclaimed winner the said proclamation is declared null and void.
Petitioner Romeo Lonzanida was duly elected and served two consecutive terms as municipal mayor of San Antonio,
Zambales prior to the May 8, 1995 elections. In the May 1995 elections Lonzanida ran for mayor of San Antonio, Zambales
and was again proclaimed winner. He assumed office and discharged the duties thereof. His proclamation in 1995 was
however contested by his then opponent Juan Alvez who filed an election protest before the Regional Trial Court of
Zambales, which in a decision dated January 9, 1997 declared a failure of elections. The court ruled:

PREMISES CONSIDERED, this court hereby renders judgment declaring the results of the election for the office of the mayor
in San Antonio, Zambales last May 8, 1995 as null and void on the ground that there was a failure of election.

Accordingly, the office of the mayor of the Municipality of San Antonio, Zambales is hereby declared vacant.

Both parties appealed to the COMELEC. On November 13, 1997 the COMELEC resolved the election protest filed by Alvez
and after a revision and re-appreciation of the contested ballots declared Alvez the duly elected mayor of San Antonio,
Zambales by plurality of votes cast in his favor totaling 1,720 votes as against 1,488 votes for Lonzanida. On February 27,
1998 the COMELEC issued a writ of execution ordering Lonzanida to vacate the post, which obeyed, and Alvez assumed
office for the remainder of the term.
In the May 11, 1998 elections Lonzanida again filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor of San Antonio. On April 21,
1998 his opponent Eufemio Muli timely filed a petition to disqualify Lonzanida from running for mayor of San Antonio in the
1998 elections on the ground that he had served three consecutive terms in the same post. On May 13, 1998, petitioner
Lonzanida was proclaimed winner. On May 21, 1998 the First Division of the COMELEC issued the questioned resolution
granting the petition for disqualification upon a finding that Lonzanida had served three consecutive terms as mayor of San
Antonio, Zambales and he is therefore disqualified to run for the same post for the fourth time. The COMELEC found that
Lonzanidas assumption of office by virtue of his proclamation in May 1995, although he was later unseated before the
expiration of the term, should be counted as service for one full term in computing the three term limit under the Constitution
and the Local Government Code. The finding of the COMELEC First Division was affirmed by the COMELEC En Banc in a
resolution dated August 11, 1998.
Petitioner Lonzanida challenges the validity of the COMELEC resolutions finding him disqualified to run for mayor of San
Antonio Zambales in the 1998 elections. He maintains that he was duly elected mayor for only two consecutive terms and that
his assumption of office in 1995 cannot be counted as service of a term for the purpose of applying the three term limit for
local government officials, because he was not the duly elected mayor of San Antonio in the May 1995 elections as evidenced
by the COMELEC decision dated November 13, 1997 in EAC no. 6-97 entitled Juan Alvez, Protestant-Appellee vs. Romeo
Lonzanida, Protestee-Appellant, wherein the COMELEC declared Juan Alvez as the duly elected mayor of San Antonio,
Zambales. Petitioner also argues that the COMELEC ceased to have jurisdiction over the petition for disqualification after he
was proclaimed winner in the 1998 mayoral elections; as the proper remedy is a petition for quo warranto with the appropriate
regional trial court under Rule 36 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure.
Private respondent Eufemio Muli filed comment to the petition asking this court to sustain the questioned resolutions of
the COMELEC and to uphold its jurisdiction over the petition for disqualification.The private respondent states that the petition
for disqualification was filed on April 21, 1998 or before the May 1998 mayoral elections. Under section 6, RA 6646 and Rule
25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure petitions for disqualification filed with the COMELEC before the elections and/or
proclamation of the party sought to be disqualified may still be herd and decided by the COMELEC after the election and
proclamation of the said party without distinction as to the alleged ground for disqualification, whether for acts constituting an
election offense or for ineligibility. Accordingly, it is argued that the resolutions of the COMELEC on the merits of the petition
for disqualification were issued within the commissions jurisdiction. As regards the merits of the case, the private respondent
maintains that the petitioners assumption of office in 1995 should be considered as service of one full term because he
discharged the duties of mayor for almost three years until March 1, 1998 or barely a few months before the next mayoral
elections.
The Solicitor-General filed comment to the petition for the respondent COMELEC praying for the dismissal of the
petition. The Solicitor-General stressed that section 8, Art. X of the Constitution and section 43 (b), Chapter I of the Local
Government Code which bar a local government official from serving more than three consecutive terms in the same position
speaks of service of a term and so the rule should be examined in this light. The public respondent contends that petitioner
Lonzanida discharged the rights and duties of mayor from 1995 to 1998 which should be counted as service of one full term,
albeit he was later unseated, because he served as mayor for the greater part of the term. The issue of whether or not
Lonzanida served as a de jure or de facto mayor for the 1995-1998 term is inconsequential in the application of the three term
limit because the prohibition speaks of service of a term which was intended by the framers of the Constitution to foil any
attempt to monopolize political power. It is likewise argued by the respondent that a petition for quo warranto with the regional
trial court is proper when the petition for disqualification is filed after the elections and so the instant petition for disqualification
which was filed before the elections may be resolved by the COMELEC thereafter regardless of the imputed basis of
disqualification.
The petitioner filed Reply to the comment. It is maintained that the petitioner could not have served a valid term from
1995 to 1998 although he assumed office as mayor for that period because he was no t lawfully elected to the said
office. Moreover, the petitioner was unseated before the expiration of the term and so his service for the period cannot be
considered as one full term. As regards the issue of jurisdiction, the petitioner reiterated in his Reply that the COMELEC
ceased to have jurisdiction to hear the election protest after the petitioners proclamation.
The petition has merit.
Section 8, Art. X of the Constitution provides:

Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by law shall be three
years and no such officials shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.Voluntary renunciation of the office for any
length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was
elected.

Section 43 of the Local Government Code (R.A. No. 7160) restates the same rule:

Sec. 43. Term of Office.

(b) No local elective official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms in the same position. Voluntary renunciation of
the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which
the elective official concerned was elected.

The issue before us is whether petitioner Lonzanidas assumption of office as mayor of San Antonio Zambales from May
1995 to March 1998 may be considered as service of one full term for the purpose of applying the three-term limit for elective
local government officials.
The records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission show that the three-term limit which is now embodied in section 8,
Art. X of the Constitution was initially proposed to be an absolute bar to any elective local government official from running for
the same position after serving three consecutive terms. The said disqualification was primarily intended to forestall the
accumulation of massive political power by an elective local government official in a given locality in order to perpetuate his
tenure in office. The delegates also considered the need to broaden the choices of the electorate of the candidates who will
run for office, and to infuse new blood in the political arena by disqualifying officials from running for the same office after a
term of nine years. The mayor was compared by some delegates to the President of the Republic as he is a powerful chief
executive of his political territory and is most likely to form a political dynasty. [1] The drafters however, recognized and took
note of the fact that some local government officials run for office before they reach forty years of age; thus to perpetually bar
them from running for the same office after serving nine consecutive years may deprive the people of qualified candidates to
choose from. As finally voted upon, it was agreed that an elective local government official should be barred from running for
the same post after three consecutive terms. After a hiatus of at least one term, he may again run for the same office.[2]
The scope of the constitutional provision barring elective officials with the exception of barangay officials from serving
more than three consecutive terms was discussed at length in the case of Benjamin Borja, Jr., vs. COMELEC and Jose
Capco, Jr.[3] where the issue raised was whether a vice-mayor who succeeds to the office of the mayor by operation of law
upon the death of the incumbent mayor and served the remainder of the term should be considered to have served a term in
that office for the purpose of computing the three term limit. This court pointed out that from the discussions of the
Constitutional Convention it is evident that the delegates proceeded from the premise that the officials assumption of office is
by reason of election. This Court stated:[4]

Two ideas emerge from a consideration of the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission. The first is the notion of service
of term, derived from the concern about the accumulation of power as a result of a prolonged stay in office. The second is the
idea of election, derived from the concern that the right of the people to choose those whom they wish to govern them be
preserved.

It is likewise noteworthy that, in discussing term limits, the drafters of the Constitution did so on the assumption that the
officials concerned were serving by reason of election. This is clear from the following exchange in the Constitutional
Commission concerning term limits, now embodied in Art. VI sections 4 and 7 of the Constitution, for members of Congress:

MR. GASCON. I would like to ask a question with regard to the issue after the second term. We will allow the Senator to
rest for a period of time before he can run again?
MR. DAVIDE. That is correct.
MR. GASCON. And the question that we left behind before-if the Gentlemen will remember-was: How long will that period
of rest be? Will it be one election which is three years or one term which is six years?
MR. DAVIDE. If the Gentlemen will remember, Commissioner Rodrigo expressed the view that during
the election following the expiration of the first 12 years, whether such election will be on the third year or on the sixth
year thereafter, his particular member of the Senate can run. So it is not really a period of hibernation for six
years. That was the Committees stand.
xxxx xxxx xxxx

Second, not only historical examination but textual analysis as well supports the ruling of the COMELEC that Art X, section 8
contemplates service by local officials for three consecutive terms as a result of election. The first sentence speaks of the term
of office of elective local officials and bars such officials from serving for more than three consecutive terms. The second
sentence, in explaining when an elective official may be deemed to have served his full term of office, states that voluntary
renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the
full term for which he was elected. The term served must therefore be one for which the the official concerned was elected.
The purpose of the provision is to prevent a circumvention of the limitation on the number of terms an elective official may
serve.

This Court held that two conditions for the application of the disqualification must concur: 1) that the official concerned has
been elected for three consecutive terms in the same local government post and 2) that he has fully served three consecutive
terms. It stated:

To recapitulate, the term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as well as the right to
serve in the same elective position. Consequently, it is not enough that an individual has served three consecutive terms in an
elective local office, he must also have been elected to the same position for the same number of times before the
disqualification can apply.

It is not disputed that the petitioner was previously elected and served two consecutive terms as mayor of San Antonio
Zambales prior to the May 1995 mayoral elections. In the May 1995 elections he again ran for mayor of San Antonio,
Zambales and was proclaimed winner. He assumed office and discharged the rights and duties of mayor until March 1998
when he was ordered to vacate the post by reason of the COMELEC decision dated November 13, 1997 on the election
protest against the petitioner which declared his opponent Juan Alvez, the duly elected mayor of San Antonio. Alvez served
the remaining portion of the 1995-1998 mayoral term.
The two requisites for the application of the three term rule are absent. First, the petitioner cannot be considered as
having been duly elected to the post in the May 1995 elections, and second, the petitioner did not fully serve the 1995-1998
mayoral term by reason of involuntary relinquishment of office. After a re-appreciation and revision of the contested ballots the
COMELEC itself declared by final judgment that petitioner Lonzanida lost in the May 1995 mayoral elections and his previous
proclamation as winner was declared null and void. His assumption of office as mayor cannot be deemed to have been by
reason of a valid election but by reason of a void proclamation. It has been repeatedly held by this court that a proclamation
subsequently declared void is no proclamation at all [5] and while a proclaimed candidate may assume office on the strength of
the proclamation of the Board of Canvassers he is only a presumptive winner who assumes office subject to the final outcome
of the election protest.[6] Petitioner Lonzanida did not serve a term as mayor of San Antonio, Zambales from May 1995 to
March 1998 because he was not duly elected to the post; he merely assumed office as presumptive winner, which
presumption was later overturned by the COMELEC when it decided with finality that Lonzanida lost in the May 1995 mayoral
elections.
Second, the petitioner cannot be deemed to have served the May 1995 to 1998 term because he was ordered to vacate
his post before the expiration of the term. The respondents contention that the petitioner should be deemed to have served
one full term from May 1995-1998 because he served the greater portion of that term has no legal basis to support it; it
disregards the second requisite for the application of the disqualification, i.e., that he has fully served three consecutive
terms. The second sentence of the constitutional provision under scrutiny states, Voluntary renunciation of office for any
length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which he was elected.
The clear intent of the framers of the constitution to bar any attempt to circumvent the three-term limit by a voluntary
renunciation of office and at the same time respect the peoples choice and grant their elected official full service of a term is
evident in this provision. Voluntary renunciation of a term does not cancel the renounced term in the computation of the three
term limit; conversely, involuntary severance from office for any length of time short of the full term porvided by law amounts
to an interruption of continuity of service. The petitioner vacated his post a few months before the next mayoral elections, not
by voluntary renunciation but in compliance with the legal process of writ of execution issued by the COMELEC to that
effect. Such involuntary severance from office is an interruption of continuity of service and thus, the petitioner did not fully
serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term.
In sum, the petitioner was not the duly elected mayor and that he did not hold office for the full term; hence, his
assumption of office from May 1995 to March 1998 cannot be counted as a term for purposes of computing the three term
limit. The Resolution of the COMELEC finding him disqualified on this ground to run in the May 1998 mayoral elections should
therefore be set aside.
The respondents harp on the delay in resolving the election protest between petitioner and his then opponent Alvez
which took roughly about three years and resultantly extended the petitioners incumbency in an office to which he was not
lawfully elected. We note that such delay cannot be imputed to the petitioner. There is no specific allegation nor proof that the
delay was due to any political maneuvering on his part to prolong his stay in office. Moreover, protestant Alvez, was not
without legal recourse to move for the early resolution of the election protest while it was pending before the regional trial
court or to file a motion for the execution of the regional trial courts decision declaring the position of mayor vacant and
ordering the vice-mayor to assume office while the appeal was pending with the COMELEC. Such delay which is not here
shown to have been intentionally sought by the petitioner to prolong his stay in office cannot serve as basis to bar his right to
be elected and to serve his chosen local government post in the succeeding mayoral election.
The petitioners contention that the COMELEC ceased to have jurisdiction over the petition for disqualification after he
was proclaimed winner is without merit. The instant petition for disqualification was filed on April 21, 1998 or before the May
1998 elections and was resolved on May 21, 1998 or after the petitioners proclamation. It was held in the case of Sunga vs.
COMELEC and Trinidad[7] that the proclamation nor the assumption of office of a candidate against whom a petition for
disqualification is pending before the COMELEC does not divest the COMELEC of jurisdiction to continue hearing the case
and to resolve it on the merits.
Section 6 of RA 6646 specifically mandates that:

Sec. 6. Effects of disqualification Case.- any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be
voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment
before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the court or
commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or
any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the
evidence of his guilt is strong.

This court held that the clear legislative intent is that the COMELEC should continue the trial and hearing of the
disqualification case to its conclusion i.e., until judgment is rendered. The outright dismissal of the petition for disqualification
filed before the election but which remained unresolved after the proclamation of the candidate sought to be disqualified will
unduly reward the said candidate and may encourage him to employ delaying tactics to impede the resolution of the petition
until after he has been proclaimed.
The court stated:

Clearly, the legislative intent is that the COMELEC should continue the trial and hearing of the disqualification case to its
conclusion, i.e., until judgment is rendered thereon. The word shall signified that this requirement of the law is mandatory,
operating to impose a positive duty which must be enforced. Theimplication is that the COMELEC is left with no discretion but
to proceed with the disqualification case even after the election. Thus, in providing for the outright dismissal of the
disqualification case which remains unresolved after the election, Silvestre vs. Duavit in effect disallows what R. A. No. 6646
imperatively requires. This amounts to a quasi-judicial legislation by the COMELEC which cannot be countenanced and is
invalid for having been issued beyond the scope of its authority. Interpretative rulings of quasi-judicial bodies or administrative
agencies must always be in perfect harmony with statutes and should be for the sole purpose of carrying their general
provisions into effect. By such interpretative or administrative rulings, of course, the scope of the law itself cannot be
limited. Indeed, a quasi-judicial body or an administrative agency for that matter cannot amend an act of Congress.Hence, in
case of a discrepancy between the basic law and an interpretative or administrative ruling, the basic law prevails.

Besides, the deleterious effect of the Silvestre ruling is not difficult to forsee. A candidate guilty of election offenses would be
undeservedly rewarded, instead of punished, by the dismissal of thedisqualification case against him simply because the
investigating body was unable, for any reason caused upon it, to determine before the election if the offenses were indeed
committed by the candidate sought to be disqualified. All that the erring aspirant would need to do is to employ delaying
tactics so that the disqualification case based on the commission of election offenses would not be decided before the
election. This scenario is productive of more fraud which certainly is not the main intent and purpose of the law.

The fact that Trinidad was already proclaimed and had assumed the position of mayor did not divest the COMELEC of
authority and jurisdiction to continue the hearing and eventually decide the disqualification case. In Aguam v. COMELEC this
Court held-

Time and again this Court has given its imprimatur on the principle that COMELEC is with authority to annul any canvass and
proclamation which was illegally made. The fact that a candidate proclaimed has assumed office, we have said, is no bar to
the exercise of such power. It of course may not be availed of where there has been a valid proclamation. Since private
respondents petition before the COMELEC is precisely directed at the annulment of the canvass and proclamation, we
perceive that inquiry into this issue is within the area allocated by the Constitution and law to COMELEC xxx Really, were a
victim of a proclamation to be precluded from challenging the validity thereof after that proclamation and the assumption of
office thereunder, baneful effects may easily supervene.

It must be emphasized that the purpose of a disqualification proceeding is to prevent the candidate from running or, if
elected. From serving, or to prosecute him for violation of the election laws. Obviously, the fact that a candidate has been
proclaimed elected does not signify that his disqualification is deemed condoned and may no longer be the subject of a
separate investigation.

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is granted. The assailed resolutions of the COMELEC declaring petitioner Lonzanida
disqualified to run for mayor in the 1998 mayoral elections are hereby set aside.
SO ORDERED.
Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Buena, and Ynares-
Santiago, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., CJ., on leave.
Pardo, J., no part.

[1] Records, Constitutional Commission, July 25, 1986, pp. 236, 238.
[2] Ibid., pp. 236, 243-244; August 16, 1986, pp. 407-408.
[3] G.R. No. 133495, September 3, 1998.
[4] Ibid., pp. 7-8.
[5] Torres vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 121031, March 26, 1997; Ramirez vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 122013, March 26, 1997.
[6] Ramas vs. COMELEC, G. R. No. 130831, February 10, 1998.
[7] G. R. No. 125629, March 25, 1998, 288 SCRA 76.
CASE #14

[G.R. No. 135691. September 27, 1999]

EMMANUEL SINACA, petitioner, vs. MIGUEL MULA and COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondents.

DECISION
DAVIDE, JR., C.J.:

Before us is a special civil action for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition, with a prayer for preliminary injunction and/or
temporary restraining order assailing the Resolution of 6 October 1998, of respondent Commission on Elections (hereafter
COMELEC) in SPA No. 98-292, declaring as invalid the substitution of mayoralty candidate Teodoro F. Sinaca, Jr. by herein
petitioner Emmanuel D. Sinaca.[1]
The records disclose that in the 11 May 1998 elections, the two opposing factions of the ruling party LAKAS-NUCD-
UMPD (hereafter LAKAS) filled in separate candidates for the position of mayor of the Municipality of Malimano, Surigao del
Norte. One faction headed by Robert Z. Barbers (hereafter BARBERS Wing) nominated Grachil G. Canoy (hereafter
CANOY), while the other group lead by Francisco T. MATUGAS (hereafter MATUGAS Wing) endorsed the candidacy of
Teodoro F. Sinaca, Jr. (hereafter TEODORO).
Miguel H. Mula (hereafter MULA), a candidate for vice-mayor and belonging to the BARBERS Wing, filed before the
COMELEC a petition for disqualification against TEODORO which was docketed as SPA 98-021. On 8 May 1998, the Second
Division of the COMELEC issued a resolution disqualifying TEODORO as candidate for mayor of the Municipality of
Malimono, Surigao del Norte and ordering the cancellation of his certificate of candidacy because of prior conviction of
bigamy, a crime involving moral turpitude.[2]
On 10 May 1998, TEODORO filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid resolution. On even date, herein
petitioner Emmanuel D. Sinaca, (hereafter EMMANUEL), an independent candidate, withdrew his certificate of candidacy for
Sangguniang Bayan Member, joined and became a member of the LAKAS party and was nominated by the LAKAS
MATUGAS Wing as the substitute mayoralty candidate for the Municipality of Malimono, Surigao del Norte. On the basis of
said nomination, EMMANUEL filed his certificate of candidacy[3] attached thereto is his certificate of nomination as LAKAS
mayoralty candidate signed by Governor Francisco T. MATUGAS (hereafter MATUGAS), as party provincial chairman
together with EMMANUEls written acceptance of the partys nomination.[4]
On 11 May 1998, MULA filed through mail another petition for disqualification, this time against EMMANUEL, which was
received by the COMELEC on 14 May 1998 and was docketed as SPA No. 98-292. In his petition MULA contended that the
nomination of EMMANUEL as substitute candidate is illegal on the following grounds:
a) The substitute, before he filed his Certificate of Candidacy as LAKAS candidate, was an independent
candidate. Being so, he cannot rightfully substitute the disqualified one;
b) The nomination of respondent substitute bears only the approval of Provincial Chairman Matugas and without
consultation and consent of the higher political hierarchy especially Mr. Robert Ace Barbers who has also a say
on nomination of candidates within his jurisdiction, as evidenced by an authority hereto attached as Annex E;
c) Substitution generally takes place when by reason of a candidates disqualification the party to which he belongs
loses such representation. In the instant case, the disqualification did not at all prejudice LAKAS NUCD-UMDP
because Mr. Garchil G. Canoy is still there representing the party after the disqualification. The substitution is a
redundancy and not necessary under the circumstances, more so that it was done with malice and without the
required consensus of the political hierarchy.[5]
In his answer, EMMANUEL moved for the dismissal of the petition for the following reasons:
a) The petition does not state a cause of action as it is not based on any of the grounds for disqualification as
provided under Sec. 68 of the Omnibus Election Code and Sec. 40(A) of the Local Government Code of 1991;
b) The issue of who in LAKAS has the authority to nominate candidates for local officials, is an intra-party matter
hence beyond the jurisdiction of the Comelec;
c) Gov. Matugas was duly authorized by LAKAS as its Provincial Chairman and official candidate for Provincial
Governor to nominate the partys local candidates; and
d) The petition is already moot and academic because of the proclamation of EMMANUEL as mayor of the
Municipality of Malimono, Surigao del Norte.[6]
On 28 May 1998, the COMELEC Second Division dismissed the petition for disqualification and upheld the candidacy
for mayor of EMMANUEL.[7] The pertinent part of the resolution reads:

It is therefore clear, that candidate for governor Matugas was clothed with the authority to nominate the respondent as
substitute candidate for the position of mayor of Malimono, Surigao del Norte, vice the disqualified candidate, Apropos
thereto, Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code states:

xxx

Considering that on May 10, 1998 the proper nomination was issued by the official of the party authorized therefor, it stands to
reason that the substitution was valid, respondent having accepted the nomination and his certificate of candidacy dated May
10, 1998, correspondingly filed.

