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G.R. No.

206004, February 24, 2015 In the Resolution26 dated August 6, 2013, this court ordered
In the Memorandum11 dated January 17, 2013, Election Timbol to file a reply. When Timbol failed to file his reply
JOSEPH B. TIMBOL, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON Officer Valencia recommended that Timbol's Certificate of despite receipt of the order,27 we required Atty. Jose
ELECTIONS, Respondent. Candidacy be given due course.12cralawred Ventura Aspiras (Atty. Aspiras), counsel for Timbol, to show
cause why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with for
Despite Election Officer Valencia's favorable failing to file a reply on behalf of his client in the
RESOLUTION recommendation, Timbol's name was not removed from the Resolution28 dated September 2, 2014. We likewise
list of nuisance candidates posted in the COMELEC's reiterated our order for Atty. Aspiras to file a reply for
LEONEN, J.: website. With the printing of ballots for the automated Timbol.29 Still, Atty. Aspiras failed to comply with our show
elections set on February 4, 2013, Timbol filed on February cause resolution.
2, 2013 a Petition13 praying that his name be included in the
The power of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to certified list of candidates for the May 13, 2013 We dispense with the filing of the reply and resolve to decide
restrict a citizen's right of suffrage should not be arbitrarily elections.14cralawred this case based on the Petition and the Comment.
exercised. The COMELEC cannot motu proprio deny due
course to or cancel an alleged nuisance candidate's In the Minute Resolution dated February 5, 2013, the The issues for this court's resolution are the following:
certificate of candidacy without providing the candidate his COMELEC denied the Petition for being moot, considering
opportunity to be heard. that the printing of ballots had already begun.15cralawred First, whether this case is moot and academic; and
This is a Petition1 for Certiorari with prayer for issuance of On March 15, 2013,16 Timbol filed his Petition for Certiorari Second, whether respondent COMELEC gravely abused its
preliminary mandatory injunction against the following with this court, arguing that the COMELEC gravely abused discretion in denying petitioner Timbol's Petition for
issuances of the COMELEC: first, Resolution No. 96102 dated its discretion in declaring him a nuisance inclusion in the certified list of candidates.
January 11, 2013, declaring petitioner Joseph B. Timbol candidate.17 According to Timbol, the COMELEC deprived
(Timbol) a nuisance candidate and ordering the removal of him of due process of law when he was declared a nuisance We deny the Petition.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
his name from the certified list of candidates;3 and second, candidate even before Election Officer Valencia conducted
Minute Resolution4 dated February 5, 2013, denying his the clarificatory hearing.18 He prayed for a preliminary
Petition to have his name listed in the certified list of I
mandatory injunction ordering the COMELEC to include his
candidates and printed on the ballots for the May 13, 2013 name in the certified list of candidates for the position of
elections.5cralawred This case is moot and academic.
Member of Sangguniang Panlungsod of the Second District
of Caloocan City.19cralawred A case is moot and academic if it "ceases to present a
On October 5, 2012, Timbol filed a Certificate of
Candidacy6 for the position of Member of the Sangguniang justiciable controversy because of supervening events so
In the Resolution20 dated April 16, 2013, this court ordered that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or
Panlungsod of the Second District of Caloocan City. On the Office of the Solicitor General to comment on behalf of
January 15, 2013, he received a Subpoena7 from COMELEC value."30 When a case is moot and academic, this court
the COMELEC. generally declines jurisdiction over it.31cralawred
Election Officer Dinah A. Valencia (Election Officer
Valencia), ordering him to appear before her office on In its Comment,21 the COMELEC argued that the Petition was
January 17, 2013 for a clarificatory hearing in connection There are recognized exceptions to this rule. This court has
already moot and academic, considering that the May 13, taken cognizance of moot and academic cases
with his Certificate of Candidacy.8cralawred 2013 elections had already been conducted.22cralawred when:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Timbol, together with his counsel, appeared before Election Even assuming that the Petition was not moot and academic,
Officer Valencia. During the clarificatory hearing, Timbol (1) there was a grave violation of the Constitution; (2) the
the COMELEC maintained that it did not gravely abuse its case involved a situation of exceptional character and was of
argued that he was not a nuisance candidate. He contended discretion. Contrary to Timbol's argument, he was given an
that in the 2010 elections, he ranked eighth among all the paramount public interest; (3) the issues raised required the
opportunity to be heard when Election Officer Valencia formulation of controlling principles to guide the Bench, the
candidates who ran for Member of the Sangguniang heard him during the clarificatory hearing. He even
Panlungsod of the Second District of Caloocan City. He Bar and the public; and (4) the case was capable of
admitted that he attended the clarificatory hearing with his repetition yet evading review.32 (Citation
allegedly had sufficient resources to sustain his counsel.23cralawred
campaign.9cralawred omitted)cralawlawlibrary
Moreover, the COMELEC did not gravely abuse its discretion
He pointed out before the clarificatory hearing panel that his in denying Timbol's Petition to be included in the certified We may no longer act on petitioner's prayer that his name
name already appeared in the list of nuisance candidates list of candidates, considering that the printing of ballots had be included in the certified list of candidates and be printed
posted in the COMELEC website pursuant to Resolution No. already started.24cralawred on the ballots as a candidate for Member of the Sangguniang
9610 dated January 11, 2013. The clarificatory hearing Panlungsod. Petitioner filed with this court his Petition for
panel allegedly assured him that his name would be deleted With these arguments, the COMELEC prayed that this court Certiorari on March 15, 2013, 39 days after respondent
from the list and that his Certificate of Candidacy would be deny the Petition for lack of merit.25cralawred began printing the ballots on February 4, 2013. Also, the
given due course.10cralawred May 13, 2013 elections had been concluded, with the
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winners already proclaimed. . . . The organization of an election with bona fide candidates issued Resolution No. 9610 on January 11, 2013 when
standing is onerous enough. To add into the mix candidates petitioner appeared before Election Officer Valencia in a
That this case is moot and academic, however, does not with no serious intentions or capabilities to run a viable clarificatory hearing on January 17, 2013. This was an
preclude us from setting forth "controlling and authoritative campaign would actually impair the electoral process. This ineffective opportunity to be heard.
doctrines"33 to be observed by respondent in motu is not to mention the candidacies which are palpably
proprio denying due course to or cancelling certificates of ridiculous so as to constitute a one-note joke. The poll body That petitioner was able to file a Petition for inclusion in the
candidacy of alleged nuisance candidates. This motu would be bogged by irrelevant minutiae covering every step certified list of candidates did not cure the defect in the
proprio authority is always subject to the alleged nuisance of the electoral process, most probably posed at the instance issuance of Resolution No. 9610. First, he would not have to
candidate's opportunity to be heard34 � an essential of these nuisance candidates. It would be a senseless file the Petition had been given an opportunity to be heard
element of procedural due process.35cralawred sacrifice on the part of the State.40cralawlawlibrary in the first place.� Second, in the Minute Resolution dated
February 5, 2013, respondent denied petitioner's Petition
II on the sole ground that the printing of ballots had already
To minimize the logistical confusion caused by nuisance
begun on February 4, 2013.
candidates, their certificates of candidacy may be denied
Respondent's power to motu proprio deny due course or cancelled by respondent. This denial or
due course to a certificate of candidacy is We understand the "insurmountable and tremendous
cancellation may be "motu proprio or upon a verified
subject to the candidate's opportunity to operational constraints and costs implications"48 of
petition of an interested party,"41 "subject to an opportunity
be heard. reprinting ballots had respondent ordered the inclusion of
to be heard."42cralawred
petitioner's name in the certified list if candidates.� The
Under Article II, Section 26 of the Constitution, "[t]he State The opportunity to be heard is a chance "to explain one's ballots already printed would have to be recalled, leading to
shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public side or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the the waste of the ballots previously printed.� It should be
service[.]" This, however, does not guarantee "a action or ruling complained of."43 In election cases, due noted that these ballots are special as the have the capability
constitutional right to run for or hold public office[.]" 36 To process requirements are satisfied "when the parties are of being optically scanned by Precinct Count Optical Scan
run for public office is a mere "privilege subject to afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their machines.� Reprinting another batch of ballots would,
limitations imposed by law."37 Among these limitations is side of the controversy at hand."44cralawred indeed, be costly.
the prohibition on nuisance candidates.
In Cipriano v. Commission on Elections,45 this court Still, "automation is not the end-all and be-all of an electoral
Nuisance candidates are persons who file their certificates explained:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary process."49� Respondent should also balance its duty "to
of candidacy "to put the election process in mockery or ensure that the electoral process is clean, honest, orderly,
disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the and peaceful"50 with the right of a candidate to explain his or
[T]he determination whether a candidate is eligible for the
similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by her bona fide intention to run for public office before he or
position he is seeking involves a determination of fact where
other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that she is declared a nuisance
both parties must be allowed to adduce evidence in support
the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office candidate.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
of their contentions. Because the resolution of such fact may
for which the certificate of candidacy has been filed and thus
result to a deprivation of one's right to run for public office,
prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the III
or, as in this case, one's right to hold public office, it is only
electorate."38 In Pamatong v. Commission on Elections,39 this
proper and fair that the candidate concerned be notified of
court explained why nuisance candidates are prohibited Counsel for petitioner must be fined for
the proceedings against him and that he be given the
from running for public office:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary failure to comply with the Show Cause
opportunity to refute the allegations against him. It should
be stressed that it is not sufficient, as the COMELEC claims, Resolution dated September 2, 2014.
. . . The State has a compelling interest to ensure that its that the candidate be notified of the Commission's inquiry
electoral exercises are rational, objective, and orderly. into the veracity of the contents of his certificate of Atty. Aspiras, counsel for petitioner, failed to obtain the
Towards this end, the State takes into account the practical candidacy, but he must also be allowed to present his own injunctive reliefs prayed for in time for the May 13, 2013
considerations in conducting elections. Inevitably, the evidence to prove that he possesses the qualifications for the elections.� However, this was no reason for him to defy our
greater the number of candidates, the greater the office he seeks.46cralawlawlibrary orders to file a reply on behalf of his client.� for such
opportunities for logistical confusion, not to mention the contumacious acts, he should be ordered to show cause why
increased allocation of time and resources in preparation for he should not be proceeded with administratively.
the election. These practical difficulties should, of course, Respondent commits grave abuse of discretion if it denies
never exempt the State from the conduct of a mandated due course to or cancels a certificate of candidacy without WHEREFORE, this Petition for Certiorari is DENIED for
electoral exercise. At the same time, remedial actions should affording the candidate an opportunity to be being moot and academic.
be available to alleviate these logistical hardships, whenever heard.47cralawred
necessary and proper. Ultimately, a disorderly election is Moreover, Atty. Jose Ventura Aspiras is ORDERED to show
not merely a textbook example of inefficiency, but a rot that Respondent declared petitioner a nuisance candidate cause within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from
erodes faith in our democratic institutions. . . . without giving him a chance to explain his bona receipt of this Resolution why he should not be the subject
fideintention to run for office. Respondent had already of administrative actions for his contumacious attitude

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towards repeated orders of this court, specifically, for his
failure to comply with the Resolutions dated August 6, 2013
and September 2, 2013.� The action against Atty. Jose
Ventura Aspiras will be docketed as a new and separate
administrative case.

Let a copy of this decision be given to the Office of the Bar


Confidant for the initiation of the proper disciplinary action
against Atty. Jose Ventura Aspiras.

SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary

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G.R. No. 207900 April 22, 2014 March 8, 2013, Reversed8 the MCTC ruling and ordered the legal force and effect. SALMA A. OMAR is hereby proclaimed
deletion of Hayudini’s name in Barangay Bintawlan’s as the duly-elected Mayor for South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi, being
MAYOR GAMAL S. HAYUDINI, Petitioner, permanent list of voters. In view of said decision, Omar filed the qualified candidate obtaining the highest number of
vs. before the COMELEC a Petition to Cancel the Certificate of votes, considering the doctrine laid down by the case Aratea
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and MUSTAPHA J. Candidacy of Gamal S. Hayudini by Virtue of a Supervening v. Comelec13 that a cancelled CoC cannot give rise to a valid
OMAR, Respondents. Event on March 26, 2013. The petition was docketed as SPA candidacy, and much less, to a valid vote, to wit:
No. 13-249(DC)(F).9 Hayudini appealed the March 8, 2013
RTC decision to the Court of Appeals (CA), but on April 17, "Ergo, since respondent Lonzanida was never a candidate
DECISION 2013, in CA-G.R. SP No. 05426,10 the same was denied. for the position of mayor [of] San Antonio, Zambales, the
votes cast for him should be considered stray votes.
PERALTA, J.: On May 13, 2013, Hayudini won the mayoralty race in South Consequently, Intervenor Antipolo, who remains as the sole
Ubian, Tawi-Tawi. He was proclaimed and, consequently, candidate for the mayoralty post and obtained the highest
For the Court's resolution is a Petition for Certiorari and took his oath of office. number of votes, should now be proclaimed as the duly-
Prohibition1 under Rule 65, which petitioner Gamal S. elected Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales.
Hayudini (Hayudini) filed to set aside and annul the assailed On June 20, 2013, the COMELEC Second Division issued a
Resolutions of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Resolution11 granting Omar’s second petition to cancel Lonzanida's certificate of candidacy was cancelled, because
dated June 20, 20132 and July 10, 2013,3 which cancelled his Hayudini’s CoC. The dispositive portion of the COMELEC he was ineligible or not qualified to run for Mayor. Whether
Certificate of Candidacy for the mayoralty seat in the 2013 Resolution reads: his certificate of candidacy is cancelled before or after
local elections in South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi, for having been elections is immaterial because the cancellation on such
issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or ground means he was never a candidate from the very
in excess of jurisdiction. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is
hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Certificate of Candidacy beginning, his certificate of candidacy being void ab initio.
filed by Gamal S. Hayudini as Mayor of South Ubian, Tawi- There was only one qualified candidate for Mayor in the May
The antecedent facts are: Tawi, in the 13 May 2013 elections, is hereby CANCELLED. 2010 elections - Antipolo, who therefore received the
highest number of votes."
On October 5, 2012, Hayudini filed his Certificate of The Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations
Candidacy4 (CoC) for the position of Municipal Mayor of is hereby directed to constitute a Special Board of The Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations
South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi in the May 13, 2013 National and Canvassers for the purpose of proclaiming the lawful winner is hereby directed to constitute a Special Board of
Local Elections held in the Autonomous Region in Muslim for mayoralty position in South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi during the Canvassers for the purpose of proclaiming SALMA OMAR as
Mindanao. Ten days after, or on October 15, 2012, Mustapha 13 May 2013 elections. the winning candidate for mayoralty position in South
J. Omar (Omar) filed a Petition to Deny Due Course or Cancel Ubian, Tawi-Tawi during the May 13, 2013 elections.
Hayudini’s CoC, entitled Mustapha J. Omar v. Gamal S.
Hayudini, docketed as SPA No. 13-106(DC)(F).5Omar SO ORDERED.12
SO ORDERED.14
basically asserted that Hayudini should be disqualified for
making false representation regarding his residence. He Hayudini, thus, filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the
claimed that Hayudini declared in his CoC that he is a COMELEC En Banc, arguing that its Second Division Thus, Hayudini filed the instant petition for certiorari and
resident of the Municipality of South Ubian when, in fact, he committed grave error when it gave due course to a prohibition.
resides in Zamboanga City. belatedly filed petition and treated the March 8, 2013 RTC
Decision as a supervening event. Hayudini mainly advances the following arguments:
Thereafter, on November 30, 2012, Hayudini filed a Petition
for Inclusion in the Permanent List of Voters in Barangay On July 10, 2013, the COMELEC En Banc denied Hayudini’s A.
Bintawlan, South Ubian before the Municipal Circuit Trial Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit. The decretal
Court (MCTC). Despite the opposition of Ignacio Aguilar portion of the En Banc’s assailed Resolution states: THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
Baki, the MCTC granted Hayudini’s petition on January 31, DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF
2013.6 On that same day, the COMELEC’s First Division WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission JURISDICTION WHEN IT FAILED TO OUTRIGHTLY DISMISS
dismissed7 Omar’s earlier petition to cancel Hayudini’s CoC RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES to DENY this Motion for THE INSTANT PETITION TO CANCEL CERTIFICATE OF
in SPA No. 13-106(DC)(F) for lack of substantial evidence Reconsideration for LACK OF MERIT. Consequently, the June CANDIDACY DUE TO SUPERVENING EVENT (SPA. NO. 13-
that Hayudini committed false representation as to his 20, 2013 Resolution of the Commission (Second Division) is 249(DC)(F), DESPITE THE FAILURE OF RESPONDENT
residency. hereby affirmed. OMAR TO COMPLY WITH THE MANDATORY
REQUIREMENTS OF SECTIONS 2 AND 4 OF THE COMELEC
Oppositor Baki, subsequently, elevated the case to the Corollary thereto, the proclamation of respondent GAMAL S. RESOLUTION NO. 9532.
Bongao Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 5. The RTC, on HAYUDINI is hereby declared null and void and without any

