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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc.

ELECTIONS
Case Digests

ESSENCE OF ELECTIONS/DEFINITION, BASIS AND NATURE Carlos vs Angeles (G.R. No. 142907 Nov 29, 2000)
Even if the candidate receiving the majority votes is ineligible or disqualified, the candidate receiving the next highest number of votes or the second placer, can not be declared elected.

Municipal Board of Canvassers, Valenzuela, Metro Manila proclaimed petitioner as the duly elected mayor of Valenzuela having obtained 102,688 votes, the highest number of votes in the election returns. Respondent Antonio M. Serapio who obtained 77,270 votes, the second highest number of votes, filed with the Regional Trial Court, Valenzuela, Metro Manila, an election protest challenging the results. The trial court rendered a judgment ruling that the perpetuation of fraud had undoubtedly suppressed the true will of the electorate of Valenzuela and substituted it with the will of the protestee. Notwithstanding the plurality of valid votes in favor of the protestee, the trial court set aside the proclamation of protestee Jose Emmanuel Carlos by the Municipal Board of Canvassers and declared protestant Antonio M. Serapio as the duly elected mayor of Valenzuela City. Issue: WoN the trial court acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion when the court set aside the proclamation of petitioner and declared respondent Serapio as the duly elected mayor of Valenzuela City despite its finding that petitioner garnered 83,609 valid votes while respondent obtained 66,602 valid votes, or a winning margin of 17,007 votes. Held: Yes, an election means "the choice or selection of candidates to public office by popular vote" through the use of the ballot, and the elected officials of which are

determined through the will of the electorate. "An election is the embodiment of the popular will, the expression of the sovereign power of the people." Specifically, the term 'election', in the context of the Constitution, may refer to the conduct of the polls, including the listing of voters, the holding of the electoral campaign, and the casting and counting of votes." The winner is the candidate who has obtained a majority or plurality of valid votes cast in the election. "Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who receive the highest number of votes cast in the election for that office. For, in all republican forms of government the basic idea is that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election." In case of protest, a revision or recount of the ballots cast for the candidates decides the election protest case. The candidate receiving the highest number or plurality of votes shall be proclaimed the winner. Even if the candidate receiving the majority votes is ineligible or disqualified, the candidate receiving the next highest number of votes or the second placer, cannot be declared elected. "The wreath of victory cannot be transferred from the disqualified winner to the repudiated loser because the law then as now only authorizes a declaration of election in favor of the person who has obtained a plurality of votes and does not entitle a candidate receiving the next highest number of votes to be declared elected." In other words, "a defeated candidate cannot be deemed elected to the office." Rulloda vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 154198 Jan 20, 2003)
The purpose of election laws which is to give effect to rather than frustrate the will of the voters. It is a solemn duty to uphold the clear and unmistakable mandate of the people. It is well-settled that in case of doubt, political laws must be so construed as to give life and spirit to the popular mandate freely expressed through the ballot.

San Jacinto, Pangasinan. On June 22, 2002, Romeo suffered a heart attack and passed away. His widow, petitioner Petronila "Betty" Rulloda, wrote a letter to the Commission on Elections seeking permission to run as candidate for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas in lieu of her late husband. BoC proclaimed Placido winner despite garnering only 290 votes which is lesser than Rullodas 516. Petitioner later found out that COMELEC denied her application to be substitute candidate of her late husband. COMELEC based its decision on its Resolution No. 4801 declaring there shall be no substitution for barangay and SK elections. Petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari, seeking to annul Section 9 of Resolution No. 4801 and Resolution No. 5217, both of the COMELEC, insofar as they prohibited petitioner from running as substitute candidate in lieu of her deceased husband; to nullify the proclamation of respondent; and to proclaim her as the duly elected Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas, San Jacinto, Pangasinan. Issue: WON Rulloda should be declared the winner and proclaimed as the Barangay Chairman Held: Yes, election means the choice or selection of candidates to public office by popular vote through the use of the ballot, and the elected officials which are determined through the will of the electorate. An election is the embodiment of the popular will, the expression of the sovereign power of the people. The winner is the candidate who has obtained a majority or plurality of valid votes cast in the election. Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who receive the highest number of votes cast in the election for that office. For, in all republican forms of government the basic idea is that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election. Private respondent argues that inasmuch as the barangay election is non-partisan, there can be no substitution because there is no political party from which to designate the substitute. Such an

Romeo N. Rulloda and Remegio L. Placido were the contending candidates for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas,

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interpretation, aside from being non sequitur, ignores the purpose of election laws which is to give effect to, rather than frustrate, the will of the voters. It is a solemn duty to uphold the clear and unmistakable mandate of the people. It is well-settled that in case of doubt, political laws must be so construed as to give life and spirit to the popular mandate freely expressed through the ballot. Contrary to respondents claim, the absence of a specific provision governing substitution of candidates in barangay elections cannot be inferred as a prohibition against said substitution. Such a restrictive construction cannot be read into the law where the same is not written. Indeed, there is more reason to allow the substitution of candidates where no political parties are involved than when political considerations or party affiliations reign, a fact that must have been subsumed by law. Sunga vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 125629 Mar 25, 1998)
It would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed winner and imposed as the representative of a constituency, the majority of whom have positively declared through their ballots that they do not choose him.

garnered the highest number of votes, while Sunga trailed second. Issue: WON Sunga as the second placer is entitled to be proclaimed in the event Trinidad is disqualified Held: No, the fact that the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is later disqualified for the office to which he was elected does not entitle the candidate who obtained the second highest number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective office. The votes cast for a disqualified person may not be valid to install the winner into office or maintain him there. But in the absence of a statute which clearly asserts a contrary political and legislative policy on the matter, if the votes were cast in the sincere belief that the candidate was qualified, they should not be treated as stray, void or meaningless. Sunga totally miscontrued the nature of our democratic electoral process as well as the sociological and psychological elements behind voters' preferences. Election is the process of complete ascertainment of the expression of the popular will. Its ultimate purpose is to give effect to the will of the electorate by giving them direct participation in choosing the men and women who will run their government. Thus, it would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed winner and imposed as the representative of a constituency, the majority of whom have positively declared through their ballots that they do not choose him. While Sunga may have garnered the second highest number of votes, the fact remains that he was not the choice of the people of Iguig, Cagayan. "The wreath of victory cannot be transferred from the disqualified winner to the repudiated loser because the law then as now only authorizes a declaration of election in favor of the person who has obtained a plurality of votes and does not entitle a candidate receiving the next highest number of votes to be declared elected."