Respondent is correct in stating that the question of nomination is a party concern which is beyond the ambit of the
Commission. What matters is, the candidate has been certified as a party member and the nomination duly issued in his
favor.

Be that as it may, the petition is rendered moot and academic by the proclamation of respondent on May 12, 1998, as
evidenced by the certificate of canvass and proclamation of winning candidates for municipal offices with SN 16671298 and
his oath of office dated May 13, 1998, which forms part of the record of this case.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission (Second Division) RESOLVES to DISMISS the instant petition for lack
of merit.

MULA filed a motion for reconsideration raising in the main that the signature alone of MATUGAS in the nomination was
not sufficient because the partys authority to nominate was given to both MATUGAS and Senator Robert S. Barbers
(hereafter BARBERS), in their joint capacity, and that the nomination of EMMANUEL is void since he was an independent
candidate prior to his nomination.[8]
On 6 October 1998, the COMELEC en banc issued a Resolution[9] which set aside the resolution dated 28 May 1998 of
the Second Division and disqualified EMMANUEL, for the following reasons:

In the motion for reconsideration, petitioner argues that the signature only of Governor Matugas in the nomination was not
sufficient because the partys authority to nominate was given to both Governor Matugas and Senator Robert Barbers, in their
joint capacity.

We do not have to resolve this issue because the more important issue is whether respondent is disqualified as a substitute
candidate. He was an independent candidate for councilor at the time he filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor as a
substitute of a disqualified candidate. Thus, he did not belong to the same political party as the substituted candidate.

We sustain petitioners position. We declare that the substitution of disqualified mayoralty candidate Teodoro F. Sinaca, Jr. by
respondent Emmanuel D. Sinaca was not valid because the latter was an independent candidate for councilor prior to his
nomination as substitute candidate in place of the withdrawing candidate who was a Lakas party member.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Commission en banc hereby resolves to SET ASIDE the Commission (Second Division)s resolution
dated May 28, 1998. We declare Emmanuel D. Sinaca DISQUALIFIED to be a substitute candidate for mayor of Malimono,
Surigao del Norte, and ANNUL his proclamation as such being void ab initio. Upon finality of this resolution, he is ordered to
vacate the position of mayor of the municipality of Malimono, Surigao del Norte, to which the vice-mayor elected in the May
11, 1998 elections shall succeed by operation of law.

Not satisfied therewith, EMMANUEL is now before us alleging that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in
issuing the assailed Resolution. EMMANUEL principally contends that his nomination as a substitute candidate was regular
and valid hence, his proclamation as mayor of the Municipality of Malimono, Surigao del Norte must be upheld.
In the assailed resolution, the COMELEC disqualified EMMANUEL solely on the basis that he was an independent
candidate prior to his nomination as a substitute candidate.
The rule on substitution of an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party who dies, withdraws or is
disqualified for any cause after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy is governed by Sec. 77 of the Omnibus
Election Code which provides:

If after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party
dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a
certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified. The substitute candidate nominated
by the political party concerned may file his certificate of candidacy for the office affected in accordance with the preceding
sections not later than mid-day of the day of the election. If the death, withdrawal or disqualification should occur between the
day before the election and mid-day of election day, said certificate maybe filed with any board of election inspectors in the
political subdivision where he is a candidate, or, in the case of candidates to be voted for by the entire electorate of the
country, with the Commission.

Thus, under the said provision it is necessary, among others, that the substitute candidate must be of the same political
party as the original candidate and must be duly nominated as such by the political party.
In the instant case, there was substantial compliance with the above said requirements. EMMANUEL was properly
nominated as substitute candidate by the LAKAS party MATUGAS wing to which TEODORO, the disqualified candidate,
belongs, as evidenced by the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance signed by MATUGAS, the Partys provincial
chairman.[10] That EMMANUEL is a bona fidemember of the LAKAS party is shown not only by the certificate of
membership,[11] which is being controverted for having been presented as new evidence for the first time before this court, but
more importantly by his certificate of candidacy filed before the COMELEC stating therein that he belongs to the LAKAS
party.[12]
A certificate of candidacy is in the nature of a formal manifestation to the whole world of the candidates political creed or
lack of political creed.[13] It is a statement of a person seeking to run for a public office certifying that he announces his
candidacy for the office mentioned and that he is eligible for the office, the name of the political party to which he belongs, if
he belongs to any, and his post-office address for all election purposes being as well stated.[14]
The certificate of candidacy of EMMANUEL permitted the placing of his name before the electorate. It constituted an
authorized badge, which the voter could scrutinize before casting his ballot. Thus, with the declaration of EMMANUEL in his
certificate of candidacy that he is affiliated with the LAKAS party, he was effectively voted by the electorate not as an
independent candidate, but as a member of the LAKAS party. His allegation in the certificate of candidacy as to political party
to which he belongs is sufficient to make the electorate conscious of the platform of the said political party.[15]
The fact that EMMANUEL was an independent candidate prior to his nomination is immaterial. What is more significant is
that he had previously withdrawn his certificate of candidacy as independent candidate for Sangguniang member before he
filed his certificate of candidacy as a substitute for TEODORO at which time he was, for all intents and purposes, already
deemed a member of the LAKAS party MATUGAS wing. As such, EMMANUEL is obliged to pursue and carry out the partys
ideology, political ideas and platforms of government. As the official candidate of an organized political party, he is bound by
the partys rule. He owes loyalty to the party, its tenet and its policies, its platforms and programs of government. To the
electorate he represents the party, its principles, ideals and objectives. [16]
Even the fact that EMMANUEL only became a member of the LAKAS party after the disqualification of TEODORO, will
not affect the validity of the substitution. There is nothing in the Constitution or the statute which requires as a condition
precedent that a substitute candidate must have been a member of the party concerned for a certain period of time before he
can be nominated as such. Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code only mandates that a substitute candidate should be a
person belonging to and certified by the same political party as the candidate to be replaced. We cannot provide for an
additional requirement or condition not provided under the said provision without encroaching into the domain of the legislative
department.
As aptly observed by Commissioner Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores in her dissenting opinion, to wit:

x x x. With due respect to the majority opinion, I find that at the time the substitute candidate filed his certificate of candidacy
for mayor and at the time of his election as such, he was an independent candidate no more. He was, at that time, a nominee
of the LAKAS NUCD-UMDP Political Party. This fact is evidenced by the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance dated 10
May 1998 executed by the Provincial Chairman of the said party of Surigao del Norte and by herein respondent. This
certificate presupposes that respondent is a bonafide member of the said party. To rule that respondent was still an
independent candidate and not a member of the LAKAS NUCD-UMDP political party at the time of filing his certificate of
candidacy as a substitute candidate for mayor is to arrogate upon this Commission what would have been the sole and
exclusive prerogative of any political organization -- to determine party membership and its nominees to elective positions. It is
an accepted fact that, in this country, politicians switch party affiliations more frequently than the ebb and flow of the tides.[17]
The argument advanced by private respondent MULA that MATUGAS has no authority to nominate a candidate without
the concurrence of BARBERS is devoid of merit.
Firstly, MATUGAS, was designated by the LAKAS National Headquarters through its Deputy Secretary General and
National Secretariat Executive Director Reynaldo L. Maclang, as the party officer authorized to nominate, sign, attest under
oath, and issue Certificates of Nomination and Acceptance for the Partys official candidates for the positions of Board
Members, City Councilors, Municipal Mayors, Vice-mayors and councilors for the Province of Surigao del Norte.[18]
This authorization which was dated March 26, 1998 replaced and/or modified the former authorization given by the party
to both BARBERS and MATUGAS.[19] Both BARBERS and MATUGAS were given separate and distinct authorizations when
the mother of BARBERS ran for governor against MATUGAS.
Secondly, there are only two official candidates for mayor of Malimono, Surigao del Norte, namely TEODORO
and CANOY,[20] both of whom are members of the LAKAS party but from different factions. TEODORO was indorsed by the
MATUGAS wing and CANOY by the BARBERS Wing. The certificates of candidacy of these candidates were never
questioned despite the fact that they belong to the same political party and were separately and independently endorsed by
either BARBERS or MATUGAS. Therefore, if the absence of a joint nomination is to be considered fatal to the validity of the
certificate of candidacy of TEODORO or CANOY, then there would in effect no candidates running for mayor in the
Municipality of Malimono, Surigao del Norte.
Verily, it stands to reason that with the disqualification of TEODORO, who is a member of the LAKAS MATUGAS wing,
the substitute must come from the same faction as the candidate to be substituted and since it was MATUGAS who indorsed
the nomination of TEODORO, then MATUGAS nomination of EMMANUEL in substitution of TEODORO is sufficient and in
order.
There is also no irregularity in the act of EMMANUEL in joining a political party. The right of individuals to form an
association as guaranteed by the fundamental law includes the freedom to associate or refrain from association.[21] No man is
compelled by law to become a member of a political party; or after having become such, to remain a member. He may join
such a party for whatever reason seems good to him, and may quit the party for any cause, good, bad, or indifferent, or
without cause.[22] The decision of a candidate on whether to run as an independent candidate or to join a political party, group
or aggrupation is left entirely to his discretion.[23]
We also agree with the contention of EMMANUEL that the decision as to which member a party shall nominate as its
candidate is a party concern which is not cognizable by the courts.
A political party has the right to identify the people who constitute the association and to select a standard bearer who
best represents the partys ideologies and preference.[24] Political parties are generally free to conduct their internal affairs free
from judicial supervision; this common-law principle of judicial restraint, rooted in the constitutionally protected right of free
association, serves the public interest by allowing the political processes to operate without undue interference. [25] Thus, the
rule is that the determination of disputes as to party nominations rests with the party, in the absence of statutes giving the
courts jurisdiction.[26]
Quintessentially, where there is no controlling statute or clear legal right involved, the court will not assume jurisdiction to
determine factional controversies within a political party, but will leave the matter for determination by the proper tribunals of
the party itself or by the electors at the polls.[27] Similarly, in the absence of specific constitutional or legislative regulations
defining how nominations are to be made, or prohibiting nominations from being made in certain ways, political parties may
handle party affairs, including nominations, in such manner as party rules may establish.[28]
An election in which the voters have fully, fairly, and honestly expressed their will is not invalid even though an improper
method is followed in the nomination of candidates.[29] This is because in determining the effect of a particular irregularity in a
party nomination for office on the result of the general election, the pivotal issue is whether the irregularity complained of has
prevented a full, fair, and free expression of the public will. Thus, in the absence of a statutory provision to the contrary, an
election may not even be invalidated by the fact that the nomination of the successful candidate was brought about by fraud,
and not in the manner prescribed by the statute, provided it appears that noncompliance with the law did not prevent a fair
and free vote.[30]
None of the situations adverted to above are obtaining in the case at bar as to warrant this Courts intervention in
ascertaining the propriety of EMMANUELs nomination as a substitute candidate by the LAKAS MATUGAS wing.
Finally, the issue as to the validity of EMMANUELs nomination as substitute candidate has been rendered moot and
academic by his proclamation on May 12, 1998, by the Board of Canvassers of Malimono as the duly elected municipal mayor
and after he has assumed into office. The fact that the nomination of a substitute lacks the signature of one of the authorized
signatory is but a technicality which cannot be used to frustrate the will of the electorate.
It has been held that the provisions of the election law regarding certificates of candidacy, such as signing and swearing
on the same, as well as the information required to be stated therein, are considered mandatory prior to the
elections. Thereafter, they are regarded as merely directory. With respect to election laws, it is an established rule of
interpretation that mandatory provisions requiring certain steps before election will be construed as directory after the
elections, to give effect to the will of the electorate. Thus, even if the certificate of candidacy was not duly signed or if it does
not contain the required data, the proclamation of the candidate as winner may not be nullified on such ground. The defects in
the certificate should have been questioned before the election; they may not be questioned after the election without
invalidating the will of the electorate, which should not be done. [31] In Guzman v. Board of Canvassers,[32] the Court held that
the will of the people cannot be frustrated by a technicality that the certificate of candidacy had not been properly sworn
to. This legal provision is mandatory and non-compliance therewith before the election would be fatal to the status of the
candidate before the electorate, but after the people have expressed their will, the result of the election cannot be defeated by
the fact that the candidate has not sworn to his certificate of candidacy.
Thus, were a candidate has received popular mandate, overwhelmingly and clearly expressed, all possible doubts should
be resolved in favor of the candidates eligibility for to rule otherwise is to defeat the will of the people. [33] Above and beyond
all, the determination of the true will of the electorate should be paramount. It is their voice, not ours or of anyone else, that
must prevail. This, in essence, is the democracy we continue to hold sacred. [34]
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed resolution of 6 October 1998 of the COMELEC en banc is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE and another one rendered declaring EMMANUEL SINACA as having been duly elected mayor
of the Municipality of Malimono, Surigao del Norte.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Buena, Gonzaga-
Reyes, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
Pardo, J., no part. was Comelec Chair.

[1] Annex O, Rollo 87-89.


[2] Per Guiani, J., Comm., with Desamito, J., Pres. Comm. and Calderon, A., Comm., concurring. Annex A, Rollo, 31-32.
[3] Annex C, Id., 34.
[4] Annex B, Id., 33.
[5] Annex J, Rollo, 60-62.
[6] Annex K, Id., 63-65.
[7] Annex M, Rollo, 77-80. Per Desamito, J., Pres. Comm., with Guiani, J. and Calderon, A., Comms., concurring.
[8] Annex N, Id., 81-85.
[9] Supra note 1, with Commissioner Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores, dissenting.
[10] Supra note 4.
[11] Annex Q; Rollo, 90.
[12] Supra note 3.
[13] Papa v. Municipal Board of Manila, et al., 47 Phil. 694 [1925].
[14] Ruperto G. Martin, The Revised Election Code with Annotations 41 (First Edition).
[15] See supra note 13, at 702.
[16] See Peralta v. COMELEC, 82 SCRA 30, 57 [1978].
[17] Rollo, 112-113.
[18] Annex P, Rollo, 89.
[19] Dated 20 March 1998, Annex 1; Rollo, 66.
[20] AnnexC; Rollo, 74.
[21] Emerson, Freedom of Association, 74 Yale Law Journal,1, 4 [1964] as cited in the case of Peralta v. Comelec, supra note
16.
[22] Peralta v. COMELEC, ibid., citing 25 Am Jur. 2nd 800.
[23] Ibid., 56.
[24] See 26 Am Jur 2d, Elections 255, 67.
[25] Nielsen v. Kezer, 232 Conn 65, 652 A2d 1013.
[26] Hunt
v. Superior Court, 64 Ariz 325, 170 P2d 293. See also ONiel v OConnell, 300 Ky 707, 189 Sw2d 965, 169 ALR 1271,
holding that courts have no power in the absence of a statute conferring jurisdiction to interfere with operations of a political
party.
[27] 25 Am Jur 2d, Elections 205, 982.
[28] Tucker
v. State Board of Alcoholic Control, 240 NC 177, 81 SE 2d 399; Brewster v. Massey (Tex Civ App) 232 SW2d 678,
mand overr.
[29] Howell v. Bain, 176 Or 187, 156 P2d 576.
[30] Hooper v. Almand, 196 Ga 52, 25 SE2d 778.
[31] Lambanao
v. Terro, 15 SCRA 716 [1965]; Callado v. Alonzo, 15 SCRA 562 [1965]; See Villanueva v. COMELEC, 140
SCRA 352 [1985].
[32] 48 Phil. 211 [1925].
[33] JaimeOpinion and Ruben Agpalo, The Law on Elections 57 (1987 ed.); See also Avelino v. Rosales, 48 O.G. No. 12, 5309
[6 Sept. 1952].
[34] Mentang v. COMELEC, 229 SCRA 667 [1994].
CASE #15

[G.R. No. 136351. July 28, 1999]

JOEL G. MIRANDA, petitioner, vs. ANTONIO M. ABAYA and the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondents.

DECISION
MELO, J.:

Before us is a petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary
injunction questioning the resolution of the Comelec En Banc dated December 8, 1998 in SPA Case No. 98-288 which
disposed:
ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered to:

1. AMEND and RECTIFY the dispositive portion of the Resolution of the Commission (First Division) in SPA No. 98-019
promulgated on May 5, 1998, to read as follows:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Commission (First Division) GRANTS the Petition. Respondent JOSE PEMPE
MIRANDAs certificate of candidacy for the position of mayor of Santiago City in the May 11, 1998 national and local elections
is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE AND/OR CANCELLED.

SO ORDERED.

2. ANNUL the election and proclamation of respondent JOEL G. MIRANDA as mayor of Santiago City in the May 11, 1998
election and CANCEL the Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation (C.E. form 25) issued therefor;

3. DIRECT THE City board of Canvassers of Santiago City to RECONVENE, PREPARE a new certificate of canvass &
proclamation and PROCLAIM the winning candidate among those voted upon as the duly elected mayor of Santiago City in
the May 11, 1998 election; and

4. DIRECT the Clerk of Court of the Commission to furnish copies of this Decision to the Office of the President of the
Philippines; the Department of Interior and Local Government; the Department of Finance, and the Secretary of the
Sangguniang Panglunsod of Santiago City.

SO ORDERED.

(pp. 90-91, Rollo.)

The aforementioned resolution dated December 8, 1998 reversed and set aside the earlier resolution of the First Division
of the Comelec dated May 16, 1998, dismissing private respondents petition to declare the substitution of Jose Pempe
Miranda by petitioner as candidate for the City of Santiagos mayoralty post void.
Briefly, the pertinent factual backdrop is summarized as follows:
On March 24, 1998, Jose Pempe Miranda, then incumbent mayor of Santiago City, Isabela, filed his certificate of
candidacy for the same mayoralty post for the synchronized May 11, 1998 elections.
On March 27, 1998, private respondent Antonio M. Abaya filed a Petition to Deny Due Course to and/or Cancel
Certificate of Candidacy (pp. 26-33, Rollo), which was docketed as SPA No. 98-019. The petition was GRANTED by the
Comelec in its resolution dated May 5, 1998 (pp. 36-43, Rollo). The Comelec further ruled to DISQUALIFY Jose Pempe
Miranda.
On May 6, 1998, way beyond the deadline for filing a certificate of candidacy, petitioner Joel G. Miranda filed his
certificate of candidacy for the mayoralty post, supposedly as a substitute for his father, Jose Pempe Miranda.
During the May 11, 1998 elections, petitioner and private respondent vied for the mayoralty seat, with petitioner garnering
22,002 votes, 1,666 more votes than private respondent who got only 20, 336 votes.
On May 13, 1998, private respondent filed a Petition to Declare Null and Void Substitution with Prayer for Issuance of
Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order, which was docketed as SPA No. 98-288. He prayed for the
nullification of petitioners certificate of candidacy for being void ab initio because the certificate of candidacy of Jose Pempe
Miranda, whom petitioner was supposed to substitute, had already been cancelled and denied due course.
On May 16, 1998, Comelecs First Division dismissed SPA No. 98-288 motu proprio (pp. 57-61, Rollo). Private
respondent moved for reconsideration (pp. 62-72, Rollo). On December 8, 1998, the Comelec En Banc rendered the assailed
decision aforequoted, resolving to GRANT the motion for reconsideration, thus nullifying the substitution by petitioner Joel G.
Miranda of his father as candidate for the mayoralty post of Santiago City.
On December 9, 1998, petitioner sought this Courts intercession via a petition for certiorari, with prayer for the issuance
of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. On December 11, 1998, the Court resolved to issue a
temporary restraining order and to require respondents to comment on the petition. On December 14, 1998, private
respondent filed his Comment (pp. 140-187 and 188-234, Rollo) and on February 16, 1999, the Comelec, through its counsel,
the Solicitor General, filed its Comment (pp. 254-265, Rollo). The Court required petitioner to file a consolidated reply within
10 days from notice, but petitioner twice asked for an extension of the period. Without granting the motions for extension of
time to file consolidated reply, the Court decided to resolve the controversy in favor of petitioner.
Tersely, the issues in the present case may be summarized as follows:
1. Whether the annulment of petitioners substitution and proclamation was issued without jurisdiction and/or with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction; and
2. Whether the order of the Comelec directing the proclamation of the private respondent was issued with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
The Court finds neither lack of jurisdiction nor grave abuse of discretion attended the annulment of the substitution and
proclamation of petitioner.
On the matter of jurisdiction, there is no question that the case at hand is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
Comelec. As early as in Herrera vs. Baretto (25 Phil. 245 [1913]), this Court had occasion to apply the following principles:

Jurisdiction is the authority to hear and determine a causethe right to act in a case. Since it is the power to hear and
determine, it does not depend either upon the regularity of the exercise of that power or upon the rightfulness of the decision
made. Jurisdiction should therefore be distinguished from the exercise of jurisdiction. The authority to decide a cause at all,
and not the decision rendered therein, is what makes up jurisdiction. Where there is jurisdiction over the subject matter, as we
have said before, the decision of all other questions arising in the case is but an exercise of that jurisdiction.

(p. 251)

On the issue of soundness of the disposition in SPA No. 98-288, the Court finds that the Comelecs action nullifying the
substitution by and proclamation of petitioner for the mayoralty post of Santiago City, Isabela is proper and legally sound.
Petitioner insists that the substitution at bar is allowed under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides:

SEC. 77. Candidates in case of death, disqualification or withdrawal. If after the last day for the filing of certificates of
candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause,
only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the
candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified. The substitute candidate nominated by the political party concerned may
file his certificate of candidacy for the office affected in accordance with the preceding sections not later than mid-day of the
day of the election. If the death, withdrawal or disqualification should occur between the day before the election and mid-day
of election day, said certificate may be filed with any board of election inspectors in the political subdivision where he is a
candidate, or, in the case of candidates to be voted for by the entire electorate of the country, with the Commission.

Petitioner capitalizes on the fact that the Comelec ruled to disqualify Jose Pempe Miranda in the May 5, 1998 resolution
and he heavily relies upon the above-quoted provision allowing substitution of a candidate who has been disqualified for any
cause.
While there is no dispute as to whether or not a nominee of a registered or accredited political party may substitute for a
candidate of the same party who had been disqualified for any cause, this does not include those cases where the certificate
of candidacy of the person to be substituted had been denied due course and cancelled under Section 78 of the Code.
Expressio unius est exclusio alterius. While the law enumerated the occasions where a candidate may be validly
substituted, there is no mention of the case where a candidate is excluded not only by disqualification but also by denial and
cancellation of his certificate of candidacy. Under the foregoing rule, there can be no valid substitution for the latter case,
much in the same way that a nuisance candidate whose certificate of candidacy is denied due course and/or cancelled may
not be substituted. If the intent of the lawmakers were otherwise, they could have so easily and conveniently included those
persons whose certificates of candidacy have been denied due course and/or cancelled under the provisions of Section 78 of
the Code.
More importantly, under the express provisions of Section 77 of the Code, not just any person, but only an official
candidate of a registered or accredited political party may be substituted. In Bautista vs. Comelec (G.R. No. 133840,
November 13, 1998) this Court explicitly ruled that a cancelled certificate does not give rise to a valid candidacy (p.13).
A person without a valid certificate of candidacy cannot be considered a candidate in much the same way as any person
who has not filed any certificate of candidacy at all can not, by any stretch of the imagination, be a candidate at all.
The law clearly provides:

SEC. 73. Certificate of candidacy No person shall be eligible for any elective public office unless he files a sworn certificate of
candidacy within the period fixed herein.

