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Election Laws

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Election Laws NALDOZA vs. LAVILLES ( 254 SCRA 286 ) ( 254 SCRA 286 ) “Election Offense, B. Jurisdiction Over Election Offenses” Facts: Complainant Alberto Naldoza, accused in the aforestated cases ran for re-election in the May 8 Barangay elections. The spouses Generoso Flame and Lucia Flame and the spouses Marlon Piedad and Rosemarie Piedad thereafter accused complainant of vote-buying in winning the election. Accordingly, the Chief of Police of Miagao with whom the charge was lodged, filed two separate complaints against Naldoza for vote-buying. Respondent examined the private complainants, adopting for the purpose the transcript of the question-and-answer type of examination conducted by the Chief of Police and sworn before him by the parties. Respondent issued an order finding probable cause to believe complainant Naldoza committed the crime charged, and respondent thereupon issued the warrants for complainant’s arrest. Subsequently, respondent issued another order, reconsidering his order, insofar as it referred the cases to the Comelec. The cases were instead remanded to the Chief of Police of Miagao, Iloilo with instructions to file the same directly with the provincial prosecutor. The warrants of arrest were lifted and complainant’s release was ordered. Issue: Whether or not there is ignorance of the law for failure to comply with Section 4 of Comelec resolution No. 2695, authorizing chiefs of police to conduct the preliminary investigation of charges for violation of the Omnibus Election Code. Held: Yes, service in the judiciary means a continuous study and research on the law from beginning to the end. A judge owes it to the public and to the legal profession to know the factual basis of the complaint and the very law he is supposed to apply to a given controversy. A reduced fine is deemed proper where there is no malice or evil intent in a judge’s 1
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Election Laws NALDOZA vs. LAVILLES ( 254 SCRA 286 ) ( 254 SCRA 286 ) Election Offense, B. Jurisdiction Over Election Offenses

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Facts: Complainant Alberto Naldoza, accused in the aforestated cases ran for reelection in the May 8 Barangay elections. The spouses Generoso Flame and Lucia Flame and the spouses Marlon Piedad and Rosemarie Piedad thereafter accused complainant of vote-buying in winning the election. Accordingly, the Chief of Police of Miagao with whom the charge was lodged, filed two separate complaints against Naldoza for vote-buying. Respondent examined the private complainants, adopting for the purpose the transcript of the question-and-answer type of examination conducted by the Chief of Police and sworn before him by the parties. Respondent issued an order finding probable cause to believe complainant Naldoza committed the crime charged, and respondent thereupon issued the warrants for complainants arrest. Subsequently, respondent issued another order, reconsidering his order, insofar as it referred the cases to the Comelec. The cases were instead remanded to the Chief of Police of Miagao, Iloilo with instructions to file the same directly with the provincial prosecutor. The warrants of arrest were lifted and complainants release was ordered. Issue: Whether or not there is ignorance of the law for failure to comply with Section 4 of Comelec resolution No. 2695, authorizing chiefs of police to conduct the preliminary investigation of charges for violation of the Omnibus Election Code. Held: Yes, service in the judiciary means a continuous study and research on the law from beginning to the end. A judge owes it to the public and to the legal profession to know the factual basis of the complaint and the very law he is supposed to apply to a given controversy. A reduced fine is deemed proper where there is no malice or evil intent in a judges actuations in unwarrantedly conducting a preliminary investigation and in ordering the issuance of warrants of arrest.

Election Laws

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KILOSBAYAN vs. COMELEC ( G.R. No. 128054, Oct. 16, 1997 ) Election Offense, B. Jurisdiction Over Election Offenses Facts: Special Provision No. 1 of the Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) under Republic Act No. 7180, allocates a specific amount of government funds for infrastructure and other priority projects and activities. In order to be valid, the use and release of said amount should have the following mandatory requirements: (1) Approval by the President of the Philippines; (2) Release of the amount directly to the appropriate implementing agency; and (3) List of projects and activities. Respondent Cesar Sarino, the then DILG Secretary, requested for authority to negotiate, enter into, sign Memoranda of Agreements with accredited NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) in order to utilize them to implement the projects of the CDF provided for under R.A. No. 7180. Respondent Franklin Drilon, the then Executive Secretary, granted the abovementioned request of Secretary Sarino. Such an authority was extended to all the Regional Directors of the DILG. Pursuant to the above-described authority granted him, respondent Tiburcio Relucio, on April 24, 1992, entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with an accredited NGO known as the Philippine Youth Health and Sports Development Foundation, Inc. (PYHSDFI). COMELEC received from petitioner Kilosbayan a letter informing the former of two serious violations of election laws, among them that the amount of P70 million was released by the Budget Department, shortly before the elections of May 11, 1992, in favor of PYHSDFI a private entity, which had reportedly engaged in dirty election tricks and practices in said elections and requesting that these offenses and malpractices be investigated promptly, thoroughly, impartially, without fear of favor. Issue: Based on recommendations by the Comelec Law Department, the Commission en banc dismissed the letter-complaint for lack of evidence. Held: The constitutional and statutory mandate for the Comelec to investigate and prosecute cases of violation of election laws translates, in effect, to the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigations in cases involving election offenses for the twin purpose of filing an information in court and helping the Judge determine, in the course of preliminary inquiry, whether or not a warrant of arrest should be issued. Although only a low quantum and quality of evidence is needed to support a finding of probable cause, the same cannot be justified upon hearsay evidence that is never given any evidentiary or probative value in this jurisdiction.

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CORPUZ vs. TANODBAYAN ( 149 SCRA 281 ) Election Offense, B. Jurisdiction Over Election Offenses Facts: Petitioners were members of the Citizens Election Committee of Caba, La Union in the January 30, 1980 elections; petitioner Epifanio Castillejos was Director of the Bureau of Domestic Trade and petitioner Edgar Castillejos was then a candidate and later elected mayor in the same election. Private respondent Esteban Mangaser, an independent candidate for vice-mayor of the same municipality sent a letter to President Marcos charging the petitioners with violation of the 1978 Election Code, specifically for electioneering and / or campaigning inside the voting centers during the election. Regional Election Director of San Fernando, La Union, conducted a formal investigation and on September 29, 1981, submitted its report recommending to the Comelec the dismissal of the complaint. Private respondent Mangaser formally withdrew his charges filed with the Comelec stating his intention to refile it with the Tanodbayan. On November 26, 1981 the Comelec dismissed the complaint for insufficiency of evidence. Subsequently the assistant provincial fiscal started a preliminary investigation of a complaint filed by Mangaser with the Tanodbayan against the same parties and on the same charges previously dismissed by the Comelec. The Tanodbayan asserted exclusive authority to prosecute the case, stated in a letter to the Comelec Chairman that a lawyer of the Comelec if not properly deputized as a Tanodbayan prosecutor has not authority to conduct preliminary investigation s and prosecute offenses committed by Comelec officials in relation to their office. Issue: Whether or not the Tanodbayan has exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election offenses. Held: Comelec, not the Tanodbayan, or Sandiganbayan, has exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election offenses committed by a private individual or public officer or employee. Nature of the offense, not the personality of the offender, is important.

Election Laws COMELEC vs. NOYNAY ( 292 SCRA 254 ) Election Offense, B. Jurisdiction Over Election Offenses

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Facts: In an Order issued on 25 August 1997, respondent Judge Tomas B. Noynay, as presiding judge of Branch 23, motu proprio ordered the records of the cases to be withdrawn and directed the Comelec Law Department to file the cases with the appropriate Municipal Trial Court on the ground that pursuant to Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129 as amended by R.A. no. 7691, the Regional Trial Court has no jurisdiction over the cases since the maximum imposable penalty in each of the cases does not exceed six years of imprisonment. Issue: Whether or not R.A. No. 7691 has divested Regional Trial Courts or jurisdiction over election offenses, which are punishable with imprisonment of not exceeding six years. Held: By virtue of the exception provided for in opening sentence of section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129, the exclusive original jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Courts does not cover those criminal cases which by specific provisions of law fall within the exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, regardless of the penalty prescribed therefor. Pursuant to Section 268 of the Omnibus Election Code, election offenses also fall within the exception provided for in the opening sentence of Section 32 of Batas Pambansa 129. Republic Act 7691 can by no means be considered as a special law on jurisdiction it is merely an amendatory law intended to amend specific sections of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 and it does not have the effect of repealing laws vesting upon the Regional trial Courts or the Sandiganbayan exclusive original jurisdiction to heart and decide the cases therein specified. Congress may thus provide by law that a certain class of cases should be exclusively heard and determined by one court. Such law would be a special law and must be construed as an exception to the general law on jurisdiction of courts. However, Congress never intended that R. A. no. 7691 should repeal such special provisions is indubitably evident from the fact that it did not touch at all the opening sentence of Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129 providing for the exception.

