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Dumayas vs Comelec

Petitioner Dumayas and respondent Bernal were rival candidates for the position in
Mayor of Carles, Iloilo in the May 1998 synchronized elections. During the
canvassing by the MBC, petitioner sought the exclusion of election returns for 3
precincts of Barangay Pantalan owing to alleged acts of terrorism, intimidation and
coercion committed in said precincts during the casting and counting of votes. The
MBC denied petitioners objections and proceeded with the canvass which showed
respondent Bernal garnering more votes than the petitioner.
Petitioner appealed to the COMELEC Second Division which excluded election
returns from 3 precincts and directed the MBC to reconvene and finish the canvass
of the remaining or uncontested returns and then, to proclaim the winning
mayoralty candidate. Private respondent Bernal moved for reconsideration of the
decision of the Second Division with the COMELEC en banc.
The MBC proclaim petitioner winner of the election. Private respondent Bernal filed
an urgent motion to declare void petitioners proclamation. The duly proclaimed
Vice-Mayor Betita, and private respondent Bernal filed n action for quo warranto
against petitioner before the RTC of Iloilo. Petitioner filed with COMELEC en banc a
motion to cancel Bernals motion for reconsideration and motion declare void
petitioners proclamation on the ground that respondent Bernal should be deemed
to have abandoned said motion when he filed quo warranto action.
The COMELEC en banc reversed the decision of the Second Division, annulled the
petitioner Dumayas proclamation; and constituted a new MBC. Respondent Bernal
was proclaimed by the newly-constituted MBC as the duly-elected Mayor of the
Petitioner Dumayas asked the Supreme Court to set aside the COMELEC en banc
Issue: Whether the COMELEC was correct in including in the canvass the election
returns of the contested precincts?
Held: YES. The only evidence presented by the petitioner to prove the alleged
irregularities were the self-serving contracts of his watchers and inspectors. Returns
cannot be excluded on mere allegations that the returns are manufactured or
fictitious when the returns on their face appear to be regular and without any
physical signs of tampering. The election irregularities cited by the petitioner would
require the presentation of evidence which cannot be done in a pre-proclamation
controversy which is summary in nature.
Divinaracia vs COMELEC

Salvador Divinagracia, Jr. (petitioner) and Alex Centena (private respondent)

vied for the vice-mayoralty race in Calinog, Iloilo during the May 14, 2007
Elections wherein petitioner garnered 8,141 votes or 13 votes more than the
8,128 votes received by respondent.
private respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iloilo City an
election protest, docketed as Election Case No. 07-2007, claiming that
irregularities attended the appreciation of marked ballots in seven precints.
RTC ruled that private respondent failed to overcome the disputable
presumption of regularity in the conduct of elections [2] since no challenge of
votes or objection to the appreciation of ballots was raised before the Board
of Elections Inspectors or the Municipal Board of Canvassers.
the Comelec Second Division issued its first assailed resolution declaring
private respondent as the duly elected vice mayor.
Records show that private respondent took his oath of office as vice-mayor
and, forthwith successively, as mayor on March 6, 2009
Petitioner filed a Verified Motion for Reconsideration, alleging, inter alia, that
both parties failed to pay the appeal fee/s in the amount of P3,200 under
Section 3, Rule 40 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, [6] and following Section
9, Rule 22 of the same Rules, an appeal may be dismissed motu proprio or
upon motion on the ground of failure of the appellant to pay the correct
appeal fee.
Issue: Whether or not the petitioner is correct
Held: NO.