By its express language, the foregoing provision of law is absolutely mandatory. It is but logical to say that any person who
attempts to run for an elective office but does not file a certificate of candidacy, is not a candidate at all. No amount of votes
would catapult him into office. In Gador vs. Comelec (95 SCRA 431 [1980]), the Court held that a certificate of candidacy filed
beyond the period fixed by law is void, and the person who filed it is not, in law, a candidate. Much in the same manner as a
person who filed no certificate of candidacy at all and a person who filed it out of time, a person whose certificate of candidacy
is cancelled or denied due course is no candidate at all. No amount of votes should entitle him to the elective office aspired
for.

The evident purposes of the law in requiring the filing of certificates of candidacy and in fixing the time limit therefor
are: (a) to enable the voters to know, at least sixty days before the regular election, the candidates among whom they are to
make the choice, and (b) to avoid confusion and inconvenience in the tabulation of the votes cast. For if the law did not
confine the choice or election by the voters to the duly registered candidates, there might be as many persons voted for as
there are voters, and votes might be cast even for unknown or fictitious persons as a mark to identify the votes in favor of a
candidate for another office in the same election. (Monsale vs. Nico, 83 Phil. 758 [1949])
It is at once evident that the importance of a valid certificate of candidacy rests at the very core of the electoral process. It
cannot be taken lightly, lest there be anarchy and chaos. Verily, this explains why the law provides for grounds for the
cancellation and denial of due course to certificates of candidacy.
After having considered the importance of a certificate of candidacy, it can be readily understood why in Bautista we
ruled that a person with a cancelled certificate is no candidate at all. Applying this principle to the case at bar and considering
that Section 77 of the Code is clear and unequivocal that only an official candidate of a registered or accredited party may be
substituted, there demonstrably cannot be any possible substitution of a person whose certificate of candidacy has been
cancelled and denied due course.
Also, under ejusdem generis rule, where a general word or phrase (such as disqualification for any cause in this case)
follows an enumeration of particular and specific words of the same class (such as the words dies and withdraws in the instant
case) or where the latter follow the former, the general word or phrase is to be construed to include, or to be restricted to
persons, things or cases akin to, resembling, or of the same kind or class as those specifically mentioned (see: Vera vs.
Cuevas, 90 SCRA 379 [1979]). A deceased candidate is required to have duly filed a valid certificate of candidacy, otherwise
his political party would not be allowed to field a substitute candidate in his stead under Section 77 of the Code. In the case of
withdrawal of candidacy, the withdrawing candidate is required to have duly filed a valid certificate of candidacy in order to
allow his political party to field a substitute candidate in his stead. Most reasonable it is then, under the foregoing rule, to hold
that a valid certificate of candidacy is likewise an indispensable requisite in the case of a substitution of a disqualified
candidate under the provisions of Section 77 of the Code, just as it is in the two previous instances.
Furthermore, interpretatio talis in ambiguis semper freinda est, ut eviatur inconveniens et absurdum, meaning, where
there is ambiguity, such interpretation as will avoid inconvenience and absurdity shall in all cases be adopted. To include
those disqualified candidates whose certificate of candidacy had likewise been denied due course and/or cancelled among
those who may be substituted under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code, leads to the absurdity where a substitute is
allowed to take the place of somebody who had not been a candidate in the first placea person who did not have a valid
certificate of candidacy prior to substitution. Nemo dat quod non habet. What right can a non-candidate pass on to his
substitute? Clearly, there is none because no one can give what he does not have.
Even on the most basic and fundamental principles, it is readily understood that the concept of a substitute presupposes
the existence of the person to be substituted, for how can a person take the place of somebody who does not exist or who
never was. The Court has no other choice but to rule that in all the instances enumerated in Section 77 of the Omnibus
Election code, the existence of a valid certificate of candidacy seasonably filed is a requisite sine qua non.
All told, a disqualified candidate may only be substituted if he had a valid certificate of candidacy in the first place
because, if the disqualified candidate did not have a valid and seasonably filed certificate of candidacy, he is and was not a
candidate at all. If a person was not a candidate, he cannot be substituted under Section 77 of the Code. Besides, if we were
to allow the so-called substitute to file a new and original certificate of candidacy beyond the period for the filing thereof, it
would be a crystalline case of unequal protection of the law, an act abhorred by our Constitution.
From the foregoing discussion it is evident that the controversy at hand is not a simple case of hair-splitting. A candidate
may not be qualified to run for election but may have filed a valid certificate of candidacy. Another candidate may likewise be
not qualified and at the same time not have a valid certificate of candidacy, for which reason, said certificate of candidacy is
also cancelled and/or denied due course. Or, a third candidate may be qualified but, his certificate of candidacy may be
denied due course and/or cancelled. This is possible because the grounds for disqualification (see: Omnibus Election Code,
Section 68 Disqualifications) are totally separate and distinct from the grounds for cancellation and/or denying due course to a
certificate of candidacy (Ibid., Section 69 nuisance candidates; and Section 78 material misrepresentation). Only the
candidate who had a valid certificate of candidacy may be substituted.
The question to settle next is whether or not aside from Joel Pempe Miranda being disqualified by the Comelec in its May
5, 1998 resolution, his certificate of candidacy had likewise been denied due course and cancelled.
The Court rules that it was.
Private respondents petition in SPA No. 98-019 specifically prayed for the following:

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that the Certificate of Candidacy filed by respondent for the position of Mayor for the
City of Santiago be not given due course and/or cancelled.

Other reliefs just and equitable in the premises are likewise prayed for.

(Rollo, p. 31; Emphasis ours.)

In resolving the petition filed by private respondent specifying a very particular relief, the Comelec ruled favorably in the
following manner:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Commission (FIRST DIVISION) GRANTS the Petition. Respondent JOSE
Pempe MIRANDA is hereby DISQUALIFIED from running for the position of mayor of Santiago City, Isabela, in the May 11,
1998 national and local elections.

SO ORDERED.

(p.43, Rollo; Emphasis ours.)

From a plain reading of the dispositive portion of the Comelec resolution of May 5, 1998 in SPA No. 98-019, it is
sufficiently clear that the prayer specifically and particularly sought in the petition was GRANTED, there being no qualification
on the matter whatsoever. The disqualification was simply ruled over and above the granting of the specific prayer for denial
of due course and cancellation of the certificate of candidacy. It may be stressed at this instance that the legal consequences
of this May 5, 1998 resolution are independent of the issue of whether or not the Comelec was correct in reviving SPA No. 98-
019 by consolidating it with SPA No. 98-288 in its December 8, 1998 resolution.
As regards the procedural matter in the present petition for certiorari, the following considerations are also in point:
It may be relevantly stressed that the review powers of the Supreme Court over decisions of the Constitutional
Commissions, in general, and the Commission on Elections, in particular, were rather particularly defined and limited by the
1987 Constitution, as they were also circumscribed in the 1973 Constitution, to a petition for review on certiorari under Rule
65. In Dario vs. Mison (176 SCRA 84 [1989]), the Court held:

. . . We affirm the teaching of Aratuc vs. Commission of Elections, 88 SCRA 251 [1979]) as regards recourse to this Court with
respect to rulings of the Civil Service Commissionwhich is that judgments of the Commission may be brought to the Supreme
Court through certiorari alone, under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

In Aratuc, we declared:

It is at once evident from these constitutional and statutory modifications that there is a definite tendency to enhance and
invigorate the role of the Commission on Elections as the independent constitutional body charged with the safeguarding of
free, peaceful and honest elections. The framers of the new Constitution must be presumed to have definite knowledge of
what it means to make the decisions, orders and rulings of the Commission subject to review by the Supreme Court. And
since instead of maintaining that provision intact, it ordained that the Commissions actuations be instead brought to the
Supreme Court on certiorari, We cannot insist that there was no intent to change the nature of the remedy, considering that
the limited scope of certiorari, compared to a review, is well known in remedial law.

xxx

It should also be noted that under the new Constitution, as under the 1973 Charter, any decision, order, or ruling of each
Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari, which, as Aratuc tells us, technically connotes something
less than saying that the same shall be subject to review by the Supreme Court, which in turn suggests an appeal by review
by petition for review under Rule 45. Therefore, our jurisdiction over cases emanating from the Civil Service Commission is
limited to complaints of lack or excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction,
complaints that justify certiorari under Rule 65.

(pp. 111-112)

To emphasize this procedural point, then Commissioner, later to become a distinguished Member of this Court, Mr.
Justice Florenz Regalado responded to Commissioner Bernas query during the deliberations of the 1987 Constitution thusly:
FR. BERNAS. So, for purposes of the record, now, what is the intention of the Committee? What are the grounds
for certiorari?
MR. REGALADO. The Committee refers specifically to a technical term of review by certiorari would be relying on the
provision of Rule XLV [Should be LXV] of the Rules of Court that laid down the three grounds.

(I RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION, p. 539, as cited in Bernas, S.J, The 1987 Constitution of the
Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary, 1996 Edition, p. 903.)

Thus, we have to be guided by jurisprudence relating to review by certiorari under Rule 65. Generally, certiorari lies
where a court has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion.
Without jurisdiction refers to an absolute want of jurisdiction; excess of jurisdiction refers to the case where the court has
jurisdiction, but it transcended the same or acted without any statutory authority; grave abuse of discretion implies such
capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.
Even assuming for the sake of argument that the Comelec committed an error in the exercise of its jurisdiction in the
present case, such is not within the province of certiorari, as a remedial measure, to correct. The only issue that may be taken
cognizance of in the present case is whether or not the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in rendering the
assailed decision.
It is well-settled that an act of a court or tribunal may only be considered to have been done in grave abuse of discretion
when the same was performed in a capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment which is equivalent to lack of
jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual
refusal to perform a duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and
despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility (Intestate Estate of Carmen de Luna vs. Intermediate
Appellate Court, 170 SCRA 246 [1989]; Litton Mills vs. Galleon Traders, 163 SCRA 489 [1988]; Butuan Bay Export Co. vs.
Court of Appeals, 97 SCRA 297 [1980]). An error of judgment committed in the exercise of its legitimate jurisdiction is not the
same as grave abuse of discretion. An abuse of discretion is not sufficient by itself to justify the issuance of a writ
of certiorari. The abuse must be grave and patent, and it must be shown that the discretion was exercised arbitrarily and
despotically (Soriano vs. Atienza, 171 SCRA 284 [1989]).
Petitioner posits that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion when it annulled the substitution by and
proclamation of petitioner, who under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code, was allowed to substitute for disqualified the
candidate Jose Pempe Miranda. Petitioner also contends that it was an act of grave abuse of discretion for the Comelec to
direct the proclamation of private respondent as the winning candidate in the May 11, 1998 election.
Petitioner further faults the Comelec for amending the dispositive portion of its resolution in SPA No. 98-019, which was
not elevated to it on review, the same having already attained finality by then.
While it may be conceded that the Comelec stepped overboard and acted in excess of its jurisdiction when it motu
proprio took cognizance of SPA No. 98-019, the decision in which was by then already final, it does not necessarily follow that
the Comelec also committed grave abuse of discretion in resolving to grant private respondents motion for reconsideration by
nullifying the substitution of petitioner Joel G. Miranda. Evidently, what is under review before us in this certiorari proceedings
is SPA No. 98-288, and not SPA No. 98-019.
The question to answer is: will the Comelecs act which may constitute an excess of jurisdiction in SPA No. 98-019 be
tantamount to an act of grave abuse of discretion in its judgment in the separate and distinct case of SPA No. 98-288 as
well? Clearly, non sequitur. SPA No. 98-288 should be judged on its own accord, and not under the shadow of SPA No. 98-
019.
Comelec committed no grave abuse of discretion in resolving SPA No. 98-288 in favor of private respondent. As earlier
pointed out, the result in the dispositive portion of the December 8, 1998 resolution pertaining to the issues involved in SPA
No. 98-288 is correct insofar as it annulled the election and proclamation of Joel G. Miranda. But even assuming for the sake
of argument that it is not, still, this supposed error does not constitute grave abuse of discretion which may be annulled and
reversed in the present petition for certiorari.
As earlier elucidated too, the crux of the Comelecs disposition in SPA No. 98-288 is the fact that former candidate Jose
Pempe Mirandas certificate of candidacy was denied due course and cancelled.There is no dispute that the complaint or
petition filed by private respondent in SPA No. 98-019 is one to deny due course and to cancel the certificate of candidacy of
Jose Pempe Miranda (Rollo, pp. 26-31).There is likewise no question that the said petition was GRANTED without any
qualification whatsoever. It is rather clear, therefore, that whether or not the Comelec granted any further relief in SPA No. 98-
019 by disqualifying the candidate, the fact remains that the said petition was granted and that the certificate of
candidacy of Jose Pempe Miranda was denied due course and cancelled. In fact, it was not even necessary for the
Comelec to reiterate this in its December 8, 1998 resolution. At best, the Comelecs motu proprio act of resurrecting SPA No.
98-019 should be treated as a mere surplusage. The fact that the certificate of candidacy of Joel Pempe Miranda was denied
due course and cancelled did not depend on the en banc resolution dated December 8, 1998 of the Comelec. It stems from
the fact that the May 5, 1998 resolution GRANTED private respondents Petition to Deny Due Course to and/or Cancel
Certificate of Candidacy.
Verily, there is clear basis to find that there indeed was a blatant misrepresentation in the instant case and that it was a
valid ground for the granting of the petition in SPA No. 98-019. Also, there appears to be sound basis to rule that a certificate
of candidacy which has been denied due course on account of misrepresentation is, in every legal contemplation, no
certificate at all. Ergo, there is nothing to substitute. If this judgment, rendered in the Comelecs rightful exercise of its
jurisdiction in SPA No. 98-288 may, at all, be considered flawed, this blemish would only constitute an error of judgment and
definitely not grave abuse of discretion. And, of course, errors of judgment may not be corrected by certiorari.
It may be noted that Commissioner Flores raised this supposed error in her dissenting opinion (pp. 93-
99, Rollo). However, her legal opinion failed to convince the majority of the collegiate body and was not adopted by the
Commission en banc. This Court in the present certiorari proceedings cannot substitute its judgment for that of the Comelec
without violating the Constitution and the Rules of Court on the matter. The Comelecs decision is not subject to appeal to this
Court. We may only strike out a Comelec decision if it was rendered without jurisdiction, in excess thereof, or with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
The Court cannot accede to the reasoning that this Court should now acquiesce and submit to the sovereign will of the
electorate, as expressed by their votes. We should always be reminded that ours is a government of laws not of men. If this
Court should fold its arms and refuse to apply the law at every clamor of the majority of the supposed constituency, where
shall order and justice lie? Without the least intention to degrade, where shall people power end, and where shall law and
justice begin? Would the apparent results of the canvassing of votes justify this Court in refusing to apply the law instead? The
answers to the foregoing are obvious. The Court cannot choose otherwise but to exercise its sacred duty to uphold the
Constitution and the laws of the Republic for and under which it exists. Besides, only history will discern whether Jose Pempe
Mirandas filing of a certificate of candidacy for a 4th term and the intended substitution by his son was a ploy to perpetrate the
Mirandas in power by way of a political dynasty disdained and abhorred by our Constitution which declared:

SEC. 26. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be
defined by law.

(Article II, 1987 Constitution)

The invalidation of petitioners supposed substitution of Jose Pempe Miranda brings about the disqualification of petitioner
in the mayoralty race. In this regard, what was said in Nolasco vs. Commission on Elections (275 SCRA 763 [1997]) may be
recalled:

Our case law is now settled that in a mayoralty election, the candidate who obtained the second highest number of votes, in
this case Alarilla, cannot be proclaimed winner in case the winning candidate is disqualified. Thus, we reiterated the rule in the
fairly recent case of Reyes v. Comelec (254 SCRA 514 [1996]), viz.:

xxxxxxxxx
We likewise find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Comelec in denying petitioner Julius O. Garcias petition to be
proclaimed mayor in view of the disqualification of Renato U. Reyes.

That the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes may not be proclaimed winner in case the winning
candidate is disqualified is now settled. The doctrinal instability caused by see-sawing rulings has since been removed. In the
latest ruling on the question, this Court said:

To simplistically assume that the second placer would have received the other votes would be to substitute our judgment for
the mind of the voter. The second placer is just that, a second placer. He lost the elections. He was repudiated by either a
majority or plurality of voters. He could not be considered the first among qualified candidates because in a field which
excludes the disqualified candidate, the conditions would have substantially changed. We are not prepared to extrapolate the
results under the circumstances.

Garcias plea that the votes case for Reyes be invalidated is without merit. The votes cast for Reyes are presumed to have
been cast in the belief that Reyes was qualified and for that reason can be treated as stray, void and meaningless. The
subsequent finding that he is disqualified cannot retroact to the date of the elections as to invalidate the votes cast for him.

Consequently, respondent Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion insofar as it failed to follow the above doctrine, a
descendant of our ruling in Labo v. Comelec (176 SCRA 1 [1989]).(pp. 782-783)

Thus, the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion insofar as it failed to follow the above-cited settled ruling
consistently applied by this Court since the case of Labo vs. Comelec (176 SCRA 1 [1989]), Aquino vs. Comelec, 248 SCRA
400 [1995], Reyes vs. Comelec (254 SCRA 514 [1996]); and Nolasco vs. Comelec (275 SCRA 763 [1997]).
Even as the Court cannot accede to the contention that, in view of the election results pointing to petitioner as the
electors choice for the mayoralty post, we should now close our eyes to the pertinent provisions of the Omnibus Election Code
on the matter, nevertheless, the Court duly notes that the said election results point to the fact that private respondent was not
then the choice of the people of Santiago City, Isabela. This Court has no authority under any law to impose upon and compel
the people of Santiago City to accept private respondent as their mayor. The law on succession under section 44 of Republic
Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, would then apply. Said provision relevantly states:

SEC. 44. Permanent Vacancies in the Offices of the Governor, Vice-Governor, Mayor, and Vice Mayor. (a) If a permanent
vacancy occurs in the office of the governor or mayor, the vice-governor or vice-mayor concerned shall become the governor
or mayor. If a permanent vacancy occurs in the offices of the governor, vice governor, mayor, or vice mayor, the highest
ranking sanggunian member, or, in case of his permanent disability, the second highest ranking sanggunian member, shall
become governor, vice governor, mayor or vice mayor, as the case may be. Subsequent vacancies in the said office shall be
filled automatically by the other sanggunian members according to their ranking as defined herein.

x x x.

For purposes of this Chapter, a permanent vacancy arises when an elective local official fills a higher vacant office, refuses to
assume office, fails to qualify, dies, is removed from office, voluntarily resigns, or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to
discharge the functions of his office.

For purposes of succession as provided in this Chapter, ranking in the sanggunian shall be determined on the basis of the
proportion of votes obtained by each winning candidate to the total number of registered voters in each district in the
immediately preceding local election.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby partly DENIED, insofar as the Comelec ruling to ANNUL the election and
proclamation of petitioner is being AFFIRMED. The petition is, however, hereby GRANTED so as to MODIFY the resolution of
the Comelec in SPA No. 98-288 by DELETING the portion directing the city board of canvassers to reconvene and proclaim
the winning candidate from among those voted upon during the May 11, 1998 elections. The law on succession should be
enforced. Accordingly, the restraining order issued in this case is forthwith LIFTED.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Purisima, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., on leave.
Romero, and Panganiban, JJ., see dissenting opinion.
Puno, and Vitug, JJ., joins dissenting opinion of J. Romero.
Kapunan, and Pardo, JJ., no part.
CASE #16

[G.R. No. 132774. June 21, 1999]

RODOLFO E. AGUINALDO, FLORENCIO L. VARGAS, ROMEO I. CALUBAQUIB, AMADO T. GONZALES, SILVERIO C.


SALVANERA, ALBERTA O. QUINTO, and AURORA V. ESTABILLO, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, respondents.

RESOLUTION
QUISUMBING, J.:

Before us is a petition for prohibition under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court, with a prayer for the issuance of a writ
of preliminary injunction and/or a temporary restraining order.
Petitioners, at the time of the filing of the petition, were incumbent provincial or municipal officials in Cagayan. Petitioner
Rodolfo E. Aguinaldo was governor; Florencio L. Vargas, vice governor; Romeo I. Calubaquib, member of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan; Amado T. Gonzales, member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan; Silverio C. Salvanera, member of
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan; Alberta O. Quinto, mayor of the municipality of Peablanca; and Aurora V. Estabillo, mayor of
the municipality of Sta. Praxedes.
Petitioners seek to prevent the COMELEC from enforcing during the 1998 elections Section 67 of the Omnibus Election
Code (B.P. Blg. 881) in accordance with its own tenor or as modified by paragraph 3 of Section 11 of Republic Act No. 8436.
Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code reads:

Sec. 67. Candidates holding elective office. -- Any elective official, whether national or local, running for any office other than
the one which he is holding in a permanent capacity, except for President and Vice-President, shall be considered ipso facto
resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy.

