You are on page 1of 11


School of Law






26 JANUARY 2019


1) Penera vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 181613 November 25, 2009 1
2) National Press Club vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 102653 March 5, 1992 2
3) Adiong vs. COMELEC, G.R. 103956 March 31 1992 4
4) Garcia, et al. vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 111230 September 30, 1994 6
5) Philippine Press Institute, Inc. vs. COMELEC, GR No. L-119694 May 22, 1995 7
6) Telecommunications and Broadcast Attorneys of the Philippines, Inc. and
GMA Network vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 132922 April 21, 1998

G.R. No. 181613. November 25, 2009

Petitioner Penera and private respondent Edgar T. Andanar were mayoralty
candidates in Sta. Monica during the 14 May 2007 elections. On 2 April 2007,
Andanar filed before the Office of the Regional Election Director, Caraga Region
(Region XIII), a Petition for Disqualification against Penera, as well as the candidates
for Vice-Mayor and Sangguniang Bayan who belonged to her political party, for
unlawfully engaging in election campaigning and partisan political activity prior to
the commencement of the campaign period.

Rosalinda A. Penera’s filed a motion for reconsideration of this Court’s Decision of
11 September 2009.The assailed Decision dismissed Penera’s petition and affirmed
the Resolution dated 30 July 2008 of the COMELEC En Banc as well as the
Resolution dated 24 July 2007 of the COMELEC Second Division. The Decision
disqualified Penera from running for the office of Mayor in Sta. Monica, Surigao del
Norte and declared that the Vice-Mayor should succeed Penera.

1) Whether or not the petitioner is guilty of premature campaigning.
2) Whether or not premature campaigning be committed by a person who is not
a candidate.

The Court ruled negative to the issues at hand. Under the assailed September 11,
2009 Decision, a candidate may already be liable for premature campaigning after
the filing of the certificate of candidacy but even before the start of the campaign
period. Thus, such person can be disqualified for premature campaigning for acts
done before the start of the campaign period. In short, the Decision considers a
person who files a certificate of candidacy already “candidate” even before the start
of the campaign period.

Now the Court holds that the assailed Decision is contrary to the clear intent and
letter of the law. In Lanot v. COMELEC, it held that a person who files a certificate of
candidacy is not a candidate until the start of the campaign period. Lanot was
decided on the ground that one who files a certificate of candidacy is not a candidate
until the start of the campaign period.

Congress elevated the Lanot doctrine into a statute by specifically inserting it as the
second sentence of the third paragraph of the amended Section 15 of RA 8436. In RA
9369, Congress inserted the word “only” so that the first proviso now reads:

x x x Provided, that, unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall
take effect only upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period x x x.

Thus, Congress not only reiterated but also strengthened its mandatory directive
that election offenses can be committed by a candidate “only” upon the start of the
campaign period. This clearly means that before the start of the campaign period,
such election offenses cannot be so committed.

In layman’s language, this means that a candidate is liable for an election offense
only for acts done during the campaign period, not before. The law is clear as
daylight — any election offense that may be committed by a candidate under any
election law cannot be committed before the start of the campaign period. In ruling
that Penera is liable for premature campaigning for partisan political acts before the
start of the campaigning, the assailed Decision ignores the clear and express
provision of the law.

G.R. No. 102653 March 5, 1992

Petitioners in these cases consist of representatives of the mass media which are
prevented from selling or donating space and time for political advertisements; two
(2) individuals who are candidates for office (one for national and the other for
provincial office) in the coming May 1992 elections; and taxpayers and voters who
claim that their right to be informed of election Issue and of credentials of the
candidates is being curtailed. It is principally argued by petitioners that Section 11
(b) of Republic Act No. 66461 invades and violates the constitutional guarantees
comprising freedom of expression.

Petitioners maintain that the prohibition imposed by Section 11 (b) amounts to
censorship, because it selects and singles out for suppression and repression with
criminal sanctions, only publications of a particular content, namely, media-
based election or political propaganda during the election period of 1992. It is
asserted that the prohibition is in derogation of media's role, function and duty to
provide adequate channels of public information and public opinion relevant
to election issue. Further, petitioners contend that Section 11 (b) abridges the
freedom of speech of candidates, and that the suppression of media-based campaign
or political propaganda except those appearing in the COMELEC space of the
newspapers and on COMELEC time of radio and television broadcasts, would bring
about a substantial reduction in the quantity or volume of information concerning
candidates and Issue in the election thereby curtailing and limiting the right of
voters to information and opinion.