Mitmug vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 106270-73 Feb 10, 1994)


All the law requires is that a winning candidate must be elected by a plurality of valid votes, regardless of the actual number of ballots cast. Thus, even if less than 25% of the electorate in the questioned precincts cast their votes, the same must still be respected.

Petitioner SULTAN MOHAMAD L. MITMUG and private respondent DATU GAMBAI DAGALANGIT were among the candidates for the mayoralty position of Lumba-Bayabao. Voter turnout for the election was very low. Only 2,330 out of 9,830 registered voters therein cast their votes. Dagalangit won. Other candidates filed separate petition for the declaration of failure of election in some or all precincts in Lumba-Bayabao. Issue: WON COMELEC should declare a failure of election on the ground of massive disenfranchisement of voters due to alleged terrorism and unlawful clustering of precincts. Held. No. before COMELEC can act on a verified petition seeking to declare a failure of election, two (2) conditions must concur: first, no voting has taken place in the precinct or precincts on the date fixed by law or, even if there was voting, the election nevertheless results in failure to elect; and, second, the votes not cast would affect the result of the election. In the case before us, it is indubitable that the votes not cast will definitely affect the outcome of the election. But, the first requisite is missing, i.e., that no actual voting took place, or even if there is, the results thereon will be tantamount to a failure to elect. Since actual voting and election by the registered voters in the questioned precincts have taken place, the results thereof cannot be disregarded and excluded. COMELEC therefore did not commit any abuse of discretion, much less grave, in denying the petitions outright. There was no basis for the petitions since the facts alleged therein did not constitute sufficient grounds to warrant the relief sought. For, the language of the law expressly requires the concurrence of these conditions to justify the calling of a special election.

Petitioner Manuel C. Sunga was one of the candidates for the position of Mayor in the Municipality of Iguig, Province of Cagayan, in the 8 May 1995 elections. Private respondent Ferdinand B. Trinidad, then incumbent mayor, was a candidate for re-election in the same municipality. Sunga filed with the COMELEC a letter-complaint for disqualification against Trinidad, accusing him of using three (3) local government vehicles in his campaign, in violation of Sec. 261, par. (o), Art. XXII, of BP Blg. 881 (Omnibus Election Code, as amended). On 7 May 1995, Sunga filed another letter-complaint with the COMELEC charging Trinidad this time with violation of Sec. 261, par. (e) (referring to threats, intimidation, terrorism or other forms of coercion) of the Omnibus Election Code. Election results showed that Trinidad

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There can be failure of election in a political unit only if the will of the majority has been defiled and cannot be ascertained. But, if it can be determined, it must be accorded respect. After all, there is no provision in our election laws which requires that a majority of registered voters must cast their votes. All the law requires is that a winning candidate must be elected by a plurality of valid votes, regardless of the actual number of ballots cast. Thus, even if less than 25% of the electorate in the questioned precincts cast their votes, the same must still be respected. There is prima facie showing that private respondent was elected through a plurality of valid votes of a valid constituency. STATUTORY INTERPRETATION IN ELECTION LAWS Maruhom vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 139357 May 5, 2000)
Section 2(1) of Article IX (C) of the Constitution gives the COMELEC the broad power "to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall." which intends to give the COMELEC all the necessary and incidental powers for it to achieve the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections.

respondent, knowing that he was cheated and the true winner for Mayor, filed before this Honorable Commission a petition to annul the proclamation of petitioner Abdulmadid Maruhom as the duly elected Mayor of Marogong, Lanao del Sur. Subsequently, a Revision Committee was created and its membership were duly appointed in open court which committee was directed by the COMELEC to finish the revision of ballots. After the Revision Committee was directed by the respondent to commence the revision of ballots, the petitioner Abdulmadid Maruhom thru counsel orally moved for the dismissal of the protest on the grounds that (1) The ballot boxes containing the ballots in the protested and counter-protested precincts have been violated; (2) Automated counting of ballots does not contemplate a manual recount of the ballots. Issue: WON the COMELEC may order manual recount of ballots even not mentioned in R.A. 8436 Held: Yes. Although admittedly there is a lacuna leges in R.A. No. 8436 which prescribes the adoption of an automated election system. However, while conceding as much, this Court ruled in Tupay Loong v. COMELEC, 42 that the Commission is nevertheless not precluded from conducting a manual count when the automated counting system fails, reasoning thus: . . . In enacting R.A. No. 8436, Congress obviously failed to provide a remedy where the error in counting is not machine related for human foresight is not all-seeing. We hold, however, that the vacuum in the law cannot prevent the COMELEC from levitating above the problem. Section 2(1) of Article IX (C) of the Constitution gives the COMELEC the broad power "to enforce and administer all laws and regulations