On the other hand, the third paragraph of Section 11 of R.A. No. 8436 reads:

SEC. 11. Official Ballot. --

Provided, That any elective official, whether national or local, running for any office other than the one he/she is holding in a
permanent capacity, except for president and vice-president, shall be deemed resigned only upon the start of the campaign
period corresponding to the position for which he/she is running;

Petitioners contend that Section 67, of the Omnibus Election Code is violative of the equal protection clause of the
Constitution, as its classification of persons running for office is not a valid classification, following the guidelines laid down by
the Court in People v. Cayat.[1] According to the doctrine laid down in Cayat, for a classification to be valid, (1) it must be
based upon substantial distinctions, (2) it must be germane to the purpose of the law, (3) it must not be limited to existing
conditions only, and (4) it must apply equally to all members of the same class.
Petitioners contend that the classification in Section 67 is not based on substantial distinctions and, thus, violative of the
equal protection clause of the Constitution.
According to petitioners, candidates for elective office are classified into the following groups under Section 67:

(a) First classification: an incumbent elective official who runs for the same position as his present incumbency (and) another
incumbent elective official running for another position; and

(b) Second Classification: an incumbent elective official who runs for president or vice-president(and) another incumbent
elective [official] running for any other position (i.e., not his incumbency nor for president or vice president) [2]

Petitioners argue that, in the first classification, the reelectionist is given an undue advantage since he is able to use the
resources, prestige, and influence of his position. The same is not available to one seeking an office different from the one he
is presently holding. This, according to petitioners, does not equalize the playing field for all candidates.
As regards the second classification, petitioners argue that there is no basis for giving candidates for president or vice
president the special privilege[3] of remaining in office.
Petitioners claim that the classifications result into absurd or unwanted and difficult situations [4] and give the following
examples: (1) a mayor who runs for president remains as mayor even though he is physically absent from his city or
municipality because he campaigns nationwide; (2) a councilor or vice mayor who runs for mayor is considered resigned from
his position although he remains physically present in his locality; (3) a president -- a national official -- who runs for a lower
position is considered resigned from office, while the mayor -- a local official -- who runs for president is not.
Petitioners contend that the classifications could have been made without sufficient study, [5] as the Omnibus Election
Code was passed during the Marcos years, when no one could honestly believe he could be elected president or even vice
president.[6] Also during that time, members of the Batasang Pambansa could run for reelection indefinitely so it was not likely
for any of them to run for a lower position. Petitioners say that Section 67 was largely ignored as an innocous (sic)
oddity.[7] Their thesis therefore is that the provision did not get sufficient attention and analysis that would have brought out its
constitutional infirmities.[8]
Petitioners also argue that Section 67 effectively shortens the terms of office of elected officials, in violation of Article X,
Section 8 of the Constitution, which provides:

Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three
years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length
of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

Petitioners lament that no relevant discussions [9] seem to have been made in relation to the re-enactment of Section 67
of the Omnibus Election Code into Section 11 of R.A. No. 8436.
The COMELEC, on the other hand, asserts that the classification embodied in Section 67 is reasonable and based on
substantial distinction. It points out that incumbents running for the same position are not considered resigned because the
intention of the law is to allow them to continue serving their constituents and avoid a disruption in the delivery of essential
services. Those running for different positions are considered resigned because they are considered to have abandoned their
present position by their act of running for other posts.
For his part, the Solicitor General points out that the issue regarding Section 67 had already been passed upon by the
Court in the case of Dimaporo v. Mitra, Jr.[10]
Mohammad Ali Dimaporo was a congressman representing the second legislative district of Lanao del Sur. On January
15, 1990, he filed a certificate of candidacy for the position of governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
(ARMM). The COMELEC thereafter informed the House of Representatives of this matter. Then House Speaker Ramon
V. Mitra, Jr. and the Secretary of the House of Representatives Camilo L. Sabio excluded his name from the roll of members.
Dimaporo lost in the ARMM elections. He wrote Mitra a letter expressing his desire to resume his functions as a member
of the House of Representatives. It appears that this did not materialize; thus, Dimaporo filed a petition with the Supreme
Court praying for his reinstatement.
Dimaporo claimed that his act of filing a certificate of candidacy for another position did not divest him of his seat as a
member of the House of Representatives. He alleged that Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code was no longer operative
as it is violative of the Constitution. Dimaporo said Section 67 shortens the term of office of a congressman on a ground not
provided for under Article XVIII, Section 2 of the Constitution,[11] in relation to Article VI, Section 7.[12]
Dimaporo asserted that, as provided by law, the term of a member of the House of Representatives may only be
shortened through the following:
(1) Forfeiture of his seat by holding any other office or employment in the government or any subdivision, agency or
instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or subsidiaries;[13]
(2) Expulsion as a disciplinary action for disorderly behavior;[14]
(3) Disqualification as determined by resolution of the Electoral Tribunal in an election contest; [15] and
(4) Voluntary renunciation of office.[16]
The Court proceeded to trace the history and examine the rationale behind Section 67. We then ruled:

... rather than cut short the term of office of elective public officials, this statutory provision seeks to ensure that such officials
serve out their entire term of office by discouraging them from running for another public office and thereby cutting short their
tenure by making it clear that should they fail in their candidacy, they cannot go back to their former position. This is
consonant with the constitutional edict that all public officials must serve the people with utmost loyalty and not trifle with the
mandate which they have received from their constituents. [17]

Indeed, we have dealt squarely with the issue of the validity of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code in Dimaporo v.
Mitra, Jr.
Section 67 was crafted with the intention of giving flesh to the constitutional pronouncement that public service is a public
trust. The following portion of our ruling in Dimaporo is apropos:

Assemblyman Manuel M. Garcia, in answer to the query of Assemblyman Arturo Tolentino on the constitutionality of Cabinet
Bill No. 2,[18] said:

MR. GARCIA (M.M.):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, on the part of the Committee, we made this proposal based on constitutional grounds. We did not propose this
amendment mainly on the rationale as stated by the Gentlemen from Manila that the officials running for office other than the
ones they are holding will be considered resigned not because of abuse of facilities of power or the use of office facilities but
primarily because under our Constitution, we have this new chapter on accountability of public officers...

xxx
...This only means that all elective public officials should honor the mandate they have gotten from the people... a Batasan
Member who hold (sic) himself out with the people and seek (sic) their support and mandate should not be allowed to deviate
or allow himself to run for any other position unless he relinquishes or abandons his office. Because his mandate to the
people is to serve for 6 years. Now, if you allow a Batasan or a governor or a mayor who was mandated to serve for 6 years
to file for an office other than the one he was elected to, then, that clearly shows that he has not (sic) intention to service the
mandate of the people which was placed upon him and therefore he should be considered ipso facto resigned. I think more
than anything that is the accountability that the Constitution requires of elective public officials... [19]
Section 67 is not violative of the Constitution as it does not unduly cut short the term of office of local officials. The
situation that results with the application of Section 67 is covered by the term voluntary renunciation.

Even then, the concept of voluntary renunciation of office under Section 7, Article VI of the Constitution is broad enough to
include the situation envisioned in Section 67, Article IX of B.P. Blg. 881. As discussed by the Constitutional Commissioners:

MR. MAAMBONG:
Could I address the clarificatory question to the Committee? The term voluntary renunciation does not only appear in
Section 3; it appears in Section 6.
MR. DAVIDE:
Yes.
MR. MAAMBONG:
It is also a recurring phrase all over the constitution. Could the Committee please enlighten us exactly what voluntary
renunciation means? Is this akin to abandonment?
MR. DAVIDE:
Abandonment is voluntary. In other words, he cannot circumvent the restriction by merely resigning at any given time on
the second term.
MR. MAAMBONG:
Is the Committee saying that the term voluntary renunciation is more general than abandonment and resignation?
MR. DAVIDE:
It is more general, more embracing.
That the act, contemplated in Section 67, Article IX of B.P. Blg. 881, of filing a certificate of candidacy for another office
constitutes an overt, concrete act of voluntary renunciation of the elective office presently being held is evident from this
exchange between the Members of Parliament Arturo Tolentino and Jose Roo:

MR. ROO:
My reasonable ground is this: if you will make the person ... my, shall we say, basis is that in one case the person is
intending to run for an office which is different from his own, and therefore it should be considered, at least from the
legal significance, an intention to relinquish his office.
MR. TOLENTINO:
Yes.
MR. ROO:
And in the other, because he is running for the same position, it is otherwise.
MR. TOLENTINO:
Yes, but what I cannot see is why are you going to compel a person to quit an office which he is only intending to leave? A
relinquishment of office must be clear, must be definite.
MR. ROO:
Yes, sir. Thats precisely, Mr. Speaker, what Im saying that while I do not disagree with the conclusion that the intention
cannot be enough, but I am saying that the filing of the certificate of candidacy is an overt act of such intention. Its not
just an intention: its already there.[20]
Our foregoing ruling in Dimaporo is still applicable in this case.
Petitioners further assert that Section 67 could have been formulated without sufficient study (emphasis
supplied). Petitioners choice of words betray their own uncertainty as to whether or not the implications of Section 67 were
thoroughly analyzed before such section became law. Unfortunately for petitioners, uncertainties do not justify nullification of a
law.
Moreover, it must be pointed out that this present petition is one for prohibition which is a preventive remedy. The act
sought to be enjoined had already been accomplished with the holding of the 1998 elections. Prohibition, as a rule, does not
lie to restrain an act that is already a fait accompli.[21]
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby dismissed for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-
Reyes, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
Puno and Panganiban, JJ., no part. On official leave.

[1] 68 Phil. 12 (1939).


[2] Rollo, p. 10.
[3] Id. at 12.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Rollo, p. 14.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Rollo, p. 15.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] 202 SCRA 779 (1991).
[11]This provision reads, The Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, and the local officials first elected under
this Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30, 1992.
[12]
The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years which shall begin, unless
otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. xxx
[13] CONST., Art. VI, Sec. 13.
[14] Id. at Sec. 16(3).
[15] Id. at Sec. 17.
[16] Id. at Sec. 7, par. 2.
[17] Dimaporo v. Mitra, supra, at 790.
[18] This cabinet bill became the basis for Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code.
[19] Dimaporo v. Mitra, Jr., supra, at 788-789.
[20] Dimaporo v. Mitra, supra, at 792-793.
[21]
Vergara v. Rugue, 78 SCRA 312 (1977); Perez v. De la Cruz, 27 SCRA 587 (1969); Cabaero v. Torres, 61 Phil. 522
(1935).
CASE #17

G.R. No. 111230 September 30, 1994

ENRIQUE T. GARCIA, ET AL., petitioners,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF MORONG, BATAAN, respondents.

Alfonzo M. Cruz Law Offices for petitioners.

PUNO, J.:

The 1987 Constitution is borne of the conviction that people power can be trusted to check excesses of government. One of
the means by which people power can be exercised is thru initiatives where local ordinances and resolutions can be enacted
or repealed. An effort to trivialize the effectiveness of people's initiatives ought to be rejected.

In its Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye 1993, 1 the Sangguniang Bayan ng Morong, Bataan agreed to the inclusion of
the municipality of Morong as part of the Subic Special Economic Zone in accord with Republic Act
No. 7227.

On May 24, 1993, petitioners filed a petition 2 with the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong to annul Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg.
10, Serye 1993. The petition states:

I. Bawiin, nulipikahin at pawalang-bisa ang Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye 1993 ng Sangguniang
Bayan para sa pag-anib ng Morong sa SSEZ na walang kondisyon.

II. Palitan ito ng isang Pambayang Kapasiyahan na aanib lamang ang Morong sa SSEZ kung ang mga
sumusunod na kondisyones ay ipagkakaloob, ipatutupad at isasagawa para sa kapakanan at interes ng
Morong at Bataan:

(A). Ibalik sa Bataan ang "Virgin Forests" — isang bundok na hindi nagagalw at punong-puno
ng malalaking punong-kahoy at iba'-ibang halaman.

(B) Ihiwalay ang Grande Island sa SSEZ at ibalik ito sa Bataan.

(K). Isama ang mga lupain ng Bataan na nakapaloob sa SBMA sa pagkukuenta ng salaping
ipinagkakaloob ng pamahalaang national o "Internal Revenue Allotment" (IRA) sa Morong,
Hermosa at sa Lalawigan.

(D). Payagang magtatag rin ng sariling "special economic zones" ang bawat bayan ng
Morong, Hermosa at Dinalupihan.

(E). Ibase sa laki ng kanya-kanyang lupa ang pamamahagi ng kikitain ng SBMA.

(G). Ibase rin ang alokasyon ng pagbibigay ng trabaho sa laki ng nasabing mga lupa.

(H). Pabayaang bukas ang pinto ng SBMA na nasa Morong ng 24 na oras at bukod dito sa
magbukas pa ng pinto sa hangganan naman ng Morong at Hermosa upang magkaroon ng
pagkakataong umunlad rin ang mga nasabing bayan, pati na rin ng iba pang bayan ng
Bataan.

(I). Tapusin ang pagkokonkreto ng mga daang Morong-Tala-Orani at Morong-Tasig-


Dinalupihan para sa kabutihan ng mga taga-Bataan at tuloy makatulong sa pangangalaga ng
mga kabundukan.

(J). Magkaroon ng sapat na representasyon sa pamunuan ng SBMA ang Morong, Hermosa


at Bataan.
The municipality of Morong did not take any action on the petition within thirty (30) days after its submission. Petitioners then
resorted to their power of initiative under the Local Government Code of 1991. 3 They started to solicit the required number of
signatures 4 to cause the repeal of said resolution. Unknown to the petitioners, however, the Honorable Edilberto M. de Leon,
Vice Mayor and Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Bayan ng Morong, wrote a letter dated June 11, 1993 to the Executive
Director of COMELEC requesting the denial of " . . . the petition for a local initiative and/or referendum because the exercise
will just promote divisiveness, counter productive and futility." 5 We quote the letter, viz:

The Executive Director


COMELEC
Intramuros, Metro Manila

S i r:

In view of the petition filed by a group of proponents headed by Gov. Enrique T. Garcia, relative to the
conduct of a local initiative and/or referendum for the annulment of Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye
1993, may we respectfully request to deny the petition referred thereto considering the issues raised by the
proponents were favorably acted upon and endorsed to Congress and other government agencies by the
Sangguniang Bayan of Morong.

For your information and guidance, we are enumerating hereunder the issues raised by the petitioners with
the corresponding actions undertaken by the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong, to wit:

ISSUES RAISED BY PROPONENTS

I. Pawalang-bisa ang Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye ng taong 1993.

II. Palitan ito ng isang Kapasyahang Pag-anib sa SSEZ kung:

a) Ibabalik sa Morong ang pag-aaring Grande Island, kabundukan at Naval Reservation;

b) Ibase sa aring Lupa ng LGU ang kikitain at mapapasok na manggagawa nila sa SSEZ;

c) Isama ang nasabing lupa sa pagkukuwenta ng "IRA" ng Morong, Hermosa at Dinalupihan;

d) Makapagtatag ng sariling "economic zones" ang Morong, Hermosa at Dinalupihan;

e) Pabayaan bukas ang pinto ng Morong patungong SSEZ at magbukas ng dalawang (2)
pinto pa;

(f) Konkretohin ang daang Morong papunta sa Orani at Dinalupihan;

g) Pumili ng SBMA Chairman na taga-ibang lugar.

ACTIONS UNDERTAKEN BY THE SB OF MORONG

1. By virtue of R.A. 7227, otherwise known as the Bases Conversion Development Act of 1992, all actions of
LGU's correlating on the above issues are merely recommendatory in nature when such provisions were
already embodied in the statute.

2. Corollary to the notion, the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong passed and approved Pambayang Kapasyahan
Blg. 18, Serye 1993, requesting Congress of the Philippines to amend certain provisions of R.A. 7227,
wherein it reasserted its position embodied in Pambayan Kapasyahan Blg. 08 and Blg. 12, Serye ng taong
1992, (Attached and marked as Annex "A:) which tackled the same issues raised by the petitioners
particularly items a), b), c), e), and g).

3. Item d) is already acted upon by BCDA Chairman Arsenio Bartolome III in its letter to His Excellency
President Fidel V. Ramos, dated May 7, 1993 (Attached and marked as Annex "B") with clarifying letter from
BCDA Vice-Chairman Rogelio L. Singson regarding lands on Mabayo and Minanga dated June 3, 1993 that
only lands inside the perimeter fence are envisioned to be part of SBMA.
4. Item f), President Ramos in his marginal note over the letter request of Morong, Bataan Mayor Bienvenido
L. Vicedo, the Sangguniang Bayan and Congressman Payumo, when the Resolution of Concurrence to
SBMA was submitted last April 6, 1993, order the priority implementation of completion of Morong-
Dinalupihan (Tasik-Road) Project, including the Morong-Poblacion-Mabayo Road to DPWH. (Attached and
marked as Annex "C").

Based on the foregoing facts, the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong had accommodated the clamor of the
petitioners in accordance with its limited powers over the issues. However, the Sangguniang Bayan of
Morong cannot afford to wait for amendments by Congress of R.A. 7227 that will perhaps drag for several
months or years, thereby delaying the development of Morong, Bataan.

Henceforth, we respectfully reiterate our request to deny the petition for a local initiative and/or referendum
because the exercise will just promote divisiveness, counter productive and futility.

Thank you and more power.

Very truly yours,

(SGD.) EDILBERTO M. DE LEON


Mun. Vice Mayor/Presiding Officer

In its session of July 6, 1993, the COMELEC en banc resolved to deny the petition for local initiative on the ground
that its subject is "merely a resolution (pambayang kapasyahan) and not an ordinance." 6 On July 13, 1993, the
COMELEC en banc further resolved to direct Provincial Election Supervisor, Atty. Benjamin N. Casiano, to hold action
on the authentication of signatures being gathered by petitioners. 7

These COMELEC resolutions are sought to be set aside in the petition at bench. The petition makes the following
submissions:

5. This is a petition for certiorari and mandamus.

5.01 For certiorari, conformably to Sec. 7, Art. IX of the Constitution, to set aside Comelec Resolution Nos.
93-1676 and 93-1623 (Annexes "E" and "H") insofar as it disallowed the initiation of a local initiative to annul
PAMBAYANG KAPASYAHAN BLG. 10, SERYE 1993 including the gathering and authentication of the
required number of signatures in support thereof.

5.01.1 As an administrative agency, respondent Comelec is bound to observe due process in


the conduct of its proceedings. Here, the subject resolutions, Annexes "E" and "H", were
issued ex parte and without affording petitioners and the other proponents of the initiative the
opportunity to be heard thereon. More importantly, these resolutions and/or directives were
issued with grave abuse of discretion. A Sangguniang Bayan resolution being an act of the
aforementioned local legislative assembly is undoubtedly a proper subject of initiative. (Sec.
32, Art. VI, Constitution)

5.02 For mandamus, pursuant to Sec. 3, Rule 65, Rules of Court, to command the respondent Comelec to
schedule forthwith the continuation of the signing of the petition, and should the required number of
signatures be obtained, set a date for the initiative within forty-five (45) days thereof.

5.02.1 Respondent Comelec's authority in the matter of local initiative is merely ministerial. It
is duty-bound to supervise the gathering of signatures in support of the petition and to set the
date of the initiative once the required number of signatures are obtained.

If the required number of signatures is obtained, the Comelec shall then set a
date for the initiative during which the proposition shall be submitted to the
registered voters in the local government unit concerned for their approval
within sixty (60) days from the date of certification by the Comelec, as
provided in subsection (g) hereof, in case of provinces and cities, forty-five
(45) days in case of municipalities, and thirty (30) days in case of barangays.
The initiative shall then be held on the date set, after which the results
thereof shall be certified and proclaimed by the Comelec. (Sec. 22, par. (h)
R.A. 7160.

Respondent COMELEC opposed the petition. Through the Solicitor General, it contends that under the Local
Government Code of 1991, a resolution cannot be the subject of a local initiative. The same stance is assumed by the
respondent Sangguniang Bayan of Morong. 8

We grant the petition.

The case at bench is of transcendental significance because it involves an issue of first impression — delineating the extent of
the all important original power of the people to legislate. Father Bernas explains that "in republican systems, there are
generally two kinds of legislative power, original and derivative. Original legislative power is possessed by the sovereign
people. Derivative legislative power is that which has been delegated by the sovereign people to legislative bodies and is
subordinate to the original power of the people."9

Our constitutional odyssey shows that up until 1987, our people have not directly exercised legislative power, both the
constituent power to amend or revise the Constitution or the power to enact ordinary laws. Section 1, Article VI of the 1935
Constitution delegated legislative power to Congress, thus "the legislative power shall be vested in a Congress of the
Philippines, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives." Similarly, section 1, Article VIII of the 1973
Constitution, as amended, provided that "the Legislative power shall be vested in a Batasang Pambansa." 10

Implicit in the set up was the trust of the people in Congress to enact laws for their benefit. So total was their trust that the
people did not reserve for themselves the same power to make or repeal laws. The omission was to prove unfortunate. In the
70's and until the EDSA revolution, the legislature failed the expectations of the people especially when former President
Marcos wielded lawmaking powers under Amendment No. 6 of the 1973 Constitution. Laws which could have bridled the
nation's downslide from democracy to authoritarianism to anarchy never saw the light of day.

In February 1986, the people took a direct hand in the determination of their destiny. They toppled down the government of
former President Marcos in a historic bloodless revolution. The Constitution was rewritten to embody the lessons of their sad
experience. One of the lessons is the folly of completely surrendering the power to make laws to the legislature. The result, in
the perceptive words of Father Bernas, is that the new Constitution became "less trusting of public officials than the American
Constitution." 11

For the first time in 1987, the system of people's initiative was thus installed in our fundamental law. To be sure, it was a late
awakening. As early as 1898, the state of South Dakota has adopted initiative and referendum in its constitution 12 and many
states have followed suit. 13 In any event, the framers of our 1987 Constitution realized the value of initiative and referendum
as an ultimate weapon of the people to negate government malfeasance and misfeasance and they put in place an
overarching system. Thus, thru an initiative, the people were given the power to amend the Constitution itself. Sec. 2 of Art.
XVII provides: "Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a
petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be
represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein." Likewise, thru an initiative, the people were also
endowed with the power to enact or reject any act or law by congress or local legislative body. Sections 1 and 32 of Article VI
provide:

Sec. 1. The legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a
Senate and a House of Representatives except to the extent reserved to the people by the provisions on
initiative and referendum.

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 32. The Congress shall, as early as possible, provide for a system of initiative and referendum, and the
exceptions therefrom, whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or
law or part thereof passed by the Congress or local legislative body after the registration of a petition therefor
signed by at least ten per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district
must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters thereto.

The COMELEC was also empowered to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an
initiative and referendum. 14 Worthwhile noting is the scope of coverage of an initiative or referendum as delineated by
section 32 Art. VI of the Constitution, supra — any act or law passed by Congress or local legislative body.
In due time, Congress respondent to the mandate of the Constitution. It enacted laws to put into operation the
constitutionalized concept of initiative and referendum. On August 4, 1989, it approved Republic Act No. 6735 entitled "An Act
Providing for a System of Initiative and Referendum and Appropriating Funds Therefor." Liberally borrowed from American
laws, 15 R.A. No. 6735, among others, spelled out the requirements 16 for the exercise of the power of initiative and
referendum, the conduct of national initiative and referendum; 17 procedure of local initiative and referendum; 18 and their
limitations. 19 Then came Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as The Local Government Code of 1991. Chapter 2, Title
XI, Book I of the Code governed the conduct of local initiative and referendum.

