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EN BANC [G.R. No. 147909. April 16, 2002] MAUYAG B. PAPANDAYAN, JR., petitioner, vs.

THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and FAHIDA P. BALT, respondents. DECISION MENDOZA, J.: This is a petition for certiorari to annul the resolution, dated May 8, 2001, of the Second Division[1] of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), disqualifying petitioner Mauyag B. Papandayan, Jr. as a candidate for municipal mayor of the Municipality of Tubaran, Province of Lanao del Sur in the May 14, 2001 elections, and the resolution of the COMELEC en banc, dated May 12, 2001, denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. In the May 14, 2001 elections, three candidates ran for the position of mayor of Tubaran, Lanao del Sur, namely: petitioner Mauyag B. Papandayan, Jr., respondent Fahida P. Balt, who was the incumbent mayor seeking reelection, and Maiko Hassan Bantuas. Respondent Balt sought the disqualification of petitioner in SPC Case No. 01-114 of the COMELEC, alleging that petitioner was not a resident of Barangay Tangcal in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur but a permanent resident of Bayang, Lanao del Sur. In support of her allegation, respondent submitted the joint affidavit,[2] dated February 14, 2001, of Barangay Chairman Hadji Bashir Ayonga and two members of the Sangguniang Barangay of Tangcal, Tubaran, Hadji Taher Batawe and Saadori Buat, stating that petitioner never resided in Barangay Tangcal, Tubaran as they personally knew all the registered voters of the said barangay; that petitioner omitted to own nor lease any house in Barangay Tangcal; and that petitioners father, the late Mauyag Papandayan, Sr., who was a school superintendent, and his family were permanent residents of Bayang, Lanao del Sur. Respondent also submitted a similar affidavit,[3] dated February 17, 2001, of Samoranao Sarip, a member of the Sangguniang Barangay of Tangcal. She averred that petitioner did not state in his Voter Registration Record,[4] accomplished on May 8, 1999, the number of years and months (Annex D-1) he had been a resident of the Municipality of Tubaran. In his answer,[5] petitioner claimed that he was a resident of No. 13 Barangay Tangcal in Tubaran; that he was the son of the late Mauyag Capal Papandayan, Sr., a former school superintendent, and Hadja Khalida Magangcong Balt; that both the Capal and Papandayan clans were natives of Tangcal, Tubaran, and the Magangcong clan were from Boribid, Tubaran while most of the Balt clan were residents of Bayang; that in 1990, he transferred his domicile from Bayang to Tangcal and stayed there with his wife Raina Guina Dimaporo, whose family and relatives were residents and natives of Tangcal, Tubaran; that he managed an agricultural land in Tubaran which he co-owned with his family; and that he filed in 1998 his certificate of candidacy for the position of municipal mayor of Tubaran, which he later withdrew. To support his allegations, petitioner presented the following: 1. Affidavit,[6] dated March 8, 2001, of Taha C. Ali, Municipal Election Officer of the Office of the Assistant Regional Election Director of the COMELEC, Region XII, Iligan City, stating that, based on the continuous verification of household members in Tubaran, petitioner and his wife lived at No. 13 Barangay Tangcal, Tubaran. 2. Affidavit of Witness,[7] dated March 8, 2001, of Delgado Caontongan, stating that he was an elementary school teacher of Tubaran and that he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) of Precinct No. 28-A in Tangcal, Tubaran in the May 8, 1999 registration of voters; that he personally received the Voter Registration Record of petitioner whom he knew to be a resident of Tubaran; and that he knew petitioner to be a qualified voter and, for that reason, he approved petitioners Voter Registration Record and included his name in the master list of voters in Precinct No. 28-A. 3. Certificate of Candidacy for Mayor[8] of petitioner, filed on January 11, 2001, with the COMELEC stating, among other things, that he was born on October 14, 1964; that his place of birth was Marawi City; that he was employed as a municipal employee of a local government unit in Bayang; that he was a resident of Tangcal, Tubaran, Lanao del Sur; that he was a registered voter of Precinct No. 28-A in Barangay Tangcal, Tubaran, Lanao del Sur; and that his length of residency in the Philippines was 36 years and 10 months (Annex 3-A). 4. Affidavit of Witness,*9+ dated March 8, 2001, of Rafael Guina Dimaporo (brother of petitioners wife), stating that his family and the family of petitioner were residents of Tangcal, Tubaran; that his relatives on the maternal side (the Andag and the Guina clans) were natives of Barangays Tangcal and Datumanong, both in the Municipality of Tubaran; and that during the May 11, 1992 national and local elections, he was one of the mayoralty candidates who garnered the second highest number of votes. 5. Affidavit of Witness,[10] dated March 8, 2001, of Sobair Tagtal, stating that he was a farmer and one of the share tenants of an agricultural land located in Tubaran, co-owned by petitioner and the latters siblings; that petitioner had been managing the land and residing in Tangcal, Tubaran since 1990; and that he knew petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy in the 1998 mayoralty election in Tubaran. 6. Certification,[11] dated March 7, 2001, by Salem Buzar, Election Officer in Bayang, Lanao del Sur, certifying that petitioner was not registered as a voter of Bayang in the May 11, 1998 and May 14, 2001 elections. 7. Affidavit of Desistance,[12] dated March 8, 2001, of Hadji Bashir Ayonga, stating that he was withdrawing the joint affidavit, dated February 14, 2001, which he had earlier executed, together with Hadji Taher Batawe and Saadori Buat, as he did not understand the consequences of signing the said affidavit and its contents had not been explained to him; that he did not know that the affidavit would be used in a disqualification case against petitioner who was a first cousin of his grandchildren; that he knew petitioner to be a registered voter and a

