Notes in Election Law

Based on fraud or irregularity Refers to questions of disloyalty or ineligibility of the winning candidate As to the purpose To ascertain who actually obtained the majority of the legal votes in the election, and is therefore entitled to the office To unseat the ineligible person from the office, but not to install the protestant in his place As to effect when petition is granted Protestant may be installed if proven that he actually obtained the majority legal votes The respondent may be unseated, but the petitioner will not be seated in the vacated office As to the allegations stated in the complaint

Where one alleges that fraud and illegality affected the conduct of the election, even if one were to denominate the same as quo warranto, the contest is really an election protest Where the petition alleges a defect or absence of qualification for an office, it is a quo warranto proceeding, even if labeled an election protest COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 promulgated last March 22, 2010 The Comelec Rules of Procedure on Disputes in an Automated Election System Part I, Rule 1 Section 2.

Applicability – These rules shall apply to election disputes under the Automated Election System (AES) using the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS), and shall cover pre-proclamation controversies and election protests. The resolution will not only apply to the May 10, 2010 Elections, but also to all subsequent automated elections that will use the PCOS machine. Section 4. Suspension of the Rules – In the interest of justice and in order to obtain speedy disposition of all matters pending before it, these Rules or any portion thereof, may be suspended by the COMELEC.

It is within the power of the COMELEC to suspend the rules in the interest of obtaining the speedy disposition of cases. The COMELEC may suspend the application of the said rules. Part II, Rule 3 Section 1. Pre-Proclamation Controversy – A pre-proclamation controversy refers to the proceedings of the board of canvassers which may be raised by any candidates or by any registered political party or coalition of political parties, or by any accredited and participating party list group, before the board or directly with the Commission. It covers only two issues: a.

Illegal composition of the Board of Canvassers (BOC); b. Illegal proceedings of the BOC. The two issues came from the first ground mentioned in Section 243 of the Omnibus Election Code which enumerated the four grounds in a pre-proclamation controversy. In the Automated Election System, only the first ground will apply. The second, third and fourth grounds do not apply since the AES uses electronically transmitted election returns in the canvassing of votes. Section 2. Jurisdiction of the Commission in Pre-Proclamation Controversies – COMELEC has exclusive jurisdiction in

pre-proclamation controversies arising from national, regional and local elections. A pre-proclamation controversy may be raised by any candidate or by any registered political party, organization, or coalition of political parties before the BOC, or directly with the Commission. Part II, Rule 4 Section 1. Illegal Composition of the Board of Canvassers – There is illegal composition of the BOC when, among other similar circumstances, any of the members do not possess legal qualifications and appointments.

The information technology capable person (at least one) required to assist the BOC by Republic Act No. 9369 shall be included as among those whose lack of qualifications may be questioned. Section 2. Illegal Proceedings of the Board of Canvassers. – There is illegal proceedings of the BOC when the canvassing is a sham or mere ceremony, the results of which are pre-determined and manipulated as when any of the following circumstances are present: a) precipitate canvassing; b) terrorism; c)lack of sufficient notice to the members of the BOC’s; d) Improper venue Section 3.

Where and How Commenced – Questions affecting the composition or proceedings of the BOC may be initiated in the BOC or directly with the Commission, with a verified petition, clearly stating the specific ground/s for the illegality of the composition and/or proceedings of the board. Section 4. When to File Petition – The petition questioning the illegality, or the composition and/or proceedings of the BOC shall be filed immediately when the BOC begins to act as such is objected to, if it comes after the canvassing of the Board, or immediately when the proceedings become illegal.

Failure to object immediately may be deemed a waiver of the right to question the illegality of the composition or proceedings. Section 6. Illegal Proceedings Discovered after Proclamation – If the illegality of the proceedings of the BOC is discovered after the official proclamation of the supposed results, a verified petition to annual the proclamation may be filed before COMELEC within ten (10) days after the day of proclamation.

When illegality was discovered after the proclamation, the remedy is to file a verified petition to annul the proclamation. Part III, Rule 6 Section 1. Jurisdiction of the Commission on Elections. – The Commission on Elections, through any of its Divisions, shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all election protests involving elective regional (the autonomous regions), provincial, and city officials. Section 2.

Election protest – A petition contesting the elections or returns of an elective regional, provincial, or city official shall be filed with the Commission by any candidate who was voted for in the same office and who received the second or third highest number of votes or, in a multi-slot position, was among the next four candidates following the last ranked winner duly proclaimed, as reflected in the official results of the election contained in the Statement of Votes. The party filing the protest shall be designated as the protestant; the adverse party shall be known as the protestee.

