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University of San Carlos

School of Law and Governance

Case Digests on

Part II: Suffrage

In partial fulfillment of the

requirements for the course

Election Laws

Submitted by:

Madel Hyacinth H. Herrera

EH 302

Submitted to:

Atty. Ferdinand G.S. Gujilde

December 2014
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Suffrage, defined
Nolasco vs Comelec (GR No. 122250, 1997)
One-liner: Suffrage is the means by which our people express their sovereign
judgment and its free exercise must be protected especially against the purchasing
power of the peso.
Facts: In the election for Mayor in Meycauayan, Bulacan, Blanco won over Alarilla,
while Nolasco was elected vice-mayor. Alarilla filed with Comelec a petition to
disqualify Blanco. Comelec disqualified Blanco on the ground of vote-buying (thru
bribery of teachers, ballot box switching, impersonations etc). Nolasco intervened,
saying as the vice-mayor, he should be declared as mayor when Blanco was finally
disqualified citing Sec 44 of the Local Government Code, viz:
If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the governor or mayor, the vice
governor or vice mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor x x x a
permanent vacancy arises when an elective local official fills a higher vacant
office, refuses to assume office, fails to qualify, dies, is removed from office,
voluntarily resigns, or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the
functions of his office.
Issue: As between Alarilla and Nolasco, who should be proclaimed as mayor?
Held: Nolasco. To simplistically assume that the second placer would have received
the other votes would be to substitute our judgment for the mind of the voter. The
second placer is just that, a second placer. He lost the elections. He was repudiated by
either a majority or plurality of voters.

People vs San Juan (GR No. L-22944, 1968)


One-liner: Suffrage, whatever be the modality and form devised, must continue to be
the means by which the great reservoir of power must be emptied into the
receptacular agencies wrought by the people through their Constitution in the interest
of good government and the common weal.
Facts: Case Claudia and Severo San Juan prevented Generosa Pilapil from exercising
her right to freely enter the polling place of precinct 1 to vote was dismissed by CFI
for insufficiency of information. Sec 133 of the Revised Election Code reads:
The voters shall have the right to vote in the order of their entrance into the
polling place. The voters shall have the right to freely enter the polling place as
soon as they arrive unless there are more than forty voters waiting inside x x x
Issue: WON to sufficiently charge a violation of that right, the indictment should
explicitly negate the exception.
Held: No need. The exception does not constitute an essential part of the crime. It is
but a matter which the accused must assert, and establish as a defense, and not for
the prosecution to anticipate, allege, and disprove. The provision was an explicit and
unequivocal guarantee of a voter's free access to the polling place to maintain
inviolate the right to vote by safeguarding the voter against all interference.

Suffrage for overseas absentee voters


Macalintal vs Comelec (GR No. 157013, 2003)
One-liner: Sec 2, Art V of the Constitution reads: The Congress shall provide a system
for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee
voting by qualified Filipinos abroad.
Facts: Atty Macalintal sought to void some provisions of RA 9189 (Act providing for a
system of Overseas Absentee Voting by Qualified citizens abroad xxx) because it
violates the Constitution requiring that the voter must be a resident in the Philippines
for at least 1 year and in the place where he proposes to vote for at least 6 months
immediately preceding an election (per Sec 1, Art V, 1987 Constitution).
Held: Constitutional. Ordinarily, an absentee is not a resident and vice versa.
However, under existing election laws and the countless jurisprudence, an absentee
remains attached to his residence in the Philippines as residence is considered
synonymous with domicile, unless he has abandoned his domicile of origin. Sec 2 is an
exception to the residency requirement in Sec 1.
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Voters registration, defined
Yra vs Abao (GR No. 30187, 1928)
One-liner: Registration regulates the exercise of the right of suffrage; it is not a
qualification for such right.
Facts: Abao is a native of Meycauayan, Bulacan. While schooling in Manila, he
registered as voter there. Thereafter, he returned to Bulacan, where he stayed for
more than a year before the elections, then ran and won as Mayor. Meanwhile, his
voters registration was not transferred from Manila to Meycauayan.
Issue: WON Abao should be disqualified since he was not a qualified voter in his
municipality.
Held: No. Registering does not confer the right; it is but a condition precedent to the
exercise of the right. The act of registering is only one step towards voting, and it is
not one of the elements that makes the citizen a qualified voter. It should not be
forgotten that the people of Meycauayan have spoken and their choice to be their local
chief executive is the respondent.
Election Bureau: Qualified when applied to a voter does not necessarily mean that a
person must be a registered voter. To become a qualified candidate a person does not
need to register as an elector. It is sufficient that he possesses all the qualifications
and none of the disqualifications. The fact that a candidate failed to register as an
elector in the municipality does not deprive him of the right to become a candidate
and to be voted for.

