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DIVINAGRACIA VS.

COMELEC FACTS: Petitioner Divinagracia and private respondent Centena are opponents for the vice-mayoralty race in Calinog, Ilolo. After the voting and the canvassing of the votes, petitioner was proclaimed winner. Thereafter, respondent filed an election protest before the RTC which dismissed the same. Both parties filed an appeal before the COMELEC upon notice of appeal and paying the filing fees. COMELEC second division reversed the RTCs decision and thereby proclaimed respondent as the true winner. Petitioner then filed his motion of reconsideration; he alleged that the appeal must be dismissed on the ground that the required appeal fees are not paid. COMELEC en banc did not take heed and affirm the COMELEC second divisions decision. It ruled that petitioner was barred under the doctrine of estoppel by laches when he failed to raise the question of jurisdiction when he filed his Appellants and Appellees Briefs. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner is barred by laches? RULING: Yes. There are two (2) appeal fees that should be paid. The court clarified as follows: In the recent case of Aguilar v. Comelec,[21] the Court harmonized the rules with the following ratiocination: The foregoing resolution is consistent with A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC and the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, as amended. The appeal to the COMELEC of the trial courts decision in election contests involving municipal and barangay officials is perfected upon the filing of the notice of appeal and the payment of the P1,000.00 appeal fee to the court that rendered the decision within the five-day reglementary period. The nonpayment or the insufficient payment of the additional appeal fee of P3,200.00 to the COMELEC Cash Division, in accordance with Rule 40, Section 3 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, as amended, does not affect the perfection of the appeal and does not result in outright or ipso facto dismissal of the appeal. Following, Rule 22, Section 9(a) of the COMELEC Rules, the appeal may be dismissed. And pursuant to Rule 40, Section 18 of the same rules, if the fees are not paid, the COMELEC may refuse to take action thereon until they are paid and may dismiss the action or the proceeding. In such a situation, the COMELEC is merely given the discretion to dismiss the appeal or not. (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied) In Aguilar, the Court recognized the Comelecs discretion to allow or dismiss a perfected appeal that lacks payment of the Comelec-prescribed appeal fee. The Court stated that it was more in keeping with fairness and prudence to allow the appeal which was, similar to the present case, perfected months before the issuance of Comelec Resolution No. 8486.

Aguilar has not, however, diluted the force of Comelec Resolution No. 8486 on the matter of compliance with the Comelec-required appeal fees. To reiterate, Resolution No. 8486 merely clarified the rules on Comelec appeal fees which have been existing as early as 1993, the amount of which was last fixed in 2002. The Comelec even went one step backward and extended the period of payment to 15 days from the filing of the notice of appeal. DOCTRINE OF ESTOPPEL BY LACHES REGARDING FILING FEES A party cannot raise the issue of lack of jurisdiction on the ground that there was lack of payment of filing fees because on that matter it is within the discretion of the COMELEC to dismiss or not any petition. Being the case thereof, it must be raised by the parties if the COMELEC did not dismiss it. In other words, although the case is dismissible, the party must invoke it or seek the court or COMELECs attention. Moreover, under the doctrine of estoppels by laches, it bars any individual from raising the said issue after he actively participated and recognized the court or tribunals jurisdiction even and after received an adverse decision from said tribunal or court. Therefore, he must raise the same during the course of the trial not for the first time on appeal. Hence, the petition is lack of merit. DUMAYAS VS. COMELEC FACTS: Petitioner Dumayas, Jr. and respondent Bernal, Jr. were rival candidates for the position of mayor in Carles, Iloilo. During the canvassing on 13 May 1998, election returns for precincts nos. 61A, 62A, and 63A/64A all of Barangay Pantalan were protested for inclusion in the canvass before the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC for brevity) by petitioner-appellant Dumayas Jr. The grounds relied upon for their exclusion are all the same- that is, violation of Secs. 234, 235, 236 of the Omnibus Election Code and other election laws; acts of terrorism, intimidation, coercion, and similar acts prohibited by law. Appellant Dumayas, Jr. submitted his evidence to the Board of Canvassers on 14 May 1998 which consist of (a) the joint affidavits executed by LAMMP watchers for precinct 61A: Teresita Oblido, Reyland de la Rosa, and Armando Flores [signed by Oblido and Flores only]; (b) affidavit of petitioners supporter Virgilisa Capao; (c) joint affidavit of precinct 63A watcher Nona Dichosa and precinct 62A - watcher Daniel Carmona; (d) blotter report dated 12 May 1998 of Carles PNP, Iloilo; and (d) corroborating affidavit of LAMMP supporter Honorato Gallardo. All the affidavits submitted by petitioner contain similar attestations such as: certain local baranggay (sic) officials were inside the polling place during the casting and counting of votes, or acted as watcher of respondent; SPO3 Gilbert Sorongon who was in shorts and t-shirt armed with an armalite roamed around and inside the polling places; a CVO in uniform was roaming precinct 63A; the presence of the public officials posed threat and intimidation driving most of the watchers of other political parties away; the BEIs were so intimidated and coerced that no election return was prepared simultaneous with the tallying; the election returns were prepared under duress; the voters were coerced to vote for certain favored candidates especially herein