The effect of a pre-proclamation controversy is that it shall suspend the running of the period to file an election protest. Part III, Rule 8 Section 4. Effect of failure to plead – a) xxx b) xxx c) Effect of failure to answer – In an election protest that does not involve ballot recount, if the protestee fails to file an answer within the time allowed, the Commission shall, upon motion of the protestant with notice to the protestee, and upon proof of such failure, require the protestant to submit evidence ex parte.

d) However, in the case of election protests involving ballot recount or examination, or verification or re-tabulation of the election returns, the Commission shall order such recount of ballots or re-tabulation of election returns. The Commission shall proceed to render judgment based on the results of the recount or re-tabulation of election returns. During the recount or re-tabulation of election returns, only the protestant, or his representative may participate. The protestee or his duly authorized representative has the

right to be present and observe the proceedings without the right to register his comment on the ballots and election returns. If it does not involve the recounting of the ballot, the protestant may be required to submit evidence ex parte. If it requires a ballot recount or examination, or verification or re-tabulation of the election returns, the COMELEC shall order such ballot recount or re-tabulation of the election returns. However, protestee or his duly authorized representative has the right to be present and observe the proceedings, but is not allowed to register his comment on the ballots and election returns on his failure to answer.

Part III, Rule 12 Section 1. Issuance of Precautionary Protection Order – Where the allegations in a protest so warrant, and simultaneously with the issuance of summons, the Commission shall order the municipal treasurer and election officer, and the responsible personnel and custodian to take immediate steps or measures to safeguard the integrity of all the ballot boxes, lists of voters with voting records, books of voters and other documents or paraphernalia used in the election, as well as data storage devices containing electronic data evidencing the conduct and the results of elections in the contested precincts.

Part III, Rule 15 Section 4. Continuous Recount – Once commenced, the recount shall continue from day to day as far as practicable until terminated. a) Period for Recount – recount shall be conducted from 8:30 o’clock in the morning to 12:00 noon and from 1:30 to 4:30 o’clock in the afternoon from Monday to Friday, except on non-working holidays. The members of the Recount Committee may take a fifteen-minute break in each session. The purpose is to determine the winner.

It requires an immediate action. The question on who garnered the highest votes must be decided as early as possible. Section 6. Conduct of the Recount – The recount of the votes on the ballots shall be done manually and visually and according to the procedures hereunder: m) The rules on appreciation of ballots under Section 211 of the Omnibus Election Code shall apply suppletorily when appropriate. Part III, Rule 19 Section 7. Procedure if Opinion is Equally Divided. – When the Commission en

banc is equally divided in opinion, or the necessary majority cannot be had, the case shall be reached, and if on rehearing no decision is reached, the protest or the counter-protest shall be deemed dismissed if originally commenced in the Commission; in a appealed cases, judgment or order appealed from shall stand affirmed; and in all incidental matters, the petition or motion shall be denied. Part III, Rule 19 Section 1. Grounds of Motion for Reconsideration – A motion for reconsideration may be filed on the grounds that the evidence is insufficient to justify the decision, order or ruling; or that the said decision, is contrary to law.

Section 2. Period for Filing Motion for Reconsideration – A motion to reconsider a decision shall be filed within five (5) days from the promulgation thereof. Such motion, if not pro forma, suspends the execution or implementation, of the decision, resolution, order or ruling. You cannot go directly to the Supreme Court because it is only available when there is no other remedy. You cannot just file a petition from certiorari without filing a motion for reconsideration of the decision of the Division of the Commission.

You must file a motion for reconsideration for the COMELEC en banc to reconsider the decision. CASES Pamatong v. COMELEC G. R. No. 161872, April 13, 2004 FACTS: Petitioner Pamatong filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for President. Respondent COMELEC declared petitioner as a nuisance candidate. Petitioner argued that he must be allowed to run under Section 26, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, or the “equal access to opportunities for public service”. ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner has a constitutional right to run for or hold public office. RULING:

1) No, petitioner’s reliance on the equal access clause in Section 26, Article II of the Constitution is misplaced. The “equal access” provision is a subsumed part of Article II of the Constitution, entitled “Declaration of Principles and State Policies. ” The provisions under said Article are generally considered not self-executing. An enabling law is required before a person may claim any rights from the provision. It is not self-executory. 2) The State has a compelling interest to ensure that its electoral exercises are rational, objective, and orderly.