Election Laws PEOPLE vs. REYES ( 247 SCRA 328 ) Election Offense, A. Election Offenses

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Facts: Respondent Buenaventura C. Maniego, Collector of Customs, Collection District II, Manila International Container Port (MICP) Customs Personnel Order assigned Jovencio D. Ebio, Customs Operation Chief, MICP to the Office of the Deputy Collector of Customs for Operations as Special Assistant. Ebio filed with the Comelec a letter complaint protesting his transfer. Ebio claimed that his new assignment violated Comelec Resolution No. 2333 and Section 261 (h) of B.P. Blg. 881, the Omnibus Election Code, which prohibit the transfer of any employee in the civil service 120 days before the May 11, 1992 synchronized national and local elections. Before the arraignment, respondent Maniego moved to quash the information on the ground that the facts alleged do not constitute an offense. He contended that the transfer of Ebio on January 14, 1992 did not violate B.P. Blg. 881 because on that date the act was not yet punishable as an election offense. It purportedly became punishable only on January 15, 1992, the date of effectivity of Comelec Resolution No. 2333 implementing Section 261 (h) of B.P. Blg. 881. The trial court granted private respondents motion to quash and dismissed the criminal case. Issue: Whether or not transfer is violative of section 261 (h) of B.P. Blg. 881. Held: Section 261 (h) of B.P. Blg. 881 does not per se outlaw the transfer of a government officer or employee during the election period. If done to promote efficiency in the government service. Hence, Section 2 of Resolution No. 2333 provides that the Comelec has to pass upon the reason for the proposed transfer or detail. Prescinding from this predicate, two elements must be established to prove a violation of Section 261 (h) of B.P. Blg. 881, viz: (1) The fact of transfer or detail of a public officer or employee within the election period as fixed by the Comelec; and (2) The transfer or detail was effected without prior approval of the Comelec in accordance with its implementing rules and regulations. An officer cannot be held liable for violation of Section 261 (h) of B.P. Blg. 881, a penal provision, before the effectivity of Comelec Resolution No. 2333 promulgating the necessary implementing rules.

Election Laws MAPPALA vs. NUEZ ( 240 SCRA 600 ) Election Offense, A. Election Offenses

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Facts: This is an administrative complaint filed by Jacinto Mappala against Judge Crispulo A. Nuez, the presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 22, Cabangan, Isabela for gross inefficiency, serious misconduct and violation of the Code of Judicial Ethics. In his decision, respondent found that Alejandro shot complainant inside Precinct No. 2, located at the elementary school building in Sto. Tomas, Isabela, during the barangay elections. Respondent also found that Alejandro was the one who surrendered the gun. To respondent, the surrender of the weapon was an implied admission that it was the one used by Alejandro in shooting complainant. Inspite of all these findings, respondent acquitted Alejandro of illegally carrying a deadly weapon inside a precinct on the theory that the gun was not seized from him while he was inside the precinct. Issue: Whether or not respondent Judge erred in ruling that Alejandro was not in violation of illegal possession of firearms. Held: To support a conviction under Sec. 261 (p) of the Omnibus Election Code, is not necessary that the deadly weapon should have been seized from the accused while he was in the precinct or within a radius of 100 meters therefrom, as it is enough that he carried the deadly weapon in the polling place or within 100 meters thereof during any of the specified days and hours.

Election Laws

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JAVIER vs. COMELEC ( 144 SCRA 194 ) Election Contests, G. Interpretation of Certain Words and Phrases Facts: The petitioner and the private respondent were candidates in Antique for the Batasang Pambansa in the May 1984 elections. The former appeared to enjoy more popular support but the latter had the advantage of being the nominee of the KBL with all its perquisites of power. On the eve of the elections, the bitter contest between the two came to a head when several followers of the petitioner were ambushed and killed, allegedly by the latters men. Seven suspects, including respondent Pacificador, are now facing trial for these murders. Conceivably, it intimidated voters against supporting the Opposition candidate or into supporting the candidate of the ruling party. It was in this atmosphere that the voting was held, and the post-election developments were to run true to form. Owing to what he claimed were attempts to railroad the private respondents proclamation, the petitioner went to the Comelec to question the canvass of the election returns. His complaints were dismissed and the private respondent was proclaimed winner by the Second Division of the said body. The petitioner thereupon came to this Court, arguing that the proclamation was void because made only by a division and not by the Comelec en banc as required by the Constitution. Issue: Whether or not the Second Division of the Comelec authorized to promulgate its decision of July 23, 1984, proclaiming the private respondent the winner in the election. Held: Article XII-C, Section 3, of the 1973 Constitution provides that: The COMELEC may sit en banc or in three divisions. All election cases may be heard and decided by divisions except contests involving members of the Batasang Pambansa, which shall be heard and decided en banc.

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MALALUAN vs. COMELEC ( 254 SCRA 397 ) Election Contests, F. Award of Damages Facts: Petitioner Luis Malaluan and private respondent Jose Evangelista were both mayoralty candidates in the Municipality of Kidapawan, North Cotabato. Private respondent was proclaimed by the Municipal Board of Canvassers as the duly elected Mayor with a winning margin of 706 votes. Petitioner filed an election protest with the Regional Trial Court. The trial court declared petitioner as the duly elected municipal mayor with a plurality of 154 votes. Acting without precedent, the court found private respondent liable not only for Malaluans protest expenses but also for moral and exemplary damages and attorneys fees. Petitioner filed a motion for execution pending appeal which was granted by the court. Subsequently the First Division of the Comelec ordered Malaluan to vacate the office. The Comelec en banc affirmed said decision. Malaluan filed this petition for certiorari and prohibition on May 31, 1995 as a consequence. It is significant to note that the term of office of the local officials elected in the May 1992 elections expired on June 30, 1995. This petition, thus, has become moot and academic insofar as it concerns petitioners right to the mayoralty seat because expiration of the term of office contested in the election protest has the effect of rendering the same moot and academic. Issue: Whether or not the Comelec gravely abused its discretion in awarding the aforecited damages in favor of private respondent. Held: The overriding requirement for a valid and proper award of damages is that the same is in accordance with law, specifically, the provisions of the Civil Code pertinent to damages. The Omnibus Election Code provides that actual or compensatory damages may be granted in all election contests or in quo warranto proceedings in accordance with law. Comelec Rules of Procedure provide that in all election contests the Court may adjudicate damages and attorneys fees as it may deem just and as established by the evidence if the aggrieved party has included such claims in his pleadings. Notwithstanding his subsequent ouster as a result of an election protest, an elective official who has been proclaimed by the Comelec as winner in an electoral contest and who assumed office and entered into the performance of the duties of office is entitled to the compensation, emoluments and allowances legally provided for that position. The emolument must go to the person who rendered the service unless the contrary is provided.

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ATIENZA vs. COMELEC ( G.R. No. 108533, Dec. 20 1994 ) Election Contests, F. Award of Damages Facts: Private respondent Antonio G. Sia was elected mayor of the Municipality of Madrilejos, Cebu in the 1998 local elections. Following Sias proclamation, petitioner filed an election protest with the Regional Trial Court questioning the results of the elections in a number of precincts in the municipality. Consequently, in the revision ordered by the lower court, petitioner obtained a plurality of 12 votes over the private respondent. The Regional Trial Court rendered its decision declaring petitioner the winner of the municipal elections and ordering the private respondent to reimburse petitioner the amount of P300,856.19 representing petitioners expenses in the election protest. Private respondent appealed. Meanwhile, the Regional trial Court granted petitioners motion for execution pending appeal, which was opposed by respondent. The Comelec issued a preliminary injunction stopping the enforcement of the order of execution. The Comelec, en banc, on April 7, 1992 issued an Order setting aside the preliminary injunction and thereby allowing petitioner to assume as mayor of the Municipality of Madrilejos pending resolution of his appeal. However, following the synchronized elections of May 11, 1992, the Presiding Commissioner of the Comelecs Second Division issued an Order dated July 18, 1992 dismissing petitioners appeal for being moot and academic. Issue: Whether or not the Comelec acted with grave abuse of discretion in reversing the lower courts judgment. Held: The dismissal of an appeal in an election protest case for having become moot and academic due to the election of new municipal officials referred only to that part of the appealed judgment which was affected by the election and not to that portion relating to the award of damages. However, it would appear virtually impossible for a party in an election protest case to recover actual or compensatory damages in the absence of a law expressly providing for situations allowing for the recovery of the same. This, petitioner has been unable to do. The intent of the legislature to do away with provisions indemnifying the victorious party for expenses incurred in an election contest in the absence of a wrongful act or omission clearly attributable to the losing party cannot be gainsaid in fine, Section 259 of the Omnibus Election Code merely provides for the granting of actual and compensatory damages in accordance with law. The intent, moreover, to do away with such provisions merely recognizes the maxim, settled in law that a wrong without damage or damage without wrong neither constitutes a cause of action nor creates a civil obligation.