Maruhom and Dimaporo were both candidates for Mayor in the Municipality of Marogong, Lanao del Sur. During the counting of votes, serious irregularities, anomalies and electoral frauds were committed at the instance of petitioner or his followers in that votes actually casted for the private respondent were not counted and credited in his favor thru the concerted acts, conspiracy and manipulation of the Board of Election Inspectors, military, Election Officer and the Machine Operator who happens to be a nephew of the petitioner. Many official ballots were refused or rejected by the machine. As a result of the foregoing irregularities, anomalies and electoral frauds, the petitioner was illegally proclaimed as winner because he appeared to have obtained 2,020 votes while the private respondent garnered 2,000 votes with a slight margin of only 20 votes. Private

relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall." Undoubtedly, the text and intent of this provision is to give the COMELEC all the necessary and incidental powers for it to achieve the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections. Congruent to this intent, this Court has not been niggardly in defining the parameters of powers of COMELEC in the conduct of our elections . . . In the case at bar, the COMELEC order for a manual count was not only reasonable. It was the only way to count the decisive local votes . . . The bottom line is that by means of the manual count, the will of the voters of Sulu was honestly determined. We cannot kick away the will of the people by giving a literal interpretation to R.A. 8436. R.A. 8436 did not prohibit manual counting when machine count does not work. Counting is part and parcel of the conduct of an election which is under the control and supervision of the COMELEC . . . . . . Our elections are not conducted under laboratory conditions. In running for public offices, candidates do not follow the rules of Emily Post. Too often, COMELEC has to make snap judgments to meet unforeseen circumstances that threaten to subvert the will of our voters. In the process, the actions of COMELEC may not be impeccable, indeed, may even be debatable. We cannot,

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however, engage in a swivel chair criticism of these actions often taken under very difficult circumstances. Verily, the legal compass from which the COMELEC should take its bearings in acting upon election controversies is the principle that "clean elections control the appropriateness of the remedy." Be that as it may, the fact is the averments in petitioner's counter-protest and private respondent's protest already justified the determination of the issues through a judicial revision and recounting of the ballots pursuant to Section 255 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides that Sec. 255. Judicial counting of votes in election contest. Where allegations in a protest or counter-protest so warrant or whenever in the opinion of the court the interests of justice so require, it shall immediately order the book of voters, ballot boxes and their keys, ballots and other documents used in the election be brought before it and that the ballots be examined and votes recounted. Pena vs HRET (G.R. No. 123037 Mar 21, 1997)
While it is conceded that statutes providing for election contests are to be liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice of public officers may not be defeated by mere technical questions, the rule likewise stands, that in an election protest, the protestant must stand or fall upon the issues he had raised in his original or amended pleading filed prior to the lapse of the statutory period for filing of the protest.

1995, the instant petition was filed with the HRET. The petition was dismissed by the HRET for the failure of the petition to state a cause of action because it is fatally insufficient in form and substance (for failing to identify specific precincts where alleged widespread election, fraud and irregularities occurred). In its Petition for Certiorari, petitioner argues that the petition was initially defective for failure to specify the contested precincts, said defect was cured when petitioner submitted summary of the contested precincts. Issue: WON the HRET acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to having acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in dismissing the election protest of petitioner Held: No. substantial amendments to the protest may be allowed only within the same period for filing the election protest, which, under Rule 16 of the HRET Rules of Procedure is ten (10) days after the proclamation of the winner. While it is conceded that statutes providing for election contests are to be liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice of public officers may not be defeated by mere technical questions, the rule likewise stands, that in an election protest, the protestant must stand or fall upon the issues he had raised in his original or amended pleading filed prior to the lapse of the statutory period for filing of the protest. Admittedly, the rule is well-established that the power to annul an election should be exercised with the greatest care as it involves the free and fair expression of the popular will. It is only in extreme cases of fraud and under circumstances which demonstrate to the fullest degree a fundamental and wanton disregard of the law that elections are annulled, and then only when it becomes impossible to take any other step. This is as it should be, for the democratic system is good for the many although abhorred by a few. Kinds of Election: Regular and Special

Paras vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 123169 Nov 4, 1996)


SK includes the youth with ages ranging from 15 to 21 (Sec. 424, Local Government Code of 1991). Accordingly, they include many who are not qualified to vote in a regular election, viz., those from ages 15 to less than 18. In no manner then may SK elections be considered a regular election (whether national or local).

Petitioner Danilo E. Paras is the incumbent Punong Barangay of Pula, Cabanatuan City who won during the last regular barangay election in 1994. A petition for his recall as Punong Barangay was filed by the registered voters of the barangay. Acting on the petition for recall, public respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) resolved to approve the petition, scheduled the petition signing on October 14, 1995, and set the recall election on November 13, 1995. Petitioner opposed the proceedings Citing Section 74 (b) of the Local Government Code, which states that "no recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the official's assumption to office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular local election", petitioner insists that the scheduled January 13, 1996 recall election is now barred as the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election was set by Republic Act No. 7808 on the first Monday of May 1996, and every three years thereafter. In support thereof, petitioner cites Associated Labor Union v. Letrondo-Montejo, 237 SCRA 621, where the Court considered the SK election as a regular local election. Petitioner maintains that as the SK election is a regular local election, hence no recall election can be had for barely four months separate the SK election from the recall election. Issue: WON the contention of Paras is tenable Held: No, it is a rule in statutory construction that every part of the statute must be interpreted with reference to the context, i.e., that every part of the statute must be considered together with the other parts, and kept subservient to the general intent of the whole enactment.