Towards this end, the State takes into account the practical considerations in conducting elections. Inevitably, the greater the number of candidates, the greater the opportunities for logistical confusion, not to mention the increased allocation of time and resources in preparation for the election. The organization of an election with bonafide candidates standing is onerous enough. To add into the mix candidates with no serious intentions or capabilities to run a viable campaign would actually impair the electoral process. Atienza v. COMELEC G. R. No. 188920, February 16, 2010

FACTS: Drilon, then a Senator, was President of the Liberal Party (LP). After the Garci controversy, Drilon and company withdrew their support from then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Atienza, then LP Chairman, called for a meeting and declared as vacant all the LP positions, and conducted an election to fill the vacancies. Drilon objected and brought the issue to the COMELEC. COMELEC decided in favor of Drilon, and such decision was affirmed by the Supreme Court. Thereafter, Drilon removed those who orchestrated the election, including Atienza and other GMA supporters.

Drilon appointed people to be part of NECO, said to include members of Senate, House of Representatives, Governors and Mayors who currently part of the Liberal Party, and other well-known personalities that the LP President may appoint (Salonga, etc. ) These are persons who are allowed to vote for the new set of officers. An election was conducted, and Mar Roxas was declared new President of the Liberal Party. Atienza questioned the elections, and said that the members of NECO should be based from the list written on a souvenir item.

The Supreme Court said that it was explained well by the Liberal Party considering that there will be member changes in NECO because of the 2010 elections. Some members will die, or fail to win in the elections. Necessarily, there will be a change in the membership of NECO who are entitled to vote for new officers of LP. ISSUES: 1) Whether or not COMELEC can entertain questions on intra-party disputes. 2) Whether or not COMELEC can entertain the question concerning the validity of the expulsion of Atienza, et al. 3) Whether or not the right of Atienza to administrative due process was violated.

RULING: 1) Yes, the COMELEC’s jurisdiction over intra-party disputes is, however, very limited. The Court ruled in Kalaw v. COMELEC that the COMELEC’s powers and functions under Section 2, Article IX-C of the Constitution, “include the ascertainment of the identity of the political party and its legitimate officers responsible for its acts. ” The Court also declared in Palmares v. COMELEC that the COMELEC’s power to register political parties necessarily involved the determination of the persons who must act on its behalf.

Thus, the COMELEC may resolve an intra-party leadership dispute, in a proper case brought before it, as an incident of its power to register political parties. Such power necessarily includes the power to identify who are to act on behalf of the party. 2)No, because it is purely internal to the political party. Under the circumstances, the validity or invalidity of Atienza, et al. ’s expulsion was purely a membership issue that had to be settled within the party. It is an internal party matter over which the COMELEC has no jurisdiction.

3)No, the requirements of administrative due process do not apply to the internal affairs of political parties. The due process standards set in Ang Tibay cover only administrative bodies created by the state and through which certain governmental acts or functions are performed. Although political parties play an important role in our democratic set-up as an intermediary between the state and its citizens, it is still a private organization, not a state instrument, a government agency, or an administrative agency. Atong Paglaum v. COMELEC G. R. No. 203766, April 2, 2013 FACTS:

COMELEC Chairman Brillantes cancelled the registration, and denied the application of several party-list groups and organizations, applying the standards of the Banat Case. The party-list groups filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court. ISSUES: 1) Whether or not the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. 2) Whether or not it is necessary that a party-list group must belong to a sector. 3) Whether or not it is required that sectoral parties are marginalized and under-represented. 4) Whether or not political parties may be allowed to run in the party-list elections.

(Banat Case – Opinion of Associate Justice Arturo Brion in a case decided by Justice Antonio Carpio) 5) Who may be nominated as party nominees. RULING: 1) No, COMELEC did not act with grave abuse of discretion because it merely decided according to the parameters set by previous jurisprudence. However, the Court said that there is a need to change the parameters as to who are allowed to run. Therefore, the petitions must be returned or remanded to the COMELEC to determine in accordance to the new parameters set by the Court. 2)No, it is not necessary that a party-list must belong to a sector.

Three different groups may participate in the party-list system: (1) national parties or organizations, (2) regional parties or organizations, and (3) sectoral parties or organizations. National parties or organizations and regional parties or organizations do not need to organize along sectoral lines, and do not need to represent any “marginalized and underrepresented” sector. 3)No, sectoral parties or organizations may either be “marginalized and underrepresented” or lacking in “well-defined political constituencies. ” It is enough that their principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of their sector.

The sectors that are “marginalized and underrepresented” include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, and overseas workers. The sectors that lack “well-defined political constituencies” include professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth. The recognition that national and regional parties, as well as sectoral parties of professionals, the elderly, women and the youth, need not be “marginalized and underrepresented” will allow small ideology-based and cause-oriented parties who lack “well-defined political constituencies” a chance to win seats in the House of Representatives.