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xxxx and 4 of Rule 23 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, as protract and delay the trial of an ordinary action. This
amended by Resolution No. 9523. The subject sections read: principle was reiterated in the cases of Tolentino v.
C. Commission on Elections18 and De Castro v. Commission on
Section 2. Period to File Petition. — The Petition must be Elections,19 where the Court held that "in exercising its
filed within five (5) days from the last day for filing of powers and jurisdiction, as defined by its mandate to protect
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF the integrity of elections, the COMELEC must not be
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF certificate of candidacy; but not later than twenty five (25)
days from the time of filing of the certificate of candidacy straitjacketed by procedural rules in resolving election
JURISDICTION WHEN IT REVISITED AND MODIFIED THE disputes."20
FINAL AND EXECUTORY RESOLUTION ISSUED BY THE subject of the Petition. In case of a substitute candidate, the
FIRST DIVISION IN THE SPA NO. 13-106(DC)(F). Petition must be filed within five (5) days from the time the
substitute candidate filed his certificate of candidacy. Settled is the rule that the COMELEC Rules of Procedure are
subject to liberal construction.1âwphi1 The COMELEC has
III. the power to liberally interpret or even suspend its rules of
xxxx
procedure in the interest of justice, including obtaining a
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF speedy disposition of all matters pending before it. This
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF Section 4. Procedure to be observed. — Both parties shall liberality is for the purpose of promoting the effective and
JURISDICTION WHEN IT RESOLVED TO CANCEL observe the following procedure: efficient implementation of its objectives − ensuring the
PETITIONER HAYUDINI’S CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible
AND DECLARE HIS PROCLAMATION AS NULL AND VOID. 1. The petitioner shall, before filing of the Petition, furnish a elections, as well as achieving just, expeditious, and
copy of the Petition, through personal service to the inexpensive determination and disposition of every action
respondent. In cases where personal service is not feasible, and proceeding brought before the COMELEC. Unlike an
xxxx ordinary civil action, an election contest is imbued with
or the respondent refuses to receive the Petition, or the
respondents’ whereabouts cannot be ascertained, the public interest. It involves not only the adjudication of
L. petitioner shall execute an affidavit stating the reason or private and pecuniary interests of rival candidates, but also
circumstances therefor and resort to registered mail as a the paramount need of dispelling the uncertainty which
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF mode of service. The proof of service or the affidavit shall be beclouds the real choice of the electorate. And the tribunal
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF attached to the Petition to be filed;17 has the corresponding duty to ascertain, by all means within
JURISDICTION WHEN IT DECREED THE PROCLAMATION its command, whom the people truly chose as their rightful
leader.21
OF SALMA A. OMAR AS THE DULY-ELECTED MAYOR FOR Here, Hayudini filed his CoC on October 5, 2012, which was
SOUTH UBIAN, TAWI-TAWI.15 also the last day of filing of CoC for the May 13, 2013
elections. Omar, on the other hand, filed the subject petition Indeed, Omar had previously filed a Petition to Deny Due
The Court finds the petition to be without merit. only on March 26, 2013. Under the COMELEC Rules, a Course or Cancel Hayudini’s CoC on October 15, 2012,
Petition to Deny Due Course or Cancel CoC must be filed docketed as SPA No. 13-106(DC)(F). This was dismissed on
within five days from the last day for filing a certificate of January 31, 2013, or the same day the MCTC granted
A special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 is an candidacy, but not later than twenty-five days from the time Hayudini’s petition to be included in the list of voters.
independent action based on thespecific grounds and of filing of the CoC subject of the petition. Clearly, Omar’s However, on March 8, 2013, the RTC reversed the MCTC
available only if there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy, petition was filed way beyond the prescribed period. ruling and, consequently, ordered the deletion of Hayudini’s
and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. It will Likewise, he failed to provide sufficient explanation as to name in Barangay Bintawlan’s permanent list of voters. Said
only prosper if grave abuse of discretion is alleged and is why his petition was not served personally to Hayudini. deletion was already final and executory under the
actually proved to exist. Grave abuse of discretion has been law.22 Hayudini, however, still appealed the case to the CA,
defined as the arbitrary exercise of power due to passion, which was subsequently denied. Notably, thereafter, he
prejudice or personal hostility; or the whimsical, arbitrary, Notwithstanding the aforementioned procedural missteps, went to the CA again, this time to file a petition for certiorari,
or capricious exercise of power that amounts to an evasion the Court sustains the COMELEC’s liberal treatment of docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 05499.23 In a Resolution dated
or refusal to perform a positive duty enjoined by law or to Omar’s petition. July 9, 2013, the CA also denied said petition primarily
act at all in contemplation of law. For an act to be because of Hayudini’s act of engaging in the pernicious
condemned as having been done with grave abuse of As a general rule, statutes providing for election contests are practice of forum shopping by filing two modes of appeal
discretion, such an abuse must be patent and gross.16 Here, to be liberally construed in order that the will of the people before said court.24 Hence, by virtue of the finality of said
Hayudini miserably failed to prove that the COMELEC in the choice of public officers may not be defeated by mere RTC decision deleting his name from the voters’ list,
rendered its assailed Resolutions with grave abuse of technical objections. Moreover, it is neither fair nor just to Hayudini, who had been previously qualified under the
discretion. keep in office, for an indefinite period, one whose right to it law25 to run for an elective position, was then rendered
is uncertain and under suspicion. It is imperative that his ineligible.
Hayudini contends that the COMELEC committed grave claim be immediately cleared, not only for the benefit of the
abuse of discretion when it admitted, and later granted, winner but for the sake of public interest, which can only be
Omar’s petition despite failure to comply with Sections 2 achieved by brushing aside technicalities of procedure that

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Given the finality of the RTC decision, the same should be xxxx stated in his CoC that "he is eligible for said office," Hayudini
considered a valid supervening event. A supervening event made a clear and material misrepresentation as to his
refers to facts and events transpiring after the judgment or Sec. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate eligibility, because he was not, in fact, registered as a voter
order had become executory. These circumstances affect or of candidacy. – A verified petition seeking to deny due in Barangay Bintawlan.
change the substance of the judgment and render its course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by
execution inequitable.26 Here, the RTC’s March 8, 2013 the person exclusively on the ground that any material Had the COMELEC not given due course to Omar’s petition
decision, ordering the deletion of Hayudini’s name in the list representation contained therein as required under Section solely based on procedural deficiencies, South Ubian would
of voters, which came after the dismissal of Omar’s first 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at any time not have a mayor who is not even a registered voter in the
petition, is indubitably a supervening event which would later than twenty-five days from the time of the filing of the locality he is supposed to govern, thereby creating a
render the execution of the ruling in SPA No. 13-106(DC)(F) certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, after due notice ridiculously absurd and outrageous situation. Hence, the
iniquitous and unjust. As the COMELEC aptly ruled, the and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the election. COMELEC was accurate in cancelling Hayudini’s certificate
decision to exclude Hayudini was still non-existent when the of candidacy. Hayudini likewise protests that it was a grave
COMELEC first promulgated the Resolution in SPA No. 13- error on the part of the COMELEC to have declared his
106(DC)(F) on January 31, 2013, or when the issues The false representation mentioned in these provisions
must pertain to a material fact, not to a mere innocuous proclamation null and void when no petition for annulment
involved therein were passed upon.27 The First Division of his proclamation was ever filed. What petitioner seems to
even expressed that although the Election Registration mistake. A candidate who falsifies a material fact cannot run;
if he runs and is elected, cannot serve; in both cases, he or miss, however, is that the nullification of his proclamation as
Board (ERB) denied Hayudini’s application for registration, a winning candidate is also a legitimate outcome − a
it could not adopt the same because it was not yet final as she can be prosecuted for violation of the election laws.
These facts pertain to a candidate's qualification for elective necessary legal consequence − of the cancellation of his CoC
Hayudini was still to file a Petition for Inclusion before the pursuant to Section 78. A CoC cancellation proceeding
MCTC.28 Thus, it is not far-fetched to say that had this final office, such as his or her citizenship and residence. Similarly,
the candidate's status as a registered voter falls under this essentially partakes of the nature of a disqualification
RTC finding been existent before, the COMELEC First case.35 The cancellation of a CoC essentially renders the
Division could have taken judicial notice of it and issued a classification as it is a legal requirement which must be
reflected in the CoC. The reason for this is obvious: the votes cast for the candidate whose certificate of candidacy
substantially different ruling in SPA No. 13-106(DC)(F).29 has been cancelled as stray votes.36 If the disqualification or
candidate, if he or she wins, will work for and represent the
local government under which he or she is running.30 Even CoC cancellation or denial case is not resolved before the
The same ruling adequately equipped Omar with the the will of the people, as expressed through the ballot, election day, the proceedings shall continue even after the
necessary ground to successfully have Hayudini’s CoC cannot cure the vice of ineligibility, especially if they election and the proclamation of the winner. Meanwhile, the
struck down. Under the rules, a statement in a certificate of mistakenly believed, as in the instant case, that the candidate may be voted for and even be proclaimed as the
candidacy claiming that a candidate is eligible to run for candidate was qualified.31 winner, but the COMELEC's jurisdiction to deny due course
public office when in truth he is not, is a false material and cancel his or her CoC continues. This rule likewise
representation, a ground for a petition under Section 78 of applies even if the candidate facing disqualification has
the Omnibus Election Code. Aside from the requirement of materiality, a false already taken his oath of office.37 The only exception to this
representation under Section 78 must consist of a rule is in the case of congressional and senatorial candidates
"deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact where the COMELEC ipso jure loses jurisdiction in favor of
Sections 74 and 78 read: which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible." either the Senate or the House of Representatives Electoral
Simply put, it must be made with a malicious intent to Tribunal after the candidates have been proclaimed, taken
Sec. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. – The certificate deceive the electorate as to the potential candidate's the proper oath, and also assumed office.38
of candidacy shall state that the person filing it is qualifications for public office.32
announcing his candidacy for the office stated therein and
that he is eligible for said office; if for Member of the It bears stressing that one of the requirements for a
Section 74 requires the candidate to state under oath in his mayoralty candidate is that he must be a resident of the city
Batasang Pambansa, the province, including its component CoC "that he is eligible for said office." A candidate is eligible
cities, highly urbanized city or district or sector which he or municipality where he intends to be elected. Thus, under
if he has a right to run for the public office. If a candidate is Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code, it is required that
seeks to represent; the political party to which he belongs; not actually eligible because he is not a registered voter in
civil status; his date of birth; residence; his post office a candidate must certify under oath that he is eligible for the
the municipality where he intends to be elected, but still he public office he seeks election. In this case, when petitioner
address for all election purposes; his profession or states under oath in his certificate of candidacy that he is
occupation; that he will support and defend the Constitution stated in his CoC that he is a resident of Barangay Bintawlan,
eligible to run for public office, then the candidate clearly South Ubian, Tawi Tawi and eligible for a public office, but it
of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance makes a false material representation, a ground to support
thereto; that he will obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees turned out that he was declared to be a non-resident thereof
a petition under Section 78.33 It is interesting to note that in a petition for his inclusion in the list of registered voters,
promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; that he is Hayudini was, in fact, initially excluded by the ERB as a
not a permanent resident or immigrant to a foreign country; he therefore committed a false representation in his CoC
voter. On November 30, 2012, the ERB issued a certificate which pertained to a material fact which is a ground for the
that the obligation imposed by his oath is assumed confirming the disapproval of Hayudini’s petition for
voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of cancellation of his CoC under Section 78 of the Omnibus
registration.34 This is precisely the reason why he needed to Election Code. Petitioner's ineligibility for not being a
evasion; and that the facts stated in the certificate of file a Petition for Inclusion in the Permanent List of Voters
candidacy are true to the best of his knowledge. resident of the place he sought election is not a ground for a
in Barangay Bintawlan before the MCTC. Thus, when he petition for disqualification, since the grounds enumerated

6
under Section 6839 of the Omnibus Election Code specifically SO ORDERED.
refer to the commission of prohibited acts, and possession
of a permanent resident status in a foreign country.

As held in Aratea v. COMELEC,40 which is a case for


cancellation of CoC under Section 78 of the Omnibus
Election Code, a cancelled certificate of candidacy void ab
initio cannot give rise to a valid candidacy, and much less to
valid votes. Whether a certificate of candidacy is cancelled
before or after the elections is immaterial, because the
cancellation on such ground means he was never a
candidate from the very beginning, his certificate of
candidacy being void ab initio. We then found that since the
winning mayoralty candidate's certificate of candidacy was
void ab initio, he was never a candidate at all and all his
votes were considered stray votes, and thus, proclaimed the
second placer, the only qualified candidate, who actually
garnered the highest number of votes, for the position of
Mayor.

We find the factual mileu of the Aratea case applicable in the


instant case, since this is also a case for a petition to deny
due course or cancel a certificate of candidacy. Since
Hayudini was never a valid candidate for the position of the
Municipal Mayor of South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi, the votes cast
for him should be considered stray votes, Consequently, the
COMELEC properly proclaimed Salma Omar, who garnered
the highest number of votes in the remaining qualified
candidates for the mayoralty post, as the duly-elected Mayor
of South Ubian, Tawi Tawi.

Codilla v. De Venecia case has no application in this case,


since it dealt with a petition for disqualification under
Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code and not a petition
to deny due course or cancel certificate of candidacy under
Section 78 which is the case at bar.

Finally, contrary to Hayudini's belief, the will of the


electorate is still actually respected even when the votes for
the ineligible candidate are disregarded. The votes cast in
favor of the ineligible candidate are not considered at all in
determining the winner of an election for these do not
constitute the sole and total expression of the sovereign
voice. On the other hand, those votes for the eligible and
legitimate candidates form an integral part of said voice,
which must equally be given due respect , if not more.41

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The COMELEC


Resolutions dated June 20, 2013 and July 10, 2013 are
hereby AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs.

