Category Archives: Election Law

CASE DIGEST: TECSON VS. COMELEC

G.R. No. 161434             March 3, 2004

MARIA JEANETTE C. TECSON and FELIX B. DESIDERIO, JR. vs.COMELEC, FPJ and VICTORINO X. FORNIER, 

G.R. No. 161634             March 3, 2004

ZOILO ANTONIO VELEZ vs.FPJ

GR. No. 161824             March 3, 2004

VICTORINO X. FORNIER, vs. HON. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and FPJ

Facts:

Petitioners sought for respondent Poe’s disqualification in the presidential elections for having allegedly misrepresented material facts in his (Poe’s) certificate of candidacy by claiming that he is a natural Filipino citizen despite his parents both being foreigners. Comelec dismissed the petition, holding that Poe was a Filipino Citizen. Petitioners assail the jurisdiction of the Comelec, contending that only the Supreme Court may resolve the basic issue on the case under Article VII, Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution.

Issue:

Whether or not it is the Supreme Court which had jurisdiction.

Whether or not Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that Poe was a Filipino citizen.

Ruling:

1.)   The Supreme Court had no jurisdiction on questions regarding “qualification of a candidate” for the presidency or vice-presidency before the elections are held.

“Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal”  in connection with Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution, refers to “contests” relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the “President” or “Vice-President”, of the Philippines which the Supreme Court may take cognizance, and not of “candidates” for President or Vice-President before the elections.

2.)   Comelec committed no grave abuse of discretion in holding Poe as a Filipino Citizen.

The 1935 Constitution on Citizenship, the prevailing fundamental law on respondent’s birth, provided that among the citizens of the Philippines are “those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.”

Tracing respondent’s paternal lineage, his grandfather Lorenzo, as evidenced by the latter’s death certificate was identified as a Filipino Citizen. His citizenship was also drawn from the presumption that having died in 1954 at the age of 84, Lorenzo would have been born in 1870. In the absence of any other evidence, Lorenzo’s place of residence upon his death in 1954 was presumed to be the place of residence prior his death, such that Lorenzo Pou would have benefited from the “en masse Filipinization” that the Philippine Bill had effected in 1902. Being so, Lorenzo’s citizenship would have extended to his son, Allan—respondent’s father.

Respondent, having been acknowledged as Allan’s son to Bessie, though an American citizen,  was a Filipino citizen by virtue of paternal filiation as evidenced by the respondent’s birth certificate. The 1935 Constitution on citizenship did not make a distinction on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the child, thus, the allegation of bigamous marriage and the allegation that respondent was born only before the assailed marriage had no bearing on respondent’s citizenship in view of the established paternal filiation evidenced by the public documents presented.

But while the totality of the evidence may not establish conclusively that respondent FPJ is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, the evidence on hand still would preponderate in his favor enough to hold that he cannot be held guilty of having made a material misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy in violation of Section 78, in relation to Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code.

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Case Digest: Brillantes vs. Comelec

G.R. No. 163193             June 15, 2004

SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., petitioner,
JOSE CONCEPCION, JR., JOSE DE VENECIA, EDGARDO J. ANGARA, DR. JAIME Z. GALVEZ-TAN, FRANKLIN M. DRILON, FRISCO SAN JUAN, NORBERTO M. GONZALES, HONESTO M. GUTIERREZ, ISLETA, AND JOSE A. BERNAS, Petitioners-in-Intervention,
vs.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
Facts:
Comelec issued resolutions adopting an Automated Elections System including the assailed resolution, Resolution 6712, which provides for the electronic transmission of  advanced result of “unofficial” count. Petitioners claimed that the resolution would allow the preemption and usurpation of the exclusive power of Congress to canvass the votes for President and Vice-President and would likewise encroach upon the authority of NAMFREL, as the citizens’ accredited arm, to conduct the “unofficial” quick count as provided under pertinent election laws. Comelec contended that the resolution was promulgated in the exercise of its executive and administrative power “to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections” Comelec added that the issue is beyond judicial determination.
Issue:
Whether or not Comelec’s promulgation of  Resolution 6712 was justified.
Ruling:
The Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing Resolution 6712. The issue squarely fell within the ambit of the expanded jurisdiction of the court.
Article VII, Section 4 of the Constitution, further bolstered by RA 8436, vest upon Congress the sole and exclusive authority to officially canvass the votes for the elections of President and Vice-President. Section 27 of Rep. Act No. 7166, as amended by Rep. Act No. 8173, and reiterated in Section 18 of Rep. Act No. 8436, solely authorize NAMFREL, the duly-accredited citizen’s arm to conduct the “unofficial counting of votes for the national or local elections. The quick count under the guise of an “unofficial” tabulation would not only be preemptive of the authority of congress and NAMFREL, but would also be lacking constitutional and/or statutory basis. Moreover, the assailed COMELEC resolution likewise contravened the constitutional provision that “no money shall be paid out of the treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.” It being “unofficial”, any disbursement of public fund would be contrary to the provisions of the Constitution and Rep. Act No. 9206, which is the 2003 General Appropriations Act.
The Omnibus Election Code in providing the powers and functions of the Commission subjects the same to certain conditions with respect to the adoption of the latest technological and electronic devices, to wit: (1)consideration of the area and available funds (2) notification to all political parties and candidates. The aforementioned conditions were found to have not been substantially met.
Resolution 6712 was null and void.

CASE DIGEST: CODILLA VS. DE VENECIA

G.R. No. 150605           December 10, 2002

EUFROCINO M. CODILLA, SR. vs HON. JOSE DE VENECIA, ROBERTO P. NAZARENO, in their official capacities as Speaker  and Secretary-General of the House of Representatives, respectively,  and MA. VICTORIA L. LOCSIN

Facts:

Petitioner garnered the highest votes in the election for representative in the 4th district of Leyte as against respondent Locsin. Petitioner won while a disqualification suit was pending. Respondent moved for the suspension of petitioner’s proclamation. By virtue of the Comelec ex parte order, petitioner’s proclamation was suspended. Comelec later on resolved that petitioner was guilty of soliciting votes and consequently disqualified him. Respondent Locsin was proclaimed winner. Upon motion by petitioner, the resolution was however reversed and a new resolution declared respondent’s proclamation as null and void. Respondent made his defiance and disobedience to subsequent resolution publicly known while petitioner asserted his right to the office he won.

Issues:

  1. Whether or not respondent’s proclamation was valid.
  2. Whether or not the Comelec had jurisdiction in the instant case.
  3. Whether or not proclamation of the winner is a ministerial duty.

HELD:

  1. The respondent’s proclamation was premature given that the case against petitioner had not yet been disposed of with finality. In fact, it was subsequently found that the disqualification of the petitioner was null and void for being violative of due process and for want of substantial factual basis. Furthermore, respondent, as second placer, could not take the seat in office since he did not represent the electorate’s choice.
  1. Since the validity of respondent’s proclamation had been assailed by petitioner before the Comelec and that the Comelec was yet to resolve it, it cannot be said that the order disqualifying petitioner had become final. Thus Comelec continued to exercise jurisdiction over the case pending finality. The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to review resolutions or decisions of the Comelec. A petition for quo warranto must also fail since respondent’s eligibility was not the issue.
  1. The facts had been settled by the COMELECen banc, the constitutional body with jurisdiction on the matter, that petitioner won. The rule of law demands that its (Comelec’s) Decision be obeyed by all officials of the land. Such duty is ministerial. Petitioner had the right to the office which merits recognition regardless of personal judgment or opinion.