respondent; petitioners watchers were made to sign or affix their thumbmarks on the already prepared election returns; in precinct 63A/64A, the voting ended at almost 9:00 P.M. without the BEI members writing the names of such voters. Respondent denied petitioners allegation and in support thereof, he averred: All the supplemental affidavits of the different BEIs categorically declared that the elections in their respective precincts starting from the start of the voting to its closing, to the counting of votes and to the preparation and submission of election returns were peaceful, clean, orderly and no acts of terrorism, intimidation, coercion and similar acts prohibited by law was (sic) exerted on anybody including the voters and members of the BEIs. They all attested that the incidents alleged by petitioners watchers did not happen. The alleged terrorism, coercion, or violation of election laws like the opening of ballots and reading the votes allegedly done by certain public officials like SPO3 Sorongon, Nody Mahilum, Anonia Barrios, Telesforo Gallardo and others are not true, the truth being that these people were only inside the polling place to exercise their right of suffrage. They also vehemently denied that the election returns were not simultaneously prepared with the tallying and counting of votes. They stressed that as public school teachers, they cannot risk their future and career and will not allow or tolerate anybody to make a mockery of the electoral process to (sic) which they were duly sworn to uphold. Thereafter, petitioners motion was denied by the Municipal Board of Canvassers, but on appeal, the COMELEC second division reversed the same. Aggrieved by the same, private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC en banc. Notwithstanding the appeal, the MBC continued the canvassing and thereafter, proclaimed petitioner as the winner in accordance with the COMELEC second divisions decision. Meanwhile, on August 25, 1998, the duly-proclaimed Vice-Mayor Arnold Betita filed an action for quo warranto[5] against petitioner before the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Branch 66. Docketed as Spl. Civil Action No. 98-141, said petition included respondent Bernal as one of the petitioners together with Vice-Mayor Betita. On September 18, 1998, petitioner filed before the COMELEC en banc a motion to expunge respondent Bernals motion for reconsideration and motion to declare petitioners proclamation void ab initio, on the ground that respondent Bernal should be deemed to have abandoned said motions by the filing of Spl. Civil Action No. 98-141 which, according to petitioner, is a formal election protest via quo warranto brought before the regular courts. However, it was denied by the COMELEC en banc. The Law Department is directed to investigate the election offense allegedly committed by PO3 Gilbert Sorongon on election day. Let the Deputy Executive Director for Operations of the Commission implement this Resolution with dispatch giving a copy thereof to the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government. SO ORDERED.[6] On March 13, 2000, respondent Bernal, Jr. was proclaimed by the newly-constituted Municipal Board of Canvassers as the duly-elected Mayor of the Municipality of Carles, thereby unseating petitioner Dumayas. Hence, this instant special civil action.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Motion for reconsideration is deemed abandoned upon filing of the petition for quo warranto? RULING: See full case for other rulings. No. Now, regarding the first issue raised by petitioner. Did respondent Bernal effectively abandon his pending motions before the COMELEC en banc by the filing of Spl. Civil Action No. 98-141? Petitioners contention that Bernal did appears to us untenable. As a general rule, the filing of an election protest or a petition for quo warranto precludes the subsequent filing of a pre-proclamation controversy or amounts to the abandonment of one earlier filed, thus depriving the COMELEC of the authority to inquire into and pass upon the title of the protestee or the validity of his proclamation. The reason for this rule is that once the competent tribunal has acquired jurisdiction of an election protest or a petition for quo warranto, all questions relative thereto will have to be decided in the case itself and not in another proceeding, so as to prevent confusion and conflict of authority.[9] Nevertheless, the general rule is not absolute. It admits of certain exceptions, as where: (a) the board of canvassers was improperly constituted; (b) quo warranto was not the proper remedy; (c) what was filed was not really a petition for quo warranto or an election protest but a petition to annul a proclamation; (d) the filing of a quo warranto petition or an election protest was expressly made without prejudice to the preproclamation controversy or was made ad cautelam; and (e) the proclamation was null and void.