7
G.R. No. 215995, January 19, 2016 electorate that she was qualified to substitute her husband. to Sign Certificates of Nomination and Acceptance dated
Additionally, private respondent claimed that "[t]he false September 11, 2012 which was signed by Ramon "Bong"
VICE-MAYOR MARCELINA S. representation of the [petitioner] that she is qualified for Revilla, Jr. (National President) and Jose S. Aquino II
ENGLE, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN public office consisted of a deliberate attempt to mislead, (Secretary-General) of Lakas-CMD in favor of Romualdez.
BANC AND WINSTON B. MENZON, Respondents. misinform, or hide a fact that would otherwise render a
candidate ineligible."7chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary The petition to deny due course or cancel petitioner's COC
was still pending with the COMELEC Second Division when
DECISION In petitioner's Verified Answer,8 she countered that: (1) the the May 13, 2013 Elections were held. James L. Engle's name
ground relied upon in private respondent's petition was not remained on the ballot. On May 15, 2013, the Municipal
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: the ground contemplated by Section 1, Rule 23 of COMELEC Board of Canvassers issued a certificate of canvass of votes
Resolution No. 9523; (2) the COMELEC did not issue an and proclamation of winning candidates for Babatngon
official declaration that petitioner's husband was an Mayor and Vice-Mayor9 wherein petitioner was declared as
Challenged in this petition for certiorari and prohibition independent candidate; and (3) James L. Engle's CONA was the duly-elected Vice-Mayor of Babatngon, Leyte. Petitioner
under Rule in relation to Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil signed by an authorized person acting on behalf of LAKAS- was credited with the Six Thousand Six Hundred Fifty Seven
Procedure is the Resolution1 of the Commission on Elections CMD. (6,657) votes cast for her husband as against private
(COMELEC) En Banc dated January 20, 2015 which upheld respondent's Three Thousand Five Hundred Fifteen (3,515)
the Resolution2 of the COMELEC Second Division dated July With regard to her first counter-argument, petitioner votes.10chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
5, 2013, denying due course to and/or cancelling posited that, under Section 1, Rule 23 of COMELEC
petitioner's certificate of candidacy; annulling her Resolution No. 9523, the exclusive ground for denial or It was only on July 5, 2013 did the COMELEC Second Division
proclamation as the duly-elected Vice-Mayor of Babatngon, cancellation of a COC is the falsity of a material promulgate the assailed Resolution which denied due
Leyte; and proclaiming private respondent in her stead. representation contained therein that is required by law. course to and cancelled petitioner's COC resulting in the
Private respondent's assertion that petitioner's statement in annulment of petitioner's previous proclamation as duly-
Petitioner and private respondent vied for the position of her COC regarding her affiliation with a political party was elected Vice-Mayor of Babatngon, Leyte and the declaration
Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Babatngon, Province of such a false representation is "absurd" considering that her of private respondent as winner of the contested position.
Leyte in the May 13, 2013 Automated Synchronized CONA was signed by Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr. and The dispositive portion of the July 5, 2013 Resolution is
National, Local and ARMM Regional Elections (the May 13, Mr. Raul L. Lambino, President and Senior Deputy Secretary- reproduced here:
2013 Elections, for brevity). Petitioner's late husband, James General of Lakas-CMD, respectively. Assuming the veracity
L. Engle, was originally a candidate for said contested of private respondent's allegations, his contention that
position; however, he died of cardiogenic shock on February WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Commission
petitioner is disqualified to run as a substitute is not a hereby RESOLVES to DENY DUE COURSE to and/or
2, 2013.3 Due to this development, petitioner filed her proper subject of a petition to deny due course or to cancel
certificate of candidacy4 on February 22, 2013 as a CANCEL the Certificate of Candidacy filed by
a COC. The qualification or disqualification of a candidate is Respondent MARCELINA S. ENGLE for the position of Vice-
substitute candidate for her deceased spouse. allegedly covered by Sections 12, 68, 69 and 78 of the Mayor of Babatngon, Leyte, for the 13 May 2013 National
Omnibus Election Code. In petitioner's view, the petition to and Local Elections. Moreover, Respondent MARCELINA S.
In response, private respondent filed, on February 25, 2013, cancel her COC is dismissible according to the second
a Petition to Deny Due Course and/or Cancel the Certificate ENGLE's proclamation as the duly-elected Vice-Mayor of
paragraph of Section 1 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9523 Babatngon, Leyte is hereby ANNULLED.
of Candidacy5 (COC) of petitioner arguing in the main that which provides that "[a] petition to Deny Due Course to or
the latter misrepresented that she is qualified to substitute Accordingly:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Cancel Certificate of Candidacy invoking grounds other than 1. The Executive Director is ordered to constitute a Special
her husband, who was declared an independent candidate those stated above or grounds for disqualification, or
by the COMELEC. It would appear that James L. Engle's Municipal Board of Canvassers for the municipality of
combining grounds for a separate remedy, shall be Babatngon, Leyte; and
Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) was summarily dismissed."
signed by Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD)
Leyte Chapter President, Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez 2. The Special Municipal Board of Canvassers is ordered to
As for petitioner's counter-arguments on the substantive immediately notify the parties, reconvene and proclaim
(Romualdez). However, Lakas-CMD failed to submit to the issues, she contended that there was no official declaration
COMELEC Law Department the authorization of Romualdez Petitioner WINSTON B. MENZON as the duly-elected Vice-
from the COMELEC that her deceased husband was an Mayor of Babatngon, Leyte.
to sign the CONAs of Lakas-CMD candidates in Babatngon as independent candidate. Private respondent's reliance on a
prescribed by Section 6(3) of COMELEC Resolution No. mere print out of the COMELEC website listing her husband Let the Executive Director implement this
9518. Thus, the COMELEC Law Department considered all as an independent candidate was misplaced as the same Resolution.11chanrobleslaw
Lakas-CMD candidates whose CONAs were signed by cannot be considered authoritative as opposed to official
Romualdez as independent candidates.6 For this reason, documents that showed James L. Engle's nomination by
private respondent charged petitioner with violation of According to the COMELEC Second Division, the substitution
Lakas-CMD and his acceptance of said nomination to run for of petitioner as a candidate in place of her deceased husband
Section 15, COMELEC Resolution No. 9518 which disallows the position of Vice-Mayor of Babatngon, Leyte under the
the substitution of an independent candidate. He argued for the position of Vice-Mayor of Babatngon, Leyte was not
banner of Lakas-CMD. Moreover, petitioner stressed that a material misrepresentation which may be a ground for
that petitioner's declaration that she was a member of the Romualdez was authorized to sign James L. Engle's CONA.
political party, Lakas-CMD, was intended to deceive the cancellation of her COC under Section 78, in relation to
She attached to her Verified Answer a copy of the Authority
8
Section 74, of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC). Citing CANDIDATE FOR THE POSITION OF VICE-MAYOR OF
jurisprudence, the COMELEC Second Division ruled that the PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC EN BANC AND BABATNGON, LEYTE.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
false representation contemplated under the law refers to a ITS SECOND DIVISION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
material fact affecting a candidate's qualification for office DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF VII
such as citizenship or residence. JURISDICTION WHEN IT GRANTED THE PETITION FILED
BY MENZON EVEN THOUGH NO LEGAL GROUND EXISTS TO PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC EN BANC AND
Despite the foregoing finding, the COMELEC Second Division DENY DUE COURSE TO OR CANCEL ENGLE'S CERTIFICATE ITS SECOND DIVISION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
nonetheless found sufficient basis to cancel petitioner's COC OF CANDIDACY GIVEN THE ABSENCE OF MATERIAL DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
on the ground that she could not have validly substituted her MISREPRESENTATION IN THIS JURISDICTION WHEN IT DISREGARDED AND BYPASSED
husband, who was deemed an independent candidate for CASE.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary THE WILL OF THE ELECTORATE BY IGNORING THE
failure of Lakas-CMD to submit to the COMELEC Law OVERWHELMING AND PROMINENT NUMBER OF VOTES
Department Romualdez's authority to sign CONAs for and III OBTAINED BY ENGLE DURING THE RECENTLY
on behalf of the party on or before October 1, 2012 in CONCLUDED MAY 13, 2013 NATIONAL AND LOCAL
violation of Section 6 (3) of COMELEC Resolution No. 9518. PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC EN BANC AND ELECTIONS.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The COMELEC Second Division noted that the purported ITS SECOND DIVISION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
authorization of Romualdez to sign CONAs for Lakas-CMD DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF VIII
candidates in Leyte was belatedly submitted in connection JURISDICTION WHEN IT DENIED DUE COURSE TO AND
with the proceedings on the petition to deny due course to, CANCELLED PETITIONER'S CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC EN BANC AND
or cancel petitioner's COC. EVEN THOUGH THE PETITION FILED BY MENZON IS ITS SECOND DIVISION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
CLEARLY THE WRONG LEGAL REMEDY TO ASSAIL THE DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
Finally, on the point on who should be declared the winning SUPPOSED INVALIDITY OF PETITIONER'S SUBSTITUTION JURISDICTION WHEN IT ORDERED THE PROCLAMATION
candidate for the position of Vice-Mayor of Babatngon, the THUS VIOLATING ENGLE'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO OF MENZON, THE CANDIDATE WHO OBTAINED THE
COMELEC Second Division held that private respondent, the DUE PROCESS OF LAW.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary SECOND HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTES, FOR THE POSITION
second placer, should be declared the winner in line with OF VICE-MAYOR OF BABATNGON,
jurisprudence stating that if the COC of the winning IV LEYTE.13chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
candidate is void ab initio then the votes of the disqualified
or ineligible candidate should be considered stray. PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC EN BANC AND
During the pendency of this petition, the COMELEC En
ITS SECOND DIVISION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
Aggrieved, petitioner moved for reconsideration of the Banc issued on February 3, 2015 a Writ of Execution14 in
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
aforementioned ruling of the COMELEC Second Division SPA Case No. 13-232 (DC) (F) in response to a motion filed
JURISDICTION WHEN IT DECLARED THAT ROMUALDEZ
with the COMELEC En Banc. However, the latter tribunal by private respondent which set the stage for the immediate
HAS NO AUTHORITY TO SIGN THE CON A OF LAKAS-CMD's
denied petitioner's plea in the assailed January 20, 2015 implementation of the assailed COMELEC Resolutions which
CANDIDATES IN LEYTE.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Resolution, the dispositive portion of which reads: are the subject matter of this case.
V On February 26, 2015, the COMELEC filed its
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion for
Reconsideration is DENIED for LACK OF MERIT. The Comment15 wherein it raised the following counter-
PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC EN BANC AND arguments:
Resolution of the Commission (Second Division) ITS SECOND DIVISION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
is AFFIRMED.12chanrobleslaw DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
I.
JURISDICTION WHEN IT GRANTED THE PETITION FILED
Appealing now to this Court for relief, petitioner offers the BY MENZON AND PENALIZED THE PETITIONER FOR AN
THE NAME AND SPECIMEN SIGNATURES OF THE PARTY
following arguments in support of her petition: OMISSION DONE BY ANOTHER PARTY AS THIS RUN
OFFICIAL AUTHORIZED TO SIGN THE CONA SHOULD BE
CONTRARY TO THE PRINCIPLE OF RES INTER
TRANSMITTED TO THE COMELEC WITHIN THE PERIOD
I ALIOSACTA.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
PROVIDED IN RESOLUTION NO.
[9518].chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC EN BANC AND VI
ITS SECOND DIVISION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF II.
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMELEC EN BANC AND
JURISDICTION WHEN IT GRANTED THE PETITION FILED ITS SECOND DIVISION ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
POLITICAL PARTIES AND THE CANDIDATES THEMSELVES
BY MENZON DESPITE ITS FINDING THAT ENGLE DID NOT DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
KNEW OF RESOLUTION NO. 9518 AS IT WAS THE
COMMIT ANY MATERIAL MISREPRESENTATION IN HER JURISDICTION WHEN IT DECLARED THAT PETITIONER
GUIDELINES PROMULGATED FOR THE CONDUCT OF THE
CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary ENGLE CANNOT VALIDLY SUBSTITUTE HER DECEASED
MAY 2013 NATIONAL AND LOCAL
HUSBAND, JAMES L. ENGLE, AS THE LAKAS-CMD
ELECTIONS.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
II
9
III. respondent's Petition in the absence of
a finding of material misrepresentation Section 74 of the OEC in turn enumerates the items that
OTHER CANDIDATES WERE SIMILARLY DEEMED of this case; [and] should be stated in a COC, to wit:
INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY
WITH RESOLUTION NO. 9518.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary IV. Whether or not petitioner's prayer for Section 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. - The
issuance of temporary restraining order certificate of candidacy shall state that the person filing it is
IV. and/or status quo ante order and/or announcing his candidacy for the office stated therein and
preliminary injunction is meritorious.18 that he is eligible for said office; if for Member of the
THE PROSCRIPTION AGAINST THE SUBSTITUTION OF AN Batasang Pambansa, the province, including its component
INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE WHO DIES PRIOR TO THE cities, highly urbanized city or district or sector which he
ELECTION IS A LEGAL From the parties' submissions, it is apparent that this case seeks to represent; the political party to which he belongs;
PRINCIPLE.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary rests upon the resolution of the following core issues: civil status; his date of birth; residence; his post office
address for all election purposes; his profession or
V. occupation; that he will support and defend the Constitution
I of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance
PETITIONER COULD NOT BE VOTED FOR IN THE MAY 2013 thereto; that he will obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER'S COC WAS VALIDLY promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; that he is
NATIONAL AND LOCAL CANCELLED BY THE
ELECTIONS.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary not a permanent resident or immigrant to a foreign country;
COMELECchanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary that the obligation imposed by his oath is assumed
VI. voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of
II evasion; and that the facts stated in the certificate of
PETITIONER WAS NOT DENIED DUE PROCESS WHEN HER candidacy are true to the best of his knowledge.
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER CAN VALIDLY
COC WAS CANCELLED BY THE SUBSTITUTE HER HUSBAND JAMES L. ENGLE AFTER HIS
COMELEC.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Unless a candidate has officially changed his name through
UNEXPECTED DEMISEchanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary a court approved proceeding, a [candidate] shall use in a
certificate of candidacy the name by which he has been
VII. III baptized, or if has not been baptized in any church or
religion, the name registered in the office of the local civil
NO GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WAS COMMITTED BY WHETHER OR NOT PRIVATE RESPONDENT CAN BE registrar or any other name allowed under the provisions of
COMELEC IN CANCELLING PETITIONER'S VALIDLY PROCLAIMED AS VICE-MAYOR OF BABATNGON, existing law or, in the case of a Muslim, his Hadji name after
COC.16chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary LEYTE DESPITE HAVING PLACED ONLY SECOND IN THE performing the prescribed religious pilgrimage: Provided,
MAY 13, 2013 ELECTIONS That when there are two or more candidates for an office
Private respondent likewise filed his with the same name and surname, each candidate, upon
Comment/Opposition17 on March 17, 2015. In his pleading, being made aware or such fact, shall state his paternal and
We grant the petition.
private respondent identified the following issues that maternal surname, except the incumbent who may continue
should be resolved in this case: to use the name and surname stated in his certificate of
Under Section 78 of the OEC, a petition to deny due course
candidacy when he was elected. He may also include one
to, or cancel a COC may be filed on the exclusive ground of
nickname or stage name by which he is generally or
I. Whether or not petitioner Engle can false material representation in said COC. For reference, we
popularly known in the locality.
validly substitute for her late husband quote the full provision here:
James Engle who was an independent
The person filing a certificate of candidacy shall also affix his
candidate for Vice- Mayor of Babatngon, Section 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a latest photograph, passport size; a statement in duplicate
Leyte; certificate of candidacy. - A verified petition seeking to deny containing his bio-data and program of government not
due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be exceeding one hundred words, if he so desires.
II. Whether or not private respondent (sic) filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any
the Commission En Bane erred in material representation contained therein as required
ordering the proclamation of private under Section 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at Based on the letter of the foregoing provisions, we agree
respondent Menzon as the candidate any time not later than twenty-five days from the time of the with the COMELEC Second Division finding, implicitly
who obtained the second highest filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, affirmed by the COMELEC En Banc, that there was no false
number of votes, for the position of after due notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days material representation in petitioner's COC under Section
Vice-Mayor of Babatngon, Leyte; before the election. 78, in relation to Section 74, of the OEC.

III. Whether or not the Commission En We quote with approval the following disquisition in the
Bane erred in granting private COMELEC Second Division's Resolution dated July 5, 2013:

10
The false representation which is a ground for a denial of Romualdez signed by Lakas-CMD President Revilla and invalidity of petitioner's substitution on July 5, 2013,
due course to and/or cancellation of a candidate's COC Lakas-CMD Secretary-General Aquino. In Sinaca v. months after the May 13, 2013 Elections.
refers to a material fact relating to the candidate's Mula,20 we held:
qualification for office such as one's citizenship or residence. Under these premises, the COMELEC correctly did not cancel
Thus, citing Salcedo II v. COMELEC and Lluz v. COMELEC, the A certificate of candidacy is in the nature of a formal petitioner's COC on the ground of false material
Supreme Court, in the case of [Ugdoracion], Jr. v. COMELEC, manifestation to the whole world of the candidate's political representation as there was none.
et al, ruled as follows:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary creed or lack of political creed. It is a statement of a person
In case there is a material misrepresentation in the seeking to run for a public office certifying that he This brings us to the second issue. Despite finding that there
certificate of candidacy, the Comelec is authorized to deny announces his candidacy for the office mentioned and that was no false material representation in petitioner's COC, the
due course to or cancel such certificate upon the filing of a he is eligible for the office, the name of the political party to COMELEC nonetheless cancelled the same on the ground of
petition by any person pursuant to Section 78. x x x. which he belongs, if he belongs to any, and his post-office invalidity of petitioner's substitution for her husband as
address for all election purposes being as well stated. candidate for Vice-Mayor of Babatngon, Leyte. The
x x x x COMELEC anchored its action on the fact that Romualdez's
authority to sign James L. Engle's CONA was belatedly
As stated in the law, in order to justify the cancellation of the Verily, it was publicly known that James L. Engle was a submitted and thus, the latter should be considered an
certificate of candidacy under Section 78, it is essential member of Lakas-CMD. As far as the party and his wife were independent candidate who cannot be substituted under
that the false representation mentioned therein pertain concerned, James L. Engle, as a member of Lakas-CMD, may Section 7725 of the OEC and Section 15 of COMELEC
[s] to a material matter for the sanction imposed by this be substituted as a candidate upon his death. There was no Resolution No. 9518.26chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
provision would affect the substantive rights of a candidate evidence on record that the party or petitioner had notice or
the right to run for the elective post for which he filed the knowledge of the COMELEC's classification of James L. Engle It is on this point that the Court sees fit to overturn the
certificate of candidacy. Although the law does not specify as an independent candidate prior to February 22, 2013 COMELEC's disposition of the present case.
what would be considered as a material representation, the when petitioner filed her COC as a substitute for her
court has interpreted this phrase in a line of decisions deceased husband. The only document in the record The COMELEC relies heavily on Section 6 of COMELEC
applying Section 78 of [B.P. 881]. indicating that Lakas-CMD had been notified of James L. Resolution No. 9518, which reads:
Engle's designation as an independent candidate is the
x x x x Letter dated March 21, 2013 sent by the COMELEC Law
Section 6. Filing of Certificate of Nomination and
Department to Romualdez21 stating that James L. Engle was
Acceptance of Official Candidates of a Political Party /
Therefore, it may be concluded that the material declared an independent candidate due to the failure of
Coalition of Political Parties. - The Certificate of
misrepresentation contemplated by Section 78 of the Lakas-CMD to submit the authority of Romualdez to sign
Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) of the official
Code refer[s] to qualifications for elective office. This James L. Engle's CONA to the Law Department as required
candidates of the duly registered political party or coalition
conclusion is strengthened by the fact that the consequences under Section 6(3) of COMELEC Resolution No. 9518 and in
of political parties shall be, in five (5) legible copies, attached
imposed upon a candidate guilty of having made a false view thereof petitioner's COC as her husband's substitute
to and filed simultaneously with the Certificate of
representation in [the] certificate of candidacy are grave to was denied due course.
Candidacy. The CONA shall also be stamped received in the
prevent the candidate from running or, if elected, from same manner as the Certificate of Candidacy.
serving, or to prosecute him for violation of the election First, the COMELEC Law Department's "ruling" was issued
laws. It could not have been the intention of the law to only after the filing of petitioner's COC. Second, with respect
The CONA, sample form attached, shall be duly signed and
deprive a person of such a basic and substantive political to the denial of due course to James L. Engle's COC as a
attested to under oath, either by the Party President,
right to be voted for a public office upon just any innocuous nominee of Lakas-CMD and to petitioner's COC as his
Chairman, Secretary-General or any other duly
mistake.19chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary substitute, the COMELEC Law Department's letter is not
authorized officer of the nominating party and shall bear
binding and at most, recommendatory. It is settled in
the acceptance of the nominee as shown by his signature in
jurisprudence that the denial of due course or cancellation
Undeniably, private respondent failed to demonstrate that the space provided therein.
of one's COC is not within the administrative powers of the
petitioner made a false statement regarding her COMELEC, but rather calls for the exercise of its quasi-
qualifications or concealed any disqualification for the office For this purpose, all duly registered political parties or
judicial functions.22 We have also previously held that the
to which she sought to be elected in her COC to warrant its coalition of political parties shall, not later than October
COMELEC, in the exercise of its adjudicatory or quasi-
cancellation under Section 78. 1, 2012, submit to the Law Department, the names and
judicial powers, is mandated by the Constitution to hear and
specimen signatures of the authorized signatories of
decide such cases first by Division and, upon motion for
The records also show that when petitioner's husband filed their official party nominations.
reconsideration, by the En Banc.23 In resolving cases to deny
his certificate of candidacy on October 4, 2012 with the due course to or cancel certificates of candidacy, the
Office of the Election Officer in Babatngon, Leyte he clearly No duly registered political party or coalition of political
COMELEC cannot merely rely on the recommendations of its
indicated therein that he was a nominee of Lakas-CMD and parties shall be allowed to nominate more than the number
Law Department but must conduct due proceedings through
attached thereto not only the CONA signed by Romualdez of candidates required to be voted for in a particular elective
one of its divisions.24 Returning to the case at bar, the
but also the Authority to Sign Certificates of Nomination and position; otherwise, in such a situation, all of the
COMELEC Second Division only formally ruled on the status
Acceptance dated September 12, 2012 in favor of of James L. Engle as an independent candidate and the