Whether or not Section 11(b) of Republic Act No. 6646 constitutional.

Yes. It seems a modest proposition that the provision of the Bill of Rights which
enshrines freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the press has to
be taken in conjunction with Article IX (C) (4) which may be seen to be a special
provision applicable during a specific limited period — i.e., "during
the election period." In our own society, equality of opportunity to proffer oneself
for public office, without regard to the level of financial resources that one may have
at one's disposal, is clearly an important value.

One of the basic state policies given constitutional rank by Article II, Section 26 of
the Constitution is the egalitarian demand that "the State shall guarantee equal
access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be
defined by law." The essential question is whether or not the assailed legislative or
administrative provisions constitute a permissible exercise of the power of
supervision or regulation of the operations of communication and information
enterprises during an election period, or whether such act has gone beyond
permissible supervision or regulation of media operations so as to constitute
unconstitutional repression of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The
Court considers that Section 11 (b) has not gone outside the permissible bounds of
supervision or regulation of media operations during election periods.

Section 11 (b) is limited in the duration of its applicability and enforceability. By
virtue of the operation of Article IX (C) (4) of the Constitution, Section 11 (b) is
limited in its applicability in time to election periods. Section 11 (b) does not
purport in any way to restrict the reporting by newspapers or radio or television
stations of news or news-worthy events relating to candidates, their qualifications,
political parties and programs of government. Moreover, Section 11 (b) does not
reach commentaries and expressions of belief or opinion by reporters
or broadcasters or editors or commentators or columnists in respect of candidates,

their qualifications, and programs and so forth, so long at least as such comments,
opinions and beliefs are not in fact advertisements for particular candidates covertly
paid for. In sum, Section 11 (b) is not to be read as reaching any report or
commentary other coverage that, in responsible media, is not paid for by candidates
for political office. Section 11 (b) as designed to cover only paid political
advertisements of particular candidates.

The limiting impact of Section 11 (b) upon the right to free speech of the candidates
themselves is not unduly repressive or unreasonable.

G.R. No. 103956 March 31, 1992

On January 13, 1992, the COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 2347 pursuant to
its powers granted by the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, Republic Acts
Nos. 6646 and 7166 and other election laws. Section 15(a) of the resolution

Sec. 15. Lawful Election Propaganda. The following are lawful election
(a) Pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals… Provided, That decals and stickers
may be posted only in any of the authorized posting areas provided in
paragraph (f) of Section 21 hereof.

Section 21 (f) of the same resolution provides:

Sec. 21(f). Prohibited Forms of Election Propaganda. It is unlawful:
(f) To draw, paint, inscribe, post, display or publicly exhibit any election
propaganda in any place, whether public or private, mobile or stationary,
except in the COMELEC common posted areas and/or billboards.

Petitioner Blo Umpar Adiong, a senatorial candidate in the May 11, 1992 elections
assails the COMELEC’s Resolution insofar as it prohibits the posting of decals and
stickers in “mobile” places like cars and other moving vehicles. According to him
such prohibition is violative of Section 82 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section
11(a) of Republic Act No. 6646.

Whether or not the COMELEC may prohibit the posting of decals and stickers on
“mobile” places, public or private, and limit their location or publication to the
authorized posting areas that it fixes.

The petition is hereby GRANTED. The portion of Section 15 (a) of Resolution No.
2347 of the COMELEC providing that “decals and stickers may be posted only in any
of the authorized posting areas provided in paragraph (f) of Section 21 hereof” is
DECLARED NULL and VOID. The COMELEC’s prohibition on posting of decals and
stickers on “mobile” places whether public or private except in designated areas
provided for by the COMELEC itself is null and void on constitutional grounds. The
prohibition unduly infringes on the citizen’s fundamental right of free speech
enshrined in the Constitution (Sec. 4, Article III). Significantly, the freedom of
expression curtailed by the questioned prohibition is not so much that of the
candidate or the political party. The regulation strikes at the freedom of an
individual to express his preference and, by displaying it on his car, to convince
others to agree with him.