In light of this legal backdrop, the essential issue to be resolved in the case at bench is whether Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg.
10, serye 1993 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong, Bataan is the proper subject of an initiative. Respondents take the
negative stance as they contend that under the Local Government Code of 1991 only an ordinance can be the subject of
initiative. They rely on section 120, Chapter 2, Title XI, Book I of the Local Government Code of 1991 which provides: "Local
Initiative Defined. — Local initiative is the legal process whereby the registered voters of a local government unit may directly
propose, enact, or amend any ordinance."

We reject respondents' narrow and literal reading of the above provision for it will collide with the Constitution and will subvert
the intent of the lawmakers in enacting the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991 on initiative and referendum.

The Constitution clearly includes not only ordinances but resolutions as appropriate subjects of a local initiative. Section 32 of
Article VI provides in luminous language: "The Congress shall, as early as possible, provide for a system of initiative and
referendum, and the exceptions therefrom, whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any
act or law or part thereof passed by the Congress, or local legislative body . . ." An act includes a resolution. Black 20 defines
an act as "an expression of will or purpose . . . it may denote something done . . . as a legislature, including not merely
physical acts, but also decrees, edicts, laws, judgments,resolves, awards, and determinations . . . ." It is basic that a law
should be construed in harmony with and not in violation of the constitution. 21 In line with this postulate, we held in In Re
Guarina that "if there is doubt or uncertainty as to the meaning of the legislative, if the words or provisions are obscure, or if
the enactment is fairly susceptible of two or more constructions, that interpretation will be adopted which will avoid the effect
of unconstitutionality, even though it may be necessary, for this purpose, to disregard the more usual or apparent import of the
language used." 22

The constitutional command to include acts (i.e., resolutions) as appropriate subjects of initiative was implemented by
Congress when it enacted Republic Act No. 6735 entitled "An Act Providing for a System of Initiative and Referendum and
Appropriating Funds Therefor." Thus, its section 3(a) expressly includes resolutions as subjects of initiatives on local
legislations, viz:

Sec. 3. Definition of Terms — For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall mean;

(a) "Initiative" is the power of the people to propose amendments to the Constitution or to
propose and enact legislations through an election called for the purpose.

There are three (3) systems of initiative, namely:

a.1. Initiative on the Constitution which refers to a petition proposing amendments to the
Constitution.

a.2. Initiative on statutes which refers to a petition proposing to enact a national legislation;
and

a.3. Initiative on local legislation which refers to a petition proposing to enact a regional,
provincial, city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution, or ordinance. (Emphasis ours)

Similarly, its section 16 states: "Limitations Upon Local Legislative Bodies — Any proposition on ordinance
or resolution approved through the system of initiative and referendum as herein provided shall not be repealed,
modified or amended, by the local legislative body concerned within six (6) months from the date therefrom . . . ." On
January 16, 1991, the COMELEC also promulgated its Resolution No. 2300 entitled "In Re Rules and Regulations
Governing the Conduct of Initiative on the Constitution, and Initiative and Referendum, on National and Local Laws." It
likewise recognized resolutions as proper subjects of initiatives. Section 5, Article I of its Rules states: "Scope of
power of initiative — The power of initiative may be exercised to amend the Constitution, or to enact a national
legislation, a regional, provincial, city, municipal or barangay law,resolution or ordinance."
There can hardly be any doubt that when Congress enacted Republic Act No. 6735 it intend resolutions to be proper subjects
of local initiatives. The debates confirm this intent. We quote some of the interpellations when the Conference Committee
Report on the disagreeing provisions between Senate Bill No. 17 and House Bill No. 21505 were being considered in the
House of Representatives, viz:

THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE. The Gentleman from Camarines Sur is recognized.

MR. ROCO. On the Conference Committee Report on the disagreeing provisions between Senate Bill No. 17
and the consolidated House Bill No. 21505 which refers to the system providing for the initiative ad
referendum, fundamentally, Mr. Speaker, we consolidated the Senate and the House versions, so both
versions are totally intact in the bill. The Senators ironically provided for local initiative and referendum and
the House of Representatives correctly provided for initiative and referendum on the Constitution and on
national legislation.

I move that we approve the consolidated bill.

MR. ALBANO. Mr. Speaker.

THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE. What is the pleasure of the Minority Floor Leader?

MR. ALBANO. Will the distinguished sponsor answer just a few questions?

THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE. What does the sponsor say?

MR. ROCO. Willingly, Mr. Speaker.

THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE. The Gentleman will please proceed.

MR. ALBANO. I heard the sponsor say that the only difference in the two bills was that in the Senate version
there was a provision for local initiative and referendum, whereas the House version has none.

MR. ROCO. In fact, the Senate version provided purely for local initiative and referendum, whereas in the
House version, we provided purely for national and constitutional legislation.

MR. ALBANO. Is it our understanding, therefore, that the two provisions were incorporated.?

MR. ROCO. Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. ALBANO. So that we will now have a complete initiative and referendum both in the constitutional
amendment and national legislation.

MR. ROCO. That is correct.

MR. ALBANO. And provincial as well as municipal resolutions?

MR. ROCO. Down to barangay, Mr. Speaker.

MR. ALBANO. And this initiative and referendum is in consonance with the provision of the Constitution
whereby it mandates this Congress to enact the enabling law, so that we shall have a system which can be
done every five years. Is it five years in the provision of the Constitution?

MR. ROCO. That is correct, Mr. Speaker. For constitutional amendments to the 1987 Constitution, it is every
five years. 23

Contrary to the submission of the respondents, the subsequent enactment of the local Government Code of 1991 which also
dealt with local initiative did not change the scope of its coverage. More specifically, the Code did not limit the coverage of
local initiatives to ordinances alone. Section 120, Chapter 2, Title IX Book I of the Code cited by respondents merely defines
the concept of local initiative as the legal process whereby the registered voters of a local government unit may directly
propose, enact, or amend any ordinance. It does not, however, deal with the subjects or matters that can be taken up in a
local initiative. It is section 124 of the same Code which does. It states:

Sec. 124. Limitations on Local Initiatives. (a) The power of local initiative shall not be exercised more than
once a year.

(b) Initiative shall extend only to subjects or matters which are within the legal powers of the Sanggunians to
enact.

xxx xxx xxx

This provision clearly does not limit the application of local initiatives to ordinances, but to all "subjects or matters
which are within the legal powers of the Sanggunians to enact," which undoubtedly includes resolutions. This
interpretation is supported by Section 125 of the same Code which provides: "Limitations upon Sanggunians. —
Any proposition or ordinance approved through the system of initiative and referendum as herein provided shall not be
repealed, modified or amended by the sanggunian concerned within six (6) months from the date of the approval
thereof . . . ." Certainly, the inclusion of the word proposition is inconsistent with respondents' thesis that only
ordinances can be the subject of local initiatives. The principal author of the Local Government Code of 1991, former
Senator Aquilino Pimentel, espouses the same view. In his commentaries on the said law, he wrote, viz: 24

4. Subject Matter Of Initiative. All sorts of measures may be the subject of direct initiative for as long as these
are within the competence of the Sanggunian to enact. In California, for example, direct initiatives were
proposed to enact a fishing control bill, to regulate the practice of chiropractors, to levy a special tax to secure
a new library, to grant a franchise to a railroad company, and to prevent discrimination in the sale of housing
and similar bills.

Direct initiative on the local lever may, therefore, cover all kinds of measures provided that these are within
the power of the local Sanggunians to enact, subject of course to the other requisites enumerated in the
Section.

5. Form of Initiative. Regarding the form of the measure, the section speaks only of "ordinance," although the
measure may be contained in a resolution. If the registered voters can propose ordinances, why are they not
allowed to propose resolutions too? Moreover, the wording of Sec. 125, below, which deals not only with
ordinances but with "any proposition" implies the inclusion of resolutions. The discussion hereunder will also
show support for the conclusion that resolutions may indeed be the subject of local initiative.

We note that respondents do not give any reason why resolutions should not be the subject of a local initiative. In truth, the
reason lies in the well known distinction between a resolution and an ordinance — i.e., that a resolution is used whenever the
legislature wishes to express an opinion which is to have only a temporary effect while an ordinance is intended to
permanently direct and control matters applying to persons or things in general. 25 Thus, resolutions are not normally subject
to referendum for it may destroy the efficiency necessary to the successful administration of the business affairs of a city. 26

In the case at bench, however, it can not be argued that the subject matter of the resolution of the municipality of Morong
merely temporarily affects the people of Morong for it directs a permanent rule of conduct or government. The inclusion of
Morong as part of the Subic Special Economic Zone has far reaching implications in the governance of its people. This is
apparent from a reading of section 12 of Republic Act No. 7227 entitled "An Act Accelerating the Conversion of Military
Reservations Into Other Productive Uses, Creating the Bases Conversion and Development Authority For This Purpose,
Providing Funds Therefor and For Other Purposes." to wit:

Sec. 12. Subic Special Economic Zone. — Subject to the concurrence by resolution of the sangguniang
panlungsod of the City of Olongapo and the sangguniang bayan of the Municipalities of Subic, Morong and
Hermosa, there is hereby created a Special Economic and Free-port Zone consisting of the City of Olongapo
and the Municipality of Subic, Province of Zambales, the lands occupied by the Subic Naval Base and its
contiguous extensions as embraced, covered, and defined by the 1947 Military Bases Agreement between
the Philippines and the United States of America as amended, and within the territorial jurisdiction of the
Municipalities of Morong and Hermosa, Province of Bataan, hereinafter referred to a as the Subic Special
Economic Zone whose metes and bounds shall be delineated in a proclamation to be issued by the President
of the Philippines. Within thirty (30) days after the approval of this Act, each local government unit shall
submit its resolution of concurrence to join the Subic Special Economic Zone to the Office of the President.
Thereafter, the President of the Philippines shall issue a proclamation defining the metes and bounds of the
zone as provided herein.
The abovementioned zone shall be subject to the following policies:

(a) Within the framework and subject to the mandate and limitations of the Constitution and the pertinent
provisions of the Local Government Code, the Subic Special Economic Zone shall be developed into a self-
sustaining, industrial, commercial, financial and investment center to generate employment opportunities in
and around the zone and to attract and promote productive foreign investments;

(b) The Subic Special Economic Zone shall be operated and managed as a separate customs territory
ensuring free flow or movement of goods and capital within, into a exported out of the Subic Special
Economic Zone, as well as provide incentives such as tax and duty-free importations of raw material, capital
and equipment. However, exportations or removal of goods from the territory of the Subic Special Economic
Zone to the other parts of the Philippine territory shall be subject to customs duties and taxes under the
Customs and Tariff Code and other relevant tax laws of the Philippines:

(c) The provision of existing laws, rules and regulations to the contrary notwithstanding, no taxes, local and
national, shall be imposed within the Subic Special Economic Zone. In lieu of paying taxes, three percent
(3%) of the of the gross income earned by all businesses and enterprises within the Subic Special Economic
Zone shall be remitted to the National Government one percent (1%) each to the local government units
affected by the declaration of the zone in proportion to their population area, and other factors. In addition,
there is hereby established a development fund of one percent (1%) of the gross income earned by all
businesses and enterprises within the Subic Special Economic Zone to be utilized for the development of
municipalities outside the City of Olongapo and the Municipality of Subic, and other municipalities contiguous
to the base areas.

In case of conflict between national and local laws with respect to tax exemption privileges in the Subic
Special Economic Zone, the same shall be resolved in favor of the latter;

(d) No exchange control policy shall be applied and free markets for foreign exchange, gold, securities and
futures shall be allowed and maintained in the Subic Special Economic Zone;

(e) The Central Bank, through the Monetary Board, shall supervise and regulate the operations of banks and
other financial institutions within the Subic Special Economic Zone;

(f) Banking and finance shall be liberalized with the establishment of foreign currency depository units of local
commercial banks and offshore banking units of foreign banks with minimum Central Bank regulation;

(g) Any investor within the Subic Special Economic Zone whose continuing investment shall not be less than
Two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000), his/her spouse and dependent children under twenty-one (21)
years of age, shall be granted permanent resident status within the Subic Special Economic Zone. They shall
have freedom of ingress and egress to and from the Subic Special Economic Zone without any need of
special authorization from the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
referred to in Section 13 of this Act may also issue working visas renewable every two (2) years to foreign
executives and other aliens possessing highly-technical skills which no Filipino within the Subic Special
Economic Zone possesses, as certified by the Department of Labor and Employment. The names of aliens
granted permanent residence status and working visas by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority shall be
reported to the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation within thirty (30) days after issuance thereof.

(h) The defense of the zone and the security of its perimeters shall be the responsibility of the National
Government in coordination with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
shall provide and establish its own internal security and fire fighting forces; and

(i) Except as herein provided, the local government units comprising the Subic Special Economic Zone shall
retain their basic autonomy and identity. The cities shall be governed by their respective charters and the
municipalities shall operate and function in accordance with Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the
Local Government Code of 1991.

In relation thereto, section 14 of the same law provides:

Sec. 14. Relationship with the Conversion Authority and the Local Government Units. —
(a) The provisions of existing laws, rules and regulations to the contrary notwithstanding, the Subic Authority
shall exercise administrative powers, rule-making and disbursement of funds over the Subic Special
Economic Zone in conformity with the oversight function of the Conversion Authority.

(b) In case of conflict between the Subic Authority and the local government units concerned on matters
affecting the Subic Special Economic zone other than defense and security, the decision of the Subic
Authority shall prevail.

Considering the lasting changes that will be wrought in the social, political, and economic existence of the people of
Morong by the inclusion of their municipality in the Subic Special Economic Zone, it is but logical to hear their voice on
the matter via an initiative. It is not material that the decision of the municipality of Morong for the inclusion came in
the form of a resolution for what matters is its enduring effect on the welfare of the people of Morong.

Finally, it cannot be gained that petitioners were denied due process. They were not furnished a copy of the letter-petition of
Vice Mayor Edilberto M. de Leon to the respondent COMELEC praying for denial of their petition for a local initiative on
Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye 1993. Worse, respondent COMELEC granted the petition without affording
petitioners any fair opportunity to oppose it. This procedural lapse is fatal for at stake is not an ordinary right but the sanctity of
the sovereignty of the people, their original power to legislate through the process of initiative. Ours is the duty to listen and
the obligation to obey the voice of the people. It could well be the only force that could foil the mushrooming abuses in
government.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is GRANTED and COMELEC Resolution 93-1623 dated July 6, 1993 and Resolution 93-
1676 dated July 13, 1993 are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Vitug, Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ.,
concur.

Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, JJ., are on leave.

# FOOTNOTES

1 Annex "B," Petition.

2 Annex "A," Petition.

3 Sec. 122, par. (b) of R.A. No. 7160.

4 Sec. 122, par. (e) of R.A. No. 7160.

5 Annex "G," Petition.

6 Annex "H," Petition, embodying Res. 93-1623 of the COMELEC en banc.

7 Annex "E," Petition, embodying Res. 93-1676 of the COMELEC en banc.

8 Comment, pp. 61-63, Records.

9 Constitutional Structure and Powers of Government, 1991 ed., p. 39.

10 Section 1, Article VIII of the original 1973 Constitution provides: "The Legislative power shall be vested in a
National Assembly." Under Amendment No. 6 of the same Constitution, legislative power was shared by the
President.

11 Sounding Board, Today's issue of September 6, 1994.

12 State ex rel. Wagner v. Summers, 33 SD 40, 144 NW 730.


13 Among them, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon,
Utah, and Washington.

14 Section 2(1) C, Art. IX of the 1987 Constitution.

15 Vol. VI, Journal of the House of Representatives, Second Regular Session,


1988-89, February 14, 1989, p. 141 Sponsorship Speech of then Congressman, now Senator Raul Roco of
H.B. No. 21505.

16 Sec. 5 of R.A. No. 6735.

17 Sec. 8, ibid.

20 Law Dictionary, 5th ed., p. 24.

21 Agpalo, Statutory Construction, 2nd ed., 1990 ed., p. 189 citing PLDT v. Collector of Internal Revenue, 90
Phil. 674; Hebron v. Reyes, 104 Phil. 175; Primicias v. Fugoso, 80 Phil. 1.

22 24 Phil. 37, 47 [1913].

23 Journal of the House of Representatives, Vol. VIII, June 8, 1989, p. 960; see also Vol. VII, June 7, 1990, p.
762, sponsorship remarks of Rep. Acosta; Vol. I, July 24, 1990, p. 92, sponsorship remarks of Rep. Puzon.

24 The Local Government Code of 1991, The Key to National Development,


pp. 229-230.

25 Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, Vol. 37 A, p. 6, citing Coney v. Texas Division of United
Daughters of the Confederacy, Tex., 164 S.W. 24, 26; see also Allen v. Wise, 50 S.E. 2d 69, 71, 204 Ga. 415.

26 122 ALR, Annotated, p. 770 citing Hoping v. Richmond, 170 Cal. 605, 150 p. 977.
CASE #18

G.R. No. 162777. August 31, 2004]

FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, represented by its Chairman, BENJAMIN S.
ABALOS, ESMERALDA AMORA-LADRA, in her capacity as Acting Director IV, National Capital Judicial
Region, Commission on Elections, and the SOLICITOR GENERAL, respondents.

DECISION
AZCUNA, J.:

In this petition for prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, Francisco I. Chavez stands as
a taxpayer and a citizen asking this Court to enjoin the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from enforcing Section 32 of its
Resolution No. 6520, dated January 6, 2004. The assailed provision is, as follows:

Section 32. All propaganda materials such as posters, streamers, stickers or paintings on walls and other materials showing
the picture, image, or name of a person, and all advertisements on print, in radio or on television showing the image or
mentioning the name of a person, who subsequent to the placement or display thereof becomes a candidate for public office
shall be immediately removed by said candidate and radio station, print media or television station within 3 days after the
effectivity of these implementing rules; otherwise, he and said radio station, print media or television station shall be presumed
to have conducted premature campaigning in violation of Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code.

Petitioner Chavez, on various dates, entered into formal agreements with certain establishments to endorse their
products. On August 18, 2003, he authorized a certain Andrew So to use his name and image for 96 North, a clothing
company. Petitioner also signed Endorsement Agreements with Konka International Plastics Manufacturing Corporation and
another corporation involved in the amusement and video games business, G-Box. These last two agreements were entered
into on October 14, 2003 and November 10, 2003, respectively.Pursuant to these agreements, three billboards were set up
along the Balintawak Interchange of the North Expressway. One billboard showed petitioner promoting the plastic products of
Konka International Plastics Manufacturing Corporation, and the other two showed petitioner endorsing the clothes of 96
North. One more billboard was set up along Roxas Boulevardshowing petitioner promoting the game and amusement parlors
of G-Box.
On December 30, 2003, however, petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of Senator under Alyansa ng
Pag-asa, a tripartite alliance of three political parties: PROMDI, REPORMA, and Aksyon Demokratiko.
On January 6, 2004, respondent COMELEC issued Resolution No. 6520, which contained Section 32, the provision
assailed herein. On January 21, 2004, petitioner was directed to comply with the said provision by the COMELECs Law
Department. He replied, on January 29, 2004, by requesting the COMELEC that he be informed as to how he may have
violated the assailed provision. He sent another letter dated February 23, 2004, this time asking the COMELEC that he be
exempted from the application of Section 32, considering that the billboards adverted to are mere product endorsements and
cannot be construed as paraphernalia for premature campaigning under the rules.
The COMELEC answered petitioners request by issuing another letter, dated February 27, 2004, wherein it ordered him
to remove or cause the removal of the billboards, or to cover them from public view pending the approval of his request.
Feeling aggrieved, petitioner Chavez asks this Court that the COMELEC be enjoined from enforcing the assailed
provision. He urges this Court to declare the assailed provision unconstitutional as the same is allegedly (1) a gross violation
of the non-impairment clause; (2) an invalid exercise of police power; (3) in the nature of an ex-post facto law; (4) contrary to
the Fair Elections Act; and (5) invalid due to overbreadth.
Is Section 32 of COMELEC Resolution No. 6520 an invalid exercise of police power? Petitioner argues that the
billboards, while they exhibit his name and image, do not at all announce his candidacy for any public office nor solicit support
for such candidacy from the electorate. They are, he claims, mere product endorsements and not election
propaganda. Prohibiting, therefore, their exhibition to the public is not within the scope of the powers of the COMELEC, he
concludes.
This Court takes a contrary view. Police power, as an inherent attribute of sovereignty, is the power to prescribe
regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order, or safety, and the general welfare of the people.[1] To
determine the validity of a police measure, two questions must be asked: (1) Does the interest of the public in general, as
distinguished from those of a particular class, require the exercise of police power? and (2) Are the means employed
reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and not unduly oppressive upon individuals?
A close examination of the assailed provision reveals that its primary objectives are to prohibit premature campaigning
and to level the playing field for candidates of public office, to equalize the situation between popular or rich candidates, on
one hand, and lesser-known or poorer candidates, on the other, by preventing the former from enjoying undue advantage in
exposure and publicity on account of their resources and popularity. The latter is a valid reason for the exercise of police
power as held in National Press Club v. COMELEC,[2] wherein the petitioners questioned the constitutionality of Section 11(b)
of Republic Act No. 6646, which prohibited the sale or donation of print space and air time for campaigning or other political
purposes, except to the COMELEC. The obvious intention of this provision is to equalize, as far as practicable, the situations
of rich and poor candidates by preventing the former from enjoying the undue advantage offered by huge campaign war
chests. This Court ruled therein that this objective is of special importance and urgency in a country which, like ours, is
characterized by extreme disparity in income distribution between the economic elite and the rest of society, and by the
prevalence of poverty, with so many of our population falling below the poverty line.
Moreover, petitioner cannot claim that the subject billboards are purely product endorsements and do not announce nor
solicit any support for his candidacy. Under the Omnibus Election Code, election campaign or partisan political activity is
defined as an act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates to a public office.
Activities included under this definition are:

(1) Forming organizations, associations, clubs, committees, or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes
and/or undertaking any campaign for or against a candidate

(2) Holding political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of
soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate;

(3) Making speeches, announcements or commentaries, or holding interviews for or against the election of any candidate for
public office;

(4) Publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate; or

(5) Directly or indirectly soliciting votes, pledges or support for or against a candidate.[3] (underscoring ours)

It is true that when petitioner entered into the contracts or agreements to endorse certain products, he acted as a private
individual and had all the right to lend his name and image to these products. However, when he filed his certificate of
candidacy for Senator, the billboards featuring his name and image assumed partisan political character because the same
indirectly promoted his candidacy. Therefore, the COMELEC was acting well within its scope of powers when it required
petitioner to discontinue the display of the subject billboards. If the subject billboards were to be allowed, candidates for public
office whose name and image are used to advertise commercial products would have more opportunity to make themselves
known to the electorate, to the disadvantage of other candidates who do not have the same chance of lending their faces and
names to endorse popular commercial products as image models. Similarly, an individual intending to run for public office
within the next few months, could pay private corporations to use him as their image model with the intention of familiarizing
the public with his name and image even before the start of the campaign period. This, without a doubt, would be a
circumvention of the rule against premature campaigning:

Sec. 80. Election campaign or partisan political activity outside campaign period. It shall be unlawful for any person, whether
or not a voter or candidate, or for any party, or association of persons, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political
activity except during the campaign period. x x x [4]

Article IX (C) (4) of the Constitution provides:

Sec. 4. The Commission may, during the election period, supervise or regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or
permits for the operation of transportation and other public utilities, media of communication or information, all grants, special
privileges, or concessions granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any
government-owned or controlled corporation or its subsidiary. Such supervision or regulation shall aim to ensure equal
opportunity, time, and space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for public information
campaigns and forums among candidates in connection with the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and
credible elections.
Under the abovementioned Constitutional provision, the COMELEC is expressly authorized to supervise or regulate the
enjoyment or utilization of all media communication or information to ensure equal opportunity, time, and space. All these are
aimed at the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.
Neither is Section 32 of Resolution No. 6520 a gross violation of the non-impairment clause. The non-impairment clause
of the Constitution must yield to the loftier purposes targeted by the Government. [5] Equal opportunity to proffer oneself for
public office, without regard to the level of financial resources one may have at his disposal, is indeed of vital interest to the
public.The State has the duty to enact and implement rules to safeguard this interest. Time and again, this Court has said that
contracts affecting public interest contain an implied reservation of the police power as a postulate of the existing legal
order. This power can be activated at anytime to change the provisions of the contract, or even abrogate it entirely, for the
promotion or protection of the general welfare. Such an act will not militate against the impairment clause, which is subject to
and limited by the paramount police power.[6]
Furthermore, this Court notes that the very contracts entered into by petitioner provide that the endorsers photograph
and image shall be utilized in whatever form, mode and manner in keeping with norms of decency, reasonableness,
morals and law;[7] and in whatever form, mode and manner not contrary to law and norms of decency,[8] and in whatever form,
mode and manner in keeping with norms of decency, reasonableness, morals and law.[9]
Petitioner also claims that Section 32 of Resolution No. 6520 is in the nature of an ex post facto law. He urges this Court
to believe that the assailed provision makes an individual criminally liable for an election offense for not removing such
advertisement, even if at the time the said advertisement was exhibited, the same was clearly legal. Hence, it makes a
person, whose name or image is featured in any such advertisement, liable for premature campaigning under the Omnibus
Election Code.[10] A close scrutiny of this rationale, however, demonstrates its lack of persuasiveness. Section 32, although
not penal in nature, defines an offense and prescribes a penalty for said offense. Laws of this nature must operate
prospectively, except when they are favorable to the accused. It should be noted, however, that the offense defined in the
assailed provision is not the putting up of propaganda materials such as posters, streamers, stickers or paintings on walls and
other materials showing the picture, image or name of a person, and all advertisements on print, in radio or on television
showing the image or mentioning the name of a person, who subsequent to the placement or display thereof becomes a
candidate for public office. Nor does it prohibit or consider an offense the entering of contracts for such propaganda materials
by an individual who subsequently becomes a candidate for public office. One definitely does not commit an offense by
entering into a contract with private parties to use his name and image to endorse certain products prior to his becoming a
candidate for public office. The offense, as expressly prescribed in the assailed provision, is the non-removal of the described
propaganda materials three (3) days after the effectivity of COMELEC Resolution No. 6520. If the candidate for public office
fails to remove such propaganda materials after the given period, he shall be liable under Section 80 of the Omnibus Election
Code for premature campaigning. Indeed, nowhere is it indicated in the assailed provision that it shall operate
retroactively. There is, therefore, no ex post facto law in this case.
Next, petitioner urges that Section 32 is a violation of the Fair Elections Act. According to him, under this law, billboards
are already permitted as lawful election propaganda. He claims, therefore, that the COMELEC, in effectively prohibiting the
use of billboards as a form of election propaganda through the assailed provision, violated the Fair Elections Act. Petitioners
argument is not tenable. The Solicitor General rightly points out that the assailed provision does not prohibit billboards as
lawful election propaganda. It only regulates their use to prevent premature campaigning and to equalize, as much as
practicable, the situation of all candidates by preventing popular and rich candidates from gaining undue advantage in
exposure and publicity on account of their resources and popularity. [11] Moreover, by regulating the use of such election
propaganda materials, the COMELEC is merely doing its duty under the law. Under Sections 3 and 13 of the Fair Elections
Act, all election propaganda are subject to the supervision and regulation by the COMELEC:

SECTION 3. Lawful Election Propaganda. -- Election propaganda, whether on television, cable television radio, newspapers
or any other medium is hereby allowed for all registered political parties, national, regional, sectoral parties or organizations
participating under the party list elections and for all bona fide candidates seeking national and local elective positions subject
to the limitation on authorized expenses of candidates and political parties observance of truth in advertising and to the
supervision and regulation by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

For the purpose of this Act, lawful election propaganda shall include:

3.1. Pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals, stickers or other written or printed materials the size of which does not
exceed eight and one half inches in width and fourteen inches in length;
3.2. Handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against any particular political party or candidate for
public office;
3.3. Cloth, paper or cardboard posters whether framed or posted, with an area not exceeding two(2) feet by three (3)
feet, except that, at the site and on the occasion of a public meeting or rally, or in announcing the holding of
said meeting or rally, streamers not exceeding three (3) feet by eight (8) feet in size, shall be
allowed: Provided, That said streamers may be displayed five (5) days before the date of the meeting or rally
and shall be removed within twenty-four (24) hours after said meeting or rally;
3.4. Paid advertisements in print or broadcast media: Provided, That the advertisements shall follow the
requirements set forth in Section 4 of this Act; and
3.5. All other forms of election propaganda not prohibited by the Omnibus Election Code or this Act.

xxx

SECTION 13. Authority of the COMELEC to Promulgate Rules; Election Offenses. - The COMELEC shall promulgate and
furnish all political parties and candidates and the mass media entities the rules and regulations for the implementation of this
Act, consistent with the criteria established in Article IX-C, Section 4 of the Constitution and Section 86 of the Omnibus
Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881).

Rules and regulations promulgated by the COMELEC under and by authority of this Section shall take effect on the seventh
day after their publication in at least two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation. Prior to effectivity of said rules and
regulations, no political advertisement or propaganda for or against any candidate or political party shall be published or
broadcast through mass media.

Violation of this Act and the rules and regulations of the COMELEC issued to implement this Act shall be an election offense
punishable under the first and second paragraphs of Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881).

Finally, petitioner contends that Section 32 of COMELEC Resolution No. 6520 is invalid because of overbreadth.
A statute or regulation is considered void for overbreadth when it offends the constitutional principle that a governmental
purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to State regulations may not be achieved by means that sweep
unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms. [12]
The provision in question is limited in its operation both as to time and scope. It only disallows the continued display of a
persons propaganda materials and advertisements after he has filed a certificate of candidacy and before the start of the
campaign period. Said materials and advertisements must also show his name and image.
There is no blanket prohibition of the use of propaganda materials and advertisements. During the campaign period,
these may be used subject only to reasonable limitations necessary and incidental to achieving the purpose of preventing
premature campaigning and promoting equality of opportunities among all candidates.
The provision, therefore, is not invalid on the ground of overbreadth.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and Section 32 of COMELEC Resolution No. 6520 is declared valid and
constitutional. The prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order and/or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction is hereby DENIED. No
costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr.,
Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.
Puno, Panganiban, Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Carpio, JJ., on official leave.

[1] Acebedo Optical v. CA, 329 SCRA 314 (2000).


[2] 207 SCRA 1 (1992).
[3] Article X, Section 79 (b) of the Omnibus Election Code.
[4] Article X, Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code.
[5] Philippine Association of Service Exporters v. Drilon, 163 SCRA 386 (1988).
[6] Caleon v. Agus Development Corporation, 207 SCRA 748 (1992), citing Villanueva v. Castaeda, 154 SCRA 142 (1987).
[7] Petition, Annex B-2, rollo, pp. 60-62.
[8] Petition, Annex B-1, rollo, pp. 57-59.
[9] Petition, Annex B, rollo, p. 56.
[10] Petition, p. 14; rollo, p. 16.
[11] Solicitor Generals Comment, p. 28; rollo, p. 107.
[12] Adiong v. Comelec, 207 SCRA 712 (1992).
CASE #19

[G.R. No.133842. January 26, 2000]

FEDERICO S. SANDOVAL, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and CANUTO SENEN A.


ORETA, respondents.

DECISION

PUNO, J.:

The petition at bar assails the order of the Commission on Elections , (COMELEC) en banc dated June 2, 1998 nullifying and
setting aside the proclamation of petitioner Federico S. Sandoval as congressman-elect for the Malabon-Navotas legislative
district.

The facts are as follows:

Petitioner Federico S. Sandoval and private respondent Canuto Senen Greta, together with Pedro Domingo, Mariano
Santiago, Symaco Benito and Warren Serna, vied for the congressional seat for the Malabon-Navotas legislative district
during the election held on May 11, 1998.

On election day, after the votes have been cast and counted in the various precincts in the two municipalities, their respective
board of canvassers convened to canvass the election returns forwarded by the board of election inspectors.

In Malabon, a reception group and several canvassing committees were formed to expedite the canvass. The reception group
received, examined and recorded the sealed envelopes containing the election returns, as well as the ballot boxes coming
from the precincts. The reception group then distributed the election returns among the canvassing committees. The
committees simultaneously canvassed the election returns assigned to them in the presence of the lawyers and watchers of
the candidates.

On May 16, 1998, counsels for private respondent made a written request upon Malabon Election Officer Armando Mallorca
to furnish them with a complete list of the statement of votes so that they could verify whether all statements of votes have
been tabulated.[1] They likewise requested for a complete list of precincts in the municipality together with the number of
canvassed votes for petitioner and private respondent as of May 16, 1998. They also sought permission to conduct an audit of
the tabulation reports made by the municipal board of canvassers.[2] These requests, however, were denied by the municipal
,board of canvassers on the following grounds: (1) that any counsel for a candidate has neither personality nor right to
conduct an audit of the tabulation report as the proceedings of the board are presumed to be regular, and (2) that the granting
of the requests would delay the proceedings of the board to the prejudice of the will of the people of Malabon.[3] Calrky

On May 17, 1998, the Malabon municipal board of canvassers concluded its proceedings. The board issued a certificate of
canvass of votes stating that it canvassed 804 out of 805 precincts in the municipality. The certificate of canvass showed that
private respondent obtained the highest number of votes in Malabon with 57,760 votes, with petitioner coming in second with
42,892 votes.[4]

On the same day, after obtaining copies of the statements of votes, Ma. Rosario O. Lapuz, authorized representative of
private respondent wrote then COMELEC Chairman Bernardo Pardo[5] and informed him that several election returns were
not included in the canvass conducted by the Malabon municipal board of canvassers. She moved that the certificate of
canvass issued by said board be declared "not final."[6]

On May 19, 1998, Ms. Lapuz again wrote Chairman Pardo. The letter reiterated the allegations in her letter dated May 17,
1998 and requested that the Malabon municipal board of canvassers be ordered to canvass the election returns which it
allegedly failed to include in its canvass.[7]

On May 23, 1998, private respondent filed with the COMELEC an Urgent Petition entitled "In re: Petition to Correct Manifest
Error in Tabulation of Election Returns by the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Malabon, NCR. Canuto Tito Oreta vs.
Municipal Board of Canvassers of Malabon." The petition was docketed as SPC No.98-143. It alleged that while the certificate
of canvass showed that 804 election returns were canvassed and tabulated, only 790 election returns were actually
canvassed. Private respondent contended that there was a manifest error in the non-recording or copying of the results in 14
election returns from 14 precincts into the statement of votes. It prayed: (1) that the municipal, board of canvassers of
Malabon be reconvened to correct said manifest error by entering the results of the elections in the 14 election returns into the
statement of , votes and that the certificate of canvass be corrected to reflect the complete results in 804 precincts; and (2)
that the canvass of the results for the congressional election by the district board of canvassers for Malabon and Navotas be
suspended until the alleged manifest error is corrected.[8] Mesm

Meanwhile, the proceedings of the municipal board of canvassers of Navotas were disrupted by the riotous exchange of
accusations by the supporters of the opposing mayoralty candidates. The COMELEC had to move the venue to the Philippine
International Convention Center in Manila to finish the canvass. On May 27, 1998, Chairman Pardo issued a memorandum to
Atty. Ma. Anne V. G. Lacuesta, Chairman, District Board of Canvassers for Malabon-Navotas, authorizing her to immediately
reconvene the district board of canvassers, complete the canvassing of the municipal certificate of canvass and supporting
statement of votes per municipality , and proclaim the winning candidate for the congressional seat of the Malabon-Navotas
legislative district.[9]

On May 28, 1998, private respondent filed with the COMELEC an Urgent Manifestation/Motion in connection with SPC No.98-
143. It prayed that the canvass of the, results of the congressional election by the district board of canvassers be suspended
until the alleged manifest error in SPC No.98-143 is corrected.[10]

At 4:15 in the afternoon on May 28, 1998, the district board of canvassers convened at the Philippine International Convention
Center. It took up private respondent's petition to correct the manifest error arising from the non-inclusion of 19 election
returns in the canvass. After examining the statement of votes by precinct and the certificate of canvass signed and
thumbmarked by three watchers from different parties, the district board of canvassers found that a total of 804 election
returns were canvassed by the Malabon municipal board of canvassers. [11]

The district board of canvassers then proceeded to canvass the certificates of canvass from the two municipalities. Counsel
for private respondent requested that the canvassing be suspended until the Commission has resolved their petition for
correction of manifest error in the certificate of canvass of Malabon. The district board of canvassers, however, denied the
request for the following reasons:

"1. absence of restraining order from the Commission;

"2. order of the Chairman dated May 27, 1998 directing the district board to proceed with the canvass and
proclamation of winning candidates for the district of Malabon-Navotas; Scslx

"3. there is no irregularity in the submitted certificate of canvass from both municipalities and there were no
objections raised for both certificates of canvass of the counsels present;

"4. no report coming from the municipal board of canvassers from Malabon that there were uncanvassed
election return except for one;

"5. the municipal board of canvassers of Malabon submitted to the district board of canvassers certificate of
canvass which indicated that the number of canvassed returns for District I is 397 and 407 for District II for a
total of 804 out of 805 election returns;

"6. the board has only the ministerial duty to tally the votes as reflected on the certificate of canvass
supplemented by the statement of votes and has no authority to verify allegations of irregularities in the
preparation thereof; and

"7. there is no pre-proclamation contest for the position of congressman."[12]

Private respondent's counsel sought reconsideration of the decision of the district board' of canvassers but it was likewise
denied by the board.

After canvassing the municipal certificates of canvass, the district board of canvassers proclaimed petitioner the duly elected
congressman of the legislative district of Malabon-Navotas. The board declared that petitioner obtained a total vote of 82,339
over private respondent's 80,319 votes.[13] Petitioner took his oath of office on the same day. [14] Slxs c

The following day, on May 29, 1998, private respondent filed with the COMELEC in connection with SPC No.98-143 an
"Urgent Appeal from the Decision of the Legislative District Board of Canvassers for Malabon and Navotas with Prayer for the
Nullification of the Proclamation of Federico S. Sandoval as Congressman." It alleged that there was a verbal order from the
COMELEC Chairman to suspend the canvass and proclamation of the winning candidate for congressman of the Malabon-
Navotas legislative district; that the district board of canvassers proceeded with the canvass and proclamation despite the
verbal order; and that the non-inclusion of the 19 election returns in the canvass would result in an incomplete canvass of the
election returns. It prayed that the decision of the district board of canvassers be reversed and that the municipal board of
canvassers of Malabon be reconvened to complete its canvass. It also prayed that the proclamation of petitioner as
congressman be annulled.[15]

On May 30, 1998, private respondent filed with the COMELEC an Urgent Petition docketed as SPC No.98-206. The petition
sought the annulment of , petitioner's proclamation as congressman. It alleged that at about 4:00 in the afternoon on May 28,
1998, the COMELEC Chairman directed the district board of canvassers to suspend the canvass and proclamation pending
the resolution of the petition for correction of manifest error in the municipal certificate of canvass of Malabon; that the district
board of canvassers still proceeded with the canvass in spite of the order; that the proclamation was made despite the non-
inclusion of election returns from 19 precincts in Malabon; and that the non-inclusion of these election returns will materially
affect the result of the election. Private respondent prayed that the proclamation of petitioner as congressman be annulled and
that the municipal board of canvassers of Malabon be ordered to reconvene to include the 19 election returns in the
canvass.[16]

On June 2, 1998, the COMELEC en banc issued an order setting aside the proclamation of petitioner. The COMELEC ruled
that the proclamation by the district board of canvassers was void because: (1) it was made in defiance of the verbal order by
the COMELEC Chairman relayed through Executive Director Resurrection Z. Borra to suspend the proclamation of the winner
in the congressional election until the Commission has resolved private respondent's petition for correction of manifest error in
the certificate of canvass; and (2) it was based on an incomplete canvass. The dispositive portion of the order reads: slx mis

"WHEREFORE, the proclamation made by the District Board of Canvassers of Malabon and Navotas for the
position of Congressman being void ab initio is no proclamation at all. Meantime, it is hereby set aside.

"Atty .Ma. Anne Lacuesta is hereby relieved as Chairman, District Board of Canvassers of Malabon-Navotas,
and Atty. Consuelo B. Diola is named Chairman of said Board. Atty. Diola is directed to maintain the status
quo prior to the Board's unauthorized proclamation, until further orders.

"Meantime, let these cases be set for hearing en banc on 09 June 1998 at 10:00 in the morning.

"SO ORDERED."[17]

On June 8, 1998, petitioner filed this petition for certiorari seeking the annulment and reversal of said order. Petitioner
contended:

"1. Respondent COMELEC's annulment of petitioner Sandoval's proclamation as winner in the election for
congressman of Malabon-Navotas, without the benefit of prior hearing, is grossly indecent and violates his
right to due process of law.

"2. Respondent COMELEC's action on respondent Oreta's petitions violates Republic Act 7166 which bars
pre-proclamation cases in the elections of members of the House of Representative.

"3. Respondent Oreta's remedy for seeking correction of alleged manifest errors in the certificate of canvass
for members of Congress does not lie with respondent COMELEC but, initially with the municipal board of
canvassers.

"4. At any rate, respondent Oreta's right to raise questions concerning alleged manifest errors in the Malabon
certificate of canvass is barred by his failure to raise such questions before petitioner Sandoval's
proclamation.

"5. Respondent Oreta's recourse lies with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal which is not
precluded from passing upon the allegedly uncanvassed election returns in Malabon." [18]

On June 9, 1998, we required the respondents to comment on the petition. We also issued a temporary restraining order
mandating the COMELEC to cease and desist from implementing and enforcing the questioned order. [19]

The COMELEC nonetheless conducted a hearing on June 9, 1998 , concerning SPC No.98-143 and SPC No.98-206.

Private respondent filed his comment[20] on June 22, 1998. He argued:


"1. Respondent COMELEC committed no jurisdictional error in declaring void ab initio the proclamation of
petitioner Sandoval as Congressman-elect for the Malabon-Navotas legislative district. Missdaa

a. The premature and hasty proclamation of respondent Sandoval made by the District Board on the
basis of an incomplete canvass is illegal, hence, null and void.

b. Respondent COMELEC substantially complied with the requirements of due process in declaring
the proclamation of respondent Sandoval an absolute nullity.

"2. Respondent COMELEC properly took cognizance of respondent Oreta's petition to correct manifest error
in the certificate of canvass issued by the Malabon board.

a. While technically a pre-proclamation case, correction of manifest errors for purposes of the
congressional elections is within the power and authority of the COMELEC to order, in the exercise of
its appellate and original jurisdiction over such subject matter.

b. The failure of the Malabon board to tabulate the results of seventeen ( 17) election returns and to
record the votes supporting the certificate of canvass resulted in a manifest error in the certificate of
canvass which should be summarily corrected by ordering the Malabon board to reconvene, canvass
the 17 election returns, record the votes in the statement of votes and prepare a new certificate of
canvass."

On June 29, 1998, then Solicitor General Silvestre Bello III filed a Manifestation and Motion in Lieu of Comment.[21] He found
the assailed order of the COMELEC null and void for the following reasons:

"1. Respondent COMELEC's motu proprio and ex parte annulment of petitioner's proclamation as winner in
the election for congressman of Malabon-Navotas is tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction and violated petitioner's right to due process; and

"2. Respondent COMELEC had no jurisdiction over the petitions filed by respondent Oreta, hence its order
dated June 2, 1998 annulling petitioner's proclamation is null and void."

In view of. the Solicitor General's manifestation and motion, we required the COMELEC to file its own comment.

The COMELEC filed its comment on August 11, 1998. It invoked its power of direct control and supervision over the board of
canvassers, allowing it to review, revise and reverse the board's actions. It said that it rendered the questioned order upon
finding that petitioner's proclamation was illegal and therefore void ab initio. It cited two reasons to support its findings: first, it
was made in disregard of the Chairman's verbal order to suspend the canvass and proclamation, and second, it was based on
an incomplete canvass.[22] Sda adsc

On August 27, 1998, the new Solicitor General, Ricardo P. Galvez, filed a Manifestation and Motion withdrawing the
Manifestation and Motion filed ,by former Solicitor General Bello. The Solicitor General, this time, upheld the validity of the
assailed order. In essence, he argued that the Malabon municipal board of canvassers failed to include 17 election returns in
its canvass; that such omission constitutes manifest error in the certificate of canvass which must be corrected by the district
board of canvassers; and that the proclamation of petitioner was void ab initio because it was based on an incomplete
canvass.[23]

Petitioner and private respondent subsequently filed their respective reply, rejoinder and sur-rejoinder.

Considering the arguments raised by the parties, the issues that need to be resolved in this case are:

1. whether the COMELEC has the power to take cognizance of SPC No. 98-143 and SPC No. 98-206, both
alleging the existence 'of manifest error in the certificate of canvass issued by the Malabon municipal board of
canvassers and seeking to reconvene said board of canvassers to allow it to correct the alleged error; and

2. whether the COMELEC's order to set aside petitioner's proclamation was valid.