11
nominations shall be denied due course by the Commission. spoken. A mandatory and material election law requirement
(Emphases supplied.) involves more than the will of the people in any given Election contests involve public interest, and technicalities
locality. Where a material COC misrepresentation under and procedural barriers must yield if they constitute an
oath is made, thereby violating both our election and obstacle to the determination of the true will of the
The Commission stressed that the belated filing of
criminal laws, we are faced as well with an assault on the electorate in the choice of their elective officials. The Court
Romualdez's authority to sign James L. Engle's COC only in
will of the people of the Philippines as expressed in our laws. frowns upon any interpretation of the law that would hinder
connection with the proceedings for cancellation of
In a choice between provisions on material qualifications of in any way not only the free and intelligent casting of the
petitioner's own COC is fatal to petitioner's cause in view of
elected officials, on the one hand, and the will of the votes in an election but also the correct ascertainment of the
the categorical directive in the above provision that said
electorate in any given locality, on the other, we believe and results.
authority must be submitted to its Law Department on or
so hold that we cannot choose the electorate will.
before October 1, 2012.
We had the occasion to rule in Sinaca that "an election in
Earlier, Frivaldo v. COMELEC provided the following test:
This Court recognizes that the COMELEC is empowered by which the voters have fully, fairly, and honestly expressed
law to prescribe such rules so as to make efficacious and their will is not invalid even though an improper method is
[T]his Court has repeatedly stressed the importance of
successful the conduct of elections.27 However, it is a long followed in the nomination of candidates."32 In the same
giving effect to the sovereign will in order to ensure the
standing principle in jurisprudence that rules and case, we proceeded to enumerate examples of formal
survival of our democracy. In any action involving the
regulations for the conduct of elections are mandatory defects in a COC that may be treated with liberality once the
possibility of a reversal of the popular electoral choice, this
before the election, but when they are sought to be enforced electorate has spoken in an election, to wit:
Court must exert utmost effort to resolve the issues in a
after the election they are held to be directory only, if that is
manner that would give effect to the will of the majority, for
possible, especially where, if they are held to be mandatory, It has been held that the provisions of the election law
it is merely sound public policy to cause elective offices to be
innocent voters will be deprived of their votes without any regarding certificates of candidacy, such as signing and
filled by those who are the choice of the majority. To
fault on their part.28 Over time, we have qualified this swearing on the same, as well as the information required to
successfully challenge a winning candidate's
doctrine to refer only to matters of form and cannot be be stated therein, are considered mandatory prior to the
qualifications, the petitioner must clearly demonstrate
applied to the substantial qualifications of candidates. This elections. Thereafter, they are regarded as merely directory.
that the ineligibility is so patently antagonistic to
was discussed at length in Mitra v. Commission on With respect to election laws, it is an established rule of
constitutional and legal principles that overriding such
Elections,29 thus: interpretation that mandatory provisions requiring certain
ineligibility and thereby giving effect to the apparent
will of the people would ultimately create greater steps before election will be construed as directory after the
We have applied in past cases the principle that the manifest prejudice to the very democratic institutions and elections, to give effect to the will of the electorate. Thus,
will of the people as expressed through the ballot must be juristic traditions that our Constitution and laws so even if the certificate of candidacy was not duly signed or if
given fullest effect; in case of doubt, political laws must be zealously protect and promote. (Citations omitted, it does not contain the required data, the proclamation of the
interpreted to give life and spirit to the popular mandate. underscoring supplied.) candidate as winner may not be nullified on such ground.
Thus, we have held that while provisions relating to The defects in the certificate should have been questioned
certificates of candidacy are in mandatory terms, it is an before the election; they may not be questioned after the
established rule of interpretation as regards election laws, As may be recalled, petitioner's deceased husband's name election without invalidating the will of the electorate,
that mandatory provisions, requiring certain steps before remained on the ballot notwithstanding his death even which should not be done. In Guzman v. Board of
elections, will be construed as directory after the elections, before the campaign period for the local elections began on Canvassers, the Court held that the "will of the people cannot
to give effect to the will of the people. March 29, 2013.30 Yet, he received almost twice the number be frustrated by a technicality that the certificate of
of votes as the second placer, private respondent, in a candidacy had not been properly sworn to. This legal
Quite recently, however, we warned against a blanket and decisive victory. Since the people of Babatngon, Leyte could provision is mandatory and non-compliance therewith
unqualified reading and application of this ruling, as it may not have possibly meant to waste their votes on a deceased before the election would be fatal to the status of the
carry dangerous significance to the rule of law and the candidate, we conclude that petitioner was the undisputed candidate before the [election], but after the people have
integrity of our elections. For one, such blanket/unqualified choice of the electorate as Vice-Mayor on the apparent belief expressed their will, the result of the election cannot be
reading may provide a way around the law that effectively that she may validly substitute her husband. That belief was defeated by the fact that the candidate has not sworn to his
negates election requirements aimed at providing the not contradicted by any official or formal ruling by the certificate of candidacy."33chanrobleslaw
electorate with the basic information for an informed choice COMELEC prior to the elections.
about a candidate's eligibility and fitness for office. Short of
We held in Rulloda v. Commission on Elections31 that: Applying these jurisprudential precedents, we find that the
adopting a clear cut standard, we thus made the following
late submission of Romualdez's authority to sign the CONA
clarification:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
of James L. Engle to the COMELEC was a mere technicality
We distinguish our ruling in this case from others that we Technicalities and procedural niceties in election cases
that cannot be used to defeat the will of the electorate in a
have made in the past by the clarification that COC should not be made to stand in the way of the true will of the
fair and honest election.
defects beyond matters of form and thatinvolve material electorate. Laws governing election contests must be
misrepresentations cannot avail of the benefit of our ruling liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in
The Court has likewise ruled in the past that non-compliance
that COC mandatory requirements before elections are the choice of public officials may not be defeated by mere
with formal requirements laid down in election laws when
considered merely directory after the people shall have technical objections.

12
not used as a means for fraudulent practice will be compliance with Section 6 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9518
considered a harmless irregularity.34 Allowing the belated since the COMELEC En Bancissued Minute Resolution No.
submission of Romualdez's authority to sign CONAs will not 12-1133 dated December 11, 2012 applying said provision
result in the situation proscribed by Section 77 of the OEC - strictly against the Liberal Party in the case of its local
that an independent candidate will be invalidly substituted. candidates for Camiguin who were similarly declared
In the case at bar, neither the COMELEC nor private independent candidates for failure to submit the authority
respondent contended that James L. Engle was not in fact to sign CONAs before October 1, 2012. While we laud the
a bona fide member of Lakas-CMD. The record is bereft of COMELEC's attempt to apply the rule equally among the
any allegation that the authority in favor of Romualdez was political parties, it has only itself to blame for the present
inexistent, forged or in any way defective. The only issue situation. It bears stressing here that election rules
was that it was not submitted within the prescribed regarding formal matters are deemed mandatory before the
deadline. Nonetheless, said authority was submitted as early elections and only directory after the elections. In the case
as October 4, 2012 to the local election officer and of the Liberal Party candidates in Camiguin, the
subsequently to the COMELEC itself in the course of the COMELEC En Banc rendered a formal ruling on their status
proceedings on private respondent's petition to deny due as independent candidates, months before the election, such
course to, or cancel petitioner's COC, thereby putting that the Liberal Party was officially notified that its
election officials on notice that such authority exists even candidates in Camiguin can no longer be substituted in the
before the conduct of the May 13, 2013 Elections. event of their death, withdrawal or disqualification. Thus,
the mandatory application of the rules was justified. In
We distinguish this case from Federico v. Commission on petitioner's case, no official pronouncement was made by
Elections,35 wherein we strictly applied election rules on the COMELEC regarding her husband's status as an
substitution, particularly the deadline to file certificates of independent candidate and the validity of her filing a COC as
candidacy for substitutes of candidates who voluntarily his substitute until July 5, 2013, long after the elections were
withdraw from the electoral race. In Federico, a liberal held. Indeed, it behooved the COMELEC to similarly resolve
interpretation of the rule would have led to a violation of the petitioner's case prior to the elections had it wanted to treat
clear policy that no substitution for a voluntarily all political parties equally.
withdrawing candidate can be made beyond the mandated
deadline. In the case at bar, the intention behind setting a In light of the foregoing discussion that petitioner may
deadline for the filing by political parties of an authority to validly substitute her husband in the May 13, 2013
sign CONAs was to give the COMELEC reasonable Elections, it is no longer necessary to resolve the third issue
opportunity to determine who are members of political on whether the COMELEC properly proclaimed private
parties and who are independent candidates. This is so the respondent, the second-placer in the vice-mayoral race of
COMELEC may prevent a violation of Section 77 of the OEC Babatngon, in place of petitioner, as well as the rest of the
which reserves the right to field a substitute candidate to issues raised in the pleadings.
duly registered political parties. A relaxation of the rules in
the present case would not result in the evil sought to be WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition
prevented. On the contrary, it is the strict application of the is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution dated July 5, 2013 of
rules that would lead to the iniquitous situation that a the COMELEC Second Division and the Resolution dated
candidate who was in fact a member of a political party January 20, 2015 of the COMELEC En Banc in SPA 13-232
would be considered an independent, thus infringing the (DC) (F) are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner
right of the nominating political party to replace him in the Marcelina S. Engle is declared the duly-elected Vice-Mayor
event of death, withdrawal or disqualification pursuant to of Babatngon, Leyte during the May 13, 2013 Elections.
election laws.
SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary
To be sure, we have held that a political party has the right
to identify who its members are.36 From the evidence it can
be concluded that James L. Engle was not an independent
candidate but indeed a nominee of Lakas-CMD and he may
be validly substituted by his wife, who was nominated by the
same political party, in light of his unexpected demise prior
to the elections.

The COMELEC En Banc in its Resolution dated January 20,


2015 asserted that it cannot ignore Lakas-CMD's non-
13
[G.R. No. 133944. October 28, 1999] Cagayan, in order to hide his mistress from public view in the absence of clear and positive proof, ones domicile of
because, at that time, his marriage to his former wife was origin should be deemed to continue and that to successfully
still subsisting. In support of his claim, he presented the effect a change of domicile, one must prove an actual change
affidavit[5] of the owner of the apartment, Engineer Alfredo of domicile, a bonafide intention of abandoning the former
Ablaza, in which it is stated that private respondent had place of residence and of establishing a new one, and
MARCITA MAMBA PEREZ, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION been his lessee since July 1990. In addition, private unequivocal acts which correspond with the intention.
ON ELECTIONS and RODOLFO E. respondent presented the contract of lease[6] of another
AGUINALDO, respondents. residential apartment at Kamias Street, Tanza, Tuguegarao, On the other hand, private respondent asks that the
Cagayan, for the period July 1, 1995 to June 30, 1996, instant petition be dismissed. He argues that after his
DECISION between him, as lessee, and Tomas T. Decena, as lessor; his proclamation on May 16, 1998 and his assumption of office
marriage license dated January 7, 1997;[7] the marriage on June 30, 1998, the COMELEC lost jurisdiction to pass
MENDOZA, J.: certificate between him and his present wife, Lerma upon his qualifications for the office of Representative. He
Dumaguit, dated January 18, 1998;[8] the birth argues further that this case should have been filed with the
certificate[9] of their daughter, Geniah Laureen D. Aguinaldo; House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal which has
This is a petition for certiorari to annul the resolution,
and various letters,[10] all of which show that he had been a jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case.
dated May 10, 1998, of the First Division of the Commission
on Elections, dismissing petitioner Marcita Mamba Perezs resident of Tuguegarao, Cagayan for at least one (1) year
In a supplemental pleading,[13] petitioner replies that
petition for the disqualification of private respondent before the May 11, 1998 elections.
the COMELEC retained jurisdiction over the case because
Rodolfo E. Aguinaldo as a candidate for Representative of she filed the petition for disqualification on March 30, 1998,
On May 10, 1998, the First Division of the COMELEC,
the Third District of Cagayan in the May 11, 1998 elections, before the elections on May 11, 1998, and that pursuant to
in a unanimous resolution,[11] dismissed the petition for
as well as the resolution of the COMELEC en banc, dated June R.A. No. 6646, 6, the COMELEC could continue the
disqualification, finding private respondent Aguinaldo
11, 1998, denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. proceedings for the determination of the disqualification of
qualified to run as representative for the Third District of
Cagayan. private respondent.
The facts are not in dispute.
On May 11, 1998, private respondent was elected The threshold issue, therefore, is whether the Court
On March 26, 1998, private respondent filed his
Representative of the Third District of Cagayan, with 65,058 has jurisdiction to entertain the instant petition
certificate of candidacy for Representative of the Third
votes over his rival Manuel N. Mambas 58,507 for certiorari and eventually pass upon private respondents
District of Cagayan in the May 11, 1998 elections. Four days
votes.[12] Accordingly, on May 16, 1998, he was proclaimed eligibility for the office of Representative of the Third
later, on March 30, 1998, petitioner, as a voter and citizen,
elected and, on May 17, 1998, he was sworn in office. District of Cagayan. Petitioner, in sustaining the affirmative
filed in the COMELEC a petition for the disqualification of
side of the question, invokes the following provision of R.A.
private respondent as a candidate on the ground that he had
On May 22, 1998, petitioner filed a motion for No. 6646:
not been a resident of the district for at least one (1) year
reconsideration reiterating her allegation that private
immediately before the day of the elections as required by
respondent lacked the requisite residency in the Third Sec. 6 Effect of Disqualification Case. Any candidate who has
Art. VI, 6 of the Constitution.
District of Cagayan and arguing that the proclamation of been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not
In support of her claim, petitioner presented private private respondent was not a legal impediment to the be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be
respondents certificates of candidacy[1] for governor of continuation of the hearing on her motion in view of R.A. No. counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final
Cagayan in the 1988, 1992, and 1995 elections; his voters 6646, 6. Her motion was, however, denied by the COMELEC judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is
affidavit[2] which he used in the 1987, 1988, 1992, 1995, and en banc in its resolution of June 11, 1998. Hence, this voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such
1997 elections; and his voter registration record dated June petition. election, the Court or Commission (COMELEC) shall
22, 1997,[3] in all of which it is stated that he is a resident of continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or
Petitioner contends that the COMELEC committed
Barangay Calaoagan Dackel, Municipality of Gattaran, which protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any
grave abuse of discretion in holding that private respondent
is outside the Third District of Cagayan. Petitioner alleged intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the
had been a resident of Tuguegarao, Cagayan since July 1990
that private respondent filed an application[4] for the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever
when he rented an apartment there in order to hide his
transfer of his registration as voter from Gattaran, Cagayan the evidence of his guilt is strong.
mistress. Petitioner contends that transfer of residence to
(First District) to Tuguegarao, Cagayan (Third District) only
the place where private respondent is keeping his mistress
on December 17, 1997 and that said application was
cannot amount to a change of domicile because ones As already stated, the petition for disqualification
approved only on January 7, 1998. Petitioner prayed that in
domicile is the place where one and ones legitimate family against private respondent was decided by the First Division
the event the case was not finally decided before the
resides. She also argues that private respondent could not of the COMELEC on May 10, 1998. The following day, May
elections and private respondent obtained the highest
have changed his residence to Tuguegarao in 1990 11, 1998, the elections were held. Notwithstanding the fact
number of votes, the latters proclamation be suspended.
considering that his certificates of candidacy for governor of that private respondent had already been proclaimed on
In his answer, private respondent claimed that while Cagayan in the 1988, 1992, and 1995 elections, as well as his May 16, 1998 and had taken his oath of office on May 17,
he had been a resident of Gattaran, Cagayan in 1990, he voter registration records, the latest of which was made on 1998, petitioner still filed a motion for reconsideration on
transferred his residence to Tuguegarao, Cagayan by renting June 22, 1997, indicate that he is a resident of Gattaran, May 22, 1998, which the COMELEC en banc denied on June
an apartment at No. 13-E Magallanes St., Tuguegarao, which is in the First District of Cagayan. Petitioner avers that 11, 1998. Clearly, this could not be done. Sec. 6 of R.A. No.
14
6646 authorizes the continuation of proceedings for No person shall be a Member of the House of There is thus substantial evidence supporting the
disqualification even after the elections if the respondent Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of the finding that private respondent had been a resident of the
has not been proclaimed. The COMELEC en banc had no Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty- Third District of Cagayan and there is nothing in the record
jurisdiction to entertain the motion because the five years of age, able to read and write, and, except the to detract from the merit of this factual finding.
proclamation of private respondent barred further party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district
consideration of petitioners action. In the same vein, in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a Petitioner contends that the fact that private
considering that at the time of the filing of this petition on period of not less than one year immediately preceding the respondent was a resident of Gattaran, at least until June 22,
June 16, 1998, private respondent was already a member of day of the election. 1997, is shown by the following documentary evidence in
the House of Representatives, this Court has no jurisdiction the record, to wit: (1) his certificates of candidacy for
over the same. Pursuant to Art. VI, 17 of the Constitution, the governor of Cagayan in the 1988, 1992 and 1995 elections;
The meaning and purpose of the residency (2) his voters registration records, the latest of which was
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal has the requirement were explained recently in our decision
exclusive original jurisdiction over the petition for the made on June 22, 1997; and (3) the fact that private
in Aquino v. COMELEC,[16] as follows: respondent voted in Gattaran, Cagayan, in the elections of
declaration of private respondents ineligibility. As this
Court held in Lazatin v. House of Representatives Electoral 1987, 1988, 1992 and 1995.
Tribunal:[14] . . . [T]he place where a party actually or constructively has
his permanent home, where he, no matter where he may be The contention is without merit. The fact that a person
found at any given time, eventually intends to return and is registered as a voter in one district is not proof that he is
The use of the word sole emphasizes the exclusive character remain, i.e., his domicile, is that to which the Constitution not domiciled in another district. Thus, in Faypon v.
of the jurisdiction conferred. The exercise of the power by refers when it speaks of residence for the purposes of Quirino,[17] this Court held that the registration of a voter in
the Electoral Commission under the 1935 Constitution has election law. The manifest purpose of this deviation from a place other than his residence of origin is not sufficient to
been described as intended to be as complete and the usual conceptions of residency in law as explained consider him to have abandoned or lost his residence.
unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the legislature. in Gallego vs. Vera is to exclude strangers or newcomers
Earlier, this grant of power to the legislature was Nor is it of much importance that in his certificates of
unfamiliar with the conditions and needs of the community candidacy for provincial governor in the elections of 1988,
characterized by Justice Malcolm as full, clear and complete. from taking advantage of favorable circumstances existing
Under the amended 1935 Constitution, the power was 1992, and 1995, private respondent stated that he was a
in that community for electoral gain. While there is nothing resident of Gattaran. Under the law,[18] what is required for
unqualifiedly reposed upon the Electoral Tribunal and it wrong with the practice of establishing residence in a given
remained as full, clear and complete as that previously the election of governor is residency in the province, not in
area for meeting election law requirements, this any district or municipality, one year before the election.
granted the legislature and the Electoral Commission. The nonetheless defeats the essence of representation, which is
same may be said with regard to the jurisdiction of the to place through the assent of voters those most cognizant Moreover, as this Court said in Romualdez-Marcos v.
Electoral Tribunals under the 1987 Constitution. and sensitive to the needs of a particular district, if a COMELEC:[19]
candidate falls short of the period of residency mandated by
Petitioners remedies should have been (1) to reiterate law for him to qualify. That purpose could be obviously best
It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of
her prayer in the petition for disqualification, and move for met by individuals who have either had actual residence in
candidacy, which ought to be decisive in determining
the issuance of an order by the COMELEC suspending the the area for a given period or who have been domiciled in
whether or not an individual has satisfied the constitutions
proclamation of private respondent pending the hearing of the same area either by origin or by choice.
residency qualification requirement. The said statement
the said petition and, in the event the motion was denied
becomes material only when there is or appears to be a
before the proclamation of private respondent, file a petition In the case at bar, the COMELEC found that private deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact
for certiorari in this Court with a prayer for a restraining respondent changed his residence from Gattaran to which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible.
order to enjoin the proclamation of private respondent; or Tuguegarao, the capital of Cagayan, in July 1990 on the basis
(2) to file a petition for quo warranto in the House of of the following: (1) the affidavit of Engineer Alfredo Ablaza,
Representatives Electoral Tribunal within ten (10) days In this case, although private respondent declared in
the owner of the residential apartment at 13-E Magallanes
after the proclamation of private respondent as his certificates of candidacy prior to the May 11, 1998
St., Tuguegarao, Cagayan, where private respondent had
Representative-elect on May 16, 1998.[15] Obviously, neither elections that he was a resident of Gattaran, Cagayan, the
lived in 1990; (2) the contract of lease between private
of these remedies can be availed of now. fact is that he was actually a resident of the Third District not
respondent, as lessee, and Tomas T. Decena, as lessor, of a
just for one (1) year prior to the May 11, 1998 elections but
In any event, even assuming that the Court has residential apartment at Kamias St., Tanza, Tuguegarao,
for more than seven (7) years since July 1990. His claim that
jurisdiction to resolve the instant petition for certiorari, we Cagayan, for the period July 1, 1995 to June 30, 1996; (3) the
he had been a resident of Tuguegarao since July 1990 is
find no merit in petitioners allegation that private marriage certificate, dated January 18, 1998, between
credible considering that he was governor from 1988 to
respondent is ineligible for the office of Representative of private respondent and Lerma Dumaguit; (4) the certificate
1998 and, therefore, it would be convenient for him to
the Third District of Cagayan. of live birth of private respondents second daughter; and (5)
maintain his residence in Tuguegarao, which is the capital of
various letters addressed to private respondent and his
the province of Cagayan.
Art. VI, 6 of the Constitution states: family, which all show that private respondent was a
resident of Tuguegarao, Cagayan for at least one (1) year As always, the polestar of adjudication in cases of this
immediately preceding the elections on May 11, 1998. nature is Gallego v. Vera,[20] in which this Court held: [W]hen

