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XI.

Election Protest and Quo Warranto

209. Is it still possible to contest the election even after the proclamation?
Yes. There are two (2) remedies available to contest the election after proclamation election protest and quo
warranto.

210. What is an election protest?


It is a procedure to contest the election or the return of an elective official.259

211. Who can file an election protest?


Any losing candidate who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and has been votedfor the same office can
file a sworn petition for election protest.260
The losing candidate who is filing an election protest against an elective regional,provincial or city official must
have received the second or third highest number ofvotes, or, in a multislot position, was among the next four
candidates following thelast ranked winner proclaimed, as reflected in the official results of the
electioncontained in the SOV.261

212. When should the petition for election protest be filed?


Within ten (10) days after the proclamation of the results of the election.262 However,the pendency of a pre
proclamation controversy involving the validity of the proclamation shall suspend the running of the period to
file an election protest.263

213. Is there a filing fee for an election protest?


Yes. Protestants or counterprotestants are required to pay a filing fee of Php 10,000.If there are claims for
damages and attorneys fees, additional filing fees shall be required in accordance with the schedule provided
for in Rule 141 of the Rules of Court.264

214. Aside from the filing fees, are there any other filing costs that the protestant must bear?
Yes. Cash deposit is required when the protest requires (i) recount of ballots or retabulation of election returns,
or (ii) bringing to the COMELEC of copies of otherelection documents, printed or electronic, as well as the
machines or devices to whichelectronic election documents are stored or may be processed.The amount shall
be:
a. One thousand Five Hundred Pesos (Php 1,500.00) for each precinct involved inthe protest or counterprotest;
provided that in no case shall the deposit be less than Php 25,000, to be paid upon the filing of the election
protest/counterprotest;

b. If the amount to be deposited does not exceed Php 100,000, the same shall bepaid in full within ten (10) days
after the filing of the protest; and
c. If the deposit exceeds Php 100,000, a cash deposit in the amount of Php100,000 shall be made within ten (10)
days after the filing of the protest.The balance shall be paid in such installments as may be required by the
COMELECwith at least five (5) days advance notice to the party required to make the deposit.

KEY POINT FOR PROTESTANT:


Failure to make the cash deposits required
within the required time limit shall result in the
automatic dismissal of the protest or the
counter-protest.265

Position

Jurisdiction

Appeal

Applicable Procedure

President and VicePresident

Supreme Court en
banc266

2005 Rules of the Presidential


Electoral Tribunal

Senators

Senate Electoral
Tribunal267

Revised Rules of the Senate


Electoral Tribunal dated 12
November 2003

Members of the
House of
Representatives

House of
Representatives
Electoral Tribunal
(HRET)268

1998 Rules of the House of


Representatives Electoral Tribunal,
as amended.
COMELEC Resolution 8804 [22
March 2010] and COMELEC
Rules of Procedure dated 15
February 1993

Regional, provincial
and city officials

COMELEC

Municipal officials

proper Regional Trial


Court (RTC)270

COMELEC, whose
decision will be final,
executory and nonappealable271

215. What are the jurisdictional facts that must be alleged in an election protest?
Before the proper court or tribunal may exercise special jurisdiction in election protests, the following
jurisdictional facts must be alleged in the election protest:
a. That the protestant was a candidate who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and was voted upon in the
election;
b. That the protestee has been proclaimed in the said election; and
c. That the petition was filed within ten (10) days after the proclamation.272

216. Is there any protective measure that can be employed to ensure the integrity of the ballots pending an
election protest?