On the first issue, we uphold the jurisdiction of the COMELEC over the petitions filed by private respondent. As
a general rule, candidates and registered political parties involved in an election are allowed to file pre-proclamation cases
before the COMELEC. Pre-proclamation cases refer to any question pertaining to or affecting the proceedings of the board of
canvassers which may be raised by, any candidate or by any registered political party or coalition of political parties before the
board or directly with the Commission, or any matter raised under Sections 233, 234, 235 and 236 in relation to the
preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of election returns. [24] The COMELEC has exclusive jurisdiction
over all pre-proclamation controversies.[25] As an exception, however, to the general rule, Section 15 of Republic Act (RA)
7166[26]. prohibits candidates in the presidential, vice-presidential, senatorial and congressional elections from filing pre-
proclamation cases.[27] It states:

"Sec. 15. Pre-proclamation Cases Not Allowed in Elections for President, Vice-President, Senator, and
Members of the House of Representatives.-- For purposes of the elections for President, Vice-President,
Senator and Member of the House of Representatives, no pre-proclamation cases shall be allowed on
matters relating to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of election returns or the
certificates of canvass, as the case may be. However, this does not preclude the authority of the
appropriate canvassing body motu propio or upon written complaint of an interested person to
correct manifest errors in the certificate of canvass or election returns before it." Rtc spped

The prohibition aims to avoid delay in the proclamation of the winner in the election, which delay might result in a vacuum in
these sensitive posts.[28] The law, nonetheless, provides an exception to the exception. The second sentence of Section 15
allows the filing of petitions for correction of manifest errors in the certificate of canvass or election returns even in elections
for president, vice- president and members of the House of Representatives for the simple reason that the correction of
manifest error will not prolong the process of canvassing nor delay the proclamation of the winner in the election. This rule is
consistent with and complements the authority of the COMELEC under the Constitution to, "enforce and administer all laws
and regulations relative to the conduct of an, election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall" [29] and its power to "decide,
except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections." [30]

Applying the foregoing rule, we hold that the Commission has jurisdiction over SPC No. 98- 143 and SPC No.98-206, both
filed by private respondent seeking to correct the alleged manifest error in the certificate of canvass issued by the Malabon
municipal board of canvassers. These petitions essentially allege that there exists a manifest error in said certificate of
canvass as the board failed to include several election returns in the canvassing. Private respondent prays that the board be
reconvened to correct said error. Section 15 of RA 7166 vests the COMELEC with jurisdiction over cases of this nature.
We reiterate the long-standing rule that jurisdiction is conferred by law and is determined by the allegations in the
petition regardless of whether or not the petitioner is entitled to the relief sought. [31]

The authority to rule on petitions for correction of manifest error is vested in the COMELEC en banc. Section 7 of Rule 27 of
the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure[32] provides that if the error is discovered before proclamation, the board of
canvassers may motu proprio, or upon verified petition by any candidate, political party, organization or coalition of political
parties, after due notice and hearing, correct the errors committed. The aggrieved party may appeal the decision of the board
to the Commission and said appeal shall be heard and decided by the Commission en banc. Section 5, however of the same
rule states that a petition for correction of manifest error may be filed directly with the Commission en banc provided that such
errors could not have been discovered during the canvassing despite the exercise of due diligence and proclamation of , the
winning candidate had already been made. Thus, we held in Ramirez vs. COMELEC:[33] Korte

"Although in Ong, Jr. v. COMELEC it was said that 'By now it is settled that election cases which include pre-
proclamation controversies must first be heard and decided by a division of the Commission' -- and a petition
for correction of manifest error in the Statement of Votes, like SPC 95-198 is a pre-proclamation ; controversy
-- in none of the cases cited to support this proposition was the issue the correction of a manifest error in the
Statement of Votes under Sec. 231 of the Omnibus Election Code (BP. Blg. 881) or Sec. 15 of R.A. No.7166.
On the other hand, Rule 27, Sec. 5 of the 1993 Rules of the COMELEC expressly provides that pre -
proclamation controversies involving, inter alia, manifest errors in the tabulation or tallying of the results may
be filed directly with the COMELEC en banc x x x."[34]

Petitioner nonetheless contends that SPC No. 98-143 and SPC No. 98-206 must be dismissed because private respondent
failed to raise the issue of manifest error before the appropriate board of canvassers in accordance with the second sentence
of Section 15 of RA 7166.

We disagree.

The issue of manifest error in the certificate of canvass for Malabon has been raised before the district board of canvassers
before petitioner could be proclaimed and said board has in fact ruled on the issue. [35] We find this as sufficient compliance
with the law. The facts show that it was impossible for private respondent to raise the issue before the Malabon municipal
board of canvassers as it still did not have a copy of the statement of votes and the precinct list at the time of the canvassing
in the municipal level. At that time, private respondent still had no knowledge of the alleged manifest error. He, however, lost
no time in notifying the COMELEC Chairman and the district board of the alleged error upon discovery thereof. We find
petitioner's argument, therefore, to be devoid of merit.

We now go to the second issue. Although the COMELEC is clothed with jurisdiction over the subject matter and issue of SPC
No.98-143 and SPC No. 98-206, we find the exercise of its jurisdiction tainted with illegality. We hold that its order to set
aside the proclamation of petitioner is invalid for having been rendered without due process of law. Procedural due process
demands prior notice and hearing. Then after the hearing, it is also necessary that the tribunal show substantial evidence to
support its ruling.[36] In other words, due process requires that a party be given an opportunity to adduce his evidence to
support his side of the case and that the evidence should be considered in the adjudication of the case. [37] The facts show that
COMELEC set aside the proclamation of petitioner , without the benefit of prior notice and hearing and it rendered the
questioned order based solely on private respondent's allegations. We held in Bince, Jr. vs. COMELEC:[38] x law

"Petitioner cannot be deprived of his office without due process of law. Although public office is not property
under Section 1 of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, and one cannot acquire a vested right to public office,
it is, nevertheless, a protected right. Due process in proceedings before the COMELEC, exercising its quasi-
judicial functions, requires due notice and hearing, among others. Thus, although the COMELEC possesses,
in appropriate cases, the power to annul or suspend the proclamation of any candidate, We had ruled in
Farinas vs. Commission on Elections, Reyes vs. Commission on Elections and Gallardo vs. Commission on
Elections that the COMELEC is without power to partially or totally annul a proclamation or suspend the
effects of a proclamation without notice and hearing."[39]

Citing Section 242 of the Omnibus Election Code, private respondent argues that the COMELEC is authorized to annul an
illegal proclamation even without notice and hearing because the law states that it may motu proprio order a partial or total
suspension of the proclamation of any candidate-elect or annul partially or totally any proclamation, if one has been made. We
reject the argument. Section 242 of the Omnibus Election Code reads:

"Sec. 242. Commission's exclusive jurisdiction of all pre-proclamation controversies.-- The


Commission shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all pre-proclamation controversies. It may motu proprio or
upon written petition, and after due notice and hearing, order the partial or total suspension of the
proclamation of any candidate-elect or annul partially or totally any proclamation, if one has been made, as
the evidence shall warrant in accordance with the succeeding sections."

The phrase "motu proprio" does not refer to the annulment of proclamation but to the manner of initiating the proceedings to
annul a proclamation made by the board of canvassers. The law provides two ways by which annulment proceedings may be
initiated. It may be at the own initiative of the COMELEC (motu proprio) or by written petition. In either case, notice and
hearing is required. This is clear from the language of the law. Scmis

We likewise reject private respondent's assertion that the hearing held on June 9, 1998 substantially satisfies the due process
requirement. The law requires that the hearing be held before the COMELEC rules on the petition. Here, the public
respondent first issued an order annulling the proclamation of petitioner and then set the date of the hearing. We explained
in Farinas vs. COMELEC[40] the pernicious effect of such procedure:

"As aptly pointed out by the Solicitor General, 'to sanction the immediate annulment or even the suspension
of the effects of a proclamation before the petition seeking such annulment or suspension of its effects shall
have been heard would open the floodgates of unsubstantiated petitions after the results are known,
considering the propensity of the losing candidates to put up all sorts of obstacles in an open display of
unwillingness to accept defeat, or would encourage the filing of baseless petitions not only to the damage and
prejudice of winning candidates but also to the frustration of the sovereign will of the electorate.'" (citations
omitted)

Public respondent submits that procedural due process need not be observed in this case because it was merely exercising
its administrative power to review, revise and reverse the actions of the board of canvassers. It set aside the proclamation
made by the district board of canvassers for the position of congressman upon finding that it was tainted with illegality.

We cannot accept public respondent's argument.

Taking cognizance of private respondent's petitions for annulment of petitioner's proclamation, COMELEC was not merely
performing an administrative function. The administrative powers of the COMELEC include the power to determine the
number and location of polling places, appoint election officials and inspectors, conduct registration of voters, deputize law
enforcement agencies and government instrumentalities to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections,
register political parties, organizations or coalitions, accredit citizens' arms of the Commission, prosecute election offenses,
and recommend to the President the removal of or imposition of any other disciplinary action upon any officer or employee it
has deputized for violation or disregard of its directive, order or decision. In addition, the Commission also has direct control
and supervision over all personnel involved in the conduct of election. However , the resolution of the adverse claims of
private respondent and petitioner as regards the existence of a manifest error in the questioned certificate of
canvass requires the COMELEC to act as an arbiter. It behooves the Commission to hear both parties to determine
the veracity of their allegations and to decide whether the alleged error is a manifest error. Hence, the resolution of
this issue calls for the exercise by the COMELEC of its quasi- judicial power. It has been said that where a power rests
in judgment or discretion, so that it is of judicial nature or character, but does not involve the exercise of functions of a judge,
or is conferred upon an officer other than a judicial officer, it is deemed quasi-judicial.[41] The COMELEC therefore, acting as
quasi-judicial tribunal, cannot ignore the requirements of procedural due process in resolving the petitions filed by private
respondent. Mis sc

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the COMELEC order dated June 2, 1998 in SPC No. 98-143 and SPC No. 98-206 is ANNULLED. This
case is REMANDED to the COMELEC and the Commission is hereby ordered to hold a hearing on the issues presented in
SPC No. 98-143 and SPC No. 98-206, and thereafter render a decision based on the evidence adduced and the applicable
laws. The incident of whether or not petitioner may continue discharging the functions of the office of congressman pending
resolution of the case on its merit shall be addressed by the COMELEC in the exercise of its reasonable discretion.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes,
Ynares-Santiago, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

Pardo, J., took no part.2/18/00 11:26 AM

[1] Rollo, p. 97.


[2] Rollo, p. 98.
[3] Rollo, p. 99.
[4] Rollo, pp. 25-26.
[5] Now Associate Justice of this Court.
[6] Rollo, p. 101.
[7] Rollo, p. 197.
[8] Rollo, p. 27-28.
[9] Rollo, p. 30.
[10] Rollo, pp. 31-32.
[11] Minutes of the Canvassing conducted on May 28, 1998 by the District Board of Canvassers for Malabon-Navotas, Rollo,

pp. 33-37.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Rollo, p. 38.
[14] Rollo, p. 39.
[15] Rollo, pp. 40-41.
[16] Rollo, pp. 42-43.
[17] Rollo, p. 50.
[18] Rollo, pp. 11-21.
[19] Rollo, pp. 55-57.
[20] Rollo, pp. 70-95.
[21] Rollo, pp. 270-297.
[22] Rollo, pp. 367-386.
[23] Rollo, pp. 450-456.
[24] Section 241, Omnibus Election Code.
[25] Section 242, supra.
[26] An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Appropriations

Therefor, and for other Purposes, approved by the House of Representatives on November 18, 1991 and by the Senate on
November 20, 199
[27] See Pangilinan vs. COMELEC, 228 SCRA 36 (1993); Chavez vs. COMELEC, 211 SCRA 315 (1992)
[28] See Sanchez vs. COMELEC, 153 SCRA 67 (1987)
[29] Section 2 (1), Article IX-C, 1987 Constitution.
[30] Section 2 (3), Article IX-C, supra.
[31] Santiago vs.Guingona, Jr., 298 SCRA 756 (1998); Union Bank of the Philippines vs. CA, 290 SCRA 198 (1998); Chico vs.
CA, 284 SCRA 33 (1997)
[32] Took effect on February 15, 1993.
[33] 270 SCRA 590 (1997)
[34] At pp. 596-507.
[35] Minutes of the Canvassing conducted on May 28, 1998 by the District Board of Canvassers for Malabon-Navotas, Rollo,

pp, 33-37.
[36] Reyes vs. COMELEC, 97 SCRA 500 (1980)
[37] Gonzales vs. COMELEC, 101 SCRA 752 (1980)
[38] 218 SCRA 782 (1993)
[39] At p. 792.
[40] G.R. No. 81763, March 10, 1988 (Minute Resolution)
[41] 35A Words and Phrases 463.
CASE #20

April 5, 2016

G.R. No. 216607

ARLENE LLENA EMPAYNADO CHUA, Petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, IMELDA E. FRAGATA, and KRYSTLE MARIE C. BACANI, Respondents.

DECISION

LEONEN, J.:

Dual citizens are disqualified from running for any elective local position. They cannot successfully run and assume office
because their ineligibility is inherent in them, existing prior to the filing of their certificates of candidacy. Their certificates of
candidacy are void ab initio, and votes cast for them will be disregarded. Consequently, whoever garners the next highest
number of votes among the eligible candidates is the person legally entitled to the position.

This resolves a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition1 assailing the Commission on Elections Resolutions dated October 17,
20132 and January 30, 2015.3 The Commission on Elections annulled the "proclamation of . . . Arlene Llena Empaynado Chua
as Councilor for the Fourth District of Manila[,]"4 and directed the Board of Canvassers to reconvene and proclaim Krystle
Marie C. Bacani (Bacani) as Councilor for having garnered the next highest number of votes. 5

On October 3, 2012, Arlene Llena Empaynado Chua (Chua) filed her Certificate of Candidacy6 for Councilor for the Fourth
District of Manila during the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections. The Fourth District of Manila is entitled to six (6) seats
in the Sangguniang Panlungsod.7

After the conduct of elections, Chua garnered the sixth highest number of votes. 8 She was proclaimed by the Board of
Canvassers on May 15, 2013.9

On the date of Chua’s proclamation, however, Imelda E. Fragata (Fragata) filed a Petition 10 captioned as a "petition to declare
[Chua] as a nuisance candidate"11 and "to deny due course and/or cancel [Chua’s] Certificate of Candidacy." 12 Fragata was
allegedly a registered voter in the Fourth District13 who claimed that Chua was unqualified to run for Councilor on two grounds:
Chua was not a Filipino citizen, and she was a permanent resident of the United States of America. 14 Fragata specifically
alleged the following in her Petition:

3. [Chua] is not a Filipino Citizen.

4. Prior to the filing of her candidacy, [Chua] has been living in the United States of America (USA) for at least 33
years.

5. [Chua] is an immigrant and was validly issued a Green Card by the Government of the USA.

6. She resided and continues to reside [in Georgia, USA].

7. [Chua] has been a Registered Professional Nurse in the State of Georgia, USA since November 17, 1990.

8. . . . [Chua’s] Professional License in the USA is still to expire in 31 January 2014. 15

The last paragraph of the Petition prayed that Chua "be disqualified as a candidate for the position of councilor in the Fourth
District of the City of Manila[.]"16

Answering the Petition, Chua contended that she was a natural-born Filipino, born to Filipino parents in Cabanatuan City,
Nueva Ecija.17 With respect to her residency, Chua alleged that she had been residing in Sampaloc, Manila since 2008 18 and
had more than complied with the one-year period required to run for Councilor.19

According to Chua, Fragata’s Petition was belatedly filed,20 whether it was treated as one for declaration of a nuisance
candidate21 or for denial of due course or cancellation of certificate of candidacy. 22 Fragata filed her Petition on May 15, 2013,
which was beyond five (5) days from October 5, 2012, the last day of the filing of certificates of candidacy. 23 The Petition was
also filed beyond 25 days from October 3, 2012,24 the date Chua filed her Certificate of Candidacy. 25

Chua stressed that she had already been proclaimed on May 15, 2013, the same date that Fragata filed her Petition; hence,
Fragata’s proper remedy was to file a petition for quo warranto26 under Section 253 of the Omnibus Election Code. Chua
prayed that the Commission dismiss Fragata’s Petition.27

On June 19, 2013, Bacani filed a Motion to Intervene with Manifestation and Motion to Annul Proclamation. 28 Bacani alleged
that she likewise ran for Councilor in the Fourth District of Manila, and that after the canvassing of votes, she ranked seventh
among all the candidates, next to Chua.29 Should Chua be disqualified, Bacani claimed that she should be proclaimed
Councilor30 following this Court’s ruling in Maquiling v. Commission on Elections.31

Bacani argued that Chua, being a dual citizen, was unqualified to run for Councilor. 32 Based on an Order of the Bureau of
Immigration, Chua was allegedly naturalized as an American citizen on December 7, 1977. 33 She was issued an American
passport34 on July 14, 2006.

Chua took an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on September 21, 2011. 35 Nonetheless, Chua allegedly
continued on using her American passport, specifically on the following dates:

October 16, 2012 Departure for the United States

December 11, 2012 Arrival in the Philippines

May 30, 2013 Departure for the United States36

Moreover, Chua did not execute an oath of renunciation of her American citizenship. 37

With Chua being a dual citizen at the time she filed her Certificate of Candidacy, Bacani prayed that the Commission on
Elections annul Chua’s proclamation.38

In her Comment/Opposition (to the Motion to Intervene of Krystle Marie Bacani), 39 Chua argued that the Motion was a
belatedly filed petition to deny due course or cancel a certificate of candidacy, having been filed after the day of the
elections.40 According to Chua, the Motion should not even be considered since she was already proclaimed by the Board of
Canvassers.41 Thus, Chua prayed that the Motion to Intervene be denied and expunged from the records of the case.42

The Commission on Elections then ordered the parties to file their respective memoranda. 43

In her Memorandum,44 Chua maintained that Fragata’s Petition was filed out of time and should have been outright
dismissed.45 Reiterating that she had already been proclaimed, Chua argued that Fragata’s proper remedy was a petition for
quo warranto.46

Countering Chua’s claims, Fragata and Bacani restated in their Joint Memorandum 47 that Chua was a dual citizen disqualified
from running for any elective local position.

The Commission on Elections Second Division resolved Fragata’s Petition. Ruling that Bacani had a legal interest in the
matter in litigation, it allowed Bacani’s Motion to Intervene.48 The Commission said that should Fragata’s Petition be granted,
the votes for Chua would not be counted.49 In effect, Bacani would garner the sixth highest number of votes among the
qualified candidates, which would earn her a seat in the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Manila.50

With respect to the nature of Fragata’s Petition, the Commission on Elections held that it was one for disqualification,
regardless of the caption stating that it was a petition to declare Chua a nuisance candidate.51 The Petition alleged a ground
for disqualification under Section 40 of the Local Government Code,52 specifically, that Chua was a permanent resident in the
United States.

Since Fragata filed a petition for disqualification, Rule 25, Section 3 of the Commission on Elections Rules of Procedure
governed the period for its filing.53 Under the Rules, a petition for disqualification should be filed "any day after the last day for
filing of certificates of candidacy, but not later than the date of the proclamation." Fragata filed the Petition within this period,
having filed it on the date of Chua’s proclamation on May 15, 2013.54
The Commission no longer discussed whether Chua was a permanent resident of the United States. Instead, it found that
Chua was a dual citizen when she filed her Certificate of Candidacy. 55 Although she reacquired her Filipino citizenship in 2011
by taking an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, petitioner failed to take a sworn and personal renunciation
of her American citizenship required under Section 5(2) of the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003.56

Considering that Chua is a dual citizen, the Commission held that Chua was disqualified to run for Councilor pursuant to
Section 40 of the Local Government Code.57 Consequently, Chua’s Certificate of Candidacy was void ab initio, and all votes
casted for her were stray.58 Chua’s proclamation was likewise voided, and per Maquiling, Bacani was declared to have
garnered the sixth highest number of votes.59

Thus, in the Resolution dated October 17, 2013, the Commission on Elections Second Division ruled in favor of Fragata and
Bacani.60 The dispositive portion of the October 17, 2013 Resolution reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission (Second Division) RESOLVES, as it hereby RESOLVED:

1. To ANNUL the proclamation of respondent Arlene Llena Empaynado Chua as Councilor for the Fourth District of
Manila;

2. To DIRECT the Board of Canvassers of the City of Manila to CONVENE and PROCLAIM Intervenor Krystle Marie
C. Bacani as the duly elected Councilor of the Fourth District of the City of Manila, having obtained the sixth highest
number of votes for said position.

Let the Deputy Executive Director for Operations implement this Resolution.

SO ORDERED.61

Chua moved for reconsideration,62 but the Commission on Elections En Banc denied the Motion in the Resolution dated
January 30, 2015.

Arguing that the Commission issued its October 17, 2013 and January 30, 2015 Resolutions with grave abuse of discretion,
Chua filed before this Court a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with prayer for issuance of temporary restraining order
and/or writ of preliminary injunction.63 Fragata and Bacani jointly filed their Comment,64 while the Commission on Elections
filed its Comment65 through the Office of the Solicitor General.

Chua emphasizes that she was already proclaimed as a duly elected Councilor. 66 Assuming that she was ineligible to run for
office, this created a permanent vacancy in the Sangguniang Panlungsod, which was to be filled according to the rule on
succession under Section 45 of the Local Government Code, and not by proclamation of the candidate who garnered the next
highest number of votes.67

Chua maintains that Fragata belatedly filed her Petition before the Commission on Elections. 68 Since Fragata filed a Petition
to deny due course or cancel certificate of candidacy, it should have been filed within five (5) days from the last day for filing of
certificates of candidacy, but not later than 25 days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy assailed. 69 Fragata
filed the Petition on May 15, 2013, more than 25 days after Chua filed her Certificate of Candidacy on October 3, 2012. 70 The
Commission on Elections, therefore, should have outright dismissed Fragata’s Petition. 71

With her already proclaimed, Chua argues that the Commission on Elections should have respected the voice of the
people.72 Chua prays that the Resolutions annulling her proclamation and subsequently proclaiming Bacani be set aside. 73

As for Fragata and Bacani as well as the Commission on Elections, all maintain that Fragata’s Petition was a petition for
disqualification assailing Chua’s citizenship and status as a permanent resident in the United States. 74The Petition, which
Fragata filed on the date of Chua’s proclamation, was filed within the reglementary period. 75

The Commission on Elections stresses that Chua was a dual citizen at the time she filed her Certificate of
Candidacy.76 Consequently, she was ineligible to run for Councilor and was correctly considered a non-candidate. 77All the
votes casted in Chua’s favor were correctly disregarded, resulting in Bacani garnering the next highest number of
votes.78 Following Maquiling, the Commission argues that Bacani was validly proclaimed as Councilor, and, contrary to
Chua’s claim, the rule on succession under Section 45 of the Local Government Code did not apply, with the disqualifying
circumstance existing prior to the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy. 79
Although Chua was already proclaimed, the Commission on Elections argues that "[t]he will of the people as expressed
through the ballot cannot cure the vice of ineligibility, especially if they mistakenly believed that the candidate was
qualified."80 Fragata, Bacani, and the Commission on Elections pray that the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition be
dismissed.81

The issues for this Court’s resolution are the following:

First, whether private respondent Imelda E. Fragata filed a petition for disqualification or a petition to deny due course or
cancel certificate of candidacy; and

Second, whether the rule on succession under Section 45 of the Local Government Code applies to this case.