Petitioner Pena and the private respondent Abueg were contenders for the said Congressional Office in the May 8, 1995 elections. On May 12, 1995, upon canvassing the votes cast, the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Palawan proclaimed the private respondent as the winner. On May 22,

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The evident intent of Section 74 is to subject an elective local official to recall election once during his term of office. Paragraph (b) construed together with paragraph (a) merely designates the period when such elective local official may be subject of a recall election, that is, during the second year of his term of office. Thus, subscribing to petitioner's interpretation of the phrase regular local election to include the SK election will unduly circumscribe the novel provision of the Local Government Code on recall, a mode of removal of public officers by initiation of the people before the end of his term. And if the SK election which is set by R.A No. 7808 to be held every three years from May 1996 were to be deemed within the purview of the phrase "regular local election", as erroneously insisted by petitioner, then no recall election can be conducted rendering inutile the recall provision of the Local Government Code. In the interpretation of a statute, the Court should start with the assumption that the legislature intended to enact an effective law, and the legislature is not presumed to have done a vain thing in the enactment of a statute. 5 An interpretation should, if possible, be avoided under which a statute or provision being construed is defeated, or as otherwise expressed, nullified, destroyed, emasculated, repealed, explained away, or rendered insignificant, meaningless, inoperative or nugatory. It is likewise a basic precept in statutory construction that a statute should be interpreted in harmony with the Constitution. Thus, the interpretation of Section 74 of the Local Government Code, specifically paragraph (b) thereof, should not be in conflict with the Constitutional mandate of Section 3 of Article X of the Constitution to "enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanism of recall, initiative, and referendum . . . ."
Davide (concurring): A regular election, whether national or local, can only refer to an election participated in by those who possess the right of suffrage, are not otherwise disqualified by law, and who are registered voters. One of the requirements for the exercise of suffrage under Section 1, Article V of the Constitution is that the person must be at least 18 years of age, and one requisite before he can vote is that he be a registered voter pursuant to the rules on registration prescribed in the Omnibus Election Code (Section 113-118). Under the law, the SK includes the youth with ages ranging from 15 to 21 (Sec. 424, Local Government Code of 1991). Accordingly, they include many who are not qualified to vote in a regular election, viz., those from ages 15 to less than 18. In no manner then may SK elections be considered a regular election (whether national or local).

Papa vs Municipal Board (G.R. No. L-23892 Mar 23, 1925)


The terminology the next preceding election refers to the last election held regardless of whether it is a special or general election.

The last general elections were held in 1922. In the city of Manila, the Partido Democrata ran first, the Partido Nacionalista Colectivista second, and the Partido Nacionalista third. The Partido Liberal also polled some votes. A special election to fill a vacancy in the office of Senator of the Fourth District including the City of Manila, was held on October 2, 1923. At this special election, two persons, Juan Sumulong(Partido Democrata) and Ramon J. Fernandez(Independent), filed their certificates of candidacy. In the City of Manila, Juan Sumulong received 16,022 votes and Ramon J. Fernandez, 19,380 votes. When the time came for the Municipal Board of the City of Manila to name election inspectors and poll clerks for the general election of 1925, it refused all participation on election boards to the Partido Nacionalista Consolidado, the political legatee of the Partido Nacionalista Colectivista and the Partido Nacionalista. Instead, it provided for election boards, as above indicated, by giving majority representation to the Partido Democrata and minority representation to the Partido Liberal. Act No. 3030 as amended by Act No. 3210 provides that municipal council in each municipality wherein a general election is to be held to appoint, ninety days immediately prior to the date of such general election, three inspectors of election and one poll clerk, with their respective substitutes, for each election precinct therein, who shall hold office for three years or until their successors shall have taken charge of the same. Should there be in such

municipality one or more political parties or branches or fractions thereof, or political groups, then two of said inspectors and two substitutes for the same shall belong to the party which polled the largest number of votes in said municipality at the next preceding election and the other inspector and his substitute shall belong to the party, branch or fraction thereof, or political group which polled the next largest number of votes at said election. Partido Nacionalista Consolidado claimed that Fernandez run and accepted the nomination of the party and won because of the support of the party, thus the party should be given the 2 slots for inspector of election for being the party who won the most number of votes in the next preceding election with the victory of its claimed candidate Fernandez. ISSUE: a. WON the 1923 special election should be the basis to determine distribution of inspector of elections slots b. WON Partido Nacionalista Consolidado should be credited with the victory of Fernandez whom it claimed as its candidate c. WON the poll clerk in each precinct should come from the party with the largest vote in the next preceding election Held: a. Yes, if the previous terminology at such preceding election was not amended to the next preceding election, then the basis would be the 1922 general election. The term the next preceding election clearly refers to the 1923 special elections. The Philippine Legislature, however, it again amended section 417 by the enactment of Act No. 3210 by changing the phrase "at such preceding election" to the phrase "at the next preceding election." Possibly the law is still susceptible to the interpretation that "the next preceding election" has relation with the "general election" mentioned in the beginning of the section. But obviously, the law was amended for some purpose. As the law now exists, a special election is as much a "preceding election" as a general election. This may be unfortunate, for a special election is an election not regularly held to supply a vacancy in a particular office before the expiration of the full term