candidate for municipal mayor in Tubaran; and that petitioner is a native of Tubaran because he is a descendant of Datu Sa Tatarikun Tangcal (Sumowa) on the paternal side and a legitimate member of the Sultanate of Boribid in Tubaran on the maternal side. 8. Affidavit of Desistance,[13] dated March 8, 2001, of Samoranao Sarip, stating that he was withdrawing the affidavit, dated February 17, 2001, which he had earlier executed, as he did not understand the consequences of signing the said affidavit and its contents had not been explained to him; that he did not know that the affidavit would be used in a disqualification case against petitioner; that he knew petitioner to be a registered voter and a candidate for municipal mayor of Tubaran; and that petitioner is a native of Tubaran because he is a descendant of Datu Sa Tatarikun Tangcal (Sumowa) on the paternal side and a legitimate member of the Sultanate of Boribid in Tubaran on the maternal side. In its resolution, dated May 8, 2001, the COMELEC (Second Division) in SPA No. 01-114 declared petitioner to be disqualified and ordered his name to be stricken off the list of candidates and all votes cast in his favor not to be counted but considered as stray votes. Citing the joint affidavit, dated February 14, 2001, of Hadji Bashir Ayonga, Hadji Taher Batawe, and Saadori Buat and the affidavit of Samoranao Sarip stating that petitioner had not at any time been a resident of Tangcal, Tubaran, the COMELEC ruled that it was the fact of petitioners residence, not the statement in his certificate of candidacy, which determined whether or not he had satisfied the residency requirement of one (1) year preceding the May 14, 2001 elections. In finding that petitioner never intended to relinquish his former domicile in Bayang, the COMELEC took note of the testimony of petitioner in the exclusion proceedings against him before the municipal trial court (Election Case Nos. 2001-237-T to 2001-244-T), in which petitioner stated that he was living in Marawi City where he was the private secretary of Mayor Abdillah Ampatua. On May 14, 2001, elections were held in Tubaran. Petitioner was among those voted by the electorate for the position of municipal mayor. On May 15, 2001, he received a telegram[14] from the COMELEC notifying him of the resolution, dated May 12, 2001, of the COMELEC en banc which denied his motion for reconsideration. On May 17, 2001, he filed the present petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. Meanwhile, on May 19, 2001, petitioner filed a petition with the COMELEC (First Division) in SPC No. 01-039 seeking the issuance of an order directing the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) of Tubaran to count and tally the ballots cast in his favor during the May 14, 2001 elections pursuant to COMELEC Resolution N. 4116. The said resolution provides that if the disqualification case has not become final and executory on the day of the election, the BEI shall tally and count the votes of the candidate declared disqualified. On the other hand, respondent filed a pre-proclamation case (SPC No. 01-259) in the COMELEC. On May 29, 2001, the First Division of the COMELEC (in SPC No. 01-039) issued an order suspending the proclamation of petitioner as the duly elected mayor of Tubaran pending the resolution of this present petition. However, despite the said order (in SPC No. 01-039), the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Tubaran proceeded with the proclamation of petitioner on June 3, 2001. Upon motion of respondent, therefore, the COMELEC (First Division), in an order, dated June 25, 2001, set aside the proclamation of petitioner, without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate charges against the members of the Board responsible for the proclamation.[15] Thereafter, the COMELEC en banc issued a resolution, dated January 30, 2002, sustaining the annulment of the proclamation of petitioner and dismissing SPC No. 01-039 for being moot and academic. It appears that, as a consequence thereof, the incumbent Vice-Mayor of Tubaran assumed the position of mayor pursuant to the COMELEC en banc resolution dated January 30, 2002. On May 22, 2001, this Court required the COMELEC and respondent Fahida Balt to comment on the petition and, upon the posting of a bond by petitioner in the amount of P10,000.00, issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the COMELEC from implementing its resolutions of May 8 and May 12, 2001. In a manifestation,[16] dated May 28, 2001, petitioner submitted the certificates of votes (Annexes A to A-30), duly signed by the BEI Chairman and his two members, showing that in the 31 precincts of Tubaran, he obtained 1,744 votes [should be 1,730] votes, while respondent Balt and Bantuas obtained 1,528 votes [should be 1,540 votes] and 974 votes [should be 967 votes], respectively. Respondent countered that, despite these results, petitioner could not be proclaimed mayor as she had appealed from the ruling of the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Tubaran, wherein she sought the exclusion and the annulment of the election returns from certain precincts in Tubaran because of massive fraud, terrorism, and substitution of registered voters. After canvass of the election returns, the Municipal Board of Canvassers issued a Municipal Certificate of Canvass[17] showing the following results: Petitioner Papandayan 1,744 votes Respondent Balt 1,540 votes Maiko Hassan Bantuas 968 votes The Office of the Solicitor General filed a motion in lieu of a comment, recommending that this Court grant the present petition. It contends that the joint affidavit, dated February 14, 2001, of Barangay Chairman Hadji Bashir Ayonga and Sangguniang Barangay members Hadji Taher Batawe and Saadori Buat, stating that petitioner had not at any time been a resident of Tubaran, constituted hearsay evidence as the three affiants were never presented during the proceedings of the case. In fact, one of the affiants, Hadji Bashir Ayonga, later executed an Affidavit of Desistance, dated March 8, 2001, retracting his earlier statements. As for the statements made by petitioner in Election Case Nos. 2001-237T to 2001-244-T, pending before the municipal trial court, that he was then not residing in Bayang but in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur although

living in Marawi City, the Solicitor General says that the same does not necessarily mean that petitioner was not a resident of Tubaran as such answer merely means that he was previously living in Marawi City. In her comment, respondent insists that petitioner was not a resident of Tubaran but of Bayang. She contends that petitioner made misrepresentations in claiming that he filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor of Tubaran in the May 11, 1998 elections and that he was a registered voter in the May 11, 1998 elections; that when petitioner registered as a voter in Precinct No. 28-A in Tangcal, Tubaran on May 8, 1999, he refused to fill out the space corresponding to the period of his residency in Tubaran; that it was unusual for the BEI Chairman to execute an affidavit, stating therein that he allowed the registration of the petitioner because he had known the latter to be a legitimate resident of [Tubaran] even prior to the May 8, 1999 registration; that it was doubtful if the election officer of Tubaran really conducted a continuous verification of household members of Tubaran; and that the certification of the election officer of Bayang that petitioner was not a registered voter in Bayang during the May 11, 1998 and May 14, 2001 elections does not prove that he was a registered voter in Tubaran. Respondent argues that the COMELEC did not commit any error of jurisdiction to justify the grant of this petition for certiorari but, if at all, only an error of judgment, which is correctible by ordinary appeal. In his reply to respondents comment, petitioner points out that respondent did not appear at the March 9, 2001 hearing of the disqualification case before the COMELEC; that of the six witnesses whom respondent said she was presenting, only two Hadji Taher Batawe and Saadori Buat appeared, and both merely affirmed their joint affidavit; that, although the cross-examination of the two was reset on March 12, 2001, they nevertheless failed to appear and thus deprived petitioners counsel of the opportunity to cross-examine them; that respondents four other witnesses Hadji Bashir Ayonga, Sultan Sarip Bilao, Osio Balbal, and Puno Balbal did not appear either; that instead Sultan Sarip Bilao later executed an affidavit[18] denying his earlier statement that the petitioner was not a resident of Tubaran; and that the Second Division of the COMELEC and the COMELEC en banc did not conduct any hearing in the disqualification case and merely relied on the recommendations submitted by the hearing officer. According to petitioner, while he filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor of Tubaran in the May 11, 1998 elections, the same was later withdrawn on his behalf by Casim A. Guro, his brother-in-law. This fact was corroborated by Macawaris P. Masanang, a sultan in Tubaran, who stated that he had been an Election Assistant of the COMELEC since 1978 and that, as such, he received petitioners certificate of candidacy, which was later withdrawn by Casim A. Guro on behalf of petitioner. After reviewing the records, we find the foregoing allegations of petitioner to be correct. Hence, his petition should be granted. First. Petitioner contends that the resolution, dated May 12, 2001, of the COMELEC en banc was not yet final and executory when the elections were held on May 14, 2001. Consequently, the Board of Election Inspectors of Tubaran, in the exercise of its ministerial duty, had to count the votes cast in his favor. Respondent, on the other hand, avers that the assailed resolution, dated May 12, 2001, of the COMELEC en banc had attained finality five (5) days thereafter, on May 17, 2001, as its enforcement had not been restrained by this Court within the said period. The temporary restraining order should thus be set aside, the same having been issued by this Court only on May 22, 2001. At the time the elections were held in May 14, 2001, the assailed resolution, dated May 12, 2001, had not become final and executory. Hence, the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) was duty bound to tally and count the votes cast in favor of petitioner. As R.A. No. 6646, 6 provides: Effect of disqualification. Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall 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 judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong. On the other hand, COMELEC Resolution No. 4116, promulgated on May 7, 2001, in pertinent parts reads: RESOLUTION NO. 4116 This pertains to the finality of decisions or resolutions of the Commission en banc or division, particularly on Special Actions (Disqualification cases). Sec. 13, Rule 18, of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure on Finality of Decisions or Resolutions provides: Sec. 13. Finality of Decisions or Resolutions. (a) In ordinary actions, special proceedings, provisional remedies, and special reliefs, a decision or resolution of the Commission en banc shall become final and executory after thirty (30) days from its promulgation. (b) In Special Actions and Special cases, a decision or resolution of the Commission en banc shall become final and executory after five (5) days from its promulgation unless restrained by the Supreme Court. (c) Unless a motion for reconsideration is seasonably filed, a decision or resolution of a Division shall become final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days in Special Actions and Special cases and after fifteen (15) days in all other actions or proceedings, following its promulgation. Special Actions cases refer to the following: a) Petition to deny due course to certificate of candidacy; b) Petition to declare a candidate as nuisance candidate; c) Petition to disqualify a candidate; and