[10] An examination of the petition filed primarily by Vice-Mayor Betita with the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City reveals that it is neither a quo warranto petition under the Omnibus Election Code nor an election protest. In Samad vs. COMELEC[11], we explained that a petition for quo warranto under the Omnibus Election Code raises in issue the disloyalty or ineligibility of the winning candidate. It is a proceeding to unseat the respondent from office but not necessarily to install the petitioner in his place. An election protest is a contest between the defeated and winning candidates on the ground of frauds or irregularities in the casting and counting of the ballots, or in the preparation of the returns. It raises the question of who actually obtained the plurality of the legal votes and therefore is entitled to hold the office. The allegations contained in Betitas petition before the regular court do not present any proper issue for either an election protest or a quo warranto case under the Omnibus Election Code. Spl. Civil Action No. 98-141 appears to be in the nature of an action for usurpation of public office brought by Betita to assert his right to the position of Mayor pursuant to the rules on succession of local government officials contained in the Local Government Code.[12] Although said petition is also denominated as a quo warranto petition under Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, it is different in nature from the quo warranto provided for in the Omnibus Election Code where the only issue proper for determination is either disloyalty or ineligibility of respondent therein. Neither can it be considered as an election protest since what was put forth as an issue in said petition was petitioners alleged unlawful assumption of the office of Mayor by virtue of his alleged illegal proclamation as the winning candidate in the election. A closer look at the specific allegations in the petition disclose that Spl. Civil Action No. 98-141 is actually an action for the annulment of petitioners proclamation on the ground of illegality and prematurity. This conclusion is consistent with the rule that the nature of the action is determined by the averments in the complaint or petition[13] and not the title or caption thereof. The material stipulations of the petition substantially state:

13. That when the Board of Canvassers convened in the afternoon and despite the submission of the copy of the order certifying the Motion for Reconsideration to the COMELEC En Banc and in violation of the Comelec Rules and Procedure and due to the threat received by the Board, Mr. Dalen, the Chairman of the Board and Mr. Serafin Provido, Jr. signed the Certificate of Proclamation proclaiming respondent as winner of the elections for Mayor. Mr. Deony Cabaobao did not signed (sic) the said Certificate of Proclamation as he dissented to (sic) the decision to proclaim respondent; 14. The proclamation, therefore, of respondent is illegal and null and void from the very beginning for it was done in violation of law and under duress. The affidavit of Mr. Serafin Provido, Jr. a member of the Board of Canvassers showing duress is hereto attached as Annex C; 15. On account of the illegal proclamation of the respondent said proclamation does not vest any right or authority for him to sit as Mayor of the town of Carles thus when he sits as such Mayor he usurps, intrudes into, and unlawfully holds and exercise(s) a public office without authority; 16. The authority to act as mayor for and in the absence of the duly proclaimed mayor is vested on petitioner Betita pursuant to law; 17. That the continued unlawful exercise by the respondent of the position of mayor of the town of Carles will cause great and irreparable damage to the petitioners, particularly petitioner Betita, who pursuant to law is entitled to act as Mayor of the town of Carles and the people of Carles who pays his salaries unless he be restrained or enjoined from sitiing (sic) as such Mayor; x x x [14] Thus, respondent Commission did not err, much less abuse its discretion, when it refused to consider as abandoned Bernals motion for reconsideration and urgent motion to declare petitioners proclamation as void ab initio. Note that under the allegations cited above, the determination of Betitas right would ultimately hinge on the validity of petitioners proclamation in the first place. To repeat, the quo warranto petition brought by Vice-Mayor Betita is a petition to annul petitioners proclamation over which COMELEC exercises original exclusive jurisdiction. Consequently, it could not be deemed as a proper remedy in favor of respondent Bernal, Jr. even if his name was included in the title of said petition. GO VS. COMELEC FACTS: Petitioner Go filed two (2) certificate of candidacy: (1) first COC was for mayoralty in Babay, Leyte, and (2) second COC was for the position of Governor in Leyte. Thereafter, she decided to withdraw her 1st COC (mayor) before the Provincial Election Supervisor. However, it was rejected because, under the COMELEC resolution, the withdrawal must be filed before the office where the COC to be withdrawn was filed. Pursuant to said resolution, petitioner tried to withdraw the same in said office, but she only did it after the deadline; consequently, she was disqualified. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not the withdrawal must be filed before the office where the COC to be withdrawn was filed?