On May 15, 2007, the Court, by A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC, introduced the Rules of
Procedure in Election Contests before the Courts involving Elective Municipal
and Barangay Officials, which superseded Rules 35 and 36 of the Comelec
Rules of Procedure governing elections protests and quo warranto cases
before the trial courts.[18] Not only was the amount of
the filing fee increased from P300 to P3,000 for each interest;[19] the amount
of filing fee was determined by the Court, not by the Comelec, which was, to
recall, the cause of confusion in Loyola, Miranda and Soller.
the imposition of an appeal fee under Section 9 of Rule 14 thereof, separate
and distinct from, but payable within the same period as, the appeal fee
imposed by the Comelec under Sections 3 and 4, Rule 40 of the Comelec
Rules of Procedure, as amended by Comelec Resolution No. 02-
0130. Contrary to respondents contention, the Comelec-prescribed
appeal fee was not superseded by A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC.
On the Comelecs application of the doctrine of estoppel by laches, records
show that petitioner raised the issue of lack of jurisdiction for his and private
respondents non-payment of the appeal fee only after the Comelec
appreciated the contested ballots and ruled in favor of respondent, an issue
which could have been raised with reasonable diligence at the earliest
opportunity. The Court finds the Comelec resolution well-taken.
The doctrine of estoppel by laches is not new in election cases. It has been
applied in at least two cases involving the payment of filing fees
To allow petitioner to espouse his stale defense at such late stage of the
proceedings would run afoul of the basic tenets of fairness. It is of no moment
that petitioner raised the matter in a motion for reconsideration in the same
appellate proceedings in the Comelec, and not before a higher court. It bears
noting that unlike appellate proceedings before the Comelec, a motion for
reconsideration of a trial courts decision in an election protest is a prohibited
pleading,[27] which explains why stale claims of non-payment of filing
fees have always been raised belatedly before the appellate tribunal.In
appellate proceedings before the Comelec, the stage to belatedly raise
a stale claim of non-payment of appeal fees to subvert an adverse
decision is a motion for reconsideration. The Commission thus did not gravely
abuse its discretion when it did not countenance the glaring inequity
presented by such situation.
Election cases cannot be treated in a similar manner as criminal cases where,
upon appeal from a conviction by the trial court, the whole case is thrown
open for review and the appellate court can resolve issues which are not even
set forth in the pleadings. [28] Petitioner having set his eyes only on the issue
of appeal fees, the present petition must be resolved, as it is hereby resolved,
on the basis of such singular ground which, as heretofore discussed, failed to
convince the Court.
En passant, appreciation of the contested ballots and election documents
involves a question of fact best left to the determination of the Comelec, a
specialized agency tasked with the supervision of elections all over the
country. In the absence of grave abuse of discretion or any jurisdictional
infirmity or error of law, the factual findings, conclusions, rulings and
decisions rendered by the Comelec on matters falling within its competence
shall not be interfered with by this Court.
the Comelec declared as marked those ballots containing the words Ruby,
Ruby Lizardo and its variants after finding a discernible pattern in the way
these words were written on the ballots, leading to the conclusion that they
were used to identify the voter. The Comelec found material the following
evidence aliunde: the name Ruby Lizardo referred to a community leader and
political supporter of petitioner; said name and its variants were written on
several ballots in different precints; and the fact that Ruby Lizardo acted as
an assistor in the elections cannot hold water since an assistor cannot assist
in the preparation of the ballots for more than three times. [30] The Comelec
did not invalidate the other ballots for absence of evidence aliunde to prove
that the markings therein were used for the purpose of identifying the
voter. It ruled that circles, crosses and lines (e.g., X marks) placed on spaces
on which the voter has not voted are considered signs to indicate his
desistance from voting and should not invalidate the ballot.

Santos vs Comelec

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 before the Regional Trial Court of Misamis
Oriental, Branch 26, which was docketed as SPL Election Protest No. 1-
M(2001). After trial and revision of the ballots, the trial court found that
petitioner garnered 2,181 votes while respondent received only 2,105.
It is further prayed that in the event that the public respondent has carried
out its Order of ousting petitioner [herein respondent] from his position as
Mayor of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, that the same be nullified and
considered of no legal effect. It is likewise prayed that a STATUS QUO ANTE
ORDER be issued by the Honorable Commission in order to reinstate the
petitioner to his rightful position as Mayor of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental.
Issue: Whether or not the Petitioner is he rightful mayor
Held: YES

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.
o 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.
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.

Navarosa vs COMELEC

The parties were candidates for mayor

Petitioner was declared winner with a winning margin of 3 votes
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)
The trial court ruled in favor of private respondent