15
the evidence on the alleged lack of residence qualification is
weak or inconclusive and it clearly appears, as in the instant
case, that the purpose of the law would not be thwarted by
upholding the right to the office, the will of the electorate
should be respected. In this case, considering the purpose of
the residency requirement, i.e., to ensure that the person
elected is familiar with the needs and problems of his
constituency, there can be no doubt that private respondent
is qualified, having been governor of the entire province of
Cagayan for ten years immediately before his election as
Representative of that provinces Third District.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

16
G.R. No. 195649 April 16, 2013 On 3 April 2009 Arnado again took his Oath of Allegiance to the Philippines. The said record shows that Arnado left the
the Republic and executed an Affidavit of Renunciation of his country on 14 April 2009 and returned on 25 June 2009, and
CASAN MACODE MAQUILING, Petitioner, foreign citizenship, which states: again departed on 29 July 2009, arriving back in the
vs. Philippines on 24 November 2009.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ROMMEL ARNADO y I, Rommel Cagoco Arnado, do solemnly swear that I
CAGOCO, LINOG G. BALUA, Respondents. absolutely and perpetually renounce all allegiance and Balua likewise presented a certification from the Bureau of
fidelity to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA of which I am a Immigration dated 23 April 2010, certifying that the name
DECISION citizen, and I divest myself of full employment of all civil and "Arnado, Rommel Cagoco" appears in the available
political rights and privileges of the United States of Computer Database/Passenger manifest/IBM listing on file
America. as of 21 April 2010, with the following pertinent travel
SERENO, CJ.: records:
I solemnly swear that all the foregoing statement is true and
THE CASE correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. 7 DATE OF Arrival : 01/12/2010

This is a Petition for Certiorari ender Rule 64 in conjunction On 30 November 2009, Arnado filed his Certificate of NATIONALITY : USA-AMERICAN
with Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to review the Resolutions Candidacy for Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, which
of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). The contains, among others, the following statements:
Resolution1 in SPA No. 10-1 09(DC) of the COMELEC First PASSPORT : 057782700
Division dated 5 October 201 0 is being assailed for applying
Section 44 of the Local Government Code while the I am a natural born Filipino citizen / naturalized Filipino DATE OF Arrival : 03/23/2010
Resolution2 of the COMELEC En Banc dated 2 February 2011 citizen.
is being questioned for finding that respondent Rommel NATIONALITY : USA-AMERICAN
Arnado y Cagoco (respondent Arnado/Arnado) is solely a I am not a permanent resident of, or immigrant to, a foreign
Filipino citizen qualified to run for public office despite his country.
continued use of a U.S. passport. PASSPORT : 05778270012
I am eligible for the office I seek to be elected to.
FACTS On 30 April 2010, the COMELEC (First Division) issued an
Order13 requiring the respondent to personally file his
I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of answer and memorandum within three (3) days from
Respondent Arnado is a natural born Filipino the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance receipt thereof.
citizen.3 However, as a consequence of his subsequent thereto. I will obey the laws, legal orders and decrees
naturalization as a citizen of the United States of America, he promulgated by the duly constituted authorities.
lost his Filipino citizenship. Arnado applied for repatriation After Arnado failed to answer the petition, Balua moved to
under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225 before the Consulate declare him in default and to present evidence ex-parte.
I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without
General of the Philippines in San Franciso, USA and took the mental reservation or purpose of evasion. 8
Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on 10 Neither motion was acted upon, having been overtaken by
July 2008.4 On the same day an Order of Approval of his the 2010 elections where Arnado garnered the highest
Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition was issued in his On 28 April 2010, respondent Linog C. Balua (Balua), number of votes and was subsequently proclaimed as the
favor.5 another mayoralty candidate, filed a petition to disqualify winning candidate for Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del
Arnado and/or to cancel his certificate of candidacy for Norte.
municipal mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte in
The aforementioned Oath of Allegiance states: connection with the 10 May 2010 local and national
elections.9 It was only after his proclamation that Arnado filed his
I, Rommel Cagoco Arnado, solemnly swear that I will verified answer, submitting the following documents as
support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the evidence:14
Respondent Balua contended that Arnado is not a resident
Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte and that he is a foreigner,
by the duly constituted authorities of the Philippines and I attaching thereto a certification issued by the Bureau of 1. Affidavit of Renunciation and Oath of Allegiance
hereby declare that I recognize and accept the supreme Immigration dated 23 April 2010 indicating the nationality to the Republic of the Philippines dated 03 April
authority of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and of Arnado as "USA-American."10To further bolster his claim 2009;
allegiance thereto; and that I impose this obligation upon of Arnado’s US citizenship, Balua presented in his
myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of Memorandum a computer-generated travel record11 dated
evasion.6 2. Joint-Affidavit dated 31 May 2010 of Engr. Virgil
03 December 2009 indicating that Arnado has been using Seno, Virginia Branzuela, Leoncio Daligdig, and
his US Passport No. 057782700 in entering and departing
17
Jessy Corpin, all neighbors of Arnado, attesting Arnado’s continued use of his US passport is a strong passport, and that he used his Philippine passport
that Arnado is a long-time resident of Kauswagan indication that Arnado had no real intention to renounce his after he obtained it;
and that he has been conspicuously and US citizenship and that he only executed an Affidavit of
continuously residing in his family’s ancestral Renunciation to enable him to run for office. We cannot turn 4. Balua’s petition to cancel the certificate of
house in Kauswagan; a blind eye to the glaring inconsistency between Arnado’s candidacy of Arnado was filed out of time, and the
unexplained use of a US passport six times and his claim that First Division’s treatment of the petition as one for
3. Certification from the Punong Barangay of he re-acquired his Philippine citizenship and renounced his disqualification constitutes grave abuse of
Poblacion, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte dated 03 US citizenship. As noted by the Supreme Court in the Yu case, discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction;23
June 2010 stating that Arnado is a bona fide "a passport is defined as an official document of identity and
resident of his barangay and that Arnado went to nationality issued to a person intending to travel or sojourn
in foreign countries." Surely, one who truly divested himself 5. He is undoubtedly the people’s choice as
the United States in 1985 to work and returned to indicated by his winning the elections;
the Philippines in 2009; of US citizenship would not continue to avail of privileges
reserved solely for US nationals.19
6. His proclamation as the winning candidate
4. Certification dated 31 May 2010 from the ousted the COMELEC from jurisdiction over the
Municipal Local Government Operations Office of The dispositive portion of the Resolution rendered by the
COMELEC case; and
Kauswagan stating that Dr. Maximo P. Arnado, Sr.
served as Mayor of Kauswagan, from January
1964 to June 1974 and from 15 February 1979 to First Division reads: 7. The proper remedy to question his citizenship
15 April 1986; and is through a petition for quo warranto, which
should have been filed within ten days from his
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition for proclamation.
5. Voter Certification issued by the Election Officer disqualification and/or to cancel the certificate of candidacy
of Kauswagan certifying that Arnado has been a of Rommel C. Arnado is hereby GRANTED. Rommel C.
registered voter of Kauswagan since 03 April Arnado’s proclamation as the winning candidate for Petitioner Casan Macode Maquiling (Maquiling), another
2009. Municipal Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Nore is hereby candidate for mayor of Kauswagan, and who garnered the
ANNULLED. Let the order of succession under Section 44 of second highest number of votes in the 2010 elections,
the Local Government Code of 1991 take effect.20 intervened in the case and filed before the COMELEC En
THE RULING OF THE COMELEC FIRST DIVISION Banc a Motion for Reconsideration together with an
Opposition to Arnado’s Amended Motion for
Instead of treating the Petition as an action for the The Motion for Reconsideration and Reconsideration. Maquiling argued that while the First
cancellation of a certificate of candidacy based on the Motion for Intervention Division correctly disqualified Arnado, the order of
misrepresentation,15 the COMELEC First Division succession under Section 44 of the Local Government Code
considered it as one for disqualification. Balua’s contention Arnado sought reconsideration of the resolution before the is not applicable in this case. Consequently, he claimed that
that Arnado is a resident of the United States was dismissed COMELEC En Banc on the ground that "the evidence is the cancellation of Arnado’s candidacy and the nullification
upon the finding that "Balua failed to present any evidence insufficient to justify the Resolution and that the said of his proclamation, Maquiling, as the legitimate candidate
to support his contention,"16 whereas the First Division still Resolution is contrary to law."21 He raised the following who obtained the highest number of lawful votes, should be
could "not conclude that Arnado failed to meet the one-year contentions:22 proclaimed as the winner.
residency requirement under the Local Government
Code."17 1. The finding that he is not a Filipino citizen is not Maquiling simultaneously filed his Memorandum with his
supported by the evidence consisting of his Oath Motion for Intervention and his Motion for Reconsideration.
In the matter of the issue of citizenship, however, the First of Allegiance and the Affidavit of Renunciation, Arnado opposed all motions filed by Maquiling, claiming
Division disagreed with Arnado’s claim that he is a Filipino which show that he has substantially complied that intervention is prohibited after a decision has already
citizen.18 with the requirements of R.A. No. 9225; been rendered, and that as a second-placer, Maquiling
undoubtedly lost the elections and thus does not stand to be
We find that although Arnado appears to have substantially 2. The use of his US passport subsequent to his prejudiced or benefitted by the final adjudication of the case.
complied with the requirements of R.A. No. 9225, Arnado’s renunciation of his American citizenship is not
act of consistently using his US passport after renouncing his tantamount to a repudiation of his Filipino RULING OF THE COMELEC EN BANC
US citizenship on 03 April 2009 effectively negated his citizenship, as he did not perform any act to swear
Affidavit of Renunciation. allegiance to a country other than the Philippines; In its Resolution of 02 February 2011, the COMELEC En Banc
held that under Section 6 of Republic Act No. 6646, the
xxxx 3. He used his US passport only because he was Commission "shall continue with the trial and hearing of the
not informed of the issuance of his Philippine

18
action, inquiry or protest even after the proclamation of the the progress of Kauswagan. He did not apply for a US runs contrary to his declaration that he chose to retain only
candidate whose qualifications for office is questioned." passport after his renunciation. Thus the mentioned case is his Philippine citizenship. Respondent’s submission with
not on all fours with the case at bar. the twin requirements was obviously only for the purpose
As to Maquiling’s intervention, the COMELEC En Banc also of complying with the requirements for running for the
cited Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 which allows intervention in xxxx mayoralty post in connection with the May 10, 2010
proceedings for disqualification even after elections if no Automated National and Local Elections.
final judgment has been rendered, but went on further to say The respondent presented a plausible explanation as to the
that Maquiling, as the second placer, would not be use of his US passport. Although he applied for a Philippine Qualifications for elective office, such as citizenship, are
prejudiced by the outcome of the case as it agrees with the passport, the passport was only issued on June 18, 2009. continuing requirements; once any of them is lost during his
dispositive portion of the Resolution of the First Division However, he was not notified of the issuance of his incumbency, title to the office itself is deemed forfeited. If a
allowing the order of succession under Section 44 of the Philippine passport so that he was actually able to get it candidate is not a citizen at the time he ran for office or if he
Local Government Code to take effect. about three (3) months later. Yet as soon as he was in lost his citizenship after his election to office, he is
possession of his Philippine passport, the respondent disqualified to serve as such. Neither does the fact that
The COMELEC En Banc agreed with the treatment by the already used the same in his subsequent travels abroad. This respondent obtained the plurality of votes for the mayoralty
First Division of the petition as one for disqualification, and fact is proven by the respondent’s submission of a certified post cure the latter’s failure to comply with the qualification
ruled that the petition was filed well within the period true copy of his passport showing that he used the same for requirements regarding his citizenship.
prescribed by law,24 having been filed on 28 April 2010, his travels on the following dates: January 31, 2010, April 16,
which is not later than 11 May 2010, the date of 2010, May 20, 2010, January 12, 2010, March 31, 2010 and Since a disqualified candidate is no candidate at all in the
proclamation. June 4, 2010. This then shows that the use of the US passport eyes of the law, his having received the highest number of
was because to his knowledge, his Philippine passport was votes does not validate his election. It has been held that
However, the COMELEC En Banc reversed and set aside the not yet issued to him for his use. As probably pressing needs where a petition for disqualification was filed before
ruling of the First Division and granted Arnado’s Motion for might be undertaken, the respondent used whatever is election against a candidate but was adversely resolved
Reconsideration, on the following premises: within his control during that time.25 against him after election, his having obtained the highest
number of votes did not make his election valid. His ouster
In his Separate Concurring Opinion, COMELEC Chairman from office does not violate the principle of vox populi
First: suprema est lex because the application of the constitutional
Sixto Brillantes cited that the use of foreign passport is not
one of the grounds provided for under Section 1 of and statutory provisions on disqualification is not a matter
By renouncing his US citizenship as imposed by R.A. No. Commonwealth Act No. 63 through which Philippine of popularity. To apply it is to breath[e] life to the sovereign
9225, the respondent embraced his Philippine citizenship as citizenship may be lost. will of the people who expressed it when they ratified the
though he never became a citizen of another country. It was Constitution and when they elected their representatives
at that time, April 3, 2009, that the respondent became a who enacted the law.27
pure Philippine Citizen again. "The application of the more assimilative principle of
continuity of citizenship is more appropriate in this case.
Under said principle, once a person becomes a citizen, either THE PETITION BEFORE THE COURT
xxxx by birth or naturalization, it is assumed that he desires to
continue to be a citizen, and this assumption stands until he Maquiling filed the instant petition questioning the
The use of a US passport … does not operate to revert back voluntarily denationalizes or expatriates himself. Thus, in propriety of declaring Arnado qualified to run for public
his status as a dual citizen prior to his renunciation as there the instant case respondent after reacquiring his Philippine office despite his continued use of a US passport, and
is no law saying such. More succinctly, the use of a US citizenship should be presumed to have remained a Filipino praying that Maquiling be proclaimed as the winner in the
passport does not operate to "un-renounce" what he has despite his use of his American passport in the absence of 2010 mayoralty race in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.
earlier on renounced. The First Division’s reliance in the clear, unequivocal and competent proof of expatriation.
case of In Re: Petition for Habeas Corpus of Willy Yu v. Accordingly, all doubts should be resolved in favor of Ascribing both grave abuse of discretion and reversible
Defensor-Santiago, et al. is misplaced. The petitioner in the retention of citizenship."26 error on the part of the COMELEC En Banc for ruling that
said case is a naturalized citizen who, after taking his oath as Arnado is a Filipino citizen despite his continued use of a US
a naturalized Filipino, applied for the renewal of his On the other hand, Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento passport, Maquiling now seeks to reverse the finding of the
Portuguese passport. Strict policy is maintained in the dissented, thus: COMELEC En Banc that Arnado is qualified to run for public
conduct of citizens who are not natural born, who acquire office.
their citizenship by choice, thus discarding their original
citizenship. The Philippine State expects strict conduct of Respondent evidently failed to prove that he truly and
allegiance to those who choose to be its citizens. In the wholeheartedly abandoned his allegiance to the United Corollary to his plea to reverse the ruling of the COMELEC
present case, respondent is not a naturalized citizen but a States. The latter’s continued use of his US passport and En Banc or to affirm the First Division’s disqualification of
natural born citizen who chose greener pastures by working enjoyment of all the privileges of a US citizen despite his Arnado, Maquiling also seeks the review of the applicability
abroad and then decided to repatriate to supposedly help in previous renunciation of the afore-mentioned citizenship of Section 44 of the Local Government Code, claiming that