RULING: No. We grant the petition. We annul the COMELEC resolution declaring petitioner disqualified for both positions of governor of Leyte and mayor of the municipality of Baybay, Leyte. The filing of the affidavit of withdrawal with the election officer of Baybay, Leyte, at 12:28 a.m., 1 March 2001 was a substantial compliance with the requirement of the law.[14] We hold that petitioner's withdrawal of her certificate of candidacy for mayor of Baybay, Leyte was effective for all legal purposes, and left in full force her certificate of candidacy for governor.[15] Section 73, Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code, provides that: "SEC. 73. Certificate of candidacy.- No person shall be eligible for any elective public office unless he files a sworn certificate of candidacy within the period fixed herein. "A person who has filed a certificate of candidacy may, prior to the election, withdraw the same by submitting to the office concerned a written declaration under oath. "No person shall be eligible for more than one office to be filled in the same election, and if he files his certificate of candidacy for more than one office, he shall not be eligible for any of them. However, before the expiration of the period for the filing of certificates of candidacy, the person who has filed more than one certificate of candidacy may declare under oath the office for which he desires to be eligible and cancel the certificate of candidacy for the other office or offices." There is nothing in this Section which mandates that the affidavit of withdrawal must be filed with the same office where the certificate of candidacy to be withdrawn was filed. Thus, it can be filed directly with the main office of the COMELEC, the office of the regional election director concerned, the office of the provincial election supervisor of the province to which the municipality involved belongs, or the office of the municipal election officer of the said municipality. While it may be true that Section 12 of COMELEC Resolution No. 3253-A, adopted on 20 November 2000, requires that the withdrawal be filed before the election officer of the place where the certificate of candidacy was filed,[16] such requirement is merely directory, and is intended for convenience. It is not mandatory or jurisdictional. An administrative resolution can not contradict, much less amend or repeal a law, or supply a deficiency in the law.[17] Hence, the filing of petitioner's affidavit of withdrawal of candidacy for mayor of Baybay with the provincial election supervisor of Leyte sufficed to effectively withdraw such candidacy. The COMELEC thus acted with grave abuse of discretion when it declared petitioner ineligible for both positions for which she filed certificates of candidacy. (See other rulings) LUNA VS. COMELEC FACTS: On 15 January 2004, Luna filed her certificate of candidacy for the position of vicemayor of Lagayan, Abra as a substitute for Hans Roger, who withdrew his certificate of candidacy on the same date. Ruperto Blanco, Election Officer of Lagayan, Abra removed the name of Hans Roger from the list of candidates and placed the name of Luna. On 20 April 2004, private respondents Tomas Layao, Solomon Lalugan III, Nelia Lazaga, Anthony Layao, Cipriano Lapez, Jr., Victoria Layao, Moderno Lapez,

RodrigoParias, and Eugenio Caber Donato (private respondents) filed a petition for the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy or disqualification of Luna. Private respondents alleged that Luna made a false material representation in her certificate of candidacy because Luna is not a registered voter of Lagayan, Abra but a registered voter of Bangued, Abra. Private respondents also claimed that Lunas certificate of candidacy was not validly filed because the substitution by Luna for Hans Roger was invalid. Private respondents alleged that Hans Roger was only 20 years old on election day and, therefore, he was disqualified to run for vice-mayor and cannot be substituted by Luna.[2] The COMELECs Ruling In the 4 June 2004 Resolution, the COMELEC First Division granted the petition and denied due course to the substitution of Luna for Hans Roger. The COMELEC First Division ruled that, while Luna complied with the procedural requirements for substitution, Hans Roger was not a valid candidate for vice-mayor. The COMELEC First Division pointed out that Hans Roger, being underage,[3] did not file a valid certificate of candidacy and, thus, Hans Roger was not a valid candidate for vice-mayor who could be substituted by Luna. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not there substitution was invalid? RULING: No. Substitution of Luna for Hans Roger was Valid Luna contends that Hans Roger filed a valid certificate of candidacy and, subsequently, upon Hans Rogers withdrawal of his certificate of candidacy, there was a valid substitution by Luna. On the other hand, the COMELEC ruled that Hans Roger, being under age, could not be considered to have filed a valid certificate of candidacy and, therefore, is not a valid candidate who could be substituted by Luna. When a candidate files his certificate of candidacy, the COMELEC has a ministerial duty to receive and acknowledge its receipt. Section 76 of the Omnibus Election Code (Election Code) provides: Sec. 76. Ministerial duty of receiving and acknowledging receipt.- The Commission, provincial election supervisor, election registrar or officer designated by the Commission or the board of election inspectors under the succeeding section shall have the ministerial duty to receive and acknowledge receipt of the certificate of candidacy. In this case, when Hans Roger filed his certificate of candidacy on 5 January 2004,[6] the COMELEC had the ministerial duty to receive and acknowledge receipt of Hans Rogers certificate of candidacy. Thus, the COMELEC had the ministerial duty to give due course to Hans Rogers certificate of candidacy.[7] On 15 January 2004, Hans Roger withdrew his certificate of candidacy. The Election Code allows a person who has filed a certificate of candidacy to withdraw the same prior to the election by submitting a written declaration under oath.[8] There is no provision of law which prevents a candidate from withdrawing his certificate of candidacy before the election.[9]