Issue: Whether or not the petition has merit

Held: NO

Contrary to petitioner Navarosas claim, the COMELEC Second Division did

rule on the issue of respondent Estos non-payment of the full amount of the
COMELEC filing fee. The Second Division held that the P515 fees respondent
Esto paid already covered the P300 COMELEC filing fee.
At no time did petitioner Navarosa ever raise the issue of respondent Estos
incomplete payment of the COMELEC filing fee during the full-blown trial of
the election protest.
Petitioner Navarosa raised the issue of incomplete payment of the COMELEC
filing fee only in her memorandum to respondent Estos petition before the
COMELEC Second Division. Petitioner Navarosas conduct estops her from
claiming, at such late stage, that the trial court did not after all acquire
jurisdiction over the election protest
To grant execution pending appeal in election protest cases, the following
requisites must concur:
o (1) there must be a motion by the prevailing party with notice to the
adverse party;
o (2) there must be good reasons for the execution pending appeal; and
o (3) the order granting execution pending appeal must state the good
Petitioner Navarosa concedes respondent Estos compliance with the first and
third requisites. What she contests is the trial courts finding that there are
good reasons to order discretionary execution of its decision.
Unlike the Election Code of 1971,[27] which expressly provided for execution
pending appeal of trial courts rulings in election protests, the present election
laws are silent on such remedy.
Nevertheless, Section 2, Rule 39 (Section 2) of the Rules of Court (now 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure) applies in suppletory character to election cases,
thus allowing execution pending appeal in the discretion of the court.
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.
o 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
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.
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
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.

Comelec vs Tagle

Florentino A. Bautista ran for the position of mayor in the Municipality of

Kawit, Cavite. On 8 July 1998, he filed with the COMELEC a complaint against
then incumbent mayor Atty. Federico Poblete, Bienvenido Pobre, Reynaldo
Aguinaldo, Arturo Ganibe, Leonardo Llave, Diosdado del Rosario, Manuel
Ubod, Angelito Peregrino, Mario Espiritu, Salvador Olaes and Pedro Paterno,
Jr., for violation of Section 261 (a) and (b) of the Omnibus Election Code
Office of the Provincial Prosecutor resolved to file separate informations for
vote-selling in the various branches of the RTC in Imus, Cavite, against the
the COMELEC en banc, upon the recommendation of its Law Department,
declared null and void the resolution of the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor
in I.S. No. 1-99-1080. It held that the respondents therein are exempt from
criminal prosecution pursuant to the fourth paragraph of Section 28 of R.A.
No. 6646,[7] otherwise known as The Electoral Reforms Law of 1987, which
grants immunity from criminal prosecution persons who voluntarily give
information and willingly testify against those liable for vote-buying or vote-
According to respondent judge, before one can be exempt from prosecution
under the fourth paragraph of Section 28 of R.A. No. 6646, it is necessary that
such person has already performed the overt act of voluntarily giving
information or testifying in any official investigation or proceeding for the
offense to which such information or testimony was given. It was thus
premature to exempt the respondents in I.S. No. 1-99-1080 from criminal
prosecution, since they have not yet testified.
Issue: Whether or not the judge Tagle is correct
Held: NO

A free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible election is indispensable in a

democratic society.
One of the effective ways of preventing the commission of vote-buying and of
prosecuting those committing it is the grant of immunity from criminal
liability in favor of the party whose vote was bought. This grant of immunity
will encourage the recipient or acceptor to come into the open and denounce
the culprit-candidate, and will ensure the successful prosecution of the
criminal case against the latter.
Congress saw it fit to warn vote-sellers who denounce the vote-buying that
they could be liable for perjury or false testimony should they not tell the
COMELEC has the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all
election offenses punishable under the election laws and to prosecute the
same, except as may otherwise be provided by law.
In this case, when the COMELEC nullified the resolution of the Provincial
Prosecutor in I.S. No. 1-99-1080, which was the basis of the informations for
vote-selling, it, in effect, withdrew the deputation granted to the prosecutor.
Such withdrawal of the deputation was clearly in order, considering the
circumstances obtaining in these cases where those who voluntarily executed
affidavits attesting to the vote-buying incident and became witnesses against
the vote-buyers now stand as accused for the same acts they had earlier
o What the Prosecutor did was to sabotage the prosecution of the
criminal case against the vote-buyers and put in serious peril the
integrity of the COMELEC, which filed the said case for vote-buying.
If the Prosecutor had listened to the command of prudence and
good faith, he should have brought the matter to the attention
of the COMELEC.
We agree with the petitioner and hold that the respondents in I.S. No. 1-99-
1080, who are the accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 7950-00 to 7959-00 and
7980-00, are exempt from criminal prosecution for vote-selling by virtue of
the proviso in the last paragraph of Section 28 of R.A. No. 6646.
Respondent judge lost sight of the fact that at the time the complaint for
vote-selling was filed with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, the
respondents in I.S. No. 1-99-1080 had already executed sworn statements
attesting to the corrupt practice of vote-buying in the case docketed as
Criminal Case No. 7034-99.
o It cannot then be denied that they had already voluntarily given
information in the vote-buying case. In fact, they willingly testified in
Criminal Case No. 7034-99 per petitioners Memorandum filed with this