We dismiss the Petition. The allegations of private respondent Fragata’s Petition before the Commission on Elections show
that it was a timely filed petition for disqualification. Moreover, the Commission on Elections did not gravely abuse its
discretion in disqualifying petitioner Arlene Llena Empaynado Chua, annulling her proclamation, and subsequently proclaiming
private respondent Krystle Marie C. Bacani, the candidate who garnered the sixth highest number of votes among the
qualified candidates.

As this Court has earlier observed in Fermin v. Commission on Elections,82 members of the bench and the bar have
"indiscriminately interchanged"83 the remedies of a petition to deny due course or cancel certificate of candidacy and a petition
for disqualification, thus "adding confusion to the already difficult state of our jurisprudence on election laws." 84

The remedies, however, have different grounds and periods for their filing. The remedies have different legal consequences.

A person files a certificate of candidacy to announce his or her candidacy and to declare his or her eligibility for the elective
office indicated in the certificate.85 Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code on the contents of a certificate of candidacy
states:

Sec. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. – The certificate of candidacy shall state that the person filing it is announcing
his candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for said office; if for Member of the Batasang Pambansa, the
province, including its component cities, highly urbanized city or district or section which he seeks to represent; the political
party to which he belongs; civil status; his date of birth; residence; his post office address for all election purposes; his
profession or occupation; that he will support and defend the Constitution of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and
allegiance thereto; that he will obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; that
he is not a permanent resident or immigrant to a foreign country; that the obligation imposed by his oath is assumed
voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that the facts stated in the certificate of candidacy are true
to the best of his knowledge.

Unless a candidate has officially changed his name through a court approved proceeding, a candidate shall use in a certificate
of candidacy the name by which he has been baptized, or if has not been baptized in any church or religion, the name
registered in the office of the local civil registrar or any other name allowed under the provisions of existing law or, in the case
of a Muslim, his Hadji name after performing the prescribed religious pilgrimage: Provided, That when there are two or more
candidates for an office with the same name and surname, each candidate, upon being made aware of such fact, shall state
his paternal and maternal surname, except the incumbent who may continue to use the name and surname stated in his
certificate of candidacy when he was elected. He may also include one nickname or stage name by which he is generally or
popularly known in the locality.

The person filing a certificate of candidacy shall also affix his latest photograph, passport size; a statement in duplicate
containing his bio-data and program of government not exceeding one hundred words, if he so desires.

The Commission on Elections has the ministerial duty to receive and acknowledge receipt of certificates of
candidacy.86 However, under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code,87 the Commission may deny due course or cancel a
certificate of candidacy through a verified petition filed exclusively on the ground that "any material representation contained
therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false." The "material representation" referred to in Section 78 is that which
involves the eligibility or qualification for the office sought by the person who filed the certificate. 88 Section 78 must, therefore,
be read "in relation to the constitutional and statutory provisions on qualifications or eligibility for public office." 89 Moreover, the
false representation "must consist of a deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a
candidate ineligible."90
A person intending to run for public office must not only possess the required qualifications for the position for which he or she
intends to run. The candidate must also possess none of the grounds for disqualification under the law. As Justice Vicente V.
Mendoza said in his Dissenting Opinion in Romualdez-Marcos v. Commission on Elections,91 "that an individual possesses
the qualifications for a public office does not imply that he is not disqualified from becoming a candidate or continuing as a
candidate for a public office and vice-versa."92

Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code provides for grounds in filing a petition for disqualification:

Sec. 68 Disqualifications. – Any candidate who, in action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final decision of a
competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other material consideration to influence,
induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his
candidacy; (c) spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or
made any contribution prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and
261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, sub-paragraph 6, shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been
elected, from holding the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant of a foreign country in accordance
with the residence requirement provided for in the election laws.

Apart from the grounds provided in Section 68, any of the grounds in Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code as well as in
Section 40 of the Local Government Code may likewise be raised in a petition for disqualification. Section 12 of the Omnibus
Election Code states:

Sec. 12. Disqualifications. – Any person who has been declared by competent authority insane or incompetent, or has been
sentenced by final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or for any offense for which he has been sentenced to a
penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to
hold any office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty.

This disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be deemed removed upon the declaration by competent
authority that said insanity or incompetence had been removed or after the expiration of a period of five years from his service
of sentence, unless within the same period he again becomes disqualified.

Disqualifications specifically applicable to those running for local elective positions are found in Section 40 of the Local
Government Code:

SECTION 40. Disqualifications. – The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective local position:

(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by one (1)
year or more of imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence;

(b) Those removed from office as a result of an administrative case;

(c) Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to the Republic;

(d) Those with dual citizenship;

(e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad;

(f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired the right to reside abroad and continue to
avail of the same right after the effectivity of this Code; and

(g) The insane or feeble-minded.

Private respondent Fragata alleges in her Petition that petitioner is a permanent resident in the United States, a green card
holder who, prior to the filing of her Certificate of Candidacy for Councilor, has resided in the State of Georgia for 33 years.
She anchors her Petition on Section 40 of the Local Government Code, which disqualifies permanent residents of a foreign
country from running for any elective local position.

It is true that under Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code, persons who file their certificates of candidacy declare that they
are not a permanent resident or immigrant to a foreign country. Therefore, a petition to deny due course or cancel a certificate
of candidacy may likewise be filed against a permanent resident of a foreign country seeking an elective post in the
Philippines on the ground of material misrepresentation in the certificate of candidacy. 93

What remedy to avail himself or herself of, however, depends on the petitioner. If the false material representation in the
certificate of candidacy relates to a ground for disqualification, the petitioner may choose whether to file a petition to deny due
course or cancel a certificate of candidacy or a petition for disqualification, so long as the petition filed complies with the
requirements under the law.94

Before the Commission on Elections, private respondent Fragata had a choice of filing either a petition to deny due course or
cancel petitioner’s certificate of candidacy or a petition for disqualification. In her Petition, private respondent Fragata did not
argue that petitioner made a false material representation in her Certificate of Candidacy; she asserted that petitioner was a
permanent resident disqualified to run for Councilor under Section 40 of the Local Government Code. Private respondent
Fragata’s Petition, therefore, was a petition for disqualification.

It follows that private respondent Fragata timely filed her Petition before the Commission on Elections. Under Rule 25, Section
3 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission, a petition for disqualification "shall be filed any day after the last day for filing
of certificates of candidacy, but not later that the date of proclamation." Private respondent Fragata filed her Petition on the
date of petitioner’s proclamation on May 15, 2013. The Commission on Elections did not gravely abuse its discretion in taking
cognizance of private respondent Fragata’s Petition.

In addition, the Commission on Elections correctly admitted private respondent Bacani’s pleading-in-intervention.

An adverse decision against petitioner would require a pronouncement as to who should assume the position of Councilor.
Hence, those who believe that they are entitled to the position may prove their legal interest in the matter in litigation 95 and
may properly intervene for a complete disposition of the case.

Private respondent Bacani claims that she is entitled to the position of Councilor. In her Motion to Intervene, she argues for
petitioner’s disqualification and alleges the circumstances surrounding petitioner’s dual citizenship. She then cites Maquiling,
arguing that she should be proclaimed in lieu of petitioner because she obtained the sixth highest number of votes among the
qualified candidates. Private respondent Bacani’s intervention was, therefore, proper.

II

The Commission on Elections did not gravely abuse its discretion in disqualifying petitioner, annulling her proclamation, and
subsequently proclaiming private respondent Bacani as the duly elected Councilor for the Fourth District of Manila.

Petitioner was born to Filipino parents in 1967, which makes her a natural-born Filipino under the 1935 Constitution.96 Ten
years later, on December 7, 1977, petitioner became a naturalized American. Hence, she lost her Filipino citizenship pursuant
to Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 63.97

It was on September 21, 2011 when petitioner took an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, thus reacquiring
her Filipino citizenship.98 From September 21, 2011 up to the present, however, petitioner failed to execute a sworn and
personal renunciation of her foreign citizenship particularly required of those seeking elective public office. Section 5(2) of the
Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003

provides:

SECTION 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities. – 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:

....

(2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualifications 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 citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath[.]

Petitioner cannot claim that she has renounced her American citizenship by taking the Oath of Allegiance. The oath of
allegiance and the sworn and personal renunciation of foreign citizenship are separate requirements, the latter being
an additional requirement for qualification to run for public office. In Jacot v. Dal:99
[T]he oath of allegiance contained in the Certificate of Candidacy, which is substantially similar to the one contained in Section
3 of Republic Act No. 9225, does not constitute the personal and sworn renunciation sought under Section 5(2) of Republic
Act No. 9225. It bears to emphasize that the said oath of allegiance is a general requirement for all those who wish to run as
candidates in Philippine elections; while the renunciation of foreign citizenship is an additional requisite only for those who
have retained or reacquired Philippine citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225 and who seek elective public posts,
considering their special circumstance of having more than one citizenship. 100

With petitioner’s failure to execute a personal and sworn renunciation of her American citizenship, petitioner was a dual citizen
at the time she filed her Certificate of Candidacy on October 3, 2012. Under Section 40 of the Local Government Code, she
was disqualified to run for Councilor in the Fourth District of Manila during the 2013 National and Local Elections.

Petitioner, however, argues that the Commission on Elections gravely abused its discretion in proclaiming private respondent
Bacani, the mere seventh placer among the candidates for Councilor and, therefore, not the electorate’s choice. Petitioner
maintains that the vacancy left by her disqualification should be filled according to the rule on succession under Section
45(a)(1) of the Local Government Code, which provides:

SECTION 45. Permanent Vacancies in the Sanggunian. – (a) Permanent vacancies in the sanggunian where automatic
successions provided above do not apply shall be filled by appointment in the following manner:

(1) The President, through the Executive Secretary, in the case of the sangguniang panlalawigan and the
sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities and independent component cities[.]

The permanent vacancies referred to in Section 45 are those arising "when an elective local official fills a higher vacant office,
refuses to assume office, fails to qualify, dies, is removed from office, voluntarily resigns, or is otherwise permanently
incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office."101 In these situations, the vacancies were caused by those whose
certificates of candidacy were valid at the time of the filing "but subsequently had to be cancelled because of a violation of law
that took place, or a legal impediment that took effect, after the filing of the certificate of candidacy." 102

The rule on succession under Section 45, however, would not apply if the permanent vacancy was caused by one whose
certificate of candidacy was void ab initio. Specifically with respect to dual citizens, their certificates of candidacy are void ab
initio because they possess "a substantive [disqualifying circumstance] . . . [existing] prior to the filing of their certificate of
candidacy."103 Legally, they should not even be considered candidates. The votes casted for them should be considered stray
and should not be counted.104

In cases of vacancies caused by those with void ab initio certificates of candidacy, the person legally entitled to the vacant
position would be the candidate who garnered the next highest number of votes among those eligible. 105 In this case, it is
private respondent Bacani who is legally entitled to the position of Councilor, having garnered the sixth highest number of
votes among the eligible candidates. The Commission on Elections correctly proclaimed private respondent Bacani in lieu of
petitioner.

Petitioner may have garnered more votes than private respondent Bacani. She may have already been proclaimed.
Nevertheless, elections are more than a numbers game. Hence, in Maquiling:

The ballot cannot override the constitutional and statutory requirements for qualifications and disqualifications of candidates.
When the law requires certain qualifications to be possessed or that certain disqualifications be not possessed by persons
desiring to serve as elective public officials, those qualifications must be met before one even becomes a candidate. When a
person who is not qualified is voted for and eventually garners the highest number of votes, even the will of the electorate
expressed through the ballot cannot cure the defect in the qualifications of the candidate. To rule otherwise is to trample upon
and rent asunder the very law that sets forth the qualifications and disqualifications of candidates. We might as well write off
our election laws if the voice of the electorate is the sole determinant of who should be proclaimed worthy to occupy elective
positions in our republic.

....

As in any contest, elections are governed by rules that determine the qualifications and disqualifications of those who are
allowed to participate as players. When there are participants who turn out to be ineligible, their victory is voided and the laurel
is awarded to the next in rank who does not possess any of the disqualifications nor lacks any of the qualifications set in the
rules to be eligible as candidates. 106
All told, petitioner Arlene Llena Empaynado Chua is a dual citizen correctly disqualified from running for the position of
Councilor in the Fourth District of Manila during the 2013 National and Local elections. With her dual citizenship existing prior
to the filing of the certificate of candidacy, her Certificate of Candidacy was void ab initio. She was correctly considered a non-
candidate. All votes casted for her were stray, and the person legally entitled to the position is private respondent Krystle
Marie C. Bacani, the candidate with the next highest number of votes among the eligible candidates. The Commission on
Elections did not gravely abuse its discretion in annulling Chua's proclamation and subsequently proclaiming private
respondent Bacani.

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition is DISMISSED. This Decision is immediately executory.

SO ORDERED.

MARVIC M.V.F. LEONEN


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO


Chief Justice

ANTONIO T. CARPIO PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice Associate Justice

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO ARTURO D. BRION


Associate Justice Associate Justice

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA LUCAS P. BERSAMIN


Associate Justice Associate Justice

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice Associate Justice

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA BIENVENIDO L. REYES


Associate Justice Associate Justice

On leave
FRANCIS H. JARDELEZA
ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE*
Associate Justice
Associate Justice

ALFREDO BENJAMIN S. CAGUIOA


Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION

I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the
writer of the opinion of the court.

MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO


Chief Justice
Footnotes

* On leave.

1 Rollo, pp. 3–19.

2Id. at 32–52. The Resolution was signed by Presiding Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph and Commissioners Maria
Gracia Cielo M. Padaca and Luie Tito F. Guia of the Second Division.

3Id. at 22–31. The Resolution was signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle,
Elias R. Yusoph, Christian Robert S. Lim, Al A. Parreño, Luie Tito F. Guia, and Arthur D. Lim of the COMELEC En
Banc.

4 Id. at 51, COMELEC Second Division Resolution dated October 17, 2013.

5 Id.

6 Id. at 100.

7 Rep. Act. No. 7166 (1991), sec. 3(c), in relation to Rep. Act No. 6636 (1987), sec. 2.

Rep. Act No. 7166 (1991), sec. 3(c) provides:

Section 3. Election of Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Sangguniang Panlungsod and


Sangguniang Bayan. - The elective members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Sangguniang Panlungsod
and Sangguniang Bayan shall be elected as follows:

....

c. The number and election of elective members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and Sangguniang Bayan in
the Metro Manila Area, City of Cebu, City of Davao and any other city with two (2) or more legislative districts
shall continue to be governed by the provisions of Sections 2 and 3 of Republic Act No. 6636: Provided, That,
the Municipalities of Malabon, Navotas, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Taguig shall
have twelve (12) councilors, and Pateros, ten (10): Provided, further, That, the Commission shall divide each
of the municipalities in Metro Manila Area into two (2) districts by barangay for purposes of representation in
the Sangguniang Bayan as nearly as practicable according to the number of inhabitants, each comprising a
compact, contiguous and adjacent territory[.]

Rep. Act No. 6636 (1987), sec. 2 provides:

Section 2. Metro Manila Area. - For purposes of the Local Elections on January 18, 1988, the City of Manila,
Quezon City and the City of Caloocan shall have six (6) councilors for each of their representative districts
who shall be residents thereof to be elected by the qualified voters therein. The City of Pasay and the
Municipalities of Makati, Parañaque, Pasig, Marikina, and Valenzuela, each of which comprises a
representative district, shall have twelve (12) councilors each to be elected at large by the qualified voters of
the said city or municipality. All the other municipalities within the Metropolitan Manila area shall have ten (10)
councilors each, with the exception of the Municipality of Pateros which shall have eight (8) councilors, to be
elected at large by their respective qualified voters.

8 Rollo, p. 23, COMELEC En Banc Resolution dated January 30, 2015.

9 Id.
10 Id. at 95–98.

11 Id. at 95.

12 Id.

13 Id.

14 Id. at 96.

15 Id.

16 Id. at 97.

17 Id. at 104, Verified Answer.

18 Id. at 118, Barangay Certification dated May 21, 2010.

19 Id. at 110, Verified Answer.

20 Id. at 106–107.

21 COMELEC Rules of Procedure, as amended by Resolution No. 9523, rule 24, sec. 3 provides:

Section 3. Period to File the Petition. – The Petition shall be filed personally or through an authorized
representative, within five (5) days from the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy. In case of a
substitute candidate, the Petition must be filed within five (5) days from the time the substitute candidate filed
his certificate of candidacy.

22 COMELEC Rules of Procedure, as amended by Resolution No. 9523, rule 23, sec. 2 provides:

Section 2. Period to File Petition. – The Petition must be filed within five (5) days from the last day for filing of
certificate of candidacy; but not later than twenty five (25) days from the time of filing of the certificate of
candidacy subject of the Petition. In case of a substitute candidate, the Petition must be filed within five (5)
days from the time the substitute candidate filed his certificate of candidacy.

23 Rollo, p. 107, Verified Answer.

24 Id. at 100, Certificate of Candidacy.

25 Id. at 109, Verified Answer.

26 Id. at 111.

27 Id. at 112.

28 Id. at 133–140.

29 Id. at 133.

30 Id. at 136–137.

31 709 Phil. 408 (2013) [Per C.J. Sereno, En Banc].

32 Rollo, p. 134, Motion to Intervene with Manifestation and Motion to Annul Proclamation.

33 Id.
34 Id. at 129.

35 Id. at 134, Motion to Intervene with Manifestation and Motion to Annul Proclamation.

36 Id. at 135.

37 Id.

38 Id. at 137.

39 Id. at 146–153.

40 Id. at 149–152.

41 Id. at 151.

42 Id. at 152.

43 Id. at 24, COMELEC En Banc Resolution dated January 30, 2015.

44 Id. at 175–196.

45 Id. at186.

46 Id. at190–191.

47 Id. at 154–169.

48 Id. at 39–41, COMELEC Second Division Resolution dated October 17, 2013.

49 Id.

50 Id.

51 Id. at 41–42.

52 Id.

53 Id.

54 Id. at 42, COMELEC Second Division Resolution dated October 17, 2013.

55 Id. at 46.

56 Id. at 43–44.

57 Id. at 50–51.

58 Id. at 51.

59 Id. at 47–51.

60 Id. at 51.

61 Id.

62 Id. at 53–69.
63 Id. at 3–4, Urgent Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition.

64 Id. at 205–215.

65 Id. at 219–238.

66 Id. at 13, Urgent Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition.

67 Id. at 9–11.

68 Id. at 11.

69 Id. at 13.

70 Id.

71 Id.

72 Id. at 13–15.

73 Id. at 16–17.

74 Id. at 210, Fragata and Bacani’s Joint Comment, and 231, COMELEC’s Comment.

75 Id.

76 Id. at 227–228, COMELEC’s Comment.

77 Id. at 228 and 235.

78 Id. at 235.

79 Id. at 233–235.

80 Id. at 236.

81 Id. at 212, Fragata and Bacani’s Joint Comment, and 237, COMELEC’s Comment.

82 595 Phil. 449 (2008) [Per J. Nachura, En Banc].

83 Id. at 457.

84 Id.

85 ELECTION CODE, sec. 74.

86 ELECTION CODE, sec. 76.

87 ELECTION CODE, sec. 78 provides:

Sec. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. — A verified petition seeking to
deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by the person exclusively on the ground
that any material representation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false. The petition
may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy
and shall be decided, after due notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the election.
88Villafuerte v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 206698, February 25, 2014, 717 SCRA 312, 323 [Per J. Peralta,
En Banc].

89 Fermin v. Commission on Elections, 595 Phil. 449, 465–466 (2008) [Per J. Nachura, En Banc].

90Villafuerte v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 206698, February 25, 2014, 717 SCRA 312, 323 [Per J. Peralta,
En Banc].

91 318 Phil. 329 (1995) [Per J. Kapunan, En Banc].

92J. Mendoza, Dissenting Opinion in Romualdez-Marcos v. Commission on Elections, 318 Phil. 329, 464–465 (1995)
[Per J. Kapunan, En Banc].

93 See Jalosjos, Jr. v. Commission on Elections, 696 Phil. 601, 632 (2012) [Per J. Carpio, En Banc].

94 Id.

95 COMELEC Rules of Procedure, rule 8, sec. 1 provides:

Section 1. When Proper and Who may be Permitted to Intervene. – Any person allowed to initiate an action or
proceeding may, before or during the trial of an action or proceeding, be permitted by the Commission, in its
discretion, to intervene in such action or proceeding, if he has legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the
success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or when he is so situated as to be adversely
affected by such action or proceeding.

96 CONST. (1935), art. IV, sec. 1 provides:

Sec. 1. The following are citizens of the Philippines:

(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of this Constitution.

(2) Those born in the Philippine Islands of foreign parents who, before the adoption of this
Constitution, had been elected to public office in the Philippine Islands.

(3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.

(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the age of majority, elect
Philippine citizenship.

(5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.

97 Com. Act No. 63 (1936), sec. 1 provides:

Sec. 1. How citizenship may be lost. — A Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship in any of the following ways
and/or events:

(1) By naturalization in a foreign country[.]

98 Rep. Act No. 9225 (2003), sec. 3 provides:

Sec. 3. Retention of Philippine Citizenship. — Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, natural-
born citizens of the Philippines who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as
citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed to have re-acquired Philippine citizenship upon taking the
following oath of allegiance to the Republic:

"I _________________, solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the
Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated by the duly constituted authorities
of the Philippines, and I hereby declare that I recognize and accept the supreme authority of the Philippines
and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; and that I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily
without mental reservation or purpose of evasion." Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, after the
effectivity of this Act, become citizens of a foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking
the aforesaid oath.

99 592 Phil. 661 (2008) [Per J. Chico-Nazario, En Banc].

100 Id. at 673.

101 LOCAL GOVT. CODE, sec. 44.

102 See Jalosjos, Jr. v. Commission on Elections, 696 Phil. 601, 633 (2012) [Per J. Carpio, En Banc].

103 Maquiling v. Commission on Elections, 709 Phil. 408, 448 (2013) [Per C.J. Sereno, En Banc].

104 Id. at 450.

105 Id. at 447–450.

106 Id. at 444-447.