On the same date, Luna filed her certificate of candidacy as substitute for Hans Roger. Section 77 of the Election Code prescribes the rules on substitution of an official candidate of a registered political party who dies, withdraws, or is disqualified for any cause after the last day for the filing of certificate of candidacy. Section 77 of the Election Code provides: Sec. 77. Candidates in case of death, disqualification or withdrawal of another. - If after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified. The substitute candidate nominated by the political party concerned may file his certificate of candidacy for the office affected in accordance with the preceding sections not later than mid-day of election day of the election. If the death, withdrawal or disqualification should occur between the day before the election and mid-day of election day, said certificate may be filed with any board of election inspectors in the political subdivision where he is a candidate, or, in the case of candidates to be voted for by the entire electorate of the country, with the Commission. Since Hans Roger withdrew his certificate of candidacy and the COMELEC found that Luna complied with all the procedural requirements for a valid substitution,[10] Luna can validly substitute for Hans Roger. The COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in declaring that Hans Roger, being under age, could not be considered to have filed a valid certificate of candidacy and, thus, could not be validly substituted by Luna. The COMELEC may not, by itself, without the proper proceedings, deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy filed in due form.[11] In Sanchez v. Del Rosario,[12] the Court ruled that the question of eligibility or ineligibility of a candidate for non-age is beyond the usual and proper cognizance of the COMELEC. Section 74[13] of the Election Code provides that the certificate of candidacy shall state, among others, the date of birth of the person filing the certificate. Section 78[14] of the Election Code provides that in case a person filing a certificate of candidacy has committed false material representation, a verified petition to deny due course to or cancel the certificate of candidacy of said person may be filed at any time not later than 25 days from the time of filing of the certificate of candidacy. If Hans Roger made a material misrepresentation as to his date of birth or age in his certificate of candidacy, his eligibility may only be impugned through a verified petition to deny due course to or cancel such certificate of candidacy under Section 78 of the Election Code. In this case, there was no petition to deny due course to or cancel the certificate of candidacy of Hans Roger. The COMELEC only declared that Hans Roger did not file a valid certificate of candidacy and, thus, was not a valid candidate in the petition to deny due course to or cancel Lunas certificate of candidacy. In effect, the COMELEC, without the proper proceedings, cancelled Hans Rogers certificate of candidacy and declared the substitution by Luna invalid. It would have been different if there was a petition to deny due course to or cancel Hans Rogers certificate of candidacy. For if the COMELEC cancelled Hans Rogers certificate of candidacy after the proper proceedings, then he is no candidate at all and there can be no substitution of a person whose certificate of candidacy has been cancelled and denied due course.[15] However, Hans Rogers certificate of candidacy was never cancelled or denied due course by the COMELEC. Moreover, Hans Roger already withdrew his certificate of candidacy before the COMELEC declared that he was not a valid candidate. Therefore, unless Hans Rogers certificate of candidacy was denied due course or cancelled in accordance with Section 78 of the Election Code, Hans Rogers certificate of candidacy was valid and he may be validly substituted by Luna.

NAVAROSA VS. COMELEC FACTS: Petitioner Charito Navarosa (petitioner Navarosa) and respondent Roger M. Esto (respondent Esto) were candidates for mayor of Libacao, Aklan in the 14 May 2001 elections. On 17 May 2001, the COMELEC Municipal Board of Canvassers of Libacao proclaimed petitioner Navarosa as the duly elected mayor, with a winning margin of three (3) votes over respondent Esto.[3] Claiming that irregularities marred the canvassing of ballots in several precincts, respondent Esto filed an election protest docketed as Election Case No. 129 (election protest) in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 9, Kalibo, Aklan (trial court). Petitioner Navarosa, who also claimed that canvassing irregularities prejudiced her, filed a counter-protest in the same case. On 4 March 2002, after revision of the contested ballots, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of respondent Esto. The trial court found that respondent Esto obtained 4,595 votes over petitioner Navarosas 4,553 votes. Thus, the trial court declared respondent Esto the elected mayor of Libacao by a margin of 42 votes and annulled the earlier proclamation of petitioner Navarosa. The trial court also ordered petitioner Navarosa to pay respondent Esto actual damages and attorneys fees. Petitioner Navarosa appealed the trial courts ruling to the COMELEC (EAC Case No. A9-2002). Respondent Esto, on the other hand, filed with the trial court a motion for execution of the judgment pending petitioner Navarosas appeal. Petitioner Navarosa opposed respondent Estos motion. In the alternative, petitioner Navarosa offered to file a supersedeas bond to stay execution pending appeal, should the trial court grant respondent Estos motion. In its Order of 22 March 2002 (Order), the trial court granted respondent Estos motion subject to the filing of a P300,000 bond. However, in the same order, the trial court also granted petitioner Navarosas prayer to stay the execution pending appeal, upon filing a P600,000 supersedeas bond. Both petitioner Navarosa and respondent Esto sought reconsideration of the Order but the trial court denied their motions on 5 April 2002. Respondent Esto filed a petition for certiorari with the COMELEC against the Order. In her memorandum to the petition, petitioner Navarosa raised for the first time the issue of the trial courts failure to acquire jurisdiction over the election protest because of respondent Estos failure to pay the COMELEC filing fee. ISSUE: Whether or not the filing of supersedeas bond to avert the motion for execution pending appeal is valid? RULING: See also ruling on estoppel by laches. No. The legal basis which allows the execution pending appeal is As to election cases involving regional, provincial, and city officials, which fall within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the COMELEC, Section 3 of Article IX-C of the Constitution vests the COMELEC with the authority to promulgate its rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, including pre-proclamation controversies. Additionally, Section 52(c), Article VII of the Omnibus Election Code empowers the COMELEC to promulgate rules and regulations implementing the provisions of the