Ong vs Martinez

Petitioner Robert F. Ong assails the appointment and assumption of duties as

Councilor in the City Council of Manila of respondent Ma. Teresita Herrera-
Martinez, in place of deceased Councilor Saturnino Herrera who represented
the Third District of Manila.
The records show that respondent Martinez went through the legal formalities
or standard procedure prior to her appointment to the vacated position
subject of this. controversy.
nine out of the eleven incumbent LP Councilors in the City Council endorsed
the appointment of respondent per their resolution
This petition now seeks to annul the appointment of respondent Martinez and
to declare petitioner to be the holder of the position of Councilor in place of
deceased Saturnino Herrera.
Issue: Whether or not the appointment is valid
Held: YES

The appointment of respondent possesses all the requisites of a valid

appointment according to legal and regular procedures. She avers that her
appointment was indorsed by nine out of eleven LP incumbent councilors and
that her nomination was favorably indorsed by the Liberal Party hierarchy
from the Chairman of the Third District, thru the Chairman of the Manila
Chapter up to the National President of the LP; and, that she was duly
appointed on the basis of the series of nominations of the LP hierarchy.
The appointment of respondent is not covered by the election ban
contemplated under Sec. 261 (g) of the Omnibus Election Code.
The case for respondent appears meritorious. Respondent had gone through
the regular and standard nomination process which had been officially
acknowledged by the Secretary of Local Government.
Since deceased Councilor Saturnino Herrera who had caused the contested
vacancy comes from the Liberal Party, it follows that his mode of replacement
should be governed by the standing rules of the aforenamed Party.
Acting on the solid recommendation of the LP hierarchy, from the district
level up to the national level, the Secretary of Local Government
correspondingly issued the letter-appointment to respondent Martinez
Notably, respondent's appointment was accepted or recognized by the City
Council in its session of March 21, 1989.
The aforequoted provision (Sec 261 (g) )does not apply to both assailed
appointments because of the following reason:
The permanent vacancy for councilor exists and its filling up is governed by
the Local Government Code while the appointment referred to in the election
ban provision is covered by the Civil Service Law.
For having satisfied the formal requisites and procedure for appointment as
Councilor, which is an official position outside the contemplation of the
election ban, respondent's appointment is declared valid.
People vs Bayona

Defendant was found in violation of section 416 of the Election Law and
sentencing him to suffer imprisonment for thirty days and to pay a fine of P50
it is sufficient to say that the record shows that both Jose E. Desiderio, a
representative of the Department of the Interior, and Major Agdamag of the
Philippine Constabulary, who had been designated to supervise the elections
in the Province of Capiz, testified positively that the defendant was within the
fence surrounding the polling place when Desiderio took possession of the
revolver the defendant was carrying.
This also disposes of that part of the argument under the second assignment
of error based on the theory that the defendant was in a public road, where
he had a right to be, when he was arrested
he latter part of the argument under the second assignment of error is that if
it be conceded that the defendant went inside of the fence, he is
nevertheless not guilty of a violation of the Election Law, because he was
called by a friend and merely approached him to find out what he wanted and
had no interest in the election; that there were many people in the public
road in front of the polling place, and the defendant could not leave his
revolver in his automobile, which he himself was driving, without running the
risk of losing it and thereby incurring in a violation of the law.
The Solicitor-General argues that since the Government does not especially
construct buildings for electoral precincts but merely utilizes whatever
building there may be available, and all election precincts are within fifty
meters from some road, a literal application of the law would be absurd,
because members of the police force or Constabulary in pursuit of a criminal
would be included in that prohibition and could not use the road in question if
they were carrying firearms;
Issue: Whether or not the defendant is guilty
Held YES

The law which the defendant violated is a statutory provision, and the intent
with which he violated it is immaterial. It may be conceded that the
defendant did not intend to intimidate any elector or to violate the law in any
other way, but when he got out of his automobile and carried his revolver
inside of the fence surrounding the polling place, he committed the act
complained of, and he committed it willfully.
The act prohibited by the Election Law was complete.
o The intention to intimidate the voters or to interfere otherwise with
the election is not made an essential element of the offense.
o Unless such an offender actually makes use of his revolver, it would be
extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prove that he intended to
intimidate the voters.
Lozano vs COMELEC