Period of registration
Akbayan-Youth vs Comelec (GR No. 147066, 2001)
One-liner: Bare allegation of disenfranchisement when Comelec pegged the
registration deadline before the prohibitive 120-day period before the regular elections
is insufficient; there should be application for registration and denial.
Facts: Petitioners asked the Comelec to conduct a 2-day additional registration period
since around 4 million youth failed to do so on the deadline set by the latter. Comelec
thru a resolution, denied the request stating Sec 8 of RA 8189 proscribing registration
starting 120 days before a regular election.
Held: Comelec did not err. The exercise of the right of suffrage is not absolute and is
subject to existing substantive (ie, qualifications) and procedural (ie, registration)
requirements embodied in our Constitution and laws. The act of registration is an
indispensable precondition to the right of suffrage. Registration cannot and should not
be denigrated to the lowly stature of a mere statutory requirement. Comelecs
standby or residual powers (ie, designation of other dates for certain pre-election
acts) cannot be invoked. These certain "pre-election acts" are still capable of being
reasonably performed vis--vis the remaining period before the date of election and
the conduct of other related pre-election activities required under the law.

Kabataan PL Rep Palatino vs Comelec (GR No. 189868, 2009)


One-liner: Comelecs power to fix other periods and dates for pre-election activities is
to enable the people to exercise the right of Suffrage.
Facts: Comelec resolved to adjust the deadline for registration for the May 2010
elections from Dec 2, 2008 to Dec 15, 2009 and finally to Oct 31, 2009. Petitioners
assail the validity of the resolutions, contending potential disenfranchisement of voters
and that Comelec encroached on Congress legislative power as it amends the system
of continuing voter registration (CVR) under Sec 8, RA 8189 viz:
The personal filing of application of registration of voters shall be conducted
daily x x x No registration shall, however, be conducted during the period
starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election x x x
Held: Congress has determined that 120 days is sufficient time for Comelec to
prepare. Comelecs authority under RA 6646 and RA 8436 to fix other dates for pre-
election acts is good only if the acts cannot be reasonably held within the period
provided by law. However, SC finds no ground why CVR cannot be held acdg to Sec 8.
And the SC finds no legal impediment to the extension prayed for. Petition granted.
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Voters registration, residence
Romualdez vs RTC (GR No. 104960, 1993)
One-liner: In order to acquire a new domicile by choice, there must be (1) residence
or bodily presence in the new locality (animus manendi), (2) an intention to remain
there, and (3) an intention to abandon the old domicile (animus non revertendi).
Facts: Petitioner is the politically-active nephew of Imelda Marcos, and was one of
those who fled the Philippines during Marcos downfall. He returned to the country in
Dec 1991 and stayed in Tolosa, Leyte, his original residence. He then registered for
the May 1992 elections. This was questioned in an exclusion case in MTC for failure to
comply with the 1-yr residency in the Philippines, and 6-mth residency in Tolosa.
MTC:Petitioner is a resident of Tolosa and qualified to register.RTC reversed the same.
Issue:WON petitioner voluntarily left the country & abandoned his residence in Tolosa.
Held: No. In election cases, domicile = residence. Domicile denotes a fixed permanent
residence to which when absent for business or pleasure, one intends to return.
Residence acquired, however, may be lost by adopting another choice of domicile. The
purpose to remain 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. Petitioners sudden departure from the country for
safety and welfare concerns was not voluntary.

Inclusion and Exclusion proceedings


Pungutan vs Abubakar (GR No. L-33541, 1972)
One-liner: If the exclusion of the returns involved a question as to the right to vote
(ie, inclusion/exclusion from a list of voters), it is a judicial matter; otherwise, as to
WON an election has been held is within the administrative jurisdiction of Comelec.
Facts: Comelec excluded from the canvass for the lone district of the province of Sulu
the returns from 290 precincts in 4 towns for being spurious or manufactured and
therefore no returns at all, in view of massive violence, terrorism and fraud (substitute
voting, grabbing of ballots, preparation of election returns and other election
documents at gunpoint). Unless set aside then, petitioner who otherwise would have
been entitled to the last remaining seat for delegates to the Constitutional Convention,
would lose out to respondent.
Held: Comelec was right. The Comelec is a constitutional body. It is intended to play a
distinct and important part in our scheme of government. In the discharge of its
functions, it should not be hampered with restrictions that would be fully warranted in
the case of a less responsible organization. It should be allowed considerable latitude
in devising means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of the great
objective for which it was created free, orderly and honest elections.