Code or other laws which it is required to enforce and administer. Accordingly, the COMELEC promulgated the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Section 1 of Rule 41 thereof expressly provides that [i]n the absence of any applicable provision in [said] Rules, the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court in the Philippines shall be applicable by analogy or in a suppletory character and effect.[28] In the earlier case of Gahol v. Riodique,[29] the Court explained the legislative intent behind the enactment of Section 218 of the Election Code of 1971. In Gahol, the Court gave an additional justification for allowing execution pending appeal of decisions of trial courts, thus: xxx [T]his innovative provision is the product of the bad experience of the people under the previous election laws. Public policy underlies it. xxx [S]omething had to be done to strike the death blow at the pernicious grab-the-proclamation-prolong-the-protest technique often, if not invariably, resorted to by unscrupulous politicians who would render nugatory the peoples verdict against them and persist in continuing in an office they very well know they have no legitimate right to hold. xxx [T]o uphold the theory of Protestee that the very nature of the matter in dispute in election contests, the holding of a public office and the performance of its functions, makes gravely doubtful the propriety of an execution pending appeal, what with the possible placing of the corresponding powers of government in the hands of one who might ultimately turn out not to be really entitled to the position, is to negate the unquestionable and patent intent of the legislature to give as much recognition to the worth of a trial judges decision as that which is initially ascribed by the law to the proclamation by the board of canvassers. Why should the proclamation by the board of canvassers suffice as basis of the right to assume office, subject to future contingencies attendant to a protest, and not the decision of a court of justice? Indeed, when it is considered that the board of canvassers is composed of persons who are less technically prepared to make an accurate appreciation of the ballots, apart from their being more apt to yield extraneous considerations, that the board must act summarily, practically [racing] against time, while, on the other hand, the judge has the benefit of all the evidence the parties can offer and of admittedly better technical preparation and background, apart from his being allowed ample time for conscientious study and mature deliberation before rendering judgment, one cannot but perceive the wisdom of allowing the immediate execution of decisions in election cases adverse to the protestees, notwithstanding the perfection and pendency of appeals therefrom, as long as there are, in the sound discretion of the court, good reasons therefor. (Emphasis supplied) Thus, a primordial public interest to obviate a hollow victory for the duly elected candidate as determined by the trial court lies behind the present rule giving suppletory application to Section 2. Only a more compelling contrary policy consideration can prevent the suppletory application of Section 2. In insisting that the simple expedient of posting a supersedeas bond can stay execution pending appeal, petitioner Navarosa neither claims nor offers a more compelling contrary policy consideration. Instead, she merely contends that Section 3 of Rule 39 (Section 3) applies also in a suppletory character because its Siamese twin[30] provision, Section 2, is already being so applied. Such simplistic reasoning both ignores and negates the public interest underlying Section 2s application. We cannot countenance such argument. NATURE OF SUPERDEAS BOND Furthermore, a supersedeas bond under Section 3 cannot fully protect the interests of the prevailing party in election protest cases. Section 3 provides: Stay of discretionary execution. Discretionary execution issued under the preceding section may be stayed upon approval by the proper court of a sufficient bond, filed by the party against whom it is directed, conditioned upon the performance of the

judgment or order allowed to be executed in case it shall be finally sustained in whole or in part. The bond thus given may be proceeded against on motion with notice to the surety. (Emphasis supplied) A supersedeas bond secures the performance of the judgment or order appealed from in case of its affirmation.[31] Section 3 finds application in ordinary civil actions where the interest of the prevailing party is capable of pecuniary estimation, and consequently, of protection, through the filing of a supersedeas bond. Thus, the penultimate sentence of Section 3 states: [T]he bond thus given may be proceeded against on motion with notice to the surety. Consequently, it finds no application in election protest cases where judgments invariably include orders which are not capable of pecuniary estimation such as the right to hold office and perform its functions. As well observed by the COMELEC Second Division in its Resolution in the instant case: The supersedeas bond, as used under Section 3, Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, refers to a bond, either in cash or a surety bond, filed by the losing party in an ordinary civil action to secure the performance or to satisfy the judgment appealed from in case it is affirmed on appeal in favor of the prevailing party. A supersedeas bond is filed purposely for the performance of the judgment appealed from in case it is affirmed by the appellate court. On the assumption that the filing of the