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Quinto V.

COMELEC

COMELEC issued a resolution declaring appointive officials who filed their certificate of candidacy as ipso
facto resigned from their positions.

FACTS:

Petitioners Eleazar P. Quinto and Gerino A. Tolentino, Jr. filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition
against the COMELEC for issuing a resolution declaring appointive officials who filed their certificate of
candidacy as ipso facto resigned from their positions. In this defense, the COMELEC avers that it only copied
the provision from Sec. 13 of R.A. 9369.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the said COMELEC resolution was valid.

HELD:

NO.

In the Fariñas case, the petitioners challenged Sec. 14 of RA. 9006 repealing Sec. 66 of the Omnibus Election
Code (OEC) for giving undue benefit to elective officials in comparison with appointive officials. Incidentally,
the Court upheld the substantial distinctions between the two and pronounced that there was no violation of
the equal protection clause.

However in the present case, the Court held that the discussion on the equal protection clause was an obiter
dictum since the issue raised therein was against the repealing clause. It didn’t squarely challenge Sec. 66.

Sec. 13 of RA. 9369 unduly discriminated appointive and elective officials. Applying the 4 requisites of a
valid classification, the proviso does not comply with the second requirement – that it must be germane to
the purpose of the law.

The obvious reason for the challenged provision is to prevent the use of a governmental position to promote
one’s candidacy, or even to wield a dangerous or coercive influence of the electorate. The measure is
further aimed at promoting the efficiency, integrity, and discipline of the public service by eliminating the
danger that the discharge of official duty would be motivated by political considerations rather than the
welfare of the public. The restriction is also justified by the proposition that the entry of civil servants to
the electorate arena, while still in office, could result in neglect or inefficiency in the performance of duty
because they would be attending to their campaign rather than to their office work.

Sec. 13 of RA. 9369 pertains to all civil servants holding appointive posts without distinction as to whether
they occupy high positions in government or not. Certainly, a utility worker in the government will also be
considered as ipso facto resigned once he files his certificate of candidacy for the election. This scenario is
absurd for, indeed, it is unimaginable how he can use his position in the government to wield influence in
the political world.

The provision s directed to the activity any and all public offices, whether they be partisan or non partisan in
character, whether they be in the national, municipal or brgy. level. Congress has not shown a compelling
state interest to restrict the fundamental right involved on such a sweeping scale.