Election Laws ZACATE vs. COMELEC ( G.R. No. 144678, Mar. 1, 2001 ) Election Contests, E. Execution Pending Appeal

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Facts: Petitioner Javier E. Zacate and private respondent Thelma C. Baldado were candidates for the position of Mayor in the Municipality of Sulat, Eastern Samar, in the May, 1998 elections. The Municipal Board of Canvassers, proclaimed private respondent as the duly elected mayor having garnered 2,958 votes as against the 2,719 votes of petitioner, private respondent winning by 239 votes. Petitioner filed an election protest before the Regional Trial Court of Borongan, Samar. The trial court declared petitioner as the duly elected Mayor with only one vote as his winning margin. On the same date private respondent filed a notice of appeal. The following day, petitioner filed a Motion for Immediate Execution of Judgment Pending Appeal which private respondent opposed on the ground that she had already perfected her appeal. The trial court rendered a Supplemental Decision, correcting the winning margin of petitioner to 2 votes instead of 1 vote and at the same time denied the motion for execution of judgment pending appeal filed by petitioner and ordered further the transmission of the complete records of the protest case to the Comelec. Petitioner then filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration to reverse denial of his motion for execution pending appeal. After hearing, the trial court issued a Resolution reversing its Supplemental Decision. The Resolution ruled that the trial court still had jurisdiction over the motion for execution pending appeal, that there are good and valid reasons for granting the same. Issue: Whether or not the trial court has jurisdiction of the case and whether or not discretionary execution is proper. Held: Discretionary execution is barred when the trial court loses jurisdiction and this occurs when all the parties have filed their respective appeals or when the period to appeal has lapsed for those who did not file their appeals and when the court is no longer in possession of the records of the case. The perfection of an appeal within the statutory or reglementary period is not only mandatory but also jurisdictional and failure to so renders the questioned decision final and executory, and deprives the appellate court or body of jurisdiction to alter the final judgment much less to entertain the appeal. While petitioner timely filed motion for execution pending appeal, petitioner belatedly filed the motion for reconsideration of the denial of his motion for execution pending appeal rendering said denial final and executory. While the Supplemental Decision wrongly denied petitioners motion for execution pending appeal, the remedy left for petitioner then was to timely seek relief from the erroneous ruling. This petitioner failed to do.

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ASMALA vs. COMELEC ( 289 SCRA 746 ) Election Contests, E. Execution Pending Appeal Facts: In the elections of May 8, 1995, eight candidates vied for the position of Vice Mayor for the Municipality of Tuburan, Province of Basilan. The canvass of votes by the Municipal Board of canvassers, indicated that Hadji Husni Mohammad garnered 3,065 votes, Emmanuel Manny Alano 2,912 votes, and Halim Asmala got 2,542 votes. On the basis of the aforesaid results of canvass of votes, Hadji Husni Mohammad was proclaimed, and later he assumed office as Vice Mayor of Tuburan. On May 22, 1995, Halim Asmala filed an election protest with the Regional Trial Court of Basilan. The protest alleged that election fraud and other irregularities tainted the election and canvass of votes. During the hearing, the court a quo found that several ballots were written by just one hand while other ballots were prepared by only two persons. Consequently, such ballots were invalidated. The trial court rendered its decision crediting Halim Asmala, the herein petitioner, with 2,130 votes, Emmanuel Alano with 1,920 votes and Hadji Husni Mohammad with 1,729 votes, and adjudging petitioner the duly elected Vice Mayor of Tuburan, Province of Basilan. After the promulgation of the aforementioned decision, private respondent Hadji Husni Mohammed filed his Notice of Appeal with the same Regional Trial Court. On the following day, the petitioner presented a Motion for Execution Pending Appeal. Thereto, private respondent interposed his opposition, theorizing that his perfected appeal divested the trial court of jurisdiction to resolve the Motion foe Execution Pending Appeal. Issue: Whether or not filing of notice of appeal divests a trial court of its jurisdiction over a case. Held: The mere filing of a notice of appeal does not divest the trial court of its jurisdiction over a case and resolve pending incidents. Where the motion for execution pending appeal was filed within the reglementary period for perfecting an appeal, the filing of a notice of appeal by the opposing party is of no moment and does not divest the trial court of its jurisdiction to resolve the motion for immediate execution of the judgment pending appeal because the court must hear and resolve it for it would become part of the records to be elevated on appeal. Filing by one party of an appeal on the same day the judgment was rendered does not deprive the other party of the right to avail himself of the entire period of five days within which to appeal, if he so desires including motions for execution pending appeal. An appeal is perfected upon the expiration of the last day to appeal by any party it is not perfected on the date the notice of appeal was filed.

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ROBERTO D. RAMAS vs. COMELEC ( 286 SCRA 189 ) Election Contests, E. Execution Pending Appeal Facts: Petitioners and private respondents were the official candidates of the NPC Lakas-NUCD for elective municipal positions of Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur. After the canvass of election returns, petitioners were proclaimed as the duly elected municipal officials therein. Private respondents seasonably filed an election protest with the RTC of Pagadian City which ruled in their favor. Respondents thereafter filed a Motion for Immediate Execution of Decision pending Appeal, however, petitioner filed an Opposition to this Motion. The trial court issued an Order granting the motion for execution pending appeal. COMELEC concurs with the trial courts decision, hence, this petition. Issue: Whether or not COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion when it concurs with the decision of the trial court. Held: The Supreme Court held the it has explicitly recognized and given approval to execution of judgments pending appeal in election cases filed under existing election laws. All that was required for a valid exercise of the discretion to allow execution pending appeal was that the immediate execution should be based upon good reasons to be stated in a special order. The rationale why such executionis allowed in election cases is to give as much recognition to the worth of a trial judges decision as that which is initially ascribed by the law to the proclamation by the board of canvassers. To deprive trial courts of their discretion to grant execution pending appeal would bring back the ghost of the grab-the-proclamation-prolong the protest techniques so often resorted to by devious politicians in the past in their efforts to perpetuate their hold to an elective office. The following constitutes good reasons, and a combination of two or more of them will suffice to grant the execution pending appeal: (1) public interest involved or the will of the electorate; (2) the shortness of the remaining portion of the term of the contested office; (3) the length of time that the election contest has been pending. In this case, all elements was present, considering that this has been pending for a year, the trial court did not commit grave abuse of discretion.

Election Laws MANUEL C. SUNGA vs. COMELEC ( 288 SCRA 76 )

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Election Contests, D. Distinction between Quo Warranto in Elective and Appointive office Facts: Petitioner was one of the candidates for the position of Mayor in the Municipality of Iguig, Cagayan in the May 1995 Elections. Private respondent Trinidad was then the incumbent Mayor, was a candidate for re-election in the same municipality. Sunga filed a complaint accusing Trinidad of violation of the Omnibus Election Code for using threats, intimidation, terrorism or other forms of coercion. Hearings were held wherein Sunga adduced evidence while Trinidad opted not to submit any evidence. The election results showed that Trinidad garnered the highest number of votes while Sunga trailed second. The complaint filed by Sunga was denied by COMELEC ruling that the petitions filed shall be deemed to be the amended petition filed on May 11,1995 which was clearly filed after the election mandates the dismissal of the disqualification case. Issue: Whether or not COMELEC can hear and decide disqualification cases against winning candidates even after the election. Held: The Supreme Court ruled that COMELEC is left with no discretion but to proceed with the disqualification case even after the election. The fact that Trinidad was already proclaimed and has assumed the position of mayor did not divest the COMELEC of authority and jurisdiction to continue the hearing and eventually decide the disqualification case. The fact that the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is later disqualified for the office to which he was elected does not entitle the candidate who obtained the second highest number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective office. Hence, Sunga cannot claim the right to take the oath for the mayoral office because the Local Government Code clearly provides that in case of disqualification of the one proclaimed for the said office, the vice-mayor shall assume office.

Election Laws BENJAMIN P. ABELLA vs. COMELEC ( 201 SCRA 253 )

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Election Contests, D. Distinction between Quo Warranto in Elective and Appointive office Facts: Initially, Silvestre dela Cruz (Benjamin Abella was allowed to intervene) filed a petition with the COMELEC to disqualify petitioner Larrazabal from running as governor of Leyte on the ground that she misrepresented her residence in her certificate of candidacy as Kananga, Leyte. It was alleged that she was in fact a resident of Ormoc City like her husband who was earlier disqualified from running for the same office. The COMELEC granted the petition. However, when the Commission granted the decision, Larrazabal was already proclaimed the Governor, hence, when she was disqualified, Abella, who gathered the second highest votes in the said area, sought to take his oath as governor of Kananga, Leyte. Issue: Whether or not the candidate who got the second highest vote may be proclaimed as governor when the candidate for such position was disqualified. Held: The Supreme Court held that while it is true that SPC No. 88-546 was originally a petition to deny due course to the certificate of candidacy of Larrazabal and was filed before Larrazabal could be proclaimed, the fact remains that the local elections of February 1, 1988 in the province of Leyte proceeded with Larrazabal considered as a bona fide candidate. The voters of the province voted for her in the sincere belief that she was a qualified candidate for the position of governor. Her votes were counted and she obtained the highest number of votes. The net effect is that the petitioner lost in the election. He was repudiated by the electorate.