d) Petition to postpone or suspend an election. .... Considering the foregoing and in order to guide field officials on the finality of decisions or resolutions on Special Actions cases (disqualification cases); the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVED, as follows: 1. the decision or resolution of the en banc of the Commission on disqualification cases shall become final and executory after five (5) days from its promulgation unless restrained by the Supreme Court; 2. the decision or resolution of a Division on disqualification cases shall become final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days unless a motion for reconsideration is seasonably filed; 3. where the ground for the disqualification case is by reason of non-residence, citizenship, violation of election laws and other analogous cases and on the day of the election the resolution has not become final and executory, the BEI shall tally and count the votes of such disqualified candidate. (Emphasis supplied) Respondent, therefore, is in error in assuming that the issuance of a temporary restraining order by this Court within five (5) days after the date of the promulgation of the assailed resolution on May 12, 2001, of the COMELEC en banc is the operative act that prevents it from attaining finality. The purpose of temporary restraining order was to enjoin the May 12, 2001 resolution of the COMELEC from being enforced despite the fact that, pursuant to COMELEC Resolution No. 4116, par. 3, as above quoted, the said resolution had not attained finality. Second. Petitioner alleges that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in declaring him disqualified on the ground that he is not a resident of Tubaran. On the other hand, respondent argues that whether or not petitioner is a resident of Tubaran is a factual issue which has been thoroughly passed upon and determined by the Second Division of the COMELEC and later by the COMELEC en banc. Respondent echoes the ruling of the COMELEC in its resolution of May 12, 2001, which said that, as an administrative body and a specialized consti tutional body charged with the enforcement and administration of all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall, it has more than enough expertise in its field, and its findings or conclusions are generally respected and even given finality. With due regard for the expertise of the COMELEC, we find the evidence to be insufficient to sustain its resolution. We agree with the Solicitor General, to the contrary, that petitioner has duly proven that, although he was formerly a resident of the Municipality of Bayang, he later transferred residence to Tangcal in the Municipality of Tubaran as shown by his actual and physical presence therein for 10 years prior to the May 14, 2001 elections. Section 39 of the Local Government Code (R.A. No. 7160) provides: Qualifications. (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or province or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panglungsod, or sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other language or dialect. Our decisions have applied certain tests and concepts in resolving the issue of whether or not a candidate has complied with the residency requirement for elective positions. The principle of animus revertendi has been used to determine whether a candidate has an intention to return to the place where he seeks to be elected. Corollary to this is a determination whether there has been an abandonment of his former residence which signifies an intention to depart therefrom. In Caasi v. Court of Appeals,[19] this Court set aside the appealed orders of the COMELEC and the Court of Appeals and annulled the election of the respondent as Municipal Mayor of Bolinao, Pangasinan on the ground that respondents immigration to the United States in 1984 constituted an abandonment of his domicile and residence in the Philippines. Being a green card holder, which was proof that he was a permanent resident or immigrant of the United States, and in the absence of any waiver of his status as such before he ran for election on January 18, 1988, respondent was held to be disqualified under 68 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881). In Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives,[20] respondent Jose Ong, Jr. was proclaimed the duly elected representative of the 2nd District of Northern Samar. The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) upheld his election against claims that he was not a natural born Filipino citizen and a resident of Laoang, Northern Samar. In sustaining the ruling of the HRET, this Court, citing Faypon v. Quirino,*21+ applied the concept of animus revertendi or intent to return, stating that his absence from his residence in order to pursue studies or practice his profession as a certified public accountant in Manila or his registration as a voter other than in the place where he was elected did not constitute loss of residence. The fact that respondent made periodical journeys to his home province in Laoang revealed that he always had animus revertendi. In Abella v. Commission on Elections and Larrazabal v. Commission on Elections,[22] it was explained that the determination of a persons legal residence or domicile largely depends upon the intention that may be inferred from his acts, activities, and utterances. In that case, petitioner Adelina Larrazabal, who had obtained the highest number of votes in the local elections of February 1, 1988 and who had thus been proclaimed as the duly elected governor, was disqualified by the COMELEC for lack of residence and registration qualifications, not being a resident nor a registered voter of Kananga, Leyte. The COMELEC ruled that the attempt of petitioner Larrazabal to change her residence one year before the election by registering at Kananga, Leyte to qualify her to run for the position of governor of the province of Leyte was proof that she