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for which the incumbent was elected, and thus does not as well echo the political sentiment of the electorate as does a general election. b. No, it is questionable if the Partido Nacionalista Consolidado can now claim a monopoly of the benefits arising from an election when the successful candidate ran as an independent. The certificate of candidacy of Ramon J. Fernandez permitted the placing of his name before the electorate. It was in the nature of a formal manifestation to the whole world of his political creed or lack of political creed. It constituted an authorized badge which the voter could scrutinize before casting his ballot. The electors voted for Ramon J. Fernandez, Independent. They did not vote for Ramon J. Fernandez, Colectivista, Nacionalista, Liberal, or Democrata. It would be hard to say whether of the 19,380 votes received by Senator Fernandez, 16,023 thereof, or one more than was received by his opponent, came to him on account of the backing of the Partido Colectivista and the Partido Nacionalista, or whether such support only accounted for 16,021 votes, or one less than was received by his opponent. It has been the practice of this court to hold a person who does not belong to any political party, but is only an independent candidate, has no right to recommend persons as election inspectors. The statute, providing that election inspectors shall be selected from the leading political parties, disclosed a legislative intent to preserve and protect party organization. This court has likewise held in at least two decisions and the same has been the judgment of a member of this court, Justice Villamor, in his well-known work on elections, that "for the proper and correct weighing of the evidence that determines which of the political parties was victorious in the last election, and the classification of the voters who cast the votes, the political filiation and color of the candidate nominated and voted for must be taken into account. Only the votes cast in favor of the official candidates of a party, being homogenous, can be computed in the name and in favor of the party to which said candidates voted for belonged. The political filiation and color of the candidate voted for, which determine those of his voters, must be judged and considered as of the date of the election and not afterwards. c. No, while the law is specific in providing that election inspectors shall belong to the two leading parties, it is silent as to the political filiation of poll clerks. It must, therefore, be assumed that the appointment of poll clerks rests entirely within the discretion of the municipal council or the Municipal Board. Poll clerks may belong to any political party or to no party at all. Kapasyahan Blg. 18, Serye 1993, requesting Congress of the Philippines so amend certain provisions of RA 7227, particularly those concerning the matters cited in items (A), (B), (K), (E), and (G) of private respondent's petition. The Sangguniang Bayan of Morong also informed respondents that items (D) and (H) had already been referred to and favorably acted upon by the government agencies concerned, such as the Bases Conversion Development Authority and the Office of the President. Not satisfied, and within 30 days from submission of their petition, herein respondents resorted to their power initiative under the Local Government Code of 1991. On June 18, 19956, respondent Comelec issued Resolution No. 2845, adopting therein a "Calendar of Activities for local referendum on certain municipal ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong, Bataan", and which indicated, among others, the scheduled Referendum Day (July 27, 1996, Saturday). On June 27, 1996, the Comelec promulgated the assailed Resolution No. 2848 providing for "the rules and guidelines to govern the conduct of the referendum proposing to annul or repeal Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye 1993 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong, Bataan. SBMA instituted the present petition for certiorari and prohibition contesting the validity of Resolution No. 2848 and alleging, inter alia, that public respondent "is intent on proceeding with a local initiative that proposes an amendment of a national law. Issue: Whether or not respondent Comelec commit grave abuse of discretion in promulgating and implementing Resolution No. 2848 Held: Yes, the process started by private respondents was an INITIATIVE but respondent Comelec made preparations for a REFERENDUM only. In fact, in the body of the Resolution as reproduced in the footnote below, the word "referendum" is repeated at least 27 times, but "initiative" is not mentioned at all. The Comelec labeled the exercise as a "Referendum"; the counting of votes was entrusted to a "Referendum Committee"; the documents were called "referendum

Initiative and Referendum SBMA vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 125416 Sep 26, 1996)
Initiative is the power of the people to propose bills and laws, and to enact or reject them at the polls independent of the legislative assembly. On the other hand, referendum is the right reserved to the people to adopt or reject any act or measure which has been passed by a legislative body and which in most cases would without action on the part of electors become a law

In April 1993, the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong, Bataan passed Pambayang Kapasyahan Bilang 10, Serye 1993, expressing therein its absolute concurrence, as required by said Sec. 12 of RA 7227, to join the Subic Special Economic Zone. On September 5, 1993, the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong submitted Pambayang Kapasyahan Bilang 10, Serye 1993 to the Office of the President. On May 24, 1993, respondents Garcia, Calimbas and their companions filed a petition with the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong to annul Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye 1993. The Sangguniang Bayan ng Morong acted upon the petition of respondents Garcia, Calimbas, et al. by promulgating Pambayang

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returns"; the canvassers, "Referendum Board of Canvassers" and the ballots themselves bore the description "referendum". To repeat, not once was the word "initiative" used in said body of Resolution No. 2848. And yet, this exercise is unquestionably an INITIATIVE. There are statutory and conceptual demarcations between a referendum and an initiative. In enacting the "Initiative and Referendum Act, Congress differentiated one term from the other, thus: (a) "Initiative" is the power of the people to propose amendments to the Constitution or to propose and enact legislations through an election called for the purpose. There are three (3) systems of initiative, namely: a.1. Initiative on the Constitution which refers to a petition proposing amendments to the Constitution; a.2. Initiative on statutes which refers to a petition proposing to enact a national legislation; and a.3. Initiative on local legislation which refers to a petition proposing to enact a regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution or ordinance. (b) "Indirect initiative" is exercise of initiative by the people through a proposition sent to Congress or the local legislative body for action. (c) "Referendum" is the power of the electorate to approve or reject a legislation through an election called for the purpose. It may be of two classes, namely: c.1. Referendum on statutes which refers to a petition to approve or reject an act or law, or part thereof, passed by Congress; and c.2 Referendum on local law which refers to a petition to approve or reject a law, resolution or ordinance enacted by regional assemblies and local legislative bodies. Along these statutory definitions, Justice Isagani A. Cruz defines initiative as the "power of the people to propose bills and laws, and to enact or reject them at the polls independent of the legislative assembly." On the other hand, he explains that referendum "is the right reserved to the people to adopt or reject any act or measure which has been passed by a legislative body and which in most cases would without action on the part of electors become a law." there is need for the Comelec to supervise an initiative more closely, its authority thereon extending not only to the counting and canvassing of votes but also to seeing to it that the matter or act submitted to the people is in the proper form and language so it may be easily understood and voted upon by the electorate. This is especially true where the proposed legislation is lengthy and complicated, and should thus be broken down into several autonomous parts, each such part to be voted upon separately. Care must also be exercised that "(n)o petition embracing more than one subject shall be submitted to the electorate," although "two or more propositions may be submitted in an initiative". Santiago vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 127325 Mar 19, 1997)
Although R.A. 6735 intended to include the system of initiative on amendments to the constitution, but it is unfortunately inadequate to cover that system.