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BIENVENIDO MARQUEZ vs. COMELEC ( 243 SCRA 538 ) Election Contests, C. Quo Warranto Facts: It is averred that at the time respondent Rodriguez filed his certificate of candidacy, a criminal charge against him for ten counts of insurance fraud or grand theft of personal property was still pending before the Municipal Court of Los Angeles, USA. A warrant issued by said court for his arrest, it is claimed, has yet to be served on private respondent on account of his alleged flight from that country. Before the May 1992 elections, a petition for cancellation of respondents certificate of candidacy on the ground of the candidates disqualification was filed by petitioner, but COMELEC dismissed the petition. Private respondent was proclaimed Governor-elect of Quezon. Petitioner instituted quo warranto proceedings against private respondent before the COMELEC but the latter dismissed the petition. Issue: Whether private respondent, who at the time of the filing of his certificate of candidacy is said to be facing a criminal charge before a foreign court and evading a warrant of arrest comes within the term fugitive from justice. Held: The Supreme Court ruled that Article 73 of the Rules and Regulations implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 provides: Article 73. Disqualifications The following persons shall be disqualified from running for any elective local position: (a) xxxx

(e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or non-political cases here or abroad. Fugitive from justice refers to a person who has been convicted by final judgment. It is clear from this provision that fugitives from justice refer only to persons who has been convicted by final judgment. However, COMELEC did not make any definite finding on whether or not private respondent is a fugitive from justice when it outrightly denied the petition for quo warranto. The Court opted to remand the case to COMELEC to resolve and proceed with the case.

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MELANIO SAMPAYAN, et al. vs. RAUL DAZA, et al. ( 213 SCRA 807 ) Election Contests, C. Quo Warranto Facts: Petitioners filed a petition seeking to disqualify Daza, then incumbent congressman of their congressional district in Makati, from continuing to exercise the functions of his office on the ground that the latter is a greencard holder and a lawful permanent resident of the United States. They also alleged that Mr. Daza has not by any act or declaration renounced his status as permanent resident thereby violating the Omnibus Election Code (Section 68) and the 1987 Constitution (section 18, Article III). Respondent Congressman filed his Comment denying the fact that he is a permanent resident of the United States as evidenced by a letter order of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, Los Angeles, U.S.A, he had long waived his status when he returned to the Philippines on August 12, 1985. Issue: Whether or not respondent Daza should be disqualified as a member of the House of Representatives for violation of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code. Held: The Supreme Court vote to dismiss the instant case, first, the case is moot and academic for it is evident from the manifestation filed by petitioners dated April 6, 1992, that they seek to unseat the respondent from his position as Congressman for the duration of his term of office commencing June 30, 1987 and ending June 30, 1992. Secondly, jurisdiction of this case rightfully pertains to the House Electoral Tribunal. Under Section 17 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, it is the House Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election returns and qualification of its members. The petitioners appropriate remedy should have been to file a petition to cancel respondent Dazas certificate of candidacy before the election for a quo warranto case with the House of Electoral Tribunal within ten days after Dazas proclamation.

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JIMMY S. DE CASTRO vs. COMELEC ( 267 SCRA 806 ) Election Contests, B. Election Protest Facts: Petitioner De Castro was proclaimed Mayor of Gloria, Oriental Mindoro during the 1995 Elections, so as the private respondent as Vice-Mayor of the same municipality. The late Nicolas Jamilla filed an election protest before the RTC of Pinamulayan, Oriental Mindoro. During the pendency of the said contest, he died. Shortly thereafter, the RTC dismissed the election protest ruling that as this case is personal, the death of the protestant extinguishes the case itself. When private respondent learned about the dismissal, he filed a motion for intervention and/or substitution in the same case which the petitioner opposed. The motion of private respondent was denied. He then filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus with the COMELEC assailing that the trial courts orders were issued with rave abuse of discretion. COMELEC grants the petition ruling that an election contest survives the death of the protestant or the protestee. Issue: Is an Election Contest a personal action extinguished upon the death of the real party in interest? Held: The Supreme Court ruled in the negative. The Court held that while the right to public office is personal and exclusive to the public officer, and election protest is not purely personal and exclusive to the protestant or to the protestee such that the death of either would oust the court of all authority to continue the protest proceedings. The assertion of petitioner that private respondent is not the real party in interest entitled to be substituted in the election protest in place of the late Jamilla is Utterly without legal basis.

Election Laws

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ALAN M. LOYOLA vs. COURT OF APPEALS ( 245 SCRA 477 ) Election Contests, B. Election Protest Facts: In the barangay election of May 1994, petitioner was proclaimed by the Barangay Board of Canvassers as the duly elected Punong Barangay of Poblacion, Tangalan, Aklan on May 10, 1994. Private respondent Fernandez filed an election protest against the petitioner on May 18, 1994. However, the petition was not accompanied by a certification of non- forum shopping required under Administrative Circular No. 04-94 of the Supreme Court. The following day, May 1994, the private respondent submitted to the MCTC his certification of non-forum shopping. On May 25, 1994, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the protest due to private respondents failure to strictly comply with the Circular. The MCTC issued an order denying the motion to dismiss. The RTC of Aklan denied the petition for certiorari filed by petitioner for lack of merit. Issue: Whether Administrative Circular No. 04-94 is mandatory and jurisdictional, and whether it is applicable in election cases. Held: The filing of the certification was within the period for filing an election protest. When petitioner was proclaimed as the Punong Barangay on May 10, 1994, respondent has ten days from such proclamation within which to file the election protest. In this case, when respondent filed his certificate of non-forum shopping on My 19, 1994, it was within the reglementary period provided for in the Omnibus Election Code, thus, he still has until May 20, 1994 to complete the requirements of his petition. Also, the fact that the Circular requires that it should be strictly complied with merely underserves its mandatory nature in that it cannot dispensed with or its requirements altogether disregarded, but it does not thereby interdict substantial compliance with its provisions under justifiable circumstances. There is nothing in the Circular that indicates that it does not apply to election cases. On the contrary, it expressly provides that the requirements therein shall be strictly complied with in the filing of complaints, petitions, applications or other initiatory pleadings in all courts and agencies other than the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.

Election Laws

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DANILO GATCHALIAN vs. COURT OF APPEALS ( 245 SCRA 208 ) Election Contests, B. Election Protest Facts: Gatchalian and Aruelo were rivals for the office of the Vice-Mayor of Balagtas, Bulacan in the May 11, 1992 Elections. Gatchalian was proclaimed Vice-Mayor by a margin of four votes on May 13, 1992. On May 22, 1992, Aruelo filed with the COMELEC a petition seeking to annul the proclamation of Gatchalian. He also filed on June 2, 1992 with the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan an election protest. When Gatchalian received the summons, instead of filing an answer, he filed a motion to dismissw on the following grounds: (a) the petition was filed out of time; (b) there was a pending pre-proclamation case before the COMELEC, hence the protest was premature; and (c) Aruelo failed to pay the prescribed fees. The pre-proclamation case was denied by COMELEC, but the Motion to Dismiss was denied by the trial court, hence this petition. Issue: Should the proclamation contest be denied? Also, should the election contest be dismissed for failure to pay the filing fees? Held: On the first issue, the Court held that Aruelo filed with the COMELEC preproclamation case against Gatchalian nine days after May 13, 1992, the latters proclamation date. The filinf of the pre-proclamation case suspended the running of the period within which to file the election protest which was one day after June 22, 1992. He filed the election protest on June 2, 1992 with the trial court ex abudante cautela. On second the issue, the Court held that, indeed, respondent failed to pay the required filing fee of P300,00 for the election protest prescribed by the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Hence, the petition should be dismissed for it is the payment of the filing fee that vests jurisdiction of the court over the election protest.

Election Laws

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MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO vs. FIDEL RAMOS ( 253 SCRA 559 ) Election Contests, B. Election Protest Facts: The protestant lost in the May 1992 Election. In her Motion of 16 August 1995, reiterated in her Comment of 29 August 1995, Protestant Defensor-Santiago prayed that the revision in the remaining precincts of the pilot areas be dispensed with and the revision process in the pilot areas be deemed computed. The Court deferred action on the motion and required, instead, the protestant and protestee to submit their respective memoranda. Hence, this petition. Issue: Whether or not the election protest filed by Santiago is moot and academic by her election as a Senator in the May 1995 election and her assumption of office as such on June 30, 1995. Held: The Supreme Court ruled in the Affirmative. The Court held that the election protest filed by Santiago has been abandoned or considered withdrawn as a consequence of her election and assumption of office as Senator and her discharge of the duties and functions thereof. The protestant abandoned her determination to protest and pursue the public interest involved in the matter of who is the real choice of the electorate. Moreover, the dismissal of this protest would serve public interest as it would dissipate the aura of uncertainty as to the results of the 1992 presidential elections, thereby enhancing the all too crucial political stability of the nation during this period of national recovery.