considered herself a resident of Ormoc City. This Court affirmed the ruling of the COMELEC and held that petitioner Larrazabal had established her residence in Ormoc City, not in Kananga, Leyte, from 1975 up to the time that she ran for the position of Provincial Governor of Leyte on February 1, 1988. There was no evidence to show that she and her husband maintained separate residences, i.e., she at Kananga, Leyte and her husband at Ormoc City. The fact that she occasionally visited Kananga, Leyte through the years did not signify an intention to continue her residence after leaving that place. In Romualdez v. RTC, Br. 7, Tacloban City,*23+ the Court held that domicile and residence are synonymous. The term residence, as used in the election law, imports not only an intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention. Domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent for business or pleasure, or for like reasons, one intends to return. In that case, petitioner Philip G. Romualdez established his residence during the early 1980s in Barangay Malbog, Tolosa, Leyte. It was held that the sudden departure from the country of petitioner, because of the EDSA Peoples Power Revolution of 1986, to go into self-exile in the United States until favorable conditions had been established, was not voluntary so as to constitute an abandonment of residence. The Court explained that in order to acquire a new domicile by choice, there must concur (1) residence or bodily presence in the new locality, (2) an intention to remain there, and (3) an intention to abandon the old domicile. There must be animus manendi coupled with animus non revertendi. The purpose to remain in or at the domicile of choice must be for an indefinite period of time; the change of residence must be voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new domicile must be actual. The record shows that when petitioner and his wife Raida Guina Dimaporo got married in 1990, they resided in Tangcal, Tubaran. From then on, there was manifest intention on the part of petitioner to reside in Tubaran, which he deemed to be the place of his conjugal abode with his wife. The fact that he and his wife transferred residence from Bayang to Tubaran shows that petitioner was relinquishing his former place of residence in Bayang and that he intended Tubaran to be his place of domicile. Although petitioner worked as a private secretary of the mayor of Bayang, he went home to Tubaran everyday after work. This is proof of animus manendi. Further, the evidence shows that in the May 11, 1998 election, petitioner was registered as a voter in Tubaran and that in fact he filed his certificate of candidacy although he later withdrew the same. In the May 8, 1999 registration of voters, he was again registered as a voter in Precinct No. 28-A of Barangay Tangcal in Tubaran. In addition, the following bolster petitioners claim that since 1990 he has been a resident of Tubaran: (a) the continuous verification of household members in Tubaran conducted by the election officer showed that petitioner and his wife were members of household No. 13 in Barangay Tangcal, Tubaran; (b) petitioner co-owned an agricultural land in Tubaran; and (c) Hadji Bashir Ayonga and Samoranao Sarip retracted their previous affidavits which they had earlier executed and said that they did not understand the contents thereof and did not know that the affidavits would be used in a disqualification case against petitioner. Indeed, it is the fact of residence that is the decisive factor in determining whether or not an individual has satisfied the Constitutions residency qualification requirement. In holding petitioner not to be a resident of Tubaran, the COMELEC said: Three (3) disinterested senior citizens, Hadji Bashir Ayonga, Hadji Taher Batawe and Saadori Buat, all from Tangcal, Tubaran executed a joint affidavit (Exhibits A to A-1) stating that the respondent has not at any time resided or lived in said barangay. Moreover, in Election Case Nos. 2001-237-T to 2001-244-T, the respondent admitted that he was living in Marawi City and was private secretary to Mayor Abdillah Ampatua (T.S.N., Election Case Nos. 2001-237-T to 2001-244-T). As opined by Hearing Officer Atty. Cristeto J. Limbaco, these statements made by the respondent in open court are considered judicial admissions which do not require proof and cannot be contradicted unless proved to have been made through palpable mistake, citing Sta. Ana vs. Maliwat (L-23-23, August 31, 1968). On May 3, 2001, respondent through counsel submitted a Motion to Admit Supplemental Memorandum alleging that respondent could be a domicile of Tubaran even if he has lived and maintained residences in different places citing the case of Marcos vs. COMELEC, 248 SCRA 300, 302. The fact remains though that respondent in open court admitted that he was living in Marawi City. (T.S.N. of Election Case Nos. 2001-237-T to 2001-244-T).[24] A candidate running for an elective office should at least have resided in the place where he seeks election for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election. Herein respondent is wanting in this respect. In citing the joint affidavit of Hadji Bashir Ayonga, Hadji Taher Batawe and Saadori Buat, the COMELEC overlooked the fact that Hadji Bashir Ayonga subsequently repudiated his affidavit on the ground that the same had not been explained to him and he did not know that it would be used to disqualify petitioner. Hadji Bashir Ayonga affirmed that petitioner was a resident of Tubaran. Indeed, in its findings of fact, the COMELEC stated: On March 8, 2001, witness for petitioner Hadji Bashir Ayonga executed an Affidavit of Desistance thereby withdrawing his affidavit and stated that he did not know the consequences of signing the affidavit he executed on February 14, 2001 as the same was not explained to him and would be used in a disqualification case against the respondent. A similar affidavit was also filed by Samoranao Sarip withdrawing his prior affidavit and stating that he did not know the consequences of his signing said affidavit of February 17, 2001.[25] Apparently, the COMELEC (Second Division) forgot its own findings. Respondent claims that in Election Case Nos. 2001-237-T to 2001-244-T for exclusion of petitioner as a voter of Tubaran, petitioner admitted that he was not a resident of that municipality but of Marawi City. Petitioners testimony is as follows: Atty. P. Dimaampao: MAUYAG PAPANDAYAN, Jr., what is your job now?

WITNESS: Atty. P. Dimaampao: WITNESS: Atty. P. Dimaampao: WITNESS:

Im the private Secretary of Mayor Abdillah Ampatua. For how long? Since he was elected Mayor of Bayang, Lanao del Sur. Are you residing in Bayang, Lanao del Sur. No, Im in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur. And I was living in Marawi City.[26]

Petitioners statement that *he+ was living in Marawi City cannot be read as saying he was a resident of Marawi City, because, when asked whether he was residing in Bayang, Lanao del Sur, he replied: No, Im in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur. What he seems to be saying is that although he worked as a private secretary of the Mayor of Bayang, he was not a resident of Bayang, because he was living in Tubaran. When the evidence of the alleged lack of residence qualification of a candidate for an elective position is weak or inconclusive and it clearly appears that the purpose of the law would not be thwarted by upholding the victors right to the office, the will of the electorate should be respected.[27] For the purpose of election laws is to give effect to, rather than frustrate, the will of the voters.[28] To successfully challenge petitioners disqualification, respondent must clearly demonstrate that petitioners ineligibility is so patently antag onistic to constitutional and legal principles that overriding such ineligibility and thereby giving effect to the apparent will of the people would ultimately create greater prejudice to the very democratic institutions and juristic traditions that our Constitution and laws so zealously protect and promote.[29] Respondent failed to substantiate her claim that petitioner is ineligible to be mayor of Tubaran. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the assailed resolution of the COMELEC (Second Division), dated May 8, 2001, disqualifying petitioner Mauyag B. Papandayan, Jr. as a candidate for municipal mayor in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur, and the resolution, dated May 12, 2001, of the COMELEC en banc, denying petitioners motion for reconsideration, are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The temporary restraining order heretofore issued is made PERMANENT. SO ORDERED. Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Carpio, JJ., concur. Davide, Jr., C.J., Melo, Kapunan, and Austria-Martinez, on official leave. Corona, J., took no part in deliberation of this case.

Romualdez-Marcos vs COMELEC TITLE: Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC CITATION: 248 SCRA 300 FACTS: Imelda, a little over 8 years old, in or about 1938, established her domicile in Tacloban, Leyte where she studied and graduated high school in the Holy Infant Academy from 1938 to 1949. She then pursued her college degree, education, in St. Pauls College now Divine Word University also in Tacloban. Subsequently, she taught in Leyte Chinese School still in Tacloban. She went to manila during 1952 to work with her cousin, the late speaker Daniel Romualdez in his office in the House of Representatives. In 1954, she married late President Ferdinand Marcos when he was still a Congressman of Ilocos Norte and was registered there as a voter. When Pres. Marcos was elected as Senator in 1959, they lived together in San Juan, Rizal where she registered as a voter. In 1965, when Marcos won presidency, they lived in Malacanang Palace and registered as a voter in San Miguel Manila. She served as member of the Batasang Pambansa and Governor of Metro Manila during 1978. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos was running for the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte for the 1995 Elections. Cirilo Roy Montejo, the incumbent Representative of the First District of Leyte and also a candidate for the same position, filed a Petition for Cancellation and Disqualification" with the Commission on Elections alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional requirement for residency. The petitioner, in an honest misrepresentation, wrote seven months under residency, which she sought to rectify by adding the words "since childhood" in her Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy filed on March 29, 1995 and that "she has always maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or residence. She arrived at the seven months residency due to the fact that she became a resident of the Municipality of Tolosa in said months. ISSUE: Whether petitioner has satisfied the 1year residency requirement to be eligible in running as representative of the First District of Leyte. HELD: Residence is used synonymously with domicile for election purposes. The court are in favor of a conclusion supporting petitoners claim of legal residence or domicile in the First District of Leyte despite her own declaration of 7 months residency in the district for the following reasons: 1. A minor follows domicile of her parents. Tacloban became Imeldas domicile of origin by operation of law when her father brought them to Leyte; 2. Domicile of origin is only lost when there is actual removal or change of domicile, a bona fide intention of abandoning the former residence and establishing a new one, and acts which correspond with the purpose. In the absence and concurrence of all these, domicile of origin should be deemed to continue. 3. A wife does not automatically gain the husbands domicile because the term residence in Civil Law does not mean the same thing in Political Law. When Imelda married late President Marcos in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new home and not domicilium necessarium. 4. Assuming that Imelda gained a new domicile after her marriage and acquired right to choose a new one only after the death of Pres. Marcos, her actions upon returning to the country clearly indicated that she chose Tacloban, her domicile of origin, as her domicile of choice. To add, petitioner even obtained her residence certificate in 1992 in Tacloban, Leyte while living in her brothers house, an act, which supports the domiciliary intention clearly manifested. She even kept close ties by establishing residences in Tacloban, celebrating her birthdays and other important milestones. WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the necessary residence qualifications to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC's questioned Resolutions dated April 24, May 7, May 11, and May 25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE. Respondent COMELEC is hereby directed to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers to proclaim petitioner as the duly elected Representative of the First District of Leyte.