19
the COMELEC committed reversible error in ruling that "the Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. - Any candidate who the disqualification case originally filed by Balua against
succession of the vice mayor in case the respondent is has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall Arnado will attain finality.
disqualified is in order." not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be
counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final The use of foreign passport after renouncing one’s
There are three questions posed by the parties before this judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is foreign citizenship is a positive and voluntary act of
Court which will be addressed seriatim as the subsequent voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such representation as to one’s nationality and citizenship; it
questions hinge on the result of the first. election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the does not divest Filipino citizenship regained by
trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon repatriation but it recants the Oath of Renunciation
motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during required to qualify one to run for an elective position.
The first question is whether or not intervention is allowed the pendency thereof order the suspension of the
in a disqualification case. proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of
his guilt is strong. Section 5(2) of The Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition
The second question is whether or not the use of a foreign Act of 2003 provides:
passport after renouncing foreign citizenship amounts to Mercado v. Manzano28
undoing a renunciation earlier made. Those who retain or re-acquire Philippine citizenship under
this Act shall enjoy full civil and political rights and be
clarified the right of intervention in a disqualification case. subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under
A better framing of the question though should be whether In that case, the Court said:
or not the use of a foreign passport after renouncing foreign existing laws of the Philippines and the following conditions:
citizenship affects one’s qualifications to run for public
office. That petitioner had a right to intervene at that stage of the xxxx
proceedings for the disqualification against private
respondent is clear from Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646,
The third question is whether or not the rule on succession otherwise known as the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987, (2)Those seeking elective public in the Philippines shall
in the Local Government Code is applicable to this case. which provides: Any candidate who has been declared by meet the qualification for holding such public office as
final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the
OUR RULING the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy, make a
a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign
election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives before any public officer authorized to administer an oath.
Intervention of a rival candidate in a the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or
disqualification case is proper when Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the
there has not yet been any x x x31
action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the
proclamation of the winner. complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency
thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such Rommel Arnado took all the necessary steps to qualify to
Petitioner Casan Macode Maquiling intervened at the stage candidate whenever the evidence of guilt is strong. Under run for a public office. He took the Oath of Allegiance and
when respondent Arnado filed a Motion for Reconsideration this provision, intervention may be allowed in proceedings renounced his foreign citizenship. There is no question that
of the First Division Resolution before the COMELEC En for disqualification even after election if there has yet been after performing these twin requirements required under
Banc. As the candidate who garnered the second highest no final judgment rendered.29 Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention
number of votes, Maquiling contends that he has an interest and Re-acquisition Act of 2003, he became eligible to run for
in the disqualification case filed against Arnado, considering public office.
Clearly then, Maquiling has the right to intervene in the case.
that in the event the latter is disqualified, the votes cast for The fact that the COMELEC En Banc has already ruled that
him should be considered stray and the second-placer Maquiling has not shown that the requisites for the Indeed, Arnado took the Oath of Allegiance not just only
should be proclaimed as the winner in the elections. exemption to the second-placer rule set forth in Sinsuat v. once but twice: first, on 10 July 2008 when he applied for
COMELEC30 are present and therefore would not be repatriation before the Consulate General of the Philippines
It must be emphasized that while the original petition before prejudiced by the outcome of the case, does not deprive in San Francisco, USA, and again on 03 April 2009
the COMELEC is one for cancellation of the certificate of Maquiling of the right to elevate the matter before this Court. simultaneous with the execution of his Affidavit of
candidacy and / or disqualification, the COMELEC First Renunciation. By taking the Oath of Allegiance to the
Division and the COMELEC En Banc correctly treated the Republic, Arnado re-acquired his Philippine citizenship. At
Arnado’s claim that the main case has attained finality as the the time, however, he likewise possessed American
petition as one for disqualification. original petitioner and respondents therein have not citizenship. Arnado had therefore become a dual citizen.
appealed the decision of the COMELEC En Banc, cannot be
The effect of a disqualification case is enunciated in Section sustained. The elevation of the case by the intervenor
6 of R.A. No. 6646: prevents it from attaining finality. It is only after this Court After reacquiring his Philippine citizenship, Arnado
has ruled upon the issues raised in this instant petition that renounced his American citizenship by executing an

20
Affidavit of Renunciation, thus completing the requirements abroad that he was a Portuguese national. A similar sanction He was qualified to vote, but by the express disqualification
for eligibility to run for public office. can be taken against anyone who, in electing Philippine under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code, 40 he was
citizenship, renounces his foreign nationality, but not qualified to run for a local elective position.
By renouncing his foreign citizenship, he was deemed to be subsequently does some act constituting renunciation of his
solely a Filipino citizen, regardless of the effect of such Philippine citizenship. In effect, Arnado was solely and exclusively a Filipino citizen
renunciation under the laws of the foreign country. 32 only for a period of eleven days, or from 3 April 2009 until
While the act of using a foreign passport is not one of the acts 14 April 2009, on which date he first used his American
However, this legal presumption does not operate enumerated in Commonwealth Act No. 63 constituting passport after renouncing his American citizenship.
permanently and is open to attack when, after renouncing renunciation and loss of Philippine citizenship, 35 it is
the foreign citizenship, the citizen performs positive acts nevertheless an act which repudiates the very oath of This Court has previously ruled that:
showing his continued possession of a foreign citizenship. 33 renunciation required for a former Filipino citizen who is
also a citizen of another country to be qualified to run for a
local elective position. Qualifications for public office are continuing requirements
Arnado himself subjected the issue of his citizenship to and must be possessed not only at the time of appointment
attack when, after renouncing his foreign citizenship, he or election or assumption of office but during the officer's
continued to use his US passport to travel in and out of the When Arnado used his US passport on 14 April 2009, or just entire tenure. Once any of the required qualifications is lost,
country before filing his certificate of candidacy on 30 eleven days after he renounced his American citizenship, he his title may be seasonably challenged. x x x. 41
November 2009. The pivotal question to determine is recanted his Oath of Renunciation36 that he "absolutely and
whether he was solely and exclusively a Filipino citizen at perpetually renounce(s) all allegiance and fidelity to the
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA"37 and that he "divest(s) The citizenship requirement for elective public office is a
the time he filed his certificate of candidacy, thereby continuing one. It must be possessed not just at the time of
rendering him eligible to run for public office. himself of full employment of all civil and political rights and
privileges of the United States of America."38 the renunciation of the foreign citizenship but continuously.
Any act which violates the oath of renunciation opens the
Between 03 April 2009, the date he renounced his foreign citizenship issue to attack.
citizenship, and 30 November 2009, the date he filed his We agree with the COMELEC En Banc that such act of using
COC, he used his US passport four times, actions that run a foreign passport does not divest Arnado of his Filipino
citizenship, which he acquired by repatriation. However, by We agree with the pronouncement of the COMELEC First
counter to the affidavit of renunciation he had earlier Division that "Arnado’s act of consistently using his US
executed. By using his foreign passport, Arnado positively representing himself as an American citizen, Arnado
voluntarily and effectively reverted to his earlier status as a passport effectively negated his "Affidavit of
and voluntarily represented himself as an American, in Renunciation."42 This does not mean, that he failed to
effect declaring before immigration authorities of both dual citizen. Such reversion was not retroactive; it took
place the instant Arnado represented himself as an comply with the twin requirements under R.A. No. 9225, for
countries that he is an American citizen, with all attendant he in fact did.
rights and privileges granted by the United States of American citizen by using his US passport.
America.
This act of using a foreign passport after renouncing one’s It was after complying with the requirements that he
foreign citizenship is fatal to Arnado’s bid for public office, performed positive acts which effectively disqualified him
The renunciation of foreign citizenship is not a hollow oath from running for an elective public office pursuant to
that can simply be professed at any time, only to be violated as it effectively imposed on him a disqualification to run for
an elective local position. Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code of 1991.
the next day. It requires an absolute and perpetual
renunciation of the foreign citizenship and a full divestment
of all civil and political rights granted by the foreign country Arnado’s category of dual citizenship is that by which The purpose of the Local Government Code in disqualifying
which granted the citizenship. foreign citizenship is acquired through a positive act of dual citizens from running for any elective public office
applying for naturalization. This is distinct from those would be thwarted if we were to allow a person who has
considered dual citizens by virtue of birth, who are not earlier renounced his foreign citizenship, but who
Mercado v. Manzano34 already hinted at this situation when subsequently represents himself as a foreign citizen, to hold
the Court declared: required by law to take the oath of renunciation as the mere
filing of the certificate of candidacy already carries with it an any public office.
implied renunciation of foreign citizenship.39 Dual citizens
His declarations will be taken upon the faith that he will by naturalization, on the other hand, are required to take not Arnado justifies the continued use of his US passport with
fulfill his undertaking made under oath. Should he betray only the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines the explanation that he was not notified of the issuance of
that trust, there are enough sanctions for declaring the loss but also to personally renounce foreign citizenship in order his Philippine passport on 18 June 2009, as a result of which
of his Philippine citizenship through expatriation in to qualify as a candidate for public office. he was only able to obtain his Philippine passport three (3)
appropriate proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, we months later.43
sustained the denial of entry into the country of petitioner
on the ground that, after taking his oath as a naturalized By the time he filed his certificate of candidacy on 30
citizen, he applied for the renewal of his Portuguese November 2009, Arnado was a dual citizen enjoying the The COMELEC En Banc differentiated Arnado from Willy Yu,
passport and declared in commercial documents executed rights and privileges of Filipino and American citizenship. the Portuguese national who sought naturalization as a

21
Filipino citizen and later applied for the renewal of his The Facts of the case are as follows: candidate (according to the board of canvassers) obtained a
Portuguese passport. That Arnado did not apply for a US plurality in an illegal manner, and that another candidate
passport after his renunciation does not make his use of a US On June 4, 1912, a general election was held in the town of was the real victor, the former must retire in favor of the
passport less of an act that violated the Oath of Renunciation Imus, Province of Cavite, to fill the office of municipal latter. In the other case, there is not, strictly speaking, a
he took. It was still a positive act of representation as a US president. The petitioner, Felipe Topacio, and the contest, as the wreath of victory cannot be transferred from
citizen before the immigration officials of this country. respondent, Maximo Abad, were opposing candidates for an ineligible candidate to any other candidate when the sole
that office. Topacio received 430 votes, and Abad 281. Abad question is the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of
The COMELEC, in ruling favorably for Arnado, stated "Yet, as contested the election upon the sole ground that Topacio the legally cast ballots. In the one case the question is as to
soon as he was in possession of his Philippine passport, the was ineligible in that he was reelected the second time to the who received a plurality of the legally cast ballots; in the
respondent already used the same in his subsequent travels office of the municipal president on June 4, 1912, without other, the question is confined to the personal character and
abroad."44 We cannot agree with the COMELEC. Three the four years required by Act No. 2045 having intervened. 46 circumstances of a single individual.48 (Emphasis supplied)
months from June is September. If indeed, Arnado used his
Philippine passport as soon as he was in possession of it, he Abad thus questioned the eligibility of To p a c i o on the Note that the sentence where the phrase is found starts with
would not have used his US passport on 24 November 2009. basis of a statutory prohibition for seeking a second re- "In the other case, there is not, strictly speaking, a contest"
election absent the four year interruption. in contrast to the earlier statement, "In the former, we have
Besides, Arnado’s subsequent use of his Philippine passport a contest in the strict sense of the word, because of the
does not correct the fact that after he renounced his foreign opposing parties are striving for supremacy."
The often-quoted phrase in Topacio v. Paredes is that "the
citizenship and prior to filing his certificate of candidacy, he wreath of victory cannot be transferred from an ineligible
used his US passport. In the same way that the use of his candidate to any other candidate when the sole question is The Court in Topacio v. Paredes cannot be said to have held
foreign passport does not undo his Oath of Renunciation, his the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of the legally that "the wreath of victory cannot be transferred from an
subsequent use of his Philippine passport does not undo his cast ballots."47 ineligible candidate to any other candidate when the sole
earlier use of his US passport. question is the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of
the legally cast ballots."
This phrase is not even the ratio decidendi; it is a mere
Citizenship is not a matter of convenience. It is a badge of obiter dictum. The Court was comparing "the effect of a
identity that comes with attendant civil and political rights decision that a candidate is not entitled to the office because A proper reading of the case reveals that the ruling therein
accorded by the state to its citizens. It likewise demands the of fraud or irregularities in the elections x x x with that is that since the Court of First Instance is without
concomitant duty to maintain allegiance to one’s flag and produced by declaring a person ineligible to hold such an jurisdiction to try a disqualification case based on the
country. While those who acquire dual citizenship by choice office." eligibility of the person who obtained the highest number of
are afforded the right of suffrage, those who seek election or votes in the election, its jurisdiction being confined "to
appointment to public office are required to renounce their determine which of the contestants has been duly elected"
foreign citizenship to be deserving of the public trust. The complete sentence where the phrase is found is part of the judge exceeded his jurisdiction when he "declared that
Holding public office demands full and undivided allegiance a comparison and contrast between the two situations, thus: no one had been legally elected president of the municipality
to the Republic and to no other. of Imus at the general election held in that town on 4 June
Again, the effect of a decision that a candidate is not entitled 1912" where "the only question raised was whether or not
We therefore hold that Arnado, by using his US passport to the office because of fraud or irregularities in the Topacio was eligible to be elected and to hold the office of
after renouncing his American citizenship, has recanted the elections is quite different from that produced by declaring municipal president."
same Oath of Renunciation he took. Section 40(d) of the a person ineligible to hold such an office. In the former case
Local Government Code applies to his situation. He is the court, after an examination of the ballots may find that The Court did not rule that Topacio was disqualified and that
disqualified not only from holding the public office but even some other person than the candidate declared to have Abad as the second placer cannot be proclaimed in his stead.
from becoming a candidate in the May 2010 elections. received a plurality by the board of canvassers actually The Court therein ruled:
received the greater number of votes, in which case the
court issues its mandamus to the board of canvassers to
We now resolve the next issue. correct the returns accordingly; or it may find that the For the foregoing reasons, we are of the opinion and so hold
manner of holding the election and the returns are so tainted that the respondent judge exceeded his jurisdiction in
Resolving the third issue necessitates revisiting Topacio v. with fraud or illegality that it cannot be determined who declaring in those proceedings that no one was elected
Paredes45 which is the jurisprudential spring of the received a plurality of the legally cast ballots. In the latter municipal president of the municipality of Imus at the last
principle that a second-placer cannot be proclaimed as the case, no question as to the correctness of the returns or the general election; and that said order and all subsequent
winner in an election contest. This doctrine must be re- manner of casting and counting the ballots is before the proceedings based thereon are null and void and of no
examined and its soundness once again put to the test to deciding power, and generally the only result can be that the effect; and, although this decision is rendered on
address the ever-recurring issue that a second-placer who election fails entirely. In the former, we have a contest in the respondents' answer to the order to show cause, unless
loses to an ineligible candidate cannot be proclaimed as the strict sense of the word, because of the opposing parties are respondents raised some new and additional issues, let
winner in the elections. striving for supremacy. If it be found that the successful judgment be entered accordingly in 5 days, without costs. So
ordered.49
22
On closer scrutiny, the phrase relied upon by a host of ballot cannot cure the defect in the qualifications of the election requirements aimed at providing the electorate
decisions does not even have a legal basis to stand on. It was candidate. To rule otherwise is to trample upon and rent with the basic information to make an informed choice
a mere pronouncement of the Court comparing one process asunder the very law that sets forth the qualifications and about a candidate’s eligibility and fitness for office.
with another and explaining the effects thereof. As an disqualifications of candidates. We might as well write off
independent statement, it is even illogical. our election laws if the voice of the electorate is the sole The first requirement that may fall when an unqualified
determinant of who should be proclaimed worthy to occupy reading is made is Section 39 of the LGC which specifies the
Let us examine the statement: elective positions in our republic. basic qualifications of local government officials. Equally
susceptive of being rendered toothless is Section 74 of the
"x x x the wreath of victory cannot be transferred from an This has been, in fact, already laid down by the Court in OEC that sets out what should be stated in a COC. Section 78
ineligible candidate to any other candidate when the sole Frivaldo v. COMELEC50 when we pronounced: may likewise be emasculated as mere delay in the resolution
question is the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of of the petition to cancel or deny due course to a COC can
the legally cast ballots." x x x. The fact that he was elected by the people of Sorsogon render a Section 78 petition useless if a candidate with false
does not excuse this patent violation of the salutary rule COC data wins. To state the obvious, candidates may risk
limiting public office and employment only to the citizens of falsifying their COC qualifications if they know that an
What prevents the transfer of the wreath of victory from the election victory will cure any defect that their COCs may
ineligible candidate to another candidate? this country. The qualifications prescribed for elective office
cannot be erased by the electorate alone. have. Election victory then becomes a magic formula to
bypass election eligibility requirements. (Citations omitted)
When the issue being decided upon by the Court is the
eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of the legally cast The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot
cure the vice of ineligibility, especially if they mistakenly What will stop an otherwise disqualified individual from
ballots and ineligibility is thereafter established, what stops filing a seemingly valid COC, concealing any disqualification,
the Court from adjudging another eligible candidate who believed, as in this case, that the candidate was qualified.
Obviously, this rule requires strict application when the and employing every strategy to delay any disqualification
received the next highest number of votes as the winner and case filed against him so he can submit himself to the
bestowing upon him that "wreath?" deficiency is lack of citizenship. If a person seeks to serve in
the Republic of the Philippines, he must owe his total loyalty electorate and win, if winning the election will guarantee a
to this country only, abjuring and renouncing all fealty and disregard of constitutional and statutory provisions on
An ineligible candidate who receives the highest number of fidelity to any other state.51 (Emphasis supplied) qualifications and disqualifications of candidates?
votes is a wrongful winner. By express legal mandate, he
could not even have been a candidate in the first place, but It is imperative to safeguard the expression of the sovereign
by virtue of the lack of material time or any other This issue has also been jurisprudentially clarified in
Velasco v. COMELEC52 where the Court ruled that the ruling voice through the ballot by ensuring that its exercise
intervening circumstances, his ineligibility might not have respects the rule of law. To allow the sovereign voice spoken
been passed upon prior to election date. Consequently, he in Quizon and Saya-ang cannot be interpreted without
qualifications lest "Election victory x x x becomes a magic through the ballot to trump constitutional and statutory
may have had the opportunity to hold himself out to the provisions on qualifications and disqualifications of
electorate as a legitimate and duly qualified candidate. formula to bypass election eligibility requirements."53
candidates is not democracy or republicanism. It is electoral
However, notwithstanding the outcome of the elections, his anarchy. When set rules are disregarded and only the
ineligibility as a candidate remains unchanged. Ineligibility We have ruled in the past that a candidate’s victory in the electorate’s voice spoken through the ballot is made to
does not only pertain to his qualifications as a candidate but election may be considered a sufficient basis to rule in favor matter in the end, it precisely serves as an open invitation
necessarily affects his right to hold public office. The number of the candidate sought to be disqualified if the main issue for electoral anarchy to set in.1âwphi1
of ballots cast in his favor cannot cure the defect of failure to involves defects in the candidate’s certificate of candidacy.
qualify with the substantive legal requirements of eligibility We said that while provisions relating to certificates of
to run for public office. candidacy are mandatory in terms, it is an established rule Maquiling is not a second-placer as
of interpretation as regards election laws, that mandatory he obtained the highest number of
provisions requiring certain steps before elections will be votes from among the qualified
The popular vote does not cure the candidates.
ineligibility of a candidate. construed as directory after the elections, to give effect to
the will of the people. We so ruled in Quizon v. COMELEC and
Saya-ang v. COMELEC: With Arnado’s disqualification, Maquiling then becomes the
The ballot cannot override the constitutional and statutory winner in the election as he obtained the highest number of
requirements for qualifications and disqualifications of votes from among the qualified candidates.
candidates. When the law requires certain qualifications to The present case perhaps presents the proper time and
be possessed or that certain disqualifications be not opportunity to fine-tune our above ruling. We say this with
possessed by persons desiring to serve as elective public the realization that a blanket and unqualified reading and We have ruled in the recent cases of Aratea v.
officials, those qualifications must be met before one even application of this ruling can be fraught with dangerous COMELEC54 and Jalosjos v. COMELEC55 that a void COC
becomes a candidate. When a person who is not qualified is significance for the rule of law and the integrity of our cannot produce any legal effect.
voted for and eventually garners the highest number of elections. For one, such blanket/unqualified reading may
votes, even the will of the electorate expressed through the provide a way around the law that effectively negates