Election Laws

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BENJAMIN F. ARAO vs. COMELEC ( 210 SCRA 290 ) Election Contests, B. Election Protest Facts: Petitioner Arao and private respondent Pulmones were candidates for the office of City Mayor of Pagadian City in the January 18, 1988 local elections. After canvassing the votes, petitioner garnered 12,447 votes, while Pulmones got only 12,030 votes. Consequently on January 21, 1988, petitioner was proclaimed City Mayor-elect of Pagadian City. Private respondent filed his Protest with COMELEC particularly alleging that fraud and anomalies were rampant in practically all the voting centers in Pagadian City on January 28, 1988. He also filed an amended protest on February 15, 1988 or after the ten day period to file an election protest. The First Division of COMELEC denied the said amended protest. Thereafter, the COMELEC en banc granted the amended protest and declared Pulmones as the duly elected mayor of Pagadian City and ordered petitioner to vacate his office and surrender the same to private respondent. Issue: Whether or not COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in declaring Pulmones as the duly elected Mayor of Pagadian City. Held: The extraordinary power of the Supreme Court to pass upon an order or decision of COMELEC should be exercised restrictively, with care and caution, while giving it the highest regard and respect due a constitutional body. For, not every abuse of discretion justifies the original action of certiorari, it must be grave. Nor any denial of Due Process within its ambit, it must be patent and it must be substantial. The test therefore is whether petitioner has demonstrated convincingly that COMELEC has committed grave abuse of discretion or exceeded its jurisdiction amounting to patent and substantial denial of due process in issuing the challenged decision. Here, petitioner has utterly failed. The complaint of petitioner against the alleged omission of COMELEC to state the reasons for its conclusion that certain ballots were with identical handwritings, some marked and others stray, does not in any magnitude diminish the straight forward statement of the public respondent that it painstakingly examined and appreciated individually the contested ballots for both protestant and protestee in accordance with existing norms. Consequently petitioner may be deemed to have waived his right to question the Resolution when he failed to act accordingly despite the opportunity to do so. He should not be permitted, in other words to remain mute and unaffected in the face of a perceived jurisdictional defect and, worse, profit from his acquiescence only to grumble in the end when it turns out to be prejudicial to his interest.

Election Laws

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GALIDO vs. COMELEC ( 193 SCRA 78 ) Election Contests, A. Jurisdiction over Election Contests Facts: Petitioner Galido and private respondent Galeon were candidates during the January 1988 local elections for mayor of Garcia-Hernandez, Bohol. Petitioner was proclaimed the duly-elected Mayor. Private respondent filed an election protest before the RTC. After hearing, the said court upheld the proclamation of petitioner. Private respondent appealed the RTC decision to the COMELEC. Its First Division reversed the RTC decision and declared private respondent the duly-elected mayor. After the COMELEC en banc denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration and affirmed the decision of its First Division. The COMELEC held that the fifteen (15) ballots in the same precinct containing the initial C after the name Galido were marked ballots and, therefore, invalid. Undaunted by his previous failed actions the petitioner filed the present petition for certiorari and injunction before the Supreme Court and succeeded in getting a temporary restraining order. In his comment to the petition, private respondent moved for dismissal, citing Article IX (C), Section 2(2), paragraph 2 of the 1987 Constitution, that Final decisions, orders or rulings of the COMELEC in election contests involving elective municipal offices are final and executory, and not appealable. Issue: Whether or not a COMELEC decision may, if it sets aside the trial courts decision involving marked ballots, be brought to the Supreme Court by a petition for certiorari by the aggrieved party? Held: The fact that decisions, final orders or rulings of the COMELEC in contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices are final, executory and not appealable, does not preclude a recourse to this Court by way of a special civil action of certiorari. Under Article IX (A), Section 7 of the Constitution, which petitioner cites, it is stated, Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling of each (Constitutional) Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt thereof. We resolve this issue in favor of the petitioner. We do not, however, believe that the respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in rendering the questioned decision. The COMELEC has the inherent power to decide an election contest on physical evidence, equity, law and justice, and apply established jurisprudence, in support of its findings and conclusions; and that the extent to which such precedents apply rests on its discretion, the exercise of which should not be controlled unless such discretion has been abused to the prejudice of either party. ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DIMISSSED.

Election Laws

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Election Laws

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FLORES vs. COMELEC ( 184 SCRA 484 ) Election Contests, A. Jurisdiction over Election Contests Facts: Petitioner Roque Flores was declared by the board of canvassers as having the highest number of votes for kagawad on the March 1989 elections, in Barangay Poblacion, Tayum, Abra, and thus proclaimed punong barangay in accordance with Section 5 of R.A. 6679. However, his election was protested by private respondent Rapisora, who placed second in the election with one vote less than the petitioner. The Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum sustained Rapisora and installed him as punong barangay in place of the petitioner after deducting two votes as stray from the latters total. Flores appealed to the RTC, which affirmed the challenged decision in toto. The judge agreed that the four votes cast for Flores only, without any distinguishing first name or initial, should all have been considered invalid instead of being divided equally between the petitioner and Anastacio Flores, another candidate for kagawad. The total credited to the petitioner was correctly reduced by 2, demoting him to second place. The petitioner went to the COMELEC, which dismissed his appeal on the ground that it had no power to review the decision of the RTC, based on Section 9 of R.A. 6679, that decisions of the RTC in a protest appealed to it from the municipal trial court in barangay elections on questions of fact shall be final and non-appealable. In his petition for certiorari, the COMELEC is faulted for not taking cognizance of the petitioners appeal. Issue: Whether or not the decisions of Municipal or Metropolitan Courts in barangay election contests are subject to the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the COMELEC considering Section 9 of R.A. No. 6679? Held: The dismissal of the appeal is justified, but on an entirely different and more significant ground, to wit, Article IX-C, Section 2(2) of the Constitution, providing that the COMELEC shall Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction. Municipal or Metropolitan Courts being courts of limited jurisdiction, their decisions in barangay election contests are subject to the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the COMELEC under the afore-quoted section. Hence, the decision rendered by the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, should have been appealed directly to the COMELEC and not to the RTC. Accordingly, Section 9 of Rep. Act No. 6679, insofar as it provides that the decision of the municipal or metropolitan court in a barangay election case should be appealed to the RTC, must be declared unconstitutional.

Election Laws RELAMPAGOS vs. CUMBA ( 243 SCRA 502 ) Election Contests, A. Jurisdiction over Election Contests

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Facts: In the elections of 11 May 1992, the petitioner Relampagos and private respondent Cumba were candidates for Mayor of Magallanes, Agusan del Norte. The latter was proclaimed the winning candidate, with a margin of twenty-two votes over the former. Unwilling to accept defeat, the petitioner filed an election protest with the RTC which found the petitioner to have won with a margin of six votes over the private respondent and rendered judgment in favor of the petitioner. On 4 July 1994, the private respondent appealed the decision to the COMELEC. The petitioner, on 12 July 1994, filed with the trial court a motion for execution pending appeal, which the trial court granted On 3 August 1994. The private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the order of execution which was denied on 5 August 1994. The private respondent then filed with the respondent COMELEC a petition for certiorari to annul the aforesaid order of the trial court granting the motion for execution pending appeal and the writ of execution. On 9 February 1995, the COMELEC promulgated its resolution granting the petition. Accordingly, petitioner was ordered restored to her position as Municipal Mayor, pending resolution of the appeal before the Commission. Aggrieved by the resolution, the petitioner filed this special civil action. Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC has jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus in election cases where it has exclusive appellate jurisdiction? Held: The Court in concluding that the aforesaid last paragraph of Section 50 of B.P. 697 has not been repealed by the Omnibus Election Code, held that the COMELEC has the authority to issue the extraordinary writs for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus only in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. Hence, the trial court acted with palpable and whimsical abuse of discretion in granting the petitioners motion for execution pending appeal and in issuing the writ of execution. Any motion for execution pending appeal must be filed before the period for the perfection of the appeal. Since the motion for execution pending appeal was filed only on 12 July 1994, or after the perfection of the appeal, the trial court could no longer validly act thereon. COMELEC has jurisdiction, hence, it correctly set aside the challenged order granting the motion for execution pending appeal and writ of execution issued by the trial court.

Election Laws

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MALALUAN vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS ( 254 SCRA 397 ) Election Contests, A. Jurisdiction over Election Contests Facts: Private respondent Joseph Evangelista was proclaimed by the Municipal Board of Canvassers as the duly elected Mayor of Kidapawan, North Cotabato as against petitioner Luis Malaluan. The latter filed an election protest with the RTC, which declared petitioner as the duly elected mayor. Acting without precedent, the court found private respondent liable not only for Malaluans protest expenses but also for moral and exemplary damages and attorneys fees. Private respondent appealed the decision to the COMELEC. Petitioner, for his part, filed a motion for execution pending appeal which was granted by the trial court. Petitioner then assumed and exercised the powers and functions of said office. This did not last, because the First Division of the COMELEC ordered Malaluan to vacate the office, having found private respondent to be the rightful winner and awarded damages, consisting of attorneys fees, actual expenses for zerox copies, unearned salary and other emoluments for the period, en masse denominated as actual damages, notwithstanding the fact that the electoral controversy had become moot and academic on account of the expiration of the term of office. The COMELEC en banc affirmed said decision. Hence, Malaluan filed this petition. Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in awarding the aforecited damages in favor of private respondent? Held: The decision of a judicial body is a basis for a winning candidates right to assume office. We deem petitioner, therefore, to be a de facto officer and is thus legally entitled to the emoluments of the office. Section 259 of the Omnibus Election Code only provides for the granting in election cases of actual and compensatory damages in accordance with law. The victorious party in an election case cannot be indemnified for expenses which he has incurred in an electoral contest in the absence of a wrongful act or omission or breach of obligation clearly attributable to the losing party. If any damage had been suffered by private respondent due to the execution of judgment pending appeal, that damage may be said to be equivalent to damnum absque injuria, which is, damage without injury, or damage or injury inflicted without injustice, or loss or damage without violation of a legal right, or a wrong done to a man for which the law provides no remedy. That portion of the decision awarding actual damages to private respondent Joseph Evangelista is hereby declared null and void for having been issued in grave abuse of discretion and in excess of jurisdiction.