EFREN ARATEA v.COMELEC AND ESTELA ANTIPOLO G.R. No. 195229, October 9, 2012, Carpio, J. FACTS: Romeo D. Lonzanida (Lonzanida) and Estela D. Antipolo (Antipolo) were candidates for Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales in the May 2010 National and Local Elections. Dra. Sigrid S. Rodolfo (Rodolfo) filed apetition under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code to disqualify Lonzanida and to deny due course or to cancel Lonzanidas certificate of candidacy on the ground th at Lonzanida was elected, and had served, as mayorof San Antonio, Zambales for four (4) consecutive terms immediately prior to the term for the May 2010elections.Rodolfo asserted that Lonzanida made a false material representation in his certificate of candidacy whenLonzanida certified under oath that he was eligible for the office he sought election. Section 8, Article X of the1987 Constitution and Section 43(b) of the Local Government Code both prohibit a local elective official from being elected and serving for more than three consecutive terms for the same position.

The COMELEC Second Division rendered a Resolutionon 18 February 2010 cancelling Lonzanidas certificate of candidacy. Lonzanidas motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC En Ban c remained pending during the May 2010elections. Lonzanida and Efren Racel Aratea (Aratea) garnered the highest number of votes and wererespectively proclaimed Mayor and Vice-Mayor. Aratea took his oath of office as Acting Mayor before Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge of Olongapo. On thesame date, Aratea wrote the DILG and requested for an opinion on whether, as Vice-Mayor, he was legally required to assume the Office of the Mayor in view of Lonzanidas disqualification. DILG stated that Lonzanida was disqualified to hold office by reason of his criminal conviction, and as aconsequence, his office was deemed permanently vacant, and thus, Aratea should assume the Office of the Mayor in an acting capacity without prejudice to the COMELECs resolution of Lonzanidas motion for reconsideration.In another letter dated 6 August 2010, Aratea requested the DILG to allow him to take the oath of office asMayor of San Antonio, Zambales. In his response, then Secretary Jesse M. Robredo allowed Aratea to take anoath of office as "the permanent Municipal Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales without prejudice however to theoutcome of the cases pending before the COMELEC.On 11 August 2010, the COMELEC En Banc issued a Resolution disqualifying Lonzanida from running forM ayor in the May 2010 elections. The COMELEC En Bancs resolution was based on two grounds: first ,Lonzanida had been elected and had served as Mayor for more than three consecutive terms withoutinterruption; and second , Lonzanida had been convicted by final judgment of 10 counts of falsification underthe Revised Penal Code. Lonzanida was sentenced for each count of falsification to imprisonment of 4 yearsand 1 day of prisin correccional as minimum, to 8 years and 1 day of prisin mayor as maximum. The judgment of conviction became final on 23 October 2009 in the Decision of this Court in Lonzanida v. People , before Lonzanida filed his certificate of candidacy on 1 December 2009.The manner of filling up the permanent vacancy in the Office of the Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales is dependent upon the determination of Lonzanidas removal. Whether Lonzanida was disqualified under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, or made a false material representation under Section 78 of the sameCode that resulted in his certificate of candidacy being void ab initio , is determinative of whether Aratea or Antipolo is the rightful occupant to the Office of the Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales. HELD: Antipolo, the alleged "second placer ," should be proclaimed Mayor because Lonzanidas certificate of candidacy was void ab initio . In short, Lonzanida was never a candidate at all. All votes for Lonzanida were stray votes. Thus, Antipolo, the only qualified candidate, actually garnered the highest number of votes for theposition of Mayor.The grounds for disqualification for a petition under Section 68 1 of the Omnibus Election Code are specifically enumerated. A petition for disqualification under Section 68 clearly refers to "the commission of prohibited acts andpossession of a permanent resident status in a foreign country." All the offenses mentioned in Section 68refer to election offenses under the Omnibus Election Code, not to violations of other penallaws . There is absolutely nothing in the language of Section 68 that would justify including violation of thethree-term limit rule, or conviction by final judgment of the crime of falsification under the Revised Penal Code,as one of the grounds or offenses covered under Section 68.On the other hand, Section 78 2 of the Omnibus Election Code states that a certificate of candidacy may bedenied or cancelled when there is false material representation of the contents of the certificate of candidacy :Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code details the contents of the certificate of candidacy : Sec. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. The certificate of candidacy shall state that the person filing it isannouncing his candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for said office xxx The conviction of Lonzanida by final judgment, with the penalty of prisin mayor ,

disqualifies himperpetually from holding any public office, or from being elected to any public office . Thisperpetual disqualification took effect upon the finality of the judgment of conviction, beforeLonzanida filed his certificate of candidacy .The penalty of prisin mayor automatically carries with it, by operation of law, the accessory penalties of temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification. Under Article 30 of theRevised Penal Code, temporary absolute disqualification produces the effect of "deprivation of the right to votein any election for any popular elective office or to be elected to such office. T he duration of temporary absolute disqualification is the same as that of the principal penalty of prisin mayor .On the other hand, under Article 32 of the Revised Penal Code, perpetual special disqualification meansthat " the offender shall not be permitted to hold any public office during the period of hisdisqualification, which is perpetually. Both temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual specialdisqualification constitute ineligibilities to hold elective public office. 1 Sec. 68. Disqualifications . Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final decision by a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other material consideration to influence,induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance hiscandidacy; (c) s pent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any contribution prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; (e) violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261,paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6 , shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, fromholding the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to run for anyelective office under this Code, unless said person has waived his status as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country inaccordance with the residence requirement provided for in the election laws. 2 Sec. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by the person exclusively on the ground that any material representation containedtherein as required under Section 74 hereof is false . The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from thetime of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, after due notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before theelection.

A person suffering from these ineligibilities is ineligible to run for elective public office, andcommits a false material representation if he states in his certificate of candidacy that he iseligible to so run. Effect of a Void Certificate of Candidacy A cancelled certificate of candidacy void ab initio cannot give rise to a valid candidacy, and much less to valid votes. As the Comelec stated in their February 2011 Resolution: Since Lonzanida was never a candidate for the position of Mayor [of] San Antonio, Zambales, the votes cast for him should be considered stray votes.Consequently, Intervenor Antipolo, who remains as the sole qualified candidate for the mayoralty post and obtained the highest number of votes, should now be proclaimed as the duly elected Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales. Lonzanida's certificate of candidacy was cancelled because he was ineligible or not qualified to run forMayor. 1wphi1

Whether his certificate of candidacy is cancelled before or after the elections is immaterial because thecancellation on such ground means he was never a candidate from the very beginning, his certificate of candidacy being void ab initio. There was only one qualified candidate for Mayor in the May 2010 elections - Antipolo, who therefore received the highest number of votes.Petition dismissed.