23
Thus, the votes cast in favor of the ineligible candidate are judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is Arnado being a non-candidate, the votes cast in his favor
not considered at all in determining the winner of an voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such should not have been counted. This leaves Maquiling as the
election. election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the qualified candidate who obtained the highest number of
trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon votes. Therefore, the rule on succession under the Local
Even when the votes for the ineligible candidate are motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during Government Code will not apply.
disregarded, the will of the electorate is still respected, and the pendency thereof order the suspension of the
even more so. The votes cast in favor of an ineligible proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is
candidate do not constitute the sole and total expression of his guilt is strong. GRANTED. The Resolution of the COMELEC En Bane dated 2
the sovereign voice. The votes cast in favor of eligible and February 2011 is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.
legitimate candidates form part of that voice and must also There was no chance for Arnado’s proclamation to be Respondent ROMMEL ARNADO y CAGOCO is disqualified
be respected. suspended under this rule because Arnado failed to file his from running for any local elective position. CASAN
answer to the petition seeking his disqualification. Arnado MACODE MAQUILING is hereby DECLARED the duly elected
As in any contest, elections are governed by rules that only filed his Answer on 15 June 2010, long after the Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte in the 10 May 2010
determine the qualifications and disqualifications of those elections and after he was already proclaimed as the winner. elections.
who are allowed to participate as players. When there are
participants who turn out to be ineligible, their victory is The disqualifying circumstance surrounding Arnado’s This Decision is immediately executory.
voided and the laurel is awarded to the next in rank who candidacy involves his citizenship. It does not involve the
does not possess any of the disqualifications nor lacks any of commission of election offenses as provided for in the first Let a copy of this Decision be served personally upon the
the qualifications set in the rules to be eligible as candidates. sentence of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, the parties and the Commission on Elections.
effect of which is to disqualify the individual from
There is no need to apply the rule cited in Labo v. continuing as a candidate, or if he has already been elected,
from holding the office. No pronouncement as to costs.
COMELEC56 that when the voters are well aware within the
realm of notoriety of a candidate’s disqualification and still
cast their votes in favor said candidate, then the eligible The disqualifying circumstance affecting Arnado is his SO ORDERED.
candidate obtaining the next higher number of votes may be citizenship. As earlier discussed, Arnado was both a Filipino
deemed elected. That rule is also a mere obiter that further and an American citizen when he filed his certificate of
complicated the rules affecting qualified candidates who candidacy. He was a dual citizen disqualified to run for
placed second to ineligible ones. public office based on Section 40(d) of the Local
Government Code.
The electorate’s awareness of the candidate’s
disqualification is not a prerequisite for the disqualification Section 40 starts with the statement "The following persons
to attach to the candidate. The very existence of a are disqualified from running for any elective local
disqualifying circumstance makes the candidate ineligible. position." The prohibition serves as a bar against the
Knowledge by the electorate of a candidate’s individuals who fall under any of the enumeration from
disqualification is not necessary before a qualified candidate participating as candidates in the election.
who placed second to a disqualified one can be proclaimed
as the winner. The second-placer in the vote count is actually With Arnado being barred from even becoming a candidate,
the first-placer among the qualified candidates. his certificate of candidacy is thus rendered void from the
beginning. It could not have produced any other legal effect
That the disqualified candidate has already been proclaimed except that Arnado rendered it impossible to effect his
and has assumed office is of no moment. The subsequent disqualification prior to the elections because he filed his
disqualification based on a substantive ground that existed answer to the petition when the elections were conducted
prior to the filing of the certificate of candidacy voids not already and he was already proclaimed the winner.
only the COC but also the proclamation.
To hold that such proclamation is valid is to negate the
Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 provides: prohibitory character of the disqualification which Arnado
possessed even prior to the filing of the certificate of
Section 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. - Any candidate candidacy. The affirmation of Arnado's disqualification,
who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified although made long after the elections, reaches back to the
shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be filing of the certificate of candidacy. Arnado is declared to be
counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final not a candidate at all in the May 201 0 elections.

24
CASES ON DISQUALIFICATION UNDER LOCAL GOV’T from beneficiaries of a cattle dispersal program after the Nonetheless, because of the absence of any contrary
CODE: latter had reared and fattened the cattle for seven months. order from the COMELEC, petitioner Reyes was voted for in
the elections held on May 8, 1995.
In its decision, dated February 6, 1995,
[G.R. No. 120905. March 7, 1996] the Sangguniang Panlalawigan found petitioner guilty of the On May 9, 1995, the COMELECs Second Division
RENATO U. REYES, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON charges and ordered his removal from office. issued the questioned resolution, the dispositive portion of
ELECTIONS, and ROGELIO DE which reads as follows:
It appears that earlier, after learning that
CASTRO, respondents.
the Sanggunian had terminated the proceedings in the case
[G.R. No. 120940. March 7, 1996] WHEREFORE, respondent having been removed from office
and was about to render judgment, petitioner filed a petition
JULIUS O. GARCIA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON by virtue of Administrative Case 006-94, he is hereby
for certiorari, prohibition and injunction with the Regional
ELECTIONS, and RENATO U. DISQUALIFIED from running for public office, in conformity
Trial Court of Oriental Mindoro, Branch 42, alleging that the
REYES, respondents. with Section 40, paragraph (b) of the 1991 Local
proceedings had been terminated without giving him a
chance to be heard. A temporary restraining order was Government Code. The respondents Certificate of Candidacy
DECISION is CANCELLED in conformity with this resolution. The
issued by the court on February 7, 1995, enjoining
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan from proceeding with the Election Officer of Bongabong, Oriental Mindorois ordered
MENDOZA, J.:
case. As a result, the decision of to amend the official list of candidates in Bongabong to
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan could not served upon reflect the respondents disqualification and to
For resolution are special civil actions of Reyes. But on March 3, 1995, following the expiration of the IMMEDIATELY circulate the amendment to the different
certiorari. The petition in G.R. No. 120905 seeks to annul temporary restraining order and without any injunction Boards of Election Inspectors in Bongabong upon the
the resolution dated May 9, 1995 of the Second Division of being issued by the Regional Trial Court, an attempt was receipt of this decision.
the Commission on Elections, declaring petitioner Renato U. made to serve the decision upon petitioners counsel
Reyes disqualified from running for local office in Manila. However, the latter refused to accept the On May 10, 1995, the Municipal Board of Canvassers
and cancelling his certificate of candidacy, and the decision. Subsequent attempts to serve the decision upon of Bongabong, apparently unaware of the disqualification of
resolution dated July 3, 1995 of the Commission en banc, petitioner himself also failed, as he also refused to accept the Reyes by the COMELEC, proclaimed him the duly-elected
denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. On the decision. mayor.
other hand, the petition in G.R. No. 120940, filed by Julius
O. Garcia, has for its purpose the annulment of the aforesaid On March 23, 1995, the Presiding Officer of On July 3, 1995, petitioner filed a motion for
resolution of July 3, 1995 of the Commission en banc insofar the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Vice Governor Pedrito A. reconsideration of the resolution of the COMELECs Second
as it denies his motion to be proclaimed the elected mayor Reyes, issued an order for petitioner to vacate the position Division, but his motion was denied. The COMELEC en banc
of Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro, in view of the of mayor and peacefully turn over the office to the declared him to have been validly disqualified as candidate
disqualification of Renato U. Reyes. incumbent vice mayor. But service of the order upon and, consequently, set aside his proclamation as municipal
petitioner was also refused. mayor of Bongabong. Hence the petition in G.R. No.
On August 1, 1995, the Court issued a temporary
120905, which was filed on July 20, 1995, alleging grave
restraining order directing the Commission on Elections en Meanwhile, on March 20, 1995, petitioner filed a abuse of discretion by the COMELEC on the ground that the
banc to cease and desist from implementing its resolution certificate of candidacy with the Office of the Election Officer decision in the administrative case against petitioner Reyes
of July 3, 1995. It also ordered the two cases to be of the COMELEC in Bongabong. was not yet final and executory and therefore could not be
consolidated, inasmuch as they involved the same
On March 24, 1995, private respondent Rogelio de used as basis for his disqualification. It is contended that the
resolutions of the COMELEC.
Castro, as registered voter of Bongabong, sought the charges against him were rendered moot and academic by
The facts are as follows: disqualification of petitioner as candidate for mayor, citing the expiration of the term during which the acts complained
the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160) which of had allegedly been committed. Invoking the ruling in the
Petitioner Renato U. Reyes was the incumbent mayor states: case of Aguinaldo v. Santos,[1] petitioner argues that his
of the municipality of Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro, having election on May 8, 1995 is a bar to his disqualification.
been elected to that office on May 11, 1992. On October 26,
1994, an administrative complaint was filed against him 40. Disqualification. - The following persons are disqualified On the other hand, it appears that petitioner Julius M.
with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan by Dr. from running for any elective local position: Garcia, who obtained the second highest number of votes
Ernesto Manalo. It was alleged, among other things, that next to petitioner Reyes in the same elections of May 8,
petitioner exacted and collected P50,000.00 from each 1995, intervened in the COMELEC on June 13, 1995 (after
xxx xxx xxx
market stall holder in the Bongabong Public Market; that the main decision disqualifying Renato Reyes was
certain checks issued to him by the National Reconciliation promulgated), contending that because Reyes was
and Development Program of the Department of Interior (b) Those removed from office as a result of an disqualified, he (Garcia) was entitled to be proclaimed
and Local government were never received by the Municipal administrative case. mayor of Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro.
Treasurer nor reflected in the books of accounts of the same
In its resolution of July 3, 1995, the COMELEC en banc
officer; and that he took twenty-seven (27) heads of cattle
denied Garcias prayer, citing the ruling in Republic v. De la

25
Rosa[2] that a candidate who obtains the second highest the Bongabong Post Office to forward the ORDER to the the SangguniangPanlalawigan not to have the decision
number of votes in an election cannot be declared Office of Mayor Renato U. Reyes. served upon him and his client while their petition for
winner. Hence the petition in G.R. No. 120940. Petitioner certiorari in the Regional Trial Court was pending. [6] His
contends that (1) the COMELEC en banc should have On March 28, 1995 said registered mail was returned refusal to receive the decision may, therefore, be construed
decided his petition at least 15 days before the May 8, 1995 to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan with the following as a waiver on his part to have a copy of the decision.
elections as provided in 78 of the Omnibus Elections Code, inscriptions on the back by the Postmaster:
and that because it failed to do so, many votes were The purpose of the rules on service is to make sure
invalidated which could have been for him had the voters 1) 1st attempt - addressee out of town - that the party being served with the pleading, order or
been told earlier who were qualified to be candidates; (2) 9:15 a.m., 3-23-95 judgment is duly informed of the same so that he can take
that the decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan was final steps to protect his interests, i.e., enable a party to file an
and executory and resulted in the automatic disqualification appeal or apply for other appropriate reliefs before the
2) 2nd attempt - addressee cannot be decision becomes final.
of petitioner, and the COMELEC did not need much time to
contacted, out of town, 8:50
decide the case for disqualification against Reyes since the
a.m., 3-24-95 In practice, service means the delivery or
latter did not appeal the decision in the administrative case
communication of a pleading, notice or other papers in a
ordering his removal; (3) that the COMELEC should have
case to the opposite party so as to charge him with receipt
considered the votes cast for Reyes as stray votes. 3) 3rd attempt - addressee not contacted -
of it, and subject him to its legal effect.[7]
out of town, 8:15 a.m.,
After deliberating on the petitions filed in these cases, 3-24-95 In the case at bar, petitioner was given sufficient
the Court resolved to dismiss them for lack of showing that
notice of the decision. Prudence required that, rather than
the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in
4) 4th attempt - addressee refused to accept resist the service, he should have received the decision and
issuing the resolutions in question.
8:15 a.m., 3-27-95 taken an appeal to the Office of the President in accordance
G.R. No. 120905 with R.A. No. 7160, 67.[8] But petitioner did not do
so. Accordingly, the decision became final on April 2, 1995,
First. Petitioner Reyes claims that the decision of On March 24, 1995, Mr. Marcelino B. Macatangay, 30 days after the first service upon petitioner.
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, ordering him removed again went to Bongabong to serve the same ORDER
from office, is not yet final because he has not been served a enforcing the decision. Mayor Renato U. Reyes was not The net result is that when the elections were held
copy thereof. present so the copy was left on the Mayors Office with on May 8, 1995, the decision of
comments from the employees that they would not accept the Sangguniang Panlalawigan had already become final
It appears, however, that the failure of the same.[3] and executory. The filing of a petition for certiorari with the
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to deliver a copy of its Regional Trial Court did not prevent the administrative
decision was due to the refusal of petitioner and his counsel Rule 13, 3 and 7 of the Rules of Court provide for the decision from attaining finality. An original action of
to receive the decision.As the secretary to service of final orders and judgments either personally or by certiorari is an independent action and does not interrupt
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Mario Manzo, stated in his mail. Personal service is completed upon actual or the course of the principal action nor the running of
certification, repeated attempts had been made to serve the constructive delivery, which may be made by delivering a the reglementary period involved in the proceeding.[9]
decision on Reyes personally and by registered mail, but copy personally to the party or his attorney, or by leaving it
Reyes refused to receive the decision. Manzos certification in his office with a person having charge thereof, or at his Consequently, to arrest the course of the principal
states: residence, if his office is not known.[4] Hence service was action during the pendency of the certiorari proceedings,
completed when the decision was served upon petitioners there must be a restraining order or a writ of preliminary
On March 3, 1995, Mr. Marcelino B. Macatangay went counsel in his office in Manila on March 3, 1995. In addition, injunction from the appellate court directed to the lower
to Manila to furnish a copy of the decision to the Counsel for as the secretary of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan certified, court.[10]
Respondent, Atty. Rogelio V. Garcia, which said counsel service by registered mail was also made on petitioner
refused to accept. Reyes. Although the mail containing the decision was not In the case at bar, although a temporary restraining
claimed by him, service was deemed completed five days order was issued by the Regional Trial Court, no preliminary
On March 23, 1995, Mr. Mario I. C. Manzo, Secretary to after the last notice to him on March 27, 1995.[5] injunction was subsequently issued. The temporary
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan with restraining order issued expired after 20 days. From that
Mr. Marcelino B. Macatangay again went to the office of the If a judgment or decision is not delivered to a party for moment on, there was no more legal barrier to the service
Mayor of Bongabong to serve the decision. Mayor Renato U. reasons attributable to him, service is deemed completed of the decision upon petitioner.
Reyes, himself present, refused to accept the ORDER and the judgment or decision will be considered validly
enforcing the decision citing particularly the pending case served as long as it can be shown that the attempt to deliver Petitioner claims that the decision cannot be served
filed in the Sala of Judge Manuel A. Roman as the basis of his it to him would be valid were it not for his or his counsels upon him because at the hearing held on February 15,
refusal. refusal to receive it. 1995 of the case which he filed in the RTC, the counsel of
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Atty. Nestor Atienza, agreed
On [sic] 4:40 p.m., of the same date, the Secretary to Indeed that petitioners counsel knew that a decision not to effect service of the decision of
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, unable to serve the ORDER, in the administrative case had been rendered is evident in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan pending final resolution of
mailed the same (registered mail receipt No. 432) on his effort to bargain with the counsel for the petition for certiorari.
26
The alleged agreement between the counsels of Reyes The COMELEC applied Section 40 (b) of the Local The manifestation of complainants counsel was
and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan cannot bind Government Code (Republic Act 7160) which provides: granted over the objection of the respondent, and
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. It was illegal. And it would the Sanggunian in open session, in the presence of the
have been no less illegal for Sec. 40. The following persons are disqualified from running counsel for the respondent, issued an order dated January
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to have carried it out for any elective local positions: 26, 1995 quoted as follows:
because R.A. No. 7160, 66(a) makes it mandatory that
[c]opies of the decision [of As shown from the record of this case, Mayor Renato U.
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan] shall immediately be xxx xxx xxx
Reyes of Bongabong failed to file his answer within the time
furnished to respondent and/or interested parties. It was prescribed by law, after the motion to dismiss was denied by
the Sangguniang Panlalawigans duty to serve it upon the (b) Those removed from office as a result of an this Sanggunian. The Sanggunian declares that respondent
parties without unnecessary delay. To have delayed the administrative case. Mayor Renato U. Reyes failed to file his answer to the
service of the decision would have resulted in complaint filed against him within the reglementary period
the Sangguniang Panlalawigans failure to perform a legal of fifteen (15) days. Counsel for respondent requested for
duty. It, therefore, properly acted in having its decision Republic Act 7160 took effect only on January 1,
1992 x x x. There is no provision in the statute which would reconsideration twice, which oral motions for
served upon petitioner Reyes. reconsideration were denied for lack of merit.
clearly indicate that the same operates retroactively.
Second. The next question is whether the reelection of
petitioner rendered the administrative charges against him It, therefore, follows that 40(b) of the Local
Art. 126 (a) (1) provides that failure of respondent to file his
moot and academic. Petitioner invokes the ruling Government Code is not applicable to the present case.
verified answer within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the
in Aguinaldo v. COMELEC,[11] in which it was held that a Furthermore, the decision has not yet attained complaint shall be considered a waiver of his rights to
public official could not be removed for misconduct finality. As indicated earlier, the decision of the then present evidence in his behalf.
committed during a prior term and that his reelection Secretary of Local Government was questioned by the
operated as a condonation of the officers previous petitioner in this Court and that to date, the petition remains It is important to note that this case should be heard in
misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove unresolved x x x. accordance with what is provided for in the constitution that
him therefor. But that was because in that case, before the
all parties are entitled to speedy disposition of their cases. It
petition questioning the validity of the administrative At any rate, petitioners claim that he was not given
is pivotal to state that the Sanggunian Panlalawigan will lose
decision removing petitioner could be decided, the term of time to present his evidence in the administrative case has
its authority to investigate this case come February 8,
office during which the alleged misconduct was committed no basis, as the following portion of the decision of
1995 and therefore, in the interest of justice and truth
expired.[12] Removal cannot extend beyond the term during the SangguniangPanlalawigan makes clear: the Sanggunian must exercise that authority by pursuing the
which the alleged misconduct was committed. If a public
On November 28, 1994 the Sanggunian received from hearing of this case.
official is not removed before his term of office expires, he
can no longer be removed if he is thereafter reelected for respondents counsel a motion for extension of time to file a
another term. This is the rationale for the ruling in the verified answer within 15 days from November 23, 1994. In Accordingly, the counsel for complainant Dr. Ernesto
two Aguinaldo cases. the interest of justice another fifteen (15) day period was L. Manalo, et al., will present his evidence on February 2, 3,
granted the respondent. and 6, 1995, and the counsel for respondent will be given a
The case at bar is the very opposite of those chance to cross-examine the witnesses that may be
cases. Here, although petitioner Reyes brought an action to On December 5, 1994 which is the last day for filing presented thereat.
question the decision in the administrative case, the his answer, respondent instead filed a motion to dismiss and
temporary restraining order issued in the action he brought set the same for hearing on December 22, 1994.
lapsed, with the result that the decision was served on xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx
petitioner and it thereafter became final on April 3, 1995, On February 2, 1995, the respondent through counsel
because petitioner failed to appeal to the Office of the On January 4, 1995, the motion to dismiss was denied despite due notice in open session, and by registered mail
President. He was thus validly removed from office and, for lack of merit and the order of denial was received by (registry receipt No. 1495) dated January 27, 1995, failed to
pursuant to 40 (b) of the Local Government Code, he was respondent on January 7, 1995. Considering the fact that the appear. No telegram was received by this body to the effect
disqualified from running for reelection. last day within which to file his answer fell on December 5, that he will appear on any of the dates stated in the Order
1994, respondent is obliged to file the verified answer of January 26, 1995. Indeed, such inaction is a waiver of the
It is noteworthy that at the time the Aguinaldo cases
on January 7, 1995 when he received the order denying his respondent to whatever rights he may have under our laws.
were decided there was no provision similar to 40 (b) which
motion to dismiss.
disqualifies any person from running for any elective All in all, herein respondent Mayor Reyes was given by
position on the ground that he has been removed as a result In the hearing of the instant case on January 26, 1995, this Sanggunian a period of sixty one (61) days to file his
of an administrative case. The Local Government Code of the counsel for the complainant manifested that he be verified answer however, he resorted to dilatory motions
1991 (R.A. No. 7160) could not be given retroactive allowed to present his evidence for failure of the respondent which in the end proved fatal to his cause. Veritably, he
effect. Said the Court in the first Aguinaldo case:[13] to file his answer albeit the lapse of 19 days from January 7, neither filed nor furnished the complainant a copy of his
1995. answer. Failure of the respondent to file his verified answer