On 6 December 1996, private respondent Atty. Jesus S. Delfin filed with public respondent Commission on Elections (hereafter, COMELEC) a "Petition to Amend the Constitution, to Lift Term Limits of Elective Officials, by People's Initiative" . Delfin alleged in his petition that he is a founding member of the Movement for People's Initiative, 6 a group of citizens desirous to avail of the system intended to institutionalize people power; that he and the members of the Movement and other volunteers intend to exercise the power to directly propose amendments to the Constitution granted under Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution; that the exercise of that power shall be conducted in proceedings under the control and supervision of the COMELEC; that, as required in COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, signature stations shall be established all over the country, with the assistance of municipal election registrars, who shall verify the signatures affixed by individual signatories; that before the Movement and other volunteers can gather signatures, it is necessary that the time and dates to be designated for the purpose be first fixed in an order to be issued by the COMELEC; and that to adequately inform the people of the electoral process involved, it is likewise necessary that the said order, as well as the Petition on which the signatures shall be affixed, be published in newspapers of general and

local circulation, under the control and supervision of the COMELEC. On 18 December 1996, the petitioners herein Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, Alexander Padilla, and Maria Isabel Ongpin filed this special civil action for prohibition contending that the constitutional provision on people's initiative to amend the Constitution can only be implemented by law to be passed by Congress and that no such law has been passed. It is true that R.A. No. 6735 provides for three systems of initiative, namely, initiative on the Constitution, on statutes, and on local legislation. However, it failed to provide any subtitle on initiative on the Constitution, unlike in the other modes of initiative, which are specifically provided for in Subtitle II and Subtitle III. They added that Republic Act No. 6735 provides for the effectivity of the law after publication in print media. This indicates that the Act covers only laws and not constitutional amendments because the latter take effect only upon ratification and not after publication. Issue: WoN R.A. 6735 is sufficient to cover the system on amendments to the constitution Held: No, although R.A. 6735 intended to include the system of initiative on amendments to the constitution, but it is unfortunately inadequate to cover that system. While the Act provides subtitles for National Initiative and Referendum (Subtitle II) and for Local Initiative and Referendum (Subtitle III), no subtitle is provided for initiative on the Constitution. This conspicuous silence as to the latter simply means that the main thrust of the Act is initiative and referendum on national and local laws. If Congress intended R.A. No. 6735 to fully provide for the implementation of the initiative on amendments to the Constitution, it could have provided for a subtitle therefor, considering that in the order of things, the primacy of interest, or hierarchy of values, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution is far more important than the initiative on national and local laws. While R.A. No. 6735 exerted utmost diligence and care in providing for the details in the implementation of

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initiative and referendum on national and local legislation thereby giving them special attention, it failed, rather intentionally, to do so on the system of initiative on amendments to the Constitution. Upon the other hand, as to initiative on amendments to the Constitution, R.A. No. 6735, in all of its twenty-three sections, merely (a) mentions, the word "Constitution" in Section 2; (b) defines "initiative on the Constitution" and includes it in the enumeration of the three systems of initiative in Section 3; (c) speaks of "plebiscite" as the process by which the proposition in an initiative on the Constitution may be approved or rejected by the people; (d) reiterates the constitutional requirements as to the number of voters who should sign the petition; and (e) provides for the date of effectivity of the approved proposition. There was, therefore, an obvious downgrading of the more important or the paramount system of initiative. RA. No. 6735 thus delivered a humiliating blow to the system of initiative on amendments to the Constitution by merely paying it a reluctant lip service. The foregoing brings us to the conclusion that R.A. No. 6735 is incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and conditions insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned. Its lacunae on this substantive matter are fatal and cannot be cured by "empowering" the COMELEC "to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of [the] Act. Lambino vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 174153 Oct 25, 2006)
The essence of amendments "directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition" is that the entire proposal on its face is a petition by the people. This means two essential elements must be present. First, the people must author and thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or representative can sign on their behalf. Second, as an initiative upon a petition, the proposal must be embodied in a petition. These essential elements are present only if the full text of the proposed amendments is first shown to the people who express their assent by signing such complete proposal in a petition.

with other groups and individuals, commenced gathering signatures for an initiative petition to change the 1987 Constitution. On 25 August 2006, the Lambino Group filed a petition with the COMELEC to hold a plebiscite that will ratify their initiative petition under Section 5(b) and (c) and Section 7 of Republic Act No. 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act ("RA 6735"). The Lambino Group alleged that their petition had the support of 6,327,952 individuals constituting at least twelve per centum (12%) of all registered voters, with each legislative district represented by at least three per centum (3%) of its registered voters. The Lambino Group also claimed that COMELEC election registrars had verified the signatures of the 6.3 million individuals. The Lambino Group's initiative petition changes the 1987 Constitution by modifying Sections 1-7 of Article VI (Legislative Department) and Sections 1-4 of Article VII (Executive Department) and by adding Article XVIII entitled "Transitory Provisions." These proposed changes will shift the present Bicameral-Presidential system to a UnicameralParliamentary form of government. Issue: WoN the Lambino Group's initiative petition complies with Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on amendments to the Constitution through a people's initiative Held: No, the Lambino Group miserably failed to comply with the basic requirements of the Constitution for conducting a people's initiative. he framers of the Constitution intended that the "draft of the proposed constitutional amendment" should be "ready and shown" to the people "before" they sign such proposal. The framers plainly stated that "before they sign there is already a draft shown to them." The framers also "envisioned" that the people should sign on the proposal itself because the proponents must "prepare that proposal and pass it around for signature." The essence of amendments "directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition" is that the entire proposal on its face is a petition by the people. This means two essential elements must be present. First, the people must author and