Abstract nito - Prohibition against certain election propaganda.Valid exercise of police power toprevent the perversion and prostitution of the electoral apparatus and denial of due process of law.Election Laws BADOY vs. COMELEC (35 SCRA 285) Campaign, A. Lawful / Prohibited Election Propaganda Facts: Anacleto D. Badoy, Jr. avers that he is a candidate for delegate to theConstitutionalConvention for the lone district of North Cotabato. He prays thatSection 12(F) of RA 6132 bedeclared unconstitutional as the same deniesindividuals, who are not candidates, their freedomof speech and of the press; andcandidates the right to speak and write, discuss and debate infavor of theircandidacies or against the candidacies of others. Section 12 (F) provides thattheComelec shall endeavor to obtain free space from newspapers, magazines andperiodicalswhich shall be known as Comelec space, and shall allocate this spaceequally and impartiallyamong all candidates within the areas in which thenewspapers are circulated. Outside of saidComelec space, it shall be unlawful toprint or publish, or cause to be printed or published, anyadvertisement, paidcomment or paid article in furtherance of or in opposition to the candidacyof anyperson for delegate, or mentioning the name of any candidate and the fact of hiscandidacy, unless all the names of all other candidates in the district in which thecandidate isrunning are also mentioned with equal prominence. ComelecResolution RR-724, as amended,merely restates the ban in Section 12 (F). Issue: Whether the ban in Section 12 (F) is valid or constitutional. Held: Under Section 12 (F), the moneyed candidate or individual who can afford topay foradvertisements, comments or articles in favor of his candidacy or against thecandidacy of another or which mention his name and the fact of his candidacy, isrequired to mention all theother candidates in the same district with equalprominence, to exempt him from the penalsanction of the law. The evident purposeof the limitation is to give the poor candidates afighting chance in the election. Therestriction is only one of the measures devised by the law topreserve suffrage pureand undefiled and to achieve the desired equality of chances among allthecandidates. Considering the foregoing limitation in Section 12(F) in the light of theotherprovisions of RA 6132 designed to maximize, if not approximate, equality ofchances among thevarious candidates in the same district, the said restriction on thefreedom of expressionappears too insignificant to create any appreciable dent on theindividual s liberty of expression.It should be noted that Section 8(a) of the same law,prohibiting political parties from aidingcandidates and thus was more restrictive thanSection 12(F), was previously upheld to be valid.The limitation in Section 12(F) is areasoned and reasonable judgment on the part of Congress. Itis not unconstitutional.

Chavez vs. COMELEC , GR 162777, Aug 31, 2004Facts: Petitioner seeks to enjoin the Commission on Elections(COMELEC) from enforcing Section 32 of its Resolution No.6520. He claims that said section in the nature of an ex postfacto law. He urges this Court to believe that the assailedprovision makes an individual criminally liable for an electionoffense for not removing such advertisement, even if at thetime the said advertisement was exhibited, the same wasclearly legal. HELD: NO. Section 32, although not penal in nature, defines anoffense and prescribes a penalty for said offense. Laws of thisnature must operate prospectively, except when they arefavorable to the accused. It should be noted, however, thatthe offense defined in the assailed provision is not the puttingup of "propaganda materials such as posters, streamers,stickers or paintings on walls and other materials showing thepicture, image or name of a person, and all advertisements onprint, in radio or on television showing the image ormentioning the name of a person, who subsequent to theplacement or display thereof becomes a candidate for publicoffice." Nor does it prohibit or consider an offense theentering of contracts for such propaganda materials by anindividual who subsequently becomes a candidate for publicoffice. One definitely does not commit an offense by enteringinto a contract with private parties to use his name and imageto endorse certain products prior to his becoming a candidatefor public office. The offense, as expressly prescribed in theassailed provision, is the non-removal of the describedpropaganda materials three (3) days after the effectivity of COMELEC Resolution No. 6520. If the candidate for publicoffice fails to remove such propaganda materials after thegiven period, he shall be liable under Section 80 of theOmnibus Election Code for premature campaigning. Indeed,nowhere is it indicated in the assailed provision that it shalloperate retroactively. There is, therefore, no ex post facto lawin this case.

Pilar v. Commission on Elections G. R. No. 115245 (July 11, 1995) FACTS: On March 22, 1992, Petitioner filed his certificate of candidacyfor the position of member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of theProvince of Isabela. Three days later, he withdrew his certificate of candidacy. As a result, Respondent Commission imposed a fine of P10,000pesos for failure to file his statement of contributions andexpenditures. Petitioner contends that it is clear from the law that thecandidate must have entered the political contest, and should haveeither won or lost. ISSUE: W/N Petitioner can be held liable for failure to file a statement of contributions and expenditures since he was a non-candidate,having withdrawn his certificate of candidacy three days after itsfiling. HELD: Yes. Sec. 14 of RA 7166 states that every candidate has theobligation to file his statement of contributions and expenditures. As the law makes no distinction or qualification as to whether thecandidate pursued his candidacy or withdrew the same, the termevery candidate must be deemed to refer not only to a candidatewho pursued his campaign, but also to one who withdrew hiscandidacy. Sec. 13 of Resolution No. 2348 categorically refers to allcandidates who filed their certificate of candidacy.

NICOLAS C. CASTROMAYOR vs.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS [G.R. No. 120426; November 23, 1995]MENDOZA, J.: This is a petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus seeking to set aside a resolution of theCommission on Elections (COMELEC) which directs the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Calinog, Iloiloto reconvene for the purpose of annulling the proclamation of petitioner Nicolas C. Castromayor ascouncilor of that municipality and of proclaiming the winner after a recomputation of the votes.Petitioner was a candidate for a seat in the eight-member Sangguniang Bayan of the municipality of Calinog,Iloilo in the elections held on May 8, 1995. After the votes had been cast, the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) convened at 6:00 p.m. of that day and began the canvass of the election returns from the different precincts in the municipality. The canvassing lasted well into the night of May 9, 1995. The totals of the votes cast were checked by the Municipal Accountant who acted as recorder of votes.On May 10, 1995, the winners were proclaimed on the basis of the results of the canvass which showed thatpetitioner received 5,419 votes and took eighth place in the election for members of the Sangguniang Bayan.However, when Alice M. Garin, Chairman of the MBC, rechecked the totals in the Statement of Votes thefollowing day, she discovered that the number of votes cast for Nilda C. Demorito, as member of theSangguniang Bayan, was 62 more than that credited to her. As Garin later explained to the Provincial ElectionSupervisor, the returns from one precinct had been overlooked in the computation of the totals. Twoemployees of the Treasurer's Office, who were assigned to post the returns on the tally board outside themunicipal building, also discovered the error and reported it to Garin. As matters stood, therefore the total number of votes cast for Demorito was 5,470, or 51 more than the5,419 votes cast for petitioner.Garin reported the matter to the Regional Election Director, Atty. Rodolfo Sarroza, who advised her torequest authority from the COMELEC to reconvene for the purpose of correcting the error.On May 13, 1995, a fax letter was sent to the Law Department of the COMELEC in Manila. The letterexplained the problem and asked for authority for the MBC to reconvene in order to correct the error, annulthe proclamation of petitioner and proclaim Demorito as the eighth member of the Sangguniang Bayan. A formal letter was later sent to the COMELEC on May 17, 1995.On May 23, 1995, the COMELEC issued the following resolution:95-2414. In the matter of the Faxletter dated 13 May 1995 from Election Officer Alice M. Garin, requesting for an authority to reconvene the MBC of Calinog, Iloilo to annul the proclamation of Nicolas Castromayorfor the No. 8 place for councilor and to proclaim Nilda C. Demorito as the duly elected number eight (8) SBmember of said municipality, RESOLVED: 1 To direct the Municipal board of Canvassers of said municipality to reconvene to annul theproclamation of Nicolas C. Castromayor for the number 8 place for councilor; and 2 To proclaim the winning number eight (8) councilor, and to submit compliance hereof within five (5)days from receipt of notice.On May 25, 1995, not yet apprised of the resolution of the COMELEC en banc, Garin sent a letter topetitioner Castromayor, informing him of the error in the computation of the totals and of the request madeby the MBC for permission to reconvene to correct the error.