Yes. Where the allegations in a protest so warrant, and simultaneously with the issuance of summons, the
COMELEC shall order the municipal treasurer and election officer, and the responsible personnel and custodian
to take immediate steps or measures to safeguard the integrity of all the ballot boxes, lists of votes with voting
records, books of voters and other documents or paraphernalia used in the election, as well as data storage
devices containing electronic data evidencing the conduct and the results of elections in the contested
precincts.273

217. When will the ballot boxes and election documents be brought to the COMELEC?
Within 48 hours from receipt of the answer with counterprotest, if any, and whenever the allegations in a
protest or counterprotest so warrant, the COMELEC shall order the ballot boxes with their keys, lists of voters
with voting records, books of voters, the electronic data storage devices, and other documents, paraphernalia, or
equipment
relative to the precincts involved in the protest or counterprotest, to be brought before it.274
The recount of ballots shall commence on the date specified in the preliminary conference order.275
218. Who can file a petition for quo warranto?
Any voter can file a sworn petition for quo warranto.276

219. When can a pe


tition for quo warranto be filed?
Within ten (10) days after the proclamation of the results of the election.277

220. To whom should the quo waranto be filed?


The jurisdiction to hear quo warranto proceedings is vested in different bodies:
Position

Jurisdiction

President and
VicePresident

Supreme Court en
banc278
279

Senators

SET

Members of the
House of
Representatives

HRET280

Regional,
COMELEC281
provincial and city
officials

Appeal Applicable Procedure


-

2005 Rules of the


Presidential Electoral
Tribunal

Revised Rules of the Senate


Electoral Tribunal dated 12
November 2003

1998 Rules of the House of


Representatives Electoral
Tribunal, as amended

COMELEC Resolution No.


8804 [22 March 2010] and
COMELEC Rules of
Procedure dated 15 February
1993

221. Can the courts execute their judgments pending appeal?


Yes. Based on the suppletory applicability of the Rules of Court, the court may, in its discretion, order
execution to issue even before the expiration of the time to appeal, upon good reasons to be stated in a special
order.

The following constitute good reasons, and a combination of two or more of them will suffice to grant
execution pending appeal: (1) the public interest involved or the will of the electorate; (2) the shortness of the
remaining portion of the term of the contested office; and (3) the length of time that the election contest has
been pending.282

222. Is it possible to suspend or toll the running of the 10day period for the filing of an election protest or
quo warranto?
The filing of a petition to annul or to suspend the proclamation of any candidate with the COMELEC shall toll
or suspend the running of the 10day period, respectively.283

223. Is there a preference granted to election protests and quo warranto proceedings?
YES. The courts, in their respective cases, shall give preference to election contests over all other cases, except
those of habeas corpus, and shall without delay, hear and, within thirty (30) days from the date of their
submission for decision, but in every case within six (6) months after filing, decide the same.284

224. What are the differences between and election protest and a quo warranto proceeding?
ELECTION CONTEST

QUO WARRANTO

Purpose

disqualify an elected official on the ground


Annul the election of an elected candidate on the
of ineligibility due to age, citizenship or the
grounds of frauds and irregularities in the conduct
COMELEC of acts
of election and the counting and
enumerated under Section 68 of B.P. Blg.
canvassing of votes
881

Issue

Who obtained the highest number


of legal votes

Qualification or the lack of it, of the


winning candidate,

Who Files

Candidate who has duly filed a


certificate of candidacy and has
been voted for the same office

Any registered voter

Effect on the Protestant may assume office after


protestee is unseated
Protestee

Protestee may be ousted, the protestant will


not be seated

225. In the case of an election protest, what will happen if the protestant dies after the filing of the petition?
With the death of the protestant, there is no longer a protestant to speak of. A claim to a public office is personal
to the protestant and, therefore, cannot pass on to his widow or other heirs. In which case, the petition will be
dismissed.285

226. Is the simultaneous prosecution of a preproclamation controversy and an election protest allowed?
Yes. There is no law or rule prohibiting the simultaneous prosecution or adjudication of preproclamation
controversies and elections protests. Simultaneous prosecution scenario may be allowed because pre
proclamation controversies and election protests differ in terms of the issues involved and the evidence
admissible in each case and the objective each seeks to achieve. Moreover, under certain circumstances, the
Supreme Court even encourages the reinforcement of a preproclamation suit with an election protest. When it
becomes apparent that a preproclamation suit is inadequate, that election irregularities may be fully ventilated
and properly adjudicated by the competent tribunal.286