27
within fifteen (15)days from receipt of the complaint shall case before the date of the election, suffice it to say that
be considered a waiver of his rights to present evidence in under R.A. No. 6646, 6, the COMELEC can continue
his behalf ((1). Art. 126 of Rules and Regulations proceedings for disqualification against a candidate even
implementing the Local Government Code of 1991). All after the election and order the suspension of his
persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their proclamation whenever the evidence of his guilt is
cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative strong. For the same reason, we find no merit in the
bodies (Sec. 16, Art. III of the Contitution). argument that the COMELEC should have seen right away
that Reyes had not exhausted administrative remedies by
Indeed, it appears that petitioner was given sufficient appealing the decision of
opportunity to file his answer. He failed to do the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and, therefore, should have
so. Nonetheless, he was told that the complainant would be disqualified him before the elections.
presenting his evidence and that he (petitioner) would then
have the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses. But on WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. NO. 120905 and
the date set, he failed to appear. He would say later that this G.R. No. 120940 are DISMISSED for lack of merit.
was because he had filed a motion for postponement and
was awaiting a ruling thereon. This only betrays the pattern SO ORDERED.
of delay he employed to render the case against him moot by
his election.

G.R. No. 120940

We likewise find no grave abuse of discretion on the


part of the COMELEC in denying petitioner Julius O. Garcias
petition to be proclaimed mayor in view of the
disqualification of Renato U. Reyes.

That the candidate who obtains the second highest


number of votes may not be proclaimed winner in case the
winning candidate is disqualified is now settled.[14] The
doctrinal instability caused by see-sawing rulings[15] has
since been removed. In the latest ruling[16] on the question,
this Court said:

To simplistically assume that the second placer would have


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

Garcias plea that the votes cast for Reyes be


invalidated is without merit. The votes cast for Reyes are
presumed to have been cast in the belief that Reyes was
qualified and for that reason can not be treated as stray,
void, or meaningless.[17] The subsequent finding that he is
disqualified cannot retroact to the date of the elections so as
to invalidate the votes cast for him.

As for Garcias contention that the COMELEC


committed a grave abuse of discretion in not deciding the

28
G.R. No. 94115 August 21, 1992 On January 5, 1990, the Department of Local Government petitioner, the Commission ruled that inasmuch as the
received a letter from petitioner dated December 29, 1989 resolutions of the Commission becomes final and executory
RODOLFO E. AGUINALDO, petitioner, in reply to respondent Secretary's December 4, 1989 letter only after five (5) days from promulgation, petitioner may
vs. requiring him to explain why should not be suspended or still be voted upon as a candidate for governor pending the
HON. LUIS SANTOS, as Secretary of the Department of removed from office for disloyalty. In his letter, petitioner final outcome of the disqualification cases with his Court.
Local Government, and MELVIN VARGAS, as Acting denied being privy to the planning of the coup or actively
Governor of Cagayan, respondents. participating in its execution, though he admitted that he Consequently, on May 13, 1992, petitioner filed a petition
was sympathetic to the cause of the rebel soldiers. 1 for certiorari with this Court, G.R. Nos. 105128-30,
Victor I. Padilla for petitioner. entitled Rodolfo E. Aguinaldo v. Commission on Elections, et
Respondent Secretary considered petitioner's reply letter as al., seeking to nullify the resolution of the Commission
his answer to the complaint of Mayor Veronico Agatep and ordering his disqualification. The Court, in a resolution
Doroteo B. Laguna and Manuel T. Molina for private others. 2 On the basis thereof, respondent Secretary dated May 14, 1992, issued a temporary restraining order
respondent. suspended petitioner from office for sixty (60) days from against the Commission to cease and desist from enforcing
notice, pending the outcome of the formal investigation into its May 9, 1992 resolution pending the outcome of the
the charges against him. disqualification case, thereby allowing the canvassing of the
votes and returns in Cagayan to proceed. However, the
During the hearing conducted on the charges against Commission was ordered not to proclaim a winner until this
NOCON, J.: Court has decided the case.
petitioner, complainants presented testimonial and
documentary evidence to prove the charges. Petitioner
In this petition for certiorari and prohibition with neither presented evidence nor even cross-examined the On June 9, 1992, a resolution was issued in the
preliminary mandatory injunction and/or restraining order, complainant's witnesses, choosing instead to move that aforementioned case granting petition and annulling the
petitioner Rodolfo E. Aguinaldo assails the decision of respondent Secretary inhibit himself from deciding the case, May 9, 1992 resolution of the Commission on the ground
respondent Secretary of Local Government dated March which motion was denied. that the decision of respondent Secretary has not yet
19,1990 in Adm. Case No. P-10437-89 dismissing him as attained finality and is still pending review with this Court.
Governor of Cagayan on the ground that the power of the As petitioner won by a landslide margin in the elections, the
Secretary of Local Government to dismiss local government Thereafter, respondent Secretary rendered the questioned
decision finding petitioner guilty as charged and ordering resolution paved the way for his eventual proclamation as
official under Section 14, Article I, Chapter 3 and Sections 60 Governor of Cagayan.
to 67, Chapter 4 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, otherwise his removal from office. Installed as Governor of Cagayan in
known as the Local Government Code, was repealed by the the process was respondent Melvin Vargas, who was then
effectivity of the 1987 Constitution. the Vice-Governor of Cagayan. Under the environmental circumstances of the case, We find
the petition meritorious.
The pertinent facts are as follows: Petitioner was the duly Petitioner relies on three grounds for the allowance of the
elected Governor of the province of Cagayan, having been petition, namely: (1) that the power of respondent Secretary Petitioner's re-election to the position of Governor of
elected to said position during the local elections held on to suspend or remove local government official under Cagayan has rendered the administration case pending
January 17, 1988, to serve a term of four (4) years Section 60, Chapter IV of B.P. Blg. 337 was repealed by the before Us moot and academic. It appears that after the
therefrom. He took his oath sometimes around March 1988. 1987 Constitution; (2) that since respondent Secretary no canvassing of votes, petitioner garnered the most number of
longer has power to suspend or remove petitioner, the votes among the candidates for governor of Cagayan
former could not appoint respondent Melvin Vargas as province. As held by this Court in Aguinaldo v. Comelec et al.,
Shortly after December 1989 coup d'etat was crushed, Governor of Cagayan; and (3) the alleged act of disloyalty supra,:
respondent Secretary of Local Government sent a telegram committed by petitioner should be proved by proof beyond
and a letter, both dated December 4, 1989, to petitioner reasonable doubt, and not be a mere preponderance of
requiring him to show cause why should not be suspended . . . [T]he certified true xerox copy of the "CERTITICATE OF
evidence, because it is an act punishable as rebellion under VOTES OF CANDIDATES", attached to the "VERY URGENT
or remove from office for disloyalty to the Republic, within the Revised Penal Code.
forty-eight (48) hours from receipt thereof. MOTION FOR THE MODIFICATION OF THE RESOLUTION
DATED MAY 14, 1992["] filed by petitioner shows that he
While this case was pending before this Court, petitioner received 170,382 votes while the other candidates for the
On December 7, 1989, a sworn complaint for disloyalty to filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of Governor same position received the following total number of votes:
the Republic and culpable violation of the Constitution was of Cagayan for the May 11, 1992 elections. Three separate (1) Patricio T. Antonio — 54,412, (2) Paquito F. Castillo —
filed by Veronico Agatep, Manuel Mamba and Orlino Agatep, petitions for his disqualification were then filed against him, 2,198; and (3) Florencio L. Vargas — 48,129.
respectively the mayors of the municipalities of Gattaran, all based on the ground that he had been removed from
Tuao and Lasam, all in Cagayan, against petitioner for acts office by virtue of the March 19, 1990 resolution of
the latter committed during the coup. Petitioner was xxx xxx xxx
respondent Secretary. The commission on Elections granted
required to file a verified answer to the complaint. the petitions by way of a resolution dated May 9, 1992. On
the same day, acting upon a "Motion to Clarify" filed by
29
Considering the fact narrated, the expiration of petitioner's Oliveros v. Villaluz, 57 SCRA 163 ratified by a majority of the votes cast in
term of office during which the acts charged were allegedly [1974]) 3 the plebiscite called for the purpose. 5
committed, and his subsequent reelection, the petitioner
must be dismissed for the reason that the issue has become Clear then, the rule is that a public official can not be A similar provision is found in Section 3, Article X of the
academic. In Pascual v. Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija, L- removed for administrative misconduct committed during a 1987 Constitution, which reads:
11959, October 31, 1959, this Court has ruled: prior term, since his re-election to office operates as a
condonation of the officer's previous misconduct to the Sec. 3. The Congress shall enact a local
The weight of authority, however, seems to incline to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. The government code which shall provided
ruled denying the right to remove from office because of foregoing rule, however, finds no application for a more responsive and accountable
misconduct during a prior term to which we fully subscribe. to criminal cases pending against petitioner for acts he may local government structure instituted
have committed during the failed coup. through a system of decentralization
Offenses committed, or acts done, with effective mechanisms of recall,
during a previous term are generally The other grounds raised by petitioner deserve scant initiative, and referendum, allocate
held not to furnish cause for removal consideration. Petitioner contends that the power of among the different local government
and this is especially true were the respondent Secretary to suspend or remove local units their powers, responsibilities, and
Constitution provides that the penalty government officials as alter ego of the President, and as resources, and provide for
in proceeding for removal shall not embodied in B.P. Blg. 337 has been repealed by the 1987 the qualifications, election, appointmen
extend beyond the removal from office, Constitution and which is now vested in the courts. t, and removal, term and salaries,
and disqualification from holding office powers and functions and duties of local
for a term for which the officer was We do not agree. The power of respondent Secretary to officials, and all other matters relating to
elected or appointed. (6 C.J.S. p. 248, remove local government officials is anchored on both the the organization and operation of the
citing Rice v. State, 161 S.W. 2nd 4011; Constitution and a statutory grant from the legislative local units. 6
Montgomery v. Newell, 40 S.W. 23rd branch. The constitutional basis is provided by Articles VII
418; People ex rel Bashaw v. Thompson, (17) and X (4) of the 1987 Constitution which vest in the Inasmuch as the power and authority of the legislature to
130 P. 2nd 237; Board of Com'rs President the power of control over all executive enact a local government code, which provides for the
Kingfisher County v. Shutler, 281 P. 222; departments, bureaus and offices and the power of general manner of removal of local government officials, is found in
State v. Blake, 280 P. 388; In re Fedula, supervision over local governments, and by the doctrine the 1973 Constitution as well as in the 1987 Constitution,
147 A 67; State v. Wald, 43 S.W. 217) that the acts of the department head are presumptively the then it can not be said that BP Blg. 337 was repealed by the
acts of the President unless expressly rejected by him. 4 The effective of the present Constitution.
The underlying theory is that each term is separate from statutory grant found in B.P. Blg. 337 itself has constitutional
other terms, and that the reelection to office operates as a roots, having been enacted by the then Batasan Pambansa Moreover, in Bagabuyo et al. vs. Davide, Jr., et al., 7 this court
condonation of the officer's misconduct to the extent of pursuant to Article XI of the 1973 Constitution, Section 2 of had the occasion to state that B.P. Blg. 337 remained in force
cutting off the right to remove him therefor. (43 Am. Jur. p. which specifically provided as follows — despite the effectivity of the present Constitution, until such
45, citing Atty. Gen. v. Kasty, 184 Ala. 121, 63 Sec. 599, 50 time as the proposed Local Government Code of 1991 is
L.R.A. [NS] 553). As held in Comant v. Bregan [ 1887] 6 Sec. 2. The National Assembly shall approved.
N.Y.S.R. 332, cited in 17 A.L.R. 63 Sec. 559, 50 [NE] 553. enact a local government code which
may not thereafter be amended except The power of respondent Secretary of the Department of
The Court should ever remove a public by a majority vote of all its Members, Local Government to remove local elective government
officer for acts done prior to his present defining a more responsive and officials is found in Secs. 60 and 61 of B.P. Blg. 337. 8
term of office. To do otherwise would be accountable local government structure
to deprive the people of their right to with an effective system of recall,
elect their officers. When a people have allocating among the different local As to petitioner's argument of the want of authority of
elected a man to office, it must be government units their powers, respondent Secretary to appoint respondent Melvin Vargas
assumed that they did this with responsibilities, and resources, and as Governor of Cagayan, We need but point to Section 48 (1)
knowledge of his life and character, and providing for the qualifications, election of B.P. Blg 337 to show the fallacy of the same, to writ —
that they disregarded or forgave his and removal, term, salaries, power,
fault or misconduct, if he had been functions, and duties of local In case a permanent vacancy arises
guilty of any. It is not for the court, by government officials, and all other when a governor . . . refuses to assume
reason of such fault or misconduct, to matters relating to the organization and office, fails to quality, dies or is removed
practically overrule the will of the operation of the local units. However, from office, voluntarily resigns, or is
people. (Lizares v. Hechanova, et al., 17 any change in the existing form of local otherwise permanently incapacitated to
SCRA 58, 59-60 [1966]) (See also government shall not take effect until discharge the functions of his office, the

30
vice-governor . . . shall assume the office
for the unexpired term of the former. 9

Equally without merit is petitioner's claim that before he


could be suspended or removed from office, proof beyond
reasonable doubt is required inasmuch as he is charged with
a penal offense of disloyalty to the Republic which is defined
and penalized under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code.
Petitioner is not being prosecuted criminally under the
provisions of the Revised Penal Code, but administratively
with the end in view of removing petitioner as the duly
elected Governor of Cagayan Province for acts of disloyalty
to the Republic where the quantum of proof required is only
substantial evidence. 10

WHEREFORE, petitioner is hereby GRANTED and the


decision of public respondent Secretary of Local
Government dated March 19, 1990 in Adm. Case No. P-
10437-89, dismissing petitioner as Governor of Cagayan, is
hereby REVERSED.

SO ORDERED.

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