supersedeas bond applies in an election protest case, the practical considerations of the matter dictate that it cannot secure the performance of or satisfy the judgment rendered in an election protest which basically involves the right to hold a public office and the performance of its functions in accordance with the mandate of the law, except insofar as the monetary award provided in the special order. By allowing the filing of a supersedeas bond to stay the execution of a judgment in an election protest declaring the protestant, as in the case of petitioner herein, as the winning candidate who is entitled to the right to hold and perform the functions of the contested public office, would render the judgment in an election protest illusory. xxx While the supersedeas bond ensures that the appealed decision if affirmed is satisfied, in an election protest case, such bond, in the event the appealed case is affirmed and the execution pending appeal is proven to be meritorious, cannot adequately answer for the deprivation of a duly elected candidate of his post, and his constituents of their leader of choice, such deprivation being unquantifiable.[32] (Emphasis added) As applied to the present case, the supersedeas bond petitioner Navarosa filed can only answer for that portion of the trial courts ruling ordering her to pay to respondent Esto actual damages, attorneys fees and the cost of the suit. It cannot secure execution of that portion proclaiming respondent Esto duly elected mayor of Libacao, Aklan by popular will of the electorate and authorizing him to assume the office. This anomalous situation defeats the very purpose for the filing of the supersedeas bond in the first place. In sum, the Court holds that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in ordering execution pending appeal of the trial courts decision. Grave abuse of discretion implies capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment amounting to lack of jurisdiction, or arbitrary and despotic exercise of power because of passion or personal hostility. The grave abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion or refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law.[33] This does not obtain in the present case. WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the instant petition. The Resolution dated 28 November 2002 of the COMELEC Second Division, and the Resolution dated 15 April 2003 of the COMELEC En Banc, are AFFIRMED. The status quo order dated 10 June 2003 is LIFTED and the COMELEC is directed to cause the implementation of the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Kalibo, Aklan, Branch 9, in Election Case No. 129, without prejudice to any judgment the COMELEC may render in EAC Case No. A-9-2002. Moreover, respondent Roger M. Esto shall pay immediately the P200 deficiency in the COMELEC filing fee. SO ORDERED.

AGUINALDO VS. COMELEC FACTS: The facts are undisputed. In the January 30, 1980 election, there were three candidates, Saturnino Tiamson of the Nacionalista Party, Cesar Villones of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan and Edgardo Samson of the National Union for Liberation. 4 After the canvassing of the election returns, it was shown that private respondent Tiamson had more than 117 votes over the candidate Villones. 5 On February 29, 1980, he was proclaimed as Mayor by the Municipal Board of Canvassers and on March 3, 1980 assumed such position. 6 On March 10, 1980, as mentioned, Villones filed a quo warranto petition based on the above disqualification provision of the Constitution ( to disqualify a candidate based on a change of political party affiliation within six months immediately preceding or following an election).7 This certiorari proceeding, as noted at the outset, was not filed until May 30, 1980, directed against an order of respondent Commission on Elections denying the motion for reconsideration of a previous order of dismissal of a petition to disqualify private respondent Tiamson. ISSUE: Whether proclamation? RULING: Yes. It is thus manifest why this certiorari proceeding must be dismissed. The ruling in Venezuela was applied in Villegas v. Commission on Elections, 9 Potencion v. Conunission on Elections, 10 Arcenas v. Commission on Elections, 11 and Singco v. Conunission on Elections. 12 A citation from Arcenas finds pertinence: "Nor does a decision of this character detract from the binding force of the principle announced in Reyes v. Comelec, that the provision on disqualification arising from a change in a political party affiliation by a candidate within six months is both 'innovative and mandatory. 'As should be clear, the issue of disqualification has not been rendered moot and academic, only the remedy to be pursued is no longer the pre- proclamation controversy." 13 So it must be in this case with a quo warranto petition having already been filed as far back as March 10, 1980, by the party most interested, no less than the losing candidate, Cesar Villones. WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed for lack of merit. No costs. (See Concurring Opinion) SANTOS VS. COMELEC FACTS: Petitioner Edgar Y. Santos and respondent Pedro Q. Panulaya were both candidates for Mayor of the Municipality of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental in the May 14, 2001 elections. On May 16, 2001, after the votes were counted and canvassed, the Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed respondent Panulaya as the duly elected Mayor. Petitioner filed an election protest and after trial, obtained a decision in favour of him from the trial court. Thereafter, petitioner filed a motion for execution pending appeal. While the motion is pending, the respondent filed a petition for certiorari before the COMELEC. The latter dismissed said motion. Consequently, petitioner was proclaimed winner. the pre-proclamation controversy should be dismissed after