4)The general rule is political parties cannot participate in the party-list election. However, political parties can participate in party-list elections provided they register under the party-list system and do not field candidates in legislative district elections. A political party, whether major or not, that fields candidates in legislative district elections can participate in party-list elections only through its sectoral wing that can separately register under the party-list system.

The sectoral wing is by itself an independent sectoral party, and is linked to a political party through a coalition. Majority of these sectors must be “marginalized and underrepresented” or lacking in “well-defined political constituencies. ” 5)A party-list nominee must be a bonafide member of the party or organization which he or she seeks to represent. In the case of sectoral parties, to be a bonafide party-list nominee, one must either belong to the sector represented, or have a track record of advocacy for such sector. Casimira Dela Cruz v. COMELEC G. R. No. 192221, November 13, 2012 FACTS:

The following persons filed a Certificate of Candidacy to run for Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Bugasong: Aurelio Dela Cruz, Casimira Dela Cruz, and John Lloyd Pacete. Aurelio was declared a nuisance candidate, so the only bonafide candidate bearing the surname of Dela Cruz is Casimira. Aurelio’s certificate of candidacy was cancelled by the Court, but his name was still included in the official ballot. During the manual elections, any votes cast for a nuisance candidate will be counted in favor of the bonafide candidate. However, for automated elections, COMELEC said it must be considered as a stray vote.

Hence, Casimira appealed to the Supreme Court. ISSUE: Whether or not the votes cast for a nuisance candidate, whose certificate of candidacy has been cancelled by the COMELEC, and was still included or printed in the official ballot for the elections, be counted in favor of the bonafide candidate. RULING: Yes, the petition is meritorious. A vote is considered stray when the voter’s intention cannot be determined by the Court. However, in this case, the intention may be determined because Aurelio is a nuisance candidate. Naturally, people do not know him. The only person known is the bonafide candidate.

He is not known, has no party, and has no machinery to run an effective election campaign. The intention of the voters can be determined, which is to elect the person with the surname Dela Cruz. So the votes cast for Aurelio should be counted in favor of Casimira. PURPOSE OF ELECTION LAWS: The primordial objective of election laws is to give effect to, rather than frustrate, the will of the voter. Rev. Fr. Nardo Cayat v. COMELEC G. R. Nos. 163776 & 165736, April 24, 2007 The general rule is that the second-placer will not be declared as the winner for the position. It shall follow the rule of succession.

The exception is the Cayat case. (Digest Taken from the Internet) FACTS: Rev. Nardo B. Cayat filed his certificate of candidacy for Mayor of Buguias, Benguet for the May 2004 elections. Thomas Palileng, another candidate for Mayor filed a petition to annul/nullify his certificate of candidacy and/or to disqualify on the ground that Cayat has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. Twenty three days before the election, Cayat’s disqualification became final and executory. He, however won and was proclaimed and assumed office. Palileng filed an electoral protest contending that Cayat was ineligible to run for mayor.

The Vice-Mayor intervened and contended that he should succeed Cayat in case he is disqualified because Palileng was only a second placer, hence, he cannot be declared as the winner. ISSUE: Whether or not the rejection of the second placer doctrine is applicable in this case. RULING: No, the doctrine cannot be applied in this case because the disqualification of Cayat became final and executory before the elections and hence, there is only one candidate to speak of. First, the COMELEC’s Resolution cancelling Cayat’s certificate of candidacy due to disqualification became final and executory when Cayat failed to pay the prescribed filing fee.

Thus, Palileng was the only candidate for Mayor of Buguias, Benguet in the elections. Twenty-three days before the election day, Cayat was already disqualified by final judgment to run for Mayor. As the only candidate, Palileng was not a second placer. On the contrary, Palileng was the sole and only placer, second to none. The doctrine on the rejection of the second placer, which triggers the rule on succession, does not apply in the present case because Palileng is not a second-placer but the only placer.

Consequently, Palileng’s proclamation as Mayor of Buguias, Benguet is beyond question. Second, there are specific requirements for the application of the doctrine on the rejection of the second placer. The doctrine will apply in Bayacsan’s favor, regardless of his intervention in the present case, if two conditions concur: (1) the decision on Cayat’s disqualification remained pending on election day, 10 May 2004, resulting in the presence of two mayoralty candidates for Buguias, Benguet in the elections; and (2) the decision on Cayat’s disqualification became final only after the elections.