BREN Z. GUIAO vs. COMELEC 137 SCRA 366 FACTS OF THE CASE Petitioner Guiao was a candidate for Assemblyman in the May, 1984elections in Pampanga. At seven o'clock in the evening, the Provincial Boardof Canvassers met at the Conference Hall, Provincial Capitol in San Fernando,Pampanga, to canvass the election returns from the voting centers in theprovince. By 11:30 o'clock in the evening of May 16, 1984, the canvass of allelection returns from all the voting centers of Pampanga had beencompleted without any objection raised by anyone to any of the canvassedreturns. Petitioner Guiao garnered 5 th place.It was only after the canvass had been completed did Petitioner Guiaosubmit to the Board of Canvassers his written objections to the inclusion inthe canvass of election returns from various voting centers of differentmunicipalities, on grounds that the canvassed returns were incomplete; thatthere was duress, intimidation, falsification, and the canvassed returns wereobviously manufactured; that there were threats, coercion; and thatComelec's copy was not authentic, statistically improbable; and, that personsin Saudi Arabia were made to appear as if they had voted.Notwithstanding delay in the submission of these written objections,the Board of Canvassers nevertheless held a hearing on the same day. TheChairman of the Board of Canvassers, Atty. Manuel Lucero also sent to theCommission on Elections a memorandum, stating and informing that theObjections were raised after the completion of the canvass and requestingthat the Provincial Board of Canvassers in

Pampanga be authorized toproclaim the winning candidate based on the results of the completedcanvass without prejudice to the outcome of the hearing on the objections. In a resolution dated May 17, 1984, the COMELEC granted the requestof the Chairman of the Provincial Board of Canvassers. The petitioner'sobjections were later dismissed by the Board of Canvassers for failure tosubstantiate the same. It also appears that at said hearing, there waspresented to the Board the request of the petitioner, thru his counsel Atty.Suarez, that subpoena be issued to the members of the Citizens ElectionCommittee from various voting centers enumerated in the written objections.Said request was denied by the Board on the grounds that said petitioner'scounsel should have been ready with his evidence to support his objections,the hearing being summary in nature and also to preclude further delay inthe proclamation of the winning candidates. Petitioner appealed the matterto the COMELEC.Eventually, the COMELEC 1 st Division resolved to sustain theproclamation of Assemblyman ABER CANLAS made by the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Pampanga in connection with the May 14, 1984 election ashereby AFFIRMED and the appeal of the Petitioner-Appellant BREN GUIAOaccordingly DISMISSED. SUPREME COURT RULING Section 54 of Batas Pambansa No. 697 states that any candidate,political party coalition of political parties, contesting the exclusion orinclusion in the canvass of any election returns shall submit their writtenobjections to the Chairman of Canvassers. From the provision of said Section54 it can be inferred that these written objections must be submitted ormanifested in order that it can be reflected in the minutes of canvass duringthe actual canvassing of the election returns, that is, during the secondstage of the proceedings as pointed above since it is only during this stagethat the board determines the inclusion or exclusion of the returns by opening and examining the returns to verify the authenticity andgenuineness of the same. The summary nature of the proceedings require that the writtenobjections be filed only during this stage because it is only during this stageof the canvass when the inclusion or exclusion of any return is in issue andbeing passed upon by the board. If during this stage, after the board hasexamined the returns and ruled to include them to the canvass with theacquiescence or approval of the representatives of the political parties andwithout any objection representatives of the political parties and without anyobjection written or verbal, from any of the candidates or theirrepresentatives, they are included in the canvass and the parties areestopped from questioning the inclusion of the returns in the canvass andfrom the denying the admissibility of said returns in the canvass and fromdenying the admissibility of said returns for purposes of the canvass afterthe second stage of the canvass. This must be so since at the third stage of the canvass, the inclusion orexclusion of any election return is no longer in issue. The issue in this thirdstage is the correctness or incorrectness of the mathematical computationand tabulation of the total voters received by the candidates as a result of the canvass.Once the correctness of the mathematical computation of the result of the canvass during this stage is determined and as established by the boardof canvassers, the fourth stage remains to be a formality which should not bedelayed by frivolous, imaginary and untimely unsubstantiated objections toelection returns, intended to prevent or hinder the proclamation of thewinning candidates. That these written objections must be submitted during the secondstage, that is during the actual canvassing of the election returns, becomes express when said Section 54 states "The Board shall defer the canvass of the contested returns and shall not make any ruling thereon until after allthe uncontested election returns have been canvassed.How can the board of canvassers defer the canvass of the contestedreturns if these written objections are submitted after the second stage, thatis after the canvassing of said returns? To allow these written objections to prosper after the canvassing wouldbe requiring the board of canvassers to reopen the canvass of electionreturns all over again which otherwise was regularly conducted without anyobjection from the political party representatives and the candidate or theirrepresentatives. This would not be in keeping with the summary nature of the canvass proceedings.

ABDULAKARIM D. UTTO vs. COMELEC G.R. No. 150111. January 13, 2002. FACTS OF THE CASE This petition for certiorari and prohibition seeks to annul theresolutions of the Commission on Elections en banc, affirming in toto theresolution of the Comelec (First Division) directing the inclusion of five (5)election returns excluded by the municipal board of canvassers during thecanvass of votes for the May 14, 2001 election in the municipality of Sultansa Barongis, Maguindanao and finding petitioners proclamation to be illegaland void ab initio.Petitioner Abdulkarim D. Utto and respondent Datu Almansa B. Angaswere candidates for the position of the mayor of the municipality of Sultan saBarongis, Maguindanao in the May 14, 2001 election.For the canvassing of votes of the May 14, 2001 election returns, theoriginal municipal board of canvassers was composed of Nena Alid as chairman, and Maceda Lidasan Abo and Noron Gonina, as members. Duringthe canvassing on May 16, 2001, election returns in Precinct Nos. 15A,25A/26A, 66A, and 68A/69A were presented. On May 18, 2001, respondentfiled a petition to inhibit Alid and Abo, which resulted in the suspension of thecanvassing. Alid and Abo inhibited themselves from the proceedings.On May 24, 2001, Bai Haidy D. Mamalinta took over as chairperson,with Roihaida Khalid and Noron Gonina, as members of the municipal boardof canvassers. The canvassing was again suspended when both Khalid andGonina also inhibited themselves from participating in the proceedings.On May 27, 2001, the provincial election supervisor designated RufdenMangelen and Tamano Diolanen as members of the municipal board of canvassers. In an affidavit executed on May 31, 2001, Tamano Diolanenstated that at around 6:00 in the morning of that day, chairperson Mamalintacalled him up and informed him that she would convene the board of canvassers, with instruction for him not to attend because he was alreadyreplaced. He further stated that on May 28, 2001, Rufden Mangelen calledhim up to tell him of his (Mangelen) decision to inhibit himself as member of the board of canvassers due to pressure exerted by chairperson Mamalinta.In the morning of May 31, 2001, the municipal board of canvassersconvened with chairperson Mamalinta and member Asuncion CorazonReneido present. The other member, Mowakiram Samuang was absent.Before the start of the canvass, chairperson Mamalinta distributed to theparties present a report on the status of canvassing. Out of the 98 precincts,the municipal board of canvassers issued four (4) separate rulings excludingthe above-cited five (5) election returns. Particularly, the municipal board of canvassers ruled that the Election Returns were tampered with or were notoriginal. At this point, respondent orally manifested his intention to appeal theruling, and simultaneously filed a verified notice of appeal, which Bai HaidyD. Mamalinta (chairperson of the municipal board of canvassers) refused