227. How about the quo warranto and election protest? May they be simultaneously heard?
Yes. The proper tribunal/courts jurisdiction over a quo warranto proceeding and a protest proper can be
exercised jointly and in the same proceeding.287

228. Who has the burden of proof in an election protest?


It is protestant who had the burden of proof to show that the results of election are false and erroneous.288

229. What must be proven in an election protest and how must it be proved?
The issue in an election protest is who obtained the highest number of legal votes. Then, the protestant must
show that he actually obtained the highest number of valid votes.
To prove this, one may: a) show miscounting and/or misappreciation of votes in a process called revision of
ballots, wherein the ballot boxes are opened and their contents, especially the ballots, recounted and re
examined; and b) proving that certain votes of a protestee are invalid, because, among other things, the ballots
were cast under duress or that the ballots were cast by persons other than the registered voters.289

230. How should the evidence be presented before the COMELEC?


The reception of evidence on all matters of issues raised in the protest and counter protest shall be presented and
offered in a hearing upon completion of (a) the recount of ballots, or retabulation of election documents, or (b)
the technical examination, if warranted.
Reception of evidence shall be made in accordance with the following order of hearing:
a. The protestant shall present evidence in support of the protest;
b. The protestee shall then adduce evidence in support of the defense, counterclaim or counterprotest, if any;
c. The parties may then respectively offer rebutting evidence only, unless the COMELEC for good reasons, in
the furtherance of justice, permits them to offer evidence upon their original case, and
d. No surrebuttal evidence shall be allowed.290

231. What is the best evidence by which the protestant can prove that the results of the election were
erroneous?
In an election contest where what is involved is the correctness of the number of votes of each candidate, the
best and most conclusive evidence are the ballots themselves. But where the ballots cannot be produced, were
tampered or are not available, the ER would be the best evidence.291
While the ballots are the best evidence of the manner in which the electors have voted, they are the best
evidence only when their integrity can be satisfactorily established. One who relies, therefore, upon
overcoming the prima facie correctness of the official canvass by a resort to the ballots must first show that the
ballots are intact and genuine. Once this is shown, the burden of proof shifts to the protestee of establishing that
the ballots have in fact been tampered with, or that they have been exposed under such circumstances that a
violation of them might have taken place.292

232. How will electronic evidence be treated?


An electronic document or data shall be regarded as the equivalent of an original document under the Best
Evidence Rule if it is a printout or output readable by sight or other means, shown to reflect the data
accurately.293

233. How will electronic evidence be authenticated?


The person seeking to introduce an electronic document in an election protest has the burden of proving its
authenticity.294
Manner of proving authenticity of electronic document or data
presented as evidence:
a. by evidence that it had been digitally signed by the person
purported to have signed the same;
b. by evidence that other appropriate security procedures or
devices for authentication of electronic documents were
applied to the document; or
c. by other evidence showing its integrity and reliability to
the satisfaction of the judge.

234. Can the petitioner claim damages in an election protest or quo warranto proceeding?
Yes. The petitioner may be granted actual or compensatory damages.295 The propriety of the award of damages
in favor of the protestant as against the protestee hinges on whether or not, protestee committed an actionable
wrong which could serve as basis for the award. The mere fact that a protestant (or a plaintiff, for that matter)
wins in an adversarial proceeding does not automatically result in an award for damages against the protestee
(or defendant).
Conversely, if the protestant had lost in the protest, it also does not automatically result in damages in favor of
the protestee, otherwise, it will discourage parties from seeking redress of grievances. Therefore, the prevailing
party to be entitled to damages involves an independent determination based on the facts and the law on
damages.296
235. Are there any legal presumptions in appreciating the ballots and ER as evidence?
Yes. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is presumed that every election has been conducted fairly,
honestly and regularly; and the election inspectors, who performed their duties under oath, are presumed to have
discharged them faithfully, to have appreciated the ballots correctly; and to have counted the votes accurately.
Therefore, the tally boards and ER are prima facie evidence of the true results of election in a precinct and the
party who, in an election contest, impugns the election in any precinct, has the burden of proving that the tally
boards and ER are inaccurate or false.297