Also, the questioned prohibition premised on the statute (RA 6646) and as couched
in the resolution is void for overbreadth. The restriction as to where the decals and
stickers should be posted is so broad that it encompasses even the citizen’s private
property, which in this case is a privately-owned vehicle (The provisions allowing
regulation are so loosely worded that they include the posting of decals or stickers
in the privacy of one’s living room or bedroom.) In consequence of this prohibition,
another cardinal rule prescribed by the Constitution would be violated. Section 1,
Article III of the Bill of Rights provides that no person shall be deprived of his
property without due process of law. (The right to property may be subject to a
greater degree of regulation but when this right is joined by a “liberty” interest, the
burden of justification on the part of the Government must be exceptionally
convincing and irrefutable. The burden is not met in this case.)

Additionally, the constitutional objective to give a rich candidate and a poor
candidate equal opportunity to inform the electorate as regards their candidacies,
mandated by Article II, Section 26 and Article XIII, section 1 in relation to Article IX
(c) Section 4 of the Constitution, is not impaired by posting decals and stickers on
cars and other private vehicles. It is to be reiterated that the posting of decals and
stickers on cars, calesas, tricycles, pedicabs and other moving vehicles needs the
consent of the owner of the vehicle. Hence, the preference of the citizen becomes
crucial in this kind of election propaganda not the financial resources of the

In sum, the prohibition on posting of decals and stickers on “mobile” places whether
public or private except in the authorized areas designated by the COMELEC
becomes censorship which cannot be justified by the Constitution.

G.R. No. 111230 September 30, 1994


On May 24, 1993, petitioners filed a petition with the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong
to annul Pambansang Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye 1993 which includes the
Municipality of Morong as part of the Subic Special Economic Zone in accord with
the RA No. 7227. Nonetheless, the municipality did not take any action on the
petition within 30 days after its submission; so, the petitioners resorted to their
power of initiative under the Local Government Code of 1991. They solicited the
required number of signatures to repeal the said resolution.

However, the Vice Mayor, Hon. Edilberto de Leon, and the Presiding Office of the
Sangguniang Bayan of Morong wrote a letter dated June 11, 1993 to deny the
petition for local initiative and/or referendum. On July 6, 1993, the COMELEC
denied the petition for local initiative because its subject is “merely a resolution and
not an ordinance.” 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

1) Whether or not the Pambansang Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye 1993 is the
proper subject of an initiative.
2) Whether or not the decision of the COMELEC to deny the petition be set

Yes. 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. It
is basic that a law should be construed in harmony with and not in violation of the

Under Sec. 32(a) of RA No. 6735 it provided the 3 systems of initiative, namely:
1. Initiative on the Constitution – petition to amend the Constitution
2. Initiative on statutes – petition proposing to enact a national legislation
3. Initiative on local legislation – petition proposing to enact a regional, provincial,
city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution or ordinance.

Therefore, the petition is granted and the decision of the COMELEC on July 6, 1993 is
annulled and set aside.

PHILIPPINE PRESS INSTITUTE, INC., for and in behalf of 139 members,
represented by its President, Amado P. Macasaet and its Executive Director
[G.R. No. L-119694 May 22, 1995]

COMELEC issued resolution 2772 directing newspapers to provide free print space
of not less than one half (1/2) page for use as “COMELEC Space” which shall be
allocated by the Commission, free of charge, among all candidates within the area in
which the newspaper, magazine or periodical is circulated to enable the candidates
to make known their qualifications, their stand on public issues and their platforms
and programs of government. Philippine Press Institute, a non-stock, non-profit
organization of newspaper and magazine publishers asks the Court to declare said
resolution unconstitutional and void on the ground that it violates the prohibition
imposed by the Constitution upon the government, and any of its agencies, against
the taking of private property for public use without just compensation.

The Office of the Solicitor General, on behalf of COMELEC alleged that the resolution
does not impose upon the publishers any obligation to provide free print space in
the newspapers. It merely established guidelines to be followed in connection with
the procurement of “COMELEC space”. And if it is viewed as mandatory, the same
would nevertheless be valid as an exercise of the police power of the State- a
permissible exercise of the power of supervision or regulation of the COMELEC over
the communication and information operations of print media enterprises during
the election period to safeguard and ensure a fair, impartial and credible election.

Whether the resolution was a valid exercise of the power of eminent domain.