On 15 February 2006, petitioners in G.R. No. 174153, namely Raul L. Lambino and Erico B. Aumentado ("Lambino Group"),

thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or representative can sign on their behalf. Second, as an initiative upon a petition, the proposal must be embodied in a petition. These essential elements are present only if the full text of the proposed amendments is first shown to the people who express their assent by signing such complete proposal in a petition. Thus, an amendment is "directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition" only if the people sign on a petition that contains the full text of the proposed amendments. The Lambino Group's signature sheets do not contain the full text of the proposed changes, either on the face of the signature sheets, or as attachment with an indication in the signature sheet of such attachment. Petitioner Atty. Lambino admitted this during the oral arguments, and this admission binds the Lambino Group. This fact is also obvious from a mere reading of the signature sheet. This omission is fatal. The failure to so include the text of the proposed changes in the signature sheets renders the initiative void for non-compliance with the constitutional requirement that the amendment must be "directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition." The signature sheet is not the "petition" envisioned in the initiative clause of the Constitution. Also, a people's initiative to change the Constitution applies only to an amendment of the Constitution and not to its revision. Revision broadly implies a change that alters a basic principle in the constitution, like altering the principle of separation of powers or the system of checks-and-balances. There is also revision if the change alters the substantial entirety of the constitution, as when the change affects substantial provisions of the constitution. On the other hand, amendment broadly refers to a change that adds, reduces, or deletes without altering the basic principle involved. Revision generally affects several provisions of the constitution, while amendment generally affects only the specific provision being amended. The Lambino Group's initiative is a revision and not merely an amendment. Quantitatively, the Lambino Group's proposed changes overhaul two articles - Article VI on the Legislature and

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Article VII on the Executive - affecting a total of 105 provisions in the entire Constitution. Qualitatively, the proposed changes alter substantially the basic plan of government, from presidential to parliamentary, and from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature. A change in the structure of government is a revision of the Constitution, as when the three great co-equal branches of government in the present Constitution are reduced into two. This alters the separation of powers in the Constitution. A shift from the present Bicameral-Presidential system to a UnicameralParliamentary system is a revision of the Constitution. Merging the legislative and executive branches is a radical change in the structure of government. The abolition alone of the Office of the President as the locus of Executive Power alters the separation of powers and thus constitutes a revision of the Constitution. Likewise, the abolition alone of one chamber of Congress alters the system of checks-andbalances within the legislature and constitutes a revision of the Constitution. By any legal test and under any jurisdiction, a shift from a Bicameral-Presidential to a UnicameralParliamentary system, involving the abolition of the Office of the President and the abolition of one chamber of Congress, is beyond doubt a revision, not a mere amendment. On the face alone of the Lambino Group's proposed changes, it is readily apparent that the changes will radically alter the framework of government as set forth in the Constitution. Recall Afiado vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 141787 Sep 1, 2000)
When an elective public official was installed in a higher office through succession, a recall against him during his previous elective post is already rendered moot and academic.

(whom Joel substituted) was not valid thus Joel Miranda could not be validly proclaimed as the winner in the mayoralty elections. By virtue of the law on succession, Navarro became the new mayor. On the other hand when she was still a vice-mayor, Navarro was sought to be recalled through a preparatory recall assembly (PRA) Issue: WoN an elective official who became City Mayor by legal succession can be the subject of a recall election by virtue of a Preparatory Recall Assembly Resolution which was passed or adopted when the said elective official was still the Vice-Mayor Held: No, such action is already moot and academic. The assumption by legal succession of the petitioner as the new Mayor of Santiago City is a supervening event which rendered the recall proceeding against her moot and academic. A perusal of the said Resolution reveals that the person subject of the recall process is a specific elective official in relation to her specific office. The said resolution is replete with statements, which leave no doubt that the purpose of the assembly was to recall petitioner as Vice Mayor for her official acts as Vice Mayor. The title itself suggests that the recall is intended for the incumbent Vice Mayor of Santiago City. The third paragraph of the resolution recounted "the official acts of City Vice Mayor Navarro that brought forth the loss of confidence in her capacity and fitness to discharge the duties and to perform the functions of her public office." And because of such acts, the assembly "RESOLVED to invoke the rescission of the electoral mandate of the incumbent City Vice Mayor." Clearly, the intent of the PRA as expressed in the said Resolution is to remove the petitioner as Vice Mayor for they already lost their confidence in her by reason of her official acts as such. To recall, then, the petitioner when she is already the incumbent City Mayor is to deviate from the expressed will of the PRA. Having, thus, succeeded to the position of City Mayor, the petitioner was placed beyond the reach of the effects of the PRA Resolution. Even if the Preparatory Recall Assembly were to reconvene to adopt

another resolution for the recall of Amelita Navarro, this time as Mayor of Santiago City, the same would still not prosper in view of Section 74 (b) of the Local Government Code of 1991 which provides that "No recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the official's assumption of office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular election." There is no more allowable time in the light of that law within which to hold recall elections for that purpose. The then Vice-Mayor Amelita S. Navarro assumed office as Mayor of Santiago City on October 11, 1999. One year after her assumption of office as Mayor will be October 11, 2000 which is already within the one (1) year prohibited period immediately preceding the next regular election in May 2001. Socrates vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 154512 Nov 12, 2002)
After three consecutive terms, an elective local official cannot seek immediate reelection for a fourth term. The prohibited election refers to the next regular election for the same office following the end of the third consecutive term. Any subsequent election, like a recall election, is no longer covered by the prohibition.