The following presumptions are considered as facts, unless contradicted or overcome by other evidence:
a) On the election procedure:

The election of candidates was held on the date and time set and in the polling place determined by the
COMELEC;

The BEIs were duly constituted and organized;

Political parties and candidates were duly represented by poll watchers;

Poll watchers were able to perform their function; and

The Minutes of Voting and Counting contains all the incidents that transpired before the Board of
Election Inspectors.

b.) On election paraphernalia:

Ballots and election returns that hear the security markings and features prescribed by the COMELEC
are genuine;

The data and information supplied by BEI members in the accountable forms are true and correct; and

The allocation, packing and distribution of election documents or paraphernalia were properly and
timely done.

c.) On appreciation of ballots:

A ballot with appropriate security markings is valid;

The ballot reflects the intent of the voter;

The ballot is properly accomplished;


A voter personally prepared one ballot, except in the case of assistors; and

The exercise of ones right to vote was voluntary and free.

259 COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 (22 March 2010), Part III, Rule 6, Section 2.
260 Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (1985), Section 250, 251 and 252.
261 COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 (22 March 2010), Part III, Rule 6, Section 2.
262 Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (1985), Section 250, 251 and 252.
263 COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 (22 March 2010), Part III, Rule 6, Section 6.
264 COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 (22 March 2010), Part III, Rule 11, Section 1.
265 COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 (22 March 2010), Part III, Rule 11, Section 2.
266 The 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article VII, Section 4.
267 The 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article VI, Section 17.
268 The 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article VI, Section 17.
269 The 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article IX(C), Section 2; Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (1985), Section 249 and 250.
270 Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (2007), Section 251.
271 The 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article VI, Section 17; Article VII, Section 4; and Article IX(C), Section 2; Republic Act No. 7166
(1991), Section 22.
272 San Juan v. Cerilles, HRET Case No. 04007, 17 February 2005.
273 COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 (22 March 2010), Part III, Rule 12, Section 1.
274 COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 (22 March 2010), Part III, Rule 12, Section 2.
275 COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 (22 March 2010), Part III, Rule 15, Section 1.
276 Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (1985), Section 253.
277 Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (1985), Section 253.
278 The 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article VII, Section 4.
279 The 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article VI, Section 17.
280 The 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article VI, Section 17.
>281 The 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article IX(C), Section 2; Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (1985), Section 253.
282 Ramas et. al. v. COMELEC et. al., GR No. 130831 , 10 February 1998.

283 Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (1985), Section 248; See also Tan and Burahan v. COMELEC, GR Nos. 16614347, 20 November 2006.
284 Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (1985), Section 258.
285 Abadilla v. Aban, HRET Case No. 95005, 11 September 1996; See also Poe v. MacapagalArroyo, P.E.T. Case No. 002, 29 March 2005.
286 Tan and Burahan v. COMELEC, G.R. Nos. 16614347, 20 November 2006.
287 Loyola v. Dragon, HRET Case No. 92026, 31 January 1994.
288 Batuhan v. Cuenco, HRET Case No. 01032,22 January 2004.
289 Loyola v. Dragon, HRET Case No. 92026, 31 January 1994.
290 COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 (22 March 2010), Part III, Rule 18, Section 1.
291 Lerias v. HRET, GR No. 97105, 15 October 1991.
292 Rosal v. COMELEC, GR No. 168253 & 172741, 16 March 2007.
293 COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 (22 March 2010), Part IV, Rule 21, Section 1.
294 COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 (22 March 2010), Part IV, Rule 22, Section 1 and Section 2.
295 Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (1985), Section 259.
296 Randa v. Libardos, EAC No. 21094, 24 August 1995; See also Malaluan v. COMELEC, GR No. 120193, 6 March 1996.
297 Batuhan v. Cuenco, HRET Case No. 01032, 22 January 2004.

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