Election Laws ALVAREZ vs. COMELEC (GR No. 142527 March 01, 2001 ) Election Contests, A. Jurisdiction over Election Contests

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Facts: On May 12, 1997, petitioner Arsenio Alvarez, with 590 votes, was proclaimed Punong Barangay of Doa Aurora, Quezon City, his opponent, private respondent Abad-Sarmiento, obtained 585 votes. Private respondent filed an election protest in the Metropolitan Trial Court claiming irregularities in the reading and appreciation of ballots by the Board of Election Inspectors. After a recount of the ballots in the contested precincts, the Trial Court ruled that the private respondent won the election, garnering 596 votes while petitioner got 550 votes. On appeal, the COMELECs Second Division ruled that private respondent won over petitioner. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration. Meanwhile, private respondent filed a Motion for Execution pending appeal which petitioner opposed. The COMELEC En Banc denied the Motion for Reconsideration and affirmed the decision of the Second Division. It granted the Motion for Execution pending appeal. Petitioner brought before the Supreme Court this petition for Certiorari assailing the Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc, denying the Motion for Reconsideration of herein petitioner and affirming the Resolution of its Second Division alleging that the COMELEC En Banc granted the respondents Motion for Execution pending appeal when the appeal was no longer pending, thus the motion had become obsolete and unenforceable. Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion when it prematurely acted on the Motion for Execution pending appeal? Held: We note that when the motion for execution pending appeal was filed, petitioner had a motion for reconsideration before the Second Division. This pending motion for reconsideration suspended the execution of the resolution of the Second Division. Appropriately then, the division must act on the motion for reconsideration. Thus, when the Second Division resolved both petitioners motion for reconsideration and private respondents motion for execution pending appeal, it did so in the exercise of its exclusive appellate jurisdiction. Correspondingly, we do not find that the COMELEC abused its discretion when it allowed the execution pending appeal. Petition is DISMISSED, and the En Banc Resolution of the COMELEC is AFFIRMED.

Election Laws CASTROMAYOR vs. COMELEC (250 SCRA298) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, D. Procedure

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Facts: Petitioner Castromayor was a candidate for a seat in the eight-member Sangguniang Bayan of the municipality of Calinog, Iloilo in the elections held in May 1995. The winners were proclaimed on the basis of the canvass which showed that petitioner received votes for the eighth place. When Alice Garin, Chairman of the MBC, rechecked the totals in the Statement of Votes the following day, she discovered that the number of votes cast for Nilda Demorito, as member of the Sanguniang Bayan, was 62 more than that credited to her. As Garin later explained to the Provincial Election Supervisor, the returns from one precinct had been overlooked in the computation of the totals, therefore, the total number of votes cast for Demorito was 51 votes more than the votes cast for petitioner. Garin reported the matter to the Regional Election Director, who advised her to request authority from the COMELEC to reconvene for the purpose of correcting the error. A fax letter was sent to the Law Department of the COMELEC in Manila explaining the problem and asking for the authority to reconvene and correct the error, to annul the proclamation of petitioner and proclaim Demorito as the eighth member of the Sangguniang Bayan. A formal letter was later sent to the COMELEC and the same issued a resolution annulling the proclamation of Castromayor and proclaimed Demorito as the duly elected eighth member. Petitioner protested the proposed action and questioned the legality of the actuations of Garin. Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion when he was not afforded with right to refute the resolution of the COMELEC? Held: No. MBC proclamations may be raised directly to the COMELEC en banc in the exercise of its constitutional function to decide questions affecting elections. What has just been said also disposes of petitioners other contention that because his proclamation has already been made, any remedy of the losing party is an election protest. Where a proclamation is null and void, the proclamation is no proclamation at all and the proclaimed candidates assumption of office cannot deprive the COMELEC of the power to declare such nullity and annul the proclamation. The MBCs action to reconvene for purposes of correction of errors is valid under Rule 27 Sec. 7 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Though it pertains to preproclamation proceedings and here proclamation of petitioner has been made, there is nothing to suggest the it cannot be applied to the case at bar, in which the validity of the proclamation is precisely in question.

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DUREMDES vs. COMELEC ( 178 SCRA 746 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, D. Procedure Facts: Petitioner Ramon D. Duremdes, private respondent Cipriano B. Penaflorida, and Rufino Palabrica ran for the office of Vice-Governor of the Province of Iloilo. During the canvass of votes by the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Iloilo, Penaflorida objected verbally to some 110 election returns from various precincts, which he followed up with written objections. The Board overruled the same in separate Orders either because they were not timely filed or that the formal defects did not affect the genuineness of the returns, or that in case of allegations of tampering, no evidence was presented to support the charge. COMELEC an Appeal by Way of a Petition for Review, from the aforesaid rulings of the Board pleading, among others, for the exclusion of the questioned election returns and for Penaflorida s proclamation as the elected Vice-Governor of Iloilo. Penaflorida filed, also with the COMELEC, a Petition seeking the annulment of election returns and the suspension of the proclamation of any candidate. The Board proclaimed Duremdes as the duly elected Vice-Governor. Duremdes took his oath and assumed office. COMELEC after hearing, issued a Per Curiam Resolution, sustaining the rulings of the Board of Canvassers on Penafloridas objections, as well as Duremdes proclamation. Duremdes faults the COMELEC with grave abuse of discretion for having disregarded the well-settled doctrines (1) that matters of protest, objections or issues not originally raised before the Board of Canvassers upon the opening of the returns, cannot be raised for the first time before the COMELEC; and (2) that after a proclamation has been made, a preproclamation controversy is no longer viable, the proper recourse being an election protest. Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC has jurisdiction over pre-proclamation controversies not raised before the Board of Canvassers level? Held: Yes. The COMELEC has the power to decide all questions affecting elections (Article IX[C] Section 2[3], 1987 Constitution), a question pertaining to the proceedings of said Board may be raised directly with the COMELEC as a preproclamation controversy. When so elevated, the COMELEC acts in the exercise of its original jurisdiction for which reason it is not indispensable that the issue be raised before the Board of Canvassers during the canvassing. The COMELEC is not discharging its appellate jurisdiction under Section 245 of the Omnibus Election Code, which has to do with contests regarding the inclusion or exclusion in the canvass of any election returns, with a prescribed appellate procedure to follow. Matters of correction of the statement of votes may be the subject of a pre proclamation case which may be filed directly with the Commission.

Election Laws VILLAROYA vs. COMELEC ( 155 SCRA 633 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, D. Procedure

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Facts: Petitioner Villaroya and private respondent Roa were among the congressional candidates in Cagayan de Oro City. Villaroya garnered 38,222 votes, while respondent Roa got a total of 38,196 votes, with a plurality of 6 votes, in favor of petitioner Villaroya. Due to the protest of the lawyers of Roa, Villaroya was not proclaimed by the Board of Canvassers. Roa filed a petition in the COMELEC contesting the election claiming fraud, duress, falsification and other grounds. Upon a formal request made by Roa, the Board of Canvassers furnished her a copy of the Statement of Votes. Roa filed with the Board of Canvassers a protest for the error or mistake in the tabulation of the election returns based on such copy. COMELEC directed the Board of Canvassers to reconvene to verify the election. After the verification of the election returns Roa was proclaimed. Petitioner filed in this Court a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction alleging that Roa not having filed an objection with the Board of Canvassers during the canvassing, deprived the COMELEC of appellate jurisdiction to entertain Roas petition for the verification of the election return in question and that the question was not proper for a pre-proclamation controversy but in an election contest that should be brought before the house electoral tribunal. Villaroya further alleged that the direct filing of the protest with the COMELEC did not make it a pre-proclamation controversy; that the decision of the COMELEC authorizing such verification by the Board of Canvassers was illegal, arbitrary and was issued without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC committed a grave abuse of discretion in ordering the City Board of Canvassers to verify the election returns and that the subject protest must be filed with the electoral tribunal. Held: No. It must be observed further, that there is no plausible reason to prohibit an aggrieved candidate from filing an objection regarding the election returns directly before the Comelec itself if the election irregularities that vitiate the integrity of the election returns are not apparent upon their faces. What is therefore involved is the original jurisdiction of the Comelec rather than its appellate jurisdiction for precisely the objection is filed not before the Board of Canvassers because the irregularities are not apparent upon the face of the election returns. The Commission en banc rules, therefore, that the protest or objection filed by Petitioner Bernardita Roa after discovery of the discrepancy in the Statement of Votes was filed seasonably.