Despite the proclamation, respondent filed a motion for reconsideration. Two days later, while the motion for reconsideration is pending, respondent filed another petition which contained the same prayer on his first petition. Consequently, the COMELEC issued another decision reversing itself. It barred the petitioners assumption of office. ISSUE: (1) Whether or not respondent is guilty of forum shopping? (2) Whether or not the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in grating the motion for execution pending appeal? RULING: (1) Yes, please see case. (2) No. The trial court did not commit grave abuse of discretion. The petition for certiorari in SPR No. 37-2002 assailed the trial courts orders for the execution of its decision pending appeal. The grant of execution pending appeal was well within the discretionary powers of the trial court. In order to obtain the annulment of said orders in a petition for certiorari, it must first be proved that the trial court gravely abused its discretion. He should show not merely a reversible error committed by the trial court, but a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility which must be so patent and gross as to amount to an invasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. Mere abuse of discretion is not enough.[20] We find that no grave abuse of discretion was committed by the trial court. In its order granting execution pending appeal, it held: It is of judicial notice that for the public official elected last May 14, 2001 elections only a short period is left. Relative to this Courts jurisdiction over the instant case, the settled rule that the mere filing of the notice of appeal does not divest the trial court of its jurisdiction over the case and to resolve pending incidents, i.e., motion for execution pending appeal (Asmala vs. COMELEC, 289 SCRA 745) need not be overemphasized.[21] However, the COMELEC set aside the aforesaid order, saying that shortness of term alone is not a good reason for execution of a judgment pending appeal. We disagree. While it was indeed held that shortness of the remaining term of office and posting a bond are not good reasons, we clearly stated in Fermo v. COMELEC[22] that: A valid exercise of the discretion to allow execution pending appeal requires that it should be based upon good reasons to be stated in a special order. The following constitute good reasons and a combination of two or more of them will suffice to grant execution pending appeal: (1.) public interest involved or will of the electorate; (2.) the shortness of the remaining portion of the term of the contested office; and (3.) the length of time that the election contest has been pending (italics supplied).[23] The decision of the trial court in Election Protest No. 1-M(2001) was rendered on April 2, 2002, or after almost one year of trial and revision of the questioned ballots. It found petitioner as the candidate with the plurality of votes. Respondent appealed the said decision to the COMELEC. In the meantime, the three-year term of the Office of the Mayor continued to run. The will of the electorate, as determined by the trial court in the election protest, had to be respected and given meaning. The Municipality of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, needed the services of a mayor even while the election protest was pending, and it had to be the candidate judicially determined to have been chosen by the people.

Between the determination by the trial court of who of the candidates won the elections and the finding of the Board of Canvassers as to whom to proclaim, it is the courts decision that should prevail. This was sufficiently explained in the case of Ramas v. COMELEC[24] in this wise: All that was required for a valid exercise of the discretion to allow execution pending appeal was that the immediate execution should be based upon good reasons to be stated in a special order. The rationale why such execution is allowed in election cases is, as stated in Gahol v. Riodique,[25] to give as much recognition to the worth of a trial judges decision as that which is initially ascribed by the law to the proclamation by the board of canvassers. Thus: Why should the proclamation by the board of canvassers suffice as basis of the right to assume office, subject to future contingencies attendant to a protest, and not the decision of a court of justice? Indeed, when it is considered that the board of canvassers is composed of persons who are less technically prepared to make an accurate appreciation of the ballots, apart from their being more apt to yield to extraneous considerations, and that the board must act summarily, practically racing against time, while, on the other hand, the judge has benefit of all the evidence the parties can offer and of admittedly better technical preparation and background, apart from his being allowed ample time for conscientious study and mature deliberation before rendering judgment, one cannot but perceive the wisdom of allowing the immediate execution of decisions in election cases adverse to the protestees, notwithstanding the perfection and pendency of appeals therefrom, as long as there are, in the sound discretion of the court, good reasons therefor. To deprive trial courts of their discretion to grant execution pending appeal would, in the words of Tobon Uy v. COMELEC,[26] bring back the ghost of the grab-the-proclamation-prolong the protest techniques so often resorted to by devious politicians in the past in their efforts to perpetuate their hold to an elective office. This would, as a consequence, lay to waste the will of the electorate.[27] Thus, the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in giving due course, instead of dismissing outright, the petition in SPR No. 37-2002 despite the clear showing that respondent was guilty of forum-shopping; and in setting aside the trial courts order granting execution pending appeal. (1) WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Order dated September 3, 2002 and the Resolution dated October 14, 2002 of the Commission on Elections in SPR No. 37-2002 are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE and the said case is ordered DISMISSED on the ground of forum-shopping. The Order dated August 20, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental, Branch 26, granting the execution pending appeal of its decision in Election Protest No. 1-M(2001), and the Writ of Execution dated August 21, 2002, are REINSTATED. The full enforcement of the said Writ must forthwith be made. The court of origin shall transmit immediately to the Commission on Elections the records of SPL Election Case No. 1M(2001), and the Commission on Elections shall dispose of the appeal in EAC No. A-12-2002 with deliberate dispatch.