Victorio Socrates is the mayor of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Incumbent barangay officials of Puerto Princesa convened themselves into a preparatory recall assembly (PRA) to initiate the recall of Socrates. The COMELEC gave due course to the recall resolution and scheduled the recall election. Edward Hagedorn filed his certificate of candidacy for the recall election. Adovo and Gilo filed before the COMELEC a petition to disqualify Hagedorn on the ground that Hagedorn is disqualified from running for a fourth consecutive term, having been elected and having served as mayor of the city for three (3) consecutive full terms immediately prior to the instant recall election for the same post. Issue: WON Hagedorn is qualified to run for mayor in the recall election of Puerto Princesa on September 24, 2002 Held: Yes, Hagedorn is qualified to run for the recall election. After three consecutive terms, an elective local

During the May 11,1998 elections in Santiago City, Joel Miranda won as Mayor while Amelita Navarro won as vicemayor. Miranda was removed from office after it was held that the certificate of candidacy of his father Antonio Abaya

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official cannot seek immediate reelection for a fourth term. The prohibited election refers to the next regular election for the same office following the end of the third consecutive term. Any subsequent election, like a recall election, is no longer covered by the prohibition for two reasons. First, a subsequent election like a recall election is no longer an immediate reelection after three consecutive terms. Second, the intervening period constitutes an involuntary interruption in the continuity of service. In the case of Hagedorn, his candidacy in the recall election on September 24, 2002 is not an immediate reelection after his third consecutive term which ended on June 30, 2001. The immediate reelection that the Constitution barred Hagedorn from seeking referred to the regular elections in 2001. Hagedorn did not seek reelection in the 2001 elections. From June 30, 2001 until the recall election on September 24, 2002, the mayor of Puerto Princesa was Socrates. During the same period, Hagedorn was simply a private citizen. This period is clearly an interruption in the continuity of Hagedorn's service as mayor, not because of his voluntary renunciation, but because of a legal prohibition. Hagedorn's three consecutive terms ended on June 30, 2001. Hagedorn's new recall term from September 24, 2002 to June 30, 2004 is not a seamless continuation of his previous three consecutive terms as mayor. One cannot stitch together Hagedorn's previous threeterms with his new recall term to make the recall term a fourth consecutive term because factually it is not. An involuntary interruption occurred from June 30, 2001 to September 24, 2002 which broke the continuity or consecutive character of Hagedorn's service as mayor. Latasa vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 154829 Dec 10, 2003)
A mayor for 3 consecutive term of a municipality which became a city in the said mayors last term is barred from running in the next preceding election if the said new city has the same territorial jurisdiction when it was still a municipality.

became a component city. On February 28, 2001, petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for city mayor for the May 14, 2001 elections. He stated therein that he is eligible therefor, and likewise disclosed that he had already served for three consecutive terms as mayor of the Municipality of Digos and is now running for the first time for the position of city mayor. On March 1, 2001, private respondent Romeo M. Sunga, also a candidate for city mayor in the said elections, filed before the COMELEC a Petition to Deny Due Course, Cancel Certificate of Candidacy and/ or For Disqualification against petitioner Latasa. Respondent Sunga alleged therein that petitioner falsely represented in his certificate of candidacy that he is eligible to run as mayor of Digos City since petitioner had already been elected and served for three consecutive terms as mayor from 1992 to 2001. On March 5, 2001, petitioner Latasa filed his Answer, arguing that he did not make any false representation in his certificate of candidacy since he fully disclosed therein that he had served as mayor of the Municipality of Digos for three consecutive terms. Moreover, he argued that this fact does not bar him from filing a certificate of candidacy for the May 14, 2001 elections since this will be the first time that he will be running for the post of city mayor. Issue: WON Latasa is barred from running as mayor of the newly created city of Digos being the mayor of Digos for 3 consecutive term when it was still a municipality. Held: Yes, Latasa is barred from running. An elective local official, therefore, is not barred from running again in for same local government post, unless two conditions concur: 1.) that the official concerned has been elected for three consecutive terms to the same local government post, and 2.) that he has fully served three consecutive terms. In the present case, petitioner argued that a city and a municipality have separate and distinct personalities. Thus they cannot be treated as a single entity and must be accorded different treatment consistent with specific provisions of the Local Government Code. He does not deny the fact that he has

already served for three consecutive terms as municipal mayor. However, he asserts that when Digos was converted from a municipality to a city, it attained a different juridical personality. Therefore, when he filed his certificate of candidacy for city mayor, he cannot be construed as vying for the same local government post. True, the new city acquired a new corporate existence separate and distinct from that of the municipality. This does not mean, however, that for the purpose of applying the subject Constitutional provision, the office of the municipal mayor would now be construed as a different local government post as that of the office of the city mayor. As stated earlier, the territorial jurisdiction of the City of Digos is the same as that of the municipality. Consequently, the inhabitants of the municipality are the same as those in the city. These inhabitants are the same group of voters who elected petitioner Latasa to be their municipal mayor for three consecutive terms. These are also the same inhabitants over whom he held power and authority as their chief executive for nine years. The delineation of the metes and bounds of the City of Digos did not change even by an inch the land area previously covered by the Municipality of Digos. The framers of the Constitution specifically included an exception to the peoples freedom to choose those who will govern them in order to avoid the evil of a single person accumulating excessive power over a particular territorial jurisdiction as a result of a prolonged stay in the same office. To allow petitioner Latasa to vie for the position of city mayor after having served for three consecutive terms as a municipal mayor would obviously defeat the very intent of the framers when they wrote this exception. Should he be allowed another three consecutive terms as mayor of the City of Digos, petitioner would then be possibly holding office as chief executive over the same territorial jurisdiction and inhabitants for a total of eighteen consecutive years. This is the very scenario sought to be avoided by the Constitution, if not abhorred by it.

Arsenio A. Latasa, was elected mayor of the Municipality of Digos, Davao del Sur in the elections of 1992, 1995, and 1998. During petitioners third term, the Municipality of Digos was

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