Election Laws ALFONSO vs. COMELEC ( GR 107847, June 2, 1997 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, D. Procedure

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Facts: In the May 11, 1992 elections, Pedro Alfonso ran for councilor in the First District of Manila, which is entitled to elect six councilors. On the eve of the elections, Pedro Alfonso died. His daughter Irma Alfonso, petitioner herein, filed her certificate of candidacy in substitution for her deceased father. After the canvassing of the election returns by respondent City Board of Canvassers, the results of the elections for councilors for the First District of Manila were announced as follows: 1st - Ernesto Nieva-60101, 2nd - Gonzalo Gonzales-44744, 3rd - Honorio Lopez-35803, 4th Pedro Alfonso-34648, 5th - Avelino Cailian-32462, 6th - Roberto Ocampo-31264, 7th - Alberto Domingo-28715. Apparently, the City Board of Canvassers added the votes of Pedro Alfonso to those of petitioners thereby placing her in the fourth slot. Consequently, private respondent questioned such action. He prayed that the votes cast for Pedro Alfonso be declared as stray votes and that, he be proclaimed as the sixth winner for councilor. The COMELEC resolved private respondents petition declaring votes cast in favor of Pedro Alfonso as stray votes and to CREDIT in favor of respondent Irma Alfonso only those votes cast with the name ALFONSO or IRMA ALFONSO. Petitioner thereby questioned said resolution before this Court, which dismissed the aforesaid petition in a minute resolution, after finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the COMELEC. Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion in denying the petitioners motion for recount? Held: No. At the outset, petitioners prayer for a reopening of the ballots is not a proper issue for a pre-proclamation controversy. The issues raised by petitioner should be threshed out in election protest. Errors in the appreciation of ballots by the board of inspectors are proper subject for election protest and not for recount or reappreciation of ballots. The appreciation of the ballots cast in the precincts is not a proceeding of the board of canvassers for purposes of pre-proclamation proceedings under Section 241, Omnibus Election Code, but of the boards of election inspectors who are called upon to count and appreciate the votes in accordance with the rules of appreciation provided in Section 211, Omnibus Election Code. Otherwise stated, the appreciation of ballots is not part of the proceedings of the board of canvassers. The complete election returns whose authenticity is not in question, must be prima facie considered valid for the purpose of canvassing the same and proclamation of the winning candidates.

Election Laws

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MATALAM vs. COMELEC ( 271 SCRA 733 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, D. Procedure Facts: Petitioner Matalarn and Private Respondent Candao were both candidates for Governor of the Province of Maguindanao in the May 1995 elections. During the canvass of the election returns in the municipalities of Datu Piang and Maganoy, Petitioner challenged before the respective Municipal Boards of Canvassers the authenticity of the election returns in said towns. The Provincial Board of Canvassers rejected the pleas of the petitioner, thus a petition for exclusion of the results of the said municipalities were filed before the COMELEC. During the pendency of the action, respondent was proclaimed duly elected governor. The same proclamation was nullified by the second division of the COMELEC and thereafter reinstated the proclamation. A motion for reconsideration was filed by petitioner and for technical examination of signatures and thumbmarks of registered voters. The same was denied, hence a petition for certiorari. Petitioner further claims that the returns in one municipality were falsified and spurious as there was actually no election conducted in that place and in some precints, the number of votes exceeded the number of voters. Issues: 1. Whether or not the questioned election returns be the proper subjects of a preproclamation controversy? 2. Whether or not the COMELEC may go beyond the face of election returns in a preproclamation case? Held: 1. No. The Omnibus Election Code defines a pre-proclamation controversy as 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 Sections233, 234, 235 and 236 in relation to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of the election returns. The issues raised by the petitioner are not among those enumerated under Sec. 243 of the Omnibus Election Code. The enumeration therein is restrictive and exclusive. Petitioner did not claim and failed to characterize the returns as incomplete, contain material defects, appear to be tampered with falsified, or contain discrepancies. 2. No. The COMELEC is not required to go beyond election returns which are on their face regular and authentic. The proper remedy available to the petitioner in this case is election protest. Pre-proclamation controversies are to be resolved in a summary proceedings and should not subject the returns to meticulous technical examinations.Technical examination is not proper in a pre-proclamation controversy.

Election Laws

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MENTANG vs. COMELEC ( G.R. No. 11037, Feb. 4, 1994 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, D. Procedure Facts: Petitioner Mentang was certified and proclaimed by the Provincial Board of Canvasser as the third and last winning candidate for Regional Assemblyman in the Second District of Maguindanao over private respondent Ali Bernan for garnering 2,000 more votes than the latter. He took his oath of office as a duly elected member of the Regional Legislative Assembly. Private respondent learned of the proclamation on a Sunday. On the fifth day following the proclamation, he filed with the COMELEC a Petition to Correct Manifest Error and Annul the Proclamation of petitioner Mentang and asked that he be proclaimed instead as the third winning candidate for Assemblyman in the Second District of Maguindanao. Petitioner questioned COMELECs jurisdiction to hear and decide private respondents petition on the ground that being a pre-proclamation controversy which relates to the correction of manifest errors in the certificate of canvass, the same should have been filed within the reglementary period of 5 days counted from petitioners proclamation. The petition was, however, filed 8 days after petitioners proclamation. The COMELEC en banc held that the petition was filed by Ali Bernan on time and sustained its jurisdiction over the petition in the exercise of its broad administrative powers over the conduct of elections. It also directed the retabulation of the votes for petitioner Mentang and private respondent Ali Bernan. Petitioner Mentang petitioned the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of COMELEC. Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that it has jurisdiction to decide private respondent Ali Bernans petition? Held: The Supreme Court sustained COMELECs jurisdiction and dismissed Mentangs petition. The petition filed, although designates petition to correct manifest error and annul the proclamation of Mentang, is in reality a petition for annulment or declaration of nullity of proclamation, which need not be filed within 5 day reglamentary period but only within a reasonable time. Ali Bernans petition which was filed 8 days after Mentangs proclamation was filed within the 10-day period for filing an election protest or quo warranto petition.

Election Laws

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JAMIL vs. COMELEC ( G.R. No. 123648, December 15, 1997 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, D. Procedure Facts: Petitioner Jamil and Private respondent Balindong were among the mayoralty candidates in the Municipality of Sultan Gumander, Lanao del Sur during the May 1998 elections. During the canvassing of the election returns by the MBC headed by Sansarona, private respondent objected to the inclusion of 4 election returns from 4 precincts on the grounds of duress, for being spurious returns and for not being an authentic copy. The Sansarona MBC issued its ruling on the 3 objection setting aside the election returns from a precinct for further investigation or to go deeper into the contradicting testimonies of the Chairman and the watchers or to summon the 2 BFIs who failed to affix their signature and explain the alleged increase of votes of a candidate. The MBC composition was changed with Macadato as its head. It denied the exclusion of return from precinct. Private respondent Balindong appealed to the COMELEC the ruling of the Macadato MBC. Petitioner also appealed to the COMELEC challenging the Sansarona MBC rulings. While these 2 cases were still pending in the COMELEC, the Macadato MBC proclaimed petitioner Jamil and other winning candidates. The COMELEC Second Division issued an Order directing the MBC to reconvene and proclaim the winning candidate for Mayor of Sultan Gumander, Lanao del Sur. The Macadato MBC proclaimed petitioner Jamil as duly elected Mayor. Private respondent filed with the COMELEC an urgent motion to annul petitioners proclamation on the ground that the proclamation was without authority of the COMELEC, and to constitute a new Board of Canvasser. The COMELEC Second division annulled petitioner Jamils proclamation and directed the constitution of a new MBC. The newly constituted MBC headed by Cariga proclaimed private respondent Balindong as the newly elected Mayor. The COMELEC en banc affirmed the decision of the Second Division. Petitioner Jamil asked the Supreme Court to revise and reverse the decision of the COMELEC en banc Issue: Which of the 2 proclamations is valid. Held: The Supreme Court held that both proclamations are not valid. The Macadato and Cariga MBC did not make definite rulings or pronouncement on the inclusion or exclusion of returns so that there was no complete and valid canvass which is prerequisite to a valid proclamation. Petitioner Jamils proclamation by the MBC had no authority from COMELEC. The Omnibus Election Code prohibits the proclamation by the Board of Canvassers of a candidate as winner where returns are contested, unless authorized by the COMELEC.