toaccept.Meanwhile, despite respondents manifestation, the municipal board of canvassers proceeded with the proclamation of the candidates for municipaloffices. The board proclaimed petitioner as the duly elected mayor of themunicipality. SUPREME COURT RULING Section 38 (9), Comelec Resolution No. 3848[45] provided theprocedure in the disposition of contested election returns and certificate of canvass. The Comelec precludes the board of canvassers from proclaimingany candidate as winner, except upon its authorization after it has ruled onthe appeal of the losing party. Any proclamation made in violation thereof shall be void ab initio, unless the contested returns will not adversely affectthe results of the election. This provision is mandatory and requires strictobservance.Section 20 (i), Republic Act No. 7166 where Comelec Resolution No.3848finds basis further states:SEC. 20. Procedure in Disposition of Contested Election Returns.--(a) x x x(i) The board of canvassers shall not proclaim any candidate as winnerunless authorized by the Commission after the latter has ruled on theobjections brought to it on appeal by the losing party. Any proclamationmade in violation hereof shall be void ab initio, unless the contested returnswill not adversely affect the results of the election. Consequently, petitioners proclamation was null and void. It wasmade on May 31, 2001 after respondent manifested his intention to appealthe ruling of the board of canvassers. On the day of the proclamation,respondent attempted to file a verified notice of appeal, but the chairpersonof the municipal board of canvassers refused to accept the appeal. Withinthe reglementary period for filing an appeal, respondent went to theComelec. Pursuant to Section 20 (i), Republic Act No. 7166, the municipalboard of canvassers may not proclaim any candidate without waiting for theauthorization of the Comelec. Considering that petitioner had a very smallmargin of 149 votes over respondent, and there were 944 registered votersfrom the five excluded election returns, the results of the municipal electionwould be undoubtedly adversely affected by the contested returns. Theproclamation thus made is void ab initio.It is now settled that an incomplete canvass of votes is illegal andcannot be the basis of a proclamation. A canvass cannot be reflective of thetrue vote of the electorate unless all returns are considered and none isomitted. When the municipal board of canvassers disregarded the five (5)election returns, it in effect disenfranchised the voters of the excludedprecincts. Thus, the Comelec did not abuse its discretion for convening a newboard of canvassers and directing the inclusion of the uncanvassed electionreturns and, thereafter proclaiming the winning candidate for mayor andother municipal officials. Time and again, the Court has given its imprimatur on the principlethat Comelec is with authority to annul any canvass and proclamationillegally made. The fact that a candidate illegally proclaimed has assumedoffice is not a bar to the exercise of such power. It is also true that afterproclamation, the remedy of a party aggrieved in an election is an election protest. This is on the assumption, however, that there has been a validproclamation. Where a proclamation is null and void, the proclaimedcandidates assumption of office cannot deprive Comelec of the power todeclare such proclamation a nullity. The reason behind the view herein expressed is as aptly elucidated inAguam, to wit:We draw from past experience. A pattern of conduct observed in pastelections has been the pernicious grab-the-proclamation-prolongthe-protest-slogan of some candidates or parties. Really, were a victim of aproclamation to be precluded from challenging the validity thereof after thatproclamation and the assumption of office thereunder, baneful effects mayeasily supervene. It may not be out of place to state that in the long historyof election contests in this country, as observed in Lagumbay vs. Climaco, asuccessful contestant in an election protest often wins but a mere pyrrhicvictory, i. e., a vindication when the term of office is about to expire or hasexpired. Protests, counter-protests, revisions of ballots, appeals, dilatorytactics, may well frustrate the will of the electorate. And what if theprotestant may not have the resources and an unwavering determinationwith which to sustain a long drawn-out election contest? In this contexttherefore all efforts should be strained - as far as is humanly possible - totake election returns out of the reach of the unscrupulous; and to preventillegal or fraudulent proclamation from ripening into illegal assumption of office. . AGUJETAS V. CA. GR NO. 106560, 23 AUG 96TORRES, JR., J.: Facts:Petitioners, Agujetas and Bijis, are former Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Provincial Board of Canvassers for the Province of Davao. On January 21,1988 the Provincial Board of Canvassers wherepetitioners occupy a position proclaimed the winners for Governor, ViceGovernor and for the position of Provincial Board Members for Davao Oriental in theJanuary 18, 1988 election. A complaint was filed inCOMELEC by Francisco Rabat (a losing gubernatorialcandidate) against petitioners for violation of the OECand RA 6646 (The Electoral Reform Law of 1987). After preliminary investigation Criminal Case no. 1886 wasfiled against petitioners for violation of the 2 nd par. of Sec. 231 in relation to Sec. 262 of the OEC whichalleges that petitioners willfully and unlawfully fail toproclaim Erlinda Irigo as elected SangguniangPanlalawigan Member candidate who obtained 31,129votes, the eighth highest number of votes cast in saidprovince but instead proclaimed candidate Pedro Penawho obtained only 30,699 votes.RTC found petitioners guilty . Petitionersappealed in CA but CA affirmed the decision of RTC.Issue(s)W/N the failure to make a proclamation on the basis of the Certificate of Canvass or the mere erroneousproclamations is punishable under Sec. 262 in relationto Sec. 231 (2) of the Omnibus Election Code.Note: According to petitioners, the Omnibus ElectionCode does not punish the preparation of an incorrectcertificate of canvass, nor an erroneous proclamationmade by the Board; what it does punish is that, havingthus prepared the corresponding certificate, the boardfor some reason fails to make the correspondingproclamation on the basis thereof.RulingPetition DENIED.The second paragraph of Section 231 of the OmnibusElection Code reads:The respective board of canvassers shall prepare acertificate of canvass duly signedand affixed with the imprint of thethumb of the right hand of eachmember, supported by a statementof the votes and received by eachcandidate in each polling placeand, on the basis thereof, shallproclaim as elected the candidateswho obtained the highest number of votes cast in the province, city,municipality or barangay. Failureto comply with this requirement shall constitute an electionoffense. To go by the explanation as proposed by the petitioner would be tantamount to tolerating and licensing boardsof canvassers to "make an erroneous proclamation"and still be exculpated by just putting up theinexcusable defense that the "foul-up resulted from theerroneous arrangement of the names of candidates" inone municipality or that "the basis of their proclamationwas the erroneous ranking made by the tabulationcommittee". That would be a neat apology for allowingthe board to be careless in their important task bysimply claiming that they cannot be held liable becausethey did their "duty" of proclaiming the winningcandidates on the basis of the certificate of canvass even "erroneous" certificates which they made.