Domino vs Comelec (GR No. 134015, 1999)


One-liner: The determination of the MeTC QC in the exclusion proceedings (which
are summary in character) as to the right of DOMINO to be included or excluded from
the list of voters in the precinct within its territorial jurisdiction, does not preclude the
COMELEC, in the determination of DOMINO's qualification as a candidate, to pass upon
the issue of compliance with the residency requirement.
Facts: Domino ran as Representative in Sarangani, with 1 yr and 2 months as
residency in his COC. Comelec disqualified him as his Voters Registration Record
negate such. The Constitution required at least 1 year residency. Domino won, but his
proclamation was put on hold. MeTC excluded Sps Domino from QC list of voters.
Issue: WON the MeTC judgment declaring petitioner as resident of Sarangani is final,
conclusive and binding upon the whole world.
Held: No. The factual findings of the trial court and its resultant conclusions in the
exclusion proceedings on matters other than the right to vote in the precinct within its
territorial jurisdiction are not conclusive upon the Comelec. It is not res judicata. And
besides, it is not within the competence of the trial court, in an exclusion proceedings,
to declare the challenged voter a resident of another municipality. The jurisdiction of
the lower court over exclusion cases is limited only to determining the right of voter to
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remain in the list of voters or to declare that the challenged voter is not qualified to
vote in the precinct in which he is registered, specifying the ground of the voter's
disqualification.

Annulment of list of voters


Ututalum vs Comelec (GR No. 84843-44, 1990)
One-liner: Such irregularities as fraud, vote-buying and terrorism are proper grounds
in an election contest but may not as a rule be invoked to declare a failure of election
and to disenfranchise the greater number of the electorate through the misdeeds,
precisely, of only a relative few.
Facts: Petitioner lost in a Congressional bout in Sulu. He claimed there were ghost
voters double the actual electorate population in Siasi and asked Comelec to reject the
election returns therein and to annul private respondents proclamation. Comelec
resolved that there was no failure of elections in Siasi. Meanwhile, another person
petitioned that Comelec to annul the list of voters of Siasi, re: Local govt officials.
Comelec annulled the same due to massive irregularities committed in the preparation
thereof and for being statistically improbable, ordering a new registration of voters.
However, Comelec refused to apply its resolution annulling the Siasi returns in the
instant case.
Held: Comelec was right. The subsequent annulment of the voting list in a separate
proceeding initiated motu proprio by the Commission and in which the protagonists
here were not parties, cannot retroactively and without due process result in nullifying
accepted election returns in a previous election simply because such returns came
from municipalities where the precinct books of voters were ordered annulled due to
irregularities in their preparation. The List of Voters used in the 1987 Congressional
elections was then a validly existing and still unquestioned permanent Registry List.
Then, it was the only legitimate roster which could be used as basis for voting. Also,
there was no res judicata. Moreover, the preparation of a voter's list is not a
proceeding before the Board of Canvassers. A pre-proclamation controversy is limited
to challenges directed against the Board of Canvassers, not the Board of Election, and
such challenges should relate to specified election returns against which petitioner
should have made specific verbal objections, but did not. That the padding of the List
of Voters may constitute fraud, or that the Board of Election Inspectors may have
fraudulently conspired in its preparation, would not be a valid basis for a pre-
proclamation controversy either. For, whenever irregularities, such as fraud, are
asserted, the proper course of action is an election protest. Lastly, where the winning
candidates have been proclaimed, the pre-proclamation controversies cease. The
remedy of the petitioner lies with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

Sarangani vs Comelec (GR No. 135927, 2000)


One-liner: The sacred right of suffrage guaranteed by the Constitution is not tampered
when a list of fictitious voters is excluded from an electoral exercise.
Facts: Private respondents filed with the COMELEC a petition for annulment of several
precincts and annulment of book of voters in Madalum, Lanao Del Sur. The Provincial
Election Supervisor of Marawi City was to conduct a rigorous incisive investigation on
the alleged ghost precincts in the 12 barangays and thereafter submit a report on the
investigation conducted. Among the brgys was Padian-Torogan, which came out to
mean a cemetery, the area of which only had 2 structures erected a concrete house
w/o a roof, and a wooden structure w/o walls and roof. The report showed such and
basing on it, Comelec issued an Order finding Padian Torogan a ghost precinct.
Held: The findings of Comelec cannot be reversed on appeal or certiorari when no
significant facts and circumstances are shown to have been overlooked or disregarded
which when considered would have substantially affected the outcome of the case. The
Comelec has broad powers to ascertain the true results of an election by means
available to it. Judicial interference is unnecessary and uncalled for. No voter is
disenfranchised because no such voter exists. Suffrage is conferred by the Constitution
only on citizens who are qualified to vote and are not otherwise disqualified by law.