Election Laws DUMAYAS vs. COMELEC ( G.R. Nos. 141952-53, April 20,2001 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, C. Issues Which May Be Raised

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Facts: Petitioner Dumayas and respondent Bernal were rival candidates for the position in Mayor of Carles, Iloilo in the May 1998 synchronized elections. During the canvassing by the MBC, petitioner sought the exclusion of election returns for 3 precincts of Barangay Pantalan owing to alleged acts of terrorism, intimidation and coercion committed in said precincts during the casting and counting of votes. The MBC denied petitioners objections and proceeded with the canvass which showed respondent Bernal garnering more votes than the petitioner. Petitioner appealed to the COMELEC Second Division which excluded election returns from 3 precincts and directed the MBC to reconvene and finish the canvass of the remaining or uncontested returns and then, to proclaim the winning mayoralty candidate. Private respondent Bernal moved for reconsideration of the decision of the Second Division with the COMELEC en banc. The MBC proclaim petitioner winner of the election. Private respondent Bernal filed an urgent motion to declare void petitioners proclamation. The duly proclaimed ViceMayor Betita, and private respondent Bernal filed n action for quo warranto against petitioner before the RTC of Iloilo. Petitioner filed with COMELEC en banc a motion to cancel Bernals motion for reconsideration and motion declare void petitioners proclamation on the ground that respondent Bernal should be deemed to have abandoned said motion when he filed quo warranto action. The COMELEC en banc reversed the decision of the Second Division, annulled the petitioner Dumayas proclamation; and constituted a new MBC. Respondent Bernal was proclaimed by the newly-constituted MBC as the duly-elected Mayor of the Municipality. Petitioner Dumayas asked the Supreme Court to set aside the COMELEC en banc resolution. Issue: Whether the COMELEC was correct in including in the canvass the returns of the contested precincts? election

Held: The Supreme Court held in the affirmative. The only evidence presented by the petitioner to prove the alleged irregularities were the self-serving contracts of his watchers and inspectors. Returns cannot be excluded on mere allegations that the returns are manufactured or fictitious when the returns on their face appear to be regular and without any physical signs of tampering. The election irregularities cited by the petitioner would require the presentation of evidence which cannot be done in a pre-proclamation controversy which is summary in nature.

Election Laws PATORAY vs. COMELEC ( 249 SCRA 440, 1995 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, C. Issues Which May Be Raised

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Facts: Petitioner Patoray and private respondent Disomimba were the mayoralty candidates of Tamporan, Lanao del Sur during the May 8, 1995 elections. During the canvassing of the votes by the MBC, private respondent objected to the inclusion of election returns from 4 precincts for being substituted, fraudulent and obviously manufacture but the same was denied by the MBC. On appeal, the COMELEC Second Division ordered the exclusion from the count of election returns from 2 precincts owing to discrepancy between the taras and the written figures and the incomplete data as to provincial and congressional candidates. The COMELEC en banc denied petitioners motion for reconsideration and ordered the constitution of a new MBC to implement the second Divisions resolution. Petitioner Patoray filed a petition for certiorari seeking to annul the decision of the COMELEC. Issue: Whether the exclusion of the 2 election returns was the proper remedy to answer the discrepancy between the taras and the written figures and the incompleteness of the data as to provincial and congressional candidates? Held: The Supreme Court held that the discrepancy between the taras and the written figure and the incomplete data as to the provincial and congressional candidates found in the excluded election returns constituted materials defects in the election return. While the COMELEC was correct in excluding the 2 election returns, in addition it should have also ordered a recount of the votes cast in the 2 precincts. Its failure to do this resulted in the disenfranchisement of the voters in these precincts. The recounting of the votes is consistent with the summary nature of proceedings involving pre-proclamation controversies.

Election Laws

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LAUDENIO vs. COMELEC ( 276 SCRA 705,1997 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, C. Issues Which May Be Raised Facts: Respondent Longcop was proclaimed winner by the Municipal Board of Canvasser (MBC) for the position of Mayor of Mapanas, Northern Samar during the May 8, 1995 elections over another candidate, petitioner Laudenio. Five days after, Laudenio filed with respondent COMELEC a petition to annul Longcops proclamation and to declare the constitution of the MBC and its proceedings illegal. He alleged that the MBC repeatedly adjourned the canvassing of votes and secretly reconvened with a new Chairman who was appointed by the Provincial Election Supervisior, not by the COMELEC. Petitioner Laudenio filed an election protest before the Regional Trial Court. The COMELEC dismissed Laudenios petition for lack of merit, stating that he was deemed to have consented to the new composition of the MBC when he actively participated in the proceedings otherwise, he should have appealed the issue on appeal to the COMELEC and the pre-proclamation controversy was no longer possible since Longcop had already been proclaimed and assumed office. Laudenio filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the COMELEC. Laudenio petitioned the Supreme Court for review of the COMELECs decision. Issue: Whether the pre-proclamation controversy filed by Laudenio with COMELEC was proper? the

Held: The Supreme Court ruled in the negative. Under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, a pre-election controversy which relates to the illegal composition of the Board must be filed immediately when the Board begins to act as such or at the time of the appointment of the member whose capacity to sit as such is objected to if it comes after the canvassing of the Board or immediately at the point where the proceedings begin to be illegal. In the case of Laudenio, he filed his petition 5 days after Longcop had been proclaimed. A pre-proclamation controversy before the COMELEC is no longer possible and must be dismissed after a proclamation has been made. Besides, he can no longer question the Boards composition after having actively participated in the proceedings.

Election Laws

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LAGUMBAY vs. COMELEC ( 16 SCRA 175, 1966 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, C. Issues Which May Be Raised Facts: This is a petition for revision of the order of the COMELEC refusing to reject returns of certain precincts of some municipalities in Mindanao which were obviously manufactured. It appeared that all the 8 candidates of the Liberal party garnered all the votes, with each of them receiving exactly the same number of votes while all the 8 candidates of the Nacionalista party getting zero. Issue: Whether the COMELEC was correct in not rejecting obviously manufactured election returns of certain questioned precincts. Held: The Supreme Court ruled in the negative. There is no such thing as blockvoting now-a-days. The election returns showing all 8 candidates of the Liberal party getting all the votes, with each one of them getting the same number of votes while the 8 nacionalista candidates got zero are evidently false or fabricated because of the inherent improbability of such a result. It is against statistical improbabilities especially because al least 1 vote should have been received by the Nacionalista candidates, i.e. the Nacionalista inspector. While it is possible that the inspector did not like his partys senatorial live-up, it is not, however, possible that he disliked all of such candidates and it is also not likely that he favored all the 8 candidates of the Liberal party. Hence, most probably, he was made to sign an obviously false return by force or duress. If he signed voluntarily, then he betrayed his party and any voting or counting of ballots was a fraud and a mockery of the popular will. Rejecting such returns on the ground that they are manifestly fabricated or falsified would constitute a practical approach to the COMELECs mission to insure a free and honest elections.

Election Laws

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OLFATO vs. COMELEC ( 103 SCRA 741, 1981 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, B. COMELEC Jurisdiction Facts: During the January 30, 1980 local elections, petitioner Olfato and the other petitioners were the official Nationalista Party (NP) candidates for Mayor and Sanggunian Bayan, respectively, of Tanauan, Batangas. On the other hand, Lirio was the official candidate of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) fo Mayor of said town. Three (3) days after the elections, private respondent Lirio, together with the candidates in his ticket, filed with COMELEC a petition for suspension of the canvass and proclamation of winning candidates for the elective positions of Tanauan, alleging disenfranchisement of voters, terrorism, fake IDs of voters and flying voters. Based on the result of canvass of votes, Olfato and the rest of the petitioners were proclaimed as the duly elected Mayor and Sanggunian members. Lirio filed a supplemental petition praying for the annulment of petitioner Olfatos proclamation citing fake voters and massive disenfranchisement which affects the very integrity of the election returns. He also filed an election protest against Olfato in the CFI of Batangas citing fake voters, fake voters identification cards, flying voters, substitute voters and massive disenfranchisement. Olfato assumed the office of Mayor. The COMELEC issued a Resolution dismissing Lirios petition and reinstating the proclamation made by the MBC of respondent Olfato and the entire ticket, without prejudice to other legal remedies under the Election Code. Issue: Whether the COMELEC has jurisdiction over the pre-proclamation Controversy filed by Lirio? Held: The Supreme Court riled in the affirmative citing previous rulings of the Court. The COMELEC has the power and authority to inquire into the allegation of fake voters, with fake IDs in a pre-proclamation controversy in order to determine the authenticity or integrity of election returns or whether such election returns faithfully record that only registered or genuine voters were allowed to vote. Under the election Code, the COMELC is the sole judge of all proclamation controversies. The COMELEC has vast powers under the Election Code in consonance with its primordial task of insuring free, orderly and honest elections. The Court dismissed the petition for review filed by Lirio and directed the COMELEC to proceed with dispatch on the pre-proclamation controversy (petition for suspension of canvass and proclamation of winning candidates). The court noted that the COMELEC Resolution considered the proclamation made in favor of Olfato and his ticket as temporary in nature as it was made subject to the final outcome of the preproclamation case.

Election Laws

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DIPATUAN vs. COMELEC ( 185 SCRA 86, 1990 ) Pre-Proclamation Controversy, A. Defined Facts: Petitioner Dipatuan and private respondent Amanoddin were mayoralty candidates of Bacolod, Grande during the 1988 special local elections in Lanao del Sur. The Board of Canvassers chaired by a certain Mangray proclaimed petitioner Dipatuan as Mayor. Five days thereafter, a separate Board headed by Minalang proclaimed private respondent Amanoddin as the duly elected mayor. Both proclamations were set aside by the


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