No. The court held that the resolution does not constitute a valid exercise of the
power of eminent domain. To compel print media companies to donate “Comelec-
space” amounts to “taking” of private personal property for public use or purposes
without the requisite just compensation. The extent of the taking or deprivation is
not insubstantial; this is not a case of a de minimis temporary limitation or restraint
upon the use of private property. The monetary value of the compulsory “donation,”
measured by the advertising rates ordinarily charged by newspaper publishers
whether in cities or in non-urban areas, may be very substantial indeed.

The threshold requisites for a lawful taking of private property for public use are the
necessity for the taking and the legal authority to effect the taking. The element of
necessity for the taking has not been shown by respondent Comelec. It has not been
suggested that the members of PPI are unwilling to sell print space at their normal
rates to Comelec for election purposes. Indeed, the unwillingness or reluctance of
Comelec to buy print space lies at the heart of the problem. Similarly, it has not
been suggested, let alone demonstrated, that Comelec has been granted the power
of eminent domain either by the Constitution or by the legislative authority. A
reasonable relationship between that power and the enforcement and
administration of election laws by Comelec must be shown; it is not casually to be

The taking of private property for public use is, of course, authorized by the
Constitution, but not without payment of “just compensation” (Article III, Section 9).
And apparently the necessity of paying compensation for “COMELEC space” is
precisely what is sought to be avoided by respondent Commission.

[G.R. No. 132922. April 21, 1998]

Petitioner Telecommunications and Broadcast Attorneys of the Philippines, Inc.
(TELEBAP) is an organization of lawyers of radio and television broadcasting
companies. It was declared to be without legal standing to sue in this case as, among
other reasons, it was not able to show that it was to suffer from actual or threatened
injury as a result of the subject law. Petitioner GMA Network, on the other hand,
had the requisite standing to bring the constitutional challenge. Petitioner operates
radio and television broadcast stations in the Philippines affected by the
enforcement of Section 92, B.P. No. 881.

Petitioners challenge the validity of Section 92, B.P. No. 881 which provides:
“COMELEC Time- The Commission shall procure radio and television time to be
known as the “COMELEC Time” which shall be allocated equally and impartially
among the candidates within the area of coverage of all radio and television
stations. For this purpose, the franchise of all radio broadcasting and television
stations are hereby amended so as to provide radio or television time, free of
charge, during the period of campaign.”

Petitioner contends that while Section 90 of the same law requires COMELEC to
procure print space in newspapers and magazines with payment, Section 92
provides that airtime shall be procured by COMELEC free of charge. Thus it
contends that Section 92 singles out radio and television stations to provide free

Petitioner claims that it suffered losses running to several million pesos in providing
COMELEC Time in connection with the 1992 presidential election and 1995
senatorial election and that it stands to suffer even more should it be required to do
so again this year. Petitioners claim that the primary source of revenue of the radio
and television stations is the sale of air time to advertisers and to require these
stations to provide free air time is to authorize unjust taking of private
property. According to petitioners, in 1992 it lost P22,498,560.00 in providing free
air time for one hour each day and, in this year’s elections, it stands to lost
P58,980,850.00 in view of COMELEC’s requirement that it provide at least 30
minutes of prime time daily for such.

1) Whether of not Section 92 of B.P. No. 881 denies radio and television
broadcast companies the equal protection of the laws.
2) Whether or not Section 92 of B.P. No. 881 constitutes taking of property
without due process of law and without just compensation.

Petitioner’s argument is without merit. All broadcasting, whether radio or by
television stations, is licensed by the government. Airwave frequencies have to be
allocated as there are more individuals who want to broadcast that there are
frequencies to assign. Radio and television broadcasting companies, which are given
franchises, do not own the airwaves and frequencies through which they transmit
broadcast signals and images. They are merely given the temporary privilege to use
them. Thus, such exercise of the privilege may reasonably be burdened with the
performance by the grantee of some form of public service. In granting the privilege
to operate broadcast stations and supervising radio and television stations, the state
spends considerable public funds in licensing and supervising them.

The argument that the subject law singles out radio and television stations to
provide free airtime as against newspapers and magazines which require payment

of just compensation for the print space they may provide is likewise without
merit. Regulation of the broadcast industry requires spending of public funds which
it does not do in the case of print media. To require the broadcast industry to
provide free airtime for COMELEC is a fair exchange for what the industry gets.

As radio and television broadcast stations do not own the airwaves, no private
property is taken by the requirement that they provide air time to the COMELEC.