Lozano filed a petition for disqualification against Jejomar Binay and

Commissioner Yorac
o Basis is vote-buying

Issue: Whether or not Binay is guilty of vote-buying

Held: NO

No clear and convincing proof exists to show that respondent Binay was
indeed engaged in vote buying. The traditional gift-giving of the Municipality
of Makati during the Christmas season is not refuted. That it was
implemented by respondent Binay as OIC Mayor of Makati at that time does
not sufficiently establish that respondent was trying to influence and induce
his constituents to vote for him. This would be stretching the interpretation of
the law too far.
There has to be concrete and direct evidence or, at least, strong
circumstantial evidence to support the charge that respondent was indeed
engaged in vote-buying. We are convinced that the evidence presented, as
swell as the facts obtaining in the case at bar, do not warrant such finding.
Regalado vs COMELEC

petitioner Dominador Regalado, Jr. guilty of violating 261(h) of the Batas

Pambansa Blg. 881 (Omnibus Election Code), as amended. [2]
o illegally TRANSFER one MRS. EDITHA P. BARBA, a permanent Nursing
Attendant, Grade I, in the Office of the [M]ayor of Tanjay, from her
permanent assignment to a very remote Barangay of Sto. Nio during
the election period and without obtaining prior permission or clearance
from the Commission on Elections, Manila.
Petitioner contends that there was no transfer but a re-assignment

Issue: Whether or not petitioner is guilty of a violation in election law

Held: YES

First. The two elements of the offense prescribed under 261(h) of the
Omnibus Election Code, as amended, are:
o (1) a public officer or employee is transferred or detailed within the
election period as fixed by the COMELEC, and
o (2) the transfer or detail was effected without prior approval of the
COMELEC in accordance with its implementing rules and regulations
a transfer under 24(c) of P.D. No. 807 in fact includes personnel movement
from one organizational unit to another in the same department or agency.
Any public official who makes or causes any transfer or detail whatever of
any officer or employee in the civil service including public school teachers,
within the election period except upon prior approval of the Commission.
As the Solicitor General notes, "the word transfer or detail, as used [above], is
modified by the word whatever. This indicates that any movement of
personnel from one station to another, whether or not in the same office or
agency, during the election is covered by the prohibition."
Second. Petitioner next contends that his order to transfer Barba to
Barangay Sto. Nio was prompted by the lack of health service personnel
therein and that this, in effect, constitutes sufficient justification for his non-
compliance with 261(h)
o It may well be that Barangay Sto. Nio in January 1988 was in need of
health service personnel. Nonetheless, this fact will not excuse the
failure of petitioner to obtain prior approval from the COMELEC for the
movement of personnel in his office.
Indeed, appointing authorities can transfer or detail personnel as the
exigencies of public service require.[19]
However, during election period, as such personnel movement could be used
for electioneering or even to harass subordinates who are of different political
persuasion, 261(h) of the Omnibus Election Code, as amended, prohibits the
same unless approved by the COMELEC.
Lluz vs Comelec

Private respondent was a candidate for the post

of punong barangay of Barangay 2, Poblacion, Catubig, Samar in the 15 July
2002 Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. In his
certificate of candidacy, private respondent stated his profession or
occupation as a certified public accountant (CPA). Private respondent won in
the elections.
petitioners charged him before the Law Department of the COMELEC (Law
Department) with violation of Section 262 in relation to Section 74 of B.P. 881.
Petitioners claimed they had proof that private respondent misrepresented
himself as a CPA
Issue: Whether or not private respondent is guilty
Held: NO

The court ruled that there was no material misrepresentation

If there is no material misrepresentation then there is no violation.
From a cursory reading of Sections 262 and 74 of B.P. 881, one may possibly
conclude that an act or omission in violation of any of the provisions of
Section 74 ipso facto constitutes an election offense. Indeed, petitioners point
out that private respondents misrepresentation of profession having been
proved before the COMELEC, the latter is compelled to prosecute him for
violation of Section 262. Petitioners argue that such a violation being an
election offense, it is malum prohibitum and immediately gives rise to
criminal liability upon proof of commission.
Violation of the provisions, or pertinent portions, of the following sections
shall constitute election offenses: x x x. The phraseology of this introductory
clause alerts us that Section 262 itself possibly limits its coverage to only
pertinent portions of Section 74
Nothing in Section 74 partakes unmistakably of a penal clause or a positive
prohibition comparable to those found in other sections [7] also mentioned in
Section 262 that use the words shall not. The Court is then left to interpret
the meaning of Section 74 to determine which of its provisions are penalized
under Section 262, and particularly if disclosure of profession or occupation is
among such provisions.